Our 9th Grade Teachers

Adam Browning

9th Grade Math

Adam has been teaching math and science Special Education in DC for two years.  Prior to moving to DC in 2014 for the DC Teaching Fellows program, he obtained his M.S.W. from CUNY Lehman in the Bronx, NY and his B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton. 

Ashley Brown

9th Grade English

Darnell Riley

9th Grade History

Elisabeth Forde

9th Grade Math

Elisabeth has taught over 7 years in elementary, middle, and now high schools. She is a former emergency manager.

Javon Thomas

9th Grade English

Michael Voll

9th Grade Science

Michael received a degree in Industrial Systems Engineering from Ohio University in 2009 and went straight into education after graduating. His experience has taken many forms including working with college organizations around the country, a wilderness school in Missouri, teaching english in Colombia, Chile and Loas, and running an after school program in Rockaway Queens, New York. Before joining the team at Washington Leadership Academy Mr. Voll was the Teen Programs Coordinator at the Columbus Museum of Art where he worked with high school students to engage their communities in deeper connections through art.

Rusty Lee

9th Grade Math

Rusty has spent the better part of 10 years as a teacher, with stops in New Orleans, China, and his home state of South Carolina. His favorite course to teach is AP Calculus, and his favorite aspect of teaching is that it affords him the opportunity to have conversations with intelligent, inquisitive, interesting students on a daily basis. Of all the things he's achieved in his life, Rusty is most proud of being a husband and a father.

Sarai Reed

9th Grade English

Shenise Miller

9th Grade Teacher

Steve Cottington

9th Grade Computer Science

Steve is beginning his sixth year as a teacher, and his fourth in Computer Science. He previously taught for five years at Fairmont Heights High School in Capitol Heights, MD. He taught 9th grade English for two years before transitioning to teaching Computer Science courses as part of Fairmont’s IT Academy program, where he eventually served as Program Coordinator. At Fairmont, he also served as Advanced Placement Coordinator, sponsor for the Class of 2016, head coach for girls soccer, and advisor for the school’s literary magazine. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Allegheny College in English/Creative Writing and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh in Secondary English Education.

Our 10th Grade Teachers

April Williamson

10th Grade Math

Ariel Smith

10th Grade English

Deb Menard

10th Grade Science

Diane Olusada

10th Grade Math

Enrique Ramos

10th Grade English

For the past 3 years, Enrique taught Special Education and Social Studies on Hawai'i Island, Hawai'i. He has taught 7th grade through 12th grade with subjects ranging from Modern Hawaiian History to Sociology. Through his instruction, Enrique has had students achieve tremendous academic growth as exemplified through one year worth of literacy gain in only one semester. Enrique has worked with the Hawai'i Department of Education as a mentor to new teachers through it's Kahua Mentoring program and as a Corps Member Advisor for Teacher for America. He has also worked with a national, non-profit teaching organization in order to facilitate adult instruction and prepare new teachers for the classroom. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in History from University of Maryland, College Park. Enrique also holds a Masters of Science in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Jamila Buchanan

10th Grade History

Jamila began her educational career in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she taught Social Studies for seven years at two schools with drastically different demographics. Later in her professional career, she decided moving to Washington, DC would enable her to further her aspirations. A few of her noteworthy accomplishments are, increasing reading scores by at least 70% on three standardized state tests, teaching all levels of social sciences classes in addition to two AP classes, and recently she has participated in a fellowship for W.I.S.S.I.T to bring global education perspective into her curriculum. She has also designed her own original curriculum for Africana Studies. Jamila received her undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Social Sciences Education and later receiving a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Sarah Hartzell

10th Grade English

Taylor Deutsch

10th Grade Computer Science

Our 11th Grade Teachers

Britney Wray

11th Grade Team Lead & Founding Math Teacher

Britney is in her 8th-year teaching in the high school classroom. In her time teaching, Britney has taught all levels of learners from Algebra 1 to Advanced Placement Calculus producing strong results on State and College Board Assessments. Britney has also served as a Team Leader for Algebra 1, AP Calculus, and Grade Level cohorts. Britney has a B.S. in Mathematics and a Master of Education from Virginia Tech.

Chrystal Miller

11th Grade English

Jordan Budistano

11th Grade Computer Science

Jordan began his teaching career in Miami by way of Teach For America where he spent 4 years teaching mathematics in Liberty City. Jordan started a Computer Science program there where he most recently taught AP Computer Science and an Introduction to Software Engineering & Web Design Course. Jordan was a 2015 Computer Science Teaching Fellow with the Flatiron School in New York, one of the most successful accelerated coding schools in the country. His work as a Computer Science Teacher has been published in US News and in 2015 was honored by the Governor of Florida for his contributions to the field of education. Jordan got his B.S. in Computer Information Systems from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and also serves as a Captain in the United States Army Reserves.

Khallid Love

11th Grade Math

Kim Spotts

11th Grade Seminar

Libby Huber

11th Grade Teacher

Dr. Steve Robinson

11th Grade Science

Steve has taught high school for twelve years and over eight years at the college level. Before joining WLA as a founding teacher, he served as the Education Policy Advisor for Senator Barack Obama and then in the White House with the Obama Administration. Steve earned his B.A. from Princeton; his doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan; and his teaching certification at the University of Oregon.

Taylor Wellborn

11th Grade History

Our Administrators

Andrea Leonard

Director of College Advising

Anthony Guyton

Assistant Principal, Upper School

Anthony has worked with a range of students, from the middle school to college level, over the past five years. For two years, Anthony taught Special Education in Harlem, NY as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows. Recently, Anthony has served as Program Assistant and College Success Counselor with Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), where he has helped historically disadvantaged high school students gain admission into selective colleges and universities, while also providing them with the support to succeed once they are on these campuses. Anthony has his B.A. from Princeton University in Sociology with a certificate in African American Studies and his M.Ed from Long Island University-Brooklyn.

Christina Moore

Director of Student Services

Christina has been working in D.C. for the past 10 years to ensure all students have high quality instruction and services. Christina earned her B.A. in Secondary Education and the her M.Ed in Literacy Instruction and Leadership from Niagara University.

Dwaine Carr

Director of Social-Emotional Learning

Dwaine worked as Dean of Students at Democracy Prep in Harlem for almost 2 years, where he pushed for positive culture within the disciplinary system. He then went back to school to obtain a Masters in Social Work. After graduating with his masters, Dwaine worked as a school social worker and a coordinator for populations dual diagnosed with intellectual disabilities as well as mental illness. Dwaine has worked with students ranging from grades K-12. He holds a M.S.W from Kean University in Union, New Jersey, and a B.A in Labor Studies and Employment Relations with a minor in Psychology.

Jaishri Shankar

Assistant Principal, Lower School

Jaishri began her teaching career in rural Kingstree, South Carolina as an 8th-grade science teacher and is entering her fifth year in the classroom. As a science teacher, Jaishri led her students to over a year’s growth on the 8th grade science MAP. In Kingstree, Jaishri co-founded and led a group of teachers committed to magnifying impact outside the classroom through college and service opportunities, and helped launch Teach for America’s South Carolina STEM and CS-focused initiative, InnovateSC, alongside several other community partners. Jaishri graduated from the University of Maryland with an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology/Physiology and earned her graduate degree in Secondary Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Joey Webb

Chief Academic Officer

Before WLA, Joey served as an Assistant Principal for the highest performing charter school in Durham, North Carolina, and has taught in both charter schools and traditional public schools in the greater DC area. After just one year of teaching as a Teach for America corps member, Joey was promoted to Master Teacher and Content Team Leader for 30 science teachers across Prince George’s County. When Arne Duncan visited his school, Joey’s principal selected his classroom for observation. Joey served as Campus President of Habitat for Humanity all four years at St. Lawrence College where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience. He received his Master’s at UNC Chapel Hill in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Julia Mackey

Senior Operations Manager

Julia has been working in schools on behalf of D.C. kids for over a decade and in customer service roles for almost 30 years. Julia is an expert in school operations and family engagement.

Lauren Horton

Director of Student Culture

Louis Laws

School Counselor/Social Worker

Mandy Leiter

Operations Manager

Mandy joined the Operations team at WLA in the Summer of 2018. Before WLA, Mandy worked for Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS), where she managed the organization’s operations, programs, and large annual events, including the first-ever and second-annual city-wide DC Charter Conferences. Mandy also held roles at KIPP DC on the Capital Teaching Residency team, DC Public Schools in the Office of Teaching and Learning, the Center for Education Reform, and the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. Mandy graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Sociology.

Molly Graham

School Counselor

Molly has worked in various capacities with families, children, and youth of all ages across the District of Columbia. Most recently Molly worked as a School Social Worker for Democracy Prep Public Schools at their Congress Heights campus in D.C. Prior to this Molly worked in the D.C. Child Welfare system as well as with runaway and homeless youth in the District. Molly also serves as a volunteer for the Educational Surrogate Parent Program with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker having received her M.S.W. from the University of Alabama as well as her B.S. in Social Work from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Natalie Gould

Director of Operations

Natalie joined the Founding Team of WLA in Spring of 2014. She previously worked for Democracy Prep Public Schools managing special projects for its founder before transitioning full-time to Washington Leadership Academy to help write its charter. Natalie has held roles at Teach for America, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, and The Brookings Institution. She is a StartingBloc Fellowship winner and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in Urban Education Policy.

Stacy Kane

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Stacy Kane is Co-Founder & Executive Director of Washington Leadership Academy, one of ten high schools in the country to win the $10 mil Super Schools XQ Prize. Previously, she served as Deputy Director of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, recruiting the nation’s top tech and entrepreneurial talent into the Federal government. Stacy served on the Founding Board of K.I.P.P. Nashville, worked for College Summit, and taught middle school in Ghana, West Africa. Stacy founded her first education organization, Synergy College Prep and Mentoring Program, in Nashville in 2003. She is a graduate of Emory University Law School and is a licensed attorney in the State of Maryland. Stacy earned a Master’s of Public Policy degree, with a focus on Education Policy, and joint Bachelor’s Degrees in Human and Organizational Development and Sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Stephanie Remick

Director of Experiential Learning

Stephanie brings over 10 years of program management and education experience to WLA and is primarily responsible for the Internship Program. She graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in Political Science and from American University with an M.A. in Public Administration and an M.Ed. in Education Leadership.

Stephanie Renee Young


Yolanda Lavender

Assistant Dean of Students

Our Board

Rachel Torres

Board Chair

Rachel is a senior executive with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division and is an advocate for civil service. She has over 20 years of experience overseeing federal budget and finance, procurement, human resources, information technology, and training development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and a Master’s Degree in public administration, both from Baruch College, City University of New York.  

Marvette Cofield

Board Member

Marvette Cofield is a Sr. Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and also an advocate for girls in STEM. With more than 24 years of experience in program management, Marvette is focused on information resource management, program operations, and financial analysis. In her current role, she optimizes complex processes by integrating systems of people, information and services to create increased efficiencies and duplicable methods within organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering Management, a MBA from Florida Institute of Technology and a Virginia Real Estate Broker’s license.

Arya Parvizi


Arya Parvizi is a Senior Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager with Bank of America Merrill Lynch Healthcare, Education, and Not-for-Profit Banking Group.  He has also spent several years as a Commercial Lender focusing on charter school financing within the DC area.  Arya began his banking career in 2004 with varied experience in commercial lending, underwriting, cash flow analysis, and risk management.  Arya holds a Master’s of Science in Finance from the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Jim Doyle

Board Member

Jim is president of Portico Policy Advisors, a policy research firm, and Business Forward, a trade group and foundation that advocate for affordable health care, climate action, and immigration and education reform, among other issues. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School.

Simon Rodberg

Board Member

Simon Rodberg was the founding principal of DC International School, a Tier 1 charter school, and an assistant principal and teacher in other DC public schools. He is a writer and consultant on education and leadership.

Andrea Sparks Brown

Board Secretary

Andrea Sparks Brown has 28 years of experience as an educator. She’s been a principal, assistant principal, science teacher, and educational consultant. She’s worked in rural, urban, and suburban schools.

Venus Valladares


Venus is a visual designer and WLA parent. Venus Co-Chairs the Family and Community Engagement Committee. 

Mario Sutton


Mario is a Senior Executive at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also a parent of a WLA student. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist