As Co-CEO, Justin manages our great schools and great educators initiatives. He was formerly Chief Operating Officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center, the state’s charter support organization. In this role, he led the Center’s incubation efforts, resulting in the development of 15 high-performing charter schools in Nashville and Memphis. Prior to coming to Nashville, Justin served as the Director of Education Programs for Volunteers of America of Minnesota where he started the nation’s first nonprofit charter school authorizing program, managed the operation of three contract alternative high schools for the Minneapolis school district, and an adult basic education program. Justin also served as a Charter School Specialist in the Minnesota Department of Education and began his career in education as a middle school teacher in Newark, NJ, through Teach for America.
As Co-CEO, Wendy manages our policy and community engagement efforts. She was Mayor Karl Dean’s senior advisor on education before leaving that role in July of 2014, when she was appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to serve on the State Board of Education. As Mayor Dean’s education advisor, Wendy worked closely with school leaders and policymakers to advance his vision of a high quality education for each Nashville student. Prior to joining Mayor Dean’s staff, Wendy co-founded the Special Education Advocacy Center of Tennessee, a nonprofit focused on supporting families of students with disabilities in their attempts to receive appropriate special education services in our public schools. Wendy is a licensed trial attorney with two decades of courtroom experience.
As the Director of the Nashville Teacher Residency Program, Randall connects this arm of Project Renaissance to partner schools, and leads all efforts to recruit and train effective educators for Nashville schools. He recently relocated from Boston, MA, where he was the Director of Curriculum for the Match Teacher Residency (MTR), helping the program earn graduate school status, coordinating and delivering coursework, and managing curriculum transition to the Common Core State Standards. In 2010, Randall completed his dissertation in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College, where he taught classes in Special Education and Teacher Inquiry. Randall began his career in education in 2000 in San Jose, CA as a Teach For America Special Education/History teacher.
As the Managing Director of the Nashville Teacher Residency, Holly trains and supports residents and mentor teachers across partner schools. Prior to joining NTR, Holly spent six years teaching mathematics, four of those in Nashville. Most recently, she served as Dean of Instruction for LEAD Academy High School where she helped ensure teachers and students had the resources they needed to achieve excellent student outcomes. Holly began her teaching career in 2008 in rural North Carolina as a Teach For America corps member. Holly is a graduate of Georgetown University.
As the Director of Recruiting, Diarese George designs and implements Nashville Teacher Residency’s recruiting strategy. He also trains and supports residents and mentor teachers in one of our partner schools. Prior to joining NTR, he served as a Career Technical Education teacher instructing high school business courses for five years. During that time, he served as a lead instructor for the high school’s career Business and Finance Academy, member of the instructional leadership team and an academy lead in cross-curricular collaboration for project-based learning. He has completed education leadership fellowships for Education Pioneers, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and Hope Street Group. Diarese holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Masters in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University. He also obtained an MBA and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.
As a Manager of Resident Development, Rhonda Siggers trains and supports residents and mentor teachers in several partner schools. She also develops and leads the community and culture classes for NTR residents. Rhonda has more than fifteen years of experience in urban education. Prior to her role at NTR, she served as an induction mentor for first year teachers in Chicago Public Schools with the New Teacher Center (NTC). She taught new teachers to connect theory to practice by providing coaching on teaching strategies, curriculum development and data-driven instruction. Rhonda has also served as an instructional coach and teacher of English Language Arts, curriculum coach and community resource coordinator. Her graduate studies focused on Urban Educational Policy, Nonprofit Organizational Leadership and Management, and Divinity. She is an alumna of Depaul University, University of San Diego and Vanderbilt University.
As a Manager of Resident Development, Jesse Gray trains and supports residents and mentor teachers in several partner schools. He also develops and leads the English Language Arts Methods classes for NTR residents. Prior to this position, Jesse worked for LEAD Public Schools, a public charter network in Nashville, where he served as a teacher and instructional coach at both the middle and high school levels. Jesse has been teaching and learning with students in Nashville since 2006 in a variety of schools. Jesse holds graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University.
As Nashville Rise Lead Organizer, Allison recruits, engages and manages the relationship with parents. Allison worked for eight years in the mental health field at Centerstone. In this work, she was a Community Support Specialist for both adults and homeless veterans where she provided support for those adult’s personal needs and to nurture their strengths. She volunteers with Hands on Nashville, Second Harvest Food Bank and doing various community activities with her daughter’s school – she has one school-aged child. Allison earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology from Auburn University.
As Nashville Rise Organizer, Latoya recruits and engages parent advocates in Davidson County. Prior to this role, Latoya worked with Memphis City Schools now Shelby County Schools for more than six years. She worked with students who were below grade level in math and English language arts. As their case manager, she was also responsible for providing them with college readiness and career training. She volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, and each year she and her family provide school supplies to families that attend the Back-to-School Fair at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church. Latoya earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from the University of Memphis.
As Communications Manager, Ellie helps tell the stories of students, parents and teachers that collaborate with Project Renaissance and its partners. Additionally, Ellie works with Spanish-speaking parents who want to advocate for their children’s educations through Nashville Rise. Prior to this position, Ellie worked in marketing at an international law firm. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the education and youth development sector in Paraguay. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she worked alongside educators and students to develop and implement sustainable education programs and practices. Ellie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication in Public Relations.