Neema Desai Jennings is passionate and enthusiastic about working with children and building communities that inspire growth, love, and a commitment to bettering our world. Neema joined DC Prep in 2011. Throughout her time at DC Prep, she has taught and led at multiple DC Prep campuses in a variety of roles, including as a math and literacy teacher, founding teacher, Assistant Principal of Academics and Culture, and Principal of Anacostia Elementary Campus (2018-2021) and Anacostia Middle Campus (2020-2022). Before joining the DC Prep team, Neema was a special education teacher in New York, where she completed Teach for America. She holds a B.S. from George Washington University and an M.S. from Bank Street College.
Natasha Bailey joined DC Prep in 2022. In her role as Senior Director of Operations, Natasha manages Operations teams across DC Prep’s network. Prior to DC Prep, Natasha served as an Operations Manager and Director of Operations at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Natasha has also served in education nonprofit roles at Teach For America DC and PeerForward. Natasha is a graduate of Penn State University and received a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University.
Vanessa Gonzalez joined DC Prep in 2022. As Chief Development Officer, Vanesaa leads development, communications, and alumni support at DC Prep. Prior to joining DC Prep, Vanessa led programs in Flamboyan Foundation’s Puerto Rico office. Vanessa returned to Puerto Rico, her place of birth, with a commitment to supporting education on the island. Vanessa previously worked in DC education as Vice President of Operations and Strategy at Education Forward DC and as Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. She has also worked for the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) and Education Elements. Vanessa began her career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company and The Bridgespan Group. Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Spanish from Emory University, as well as an MBA and Master’s of Arts in Education from Stanford University.
Dan Englender joined DC Prep in 2011 and originally served as an Assistant Principal at Edgewood Middle Campus (EMC) where he oversaw instructional and school culture initiatives. In his current role he manages operations, data, technology, enrollment, and finance and real estate across DC Prep’s growing network of schools. Dan began his career in education as a Teach For America (TFA) corps member in New Haven, CT, teaching high school math. Dan also worked in a variety of roles at TFA, including Program Director in DC. In the summer of 2011 Dan served as a School Director in TFA’s summer institute in Philadelphia. He holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan.
Aliesha Maye, Chief of School Operations, joined DC Prep in 2021. Prior to taking on this role, Aliesha served as the Principal of KIPP DC AIM Academy. Aliesha began her career in education at KIPP DC AIM Academy as a Corps Member with Teach for America and remained there for 13 years. In that time, Aliesha served as a Spanish Teacher, 5th and 6th grade Math Teacher, and Assistant Principal before ultimately becoming the principal of the school. Aliesha holds an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Maura Englender joined DC Prep in 2013. Prior to becoming Chief Talent Officer, she served as Senior Director of Leadership Development, and Senior Director of Student Support. At the campus level, she served as Principal, Resident Principal-in-Training, and Assistant Principal of Academics at Benning Elementary Campus (BEC). Maura began her tenure at DC Prep as a Literacy Coordinator at BEC, working with the Kindergarten through 3rd grade literacy teachers to develop curriculum and improve their instructional practices. Prior to joining the team, Maura taught high school history in North Carolina and served on Teach For America’s DC staff. Maura earned a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College and an M.Ed. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Cassie Pergament joined DC Prep in 2006. Prior to becoming the Chief Academic Officer, she served as the Senior Director of Programs, overseeing our program model across all DC Prep campuses. She was Principal of Edgewood Middle Campus (EMC) from 2011 to 2016 and previously served in a variety of roles at EMC, including Instructional Coach, Chair of the English Department, Mentor Teacher, and classroom teacher. She began her teaching career with Teach For America in Compton, CA where she designed and implemented a program for Gifted and Talented students. Cassie also taught at the KIPP: Bridge Charter School in Oakland, CA. Cassie holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Loyola Marymount University. During the 2010-11 school year, Cassie earned a Master’s in School Leadership and participated in an intensive residency program at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego. Cassie lives in DC with her four children.
Katie Severn joined DC Prep in 2007. Before becoming Senior Advisor to DC Prep’s Executive Team in 2023, she served as the President and Chief Academic Officer, working with the principals at all DC Prep campuses to ensure alignment among schools and the highest academic quality across the organization. From 2008 to 2011, Katie served as Principal of DC Prep’s award-winning Edgewood Middle Campus. Previously, she worked at SEED Public Charter School, where she served as Principal, Assistant Principal, and Special Education Coordinator. She began her career as an English teacher in Namibia with the Center for Global Education. Upon her return to the United States, Katie joined Teach For America in Houston where she was recognized as both the New Teacher of the Year and the Special Education Teacher of the Year. She is a graduate of New Leaders and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Grinnell College and master’s degrees in special education and educational administration.
Laura Maestas, Chief Executive Officer, joined DC Prep in 2016 and previously served as the Chief Talent Officer. Prior to DC Prep, Laura was the Chief Talent Officer at Uncommon Schools – overseeing Recruitment, Organizational Learning, Performance Management, Human Resources, and Uncommon Impact, as well as serving as a member of Uncommon’s Executive Team. While at Uncommon, she also served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Teach Like a Champion team, where she helped identify effective ways to share best practices with other school systems and educators. Laura also has extensive experience working in traditional school systems, as the Director of School Leadership for the New York City Department of Education, and at both the district and state level while a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Laura received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Kenyon College, where she was a Latino Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa. She also earned a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Dean’s Scholar. She is a member of the New York bar.
Fabeanne Collins joined DC Prep in 2014 after completing her Capital Teaching Residency, and currently serves as the Edgewood Middle Campus (EMC) Principal. Prior to that role, she served as an Academic Assistant Principal, Special Education Coordinator, Math Department Chair, and 6th Grade Special Education Teacher at DC Prep. She values family partnership in supporting all of our students on their academic journeys. Fabeanne holds both a BS and a MS from Florida State University.
Janee joined DC Prep in 2013 as a 3rd-grade math teacher. She has taught and led across our BEC, EEC, and EMC campuses, and for the past several years, she has served on the EEC leadership team as an assistant principal across kindergarten-3rd grade and various content areas. Janee is passionate about creating a warm, positive, inclusive and engaging learning environment where all students can succeed. She is a student-focused leader and eager to work with all stakeholders to ensure our Preppies flourish. And she is a loud and proud Temple University alumna!
Janee is excited to spend SY23-24 working alongside EEC Principal Jonathan Caldera before becoming the principal of EEC in SY24-25.
Jonathan Caldera is the Principal of Edgewood Elementary Campus and Director of Schools for DC Prep. Jonathan has previously served as an Assistant Principal and as the Dean of Students at EEC. He has received principal training from Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principals Academy, and from DC’s School Leader Lab. Jonathan attended James Madison University for his undergraduate degree in education and George Mason University for his graduate degree in education.