Natasha Bailey, Senior Director of Operations, joined DC Prep in 2022. In her role, 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.
Cassie Pergament joined DC Prep in 2006, and is currently the Senior Director of Programs in the Home Office. Prior to this role, she was Principal of the Edgewood Middle Campus (EMC) from 2011-2016. Cassie also served in a variety of roles at EMC, including Instructional Coach, Chair of the English Department, and member of the school Leadership Team. She began her teaching career with Teach For America in Compton, California where she designed and implemented a program for Gifted and Talented students. Cassie also taught at the KIPP: Bridge Charter School in Oakland. Cassie holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Rochester and an MAT from Loyola Marymount University. During the 2010-11 school year, Cassie earned an MEd in School Leadership and participated in an intensive residency program at High Tech High in San Diego.
Tara O’Flaherty joined DC Prep in 2012 and is currently the Senior Director of Schools. Prior to that, she was the Senior Director of Leadership Support, providing coaching and mentoring to leadership teams and individual campus leaders at all DC Prep schools. Before joining the DC Prep team, Tara was a member of the founding team of Chavez Prep and served as both Assistant Principal and Principal. She served as a school leader for Chavez for seven years and in 2012 was named Principal of the Year by the DC Association of Public Chartered Schools. Tara has a BA from Drew University, an MEd from Lesley University, and an MA from The George Washignton University.
Vanessa Gonzalez, Chief Development Officer, joined DC Prep in 2022. As CDO, 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.
Maura Englender joined DC Prep in 2013, and is the Chief Talent Officer. Prior to this role, at the network level 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, as well as Assistant Principal of Academics at the 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 BA from Lewis and Clark College and an MEd from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Aliesha Maye, Chief of School Operations, joined DC Prep in 2021. Prior to DC Prep, Aliesha worked at KIPP AIM Academy here in Washington, DC., as Chief of School Operations. Aliesha first joined KIPP DC in 2008 as a Spanish teacher at AIM Academy. She had previously taught Spanish in Washington, D.C. as a Teach For America corps member. Before taking on her previous role as Principal of AIM Academy, Aliesha also taught fifth and sixth-grade math and served as the school’s vice principal. Aliesha graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in international studies and Spanish.
Dan Englender, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, joined DC Prep in 2011 and originally served as an Assistant Principal at the Edgewood Middle Campus where he oversaw instructional and school culture initiatives. In his current role he manages operations, data, technology, enrollment, and finance and real estate teams 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 BS from the University of Michigan.
Katie Severn, President and Chief Academic Officer, joined DC Prep in 2007 and currently works with the principals at all DC Prep campuses to ensure alignment among schools and the highest academic quality across the organization. Katie served as Principal of DC Prep’s award-winning Edgewood Middle Campus from 2008-2011. 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.
Devin Ray, Principal of DC Prep’s Benning Middle Campus, is a New York native and University of Albany alum who has fallen in love with the DMV area. With Principal training from RELAY’s National Principal Academy Fellowship and DC’s School Leader Lab, he’s increased his self- and social awareness and done the work to identify the values that will empower him to lead Benning Middle Campus. His values grounded in equity, justice, and black excellence drove his work as an Academic Fellow, Social Studies instructor, Humanities Academic Assistant Principal, and now drive his work as Principal. Starting his work at Benning Middle in 2015, the love and family feel that he’s experienced at BMC is synonymous with the feelings he hopes students, families, and staff feel throughout their time at Benning Middle. Partnering with our families to design an enriching student experience is the work ahead of us, and Devin is most excited to embark on that work with BMC leaders, faculty, and staff.
Cyrkle Lomax joined DC Prep in 2020, and is the Benning Elementary Campus (BEC) Principal. Prior to this role, she served Anacostia Elementary students as the Special Education Coordinator. Outside of DC Prep, Cyrkle served as Principal and Special Education Coordinator at Achievement Prep Middle School in Ward 8 and the Special Education Chair and Special Education & ELA teacher for grades 5, 6, 7 & 8 at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Prince George’s County, MD. Cyrkle earned a BA from Towson State University and a Master’s of Leadership in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland Graduate School of Education.
Katie Kuzma, Principal of our Anacostia Elementary Campus, joined DC Prep in 2013. Throughout her time at DC Prep, she has served as a science and literacy teacher at the Edgewood Elementary Campus, a department chair for science across all three elementary campuses, and as an Assistant Principal of math and science at AEC. Before joining the DC Prep team, Katie was a science and social studies teacher in Atlanta, where she completed Teach for America. Katie attended Harvard University for her undergraduate degree in developmental psychology.