Transformative Education Begins with You
The year-long Fisher Fellowship programming is designed to provide in-depth support and insight into the processes and best practices involved in school leadership—including instructional leadership, performance management, staff recruitment and selection, and developing school culture. Fisher Fellows work as employees of a specific KIPP region during their fellowship year.
The Fisher Fellowship takes highly-effective leaders and prepares them to open a new KIPP school.
Our program utilizes evidenced-based practices rooted in the KIPP Leading for Learning Actions and in the KIPP Leadership Framework and Competencies that will prepare you to open the doors to a new KIPP school.
After one year, you will be able to set ambitious goals and to relentlessly plan and prioritize them. You will learn how to hire and retain the best of the best and to build your expertise in effective instructional design and academic standards. You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of self as a leader, your impact on others, and your overall leadership philosophy.
Expect to be challenged. Expect to be enriched. Expect to be transformed.
Unique to the Fisher Fellowship
As a Fisher Fellow you will complete four to five Residences and a School Design Plan that will challenge, empower, and equip you to found, lead, and grow a new high-performing KIPP school.
The fellowship includes four to five residencies at KIPP schools outside the fellow’s region. Each four-day residency provides fellows with an opportunity to gain insight into the instructional, operational, and performance management practices of successful schools and school leaders. Additionally, Fellows will take part in four to five week-long school and operational residencies in his/her own region.
School Design Plan
Creation of a comprehensive plan that guides all design, implementation, and growth of the fellow’s new school.
Meet Our Current Fisher Fellows
Aaron Aguirre-CastilloFounding first KIPP high school in Dallas, TX
Aaron is humbled by the opportunity to found and lead KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth’s first High School in Oak Cliff, an area of the city that has been historically disenfranchised. Committed to and motivated by the community, Aaron is excited to embark on this journey as a learner and leader, accessing the strength and perseverance that exists within to navigate the development of our shared future.
As the High School Dean of Instruction and AP/IB Coordinator at Uplift Heights Preparatory in West Dallas, Aaron drove the vision for teaching and learning and supported the development of its academic programs. Prior to this role, he served as a High School Mathematics Teacher at Uplift Heights Preparatory and O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth. The narrative of his academic journey includes K-12 studies across North and South America, a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership through the Summer Principals Academy (SPA) program at Teachers College, Columbia University.
It was in the classroom and through the stories of students and families where his inspiration to pursue school leadership ignited, seeking to serve the communities that need it most. Continuing to grow in awareness and understanding of what it means to engage in this work as a Latino male, he will leverage his unique experiences to lead a community-focused institution that will empower educated and independent thinkers who, through their stories, will reshape the way people view South Dallas.
Tessa CatlettFounding a KIPP elementary school in Chicago, IL
Tessa Catlett is currently an Assistant Principal at KIPP Ascend Primary. After graduating from the University of Michigan with majors in Communication Studies and Peace and Social Justice, she began her education career as a Teach For America corps member teaching 4th and 5th grade in St. Louis. In the fall of 2013, Tessa joined KIPP Chicago as a founding 3rd grade teacher and completely fell in love with the school and community. Since then, she has served many roles, including 5th grade founding literacy centers teacher, Upper Elementary Reading Investment Coordinator, and Community Engagement Committee member. Tessa most recently received her Master of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University as a member of their 2015 Summer Principals Academy cohort. Since then, she has grown to manage the upper school at KIPP Ascend Primary as the Assistant Principal beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. In this role, Tessa has imparted to her teaching team her student-centric focus on finding individualized paths to student engagement through rigorous and differentiated instruction that drives strong academic outcomes for all students. As an Assistant Principal, Tessa has also implemented a mindfulness curriculum and adopted restorative justice practices in her approach to managing student behavior and created a more empowered student culture. She is thrilled to be a member of the 2017-2018 Fisher Fellowship Cohort and cannot wait to found the next elementary school with KIPP Chicago.
Tasha DavisFounding a KIPP elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia
Tasha is currently in her second year as the Principal at KIPP Vision Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. In the 2018-2019 school year, she will be opening the ninth school in KIPP Metro Atlanta. This school will be the fourth primary school in the region and will educate scholars grades Kindergarten through fourth grade. Prior to taking on Principal at KIPP Vision Academy, Tasha was an assistant principal for two years. She has previously participated in Leadership Team with the KIPP School Leadership Program, where she developed her skills as an assistant principal and made lifelong friends in this work who have been lifelines in this journey alongside her. Before joining the KIPP team and family in July 2013, she spent two years on the leadership team at Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, New York developing a rigorous culture of student achievement for Kindergarten through eighth grade scholars in Brooklyn. The three years prior to that, Tasha was in the classroom instructing some of Brooklyn’s finest third grade students in reading, writing, math and social studies at Explore Charter School. In the time she was at Explore Charter School, she developed strong culture systems to maximize the learning taking place in classrooms. Tasha’s teaching career spans eleven years and she has taught in Colorado, California and New York. Tasha has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University and a M.A.T. from Grand Canyon University. Tasha is passionate about education and honored to educate scholars at KIPP and open a school that provides educational excellence for all families. She is very excited to continue her work with the scholars, staff and families in Atlanta! Outside of school, Tasha enjoys running marathons, reading books and being the proud of auntie of four nephews and a niece.
Emily DoBellFounding a KIPP elementary school in Lynn, MA
This spring, Emily is moving her family from Boston to Lynn to found the third elementary school in the KIPP Massachusetts (MA) region. Emily is eager to apply the lessons learned from founding KIPP Academy Boston Elementary, the first elementary school in the KIPP MA region. Upon graduation from Hollins University, Emily taught special education in traditional public middle schools for three years. She then joined KIPP in North Carolina where she taught fifth and sixth grade math at Gaston College Preparatory. Emily joined the founding team at KIPP Academy Boston as a learning specialist in 2012. In 2013, Emily completed her first Fisher Fellowship. She is particularly excited for round two of the Fellowship given the lens she was able to develop over the past three years as a school leader.
Emily’s current favorite pastime is making her daughter giggle. She also loves traveling with her family and completing DIY projects at her new home.
Mario EcheverriaFounding a KIPP Middle School in Los Angeles, CA
Mario was born in El Salvador and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1985. Mario was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college because of the values set by his parents.
Mario received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of San Francisco with a minor in Latin American Studies. He also received a Master’s Degree of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. Most recently, Mario received a second Master’s Degree of Education in School Administration from Loyola Marymount University.
Mario has taught nine years in parochial and public charter schools in Los Angeles. He has experience teaching grades 3 through 8. During his teaching experience, he has been a grade level chair, department chair, technology lead, innovation coordinator, and restorative justice coordinator. With his strong results in the classroom and continually challenging himself to learn, Mario became a Dean at KIPP Academy of Innovation in East Los Angeles. Mario is motivated to continue changing the narrative for all students. He plans to open a middle school, serving grades 5th through 8th in Los Angeles.
Outside of work, Mario enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys reading, sports, and fitness.
Sarah EnglishFounding a KIPP elementary school in Bronx, NY
In 2018, Sarah will be the principal of KIPP NYC’s newest elementary school in the Bronx in New York City. Throughout her career as an educator, Sarah taught ESL; grades 1 through 3; and served as Grade Team Leader and Content Team Leader. She was a founding 3rd grade ELA teacher at KIPP Washington Heights Elementary School, where she currently serves as Dean. In her current role, she manages 14 teachers and is responsible for ensuring the growth and achievement of 180+ students. She inhabits an unwavering belief that all children can and will succeed, if given what they need. Sarah holds a B.S. and M.S. degree from Babson College in Business Management and Hunter College in Elementary Education, respectively. Sarah is the proud mother of Julien (aka “Juju”), who dreams of being a lawyer at 29 and a FBI agent at 30. Sarah enjoys cooking, reading, writing, taking naps, thinking of ways to help kids learn and spending time with her little one.
Chris MahnkenFounding a KIPP high school in Tulsa, OK
Chris Mahnken began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member in Tulsa, OK where he taught general and AP chemistry at Tulsa Central High School. He moved into administration within Tulsa Public Schools, where he served as assistant principal for three years and transitioned to KIPP Tulsa in 2015. He has worked for TFA as the Oklahoma Science Content Specialist, a Curriculum Specialist, and Summer Institute principal. Chris participated in the 2013-14 KIPP School Leadership Program’s Leadership Team program while with Tulsa Public Schools and was a Miles Family Fellowship participant in 2015-2016. Chris graduated from DePauw University with a degree in psychology, and earned his M.Ed. from the University of Oklahoma where he is currently ABD for his Ed.D in educational leadership. He values a balanced lifestyle, enjoys running, playing soccer, and renovating his 1930’s home. When he is not doing those things, you can typically find him working a grill and enjoying friends.
LeAnna MajorsFounding a KIPP elementary school in Los Angeles, CA
LeAnna Majors is currently a Dean at KIPP Iluminar Academy (KIA) located in East Los Angeles, California. For the 2017-18 school year, she is thrilled to be a Fisher Fellow for KIPP LA schools. Prior to becoming a Dean at KIA, she was a Grade Level Facilitator and Lead Teacher, founding both first and third grades. Prior to joining KIPP, she has worked as both a classroom teacher and an After School Program Director in the Southern California communities of Watts, South Los Angeles, and South Gate. In these roles, she has demonstrated her belief in providing equitable educational opportunities for all students by being a resource for culturally responsive teaching practices; creating a student leadership club; facilitating school-wide family literacy initiatives; as well as presenting at national academic conferences on her own research aimed at uplifting discourse on parenting practices of African American families. LeAnna received her BA in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University and completed a Master’s in Education and Teaching Credential at Pepperdine University. She received her Doctorate in Education, with a focus in K-12 Educational Leadership, from California State University, Long Beach. She is passionate about education and looks forward to moving forward learning opportunities for all students.
Farida MamaFounding a KIPP middle school in Boston, MA
Farida Mama is an educator whose greatest passion is teaching and inspiring the next generation of world leaders. Farida is honored and humbled to learn and lead alongside educators committed to building and sustaining extraordinary school communities.
Farida began her career as a TFA corps member teaching English as a Second Language and Mathematics in Boston Public Schools. Later, she became the founding 5th grade math teacher at an in-district turnaround school within the UP Education Network. In one year, Farida’s 5th grade mathematicians achieved the #1 Mathematics Growth Percentile in the state of Massachusetts. After working as a founding 5th grade math teacher, Farida joined the Lynch Leadership Academy at Boston College as a Principal Resident.
Farida is committed to creating a rigorous and joyful classroom environment in collaboration with students and their families. Farida cares deeply about culturally responsive teaching practices and served as a founding member of the Diversity Task Force at UP Academy Dorchester. As a member of the Diversity Task Force, Farida helped develop and lead professional development series around identity, culture and equity. In addition to teaching,
Farida has worked with TFA and the MATCH Teacher Residency where she coached and provided professional development for both new teachers and teacher coaches.
Farida is an alumna of the Teach Plus Policy Fellowship, where she advocated for educational policy at the local and national level. In October of 2013, Farida was one of two Teach Plus Fellows to meet with President Obama, Former Secretary of Education John King and Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about standardized testing in classrooms. Additionally, Farida is a recipient of the Sontag Prize in Urban Education, the UP Education Network Excellence in Teaching Award and the Teach For America Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award. Farida earned her B.A. from the University of Connecticut, and her M.Ed from Boston University.
Geoffrey RoyAssistant Principal, Freshman Academy at KIPP Houston High School, KIPP Houston
Hailing from Oklahoma City, Geoffrey earned a BA in History from Boston College, where he developed a strong commitment to service and social justice. This led him to Teach For America as a 2005 Corps member in Las Vegas, Nevada.
He spent three years teaching 3rd grade and leading his schools Title I and school improvement efforts. He also earned his M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He then spent two years in the post-baccalaureate pre-med program at Georgetown University, but realized a stronger passion for STEM education than a career in medicine. In 2010, Geoffrey moved to Houston with his partner, Saul, and became an instructional coach on staff at Teach For America.
He subsequently launched the regions STEM director role, overseeing the training and development of nearly 100 secondary math and science teachers each year.
Outside of school, Geoffrey enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and working in the garden.
Lariely SanchezFounding a KIPP middle school in New York, NY
Lariely is thrilled to be opening a middle school in New York City! She is currently the Dean of Teaching and Learning at KIPP Washington Heights Middle School in NYC. Before becoming an instructional leader, Lariely served as the founding 5th grade writing teacher at WHMS. In her time at the school, she has served as Grade Team Leader, Dean of Students, and head of the Writing and ELA departments. She also participated in the KIPP Teacher Leader Program. Lariely’s teaching career began, however, in the South Bronx where she taught fourth grade for three years in a dual language charter school as part of her Teach for America commitment. Lariely believes strongly in the importance of empowering students by giving them access to an education that allows them to explore their identity in its many facets and looks forward to building a school where this is not only possible but at the core of the institution. Lariely received a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a MS. Ed. in Dual Language Education from Bank Street College of Education. Outside of work, Lariely loves to spend time with her son and daughter and learning new things from YouTube tutorials.
David SpencerFounding first KIPP high school in Indianapolis, IN
Next year, David will be the founding principal of KIPP Indianapolis’ first high school. David was the founding Director of Blended Learning at Moving Everest Charter School in Chicago, IL and currently serves as their Assistant Principal. Prior to moving to Chicago, David taught at YES Prep Brays Oaks and Fondren Middle School in Houston, Texas as a Teach For America corps member. While working on Teach For America’s Institute staff, he served as a Corps Member Advisor, Curriculum Specialist and School Director. After moving to Chicago, David served as the Senior Director of Learning for By The Hand Club For Kids and helped the organization create a blended learning environment for all of their students in first through eighth grade. David has a B.S. in Political Science and Journalism from Texas Christian University, an M.A. in Youth and Young Adult Ministry from Andrews University and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Columbia University. Outside of school, David enjoys watching movies and discovering new restaurants with his wife and newborn son.
Cary TaboraFounding first KIPP middle school in Miami, FL
Cary is excited to return home to South Florida as the founding school leader of KIPP Miami’s first middle school. Prior to joining the KIPP team and family, Cary served as Assistant Director of the Relay Graduate School of Education’s Teacher Residency in New York City, where he spent four years as a full-time faculty member.
As an Assistant Professor of Practice, Cary led his graduate students through coursework focusing on core pedagogy and best classroom practices related to the teaching cycle, classroom culture, cultural responsive curricula and instruction, and student growth and achievement.
Before Relay, Cary worked for five years at I.S. 117 Joseph H. Wade in the South Bronx where he taught 6th–8th grade math and also served as Mathematics Instructional Specialist and chair of the school leadership team.
Cary holds a BA in Political Science and a BS in Economics from the University of Florida, as well as an MST in Secondary Mathematics from Pace University and an M.Ed. in Public School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. He completed the KSLP Miles Family Fellowship in the 2016–2017 school year.
In his free time, Cary enjoys sunshine, taking his dog to the park, and reflective practice including running and yoga.
Molly TrenkampFounding a KIPP elementary school in Nashville, TN
Originally from Central Illinois, Molly moved to Lexington, Kentucky to pursue her undergraduate degree in Early Education from the University of Kentucky. During her senior year, she spent time student teaching in both 1st and 4th grade classrooms. After leaving Kentucky, Molly moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2011 to teach 7th grade math as a Teach for America corps member. At her placement school, she led the formation of weekly math content teams and served as head basketball coach. After graduating from Lipscomb University with a Master’s degree in Instructional Practice, Molly accepted a position with KIPP Academy Nashville teaching 7th grade math. Molly has served for the past three years as KAN’s Assistant Principal, where she coaches math and nonfiction teachers and writes curriculum for KIPP Nashville’s math, science, and social studies teams. Molly attended Relay’s National Principal Academy Fellowship and graduated with distinction.
As she continues her work with KIPP Nashville, Molly is eager to prove the possible for students and families in South Nashville.
Michelle VerrochiFounding first KIPP STEM high school in East San Jose, CA
As a founding school leader, Michelle Verrochi is determined to provide students in East San Jose, California with a rigorous education to succeed in college and the competitive Silicon Valley job market. She is excited to open the first KIPP STEM high school and equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to become change agents in their community.
Michelle has been part of KIPP Bay Area Schools and KIPP San Jose Collegiate for the last four years. As the Vice Principal of Instruction, Michelle leads the implementation of ACT Interim Assessments, data-driven instruction, and content team vision and execution. As a result of this work, her team achieved some of the top scores in the KIPP network.
Her passion to open a STEM school in an underserved community began while working on Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota from 2009-2013. Michelle established the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Science Program and was a Teach For America National Finalist for the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her students and the community have had a lasting impact on her life and shaped who she is today.
Michelle received her B.S.in Neuroscience with a pre-medicine concentration from St. Lawrence University. Outside of school, Michelle enjoys traveling, yoga, running, and exploring the California coast with her dog, Pepper.
Allie WelchFounding a KIPP elementary school in San Francisco, CA
Allie is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a 2017 Fisher Fellow, working to open an elementary school in San Francisco. This past school year, Allie had a role on Teach For America’s San Francisco team as a community coach for first and second-year corps members who were teaching in traditional public and charter schools throughout the city. Prior to joining Teach For America staff, Allie taught and led in Richmond, California. She started her career in education as a Teach For America Bay Area corps member, teaching at a traditional public elementary school in Richmond. After teaching 2nd grade for two years at her placement school, she started teaching at Richmond College Prep, a public K-6 charter school on the same city block. During her fourth year of teaching, Allie also participated in New Leaders’ Emerging Leaders program, leading the third-grade team at the school. She then matriculated into New Leaders’ Aspiring Principals Program the year after. She had the incredible opportunity to stay at Richmond College Prep for her residency year and then transitioned into a Principal role at the school for the 2015-16 school year. Allie attended Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a secondary major in Economics. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming and exploring new places throughout the Bay Area.
Fisher Fellowship Applicant FAQs
Attendance is a mandatory and crucial part of the Fisher Fellowship, and all Fisher Fellows are required to attend the full session.
During Institute, Fisher Fellows live and work together in dormitory-style housing. Housing and meals are paid for by the KIPP Foundation.
Because of the demanding schedule of Institute and the need to collaborate with other participants and faculty, all Fisher Fellows are required to live in the housing provided for the duration of the Institute.
The ability to open a school will be made based on a variety of factors, which include the region’s ability to find a facility, secure a charter, and acquire necessary funding to open your school.
Given this, there is no guarantee for Fisher Fellows that they will open schools once they have completed their Fellowship training year.
The KIPP Foundation provides a variety of support to school leaders once they open their school. School leaders can reach out to KIPP Foundation staff for support in operations (legal, financial, facility, accounting, public relations, and marketing); instructional leadership; specific professional development retreats for teachers and office staff; or direct professional development support.
In addition, our regional structure provides schools with oversight from regional Executive Directors. Each region also shares a school support center, which provides joint administrative, operational, and academic resources across the region. Most importantly, the region shares a strategic plan, or roadmap, for consistent execution in identifying and cultivating school leaders, maintaining high levels of quality and performance, promoting the sustainability of individual schools, and assessing future growth possibilities.