About The Accelerator
The Accelerator supports and equips KIPP alumni leaders with the skills, tools, networks, and peer connections necessary for reaching high-level positions of leadership, influence, and decision-making. The fellowship is a selective, 9-month, a cohort-based experience which is highly individualized to each fellow’s aspirations.
Due to COVID, we have extended the 2019-2020 cohort to be 18-months. Applications for the next cohort will open in fall 2021. In a typical year, fellows are selected in November, work 1:1 with an executive coach from MLT starting in December, and meet as a cohort two times during the year: Chicago, IL in February and at the Aspen, CO in June. To date, 80 alumni have participated in the Accelerator, furthering their careers in entrepreneurship, non-profit management, the arts, finance, policy, law, medicine, health and fitness, construction, law enforcement, academia, and more. If you have questions or want to introduce yourself, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the 2019-2020 Fellows
Dahiana AcostaIntegrated Project Manager, Grey Group NYC, a WPP Company
KIPP NYC Alumna
Dahiana Acosta is determined to reshape pharmaceutical advertising so that it encompasses people from diverse backgrounds in terms of both workforce and marketing materials. After graduating from KIPP Academy in 2008, she attended The Ethel Walker School for Girls, in Simsbury, CT. Following the transformative experience at an all-girls boarding school, Dahiana pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and Spanish at Colgate University. Equipped to take on the world, Dahiana entered the workforce as a recruiter at a small talent agency. Although she was not particularly passionate about recruiting, she quickly learned that she loved working with people. By leveraging her connections and networking, Dahiana was able to enter the field of pharmaceutical advertising as a Project Coordinator for an agency. Impacted by the lack of diversity in pharmaceutical advertising, Dahiana has made it her mission to ensure that marketing and advertising materials reflect the people of color that are affected by and in need of these life changing medicines. Upon obtaining a postgraduate degree, she will look to transition into a client role, which will enable her to set requirements that advertising agencies can follow when they generate materials. Outside of her work in advertising, Dahiana enjoys giving back to KIPP Academy by tutoring 6th – 8th graders and providing support to her mentees as a KIPP Career Coach.
Dru Baker (She/Her)
Dru Baker (She/Her)Program Coordinator, Wolf Humanities Center and Price Lab for Digital Humanities
KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth Alumna
Since her time at KIPP TRUTH Academy in Dallas, Dru Baker’s drive has led her to establish and lead myriad programs that empower Womxn and youth. She went on to excel as an ABC, A Better Chance, Swarthmore boarding-student, and as a Bonner Community-Service Scholar at Oberlin College and Conservatory. While she graduated from Oberlin with a Bachelor’s in Geological Sciences, her transformation emerged after working with communities of color in Milwaukee and Africatown on environmental racism and climate change. Recently, she’s worked with the University of Pennsylvania to organize the Students for Zero-Waste conference, coordinate the Digital Resources and Methods (DREAM) conference, and plan a political pop-up art exhibit, Hostile Terrain 94, at the Penn Museum. She is now eager to work with people on a deeper level. After receiving her University of Pennsylvania Certification in Applied Positive Psychology, Dru will utilize her expertise to coach non-profit leaders, environmentally and culturally sustainable organizations, and Womxn to ensure their right to fearless authenticity. When she’s not coaching others through transformations, she likes to listen to music, dance, frequent dog parks, and discover magnificent plant-based food!
Aizhaneya CarterActor and Producer
KIPP Philadelphia Alumna
Aizhaneya Carter was born and raised in North Philadelphia, PA. Following her time at KIPP Philadelphia Charter School, Aizhaneya made her way to Phillips Exeter Academy. Upon graduating from PEA, Aizhaneya attended the University of Pennsylvania where she double majored in International Relations with a concentration in Human Rights, Theatre Arts, and received a French certificate. Aizhaneya began her career in general management consulting, but quickly realized that her passion and purpose was tied to storytelling. Aizhaneya decided to leave consulting to attend the Williamstown Theatre Festival as an Acting Apprentice. Following her apprenticeship, she moved to NYC to build her career as an actor and producer. While in New York, she produced several short films and served as an associate producer on her first independent feature-length film, What She Said. Aizhaneya is currently the Producer for a short film gales, with the plan to develop it into a television series. She is also expanding her understanding of all her possibilities as a 2019-2020 Acting Apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Aizhaneya’s life goal is to ensure the voices of those erased, subjugated, and disenfranchised are elevated through sharing and showcasing their stories.
Aldo CharlesCompetitive Intelligence & Knowledge Management Coordinator, Norton Rose Fulbright
KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston Alumnus
Aldo is a born and raised Houstonian, and an alum of KIPP 3D Academy and KIPP Houston High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English Literature from the University of Houston where his coursework focused on using data analytics to understand the impacts of monetary and fiscal policy on the international economy and developing the skillset necessary to eventually help develop and shape it. He is currently the Competitive Intelligence Coordinator for Norton Rose Fulbright, a premiere international law firm, where he helps shape the firm’s strategic growth plan by using econometric and statistical modeling. Aldo is also politically active and has held leadership roles in campaigns for local, state, and federal seats since 2014. Most notably, he spent a summer as an intern for Congressman Joaquin Castro on Capitol Hill and served as Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia’s Deputy Field Director during the 2018 midterm elections.
Ashley CopelandExecutive Director, Stacks and the City
KIPP ENC College Prep Public Schools Alumna
Ashley Copeland is the Executive Director of Stacks and the City, a media company dedicated to helping young women achieve financial independence. She leveraged working on Capitol Hill, a few Fortune 500 companies and the hospitality industry to save over $60,000 to invest in real estate and build wealth all by herself. As a result, she generated a six-figure net worth before 30 without ever earning a six-figure salary. She teaches young women the basics of real estate and financial literacy all while enjoying life. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys knitting, reading, and traveling, having visited over 25 countries.
Simone EdwardsSocial Media Influencer, Actor, Writer, & Body Positive Activist
KIPP SoCal Public Schools – Los Angeles Alumna
Simone Michelle is an actor, singer, social media influencer and motivational speaker and a founding class member of KIPP Academy of Opportunity in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about body positivity & social justice, and she plans to change the face of the entertainment industry to reflect diversity and inclusivity. She attended the acclaimed LA County High School for the Arts, studying acting and vocal music. Simone moved on to study acting at Howard University for two years. Though she didn’t stay there, she returned home to Los Angeles, where she attended El Camino College, studying sociology, vocal music, and acting. Her stage credits include Motormouth Maybelle in “Hairspray,’ and “Teacher” in Playwrighting 101: A Rooftop Lesson. Meanwhile, she continued pursuit toward her dream of being a performer and content creator. Simone has always been passionate about creating more positive representation for black women & plus size women in entertainment media. In summer of 2016, she created the hashtag #WeWearWhatWeWant, a supportive movement to showcase plus size women making bold fashion choices in the name of confidence. She has worked with brands such as JC Penney, Fashion Nova, Dia & Co, and Torrid, and she has been featured in publications like People, Essence, Self, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery29. In July of 2018, she spoke on the self-love in media panel at BeautyCon LA. Later in the same year, she became a founding member of the sketch team Fatch Comedy, a group of plus size women working to debunk stereotypes and giving a new definition of to the word “fat.” Simone is heavily involved in the community at the comedy school and theatre Upright Citizen’s Brigade, establishing herself in the diversity community and the entertainment industry. She’s currently performing on the improv Mess Hall team Parliament, and co-hosting the Diversity Jam. Simone’s boldness, wittiness, intelligence, and raw talent are unstoppable, and she is taking the world by storm.
Avonda FoganProgram Assistant, JPMorgan Chase & Co
KIPP DC Alumna
Avonda Fogan was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended KIPP DC: Key Academy. After KIPP, she went to Maret School as an A Better Chance scholar. Upon graduation from Maret, she received the George Washington University (GW) Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship, a full four-year scholarship. Avonda majored in International Affairs and began learning Mandarin given China’s rising influence in the world. Her sophomore year, she spent two semesters studying abroad at Minzu University in Beijing, China and picked up Chinese Literature and Language as a second major upon returning to GW. After graduation, she worked at the US-China Strong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to strengthen US-China relations by investing in a new generation of leaders who have the knowledge and skills to engage with China. During her three and a half year tenure, she assumed the roles of Research Assistant, Special Assistant to the CEO, and finally Director of Administration. As the Director of Administration, she managed the organization’s programming & strategic initiatives, finances & fundraising, human resources, and served as the Secretary to the Board of Directors. Avonda currently serves as a Project Assistant on the Sustainable Finance team at JPMorgan Chase & Co, where she supports projects related to the firm’s environmental, social & governance policies, impact finance initiatives, and sustainability efforts. Outside of work, Avonda mentors high school girls of color from the United Minority Girls Mentorship group in Arlington County and is training to become a yoga teacher.
Shyann Gales-PolandLaw Student, Widener Delaware Law School
KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools Alumna
Shyann Gales-Poland is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is an alumna of the first graduating class of KIPP Philadelphia Charter School. After KIPP, Shyann attended Freire Charter School for high school. Upon graduation, she received a full-tuition scholarship to attend Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology. For two years, she served over 3400 hours of community service through AmeriCorps, teaching and tutoring middle school students in Wilmington Delaware. Now, Shyann is a second year law student at Widener Delaware Law School in which she plans to study intellectual property and transactional law. This past summer, she had the pleasure of serving as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde at the Municipal Court of Philadelphia. Outside of her studies, Shyann is a proud member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
Francina GenaoLaw Student, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumna
Francina Genao is a bi-lingual Bronx native and daughter to Dominican immigrants. She attended KIPP Academy Middle School and KIPP NYC College Prep High School. Following KIPP, she attended the City College of New York, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a concentration in Culture and Communication. While in college, Francina knew that she wanted to pursue a career in the legal field and joined the Skadden Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies at her school. In this program, she completed four semester-long model law school seminars and engaged in intensive research and writing assignments on various areas of the law. Immediately after completing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled in the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Now in her second year of law school, Francina is the President of the Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA). In this role, she works closely with the rest of the LALSA executive board to develop programming that ultimately helps minority law students achieve their academic and professional ambitions. During her time at Cardozo, she received the opportunity to participate in the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program as a judicial intern, where she explored her interest in the New York State judiciary and juvenile justice. She has also explored her passion for education law as a clinical intern for Bronx Legal Services- Special Education Unit. Francina is dedicated to developing the knowledge, skills, and language necessary to generate meaningful fundamental changes in our judicial and education systems to ensure that all children are treated justly and protected. In her spare time, Francina enjoys travelling and exploring New York City’s multi-national and cultural community through dining experiences.
Richard HarrisGraduate Advisor, Hampton University
KIPP Delta Public Schools Alumnus
Richard Harris was born in Helena Arkansas. He began his journey at KIPP Delta College Preparatory School in 2002 as a fifth grader. He is an alumnus of KIPP Delta Collegiate where he was the salutatorian. After leaving KIPP, Richard obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Vanderbilt University. He then became a middle school math teacher for KIPP Delta College Preparatory School. Currently, Richard is attending Hampton University where he will receive his MBA in May 2020. He has accepted an offer to work at PwC in the fall of 2020.
Kelby HicksJ.D./MELP Candidate, EricaforUS Senate Campaign Aide
KIPP ENC Public Schools Alumnus
Kelby is an alumnus of KIPP: Pride High School and has committed himself to a career in public service. Since graduating from KIPP, Kelby has gone on to obtain a B.A. from North Carolina A&T State University where he studied Political Science and Economics, and pledged his life in pursuit of achievement in every endeavor as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He has gained significant insight into the business and government affairs sectors which are core to his professional ambitions. He has worked as a corporate consultant for Volvo Group Trucks North America and as a Legislative Assistant in the North Carolina General Assembly. Kelby is currently pursuing a J.D./MELP at Elon University School of Law and hopes to merge his intersecting interests in business, government, and environmental & social justice upon graduation in 2020. Ultimately, Kelby aspires to roles where he can leverage his network and experiences to create opportunities through equity, innovation, and sustainability initiatives.
Angelica Lopez2nd-year Medical Student, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumna
A proud New Yorker born and raised in the South Bronx to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, Angelica prides herself in being a first-generation Latina. Growing up with limited resources but big dreams of becoming a doctor, she learned to be goal-oriented and hard-working from a young age. As a KIPPster from KIPP Academy Middle School in The Bronx, Angelica was selected for the Student Sponsor Partners Program, which allowed her to earn a scholarship to attend St. Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan, NY. She later graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Cultures and obtained her second bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY) in Biological Sciences. Post-graduation, Angelica spent several years working in clinical research projects on lung disease, bone fractures, and healthcare disparities at the Columbia University Medical Center. As a medical student at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), Angelica has held several leadership roles in student organizations. She served as President of Primary Care Progress at NJMS and Vice-President of The Latino Medical Student Association at NJMS. She is passionate about mentoring the youth and serving underserved communities. In her spare time, she volunteers at her school’s free clinic and joins a team of medical students and physicians to visit homeless shelters in the Newark area to provide free medical care for shelter residents. Additionally, she partakes in a student-led initiative to teach health education to 9th graders in local Newark high schools. Angelica’s interest in reducing health disparities in medical care has shaped her path towards a medical career with a focus on community health and health advocacy. Outside of medicine, Angelica’s interests include traveling, crochet, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Ethan LyonsAccount Planner, Byte New York
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumnus
Ethan, originally from Harlem, New York, followed in his brothers’ footsteps and attended KIPP Academy in the Bronx from 2004 to 2008. After KIPP, Ethan attended CFS, The School at Church Farm in Exton, PA where he was a district champion wrestler. Ethan would later accept an offer to be part of the HEOP program at Ithaca College, where he would go on to receive his B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Roy H. Park School of Communications and a minor in Politics. Coming out of college, Ethan became the KIPP Foundation’s first Marketing Fellow in the program’s inaugural year. After working at the KIPP Foundation, Ethan accepted an offer to join the Digital Ad Sales team at BBC Worldwide. After spending a year at the BBC and deciding to make a switch from ad sales, Ethan went on to work at Team Epiphany, specializing in experiential marketing. There, he worked on the award winning #Heineken100 program where he managed and produced two different clothing capsule collections. Today, Ethan is an Account Planner at Byte New York, a small London tech startup, managing social strategy for Google and Waze. Having had an interest in advertising and marketing since his junior year of high school, Ethan hopes to one day open his own creative agency here in New York City.
Maria MontesDirector of Boards and Commissions, City of Houston
KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston Alumna
Maria Montes is a native Houstonian, appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner as the Director of Boards and Commissions. The department works with Houstonians appointed by Mayor Turner who volunteer their time for the benefit of the community by constructing policy, fundraising, aiding fellow citizens and planning for Houston’s future. The director of Boards and Commissions oversees the process of receiving nominations for individuals to serve on boards and enhances the panels’ collaboration with city departments. Before joining the mayor’s team, Montes worked with Transwestern as an administrative associate and property manager. Montes has also worked in administration with the Ayrshire Corporation and former State Senator Rodney Ellis, now a Harris County commissioner. From 2008 to 2011, Montes served as director of operations with Cherish Our Children International, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children. Prior to non-profit work, Montes was the director of client relations at Strong Strategies LLC, where she managed campaign reports to the Texas Ethics Commission. In 2014, Montes received the Rising Star recognition from the Houston League of Women Voters for demonstrated leadership and positive contributions to the Houston community. Montes graduated from Hollins University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston-Downtown. Montes is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC District 8), Harris County Young Democrats, Eastex Jensen Super Neighborhood and was recently appointed as precinct chair #107 in senate district 6.
Yasha Morgan8th grade Science Teacher, KIPP Academy Middle School
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumnus
Born and raised in the Bronx, Yasha Morgan is passionate about giving back to his community through his career in education and his real estate enterprise. Yasha graduated from KIPP Academy Middle School in 2006, went on to graduate from Beacon High School in 2010. After high school, he attended SUNY Purchase and received his Bachelors’s in Liberal Studies. He was part of Teach for America’s 2016 Cohort, where he worked at Baychester Middle School. Yasha received his Masters in The Art of Teaching from Relay Graduate School in 2018. As an 8th-grade science teacher and as a KIPP alum, Yasha provides his KIPP students with academic support and encourages them to embody a “Work Hard. Be Nice” attitude. When Yasha isn’t educating his students on The Laws of Thermodynamics, he is expanding his real estate network and experience. As an owner of a multi-family home, Yasha is committed to investing and transforming properties in the Bronx to ensure fair and accessible housing for his community. In the near future, Yasha’s aspires to become the Bronx Borough President to continue his commitment to his community. When he’s not contributing to his community, you can find Yasha reading a book or at the local community center teaching breakdancing.
Jamelfrey PachecoMarket Leader, Banking Officer (BB&T Bank)
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumna
Jamelfrey Pacheco is a first-generation Bronx native and KIPP NYC alumna born to Dominican parents. Through the KIPP and Oliver Program partnership in 2003, Jamelfrey was awarded an academic scholarship to attend the George School, a boarding school in Newtown, PA. Upon graduating from the George School in 2007, she took her passion for learning and her desire to make an impact on her community to the NYU School of Social Work. In her first year at NYU, Jamelfrey began to work at JP Morgan Chase, where she developed an unexpected love and appreciation for the financial industry. Twelve years later, Jamelfrey is now a Market Leader and Banking Officer at BB&T bank, where she has led a her team to become one of the top teams within the Retail Banking segment. Jamelfrey was appointed Co-Chair of her region’s Multicultural Banking Committee and has led several initiatives to bring financial literacy education to under-served minority and immigrant communities in Greater Philadelphia and it’s surrounding areas. She currently resides in Montgomery County, PA with her 6-year-old daughter, Mya, who loves nature,math, her magna-tiles and reading.
Andrea RichardsonLogistics Planning Manager/Product Owner – Chevron
KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston Alumna
Andrea Richardson was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University in 2011 and her MBA from Arizona State University in 2015. Over the past seven years Andrea has worked with Chevron within the Supply Chain Function. She is currently the Logistics Planning Manager of the fastest growing business unit at the company. She is responsible for bridging the gap between the business operational needs and supply chain. She leads a team that focuses on building digital tools that predict the needs of materials and services in the field. Andrea is a firm believer in the power of mentoring and giving back. She currently sits of the board of directors for Suits for Sons, a non-profit organization that focuses on helping young men prepare for professional careers, entrepreneurship and community activism by providing resources, training and access to mentors.
Brittnee RockTalent Acquisition Manager, Aurify Brands
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumna
Brittnee is a KIPP NYC alumna and proud Bronx native. After graduating KIPP Academy, Brittnee went on to receive her high school diploma from Suffield Academy, her B.A from Siena College, and her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia University. Brittnee had an eight year career in education non-profit working in Talent Acquisition and as a Collegiate Advisor helping students of color persist through college. Throughout her tenure in the non-profit sector, Brittnee became an integral part of program innovation and design which produced KIPP NYC’s inaugural Alumni Summit and a College Mentoring Program at DREAM Charter School. Brittnee recently transitioned into the hospitality industry where she currently serves as Talent Acquisition Manager for Aurify Brands, a hospitality company that owns and operates fast casual restaurants. Identifying a key area of opportunity for the organization, Brittnee is leading the charge in Aurify’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives where she is creating strategies, training and best practices to create a workplace culture focused on authenticity and inclusivity.
Generra RodriguezClerk, Newark Board of Education
KIPP New Jersey Alumna
Generra Rodriguez is no stranger to hard work and determination. Starting her KIPP journey as a 5th grader at TEAM Academy in Newark, NJ, she was thrown into a sea of working hard without excuses. Generra excelled, maintaining above a 3.6 all throughout middle and high school while volunteering her time in her grandfather’s law office and at various schools. While in high school, her life changed forever. Generra became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful 1 pound baby boy. Although he was small and had a slim chance of survival, he pushed through, was strong and showed that his size didn’t matter. He was here and he was going to make it through. Her son’s strength was encouraging and pushed Generra harder than ever before. After high school graduation, Generra took some time to study a bit at Rutgers University while beginning her internship for Newark Board of Education. During the course of her internship and employment, Generra has acted as a Community Outreach specialist, Operations Coordinator for data management, Enrollment Specialist and Social Media Manager. Utilizing her skills learned over the years, Generra has enrolled thousands of students in free full day pre-k and helped many more parents find where their students educational start will be. Working in education has given Generra the encouragement to return to school. Upon completion of her degree program, she hopes to leverage her skills and educational background into a Network Administration and Security role, going back to school districts to show them the best way to ensure student data and demographics are protected from potential threats all while being an amazing mother to her son, a current KIPP student himself.
Nzali ScalesFirst Year Graduate Student, Northwestern University
KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools Alumna
Nzali Scales is an Atlanta native and a proud KIPP South Fulton Academy alumna. In May 2019, she graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. During her time at Spelman, Nzali was involved in the Spelman Social Justice Program, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and studied abroad in Peru, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and South Africa. Nzali is currently a graduate student in Northwestern University’s Sociology doctoral program. At Northwestern, Nzali is continuing the research that she began as an undergraduate student about food justice and its relationship to regional food cultures. Outside of her academic pursuits, Nzali is passionate about cooking and has founded a blog, Zaza’s Kitchen. On Zaza’s Kitchen, she posts recipes and cooking tips to encourage millennials to get in the kitchen and take the lead towards healthier eating. Nzali hopes to expand her reach with Zaza’s Kitchen very soon.
Mujaahida ShakurGraduate Research Assistant, Emory University
KIPP DC Alumna
Mujaahida is a second-year Master of Public Health candidate at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Her concentration is in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education and she is interested in using research and evidence-based practice to inform health policy, health promotion initiatives, and public health interventions. Mujaahida’s research background is in the social determinants of health, and she is particularly interested in mental and behavioral health research. She is passionate about working with youth and adolescents in minority communities to promote understanding of mental health, reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and promote positive health behaviors.
Marcus WilliamsAssistant Director of International Outreach Support, College Board
KIPP NYC Public Schools Alumnus
Marcus Williams currently works as the Assistant Director of International Outreach Support at College Board. In this role, he supports colleagues in strategy implementation, manages various databases for international secondary and higher ed institutions, supports trainings, and building resources for his colleagues. He has been part of events such as their 2019 Chinese Bridge Delegation to connect U.S. district and school leaders to Chinese schools, and a summer workshop series in Abu Dhabi to support the instructors of Advanced Placement. Prior to this role, Marcus worked in New York City classrooms from 2013 to 2018. Across these five years of teaching, he developed teaching materials to support students in exploring Japanese language and culture. Over the summers, he also took students on month-long overseas exchanges through organizations such as World Learning’s The Experiment in International Living and CIEE’s High School Summer Abroad. Marcus graduated with a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Haverford College, where he wrote a thesis on the intersectionality of identity and race for Japanese R&B. Outside of work, Marcus is an avid student of world languages and dabbles in music. He also mentors a number of current KIPP Alumni to support their post-collegiate goals, and has participated in a panel for his Alma Mater’s Multicultural Alumni Action Group’s panel on networking. He is passionate about world language instruction in classrooms, and exploring methods to increase better awareness for students of color to be supported in cross-cultural opportunities in their secondary and collegiate careers.
Matthew ZentenoGeneral Manager, Blu Jam Café
KIPP Texas – Houston Alumnus
Matthew Zerntano is a Houston native who graduated from KIPP Houston. He attended The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT and earned a Bachelors of Science from The Conrand N. Hilton School at The University of Houston, Magna Cum Laude. He knew early on that his dream was to own and operate live music venue. He also learned along the way that the hospitality industry provides a direct connection to community. From leading staff, to creating genuine connections with guests, he is a firm believer that the human experience is alive and well. Matthew is currently the General Manager of a popular brunch restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles and is gaining experience developing the skillset to become a multi-unit operational director. He then plans to launch a concept of my own. His restaurant is also active in the community, and they host town meetings and open their doors for the homeless for Thanksgiving. Successful business have the social responsibility to give back to their community, and we’re all in this together. In his free time, he enjoys attending live sporting events, concerts, trying new restaurants, and unwinding with some quality me-time.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Access to a community of peers and other KIPP alumni leaders across the country
- 13 hours of virtual 1:1 coaching from executive coaches at MLT
- Introductions to leaders and influencers in your career field
- Participation in two 4 day in-person Summits throughout the year
- Access to entrepreneurs and like-minded change agents
- Engagement with the KIPP Foundation Board, KIPP donors and KIPP champions
- Professional development trainings and skill workshops
We look for leaders across all career sectors! The best time to apply for the Accelerator is when you already have a sense of your career, leadership, and professional interests. Most applicants will have 2-10 years of work experience. A Bachelor’s degree is not required. Over the last three years, applicants have come from over ten KIPP regions, twenty career fields, and ranged in age from 22 to 34. Ideal candidates:
- Alumna/us of a KIPP middle or high school
- Extraordinary track record of leadership and professional achievement
- Ambitious goals and a vision to have an outsized impact on others
- Demonstrated persistence in pursuit of career aspirations
- Strong communication abilities
- Two years of work experience preferred
- Commitment to attend all coaching and networking sessions, travel for in-person summits, and participate fully in the other components of the program
- Vision for Outsized Impact: ambitious professional goals; a vision for how you will impact others through your leadership; a desire to be world class in your chosen career field
- Clear plan: demonstrated persistence in pursuit of your professional goals and a plan for how you will accomplish your goals in the future
- Leadership: a track record of leadership and professional achievement; evidence of potential for further leadership growth
- Character: strong personal character; understanding of personal strengths and areas for improvement
- Communication: ability to communicate effectively; clear and compelling application materials
- Relevance: the fellowship offerings are relevant to you at this point in your career
The best time to apply for the Accelerator is when you already have a sense of your career, leadership, and professional interests. This program will help you to the next step. Two years of work experience is preferred.
Applications for the next cohort will open in Fall 2021. Due to COVID, we are extending the current cohort, and will not bring on a new cohort in 2020. We hope that you will consider applying in the next round. Because the Accelerator provides coaching at the executive level, you can participate at any age. If you have questions or want to talk to our team about the Accelerator, please reach out to email@example.com.
How do I nominate a candidate? You can nominate a candidate by filling out the form here anytime. When applications open next year, nominated candidates will receive an email to let them know they have been nominated.
We have had a small number of fellows who currently work for KIPP. If you are currently an assistant principal or teaching for KIPP and interested in school leadership, we suggest that you instead look into other KIPP programs like the KIPP School Leadership Program . If you are working for a regional team or the KIPP Foundation, you may still apply and we encourage you to be specific about how this program can help your career and leadership aspirations over the next year.
We recommend that you wait to apply if you are still in college. The program will be more beneficial to you when you are you a few years into your career. Candidates in graduate school are welcome to apply.
Yes. A Bachelors Degree is not required for the program. We look for leaders across all sectors.
Many applicants are not selected the first time they apply – so it is VERY common to reapply. If you have applied before and are still interested in the program, we highly encourage you to consider reapplying. The Accelerator selection team looks holistically at where you are in your career, and a lot can change in a year! By reapplying, you also demonstrate your commitment to your leadership goals. If you are reapplying to the Accelerator and would like to talk to someone from our team, please fill out the Interest Form and then reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes. We require two references for this fellowship. Recommenders will be asked to fill out a short paragraph through this online form.
There is no cost to fellows. Tuition, travel, lodging, food, and all materials will be paid for by the KIPP Foundation.
You are expected to spend up to 10 hours a month dedicated to the individual leadership components of the fellowship. You will also be expected to attend both in-person Summits: generally a 4-day summit in Chicago, IL in February and a 4-day summit in Aspen, CO in June.
A Glimpse into the Accelerator Program
Selected fellows work 1:1 with an executive coach from MLT starting in December, and meet as a cohort two times during the year: Chicago, IL in February and at the Aspen, CO in June.