Transformative Education Begins with You
The Fisher Fellowship is a highly-selective, one-year, cohort-based leadership program that is designed to provide in-depth support and insight into the processes and best practices involved in school leadership.
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 Launch Plan that will challenge, empower, and equip you to found, lead, and grow a new high-performing KIPP school.
The fellowship includes up to four residencies at KIPP schools outside the fellow’s region. Each three-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 up to five week-long school and operational residencies in his/her own region.
School Launch Plan
Creation of a comprehensive plan that guides the founding and growth of the fellow’s new school.
Meet Our Current Fisher Fellows
Amy BrysonFounding KIPP Metro Atlanta middle school
Amy Bryson will serve as the founding principal of KIPP Metro Atlanta’s newest middle school: KIPP Soul Academy. Amy began her career in education as a Teach For America Metro Atlanta Corps Member teaching and serving as the science department chair at McNair Middle School. Over the summers, Amy worked for TFA’s summer institute as a school director in schools across Atlanta, developing new teachers and teacher coaches. Amy joined the KIPP family in 2015 as a Miles Family Fellow and founding teacher and assistant principal at KIPP New Jersey’s BOLD Academy. This past year Amy returned to Atlanta as an assistant principal at KIPP Vision Academy and regional science and social studies academic support leader.
Amy received a B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Boston University and completed her Master degree in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Amy believes in the inextricable link between health, education, and equity and is eager to work with her scholars, families, and community to create a school that supports our scholars in reaching their boldest dreams. Outside of school, Amy enjoys exercising, traveling, hosting book club, cheering for the Tar Heels, and spending time with her family.
Olvin CariasFounding KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston high school
Olvin Carias currently serves as an assistant principal at KIPP Generations Collegiate in Houston, Texas. As a founding teacher, he has been working relentlessly to provide optimal opportunities in STEM fields for students in the Northside, North Forest, and East End communities. Olvin graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) with a degree in Mathematics and Statistics and then went on to pursue a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City. Olvin’s teaching experiences started at the age of 15, where he was hired to teach sixth grade Math at Breakthrough Miami and continued for 8 years in Breakthrough Cambridge. Before arriving to Houston, Olvin taught AP Calculus and Chemistry at his alma mater in Miami and worked for the Walt Disney Company. His positivity and goofy personality makes Olvin a fun person to be around as you can hear him singing Disney songs throughout the day. Olvin lives by the philosophy that education is not just about teaching but about motivating, encouraging, inspiring, and most importantly positively influencing students to go beyond what is possible. In 2014, Olvin received the Kinder in Excellent Teaching Award and named a finalist for the National Fishman Award for his consistent support for student learning. Olvin has served as a lead teacher, curriculum writer, grade level chair, instructional coach, department chair, assistant principal, and looks forward to opening his own school to serve students in Houston with rigorous education opportunities and prepare them for successful careers and lives. He is excited to continue serving the East End community by founding their new high school opening in Fall of 2020.
Princess Fils-AimeFounding KIPP New Jersey elementary school
Princess Fils-Aime will be a founding principal for a KIPP New Jersey – Newark elementary school next year. She currently serves as the Assistant Principal of 3rd and 4th grade ELA at KIPP SPARK Academy. Growing up, Princess always knew she would work with children. However, it was her experience as an America Reads Tutor that helped her realize the exigent need for quality early childhood education in underserved communities and ultimately inspired her to become a teacher. Princess joined the 2006 Teach for America corps and has taught Kindergarten in her hometown of Newark for 11 years. In the corps, she served as Curriculum Specialist, Literacy Specialist and Corps Member Advisor at the Philadelphia Institute. In 2009, Princess became a founding member of BRICK (Building Responsible Creative Kids) Avon Academy formerly known as Avon Avenue School. She is a graduate of both New York University (BA in Psychology) and the Summer Principals Academy at Columbia University. In her spare time, Princess enjoys spending time with her family, singing, dancing, traveling and watching movies.
Brandon FriedFounding KIPP Texas Public Schools – Austin elementary school
Brandon Fried will be the principal of KIPP Texas-Austin’s newest elementary school in August 2020. Brandon is currently in his fifth year as an Assistant Principal at KIPP Austin Connections Elementary where he leads the school’s math program, supports English and Spanish teachers across grades K-4, and monitors school culture systems. He also leads the region’s math priority implementation on his campus, most recently earning an academic distinction in mathematics from the state of Texas. In addition to his campus responsibilities, Brandon facilitates professional development for new instructional leaders in the region.
Before becoming an AP, Brandon taught as a founding first and second grade teacher at KACE and was a grade level chair and district course leader. He participated in KIPP’s Leadership Team program and was awarded a Miles Family Fellowship in 2018. Prior to joining KIPP, Brandon served as a 2010 Teach For America corps member and while in the corps, worked at TFA’s Houston Institute for three summers as an instructional and operational coach and leader.
Brandon holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and public relations from The University of Texas at Austin and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from The University of Houston. Outside of school, Brandon enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with his husband, Jeff and their beagle, Tucker.
Neiko S. Hendricks-Gilbert
Neiko S. Hendricks-GilbertFounding KIPP Indy-Partner District elementary school
Metaphorically speaking, just like the force of the bullet that extinguished Neiko’s nephew’s life, she was hit that day with a word biblical in content: “Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint…” (Proverbs 29:18). In that moment Neiko made a promise to God that she would never allow another child to cross her path without providing the ingredients for a prosperous life.
For the past 15 years, Neiko has had the privilege of walking alongside some of Indiana’s finest educators. In 2010, Neiko graduated from the University of Phoenix where she completed both the Business Management and Transition-to-Teach programs. In 2014, Neiko graduated from the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) at Butler University. Neiko has served in several facets of education, as a Behavior Adjustment Facilitator, Parent Liaison, 5th Grade Teacher, Data Analysis Specialist, Corporate Testing Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Instructional Coach, and currently a 6th Grade Mathematics teacher.
In 2021, Neiko will become the founder and principal of Ephraim Emergent Elementary in Indianapolis, Indiana serving scholars ages three through fifth grade.
Neiko is the proud mother of two amazing children, Kennedi (20) and Kaleb (15). In her spare time, Neiko enjoys acting and playing games.
John HippFounding KIPP Texas Public Schools – Austin’s twelfth school
Next year, John will be the founding Principal of KIPP Texas Public Schools – Austin’s twelfth school, the first of which to serve grades 6 – 12. John is currently an Assistant Principal at KIPP Austin Collegiate, where he has coached math, PE, and KIPP Through College teachers for the past four years. Prior to serving as an AP, he spent 7 years teaching math and college readiness electives, as well as serving as grade level chair at both KIPP Austin Collegiate and KIPP Denver Collegiate. During John’s time at KIPP, he has led school-wide efforts to grow and improve academic progress monitoring, data analysis, hiring, AP for All, and operations. John received his B.S. in Corporate Communication with a minor in Business from The University of Texas at Austin and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from The University of Houston. John was a member of KSLP’s Teacher Leader in 2012 and Leadership Team in 2015. Outside of school, John enjoys playing competitive tennis, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends.
Kayla JohnsonFounding KIPP Miami elementary school
Kayla R. Johnson will be the founder of the second KIPP Miami elementary school! She is currently the founding Assistant Principal of the first ever KIPP Miami school, Sunrise Academy. Kayla was born and raised in Miami, Florida, which is where she began her career in education. She taught middle school reading and served as the grade level chair. As a teacher leader, she facilitated sessions on how to become Culturally and Linguistically responsive in the classroom. After working in Miami, Kayla ventured to Chicago to work as an advisor and instructional coach to a cohort of first year educators. Interested in learning more about the charter school educational landscape, she transitioned to Philadelphia where she coached cohorts of educators through vision driven leadership, spanning grades K-12. She also designed and facilitated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness experiences for educators. Kayla received dual degrees in English and Criminology with a minor in Education from the University of Florida and her Master’s in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum from Drexel University with a special concentration in Data, Evaluation, and Assessment. Outside of school, she loves to read, listen to live music, write poetry, watch RomComs, and play with her nephews.
Crystal BatisteFounding KIPP Minnesota elementary school
Crystal will be the Principal of KIPP Minnesota’s Elementary School campus in the extraordinary city of Minneapolis and she is eager to embark on this journey for change! She is a proud product of Teach for America, which initiated her teaching life in 2012. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Southern University in 2011, her Master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction from University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2014, and continues to learn to gain her Leadership Endorsement from Sierra Nevada College.
As the mother of three children ages 21, 10, and 6, she recognizes the importance of a strong home-school connection. Parents are every child’s first teacher and she believes that by working together, we all can ensure children’s social, emotional, and academic needs are met.
For the past two years, she was the Founding Elementary School Principal at Democracy PREP at Agassi Campus in Las Vegas. Before joining DPAC, she served in a variety of teaching and educational leadership roles including classroom teacher for 5 years, literacy coach/staff developer, learning strategist for two years, and Manager for Teacher Leadership and Development with Teach for America.
Crystal is a passionate public servant for the community and spends most of her time with her family volunteering for local organizations. She volunteers with Three Square, Boys and Girls Club, Shade Tree and Black Girls Rock to promote the magic of giving back. She is learning the power of service through her illustrious sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Michael McGeeFounding KIPP New Orleans elementary school
Next year, Michael McGee is looking forward to planning and preparing to lead his own elementary school with KIPP New Orleans Schools! For the past two years, Michael has been the Assistant Principal of 2nd and 3rd Grade at KIPP Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial Primary School in New Orleans, named in honor of the city’s first Black mayor. Prior to joining the KMP team, Michael taught 6th grade humanities at KIPP TRUTH Academy while completing his Teach For America commitment in Dallas. He continued teaching 3rd grade science and social studies at KIPP Leadership Primary School in New Orleans before returning to Dallas for a year to coach and develop TFA corps members at local charter schools, including KTA, as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development. He is a proud alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development, concentrating in Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, and this year, he completed Relay’s National Principals Academy Fellowship Program. In his spare time, Michael enjoys soaking up the Louisiana sun with his fiancée at festivals, parades, and crawfish boils, as well as cooking and hosting friends.
Dominique MejiaFounding KIPP NYC middle school
Dominique is currently the Dean of Upper School and an instructional coach at KIPP Infinity Middle School in New York City. She taught seventh grade reading for five years and served as Grade Level Chair for two years before transitioning to her roles as Dean and Instructional Coach. She was the Assistant Director of the school chorus for three years, she co-founded and coached the baseball team for one year, and she ran the step team for three years. Prior to joining Infinity, Dominique spent two years teaching sixth grade writing at KIPP DC WILL Academy and served as Grade Level Chair for one year. She received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Maryland at College Park and her M.A.T. in Secondary General Education from the Relay Graduate School of Education. Two years ago, Dominique participated in the KIPP School Leadership Program (Leadership Team cohort). Dominique is very excited to be joining the 2019-20 Fisher Fellowship cohort in preparation for founding and leading the next KIPP NYC middle school—she will potentially be the first KIPP alumna in the country to found and/or lead a KIPP school. Outside of work, Dominique enjoys singing, traveling, and spending time with her closest family and friends, including her husband, Juan.
Dulce NegrerosFounding KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston secondary school
Dulce Negreros will be a founding principal at KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston in the 2020–2021 school year. Dulce is currently the 12th grade assistant principal at KIPP Northeast College Prep (KNCP) in Houston. Before joining the team at KNCP, she spent 3 years at KIPP Houston High School where she served as the dean of culture, science department chair, and assistant principal and 3 years at KIPP Austin Collegiate, where she taught biology and AP biology and also served on the leadership team as an assistant principal. Dulce’s passion for education started during her two years as a Teach For America corps member at Sharpstown High School in Houston Independent School District. Dulce is excited to move into her 7th year at KIPP and 9th year in education. She graduated with a degree in neurobiology from The University of Texas at Austin and a masters in administration and supervision from the University of Houston. Outside of school, Dulce enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her loved ones. She is excited to start her journey as a Fisher Fellow!
Luis NobrigaFounding KIPP Miami middle school
Luis Nobriga was born in Venezuela, grew up in South Florida, and has been working relentlessly to better the lives of underserved youth since graduating from the University of Florida… Go Gators!
Luis became a teacher through Teach For America and started his career in Houston, Texas. There he worked as a bilingual reading teacher and used his personal experience as an English language learner and his ability to build strong “high support-high accountability” relationships to ensure his students became exceptional readers. As a visible result of his work, his students’ academic growth and performance on state and national assessments, Mr. Nobriga received a 10K ASPIRE award from the district. While teaching full-time, Luis also obtained a Master’s degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas.
Luis officially became a KIPPster after moving to New York City to be the founding 6th grade reading teacher for KIPP Washington Heights Middle School. There he taught, served as grade team leader, dean, education specialist for the after-school program, eventually becoming an assistant principal. In this role, Luis coaches other teachers, leads content and data meetings, supports students and families, and is responsible for the implementation of restorative disciplinary practices. In his spare time, Luis loves dancing, working out, tumbling, and watching Broadway musicals.
Joel PortilloFounding KIPP Bay Area high school
After earning his bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Spanish Literatures from UC Berkeley, Joel Portillo joined KIPP in 2007 as the Founding Operations Manager at KIPP King Collegiate High School in San Lorenzo, CA. After two years, he transitioned to the roles of Assistant Director of College Counseling and Grade Level Chair. He left KIPP in 2011 to obtain his Master’s degrees in Education and in Business Administration from Stanford University. Upon graduating, Joel happily joined the KIPP family again as the Founding Operations Director at KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory in 2013, later transitioning into teaching Algebra 1 and AP Calculus while serving as Grade Level and Math Department Chair. Joel has served as Assistant Principal for the past 2 years. Outside of work, Joel enjoys hiking, running, doing CrossFit, skiing, snowboarding, watching sports, and spending lazy days watching shows on Netflix. He hopes to do as much of these as possible before opening the next KIPP high school for KIPP Bay Area Schools.
Ryan PresleyFounding KIPP Texas Public Schools - Houston elementary school
In the fall of 2020, Ryan will welcome the bright faces of over 200 Kindergarten and 1st grade students and families as School Leader of KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston’s newest 1 to 1 primary school. Ryan began his journey in Houston as a 2008 Teach For America corps member and worked for four years at Gallegos Elementary in Houston ISD. First as a 5th grade math teacher, grade-level chair and eventually Instructional Specialist, Ryan had to the opportunity to work with some of the hardest working students and families in Houston’s East End community. In 2012, Ryan transitioned to KIPP’s first primary school, KIPP SHINE Prep. For six years as an instructional coach and Assistant Principal, Ryan worked to build upon SHINE’s strong foundation and raise the bar for academic and character excellence. Ryan earned the Fisher Fellowship in April 2018 and spent the last year learning and growing as Assistant Principal at KIPP Climb Academy.
Ryan received his B.A. in Political Science and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Outside of school, Ryan enjoys running outdoors, reading, exploring, and spending time with his wife, Catherine, daughter, Ellie, and dog, Izzy.
Karolina VillagranaFounding KIPP Colorado elementary school
Karolina Villagrana is set to open the next bilingual elementary school for KIPP Colorado Schools. She joined KIPP in the summer of 2018 as a Principal Resident where she worked with both KIPP Northeast Elementary and KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary. Prior to her work with KIPP, she served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at a local Denver elementary school. Karolina has previously served as an Assistant Principal in San Jose, CA, at Rocketship Education – Alma Academy where she was the founding 2nd and 3rd grade math teacher of over 90% English Language Learners, and her students led with the highest math scores within the network. She began her career as a Teach for America Corp Member in Kansas City as an English Language Instructor and a Spanish teacher. Karolina graduated with honors from the University of Colorado and holds an M.A.Ed from the University of Missouri. She completed her second M.A.Ed in Educational Leadership from Columbia University as well as a fellowship with the National Institute for Latino School Leaders where she worked to expand the knowledge and parent advocacy with the Every Student Succeeds Act. She is proud to be a Denver girl and is excited to partner with community to open a school where students can have a life full of options!
Stuart WashawerFounding KIPP New Jersey high school
Stu is thrilled to join KIPP NJ after serving the students of Philadelphia as a principal for Mastery Charter Schools from 2014 to 2019. Stu first served as a Principal for four years at Harrity Upper School in West Philadelphia and subsequently for one year at Thomas High School in South Philadelphia. Harrity was recognized by the School District of Philadelphia for advancing two categories on the city’s School Progress Report between 2014–2018. During his time leading schools in Philadelphia, Stu was selected as a Neubauer Fellow in Educational Leadership.
Stu has been an educator since 2003. Prior to becoming a Principal, Stu served as a middle school teacher in the Bronx, and as a teacher and Dean of Students for Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn. In addition to being a principal, Stu is an avid rock climber, and got the chance to represent all of his students and colleagues on season 10 of NBC’s show, “American Ninja Warrior.” Stu grew up in Media, Pennsylvania and graduated from Friends’ Central School.
“Our students deserve school leaders who are in the business of transforming schools into genuine places of opportunity and 21st century education. I am motivated every day to be my best self on their behalf.”
Fisher Fellowship Applicant FAQs
Fisher Fellows work as employees of a specific KIPP region during their fellowship year.
Attendance is a mandatory and crucial part of the Fisher Fellowship, and all Fisher Fellows are required to attend the full session.
During Summer 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 Summer 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 Summer Institute.
The ability to open a school is 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 the fellowship.
The KIPP Foundation provides a variety of supports 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; professional development retreats for teachers and office staff; and professional development opportunities.
In addition, our regional structure provides schools with leadership from regional Executive Directors. Each region shares a school support center, which provides joint administrative, operational, and academic resources across the region. Most importantly, the region shares a strategic plan 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.