Leadership Team

Executive Leadership Team
Marcia Aaron Chief Executive Officer Email Bio
Lynnzi Brianza Director of Public Programs and Authorizer Relations Email Bio
Dennis Chao Director of Finance Email Bio
Katrina Conley Director of Operations Email Bio
Kim Dammann Managing Director of Special Education Email Bio
Dylan Gruver Director of Talent Acquisition Email Bio
Dan Greenberg Director of Strategy Email Bio
Sarah Hughes Chief of Staff Email Bio
Angella Martinez Chief Academic Officer Email Bio
Amber Young Medina Managing Director of Academics Email Bio
Matthew Peskay Chief of Innovation & Technology Email Bio
Luis Pires Director of Marketing & Communications Email Bio
Kyle Salyer Chief of Finance & Operations Email Bio
Belen Sanchez Managing Director, KIPP Through College Email Bio
Courtney Shararian Director of Development Email Bio
Cesely Westmoreland General Counsel Email Bio
Megan Szabo Director of Talent Development Email Bio
School Leadership
Shaymora Blanks School Leader KIPP Academy of Opportunity Email Bio
Phyllis Bloom School Leader KIPP Philosophers Academy Email Bio
Mara Bond Founding School Leader KIPP Iluminar Academy Email Bio
Yesenia Castro School Leader KIPP Raíces Academy Email Bio
Cassie Cope Founding School Leader KIPP Ignite Academy Email Bio
Mario Echeverria Founding School Leader KIPP Corazón Academy Email Bio
Eréndira Flores Founding School Leader KIPP Vida Preparatory Academy Email Bio
Hadley Huberman Co-School Leader KIPP Comienza Community Prep: Lower School Email Bio
Colleen Kennedy Founding School Leader KIPP KIPP Corazón Academy Email Bio
Alice Lai Founding School Leader KIPP Academy of Innovation Email Bio
Carlos Lanuza School Leader KIPP LA Prep Email Bio
LeAnna Majors Founding School Leader KIPP Compton Community School Email Bio
Rachelle Minix Founding School Leader KIPP Sol Academy Email Bio
Tiffany Moore Founding School Leader KIPP Scholar Academy Email Bio
Adriana Rodriguez Founding School Leader KIPP Promesa Prep Email Bio
D'Anza Smith-Rodriguez School Leader KIPP Comienza Community Prep: Upper School Email Bio
Chinedu Udeh Interin School Leader KIPP Empower Academy Email Bio

About Our Team

Marcia Aaron was the founding Board Chair of KIPP LA and the Board Chair of KIPP Academy of Opportunity, prior to becoming the Founding Executive Director of KIPP LA. She was named Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Previously, she worked as a Senior Analyst at Pacific Growth Equities, and as a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank and Montgomery Securities. She is currently a member of the University of Oregon College of Education Advancement Council and a board member of Ednovate, Inc., a Los Angeles Charter Management Organization. She also serves as the Charter Management Organizational representative on the California Charter Schools Association Member Council and on the Los Angeles Advisory Council. Ms. Aaron is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow. She was named the University of Oregon’s Outstanding Young Alumni in 2003.  Ms. Aaron previously served as a member of the University of Oregon Alumni Center Campaign Committee and on the board of All Stars Helping Kids’ as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon Foundation and the University of Oregon Journalism Advancement Council. She holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon.

Phyllis Bloom  is currently the School Leader at KIPP Philosophers Academy in South Los Angeles, California. Prior to joining KIPP, she was a 2008 Teach for America corps member in Baltimore, Maryland. She taught for two years at her placement school in South Baltimore as a 5 grade self contained teacher. After her two-year commitment to Teach for America, she joined the KIPP team and family at KIPP Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore, Maryland where she spent two wonderful years as the 5 grade language arts teacher. In 2012, she made the transition back to California to be a founding teacher at KIPP Philosophers Academy. After 3 years teaching at KPA, she transitioned onto the leadership team as a Dean and then the Assistant School Leader. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University and an M.A.T. in Elementary Education at Johns Hopkins University. When not working, Phyllis enjoys spending time at the beach, going to the gym, and being around family and friends. 

Mara Bond is the founding school leader of KIPP Iluminar Academy. Prior to founding a school, Mara was Dean at KIPP Raíces Academy in East Los Angeles. She was introduced to KIPP as a founding member of the KIPP Raíces kindergarten team in 2008, and is deeply invested in the KIPP movement. She then became a founding second grade teacher in 2010, helping KIPP Raíces Academy achieve an API of 963, because that second grade class was the first class to take the CST. Prior to working at KIPP Raíces, Mara worked at Wilshire Private School and was named teacher of the year in 2008. Mara received her B.A. in Spanish from Bard College in 2005 and her teaching credential from the University of Saint Thomas as a Teach For America Corps member in 2005.

Lynnzi Brianza  is currently the Director of Public Programs and Authorizer Relations KIPP LA Schools. Lynnzi joined the KIPP LA Team and Family in 2013 and since then has worked to strengthen the region’s programmatic federal and state compliance efforts, afterschool programs and positive working relationships with local school districts that authorize KIPP LA schools.  Prior to working with KIPP LA, she was a Program Coordinator at the National Council of La Raza/California State University Long Beach (NCLR/CSULB) Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. In this role, Lynnzi managed a peer mentorship program for first-generation Latino students studying STEM disciplines.  Lynnzi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Whittier College and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Yesenia Castro joined the KIPP Raíces Academy team and family in July of 2009 as a first-grade founding teacher. During her time at Raíces, she has served her students and families as a first-grade teacher, Spanish teacher, dean, and assistant principal prior to stepping into the role of principal in 2016.Prior to joining KIPP Raíces Academy, Yesenia taught a first-grade bilingual classroom with Teach for America in the Bronx, NYC for two years. Yesenia received her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and her M.S. in Teaching from Pace University. As an administrator at KIPP Raíces Academy, Yesenia has worked alongside a talented team and family that has made Raíces one of the top-performing elementary schools in the state of California. Raíces was honored as a California Distinguished School in 2014 and became a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015.

Dennis Chao currently serves as the Director of Finance for KIPP LA Schools and is a member of the 2017-2019 Broad Residency cohort. He leads budgeting and staffing for KIPP LA and keeps the organization on a path of financial sustainability. Dennis joined KIPP LA in 2014 after seven years in Valuation Advisory Services at Duff & Phelps. He managed personal property valuations for mergers & acquisitions across a wide spectrum of industries from power plants, pipelines, and refineries, to restaurants, movie theaters, and radio stations. Dennis received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA.

Katrina Conley currently serves as the Director of Operations for KIPP LA Schools. Katrina was formerly the Director of Operations at Green Dot Public Schools where she managed the operations for 21 middle and high schools in Los Angeles. Katrina also served as a Strategic Planning Manager at Green Dot. In this role, she helped to ensure the effective implementation of academic, operational and growth initiatives in Green Dot’s long-term business plan. Prior to joining Green Dot, Katrina was a founding Director of Operations at a KIPP NYC elementary school, where she served as the non-instructional leader of the school, and she also completed the Operations Fellowship at Uncommon Schools. She began her professional career as an investment banking analyst at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin and then worked as a private equity associate at PNC Mezzanine Capital. Katrina holds a bachelor of science in commerce from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School and a master’s in educational leadership from The Broad Residency in Urban Education.

Cassie Cope was an Assistant School Leader at KIPP Comienza Community Prep in Los Angeles and a former Leadership Team participant with the KIPP School Leadership Programs. As Assistant School Leader, she was responsible for teaching and learning, student culture and investment, and parent involvement. Cassie transitioned into leadership from her previous role as the founding 2nd grade level chair, where she coached and developed 5 teachers. Cassie set rigorous benchmark goals for her team and invested students and families to achieve the following results on the California State Test in 2012-13: 100% Proficient (with 71% Advanced) in Math and 96% Proficient (with 71% Advanced) in English Language Arts. Prior to joining the KIPP team & family, Cassie was a founding teacher at two ICEF Elementary Schools in Los Angeles. Cassie has also spent two consecutive summers as the Director of Transportation and Special Events at Teach For America’s Los Angeles Institute, as well as a third summer as the Early Childhood Education School Director. Cassie dual majored in Political Theory and Social Relations at Michigan State University and received a M.A. in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. Outside of school, Cassie enjoys traveling, visiting friends and families in the Midwest, and immersing herself in a good book. Cassie is thrilled about the opportunity to open an elementary school in Los Angeles and continue to play a role in the mission of bringing a high-quality education to all children.

Kim Dammann currently serves as Managing Director of Special Education for KIPP LA Schools. She joined KIPP LA in 2011 and she has overseen the growth of the region’s special education programs and services.  Prior to KIPP, Kim was a Resource Specialist Program Coordinator for Total Education Solutions, where she managed the special education compliance and services for over 30 charter schools in the Los Angeles region. Kim began her teaching career at Five Acres, a school and residential treatment facility for abused and neglected children. In her ten years teaching at Five Acres, she taught kindergarten, second, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Her last six years were spent in the role of Lead Teacher, overseeing the school’s Junior High Program.

Eréndira Flores is a first generation immigrant and college graduate. Born in Mexico, Eréndira immigrated at the age of three with her family. After graduating with a B.A in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Colby College in Maine, she moved to Los Angeles as a Teach for America corps member. She is passionate about working in education to ensure that all students in Los Angeles have access to an excellent education. In 2011, Eréndira received her M.A in Education Administration and Administrative Credential from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to coming to KIPP, Eréndira taught kindergarten through third grade and was a founding teacher at a dual-immersion bilingual school where she taught a multi-age classroom with a constructivist curriculum. Eréndira set rigorous benchmark goals and invested students and families to achieve the following data on the California State Test in 2010-11: 100% Proficient (with 90% Advanced) in Math and 96% Proficient (with 67% Advanced) in English Language Arts. Prior to founding KIPP Vida Prep, she was the lower school dean at KIPP Comienza Community Prep in Los Angeles. Eréndira is thrilled about the opportunity to found an elementary school in Los Angeles and continue to play a role in the mission of bringing a high-quality education to all children.

Dan Greenberg  is the Director of Strategy at KIPP: LA schools, where he collaborates with a diverse group of stakeholders to develop the organization’s long-term growth plans and lead other strategic initiatives. Before joining KIPP, Dan served as the founding Director of Operations at Valor Collegiate Academies, a charter management organization in Nashville, TN. He also worked on the founding team at the Tennessee Achievement School District supporting operations and enrollment. Dan began his career as a management consultant at Bain & Company. He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is currently participating in the Broad Residency. 

Dylan Gruver currently serves as the Director of Talent Acquisition with KIPP LA Schools. Dylan joined the KIPP LA team in the spring of 2017.  Prior to returning to the 'best coast', he served as Deputy Chief of Talent and Director of Human Resources with Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. He began his career in education reform as a teacher with Teach For America in New York City. Dylan is a graduate of the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), received his Master's of Education at Lehman College, and holds a Masters Certificate in Human Resources Management from Cornell University.

Hadley Huberman is the School Leader at KIPP Comienza Community Prep lower school. Prior to becoming School Leader, she was the Assistant School Leader at KIPP Comienza Community Prep Lower School for two years. Upon joining KIPP in 2012, Hadley taught kindergarten for a year. She subsequently moved to third grade to found the grade level and become the Grade Level Lead for the founding team.  As an Assistant School Leader, Hadley was responsible for managing, coaching, and developing the third and fourth grade teams. Hadley began her career teaching kindergarten in a charter school in Boyle Heights for two years during her Teach For America Commitment. She received her M.A. in Administration and Policy in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University and her B.A. in English Literature from The University of Washington.

Sarah Hughes joined the KIPP LA team in January 2013 as Chief of Staff. Prior to joining KIPP LA, Sarah was Vice President of Program Management at Yahoo! where she spent ten years focused on Yahoo’s search advertising business. Most recently, Sarah led the transition of the search advertising technology from Yahoo to Microsoft for each of Yahoo’s 55 international markets. Prior to Yahoo, Sarah served as Chief of Staff for the Chief Operating Officer at Overture Services, the pioneer in pay-for-performance search. During her tenure, the company tripled in size, tripled its revenues to just over $1 billion, and ultimately was acquired by Yahoo in 2003. Previously, Sarah worked as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She also has a background in college admissions and worked as Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Admissions at Colgate University. She serves on the governance committee of her daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Monica. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and her MBA from Yale School of Management.

Alice Lai is the Founding School Leader of KIPP Academy of Innovation. Prior to becoming a School Leader, Alice was the Interim Assistant Principal at KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Since joining the KIPP team and family in August 2011, she served as an Instructional Specialist, Teacher Leader, and 5th grade Math teacher. Alice began her career working with English Language Learners in the Los Angeles Unified School District. During this time she was a master teacher and science lead teacher. In her fourth year of teaching, Alice earned her National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. She spent the next two years teaching at the Gabriella Charter School and serving as the Upper Elementary Math and Science Teacher Leader. Alice received her B.S. in History and Education from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Education from the Teacher Education Program and Principal Leadership Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Outside of school, Alice enjoys traveling with her husband, knitting, and spending time with her new baby girl Ava. Alice is deeply motivated by the hardworking families and students in Los Angeles. She is thrilled to be opening up a middle school that will continue to prove the possible on a daily basis in East Los Angeles.

Carlos Lanuza currently serves as School Leader of KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School (KIPP LA Prep). Prior to becoming School Leader, Carlos served as both a teacher and director of high school placement at KIPP LA Prep. Carlos began his career at the Compton Unified School District teaching at the middle school level at Davis Middle before joining the KIPP LA Team and Family. Carlos has a BA in History/Chicano Studies from CSU Dominguez Hills and a Masters of Administration in Education and tier I administrative credential.

LeAnna Majors Prior to founding KIPP Compton Community School, LeAnna was a founding teacher and dean at KIPP Iluminar Academy. Prior to joining KIPP, she has worked as both a classroom teacher as well as an after school program director in the Southern California communities of Watts, South Los Angeles, and South Gate. 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 and opportunities for students at KIPP Compton Community School.

Angella Martinez is the Chief Academic Officer for KIPP LA Schools. Prior to joining the School Support Center, Angella served as the Principal at KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School in Boyle Heights. In her first year as Principal, the school increased 101 Academic Performance Index points, making it the seventh highest performing middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Prior to becoming principal and upon completing her undergraduate studies at UCLA, Angella joined Teach for America corps where she taught at Ralph J. Bunche Elementary for six years. While teaching, she helped the school become the first California Distinguished School in the Compton Unified School District. To broaden her impact in transforming public education, Angella left the classroom to work for the KIPP Foundation as the Recruitment Manager where she sought new KIPP school leader candidates for the highly competitive Fisher and Miles Family Fellowships. While recruiting, Angella found her passion in educational leadership and became a KIPP school leader successor in 2008.

Amber Young Medina is the Managing Director of Schools with KIPP LA Schools. For six years, she was the Founding Principal of California’s first KIPP elementary school, KIPP Raíces Academy, founded in 2008 in East Los Angeles.  KIPP Raíces Academy is a National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High Performing School and when receiving the California Distinguished School award was the only school in the state to do so with the additional distinction of Exemplary Arts Education Program and Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. Prior, Amber was a teacher and the Interim Principal at Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School, her original Teach For America placement and Compton Unified’s first California Distinguished School. Amber holds a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in School Administration from Loyola Marymount University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology from Amherst College.

Rachelle Minix is the founding Principal of KIPP Sol Academy. Previously, Rachelle was a high school special education teacher at both the Los Angeles Unified School District and Green Dot, and Assistant Director of The Kelter Center, a nonpublic agency. Rachelle began her teaching career with Teach For America in Los Angeles where, among many things, she is proud to have coached several undefeated girl’s soccer teams. Rachelle earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania, her master’s degree at California State University Dominguez Hills, and her doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Tiffany Moore is the Founding School Leader of KIPP Scholar Academy. Before opening KSA, Tiffany was an English Language Learner Intervention Specialist and coach at KIPP LA College Preparatory School in Boyle Heights, California. Prior to joining the KIPP team and family, Tiffany spent four years at Johnnie Cochran Middle School teaching English as a second language, serving as the ESL Department Chair, coaching an award-winning step team, and organizing dozens of school and community events. Tiffany was also a 2006 Los Angeles Teach For America corps member and has worked at three consecutive Summer Institutes, as a Corps Member Advisor once and a School Director twice.She received a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies with a Minor in History from Azusa Pacific University and her Masters degree from Loyola Marymount University in Secondary Education.

Matthew Peskay is a nationally-renowned leader in the fields of instructional and operational technology in education.  Matthew holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Education from Columbia University Teachers College and has over 15 years of experience in multiple technology and education roles in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Matthew is focused on innovations in teaching and learning through the considered implementation of technology to deliver a rich, personalized learning experience for all students, and reduce the administrative burdens on teachers to allow them more time to form deeper, meaningful connections with their students.

Tanya Piyaratanaphipat is the School Leader at KIPP Academy of Opportunity (KAO) in South Los Angeles. Previously, she served as a founding teacher and Assistant School Leader at KIPP Comienza Community Prep (KCCP). Prior to joining the KIPP team and family, she spent two years teaching at Clarence E. Dickison Elementary School in Compton, California. Tanya received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. 

Adriana Rodriguez is currently a Fisher Fellow with the KIPP Foundation at KIPP LA.  Prior to this, Adriana was part of the administrative team at KRA as an Instructional Support Coordinator and Dean for two years.  During these years, the teams she supported contributed to KRA achieving an Academic Performance Index score of 969, which put KRA as a top performing school in LAUSD and California.  As a teacher, Adriana taught Kindergarten and was a founding teacher for 1st and 3rd grade.  Her students achieved great success during these years, with 100% of her Kindergarten students outperforming the national average in both ELA and Math.  Before joining the KIPP Raíces Team and Family, Adriana taught 1st grade for two years at Main Street Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles through Teach for America. Adriana took part of KSLP programming as a Teacher Leader in 2011-2012 and had the privilege of being a Miles Family Fellow in 2012-2013. Adriana received her B.A. in History with a minor in Political Science from UCLA, a M.A. in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University, and an Administrative Credential with a Charter School Certificate from LMU. 

Kyle Salyer currently serves as Chief of Finance & Operations with KIPP LA Schools and is a member of the 2013 Broad Residency cohort.  Prior to joining KIPP LA, Kyle was Executive Vice President with MicroCredit Enterprises (MCE), a social venture that leverages private guarantees to provide debt financing to microfinance institutions worldwide. Kyle played an instrumental role in helping to launch and lead the development of MCE’s loan portfolio with microfinance institutions. Kyle has also served as Investment Manager with First Light Ventures, where he managed their initial seed-stage investments in India and the US, as well as the creation of Village Capital. Kyle gained his initial experience in the microfinance sector when he worked as Regional Manager with AMEXTRA in Mexico, developing and managing the Chiapas branch of their microfinance initiative. Kyle also currently serves as a pro bono Board Member and Treasurer with Lifewater International and Jacaranda Health. Kyle holds a MBA from the University of California, Davis and a BA from UCLA in International Economics and International Development Studies.

Prior to joining KIPP LA, Belen Sanchez spent seven years at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). She began as the Alumni Relations Officer and progressed to serve as Director of Scholar & Alumni Attainment. In her time at HSF, Belen designed, planned and implemented four new initiatives, which doubled the number of programs HSF offered. These initiatives included first-year transition program, community college initiative, student leadership conference and online mentor program. Belen earned her bachelor’s degree from UCSD and Masters of Education from USC. Her career has been focused on student access and support, specifically for students from communities traditionally served by KIPP schools.

D’Anza Smith-Rodriguez is the School Leader of KIPP Comienza Upper School. Most recently, she was an Assistant School Leader at KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory Academy where she managed and coached the English Language Arts department and serves as the CELDT Coordinator. In addition to her leadership role at KIPP LA Prep, she has also served as Interim School Leader at two KIPP schools in Los Angeles. D’Anza received her Bachelors of Arts degree in English from UCLA, as well as her Masters in Education from UCLA’s Principal Leadership Institute.

Megan Szabo  is currently the Director of Talent Development at KIPP LA Schools. Megan joined the KIPP LA Team and Family in 2010 as the founding school operations leader of KIPP Comienza Community Prep in Huntington Park, CA. In her time at KIPP LA she has also worked on the regional operations team and as an assistant school leader at KIPP Comienza where she worked alongside a talented team that has made Comienza one of the top-performing elementary schools in California. She began her work in education as a 2008 Teach for America corps member in Los Angeles. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Southern California (Fight On!) and a Masters of Arts in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University. 

Chinedu Udeh began her educational career teaching fourth grade in Tulsa, Oklahoma before she came to KIPP Empower Academy. While in the classroom, she spent her summers working as a coach training teachers in instructional and behavioral practices. When she moved to Los Angeles, she spent two years attending leadership cohort meetings through Teach For America. At KEA she served as a grade level chair and later as an instructional coach and assistant school leader, developing and managing our fourth grade and specials team. This year she completed her master’s degree from Teachers College Columbia Summer Principals Academy. In her free time she serves on two boards and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Her efforts inside and outside of the school all aim to uplift our scholars.