Executive Leadership Team
|Marcia Aaron||Chief Executive Officer||Bio|
|Manny Aceves||Chief External Impact Officer||Bio|
|Mara Bond||Director of Schools||Bio|
|Lynnzi Brianza||Director of Public Programs and Authorizer Relations||Bio|
|Dennis Chao||Director of Finance||Bio|
|Kim Dammann||Managing Director of Special Education||Bio|
|Dylan Gruver||Director of Talent Acquisition||Bio|
|Dan Greenberg||Director of Strategy||Bio|
|Carlos Lanuza||Director of Schools||Bio|
|Angella Martinez||Chief Academic Officer||Bio|
|Amber Young Medina||Managing Director of Academics||Bio|
|Matthew Peskay||Chief of Innovation & Technology||Bio|
|Chief of Finance & Operations||Bio|
|Belen Sanchez||Managing Director, KIPP Through College||Bio|
|Courtney Shararian||Director of Development||Bio|
|Cesely Westmoreland||General Counsel||Bio|
|Megan Szabo||Director of Talent Development||Bio|
|Chelsea Zegarski||Director of Schools||Bio|
|Phyllis Carillo||School Leader||KIPP Philosophers Academy||Bio|
|Yesenia Castro||School Leader||KIPP Raíces Academy||Bio|
|Natasha Ortega||School Leader||KIPP Ignite Academy||Bio|
|Tania Hernandez||School Leader||KIPP Iluminar Academy||Bio|
|Mario Echeverria||Founding School Leader||KIPP Corazón Academy||Bio|
|Hadley Huberman||Co-School Leader||KIPP Comienza Community Prep: Lower School||Bio|
|Colleen Kennedy||Founding School Leader||KIPP Corazón Academy||Bio|
|Alice Lai||Founding School Leader||KIPP Academy of Innovation||Bio|
|John Coleman||School Leader||KIPP Academy of Opportunity||Bio|
|Tessa Mizokami||Founding School Leader||KIPP Pueblo Unido||Bio|
|Melissa Helguera||School Leader||KIPP Comienza Community Prep Upper School||Bio|
|Monica Madrigal||School Leader||KIPP LA Prep||Bio|
|LeAnna Majors||Founding School Leader||KIPP Compton Community School||Bio|
|Mairin Finn||School Leader||KIPP Sol Academy||Bio|
|Tiffany Moore||Founding School Leader||KIPP Scholar Academy||Bio|
|Adriana Rodriguez||Founding School Leader||KIPP Promesa Prep||Bio|
|Chinedu Udeh||School Leader||KIPP Empower Academy||Bio|
|Aisha Bonner||School Leader||KIPP Vida Preparatory||Bio|
About Our Team
Marcia Aaron was the founding Board Chair of KIPP SoCal and the Board Chair of KIPP Academy of Opportunity, prior to becoming the founding Executive Director of KIPP SoCal. 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 Board of Trustees, the board chair of the LA Coalition for Excellent Public Schools 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. 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, the University of Oregon Journalism Advancement Council and the University of Oregon College of Education Advancement Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oregon.
Manny Aceves joined KIPP SoCal as the Chief External Impact Officer in February 2018. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, Dr. Aceves oversees Advocacy and Community Engagement, Development, and Marketing & Communication efforts. Prior to joining KIPP SoCal, Dr. Aceves was the Associate Dean for Strategic Partnerships and Educational Effectiveness in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. He remains connected to LMU as a member of the LMU School of Education Board of Visitors and as a part-time professor. As a champion for social justice, he expands his educational influence by educating teachers and future leaders through graduate-level courses in education policy and research. Dr. Aceves began his career in education as a classroom teacher at New West Charter Middle School in Los Angeles. He then served on the Board of Directors for WISH Charter and Playa Vista Elementary School Advisory Board, after serving as the Founding Chair of the School Site Council at Playa Vista Elementary School. In addition, he served on the Green Dot Public Schools Administrator-in-Residence (AIR) Program Advisory Board and was the Treasurer for the Association of Jesuit Schools and Universities Deans of Education Conference. Dr. Aceves was also a founding and former Board Member for the Teach for America Los Angeles Associates Board. Dr. Aceves is a triple alumnus of LMU, receiving his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, Master of Arts in School Administration, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He also holds California credentials in both teaching and administration.
Mara Bond is presently a Director of Schools. She has been working as an educator for thirteen years, and ten of those years have been with KIPP. She spent five years as an elementary principal founding KIPP Iluminar Academy in East Los Angeles. Prior to founding a school as a principal, she was part of the founding team at KIPP Raíces Academy, which opened in 2008. In her time at KIPP Raíces Academy she taught kindergarten and second grade. As a founding second grade teacher in 2010, she helped KIPP Raíces Academy achieve an API of 963. In 2011 she became Dean and received the Fisher Fellowship, which is what allowed her to found school. 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.
Phyllis Carrillo 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.
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.
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.
Mairin Finn is the School Leader of KIPP Sol Academy. Prior to becoming School Leader, she was the Assistant School Leader for two years and Dean for one year at KIPP Sol Academy. She began her career at KIPP LA as a founding fifth-grade teacher in 2013. Before joining KIPP, Mairin taught seventh-grade ELA with the Inner City Education Foundation where she received a Teacher of the Year award. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Development and her Master of Science Education from California State University, Fullerton.
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 Public 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 for five years with Friendship Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. He began his career in education reform in 2008 when he joined Teach For America as a Corps Member in New York City. Dylan was a founding middle school math and science teacher at the School for Global Leaders in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Dylan is a graduate of the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), received his Master's of Education from Lehman College, and holds a Masters Certificate in Human Resources Management from Cornell University.
Melissa Helguera currently serves as the School Leader of KIPP Comienza Community Prep Upper School. She began her teaching career with KIPP LA in 2008 as an instructional assistant at KIPP Raíces Academy (KRA), and then founding science teacher at KRA. During this time she received multiple California Congressional recognitions for her teaching efforts. In 2014, she transitioned to middle school at KIPP Sol Academy and became Dean in 2017. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Chicano/a Studies & Education from UCLA, a Masters of Arts in Urban Education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master of Education in School Leadership from USC.
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.
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 Carlos Lanuza currently serves as a Director of Schools. For six years,, he was the Principal of KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School (KIPP LA Prep) in Boyle Heights. During his tenure as Principal KIPP LA Prep was awarded the National Blue Ribbon in Exemplary High Performing Schools becoming the first middle school in East Los Angeles to receive this award. Prior to becoming Principal, 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 for seven years middle school social studies at Davis Middle before joining the KIPP LA Team and Family. Carlos has a Bachelor of Arts in History/Chicano Studies from CSU Dominguez Hills and a Masters of Administration in Education and Tier I Administrative Credential from Loyola Marymount University.
Monica Madrigal currently serves as the School Leader of KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School (KIPP LA Prep). Before becoming School Leader, Monica was Dean of KIPP LA Prep, as well as a teacher and instructional coach. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and her Masters of Arts Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from California State University, Los Angeles.
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.
Tessa Mizokami is the Founding School Leader at KIPP Pueblo Unido. Previously, she was an Assistant School Leader at KIPP Vida Prep and a Dean at KIPP Iluminar Academy. Prior to joining the KIPP LA team and family, Tessa taught at Rocketship Education in the Bay Area. She received her BA with a double major in Latin American Studies and Political Science from UC Santa Cruz. Tessa is a first generation college graduate and is originally from Los Angeles. She takes pride in being part of a large family that is of a mixed Japanese and Colombian heritage, and loves to spend her free time with them. Tessa is passionate about leveraging the collective strengths of the communities we serve in Southeast LA to ensure all students thrive in college and beyond.
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.
Natasha Ortega is the School Leader of KIPP Ignite Academy. Before joining KIPP LA, Natasha served in multiple school leadership positions, including Assistant Principal at a Pre-K to 8th grade school in Chicago. While there, she led teachers in professional learning around inclusive practices while also serving as supervisor of the Special Education Program and Parent Bilingual Advisory Council. She started teaching in 2009 after receiving her Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico. Since then, she has gone on to receive her Master in Teaching from Dominican University and her Master in School Leadership from Harvard University. It is her deepest honor to lead a school community that challenges all children to reach their fullest potential.
Matthew Peskay serves as the Chief of Innovation, Technology, and Operations at KIPP LA. Matthew is a nationally-renowned leader in the fields of instructional and operational technology in education. He 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.
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 Financial Officer with KIPP SoCal and is a graduate of the 2013-2015 Broad Residency cohort. Prior to joining KIPP SoCal, 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 holds an 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.
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. Chinedu is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Chelsea Zegarski Before stepping into the role of Director of Schools, Chelsea Zegarski joined the KIPP LA team and family in 2008 during KIPP Raices Academy’s founding year. She has served her students and families as a kindergarten teacher, dean, and assistant principal prior to stepping into inxfto the role of principal in 2014. While at Raices, she had the pleasure of working with and supporting a talented team that has made Raices one of the top-performing elementary schools in the state of California, ranking in the top 2% of schools on end-of-year state assessments and earning the distinction of California Distinguished School SChool in 2014.Before KIPP, Ms. Zegarski taught kindergarten in Lynwood, California with Teach for America. She received her BA in history from Northwestern University and MA in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University.