Jeremy Beard, Head of Schools
Jeremy began his career in education as a corps member for Teach For America. He continued as a Corps Member Advisor, School Director for Teacher For America Summer Institute, and then as a Program Director. He was named Teacher of the Year while teaching Language Arts for IDEA College Preparatory, and then became IDEA’s Assistant Principal and Director of College Counseling, later, serving as Principal for five years. Jeremy has worked for Houston Independent School District as an Apollo 20 School Improvement Officer, leading principals in some of the lowest performing schools in closing the achievement gap. He also spent three years as a National Director of Programs for Blueprint Schools Network, leading regional program partnerships with public schools district. Jeremy came to YES Prep in 2014, as Head of Schools, where he leads school directors. Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Maryland and a Master of Education, Organizational Leadership, from Columbia University.
Leah Peters, Head of Schools
From 2011-2017, Leah Peters served as the School Director of YES Prep East End. Previously, Leah was East End’s founding high school Principal, a founding Grade Level Chair and teacher for the 9th Grade Pilot, and a middle school math instructor (way back in the days of MST!). Leah has a B.S. from Cornell University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Houston. She was originally placed at YES Prep East End as a 2007 Teach For America Corps Member.
Charlie Schmidt, Head of Schools
Charlie Schmidt served as the Senior School Director of YES Prep East End and School Director of YES Prep Southeast prior to transitioning into the role of Head of Schools. During his tenure as a School Director, Charlie led his staff through several organizational changes and is most proud of his work developing and cultivating future leaders. As Head of Schools, Charlie will coach aspiring and resident School Directors to be compassionate, effective leaders driving toward educational equity in Houston. In 2006, he graduated from Denison University with a B.S. in Biology. He's originally from Columbus, Ohio.
Ellen Winstead, Head of Schools
Ellen Winstead started at YES Prep in 1999 as a classroom teacher, after teaching for four years in HISD as a 1995 TFA Houston corps member. In 2004, Ellen founded the Teaching Excellence program for YES Prep. In 2009, Ellen opened the YES Prep West campus, where she established the first orchestra program at YES and helped the campus establish high academic and cultural expectations for staff and students. In 2012, Ellen moved to the Home Office to oversee YES Prep's district partnerships with Spring Branch ISD and Aldine ISD. In 2015 Ellen became the Managing Director of Academics where she led content and instructional leadership at the system level. In 2017, Ellen became one of three Heads of Schools for the district. Ellen holds a Bachelors with Honors in Biology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters in Psychology from The Ohio State University.
Stephanie Gounder, School Director of YES Prep Brays Oaks
Stephanie Gounder has served as a School Director at YES Prep Brays Oaks since 2015. Stephanie began her career at Brays Oaks in 2010 and has served as a middle school English teacher, Literacy Specialist, Dean of Instruction, Director of Academics, and Assistant School Director. In 2008, she started her teaching career at Glen Oaks Middle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a Teach For America – South Louisiana Corps Member. Stephanie has a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.A. in Public School Leadership from Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
Aaron Simmons, School Director of YES Prep East End
Prior to becoming School Director of East End, Aaron Simmons worked as the High School Dean of Students at YES Prep West. Aaron started his educational career at YES Prep at the Southeast campus where he taught 8th Grade U.S. History and 11th Grade US History for five years. Before joining West in 2014, Aaron worked in HISD for a year coaching first-year teachers. Aaron earned a B.A. from Texas State University, and has committed to learning more about educational leadership by being a member in the Leading Excellence Inspire and Aspire programs. Aaron was drawn to YES Prep because of his work with and passion for kids while working in a non-profit after-school program during college.
Jamie Downs, School Director of YES Prep Eisenhower
Prior to serving as School Director of YES Prep Eisenhower, Jamie Downs worked as the interim Director of Academics at YES Prep Hoffman. Jamie was a 2007 Houston Teach For America Corps Member, who taught 6th grade English Language Arts at Fondren Middle School. He then worked for TFA in Kansas City before returning to Houston to attend the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program and teach at YES Prep North Forest. Jamie later worked as an Assistant Principal at Sharpstown High School in the Houston Independent School District. At Sharpstown, he led over 275 students, coached 13 ELA teachers, spearheaded the PowerUp Initiative, and started The King’s Compass.
Barb Campbell, School Director of YES Prep Fifth Ward
Barb Campbell joined YES Prep Public Schools in 2011 as a Leading Excellence Fellow. She is beginning her fourth year as the School Director of the Fifth Ward campus and previously served as the Middle School Principal at the North Central campus. Her past experience includes seventeen years teaching and leading at Kingwood High School in Humble ISD, where she taught Advance Placement Psychology and coached teachers across the district in the implementation of service learning and advisory. Barb received her B.A. in Psychology from The University of Notre Dame and later earned her Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Rice University as part of the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program. Barb is excited to be joining the Transcend + New Schools Collaborative as she has an entrepreneurial spirit and deep desire to empower students to make an impact in their community. When not at work, she loves spending time with her husband, four children, and training for triathlons.
Oscar Romano, School Director of YES Prep Gulfton
Previously, Oscar Romano served as Director of Student Support at YES Prep Brays Oaks. He was also the first high school Dean of Students at Brays Oaks and held the position for four years. Oscar received his B.A. from Harvard University and joined Teacher For America as an 8th grade science teacher in HISD. Oscar is a proud Latino, with parents from El Salvador, and is passionate about advocating for Latino causes. While at YES Prep, he's also led the LatinX Leadership Summit and helped establish a partnership with Univision. Oscar lives in Houston with his wife Claudia, daughter Mila, and pets (Leo Cat and Bernie the Dog).
Chase Sander, School Director of YES Prep Hoffman
Chase Sander has served as the School Director of YES Prep Hoffman since 2016. Prior to joining YES Prep Hoffman, Chase served as the Operations Manager at YES Prep Fifth Ward for three years. Chase also worked for Teach For America, coaching teachers at both HISD’s Apollo 20 Program and at YES Prep. He served students in the Rio Grande Valley in 2009 as a Teach For America corps member, deepening his relationships with the community and improving his Spanish. As a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a former Fellow in both the Leading Excellence Insight and Aspire Programs, Chase is qualified and committed to leading the collaboration with Hoffman Middle School and Aldine ISD. He is passionate about creating long-lasting change for students.
Michelle LaFlure, School Director of YES Prep North Central
Michelle LaFlure has served as a School Director at YES Prep North Central since 2014. Prior to becoming the School Director, Michelle taught all levels of Spanish, 6th-8th grade English, and history at North Central (NC). She also was the first ever NC Dean of Instruction and then worked as the NC Director of Academics for four years. Michelle has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Master's in Education from the University of St. Thomas. She was a 2001 Teach For America Corps Member at Barrick Elementary School before transitioning to the Trailblazer family. As a first generation college graduate, Michelle is passionate about increasing opportunities for all students and ensuring every student has an excellent education.
James Mosley, School Director of YES Prep North Forest
Prior to becoming School Director of YES Prep North Forest, James Mosley served as Dean of Students at YES Prep Northside for two years. He came to YES Prep as an Instructional Coach with the Teaching Excellence Program. James previously served students in the North Forest community as a teacher and leader at KIPP Polaris. James attended Stephen F. Austin State University for his undergraduate studies and Concordia University for his graduate education. His participation in the Leading Excellence Insight and Aspire Programs has prepared him to lead. James, a husband and father of two, is a native Houstonian who is committed to serving this community that has been so transformative in his own life.
Bryan Reed, School Director of YES Prep Northbrook High School
Bryan Reed is in his 6th year as School Director at YES Prep Public School, having the tremendous honor of launching the SKY Partnership YES Prep Northbrook High School campus in 2015-16. Bryan is a proud graduate of the University of Florida, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2003. Bryan served as a Teach For America Corps Member in New Orleans from 2003-05. After returning for his 3rd year at his placement school in the upper 9th Ward, Hurricane Katrina led Bryan to Houston and eventually to the YES Prep North Central Campus as the 8th grade Humanities teacher. In his ten years at North Central, Bryan served in a multitude of roles including social studies instructor, grade level chair, athletic director, basketball coach and high school principal.
Eric Newcomer, School Director of YES Prep Northbrook Middle School
Eric has worked for YES Prep for nine years and was the School Director at the Southwest campus from 2012 until 2017. Eric values family, social justice, and joy and believes in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. He has an undergraduate degree in theology from Xavier University and a masters in the teaching of English from Columbia. He got his start in education in 2001 as a Teacher For America corps member in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he taught French. He loves spending time with his wife, Brittney, and his two kids, Leland and Rose.
Brittany McGruder, School Director of YES Prep Northline
Previously, Brittany McGruder served as the Director of Academics at YES Prep Northbrook Middle School. She was also a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Hoffman and a science teacher at Fondren Middle School. She’s originally from Memphis, Tennessee and has a B.A. from The University of Tennessee at Martin.
Maureen Israel, School Director of YES Prep Northside
Maureen Israel first joined YES Prep in 2005 as a middle school English teacher at the original Southwest campus in Richmond, TX. After attending graduate school and working in D.C., Maureen returned to YES Prep in 2010 as the high school Dean of Students at YES Prep Southeast. In 2013, Maureen transitioned to School Director of YES Prep Northside. Maureen has B.As in Psychology and English from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Maureen currently sits on the Avenue CDC Leadership and Advocacy Committee and the Capitol One Education Coalition in the Northside community.
Laura Washington, School Director of YES Prep Northwest
Laura Washington is currently the Director of Academics at YES Prep Fifth Ward. Before becoming the Director of Academics she was a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Fifth Ward, an Instructional Coach with Teaching Excellence, and taught 3rd and 4th grade at Rusk Elementary School in HISD as a Teach For America corps member. Laura is originally from Seattle, Washington and has a B.S. from Christian Brothers University in Memphis,Tennessee.
Eileen Romero Galligan, School Director of YES Prep Southeast
Eileen Romero Galligan worked as the Director of Academics at YES Prep Southeast for three years prior to becoming School Director. She joined the Southeast family as a 2007 Teach For America Corps Member and taught 7th grade English. Eileen earned her B.A. in English Literature and Urban Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked in the West Philadelphia schools as a tutor and after-school program intern. Eileen is a native Houstonian, and she and her three younger brothers are proud first-generation college graduates.
Ashleigh Fritz, School Director of YES Prep Southside
Ashleigh Fritz has worked at YES Prep for eight years as a teacher, 8th/9th principal, and most recently, as a School Director of YES Prep West. Ashleigh believes deeply in collaborating with stakeholders-- students, staff, and parents. She is a community-oriented leader and believes in being as visible and present as possible.
Eric Espinoza, School Director of YES Prep Southwest
Prior to becoming School Director of YES Prep Southwest, Eric Espinoza served as the Middle School Dean of Students for five years. He also taught four years of Spanish I and II and served as a Grade Level Chair. Eric graduated from YES Prep Southeast in 2003. He is passionate about character development and the role it plays in ensuring students persist through college.
Reem Semaan, School Director of YES Prep West
Previously, Reem Semaan worked as the Director of Student Support at YES Prep Southside. She also served as a Biology Instructor, Grade Level Chair, Dean of Students, and Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest for eight years. Reem is from North Carolina and has a B.S. in Biology from UNC – Chapel Hill. She realized her love for education when she joined Teach For America in 2008 after attending a high school that was a small representation of the educational inequities that exist all over the country.
Jennifer Greene, School Director of YES Prep White Oak
Previously, Jennifer Greene served as School Director of YES Prep Hoffman for two years. She also worked as a Dean of Students at YES Prep East End and was a founding staff member of YES Prep Gulfton. During her time at Gulfton, she was awarded the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award. Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from American University and her graduate degree from Columbia University. She furthered her already deep leadership development portfolio by completing the Leading Excellence Aspire Program in 2015.