Meagan Edwards was raised in Sugar Land, Texas, a diverse community outside Houston. She is the proud two-time graduate of University of Houston – Main Campus where she earned a degree in Psychology/Business Management and later her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. As a child, Meagan wanted to be a teacher but followed a different path after leaving high school. She became a single mother in college which led her to work in Corporate America. After five years feeling unfulfilled, she joined Houston Independent School District’s Alternative Certification Program to pursue her dream of being an educator. She served as a teacher, Teacher Specialist, Assistant Principal and Principal during her 21-year tenure in Houston Independent School District. Since 2010, Meagan has been a part of the Apollo 20 and Achieve 180 turnaround efforts in HISD. Meagan and a passion for breaking cycles through creating equitable opportunities in our educational system. She has a strong record of success with turning around campuses with effective coaching and development of teachers, creating systems to maximize impact on student outcomes, improving culture and increasing community partnerships to enrich the lives of children. She believes that with authentic relationships, high quality education and supporting the whole child with exposure to opportunities, we can build a strong foundation for a college and career ready future. She is a tenacious educator that advocates for students from marginalize communities so they can access the resources to unlock their full potential and achieve their dreams. Meagan is honored to join the YES Prep Family as Executive Principal and empower the students of Houston to live a choice-filled life with limitless opportunities to serve as a catalyst for change in this world.
Prior to being named the founding principal of Northline Elementary, Cynovia served as the Resident Principal at YES Prep Southside. She completed her undergraduate studies at Texas State University in 2012 and earned a Masters Degree and Principal Certification from the University of St. Thomas. Cynovia began teaching in Houston and taught as a founding teacher in Washington D.C. at a turnaround charter school. Upon returning to Houston, she taught upper elementary in and then as a teacher specialist at a middle school.
Brian Vannest is the founding Principal of YES Prep East End Elementary. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership with a minor in Economics from Miami University and an MBA from Rice University along with his Texas principal certificate. Brian joined the YES Prep family in 2010, teaching seventh grade math to the first graduating class of YES Prep West Secondary and continued the following two years as a teacher and Content Team Leader. Three years later, he rejoined the YES team in the 2020-2021 school year, serving as the resident principal at Northside.
Michelle LaFlure is the Founding Principal of North Central Elementary. Michelle served as a Principal at YES Prep North Central Secondary from 2014 to 2019. Prior to becoming the Principal, Michelle taught all levels of Spanish, sixth through eighth grade English, and history at North Central Secondary. She also was the first-ever Dean of Instruction and then worked as the Director of Academics. Michelle has a bachelor's in Elementary Education from Calvin College and a master's in Education from the University of St. Thomas. She is also a Teach For America Corps alumna.
YES Prep North Forest Elementary
Johnie Flores is the founding principal of North Forest Elementary. Johnie joined YES Prep in 2012 as an Instructional Coach for Teaching Excellence. In 2013, she transitioned back to a campus and served as a Dean of Instruction and Director of Student Support at YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary for six years. From 2007 through 2012, she taught a variety of subjects to diverse student populations at Houston Independent School District. Johnie obtained a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, Master of Education from the University of Houston, and holds a Texas Principal Certification.
Prior to YES Prep, Diana Rios worked as a classroom teacher for more than ten years in Colombia, Guatemala and the United States. She comes with experience as a grade level chair and teacher in the general and bilingual education classrooms at the elementary level. She has also taught adults and children with exceptionalities. Most recently, Diana served as a teacher specialist and administrator at De Chaumes Elementary in HISD. Diana has a bachelor’s in Education from the University of Antioquia in Colombia and a master's in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University.
Prior to becoming the founding principal of Southside Elementary, Andrea Citchen was principal of YES Prep Eisenhower High. She is a graduate from the University of Missouri where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership. Prior to joining YES in 2015, Andrea served in various roles at KIPP for nine years. Prior to joining KIPP, she was an elementary school teacher with Indianapolis Public Schools.
Selina Hall-Swope has been the Principal of YES Prep Brays Oaks since 2021. She earned her B.A. in English from Florida State University and her M.Ed. in English Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She has been with YES Prep since 2012, first at YES Prep Brays Oaks where she served many roles including teaching English I and Reading Intervention, Literacy Specialist, Dean of Instruction. and Course Leader and Course Facilitator for seventh grade reading lab. Selina has also served at YES Prep Northbrook High as the Director of Academics and Resident Principal at YES Prep Northbrook Middle.
Prior to becoming Principal of East End Secondary, Aaron Simmons worked as the High School Dean of Students at YES Prep West Secondary. Aaron started his educational career at YES Prep at the Southeast Secondary campus where he taught eighth grade U.S. History and eleventh 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.
Megan Goldsberry has served as Principal at Eisenhower High since 2020. She graduated from Rice University with a major in Psychology and Managerial Studies and earned a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University. Megan is a Teach for America alumna. In 2011, she joined the YES Prep East End Secondary family teaching seventh grade Math Enrichment. She also served as East End's Dean of Instruction and Director of Academics in her eight years there. Megan has also served as an instructional leadership support specialist at the administrative office.
Antonio “Tony” Castillo is serving as the Principal at YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary. Previously, Tony worked at YES Prep Southwest Secondary as a teacher and later an administrator. Tony served as Principal at YES Prep Southside Secondary. Tony is a proud graduate of Rice University, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Earth Science – Geology.
Tony also supports Eisenhower High School in his capacity as an Executive Principal.
Cintia Arenas has served as Principal at YES Prep Gulfton Secondary since 2020. She graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. While attending college, Cintia was placed at YES Prep Lee, now YES Prep Gulfton, and held many positions including office aide, teaching assistant, seventh grade math instructor, Grade Level Chair, Dean of Students, and Director of Student Support.
Adrienne Brown was born in Alexandria, LA, and graduated from Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She also earned a Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University and recently participated in the Rice Urban School Leaders program. Adrienne was a classroom teacher for nine years. She taught high school social studies for six years in Baton Rouge, LA, and spent three years teaching middle and high school special education in Houston ISD and Katy ISD. She began her career at YES at the Fifth Ward Secondary campus as a Compliance Specialist before transitioning to student culture as a Dean of Students and Director of Student Support. She was most recently the Resident Principal at the Hobby Secondary campus. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, watching sports, listening to music, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog, Lexi
Prior to becoming principal at YES Prep North Central Secondary, Jeff served as their Director of Academics. Before joining the YES Prep family, Jeff was the Associate Director of Data Driven Instruction and Formative Assessment at Denver Public Schools. Prior to that, he worked at DSST Public Schools as the Senior Manager of Professional Llearning, the Founding School Director of DSST: Cole Middle School, and teacher of sixth grade science. Jeff is a Memphis 2006 Teach For America corps member and graduate of the University of Central Florida.
Naketchia Alfred was raised in Ville Platte, LA, a close-knit community in southwest Louisiana where much of her family still resides. She is a proud graduate of Grambling State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and worked for two years as an Admission Counselor and Recruiter. She credits her time at Grambling with sparking her interest in college access work and highlighting the impact of fit on college persistence. Most recently, Naketchia served as Resident Principal at YES Prep Northwest Secondary and YES Prep Hobby Secondary where her work focused on coaching leaders, driving student achievement, and creating sustainable systems for campus growth. Naketchia entered the Resident Principal Pathway Program having spent 8 years at YES Prep North Forest Secondary building and leading its College Initiatives programming as a College Counselor, and later Director of College Counseling. She also taught middle school ELA at Ville Platte High School (Evangeline Parish Schools) and Attucks Middle School (Houston ISD). Naketchia’s journey has taught her a great deal about what is possible when the playing field is leveled for students from marginalized communities.
Greg Little first joined YES Prep in 2011 as a middle school Social Studies teacher, as a founding team member at YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary. Before becoming Principal at YES Prep Northbrook High, Greg had the opportunity to serve as a Resident Principal at YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary and YES Prep North Central Secondary. In his 10 years in education, Greg has served as a teacher, Grade Level Chair, Coach, Athletic Director, Dean of Students, and Director of Student Support. Greg is also a Teach For America alumnus.
Erin Sadler is a Louisiana native that relocated to Houston in 2009 after earning a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Tech University. She joined the education movement as an English I teacher at Sharpstown High School in 2011 where she served as department chair, literacy specialist and supported Houston ISD’s PowerUP initiative. In 2015, Erin began her journey with YES Prep as an instructional coach for Teaching Excellence and then transitioned to a founding instructional leader at YES Prep Eisenhower High, a partnership school in Aldine. At YES Prep Eisenhower, she worked alongside other instructional leaders to launch YES Prep’s first 1:1 program – a technology initiative where each student is issued a laptop to support instructional technology - and supported academic initiatives that helped Eisenhower achieve A ratings. In July of 2019, Erin joined the family of YES Prep Southside Secondary as the Director of Academics where she launched one-to-one programming for high school students and cultivated an environment of academic excellence. She earned a Master of Arts in Public School Leadership from Teachers College Columbia University in the City of New York in 2019.
Brittany McGruder is the Founding Principal of YES Prep Northline Secondary. Previously, Brittany McGruder served as the Director of Academics at YES Prep Northbrook Middle. She was also a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Hoffman and a science teacher at Fondren Middle School. She has a B.A. from The University of Tennessee at Martin.
Stephanie Gounder is excited to rejoin the YES Prep team as Executive Principal at YES Prep Northside! Stephanie has a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.A. in Public School Leadership from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. A first-generation American, Stephanie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and is the daughter of immigrants from India and France. 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 moved to Houston in 2010 to teach middle school English at YES Prep Brays Oaks. During her 11 years at Brays, Stephanie served as a Literacy Specialist, Dean of Instruction, Director of Academics, Assistant School Director, Principal, and Lead Principal. Since beginning as Principal in the 2015-2016 school year, Stephanie led the campus to 9% growth in passing rates on state assessments and growth from a “C” to a “B” in Domain I of the Texas state accountability rating. In her role as Lead Principal, Stephanie mentored five Resident Principals, three of whom are current sitting Principals at YES Prep campuses. In 2021, Stephanie moved to Kansas City, Missouri to serve as Chief Academic Officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School where she coached three Principals and oversaw curriculum and instruction
Stephanie also supports the Northline Secondary campus in her capacity as an Executive Principal.
Justin West is a University of Georgia alumni who moved to Houston to join the 2011 Teach for America Corps. He later completed his Master of Education with Principal Certification from the University of St. Thomas in 2016. His placement school was YES Prep North Forest where he had opportunity to serve in many roles such as 7th Grade ELA and MS Seminar teacher, Grade Level Chair, High School Dean of Students and Director of Student Support. Throughout his time, he was able to see his first two groups of students complete the full mission of YES Prep by graduating from the campus. After being accepted into the first cohort of the Principal Residency, he was privileged to be placed at YES Prep Northbrook High School before being named principal of YES Prep Hoffman Middle School where he has served in that capacity for the past three years.
Justin’s passion for education is student-centered, rooted in equity and illuminated by the thought that all students can learn and positively impact the world. He is excited to apply his experiences and learnings with leading or teaching at schools within all four of YES Prep’s former and current partnerships to continue to expand the trajectories of students at YES Prep Northwest Secondary.
Emily Ryans has a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Texas Principal Certification and Master of Educational Leadership Degree from the University of St. Thomas. Emily came to YES Prep to work as a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest Secondary and most recently served at YES Prep Southeast Secondary as a Resident Principal.
Bryce Moore is native Houstonian, having spent his formative years in the city's Southside. He attended Prairie View A&M University, where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice. In 2010, Bryce started his career as a sixth-grade history teacher with KIPP Polaris College Preparatory for Boys located in the North Forest community. Afterwards, he joined the YES Prep North Forest Secondary family, where he served as the Middle School Dean of students for two years and Director of Student Support before joining the YES Prep Resident Principal program and serving as Principal of YES Prep North Forest Secondary since 2020. Bryce is excited to return to the southside community in in 22-23 and lead the Giants of YES Prep Southside Secondary
Addison Feind has lived in Houston for the past ten years. Originally from Waco, Texas, he graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Policy and Spanish. Addison began his career teaching AP Spanish with Midway ISD and continued his work in education with YES Prep teaching a combination of Spanish and English with students in 8th through 12th grade. In his nearly ten years with YES Prep, he has served at Southwest, West, and Fifth Ward Secondary campuses as teacher, Grade-Level Chair, High School Dean of Students, Director of Student Support and Resident Principal.
Sara Millimet Kaveeshwar has served as principal at YES Prep West Secondary since 2020. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in health science at Rice University. After graduating, she earned a Master of Public Health degree at Emory University, with a focus in health education. Sara is a Teach For America corps alumna. In her time at YES Prep, Sara has worked at both YES Prep Southeast Secondary and YES Prep Southside Secondary as an eighth grade science teacher, a Science Content Specialist and a Dean of Instruction.
Previously, Jennifer Greene served as principal of YES Prep Hoffman Middle for two years. She also worked as a Dean of Students at YES Prep East End Secondary and was a founding staff member of YES Prep Gulfton Secondary. 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.
Elementary Head of Schools
- North Forest Elementary
- Southeast Elementary
Danitra Arredondo was raised on the eastside of Indianapolis, IN. As a first-generation college student, she attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in Black Studies. Immediately after graduation, Danitra relocated to Houston as part of the Teach For America corps. She taught fourth and fifth grades and concentrated on successfully transitioning emergent bilingual students to English classroom instruction. Danitra went on to earn a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in urban education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Following graduation, Danitra served in many roles working with educational non-profits in Washington, D.C., and Houston. As a middle school math teacher, she returned to the classroom serving students and families in northeast Houston at YES Prep North Forest.
An educator for 18 years, Danitra has served in numerous campus leadership roles, such as Principal and Assistant Principal, which have allowed her to educate, lead, and serve many students, families, and communities across the Houston area. Her most current role has focused on creating equitable learning experiences for all students while coaching and strengthening the instructional capacity of campus leaders and leadership teams. As part of the Cooperative Superintendency Program at The University of Texas at Austin, she recently earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy.
Elementary Head of Schools
- Airline Elementary
- East End Elementary
- North Central Elementary
- Southside Elementary
Elizabeth Carlson-Young began her career in education as an elementary school teacher and has taught reading and English in both middle and high schools. She taught for five years in Colombia before joining HISD and building a successful newcomers’ program at Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center. She continued her career at Hamilton Middle School as dean of students. Elizabeth joined YES Prep for the 2019-20 school year to launch the first ever YES Prep Elementary campuses in 2020-21.
Secondary Head of Schools
- Brays Oaks Secondary
- Hobby Secondary
- North Central Secondary
- Northline Secondary
- Northside Secondary
- Southeast Secondary
- Southside Secondary
- White Oak Secondary
Ashleigh Fritz joined YES Prep as a founding staff member at YES Prep West Secondary in 2009, after serving two years in the Alief ISD as a Teacher For America corps member. She donned many roles during her eight-year tenure at YES Prep West Secondary including teacher, dean and principal. Afterwards, Ashleigh transitioned to Southside Secondary to lead the turnaround work and launch the high school. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Denison University.
Secondary Head of Schools
- East End Secondary
- Eisenhower High School
- Fifth Ward Secondary
- North Forest Secondary
- Northbrook High School
- Northbrook Middle School
- Southside Secondary
- Thrive DAEP
- West Secondary
Ellen Winstead has been a Head of Schools since 2017. She started at YES Prep in 1999 as a classroom teacher, after teaching for four years in HISD as a 1995 Teach For America Houston corps member. In 2004, Ellen founded the Teaching Excellence program for YES Prep. In 2009, Ellen opened YES Prep West Secondary, where she established the first orchestra program at YES. 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. 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.
Antonio Castillo, principal of YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary, supports YES Prep Eisenhower High in his capacity as an executive principal.
Stephanie Gounder, principal of YES Prep Northside Secondary, supports YES Prep Northline Secondary in her capacity as an executive principal.
Secondary Executive Principal