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.
Stephanie Gounder has served as a Principal 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.
Prior to becoming Principal 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.
Andrea Citchen is in her 5th year at YES Prep Public Schools. This is her 1st year serving as principal of YES Prep Eisenhower High School. Andrea is a proud native of St. Louis, MO as well as a proud 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 9 years. Prior to joining KIPP, she was an elementary school teacher with Indianapolis Public Schools.
Antonio “Tony” Castillo is serving as the Principal at YES Prep Fifth Ward. Previously, Tony worked at YES Prep Southwest as a teacher and later an administrator. Tony served as Principal at YES Prep Southside and most recently was a Resident Principal at YES Prep Brays Oaks. Tony is a proud graduate of Rice University, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Earth Science – Geology.
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 pets (Leo Cat and Coco the Border Collie).
Chase Sander is the founding Principal at YES Prep Hobby. Chase previously served as the Principal of YES Prep Hoffman, and the 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.
Justin West is a proud Georgia native graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Child and Family Development. He was selected to be part of the Teach for America 2011 Houston Corps after teaching special education curriculum at an Atlanta elementary school for a year. He has served in YES Prep communities for the past eight years with most of his years and experience at YES Prep North Forest; he had the honor of teaching 7th grade ELA curriculum, and hold positions of grade level chair, HS Dean of Students and Director of Student Support. In the inaugural Resident School Director/Principal Pathway cohort, he worked in the YES Prep Northbrook High School community before being named Principal at YES Prep Hoffman for the 19-20 school year. He is honored to continue to lead in the efforts of bridging gaps within the Hoffman community through the YES Prep and Aldine Partnership. Justin is excited to work with the enthusiastic staff of YES Prep Hoffman, and continue to lead with YES at a campus that values fine arts and extracurricular sports for students.
Jeff Osborne is in his fourth year as Principal and first year at YES Prep Public Schools. Prior to becoming Principal at YES Prep North, Jeff served as a YES Prep Resident Principal and Director of Academics at YES Prep North Central. Arriving in Houston in the fall of 2016, Jeff was formerly 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 Learning, the founding School Director of DSST: Cole Middle School, and teacher of 6th grade science. Jeff is a Memphis 2006 Teach For America corps member and graduate of the University of Central Florida.
Michelle LaFlure is the founding Principal of one of the first two elementary campuses YES Prep will open in School year 20-21. Michelle served as a Principal at YES Prep North Central since 2014-2019. Prior to becoming the Principal, 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.
Prior to becoming Principal 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.
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. In 2010, Greg came to Houston as a Teacher for America corp member, and has stayed in Houston ever since! Before becoming School Director at YES Prep Northbrook, Greg had the opportunity to serve as a Resident School Director at YES Prep Fifth Ward and YES Prep North Central. 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.
Eric has worked for YES Prep for nine years and was the Principal 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.
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 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 Principal 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 is currently the Director of Academics at YES Prep Northwest. 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 worked as the Director of Academics at YES Prep Southeast for three years prior to becoming Principal. 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.
Prior to YES Prep, Diana 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 serving as Principal of YES Prep Southside, 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. Jamie also served as the Principal at YES Prep Eisenhower before transferring to Southside.
Prior to becoming Principal 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.
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.
Previously, Jennifer Greene served as Principal 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.
Head of Schools
- Fifth Ward
- North Central
- North Forest
Head of Schools
- Brays Oaks
- East End
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.
Head of Schools
Ashleigh Fritz joined YES Prep as a founding staff member at YES Prep West in 2009 after serving two years in the Alief ISD as a Teachers for America corps member. She donned many roles during her eight-year tenure at YES Prep West including teacher, Dean, and School Director (SD). After graduating the first two classes of seniors at West as SD, Ashleigh transitioned to the Southside campus to lead the turnaround work and launch the high school. She is committed to being a resource and support not just for her students and teachers, but for the whole YES Prep community. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Ashleigh holds a B.A. in Economics from Denison University.
Head of Schools
- Northbrook High School
- Northbrook Middle School
- White Oak
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.
Elementary Head of Schools
- North Central Elementary School
- Southeast Elementary School
Elizabeth 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 working with the ELA, ESL, and Spanish departments, as well as the sixth and eighth grade teams. Elizabeth joined YES Prep for the 2019-20 school year to launch the first ever YES Prep Elementary campuses in 2020-21.