The Principal Pathway Residency Program exists to build a bench of high-performing, humble leaders who serve to fulfill the YES Prep mission and vision as a potential principal. Resident Principals are one to two year paid position that offers individualized development and coaching under the guidance of a campus Lead Principal and Head of Schools.
After a highly competitive selection process, YES Prep is excited to announce the third cohort of Resident Principals for the 2020-2021 school year.
Naketchia was raised in Ville Platte, LA, a rural town in southwestern Louisiana and the hometown of both of her parents. She excelled in high school, and following graduation, she enrolled at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Seeking a more grounded collegiate experience, she eventually transferred to Grambling State University, a historically black institution in Northeast Louisiana. She graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and remained at the university for an additional two years working as an Admission Counselor and Recruiter. She credits her time at Grambling with sparking her interest in college access work and highlighting the importance of students finding their best-fit college experience. In addition to her work in college admissions, Naketchia enters the Resident Principal Pathway Program having taught middle school English Language Arts at Ville Platte High School (Evangeline Parish School Board) and Attucks Middle School (Houston ISD). In her eight years at YES Prep North Forest, she served in many capacities including Freshman Seminar Teacher, Senior Seminar Content Leader, College Counselor, and Director of College Counseling. Naketchia’s journey has taught her a great deal about duty, sacrifice, and the disparities that exist in our education system. She is excited to bring her passion for college access to this new role
Chela was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and moved to Houston as a Teach For America corps member in 2012. Most recently, Chela served as the Director of Student Support at her TFA placement school, YES Prep Northbrook Middle School. Chela has also served as a founding sixth Language Arts teacher at YES Prep Northbrook Middle, seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at YES Prep Hoffman, Grade Level Chair, Dean of Students, and Dean of Students Team Lead. Chela has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Education degree from Columbia University in Organization and Leadership-School Building Leadership. Also, Chela was a part of the YES Prep Aspire- School Director cohort. Chela’s grandmother was a Fisk University student who participated in sit-ins to de-segregate public venues and a grassroots organizer in Nashville, TN. Chela honors her grandmother’s legacy by making education equity her civil rights movement. As a former college track athlete, Chela loves running and working out. Additionally, she enjoys being a foodie and working on her small travel itinerary company, Lux for the Low.
Cynovia is a native Houstonian and first-generation college student born to Immigrant parents. She joined the education field by way of Teach For America after completing her undergraduate studies at Texas State University in 2012. She began teaching in Houston Independent School District at Woodson K-8 Leadership Academy. She worked as a founding teacher at Democracy Prep Congress Heights, a turnaround charter school in Washington D.C. Upon returning to Houston, she continued working in HISD teaching third, sixth, seventh and eighth grade. She served as a Teacher Specialist at Pin Oak Middle School in which she focused on developing teachers’ instructional practice and building capacity around closing academic gaps. She most recently served as the Assistant Principal of Kashmere Gardens Elementary School where she was recognized as the Assistant Principal of the Year. Over the years, she’s received several honors such as Teacher of the Year and an Education Scholarship recipient at The University of St. Thomas, where she earned her master’s degree. She’s had the opportunity to speak at several events and share her passion for education. She uses every platform to incite a call to action for all stakeholders, decision-makers, and education advocates. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging with her family, exercising, traveling or trying out random adventurous activities like sky diving!
Selina was raised in Florida by a single father, graduated with her B.A. in English from Florida State University and her M.Ed. in English Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Being a life-long caretaker of her brother with autism, Selina always knew her career would be centered on ensuring all students receive a quality, life-changing education. She began teaching English in Tallahassee, Florida before relocating to Houston. Selina taught for two years at Marshall Middle School in Fifth Ward, and in 2012, began working at YES Prep Brays Oaks. While at Brays Oaks, Selina taught English I and Reading Intervention, transitioning into the Literacy Specialist role for the next two years. From 2015-2018, Selina was a Dean of Instruction, where she coached teachers in multiple contents and worked closely with the Dean of Students to bridge the gap between academics and culture. Additionally, Selina served as Course Leader and Course Facilitator for Seventh Grade Reading Lab and participated in the Aspire Cohort of Leading Excellence in 2018. After six years at Brays Oaks, Selina transitioned to YES Prep Northbrook HS as the Director of Academics. During her time at Northbrook HS, she has had the unique experience of working at a partnership school and a campus that was founded in restorative justice practices. Selina is excited to begin the Principal Pathway Program and continue to grow as an unapologetic, Black woman leader at YES Prep Public Schools.
Ryans is originally from Johnson City, Tennessee, and began her career in education there, working summers at the day programs within the public-school district. After graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Emily taught kindergarten within the Johnson City School District. Teach For America brought Emily to Houston in 2011, where she taught fifth grade at Gallegos Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. While at Gallegos, Emily held the positions of Grade Level Chair, Lead Literacy Teacher, and Summer Institute Director for developing staff. She also received the Kinder Award for Excellence in Teaching. Emily then moved to Elmore Elementary, where she was a founding staff member and leader for five years. Before transitioning to the Resident Principal role, Emily most recently served as a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest. During her time at Southwest, she completed her Texas Principal Certification and Master of Educational Leadership Degree from the University of St. Thomas. Emily is ecstatic about continuing to learn more about strong leadership while continuing to serve the students within the YES Prep family. Emily spends her free time with her husband Jaime, who is also an educator. Together, they love reading, cooking with new recipes, traveling, spending time with their huge families, and going to concerts.
The child of two teachers, Brian grew up in southeast Ohio before attending Miami University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership with a minor in Economics. After graduating, Brian moved to Houston as a Teach For America Corp Member at Gallegos Elementary. Brian joined the YES Prep family in 2010, teaching seventh grade to the first graduating class of YES Prep West and continuing for two more years. At night, Brian earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Rice University along with his Texas principal certification. He then served three years at Westside High School as the Dean of Instruction. Since 2016, Brian has served the Braeburn Valley West community as the principal at Valley West Elementary. Brian is thrilled to rejoin the YES Prep team. When at home, Brian enjoys biking and camping with his family as well as learning new woodworking and tech skills.
These six candidates will be under the guidance of Head of Schools Charlie Schmidt, along with our Lead Principals: Chase Sander, YES Prep Hobby; Eileen Galligan, YES Prep Southeast; Eric Newcomer, YES Prep Northbrook Middle School; James Mosley, YES Prep Northside; Jamie Downs, YES prep Southside; and Stephanie Gounder, YES Prep Brays Oaks.
To learn more about our Principal Pathway Residency Program, including requirements, please click here. https://www.yesprep.org/join-our-team/why-yes-prep/development-leadership/principal-pathway