Two years ago, YES Prep made a commitment to bring YES Prep education to elementary students across the city. We’re proud to say we have welcomed over 1,500 elementary students and their families into our YES Prep community that spans across four elementary schools – YES Prep North Central Elementary, YES Prep Southside Elementary, YES Prep North Forest Elementary and YES Prep Southeast Elementary.
But our journey isn’t over.
This year, we announced the two most recent elementary schools — YES Prep Airline Elementary and YES Prep East End Elementary — which will impact families from the East End and Northline communities. Our new founding principals are excited to meet, inspire and connect with our future students and bring quality YES Prep education to their lives.
Our two new principals are no strangers to the education space. They exemplify what YES Prep leadership looks like in action!
Founding school principals
Cynovia Hall, YES Prep Airline Elementary
Before joining the YES Prep family, Cynovia Hall was a Corps Member with Teach for America and served as an assistant principal with HISD, where she developed leaders for years but had not had the opportunity to engage in ongoing development for herself. Determined to prioritize her development as a leader, Hall joined YES Prep in June 2020 to participate in the Principal Pathway Program. Hall shared that her experience with the program has been unmatched. “YES Prep’s program is unique. I’ve never had time to consider why I lead the way I do and consider the impact it has on the teams I lead. This program allows for that.”
As an external candidate, the Principal Pathway program gave Hall the opportunity to learn how YES Prep works, build relationships and strengthen growth areas. Having gone through the program, she readily accepted the role as founding principal of YES Prep Airline Elementary.
At the helm of YES Prep Airline Elementary
As she prepares to open YES Prep Airline Elementary in August 2022, her vision for the school is to create an exceptional and holistic elementary school experience for students, family and staff. Hall shared that she is an advocate for equity and will work to ensure her students receive an excellent education and an abundance of opportunities.
As for her founding YES Prep Airline Elementary's “dream team”, it is important for Hall that they all be rooted in equity, with a strong belief in excellence. “My team will operate with urgency, understanding that every minute matters with our most vulnerable and influential students. We understand that excellence is not created by ‘happenstance’, but by reflection, practicing effectively, doing it again, celebrating and monitoring progress towards ambitious goals for ALL.”
We understand that excellence is not created by ‘happenstance’, but by reflection, practicing effectively, doing it again, celebrating and monitoring progress towards ambitious goals for ALL.
If you would like to learn more about YES Prep Airline Elementary, please click here.
Brian Vannest, YES Prep East End Elementary
Originally from Ohio and coming from a large family, Brian Vannest has always enjoyed interacting with children of different ages, and so he knew he wanted to work in various levels of education. His first teaching experience was as a second-grade teacher, followed by third grade, and then seventh-grade math, which he taught for several years at YES Prep. He has also served at the high school level in an administrator role for three years and as an elementary school principal for four years, both with HISD.
Vannest has worked in several Houston schools districts but decided to come back to YES Prep in 2020 to join the Principal Pathway program. “When I learned that YES Prep would open elementary schools, I knew I wanted to be a part of that work. The principal residency allowed me to transition back to YES Prep and make many new connections in the organization before founding YES Prep East End Elementary.” Vannest added that through the program, he was able to both observe as well as practice the key moves that YES Prep principals make in order to achieve jaw-dropping results alongside their teams.
Prepared to lead YES Prep East End Elementary
As Vannest works to lay the foundation for a successful opening of YES Prep East End Elementary, he shared that he and his team will lead with the belief that students, staff and families deserve great care and are destined for great things. He added, “taking great care means offering powerful learning experiences for each student every day. Great care looks like support when students and families need help and will be seen in our best-in-class service and open communication.” Vannest shared that he is committed to achieving success by demonstrating great care to his staff through the tools, training and help needed to do their jobs effectively. “When our staff truly connects with students and their families, we will be better able to understand one another, trust one another and accomplish amazing things together!”
When our staff truly connects with students and their families, we will understand one another, trust one another and accomplish amazing things together!
To read more about YES Prep East End Elementary, we invite you to click here.
Join our family and be part of our founding schools
Hall and Vannest have been making their rounds in the communities they will serve in order to raise awareness of their new elementary schools. This school year they’ve dedicated time and attention to working diligently in the community, meeting families and hiring the founding staff for their respective schools.
YES Prep East End Elementary and YES Prep Airline Elementary will be opening in the 2022-2023 school year and, for the first year, will serve kids pre-kindergarten through second grade, and will continue to grow up until fifth grade. We are currently accepting applications for both of these schools for the upcoming school year. To learn more and apply, click here.
As mentioned, the founding principals have also been working towards hiring the schools' founding staff. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching at YES, click here.