Executive Leadership Team
Marie’s favorite activity is running… to catch up with her three children and husband or around Lake Merritt in Oakland where she resides.
After graduating with a BA in Psychology, Philonda joined the 2005 Houston Teach For America Corps. She taught pre-kindergarten for two years at Clemente Martinez Elementary School in the 5th Ward. In 2007, Philonda joined KIPP DC: LEAP Academy as a Founding Lead Teacher. At KIPP, she fell even more in love with teaching, leading, and serving. At this time, KIPP DC was expanding their elementary school program and she was asked to open up their second early childhood school in Southeast Washington, DC. In July 2009, Philonda and 13 courageous staff members opened KIPP DC: Discover Academy. She served as Founding Principal at Discover Academy for eight years. During her time as a school leader, Philonda earned her MS in Leadership with a concentration in Adult Learning from Northeastern University. When Philonda is not supporting leaders and teachers in their classrooms, you can find her writing, reading, or enjoying Soul Cycle.
Prior to becoming Chief People Officer, David served as KIPP Bay Area Public Schools Managing Director of Talent, Managing Director of Student Services, and the Director of KIPP Through College, as well as the school leader at KIPP Bridge Charter School in Oakland, California from 2003 – 2009. Before joining KIPP, David taught 7th and 8th grade Social Studies in Baltimore, Maryland as a Teach For America corps member. A Bay Area native, he is a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.A.) and Johns Hopkins University (M.A.T.), as a well as the 2002 KIPP School Leadership Program. David lives in the East Bay with his wife and two sons.
In her current role as Managing Director of Schools, Judy appreciates the opportunity to continue her work in her community where she oversees their three San Jose middle schools.
In addition to her role at KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, Judy serves as a Leadership Coach for the KIPP Foundation where she coaches 14 school leaders in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and Denver. She previously worked on the KIPP School Leadership Programs team where she led professional development programming for emerging leaders across the KIPP network.
Ruchi originally hails from the East coast, but has quickly converted to Bay Area living. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, young son, and dog.
Regional Support Office Leadership Team
Alexei grew up in Jamaica and continues to have strong ties to communities in the Caribbean and Caribbean-based communities in the US. His focus is to drive all students to excel and to build the next generation to be intellectually capable and focused on effecting positive change in their communities and the world at large. Alexei enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending time with friends, family, and his lovely wife, Elizabeth.
Elise Gresch joined KIPP Bay Area Public Schools in 2014 as our first Director of Technology. In her current role as Director of Data & Evaluation, Elise is sculpting our data infrastructure strategy, improving team members’ access to key data, and driving regional analysis and evaluation. Prior to joining KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, Elise ran Product Development and Marketing for a San Francisco-based educational game and toy publisher after an early career in investment banking, strategy consulting, and private equity. She received her MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and her bachelor’s from Georgetown University.
Elise lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. They love to camp and explore the outdoors.
Julie has a M.A. in Public Health Administration from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, daughter, and also her son when he is home from college.
Ben is responsible for building a pipeline of over a 1,500 teacher applicants and managing a team of external recruiters who find top talent and support school leaders in selecting the strongest applicants. Ben also launched our Teaching Residency in partnership with the Alder School of Education. The Teacher Residency will fuel our growth by allowing us to recruit, train, and certify our own teachers while training them in the KIPP context.
As the Director of Partnerships, Ally Thurman develops and manages corporate and nonprofit partnerships to provide our students and alumni with increased access to opportunities. Ally joined KIPP in 2013 as part of the development team, working primarily with foundation and corporate supporters. Prior to KIPP, Ally worked in nonprofit marketing and community outreach in Chicago. A Midwest native, Ally holds a B.A. in Communications from Ball State University and an M.A. from DePaul University. She lives in Oakland and can most often be found at Lake Merritt.
Anthony Wilson is the Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at KIPP. In this capacity, Anthony leads a team to organize families, establish cultures of advocacy within the school community, lead political action, and create authentic engagement opportunities and experiences with parents. Prior to this role, Anthony founded and operated a nonprofit foundation for Black and Brown boys in Houston, TX. He is an incredibly proud alum of Xavier University of Louisiana where he majored in Political Science and English. In his free time, Anthony is writing poetry and prose, dancing in the streets, fomenting revolution, reading Baldwin, practicing radical vulnerability, or failing at something epic. Fueling Anthony are his nine nieces and nephews who remind him of what perfect freedom looks like.
School Leadership Team
Outside of school, Kate enjoys cooking, reading, traveling the world, and exploring the beautiful Bay Area. After spending many years in high school, Kate has become deeply aware of the importance of an excellent preK-12 education in order to best prepare our students for success in college. She is inspired to return to her middle school roots and to learn about elementary education and she is honored to create more educational opportunities for students in the Bay Area!
Salomé was born in the East Bay and is proud to be a daughter of immigrants and a Latina educator who comes from a long line of educators in their home countries. She lives in Oakland with her eight-year-old son and enjoys spending time with her extended family. Salomé is excited to join the dedicated team at KIPP Bridge and meet all of the scholars and their families.
In wanting to be a part of a larger conversation about Asian And Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in higher education, Megan joined the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund as the Director of Programs and Student Affairs. Working with APIASF and Gates Millennium Scholars from across the country, Megan developed a more nuanced view of AAPI’s barriers to higher education, specifically within the Pacific Islander community. After a fateful school tour of KIPP Summit Academy, she moved back from the east coast to teach at KSA. She’s taught 5th, 7th, and 8th grades, and has held GLC/ELA department chair roles. Megan is excited to continue working at KIPP Summit to further her commitment to ensuring KIPPsters are critical thinkers and passionate readers.
As the Vice Principal of Instruction, Michelle led the implementation of ACT Interim Assessments, data-driven instruction, and content team vision and execution. As a result of this work, her team achieved some of the top scores in the KIPP network. Her passion to open a STEM school in an underserved community began while working on Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota from 2009-13. Michelle established the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Science Program and was a Teach For America National Finalist for the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Her students and the community have had a lasting impact on her life and shaped who she is today. Michelle received her B.S. in Neuroscience with a pre-medicine concentration from St. Lawrence University. Outside of school, Michelle enjoys traveling, yoga, running, and exploring the California coast with her dog, Pepper.
graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a secondary major in Economics. Her involvement during college with Breakthrough Collaborative San Jose solidified her commitment to working with students and ensuring that every student has access to an excellent education. Allie taught and led in Richmond, California. She was a Teach for America Bay Area corps member, teaching at a traditional public elementary school in Richmond. After teaching 2nd grade for two years at Nystrom Elementary, she started teaching at Richmond College Prep, a public K-6 charter school on the same city block.
During her fourth year of teaching, Allie participated in New Leaders’ Emerging Leaders program, leading the third grade team at the school. She then matriculated into New Leaders’ Aspiring Principals Program the year after. She had the incredible opportunity to stay at Richmond College Prep for her residency year, in an Assistant Principal role. She transitioned into a Principal role at the school for the 2015-16 school year and focused on putting in place structures for teacher collaboration and aligning the school’s curriculum and instruction to the Common Core State Standards. Most recently, Allie was part of Teach for America’s San Francisco team as a community coach for first and second year corps members who were teaching in traditional public and charter schools throughout the city.
Allie is excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a Fisher Fellow with KIPP this year, working to open KIPP’s first TK-4 elementary school in San Francisco. She believes in the importance of a connected and inclusive school community for all students, families, and staff. A community in which students receive rigorous instruction around academics and socialemotional learning every day and are valued for who they are, and the strengths that they bring. Allie is also hoping to implement an integrated arts program as part of her vision for the school. Music played an important role in Allie’s own life – she played violin from age 3 through college and believes that the experience allowed her to develop important character traits that helped her to be successful in various school settings.