- STEM Teachers
- Humanities Teachers
- Special Education Teachers
- School Support Team
- Operations Team
- Katie Adenrele: Assistant Principal
- Chelsea Allen: Assistant Principal
- Mashea Ashton: CEO & Principal
- Alexis Brown: Director of Curriculum and Instruction
- Dietra Hunter: Assistant Principal
- Erum Siddiqui: Assistant Principal
- Divinda Willis: Assistant Principal
- Aliss Williams
- Peter Savedge
Katie Adenrele: Assistant Principal
Katie is excited to join the DPA team as the Director of Talent and Special Projects. Katie brings nearly 10 years of educational experience to the team. As a first generation college graduate, Katie values and is passionate about urban education and access to college and career pathways. She is a firm believer in the words of the late Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon.” She is committed to arming her scholars with education so they may change the world around them and create purposeful and beautiful lives for themselves and their future families. An Indiana native, she graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Communication and an M.A in Educational Leadership from George Washington University. She was a Health/PE teacher at KIPP Indianapolis, worked with TFA, and was a KIPP Through College Manager. She enjoys working out, trying new recipes and spending time with her family.
Chelsea Allen: Assistant Principal
While this is Chelsea's first year at DPA, it is her 10th year teaching and leading. Before moving to D.C, Chelsea founded a high school in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans and taught 9th grade English, along with leading the 9th grade teaching team. Chelsea's belief that all scholars can grow and achieve their goals, no matter where their starting point is, fuels her. As a leader, Chelsea works hard to help teachers grow in order to be their absolute best for scholars as well.
Mashea Ashton: CEO & Principal
Mashea recently returned to the Washington, D.C. area after spending the last 20 years advancing innovations and scaling best practices in urban education across the country. Mashea is deeply committed to providing the best education and opportunities for scholars living in Ward 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C. Her family has been in Washington, D.C. for six generations and her early career started as a special education teacher at Anne Beers elementary in D.C. Most recently, Mashea served as the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she oversaw a $48 million initiative to support the quality growth of charter schools. Before leading the Newark Charter School Fund, Mashea served as the executive director for the New York Program, and senior advisor for charter school policy, for New Leaders for New Schools. Mashea has also served as the executive director for Charter Schools for the New York City Department of Education and the national director of recruitment and selection for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). Mashea is a frequent speaker and panelist for charter school and education reform advocacy organizations around the country.
Mashea has a M.Ed. in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities and emotional disturbance and a B.A. in sociology and elementary education from the College of William and Mary. She and her husband are the proud parents of twins who are in fourth grade.
Alexis Brown: Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Alexis Brown is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Principal In-Residence at Digital Pioneers Academy in SE DC. Alexis has been with DPA since the founding year in 2018, and has served a multitude of positions #startup. Before DPA, Alexis taught middle school science and math and served as a Teach for America corps member. Alexis is deeply committed to developing the pipeline of BIPOC in STEM careers and her passion for educational equity stems from her own experience studying in engineering.
Dietra Hunter: Assistant Principal
Dietra joins Digital Pioneers Academy with a passion for helping students reach their full potential in education as well as in their personal lives. Dietra is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia and has obtained a master’s degree and Advanced Certificate in Human Resource Management from Adelphi University in New York. Dietra began her journey in education by way of Teach for America. Dietra possesses a teaching certification from East Carolina University. During her time with Teach for America, she served as a High School Math Teacher and Department Chair in North Carolina. Dietra has worked with many organizations including the Bridges to Adelphi Program which provides services to students on the Autism Spectrum or have nonverbal learning disorders. For the past two years, Dietra has served as an Academic Program Manager for Strategix Management funded by the Department of Labor. Dietra is passionate about connecting education and psychology and is committed to bridging the gap for all students.
Erum Siddiqui: Assistant Principal
Erum Siddiqui joined Digital Pioneers Academy with a mission to foster excellence and innovation for a next generation of leaders. Erum has built her career around growing organizations that promote a stronger more equitable world through the lens of education. Erum's career in education began as she piloted literacy support programs for immigrant communities in her home state of Minnesota. In 2014, Erum moved to Washington, DC to serve as a STEM teacher and leader at Potomac High School in Prince George's County, Maryland and has since made Washington, DC her home. Erum has a B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development from the University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences. In her free time, Erum enjoys coaching youth soccer in DC.
Divinda Willis: Assistant Principal
Divinda is a Brooklyn native. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Brooklyn College and a MS in Education, focused on adolescent mathematics from grades 7 to 12 from St. John’s University. Her career as a middle school math teacher and leader involved serving the underserved with the NYC Department of Education for 4 years and Ascend Public Charter School for 4 years. She is dedicated to creating the type of learning environment where all scholars are capable of academic success regardless of the barriers.
Aliss Williams was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended Coppin State University, where she completed her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Work and Special Education. She’s worked in the Baltimore City School System for over 13 years in the urban area of northwest Baltimore. Because she too grew up in urban areas, it has always been her passion to give back to Baltimore. Aliss later continued her career at a non-public level five school, which allowed her the opportunity to work with students with emotional and learning disabilities. While working there, she went back to school to complete her master certificate in Restorative Practice, and she is now pursuing my master's degree. In total, Aliss has worked with inner city Baltimore youth for over 30 years, and she looks forward to making a difference in youth lives at DPA.
Peter is a native of “the home of pork, peanut, and pine,” Surry County, Virginia. He is a 2017 alumnus of Hampton University (Hampton, VA) where he obtained a B.A. in History. Upon graduating from Hampton, Peter relocated to the DMV area and began his career in education. He is a graduate of the Relay Graduate School of Education and the KIPP DC Capital Teaching Residency program. Peter is an avid binge-watcher who also enjoys reading, and singing.
- Maymuna Abdi
- Azmi Abusam
- DeVante Caldwell
- Gloria Harding
- Mariah Hudzick
- Hermann Noudja
- Amanze Onyewuchi
- David Roberts
- Demetrius Seay
After serving a year with AmeriCorps, Maymuna found her passion for education and advocating for marginalized communities to promote an equal and equitable education system for all. She believes that every child should have the same quality of education regardless of who they are and where they come from. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Kenyon College and her Master of Arts in Education Policy and Advocacy from Georgetown University. Throughout her time at DPA, she hopes to be able to impact her scholars by teaching them, learning from them and collaborating with them.
Azmi is excited to return to the DPA family as a STEM Teacher. In his own family, he is a proud brother and uncle. In his free time, he enjoys playing recreational basketball, reading, hiking, seeing live music, and spending time with friends! He is passionate about math and computer science and the future of technology. He worked with his brother to launch a tech startup that made apps for higher education.
As a native of Southeast Washington, D.C., DeVanté has dedicated his time to working with children East of the River to provide academic, emotional, and social support. As a STEM teacher, he works to instill the love of learning in scholars by bringing to life the concepts of the world through Math and Computer Science. Before joining DPA, he worked for various education entities including DCPS, City Year, and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. DeVanté is an alumnus of both Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and American University in D.C.
Gloria Harding is a DC transplant by way of St. Louis, MO. After living as a nomadic teacher for 3 years, she joins the DPA team with a thirst to consistently serve. Gloria prides herself on being a person for the people: all people deserve the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe space where their needs are advocated for. This understanding has led Gloria to develop skills to translate information into multiple formats for diverse audiences. Gloria began teaching in 2015 after completing her BA in Secondary Education, Biology 6-12. Since then, she has received her MS in Curriculum and Instruction and her MS in Special Education K-12. Gloria brings her experience, education, and enthusiasm as tools to push the mission of DPA forward.
Mariah was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and attended Spelman college where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in education. Upon graduation, Mariah moved to Houston where she taught math and science for five years in Houston Public Schools. During this time, Mariah was awarded teacher of the year, received a Master’s degree in Education, and began her Ph.D program at Grand Canyon University. In her free time Mariah enjoys binge watching shows, traveling the world and spending time with her family.
Kyle is originally from New York. Proud of where he came from, he also recognizes the opportunity he was afforded because of that. He desires to teach the next generation to question, think critically, and lead. He believes education is the great leveler in our society and it needs to be used for the enlightenment and empowerment of all. Kyle is a history nerd, a sports fanatic, and an avid baker.
Brittany is from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and recently relocated to the DMV area to further her career in education. Brittany has previously worked with second and third graders at charter schools in Pittsburgh. Brittany joins DPA as an 8th grade humanities teacher and is excited to grow here at DPA and help scholars reach their maximum potential. Brittany is a mother of 3 who enjoys traveling the world with her children. She also loves fashion, shoes and taking naps.
Sam is originally from New England. He received his bachelor's degree in Social Studies Ed. with a minor in Theatre Arts from Ithaca College in New York, but returned to Boston where he worked for 7 years as a teacher and administrator at a charter public school in Roxbury. In 2019, he received his master's degree in Educational Administration. He recently moved to the DMV, and is thankful for its beautiful weather, rich culture, and refreshing lack of Patriots fans. A musician and food lover, Sam spends a lot of free time either practicing various instruments, planning the next experimental meal, or watching a good movie.
Erin Roberts, a Chicago native, is a secondary Humanities teacher. She graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications and soon after started her career in education. While at MSU, Ms. Roberts was involved in various organizations and committees such as Women’s Basketball, university orchestra, and Residence Life & Housing. Ms. Roberts aspires to build her own charter school(s) in inner cities and provide the community with resources and services. In her free time, Ms. Roberts enjoys listening to music, meditating, and being creative. Her philosophy in life is “Always show mercy when you have the advantage.”
Special Education Teachers
School Support Team
- Jacqueline Baron: Social Worker
- DeVanté Caldwell: Dean of SEL
- Beonca Garnett: Teacher Aide
- Kiyah Holloman: Dean of SEL
- Keia Kelly: Dean of SEL
- Neil (Tarneil) Miller: Dean of SEL
- Shawn Pelote: Dean of SEL
- DeShawn Singleton: Dean of SEL
Jacqueline Baron: Social Worker
Jacqueline is proud to bring to DPA her passion for education and socio-emotional learning. Jacqueline began her professional career with TFA in San Antonio, Texas. During her three years at SJ Davis Middle School, she taught ELA and AVID, coached several sports teams, and served as treasurer for TFASA’s Council of Elders, an alumni organization dedicated to mentoring current TFA Corps members. She later co-founded EAST, an organization of educators seeking to embrace, educate, and empower the East Side community of San Antonio through culturally responsive pedagogy and community outreach. Jacqueline has an M.A. in Clinical Social Work with an emphasis on Family Systems and Violence Prevention from the University of Chicago. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has experience facilitating psychosocial groups focused on subjects such as grief and loss, peer relationships, anger management, and social skills.
DeVanté Caldwell: Dean of SEL
DeVanté is pleased to return to the DPA team as a Dean of SEL and Enrichment Coordinator. As a native of Southeast Washington, D.C., DeVanté has dedicated his time to working with children East of the River to provide academic, emotional, and social support. Before joining DPA, he worked for various education entities including DCPS, City Year, and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. DeVanté is an alumnus of both Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and American University in D.C.
Beonca Garnett: Teacher Aide
Beonca Garnett, a native of Washington, DC joins DPA as a Student Support. Beonca got into teaching by volunteering at her son's school and from that experience knew then that teaching was what she wanted to do. She began taking steps toward becoming certified to teach and later on began her studies in education in 2018 at University of the District of Columbia. Prior to that, she worked with students of all ages in charter schools and day care centers. Beonca discovered that older grade school age was the right fit and now DPA is her home and she is looking forward to the future with the team!
Kiyah Holloman: Dean of SEL
Kiyah’s career in extended education began seven years ago when she started hosting leadership development conferences with the College Success Foundation. In 2015, she became the Education Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington (BGCGW). Her role with BGCGW evolved, growing from Grants Specialist to Program Director. As a native Washingtonian, Kiyah has an unmatched understanding of the youth. She can both sympathize with their frustrations and celebrate their wins as if they were her own. She takes pride in being relatable and leading through transparency.
Keia Kelly: Dean of SEL
Keia Kelly is a native Washingtonian. Keia attended Mary Baldwin college. She started her 10 years in education in DCPS working with special education students. She has held various roles in the education system from behavior management to attendance coordinator. She has worked in public and non-public schools throughout the city. She joined DPA with the hope of providing her students with a quality education so they are able to thrive in 21st century careers.
Neil (Tarneil) Miller: Dean of SEL
Tarneil moved to Washington, D.C. in 2017 to serve as an Assistant Dean of Culture in a D.C. public charter high school. Tarneil believes in openness and allowing room for each individual student to feel safe to express themselves. The techniques he has used with students include relationship building, anger management, coping skills, meditation, and code switching. Tarneil has always had a soft heart for struggling youth. Raised by a single mother in a small two-bedroom apartment with six other siblings, he understands the unique challenges struggling youth face. He practices a philosophy of openness, believing in the power of student advocacy and autonomy in student behavioral management. Before working in charter schools, Tarneil served as a social worker in Arkansas for over two years, where he implemented protection plans, conducted home and school visits, provided family services, and facilitated foster care services.
Shawn Pelote: Dean of SEL
DeShawn Singleton: Dean of SEL
- Nate Gilbert: Technology Support Specialist
- Sheree Lancaster: Operations Associate
- Alfred Mason: Associate Director of Operations