Introducing Impact | Salish Sea Elementary’s Founding Principal and Faculty

As we approach summer, the Impact team is hard at work preparing for an excellent launch to the 2020-21 school year. While COVID presents uncertainty, we are committed to ensuring that all scholars have a joyous, inclusive, and engaging school experience in the fall. With that said, we are incredibly excited to announce next year’s faculty. You can see a brief bio on the full team, and, let’s start with our amazing principal, Lauren Ellis.

Lauren is truly the best of the best. We knew that we needed to find an exceptional leader to open our second school. Our team launched a national search and reviewed over 40 applicants. From the moment we spoke with Lauren in the fall we had a feeling she might be the “the one.” In conversations with Lauren, her warmth, dedication to young scholars, and fierce commitment to equity immediately stood out. And, she isn’t all talk – Lauren has the track record to prove that she runs amazing schools.

Lauren formally interviewed with Impact in the winter, where she engaged in a number of tasks aligned to the principal position. Faculty members and community partners participated in the interview, and everyone agreed that Lauren showed something special. Her ability to connect with others, to create a positive and joyful school culture, and coach teachers to be their best truly stood out. And, none of this was surprising. Prior to joining Impact, Lauren ran one of the highest performing Pre-K schools in Washington DC. In fact, she was so successful that she led a number of trainings for school principals, both in DC and nationally, and her school was consistently recognized for its outstanding achievement.

Outside of school, you are likely to find Lauren reading a novel, baking, traveling, and exploring the beautiful outdoors. Lauren attended The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education, and prior to being a principal she taught elementary school and worked internationally. We are thrilled for Lauren to bring all of her wonderful passions to Impact Public Schools.

We hope that the full Impact | Salish Sea Elementary ( I | SSE) community joins us in welcoming Lauren to the team. Lauren will be calling every I | SSE  family to personally introduce herself over the next few weeks. And, if you’d like to find other opportunities to engage with Lauren, please continue to check Impact’s Facebook page and the New Family Newsletter for upcoming events.

Founding Faculty at Impact | Salish Sea Elementary

Deandre Williams: Director of Operations

Deandre’s expertise lies in school operations and human resources.  Deandre led operations teams and processes to drive school success at both Friendship Public Charter School and Lee Montessori Public Charter School in Washington, DC. Deandre is an Alumnus of the Education Pioneer Graduate School Fellowship Program. As a fellow, Deandre worked at ReGenerations Schools in Chicago, IL. He led a variety of human resource projects and provided human capital advice to the organization to help optimize everyday processes. Before joining Impact, Deandre developed and managed alumni strategies and services for the Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program administered within the Scholarships and Programs Division under the UNCF K-12 Initiatives as a Relationship Manager. Deandre is currently earning a Doctor of Education (Human Resource Management) from Drexel University (Online). He holds a Master of Science in Administration from Trinity Washington University and an undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he majored in Sociology.

Alicia Roberts: Founding Lead Teacher

Alicia began her career in education working with Chicago Public Schools, where she supported and co-taught in Pre-K and Kindergarten classes for six years. In this role, Ms. Roberts provided direct support to young scholars and worked with families to ensure their child was thriving in school. Ms. Roberts then relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she taught Kindergarten and acted as mentor teacher for two  years at Somerset Academy. In Nevada, Ms. Roberts  strove to ensure that her scholars achieved mastery on key Common Core State Standards. Ms. Roberts has always had a passion for education, and pursued an undergraduate degree in Educational Studies from Grand Canyon University. She then went on to earn a MA in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Roberts is excited to move to the Pacific Northwest and help launch Impact | Salish Sea Elementary!

Caity Dietz: Founding Lead Teacher

Caity is a Washington native and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, WA. Her parents still live in Washington, and her younger brother is studying in London. Ms. Dietz is a University of Washington Alumni and avid Husky Football fan. Following graduation from UW, she attended the College of William & Mary in Virginia earning a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education with an English Language Learner (ELL) Dual Endorsement. Through a friend from UW, Ms. Dietz visited KIPP DC and fell in love with the “Team & Family” culture. She worked at KIPP DC for four and a half years in Kindergarten, Preschool and First Grade. Wanting to be closer to home, Ms. Dietz moved back to Seattle and worked at Northgate Elementary School before transferring to Assumption St. Bridget School. Ms. Dietz has spent the past year teaching Kindergarten with Impact and is thrilled to help start Impact | Salish Sea Elementary.

Ivory Stewart: Founding Lead Learning Specialist

Ivory holds an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S) from the University of Mississippi, where she graduated top of her class.  She also holds a Master’s degree from Christian Brothers University, and a Bachelor’s from Rust College.  Ms. Stewart is certified in Educational Leadership (K-12), multiple general education subjects, and Special Education (K-12).  Her professional career in education is extensive, with experience as a general education teacher, special education teacher, Response to Intervention Coordinator, and District Advisor for Exceptional Students. Ms. Stewart has also been trained by New Leaders for New Schools, a prestigious organization that aims to recruit and train school leaders who focus on improving education results for all scholars. Ms. Stewart believes that all scholars have the right to a first rate education and that all scholars can and should achieve. 

Jill Knutson: Founding Lead Teacher

Jill has over seven years of Pre-K teaching experience in Seattle. Ms. Knutson has a track record of success in her classroom, and has led professional development series and mentored intern teachers who are newer to the field. Ms. Knutson is deeply committed to Impact’s mission, core values, and early childhood development philosophy. She has ample experience with thematic and play based instruction and deeply values the whole child approach and emphasis on social emotional learning. Ms. Knutson will be a phenomenal addition to the team and will flourish in preparing young TK scholars for kindergarten.

Aubrey McCann: Founding Teaching Fellow

Aubrey spent the past year at Aki Kurose Middle School as a City Year corps member, part of the Americorps program. Ms. McCann had plenty of experience working with young people prior to Aki – she was a childcare associate with the YMCA for five years, where she worked directly with children of all ages. Aubrey loves working with kids and believes that every child has limitless potential. Aubrey is consistently inspired by the children that she teaches and will fit right in with the Impact community.

Grace Green: Founding Teaching Fellow

Grace spent the past year working in Seattle’s Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and served as an Ambassador for City Year. In this capacity, Ms. Green led reading and writing workshops, facilitated social emotional learning groups, and supported the school’s theater program. Ms. Green is a proud graduate of Salisbury University where she studied politics and international relations with a Spanish minor. Ms. Green is passionate about education reform and is deeply inspired by Impact’s mission. Ms. Green is a tremendous educator and is excited to join the I | SSE team.

Shareece DeLeon: Founding Teaching Fellow

Shareece is a Washington native who is deeply committed to public education in her home state. Ms. DeLeon has significant experience working with young children, serving as a childcare provider at YMCA sites and through a number of local programs. Ms. DeLeon was immediately drawn to Impact’s culture of joy, positivity, and rigor.

We are deeply grateful for the dedication of our Impact | SSE faculty as we prepare to launch the 2020-2021 school year!