School Leaders

Tracy Allen, Founding Principal, EAGLE Mesa

Tracy Allen

Tracy has a diverse background including working in the technology industry before teaching “at risk” students and English Language Learners (ELL) in the Phoenix area. She has also been a data/instructional coach, working with teachers to improve the quality of education for all students.

As Dean of Students at EAGLE Harmony during the 2012-13 school year, Tracy worked closely with the principal to coach and guide staff through culture building and implemented a school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiative. She served as Interim Principal at EAGLE Harmony before taking on the Founding Principal role at EAGLE Mesa.

Tracy continues to grow as a leader by participating in programs such as Aspiring Leaders Fellowship through the Arizona Charter Schools Association and completing her doctorate degree in educational leadership with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction.

TarynAnn Barry, Principal, EAGLE Tower Grove South


TarynAnn has a passion for literacy and creating learning opportunities for a variety of unique learners. She is very excited to be in St. Louis and loves working with the scholars and families of EAGLE Tower Grove South.

TarynAnn is an alumnus of Lafayette College in Easton, PA. She holds a bachelor of arts in history and government & law and a master of science in teaching from Fordham University in childhood general and special education. TarynAnn is also a 2009 New York City Teach For America Corps Member and is still actively involved in the organization.

Before joining EAGLE, TarynAnn was the Founding Director of Special Education and Learning Support at Brilla College Prep Public Charter School in the Bronx, New York. TarynAnn worked closely with staff, students and families to create a learning environment that was conducive to the needs of all students. Prior to Brilla, TarynAnn served as the Learning Support Coordinator at Leadership Prep Brownsville, an Uncommon School located in Brooklyn, New York. At Leadership Prep, TarynAnn also taught reading and math interventions to scholars ranging in age from Kindergarten to 4th grade. She began her career as a Special Education teacher at PS 79 in the Bronx, New York, teaching 4th and 5th grade self-contained Special Education.

Crystal Danzy, Principal, EAGLE South Mountain

C. Danzy

Crystal’s career has been dedicated to transforming teachers’ and students’ perspectives on learning, growth, and achievement. She began teaching in 2001 as a 6th grade teacher and later used her early childhood training to teach 1st grade. Her love for teaching literacy led her to the middle school level and then on to an alternative high school as a reading specialist. She was given the opportunity to take on the role of principal at this high school. Following that principalship, Crystal became the Director of Credit Recovery for the Casa Grande Union High School District.

Crystal then decided to challenge herself to make a difference in the lives of students living in an urban area and became a part of the EAGLE team. She had the honor of being selected for the 2015-16 New Schools for Phoenix Fellowship while transitioning into this new and exciting leadership opportunity.

Crystal was born and raised in Detroit, MI and attended Eastern Michigan University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education. She also earned her master’s degree and her principal certificate from Northern Arizona University.

Emily Dittmer, Principal Fellow, EAGLE Tower Grove East

Emily Dittmer

Emily has seventeen years of experience in education and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Founding Principal.

Emily graduated from Concordia University in Nebraska and moved back home to St. Louis where she taught middle school language arts, art, and elementary music at CCLS in Kirkwood and Webster.  She went on to work as a music teacher at Ellisville Elementary in the Rockwood School District. In that position, she made literacy a focus through a grant that allowed her to integrate quality children’s literature into the music program.  She earned the honor of being Rockwood’s Teacher of the Year in 2009, received an Emerson Excellence in Teaching award, and a Character Education Partnership Promising Practice award for a service learning project she created.  Most recently, she held the position of Assistant Principal at Ellisville Elementary.

Emily earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lindenwood University and participated in Rockwood’s Administrative Leadership Development program. She is currently pursuing her educational specialist degree in school administration.

Marvin English, Founding Principal, EAGLE Fox Park


Marvin has taught at very prestigious schools in the Chicago and New York regions. He began his teaching career in a Catholic school in a Chicago suburb teaching 4th grade, then 3rd grade on the far Chicago south side at Lloyd Bond Charter School. He then taught 2nd grade at Achievement First Charter School in Brooklyn, New York.

Prior to his role as Principal at EAGLE Fox Park, Marvin English was the Founding Director of Curriculum & Staff Development at Brilla College Prep Charter School in the South Bronx. Marvin also served as the Founding Director of Curriculum of Instruction for a non- profit organization that worked in conjunction with Detroit Public Schools. He was selected to participate in a very distinguished school principal training program called the Ryan Fellowship based in Chicago.

Marvin holds a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Michigan and master of arts in education from DePaul University. He also earned a leadership certificate in management from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Yesenia Fitzhugh, Principal, EAGLE Maryvale


As a founding leader, Yesenia is the driving force in the successful opening and subsequent development of EAGLE Maryvale.

Yesenia has a diverse background, including growing up in Maryvale, teaching 6th grade in a community composed largely of migrant students. She has worked with “at-risk” students and the teachers who serve those students. Additionally, Yesenia successfully created and maintained a comprehensive English Language Learner (ELL) program and implemented a school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiative at EAGLE South Mountain. She has served as the Dean of Students at EAGLE where she was responsible for student discipline, school culture, and coaching teachers.

Yesenia received her master of education in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University and is part of the New Schools for Phoenix initiative.

Kiesha Johnnies, Founding Principal, HOPE Caritas


Kiesha is a native of Milwaukee, WI and her passion for education is derived from a lifetime of experiences, conversations and knowledge about the state of Milwaukee’s educational disparities. In her role as Founding Principal, Kiesha is eager to broaden her impact and change the nation’s largest race-based achievement gap one teacher and one child at a time.

Kiesha completed a two-year commitment with AmeriCorps and is an alumna of Teach For America Milwaukee. She spent two years in the classroom as a kindergarten teacher, and worked as a Founding Senior Corps Member with City Year Milwaukee as their Training project Leader. There she had the opportunity to work with 60 corps members serving six MPS schools.

Kiesha graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor of arts degree in social welfare.

Aaron Massey, Principal Fellow, EAGLE Gravois Park

Aaron Massey has committed his life to improving the lives of children growing up in low-opportunity communities. His passion and relentless commitment is deeply rooted in his upbringing in East St. Louis. Through his own journey in education, he knew he wanted to give back and one day lead his own school in the area.

Aaron started his education career in Baton Rouge, Louisiana teaching Mathematics at Prescott Middle School through Teach for America. This is where he fell in love with education. He has since worked in various cities around the country including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Chicago, Harlem, New York and Memphis. Every step of the way, he has learned from dynamic leaders and organizations about how to lead effective schools. Aaron was selected to participate in Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s New and Aspiring School Leaders Program where he was trained by leading professors, practitioners, and researchers in school growth, personal and professional development, effective data decisions, and problem solving. Prior to becoming a principal fellow, he served as Dean of Students at EAGLE Fox Park in St. Louis.

Aaron earned his bachelor’s degree in urban and community development from Illinois Wesleyan University and his master’s degree in urban education policy from Brown University, where he was selected to be a Brown Executive Scholar.

Šárka White, Principal, EAGLE Harmony


Šárka has a passion for connecting with scholars, parents, and staff in order to help scholars reach their full potential.

In her most recent position as the Director of Research, Data, & Development with the Kingman Unified School District, Šárka partnered with the Arizona Charter Schools Association and its Quality Schools Program to enhance instruction and improve student achievement. Prior to that, Ms. White served as a Principal for KUSD #20, and her team consistently met the Arizona accountability requirements for “A” Schools. She has served as an educational consultant, Director of Education for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture/USDA, and as a K-8 teacher and Principal for Carbon County School District #1 in Bairoil, WY.

Šárka holds an educational doctorate degree in educational leadership and curriculum & instruction from the University of Phoenix, as well as her master’s degree in administration and supervision. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Wyoming.

Katie Lambert, M. Ed., Founding Principal, HOPE Veritas


Katie Lambert is leading the expansion of our second Racine school, HOPE Christian School: Veritas. Her mission as an educator is “to make school a place where every child can thrive and succeed, feel safe and loved, and develop a faithful relationship with Jesus.”

Katie began her service to HOPE Christian Schools in 2013 as a third grade teacher and Grade-Level Chair (GLC) at HOPE Fortis in Milwaukee. In the summer of 2015, she became the Founding Dean of Students for HOPE Christian School: Via. While at HOPE Via, she developed the HOPE Via Parent Leadership Organization and school-wide systems that fostered a positive learning environment for children.

Prior to joining HOPE, Katie served in the Teach For America Milwaukee region. During this time, Katie was a third grade teacher at an International Baccalaureate charter school on the north side of Milwaukee. While teaching, she served as a mentor for aspiring urban teachers and led professional development on effective instruction and classroom management as a Content Team Leader (CTL). During the summers of 2013-2014, Katie coached new teachers from across the Midwest at the Teach For America Chicago Institute as a Corps Member Advisor (CMA). It was during these foundational years that Katie realized the essential need to provide children with a faith-based education. This led her to HOPE.

Katie has participated in numerous leadership trainings from the Milwaukee Emerging Leaders Program and Uncommon Schools. In 2016, Katie was awarded the “Serving Leader” award at the annual HOPE Celebration in recognition for her ability to lead others with a servant heart and humility. Katie is excited to help build the HOPE network in Racine and looks forward to bringing Christ. College. Character. to more children.

Katie holds her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice through Indiana University and received her M. Ed. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University. She also holds a teaching license for first through eighth grade in the State of Wisconsin.

Edie Martwick, Founding Principal, HOPE Fidelis


Edie is a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College where she majored in education.  As a college student she was awarded the “Impact Award” recognizing her leadership and contributions to the mission of the college. As a teacher she continued to demonstrate the importance of teacher as leader, serving at St. Marcus, HOPE Christian School, and EAGLE College Preparatory Schools in Arizona. While at EAGLE, she completed her Master’s Degree program in Curriculum and Instruction at Arizona State University (ASU).

Edie moved back to Milwaukee in 2009 to assume another leadership position as Director of Coaching for the Center for Urban Teaching. She mentored first and second year teachers, organized regular small group mentoring meetings, and coordinated the Urban Conference in Milwaukee.

In 2011, Edie returned to St. Marcus where she served as a kindergarten teacher, an instructional coach, Director of Primary, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Assistant Principal. In 2015, Edie joined the HOPE team as a Founding Principal. Edie received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Alverno College in 2016.

Chelsea Prochnow, Principal, HOPE Prima


Chelsea Prochnow joined the HOPE team and family in 2010 as a 7th grade teacher at HOPE Fortis. She remained in the classroom for the next two years serving as the 5th and 6th grade math teacher. While a teacher at HOPE Fortis, Chelsea started a track team, coached the middle school boys basketball team, and led her scholars to win first place in Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap for two consecutive years.

At the start of the 2013 school year Chelsea moved into the role of Dean of Instruction at HOPE Fortis and led the school-wide implementation of rigorous, Common Core aligned instruction as well as differentiated small group work for reading and math. During her two years as Dean of Instruction, HOPE Fortis outperformed peer schools across the city of Milwaukee, and the HOPE network performed on par with some of the highest performing networks in the nation.

Chelsea believes strongly in Nelson Mandela’s words: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and desires to partner with parents and teachers to provide HOPE scholars a transformational education focused on the three Cs: Christ. College. Character.

Ryan Samz, Principal, HOPE Semper


Ryan graduated from Marquette University with Bachelor of Arts in History and Minor in Criminological Theory/Law Studies. He then joined Teach for America and relocated to New Orleans, LA, where he taught 5th and 6th grade science and social studies over the course of four years at KIPP: McDonogh 15 School of the Creative Arts. During that time he transitioned into the 5th/6th Grade Level Chair and completed the KIPP Teacher Leader Program. Concurrently, he worked with Teach for America as a science content leader, mentoring new science corps members and revamping KIPP’s middle school curriculum.

After four years in New Orleans, Ryan had the opportunity to move back to Milwaukee to help found Rocketship Education’s first school outside of California as a Founding Assistant Principal. During this time, his desire to serve urban education combined with a faith-based institution grew. In the summer of 2014, he left Rocketship Southside Community Prep and joined HOPE Semper as a Dean of Instruction. During this time, he helped revamp the lower elementary ELA curriculum. Ryan stepped into his current role of principal at HOPE Semper in 2015.

Tom Schalmo, Principal, HOPE High School


Tom Schalmo graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor of arts in journalism. That fall, he joined Teach for America and taught middle school math, science, reading, English, and religion over the course of two years in Milwaukee Public Schools and Messmer Catholic Schools. Concurrently, Tom earned his M.Ed. in teacher leadership and development from Marquette University. In 2011, Tom joined the staff of Teach for America-Milwaukee as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, during which time he mentored 26 teachers across various grade levels and school sectors across the city of Milwaukee.

Tom joined HOPE Christian High School as Dean of Instruction in 2012. During his time as Dean of Instruction, Tom oversaw changes to the school’s planning process and teacher professional development. Tom also helped introduce best practices in data driven instruction to the staff, helping to change the instructional culture of the school.

Tom became Principal of HOPE Christian High School in July 2014. Over the past two years, students at HOPE have outperformed peer schools on quarterly interim assessments while progressively demonstrating better mastery each successive quarter. Juniors have outperformed the local, state, and national averages on the ACT the past two years.

Jennifer Torosian, Principal, HOPE Fortis


Throughout her career in education, Jennifer Torosian has had the experience of working in unique and diverse settings. She has a passion for serving children and families who live in communities that have historically been deprived of high-quality education.

Jennifer graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in education. Her internship was served as a 5th grade teacher in a low-income, urban school in Grand Rapids, MI. Jennifer spent her first two years in Education as a Kindergarten teacher at a private, American school in Shanghai, China. She then took the opportunity to serve as a Middle School Science teacher and Grade Level Chair at YES Prep in Houston, TX. After two years at YES Prep, Jennifer was asked to move back to Shanghai in order to take over her previous school as Principal. While she served in this role in China for two years, she began to pursue a graduate degree in administration.

Jennifer moved back to the U.S. to serve as Dean of Students at HOPE Fortis and began as Principal in 2015.  As Principal, Jennifer enjoys fostering the development of teachers and watching them improve their craft in the classroom. Jennifer believes that high quality Christian education will ultimately guide the transformation of many Milwaukee communities.

Castenzio Venegas, Founding Principal, HOPE Via


Castenzio has led the new school startup of HOPE Christian School: Via in Racine.

Previously, Castenzio was the Director of Teacher Development at the Center for Urban Teaching (CfUT) in Milwaukee, WI, where he served as a resource for aspiring urban teacher candidates and beginning teachers, equipping them with the training necessary to be highly effective in the urban classroom. He served as the Assistant Principal of CfUT’s summer school program at Risen Savior Lutheran School in Milwaukee. He started two new CfUT summer school sites at HOPE Christian School: Prima and Sherman Park Lutheran School. He served for three years in Phoenix, AZ as a Teach For America Corps Member, taught abroad in Italy for one year, and taught freshman English at HOPE Christian High School. Castenzio was awarded the “Faith-in-Action” award at the annual HOPE Celebration in recognition of his courageous Christian leadership.

He holds his bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from Carthage College and received his M.Ed. in cross categorical special education K-12 at Arizona State University. He also earned a graduate certificate in instructional mentoring through the Southeastern Wisconsin New Teacher Project (SEWNTP).