Academic Team

Kyle Anderson, director of systems development

Kyle Anderson

Kyle has been leading the development and implementation of systems at all levels of Open Sky Education since 2011. His primary focus is to ensure that the organization operates at the intersection of effective and efficient and is prepared for growth. In his time with Open Sky, he has coordinated the design and implementation of our academic model, streamlined technology infrastructure, and improved data management and reporting.

Kyle’s background includes a combination of education and business experience. Previously, he led inventory management, process improvement, and purchasing at a Waukesha, WI-based manufacturing company. Prior to his work in the private sector, Kyle served as a Program Director with Teach For America New York City, managing and training elementary teachers in grades PreK – 2. He began his teaching career as a TFA NYC ’04 corps member where he taught 3rd grade at PS 79 in the Bronx.

Kyle received his master of science degree in education from Pace University and a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Minnesota.

Lisa Fantasia, M.Ed., director of teaching and learning, Arizona region, and national principal director

Lisa

Lisa is passionate about education and literacy and focused on utilizing best practices to inspire students to be problem solvers. She attended the University of Arizona were she majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology. After an early experience working with students with emotional and behavioral disorders, she quickly returned to school to complete a M.ED. in Special Education at Grand Canyon University. She has dedicated her career to working with students that have learning differences. She has worked with students from kindergarten to high school in self-contained settings, alternative schools, private day placements, Title One schools, and with ELL learners.

In her current role, Lisa coordinates with leadership to develop a regional vision, instructional philosophy, goals, and objectives. Using collaborative processes and problem-solving techniques, she facilitated the implementation of curriculum changes in two core subject areas across all campuses. She creates opportunities for school leaders across school sites to collaborate and learn from one another and supports the development of school leaders as reflective practitioners. Lisa confers with, counsels, and advises leadership and instructional personnel concerning instructional methods, best practice techniques, and special programming, in compliance with state and federal guidelines.

Lisa earned her M.Ed. in education leadership through Northern Arizona University.

Ciji Pittman, J.D., President of Schools

Ciji is a passionate educator dedicated to ensuring that every family and every child has great educational options that will support a life of purpose and opportunity. She also is a nationally recognized education leader who has supported the professional growth of more than 200 school leaders in public, district, and charter schools over the last ten years. As President of Schools for Open Sky Education, Ciji will provide leadership for the overall quality of the educational experience for students, teachers, supporters and parent partners in each Open Sky Education school across the country. Working with the Open Sky Education Academic Council, Ciji will lead innovation for all aspects of the educational model, including curriculum development, assessment, data analysis strategy, and instructional strategies. She also will lead strategic growth for Open Sky Education schools division, working to ensure that a full and lasting education is accessible and affordable for more children.

Ciji began her career as a history and civics teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. She then went on to found and serve as the Head of School of a charter elementary school in Memphis, Tennessee, through the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. Most recently, Ciji served as the principal director for the Wisconsin region of Open Sky Education. Before that she served as the managing director of the Racine region of HOPE Christian Schools. Results in the HOPE Christian Schools Racine schools have continuously placed them among the highest-achieving schools in the southeast Wisconsin.

Ciji is currently a fellow with the Leverage Leadership Institute, a highly selective fellowship program that prepares leaders to replicate academic successes within their organizations and throughout the country. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She was a member of the founding cohort of the Relay National Principals Academy Fellowship.

Castenzio Venegas, principal director, Wisconsin region

Castenzio

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 an Assistant Principal of CfUT’s summer school program at several campuses 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 and 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) as well as earned a graduate certificate with Relay Graduate School in the National Principal Academy Fellowship (NPAF) program.