David serves as our Executive Director. Prior to forming CEEAS, he co-founded and served as the Executive Director of The Maya Angelou Schools, a network of alternative schools in Washington, DC. He served as the founding principal of the Maya Angelou Academy, the school located inside DC’s long-term, secure juvenile facility, from 2007 to 2011. He designed the key elements of the school model, including short, thematic units aligned with state standards, incentive programming based on the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports framework, a technology-enhanced instruction and learning platform, and a set of technology tools designed to enhance communication between school and correctional staff.
The Maya Angelou Academy’s success has been widely recognized. The changes at the school were termed “remarkable” by a national expert and court-appointed monitor. The Middle States Commission’s accreditation team called the Maya Angelou Academy “one of the best schools we have ever seen.” The school has been featured in local and national publications, including the Washington Post Magazine and Education Week. David left the Academy in the fall of 2011 to start the Center.
David is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Stanford Law School. He is the co-author, along with James Forman, Jr., of two articles about school reform. The first, “What It Takes to Transform a School Inside a Juvenile Facility: The Story of the Maya Angelou Academy,” highlights lessons learned during the start-up and first year of the Maya Angelou Academy. The second, “A Circle of Trust,” chronicles the first year of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.
David lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and puppy, Seven. He’s an avid reader, a wannabe basketball player, and an out-of-step breakdancer.
Christy Sampson-Kelly provides direct coaching to schools in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and student engagement, with a keen focus on helping schools improve how they teach and support students with special needs. As part of her work, Christy is leading our efforts to develop our Practitioner Support Series, a set of training modules built around video clips that highlight key instructional maneuvers essential to creating high-performing, inclusive classrooms in alternative settings. In addition, Christy leads a number of our special projects, including Words Unlocked, our nationwide poetry-writing initiative.
Christy has been working at the Center since January 2012. She arrived with more than 10 years of experience working with lower-income, high-risk youth, first as a general and special education teacher and then as a school-wide special education coordinator. Christy earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Maryland, her master’s degree in special education from San Diego State University, and her PhD from the University of Maryland.
Christy lives and works in Bowie, Maryland, with her husband, children, and dog, Smudge. Having grown up among the Ramapo Mountains, she escapes to higher elevations whenever she can to write and remember herself.
Kat Crawford helps schools use technology to improve instruction, facilitate better communication with stakeholders, enable real-time analysis of student and school performance data, strengthen contract management, and capture operating efficiencies. Kat also manages our website and social media tools. She is helping us find smart and fun ways to encourage peer-to-peer sharing among Consortium members and other organizations we work with.
Kat studied musical theatre performance at Mountview Theatre School in London, England. She still sings her heart out but does it while building blogs, typing tweets, and frantically Facebooking. Kat started teaching in NYC in 2001 and taught drama for many years until arts positions began to dwindle. Pursuing a master’s degree at Walden University in Integrating Technology in the Classroom, Kat found her new calling. Technology came as easy as a song and dance. Kat continued to go to school and got her Ed. S. in Educational Technology. Now she is ready to put all that practice to work; it is time for the show! Kat joined the Center in February 2013.
Kat lives and works in Austin, Texas, with magician Cami, Chi-Chi the Chinchilla, and her iPhone, iPad Mini, Macbook Pro, and souped-up Internet connection.
Mi Ji Kim provides administrative and operational support to CEEAS and the agencies we work with. Mi JI has decades of experience in business and client management. She also has a passion for teaching and instruction and serves as an instructional coach.
She earned an undergraduate and Master’s degree in English at Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Maryland, where she is currently a PhD candidate. She has taught numerous courses in the College of Education and has served as a supervisor for student teachers for the teacher certification program at UMD. Mi Ji is also an Educational Specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Juvenile Services Education System (JSES).
Mi Ji lives and works in Clarksville, Maryland, with her twin daughters, Faith and Hope.
Christina primarily focuses on our post secondary efforts and leads our College Now program, where she supports a select group of juvenile justice agencies in helping their students earn college credits and offering college exposure and readiness activities. Christina also supports many other aspects of our work in the juvenile justice arena, including involvement in our special initiatives like Sending Some Love.
Christina graduated from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles with a concentration in Public Interest Law. During law school, she served as a clinical student at Loyola’s Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, where she represented indigent clients in juvenile delinquency court, and advocated for the education rights of youth in Los Angeles public and charter schools. Christina also organized an initiative in Los Angeles to train over 500 juvenile probation officers on how to act as educational advocates for the clients they serve, as a part of her Equal Justice Works Fellowship.
Before law school, Christina worked at the Maya Angelou Academy as a Leadership Corps Student Advocate and interned as an Investigator at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Christina is a graduate of Georgetown University where she majored in both Psychology and Sociology and concentrated in Social Justice Analysis. A native Southern Californian, Christina lives in Los Angeles.
We operate two schools in New Orleans, the Travis Hill School at the Youth Study Center and the Travis Hill School at the Orleans Justice Center. Each school is fully staffed, with teachers, student support services staff, and administrators. And the Welcoming Project provides each of our Fellows (system-involved youth) with the tools and support they need to pursue their passion, develop their social, academic, and employment skills, build a rewarding life, and contribute positively to the New Orleans community. To learn more about Travis Hill NOLA click here.
Christy Sampson-Kelly, Acting Principal
504-658-3421 school office 202-297-0309 mobile
Mario Myles, Principal
Travis Hill School at the Orleans Justice Center