The School Founders Program is a highly-selective yearlong fellowship for aspiring charter school founders in Alabama. We recruit, select, and train high-caliber individuals as they launch new, high-quality charter schools around the state. The program consists of four training experiences:
Full-service assistance with the application and startup process.
School founder training.
Expert training on research-based skills aligned to Leadership Competencies.
Assistance navigating regulatory compliance in Alabama.
A full-time administrative residency with high-quality CMO.
MEET OUR FELLOWS
Fellows receive a one-year stipend to cover salary and fringe expenses as well as travel and other accommodations necessary to support fellows in their full-time commitment to the launch of a new school.
Fellows will participate in an administrative residency with one of our high-performing charter management organization (CMO) partners from another state to learn best practices of charter school leadership. They will also participate in periodic site visits at innovative charter schools around the country.
Dr. Mark Davis
Dr. Davis is a regionally recognized leader and champion for children. His educational career began over 16 years ago as a high school teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. Since that time, he has been blessed with opportunities to serve and lead students across the country as a vice principal, principal and regional network administrator.
Dr. Angela Lang
Dr. Lang has over two decades of education experience as a classroom teacher, principal, district director, and state specialist. She has taught in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee, grade levels 6th-12, and diverse content, including Reading, Social Sciences, History, Algebra, Geometry, and Physical Science. Her classroom experience stems predominately from inner-city, Title I, and alternative school settings, and her ability to connect with students and parents to create engaging learning environments was reflected in test data that exceeded school and state averages yearly. As an administrator, she served as a turnaround principal, helping to elevate a low-performing elementary school to exemplary status. She helped to lead a $30M Personalized Learning Technology Initiative in North Carolina before serving as the founding principal of Pike Road High School in Alabama. Dr. Lang led the Pike Road School System through its first Accreditation, laying the foundation for its instructional program, Transportation Department, and Career and Technical Program.
I began my educational career in 2009 working with the Children’s Defense Freedom School in Louisville, KY as a 4th grade Summer Reading Teacher. In 2013, I joined Teach for America Metro Atlanta Corps in Clayton County as an 11th grade English Teacher. Throughout my career I have supported students in all grade bands. Serving in the Bronx, NYC as a 7th/8th grade Reading Teacher at a public charter school. In
Springfield, MA as a founding charter school ELA teacher/teacher leader. In Gwinnett County GA at one of the top performing middle schools as an ELA teacher, and in Birmingham as a middle school ELA teacher. Most recently I served on the founding leadership team of the first Aviation high school in AL, Alabama Aerospace & Aviation High School (AAHS), as the Dean of Culture & Instruction. I am committed to serving our future generations and their families.
Dr. Krista Williams
Throughout her educational career at the secondary and higher education level, Dr. Williams has served as a Professor in Education, Teacher, and Administrator. Dr. Williams has earned the respect and admiration of mentors, colleagues, students, and the community through her dedication and commitment to inclusion and equity in education and the arts. Dr. Williams learned early in her career about the importance of arts education as a key component for supporting the social, emotional, and academic learning needs of students. As an advocate for arts education, Williams has presented numerous research papers and practitioner workshops at notable state, national, and international conferences, including the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education (ISSME) in Oslo, Norway and the Music Education and Social Inclusion (MESI) Symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Miriam is a dedicated educator committed to ensuring students and families have positive school experiences. A native of Mobile, AL, Miriam left corporate America in exchange for the classroom. During her tenure as a math teacher she earned her Master of Arts in Education and Educational Specialist degrees in Educational Leadership from the UAB. Over the last eight years, Miriam has served as a high school administrator in two of Birmingham’s school districts.
Calandra Sales, Ed.D. was taught the value of education at an early age. Her college-educated parents understood that quality education was the great equalizer. As a classroom teacher, Calandra quickly understood that her experiences as a school-aged child were very different from those of her students. It became her life’s mission to ensure every child has access to a high-quality education and a clear path to college. As an Alabama native, she joined the NSFA School Founders Program to offer the anti-racist educational experience that Alabama students deserve.
Calandra most recently served as the director of leader development at IDEA Public Schools in Tampa, FL where she was responsible coaching and developing school leaders. Calandra spent more than 18 years in the field of education as a curriculum specialist, instructional coach, content and assessment director, and a classroom teacher. Calandra received her bachelor’s degree in biology and mathematics education from Alabama A&M University and holds a master’s and Doctorate in Education in educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
Born and raised in Birmingham and alumnus of Birmingham City Schools, Anthony plans to start a diverse-by-design charter school in his hometown. Anthony holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and will soon complete his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Vanderbilt University. He also earned bachelor’s degrees from UAB and Virginia Military Institute, respectively. Anthony is also a former principal in Birmingham City Schools and previously served as Executive Director of Breakthrough Collaborative, a Birmingham nonprofit offering summer programming for underprivileged students by pairing aspiring teachers with experienced educators in a teacher residency program.
Anthony envisions an intentionally diverse 5-8 middle school in the heart of Birmingham, wherein students are equipped to become reflective, self-advocates empowered with the social, emotional, and academic skills to impact their communities while being prepared for college, career, and beyond. For his administrative residency, Anthony will work with Citizens of the World in Los Angeles.
Ruben was born and raised in Birmingham, and his mother was a public school teacher in Birmingham for over 40 years. After attending Morehouse College for his undergraduate degree, Ruben became a teacher in Atlanta and eventually Director of District Strategy with Teach For America. He has served as principal in charter schools, traditional public schools, and private schools in alike, working in Atlanta and Denver before returning home to Birmingham. Ruben has also served at the executive level for multiple nonprofits, most recently as Program Director for the esteemed BuildUP school in Birmingham.
Ruben has been chosen to spearhead the creation of the Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School (AAHS), which is a collaboration of the Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham City Councilman John Hilliard, the Birmingham Urban League, and others. Offering a unique curriculum, a multidisciplinary project-based approach, dual credit, and built-in apprenticeships, the AAHS will prepare Birmingham students with the STEM skills and experiences necessary they need to access the lucrative and expanding aviation and aerospace industries. Ruben will complete his residency at Freedom Preparatory Academy.