top of page

ABOUT

US

We believe in Alabama’s children. All of them. Every child has a fundamental right to a quality school.

Male Teacher with Students

Our mission is to support the growth of excellent public charter schools in Alabama to ensure that every child has access to a quality public education.

At New Schools for Alabama, we believe every child has a fundamental right to attend a quality school offering a safe, supportive, and academically-challenging environment. Unfortunately, abundant evidence shows that far too many students in Alabama today do not have access to such a school, especially students of color and students in low socioeconomic communities.

New Schools for Alabama was established to rectify this injustice. We will do so in an inclusive, collaborative manner, by recruiting high-caliber leaders to establish new schools in underserved communities and by fostering a policy environment that supports the growth of excellent charter schools in high-need areas throughout the state. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit, public charity organization created to serve kids in Alabama.

WHAT WE DO

We support the growth of excellent charter schools in Alabama

by working within 4 Strategic Pillars.

01

New school development.

We recruit high-quality charter school operators and develop homegrown leaders to build great schools throughout Alabama.

02

Technical assistance.

We provide applicants and operators with expert guidance on technical needs such as developing an application, finding a facility, managing the back-office, and more.

03

Community Engagement.

We ensure that parents and communities have access to clear information about school quality and the benefits that other options may present.

04

Policy Advancement.

We work with policymakers and administrative agencies to ensure that the regulatory landscape is supportive of high-quality charter schools.

OUR TEAM

shaella-askew.jpg

ShaElla Askew

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

ShaElla Askew started her career founding a communications firm specializing in managing social media platforms for entrepreneurs and organizations. With extensive experience in the field, ShaElla is passionate about utilizing social media to connect with target audiences. She has a particular affinity for social media and a deep-rooted passion for education and the social issues that impact students. Through her leadership and expertise, ShaElla brings a strong commitment to driving positive change and making a difference in the lives of students.

tyler-barnett.jpg

Tyler Barnett

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Tyler started his career in the classroom, and after earning his law degree, he worked for two state departments of education. He previously served as Charter School Director for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, and prior to founding New Schools for Alabama, he served as State Policy Director for KnowledgeWorks.

jackie-bretl.jpg

Jackie Bretl

DIRECTOR OF LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Jackie is a former teacher and school leader, serving in various elementary, middle and high school communities around the country. She is most passionate about building and leading systems at the program, school and district level that use data in innovative ways to improve equitable learning experiences for all children.

mike-brown.jpg

Mike Brown

CHIEF SCHOOLS OFFICER

Mike is a school leader at heart, having been a school leader with KIPP, a principal at the Tennessee Achievement School District, and Chief Schools Officer with Freedom Preparatory Academy in Memphis. He also served as Executive Director of the Freedom Fellows Institute.

mark-davis.jpg

Dr. Mark Davis

AEROSPACE AND AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL AT TUSKEGEE

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.

melanie-haynes.jpg

Melanie Haynes

DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTING

Having spent three years in a private school system and seven years in various roles within a newly formed Alabama public school system, Melanie brings a strong understanding of what it takes to start a school and how to support school leaders.  She has a passion for education and uses that by providing financial and accounting expertise to school leadership.

jane-ivey.jpg

Jane Ivey

SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER

Jane spent three years as a third grade teacher during which her passion for creating and maintaining equitable learning environments for all students took root. However, she saw that her skill set would be better utilized in a behind the scenes role helping school leaders rather than in the classroom. Serving on the New Schools for Alabama team allows her to use her organized, strategic and efficient planning and execution skills while continuing to work with her passion. 

angela-lang.jpg

Dr. Angela Lang

THE STEAM SCHOOL AT STILLMAN COLLEGE

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.

michelle-locke.jpg

Michelle Locke

FINANCE MANAGER

Michelle brings 19 years of experience in school finance to the NSFA team. Michelle's varied roles as the Coordinator of Finance & Operations with Alabama Association of School Boards for 8 years and her work in school finance bring expertise to the NSFA team. In addition, Michelle holds several certifications through the Alabama Association of School Business Officials (AASBO).

candie-price.jpg

Candie A. Mitchell-Price

CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

Candie has extensive experience developing and executing PR, marketing, social media, and branding strategies for numerous organizations, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Candie’s passion for educational equity and advocacy for marginalized communities brings her to her role at NSFA. She is also a former middle and high school teacher for Birmingham City Schools.

ondraya-morris.jpg

On'Draya Morris

GRATIA INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY

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.

Russell Raney 2_edited.jpg

Russell Raney

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Russell brings extensive experience to the financial services at New Schools for Alabama, having served as Chief School Financial Officer with multiple school districts in Alabama. He has also holds numerous relevant certifications and has served as finance director for the Alabama Association of School Boards.  

chris-reynolds.jpg

Chris Reynolds

SENIOR ADVISOR

Chris is a former CPA with an extensive background in charter school leadership, nonprofit management, and philanthropy. He has founded multiple high-performing charter school networks and supported the development of a national facilities funding strategy. 

Gail New Schools_edited.jpg

Gail Smitherman

SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Gail has over 22 years of finance experience, focusing on local schools, central office, and payroll. She has worked with several different systems and has experience starting new school systems. Gail holds AASBO certificates in local schools as well as payroll. She considers working with school educators an honor.

adrienne-stallworth.jpg

Adrienne Stallworth

ACCOUNTANT

Adrienne joins NSFA with more than five years of school finance and ten years of banking experience. Implementing processes and tools to ensure financial success to school leaders is something she is passionate about. Her love of numbers and belief that all children deserve excellence in education is what led her to her current role here at NSFA. 

natalie-tucker.jpg

Natalie Tucker

CHIEF OF STAFF

Natalie's experience as part of a school founder team (as a teacher, school administrator and district administrator) led her to find her niche in organizational strategy and growth. Natalie has worked with both young learners and adult learners throughout her career as a classroom teacher and as a professional learning designer and facilitator.

krista-williams.jpg

Dr. Krista Williams

FLORETTA P CARSON SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS

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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Khadijah Abdullah

Shipt

Nick Gaede

Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith, LLP

Maria Kennedy

The Daniel Foundation of Alabama

Richard Perry

DuPont (Retired)

Dave Borden

Aldridge, Borden & Company (Retired)

Brian Hamilton

Trillion Communications Corporation

Miho Kubagawa

Coursemojo

Dr. JJ Wegworth*

University Charter School

*ex-officio

Carol Butler

The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation

Charles Jackson

Alabama Power

Dr. Jan Miller

University of West Alabama

ADVISORY BOARD

Dr. Jeremiah Newell

Accel Day & Evening Academy

Dr. JJ Wedgworth

University Charter School

Erik Estill

LEAD Academy

Dr. Martin Nalls

i3 Academy

Ann Sikes

Montgomery Education Foundation

Darren Ramalho

Breakthrough Charter School

Dr. Patton Furman

Magic City Acceptance Academy

Dr. Reneta Johnson

Legacy Prep

Dr. Anthony Oliver

Empower Community School

Ruben Morris

Aerospace & Aviation High School

KEY PARTNERS

The Daniel Foundation of Alabama

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Black Alabamians for Education

 

James M. and Sallie R. Johnson Foundation

EBSCO Community Impact

 

The Louis Calder Foundation 

Lumen Impact Group

Technology Lab

Protective Life Foundation

Montgomery Education Foundation

Adams & Reese, LLP

National Charter Schools Institute

bottom of page