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Achievement First Leadership

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Doug McCurry
Co-CEO and
Superintendent
In his role as co-CEO and superintendent, Mr. McCurry oversees student achievement across the Achievement First network through the training and coaching of principals, the development and implementation of principal best practices, and the evaluation of principals and schools. Prior to co-founding Achievement First in 2003, Mr. McCurry was one of the founders of Amistad Academy, serving as the school's instructional leader for three years. In his teaching roles at Amistad Academy, Mr. McCurry achieved outstanding results. His math students achieved 100 percent proficiency on the Connecticut Mastery Test, and his reading and writing students consistently showed over two years of growth in a single school year. Mr. McCurry led the development of Achievement First's standards-based curriculum, including Athena, Achievement First's online interim assessment and data analysis system. Mr. McCurry also leads professional development efforts at Achievement First, and he is a sought-after presenter and coach of teachers. Before coming to Amistad Academy and Achievement First, Mr. McCurry was a management and technology consultant in Atlanta, GA, and taught history and writing and coached basketball and tennis at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. A Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Mr. McCurry earned a B.A. in history and journalism there, and was recently awarded the university’s distinguished young alumnus award. Through the Klingenstein Private School Leadership program, he earned an M.A. in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dacia Toll
Co-CEO and President
Ms. Toll focuses on the development and expansion of Achievement First and the success of all Achievement First schools. She manages the organization's internal operations and external relations, and her core responsibilities include strategic planning, principal coaching and training, talent recruitment and development, community outreach, fundraising, and board relations. Prior to co-founding Achievement First in 2003, Ms. Toll led the founding team of Amistad Academy and served as the school's director from 1999 to 2005. Under Ms. Toll's leadership, Amistad Academy consistently produced student performance results that tripled the New Haven Public Schools' average and topped Greenwich and Westport averages in some subjects. Ms. Toll serves on the boards of Relay Graduate School of Education and 50CAN. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, where she was a Morehead Scholar, Ms. Toll received a degree from Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. She received her teaching certificate and J.D. from Yale University.

Fatimah Barker
Chief External Officer
In her role as the Chief External Officer, Ms. Barker leads teams directly involved with external relations, marketing and communications, development, legal and authorizer relations, and expansion. She also serves as the organization’s primary spokesperson to all external constituents. Ms. Barker works to ensure that Achievement First becomes an even more prominent, effective partner in supporting education reform and social justice. Before becoming CXO, Ms. Barker worked as an educator and school leader in AF schools for 10 years. During her tenure as principal of Achievement First East New York Middle School, her school’s academic results and organizational health were among the top 5% in the network. A proud Brooklyn native, Ms. Barker began her career in education as a seventh-grade mathematics and science teacher in Philadelphia. She joined Achievement First Endeavor Middle School as a teacher, and went on to become a grade-level team leader and mathematics coach, academic dean and principal-in-residence before becoming principal. She holds a dual B.A. in political science and in communications and rhetorical studies from Syracuse University.

Amy D'Angelo
Regional Superintendent 
Ms. D’Angelo oversees a portfolio of New York middle schools and supports their principals and deans to develop, implement and maintain rigorous academic programs and positive school cultures. She joined Achievement First in 2006 as the founding principal of AF Bushwick Middle School, and during her six-year tenure as principal, the school celebrated many accomplishments, including 100 percent of sixth- and eighth-grade students scoring at or above grade level in math. Prior to working at Achievement First, Ms. D’Angelo was a resident in the New Leaders program. In 2004, she was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award in Teaching from Pace University. Prior to her work in education, Ms. D’Angelo spent four years in business at McKinsey & Company. She earned an M.S. in educational leadership and an M.S. in teaching from Pace University, an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University, and a B.A. with honors from Binghamton University.

Victor De La Paz
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. De La Paz leads Team Finance within the growing AF network of schools across our three states. Team Finance manages the financial operations functions of revenue, payroll, accounts payable, internal audits and controls, and budgeting and forecasting. Prior to joining Achievement First, Mr. De La Paz was CFO at New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut, CFO at Baltimore City Public Schools, and held various leadership roles at Hartford Public Schools including Deputy CFO and Chief Operating Officer. A graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, Mr. De La Paz began his career in financial services and transitioned into K-12 education from a career in mergers and acquisitions in large healthcare and property insurance companies. Mr. De La Paz earned his bachelor's degree from Rutgers College and his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Harris Ferrell
Chief Operations Officer
Mr. Ferrell is responsible for the operations, information practices, processes and systems across the Achievement First network. His goal is to ensure that Achievement First’s data and information practices are supported by the proper enterprise systems to efficiently and effectively communicate, document, share, analyze, report, plan and review all facets of its best practices and organizational performance. Formerly, Mr. Ferrell was a co-founder and senior vice president of AdvancePath Academics, a company that sets up and operates drop-out recovery academies on behalf of school districts. Mr. Ferrell attended Yale University as an undergraduate and earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He has worked in education in many different facets: a classroom teacher through Teach For America in Houston, a designer of education software as director of product management at SchoolNet and an investor in education as an associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund.

Tom Kaiser
Chief Talent Officer
Mr. Kaiser became the Chief Talent Officer at Achievement First in August 2016, with the charge of leading AF’s efforts to attract and retain some of the best talent in education reform. He oversees the network’s adult culture priority, people leadership training of school leaders and the network support teams who most directly shape the teacher and leader experience within Achievement First. Before becoming Chief Talent Officer, Mr. Kaiser was the principal at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School for seven years. During that time, Endeavor went from the 33rd percentile on NYC DOE Progress Report to the 97th percentile within 3 years. For four consecutive years, AF Endeavor also led the Achievement First network on Gallup’s nationally normed “Q12” questions to measure employee engagement. Before serving as principal, Mr. Kaiser was a founding teacher and then an academic dean at the school. Prior to arriving at AF, he began his teaching career in the Mississippi Delta, through Teach For America, where he taught 5th grade in Sunflower, Mississippi.

Max Koltuv
Regional Superintendent

Mr. Koltuv oversees a portfolio of Achievement First elementary schools and supports their leadership teams in producing dramatic academic gains. Before joining Achievement First, he supervised all Brooklyn elementary instructional leaders at the Prep and Excellence networks of Uncommon Schools as the director of Brooklyn elementary instruction. Mr. Koltuv originally joined Uncommon Schools as the founding head of school at Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant, a college-prep elementary school. He started his career at The Monitor Co., an international strategy consulting firm, before transitioning to a teaching role at a high-performing, urban charter school in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship and of the KIPP School Leadership Program, and holds a B.A. in history from Yale College.