CATEGORY: Teachers and Leaders

Achievement First Feb 12, 2024

At Achievement First, our dedicated leaders steer us toward fulfilling our promise of providing quality education and a safe learning environment for our scholars.  Each day, our school leaders embody the values of "Strive for Excellence" and "Go Further Together," AF's guiding principles that underscore our collective journey. The individuals we spotlight below epitomize our unwavering commitment to excellence. As we commemorate School Leader Appreciation Week, we invite you to explore further and get to know some of our talented and passionate leaders. See what their peers say as we show gratitude for their years of service!  

Celebrating 15 and 20 years at AF!

Erin McGonegle Crespi, Regional Director of Operations “I don’t know what I would do without Erin.” That statement has been shared by so many people you’ve worked with at AF over the past 15 years. DSOs have said it. Principals and Regional Sups have said it. DIRs and ops team members throughout the network have said it. NS Colleagues have said it. You are the first to jump in to support a teammate in need, not just in words but in actively doing the work that needs to get done. You are a constant thought partner in identifying solutions to tricky challenges and then executing on them. Your ability to take complex information and pave a path forward through a clear (and colorful!) planning process is unmatched. You build relationships in a way that makes everyone you encounter feel seen, heard, and valued. You show up. You take and implement feedback. And you inspire people to grow to their fullest potential. You do this all while being a wonderful human and an incredible mom. Without you, our network would not be the same. Congratulations on 15 years of service - here’s to 15 more!  - Amelia Hanley and Tsehaia Brown, Associate Chiefs, Team School Operations     Qiana Dinkins, Dean at Amistad MS The number 17 is known to be rich with wisdom, full of awareness, and deep vibrational energy. When I think of Qiana in her 17th year with AF, she embodies all those attributes. Her experience and dedication as an educator are truly admirable, and she leads with grace and humility. That is the essence of being rich with wisdom! Qiana is also extremely reflective and aware of her strengths and areas for opportunity – she always embodies a growth mindset, which has carried over into her leadership of others as she models this. Her energy is also unmatched! Whenever I’m in Qiana’s presence, it is filled with positivity and light. She cares very deeply about doing what is best for kids, and her transformational work has left a lasting imprint on the Amistad community. Qiana, we are forever grateful for your dedication and service! - Raven Obas, Regional Superintendent     Jesse Uggla, Principal at AF Apollo MS 15 years!!! Congratulations on such an impressive milestone.  You have had 15 years of being a change agent, a bridge, a motivator, a champion, and an all-in-all educational rockstar.  You’ve been around a long time to see the various iterations of AF –everything from chant competitions, biathlons, the AF Report Card, Compass Circles, and leadership shifts to external curricula.  You have managed the change thoughtfully, with kindness, grace for others, and with the interests of your kids and families first.  I’ve appreciated your quiet power – you ask the hard questions and raise what needs to be raised - all in service of a better Apollo and a better AF.  If I recall your principal interview correctly, you anticipated just a couple of years in the role. Here you are five years later with an unwavering commitment to your school community.  That is truly a gift.  Thank you for being so dedicated to AF and the wonderful Apollo community.  You have created a lasting legacy, and I am excited about your next journey. - With love and gratitude, Charmayne Joseph, Chief of Middle Schools     20 years: Andrew Poole, Dean at Amistad MS Andrew, you’ve inspired me in so many ways that will be hard to capture in a blurb. I learned so much from your leadership, which has propelled me as a principal. If I had to boil it all down, it would be how you modeled leadership with your actions. There was nothing you asked of your staff that you weren’t willing to roll up your sleeves and do. Your ability to cultivate leaders of color and support your staff is second to none. Thank you for believing in an outspoken Black Woman from Miami, Florida! Congratulations on 20 years of service. Your impact can be felt in the halls of Elm City and Amistad for years to come. - Tanesha Forman, Elm City MS Principal Andrew Poole. WOW!  20 years at AF. That's an AWESOME accomplishment, a feat of great persistence and deep commitment to our students and families.  From your early years as a teacher at Elm City Elementary, I remember your calm, steady hand as a teacher, your consistently high expectations, and your smile and laughter. As a dean and principal, you've brought those same attributes - you hold yourself and others to a high bar and pursue excellence in a way that feels grounding, easygoing, and joyful, even in the face of challenges. Thank you for bringing out the best in so many: the hundreds of AF teachers and thousands of AF students whom you've supported and helped to grow and learn and be their best over these many years. What a leadership legacy! CONGRATS! - Marc Michaelson, Senior Director, K-12 Enrichment and Expeditions I could say many things about Andrew Poole and his tremendous impact on adults and kids, but if I must be concise (which is what he prefers, to be clear!), I will say thank you, Mr. Poole, for being:
  • 72 and sunny every day, even during blizzards and hurricanes
  • Consistent, insistent, and persistent
  • Vulnerable and resilient
  • Pushing us to build student cultures that accelerate learning
  • A library of knowledge
Cheers to 20 more! - Rosie Basile, Amistad MS Dean

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