In the post below, we introduce the new School Directors and Senior School Directors for 2017-2018. To see a full list of School Directors for the 2017-2018 school year, including returning School Directors, please see our website.
Eric Espinoza will be the School Director of YES Prep Southwest in the 2017-2018 school year.
Eric Espinoza has served as the Middle School Dean of Students (DoS) at YES Prep Southwest for five years. Prior to his role as a DoS, he taught four years of Spanish I and II and served as a Grade Level Chair. Eric graduated from YES Prep Southeast in 2003. He is passionate about character development and the role it plays in ensuring students persist through college.
“I am excited to serve the community I grew up in and to begin a new chapter in Southwest’s history of excellence and continuous improvement.”
Ashleigh Fritz will be a School Director of YES Prep Southside in the 2017-2018 school year.
Ashleigh Fritz has worked at YES Prep for eight years as a teacher, 8th/9th principal, and most recently, as a School Director of YES Prep West. Ashleigh believes deeply in collaborating with stakeholders– students, staff, and parents. She is a community-oriented leader and believes in being as visible and present as possible.
“I’m excited to meet with students to ensure they have a voice in their experience at school and use that voice to guide the programming next year.”
Eileen Romero Galligan will be the Assistant School Director of YES Prep Southeast in the 2017-2018 school year, working with Senior School Director Charlie Schmidt.
Eileen Romero Galligan has been the Director of Academics at YES Prep Southeast for the past three years. She joined the Southeast family as a 2007 Teach For America Corps Member and taught 7th grade English. Eileen earned her B.A. in English Literature and Urban Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked in the West Philadelphia schools as a tutor and after-school program intern. Eileen is a native Houstonian, and she and her three younger brothers are proud first-generation college graduates.
“I am humbled to continue my work as a steward of this school that has been my home for the past 10 years and in this community where I was raised. The staff, students, and families at YES Prep Southeast inspire me to learn more and work harder every day.”
Brittany McGruder will be the founding School Director of YES Prep Northline in the 2017-2018 school year.
Brittany McGruder currently serves as the Director of Academics at YES Prep Northbrook Middle School. Prior to working as a Director of Academics, she was a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Hoffman and a science teacher at Fondren Middle School. She’s originally from Memphis, Tennessee and has a B.A. from The University of Tennessee at Martin.
“YES Prep Northline is in an area of town that is incredibly passionate about their neighborhood and what is possible for their children. I’m really excited to join this community and work together to improve outcomes for our students.”
Since 2011, Leah Peters has served as the School Director of YES Prep East End. Prior to becoming the School Director, Leah was East End’s founding high school Principal, a founding Grade Level Chair and teacher for the 9th Grade Pilot, and a middle school math instructor (way back in the days of MST!). Leah has a B.S. from Cornell University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Houston. She was originally placed at YES Prep East End as a 2007 Teach For America Corps Member.
“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as Senior School Director to build on the work of the current Heads of Schools and continue to provide differentiated, strategic support to school leaders and campuses. I know strong school leader support is critical to achieving our promises to kids and families and am energized by the opportunity to develop and expand my impact in the fight for educational equity.”
Oscar Romano is currently the Director of Student Support at YES Prep Brays Oaks. He served as its first high school Dean of Students for the previous four years. Oscar received his B.A. from Harvard University and joined Teacher For America as an 8th grade science teacher in HISD. Oscar is a proud Latino, with parents from El Salvador, and is passionate about advocating for Latino causes. While at YES Prep, he’s also led the LatinX Leadership Summit and helped establish a partnership with Univision. Oscar lives in Houston with his wife Claudia, daughter Mila, and pets (Leo Cat and Bernie the Dog).
“I’m excited to become a member of the Gulfton Force. I feel a deep connection to the community in and around the school. I look forward to building relationships with staff, students, parents, and the greater Gulfton community! ¡Viva la Fuerza!”
Reem Semaan currently serves as the Director of Student Support at YES Prep Southside. Prior to being a Giant, she served as a Biology Instructor, Grade Level Chair, Dean of Students, and Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Southwest for 8 years. Reem is from North Carolina and has a B.S. in Biology from UNC – Chapel Hill. She realized her love for education when she joined Teach For America in 2008 after attending a high school that was a small representation of the educational inequities that exist all over the country.
“I’m so excited to get to know the staff, students, and families of YES Prep West and become ingrained in living the Marvel Way. I know that, together, we will continue to push ourselves to do so as a community and I plan on having a time where we can all get together at the beginning of the year to celebrate.”
Aaron Simmons currently works as the High School Dean of Students at YES Prep West. Aaron started his educational career at YES Prep at the Southeast campus where he taught 8th Grade US History and 11th Grade US History for five years. Prior to joining West in 2014, Aaron worked in HISD for a year coaching first-year teachers. Aaron earned a B.A. from Texas State University, and has committed to learning more about educational leadership by being a member in the Leading Excellence Inspire and Aspire programs. Aaron was drawn to YES Prep because of his work with and passion for kids while working in a non-profit after-school program during college.
“I am truly grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had to learn at YES and the wonderful people that I’ve had the privilege of working with. I am looking forward to this next opportunity and getting to know and be a part of the Explorer Family.”
Charlie Schmidt is currently the School Director of YES Prep Southeast. He is in his 8th year at Southeast and his 11th year in education. In 2006, he graduated from Denison University with a B.S. in Biology. He’s originally from Columbus, Ohio.
“I am excited about the opportunity to serve as a Senior School Director. Nearly all schools have courses, books, extra-curricular opportunities, and lots of strategic plans and goals. But it would be a mistake to reduce school down to just these parts. At the core, schools are bundles of people and relationships that form or don’t form between them. The learning, the fun, the good times and the not so good, the challenge and the growth, all happen as people come together in different configurations, in different times and places, and doing different things together. Here at YES Prep, we learn from each other. And we have been more shaped by the nature of our connections than any course or book directly. I am excited to continue the work of learning together and developing graduates who lead great lives.”
Laura Washington will serve as School Director of YES Prep’s School 18, which is slated to open in the 2018-2019 school year. Next year, she will plan for the school, recruit students, and hire staff.
Laura Washington is currently the Director of Academics at YES Prep Fifth Ward. Before becoming the Director of Academics she was a Dean of Instruction at YES Prep Fifth Ward, an Instructional Coach with Teaching Excellence, and taught 3rd and 4th grade at Rusk Elementary School in HISD as a Teach For America corps member. Laura is originally from Seattle, Washington and has a B.S. from Christian Brothers University in Memphis,Tennessee.
“I am excited to know where School 18 will be located so that I can learn more about the community and begin to meet our students and families. I am also looking forward to hiring our founding staff and seeing the first class of seniors graduate from YES Prep Fifth Ward.”
To see a full list of YES Prep School Directors for 2017-2018, check out our website.