“Teaching and public education are my life’s work.”
With 22 years of education experience, Nikki joined the KIPP MA Team and Family in 2013 as a 6th grade humanities teacher at KIPP Academy Boston Middle School. After serving as the Dean of Students at KIPP Academy Boston in 2014, she became the School Leader in 2015 and began managing other school leaders by 2017 eventually being named KIPP Massachusetts’ first Chief Schools Officer in early 2020 and its first Black, female Executive Director in that same year.
Under Nikki’s leadership KIPP Massachusetts has seen some of its highest rates of teacher diversity (63% ) and staff retention (84%) at a time when the profession has been at the center of issues that are dividing the state and the country leading to significant teacher shortages. Nikki’s leadership has also led to 79% of the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 enrolling and persisting in the post-secondary path of their choice.
Nikki identifies as a “teacher at heart” and her accomplishments in this role include being the first Black practicing classroom teacher to earn National Board Certification in the state of Virginia in the year 2000. In addition, she also has nearly 10 years of experience working in educational non-profit organizations focusing on teacher quality issues, professional development and engaging diverse communities of color.
Nikki is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic University (1991) and Virginia Commonwealth University (2003) where her graduate research around Teacher Leadership was instrumental in the creation of the VCU Center for Teacher Leadership.
Nikki is the proud mother of two children: Adrianna and Jordan, both of whom are teachers at KIPP Academy Boston.Close Bio
Shameka Coleman joined KIPP Massachusetts in 2014 as a founding elementary teacher at KIPP Academy Boston K-8. A part of her time as a teacher, she also held the roles of Grade Level Chair and Leader Fellow. After teaching at KIPP for 4 years, Shameka became an Assistant Principal in 2018. During her time as an Assistant Principal, Shameka enjoyed coaching elementary teachers and leading professional development for KIPP Academy Boston K-8 staff. Shameka spent 3 years as an Assistant Principal before becoming the Managing Director of Equity & Engagement at KIPP Massachusetts the summer of 2021. As a Managing Director, Shameka enjoyed leading sessions on racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, building relationships with and co-authoring with our families and communities, and being a part of the Family and Community Engagement Team. Shameka is looking forward to expanding upon these in her new role as Chief Equity and Engagement Officer beginning in January 2023.
Shameka holds a B.A. in Sociology, with a self-designed minor in Medical Ethics, and a concentration in Women & Gender Studies. Shameka continued her education in graduate school and holds a Master of Education in Curriculum & Teaching.
Prior to joining KIPP Massachusetts, Shameka was an elementary teacher in Lawrence, MA. In her spare time, Shameka enjoys listening to music, traveling, and volunteering.Close Bio
Jesse joined KIPP Massachusetts in 2014 as a founding kindergarten teaching fellow at KIPP Academy Boston Elementary School. She worked many roles and served in many capacities during her eight years in Boston: kindergarten, first and fourth grade teacher, Grade Level Chair on the first and fourth grade teams, and Assistant Principal for third and fourth grade. She transitioned to the Regional Office in 2022 as the Senior Executive Advisor, and will be supporting the Executive Director and the rest of the Executive Leadership Team in executing its vision and priorities.
Before joining KIPP Massachusetts, Jesse began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member teaching 9th-12th grade in Eastern North Carolina. She then worked on the Teach For America Eastern North Carolina Alumni Affairs Team and the Teach For America National Talent Acquisition Team in Chicago.
She currently lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband, Zach, and dog, Riggins.Close Bio
Emily (Hepler) Taylor joined KIPP Massachusetts in 2014 as the founding School Operations Manager of KIPP Academy Boston Elementary School in Roxbury, MA. During her tenure, she piloted a K-8 Operations model for the district, orchestrated four campus moves, transformed the school’s nutrition program, and strategically developed the student recruitment and enrollment strategy.
Emily transitioned to KIPP Massachusetts’ Regional Office in July 2018 as the Regional Director of Operations, then the Managing Director of Operations and now serves as the Chief Operating Officer.
Emily graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with a B.S. (Dual Degree) in Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice. She holds a MBA from Bentley University.
Emily lives with her husband, two kids, and dog. When she’s not chasing her kids around, she’s knitting or reading.Close Bio
Steve rejoined the KIPP MA team in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer after initially spending three years with KIPP MA from 2012 to 2015. Steve’s career in education began in 2005 when he served as an AmeriCorps tutor at the MATCH Charter High School in Boston. In 2010, after spending three years at Boston University working in the Budget, Planning, and Institutional Research Office, Steve joined Teach For America as a Massachusetts corps member, teaching Algebra 2 and Precalculus at Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea. Steve then joined KIPP Massachusetts in 2012, where he spent time at the KIPP Academy Lynn Middle School as both a School Operations Director and an 8th grade math teacher. Prior to returning to KIPP in 2018, Steve spent three years at Boston Collegiate Charter School as Director of Operations and then Director of Strategic Projects.
Steve graduated from Boston College with a B.S. in management and concentrations in finance, information systems, and computer science. Steve also earned two Master’s degrees from Boston University, an M.B.A. with a concentration in public and nonprofit management and a Master’s of Education in curriculum and teaching for high school mathematics.
Steve lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife Cristin and their three children, Zachary, Jocelyn, and Nathan.Close Bio
Emily began teaching in 2006 and taught middle school special education and math for six years before joining KIPP MA as a founding learning specialist at KIPP Academy Boston in 2012. She was then fortunate to enroll in the Fisher Fellowship after which she became the founding principal of KIPP Academy Boston Elementary in 2014. In 2018, Emily transitioned from elementary to high school as the successor principal of KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate. She deeply enjoys coaching principals and supporting the MD of KIPP Forward, impacting the student and family experience by supporting the leaders of each team.
Emily lives in Lynn, MA with her husband (Josh), her daughter (Audrey), her son (Sullivan), and her dog (Mac). When Emily is not working with her incredible KIPP MA team, she loves to laugh with her family, cook for her loved ones, and travel.Close Bio
I am joining the team as Chief Academic Officer, after dedicating 9 years of my career to K-12 education and 2 years prior to that in higher education. This has been and will continue to be my life’s work.
As an elementary school teacher, who taught multiple subjects, I helped spark the brilliance in the great minds of my third grade math students resulting in 79% of my students being proficient and 47% advanced- these students were two points shy of being number one in our region. I, then transitioned to school leadership in middle school (Dean of Students, and STEM Dean) where I completed a principal residency as well as a successful role as a School Culture Coach. I coached leaders on academics, adaptive leadership as well as culture (making classrooms make sense for OUR kids). I have, more recently, been an Academic Dean (Humanities) and Dean of Students at the high school level. I am also an ed consultant where I serve districts across the country through my work with NSSI.
I am a proud UCONN graduate, (2012) and earned my doctorate in Educational Leadership (2018).
Of all the ‘things’, I am most proud to be a Black woman, and more specifically a Black mother. I hope my equity based work helps to cultivate options for students, who by way of systemic racism, have been marginalized just because of their melanin-rich skin.Close Bio
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