The four education leaders who make up the newest cohort in The Opportunity Trust’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) fellowship are working with parents and other educators to expand access to high-quality public schools in St. Louis.
This two-year fellowship supports future school founders as they design and launch new schools, or help expand already successful ones, in St. Louis. Fellows were selected from about 60 applicants and were part of a rigorous selection process.
This year’s class joins the two members of the 2020-21 cohort who plan to open their new schools this fall.
Babe is engaging families and community members to expand access to rigorous academics and real-world learning opportunities for students in St. Louis.
She comes with a background in education innovation and research. She has worked in education for more than ten years. Most recently, she supported schools and communities by designing research-based solutions to education challenges at Digital Promise, a national nonprofit. She’s also managed projects supporting schools, libraries, and media outlets to use the latest education and child development research to improve their work. Babe is a St. Louis native and began her career designing and facilitating educational programs for students and families at museums and cultural institutions in St. Louis, New York, and Boston. She holds a B.A. from Yale College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Nilesh is leader in residence at Kairos Academy, whose high school he will launch in Fall 2022.
He began his career as an 8th grade physics teacher with Teach for America in Chicago. During his time there, Nilesh served as a Grade Level Chair at the Noble Network of Charter Schools — Chicago’s top-ranked public school network—where he coached colleagues to build a culture of joy and support. After four years at the Noble Network, he returned home to St. Louis to help found Kairos Academy as chair of the Science Department and eventually as Director of Teaching and Learning. In this role, Nilesh coached teachers with a wide range of experience to push for rigor in the classroom and to build a joyful classroom. In a nationwide student-ranked survey, Kairos regularly scores in the top 1 percent in student-teacher relationships.
Nilesh earned his Bachelor of Arts and Science in Global Health from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York City.
Charles is engaging parents and community leaders as he develops plans for Ignite Literary Academies, a K-8 school.
Charles is currently the Director of Schools at RePublic Schools, a regional charter network based in Nashville, where he served on the senior management team. He manages three charter public schools in Jackson, MS, which are the highest performing open-enrollment educational options in the city. Prior to his current role, Charles was the founding principal of Smilow Collegiate, the first elementary charter school in Jackson. During its founding year, 104 out of 108 kindergarten scholars were identified as emergent readers on the Mississippi Kindergarten Readiness test, meaning they had not mastered foundational literacy skills. By Spring, this number dropped to only 25. Before launching Smilow, Charles was both a teacher and administrator at Success Academies in New York City, the nation’s highest-performing charter school network.
Charles is a native of Greenville, North Carolina, and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Elementary Education and Child Studies.
Richard is working with leaders in higher education and the health sector to develop St. Louis’s first early college high school focused on health careers.
For seven years, Richard served as the Chief Learner (aka Principal) for School of the Future, a city-wide public high school in Philadelphia. In 2018, he was selected by the Philadelphia Public League as Principal of the Year and has previously been honored as Partner of the Year by Villanova University for his work on The First Time College Goers program. Richard has worked with children in elementary, middle, and high schools in Cincinnati, Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Richard’s passion for children and education was instilled in him by his family who lives in Tampa, Florida. He is committed to engaging the community, local partners, and local universities to create St. Louis’ first early college high school in collaboration with Cortex, Saint Louis University, BJC, and possibly others.
Richard holds a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an Ed M in Teaching from the University of Maryland, as well as Administration and Supervision certifications from Johns Hopkins University.