Learn more about the 2023 Innovative Schools Fellowship Cohort.
Makeesha is committed to designing educational experiences where children are respected for their diversity of thought, spirits, dreams and aspirations, creativity, and their community. Makeesha began teaching in Little Haiti, in Miami, FL. After three years of developing high performing students, she became a founder of a private school for the most vulnerable students in South Florida. Within five years she transitioned to serve as Principal/Director of early intervention programs for students with significant cognitive, behavioral, and medical needs, transforming the school into a community-based wrap-around program with a whole-family approach. Recently, she has focused on developing leaders and expanding children’s services. She has remained dedicated to the most marginalized communities, re-creating the educational landscape to address the whole child, including developing models that use novel ways to design experiences to nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, aesthetic and spiritual needs of each person joining the community she serves.
Keisha is a North Side St. Louis native. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Mizzou. Keisha began teaching as a Chicago Teaching Fellow. She earned her M.Ed in Curriculum-Instruction and taught and coached for 11 years in CPS. She pursued a School Psychology Specialist Degree working closely with students and families creating space for student validation. Following that, she worked as the Elementary Intervention Manager for KIPP DC. Returning to St. Louis in 2017, Keisha worked at Kirkwood as a District Curriculum Facilitator focusing on Science, the Arts, and SEL. Keisha recently served as an Instructional Specialist at North Side Community helping to create a rigorous learning environment for student success. Keisha entered her third year as a Ph.D. Counseling student with a passion for reimagining how community outreach and alternative therapy models promote healing in Black and Brown communities. Her passion is to promote mental wellness for all.
Courtney began her career in education in 2006 when she joined Teach For America and taught middle school math. She spent the next 12 years as a classroom teacher with a track record of success in schools across Miami, Chicago and Atlanta. Courtney taught for 9 years in traditional public schools and 3 years in public charter schools. In 2018, Courtney moved to Austin, Texas to work as the middle-grades Mathematics Curriculum Manager. Her and her team applied for and were awarded an Education Innovation and Research grant that allowed them to develop a constructivist student-centered mathematics curriculum for 6ththrough AP math courses. In 2022, Courtney moved back to her hometown of St. Louis where she was able to work with North Side Community School on curricular and instructional reform. In August of 2023, Courtney will eagerly begin her work with the Opportunity Trust as an Innovative Schools Fellow.
Dr. Tesha Robinson:
Dr. Tesha Robinson is a proactive leader with a history of applying innovative strategies to solve critical problems in education. Her social work and mental health background have provided a unique pathway to educational leadership. She has served as a school social worker and assistant principal in multiple school districts in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. With over 15 years in education, she has developed a sharp lens for equity and academic excellence. Dr. Robinson has a successful track record of creating and evaluating solution-focused programs. She specializes in alternative education, dropout prevention, and social-emotional learning. Dr. Robinson has published several educational articles that provide practical steps to improve student engagement and trauma-informed practices. She is a contractual mentor for aspiring principals with Illinois Principal Association. Her educational background includes earning a master’s degree in Social Work and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.