Our RBHS Monarchs Team
Meet our RBHS Teachers, Staff, and Leadership Team.
RBHS Leadership Team
Dr. Benjamin Williams is the Principal of Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, DC’s only public all-male high school. Before assuming this role, Dr. Williams was the Associate Principal at School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens for two years. In 2015, he received a Rubenstein Award for highly effective leadership. Dr. Williams began his career in Charlottesville, VA where he taught high school social studies, and served as an elementary and high school assistant principal. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s of teaching, and Ph.D. in leadership and administration from the University of Virginia.
Patricia Michelle Odom will serve in the role of Intervention Coach at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School for the 2016-2017 school year. She is in her 8th year as an educator and has served in many leadership roles within the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Ms. Odom earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English Education from Jackson State University in her home state of Mississippi. Last year, Ms. Odom served John Philip Sousa Middle School as an Instructional Coach as well as a SCALE Teacher Leader for DCPS. In this role, she led professional development around instructional shifts as aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, as well as Culturally Responsive Teaching practices. Ms. Odom previously spent four years in the classroom at Kelly Miller Middle School as a Teach Plus Teacher Turnaround Team(T3) Leader. In this role, she worked to lead teachers in the implementation of a School-wide Enrichment Model that immersed all students in enriching and experiential learning opportunities as well as enhancing inquiry-based instructional practices, or “gifted for all” opportunities. She also worked as a part of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support team to develop and facilitate many of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support initiatives for the entire school.
In addition to her teaching and leadership roles, Ms. Odom is a proud DCPS parent, which is the driving force behind her dedication to educating the Young Kings of Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. She continues to serve as a tutor and mentor to many of her former middle school students and works diligently to help build internship and networking opportunities as they journey to college and career readiness. She believes that “…success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” –Booker T. Washington
Leslie Edwards earned a B.A. in Secondary English Education from the University of Maryland at College Park and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and Administration from McDaniel College. In addition, she taught 9th-12th Grade English in Prince George’s County for seven years and earned her National Board Certification in English Language Arts before coming to DCPS as a Secondary English Language Arts Master Educator in 2009. During her tenure in the district, she has presented at professional development forums on standards-based instruction, literacy, Common Core initiatives, and data utilization. She has also led and designed DCPS’ Master Educator Inter-School Collaborative Learning Cycles to support teachers and increase achievement in the 40 lowest performing DCPS schools.
Dr. Curtis is a native of Richmond, Virginia and has lived and worked as a psychologist in the District for the past ten years. He graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. in Psychology with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. Dr. Curtis is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and was initiated at Psi Chapter. Following his undergraduate work, Dr. Curtis attended University of Virginia where he earned a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology.
Throughout his educational experience he was actively involved in mentoring and program development. During graduate school, he helped develop a pilot program in Albemarle County Public Schools focused on reducing erroneous special education referrals and improving the county’s responsiveness to students’ behavioral needs. It was during this time that Dr. Curtis committed his professional life to focusing on developing systemic alternatives to suspension while bolstering individual youth capacity to self-regulate.
Dr. Curtis has worked professionally with students with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties while programming for them through an alternative, Restorative Justice framed lens. He has worked to devise individualized and group interventions focused on helping students placed outside of their homes who had significant histories of school failure, trauma, and minimal self-regulation increase outcomes by transitioning back into less structured environments and successfully returning to their neighborhood schools.
Similarly, Dr. Curtis has worked in comprehensive high-school settings to create complex, multi-discipline program for the students with the most severe behavioral difficulties in the building the eliminated the need for self-contained classrooms, reduced suspensions, and increased academic output.
Through working at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, Dr. Curtis will be engaged in the active and necessary work of disrupting the school to prison pipeline while empowering Young Kings of color in DC to be their best selves. He believes that the philosophy and program at Ron Brown High School will be in the vanguard of revolutionary education spaces for historically disenfranchised and oppressed people in America.
RBHS Faculty & Staff
I was born in Washington DC. My family moved to District Heights, Maryland. I love playing sports. I graduated from Central High School in 1990. I have three beautiful daughters who I am very proud. The schools I worked for are community Academy Charter School from 2008- 2011 and Stuart-Hobson Middle School2011-2016. My favorite sports teams are, in NBA, the Chicago Bulls, in NFL, the Oakland Raiders, and in college football & basketball, the Michigan Wolverines.
Travis Bouldin has served as an educator and leader for 12 years. Mr. Bouldin has coached many middle school sports and has served as an advisor for several clubs, including the successful launch and establishment of a fishing club for urban students. He is a Travel Ambassador for the District of Columbia Public Schools and a 2016 Yale National Fellow. Travis has a Bachelor of Science in History from Frostburg State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Social Studies from American University. In addition, he has a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership. Travis has two sons and spends most of his free time at their sporting events and concerts.
Anthony Gillespie joined DCPS in August 2014. He is a graduate of H.D. Woodson High School and he is a certified HVAC Technician.
Anthony has over ten years experience in custodial services.
Prior to DCPS, Anthony worked for Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Anthony is a native Washingtonian. In his spare time, Anthony enjoys basketball, football, boxing and spending time with his wife and children.
Tonya Hawkins is a native Washingtonian. She grew up in Ward 5, graduated from McKinley Senior High School, and attended Hood College in Frederick, MD. She has worked in the District of Columbia Public School System for over 16 years, serving in the elementary school, middle school, high school, and alternative learning settings. She was also a Project Assistant for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). She has been a coach for the District Heights Chiefs and several DC public schools. Ms. Hawkins was also a cheerleader coach and a pee-wee soccer coach.
Her educational philosophy is " If you're not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you're determined to learn, no one can stop you." She currently resides in Prince George's County with her husband and two daughters.
Arman Lakes is a professional school counselor. His professional specializations have focused on Response to Intervention, College and Career Access, Cognitive Behavior Therapy. He is a native of Atlanta, GA. Mr. Lakes attended Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, GA, where he received a BA in Public Relations Management, MA in School Counseling and currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University. Mr. Lakes is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar. Mr. Lakes believes every Young King of color is unique and with guidance and support they can use their special gift to make a difference in themselves and our world.
Kenneth E. Nero, Jr., MLIS is a second generation librarian. Professionally, he has worked in multiple areas of librarianship from shelving and circulation to professional librarianship in both academia and school environments. Mr. Nero attended Montgomery College, in Rockville, MD, where he received an AA in Criminal Justice and continued his education at the University of Maryland, University College and the University of Pittsburgh where he received a BS in Psychology and an MLIS respectively. Mr. Nero also received a certificate in PlantBased Nutrition from Cornell University. He is a native to downtown Silver Spring, MD and has lived in Washington, DC since 2008. Mr. Nero enjoys reading, practicing Brazilian JiuJitsu and is an active community organizer who, along with others, successfully organized for a library in DC’s jail and he is currently working with organizers on a health food coop in Ward 7. Mr. Nero worked with local non-profit Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop and several community organizers to successfully establish the current library in Washington DC's jail. Mr. Nero and his wife, both vegan, are hoping to publish a book focusing on using a plantbased diet to combat the top killers in the black community such as heart disease and stroke. He believes that his dedication to the community and health coupled with his appetite for reading will be an integral component in achieving the kind of revolutionary learning environment for our young kings that Ron Brown College Preparatory High School is establishing.
Lionel A. Rodgers is a certified special education teacher and coach. His professional expertise is in the area of developing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), the implementation of accommodations and modifications for student work. He has also served as an administrator of various academic assessments, vocational assessments, and employment assessments for students with disabilities. Mr. Rodgers attended University of Maryland College Park where he received a BA in Economics, and continued his education at George Mason University where he received a M.Ed. in Special Education. Mr. Rodgers is from Washington, DC and has been in education for six years. Mr. Rodgers desires that all Young Men become agents of change and self-advocates as they matriculate back into society.
Errin Smith is the Humanities Special Education teacher at Ron Brown Preparatory High School. Mr. Smith attended Hampton University, in Hampton, VA, where he received his BA degree in Psychology. In 2013, he received his Master in Teacher Leadership degree from the University of Phoenix. Mr. Smith is currently working towards earning his Board Certified Behavior Analyst Certification (BCBA) with the goal of being able to help students from a behavioral lens at Ron Brown. He is a native of Conway, Arkansas, and has also lived in the Chicago land area, Virginia, and Maryland. He has lived and taught in DC for the past 5 years. Mr. Smith is a firm believer that educating our young men with the necessary tools needed to be successful in college and adulthood is essential to changing the narrative of our Young Kings in this city.
Kathrine Avila is a native of Trenton, New Jersey and a proud alumna of The College of New Jersey. Before Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, Kathrine taught 9th -12th grade Spanish at Anacostia High School in South East D.C. While at Anacostia she served as the Spanish Department Chair and was responsible for coaching teachers in her content area. In 2015, Kathrine received her Master of Science in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Throughout her teaching career, she has taken students to Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador, and Cuba to study abroad. Kathrine loves teaching global education and during her free time she enjoys reading books by Paulo Coelho and John Grisham.
Dr. Roosevelt Cohens is a native Washingtonian born at DC General Hospital and was the tenth child of his parents. Dr. Cohens was raised in Public Housing in Washington, DC (Kenilworth Courts). He is married and has four daughters and a son.
In, September 1975, Dr. Cohens enrolled in Knoxville College located in Knoxville Tennessee. He received his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, at a liberal arts institution. Additionally, he attended Howard University where, he received a Masters of Social Work; Dr. Cohens received his Doctorate from Argosy University/ Chicago in Educational Leadership and Human Development.
Dr. Cohens is a Certified Anger Management Counselor Level II, through Chicago Institute of Anger Management. Trainer of Trainers in Balance and Restorative Justice through Florida Atlantic University, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, (School Social Worker), Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Critical Incident Management (CISM) with Compsychology.
Shaka J. Greene is the Founder and CEO of Bravo Zulu Chess Academy, a
non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Mr. Greene brings sixteen years of experience as an educator to Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis, a Master of Educational Leadership from Christian Brothers University, and he is currently working on his Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology, with a concentration in Organizational Leadership, from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Mr. Greene is licensed, certified, and Highly Qualified in all K-8 core subjects. He also holds an endorsement in reading and mathematics.
Additionally, Mr. Greene holds a K-12 Administrator's certification. Mr. Greene also successfully coached teams in basketball, track, and chess to city, district, and regional championships. Shaka is the father of four, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Incorporated.
Alfred Jackson is the Manager, Strategy and Logistics (MSL) at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations and logistics of the school and oversees the following operational functions: finance and purchasing, student data systems, facilities and property, human resources management and technology. He was born in Richmond, Va. but raised in Washington, DC and is a product of DC Public Schools; He has a Bachelor Degree in Electronic Engineering and has 21 years of experience working in DC Public Schools. Mr. Jackson started several initiatives for young men of color: “Choose Life” and “Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It, Give It” (DBAG) Program for Middle School and High School Students as an after school program. Subsequently, he implemented the (DBAG) Program during Saturday School. He has a passion for our youth and works diligently to motivate and inspire them to become successful in life.
Matt Lawrence is one of the mathematics teachers at Ron Brown, teaching freshmen algebra and geometry. He taught algebra, pre-calculus, and senior math in El Dorado, Arkansas for the last 3 years. Originally from Blair, Nebraska, Mr. Lawrence went on to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he received a BS in Economics and continued his education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he received a MS in Educational Studies. Mr. Lawrence in new to the DC area and is looks forward to getting involved with wrestling and MMA in the city. Mr. Lawrence became a teacher because he feels that every child deserves access to a high quality education so that they can become the king they were destined to be.
Mr. Shatane Porter, a native of Brooklyn New York, earned his Bachelor degree in Sociology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, in Riverdale, NY and his Master’s degree in School Counseling from Bowie State University. Mr. Porter has over fifteen years of experience working with males in urban school districts. In 2011, he became a Professional School Counselor in the DC Public School System at Anacostia Senior High School located in Ward 8, where he supported students in grades 9-12 with academic, social and emotional needs. Mr. Porter was also the boys’ varsity basketball coach at Anacostia for the past 5 years. Prior to this assignment, he worked for the DC College Access Program (DC CAP) as a High School Advisor supporting hundreds of students with the college admissions process, as well as postsecondary opportunities. Mr. Porter has future plans to be an adjunct College Professor and hopes to one day become a High School Principal. Mr. Porter is the proud father of three girls; he truly believes every RBHS student should be given the support and opportunity to go to college or any post secondary institution.
Jabari Sellars is a licensed humanities teacher. In addition to English Language Arts (ELA) on the middle and high school levels, Mr. Sellars’ teaching interests and experiences include Hip-Hop Studies, New Negro/Harlem Renaissance Literature, and Comic Book Analysis. Mr. Sellars attended Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina where he received a BA in English Literature and continued his education at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where he earned a Master of Arts in Teaching for Secondary English. As a product of North Carolina Public Schools, Mr. Sellars noticed the significant absence of teachers of color, and texts of color, from his time in elementary school to his early years in college. As a result, Mr. Sellars believes in validating the identities of his students, and prioritizes the use of socially and culturally relevant and rigorous texts, ideas, and conversations in class. Mr. Sellars joins the RBHS family in his fifth year of teaching.
Ms. Z was born in Durham, N.C. where music and art were always a part of her family culture. Growing up in Durham, she was exposed to the visual arts and all music genres. Early on Ms. Z started following her interest in music from middle school, college and graduate school. Although she started out as a music/vocal major at N.C. A&T State University, Ms. Z changed to Art Design and Education as a double major where she began her student teaching.
Ms. Z. has taught Art for 14 years in the DC metro area. Included in her teaching career Ms. Z served as a Restorative Justice Coordinator and PBIS coach.
To this day, Ms. Z. continues to be active in Arts Education, while having performed as a solo artist and background singer with Kenny Lattimore, Dre King, Raheem Davaughn, Green Tea and more. "I never want to be put in box or limited as to what type of occupation I pursue. I find interests in certain areas and try staying true to those interests."
Ms. Z is proud to join the Ron Brown family and continues to support the Arts and its impact on Social Justice.
Mr. Batton is a native of Detroit, MI. He received his B.A. in Music Education and Trombone performance from Alabama State University, a Master in Music in Trombone Performance from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master in Education Leadership from Marygrove College. Mr. Batton is currently pursuing an Ed.D in Leadership and Management at St. Thomas University. Mr. Batton brings 13 years of K-12 teaching and leadership experience to Ron Brown High School and has developed notable music programs in Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and DC.
Dawaine Cosey serves as the Empowerment Specialist with specialized training in and passion for personal development, culture shaping, life coaching, and mentoring specific to young men of color. Mr. Cosey is a native Washingtonian, and product of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Mr. Cosey holds an Associate degree in Ministry from New Hope and Life School of Theology, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. As a prolific speaker, Mr. Cosey seeks to open his own communication consulting practice in an effort to serve communities of color through personal and leadership development. Mr. Cosey is an avid writer, and is in the process of publishing his first book, “Faith Beyond,” completed in 2015. Mr. Cosey believes that young men of color must be taught through a holistic approach that builds the whole student while cultivating the whole person. He is passionate about helping them to discover why they are (purpose) in connection to who they are (person) and what they will become (potential).
Schalette Poteat Gudger, Ed.S., born in Washington, DC and raised in Prince George's County, MD, is a veteran educator with 16 years of experience with learners from 6 weeks of age to adult. Mrs. Gudger has a Dual BA in English/Liberal Arts and Religion and a minor in Black Studies from The Lincoln University (PA); an MA in Educational Leadership (K-12) from Bowie State University; an Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction (K-12) from the University of Phoenix; and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education. Her career in education began in the middle school classroom as an English/Language Arts Teacher with Prince George's County Public Schools in August 2000. During that time, Schalette also worked with the Infant and School-Aged Classes at KinderCare Learning Center in Waldorf, MD and eventually, became a center director in Fairfax County, VA. After eight years with PGCPS, Team Gudger relocated to Seoul, South Korea, where she worked as a Full-time Faculty and Lead Faculty Development Administrator with the Military Campus of the University of Phoenix's Masters of Education Program for five years before transitioning back to early childhood education as a Training and Curriculum Specialist with the USAG Yongsan Child Development Center. Most recently, she served as the second-grade teacher at Ankara Elementary School on the American Support Facility at Balgat in Ankara, Turkey. Schalette's ultimate goal in education is to start her own PK3--Grade 8 all-girls educational institutions in America and on the continent of Africa. Finally, Mrs. Gudger believes that any student can learn if given the most valuable resource--a conscious, compassionate, competent, and committed educator.
Celestine Jackson is a Native Washingtonian. Graduated from Anacostia Senior High School. After working in the private sector for over 20 years as the I.T. Officer, Executive Assistant to the President of the National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education and the Communications Coordinator for Minority, Inc. Ms. Jackson is also a Notary and Broker of CelebrityOne Realty. She is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland, University College to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Marketing. While following in her brothers' footsteps Ms. Jackson is striving to obtain a Ph.D. in Real Estate Development and Finance. Ms. Jackson returned to DCPS in hopes of making a different in the lives of DCPS scholars. Ms. Jackson served as the ASL at LaSalle-Backus EC in 2015-2016. After hearing of the new all males high school catering to the growth of young males of Washington, DC, Ms. Jackson saw an opportunity to be a part of something great so she transitioned to Ron Brown College Preparatory High School.
Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in the District of Columbia. A product of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system, Mr. Mitchell has stated " It's a pleasure to be an educator in the school system that taught me".
Mr. Mitchell received a baseball scholarship to Shaw University, Raleigh N.C., where he obtained a Bachelors of Art in Psychology. After undergraduate school, Mr. Mitchell returned to the Washington, DC area where he began his career in education and served as the Health/Physical education teacher for Ideal Academy. While teaching at Ideal Academy, Mr. Mitchell created a baseball program that won the citywide championship in its first two years. During this time, Mr. Mitchell continued his education at Bowie State University and received a Masters of Education-Adlerian focus.
In 2014, Mr. Mitchell became the Dean of Students at Oyster Adams middle school. While serving as Dean of Students, Mr. Mitchell established a discipline policy that promoted restorative justice, built a student council that molded students’ impromptu speaking and self- advocacy skills, and he established a Young Men's Group that focused on the holistic development of male students. In Mr. Mitchell's efforts to expose the young men to the benefits of benevolence, once a month, Mr. Mitchell took the group to Central Union Mission where they served dinner to the homeless population. Also, during his tenure at Oyster Adams, Mr. Mitchell's created a very successful baseball program.
Currently, Mr. Mitchell coaches travel league baseball for MOOSE, D.C. Dynasty, and his own program Mitchell's Marlins. Outside of coaching Mr. Mitchell is a personal trainer for Exclusive Results.
Darrin Richardson was born at Columbia Hospital for Woman located in Washington, DC. He is the youngest child of four siblings. All of his family are true Washingtonians. He was raised in a single parent household by his mother raising four children and did all she can do to put food on the table and roof over their heads. When Mr. Richardson was in high school, his mother married a great man who Mr. Richardson can proudly call his father and who came into their lives as a loving and caring father figure for he and his siblings. His stepfather taught Mr. Richardson’s brother and him the skills to be successful, independent, and how to become great men as well fathers to their own children. Mr. Richardson is the very proud father of his only son Darrin Richardson, Jr.
Ms. Brown is a veteran high school science teacher with decades of experience teaching, biology, chemistry and physics. After receiving her B.S. degree in journalism for Morgan State University, Ms. Brown worked for 10 years as a television news anchorperson for various television news stations in Ocean City and Maryland. Ms. Brown obtained her teaching credentials from Hood College and a master’s degree in science with a physics concentration from Morgan State University. Ms. Brown has taught physics and earth space science at her alma mater and has spent most of her career as a high school chemistry and physics teacher. Ms. Brown’s love of science has led her to work at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Laboratory in Nevada, and as a science educator at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt. Ms. Brown is a change agent for technology in the classroom. She has helped train hundreds of teachers through a NASA Raytheon Towson State University grant and the Maryland Space Grant Consortium to use GPS, (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS, (Geographic Information Science) in their classrooms. Ms. Brown is on hiatus from a Doctoral program in Earth Systems and Remote Sensing from George Mason University, until her youngest teenage son graduates from high school. Ms. Brown strives to foster a passion for science learning in her students, and when she is not geocaching or playing Pokeman Go, she can be found kayaking rivers and streams in Northern Virginia, or just hanging out with her two Pomeranian dogs. As an almost empty nester with five children and two toddler grand-daughters, Ms. Brown is thrilled and excited to be a part of the Ron Brown High School College Preparatory team.
Dr. Melanie Wiscount,
earned her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership with an Educational Technology concentration at Wilkes University, and a Master in Business Education and Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in Mathematics & Statistics at Bloomsburg University of PA. Dr. Wiscount taught the full computer science track for four years at McKinley Technology High School in DCPS and business education and computer science courses in three Pennsylvania public school districts. As a tenure track professor at Bloomsburg University, she taught undergraduate and graduate business education courses and served as the student teacher supervisor. Melanie has been selected and honored as a Microsoft Partners in Learning US and Global educator, a Siemens STEM Institute fellow, an AFCEA (Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association) DC STEM teacher of the quarter, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, a 2015 Funds for Teacher fellow, and a 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) DC awardee. Dr. Wiscount begins her fourteenth year in education and looks forward to preparing our Young Kings for valuable internships, higher education, their global community, and providing opportunities with them to tap into their genius.