Jesse Jovel, FOunding Principal Resident
Network Support Team
melanie aldridge, Recruitment Associate
Chief Executive Officer
Oliver was named the 2006 Teacher of the Year in the Boston Public Schools. Shortly after, he moved to Chicago to help start the expansion of the Noble Network of Charter Schools and founded UIC College Prep, the #1 non-selective high school in Chicago. He was then appointed onto the executive cabinet as Chicago Public School’s first Chief Portfolio Officer where he led the city’s strategic efforts of opening new schools, closing low performing schools and converting the district to operate as a portfolio of schools. Oliver attended the University of Southern California and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As Chief Executive Officer of Ednovate, Oliver is responsible for overall leadership of the organization and the continuous development of our student centered instructional model. Outside of work Oliver loves running, golf, reading, outdoor concerts, quality time with loved ones and searching for the world’s best nachos.
Principal, Esperanza College Prep
Rosa Elena Alanis was born and raised in North East Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Over the course of her career, she has been an elementary school teacher, Literacy Coach, Dean of Students, and Principal. For the last nine years, Rosa has been part of a transformative educational movement that is defying statistics for low-income first generation students. As the principal of the Noble Campus - Golder College Prep, she led her school to be among the top ten open enrollment high schools in the city of Chicago when it came to ACT scores for 6 consecutive years. She is thrilled to finally be home in Los Angeles as part of the Ednovate team as a founding principal in the community she was born in. Rosa has a B.A. from the University of California Riverside in Liberal Studies, an M.A. from Pepperdine University in Education, and an M.A. from Cal State Los Angeles in Education Administration. Outside of school, she enjoys spinning, and spending time with her husband and three young boys: Antonio, Emilio, and Manolo who are all under the age of 9.
Principal, Legacy College Prep
Evelyn Castro began her journey in education as a Teach for America corps member and founding teacher at Alliance Health Services Academy High School, in South Los Angeles. Through this role, she was able to support the school in the development of a positive school culture and rigorous instructional program. During this time she also founded several programs including RISE (Rising Inner-City Students through Education), a program dedicated to providing students and families with college support and guidance. For three consecutive years, Evelyn took three cohorts of high school students in RISE to the East Coast to visit top universities. Evelyn transitioned to the role of Assistant Principal at the same school, where she led teachers in implementing a rigorous curriculum, reinforced strong school-family communication, and led the school to full WASC accreditation. She graduated the first three senior classes of Alliance Health Services Academy High School, prior to joining Ednovate. Evelyn is a passionate school leader who believes in creating and nurturing environment where every child is valued and where each student’s strengths, areas of growth, experiences, and passions can inform a truly personalized learning experience. She received her B.A. in Sociology, Women’s Studies and Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her M.A. in Urban Education-Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Today, Evelyn is excited to be a part of a successful and growing network and is honored to lead the third Ednovate high school in the community of Santa Ana. In her free time, Evelyn enjoys cooking, traveling, and going on hikes with her two boxers, Rocco and Sasha.
Principal, East College Prep
As principal of East College Prep, Drew brings tremendous excitement for working with students on the East side of LA and helping them make their own Positive Multigenerational Change. Prior, he was the Principal Intern at CatalystMaria High School in Chicago. For the previous four years, Drew served as a science teacher, 11th grade level chair and science department chair at UIC College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter Schools. Drew is most proud of his 14 advisees – 100% of his advisory attended a 4 year university! – and of all of his 11th graders in Chicago – they earned the highest average ACT scores of any nonselective enrollment school in the city of Chicago for 3 years running. A proud Blue Devil, Drew graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and later earned his Master's Degree from National Louis University. In his free time, Drew loves to stay active – he's been learning how to surf!
Olumide (Mac) Macaulay
Principal, USC Hybrid High
Olumide (Mac) Macaulay is a Trojan graduating in 2001 from the University of Southern California. Macaulay is also an alumnus of Teach for America Los Angeles. He spent seven years at Markham Middle School in Watts, where he taught seventh and eighth grade science, leadership, and Youth Lead Gang Intervention. Prior to joining the Hybrid High team, Mac served as Founding Dean and Assistant Principal at Animo Locke II Charter High School, a Green Dot Public School in South Los Angeles. Mac joined USC Hybrid High in 2012 as a founding science teacher. He achieved such impressive results in the classroom, that he was appointed to serve as Assistant Principal for Hybrid High in April 2013 and then as Principal in July 2014. Today, he continues to work to inspire young people by providing them intellectual nourishment, academic rigor, and personal attention.
Chief of Schools
Lauryn began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Baltimore, MD at Westport Academy. After completing her two-year commitment, she worked as a Program Director for Teach for America-Chicago. Desiring a more direct impact, Lauryn returned to the classroom and joined Noble as a Founding Science Instructor at UIC College Prep. In her two years at UICCP, she chaired and facilitated data analysis for the department and co-authored the department’s first, second, and third year curricula. She was then selected to serve as the
Founding Assistant Principal at Johnson College Prep before being appointed to found Hansberry College Prep as principal. Hansberry College Prep became Noble’s first campus, and the first charter in Illinois, to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. In 2015, Hansberry College Prep was the highest performing non-selective school on Chicago’s south side and 100% of the class of 2016 earned admission to college. Lauryn received both her B.A. in Public Health Studies and M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University, and completed her Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision at National Louis University. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, bowling and traveling with her family.
Katie comes to us from the US Navy, where she focused on aviation operations, maintenance and training. Most recently Katie was a MH60R Seahawk helicopter Instructor Pilot and Aircraft Commander. In her role as an Instructor Pilot, Katie developed a training continuum and curriculum for student helicopter pilots. Her vast experience gave her expertise in operations, project management, data management, and process improvement. Katie holds an MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and a BS in Oceanography from the United States Naval Academy. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Katie leads the support team as well as operations strategy, real estate search and acquisition, and facilities operations. Outside of work, Katie enjoys time with her husband and three children, hiking around Los Angeles, going to concerts, and discovering new restaurants.
Chief Academic Officer
Jesse Noonan, Ed.D., is a proud LAUSD graduate and former high school English teacher who has focused her career on leading with student needs and equity of opportunity at the forefront of all her decisions. Prior to joining Ednovate, Jesse served as Chief Academic Officer at Youth Policy Institute, providing a broad range of support to students in schools throughout the Promise Neighborhoods of East Hollywood, Pico Union, and Pacoima. Promise Neighborhoods was an Obama-era educational initiative to serve students cradle to college to dramatically accelerate student outcomes. She began her career as a high school English teacher at Locke High School, and subsequently moved into alternative education, serving first as a GED Teacher and then as Coordinator of Curriculum and Training at Larkin Street Youth Services, a San Francisco Homeless and Youth Services Agency, where she ran a career-track training program for homeless and marginally-housed youth. During her 9 year tenure at Opportunities for Learning and Options for Youth Public Charter Schools, a network of charter schools throughout California that serves 50,000 students per year at-risk for school failure and in need of credit recovery, Jesse served as part of a team that was instrumental in raising the academic achievement and post-secondary expectations of students in the program. Jesse earned her BA at Barnard College, and her Masters’ degree, Administrative Credential, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University. Her dissertation was a youth participatory action research project in which struggling high school readers in the Northeast San Fernando Valley created their own course based on principals of critical literacy. In her free time, she enjoys movies, reading, yoga, and hanging out with her family, including her two young sons.
Founding Principal Resident
Dr. Wendt enjoyed working with his dad in the garage as a kid, but he struggled in school until his 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Bowman, and her colleagues showed him he could excel. He never forgot what it felt like to succeed after so much frustration. He went on to graduate with honors in Industrial Design from Auburn University. As a designer, he earned several patents as a product designer at Maytag Appliances. The first dishwasher he designed still cleans his parents’ dishes every night. He decided to go back to school to study education so he could make a difference in the lives of students the way his parents and teachers had done for him. He completed his master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University and then became an applied physics teacher, merging his education and experience in industry at High Tech High in San Diego. He went on to earn his doctorate in education leadership from Harvard University. He then became the Dean of the Discovery Lab at Khan Academy and launched projects on the internet that have been seen around the world. Dr. Wendt then founded Discover Create Advance with an exceptional team of volunteers and computer scientists to make hands-on project kits accessible to schools across the country. In his spare time he enjoys camping, working in his garden, traveling, and cooking with friends. Karl is excited to bring his experience to support the students, the staff, and the community at Ednovate as a founding principal.
Founding Principal Resident
Ally Wright was selected as a Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellow for Aspiring Teachers of Color after receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then attended Brown University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) specializing in Secondary English Education. Ally began her teaching career as a founding teacher at Animo James B. Taylor Middle School, a Green Dot Public School in Watts, CA. Later that year, she earned the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award. Ally first joined Ednovate in 2015 as a 9th Grade Reading Instructor at USC Hybrid High College Prep, leading the network in Reading ACT Growth. During her time here, Ally also served as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, a talent ambassador, and the 9th Grade Level Lead. Ally is excited to continue impacting students and families in Los Angeles as she transitions into her new role as a Founding Principal. Outside of work, Ally enjoys fitness activities and spending time with her husband and one year old son.
Network Support Team
Director of Family Engagement & Strategy
Jenny Aguas, born and raised in Los Angeles, is the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants. She is a fierce education advocate working to advance educational equity for all students. Jenny began her educational advocacy assisting high school students in the migrant community of Pescadero, in Northern California. Prior to joining Ednovate, she served the students and families in Los Angeles for ten years with the office of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Member Mónica García. As Chief of Staff for Board District 2, she helped develop policies that refocused LAUSD to prepare more children to read and write at grade level and to create pathways out of poverty through education. Throughout her tenure, Jenny served in various capacities such as Policy Director, and Director of Community Engagement, to explore collaborative opportunities for student growth and achievement, building partnerships, and engaging parents, community and stakeholders in the process. A proud LAUSD graduate, Jenny received a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and her M.A. in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. In her role at Ednovate, Jenny works with and supports our talented school leaders in the development and strengthening of Family Engagement and Student Recruitment strategies.
Family & Community Engagement Manager
Isidro Armenta was born and raised in Los Angeles and continues to contribute to his community through endeavors that help children and families reach their full potential. Isidro’s drive and motivation stem from his belief that privilege must be used as a bridge to empower others. Isidro previously served as Director of Communications and Community Affairs Deputy with the office of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education President Mónica García. He also served in the district office of United States Congressman Xavier Becerra. As a college student, Isidro was elected student body President, where he advocated for increasing access and affordability in the California State University System.
Isidro is an alumnus of the Education for Leadership in Public Service seminar at the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy and earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from San Francisco State University. On his spare time, he volunteers as a board member with Hillsides, a mental health and family services nonprofit, enjoys comedy, and spending time with his family.
Director of Operations
Megan always enjoyed working with youth in outdoor education and wilderness therapy, and was excited to begin her journey in education after completing her B.S. in Psychology at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She started her path in education as a Founding AmeriCorps Fellow at Phoenix Academy Lawrence, tutoring students for the MA state test and supporting the teachers and staff in the first year of the school. The following year, she was the first Operations Manager at Phoenix Academy Lawrence, building systems and running the non-instructional functions of the school. In those years, she learned a lot and fully realized her enthusiasm for school operations and the impact it has on running an excellent school. Looking for a new opportunity led Megan to LA, where she was the Founding Director of Operations at Collegiate Charter High School in East LA. She was happy to get to know the community and learn all the differences of running a school in California. Megan was looking to grow into a new role and was excited to find an opportunity at Ednovate continuing her work in school operations working with several schools to support Positive Multigenerational Change in our schools and communities. Megan also loves to do all things outside, especially hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, and road tripping to explore the beautiful West Coast.
Senior Director of Real Estate & Facilities
Mallory Barnes has worked in education her entire career, starting at Charles Drew Middle School in South LA where she served as as a 6th grade teacher, then as a Dean of Students. She then transitioned to Aspire Public Schools where she was part of various founding teams, including Intervention Specialist and Afterschool Director. She was the founding principal of Aspire-Centennial College Prep Academy (CCPA) and has a deep appreciation and respect for school leaders. After that, Mallory was the Director of Operations for the Los Angeles region at Aspire where she strived to ensure that schools operated as efficiently and smoothly as possible to best serve the community and students. Mallory is inspired to work in Real
Estate & Facilities because this is a such a crucial part of the overall mission of Ednovate. Mallory holds an MBA from California State Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Sociology and Black Studies from UC-Santa Barbara. Mallory is a certified yoga instructor and spends her free time practicing yoga, watching the New Orleans Saints and playing with her beagle mix, Hunter.
Director of Special Education
A former corporate attorney, Kesso found her passion in education. As an educator, she believes her mission is to ensure all students recognize and develop their unique gifts to make positive contributions to their peers, communities and the world. Kesso began her career in education with the Urban Teachers program, earning a dual Masters in Education and Special
Education while working at Friendship Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. During her time at Friendship she taught special education in inclusion and self-contained settings as a lead teacher and served as a Special Education Coordinator. Having grown up in the D.C. area, she spends her free time investigating whether the West Coast really is the best coast.
She also enjoys time in the sun, practicing yoga and spending quality time with family and friends.
Director of Academics
Joaquin began his career in education as a DC Public Schools teacher with Teach for America. Later, he served as Manager, Teacher Leadership Development and then as Director of Transformational Teaching with Teach For America-DC. After moving to New York, he joined Uncommon Schools as Associate Director of Professional Development for the Teach Like a Champion Team. In this role, he designed professional development for leaders and educators from around the country and co-authored the Teach Like a Champion Field Guide 2.0. After 10 years on the East Coast, Joaquin returned home to Southern California to work at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools as Director of Professional Development, where he trained teachers and leaders across Los Angeles. In his new role as Ednovate’s Director of Academics, Joaquin is thrilled to support teachers and leaders in implementing high-quality curriculum and instruction that prepares students for long-term success. Joaquin received his B.A. from Stanford University and his M.A.T in Secondary Education from American University.
Outside of work, Joaquin loves reading non-fiction, watching documentaries, cheering on the Lakers, and spending time with his wife, Vicki--who teaches science at Ednovate’s Legacy College Prep--and their toddler, Lyla.
Sr. Director of Finance & Budgeting
John’s investment banking and corporate finance career spans over two decades, focusing on sell-side advisory as well as strategic and operations consulting. John recently served as COO and CFO of Newsong Church in Santa Ana, CA. He is also a co-founder and/or CFO of several technology start-ups, including education technology company, Appletree and financial technology company Bucket Technologies. He is founder and managing partner of Ing Advisory Group, a corporate finance and strategic consulting firm. John started his career at one of Citigroup’s middle-market investment banking divisions, where he filled roles as an analyst, dealmaker, and served as Managing Director of the firm’s business valuation division and was a Series 24 General Securities Principal. John holds a Bachelor of Arts in English w/ a minor in History from the University of California, Irvine and earned his Master’s in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance and Marketing from the USC Marshall School of Business. John's personal passions include his wife and two children, basketball, travel, and advocating for the least, lost, and last through philanthropic and humanitarian aid organizations such as Illumination Foundation and World Vision International.
Director of Talent & Human Resources
Shelley is a Southern California native and the child of a middle school science teacher. After graduating from UC San Diego with a BS in Psychology, Shelley wanted to get a taste of the city life. Always drawn to the education field, she began her career as an HR Assistant at Room to Read in San Francisco. Through Room to Read's mission of Girls' Education and Literacy in low-income countries, Shelley's commitment to a quality education for all children grew and her passion for supporting educators started. She developed a strong HR foundation by learning the ins & outs of recruitment, onboarding, HR technology systems, professional development and more. After 5 wonderful years with Room to Read, Shelley opted for colder weather in a bigger city and joined Uncommon Schools in New York City. Uncommon, a large charter management organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap, operates 50+ schools across 6 regions in the Northeast and has over 3000 employees. As the Director of HR, Shelley focused on managing a team and building systems to support Uncommon's growth to scale. Most recently, Shelley has relocated back to her native SoCal and is beyond excited to have found a home with Ednovate. Outside of work, Shelley is usually spending time with her big family, stopping by Target whenever possible or just counting down days to the next Olympics or World Cup.
Manager of Technology
Kevin is a native to Los Angeles, growing up nearby in the San Gabriel Valley. He earned his BA in Political Science with Minors in Economics and Business at UC San Diego, and earned his M.Ed in Curriculum and instruction at UNLV. He began his career in education with Teach for America in the Las Vegas Valley, teaching upper elementary students at Lowman Elementary School. It was here that he developed a passion for the integration of technology in the classroom, and realized the potential to use technology to change the education landscape. In 2017, he was able to fulfill his dream of making an impact in his hometown to teach i-Lab (an extension class focused on technology, programming, and design thinking) to K-2 students at KIPP Ignite Academy, located in Watts. Kevin joined Ednovate because of his deep passion for education technology. He is a firm believer that technology plays a major role in the work of educational equity and closing the achievement gap. Outside of work he enjoys traveling, eating diverse and authentic food, going to music concerts and shows, and rooting for LA sports teams (except the Clippers).
Director of Data Strategy & Analysis
Nicole began her journey in the education space by running a STEM outreach program serving over 300 female students during her undergraduate studies at Duke University where she received a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Spanish. Her passion for education continued to grow as she began her career in management consulting with Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations group in New York. At Deloitte, she developed her analytical, strategic, and project management skillsets while deepening her experience in education through her work with Future Leaders Institute Charter School and Junior Achievement. From there, she decided to pursue her M.B.A. and returned to Duke with the goal of applying her love of data and strategy towards serving students, schools, and families – she is thrilled to have found the opportunity to do so with the Ednovate team. When she’s not getting overexcited about a new data trick that she’s learned, you will likely find Nicole with her nose in a book, running along the beach, or cheering on her beloved Blue Devils!
Data & Compliance Associate
As a South Los Angeles native and first-generation college graduate, Cristina has an inherent passion for education in the inner city and is grounded in community outreach. After receiving her Bachelor's in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy from the University of California, San Diego, she stayed with UCSD to pursue a career in Human Resources to help the student employees who'd become her community away from home. This role ignited Cristina's spark for data and data-driven decision making which lead to a role as an HR Analyst with a leading veterinary hospital where she was exposed to the intricacies of compliance and the importance of community outreach. Fueled by the desire to serve the community she grew up in, Cristina made her way back to Los Angeles and joined KIPP LA Public Schools to support with compliance. Tying together her love for education, data, and her community, Cristina has found a home with Ednovate to continue fostering positive multigenerational change where it's needed most. Outside of work, Cristina can be found participating in neighborhood beautification projects, running a 5k to fundraise for an important cause, or contributing in councils of young/female/Latinx professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring new places, foods, and live music, or simply riding her bike along the beach.
Director of Academics
Elizabeth Saiger has worked in education for the past 5 years. Following a short stint in medicine, Elizabeth had a transformative experience in Africa where she learned the power of education and its intersection with health. She then transitioned to the education reform world and began her work in education as a Business Operations Manager at Success Academy Bronx 1, where she led all non instructional areas of a top performing elementary school in New York. Following Success, she consulted for Achievement First on strategic projects. She moved to LA in the Summer of 2015 from NY, and was an academic operations consult for a variety of charter schools in California and the east coast focusing on compliance, knowledge management and hiring. Elizabeth joined Ednovate in the fall of 2018 as a consultant and is excited to continue in the role of Senior Manager of Special Projects. Elizabeth hold an B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Elizabeth is married to a Rabbi, has two small children and spends weekends hiking and eating good food.
Senior Associate of Development & External Affairs
Had you asked Alexa in 2012 what she'd be doing today, she would've confidently said, working for a top television network assisting casting and development executives. A TFA recruitment manager was able to get her to abandon her previous goals and once she graduated from USC with a B.A. in Communication and joined the 2013 TFA Chicago corps, where she first got a taste of what it was like to have a direct impact on America's youth each and every single day. Alexa first worked as a special education teacher at Muchin College Prep, a Noble Network Charter School, where the students captured her heart and she fell in love with working in education. After her TFA commitment ended, Alexa moved back to the west coast and has been working for Ednovate ever since. She began as a case manager and special education teacher at USC Hybrid High. After completing her Masters in Education through Johns Hopkins University, Alexa was ready for a change and a new opportunity opened on Ednovate's Support Team, so Alexa started a role this past summer in development and external affairs (a.k.a. fundraising and working with our awesome external partners). In her spare time, Alexa loves to travel, spend money on good food and live music, and attends lots of weddings.