Lucas Phillips was born and raised in Kentucky and has called Tennessee home for the past 11 years. Graduating with degrees in Theater and Communications from Transylvania University and Information Technology from Trevecca Nazarene University, Lucas has gained a wealth of experience in various people-facing roles in the education and technology worlds. In his spare time, Lucas loves to hike, camp, kayak, and travel wherever he can! Favorite destinations include New York City, Italy, and Mexico. Canada and more European travel are next on the list! Other than that, he likes to spend time with a close-knit group of friends or enjoying downtime binge-watching whatever is streaming!
Lauren McKee, was raised in Wetumpka, AL. She graduated from Auburn University with a BS in Marketing in the Fall of 2019. After moving to Nashville, she developed her additional marketing experience and training by marketing for orthopaedic surgeons. She enjoys spending her extra time traveling with her boyfriend, Andrew, and their two pugs, Percy and Dude.
Kyle Johnson is our data intern who is currently a student at the University of Cincinnati pursuing a degree in both IT-Networking and Cyber security.
He’s had a passion for all things tech ever since he learned how to use the family computer at a young age and couldn’t have enough. He became festinated with data when he took a data science class in high school and later became the Data Science Student of the Year. Besides tech, Kyle also enjoys learning new recopies to cook, practicing and studying new chess ideas, and becoming a better rock climber.
Hawo Ibrahim was born in Kenya and raised in Nashville. She recently graduated from Duke University with a BS in Psychology. Hawo recently joined Possip as an intern. She is interested in pursuing a PhD in counseling psychology in the fall of 2022.
Jordan Jones is a part of the Growth and District Partnerships Team at Possip. He is an Illinois native, growing up in Aurora before attending University of Pittsburgh. After graduating he moved to Miami, FL and taught middle school math. Jordan is passionate about helping people reach their full potential, especially students and young people. He strives to help schools and districts find creative solutions to engage parents. In his down time, Jordan enjoys reading, writing, and managing his clothing brand.
Juan Candia, is a software developer with business management experience. Juan worked for U-Haul for 25 years then decided to do a career change to pursue his passion in software development. He enjoys working with Ruby on Rails but is always willing to learn new platforms. When Juan is not coding, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Drew Uhlmann, as of the current date of writing, is 217 days into her goal of a year of daily GitHub commits. She has been writing ruby for seven years and adores, in the words of the great Cynthia Lee, “experiencing the crystalline satisfaction of finding an elegant solution to an algorithmic challenge.” Outside of work, her interests include vying for violin versatility, attending to an absurd abundance of amaryllises, and sustaining a substantial sentiment for space operas.
Amanda Richards began her education career with Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth after graduating from Cornell University with minors in Education Studies, Inequality Studies, and Latino Studies. Following her corps experience, she received her EdM in Learning and Teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Amanda moved back to Dallas to pursue an Assistant Principal role at a charter school network and became the Principal two years later. As an administrator, Amanda cared deeply about parent satisfaction and engagement, which was reflected by significant gains in parent survey results at her school. Her goal is to help other schools improve their own parent satisfaction rates and to further Possip’s mission of increasing parent engagement and amplifying parent voices.
Chima Mbadugha is the Growth and Partnerships Lead at Possip. He is also the proud product of two Nigerian immigrants and DeKalb County’s public school system in Georgia. He started his career as a 6th-grade math teacher in Houston ISD and has since held roles at the school district level and Teach For America. Chima finds great energy and gratification from developing solutions that leverage the power of people individually and collectively to drive results. He earned a BS from the University of Georgia and his MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Go Blue! In his spare time, you can find Chima stimulating his creativity by curating dancefloor soundtracks for events as a deejay.
Natalie Sessoms has been absorbing and executing equitable practices among multiracial, multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual, and economically diverse populations, for the past nine years. For which, she was recognized as a Teachers 4 Equity fellow. She graduated from The University of Tennessee with degrees in Art History and Urban Multicultural Elementary Education, and then a MS degree in Teacher Education. After college, she began her career in education as a lower elementary teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools. She has focused her teaching on galvanizing her school community to create more equitable outcomes for students, and now continues that work in her role on the Sales team.
Magdalena Kinney is a software developer who has an eye for design and loves writing functional dynamic code. She likes to understand the users and find solutions to pain points. Magdalena has a passion for architectural and interior design. She enjoys exploring new cities and buildings to admire their outer and inner beauty.
Caitlin Churchill makes sure that the technology and relationships Possip develops help customers reach their goals. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in English and Creative Writing, Caitlin began a career in academic publishing, where she launched ebook publishing and distribution programs and developed resources for the Association of American University Presses. More recently, Caitlin managed a PubTech eCommerce business within Ingram Book Group. Caitlin also has experience through the Peace Corps helping teachers in the country of Georgia develop and share professional skills.
Jasmine Blue joined Possip’s Experience & Support team to strengthen Possip’s partnerships and connect customers to the solutions they need. The granddaughter of Civil Rights Movement activists and educators, Jasmine’s passion for education equity stems from her lived experiences and value for education. She’s worked with after-school programs, education advocacy, and policy nonprofits in Tennessee. More recently, she helped launch the TN Tutoring Corps in response to Covid-slide. In addition to education, Jasmine cares deeply about housing, gentrification, and social justice. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she founded Just Eats TN, a social media-based initiative that features BIPOC owned restaurants in Tennessee. Prior to starting at Possip, Jasmine completed a MS in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Political Science and English Minor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Sara Peters grew up in Austin, TX, and graduated from the University of Texas with a Plan II Honors History degree. She began her career in education in Houston, where she taught 1st grade as part of Teach For America. Following her time in the classroom, she was a founding site director for Clark Elementary’s Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Program in Portland, OR. Her commitment to expanding and improving educational opportunities for all children then brought Sara back to Teach For America as a campus and national recruitment team member. For many years now, she has been fortunate to focus on raising her three children while continuing to pursue her passion for education reform at several education-focused nonprofits, including Teach For America, Leadership for Educational Equity, and Little Bites Coaching. Sara currently lives in Denver, CO.
Michael Dyer has always worked to promote social justice, including a stint in Jordan teaching ESL and helping run a distribution center for new refugee families crossing the border. More recently, Michael moved into sales and recruitment, where he found a passion for connecting people with new opportunities at organizations with missions that he believed in. Michael hopes to support local schools by enabling them to hear from parents more effectively and efficiently.
Adam Thede enjoys creating and using new technology. He is a consummate problem solver who is most at home exploring and creating solutions to technological puzzles through software development. Adam finds much gratification in furthering Possip’s vision of strengthening schools through the power of their communities. In his spare time, he unearths the past in his role of self-appointed family historian– digital archivist, maintaining a vast trove of family history. On evenings and weekends, you can find him digitizing photographic negatives, scanning old notes and journals from his ancestors, or curating his own photography and video archive.
Hannah Hall moved to Nashville in 2012 with Teach for America. She spent four years teaching 3rd grade in Metro Nashville Public Schools while earning an EdM in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb University. She later began a career in technology, managing sales and business development for an IT recruiting company. Hannah joined Possip with a passion for technology and the ways that it can enhance opportunities for students and families.
Christine Fisher, Possip’s Director of Operations, attended a STEM-focused public school in Montreal, Canada, and went on to earn her BA in Computer Engineering from Queen’s University, where she also served as student body president. At Procter & Gamble, her first job after college, she had the opportunity to work on some of the company’s biggest brands—including Tide, Charmin, and Bounty—during her ten years there. Christine, who sits on the Preschool Promise Board, Beech Acres Parenting Center Board, and Public Schools Audit Committee, is an active member of the education community in her current hometown of Cincinnati, OH. In 2020, the Cincinnati Business Courier named her one of the city’s “40 Under 40” in recognition of her contributions to both the business and education sectors.
Shani Dowell is the founder and CEO of Possip. A product of Houston public schools and a public school teacher and parent, Shani loves supporting the work of schools. She started her career as a consultant at Bain & Co. and helped launch the Boston office of the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to increase student retention and engagement on college campuses. She has also worked for Houston Independent School District, KIPP Foundation—a national network of charter schools, Teach For America, Bridgespan Group, and Relay Graduate School of Education. Shani earned her BA at Howard University in Washington, DC, and her MBA at Stanford University. In starting Possip, Shani seeks to support schools by elevating the ideas of parents, teachers, and students.
Isha Soni, a Possip intern and student at Emory University, is double-majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in education policy and International Relations. Isha joined Possip through the Launch TN fellowship program—a public-private partnership to link startup businesses with venture capital. She became passionate about education after volunteering with refugee and immigrant communities in Nashville. She has previously worked for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office and with various refugee resettlement nonprofits throughout Nashville. She is excited to watch Possip transform student experiences by strengthening communication channels between families and schools.
Joyce Wu has a BA in History from Princeton University, an MA in Education from Stanford University, and a Certificate in Professional Editing from UC Berkeley Extension. She began her career in education teaching English Conversation at the secondary school her grandfather founded in Taipei, Taiwan. As an American History and Economics teacher in California public schools, she looked forward every year to her favorite homework assignment—asking parents to write a letter introducing their child. She is excited to further Possip’s mission to help schools hear parent voices and better serve students’ needs. A native Marylander, Joyce now lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and identical twin boys.
Victoria Wimalarthna, who has a BA in English from Wake Forest University and an EdM from the University of Washington, is a medical student and mother of two. She enjoys working with Possip because it reconnects her to her previous work with Teach for America. She feels inspired when she sees how schools are creatively supporting their families. Victoria lives in North Carolina.
Lauren Turpin graduated from Stanford University with degrees in History and German Studies and a keen desire to explore the world. She taught ESL in Seoul for two years before returning home to continue teaching ESL at a private language school. Realizing that she wanted to focus on helping students in high-needs areas, she joined the Arizona Teaching Fellows program, then taught middle school English and History for six years in Phoenix and New York City public schools. She currently teaches English at the very high school she attended in San Diego and has the great fortune of counting as colleagues many former instructors who inspired her career in education. Lauren has an abiding love of theatre and attends as many plays and musicals as she possibly can.
Adrienne Tate earned her BA from the University of Denver and MA in Education Policy from Stanford University. Adie began her teaching career with Teach For America in Atlanta, GA, and taught elementary school for two years before moving to San Francisco and teaching middle school at KIPP Bayview Academy. A Denver resident since 2008, Adie has worked in a variety of roles in education at Teach For America, Denver Public Schools, and Tate Education Consulting. She has focused her work on growing teachers as leaders and helping schools use student data for strategic planning. As a mother of two students in Denver Public Schools, she is excited to help schools and parents work together to improve the education experience for all students.
Kimberly Robinson has a BS in Education from the University of Memphis, a Tennessee teaching certification for grades K-6, and an MBA with a minor in Project Management from Trevecca Nazarene University. She currently works at Linden Waldorf School as the Director of Administration, where she oversees the school’s daily administrative operations. Working to support families and children throughout her career has given her a rich professional history in diverse educational settings. Apart from her service in schools, Kimberly enjoys being the mother of a fun and loving eleven year-old and going to brunch with her friends.
Carolyn (Cate) Reed is foremost a mom and lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Doug, and their three children. She is herself a product of Pittsburgh public schools and is driven to improve the education system that has served many well, yet has let down countless others. In her professional career, she taught 3rd and 4th grade in DC Public Schools from 2000–2002; she also worked for Pittsburgh public schools for six years, during which she completed a Broad Residency in Urban Education—a two-year development program for leaders in urban school systems—and served as the Executive Director of Strategic Priorities for Superintendent Linda Lane. She is currently the Vice President of Regional Board Governance at Teach For America. Cate received her undergraduate degree in History from Loyola University, MD, her MA in Teaching from NYU, and her MPM from Carnegie Mellon University.
Ruby Powell-Dennis ran for the District 97 seat of the Tennessee State House of Representatives in the 2020 election. Previously, she served as National Deputy Director of the Leaders of Color Initiative at Education Reform Now (ERN). In the ten years prior to joining ERN, she worked in a variety of leadership roles in education reform. Ruby is a proud alumna of The University of Florida, where she studied Advertising and Political Science and minored in Secondary Education. She completed her MA in Organizational Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University and her MBA at The University of Memphis. Ruby is married and has two beautiful children.
Alyssa Patel earned her BA from UNC Chapel Hill and her EdM from Lipscomb University. She began teaching in 2014 with Lead Public Schools, where she supported school operations and taught 6th, 8th, and Integrated Math classes. She has also worked at Teach for America’s Summer Institute as an Instructional Coach and a School Operations Director. Alyssa is now the Director of Service Learning at Ensworth High School, where she coordinates the school’s Service Learning Program and teaches Algebra I and Honors Algebra 2. A Nashville native, Alyssa is excited to amplify parent and family voices through her work at Possip.
Megan Morgalis earned her BA and EdM from Vanderbilt University. She began her teaching career with KIPP in Nashville, TN, and has since worked for KIPP Summit in San Francisco, CA, and KIPP Washington Heights Middle School in New York, NY, where she taught a range of subjects to middle school students. During her time in New York, she became a Dean of Instruction and trained teachers and other instructional coaches. Now that she has returned to Nashville, she is the Director of Literacy for the KIPP Nashville region. Megan is excited to empower schools and parents through her work with Possip.
Thomas Jordan graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo with a BA in Mathematics and has an MA in Education as well as nine years classroom experience in both middle and high school. A passion for peace, social justice, and education motivates his work to improve the education system and his involvement with the peace organization Friends Committee on National Legislation. Thomas lives in Nolensville, TN, with his wife, Leslie, and son, Judah. On any given day, if he’s not outside playing with Judah, you can find him tinkering on house projects, watching Celtics basketball, or—if it’s winter—wishing for warmer weather.
Elizabeth Janca has a BA in Psychology from Texas A&M University and an MA in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. She did her graduate training at both a center providing ABA therapy for children with development disorders and a center for individuals impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. Upon earning her degree, Elizabeth worked for three years as an Academic Counselor at a charter school in Dallas, TX, before relocating to El Paso with her husband and three dogs. She provides online counseling services through Sondermind and Global Teletherapy on top of working with Possip to promote equity in schools.
Stephanie Fuhs received her BA in Sociology from UNC Asheville and started her career in education teaching in Hartford, CT, as a Teach For America corps member in 2008. She taught 6th grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten over five years in the classroom, where she focused on integrating technology into the reading and writing curriculum. Stephanie earned her EdM from Columbia University’s Teachers College, after which her commitment to ensuring that every child has qualified educators led her to Jacksonville, FL, to coach new teachers with TFA. She is currently an Assistant School Leader at KIPP Bessie Coleman Academy. As both a school administrator and a mother of two incredible kids, she is passionate about empowering parents to advocate for their children’s education.
Nicholas Dixon is native North Carolinian and earned his BA from East Carolina University and EdM at Cumberland University. He began his teaching career in his hometown of Greensboro, NC, and from there went on to serve as a teacher and leadership fellow in public and private schools throughout Tennessee and North Carolina. Nicholas is currently a principal in Guilford County Schools. When he’s not at school, Nicholas enjoys reading John Grisham crime novels and spending time with his wife, Candice, and daughter, Londyn.
Stephen Casey enjoyed a career in culinary arts before shifting to education. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, he worked as a chef at Augusta National Golf Club, The Broadmoor, and Walt Disney World. He then earned a BA in Nutrition from Arizona State University, where he is now a candidate for an MA in Health Informatics. He is also pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology at Valencia College. Stephen’s drive to motivate people to be the best versions of themselves propelled him to join Teach for America and subsequently to become a middle school math teacher at Wilson STEM Academy in Charlotte, NC. He is excited to join Possip in a role that blends his love of education, data, and technology. His other interests include furniture building, carpentry, and travel.
Jenny Lee is a part-time Compliance Specialist at Possip. Prior to taking this role, Jenny worked in education on operations, finances, and team culture. She has a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and now lives in California to be close to friends and family. During her off-time, she enjoys playing the ukulele, going out for walks, and watching movies. Her quarantine hobby is learning Japanese.
Prerna Gandhi graduated from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, where she double-majored in Business Analytics and Information Systems. Prerna’s passion for giving back to the community has led her to be a motivational speaker, a volunteer at TEDx Cincinnati, and a global guide volunteer at World Affairs Council in Cincinnati and Kentucky. Prerna joined Possip as a Data Specialist Intern because she strongly relates to all of the company’s values, especially transparency and trust, which she believes is essential for a school community to thrive.