Our Team: 

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Founder & Executive Director, Maurice Thomas is a native of Milwaukee born and raised on the city's north side. Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Rufus King High School and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. At the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he earned degrees in Political Science, Theatre, and a certificate in Women’s Studies. As a 2008 Teach For America corps member, Mr. Thomas taught 11th grade history in Atlanta, GA. He worked relentlessly with faculty members, families, and students to lead many of his high school juniors and seniors to be the first in their family to attend college. In 2010, Mr. Thomas was selected as the national Teach For America Teacher of the Year.  From August 2011 to July 2014, Mr. Thomas worked as the Executive Director of Teach For America – Milwaukee. He recently completed the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship culminating in the charter approval of Milwaukee Excellence.

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Chief Academic Officer & Assistant Principal, Rodney Lynk holds a BS in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his MBA in Education Leadership from Milwaukee School of Engineering.  Mr. Lynk taught high school algebra for two years, and fifth grade math for two years before joining our team. Mr. Lynk is a former principal in Milwaukee. Mr. Lynk was born and raised in Milwaukee and is a proud Green Bay Packers fan. 

Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Lyndee Belanger holds a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her MBA in Education Leadership from Milwaukee School of Engineering.  Miss Belanger taught middle school language arts for six years and has been a school administrator, curriculum and assessment coordinator, and teacher coach for five years in the city of Milwaukee.  In 2010, Miss Belanger was selected as the Wisconsin Charter School Association’s Teacher of the Year.  She is currently a Fellow with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship in Education Leadership with a goal to address the nation’s educational achievement gaps.


Dean of Students, Hanna Jadin is a veteran of Milwaukee schools with a deep passion for building a joyful and rigorous classroom. As our founding Dean of Students, Ms. Jadin has led in fostering a strong culture of achievement, high behavioral expectations, and positive character development school-wide. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Elementary/Middle School Urban Education with a minor in Science from Concordia University Wisconsin and taught middle school ELA, Science, and Social Studies for four years prior to joining the Milwaukee Excellence team. 


Student Supports Coordinator, Amber Woodbury was born and raised in Madison, WI. She is a 2012 Teach For America corps member from the Tulsa, Oklahoma region. Ms. Woodbury has worked in special education for the past six years. Before joining Milwaukee Excellence, Ms. Woodbury served as a special education teacher on Milwaukee's south side. Ms. Woodbury holds a BA in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Seventh Grade Teacher, Jaya Robinson is a recent graduate of Marquette University and is a 2016 Teach For America Corps Member. She is a Chicago South Side native and has spent her undergraduate years as an avid volunteer with several different Milwaukee organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and PeppNation Sports Leadership Camps. She received her BA in Advertising and Entrepreneurship from Marquette.

Seventh Grade Teacher, Malicia Holifield was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. After graduating from Riverside University High School she attended Jackson State University, a Historically Black College & University in Jackson, Mississippi. She graduated cum laude with a BS in Elementary Education & holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from Cardinal Stritch University. She is currently the vice president for the Milwaukee Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University. Her dedication to her students and willingness to make school a fun learning environment is exhibited through her participation in the creation of a girls empowerment group and coaching cheerleading.

Sixth & Seventh Grade Teacher, Daniel Deuel is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound. Originally from Oakland, California, Mr. Deuel pursued a BS in Exercise Science during his time at Puget Sound, while serving as a peer tutor and the on-campus Center for Writing, learning, and teaching. Mr. Deuel was also the captain of the men’s tennis team, and a UEC research grant award winner, the latter of which he used to help find his own research project this past summer.

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Seventh Grade Teacher, Serina Jamison is a native of Milwaukee, born and raised in the city’s north side.  Ms. Jamison is a graduate of Rufus King High School, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Marquette University. At the University of Minnesota, she earned a Bachelors degree in English and a minor in African and African American Studies. She earned her Master’s in Education at the University of Marquette. As a 2014 Teach for America corps member, Ms. Jamison taught high school English in Milwaukee, WI for two years. She recently completed a year teaching high school English in a charter school in Houston, TX.

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Sixth Grade Teacher, LaTasha Ellis was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. After graduating from Rufus King High School she attended Marquette University graduating with a BA in English. Ms. Ellis has taught fifth through eighth grade. She strives to teach her students character, build their confidence and give them a platform through public speaking. Her strong work ethic and ability influence others make her an effective teacher.

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Eighth Grade Teacher, Andrew Faber was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. After graduating from Sussex Hamilton High School he attended Concordia University Wisconsin where he played football and participated in track and field.  He uses his knowledge of sports to coach football, basketball, baseball, and track and field throughout the year.  He is a third year teacher of Milwaukee where he has led two years of 7th & 8th grade students to school record breaking achievements on the ActAspire exam.  Mr. Faber is the first in his family to graduate from college.  He graduated with a BA in Middle School Education and Mathematics from Concordia University Wisconsin.

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Sixth Grade Teacher, Tyrone Moore Jr. is a 2017 Teach for America Corp Member. He holds a BS in Physical Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Mr. Moore played basketball all fours years and track & field for one year as a Division III athlete. Mr. Moore was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois. He has been working with kids since he was fifteen which is what has inspired him to teach. This experience has helped him develop a true passion to teach and lead kids in a positive way.

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Sixth Grade Teacher, Taylor Staples is a 2017 Teach for America Corp Member. She was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, but is thrilled to start a new chapter in Milwaukee. In 2014, she earned a BA in Communication Studies and Music Minor from Northern Kentucky University. She has spent the last two years working in various roles at a national nonprofit for theatre education and as a teaching assistant for an after school theatre program for middle school students.

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Sixth Grade Teacher, Ryan Jones was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. After graduating from Pius XI he attended University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. He also has a Masters of Arts of Education from Mount Mary University.  He has six years of experience teaching in the city of Milwaukee and is dedicated to the success of his students.

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Coding & Computer Science Teacher, Marcus Lynk is a native of Milwaukee, WI. Before joining our team Mr. Lynk worked as a 5th grade teacher in San, Jose California. Mr. Lynk is also passionate about special education & physical education. 

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Seventh Grade, Danielle Borja holds a BA in International Studies from University of California, Irvine and received a MA in Elementary and Middle School Teaching from Alverno College. Ms. Borja taught for 4 years in upper elementary mathematics in Milwaukee’s south side. She is a 2014 Teach For America Milwaukee Corps Member.

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Special Education Teacher, Olivia Castro has spent most her life in Wisconsin and considers it home. She pursued a Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Marquette University before becoming a 2016 Massachusetts Teach for America corp member. As part of Teach For America, Ms. Castro was able to teach Special Education and realize that this is her passion. She is excited to be in her home state teaching children in the city of Milwaukee.

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Science Teacher, Jolynn Franklin was born and partly raised on the Southside of Chicago. Her family moved to Kenosha, WI where she graduated from high school. From there she moved to Nashville, TN where she attended and graduated from THEE Tennessee State University (TSU), earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Food & Nutrition. While at TSU she led her peers, as the President of Every Nation Campus and an Ambassador for The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. She has cultivated her leadership ability as an undergraduate student and is overjoyed to be a part of our team here. She is a 2018 Teach For America corps member with a persistent desire to make an impact in the lives of youth.

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Social Studies Teacher, Anissa Gladney was born and raised on the northside of Milwaukee, WI. Upon graduating from Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, she attended Dartmouth College. While there, she earned an honors degree in Linguistics and Neuroscience. Ms. Gladney has interacted with children of all ages throughout her high school and college careers. These interactions have led to her strong belief in every child’s potential.

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Assistant Dean of Students, Jerrel Harris was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Dominican High School and completed his BA in Psychology at St. Leo University in Florida, where he also competed as a Division II basketball athlete. Jerrel is passionate about building and developing strong relationships with youth and their families. Jerrel has served as a care coordinator for at-risk youth across the city and has four plus years experience working to support students to achieve inside and outside of the classroom.

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Eighth Grade Teacher, Michaela Miller is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She received her BA in Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence Education. Ms. Miller spent her undergraduate years advocating for the Lawton Scholars Program helping keep the retention rates of minority students enrolled in college. She was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Ms. Miller hopes to create a strong classroom community that helps students see the opportunities education has to offer.

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Trauma-Informed Care Specialist, Brandee Weigert holds a BS in History from East Tennessee State University, and is a recent graduate form the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning an MA in Educational Psychology with an additional certification in Trauma-Informed Care. Originally from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Ms. Weigert has lived in Milwaukee for the past three years, and is involved in community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is passionate about advocating for the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students in the pursuit of academic success.

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Eighth Grade Teacher, Bounrod Xiong started her teaching career with Teach for America in 2013.  She has taught for five years in Milwaukee. She earned her B.A. in sociology and Asian American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.A. in Education from Alverno College.

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Special Education Teacher, Cassandra Hutt is a recent graduate from the St. John’s University. She received her BA in Public Relations. Ms. Hutt spent her undergraduate years in Malawi teaching english. Ms. Hutt was a student teacher in Paris, France during her sophomore year of college. Ms. Hutt is a first-year Teach For America corps member.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
— Gandhi