Mr. Richards started his work over 20 years ago as a tutor, teacher, special education consultant, curriculum writer, principal, chief of schools, board member and is now the Founding Principal & CEO of Growth Public Schools. Read more
Mr. Richards started teaching in Oakland and was inspired by his students, but disenchanted by a large bureaucratic and impersonal system. He knew there was a better way, to put the student at the center and help them shape their own path. Mr. Richards’ vision was realized when he started working at Summit Public Schools, as a teacher, principal, and chief of schools – overseeing 8 schools across 5 cities, and the special education and college programs.
He is proud of his work as a teacher helping build Summit to national prominence with rankings in Newsweek and US News, and his work as a founding principal. He launched Summit Tahoma – a next generation school in East San Jose that uses innovative approaches to reimagine the use of time, teacher talent, and technology. Tahoma received the highest state rating possible in its inaugural years, outpacing other new schools in the state in student performance 2011-12 and 2012-13. Tahoma recently sent 100% of its first graduating class – most of whom are first generation college students – to four year universities.
Ultimately, the academic model Mr. Richards launched as principal became the basis for the current innovative Summit model. He saw the power of designing a student–centered model and has brought this vision to GPS. His own life experience of fighting for his education, taught him the power of empowering young people to be agents over their life journey.
When Mr. Richards is not thinking of creative ways to reform public education, you can find him hanging out with his wife and family, practicing Spanish, or playing basketball. He and his wife love to see the world through the eyes of Kyle and Ella, where they believe true innovation lies. Sacramento has been a second home to Mr. Richards since he met his wife Julie almost 20 years ago. Julie’s family are proud Sacramentans and he is excited to raise his family in such a beautiful place.
Candice is ecstatic to be back in her hometown of Sacramento working as the Director of Operations for Growth Public Schools. Candice previously worked as a founding team member at the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). Read more
Audria is thrilled to be a part of the founding team as the Principal of Growth Public Schools. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Mrs. Johnson has been in the field of education for 16 years. She has taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and has also served in a variety of leadership roles. Read more
Audria has worked for St. HOPE for the past 11 years. During her time with the organization, she has held the positions of 1st grade teacher, instructional coach, and principal. Audria found great success with supporting teachers in their professional growth and development, and is looking forward to continuing that success at Growth Public Schools. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from Oglethorpe University in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University, Sacramento. She lives in Elk Grove with her husband Darryl and their two sons, Darryl II, 12, and Donovan, 3. In her spare time, you can find her spending time relaxing with family, watching TV, or at her oldest son’s baseball games.
Mr. Arambula is currently leading education reform efforts in his hometown of Fresno. Prior, he worked at Summit Public Schools for 10 years as a social science teacher in 2005 and taught for six years. He left the classroom to help launch Summit’s two East San Jose schools, becoming the founding Principal of Summit Rainier. He transitioned from the principal role to lead Summit’s growth into new communities. Prior to coming to Summit, Mr. Arambula served as Communications Director for Congressman Cal Dooley, after serving as Deputy Campaign Manager. He holds a BA in Government, with honors from Harvard University and a MA in Education from Stanford University.
Jen is a Venture Partner at Reach Capital, an impact investing firm focused on education technology. She also consults on school model design. Jen led a team at Summit Public Schools to design a personalized professional development model and was a member of the design team for Alpha Public School’s new high school. Her perspective on ed tech and school models is informed by on-the-ground experience in classrooms, schools, and tech startups as a teacher, instructional/leadership coach, and product manager. Jen earned her BA and MBA from Stanford University.
Rebecca Weissman has been teaching in the California public schools for 10 years. She was born and raised in Oakland, California and is now a Personalized Learning Specialist at Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland. She received a B.A. with honors in Psychology (Developmental focus) from New York University and an M.Ed. from the University of California at Los Angeles. She loves to travel and in 2010 she was a recipient of a Fund for Teachers grant which sent her to Madagascar to study the rainforest, community development, and environmental education.
Mrs. Teso is the founder of Voices College-Bound Language Academies, which was just named the 2016 Charter School of the Year by the California Charter Schools Association. She was one of the few from her neighborhood, and the first in her family who went to college. She often wondered why she struggled in college (even though she did well in high school), and why so many of her classmates were not as fortunate. Why didn’t an education make the difference? This provided the motivation to establish a school that built on students’ assets and home culture in order to change life trajectories for historically underserved students. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Masters of Elementary Education from San Jose State University. Her graduate work focused on studying the effects of language, culture and society on schooling. She has worked as a university instructor, principal coach, school administrator, instructional facilitator, and dual immersion language teacher.