Meet the 2023 ARISE Fellows

Meet Our 2023 ARISE Fellows

Congratulations to the second cohort of redefinED atlanta’s Atlanta Reimagining & Innovating for Schools Everywhere (A.R.I.S.E.) Fellowship, a nine-month program that aims to grow community power and influence by exploring the levers that drive systemic change for all of Atlanta’s children. 

The A.R.I.S.E. Fellowship was co-designed with EdConnect, TeachX, Father’s Incorporated, Goodie Nation and Next Generation Men and Women. With their support, we were able to select 10 individuals who work in industries ranging from education to nonprofit.

Meet this year’s fellows!

  • Brandon Jones
  • DeAndrea Byrd
  • India Gooch
  • Keiana Raven
  • Latisha Blackburn
  • Michelle Lockhart
  • Tameika Ham
  • Ty’Sheka Lambert
  • Vernetta Nuriddin
  • Yalwanda McGruder

Click the link to learn more about the fellows and read their bios!

Through this fellowship, the cohort will learn about the history of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) district, explore student achievement trends and identify opportunities to partner with communities to allocate capital to community-driven solutions. Ultimately, graduates of this program will be able to clearly articulate their commitment, goals and role in advocating for positive change in K-12 public education.

By the end of the program, fellows will:

  • examine the educational landscape and history
  • explore innovation and opportunities through national/regional/local cases of districts reimagining education
  • understand the levers of change (people & money, political infrastructure, and ideas & narratives)
  • actively engage with stakeholders serving and fighting for children and families in the Atlanta Public Schools district
  • unearth their pathway toward advocacy and impact within K-12 public education
  • join a growing collective of advocates who are informed, engaged, and advocating for children to receive a great K-12 public education

Interested in becoming an A.R.I.S.E. Fellow?

Applications for the third cohort are now open and close on Monday, June 24, at 11:59 p.m. Click the link to apply today! 

redefinED atlanta and TFA Metro Atlanta Team Up to Strengthen Teacher Retention and Leadership Pathways

redefinED atlanta and TFA Metro Atlanta Team Up to Strengthen Teacher Retention and Leadership Pathways

The Importance of Teacher Retention

Getting high-quality teachers into the classroom receives most of the public’s focus, but keeping these educators has also proven to be difficult, both in Atlanta and across the country. Between October 2022 and October 2023, 23% of teachers nationally left their positions, including teachers who left their district in search of better working conditions, teachers who moved into new roles in their districts, and teachers who left the profession entirely. 

Much of this turnover happens in schools that serve large populations of students from low-income communities, with 29% of such students losing their teachers. Students in these high-need schools are in greatest need of consistent access to high-quality teachers; unfortunately, greater levels of turnover tend to lead to instability, weaker relationships, and lower student outcomes. 

The 2012 TNTP report The Irreplaceables surveyed 90,000 teachers across 2,100 schools to discover the top reasons that U.S. schools were losing teachers at an alarming rate. They found that actively working to retain top educators was not a high priority for many school districts. Unhealthy school cultures, poor working conditions, and low pay drove teachers away. Sadly, these poor conditions persist more than a decade later, as a recent op-ed from a former Fulton County Schools teacher made clear. 

redefinED and Teach For America Metro Atlanta Partnership

This is where a new collaboration between redefinED atlanta and Teach For America (TFA) Metro Atlanta comes in. Together, we recently piloted the Academic School Leader Fellowship, a 10-month talent development program for mid-level educators. All 14 participants are Teach For America alumni working in Atlanta as teachers, assistant principals, instructional coaches, or other roles. To prepare to move into school leadership roles, participants develop their skills through monthly in-person sessions on advancing equity through instruction, teacher coaching, and individualized support. 

“The Academic School Leader Fellowship was designed to help our aspiring school leaders get the skills they need to be eligible for school leader positions,” said Tamara Rice, Managing Director of Alumni Leadership at TFA Metro Atlanta. “We take them through different experiences so they can apply what they’re learning and understand what it means to be a school leader.”

This approach has three primary benefits. First, it meets educators’ interest in continued learning and development opportunities. Second, it helps districts retain their top teachers in instructional-oriented roles. Third, it builds a pipeline of strong future school leaders who will serve students and families for years to come. 

According to a recent TNTP survey of schools supported by redefinED atlanta, only half of teachers say they “regularly discuss feedback about my teaching with an instructional leader at my school.” The Fellowship is focused on increasing these results by producing school leaders who are ready for the instructional components of the role. 

“When you think about a potential school leader, there’s a set of skills that a teacher needs to develop before they get into that role, and oftentimes there aren’t opportunities for them to do that,” said Rice. “We take them through the skills related to academic excellence and how to support other teachers so that when they get into school leadership, it lessens the curve of what they need to learn.” 

Impact and Potential 

Even though the program is new, it’s already impacting public schools in Atlanta. 

Parrish Amos

Parrish Amos is a current fellow at Ethos Classical Charter School. He served as a first-grade teacher at Ethos before being promoted to oversee instruction and curriculum for grades K-2. In the middle of this school year – thanks in part to what he learned through the Academic School Leader Fellowship – Amos received another promotion to a director role. 

“I never want to be a leader who doesn’t continue to grow,” saidAmos. “The program has really taught me about delegation and building up your team. By connecting me with other fellows, it has also given me a perspective from outside my school building.” 

It has long been proven that strong operational practices in a school positively impact student outcomes. Through the leadership training in the Academic School Leader Fellowship, Amos sharpened his lens to understand what must be true for teachers and classrooms to operate at maximum impact. With these skills, Amos has the tools to support his fellow teachers in creating classroom environments that encourage every student to thrive.

In short, the Academic School Leader Fellowship is turning a problem into an opportunity. Offering robust professional development opportunities for mid-career educators helps keep talented professionals working in schools. It prepares the next generation of school leaders to support thousands of students across Atlanta and beyond. 

How to get involved

Applications for the next cohort of fellows are open! Current school leaders can also partner with the Fellowship to have their teachers receive coaching support from the Fellows. For more information or to recommend a fellow, email Tamara Rice, Managing Director, Alumni Affairs and Network Support, TFA Metro Atlanta.

You can also sign up for the redefinED atlanta newsletter to stay up-to-date on all the efforts around Atlanta to support high-quality teacher training and efforts to close the teacher retention gap. 

Cultivating Excellence: Exploring Strengths and Opportunities in School Climate for redefinED atlanta’s Portfolio of Schools

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is an organization that collaborates with state education agencies, school districts, and community-based organizations to build partnerships designed for exponential impact. The TNTP team designs and researches to answer the most pressing questions around the state of education today. The analysis of collected data uncovers insights for school leaders and delivers key takeaways in digestible, compelling, and action-oriented formats.

This spring, redefinED atlanta piloted an initiative using TNTP Instructional Culture Insight Surveys to better understand the climate of the newest schools in our portfolio. The following glows (strengths) and grows (opportunities) came out of the survey and reflect the voices of school staff and families from:

  • Liberation Academy
  • Miles Ahead Charter School
  • PEACE Academy
  • Sankofa Montessori
  • The Anchor School

A total of 49 teachers and 260 families participated in this pilot. 


Teacher perceptions at redefinED atlanta’s portfolio schools fell above the national average in 11 out of 16 domains, with 4 domains falling above the national top-quartile of schools (Workload, Career Progression, Teacher Compensation, Hiring Process).

Teacher survey highlights:

  • 89% of Teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Leaders at my school value all aspects of my identity (e.g., gender, race, culture, ability, sexual identity, learning differences).”
  • 84% of Teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Families at my school regularly receive useful updates about their student’s progress.”
  • 77% of Teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “My school leaders articulate a clear, overarching vision that drives priorities, goals, and decision-making within the school.”

Family perceptions at redefinED atlanta’s portfolio schools fell above the national average in ALL 8 surveyed domains.
The highest Family domain scores were for the Value of Feedback, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and School Leadership.

Family survey item-level highlights:

  • 99% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “My child’s school is welcoming to students and families of all identities.”
  • 96% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel welcome at my child’s school.”
  • 95% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “School leaders care about my child’s success.”
  • 90% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Leaders at my child’s school value my feedback.”
  • 90% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “There is someone at my child’s school with whom I feel comfortable sharing my concerns.”
  • Only 6% of Families agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “If I could send my child to another school, I would.”


Teacher perceptions at redefinED atlanta’s portfolio schools fell below the national average in only 5 out of 16 domains: Peer Culture, School Operations, Observation and Feedback, Academic Opportunity, and Instructional Planning for Student Growth.

Some of the lower teacher perceptions were about instructional leadership. These insights highlight an opportunity for redefinED to expand investments into mid-level talent pipelines, strengthening school leader development and teacher retention and promotion.

  • 36% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “An instructional leader at my school or network regularly reviews student work from my classes.”
  • 44% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “At my school, I have seen someone model lessons where students are doing the majority of the thinking.”
  • 50% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I regularly discuss feedback about my teaching with an instructional leader at my school.” 
  • 51% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Teachers at my school share a common vision of what effective teaching looks like.”

Family perceptions at redefinED atlanta’s portfolio schools were lowest in the Rigor in the Classroom and Trusting Relationships with Teachers domains. However, both scores were still well above the national average.

Some of the lower Family perceptions were in the following areas. As you can see, participating schools in our portfolio have opportunities to grow but already perform well compared to national benchmarks, especially for schools in their first year of operation.

  • 72% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I receive enough communication from my child’s teachers about my child’s progress.” 
  • 73% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Non-academic services at my child’s school, such as buses and school meals, are well managed.” 
  • 74% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “My child’s school schedules events at times that are convenient.” 
  • 75% of teachers strongly agreed with the statement, “My child completes writing assignments in multiple subjects (not just in Language Arts).”


The TNTP survey has provided valuable insights into the instructional and cultural landscape of the schools that are part of redefinED’s portfolio. The glowing feedback from both teachers and families underscores our schools’ commitment to inclusivity, clear vision, and engagement. While celebrating these strengths, the identified growth areas signal opportunities for further development, particularly in enhancing instructional leadership, fostering trusting relationships, and ensuring academic rigor.

Through continued collaboration and targeted investments, redefinED atlanta remains poised to support these schools in their growth, empowering them to thrive and deliver exceptional educational experiences for their students and families. We intend to scale the TNTP Instructional Culture Insight Surveys to our larger network of school partners in APS, Clayton County, and South Cobb. We will focus our coaching and technical assistance on analysis and growth in the noted areas.

redefinED atlanta Announces Executive Director Transition

Angira Sceusi Named New Executive Director After Ed Chang Steps Down in Fall 2024 

redefinED atlanta, a public education nonprofit that engages communities, advocates for equity, and funds critical work to drive systemic level improvement in K-12 public education for students and families, today announced that its Executive Director Ed Chang, will step down later this year, but will remain in an advisory role through December 2024. Chosen to succeed Chang as the nonprofit’s new executive director in the fall is redefinED atlanta’s current Vice President and Chief of Staff Angira Sceusi.  

redefinED atlanta is the culmination of a series of gatherings in 2015 that included Chang and many of Atlanta’s education champions seeking to promote positive, equitable, and lasting change within Atlanta’s schools and districts. In 2016, redefinED atlanta was created with Chang as founding executive director. Sceusi joined as the second employee not long after its launch. Since then, the organization has grown to 13 staff members and has expanded its focus to include Clayton, Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Prior to starting redefinED, Chang was a physical therapist before entering the education profession as a seventh-grade science teacher in 2001. He spent five years teaching at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Southeast Atlanta before founding KIPP STRIVE Academy in 2009. Afterward, Chang continued his service in the education field by coaching and advising on strategies for school leaders and districts nationwide. 

During his time with redefinED atlanta, Chang was honored as a Civic Diversity Champion in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2021 Diversity Equity & Inclusion Awards and has been recognized as an education leader in the 2022 and 2023 Atlanta Magazine Power 500.

“We are so grateful to Ed for all his contributions over the last eight years and for building the infrastructure to take a long view of what education can look like in our city,” said Ayana Gabriel, redefinED atlanta board chair and vice president of Community Impact with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “His leadership and vision have enabled the organization to accomplish so much and prepare for the future.”  

Continued Gabriel, “We are very excited about Angira taking the helm later this year. As a champion for children, she brings a wealth of education and management experience, having previously served as a teacher and district leader. There’s no one better aligned to lead redefinED in its next chapter.” 

Before joining redefinED atlanta, Sceusi served as Director of Finance and Director of Talent Initiatives at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, a school district representing almost 20,000 students. She also previously worked as a high school math and computer science teacher in the Houston Independent School District, where she earned a United States Congressional Recognition for her work in STEM teaching. 

Sceusi began her career as a financial analyst and spent 10 years in energy finance. She co-led Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. oil and gas origination business before entering the education profession. Sceusi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in information systems management from Carnegie Mellon University. 

She also holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems at Yale University. Sceusi serves on the board of Horizons Atlanta, the board of her local neighborhood association, a member of the Junior League of Atlanta and a graduate of Leadership Buckhead. 

“I am so proud of the progress that has been accomplished and the momentum that has been created since we established redefinED atlanta. It has been a privilege to lead redefinED atlanta these past eight years,” said Chang.  “Angira’s experience in both the education space and the business world – paired with her passion for our community – makes her uniquely positioned to broaden redefinED’s impact in the years ahead. I’m thrilled to see what the future holds.”  

About redefinED atlanta:

Every student in Atlanta needs access to a great K-12 public education. Together with parents, educators, community leaders and philanthropists, redefinED atlanta is transforming metro Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has opportunity, well-being and self-determination. For more information, please visit