New Leadership at the Maya Angelou Schools and See Forever Foundation
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2018 –After an extensive five month national and online search, the board and executive leadership of Maya Angelou Schools has named Robert Simmons III as its Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Simmons is a nationally recognized scholar and expert on equity in higher education and K‑12. Prior to joining See Forever, Robert served as the President of Service Year Alliance as well as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) and Chief of Innovation & Research with the District of Columbia Public Schools. While at DCPS, Robert was the chief architect of a nationally recognized initiative–Empowering Males of Color.
“I am excited about this new journey at the helm of the See Forever Foundation and Maya Angelou Schools. As one of the oldest Charter School Networks in DC, there is a strong track record of serving some of the city’s most amazing young people who have overcome numerous challenges during their lives. In a lot of ways, I identify with the students we serve and will give 100% of my time and energy to collaborate with the leadership and staff, to build upon a solid foundation to provide every possible opportunity for increased success.” stated Dr. Simmons.
Throughout his career Robert has led community-organizing efforts to support urban schools and young people in the community. As a result of his work, Robert was recently recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as BE Modern Man. This award recognizes 100 black male leaders across the United States bringing significant value and making extraordinary contributions to their communities, professions, the nation, and the world in their daily lives. Robert’s upcoming book, Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline: African American Males as Critical Scholars and Intellectuals, is part autobiographical reflecting on his fathers’ incarceration while offering insights into the educational experiences of African American males. A former classroom teacher and university professor, Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Lawrence Technological University. He has a Doctorate of Education from Hamline University with a focus in educational leadership, and completed the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Simmons’ energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to helping our students prepare for a career and life beyond Maya. We believe he will help take our organization to the next level of achievement,” commented James Forman, Jr., Co-Founder of the See Forever Foundation and Maya Angelou Schools.
Maya Angelou Schools also recently named Mrs. Felecia Hayward-Lawson as Principal of the Maya Angelou Academy and Mr. Dean Weeks as the Principal of its High School.
Mrs. Hayward-Lawson has worked in Special Education for 7 years at High Road Academy in Washington, DC as a teacher and Education Coordinator. Six years ago, Hayward-Lawson joined Maya Angelou Schools as a Special Education Coordinator for the Maya Angelou Public Charter High School campus, and as the Assistant Principal for the Maya Angelou Public Charter Middle School. Most recently she served as the Interim Co-Principal at Maya Angelou Academy and the Director of Special Education for the Maya Angelou Public Charter High School and the Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center. Mrs. Hayward-Lawson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from Trinity DC University. She has also earned a Master in Education from Bowie State University, and is currently matriculating in the Bowie State University doctoral cohort, Culturally Responsive Educational Leadership in Special Education (CRELSE).
Mr. Weeks has served students and families as an education leader for nearly twenty years in the metro D.C. area. He successfully dedicated fifteen years to the High Roads Schools of Washington – a private, independent group of schools for exceptional learners. While at High Roads, Mr. Weeks served as the organization’s founding Associate Director, Senior Director, and eventually Executive Director, a role in which he led and supported several campuses and school leaders. Prior to becoming an educator, Mr. Weeks served in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and a parachute rigger with the 11th Special Forces Group at Fort Meade, MD. Mr. Weeks holds a B.A. in Communications from Bowie State University and earned his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois.
About Maya Angelou Schools/See Forever Foundation
Our mission is to create learning communities in lower income urban areas where all students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional schools, can reach their potential and prepare for college, career, and a lifetime of success. At Maya Angelou our students develop the academic, social, and employment skills they need to build rewarding lives and promote positive change. MAPCS high school, Young Adult Learning Center and Academy at the New Beginnings Youth Development Center provide a comprehensive education in a non-traditional setting to all students including those who have not been successful in their educational experiences. We achieve this through a demanding academic program, socio-emotional learning support, and tiered interventions that focus on the whole child. Our students will leave us with a foundation to be successful in their pursuit of education and careers.