Meet Our Team
Abby AndrietschExecutive Director
Abby works with our Leadership Team and Board of Directors to set our strategy, keep us on track, and make sure we have the time, talent, and resources in place to execute our vision.
Prior to co-founding Schools That Can Milwaukee in 2010 with veteran school turnaround expert Kole Knueppel, Abby was Vice President of Finance & Administration for INCOVA Technologies, a subsidiary of HUSCO International. Before that, Abby worked as the Director of Policy and Programs at The Doris & Donald Fisher Fund in San Francisco. She has also held positions with the Broad Foundation and Robert W. Baird & Company.
Abby has a B.S. in Commerce with a concentration in Finance from the University of Virginia, and both a M.B.A. and M.A. in Education from Stanford University. She is a member of TEMPO Milwaukee, Alverno College’s Board of Trustees, HUSCO International’s Board of Advisors, and the United Community Center’s Education Committee.
Abby and her husband, Omar, are kept constantly moving by their beautiful daughter, Page.
School Leadership Coaching Team
April KnoxManaging Director of School Support
April leads and develops our team of School Leadership Coaches. As a member of our Leadership Team, April is responsible for managing all of our school support efforts.
April came to Schools That Can Milwaukee from Uplift Education, where she planned and managed the opening of three new schools in Fort Worth, Texas. Before Uplift, April was the Regional Vice-President of the Midwest Region with Lighthouse Academies, where she managed instructional and operational programs and coached school Principals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Prior to that, she founded Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School and led the school from 52% to 79% proficiency on the Illinois state assessment.
April has a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from Drake University, a M.S. in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University, and a M.S. in School Leadership from National Louis University.
April is the mother to an amazing pair of twins.
Susan SprengerSchool Leadership Coach
Susan is passionate about effective and engaging teacher professional development and coaching, and curriculum planning and assessment. She coaches school leaders to seamlessly incorporate these practices into their school’s instructional culture.
Susan came to STCM with 12 years of teaching and leadership experience in urban schools, serving as a classroom teacher, teacher coach, and instructional leader in Milwaukee schools.
Susan has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and a post-baccalaureate teacher certificate and a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. She is a licensed educator and administrator.
Susan lives on the East Side of Milwaukee with her husband, TJ, and their three daughters.
Becky OwensSchool Leadership Coach
Becky supports school leaders with their academic vision by defining their achievement “North Stars,” analyzing their progress to goals using school data, and executing their teacher support and development initiatives.
Becky started her education career teaching in the South Bronx, and has spent the last decade teaching over 200 students and developing more than 50 teachers. She has served in many leadership roles at turnaround schools and high-performing charter networks, including Achievement First and Rocketship. Prior to joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Becky was Manager of Teacher Leadership for Teach For America – San Jose. At TFA, Becky supported 30 teachers across 10 traditional district and charter schools and created professional development for more than 180 teachers.
Becky has a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a M.S. in Teaching from Pace University, and a Coaching Certificate for Beginning Teacher Support and Assessments from the REACH Institute for School Leadership.
In her free time, Becky enjoys hiking, farmer’s markets, and traveling.
Andy VitranoSchool Leadership Coach
Andy helps school leaders bring their visions to fruition. He guides leaders through implementing “good to great” strategies and change processes, with a heavy emphasis on human capital and relationship building.
Prior to becoming a member of the Schools That Can Milwaukee team, Andy was a teacher and administrator in Milwaukee Public Schools. Most recently, he served as principal within the high-performing Milwaukee College Prep charter school network. As school leader of MCP’s Lloyd Street campus, Andy helped create a vibrant climate and culture in what was once a struggling school community.
Andy earned a B.A. in Education from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Marian University. He is also an alum of the New Leaders for New Schools initiative.
Andy and his wife Jenny have three amazing children.
Rashida EvansSchool Leadership Coach
Rashida supports school leaders in executing their vision to close the achievement gap and send Milwaukee’s students to and through college.
Rashida has worked in school leadership for the past 12 years as school turnaround principal, district administrator, academic director, and dean of students. She is most proud of her seven years as an elementary school teacher, and for her work at a school that was honored as Charter School of the Year under her leadership.
Rashida has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, a M.S. in Education Counseling from Concordia University – Mequon, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University – Wheeling Campus via KIPP.
Rashida’s daughters, Olivia and Lauryn, keep her very busy. Together they are always laughing along with her husband, Terry, the lonely man of the family.
Arianne Kailas-SternSchool Leadership Coach
Arianne helps school leaders create capacity within their schools and build nurturing, rigorous, and engaging learning environments for students, teachers, and leaders.
Arianne began her career as a Teach For America corps member teaching both 5th and 2nd grade in the South Bronx. Arianne then took on a school leadership role as the Assistant Head of Lower School at the Bank Street School for Children.
Arianne has a B.A. in Psychology and French from Emory University, a M.S. in Elementary Education from Pace University, and a M.S. in School Leadership from Bank Street College.
In her spare time Arianne enjoys reading, swimming, and watching football with her husband, Ross.
Melanie JohnsonSchool Support Program Manager
Melanie supports our team of School Leadership Coaches, and also crunches our numbers so we can understand how to make an even bigger impact.
Before she joined Schools That Can Milwaukee, Melanie taught special education at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte, NC as a Teach For America corps member. During her time at Huntingtowne Farms, Melanie orchestrated the school’s first annual trip to Washington, D.C for 68 fifth graders, raising more than $15,000 for student scholarships.
Melanie has a B.S. in Community Leadership and Nonprofit Management from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
In her free time, Melanie is a passionate volunteer for the American Cancer Society.
School Leadership Development Team
Laura DeRocheDirector of Talent & Innovation
Laura helps us find and develop the right school leaders for “best-fit” positions in the schools we support. She also connects our schools with opportunities to learn about and implement innovative strategies. Laura is a member of our Leadership Team.
Before joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Laura supported principals in the Monona Grove School District as they worked to close their schools’ achievement gaps. Prior to that, she led a charter school initiative at the Urban League of Greater Madison that brought unprecedented awareness to the issue of educational inequity in Dane County. Laura spent the first nine years of her career as a secondary ELL/English teacher and instructional coach in traditional district, charter, and private schools in California and overseas.
Laura has a B.A. in English from Pomona College and a M.S. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Laura likes to play tennis and undertake DIY projects on her 1917 bungalow.
Organizational Support Team
Mitzi KeelChief of Staff
Mitzi manages the team of people who keep things running smoothly. A member of our Leadership Team, Mitzi takes the lead on team-wide operations and our development strategy, and also handles day-to-day management of our Board of Directors.
Mitzi has 9 years of experience working in education non-profit recruitment, operations, and fundraising. Prior to joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Mitzi worked for Teach For America recruiting corps members and staff members. She also coordinated operations for TFA’s 2009 and 2010 training institutes in Chicago. In 2010, Mitzi became the Director of Development and Community Partnerships for TFA-Milwaukee. Mitzi was also the key project manager at TFA for the first GROW in MILWAUKEE event hosted by TFA and STCM in 2014.
Mitzi has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Kansas.
In her free time, Mitzi sings in the choir at the Basilica of Saint Josaphat.
Isral DeBruinDirector of Communications
Isral tells our story in ways that engage the community in our work. He is also a member of our Leadership Team.
Prior to joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Isral taught upper elementary students at La Causa Charter School, initially as a Teach For America corps member and later as an after-school tutor and long-term substitute. Before joining TFA, Isral was an award-winning education reporter covering suburban school districts for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s NOW Newspapers.
Isral has a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University. He is also a licensed educator.
Isral and his wife, Joanna, are working to renovate a 100-year-old house in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.
Elizabeth O'HaraDevelopment Assistant
Elizabeth organizes and supports our development efforts so that we can continue to grow our impact on Milwaukee.
Elizabeth joined the team at Schools That Can Milwaukee in fall of 2014 as an intern while she was a student at Alverno College. During her time in school, Elizabeth was very involved with Circle K, served as a Resident Hall Assistant, and sang in the Alverno Chamber Choir. Upon graduating in May 2015, Elizabeth joined our team full-time.
Elizabeth has a B.A. in Community Leadership and Development from Alverno College.
In her free time, you can catch Elizabeth at the ice rink, practicing jumps and spins!
Jessica LuehringProgram & Office Assistant
Jessica supports the entire Schools That Can Milwaukee team through a variety of office management tasks. She also provides program support to our leadership development programs and talent recruitment efforts.
Prior to joining STCM, Jessica spent 5 years working at the school level at Atonement Lutheran School. As College Prep Director, Jessica developed and led a program to prepare and assist low-income middle and high school students on a college-prep track in high school. She was also on Atonement’s Leadership Team, focusing on staff culture and wellness. Previously, Jessica has served in schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, and California in a range of roles.
Jessica is currently earning a B.A. in Health & Wellness Management from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and is projected to graduate in August 2016.
Jessica, her husband Shaun, and three awesome kiddos live in Milwaukee, where Jessica enjoys taking on many home improvement projects.