Sehba Shares: Exciting Leadership Updates at KIPP Texas!

Dear KIPP Texas Families,

I hope this message finds you well. Today, I am delighted to share some important updates regarding the leadership team at KIPP Texas. As we continue to work towards our mission of providing a joyful, equitable, and excellent education to all our Little KIPPsters, it is crucial that we have the right individuals leading our organization.

Transition in the Chief Operation Officer Role

Earlier this year, we announced that Vanessa Barry would be transitioning out of the Chief Operation Officer (COO) role by December 2023 to pursue new personal and professional endeavors. Since then, she has continued to support KIPP Texas and her team at full speed.

Over the past six months, I, alongside KIPP Texas leadership, have been diligently searching for the right person to lead this critical portfolio of operations work while also reevaluating our team’s structure. Today, I am thrilled to announce two significant developments:

After an extensive search, we have chosen Laura Miguez Howarth, affectionately known as LMH, as the next Chief Operating Officer for KIPP Texas, effective November 1. Laura brings 15 years of experience within the KIPP community, serving in various roles, including Principal, School Leader Manager, Managing Director of School Operations, and most recently, Deputy Chief of School Operations. Her deep understanding of our organization, ability to approach operations from multiple angles, and experience as a School Leader make her an invaluable operations and organizational leader. Laura will oversee school operations, operations services, and strategy, including several crucial departments.

The second development is that Vanessa Barry will remain at KIPP Texas in a consultant capacity to continue overseeing the Marketing, Student Recruitment, Communications, and the Creative Services (MRCC) portfolio of work. 

Please join me in congratulating Laura on her well-deserved appointment as our COO and in welcoming Vanessa to her new consulting role.

Academic Leadership Updates

 May 2023, I announced that Dr. Rona Simmons had accepted the Interim Chief Academic Officer (CAO) position for KIPP Texas. In less than five months, Rona has shown exceptional leadership, helping to ensure a strong academic start for all 34,500 KIPPsters this school year. Today, I am delighted to share that she has been appointed the permanent Chief Academic Officer.

In 2003, Rona made her first commitment to working alongside students and families to improve academic outcomes when she signed on to be a teacher on the south side of Chicago. She later served as a Grade Chair, Instructional Coach, School Leader, and School Leader Manager.

In 2018, Rona fell in love with KIPP Texas and joined our Team & Family after serving Houston ISD as a Head of Schools for several years. Since then she has served as a School Leader Manager, Managing Director of KIPP Texas middle schools, and Deputy Chief of Academic Recovery. In every role, Rona consistently demonstrated a keen ability to lead with humility, inspire others, re-imagine what is possible for children, and, most importantly, ensure we achieve outstanding academic results for Little KIPPsters.

Now as the CAO, Rona, alongside her incredible team, will continue to be responsible for what our KIPPsters learn, how they learn, and how we measure their progress.

Rona’s dedication to our mission and commitment to providing a joyful and academically excellent education to our KIPPsters makes her the perfect choice for this role. Please join me in congratulating Rona on her well-deserved appointment.

Together with our outstanding Academics and School Management teams, we will ensure that all our KIPPsters receive the highest quality education at KIPP Texas.

I am confident that both Laura and Rona will contribute significantly to our organization’s continued success. Please join me in celebrating these wonderful leaders, each with a bright future at KIPP Texas!

With Gratitude

Sehba Ali

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