December 2, 2019

Two Minutes with T2: Daphane Carter, Chief Academic Officer and State Superintendent

Daphane Carter

Team Texas (also called T2) is the senior leadership team at KIPP Texas Public Schools. At KIPP Texas, we are all about Team & Family and creating joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose —college, career, and beyond—so they can lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world.

In this edition of Two Minutes with T2, we continue our conversation with the senior leaders who are working to ensure every child grows up free to create the future they want for themselves and their communities.

Meet Daphane Carter, chief academic officer and state superintendent for KIPP Texas Public Schools. Before joining KIPP in 2010, Daphane was a classroom teacher and principal in the Houston Independent School District. Now she oversees all school management and academics for KIPP Texas AND is a leadership coach for educators throughout the KIPP network. When Daphane is not in classrooms, she is perfecting her spirit stick-designing skills and is a wife and mom with aspirations of stardom in the next season of Dance Moms.

What gets you out of bed every morning?

Beyonce, “Who Runs the World” starts to play at 4 each morning. I then do about 40 minutes of prayer and yoga!

How would you describe your job to a person you meet in the community?

I am the Lead Learner as I empower educators to learn, love, lead, and educate the amazing students in our system. As the Lead Learner, I also engage in growing my brain everyday, just like our KIPPsters .

What do you like most about your job?

I absolutely love every moment that I spend with our teachers and students. Schools bring me joy, and I get super excited every time I walk in a school. It’s the best place to be!

Which of the KIPP Texas Core Values resonates most with you?

Chase excellence and champion equity

What are your biggest achievements — personally and professionally?

Personally: Being a daughter, wife, mother and sister! My husband and children, Madison and Morgan fuel my passion for life. As long as they are living their best lives, I am good. Professionally: Developing strong and dynamic leaders who, alongside me, ensure that we keep promises to our children and families sacred.

What does an average day look like for you?

I start the day with what I call “learning.” Sometimes that is physically in a school in one of our regions. Other times that is using our video learning platform to do an observation or watch a coaching session between leaders. This really helps me get a pulse of the organization. I look at data with academic leadership or regional leadership or both.

I spent a portion of my day sending gratitude messages to school leaders or assistant principals based on shout outs I have seen or what I experienced personally.

I have O3s (one-on-one) meetings with a few direct reports or what we call rapid fire meetings that are seven to 20 minutes long depending on what needs to be discussed or reviewed.

I spend the second part of my day back in our schools in Academic Progress Monitoring meetings, observing instruction, and shadowing our regional superintendents providing real-time coaching with them in schools.

Time with our curriculum team is next: we continually review our curriculum and ensure the culturally aligned pedagogy and the level of rigor for our KIPPsters is where it needs to be.

At the end of the day, I spend time reviewing high school data or with the KIPP Through College team, thinking about our progress workflow and how our KIPPsters matriculate through college.

What are your priorities for the year?

I have a few! The first is functional literacy in kindergarten through second grade and ensuring more students reading at or above their grade level in the next two years. Next is special education and how we can build capacity and strengthen capacity so students with disabilities see performance improvement. Another priority is advancing the GVLC (Guaranteed Viable and Lived Curriculum) and, more specifically, anchoring our curriculum and look at the other blocks of content to close the gaps and accelerate learning. Another critical effort is determining how we can become stronger at performance management through instructional practice and developing those action steps.

It’s just you and your favorite streaming service. What are you binging on?

Power, Greenleaf, and Nailed It

What is your favorite food?

Crawfish pho

What’s your guilty pleasure?


What is one movie you can watch over and over again?

The Color Purple

What advice do you have for Big KIPPsters?

Savor life and find joy in the small moments. Our gift to the world should represent the best of ourselves. And find a trusted mentor, coach or friend who can help you be your highest self.

What advice do you have for Little KIPPsters?

You are stronger, smarter and more amazing than you can ever imagine. Surround yourself with great friends and make good decisions.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Interior Decorating, and I can make an awesome spirit stick!

What is one fact about you we would never guess?

I absolutely love, love, love, love, being a DANCE MOM and secretly want to be on a reality show about dance moms.

KIPP Texas is hiring for a diverse team of dynamic, collaborative, and dedicated individuals with an unyielding belief that every child will succeed. If you want to be part of a supportive team that’s more like a family, then KIPP Texas is for you.