Beginning his career as a Teach For America corps member, Scott has spent the greater part of the last 20 years working in public education and brings his broad diversity of experiences to his current work as the Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer at Big Rock Educational Services in Dallas, Texas.
Prior to co-founding BRES in May of 2014, Scott worked at KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth working closely with the Executive Director and school leaders to create and implement systems used district-wide around data driven instruction, observation and supervision, and student culture. Prior to his experience at KIPP, he led an existing charter elementary school with high scholar achievement and opened two successful urban college prep schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. As a result of these experiences, Scott has learned the importance of identifying, prioritizing and implementing high impact systems or “big rocks” and seen firsthand how doing this has directly led to high student achievement.
Scott was featured in Driven by Data by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo for his work as a school leader in creating and implementing high impact school systems that led to high student achievement.
He received his B.S. in Business Administration from Castleton State College, and an MA in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He was in the New Leaders program where he also obtained a CAGS in Educational Administration from Pace University. Outside of work, Scott enjoys reading and working out.
Before co-founding BRES, Matt served as the Director of Operations at Uplift Luna Preparatory, a K-12 campus in the Uplift Education network. As a school leader in a growing network, he managed all logistical and operational elements involved in the opening of this elementary and secondary school. Additionally, in his role, Matt oversaw all non-instructional departments of the campus. Through his work in schools, he learned the importance of sound operational systems in ensuring an instructional atmosphere that truly puts students first. Matt oversees internal operations at BRES which includes ensuring clients receive exceptional customer service, partners have clear communication and resources are easily accessible to all BRES stakeholders.
Prior to transitioning to a career in education, Matt served as the Outreach Coordinator for Catholic Charities of Dallas, Immigration and Legal Services. In this work, he developed a passion for service and education that easily translates to the core mission of BRES.
Matt received his B.S. in Applied Arts & Sciences/Business Leadership from University of North Texas at Dallas. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
Nicole Harper has served as an educator and administrator for over 20 years. In her current role as a Leadership Coach, Nicole partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic & district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Before joining BRES, Nicole served at every level of the education system as a 9th to 12th grade Teacher, Assistant Principal for middle and high school, and Principal of two elementary schools. She has served in the traditional school and charter school systems.
Nicole has been recognized for her leadership and effectiveness in Garland Independent School District for launching the AVID program. She was also recognized as campus administrator of the year for a turnaround campus in Desoto Independent School District. Nicole has always led with the belief that all students can and will learn. It is with this belief that has allowed her to serve and provide support to ensure that systems of equity were put in place to ensure that all students regardless of race or socio-economic status were treated fairly.
Throughout Nicole’s role as an educational leader, she has implemented systems that contribute to closing academic achievement gaps, and she has also been a strong advocate for ensuring that race did not determine the level of education a student deserved.
Nicole holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College. She holds certifications in the following specialty areas: Texas teaching certification, and Texas K-12 principal certification.
Outside of enjoying her profession, Nicole loves to serve in her faith, travel, volunteer, and be with her loving family.
Jasmine Wright is a passionate educator and native of New Orleans, LA. She’s served students in a variety of schools from traditional, charter, and even Montessori. In her current role as a Leadership Coach, Jasmine partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic & district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Jasmine began her professional career working as a private tutor, then as a Math and ELA interventionist, classroom teacher, founding teacher, founding instructional coach, and Assistant Head of School. Her lifelong love of learning has led her to and through various fellowships where she has been able to learn a plethora of high impact instructional strategies from high-performing networks and educational non-profits across the country. As an educator, Jasmine has always had a fervent interest in STEM education, especially for underserved communities. This interest inspired her to take part in an opportunity to write STEM curriculum for a curriculum company currently in its pilot stage. Jasmine’s zeal for education is encouraged by the belief that all children should have access to a high-quality education. She is driven to do the work necessary to accomplish this goal and close the opportunity gap.
Jasmine has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Xavier University of Louisiana.
Sharon started her career in education almost 20 years ago in the charter corps of Teach for America in Philadelphia, where she taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade in both North and South Philadelphia. She then returned to her native New Orleans to teach in post-Katrina public schools and was a 4th, 5th, and 6th grade Math teacher. In 2012, she moved to Dallas and began her journey as a school leader, first working as an Instructional Dean, where she led the school to become IB authorized and then quickly transitioning to be the Academic Director of Uplift Hampton Preparatory Middle School and then the founding Director of Uplift Gradus Preparatory, a Primary school in DeSoto, TX that serves PK-5th grade.
In her current role as a Leadership Coach, Sharon partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic & district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
During her time as a school leader, Sharon was selected to be a member of the first cohort of the Principal Impact Collaborative and now serves on their Alumni Council. She also serves as a DEI Facilitator for Teach for America. Sharon is committed to educational equity and works to dismantle systemic racism in schools and other institutions through activism and education. Prior to her work in education, Sharon was a Grants Manager for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Denver, CO.
Sharon is a proud graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies and a Masters Degree in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction. While at Howard, Sharon was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Phi Beta Kappa.
In her time away from work, Sharon is committed to self-care and enjoys exercise, traveling the globe, and spending time with family and friends.
Tristan Bragg is an educator who is committed to educational equity and inclusivity both inside and outside of the classroom. In her current role as a Leadership Coach, Tristan partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic & district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Tristan began her career as a 2006 Teach for America [TFA] Houston Corps Member in the Houston Independent School District [HISD] as a Kindergarten & 1stgrade teacher. During her tenure with HISD, she had the privilege to serve as a teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She then served as a literacy coach for Indianapolis Public Schools and an assistant principal for Pflugerville ISD. In 2018, she relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to serve as the founding Academic Director of Uplift Elevate Primary in Fort Worth, TX.
Tristan has also worked for the TFA Houston Summer Institute to train and support incoming corps members across the country. Her roles during summer institute include Corps Member Advisor, School Director, and both Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness Facilitator & Coordinator.
Tristan is a proud alumna of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA and Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, quality time with family & friends, and racking up frequent flyer miles.
Melissa has spent her career working as an educator, instructional coach and most recently as operations support in the education sector. She is mission-driven and passionate about educational equity and is continuing to drive impactful student achievement with BRES on the Operations Team as Operations Coordinator.
Prior to BRES, Melissa worked at an education non-profit supporting relationship building and coordinating programming with districts and school leaders across the country. She also served as a key role in developing and standardizing internal processes as well as external communications across various teams and departments.
Melissa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Leadership from the University of Dallas. She considers herself a lifelong learner and in her personal time, Melissa enjoys experiencing the world alongside her husband through the eyes of her two boys.
Dr. Ashley Lay
Ashley started her career in education over 15 years ago as a classroom teacher. She has served in various teacher and administrator roles across all grade levels in both Texas and Oklahoma. Most recently, Ashley served as an Administrator Coach at the Education Service Center Region 11 in Fort Worth where she supported both campus and district administrators as a Texas Instructional Leadership coach. She has a passion for the work of continuous school improvement, aims to support leaders to build systems and processes that are sustainable, and is driven to ensure that all students have access to the very best education where every single student thrives academically, socially, and emotionally. As a Leadership Coach, Ashley partners with BRES schools and districts to support them in achieving their academic and district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Ashley received her Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Midwestern State University and earned her Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. While serving as a campus administrator, she was inspired to pursue her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Texas Tech University. Her dissertation, Systematically Developing Instructional Leadership Capacity through Texas Instructional Leadership: A Design Development Study of Lesson Alignment, Formative Assessment, and Coaching, has provided current research for school and district administrators across the state of Texas. She enjoys gardening, spending time with her family and friends, volunteering to serve her community, and traveling!
Hunter Dansby started his career in education as a high school Algebra teacher in Eastern North Carolina through Teach For America. While teaching at this placement school in Duplin County, Hunter founded and instructed his school’s first ever ACT preparation program for juniors. It was his work helping high school students navigate the college application process that inspired his passion to ensure all students, particularly those in underserved communities, have equitable access to a life of opportunities and choices through education.
After teaching, Hunter became an Assistant Principal at a PreK – 8th grade school in Duplin County, NC. As an Assistant Principal, Hunter designed data driven systems that provided teachers clarity on how to analyze student academic projections to ensure instruction and planning met the needs of all students.
In 2019, Hunter transitioned to Dallas to become the Academic Director at Uplift Heights Middle School. During his tenure at Uplift, Hunter and his team worked diligently to keep student attendance high during the COVID-19 pandemic, foster a safe and collaborative staff culture, and most recently, ensure students’ math and literacy levels exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
In his current roles as a Leadership Coach, Hunter partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic and district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Hunter holds a Master’s degree in School Administration from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance and Business Honors from Texas A&M University. In his free time, Hunter enjoys hosting and cooking for friends and family, reading fiction, playing basketball, and traveling with loved ones.
Steve Khadam-Hir is a Leadership Coach with nearly 20 years of experience working in and supporting Texas public schools. Prior to joining the BRES team, Steve served as Director of Leadership Development with BES (build.excel.sustain) and coached leaders to build and sustain excellent and equitable public schools across the country. He spent the majority of his career with KIPP Texas Public Schools where he served in several school leadership roles, including Director of Teacher Career Pathways, founding principal of KIPP Academy West, and principal at KIPP Intrepid Preparatory School. During this time, he completed several KIPP school leadership programs, including the Miles Family Fellowship, Principal Prep, and the Fisher Fellowship.
Steve began his education career as a Teach for America corps member in the Houston Independent School District teaching fourth and fifth-grade science. Throughout this teaching and school leadership experience, he has developed his passion for asset-based coaching, data-driven instruction, and experiential learning. Steve was a double major in political science and economics at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He also earned his Master of Business Administration at the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business and participated in the second cohort of REEP (Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program) where he earned his principal’s certification. Steve is a multilingual educator who speaks Portuguese, Spanish, Farsi, and French in addition to English.
Outside of the professional world, Steve loves traveling – especially going on road trips with his family.
Dr. Monica Garrett
Dr. Monica Garrett has been an educator and administrator for over 25 years. Dr. Garrett has successfully turned around two local Public Schools’ learning communities during her 25-year career in FWISD.
In her current role as a Leadership Coach, Monica partners with BRES schools and district clients to assist them in achieving their academic & district goals by implementing and maintaining effective school systems.
Before joining BRES, Monica served on the secondary level from 6th-collegiate as a Teacher, Assistant Principal for middle and high school, and Principal of three middle schools.
Monica has been recognized for her leadership and effectiveness in Fort Worth Independent School District. Monica has a belief that all students can and will learn. This belief has allowed her to serve and provide support to ensure that systems of equity were implemented to ensure that all students, regardless of race or socio-economic status, were treated fairly.
Throughout Monica’s role as an educational leader, she has implemented systems that contribute to closing academic achievement gaps. She has also been a strong advocate for ensuring that race did not determine the level of education a student deserved.
Monica holds an Ed.D from Tarleton State University, a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University, and a Bachelor of Science from Jarvis Christian College. She holds certifications in the following specialty areas: Texas teaching certification, Texas K-12 principal certification, and Superintendent certification.
Besides enjoying her profession, Monica loves to help others, eat out, volunteer, and hang out with family and friends.
Karen Salerno has worked on behalf of children for 20 years as a teacher, principal, district and non-profit executive, and consultant with a focus on school and district leadership, STEM education, equity in access to educational opportunities, and organizational learning. In her current work at BRES, she serves as a strategic advisor, working alongside the BRES team to develop the vision for the organization’s support of educators across the country, reimagining what is possible for students and K-12 school systems.
Prior to joining the Big Rock Educational Services team, she served as the Vice President at the National Math and Science Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to building inclusive mindsets and practices that create and sustain equitable access to high-quality STEM education.
In her previous role as a Partner at TNTP, Karen spent significant time in partnership with school districts and state agencies, developing a personal investment in the educators and children served by the organization’s work. Her passion for supporting educators in realizing their own potential for impact, advancing more equitable outcomes for students, and elevating the educator profession is her life’s work. She is a University of Texas graduate and pursued her graduate studies at the University of Michigan and the Harvard School of Education New and Aspiring Leaders Program. Karen is based out of Dallas, TX where her most important and valued role is serving as Chief Transportation & Snack Officer to her children, Isabella and Luca.