Our Team2018-11-21T22:39:58+00:00


Dr. Debra Sullivan
Dr. Debra SullivanFOUNDER
Dr. Sullivan is the Founder of Ashé Preparatory Academy, a K-8 public charter school that will open in 2019 in Skyway, Washington. She is also Past President of the Seattle Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute (BCDI-Seattle) where the primary focus of her work has been around implementing appropriate learning environments for Black children and working with families and communities to increase their advocacy for their children. The author of three books, Dr. Sullivan’s third book, Cultivating the Genius of Black Children, guides teachers in creating classrooms that support the learning needs of Black children and many other children with similar learning styles and preferences. One of Dr. Sullivan’s favorite past times is cooking and she owns (at least) 150 cookbooks representing a variety of countries, cooking techniques, and types of food. Give her some garlic, onions, and olive oil and prepare to feast! Dr. Sullivan earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Seattle University, and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Washington. She was recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Champlain College in Vermont.
Monique Harrison Manuel
Monique Harrison ManuelFOUNDING PRINCIPAL
Monique Manuel Harrision is the founding principal at Ashé Preparatory Academy with 27 years of experience. She holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and is pursuing her doctorate in Leadership and a superintendent certification. She comes to Ashé Preparatory Academy with experience as an elementary principal and an assistant principal at the high school and K-8 levels. Monique is a National Board Certified Teacher with 22 years of classroom teaching experience. She has taught secondary mathematics in Oklahoma, California and Washington. Monique currently holds Washington certificates in Mathematics, Middle Level Mathematics, and Administration. When she isn’t researching education practices and reform, she enjoys spending time with her family & friends, spoiling her dog, Harrison, listening to all types of music, and going to the opera.


More information to come!

Khavin brings expertise in Montessori and High Scope education, both of which use the student-centered, active engagement approach featured in Ashé Prep’s school model. He serves as a master teacher and teacher coach and provides expertise in Environmental Education. His passion as a teacher is fostering school readiness, social-emotional development, and environmental education in the teaching and learning process to address Nature Deficit Disorder.

James, “Jim”, has worked in education locally for over twenty years as a teacher and school administrator, in both parochial and public schools, in grades K-12, primarily with African American students, Latino students, and students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch in Seattle. He has a Master’s degree in Education and is certified as both a teacher and an administrator.

Marjon brings expertise in both early childhood education and K-12 education. As an
educational consultant she has dedicated her lifework to increasing the capacity and efficacy of families as their child’s first teacher and primary socializing agent. As co-founder of the Black Starline African Family Educational Collective, she has secured grants to support the organization’s sustainability and is deeply versed in aligning alternative education programs to Washington State Standards.

Casey Owens Castello
Casey Owens CastelloBOARD MEMBER
Casey Owens Castello is director, Brewed Coffee, at Starbucks Coffee Company. Casey joined Starbucks in September 2013 as Manager, Global Strategy, after earning an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to her time at Stanford, Casey served as Special Assistant to the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Casey joined the Treasury Department from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, where she was Special Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer. Casey began her career as an analyst at Lazard in Equity Capital Markets and Corporate Finance. She received her BA in Government from Harvard University. Casey is a sports enthusiast and a student of foreign languages.

Derrick JohnsonBOARD MEMBER
At Promise Venture Studio, Derrick supports entrepreneurs launching new, innovative schools, services, and technologies in early childhood development. He leads the development of a vibrant community of entrepreneurs aimed at creating sustainable impact for the most disadvantaged children and their families in the U.S.

Prior to joining Promise, he was an associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund where he led sourcing, diligence, and grants management for NewSchools Invent, the organization’s investments in entrepreneurs launching new, innovative schools across the country. Derrick served as a school leader at Success Academy Charter Schools, where he began as an elementary school teacher and Teach For America Corps Member. From 2010 to 2014, Derrick’s students ranked among the top one percent in math and the top five percent in reading in New York State. He began his career on Wall Street as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Derrick earned his master’s degree from Stanford University, where he received a fellowship at the Graduate School of Education and the Rathbun Fellowship. He received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, where he was a Gates Millennium Scholar and an Oprah Winfrey Scholar. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Derrick attended Head Start and preschool as an early learner and Detroit Public Schools. He is serves as an advisor to Detroit Children’s Fund.

Mr. Jefferson has worked in the capacity of teacher, department head, vice principal, and principal over the course of 30+ years with Seattle Public Schools. He holds a B.S. from Lincoln University (an HBCU) in Jefferson, MO and a Masters degree from Seattle Pacific University in School Administration. Mr. Jefferson has two children and enjoys skiing, reading, and cataloging his jazz collection of over 350 vinyl record albums and 400 CDs. He has served on the following boards: Atlantic Street Center, East Madison YMCA, and First Place Charter School. He is currently on the Board of the Seattle International District Rotary, chairing the Education Committee. Mr. Jefferson has participated in two Urban Principal Summer Training Programs at Yale University, learning how to implement the “Comer Restructuring Model” developed by Dr. James Comer.