Our mission is to create and implement strategies to improve college and career preparation for Kansas City's urban students.

Our Footprint

PREP-KC partner districts range from 61-100% low income and 40-99% students of color.

  • 2 states
  • 15 middle schools
  • 16 high schools
  • 69,730 students
  • 6 low-income, urban districts
  • 18 elementary schools
  • 4 charter high schools
  • 18,000 high school students

Our Team

  • Susan Wally President & CEO Learn More
    Susan Wally President & CEO

    In her role as president and CEO of PREP-KC, Susan Wally oversees all facets of the organization’s educational improvement initiatives. A former high school teacher, principal, and strategic advisor to schools and districts, she joined The Kauffman Foundation in 1990 as manager of Project Choice, an urban high school dropout prevention and scholarship. She served for more than ten years as vice president for education at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation where she led a grant portfolio focused on the development and achievement of school-aged children. While at The Kauffman Foundation she developed strategic partnerships with Kansas City’s urban school districts, including “First Things First” in the Kansas City, Kansas School District, and “Achievement First” in five Kansas City, Missouri high schools. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and specialist degree in education, curriculum and instruction, and education policy and administration.

  • Doug Elmer Vice President Learn More
    Doug Elmer Vice President

    As Vice President of PREP-KC, Doug works closely with the leadership of Kansas City’s urban school districts and postsecondary institutions to support the implementation of research-based strategies to increase college and career readiness for urban students. Doug began his career as a 9th grade English teacher at Central High School in Newark. He quickly progressed to become a high school instructional coach in Philadelphia before joining Johns Hopkins University’s Talent Development Secondary schools initiative in 2003. Since joining Talent Development, Doug has managed school reform projects in 20 districts nationwide, both recruiting new schools and districts to partner with Talent Development and leading the implementation of the Talent Development model. Since 2011, he has led the Diplomas Now initiative, where he oversaw the implementation of a nationwide Investing in Innovation grant. He has a master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Kansas, and PhD in Education Policy at KU.

  • Beth McCarthy College & Career Program Coordinator Learn More
    Beth McCarthy College & Career Program Coordinator

    Beth has been with PREP-KC for 13 years. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Social Work and brings a wealth of urban school experience to her work with PREP-KC. As a field trainer with the Vera Institute of Justice, Project Affirm, Beth helped deans, school aides, and safety officers to decrease violence levels in New York City’s 10 worst schools. Her work in the Los Angeles Unified School District helped build community support for the district’s plan to build 85 schools in five years. Beth has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Kansas State University.

  • Danielle Binion Career Academies Coordinator Learn More
    Danielle Binion Career Academies Coordinator

    Danielle manages program design and implementation of STEM programs that provide urban high school and college students with a jump-start on a STEM postsecondary degree programs and careers. Danielle’s areas of expertise include: recruiting and facilitating partnership teams, program piloting, strategic planning, and implementation of large-scale initiatives. Prior to joining PREP-KC, she coordinated a national pre-law program for underserved youth at UMKC School of Law. Danielle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a Master’s of Arts in Professional Counseling at Lindenwood University, and is pursuing an Ed.D in Leadership in Higher Education at Baker University.

  • Cecil Christwell Teaching & Learning Coordinator Learn More
    Cecil Christwell Teaching & Learning Coordinator

    Cecil joins the team to lead and manage the integration of PREP-KC’s academic strategies and resources into classrooms across our network of schools. Wanting to make a greater impact, Cecil entered the field of education through the Kansas City Kansas Teaching Fellows.  Through KCKTF, Cecil taught high school math for 14 years in the Kansas City Kansas Public School district. For the past two years, he was an assistant principal at Arrowhead Middle School.  In addition to being an educator, Cecil also served as an athletic director for KCKPS.

  • Susan Engelmann School Change Coach Learn More
    Susan Engelmann School Change Coach

    Susan contributes professional development to urban school district administrators and teacher leaders, especially as it relates to their role in supporting high school reform. She supports the implementation of strategies including math benchmarking, early college experiences and career exploration opportunities for high school students in the PREP-KC footprint. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Susan was the Executive Director of Secondary Programs for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools.

  • Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard Career Academy Liaison Learn More
    Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard Career Academy Liaison

    Kellyann provides support for the implementation and the scale-up of PREP-KC’s career academies. She is enthusiastic about making science more accessible to students. She completed her Ph.D. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of Kansas Medical Center and has a BS in Biology and Spanish from Duke University. Kellyann serves as a commissioner on the Kansas City Health Commission, a group tasked with improving public health in Kansas City. Kellyann has also been named a 2017 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

  • Candace Villanueva College & Career Liaison Learn More
    Candace Villanueva College & Career Liaison

    Candace manages college and career exploration experiences with PREP-KC’s partner schools. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Candace gained experience in working with our partner schools as the Diversity Recruiter at Johnson County Community College. Originally from Kansas City, Candace is passionate about being an advocate for her community. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Ottawa University and a Master of Science degree in Organization Development with an Executive Leadership Certificate from Avila University

  • Kristin Kush Data & Evaluation Associate Learn More
    Kristin Kush Data & Evaluation Associate

    Kristin has over 12 years of experience in program evaluation including previous experience in the field of education. She completed her Master’s Degree in Sociology and has been conducting data collection, analysis, and evaluation.  As well as being familiar with PREP-KC’s current metrics for measuring student improvement, she has worked with state-wide student survey measures, student academic program evaluation, and implementation of new programs within multiple schools.

  • Andra Culp Warren Executive Assistant/Office Manager Learn More
    Andra Culp Warren Executive Assistant/Office Manager

    Andra provides office and administrative support, working alongside the President and CEO.  She has a varied background in marketing, advertising, and sports including over 20 years of experience as an administrative professional. Andra holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications and Marketing from Stephens College.

  • Jonathan Lane Tech Pathways Facilitator Learn More
    Jonathan Lane Tech Pathways Facilitator

    Jon delivers computer science curriculum to our high school students. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the University of Kansas and pursuing his Masters in Computer Science from Missouri S&T. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Jon taught high school math and computer science at Lawrence High School. He has a varied background in teaching various programming and computer science camps for the past five years for the University of Kansas.

  • Liz Means Benchmarking Coach Learn More
    Liz Means Benchmarking Coach

    As the Math Benchmarking Coach, Liz Means supports urban K-12 teacher leaders and administrators with the implementation of Math Benchmarking. Liz designs and facilitates professional development that emphasizes learning progressions and data analysis specific to math content.  Liz’s areas of expertise include curriculum and assessment development, social and emotional learning, data analysis and instructional design, and Professional Learning Communities implementation.  Prior to joining PREP-KC, Liz was a secondary teacher, school counselor, K-8 assistant principal and an elementary principal.

  • Shauna Stephanchick K-3 Literacy Coach Learn More
    Shauna Stephanchick K-3 Literacy Coach

    As the K-3 Literacy Coach, Shauna Stephanchick supports urban educators with the implementation of English Language Arts Benchmarking, where she conducts lesson demonstrations and works alongside classroom teachers to collaboratively plan and co-teach lessons. Shauna’s expertise includes reading instruction, instructional coaching, and Professional Learning Communities implementation. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Shauna was an elementary teacher, site and district level instructional coach, elementary administrator and DESE consultant in English Language Arts and Professional Learning Communities.

  • Yandell Toevs Benchmarking Coach Learn More
    Yandell Toevs Benchmarking Coach

    Yandell provides support to secondary math teams, planning and facilitating professional development sessions as it relates to math benchmarking.  She demonstrates expertise in facilitating PLC frameworks, benchmarking content, and focused instructional strategies specific to math content. Prior to joining the PREP-KC team, Yandell taught math at the secondary level, served as district secondary math teacher leader, and was a part of the administrative leadership team in the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District.  Additionally, she served as a school improvement facilitator and with her coaching, one high school moved from single digit proficiency to over 50% proficiency on the state assessment scores.  Yandell has taught college-level teacher support classes through the KCK/Pitt State Teaching Fellows program, KCK/UMKC Teacher Masters program, and she continues to teach in the developmental math program at Kansas City, Kansas Community College.

  • Brittany Verrette Connector Program Specialist Learn More
    Brittany Verrette Connector Program Specialist

    Brittany is a former high school English teacher and works as the Connector Program Specialist for PREP-KC. She works with teachers one-on-one and in small teams to develop lesson plans and write requests for Connector sessions with their classrooms. She’s eager to link KC teachers with local industry professionals who want to talk to students about their own career journey.

  • Linda Peterson Program Assistant Learn More
    Linda Peterson Program Assistant

    Linda provides data entry and administrative support across the organization. Prior to joining PREP-KC, she worked in the administrative office at Olathe South High School and has 20 years of support staff/office manager experience.

Board of Directors

  • Chris Gentile, Board Chair Consultant; Retired President, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technology
  • Leo E. Morton President/Chief Operating Officer, DeBruce Companies
  • David Warm Executive Director, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)
  • Ray Daniels Educational Consultant; Retired Superintendent. Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
  • Ramon Murguia Partner, Murguia, Watson & Dameron Law Offices
  • Edward F. Honesty President/Chief Operating Officer, Best Harvest Bakeries
  • Tom Forrester Consultant; Former Senior Vice President/Managing Director, State Street Corporation
  • Madeline Romious Regional Vice President External Affairs State, AT&T

2019 Funders

  • AT&T Aspire
  • Arvest Bank of Greater Kansas City
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Bayer USA Foundation
  • BioNexus KC
  • CBIZ MHM, LLC
  • Cerner Corporation
  • Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
  • Commerce Bancshares Foundation
  • Edward F. Swinney Foundation
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Francis Family Foundation
  • George & Anne Murphy Charitable Fund
  • George K. Baum Family Foundation
  • Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • H & R Block Foundation
  • Hall Family Foundation
  • Health Forward Foundation
  • Honeywell Charitable Foundation
  • Kansas City Missouri Bar Foundation
  • Mason L. Dean Foundation
  • Opus Foundation
  • Polsinelli
  • Sherman Family Foundation
  • Shumaker Family Foundation
  • Sprint Corporation
  • State Street Corporation
  • United Way of Greater Kansas City
  • VanTrust Real Estate, LLC - Kansas City
  • W.J. Brace Charitable Trust
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City

To Raise the Bar, Start by Raising Your Hand.

Email - info@prepkc.org
Phone - (816) 931-PREP

Academy Partners

Partner school districts:

Allen Village Charter School, Grandview School District, Guadalupe Centers Schools,  Crossroads Academy,  Center School District, Hickman Mills School District, Hogan Preparatory Academy, Independence School District, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, and Kansas City Public Schools (MO).

Partner postsecondary institutions:

Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC), Kansas State-Olathe, Metropolitan Community College-Longview (MCC-Longview), Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley (MCC-Penn Valley), University of Kansas Medical Center (KU Med), and University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).

Career Academy partner businesses:

Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), BMO Harris Bank, BNIM, Burns & McDonnell, Children’s Mercy Hospital, City of Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, Cerner Corporation, CEVA Biomune, Garmin, Google Fiber, Hallmark,  Honeywell, BioNexus KC, Kansas City Start-Up Village, KCMBA, KCNext, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Saint Luke’s Hospital, Saint Luke’s Neuroscience Institute, Sprint Accelerator, State Street, and Truman Medical Centers.