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 school 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 Director of Community & Industry Partnerships Learn More
    Beth McCarthy Director of Community & Industry Partnerships

    Beth has been with PREP-KC for 15 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.

  • Cecil Christwell Director of Teaching & Learning Learn More
    Cecil Christwell Director of Teaching & Learning

    Cecil leads and manages 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. Priorly, 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 Senior Design & Implementation Coach Learn More
    Susan Engelmann Senior Design & Implementation 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.

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

    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

  • Keva Gorman Career Pathways Specialist Learn More
    Keva Gorman Career Pathways Specialist

    Keva supports the implementation and scale-up of PREP-KC’s initiatives. Keva previously served as an Alumni Relations Manager and Program Manager with Youth Entrepreneurs.  She also spent four years with Kauffman Scholars, Inc. as a Secondary Coach. Keva earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a minor in Health Studies from Iowa State University.

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

    Kristin has over 14 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.

  • Brittany Verrette Connector Specialist Learn More
    Brittany Verrette Connector 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.

  • 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.

  • Tonja McCoy Volunteer Coordinator Learn More
    Tonja McCoy Volunteer Coordinator

    Tonja provides volunteer marketing and recruitment along with event coordination and management. She was formerly with KCKPS and Argentine Middle School. Tonja has a Master’s Degree from the University of Hawaii in Political Science and Conflict Resolution.

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

    Jon delivers a computer science curriculum to our high school students and facilitates our Pathways to Tech program. 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 Senior Math Coach Learn More
    Liz Means Senior Math Coach

    As the Senior Math Coach, Liz Means supports K-12 teacher leaders and administrators in our urban school districts. Liz designs and facilitates professional development that emphasizes learning progressions and data analysis specific to math content.  Her 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 elementary principal.

  • Yandell Toevs Math Coach Learn More
    Yandell Toevs Math 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.

  • Linda Peterson Program Assistant Learn More
    Linda Peterson Program Assistant

    Linda provides data entry, college and career experiences support, 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 FM&T
  • David A. Warm Executive Director, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)
  • Leo E. Morton, Board Chair Emeritus President/Chief Operating Officer, DeBruce Companies
  • Ramon Murguia Owner, Murguia Law Office, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Madeline Romious Regional Vice President External Affairs State, AT&T
  • Edward F. Honesty President/Chief Operating Officer, Best Harvest Bakeries
  • Ray Daniels Educational Consultant; Retired Superintendent. Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
  • Brian C. Wimes United States District Judge of the US District Court for the Eastern and Western District of Missouri
  • Thomas A. Forrester Consultant; Former Senior VP/Managing Director, State Street Corporation

2021 Funders

  • AT&T Aspire
  • Arvest Bank of Greater Kansas City
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Bayer USA Foundation
  • BioNexus KC
  • Cerner Corporation
  • Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
  • Commerce Bancshares Foundation
  • Common Wealth Charitable Fund
  • Edward F. Swinney Foundation
  • Evergy Services
  • 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
  • Harry Wilson Loose Trust
  • Health Forward Foundation
  • Honeywell Charitable Foundation
  • J.C. Nichols Company Charitable Trust
  • Kansas City Missouri Bar Foundation
  • Opus Foundation
  • Sherman Family Foundation
  • Shumaker Family Foundation
  • Sprint Foundation (T-Mobile)
  • State Street Global Services
  • United Way of Greater Kansas City
  • VanTrust Real Estate, LLC - Kansas City
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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

Partner Postsecondary Institutions:

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

Market Value Assets (MVA) 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, KCMBA, KCNext, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Saint Luke’s Hospital, Saint Luke’s Neuroscience Institute, Sprint Accelerator, STARTLAND, State Street, and Truman Medical Centers.