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
  • 13 middle schools
  • 12 traditional high schools
  • 22,500 students
  • 6 low-income, urban districts
  • 18 elementary schools
  • 2 charter high schools
  • 8,675 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 10 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 was featured in 2007 as one of Kansas City’s most influential women by KC Business, and in 2009 was profiled by Midwest CEO. In 2009, she was honored by The Central Exchange when she became a recipient of their annual Leadership Award.

    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 Elmer 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 ninth-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 is completing a PhD in Education Policy at KU.

  • Lisa Walker Benchmarking & Instructional Leadership Coach Learn More
    Lisa Walker Benchmarking & Instructional Leadership Coach

    As PREP-KC’s Benchmarking expert, Lisa Walker provides professional development to urban school district administrators and teacher leaders in designing and implementing Math and ELA Benchmarking. Lisa’s areas of expertise include instructional leadership, K-12 curriculum and instructional pedagogy, and Professional Learning Communities implementation. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Lisa was a secondary teacher, administrator at the elementary and secondary levels, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at Grandview School District.

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

    Susan provides 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 five urban school districts that are part of the PREP-KC footprint. Prior to joining PREP-KC, Susan was the Executive Director of Secondary Programs for the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools.

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

    Beth McCarthy has been with PREP-KC for ten 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 B.A. in Social Work from Kansas State University.

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

    Danielle Binion provides 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.

  • 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 for students. She completed her PhD 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.

  • Melinda Coffman Research & Evaluation Associate Learn More
    Melinda Coffman Research & Evaluation Associate

    As Data and Evaluation Associate, Melinda Coffman collects regional and program data to analyze changes in school performance indicators longitudinally. She also participates in grant writing and reporting for the multiple regional and national funders that support PREP-KC.

     

    Melinda served as a Project Manager at the University of Kansas, Center for Mental Health Research and Innovation. She managed outcome data from project sites for multiple evidence-based and emerging practices, served as a project manager for numerous research projects, conducted program evaluations, and provided consultation services to mental health community programs. Melinda holds a Bachelor of Science from Northwest Missouri State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Benedictine College.

  • Andra Schneider Executive Assistant Learn More
    Andra Schneider Executive Assistant

    Andra joined the PREP-KC team in 2015 to provide administrative support, working alongside the President and CEO. Andra has a varied background in sports, marketing, and advertising, including over 15 years of experience as an administrative professional. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications and Marketing from Stephens College.

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

    As the College and 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

Board of Directors

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

To Raise the Bar, Start by Raising Your Hand.

Become a Funder

Susan Wally President & CEO

Email - info@prepkc.org
Phone - 816.931.7737

Academy Partners

Partner school districts:

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools; Center School District; Hickman Mills School District; Grandview School District; Kansas City Public Schools (MO); Independence School District; Allen Village Charter School; Alta Vista Charter School; and Crossroads Academy.

Partner postsecondary institutions:

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

Career Academy partner businesses:

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