Courtney Simmons McKee
5th Grade History Teacher
Originally from Las Vegas, NV, Faith has spent majority of her life in MS, moving to the Gulf Coast at the age of 4 years old. Faith is a product of multiple public education systems on the Gulf Coast and graduated from Pass Christian High School. Faith attend Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, where she earned a B.A. in History with a minor in American Studies. During her time at Millsaps, Faith served as the Panhellenic president through her membership in Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. In addition, Faith researched and wrote a published honors thesis titled The Isolationist Myth, which examined American foreign policy prior to WWII. Faith’s love of history and her research is a byproduct of her true love for reading and hopes to share that love with her scholars.
5th Grade Math Teacher
Bailey is thrilled to be teaching in Jackson, Mississippi and already feels like she can call Mississippi "home." A recent graduate of Georgetown University, she studied International Law, French, and Russian during college. She worked for several Georgetown publications, student organizations, and clubs, and she has a strong passion for animals. After spending the summer of 2017 teaching math in Cleveland, MS, Bailey is confident that Smilow students will be able to excel in math and thrive as a strong community of scholars.
Originally from New Orleans, Victoria completed secondary schooling on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This solidified her career goals of rebuilding communities at the state and local level. She attended Millsaps College in Jackson, MS and then joined the Mississippi Teacher Corps through the University of Mississippi. She taught U.S. Government at Forest Hill High School (also in Jackson, MS) while coaching volleyball, tennis, and sponsoring other student leadership programs. Victoria completed the M.P.P. program at Vanderbilt's Peabody College while teaching with RePublic Schools as a founding member of the Nashville Academy of Computer Science team.
Student Supports Teacher
Leigh was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Leigh left Louisiana to attend college in Memphis, TN and spent a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. From Memphis, Leigh moved to Washington, DC and Buffalo, NY before deciding to attend law school. However, Leigh could not get away from the idea of teaching. After graduating law school, Leigh joined the Teach For America corp,s where she spent two years teaching first grade in the Louisiana Delta. Leigh attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, where she earned her B.A. in History, with minors in Political Science and Global Studies, before receiving her Juris Doctor from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert School of Law and M.S. in Education Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Jena Howie earned her B.A. in Communication from Baylor University in Waco, TX. During her Teach for America commitment, Jena taught in Yazoo City, MS where she recognized her love for Mississippi and her career in the classroom. Jena believes children are the key to our future and works with passion to ensure all have opportunity and freedom to explore their ideas and fulfil their dreams.
Originally from New Orleans, LA, Elisa graduated from Jackson State University with a B.S. in Psychology. Professionally she has a background in clinical trials research and once owned a home schooling and tutoring service. Elisa lives by the motto "if it is to be, it is up to me" and encourages each and every individual to get active in learning. She enjoys helping children adapt and learn at their own pace in a manner that is uniquely tailored to them and is 100% dedicated to working with scholars and families to ensure that each child has the opportunity, resources and support to succeed.
Lynzie is in her seventh year in education. Most recently, she was an Academic Strategist for Hinds County School District, where she worked to support teachers instructionally. Previously, Lynzie taught math at the elementary, middle, and high school levels— from 4th grade self-contained to precalculus and statistics. She served as Grade Level Chair at Hazlehurst Elementary School and Academic Success Chair at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School. Lynzie graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Africana Studies from Bowdoin University, and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College.
5th Grade ELA Teacher
Kristen is originally from Mandeville, Louisiana and moved to the Jackson area just before starting high school. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies with a concentration in creative writing from Millsaps College. While at Millsaps, she served as editor-in-chief of the Stylus literary magazine and worked on community literacy programs through an internship at the Mississippi Children's Museum. She is currently working on a master's degree in teaching at Belhaven University.
5th & 6th Grade Computer Science Teacher
Topher considers Mississippi his adopted home. A recent graduate of the University of Mississippi, Topher studied Philosophy and English in the Barksdale Honors College. During his time in Oxford, Topher involved himself in many academic and extracurricular endeavors, including the creation of Populi Magazine, a magazine devoted to supporting the intellectual and artistic voice on campus.
6th Grade ELA Teacher
Emily Moncrief earned her Bachelor's in Communication Studies at Mississippi State University. During her time teaching English in Thailand, Emily discovered that she is passionate about equipping scholars for success in the classroom. She believes that success in the classroom today translates into college and career readiness tomorrow.
6th Grade History Teacher
Mr. Nailer is proud to be teaching at Smilow Prep. His first step into education was as a tutor at Jim HIll High School where he tutored English II in an after-school program. It was at that point he knew education is where he belongs. Mr. Nailer holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Jackson State University and a M.P.A. from Belhaven University.
5th & 6th Grade Science Teacher
Born into a family of educators, Alli always knew she would be in education. She joined the Mississippi Teacher Corps and taught IB Biology and Biology II at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, MS, while earning her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Mississippi. Previously, Alli worked at Maureen Joy Charter School in Durham, NC, where she served in a number of roles including fifth-grade science teacher, grade-level leader, fourth-grade Instructional Coach, and Assistant Director of Teacher Recruitment and Selection. She received her B.A. in Geography from the University of Texas.
Ann Louise Seabrook
6th Grade Math Teacher
Ann Louise is a native Mississippian, born and raised in the Jackson-Metro area. A recent graduate of the University of Mississippi, Ann Louise studied Psychology and History in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Ann Louise is excited to return home and serve her community as a member of the #SmilowStrong family!
Front Office Receptionist
Laraeven is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor's in Political Science. Shortly after graduating MSU, Laraeven relocated to Jackson, MS, to begin her career. She has always had a passion in helping others, but her growing desire to impact the lives of youth sparked her interest in wanting to join the Smilow Prep team. Laraeven believes the learning environment is a vital aspect in a child's learning and growth. She wishes to assist in promoting excellence among Smilow Prep scholars.
Director of Operations
Andrew comes to RePublic with a multi-year background as a teacher, assistant teacher and leader of school-based operations. He first caught the education bug as a Fulbright Scholar in Hamburg, Germany, and then continued as high-school Algebra teacher and Quiz Bowl coach in his hometown of Jackson, MS. After making the transition to school-based operations, he worked in the Arkansas Delta and with the Achievement School District in Memphis where he helped lead his middle school to the highest level of growth possible in one year. Andrew graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Political Science and from Belhaven University with a M.A. in Teaching.