David serves as our Executive Director. Prior to forming BreakFree, he co-founded and served as the Executive Director of The Maya Angelou Schools, a network of alternative schools in Washington, DC. He served as the founding principal of the Maya Angelou Academy, the school located inside DC’s long-term, secure juvenile facility, from 2007 to 2011. He designed the key elements of the school model, including short, thematic units aligned with state standards, incentive programming based on the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports framework, a technology-enhanced instruction and learning platform, and a set of technology tools designed to enhance communication between school and correctional staff.
The Maya Angelou Academy’s success has been widely recognized. The changes at the school were termed “remarkable” by a national expert and court-appointed monitor. The Middle States Commission’s accreditation team called the Maya Angelou Academy “one of the best schools we have ever seen.” The school has been featured in local and national publications, including the Washington Post Magazine and Education Week. David left the Academy in the fall of 2011 to start the Center.
David is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Stanford Law School. He is the co-author, along with James Forman, Jr., of two articles about school reform. The first, “What It Takes to Transform a School Inside a Juvenile Facility: The Story of the Maya Angelou Academy,” highlights lessons learned during the start-up and first year of the Maya Angelou Academy. The second, “A Circle of Trust,” chronicles the first year of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.
David lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and puppy, Seven. He’s an avid reader, a wannabe basketball player, and an out-of-step breakdancer.