New Leaders

Great leaders = Great schools TM


Leadership is critical to transforming a school and raising student achievement. It's the adults who make the biggest difference to a school's success.

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City Executive Directors

Andre CowlingAndre Cowling

Regional Executive Director, Capital Region

Andre is a Cohort 6 New Leader from Chicago. He earned a master’s degree in teaching in 2003 as a member of the first residency class of the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). After first achieving success in the military and business he arrived at his education career, something he says he “always knew he’d do one day.”  After serving as a Captain in the United States Army during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Andre worked as a production manager in Chicago with Masterfoods USA. He became frustrated with the lack of basic skills he encountered among job candidates he interviewed, and began to wonder about the state of public education in Chicago. Just three months after seeing a local newspaper ad for the AUSL urban teacher residency program, he signed up and was on his way to becoming a teacher. Over the next many years, Andre worked as a teacher, dean and most recently, as principal of Collins Academy High School. Andre began his role as Executive Director of New Leaders, Maryland in 2012 and became Regional Executive Director in 2014.

Maggie Blinn DiNovi

Executive Director, Chicago

Before joining New Leaders in 2008, Maggie was a strong advocate, partner, and supporter of the program. Maggie began her association with New Leaders in 2003 while working for The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) on their principal investment portfolio. Her work with The Fund included assisting in the creation of the Office of Principal Preparation and Development (OPPD), which was charged with designing and implementing a district-wide strategy to prepare, develop and support outstanding principal leaders. In 2005, Maggie joined OPPD as Deputy Chief Officer. Prior to her work at Chicago Public Schools and The Fund, Maggie was a corporate attorney at Sidley & Austin, focusing mainly on mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings. Maggie was also a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she worked with corporate management teams to plan and implement strategies for achieving a superior competitive position. Maggie earned her law degree cum laude from the University of Chicago and graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Champaign with a Bachelor of Science from the College of Commerce.

MillardHouse_webMillard House, II

Executive Director, Charlotte

Millard House is a Tulsa, Oklahoma, native with nearly 18 years of educational experience. Before serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, he served as a deputy superintendent, associate superintendent and area superintendent with The Tulsa Public Schools. Prior to being named as a member of the executive cabinet with TPS, he founded and led a college preparatory middle school called KIPP Tulsa College Prep. Over the course of four short years, KIPP Tulsa became one of the brightest stars and most sought-after schools in Tulsa. Before KIPP, he served as assistant principal for one year and principal for four years at Marian Anderson Elementary School in Tulsa. During House’s tenure, Anderson went from being designated one of the lowest performing schools in Oklahoma to being one of the highest performing Title I schools in the state. In 2003, House was voted Tulsa Public Schools Principal of the Year, the first African American to earn this honor. He was also named the Outstanding Administrator of the year by the Tulsa Area Alliance of Black School Educators.

JoshThompson.webJoshua Thompson

Executive Director, New York City/Newark

Over the past year and a half, Joshua played a critical role, as the Director of Education and Youth Policy/Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Education in Bridgeport, CT, in changing the landscape of Bridgeport’s future, alongside Mayor Bill Finch, Superintendent Paul Vallas, and Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor. In this time period, Bridgeport saw a $13 million education budget deficit eradicated and planned for a five-year institutionalized balanced budget.  Additionally, new textbooks were received by all students for the first time since the mid-1990s; high school choices expanded from three options to eight; new models of education and operators took over the lowest-performing schools; expanded early childhood and afterschool programs were implemented; and over $500 million was put toward new school construction.

Prior to this, he served as Program Analyst and Special Projects Manager in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education in Washington, DC,  and as research analyst working alongside Mayor Cory Booker and the Partnership for Education in Newark. The work that has grounded and inspired him most was returning to Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark where he was educated. During his tenure there, Joshua served as Director of Athletics, worked in Institutional Advancement, taught a course in government, and acted as a house parent in the boarding residency. Joshua began his professional career with the Jackie Robinson Foundation where he worked to further Mr. Robinson’s legacy through the advancement of higher education among under-served populations.

Joshua earned his Bachelor of Arts from Piedmont College in Georgia and his Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School. Joshua is a Robert F. Kennedy Young Leader and served two years on the leadership board for the Council of Urban Professionals (CUPNYC). He is married to Julia Thompson, a native New Yorker who is a first grade teacher at Achievement First, Bridgeport Academy Elementary.

TimWare_webTim Ware

Executive Director, Memphis

Tim Ware is passionate about serving at-risk youth and their families.  Tim began his career in 1998 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Brookside United Methodist Church and then on to St Vincent Hospital.  His work in Indianapolis brought him two prestigious distinctions.  In 2002, Tim received the Chairman’s Award from the Indiana Black Expo and Indiana Sports Corporation for exemplary dedication in direct service to youth.  In 2004, he received the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders which recognizes outstanding leadership in social entrepreneurship in the State of Indiana.

In 2006, Tim joined Teach For America – Memphis, where he started as a junior high school history teacher. Tim’s leadership abilities were recognized and he was asked to serve as a Teacher on Special Assignment, functioning in the capacity of Assistant Principal in just his second year. In 2008, Tim was granted a position in the nationally recognized and highly selective Building Excellent Schools 2008 Fellowship.

In 2010, Tim opened Veritas College Preparatory Charter School, a grade five through eight college preparatory middle school serving the students of Memphis. Since its opening, Veritas College Prep has earned many distinctions including recognition by the State Department of Education for being in the top 5% of all schools in the state for student growth by year two of operations. Tim joined New Leaders in the July of 2013.  He is compelled by the organization’s scale of work and fit with his belief that equal access to quality education guarantees the promises embodied in the American Dream.  Tim is a graduate of Cedarville University.

Kareem-finalKareem Weaver

Executive Director, Bay Area

Kareem Weaver, a Cohort 9 New Leader, has a deep, impactful background in education, with nearly 16 years of teaching and leadership in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). In 2010, he became principal of Lazear Elementary and drove dramatic student achievement during his tenure. In his first year as principal, Lazear accomplished double-digit proficiency gains in math, nearly seven times the district average. Morehouse College awarded him the Leadership, Vision, and Community Outreach Award for his steadfast, strategic work with the underserved. He also was awarded the 2011 OUSD Educational Leadership Award for his transformational work at Lazear. Kareem is an advocate for the health and betterment of urban children and disrupting patterns of dysfunction and inequity. Kareem earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and Spanish from Morehouse College.