Detroit Achievement Academy is a free public charter school currently serving kindergarten through fourth grade students. 


We at Detroit Achievement Academy want to shake things up a bit. We have a grand vision for what education can look like and are excited to be creating it in the great city of Detroit. We are using the best educational model in the country, Expeditionary Learning, and are committed to our students, their families, and to our neighborhood. We believe that all students can achieve at high levels and that it is our responsibility to support them in an intense and holistic way. We are thrilled to be able to provide a world-class education in a world-class city.

Detroit Achievement Academy is proudly located in northwest Detroit. We serve 140 students and will add one grade level each year. 



Detroit Achievement Academy exists to holistically support the education and development of students who have the determination, drive, and skills to shape their own path of high achievement with the ultimate goal of creating civically engaged, joyful citizens who are ready to change the world.


  • We believe in setting high standards for our students and supporting them to the best of our ability as they meet these standards and achieve their own personal goals.
  • We believe in hiring highly qualified teachers and supporting them with high quality professional development.
  • We believe that a project-based, arts-infused curiculum will allow our students to foster a selfawareness of their individual interests and strengths.
  • We believe that the Detroit community is vibrant and full of educational value for our students. We will incorporate Detroit history and present-day developments into the everyday curriculum.
  • We believe that the parents/families/guardians of each student are tremendously important roles in the student’s education and we will create and maintain high levels of communication with the people in this role.
  • We will serve as a resource and community center for the families of our students to help them better support their student and help us better understand the students situation outside of the classroom.
  • We will provide dynamic after-school programs.
  • The Detroit Achievement Academy will embrace and foster the lost tradition of a school being a community center and hub of dialogue and change within a community.



    Missy Read is thrilled to be the principal at Detroit Achievement Academy and working with such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of teachers. She has been an educator for 27 years. Missy was born and raised in Monroe, Michigan. She earned a BA in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University and her Masters in Education from Cambridge College in Boston, Massachusetts. Missy started her teaching career in Chandler, Arizona where she taught 3rd grade. She returned to Michigan and taught in Detroit Public Schools for 12 years teaching grades 1-5 and 6-8 Science. Missy dedicated the last nine years to school reform in San Francisco, California as a Literacy Coach. She is excited to be back home and working with Detroit’s finest students and a community that she loves. Missy is an avid sports fan, loves to laugh, travel, read, and hang out with friends and family. // contact :: missy@detroitachievement.org



    Anne Brophy loves teaching students and working with exceptional teachers at Detroit Achievement Academy! Anne received her Bachelors degree and elementary teaching certificate from Oakland University. She received a Masters degree in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning from Madonna University. Anne has lived in the Detroit area her whole life and loves what the city offers. Besides teaching, Anne enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outdoors. // contact :: anne@detroitachievement.org


    Kimberly Boyer is thrilled to be teaching first grade at Detroit Achievement Academy for a third year. Kimberly’s passion for teaching has greatly impacted her students’ achievement. She loves the uniqueness and creativity each student brings to the classroom. Nothing makes her happier than seeing students reach their fullest potential. During the 2013-2014 and 2014-215 school year, first grade math growth was in the 95th percentile nationally and an overwhelming majority made the same gains in reading. Prior to moving to Michigan Kimberly taught for LEARN Charter Network in Chicago where 100% of her students met or exceed their NWEA math goals. Kimberly earned her BA in Communications from the University of Michigan and her Masters in Education from Hofstra University in New York. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys trying new restaurants, playing with her dog, and spending time with her husband and new baby daughter. // contact :: kimberly@detroitachievement.org


    Elizabeth Maddens is delighted to be the art teacher at Detroit Achievement Academy!  She has always lived in the Detroit area, and received her Bachelors degree in art education (grades K-12) from Wayne State University.  Between work opportunities and student teaching, she has worked in early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school settings.  She has always loved sharing about art and working with children, so art education was the clear way to go!  In her free time, Beth enjoys creating mixed media artwork, reading, and spending time with family. // contact :: elizabeth@detroitachievement.org


    Heather Compagner could not be more thrilled to officially join the DAA team, and work alongside Jen McMillan as a Teaching Fellow in the second grade crew! Born and raised in metro Detroit, and having been a part of the DAA family from the very beginning (proud to hold the title for "first volunteer ever"), Heather truly could not picture herself teaching anywhere else. Heather earned her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education at the University of Michigan, during which she taught in a full-inclusion kindergarten classroom at Ford Elementary in Ypsilanti, and received her teaching certificate. Outside of school, Heather loves curling up in a big chair to read, drinking arguably too many lattes, and taking long bike rides with her husband. // contact :: heather@detroitachievement.org


    Vickie Hines is mom to all. Vickie was excited to join DAA part way through our first year. Vickie manages State reporting, oversees all of our meals, and directs our aftercare program. Vickie loves children and loves assisting with anything that needs to be done. In her free time, Vickie loves to travel, go to the movies, go out to eat, and spend time with her family.  // contact :: vickie@detroitachievement.org


    Danielle Johnson is ecstatic to be a founding teacher at Detroit Achievement Academy. She attended Pitzer College in Southern California, where she was born and raised. She first fell in love with teaching when she began assisting her aunts with their kindergarten classrooms. This passion for teaching has driven her to become a Teach for America Corp Member. She will be participating in the Masters of Education, Urban Pedagogy, program at the University of Michigan (Go Blue). Danielle enjoys spending her time exploring the city of Detroit, reading, and traveling. // contact :: danielle@detroitachievement.org


    Annie Markey is so excited to be part of the DAA team for a second year. Originally from Ann Arbor, she earned a Masters Degree in Education and a BA in Sociology, Spanish, and International Studies from the University of Michigan. While completing her degree, she taught in a kindergarten classroom at Mitchell Elementary. In her spare times she loves to take dance and circus classes and spend time with friends and family. // contact :: annie@detroitachievement.org


    Lauren Acker is so excited to be joining the DAA team as 3rd grade teacher.  Lauren attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (go blue!) and graduated with a major in Organizational Studies and a minor in Mathematics. She moved to Baltimore where she taught 3rd grade while also earning her Masters of Arts in Teaching degree. She then moved to Washington, DC to teach 4th grade at a charter school network. While there, Lauren and her students received the Shining Star award from Lighthouse Academies for having the highest math and reading NWEA growth of any class of elementary students in the Lighthouse charter network.  Lauren moved to Detroit two years ago to continue teaching 4th grade as well as coaching and developing other teachers. She loves working in Detroit and has even been converted to a Tiger's fan!  In her free time, Lauren loves traveling, hiking, and spending time with her husband and their puppy and baby girl. // contact :: lauren@detroitachievement.org


    Jonathan Buckman is a graduate of New York University and is currently a MSW graduate student at the University of Michigan with special interest in narrative informed therapy, play therapy, and attachment theory.  A chapter he co-wrote will soon be published in the forthcoming "Theoretical Perspectives for Direct Social Work Practice."  Jonathan is also an avid reader and practitioner with special interests in meditation, chess, philosophy, and music and is a t’ai chi student and instructor under Yang family lineage holder Master Sang Kim.  Before entering the MSW program, he was employed as a New York City charter school teacher, where he was responsible for designing curriculum, tutoring math and reading, and coaching nationally ranked chess teams. // contact :: jonathan@detroitachievement.org


    Jen McMillan is honored to be the Chief Academic Officer at Detroit Achievement Academy, alongside our phenomenal team! As second grade teacher, Jen led her students to 2.22 years in reading and the 99th percentile for growth nationally in both reading and math. Jen was also named Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year in 2015. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, Jen spent seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area teaching high school and middle school, and working in teacher support and development with Teach For America and The New Teacher Project. She earned her BA in Psychology from Harvard University in Massachusetts and her Masters in Education from Alliant International University in San Francisco. Jen loves the environment of constant learning at DAA, nurtured by our partnership with EL Education. In her free time, Jen is an avid runner, reader, yogi, and dog lover...and she loves hanging out with her husband and toddler most of all! // contact :: jen@detroitachievement.org


    Katy Strader is thrilled to be on staff for a third year as the new Director of Special Projects! She will split her time between DAA and DPrep, working on everything from after school enrichment, food programming, and grant writing, to managing DAA’s green space and community outreach opportunities. Katy graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Spanish and Education, and she is currently pursuing her MEd in Leadership and Policy at Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining the DAA community, Katy worked in El Salvador for two years with a small humanitarian non-profit. Katy recently got into bee-keeping, and loves to walk her dog, and bake in her spare time. // contact :: katy@detroitachievement.org

    FOUNDER & Executive DIRECTOR

    Kyle Smitley is technically the Founder & Director of Detroit Achievement Academy, though DAA students would tell you she spends her days "opening boxes, carrying things around, and typing on her computer." DAA students would also tell you that otters are her favorite animal and that "e" is her favorite lowercase letter. Kyle is constantly inspired to work harder by the DAA team, adores every student within our walls, remains in awe of DAA's incredible families, and is incredibly appreciative to DAA's supporters near and far. (We could not do it without you!) In her free time, Kyle enjoys hanging out with her rescue pit bull Oreo and exploring Detroit with her super wonderful husband.  // contact :: kyle@detroitachievement.org



    Lewis Butler earned his BS in Economics from Hillsdale College, and his MA in Economics from George Mason University while working at the Mercatus Center, a DC based think tank. While there he worked on various topics, including, small business access to capital, midnight regulations, and governmental transparency. He has done political consulting and is currently teaching economics at Hillsdale College. Outside of economics, he enjoys running, tamales, and consumer technology.


    Michael A. Hernandez earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Central Michigan University. He has worked in several fields of direct care and counseling. He spent 4 years working with teenage sex offenders in a residential facility and has over 6 years of experience counseling in an inpatient mental health unit. He has spent time working in a children’s emergency shelter for abused and abandoned children and drug addicted babies and mentoring inner city father’s with open CPS cases. Most recently Michael is working as supports coordination with families that have children with developmental disabilities. Michael enjoys playing guitar and spending time with family.


    Jared Stasik is Vice President at Detroit Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on growing high-tech startup companies in Detroit. Prior to DVP, Jared spent five years as a consultant at ZS Associates, a leading global consulting firm in sales and marketing strategy. He earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley, graduating with high honors and receiving the distinction of Most Outstanding Graduate Instructor.  He completed his Bachelor’s degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.


    Sarah Beaubien graduated magna cum laude from Siena Heights University with a BA in English Communications, and earned her law degree by graduating cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law. After completing law school, Sarah was admitted to the bar in Ohio and Michigan. Sarah is currently an associate and Rohrbachers, Cron, Manahan, Trimble & Zimmerman Co. L.P.A. in Toledo, Ohio, where she focuses her practice on civil defense and business litigation matters. In her spare time, she is the varsity softball coach at St. Mary Catholic Central in Monroe, Michigan, and is active in the Toledo Bar Association.


    Meghan Moynihan is currently pursuing her doctorate in nutritional science from University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Prior to moving to Ann Arbor, Meghan managed the expansion of federal child nutrition programs with Hunger Free Colorado in Denver. She also volunteered with Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston’s office where education reform was top priority. While food access is Meghan’s passion, her experience as a teacher in California with Teach for America grounds her to the power of education. She earned her B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and enjoys cheese, camping, and attempting to play guitar.