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.



    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


    Adrionna Carter is thrilled to join the powerhouse that is Detroit Achievement Academy. She is a Georgia native, which is where she received her foundation, love, and passion for education. Adrionna attended the University of Georgia, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Masters degree in Birth through Kindergarten Education, and Educational Specialist degree in Gifted and Creative Education. Last year 92% of her Kindergarten scholars performed average or above on the MAP reading test and 80% of those scholars performed average or above on the MAP math test. Going into her second year of teaching, Adrionna is determined to learn, grow and perform even better as a Kindergarten teacher at DAA. She loves dance, stepping, and hip-hop. She will always be a Georgia peach but she is excited about her new journey in the Motor City. // contact :: adrionna@detroitachievement.org


    Heather Compagner is so excited to be a part of the DAA team for a second year. 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 (GO BLUE!), 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


    Jacob Robinson is joining Detroit Achievement Academy as a 3rd grade teacher. He is from Ruskin, Florida and attended Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. He moved to Michigan in 2014 to teach at Detroit Public Schools. Jacob is grateful to join the amazing DAA family. With DAA’s assistance, he is attending the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) to receive his masters in Educational Leadership and Policy. Jacob is very passionate about social justice, educational equity and sustainability. He loves to read, socialize and be outdoors. On the weekends, you can find him with his partner out and about in Ferndale, the Eastern Market or hiking in northern Michigan. // contact :: jacob@detroitachievement.org


    Sarah Smith is delighted to be joining DAA team teaching fourth grade this year! Sarah spent the end of the 2015-2016 school year helping out around DAA wherever she was needed. She is so thrilled to be back this year working with our incredible kids. Sarah earned her Bachelors in English and History and her Masters in Elementary Education, both from the University of Michigan. Outside of school Sarah loves to spend time with her nieces, play with her cats, and do crafts. She is looking forward to a wonderful year and seeing all of the growth the students at DAA make! // contact :: sarah.smith@detroitachievement.org


    Originally from Ypsilanti Rashard Dobbins is no stranger to the “Mitten,” and is excited to be returning home. He got his start in education by serving as a founding first grade teacher in an Atlanta Public Charter school. His Bachelor’s degree in film and video from Georgia State University has aided him well in creating engaging activities, and capturing the attention of any student. His love and participation in theatre and the arts have allowed him to bring the performance aspect of teaching to the forefront, making it hard for students to look away. He also uses music and movement to reinforce educational concepts. In his free time Rashard likes to DJ (in his basement), brush up on his graphic design skills, and practice Krav Maga. He is excited to join the DAA family, be reunited with his fellow “Michiganders,” and aid in reviving Detroit. // contact :: rashard@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


    Kimberly Boyer is thrilled to be teaching first grade at Detroit Achievement Academy for a fourth 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 daughter. // contact :: kimberly@detroitachievement.org


    Heidi is delighted to join the team at Detroit Achievement Academy as the second grade teacher. Heidi grew up on the west side of Michigan, but has lived in Detroit for the last 12 years. She loves Detroit and being a part of this great city. She went to Oakland University and graduated with her bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in literacy studies from Grand Valley University. Although this is her first year at DAA, it is her 8th year teaching. Heidi has taught a variety of grades in Dearborn, Detroit, and Center Line. She also has taught internationally, one year in China and one in Venezuela. Last year her second graders were in the 99 th growth percentile on the NWEA. Heidi is passionate about education and helping students achieve their highest personal successes socially, emotionally, academically and physically. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her husband and six month old son, Grayson. Heidi also loves to read, take bike rides, and is currently training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon. // contact :: heidi@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


    Vickie Hines is excited to be a part of Detroit Achievement Academy for a third year. Vickie has over 10 years experience in Office Management. Vickie was born and raised in Detroit and have great passion for education, families and all children.  Vickie loves working as Office Manager. Vickie manages records, enrollment, student files, State of Michigan school reporting, and attendance while addressing the needs of visitors, parents and students daily. Vickie enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading and dining out.  // contact :: vickie@detroitachievement.org

    Megan gardella
    special education teacher

    Megan is joining Detroit Achievement Academy as an Intervention & Special Education Teacher. Megan earned her Masters in Teaching and Curriculum with a concentration in Literacy from Michigan State University. As an undergraduate she studied Special Education, Learning Disabilities with a major in Language Arts and a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She's passionate about children's development and education, and has had the opportunity to work in a variety of classrooms. Megan has participated in a variety of organizations that helped develop her community outreach, leadership and collaboration skills. Megan has a passion for helping students of Detroit and plans to do so through her work at our schools. In her free time, Megan enjoys Grey's Anatomy, reading, yoga and her three cats.  // contact :: megan@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 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 and brand new tiny baby daughter. She is a graduate of DePauw University, where she majored in geology and philosophy. // 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.