Detroit Achievement Academy is a free public charter school currently serving kindergarten through sixth 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 165 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.

DAA’s work will be urgent and will focus on holistically educating each student. Our work will be guided by these four principles:

  • Our work is active. We learn by doing and getting our hands dirty. Students are scientists, urban planners, historians, and activists, investigating real community problems and collaborating with peers to develop creative, actionable solutions. Adults are active guides of student learning and active members of their professional learning community.

  • Our work is inclusive and equitable. Students and adults celebrate the diverse backgrounds of their peers. School leaders work to recruit and attract a population of families and faculty that represents different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Our work is excellent. Students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking. School leaders, teachers, students, and families share rigorous expectations for quality work, achievement, and behavior.

  • Our work is reflective. Students and adults reflect as they triumph and as they stumble. Students and adults offer direct and sensitive feedback to their peers. Trust, respect, responsibility, and joy in learning permeate the school culture.



    mario lemons
    head of school

    Mario Lemons is a native of Detroit, and was educated in the Detroit Public Schools system. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching and Curriculum, with a Specialization in English and Language Instruction. Mario is passionate about empowering young people to be their best selves and is excited to bring his expertise to Detroit Achievement Academy. For the past five years, Mario has dedicated himself to educating young people in the arts, as well as empowering students academically, socially and emotionally. Outside of school, Mario enjoys traveling frequently with his travel club, being involved in the arts community, and giving back to the less fortunate.


    Kimberly Boyer
    Director of the Lower School

    Kimberly Boyer is thrilled to be the Director of the Lower School to support all K-3 students and teachers, after teaching first grade at DAA for six years. 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 2014-2015 school year, first grade math growth was in the 95th percentile nationally and an overwhelming majority made the same gains in reading. Kimberly earned her BA in Communications from the University of Michigan and her Masters in Education from Hofstra University in New York, where she is from. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, Joey and Charlie, and reading! She is looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!

    Kirstin Stoeckle
    Director of the Upper School

    Kirstin Stoeckle is elated to be a part of the team at Detroit Achievement Academy for a third year in a row, working with our oldest students and 4-7 teaching team. Kirstin has 6 years experience teaching third through sixth graders in Detroit and this will be her 4rd year working as an instructional coach. Prior to teaching she worked in the Ecuadorian Amazon, promoting environmental education initiatives. Kirstin has a BS in Political Science from Central Michigan University. Kirstin enjoys cooking, creating and being outdoors.


    Genel Fowler
    Instructional guide

    Genel Fowler is pumped to be a part of the DAA Family again this year. Born and raised right here in Detroit, she is a graduated of Cass Technical High School and Michigan State University. Go Green! She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum, with a concentration in Elementary Mathematics. Genel has six years of teaching under her belt. During the 2016-2017 school year, 100% of the students in her class met or exceeded their math MAP goals. Each student was also able to demonstrate at least a year and a half worth of growth. She is eager to bring her experience, energy and passion to the DAA community. Outside of school, Genel enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, journaling, watching food network and traveling every chance she gets.


    Tommy Anderson
    Social Worker

    Tommy Anderson is overjoyed to be back in the great state of Michigan and be a part of the DAA and DP team as a School Social Worker for his third year. For over a decade, Tommy has worked with youth in various settings - teaching preschool, leading mentoring programs, running a kayak camp, teaching English as a foreign language in Peru, and most recently, leading social work services at a therapeutic day school in Chicago. Tommy holds a Bachelors in Social Work from Western Michigan University and a Masters in Social Work from University of Michigan. Tommy hopes to use his experience and skills to empower all DAA and DP students to be their best selves, both inside and outside the classroom. When he isn't working, Tommy enjoys spending time with his wife, young daughter and baby son, biking, kayaking, camping, trying new food, listening to music, and telling cheesy jokes.


    Melissa Bradley

    Melissa Bradley is excited to be joining the Detroit Achievement Academy team again this school year. She is from metro Detroit and has lived in Detroit for the past three years. Melissa has taught fourth grade math as well as provided reading and math intervention for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. She is looking forward to working with upper elementary and middle school again this year. Melissa has a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan where she enjoyed learning about child development and educational psychology. She loves to bake Christmas cookies, travel, and spend time with her husband and their two dogs, Ted and Robin.



    Erin Brott
    Art teacher

    Erin Brott was born in Missouri but raised in southeastern Michigan. She studied fine arts at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and then transferred to University of Michigan - Flint where she received her Bachelors degree in Art Education K-12. This will be her eighth year teaching art and she is so excited to help foster the creativity within each member of our crews at DAA. Art and design are her passion and it is such a joy to be able to promote creative thinking and lead students to discover their own artistic abilities on a daily basis. In her free time Erin likes to paint, draw, decorate cakes and spend time in nature with family, friends, fiancee, and her dog Fynn.


    Mario hines
    Fitness teacher

    Mario is from Detroit, MI and graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor of Communications in 2008. While attending Robert Morris University, Mario was a 2 time All Conference and All American selection in football. Mario was rated a top 40 WR by Pro Football Weekly's 2008 Annual Draft Guide and has professional football experience in the NFL (Philadelphia Eagles/IndianapolisColts), Arena Football League and the German Football League. Mario's passion for social justice and advocacy allowed him to gain 7 years experience as an educator and supervisor specializing in youth development, data/outcome measurement, and special education.

    Vickie Hines
    Office Manager

    Vickie Hines is excited to be a part of Detroit Achievement Academy for a sixth year. Vickie has over 13 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. Vickie was DAA's first ever adult light leader.

    Darell campbell “red”
    music & movement teacher

    Shonteqa Hankston
    School social worker

    Shonteqa Hankston is super exited to join the DAA team as a School Social Worker for the 2019-2020 school year! Ms. Hankston grew up in Flint, MI and traveled to the Metro Detroit area for undergraduate studies at Eastern Michigan University. Ms. Hankston earned at Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work, at EMU. Ms. Hankston then further her education at Wayne State University, where she earned a Master’s of Social Work degree. Ms. Hankston has a passion for helping others and motivating youth to follow their dreams!


    Patrick Harris
    6th & 7th Grade ELA teacher

    Patrick Harris thrilled to return home to Detroit for his fifth year of teaching. He is a graduate of Michigan State University's College of Education and an alum of Klingenstein Summer Institute for early career educators. Patrick has spent the majority of his teaching career in Washington D.C and abroad in Doha, Qatar. He is also the recipient of the NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. When Patrick is not teaching, he is training in Korean Martial Arts, hiking the most dangerous paths, and podcasting. Patrick is thrilled to work with the middle school team to create exciting opportunities for students to find their passions and contribute to the world today.

    alexandra hill
    social work intern

    Alexandra Hill is thrilled to be joining the DAA team this year as a Social Work Intern. She graduated from Bates College with Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Sociology and, since graduating, has since focused her work on youth empowerment and educational equity. Most recently, she worked at a nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area where she supported teenage mothers in obtaining their high school degrees through one-on-one coaching and peer learning groups. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Social Work program at University of Michigan. Outside of work, Alexandra enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, cooking, and block printing.


    Eboni Moore
    Operations Associate

    Eboni Moore is the operation manager and founding parent of Detroit Achievement Academy. She enjoys making Detroit Achievement Academy a beautiful and safe environment for the children everyday. Outside of the walls of DAA she enjoys spending time with her six children (five of which attend DAA!) and the kids in her community. So also enjoys being the soccer coach and a positive role model for the children of our DAA.


    Katie O'Donnell
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Katie O'Donnell is thrilled to be returning to DAA for a third year teaching Kindergarten! This will be her eighth year in the classroom and fifth year teaching Kindergarten. Katie is a graduate of the University of Michigan (go blue!) with a BA in English and Sociology and a MA in Education. Last year, Katie's students had their final products featured in EL Education's Models of Excellence! In her free time, Katie likes to cook, travel, run, and spend time with her family and friends.


    Kevin O’Brien
    6th & 7th Grade Math teacher 

    Kevin O'Brien is back for his second year as the 6th & now 7th grade math teacher. Kevin was born, raised and lives in Northwest Detroit and is the city's biggest fan. He attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and then Michigan State University where he majored in Social Relations and Policy. He began teaching in Detroit immediately after college and this will be his 7th year working to achieve equity through education for Detroit's youth. Kevin is a coach, a soccer player, a Detroit sports lover and a proud husband. He and his wife, Alexa, live with their dogs (Longo & Lou) in their home only a few miles from DAA. Serving the community in which he lives has been a life long mission for Mr. O'Brien.


    Shanell Pugh
    Kindergarten & 1st Grade Classroom Assistant

    Shanell Pugh was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin an grew up in the city of Detroit where she currently lives now. She has two beautiful daughters that she cherishes with her whole heart. She is a down to earth woman who enjoys walks by the river and from time to time karaoke. In 2013 she graduated from Everest Institute as a Medical Administrative Assistant which she plans on furthering her education in.


    Dezia Reynolds
    3rd grade teacher

    Dezia Reynolds is very excited to be the 3rd grade Crew leader at Detroit Achievement Academy. This is Dezia's 8th year as an educator. She graduated from The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with her bachelors in Education in 2012. She then continued her education at Grand Valley State University and graduated with her Master's in Education Leadership in 2018. Her favorite subject is math and when she is not teaching she loves spending time with her family and traveling.

    Charissee Steward
    1st grade teacher

    Charissee is super excited about the 2019-2020 school year! She was born and raised in Detroit, MI and attended Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Mumford High School. From there, she went to Eastern Michigan University to study Elementary Education with a minor in Arts and Science. When she graduated from college, she moved to North Carolina to teach at Washington Montessori School. She moved back to Detroit in 2017 because she missed home, and began to work at Detroit Edison Public School Academy. Charissee is excited and ready to continue my teaching career at DAA, and truly believes that the curriculum and staff helps create global citizens in a creative environment. Although this is her first year at DAA, she feel very welcome, safe, and eager to be the lead teacher for 1st grade and is looking forward to a hardworking, yet fun school year!

    Adrienne Turner
    2nd & 3rd Grade Classroom Assistant

    Adrienne Turner is very proud to be a founding parent at Detroit Achievement Academy as well as a returning classroom assistant. Adrienne was born and raised in Detroit MI, where she is currently raising her daughters Brooke and Autumn. She loves working with children and will soon be going back to school to pursue a career in early childhood education. Adrienne enjoys her time with family and friends as well as cooking, eating, and dancing.


    georgina Vermeersch
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Georgina Vermeersch is excited to continue her journey in second grade at Detroit Achievement Academy this year! Georgina is a graduate of Wayne State University and has a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education; this is her third year at DAA and 6th year teaching in Detroit. During the 2016-2017 school year, she was nominated for Teacher of the Year and her students scored in the 93rd percentile nationally in Math. Nothing makes her happier than seeing her students achieve their greatest potential through exploration and meet their own goals. She spends her free time hiking, biking, and playing with her dogs. Also, she spends time volunteering for the nonprofit Detroit Dog Rescue, where she helps to get adoptable dogs into loving forever homes. She enjoys traveling, coffee, and relaxing in her hammock while reading a good book.

    Cristyn Wilson
    4th & 5th grade math teacher

    Cristyn Wilson was born and raised in Detroit, MI. She attended Michigan State University where she majored in Elementary Education. While at Michigan State, she gained a lot of hands on experience working with students in grades K-5. After graduating in 2012, Cristyn taught Middle School ELA in a Detroit charter school, 4th grade (all subjects), and worked as a reading interventionists. After earning her Master’s Degree in Teaching an Curriculum from Michigan State University, Cristyn spent time working as a behavior consultant for children who have Autism, creating curriculum to help aid in developing their social and behavioral skills. This year Cristyn will be teaching 4th and 5th grade math. Outside of work Cristyn loves to travel, spend time with her family and friends and hang out with her one year old son. She is extremely excited to be joining the DAA team this school year!


    Katie Wiseman
    4th & 5th Grade ela Teacher

    Katie Wiseman is thrilled to be a part of the Detroit Achievement Academy team again this year! After earning her B.A. from Villanova University, Katie spent four years teaching fifth and sixth grade English Language Arts in Leland, Mississippi. During her time in Leland, Katie was part of the school leadership team that drastically increased the school’s performance grade, and she was named Leland School District Teacher of the Year. Her favorite parts of teaching are building strong relationships with students and their families and using texts to have critical conversations. During her free time, Katie enjoys reading, kayaking, and cheering on the Villanova basketball team.


    Jen McMillan
    Chief Academic Officer, Founding Teacher

    Jen McMillan is honored to be the Chief Academic Officer at Detroit Achievement Academy, alongside the best team ever! As second grade teacher at DAA, Jen led our founding students (who are now our big kid 5th graders!) to 2.22 years in reading and the 99th percentile for growth nationally in both reading and math. Jen was 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--being with our crew brings so much JOY! In her free time, Jen likes running, reading, doing yoga, eating ice cream, and drinking lots of coffee. You can often find her doing all of these things with her husband while snuggling her two baby boys! 



    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.


    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.


    Gregory DeMars, CFA is the Chief Financial Officer of PrizeLogic, a digital partner for results-driven incentivized consumer engagement programs located in Southfield. Prior to PrizeLogic, Greg was the Senior Vice President of Finance of Credibly, an emerging FinTech small business lender located in Troy. He earned an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a BS from the University of Dayton.  He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.


    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.

    Lenora Hanks

    Lenora Hanks was born and raised in the Detroit area and attended the University of Michigan, earning degrees in French and Political Science. She went on to an 11 year career in Democratic politics, working on both of President Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, and helping to lead Hillary Clinton's 2016 primary campaign as as an early staffer in Iowa. Following the 2016 campaign, she became the COO and Finance Director of Serve America PAC, a political organization that helped recruit leaders with national service and military backgrounds to run for office in 2018, and supported their campaigns strategically and financially. She recently left politics to join her family business - The Associated Management Company, which was founded by her grandfather on the East Side of Detroit in 1970 with a goal of providing quality affordable housing to the people of Metro Detroit. Aside from politics and real estate, Lenora is passionate about 90's hip hop and R&B and every dog she's ever encountered.