Following a fifteen-year career in communications, politics, and philanthropy, Christine founded a marketing and research consultancy that has advised local, national and global brands since 2002. She is co-founder of The Collectors Fund and The Kansas City Collection, two enterprises that invest in art and build markets for artists. She serves as President of the KC Symphony Foundation, as a co-chair of the National World War I Museum and Memorial’s capital campaign, and is on the board of EPIC Entertainment. She has also served in leadership roles for dozens of regional nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of DeLaSalle Education Center. As President of the Board of Directors of University Academy Charter School, Christine has overseen the school’s development during a period in which it has earned a 100% APR, been the highest performing charter public school in Missouri, and was recognized as a National Blue-Ribbon School, which recognizes five years of sustained excellence from 2013-2017.
Mayor James entered politics in 2011. He is serving his second term as Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. After six years of his leadership, KC is enjoying a renaissance. The city boasts the nation’s largest SMART City technology deployment with predictive analytics that help maximize city services. The most successful streetcar service in the U.S. has tallied more than 3 million rides since 2016. Recipient of the All-American City Award, his reading proficiency initiative, Turn the Page KC, has helped increase city-wide 3rd grade reading levels by more than 20%. And adoption of an $800 million, 20 year infrastructure repair package represents a generational commitment to repairing and improving roads, bridges, sidewalks and facilities. Mayor James is a graduate of Rockhurst University, a Marine and an attorney. His background informs his leadership style - discipline and service with a focus on results. He has served on the Advisory Board for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and as President of both the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and African-American Mayors Association. He and his family have called Kansas City home for more than 60 years.
Julie is a twenty-seven-year veteran of the KCMO Police Department. She has dedicated her career to improving the safety, success, and quality of life for urban core residents. She has served in a wide range of functions, including Patrol, Vice/Narcotics, Tactical Response Team, Intelligence assigned to the FBI, Sex Crimes Unit, Cold Case Crimes, Community Support Division/Victims Assistance Unit, Hostage Negotiator, and Mayor’s Security Detail. She has seen again and again the critical importance of education in opening doors for KC’s youth.
Following her graduation from Hampton University, Tara joined the New Teacher Project (TNTP) and taught middle school English and Language Arts in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was here that she developed a middle school all-girls mentoring program that focused on mindfulness, college preparation, and community service. Tara then joined KIPP Voyage Academy for Girls in Houston, where she taught U.S. History and served as a History and later an English content lead, responsible for supporting and developing teachers in both disciplines. She also led school-wide culture systems as Dean of Restorative Justice and Culture. Her implementation of school-wide restorative practices at led to out of school suspensions decreasing by half in a single year. Ms. Haskins has also most recently served as Assistant Principal where she led a broad array of academic and cultural functions. For example, her leadership of the implementation of a standards-aligned English Language Arts curriculum led to students and staff achieving 2020 academic goals two years ahead of schedule.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Jahna is a proud graduate of the city’s public schools. She is an AmeriCorps alumna who served as a Pre-K tutor with the Literacy Lab. Her experience includes classroom teaching, project management, and communications. As an educator in Kansas City’s urban schools, she knows the power of strong parent and community engagement. Prior to working in schools, Jahna managed fundraising, marketing and external communications for Teach For America - Kansas City. Jahna is passionate about educational equity and is excited to work with parents and the community to ensure that all of the young women who attend KCGPA are successful. Jahna is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - Beta Omega Chapter, and also served on the Ink Magazine’s Advisory Board. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Howard University in Washington, DC.
Prior to KCGPA, Tom served as Vice President for Program Delivery with
Leading Educators, a national nonprofit that trains instructional leaders in CCSS-aligned, content-specific best practices. He also served as a founding academic dean at a charter high school in Newark, where his students achieved 97% proficiency on state assessments, the highest ELA scores in the state for open-enrollment, high-poverty schools, ACT scores above the national average, and a 96% college acceptance rate. Previously, he taught in two other high schools in Newark and the Bronx while serving as a grade level chair and founder of a college access program that more than tripled the rate of student acceptances to college. He holds a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Economics from Pomona College, a M.S. in teaching from Pace University, and a M.A. in Education Administration from National Louis University.