National Leadership Team

Mike Ronan Updated 12 17 13 crpd

Mr. Michael Ronan

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Michael Ronan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lighthouse Academies, Inc.  He has provided management and consulting services to charter schools and school districts nationwide since 1997. He has been directly involved with the management of 50 charter schools including 25 start-up schools. He brings to the team a great deal of experience in urban charter school planning and development. His areas of expertise include curriculum, school leadership, finance and operations.

Mr. Ronan began his career as a middle school history teacher and later served as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction and School Superintendent. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and holds a Master’s degree in School Administration from that school, as well as a Master’s degree in Program Planning and Evaluation from the State University of New York at Albany.

Khori Whittaker

Mr. Khori Whittaker

President and Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Whittaker is the President and Chief Operating Officer. He started his career as a fifth grade teacher in Long Beach, California through the Teach for America movement. He was an early employee at InsideTrack, Inc. working to improve college access and completion for students across the country. Mr. Whittaker led recruiting at InsideTrack during a critical growth phase and led InsideTrack’s Community College Impact Initiative team, successfully launching, for the first time, unique student coaching and train-the-trainer programs in two states and ten college campuses. He also served as Assistant Director for Undergraduate Admission at Stanford University. Prior to joining Lighthouse Academies, Mr. Whittaker launched and led the grassroots and community engagement team at the Foundation for Florida’s Future. He serves on the board of directors of Global Glimpse, Inc. and the advisory board of the Drug Free America Foundation. Mr. Whittaker earned a BA in Economics from Princeton University and a MA in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach.

Otty Westenfield

Mr. Otty Westenfield

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Otty Westenfield is the Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. Westenfield has extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Resources for Communities and People.  Mr. Westenfield’s work experience includes technology, real estate, business operations and strategic planning.  He has worked in a multi-state environment and with local nonprofit boards. He received his MBA from Boston College and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Phillis Nichols Anderson

Dr. Phillis Nichols.Anderson

Senior Vice President

Dr. Nichols.Anderson is Senior Vice President responsible for the Southern and Eastern Regions.  She has led the fastest growing region in the Lighthouse Network. During this period, she opened Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School, and then led the expansion of the school on the Little Rock Air Force base. The Air Force base campus is one of a select number of charter schools on active military bases.

Dr. Anderson also led the opening of Pine Bluff Lighthouse Charter School. Pine Bluff Arkansas is one of the highest need communities in the state. When Pine Bluff Lighthouse opened in 2011, it was the only charter school in the community.

Dr. Anderson began her career as a classroom teacher in Arkansas, where she taught secondary English, journalism, and communications for over a decade. She has experience as an administrator in some of the most challenging school districts across the country including Washington, D.C.; Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Little Rock Public Schools. Dr. Anderson is a product of the University of Arkansas system receiving her Bachelor’s degree from UAPB and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from UALR. She also attended the Charter School Institute at Harvard University.

Sue Jamback

Ms. Susan Jamback

Senior Vice President

Ms. Susan Jamback is the Senior Vice President for the Midwest region. Ms. Jamback began her career as an art teacher winning an art teacher of the year award.  She opened her first charter school in 1996 in a makeshift facility in Chelmsford, MA.  After leading the school through charter renewal, she went on to lead Lowell Community Charter School.  The school served Cambodian and Latino families in one of the state’s highest need communities.  After leading that school through charter renewal, Ms. Jamback embarked on a career as a consultant coaching school leaders and conducting charter school evaluations. She has worked with several LHA schools and leaders over the past four years.  Ms. Jamback earned a B.S. at Plymouth State University and a M.Ed from Antioch. 

Tess Mitchner Asinjo

Ms. Tess Mitchner Asinjo

Senior Vice President

Ms. Mitchner Asinjo is Senior Vice President of the Research, Design and Strategy Team responsible for talent acquisition and management, leader development and data systems. She joined Lighthouse Academies in 2006 and previously served as the Director of Recruitment.  In this position, the recruitment team met and exceeded all national talent goals three consecutive years and increased applications by 258%.  She was the Founding Principal at East Chicago Lighthouse Charter School, where she served as principal for three years.  During this time, the school increased enrollment from 110 to 300 students, increased the ISTEP passing rate by 31%,  and was recognized by the Indiana DOE for third highest growth in mathematics of all schools in the state with 59.5% growth.  She came to Lighthouse Academies from Teach for America, as the Program Director in Chicago, IL.  At TFA, she trained and supported over 200 public school teachers, while developing programs and workshops. Ms. Mitchner Asinjo started her teaching career in East Palo Alto, CA and is a Teach For America ’98 Bay Area alumna. Ms. Mitchner Asinjo earned her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and her BA from Mount Holyoke College in MA.

Patrick Kangethe

Mr. Patrick Kangethe

Chief Information Officer

Mr. Patrick Kangethe is the Chief Information Officer. He has worked as a systems engineer and administrator for numerous companies, and served as the Information Technology Manager at Creative Playthings.   Mr. Kangethe earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Worcester State College and a M.S. in Information Technology from Clark University.

Lenisha Broadway

Ms. Lenisha Broadway

Regional Vice President, Arkansas

Ms. Lenisha Broadway is the Vice President, Arkansas.  She served as the Regional Director of the Southern Region for two years.  Ms. Broadway served as the principal at Ridgeroad Middle Charter School in North Little Rock, AR, for five years, and as the Assistant Principal for the four years prior.  Prior to that, Ms. Broadway taught special education for four years.  She is also a field facilitator for the FISH! Program of best practices in social and emotional learning, character education, classroom management and human behavior.  Ms. Broadway earned her B.S.E. in Special Education and M.S.E. in Education from the University of Central Arkansas.

Jill Geden

Ms. Jill Geden

Vice President, Michigan

Ms. Geden was born in Detroit, MI, and raised in Southeast Michigan. She was the founding principal of Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter School.  She was previously the principal of a K-8 UNO Charter School in Chicago, IL, where she led her school to its highest achievement on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test with 91% of students meeting or exceeding state standards in math and 78% of students meeting or exceeding state standards in reading. Prior to leading her school in Chicago, Ms. Geden worked with the KIPP Charter School Network in both San Diego, CA, and Chicago, IL, as a fifth grade reading teacher, middle school English teacher, grade level chair, and Miles Family Fellow. She also worked for Teach For America in both the Phoenix region, as a program director coaching first and second year teachers, and at TFA’s summer training institutes in Georgia, New York, Phoenix, and Pennsylvania, coaching teachers and staff members. Ms. Geden taught fifth grade in Avondale, AZ, for two years as a Teach For America corps member. She holds graduate degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education in School Leadership and Arizona State University in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in English. She believes the secret to success in schools is building strong relationships with students, staff, and families in order to ensure everyone is able to achieve their goals and feel fulfilled in the work they are doing.

Phyllis Goodson

Ms. Phyllis Goodson

Regional Vice President, Illinois & Wisconsin

A fulfilling career as a dedicated educator in the Chicago Public Schools has afforded Phyllis Goodson the opportunity to foster many capable youth.  She holds a Masters Degree in Education from National-Louis University and a Bachelor Degree in biological sciences from Northern Illinois University.  She was a former principal of the Chicago Military Academy – Bronzeville, (the first public college prep army military academy in the United States), and retired as Director of Academic Affairs in the Department of New Schools for the Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Goodson has guided, problem-solved, and facilitated educational reform through the development, review and evaluation of over fifty charter schools, contract schools, and small schools. Believing education is the basis for a sustainable human society, she continues to contribute to the betterment of public schools as the founder of Goodson Consulting.  Working with the Department of Education of Dominican University, Mrs. Goodson has supported the next generation of educators by supervising first year “Teach for America” candidates.

Listed in the 1996 Edition of Who’s Who of American Teachers, Mrs. Goodson has been honored as Coca Cola Teacher of the Month and with the Toyota Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching.  She has co-authored a nationally distributed middle school textbook, Scott Foresman’s Life Science.

Carole Kelley cropped

Ms. Carole Kelley

Regional Vice President, Washington D.C.

Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Ms. Kelley has been involved in education for 25 years. She spent two years as Head of School of a nationally ranked, transformative inner-city charter school.  She recently relocated to Washington D.C., where she started her own educational resource company, E.D. Consortium, specializing in both administrative and faculty leadership professional development, working with turn-around schools to build empowering cultures, writing grants and facilitating governance/school boards to build a consensus among stakeholders.

In 2003, she helped create Harding Charter Preparatory High School, which is based on an Advanced Placement curriculum. Ms. Kelley introduced AVID, or Advanced Via Individual Determination curriculum, to the state of Oklahoma. Before Harding she spent more than a decade in the Putnam City School District, teaching American history, English and journalism at Putnam City North High School. She also was the college and career counselor for three years. She started her teaching career at Star Spencer High School, teaching journalism and English and serving as the newspaper and yearbook adviser.

Ms. Kelley serves on the Board of Trustees for the Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School.  Prior to moving to the DC area she served on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Youth Leadership Exchange Program and remains active in the Team Rebuilding Construction Derby in Oklahoma City. She was recognized by the Putnam City School District as an outstanding teacher with the Golden Apple award, and was named the Counselor of the Year in 2010 from the Central Oklahoma College/University Admission Counselors and as a Lady In the News in 2012. Ms. Kelley holds her M.Ed. in Leadership degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Carlisha Williams

Ms. Carlisha Williams

Vice President, Oklahoma

Ms. Carlisha Williams is a Tulsa native who believes educational equity is a pivotal social justice and human rights issue.   She is a Teach for America Alumna and has educational experience working with KIPP Tulsa and KIPP Reach College Preparatory Schools.  She serves as a Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia, Executive Director of Women Empowering Nations and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Fifth Street Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. 

Ms. Williams received a Master’s of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she graduated with academic distinction and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship and Venture Management, Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American Studies, and a minor in Non-Profit Organizational Studies. Ms. Williams has been honored with several awards including: Williams and Tulsa Shock Women of Inspiration Award Recipient, 2013 Circle of Friends in Service Award from the Tulsa Chapter of The Links, Inc., 2013 University of Oklahoma AFAM Alumna of the Year and Xi Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Community Service Award.

Jeremy Williams

Mr. Jeremy Williams

Regional Vice President, Northwest Indiana

Mr. Williams previously served as the Regional Title 1 Testing Director for Lighthouse Academies. Prior to that, Jeremy served as the Head of High School for Christel House Academy in Indianapolis. He was also an Assistant Principal in Hammond, Indiana. As a classroom teacher, Mr. Williams taught mathematics through inquiry in Merrillville, Indiana.

Mr. Williams holds a Master’s Degree in Education and an Indiana Administrator’s License from Indiana Wesleyan University. His Bachelor’s Degree was focused in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics. Mr. Williams is currently a doctoral student in the Organizational Leadership program at Indiana Wesleyan University.