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MEET THE LEADERSHIP & STAFF
 

Hope Leadership Academy was created to be a safe haven and an introduction to achievement and excellence for the students we serve. With that mission comes the need for educators who understand all children are capable of shifting their future significantly through access to qualified, dedicated, culturally competent educators. Our staff is committed to providing our students with a foundational education that creates a passion for life-long learning that positively impacts their future and the future of our surrounding community.

Executive Leadership Team

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Dr. Michelle E. James

Executive Director and Principal 

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James Hogue, M.Ed

Director of Academics and Assessments 

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Bernadette Thompson, EdS., LPC, CSC

Director of Student Services and School Culture

Leadership Team

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Heather Whalen

Director of Development

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Pamela Maxey

Director of Special Education

Faculty

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Rachel Dennis 

4th Grade

Academic Support

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Jacquie Whisenhunt

Reading Specialist

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TBD

Math Interventionist

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Shannon Patterson

Special Education Teacher

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Kelsey Black 

Speech Therapist 

 

Support Staff

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Vernae Acklin

Executive Administrative Assistant

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TBD

Business Operations Manager

 

Hope Leadership Academy Board Members

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RODNEY D. SMITH

CO-FOUNDER/MANAGING PARTNER. SOPHIC SOLUTIONS, LLC. 

“Education is extremely important to our community and serving KC east of Troost Ave is paramount to me!”

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CLARKE SMITH

INSTRUCTOR, PRAGMATIC INSTITUTE

“I want every child in Kansas City to get the education and support they need to thrive in our city - being part of the HLA board gives me the opportunity to help our staff, teachers and kids make it happen.”

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JAKE LATTA

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, BRANDMUSCLE

"I believe that every child should have access to high-quality education and I am proud to sit on the board of HLA where they are making that a reality in their neighborhood."

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FRANCO OLIVIER

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/TEAM LEADERS, LARGE GROUP, ASSURED PARTNERS

“I chose to sit on the board at Hope Leadership as a way to help the kids. I was humbled by the love and care shown by the staff towards the kids, and wanted to support them anyway I could.”

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CATHY COWAN

MARKETING OPERATIONS | STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

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DR. GINO TAYLOR

VICE PRESIDENT OF PEOPLE, CULTURE, & EQUITY

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