We believe all scholars are capable of reaching any goal. Our leadership team is committed to creating the conditions for scholar success. We create an environment where DPA educators receive the coaching, encouragement, and support necessary to grow personally and professionally.
Mashea Ashton is the Founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy in SE DC. Mashea returned to the Washington, D.C. area after spending 20 years advancing innovations and scaling best practices in urban education across the country. Mashea is deeply committed to providing the best education and opportunities for scholars living in Ward 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C. Her family has been in Washington, D.C. for six generations and her early career started as a special education teacher at Anne Beers Elementary in Ward 8. Prior to founding DPA, she served as the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she oversaw a $48 million initiative to support the quality of charter schools. Under her leadership, Newark was ranked as the second highest-performing charter sector in the country, according to Stanford University’s 2015 CREDO study.
Chelsea is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Digital Pioneers Academy high school. Chelsea joined DPA in 2021 and has led in multiple roles. Before DPA, Chelsea taught at high school Collegiate Academies. Chelsea has a passion for developing a curriculum that is both challenging and engaging for students. She is also the proud mother of a one-year-old daughter.
Alexis Brown is the Director of Special Projects at Digital Pioneers Academy in SE DC. Alexis has been with DPA since the founding year in 2018, and has served a multitude of positions #startup. Before DPA, Alexis taught middle school science and math and served as a Teach for America corps member. Alexis is deeply committed to developing the pipeline of BIPOC in STEM careers and her passion for educational equity stems from her own experience studying in engineering.
Sarah Hanson is the Director of Operations at Digital Pioneers Academy Middle School. Sarah joined the DPA team in 2022. Before DPA, Sarah was the Dean Of Operations for a network of public charter schools in Minneapolis.
Coach Harris joined DPA as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach in July 2023 after a successful tenure at his alma mater, Archbishop Carroll. He comes to DPA with over 25 years of coaching, teaching, and leadership experience. He earned a B.S.E. in Elementary Education from Central State University and a M.Ed. in Adult and General Education, and also holds a Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA) certificate for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Coach Harris is a native Washingtonian and a proud husband, father, and grandfather. His motto is “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”
Dietra Hunter joined Digital Pioneers Academy in 2020 and is currently the Principal of our high school. Dietra began her journey in education by way of Teach for America. During her time with Teach for America, she served as a High School Math Teacher and Department Chair in North Carolina. Dietra has worked with many organizations including the Bridges to Adelphi Program which provides educational and mental health services to students on the Autism Spectrum or have nonverbal learning disorders. Dietra has a passion for helping students reach their full potential in education as well as in their personal lives.
Alfred Mason is the Director of Operations at Digital Pioneers Academy High School in SE DC. Alfred joined DPA in October of 2021 as the Associate Director of Operations. Before DPA, Alfred worked for United States Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. During his time working for the Senate, Alfred worked on Healthcare and Education Projects and outreach in the State of New Jersey. Alfred holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & Economics from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia PA.
Aliss Williams is the Head of DPA Middle School. Aliss has been with DPA since 2019 when she joined our middle school as Dean of Social Emotional Learning. Before DPA she taught for over 17 years and worked with inner city Baltimore youth for over 30 years. Aliss believes in being the example for brown and black scholars by showing up each and every day as a representative for them. Her mission is to empower every individual she comes in contact with to be the best version of them in every moment.
Shaniqua joined Digital Pioneers Academy as the Principal Fellow for the school year 2023. Shaniqua has been in education for 13 years and before joining DPA, she was part of KIPP DC’s Regional Literacy and Humanities teams. Shaniqua is excited to have joined the DPA team and is looking forward to serving the community alongside great people.