Stories of Impact
Shawna Mayo, Pride of 2012
Shawna Mayo, Pride of 2012, returned to her pride as the first graduate to lead a KIPP North Carolina school as principal of KIPP Gaston College Preparatory Middle. After graduating, Shawna attended Elon University, where she earned a degree in psychology.
"I’ve never seen myself in school leadership, let alone being a middle school principal. I’m just thankful for all the mentors I’ve had along the way. I want to be a constant reminder for students what is possible in the area. Representation is very dear to me. I think students deserve to see diversity in their school environment and just other models of what is possible at their fingertips as long as they strive for academic excellence and their authentic selves."
Kelby Hicks, Pride of 2010
Kelby Hicks is a KIPP GCP Pride High School 2010 alumnus, and a board member for KIPP North Carolina, and A Better Chance A Better Community.
After leaving Pride High, Kelby went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and a law degree from Elon University School of Law. He is a business and real estate associate with Raleigh Real Estate Law in North Carolina. Kelby ran for election to the North Carolina House of Representatives to represent District 27. Kelby participated in the KIPP Leadership Accelerator, a nationally recognized development program in partnership with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, which he credits for his focused personal and professional success.
“For diverse professionals desiring a strong foundation upon which to build leverage and launch themselves into leadership, the right coach can provide the blueprint. By myself, I walked toward my future. With a coach, I’m on a private jet flying toward my dreams. My privilege as a KIPP alumni granted me the chance for a coach, but more paths need to be opened."
Anthony and Courtney Reese, and KIPP NC children
Anthony and Courtney Reese might be considered “OG” KIPP North Carolina parents. They became a KIPP Charlotte family in 2013 when Courtney enrolled her oldest son Roman, now 20, at KIPP Academy Charlotte on Wilann Drive.
Courtney, a professional chef and baker, said she and her husband take their children’s education seriously. So, when it was time to prepare their younger children – Carlos, 9, and Carleigh, 7 – for their education, the Reeses had no doubt that KIPP Academy’s sister school, KIPP Change Academy in Charlotte, would be the only choice.
KIPP Change was founded in 2016 by veteran educator, and former KIPP Academy math teacher and school administrator, Malcolm Brooks. Courtney said that Malcolm’s holistic, community-centric approach to teaching and leading makes her a proud KIPP Change mom and advocate. Even when the Reeses experienced a fire that left the entire family unhoused a few years ago, Malcolm and the KIPP Change team sprung into action to assist – from providing food and school uniforms to making sure that the family had transportation to important meetings.
My oldest went to a (Charlotte-Mecklenburg) elementary school…and when I saw (KIPP Academy was) enrolling for 5th (grade), my prayers had been answered! I had been disappointed in my experience with the staff at Roman’s former district school who overlooked bullying and even hid it from me and my husband. As a result, Roman’s academic performance and progress deteriorated. I didn't feel CMS provided a well-rounded education.
I recommend KIPP (Charlotte) to all my mom friends…because it sets the bar so high for getting an excellent education from genuinely caring teachers and staff.