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Meet The Team

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Anita Small

Director of PrepNext

As the daughter of immigrants who worked hard to provide their child with opportunities, Ms. Small was taught to respect the power of education from an early age. But it wasn't until she interned with PrepNext as a college student in 2010 that she found her passion for supporting young people on their educational journeys. It was at PrepNext that Ms. Small learned the deep connections between education, equity, and social-emotional wellbeing. Ms. Small's experience with PrepNext prompted her to begin a career as a School Counselor, and she worked at high schools in both Maryland and Massachusetts. When Ms. Small and her family returned to the DC area in 2019, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to PrepNext, this time as Associate Director of High School Support. In 2021, she stepped into the Director position and feels immensely privileged to be working with PrepNext students and families. She finds their brilliance, strength, drive, and heart to be incredibly inspiring. 

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Fidelia Igwe

Associate Director of College and Career Access

Ms. Igwe is a native Washingtonian, born and raised in Ward 7. As the daughter of a retired DCPS teacher, she has always seen education as an ultimate equalizer. While a student at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Ms. Igwe learned how important it was for her to have a village of supporters both in and outside of the school building who was dedicated to her success. As an African American Studies major at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Igwe further studied the immense importance and impact of communal support for students of color, especially students that come from the most underserved communities like her own. After completing her graduate degree at Indiana University-Bloomington, Ms. Igwe sought out professional opportunities that allowed for her to work with populations of students she identified with most based on her own experiences. She was introduced to College Access work in 2016 and immediately realized this is where she belonged, assisting students with creating individualized post-secondary plans. She moved back to DC in 2020 and was thrilled to find a role at PrepNext that allows for her to live out her biggest passions, ensuring that students in the Washington, DC area can actualize their hopes and dreams. She is committed to ensuring that students feel empowered to stand in their own truths.

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Princess Riddick

Associate of High School Transition

Ms. Princess is a native Washingtonian and an alum of DC prep (class of 2008!). She then attended McKinley Tech and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Business Administration. She started her career as the only hip-hop and step teacher for Kids on the Move at Dance Place. In 2015, she joined Illstyle and Peace Productions, a hip-hop performance company. Through Illstyle and Dance Place, Ms. Princess has had the privilege to perform at several renowned theaters and venues. Her love for teaching dance further developed her connection with youth, and that is where her devotion to education blossomed. In 2020, Ms. Princes became the founding dance teacher at Rocketship Infinity Community Prep. She cultivated trusting relationships with families and students and spearheaded events to increase family engagement and school pride. After seeing the gap in education amongst her students due to the pandemic, Ms. Princess became even more passionate about equipping families with the necessary tools for success. Now, as a PrepNext counselor, Ms.  Princess is determined to assist her students in overcoming any obstacle and stepping into their purpose, just as DC Prep helped her to do.

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Jill Salisbury

Outgoing Director of PrepNext

Ms. Salisbury has always believed in the power, gift, and joy of education. She began her career in education as a sophomore in high school, where tutoring elementary and middle school students taught her about the connection between trusting relationships and educational outcomes.  After working as an ACT/SAT tutor and as a policy analyst focused on increasing access to housing for those returning from jails and prisons, Ms. Salisbury joined the PrepNext team in 2014. She was first the Associate Director of College Counseling, then served as the Director of PrepNext from 2017 to 2021, and is now PrepNext in an operations and capacity-building role, working with Ms. Small to implement our PrepNext2036 Strategic Plan as we prepare to welcome graduates of AMC into PrepNext. Ms. Salisbury is humbled by and grateful for the many students and families who have shared their hopes and fears, their successes and challenges, their brilliance and laughter and joy along the way. Ms. Salisbury knows the power of education is in relationships and community, and she is regularly inspired by the community that is created and nurtured by the students, families, and staff of DC Prep.

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Monet Blakey

Associate of College and Career Access

Ms. Blakey is a multigenerational native Washingtonian. She graduated from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School and went on to Bates College, where she initially intended to study Biology and pursue a career in cardiology. However, while at Bates, Ms. Blakey volunteered for an after-school college prep program at a local middle school through the Bonner Program, an experience which changed her trajectory entirely. She was moved by the passionate and driven students who were eager to learn about college and became committed to wanting to support young people as they pursued their goals. She therefore switched her major from Biology to African American Studies. After graduating, she has sought opportunities that allow her to provide comprehensive support to young people navigating unfamiliar spaces and obstacles in the pursuit of their goals. Ms. Blakey is particularly excited to a part of the PrepNext team because it is an opportunity to do what she loves: Empowering young people in the city and community that molded her into the person she is today.

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Zachary Denney

Associate of College Success

Mr. Denney is a Washington DC native and DC Prep alum who is enthusiastic about his community and helping people. As a PrepNext student, he recognized how DC Prep goes beyond for their students; he was supported by PrepNext through his time as a high school student at McKinleyTech High School and then later at Delaware State. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Sports Management at Delaware State University, where he worked with student athletes at both the high school and collegiate levels, developing their skills both on and off the field. After completing his studies, Mr. Denney spent the next two years with Amazon, building his professional skills while learning the ins and outs of managing a multimillion-dollar operation and managing over 300 + individuals from different backgrounds. Now, he’s very excited to be on the PrepNext team as a counselor to help educate all students about the endless opportunities that exist for all people.

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Ryane Boyd

Associate Director of College Success

Ms. Boyd is a St. Louis native who is passionate about equitable education, creating inclusive environments, and supporting young people to and through their postsecondary journey. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in English at The University of Missouri, Ms. Boyd shifted her career trajectory to support students from similar backgrounds. She began her career in education with the College Advising Corps, where she quickly learned that young people need more than academic support. At that point, she adopted a holistic approach to further the impact of her work. She later moved into supporting young people on the postsecondary persistence side. After completing her graduate degree at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Ms. Boyd delved deeper into creating equitable and inclusive spaces for young people to thrive. In early 2023, she relocated to the DC area and was privileged to join the PrepNext family. Ms. Boyd is excited and committed to pushing young people to higher heights.

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Taylor Thomas

Associate Director of High School Transition

Ms. Thomas considers herself an Educhanger, a title that she has coined. This stems from her belief that there are a plethora of ways and roles needed to impact and effect change in education outside the realm of traditional classroom instruction or school environment. Ms. Thomas has done just that and more by her years working in various college access and college success programs including Achieve Atlanta, KIPP Rales Scholars Program, Bullseye Admissions and now Prep Next. Through her various roles, she has come to understand that there is no one solution fits all with supporting students, and she champions meeting students where they are at by offering differentiated approaches to student advising. Most recently, Ms. Thomas has had the chance to work in digital equity and inclusion, an area she became interested in after seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected communities (students) of color and their ability to learn successfully. She has identified the intersection between access to technology and access to higher education or career advancement. She hopes to one day create programming that bridges both tech access as well as college/career access. 
Ms. Thomas is very excited to join the PrepNext team, bringing her passion and background to the role to support Preppies across the DMV.  Taylor is an Atlanta, GA native and has a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications from the University of Florida and a Masters of Education in Advocacy and Organizational Development from Temple University. 

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