Committed to Excellence
Drew Sippel, Executive Director, capstone education group
Drew has been deeply involved with the Binghampton neighborhoods for more than 14 years. For the past three years, he has strategically focused on the Binghampton area to develop the socio-economic and educational capacity of the area. He has been a board member for both the Binghampton Development Corporation and Service Over Self, both self-sustaining organizations making a difference in the Binghampton community as well as affecting thousands of volunteers’ lives by highlighting the brokenness of the city and the need to thoughtfully address the issues of the city.
Drew accepted the position of executive director of Capstone Education Group (CEG) after studying the education needs of the community for the past several years. “We want to work to eliminate injustice and oppression, and I believe that it is unjust for a child to be destined to receive an inadequate education simply for being born in a particular neighborhood. A child born in the inner city of Memphis has a 40 percent chance of dropping out of high school before graduating, and if the child does graduate, he or she will receive a high school education that equates to an eighth-grade education of a suburban student. That is unjust and I am committed to fighting this issue as the director of Capstone Education Group.”
Drew has researched and visited many of the highest-performing urban schools in the country, as well as attending the Building Excellent Schools program in Boston, Massachusetts. Recently, he received a master of arts in education from Union University. He is bringing the best practices from these schools to Cornerstone Prep and Lester Prep, learning from the success of others.
He has a very clear picture of success for a Cornerstone Prep and Lester Prep students. “Our school will be successful when a student graduates from the eighth grade, attends a challenging high school, receives a scholarship to a prestigious university, and then returns to Memphis with a degree to invest his or her life serving this community as a leader in his or her chosen field, seeking to improve the lot of the people of this city.”
This exciting and long-term vision motivates Drew to make CEG schools life-changing schools for students, families, and the Binghampton and Frayser communities.
Alex Wrobel, Director of Data and Technology
Alex Wrobel joins our team as Capstone Education Group's Director of Data and Technology, where he is responsible for measuring how each school is performing across different key measures, integrating data systems, administering state and district standardized tests, and all technology oversight as well as day-to-day tech operations. He and his wife have lived in Binghampton since they moved to Memphis in the summer of 2012, and he thoroughly enjoys living where he works.
Prior to working at Capstone, Alex earned a Master’s in Urban Education from Union University as a part of the Memphis Teacher Residency program where he was a resident chemistry teacher. During his undergraduate studies, Alex worked as a tutor in chemistry and statistics as well as a research assistant in inorganic chemistry building his strong analytical skills and a love for education.
Alex’s favorite part of his job is being able to work across all schools and levels within the organization from students and teachers to school leaders and volunteers to build a strong, data-driven culture. One day Alex hopes to use his love and knowledge of running to coach a cross-country and track team at the Lester campus.
Angie Cramer, Principal, Cornerstone Prep - Lester Campus
Angie Cramer is ecstatic to join the Capstone family as the new Principal of Cornerstone Prep - Lester Campus. She is humbled and ever grateful for this opportunity to join this school community.
Angie was born and raised in a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Memphis just over ten years ago. She and her husband, Steve, are the proud parents of two boys, Tommy and Ben. She is a life-long educator having taught special education in first grade through high school, both first and third grades in general education classes, and has served as the director of children’s ministries for a small church before her most recent position as principal.
Angie holds bachelor degrees in Elementary Education (K-5) and Special Education (K-12) from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Christian Brothers University. Four years ago she joined an organization called New Leaders and served as the Resident Principal at Shannon Elementary. She was then named the Principal of Kingsbury Elementary and served there for three years, just before coming to Cornerstone Prep. At Kingsbury she and her team worked hard, seeing awesome results over her three year stay, closing subgroup gaps by as much as 14% with the ELL population and made double digit gains in all academic areas. While under Angie's leadership, they were also named a TN Reward School for the past two academic years for being in the top 5% in the state for student growth.
"I have learned that the same type of work has been happening here at Cornerstone Prep and the momentum is building," Angie says. "Cornerstone Prep certainly has a lot to be proud of, and I believe there is a great foundation set here on which we can continue to build together. I believe that the future is bright for Cornerstone Prep and the Binghampton community. I am looking forward serving alongside each of you, on this journey!"
Brearn Wright, PRINCIPAL, Lester prep
Brearn Wright, a native Memphian, is the founding principal of Lester Prep. He has been in the field of education for over 18 years serving as a social studies teacher, instructional resource teacher and a principal in Montgomery County Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools and Providence Public Schools. Most recently, Brearn was the Associate Director of Education Services with Shelby County Head Start, ensuring quality instruction for 2,200 students in Shelby County.
Brearn graduated from Lake Forest College, where he majored in History and minored in African American History. He holds a Master's of Education degree from Harvard University and another Master's of Science in Administration degree from Trinity University. As an alum of New Leader for New Schools, Brearn is thrilled at the opportunity of implementing the practices learned from the program that will lead to educational excellence at Lester Prep and educational equity in the city of Memphis.
Diana Bey, principal, cornerstone prep - denver campus
Diana Bey joined the Cornerstone Prep team as a founding Kindergarten teacher, later holding the position of Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Cornerstone Prep - Lester Campus. Diana previously taught at Veritas Classical school, where she facilitated and taught fourth grade students. Prior to this, Diana taught Kindergarten at a Memphis charter school and taught in Michigan.
Diana now serves as the Principal of Cornerstone Prep - Denver Campus, which opens in August 2015 in Frayser. She has had the privilege of becoming an active member of the Frayser Exchange Club, attending meetings and getting to know the community of Frayser. She looks forward to learning more from the amazing families, students and community partners at Denver.
Diana graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where she majored in math and minored in science. She has a teaching certification from the State of Michigan, where she is Highly Qualified K-5 and Science 6-8 and also has teaching certification from the State of Tennessee in Elementary K-6.
Diana brings a combination of passion, mission fit and experience to the school. When Diana originally saw the job posting for her original position, she immediately called her husband and said, “This school describes my heart.” Diana said, “This will allow me to teach the way I believe teaching should be done in terms of format and structure. I look forward to spending years and years watching this school grow.”
Jacqueline Rowe Fields, Assistant Principal, Cornerstone Prep - Lester Campus
Jacqueline Rowe Fields is the director of community and family relations. Jacque returns to her hometown and joins Cornerstone Prep after serving as a college administrator in Michigan. As director of community and family relations, Jacque is charged with enriching community life by weaving together the natural talent and human resources that flourish in Binghampton. She describes Binghampton as her old “stomping ground” and is excited to serve in a neighborhood she loves and respects. Having already established strong partnerships with stellar programs like the Lester Community Center, Refugee Empowerment Program and Parents As Teachers, Jacque says, “I’m eager to start building relations with the real super stars of Binghampton – the kids and their parents. I believe Cornerstone Prep will be good for Binghampton, and I believe Binghampton will be good for Cornerstone Prep.”
Patricia Burns, Manager of Information and Business Systems
Patricia Burns became the assistant director of community and family relations at Cornerstone Preparatory School in February 2013, before becoming the manager of operations for a season. Now, she is our manager of information and business systems. She previously served as Lester community liaison for Christ Community Health Services from October 2000 through February 2013. Patricia provided reading intervention, taught character education, led a Girl Scout Troop, conducted an after school Bible club, took students to summer camps and led a summer Vacation Bible School in the Binghampton community. She brings a wealth of experience and community knowledge to Cornerstone Prep.
“My desire for the students in Binghampton has not changed in these 13 years: to receive the quality education that every child deserves, without regard to his or her ZIP code”. Patricia earned a bachelor of arts degree in human development and learning from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and a certificate in biblical studies from Covenant College in Coventry, England.