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Essence Prep Team

With a wealth of experience, expertise and talent, our dream team is paving the way and building success for today, tomorrow, and the future

Our staff instills and embraces joy and excellence in our students by teaching character development with a culturally affirming curriculum to foster student’s growth. Our board consists of advisors and advocates for academic excellence, sharing our strengths to support our students, meet them here.

Senior Leadership Team (SLT)

Essence Prep’s SLT is the team that oversees the way our strategic plan and other guiding principles are put into action.

Essence Preparatory Public School: Akeem Brown, Founder

Akeem Brown


Superintendent Akeem Brown (he/him/his) has dedicated his career to serving students living within San Antonio’s Eastside. By founding Essence Prep, he seeks to provide scholars with the pathways to opportunities lacking in many areas of the city.

Mr. Brown ensures Essence Prep scholars will grapple with real-world issues and develop the skills necessary to be effective agents of change. Essence Prep adopts community-building traditions like morning circle meetings and weekly family gatherings and uses a “whole self” curriculum to teach social and emotional learning skills.

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Essence Prep Team: Jennipha Ricks

Jennipha Ricks

Chief Learning Officer/Principal

Essence Prep Team: Kizzie Thomas

Kizzie Thomas

Dean of Empowerment and Culture

Essence Prep Team: Alicia Sebastian

Alicia Sebastian

Director of Marketing & Communications

Essence Prep Team: Damika Burton

Damika Burton

Director of Family Engagement & Enrollment

Essence Prep Team: Dameon Lutz

Dameon Lutz

Director of Operations

Essence Prep Team: Ikeida Manning

Ikeida Manning

Director of HR and Finance

Support Team

The support team is essential in ensuring our scholars are learning in a safe and supportive learning environment.

Essence Prep Team: Dejanique Derry

Dejanique Derry

PEIMS Coordinator and Office Manager

Essence Prep Team: Kiara Harper

Kiara Harper

Operations Associate

Instructional Leadership Team (ILT)

Under the guidance of the CLO/Principal, the ILT improves instruction by focusing on scholars learning and achievement, as well as build teacher capacity through differentiated support.

Essence Prep Team: Donte Chatman

Donte Chatman

Literacy Coach and Fourth Grade Literacy Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Keyondra White

Keyondra White

Assistant Principal of Instruction

Essence Prep Team: Pam Friesenhahn

Pam Friesenhahn

Special Education Coorinator


Developing our students as leading agents of change in their communities.

Essence Prep Team: Selena Mitchell

Selena Mitchell

First Grade Literacy and Math Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Kim Anderson

Kim Anderson

Second Grade Math Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Gracie Word

Gracie Word

Second Grade Literacy Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Christina Rivera

Christina Rivera

Third Grade Math and Literacy Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Trishawn-Clarke-Taylor

Trishawn Clarke-Taylor

Fourth Grade Math Teacher

Essence Prep Team: Lynette De Vaughn Baker

Lynette De Vaughn Baker

Fifth Grade Literacy Teacher and TIR Coach

Join the Team

Are you ready to help shape the future and make a difference?

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