Meet Our Round 2 Innovation School Fellows
Shanae Staples and Kevin Kubacki
Shanae Staples and Kevin Kubacki bring to the fellowship a proven track record of innovation and school success from their experience founding Enlace Academy on the city's westside.
Kindezi will be a K-6 school rooted in the belief that every child is a leader. This credo will be manifested by a "student-centered" learning environment predicated upon small group instruction, innovative uses of technology through "blended learning" and leadership education in order to meet the specific needs of each student.
Shanae and Kevin first collaborated in creating Enlace Academy, where Kevin is the founding school leader and Shanae is the founding academic dean of the K-8 charter school.
After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University, Kevin moved overseas and pursued a career in advertising and marketing. He returned to the United States and transitioned into teaching, becoming a Spanish and language arts teacher at St. Matthew School in Indianapolis.
He then spent 10 years at Cathedral High School, where he taught English and oversaw the school's highly successful International Baccalaureate program. He also completed the Transition to Teaching program at Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition to his teaching duties, he coached Cathedral's girls' soccer team to two Indiana state championships in 2007 and 2009.
While at Cathedral, he was selected for a fellowship with Cathedral and Seton Education Partners, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that launches high-quality parochial schools. The fellowship, which included time as part of KIPP's prestigious Fisher Fellows program, led him to design and launch Enlace, where he oversees all operations, curriculum development, personnel and other functions of the school. He will earn his master's degree in education leadership from Marian University later this year.
One of the first school leaders Kevin recruited was Shanae Staples. As academic dean, Shanae is Enlace's primary instructional leader and oversees its curriculum, coaches instructional staff and assists in management of day-to-day school operations.
Shanae came to Enlace from Teach For America (TFA), where she spent nearly five years in various capacities in Atlanta and Chicago. After three years as a teacher at an Atlanta elementary school, she took on leadership roles for TFA Atlanta, including manager of teacher leadership development, director of lodging and transportation and director of school operations for TFA's Atlanta Summer Institute. She also served as school operations director for TFA Chicago.
Shanae earned a bachelor's degree in communications sciences and disorders from the University of Florida, where she was a Presidential Scholar. She then earned her master's degree in education leadership from Columbia University in New York as part of TFA's Indianapolis Principal Fellowship.
Sheila Dollaske is a career educator who brings years of hands-on experiences in urban school settings in Chicago and Indianapolis to her work as a new Innovation Schools Fellow.
Her proposed school is a neighborhood middle school that will serve as the hub of the community. In collaboration with community leaders and families, Sheila envisions a school that provides an excellent education for middle school scholars, while working strategically with families to ensure their long-term aspirations are met.
An integral component of the school is a satellite Excel Center, in partnership with Goodwill Education Initiatives, which will offer classes to older, under-credited adults who wish to earn their high school diploma and, in some cases, earn undergraduate course credit. Through this partnership, the Excel Center would offer adult classes so that the school is an educational resource for the entire neighborhood.
Sheila comes to the fellowship after three years of service as principal of the Key Learning Community in the Indianapolis Public Schools. She was charged with transforming a struggling school with 450+ students and 50+ staff members and raised the school's academic performance by two letter grades in just three years.
Before returning to Indianapolis to lead the Key School, Sheila was a teacher and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system as a member of the Teach For America (TFA) corps. She spent several years at Farragut Career Academy as a science teacher, while also leading other innovative school efforts. She was a program director of One Goal, which identifies and trains teachers to lead underperforming students in struggling high schools to enroll in and graduate from college.
She also was the "small learning community" lead, where she presided over 335 freshman students and 26 teachers to ensure a vast majority of students were on track to graduate. She also helped analyze academic achievement data and provided next steps for school leadership based on current practices and trends.
Sheila later served as an instructional support leader for CPS, where she coached and developed principals and instructional leadership team members in 26 high schools.
Sheila has been active in several efforts to improve public education. She was a member of the Indiana Department of Education's A-F Committee, where she helped draft the state's new A-F accountability system in response to legislative changes. She also has served as a board member for College Mentors for Kids.
She earned her bachelor's degree from Butler University, a master's degree in teaching from National Louis University and a master's degree in education from Columbia University in New York as part of TFA's Indianapolis Principal Fellowship. She also is an internship coach for Columbia's Summer Principals Academy.
Mahmoud Sayani is a seasoned executive leader with diverse experience in the private and social sectors, including operating schools in Kenya, leading an international relief agency, and 17 years in engineering, marketing and project management positions in the tech industry.
His proposed school is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) focused middle and high school that uses the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years and career-focused programs from grades 6 to 12. With the holistic and broad curriculum framework of IB, students will undertake studies in an educational program that develops 21st century skills - critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication - and will be immersed in a school ethos that develops good character, local and global engagement, personal and social responsibility and leadership.
Mahmoud spent six years as chief executive officer of Aga Khan Education Service Kenya in Nairobi, Kenya, where he oversaw the operation of 11 private schools in four cities, with 400 staff members and 5,000 students and provided leadership to all school functions.
He improved the Aga Khan schools' performance through enhanced focus on student achievement and teacher accountability and development. He also initiated a framework for school quality measurement and development, as well as curriculum introductions such as the IB Middle Years Program, and introduced pedagogical enhancements such as the teaching for understanding framework. By the end of his tenure, two of his schools were ranked in the top 100 private schools in the country.
He also managed the Kenya School Improvement Program, which impacted 137 government primary schools through various improvement strategies, including teacher development, cluster approach and basic infrastructure improvement.
Before entering education, he led Focus Humanitarian Assistance Canada, an international relief and disaster-resilience organization with projects in South and Central Asia, as executive officer from 2003 to 2006. There, he oversaw a refugee repatriation program funded by the United Nations and other organizations and developed training in disaster management for volunteers and staff.
Trained as an engineer, he began his career in various research, design and marketing positions for several technology companies in Boston.
He earned his bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering from Duke University. He later earned an MBA from Boston University, and received a post-graduate diploma in Poverty Reduction/Development Management from the University of Birmingham in England. He also received a certificate in Leading Education Systems at the National Level from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, and successfully completed the International Faculty Program with IESE Business School in Spain.