Dawn Brooks DeCosta
Principal at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School
Dawn Brooks DeCosta, EdD in Educational Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University, M.S. in Fine Art Education, Queens College; B.S. in Education, St. John’s University. Dawn began her service of teaching 25 years ago and has worked as a teacher for the NYC DOE teaching in Harlem, NYC for 16 years and has served as Principal of Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School (TMALS) for the past 9 years. TMALS was created in a collaboration between Abyssinian Development Corporation, New Visions for Public Schools and The Department of Education and is located in Harlem, NYC. She is the author of several published papers and an award-winning principal. She is the recipient of the 2015 Marvin Mauer Spotlight Award from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence for integrating the RULER program and is also a Cahn Fellow with Teachers College, Columbia University. She is married, has 4 children and two grandchildren.
Public School Administrator at DC Public Schools
Kennard Branch has been a successful educator for over fifteen years. Kennard was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Raising Horizons Quest Charter School in West Philadelphia in 2003 and was the runner-up for Teacher of the Year in 2007 at M. H. Stanton ES in North Philadelphia. That same year he was featured in Time Magazine. Since 2008, Mr. Branch has been working as a public school administrator for DC Public Schools and he is a two-time winner of the Rubinstein Award for Excellence in Leadership. Kennard is married and has one daughter, who is in her sophomore year at Temple University majoring in nursing. Mr. Branch received his B.S. in Elementary Education from Cheyney University in Pennsylvania in 2003, his M. Ed. in Educational Leadership and his M.S. in Adult & Continuing Education from Cheyney University in PA in 2006, his Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 2015, and will earn his Ed. D in Educational Leadership in May 2020.