FA Cheers Community Champions

Community Champions Linked In

Foundation Academy is a learning community rooted in shared beliefs and values that L.A.S.T. – Love, Accountability, Support, and Trust.

We celebrate those values every Community Day, as we acknowledge our Community Champions who exemplify our values and engage in actions that support our scholars and our schools. 

Last month, our full staff cheered Community Champions Aisha Williams and Jeffrey Castagne.

Calling herself "a school mom," Ms. Williams exemplifies the value of Love through selfless service of our Scholars and the Trenton community. She spreads love by going above and beyond planning cultural celebrations that make every scholar feel valued while engaging scholars in community service for those who are in need. 

“I want to be the adult I needed as a child,” Ms Williams says. “I love to bring the joy!”

Ms. Williams joined FA four years ago, bringing more than a decade of experience in education. As our kindergarten paraprofessional, she works one-on-one with scholars who need extra support in the classroom and partners with families on ways they can assist scholars at home. 

She’s the heart behind our Elementary School Black History Month activities – including plans for our scholars to publish a book! – and our “December to Remember” events including dress-up days, winter craft projects and sing-alongs. 

Thanks to Ms. Williams, kindergartners decorated green paper gift bags, while scholars in first and second grade made holiday cards for seniors living in nearby rehabilitation/nursing centers. Middle School scholars, school leaders and staff also joined the fun -- and helped FA send 763 holiday cards to seniors. 

Elementary School Co-Principal Brittany Greco calls Ms. Williams “her own school spirit committee.”

“Aisha  embodies the 'do whatever it takes' mindset to ensure our scholars and staff are learning and smiling,” Ms. Greco says. “You will never see her in just one place because in every spare moment, she is checking in on our community – whether that is our school community, our parent community, or our Trenton community.”

Senior Facilities Manager Jeffrey Castagne brings a smile with him into every room, exuding our values of accountability and supportt. He models accountability by challenging & encouraging his team and school staff to do more and be excellent. He has gone above and beyond by providing job opportunities for FA scholars, teaching technical and entrepreneurial skills. Jeff’s pride in FA and our facilities is infectious – he routinely shouts out his crew with photos of our beautifully maintained buildings on social media. 

“We come together and help each other out,” Mr. Castagne says. “It’s all about getting dirty with your team.”

Mr. Castagne brought his plumbing and construction skills to FA in 2019 as custodian for the FA Collegiate campus. Within months, his role and responsibilities expanded as our facilities staff grew. Today, Mr. Castagne has transformed that staff into a team – members support one another, take pride in their roles, and feel appreciated by our community.

He has also created new opportunities for scholars as paid, part-time custodians. To get hired, Collegiate scholars must apply and interview, have family permission and a teacher recommendation, maintain passing grades, and meet attendance and culture expectations. 

In addition to learning facilities maintenance skills, Mr. Castagne says scholars “learn the ins and outs of a real job” such as performance expectations, weekly work schedules, and following call-out procedures. “They gain a lot of life skills.”

Director of Operations Johanna Soto credits Mr. Castagne’s in-depth experience in buildings and grounds work with providing the preventive maintenance our facilities require – and his “contagious energy” with motivating both his team and our scholars. 

“He has fostered a community that takes pride in our buildings and grounds,” Ms. Soto says. “I am thankful to work alongside someone who is not only leading our facilities team, but also enhancing our community.”

Michelle Ruess