Leadership at Foundation Academies
Holding Ourselves, Our Students, and Our City to High Standards
Our Senior Leadership Team
Graig Weiss, Chief Executive Officer
“There are so many children in our country that are not getting a quality education. To me, it's just an absolute injustice that we can grow up in the United States of America and not have the opportunity to attend a quality school.”
Mr. Weiss joined Foundation Academy Charter School in 2009 as the Middle School Principal, where he led the expansion of our lower grades. He was named the Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Prior to joining Foundation Academy, Mr. Weiss served as the Founding Middle and High School Principal at Cap Cana Heritage School, an English immersion private school in the Dominican Republic. A 2003 Teach for America corps member, Mr. Weiss taught Math and Science in the Bronx and the Dominican Republic prior to becoming an administrator and was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2007. Prior to entering the education field, Mr. Weiss worked in the financial services sector with Cambridge Associates, LLC in Boston, MA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Scranton.
Sheria McRae, Chief Academic Officer
“To sow seeds of opportunity and access so that others find their purpose.”
Mrs. McRae started her career as a Teach for America corps member in Newark, NJ. She joined the FAmily in 2010 as a 6th and 7th grade English teacher, and she then moved on to serve as our Dean of Instruction. Mrs. McRae became the Middle School Principal in 2013, and, in 2017, she was named Foundation Academies’ Chief Academic Officer. In this role, she focuses on Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction. Mrs. McRae holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University in Washington, DC, a Master of Arts in School Counseling from Montclair State University, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University.
Natasia Cooper, Principal, Foundation Academy Primary
“To positively impact the lives of others by empowering them to live out their life’s purpose."
Ms. Cooper joined Foundation Academy Charter School in 2016. Prior to joining Foundation, Ms. Cooper was an Assistant Principal of Instruction at Mastery Charter School, and she served as the Assistant Principal of Student Support at KIPP Philadelphia Charter School. Ms. Cooper was a 2003 Teach for America corps member in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught 5th and 6th grade for four years. She continued to teach for an additional six years before moving into administration. Ms. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Cooper received her Principal Certification through Philly PLUS (Philadelphia Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools).
Venetia Birchmore, Principal, Foundation Academy Intermediate
"To cultivate opportunity for others that will serve them specifically when challenges in life occur."
Mrs. Birchmore returned to Foundation Academy Charter School in 2019, after serving for one year as Assistant School Principal at Deep Roots Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Birchmore originally joined Foundation Academies as a teacher in 2014 and progressed to Instructional Dean in 2017. Ms. Birchmore was a Teach for America corps member teaching English Language Arts at Achievement First Hartford Elementary School. Ms. Birchmore holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and African American Studies from Smith College, a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University.
Angela Joyner, Principal, Foundation Academy Middle
"This work is connected to my purpose and a matter of social justice. My desire is to impact students that look like me and empower them to not only advocate for themselves, but also see that no matter their socioeconomic status and background, they can attain WHATEVER their heart desires."
Ms. Joyner joined Foundation Academy Charter School in January 2020. Prior to joining Foundation, Ms. Joyner was the Middle School Principal at Gestalt Community Schools in Memphis, Tennessee, where she also served as Dean of Instruction and the Founding Turnaround High School Academy Director at Frayser Community Schools. She also held multiple positions at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, rising from English Teacher to Instructional Dean to Literacy Coach. Ms. Joyner’s career also includes a stint as Language Arts Teacher in the Baltimore Public Schools. Ms. Joyner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Syracuse University, a Middle Grades Teaching Certification from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership in Education from Gardner-Webb University. Ms. Joyner received her Principal Certification through RELAY Graduate School of Education.
Melissa Campbell, Principal, Foundation Academy Collegiate
"To help empower others (students, teachers, leaders) to be innovative and grow, while holding a high bar for themselves."
Ms. Campbell joined Foundation Academy Charter School in July 2018 as the Middle School Principal. Prior to joining Foundation Academy Charter School, Ms. Campbell worked at Young Scholars Charter School in Philadelphia for fourteen years as a teacher, instructional dean, and then as principal. Under Ms. Campbell’s leadership, Young Scholars Charter School was Philadelphia’s “highest-performing charter middle school serving students in high poverty.” Ms. Campbell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education & Biology from Rider University and a Master of Arts in Education from Gratz College. She earned her Principal certification with the RELAY Graduate School of Education.
Artemus Werts, Principal-in-Residence, Foundation Academies
"My purpose is to build leaders who help students understand their strengths, gifts and passions, so that they can change the world."
Mr. Werts works alongside our senior leadership and school leadership members to learn, plan, and prepare for becoming one of our school Principals in the future. Prior to joining Foundation Academies, Mr. Werts worked with Teach For America in Maryland in the area of Teacher and Leader Development and as their Data and School Impact Director. Artemus has a Bachelor of Arts in History and African Studies and a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Kheri Freeman, Principal-in-Residence, Foundation Academies
"To advocate for equity, foster transformational and fundamental change, and empower others to do the same for themselves and their communities."
Ms. Freeman works alongside our senior leadership and school leadership members to learn, plan, and prepare to become one of our school Principals in the future. Prior to joining Foundation Academies, Ms. Freeman performed the responsibilities of various roles in education beginning as a Third Grade Teacher and continuing on to be a Department Chair, Dean of Students, and a Director of Internship Programming in schools in Newark, East Orange, and Plainfield, New Jersey. Ms. Freeman earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Psychology at George Washington University and her Master of Education from the University of North Texas.
Dr. Shanesia Davis, Director of Training and Development
“To equip us all with the tools and confidence to activate our innate power."
Dr. Shanesia Davis leads FA’s leadership development and drives innovation to our academic and character curriculum. Dr. Davis also leads the robust onboarding and training plan for our staff to grow and develop at Foundation Academies. She has been involved in charter schools at several levels, advancing from science teacher to Science Department Chairperson to Vice Principal to, eventually School Principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Davis earned both her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and a Masters in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stockton University.
Patrice Garrison, Director of Special Services
“To provide students and their families with the tools and supports necessary to overcome academic and emotional obstacles, and as a result, aid them in living their best life. "
Mrs. Garrison joined Foundation Academy Charter School in 2018, after working four years as a school social worker within the organization she progressed to the position of Director of Special Services. Prior to joining Foundation, Mrs.Garrison worked as a school social worker for New Brunswick public schools. She has 10 years of experience working in special education and over 8 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mrs.Garrison is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She received her bachelor's in social work from Kean University and her Master's in social work from New York University. Additionally, she obtained her Master's Degree in Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University.