Our Work is Nothing Without Our People.
The extraordinary teachers and staff at SEED are more than educators—they are our students’ role models, caretakers, and champions. The entire SEED family passionately believes in our mission, our educational model, and most importantly, our students. Check out a few of their stories below.
Vincena Allen, Chief College Success Officer and Keniq Coney, Chief Schools Officer | The SEED Foundation
Vincena Allen (pictured, left) has dedicated the last eleven years of her career to ensuring that our entire network capitalizes on every moment we have with our students—from 6th grade through college completion. Thanks to her data-driven approach, she and her College Transition & Success (CTS) team have identified key factors that predict student success, making SEED a pioneer in the field.
As SEED's Chief College Success Officer, Vincena applies data, her experience working with graduates, and her social policy background to cultivate the skills of her CTS team and all SEED educators. By nurturing their growth and supporting their professional ambitions, she empowers our staff to do the same for our students and graduates.
Preparing our students also starts with the efforts of Chief Schools Officer Keniq Coney (above, right). Keniq capitalizes on our collective knowledge and experience through the Head of School Working Group, our network’s annual SEED Summit, and Communities of Practice, monthly professional development sessions between staff across the network. With Keniq’s team bolstering school performance and Vincena’s team supporting graduates, together they ensure that no minute of our gift of time goes to waste.
Topher Kandik | 10th & 11th grade english, seed dc
Topher Kandik embodies the philosophy that learning happens inside and outside the classroom, and that students must own their educational journeys. He believes in exploring literary works alongside his students, and he has brought more than one MacArthur Genius into his classroom to discuss his or her work. And Mr. Kandik has connected his students to exceptional places: to New Orleans, where they culminated their “Why New Orleans Matters” unit by engaging with local artists and performing community service; to a small rally downtown, where then-Senator Obama told them that “Yes We Can;” and to the Vice President’s home, where Dr. Jill Biden celebrated the publication of their short stories and poems—thanks to a fruitful partnership with local literary advocates 826DC. His work hasn't gone unnoticed--he was selected as DC's 2016 Teacher of the Year.
Erika Asikoye | Director of Student Support Services, SEED Maryland
Ms. Asikoye is responsible for overseeing the staff of thirteen counselors, nurses, and psychologists that deliver non-instructional support for students. Whether it’s a 104-degree fever at 3:00 am or homesickness, Mrs. Asikoye knows about it. This responsibility is a “wonderful kind of overwhelming,” and she is motivated by the knowledge that the quality of care outside of the classroom directly affects student engagement in the classroom. She is motivated, too, by the dedication of her fellow SEED staff. As a member of a team that has spanned two schools and nine years, she knows how valuable the support of the SEED community can be.
miguel rivera | founding student affairs coordinator, seed miami
Miguel Rivera knows what building a SEED school looks like. A former student life counselor at SEED Maryland during the school’s second year, Mr. Rivera developed a passion for SEED’s ability to create an environment that blurs the lines between a school and after-school program. As the Founding Student Affairs Coordinator at SEED Miami, Mr. Rivera focuses on just that. Alongside Founding Academic Affairs Coordinator Cristine O’Hara, Mr. Rivera shares responsibility for overseeing all staff—not just student life staff. This means that both Mr. Rivera and Dr. O’Hara are responsible for teacher and student life observations and professional development. It also means they have the opportunity to leverage the entire SEED Miami staff in building an aligned culture focused on student achievement and core values.
Nancy Faison | Registered Medical Assistant, SEED DC
Deborah Faison isn’t just a nurse at SEED; she is an unofficial “mother hen.” Her office is a hub of activity. In a given afternoon, Ms. Faison might counsel a sixth grade student on their transition to SEED, train a student life staff member on how to identify flu symptoms, or call a handful of parents to update them on their children’s recent cold. A constant presence in her students’ lives, Ms. Faison has developed deep and long-lasting relationships with students and parents.