Navigate STL Schools is made possible through the following staff, parent navigators, and board members.
Anna-Stacia Allen - Executive Director
Originally from Toledo, Ohio and a graduate of The Ohio State University Anna-Stacia has spent her career working in non-profit and education-based organizations. She returns back to the St.Louis area extremely passionate about helping to provide equitable access to education for all families.
Mayra Garcia Hernandez - Director of Family and School Support
An educator and a parent, she started her career here in Saint Louis as part of Teach For America. Mayra taught biology for 4 years at Saint Louis Public Schools and served in many different roles outside of the classroom. Originally from Mexico, Mayra grew up in Madison, WI, and Corvallis, OR. She holds a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis and a B.S. in Biology from Truman State University. Mayra believes deeply is very passionate about making sure that all families regardless of race, economic status, or scholastic ability can find and access a school that enables each child to thrive
Caressa Davis - Marketing and Community Outreach Manager
A St. Louis native and a graduate of Hampton University, Caressa has enjoyed a vast career as a communications professional, working in sales, resource development, and marketing roles for St. Louis-based nonprofits and arts organizations. She has a passion for seeing the St. Louis region uplifted and volunteers with serval community organizations to further serve her passions.
Maria Pintor - School Navigator, Bilingual (Spanish)
Maria is currently a student at Webster University pursuing a career in education. She is originally from Mexico but grew up in St. Louis. Maria has experience translating for families all over St. Louis. Overall Maria believes that education is one of the most important factors in child's life. She’s excited to provide families with accessible information to get their child in a school best suited for them.
Carmen Ward - School Navigator, Special Education & IEP
Carmen is a native of St. Louis and lives in the heart of the city. Carmen is a product of the public school system but graduated from an alternative high school in Macomb, Illinois, and has gone on to receive a Double Bachelor Degree from Western Illinois University in Sociology and Law Enforcement. Carmen always believed that she was supposed to be doing something to shift the paradigm of her community and began advocating for her son and access for children when he was diagnosed with Autism in 2008. Since then Carmen has traveled to State and National forums advocating for parents and students. She is firmly rooted at the intersection of community, people, and policy, and is dedicated to shifting the trajectory of her community.
Darion Robinson - School Navigator, Generalist
Darion Robinson was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He has worked in various family and community engagement roles in schools across St. Louis, and has been dedicated to ensuring community access to support through his work with various nonprofits. Darion is passionate about education and finding innovative ways to improve communities; and he is really excited to continue his impact in the community.
Dr. Renee Racette - President
Dr. Renee Racette is a lifetime-certified chemistry, biology, and mathematics teacher in addition to holding a lifetime principal's certification in the state of Missouri. She holds a Masters in Secondary Administration and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, both from UMSL. She spent 13 years in the St. Louis Public Schools in a variety of roles from chemistry teacher to school leader. She currently works as the Director of Research, Evaluation, and Strategic Learning at Rung for Women. Renee believes deeply in the mission of Navigate STL Schools and is keenly aware of how hard it is for families to navigate the complex landscape of school options in St. Louis. She aims to build an organization that the community can trust as THE source of unbiased and unfiltered truth about all schools in the St. Louis region while also pushing, alongside other stakeholders, to tear down the oppressive and racist systems that continue to plague our region, more specifically our schools.
Matthew Christian - Treasurer
Marcus has spent the last 25 years doing transformational work for young people from Kindergarten through College. A St. Louis Native, Marcus brings a long history of getting great outcomes in both public and private schools. As a leader in a high poverty setting serving more than two thousand students, Marcus won the prestigious Blue Ribbon Schools Award, based on the ability of his students to consistently surpass the state average on state exams and the national average on the SAT. After 20 years as a school teacher and administrator, Marcus became the first CEO of the Memphis Education Fund, a $240 million effort to transform the lowest-performing schools in West Tennessee. He has completed the Aspen Institute-Pahara Education fellowship, and he holds a Bachelor’s Degree from DePauw University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Butler University. He has earned a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and a Certificate in Executive Coaching from Columbia University, where he is currently a doctoral candidate.
Dr. Sam Smith is a passionate advocate for educational equity and has enjoyed a career in education for the past fifteen years. She has served as an English teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal in the St. Louis Public and Maplewood Richmond Heights school districts. She earned her BS in Secondary English Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2005), MA in Educational Leadership from Maryville University (2009), and EdD in Education Administration from Maryville University (2017). She holds career certifications in 9-12 English and K-12 Reading, as well as initial 9-12 Principal and K-12 Superintendent certifications. Dr. Smith has spent over a decade coaching high school policy debate, sending students to national competition three years in a row. She serves on regional AdvancED school accreditation teams annually and enjoys reading, cooking, and exploring St. Louis. Dr. Smith currently works as an Assistant Principal at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District.
If you have any questions about our team at Navigate STL Schools please contact us today.