Abby (Ramirez) Andrietsch
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Prior to launching Schools That Can Milwaukee in 2010, Abby Andrietsch was Vice President of Finance & Administration for INCOVA Technologies, Inc. (ITI), a subsidiary of HUSCO International. Involved with HUSCO since joining the Board of Directors in 2003, she formally joined the company in 2008 to lead the Finance and HR functions for ITI. Before joining HUSCO/ITI, Abby worked as the Director of Policy and Programs at the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund in San Francisco. Her role at the Fisher Fund included managing policy and political relationships for the foundation (including the California State Board of Education, EdVoice, and the California Charter School Association) and strategic investing with the foundation’s partner organizations. While attending business school, Abby worked as a Summer Associate at the Broad Foundation, working on an investment in Vision 2015, an innovative effort to develop a world-class public education system in Delaware. Prior to business school, Abby worked as an investment banking analyst at Robert W. Baird & Company in Chicago, focusing on Industrial M&A and Equity transactions.
Abby has a B.S. in Commerce with a concentration in Finance from the University of Virginia, and both a M.B.A. and a M.A. in Education from Stanford University. She resides in Milwaukee and is a member of TEMPO Milwaukee, Alverno College’s Board of Trustees, and the UCC Education Committee.
Neil Codell served for more than 34 years as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools. He began his teaching career in Rome, Italy, followed by his work in the Chicago Public Schools as a special education teacher of children with severe social/emotional needs. He then served as principal in Waukegan, Illinois at an elementary school that was the bilingual, special education, and gifted center for the district. Neil’s continued path took him to middle and high school principalships, including Whitefish Bay High School, eventually finishing his career as Superintendent of Niles Township Schools in Skokie, Illinois. The community’s diversity – evidenced by the more than 60 languages and nations represented by students and their families – was a major factor in Neil’s work to develop programs that ensured every student had full advocacy regardless of socioeconomic status. Neil worked collaboratively with staff members to develop the Individual Learning Plan (ILP), dedicated to emphasizing each student’s unique strengths and needs to formulate support systems and programs that insure success. Each ILP is developed as part of an invaluable partnership including the student, parents, and school. Neil’s philosophy asserts inclusion, is invitational, celebrates success, and fully endorses individual advocacy for each and every student. Neil’s personal ILP is enhanced, endorsed, and developed in unison with his wife Carrie, a professional educator, and his children, Camille and Bryce.
Before joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Isral DeBruin taught upper elementary students at La Causa Charter School, initially as a Teach For America corps member and later as an after-school tutor and long-term substitute. He remains actively involved with the school as a volunteer. Before joining Teach For America, Isral was an award-winning education reporter covering suburban school districts for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s NOW Newspapers.
Isral has a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University. He is also a licensed educator. Isral lives with his wife, Joanna, in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.
Leni Dietrich came to Schools That Can Milwaukee from the Greendale School District in southeastern Wisconsin, where she was the principal of Highland View School and director of the Time 4 Learning Charter School, the district’s 4K program. While in Greendale, Leni planned and implemented the district’s Elementary Spanish Program and developed a partnership with the University of Wisconsin system where students could be dually enrolled at the university and high school levels for Spanish. She began her career teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools Bilingual Program and is pleased to return to urban education.
Leni received her B.S. in Education, as well as her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Second Language Acquisition, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She completed the Administrative Leadership Licensure Program at Alverno College and continues to take classes with regard to best practices in education. Leni and her husband Jeff have two adult children and live in the Milwaukee area.
William H. Hughes has worked in education for 35 years as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools. He left the Greendale School District to join Schools That Can Milwaukee after 16 years leading Greendale to recognition as one of the highest performing districts in the Milwaukee area. Greendale is ranked as one of Milwaukee’s Top-Tier School Districts and is known for high student achievement, inclusive schools, and engagement, and consistently has student achievement beyond what community demographics predict. Bill also serves as Director of the School and Instructional Leadership Program and is a member of the Alverno College faculty.
Prior to joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Mark Ketterhagen served as Vice-Principal at Messmer High School. In his time at Messmer, Mark also worked as Director of Standards and Assessment and as an English teacher. While serving in these various roles, Mark supervised the implementation of a data-driven instruction initiative designed to increase students’ college readiness and raise ACT scores. Under Mark’s leadership, Messmer High School made dramatic gains in ACT scores. Mark also provided instructional support and professional development opportunities for teachers and was awarded with the distinction of 2007-2008 Educator of the Year. Prior to starting his urban teaching career, Mark taught English in Japan for one year.
Mark graduated from the Ohio State University with a B.A. in English. In spring 2012, Mark also completed his M.Ed. in Educational Policy & Leadership from Marquette University. Mark spends his free time playing ice hockey and traveling with his wife Sarah. They have visited more than 30 countries worldwide.
April Knox joined Schools That Can Milwaukee from Uplift Education, where she planned and managed the opening of three new schools in Fort Worth, Texas. Before working at Uplift, April was the Regional Vice-President, Midwest Region with Lighthouse Academies, Inc., where she managed the instructional and operational programs and coached school Principals in Illinois and Wisconsin.
April has a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from Drake University, a M.S. in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University, and a M.S. in School Leadership from National Louis University. She is the mother to amazing five-year-old twins.
Prior to co-founding Schools That Can Milwaukee, Kole Knueppel was the Director for Wisconsin Lutheran’s Center for Urban Teaching, training future teachers and school leaders to be successful in Milwaukee’s urban schools. Before joining the Center for Urban Teaching in July 2008, Kole served as superintendent from 2004 to 2008 at HOPE Christian Schools, a dynamic and aggressive growth-oriented urban school network based on outstanding student academic performance and behavioral transformation. Kole led the expansion of HOPE from one campus with 50 students in 2004 to three campuses and more than 500 students in 2008. From 2001 to 2004 Kole led the revitalization of St. Marcus School from a low-performing urban school into a high-performing nationally-recognized model for faith-based urban education.
Kole has a B.S. in English with a Secondary Education Certificate from Wisconsin Lutheran, a M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently working to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In his spare time, he is a college football official and is a member of the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Hall of Fame. Kole is committed to community renewal and lives in the Harambee neighborhood with his wife, Anna, daughter, Sophia, and son, Atticus.
Paul Knueppel retired in the spring of 2005 after 41 years in education, 23 of them spent serving as an instructor and guidance counselor of grades 7-12 in Montana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Paul taught for nine years on or adjacent to the Ft. Peck and Blackfoot Indian Reservations in Montana, and mentored and coached several current tribal leaders. Paul then served for 18 years at Wisconsin Lutheran College, eight as Athletic Director and 12 as Vice President for student services. Paul also was a long-time high school and college basketball coach, and served as the Executive Secretary of the 20 team Midwest Classic Conference for 15 years. After retiring, he was asked to act as Commissioner of the Northern Athletics Conference, which is made up of 12 private colleges. He has spent the last four years serving as a leadership mentor at HOPE Prima (2006-2008) and HOPE High School (2006-2010), supporting dramatic improvements at both campuses.
Paul is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse with a Masters degree from Northern Colorado College, Greeley.
Before she joined Schools That Can Milwaukee, Elizabeth Lavelle served a two-year AmeriCorps stint with City Year. Starting with City Year Rhode Island as a school-based team leader, Elizabeth led a team of seven AmeriCorps volunteers providing classroom assistance, mentoring, and after-school programming to Providence middle school students. Elizabeth’s passion for improving the quality of education led her to join the start-up team for City Year Milwaukee, supporting the development of school and community partnerships. She has also become well-connected with the Milwaukee educational community through outreach support for the Milwaukee Public Library and coaching for the Marquette University crew team.
Elizabeth is a graduate of Wittenberg University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Developmental Psychology.
Prior to moving to Milwaukee and joining the Schools That Can Milwaukee Team, Melissa McGonegle spent a decade working in urban education in San Jose, California. Most recently, Melissa worked for five years in the Rocketship Education charter school network as a Teacher, Academic Dean, Founding Principal, Regional Director of Schools, and finally as Bay Area Regional Vice President. Melissa founded Rocketship’s second school, Si Se Puede, which was the highest performing new school in California in the 2009-2010 school year. She went on to help the network grow from 2 to 7 schools, and realize the distinction of being the highest performing low-income elementary school system in California in 2011-2012. While at Rocketship, Melissa helped to build out systems for teacher hiring and coaching, leadership development, school culture and evaluation, and school leader development and evaluation. Before Rocketship, Melissa taught in the Alum Rock School District for five years, initially as a Teach for America corps member.
Melissa has a B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and has earned her multiple subject teaching and administrative credentials.
Susan has been involved in urban education in the City of Milwaukee for more than 12 years. Before joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Susan was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Catholic East Elementary and St. Anthony School in Milwaukee. In her roles at Catholic East and St. Anthony, Susan greatly improved student achievement through instructional coaching, professional development, curriculum revision, and staff leadership development. Prior to her instructional leadership roles, Susan taught middle school English as well as 4th and 1st grades.
Susan has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Secondary Education Certificate from Cardinal Stritch University and will complete her Masters in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in May, 2014. Susan and her husband, Tyler, have two daughters, Nora and Natalie, and live on the East Side of Milwaukee.
Prior to joining Schools That Can Milwaukee, Allison Wagner was the Managing Director of the New Leaders Chicago program. At New Leaders, Allison was responsible for the recruitment, admissions, training, and support of more than 160 Chicago school leaders. Allison managed a team responsible for the New Leaders Chicago pipeline through the Emerging Leaders Program, and the recruitment and selection of top educators across the country. Allison also led the New Leaders program through the Chicago Leadership Collaborative process, ensuring the opportunity to double the program for Chicago Public Schools. Before joining New Leaders, Allison worked on the assessment and education teams for the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. Her clients included the Ohio Department of Education, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Allison has a B.S. in Elementary Education and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also earned her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Allison and her husband were thrilled to return to Milwaukee to raise their two children, William and Kathryn, and to ensure educational opportunities for the youth of Milwaukee.