Dr. Kelly Gunn
Executive Director

Dr. Gunn has nearly two decades of experience teaching, leading, and coaching, as well as in conducting urban educational research, all in pursuit of improving learning experiences for all children. Her journey began as a middle school teacher and she has held a variety of roles in academia and with KIPP, Atlanta Public Schools and AdvancED. She initially joined Kindezi as a board member in 2015, but stepped down to serve as a leader coach. She earned her BA in English Education from Tennessee State University, her M.Ed and Ed.S from Louisiana State University and her Ed.D from the University of Cincinnati. Both of her sons are students at Kindezi O4W.

Kimberly Green
Chief Operating Officer

Ms. Green has an administrative, accounting and operations background and previously worked at accounting firms and the Irish Consulate. She joined the Kindezi administrative team in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s of arts degree in political science and economics from Prairie View A&M University. Her family is one of the founding families of Kindezi and all three of her children have attended Kindezi West.

Tricia Farquharson
Chief of Academic Programming

Ms. Farquharson joined Kindezi in 2016. Previously, she worked with the District of Columbia Public Schools as a Program Manager in the Office of Special Education. She managed a team of specialists to support the schools and parents with IEP development, eligibility determination, graduation, location determination, attendance, and truancy. In addition to leadership within the district, she served as Operations Director for an outpatient mental health clinic in Maryland where she built operational systems and procedures to improve service delivery. Ms. Farquharson received her undergraduate degree in History/Secondary Education from Columbia Union College, and her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University.

Drew Waddell
Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Waddell joined the Kindezi in 2017. He has a background in operations management and strategy and previously worked at McMaster-Carr and OnePath. Mr. Waddell holds an undergraduate degree in History from Davidson College and received an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Two of his three daughters are current students at Kindezi Old Fourth Ward.

Shannon Echols
Sr. Director of Special Projects

Mrs. Echols joined Kindezi as a founding elementary school teacher in 2010. Since then, she has proudly served as a Middle School teacher, Instructional Coach, After School Coordinator, and Assistant Principal. Mrs. Echols is a proud mother of two boys, one of whom attended Kindezi West.

Heidi Williams-Cooper
Sr. Director of Culture & Socio-Emotional Learning

Ms. Williams-Cooper joined Kindezi in the 2015-2016 school year as a founding kindergarten math and science teacher at Kindezi Old Fourth Ward. Additionally, she served as the Kindergarten Chairperson, Gardening Coordinator, and assisted in writing curriculum. In 2016, Ms. Williams-Cooper became the Assistant Principal overseeing grades K-1. Prior to Kindezi, Ms. William-Cooper taught in the City Schools of Decatur for six years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Administration from Beulah Heights University.

Devon Hagos
Director of Talent

Mrs. Hagos joined Kindezi West Lake as a teacher in the 2014-2015 school year and served as an elementary teacher, a Drama teacher, debate team coach, and director of whole school productions, before developing and leading the Specials and Studios program. She currently supports Kindezi recruitment, credentialing, and other talent functions. A graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Mrs. Hagos holds a B.A. degree in Theatre from the University of Southern California and a MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University.

Chiquita Parks, SHRM-CP
Director of Human Resources

Ms. Parks joined Kindezi in 2015 as the founding Operations Manager at Old Fourth Ward. She has a background in business operations and youth and sports programming. In 2017, Ms. Parks transitioned to Director of Human Resources. She holds an undergraduate degree in management from the University of Mississippi and a masters degree in management from Central Michigan University.

Elizabeth Talaska
Director of Development

Ms. Talaska joined Kindezi in 2013 after working previously as a project manager in the financial publishing field. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College. Though her dog would benefit greatly from a small, nurturing Kindezi class, he is unfortunately ineligible to attend.