School Leaders

Jessica Rooney

School Leader

Jess Rooney is the founding school leader of People's Prep. She developed the vision for People's Prep during her time as a Newark Charter School Fund founder-in-residence, and as part of the nationally-renowned New Leaders for New Schools program. Prior to coming to school leadership, Ms. Rooney spent 4 years as a classroom Spanish teacher at New Design High School in Manhattan. Ms. Rooney holds a B.A. in Women's Studies from Smith College and an M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the City University of New York, Baruch College. When she's not working on campus with the PPCS Wolfpack, Ms. Rooney can likely be found with her Home Pack including her wife, son, and pitbull, Roda.

Keith Robinson

Assistant School Leader-in-Residence

In addition to serving as assistant school leader-in-residence, Keith Robinson teaches ninth grade mathematics at People's Prep. Mr. Robinson taught world history at Newark's Rise Academy Charter School and mathematics at I.S.195 Roberto Clemente Middle School in Harlem. In addition, he worked extensively to develop after-school programs in Harlem. Mr. Robinson holds a B.S. and an M.S. in accounting from the University of Florida, as well as an M.S. in teaching secondary math from Pace University. Mr. Robinson is committed to supporting students and their families through the hard work necessary to be successful in applying to and attending college.

Nathan Patton

Dean of Instruction

In addition to serving as Dean of Instruction, Nathan Patton teaches Ninth Grade English at People's Prep. Mr. Patton has taught English at the Isaac Young Middle School in New Rochelle, NY; the TEAM Academy Charter School in Newark; and I.S. 195 Roberto Clemente Middle School in Harlem. Mr. Patton holds a B.A. in English from Furman University and an M.S. in Teaching from Pace University. As a leader and teacher, he focuses on providing students with opportunities for improvement, iteration, and creative problem solving. He maintains high standards of success for both himself and his students to ensure that students' skills improve each year.

Tahirah Jordan Crawford

Director of the Office of College Placement

Tahirah Jordan Crawford is now in her fourth year serving People's Prep as the director of the Office of College Placement. Having been an administrator in the higher education sector for several years, she brings a wealth of knowledge in the area of college readiness to our students and families.

Dowayne Davis

Director of Finance and Operations

Dowayne Davis is in his first year as People's Prep’s director of finance and operations. He brings over six years of extensive experience in areas including instruction, school business administration, information systems management, and operations management. He holds a Bachelor's of science (B.S.) in information systems management and technology from Syracuse University and a Master's of business administration (M.B.A.), focused on operations and information systems, from Baruch College. He is currently in pursuit of a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in educational leadership with a concentration in educational technology. He is particularly interested in studying core components and factors of sustainable systems. Dowayne seeks to utilize his broad experiences in the education sector and share his passion for knowledge to support the short- and long-term mission and objectives of People’s Prep Charter School.

Alison Laycock Ruiz

Dean of Student Interventions

Before becoming the dean of student interventions, Alison Laycock Ruiz taught tenth grade English for three years at People's Prep. She began her career in education in rural Louisiana where she taught English and Spanish for two years. She earned her Master's of Education from the University of Notre Dame and studied English and Spanish there as an undergraduate as well. Ms. Laycock Ruiz is committed to doing whatever it takes to prepare all of our students to graduate from the college of their choice.

Tula Richards-Gift

Underclassman Dean

Tula Richards-Gift is People's Prep's first Underclassman Dean. Prior to joining the Wolfpack, Mrs. Gift worked as an English, Reading, and Speech teacher at Catherine McAuley H.S., at Achievement First University Prep in Brooklyn, New York, and at Marion P. Thomas Charter H.S. in Newark, NJ. Mrs. Gift earned a B.A. in English Education at St. Francis College, an M.S. Ed. in Literacy at Brooklyn College, and an M.S. Ed. in School Building Leadership at St. John's University. When she is not at work, Mrs. Gift enjoys spending quality time with her family.