School Leaders

Nicole Bryan

Interim Head of School

Nicole Bryan is in her second year with DC Scholars serving in this role. As an educational consultant who works with school organizations to provide teacher and leadership development, program evaluation and feedback as well as strategic visioning and planning support. Nicole believes that effective teachers and leaders are the key drivers to student success and that for students to learn at the highest levels possible they need teachers and leaders who are highly equipped to meet their diverse needs. Nicole has served as a school Principal at DC Preparatory Academy, the number one Charter Management Organization in Washington DC. Under her leadership her campus earned a National Blue Ribbon award in 2013. From 2014-2017 Nicole served as Senior Director of Elementary Campuses at DC Prep where she supervised elementary school Principals across three campuses. She was instrumental in supporting those campuses to attain Tier 1 status, the highest of three tiers developed by the DC Charter Board to categorize schools based on the strength of their performance. Nicole is a Black Alliance for Educational Options Award recipient and Early Childhood CLASS certified trainer. She has completed coursework and earned certification in Early Childhood Education, Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language Education and Special Education. Nicole completed coursework for her doctorate in Educational Leadership at George Washington University (2011), holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University (2004) and an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Linguistics from Georgetown University, including coursework from the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Sao Paolo (2000).

Tanesha Dixon

Tanesha Dixon

School Director – Middle 

Tanesha Dixon, DC Scholars Public Charter School’s founding Middle School Principal, has a vision for personalized, excellent instruction for urban, public middle school in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the DC Scholars Public Charter School team, Tanesha Dixon was a principal fellow in the District of Columbia Public Schools. She is also an inaugural member of the Education Innovation Fellowship (EIF), a partnership of CityBridge Foundation and NewSchools Venture Fund. As an EIF, Tanesha spent a year exploring, designing and implementing innovations in blended and personalized learning in her classroom and school, Wheatley Educational Campus. As a result, Tanesha’s work has been highlighted in several national publications and outlets including the American Enterprise Institute Full Report on Blended Learning in DC, Digital Promise, and the Discovery Education’s Future@Now Live Digital Classroom with former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Most noteworthy, she led the Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) Breakthrough Schools team, which focused on redesigning an urban, public middle school into a Competency-based Learning Model. Prior to teaching and leading in Washington, D.C., Tanesha was both a middle and high school teacher in Gainesville, FL, where she was honored as the county’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from the University of Florida.

Jessica Hiltabidel

Jessica Hiltabidel

School Director – Elementary 

Jessica Hiltabidel, DC Scholars Elementary School Principal, has vision for school success that is based on the belief that all children are born with a natural curiosity and love of learning that must be nurtured by all educators. She began her career as an elementary school special education teacher in Baltimore City, then she served as the founding middle school math teacher and team lead as the school expanded. As a trainer of DC teachers and administrators at the Center for Inspired Teaching, Ms. Hiltabidel was featured as a presenter at national conferences including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and in the media with CCTV/CGTN where she has spoken with international audiences about the importance of the teacher as the greatest factor of influence and change in the field of education. Ms. Hiltabidel is an alumna of The Johns Hopkins University where she double majored in Biology and Psychological & Brain Sciences. She entered the teaching profession through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency and received her Master’s in Leadership and Teaching from the Notre Dame of Maryland University with a specialty in reading instruction and special education. She also served as the National President/CEO of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/ Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc., a Latina interest organization dedicated to the empowerment of women of color.


Rebeccah Brooking

Director of Academic Support 


LeAngelo Emperator 

Director of Culture and Family Engagement


Sharonda Mann 

Director of Operations 


Marilyn Edmunds Bowser

Director of Talent 


Jennifer Guste Leonard 

Executive Director