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

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.


LeAngelo Emperator 

Resident School Director – Elementary


Sharonda Mann 

Director of Operations 


Marilyn Edmunds Bowser

Director of Talent 

Marilyn serves as the Director of Talent and Human Resources for DC Scholar Public Charter school in Ward 7 of Washington, DC with responsibility for the development and implementation of Talent and human resources policies and practices in support of DC Scholar’s transforming workforce. 

Marilyn’s passion lies in developing and implementing education and people programs to deal with educations most pressing problems. Through her undergraduate work in education program development and recruitment with low-income communities, as a former teacher, and  Associate Director of Recruitment for DC Prep, she have recognized the importance of transforming the educational system through the power of people.

Marilyn is a founding member of the board for Girls Global Academy an all-girls Public Charter school with a IB-service focus in Washington, DC. She also serves on The Collective alumni board of color for Teach for America. Marilyn was born and raised in the Washington, DC metro area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Paul’s College, and a master’s degree in Education from John’s Hopkins University. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband and three young children.


Jennifer Guste Leonard 

Executive Director

Jennifer Leonard joined DC Scholars as its Executive Director in July 2019.  Prior to that, she served as Executive Director DC Scholars Community Schools, the school management organization partnering with DC Scholars for 2 ½ years.  She is passionate about ensuring that students in Ward 7 have amazing educational opportunities.

Jennifer has advised and worked with leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, primarily focusing on system and policy changes to improve the lives of children, youth and families.   She brings strong management, education policy, budget experience to the team in addition to a drive for operational excellence.   Under Mayor Vincent C. Gray, she served as Interim Deputy Mayor for Education after serving as Chief of Staff and the Special Education Coordinator in that office.  She has provided consultative services on issues related to strategic and organizational planning, school health, and special education. 

Jennifer holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and an MBA, BS, and BA from Louisiana State University.  She lives in DC with her husband and three children.  She loves tennis, reading, the Redskins, and the New Orleans Saints.