The GCSA professional staff is dedicated to serving our member schools and expanding public school choice in Georgia. We offer customized consulting services, discount programs, and a wide variety of training programs for petitioners, established school leaders, and aspiring school leaders. Through advocacy, communication and education, our aim is to help launch and sustain high quality charter schools that can change childrens’ lives.
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Chief Executive Officer
Tony has significant experience in the areas of associational and nonprofit management, resource development, advocacy, and government relations. His first experience in the field of charter schools came while serving as Vice President of Development for Texans CAN! Academies based in Dallas, Texas. At Texans CAN!, he was responsible for raising awareness and support for ten charter high schools, serving 7,000 at-risk youth annually in five major Texas cities.
He previously served as the Executive Director of Camp Fire USA, a children and youth development agency located in Dallas, TX. He has also served as Vice President of Development for Evergreen Foundation, where he was in charge of all fund-raising, board development, marketing and public relations. Prior to this, he served as CEO for Sertoma Center, Inc., an agency serving persons with disabilities in Knoxville, Tennessee. Additionally, he served as the CEO of a local affiliate of the National Home Builders Association in the Greater Knoxville, Tennessee area.
Tony has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 1986. He was a founding and charter member of the Smoky Mountain Chapter of AFP in Tennessee. He is also a member of the American Society of Association Executives.
A native Tennessean, Tony earned the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
Tony and his wife Cindy live in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Executive Vice President
Andrew has been in the charter public school sector since 2002, first as a 6th and 7th grade Social Studies and lead teacher at an Atlanta area charter school. In 2005, Andrew became the Communications and Development Director for Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA).
While at GCSA, Andrew has presented on charter school advocacy at the 2006 and 2011 National Charter Schools Conferences, worked as the 2nd Lead in the review of six charter school petitioning groups for the City of New Orleans on behalf of The Louisiana Department of Education and The National Association of Charter School Authorizers in 2008, served as a reviewer of federal grant applications by seven State Education Agencies on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education in 2011, served on the National Alliance for Public Charter School’s Communications Committee, and served on the National Alliance’s Annual Charter Schools Conference Planning Committee in 2006 .
Andrew has played a significant role in the passage of several charter school related pieces of legislation including House Bill 881, allowing for a statewide alternative authorizer of charter public schools.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Alabama. Andrew lives in Decatur, where he and he his wife Alisa are the proud parents of two young children, Ansel and Analisa.
Vice President, School Services
Elisa Falcó joined the Georgia Charter Schools Association in January 2011, after serving GCSA as a consultant to develop and implement quality initiatives.
Elisa is the former principal of Tech High School in Atlanta. While serving as principal of Tech High for four years, she led the school’s charter renewal effort, which resulted in a new five-year agreement with the Atlanta Public Schools. Additionally, she directed Tech High through the rigorous Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Council of Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS-CASI) accreditation process, leading to a five-year accreditation for the school. In 2009, Falcó served on the Governor’s Teacher Effectiveness Committee that helped develop the Race-to-the-Top grant.
Prior to working at Tech High, Elisa worked as a high school Spanish teacher, and in the private sector as a program coordinator and systems analyst.
Elisa earned a Bachelor’s degree (1993, Spanish Language and Literature) from Georgia State University, a teaching certification from Chapman University (1999, Santa Maria, CA), and a Master’s degree in education and business administration from Arizona State University (2006), where she participated in the Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs (LEE) Program. The LEE program was designed to prepare educators and/or members of the business community for charter school leadership. The LEE program was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation.
Elisa is looking forward to serving GCSA, where she will work to increase the quality of charter schools in the state of Georgia.
A resident of Atlanta, Elisa enjoys living in town with her daughter who attended a high quality charter school and is now at Grady High School.
Executive Director, New Schools for Georgia
Allen Mueller comes to GCSA from Atlanta Public Schools where he was the Executive Director of APS’ Office of Innovation. There he was responsible for designing and guiding the district’s charter school authorizing process, monitoring and supporting district charter schools and developing charter strategy and policy for the district. Prior to his work as an authorizer, Allen worked with boards to open new charter schools in Colorado, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, and Illinois. Allen has led charter authorization processes in New Jersey, Louisiana and Tennessee, among other states. He has a Master’s degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University and is ABD from University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Pamela Hankerson comes to GCSA from Raleigh, North Carolina where she was previously CFO and Controller for the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities, and a Senior Accountant for Wake Health Services.
Pamela’s depth of experience with nonprofits, including accounting work with a charter school, makes her an excellent fit at GCSA. Pamela arrives at a critical moment in our history, as we manage our own rapid organizational growth and the addition of new staff. She will not only oversee our own accounting systems, but will be helping us develop a full featured Back Office Accounting program that we hope to make available to GCSA member schools.
Administrative Assistant & Business Manager
Jeniffer received her certificate in Secretarial Studies from Katharine Gibbs School in New York. Before joining GCSA, Jeniffer was the Administrative Assistant and Parent Coordinator at the Academy of Lithonia. Prior to that, she worked in several industries, ranging from investment banking, Mutual Funds to property management.
Jeniffer splits her free time by volunteering with her community, church and the high school her daughter attends. She is the proud parent of Cory and Christina.
Director of Communications
Nina Rubin joined GCSA in 2008 after holding positions as Associate Director of Marketing at Jewish Family & Career Services and Director of Media Relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Before moving to Atlanta, Nina spent 10 years on the creative side of the New York ad agency world creating print, tv and radio advertising for such well known brands as Hefty, Pedigree Foods, Good Seasons, Bufferin, Bolla Wines, and Colgate. As a freelance writer Nina spent 15 years handling her own clients. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, and The Forward.
Nina earned a Bachelors degree in Urban Studies at SUNY Purchase, and has done graduate work in Fundraising and Development.
Nina is the mother of Sam, a graduate student in Public Policy, and Gabriel, recent graduate of The George Washington University. She loves living in Intown Atlanta and is active in TEDxCentennial Park women.
Director of Membership & Member Business Services
Rena joins GCSA after four years as an Educational Consultant with Paxton/Patterson. She covered four states with a focused curriculum serving various areas of Career Technical Education. Before that, she worked 12 years with a human resources, payroll and tax filing company followed by a couple of years as a stay at home mom volunteering countless hours at her son’s schools.
Rena graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BA in English and minor in Communications
Rena and her husband Steve have lived in the Atlanta area for over 20 years and are the parents of Chris and Michael. Her favorite pastimes, aside from children’s concerts and games, are reading and going to the movies.
Director of Teacher Quality and Development
Juli spent the first part of her career as a middle and high school science and technology teacher in public education, including the charter community. She transitioned into administration as the Federal Programs Coordinator and Professional Learning Coordinator at a local charter school in Statesboro, Georgia. She earned a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Ohio University (1999), an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University (2010), and a doctorate in Educational Administration also at Georgia Southern University (2013). She is focused on educational reform to train and ensure highly effective teaching and learning. Juli developed a non-traditional teacher preparation and certification program that is charter-specific approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission in 2011. This certification program is the only program of its kind in the nation. Juli’s professional goals are focused on research, innovation, and scholarship as she continues to grow professionally in an effort to positively impact education.
Juli and her husband, a Georgia Southern University Biology Professor, reside in Statesboro, Georgia. She enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and her new dog Wallace.
Director of Leadership and New School Development
Waynica Staples is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and has been in the educational arena for more than 15 years. She is a passionate reformer and believes that all students can achieve and succeed if given the right tools.
Director of Outreach
Originally from Columbus, OH, RaShaun received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wright State University and Masters in Educational Leadership from Capella University. Prior to joining GCSA, Rashaun was the Grassroots Manager at the Center for an Educated Georgia where he worked to increase quality educational options across the State of Georgia.
He spent five years as the Principal of Focus Learning Academy East in Columbus, Ohio, a dropout prevention charter school. During his time at Focus Learning Academy East, RaShaun and his students had to work hard for the school choice movement in Ohio alongside other charter schools and charter school advocates. Focus Learning Academy East saw tremendous success in enrollment growth, increased graduates, community involvement and academic success while under RaShaun’s leadership.
RaShaun has diverse career experience in education having worked for both public and charter schools. Prior to joining Focus East as a Vocational Director and ultimately Principal, he was a content editor for McGraw-Hill.
RaShaun lives in Decatur and enjoys hanging out with his son Jaden, both of whom are avid Ohio State Buckeyes fans.
Performance Management Administrator
Jhanelle joins GCSA as our Performance Management Administrator after interning with GCSA for two years. She has devoted her time to data support and analysis, focused on trends in the charter landscape. She is our in-house resource on school accountability measures (CCRPI, BTO, Value-Add) and other school improvement initiatives.
Jhanelle is passionate about school improvement and facilitating turnaround for Georgia’s lowest performing schools, as well as policy analysis. Jhanelle graduated from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University with a Master of Public Policy degree. She also holds a BS in Economics and International Affairs and a minor in Law, Science, and Technology from Georgia Tech.
She loves living in Marietta, with her fiance Phillip and spending time with friends.
GaTAPP Program Specialist, Teacher Support
Jamie Thorpe joins the GCSA School Services team to grow our GaTAPP teacher preparation and certification programs. She will develop and implement blended learning training for candidates, monitor their progress, and support them as they transition through the program. Jamie is an educator with 13 years of elementary school teaching experience in diverse environments, including traditional public schools, independent schools, and charters schools. She has provided instruction using the International Baccalaureate model, as well as Expeditionary Learning models, and is skilled in the Responsive Classroom method. She earned her M.A. in Early Childhood Education at Clark Atlanta University.
Jamie and her husband Thorston, an IT Consultant reside in Atlanta, Georgia. Jamie enjoys endurance cycling, traveling, and reading.