Cassandra S. Pinkney, M.Ed.
Cassandra S. Pinkney has over thirty years of experience in the field of education. She began as an educational aid with the Prince George’s County Public School System and was then hired by the DC Public School System as a pre-school instructor, as part of their Head Start Program. Realizing that there were students whose needs were not being adequately met by the existing education system, she decided to take a different approach. In order to affect her student’s educational outcomes, she first had to continue her own education to better serve students, particularly ones with special needs. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Early Childhood, Special Education, and Human Development from George Washington University.
Mrs. Pinkney began working as an Education Coordinator at the D.C. Parent Child Center. In her role, she was responsible for monitoring and evaluating teacher performance, providing training for educational staff, and serving as liaison to the Executive Director. After two years away she returned to teaching, working with Dr. Rosa Trapp-Dukes in the classroom as lead teacher with infants and toddlers with special needs.
Constantly looking for opportunities to enhance her skills as an educator, Mrs. Pinkney began a tour of duty at Howard University Hospital. Over the next six years, she ran educational advocacy seminars and parenting classes for young mothers and fathers. While there she worked closely with Davene M. White, Head of the Nursing, Maternal, and Child Health Departments, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Mrs. Pinkney implemented the Brazelton Neonatal assessment, focusing on comforting infants withdrawing from congenital drug addiction. She continued her advocacy role for a non-profit organization working with adjudicated and non-adjudicated youth for the next 10 years, only to return to Howard University Hospital, in a partnership with Johns Hopkins University, to work with mothers, infants, and young children as part of a joint study on the effects of asthma.
Following the conclusion of the study, Mrs. Pinkney decided to re-enter the DC Public School System, after a former supervisor and colleague from her days in the Head Start Program endorsed her to become the District’s Early Childhood and Special Education Coordinator. She took the position with the intent of doing all she could to ensure that the District’s young children with special needs would receive the best possible attention and education, including timely assessments and support services. After three years of working within the existing system and feeling no nearer to her objective, Pinkney decided to open Eagle Academy Public Charter School.
Joe M. Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Joe M. Smith has worked in education for over 30 years. He earned his Doctorate in Philosophy from the Union Institute and University, and his Master of Arts degree from Rowan University. He served as a professor of education at the Trenton State College of New Jersey, where he developed and was awarded over $22 million in grants and contracts. Dr. Smith also worked as the graduate advisor to the Master of Arts in Teaching and the Secondary School Principals programs. During his tenure he managed a number of large grants, for the Teacher Corps, Project BUILD (redevelopment of urban high schools), and Alternative Route to Teaching.
Dr. Smith’s research has been published in Educational Leadership, the Peabody Journal of Education, and Phi Delta Kappa.
Dr. Smith went on to work as an educational consultant utilizing his research and skills to enhance instructional methods and partnered with 27 school districts and a number of corporations including the Johnson and Johnson Medical Division, GPU Nuclear, Mercer Community College, Chem-Fleur, and New Jersey Bank. He has been interviewed on his methods, and to discuss the impact of his research on the field of education on national news broadcasts, and the New York Times among others.
Deputy Chief Operating Officer
Mayra Martínez-Fernández is a highly accomplished and dynamic professional with over 20 years of senior level experience in education, public policy and government relations in the government, nonprofit and private sectors. Mayra has a unique skill set combining keen strategic thinking and problem-solving; political and policy acumen; honed analytical skills; deep understanding of public policy; expertise in local, state and federal government affairs; extensive school administration and community relations experience; exceptional multicultural sensitivity; and outstanding communication abilities in both Spanish and English.
Mayra currently serves as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Eagle Academy Public Charter School, a high-performing early childhood school in Washington, DC. For the past three years, she has been a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting the school. Before working in the education field, Mayra held senior positions in the private sector for eight years at the number one lobbying firm in Washington, DC, Patton Boggs LLP; and in the federal government sector for eight years at the Clinton White House. Mayra has also worked as a government and community relations consultant for a Member of Congress and a Governor.
Before coming to Washington DC, Mayra held senior positions in Chicago, Illinois at the premiere Midwest Hispanic think tank, Latino Institute, and at the Center for Community and Leadership Development, a community-based organization serving the Latino community. Mayra was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayra obtained a Master of Arts at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a Certificate in Legislative Studies at Georgetown University.
Trenice Jett-Jones, M.A.T. Special Education
Director, Special Education
Ms. Trenice Jett-Jones joined Eagle Academy in 2003, as a teacher and Special Education Coordinator. Now into her tenth year with the school, Ms. Jett-Jones has developed the Special Education department into one of the most comprehensive in the district, working with all types of students. Currently, Eagle serves students with various exceptionalities, including, but not limited to, developmental delays, autism, Speech-language impairment, and multiple other disabilities. The success of the students is due to the methods which the Special Education team provides support services. Students are afforded the opportunity to participate in the general education classrooms as well as receive support outside the classroom. She has also served as an administrator twice, leading Eagle Academy as Acting Principal. Ms. Jett-Jones came to Eagle after six years in the Prince George’s County and DC Public School systems before taking over as head of the Special Education Department.
Passionate and resourceful, Trenice has proven the ability to generate, monitor and preserve a safe learning environment that is flexible and accommodating in design and implementation. A dedicated child advocate with a solid focus on the individual needs of any student with different exceptionalities. Trenice is an asset both to Eagle as an organization, and most importantly, to every student who comes through our doors. She has a Masters in Teaching, Special Education, from Trinity University in Washington, D.C., and a B.S. in Physical Education from Morgan State University, in Baltimore. Ms. Jett-Jones and her team work tirelessly to identify and create effective alternative educational solutions for our students who need them. Learning can then be optimized for that individual, reaching children in a way that resonates with their learning style and capabilities.