Our Leadership

Our Leadership

Emily Castillo León

Founding Head of School

Mrs. Castillo León has a proven track record of transformative academic outcomes for students in district and charter schools. As the Founding Assistant Principal of KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School, Mrs. Castillo León led the humanities team to the highest scores in KIPP network history on the NWEA MAP Reading Assessment as well as students demonstrating growth in the 99th percentile on the Tennessee English I End of Course Exam. Mrs. Castillo León began her career in education as a high school English teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. As Lead English II Teacher, Mrs. Castillo León led her students, and her team, to a 92% overall pass rate on the state writing assessment, positioning her school as the third-highest achieving of 21 high schools in the district. Mrs. Castillo León then served as Manager then Director of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America where she modeled best-practices with managers and teachers and led a cohort of first-year English teachers to “significantly exceed growth” on Common Core-aligned state assessments. Prior to Founding Ethos, Mrs. Castillo León was a Fellow with the highly selective Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. Mrs. Castillo León received a B.A. in English and Communications from Wake Forest University.


Danielle Mack

Founding Director of Operations

Mrs. Mack joins the Ethos Team after an extensive career in education spanning elementary through college level scholars. From teaching both 1st and 7th graders to working on a college campus as an admissions officer, Mrs. Mack has a passion for working with students and helping them through the big transitions in their educational lives. Most recently, she has been the Founding Dean of College Counseling for five years at a highly successful charter school in Chicago, IL. During this time, she has lead a team of college counselors in ensuring that 100% of graduating seniors earned a college acceptance in to a 4 year university or college. Her work as a Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Washington University in St. Louis gave her the experience needed to guide her scholars to college and now she’s ready to support scholars in their very first years of school at Ethos Classical. Mrs. Mack recently moved to Atlanta with her husband and children to join the Ethos team. She chose Ethos because of the beautiful balance of having a rigorous curriculum with a supportive staff that cares for each and every scholar.


Shamar Knight-Justice

Founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Shamar Knight-Justice currently serves as the Founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Ethos Classical. Shamar graduated from North Carolina A&T in 2010 with a degree in Business Marketing. After graduation, he became a member of Teach For America in Charlotte, North Carolina where he taught secondary English for four years, before then moving to Washington, D.C. and becoming an elementary teacher. Shamar currently serves as the Board Chair for The Collective Atlanta, which is Teach For America’s alumni of color association, and helps create events and opportunities that strengthen the rapport between current corps members and alum of color. Shamar has also worked for Teach For America at two different training institutes for first year teachers, serving as an instructional coach for two years, and a summer school principal for three years. He is a member of the Atlanta cohort of Profound Gentlemen, which seeks to develop and retain male educators of color. In his spare time, Shamar is finishing his manuscript for a young adult fiction novel, and enjoys window-shopping with his wife at J. Crew.


Kierra Gambrell

Founding Director of Student and Family Services

Ms. Gambrell is entering her eighth year in education as the Director of Student and Family Services at Ethos Classical Charter School. She completed her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. After graduation, Ms. Gambrell joined Teach For America in Metro Atlanta where she taught high school special education for four years across all grade levels and subjects. In 2016, she graduated with her Master’s degree in Special Education from Kennesaw State University. She then went on to serve as the Lead Special Education teacher for a Fulton County charter school where she oversaw all of the special education instruction and compliance systems for students in both the sixth and seventh grades. Ms. Gambrell transitioned to KIPP Metro Atlanta in 2017 were she taught third grade writing. That year, Ms. Gambrell’s scholars achieved the first and second place title in KIPP’s national writing contests for students in grades 3-5. Currently, Ms.Gambrell is the Response to Intervention Coordinator at KIPP where she designs and implements research-based interventions for scholars who are struggling academically and behaviorally.

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