Meet Zack Tripp

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, FL

What University do you attend? Undergrad/Grad?

I just finished at my undergrad at Tufts University a few months ago, and I will be starting a Master’s program at Vanderbilt in the fall (which will lead to a teacher certification).

Why did you choose DCPS?

I’m interested in teaching in a city (possibly D.C.) after I get my certification. Also I wanted to know what central office work entailed, particularly in D.C since I have learned a fair amount about the recent history of DCPS in my classes.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Hiking, ping pong, music, etc.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Why?

I would be a red panda, because why would you not want to be a red panda?

Meet Tithi Patel


Hometown: Lawrenceville, NJ

What University do you attend? Undergrad/Grad?

I am a rising junior at Georgetown University, studying International Economics and Arabic.

Why did you choose DCPS?

Through my own public school experience, I became passionate about education and have actively pursued different avenues to learn more about the many issues that the field faces. Interning at DCPS was the perfect opportunity to not only work for an innovative district, but it also gave me a chance to learn more about the city in which I now live and study. In particular, as a student from a low-income background and a first-generation American, it is interesting to learn about the efforts being made in targeting specific demographics to help close the achievement gap that is the result of decades of systematic inequity.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I like to spend time with my friends, travel to different places, and experience new things. I eat often, nap more than I should, and watch sports so that I can yell at my TV.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Why?

At this point in my life, I’d like to be an ostrich. They’re so strange and there are some really funny YouTube videos involving ostriches, so at least I know I’d always keep myself entertained.

Nancy Washington: New UELIP Coordinator

By: Nicholas Kram Mendelsohn


Last week I sat down to chat with Nancy Washington, the new program manager of the Urban Education Leadership Internship Program (UELIP), to discuss her career and her hopes for the direction of the UELIP program. Ms. Washington attended the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass) where she studied psychology. While at UMass, Ms. Washington participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, which inspired her desire to improve the lives of children. In her words, “I came to school with no idea what I wanted to do, but discovered a real appreciation of psychology and desire to help young people. After college, I continued my education by pursing a Master’s in Special Education and Teaching from Queen’s College in New York.”

Following school, Ms. Washington knew that she wanted to teach, so she took her talents to the New York City public school system and taught special education. She taught high school and middle school students for five years before deciding that she could be a more effective agent of change in an administrative role. Following this decision, she moved to Washington D.C., and began working with Urban Alliance, an organization that “empowers under-resourced youth to aspire, work, and succeed.”

Ms. Washington described this position as an amazing experience, and noted that she felt “joy…watching the students of the Urban Alliance program develop incredible professional skills before even stepping foot in college.” She added, “I actually see some of my former Urban Alliance interns passing our office every day on their way to their internships, and love to see them continuing in their professional development.” Ms. Washington then became the Director of Alumni Services for Urban Alliance, where she worked hard to increase the number of scholarships and grants accessible to Urban Alliance alumni participants.

She recently joined DCPS as the School District Internship Coordinator. “This has been a great experience, and it’s only been a few weeks,” Ms. Washington said. When asked about what she enjoyed about the 2016 UELIP Summer Cohort, Ms. Washington said, “I just love seeing how professional you all are. You all hold yourselves with such poise, and are doing such exciting important work.” In response to how she would like to see the UELIP program develop in the future, Ms. Washington responded, “I hope to see some resources and initiatives created to increase the demographic pool of young people passionate about education to have access to this unique and important internship experience”

Ms. Washington’s dedication to improving the UELIP program was clear throughout the interview, with Ms. Washington frequently taking time to ask questions about how I was personally enjoying the UELIP program and what I would want to see improved. “I want to hear from you all,” she said. “It’s important for me to have as many conversations with UELIPs as possible, because you all have the best understanding of what works and what can be improved in the program.” Ms. Washington’s passion for improving the lives of children was evident throughout, and I was honored to have the chance to chat with her. We are all happy to welcome Ms. Washington to DCPS, and cannot wait to see the direction the UELIP experience takes under her stewardship.

A Day in the Life, 8/4/2016

“I am the Communications and Community Outreach Intern for the Out of School Time Programs (OSTP) team. I run the team’s Twitter profile with the intent to emphasis the positive impact of afterschool and summer school programs. I have visited a  few summer school sites and have met so many DCPS students who enjoy the summer learning opportunities. Follow the OSTP twitter account (@OSTP_DCPS) to learn more about the summer learning opportunities in the District.” – Laini Boyd


Laini Boyd is a UELIP Associate in the Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

A Day in the Life, 8/4/2016

“I support  Kelly Miller, Johnson, and Hart Middle Schools in their transitions to becoming schools with an Extended School Year. This support varies between the three schools, and each principal determines the greatest need at their respective school. As such, my projects have a broad range and include revising the rubric for teacher commitment to school community, supporting professional development, updating handbooks and websites, creating student data trackers, and developing curriculum for a new advisory period that will serve as a culture camp for students. I am definitely juggling a lot of projects, and I am in a different place practically everyday. I love it, though, because it keeps me on my toes!”



Brennan Steele is a UELIP Associate working directly with schools.

A Day in the Life, 8/4/2016

“I work on the daily operations that are involved with the creation of DC’s first all-male public school, Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. I am tasked with forming the curriculum template, applications, and recruitment vehicles for the school’s first mentorship program. On a technical level, I’ve learned the importance of researching and being open to pivots when creating an entirely new program. On a more personal level, within my short time here at DCPS, I’ve had the opportunity to get a rare glimpse into some of the methodological processes a school system must go through in order to create an entirely new school. In addition, having the opportunity to interact with the staff members of RBCPHS has been eye-opening because not only do I get to see what type of individuals are spearheading this groundbreaking initiative, but I also gain invaluable insight from each and every one of them.” – Adrian Abrams


Adrian Abrams is a UELIP Associate in the Office of Family and Public Engagement.

Liz Blesson: Summer 2013 Cohort


  1. What is your name and alma mater? Which UELIP cohort were you a part of?

My name is Liz Blesson, and I was a part of the Summer 2013 UELIP cohort. I majored in Applied Psychology at Boston College with minors in History, Spanish, and Organizational Studies. I also received my Master’s in Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation from BC.

  1. What is your current position? What does your work entail?

I am a Dual Language Program Analyst in the Office of Teaching and Learning, working on initiatives that embrace the cultural and linguistic diversity of DC.  Two amazing initiatives at DCPS are the Seal of Bi-Literacy Initiative, recognizing high school students who are fluent in English and another language, and El Festival de Poesía, where students from our dual language schools write and deliver poems in Spanish and English, celebrating their bilingualism.  When school isn’t in session, my primary responsibilities involve planning the logistics of these programs, managing the translation of curriculum, and assisting at the intake center at Garrison ES for ELL students and their families.

  1. What position were you in as a UELIP? What project(s) did you work on?

I worked in the Office of Human Capital (now divided into the Office of Talent and Culture and Office of Instructional Practice) on the Strategic Staffing team. I helped organize and oversee onboarding sessions for hundreds of newly hired teachers, and I helped manage hiring fairs for excessed teachers.

  1. What were your fondest memories from the UELIP program?

The UELIP program provides a great space to meet people with whom you already have common ground (i.e., a passion for education!). I made a core group of friends that summer, and we still keep in touch today. I also enjoyed my time as one of the social networking chairs, organizing networking and team building events for all UELIPs.

  1. How does your past experience with the UELIP program inform your work now?

The UELIP program gave me greater patience for and a more nuanced understanding of how change occurs in education, particularly in urban school districts. That being said, I really appreciate how DCPS adopts a methodical yet risk-taking mentality and tries to balance innovation with consistency. Being a UELIP three years ago allowed me to get comfortable with Central Office, which eased the transition into my current role.

  1. What advice would you give to your past UELIP self?

Be more open to constructive criticism! Your supervisors and peers in Central Office want you to constantly improve and produce your highest quality of work. They have your best interests in mind and will give you valuable and honest feedback. Don’t take constructive feedback personally, always pay attention to detail, and learn from those around you.

  1. What is one important relationship that you formed as a result of your time as a UELIP?

I still keep in touch with my supervisor, Tammy Whyte in the Office of Talent and Culture. Her journey through education is fascinating, and I love listening to such organic developments in her life and career. That’s another huge plus about DCPS and the UELIP program: everyone brings a wealth of unique experiences and stories to the table, which will help you evaluate and chart your own path in school and in life.

  1. In what ways would you like to grow in the next five years?

I love research, and working for DCPS would serve as good grounding for whatever research I conduct in the future. But I also love teaching and working with children! So in the next five years, I see myself either going back to school or teaching in the classroom. Once I dive into the dual language programs this school year, the type of work I prefer should clarify the goals and values that will determine my next step.