Mr. Michael D. Piscal Founder and Chief Executive Officer


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With unending passion for learning and with unwavering optimism, Mr. Piscal’s leadership is the heart of CAPS. A long-time educator and New Jersey native, Mr. Piscal worked together with local business leaders and educators to create CAPS as a choice for parents who want to prepare their children for college and career. Since its inception, the organization has grown quickly and steadily under his continued leadership.

Mr. Piscal is a pioneer in the charter school movement. He previously founded the Inner City Education Foundation, the first charter school management organization in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1999, this network of 15 high-performing public charter schools has sent over a thousand students to the best colleges and universities in the nation, including Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, MIT, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UCLA, Bryn Mawr, Bowdoin, Pitzer, Howard, Morehouse, and Spelman.

Mr. Piscal’s work has been featured in the New York Times, NY Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Good Morning America. His schools have received support from leaders in the community, including Magic Johnson and New Jersey’s own Brian Taylor of Perth Amboy and Princeton University fame.

Dr. Gemar Mills Chief Academic Officer and Executive Director, Paterson

Dr. Mills, born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, always possessed a fervent affection for providing urban youth with an alternative perspective on life. As a high school student, he quickly acknowledged the significance of becoming an educated African-American male in his community. He sought empowerment through education, discovering its significance to personal and societal development.

After earning a B.S. degree in Math Education from Montclair State University, Dr. Mills began teaching math at East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. While working full-time, he earned a Master’s of Educational Leadership at American Intercontinental University and later a doctoral degree in administration, policy, and curriculum from Seton Hall University. Later, at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, Dr. Mills served for two years as Math Department Chairperson and one year as Vice Principal. At the age of 27, Dr. Mills was made Principal of this school, one of the most troubled in the Newark Public Schools District. With a history of low-test scores, MXS was threatened with the possibility of closure. Dr. Mills formulated a strategy of education reform, using his strengths as an accessible and relatable leader to recreate a safe school atmosphere where students and staff believed again in themselves, their school, and in education. Under his leadership, test scores drastically improved. School pride and a sports culture were also restored. The school’s turnaround has been featured in the Sports Illustrated award-winning series “Underdogs,” NBC’s “Positively Black,” an Emmy award-winning documentary “Saving Shabazz” produced by, and articles by The Atlantic, Fortune, and Crain business magazine.

Dr. Mills not only serves as Executive Director of CAPS Paterson but also leads Academics across the CAPS network.

Mrs. Jodi Henderson McInerney Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Asbury

Mrs. McInerney began her career outside the education world, on Wall Street. Working in the legal advisory department at Merrill Lynch Asset Management for over a decade, she held a VP role in her final years. However, having grown up in New Jersey, and having a strong desire to work with young people, she changed careers. Earning an M.A.T. at Monmouth University, she joined the staff of St. Catharine’s in Spring Lake, where she taught both grade K and middle school English. Earning a second master’s degree at Seton Hall in Education Leadership Management and Policy, she continued her education career at her alma mater, St. Catharine’s Elementary School in Spring Lake, NJ,  becoming Assistant Principal. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Brookdale College.

Mrs. McInerney had already been part of the Asbury Park community for many years, where she and her husband, Tim, owned and ran multiple businesses and raised their seven children. So, when the opportunity arose to lead a new school in town, entering its second year, it was an easy decision. Ever since, CAPS Asbury has been under the leadership of “Mrs. Mac” (as she is called by many scholars, family members, and staff).

An unhesitating manager and aggressive problem solver, Mrs. McInerney’s leadership is built around a strong passion to provide high-quality education to young people who live in places that are often unfairly underfunded. With a practical, down-to-earth style of collaboration and decision making, Mrs. McInerney ensures on a day-to-day basis that CAPS Asbury remains a supportive community where all staff, scholars, and families feel valued and connected, especially during difficult times. In the spring of 2022, her role expanded to Chief Operating Officer, both coordinating the operations leaders of the schools but also overseeing the “Summer of a Lifetime” (SOAL) program.

Mrs. McInerney and her husband, Tim, are the proud parents of 7 children. As a longtime athlete with a particular love for basketball, she is the school’s biggest sports fan!

Ms. Corri Tate Ravare Chief Talent Officer and Executive Director, Central

Ms. Ravare joined the CAPS organization in July 2022 with over 20 years of experience in charter school management and charter school policy development.

Most previously, Ms. Ravare served as the CEO of Extera Public Schools, a Charter Management Organization operating two schools in East Los Angeles. Prior to becoming CEO, she served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer for six years and led a team that included human resources, technology, operations, real estate, compliance, student recruitment, budget, and finance.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Ravare led regional advocacy efforts in Los Angeles for the California Charter Schools Association, where she also served as the founding Executive Director of Families that Can, a statewide advocacy organization engaging and empowering charter school parents.  Ms. Ravare also served as the Senior Vice President at ICEF Public Schools, a successful network of charter schools serving South Los Angeles.  Ms. Ravare is a certified Charter School Business Manager.  She is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and received her Bachelor’s from UC Berkeley.

Ms. Ravare also serves on the board of CharterFolk, a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the charter school movement to improve education for all students.

Mr. Don Parry Senior Director of Facilities

Don ParryMr. Parry currently serves as the Facilities Director for College Achieve Public Schools. In this role, he is responsible for assisting with new leases and property expansion, managing maintenance contracts, and overseeing construction projects conducted at all College Achieve campuses. Prior to joining CAPS in 2018, he spent nearly 30 years working as the Property/Project Manager for the Durst Organization. In this role he was responsible for managing the construction and maintenance on some of the tallest and most energy efficient buildings in New York City!

When Mr. Parry is not at work, he enjoys DIY projects around the house and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Ms. Ashley Burroughs Director of 6-12 Literacy, Leadership Training

Ms. Burroughs earned her Bachelors of Arts in Comparative Literature and African American Studies from Columbia University and her Master’s in Public Administration and Urban Education Leadership from Rutgers University. Ms. Burroughs began her career in education as a high school English teacher and member of the Teach for America Corp in Newark, N.J. She has since taught all levels of high school English as well as served as an Instructional Coach, Dean of Culture, and Vice Principal.

Today, Ms. Burroughs serves as the Director of 6-12 Literacy for the CAPS network. In this role, she is responsible for the development and successful implementation of the literacy curriculum and supports building leaders in the ongoing development and support of teachers. She currently serves on the Academic, Executive, and PD committees and helps steer CAPS programs in a way that extends well outside of her specialty area of literacy.  Ms. Burroughs is highly valued among staff in the CAPS organization for her candor and her fun, lighthearted approach to professional collaboration, all while balancing attention to academic rigor.

Mr. James Costello Director of AP Programs and Social Studies

Mr. Costello began his career in education as a special education teacher in K-8 classrooms. He later transitioned to high school as a social science teacher; serving also as the social science department chair of his school. In 2009, under Mr. Costello’s leadership, the department achieved the second highest growth in the state of California. His own scholars also passed AP exams at far higher rates than in other AP programs on his campus. Mr. Costello was awarded “Educator of the Year” at two different organizations, and he has also been honored for his excellence in coaching educators.

In 2015, Mr. Costello joined the CAPS team as a consultant.  In 2020, James took a more extensive role with CAPS, overseeing grades K-12 humanities. He currently serves on the Academic, Executive, and PD committees, leads our social studies and ELA intervention programs, and directs the AP program. Mr. Costello is highly valued among his colleagues for his ability to look at problems from many angles and make connections among various CAPS programs.

While working full time for CAPS, Mr. Costello also maintains relationships with other organizations, including both Catapult Learning and Leverage Learning, where he is valued for his ability to combine expertise in a range of education areas, including social studies and early literacy.

Ms. Maria Hewins Director of K-5 Literacy

Bio coming soon.

Mr. Jacob Fields Director of K-5 Mathematics

Mr. Fields received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics from Cornell College. He began teaching third and fourth grade math in Brooklyn, NY through Teach for America. During this time he earned a Master’s in teaching students with disabilities.  In 2018, Mr. Fields, alongside his team, helped his students attain 89% proficiency on their 4th grade state assessment, placing them in the top 98% of the state and outperforming the NY state average by 45 percentage points. After moving to NJ, he served as an Instructional Coach and Vice Principal of K-4 math and science in Newark. In this role, he worked directly with teachers to help push the school’s math program forward.

Since summer 2023, Jacob is the CAPS network as the Director of K-5 Mathematics. He deeply believes that math education is not simply about rote memorization but rather about developing strong number sense and relationships that can be used to think about and solve complex problems. He looks forward to collaborating with staff to provide high-quality resources for teachers and a high-quality education for students so that they have access to whatever college or career they choose.

Mr. Dennis Desormier Professional Development / Academic Logistics / Math 6-12

Dennis Desormier serves a number of roles on the Academic team at CAPS. For almost 20 years, as a professional development and curriculum consultant, Dennis has met thousands of teachers each year in workshops and school visits. His professional experience combines years of classroom teaching with curriculum and instructional design experience with several publishers and school districts. However, his greatest love in the education field is professional development for teachers, school leaders, and district leaders in the areas of mathematics and assessment — particularly problem solving as a process and teaching math for deep understanding. In his work outside the CAPS Network, he has written or co-written most of the mathematics and assessment workshops currently presented by Catapult Learning staff around the country as well as some of the STEAM workshops. He has a passion for balancing rigorous teaching and learning with a lighthearted environment.

Mr. David Hespe Chief of Staff

As Chief of Staff for CAPS, Mr. Hespe guides the organization on a range of issues, including policy, compliance with state regulations, school funding, and our major initiatives.

Mr. Hespe is a widely respected education policy leader and lawyer in the New Jersey education community. Mr. Hespe was twice appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, serving between 1999 and 2001 and again between 2014 and 2016. In this role, he worked to increase early childhood education programs, opportunities in urban school districts, and use of technology in the classroom. He also sought to cut red tape, enhance teacher training, and improve professional support. Previously, Mr. Hespe served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington County College from 2012 to 2014. His career includes numerous other roles, including Chief of Staff to Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, Interim Co-Executive Director of STEM education at Liberty Science Center, Interim and Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Willingboro School District, and other roles at Rowan / Burlington County.