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Thurgood Marshall Academy School Leadership

Richard Pohlman, Executive Director

Richard Pohlman has over a decade of experience in the Washington, D.C., education, legal, and policy sectors.  Prior to joining TMA, he served as the Chief of Operations and Policy and as Acting Head of School at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School.  He also served as the Director for the District of Columbia’s Race to the Top program and Attorney Advisor to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Mr. Pohlman was a Presidential Management Fellow at the United States Department of Education, and served as Special Assistant at the United States Attorney’s Office.  Also a former teacher, he has had five years of classroom experience working with upper elementary and middle school students.  A native of Indiana, Mr. Pohlman earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Indiana University, and a J.D. from New York’s Pace University School of Law where he graduated cum laude and served on the editorial staff of the Pace Environmental Law Review.  He lives in the District of Columbia with his wife and two children.

Melanie Sala, Head of School

Melanie Sala holds a Bachelor of Science from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts, and a post-graduate certificate in Educational Leadership from George Washington University. Ms. Sala began her career in education as a middle and high school English teacher, for which she received the Rubenstein and Impact Awards for Highly Effective Teaching. Prior to joining the Thurgood Marshall Academy family, Ms. Sala also served as a department chair, an instructional and literacy coach, an assistant principal and central office administrator. She has taught Master’s candidates at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development and worked to prepare new teachers through The New Teacher Project.  After working to strategically support student achievement and the growth of teachers in these contexts, Ms. Sala is excited to return to her true passion, working directly with students, teachers and families in a mission driven high school committed to excellence. At the heart of Ms. Sala’s work is her unwavering commitment to securing equity, equality, social and economic justice by providing every student with an exceptional and compelling high school experience that leads to college, career and engaged, empowered citizenship.



Kea McKoy, Director of Programs

Kea McKoy has over 15 years of experience in the youth development field. Ms. McKoy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Elon University in Elon, NC and is a certified Life Coach. Working with youth has always been her passion and is currently is the Director Programs at an urban charter high school in Washington, DC. She has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her strategic thinking and analytical skills. She resides in the suburbs of Maryland.

Sanjay Mitchell, Director of College and Alumni Support

Sanjay Mitchell has been working the college admission/counseling profession for more than 10 years.  He started at the University at Albany (SUNY) where he served as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions.  Currently Mr. Mitchell serves as the Director of College and Alumni Programs at Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS, ensuring that 100% of eligible seniors are accepted into college, 98% complete the FAFSA application, 90% enroll in college immediately after high school, and boast a more than 60% college retention and graduation rate with the alumni support.  Mr. Mitchell has  presented and served on several committees with the New York State Association of College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC), National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), National College Access Network (NCAN), and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).  Mr. Mitchell earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University at Albany and currently resides in the Washington, DC area.

Nikki Williams, Head of School, New Campus

Nikki Williams began her career as a high school biology teacher in 2000.  She then went on to teach middle school science, was Magnet Coordinator, and was a founding Assistant Principal for the first and only single gender public school in North Carolina.  With a focus on early college and leadership Ms. Williams cultivated a partnership with a local university and was the sole administrator.  This allowed students to earn two years of transferrable college courses on the university campus.  Through her leadership, each student amassed upwards of 60 credit hours to transfer to a 4-year university.   As a first generation college graduate herself and former military soldier Ms. Williams has made it her life work to ensure students have exposure, opportunity, and access to college.  A native of North Carolina, Ms. Williams earned her B.S. in Biology from North Carolina Central University cum laude,  and later went on to earn her Master’s in School Administration from North Carolina State University.