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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.

Malika Mays, Associate Head of School

Malika Mays is a native Californian who has been working in the field of education for sixteen years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Clark Atlanta University. Ms. Mays spent the first ten years of her career as a middle school English Language Arts teacher in Atlanta and Washington, DC. Beyond the classroom, Ms. Mays has served in many capacities including guidance counselor, Dean of Students, Academic Director, and Resident Principal. Ms. Mays believes that education is the key to freedom and that high-quality education is a civil right. To this end, she continues to work with students, staff, and families to improve and increase the educational opportunities for children in the communities where she serves. Ms. Mays is excited to working alongside the Thurgood Marshall faculty and staff to serve the students and families within the Southeast DC community.

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.