Meet the team charged with bringing to the fore a new generation of
leaders and innovators.

The Executive Team

Shayne Evans is a Founder and Managing Partner of the Academy Group. Previously, Evans served as the Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Charter School and managing director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. At UEI, Evans also co-founded The Success Project, a curriculum focused on preparing students for college access and graduation beginning in 6th grade, a program included in President Obama's College Opportunity Day of Action.

Previously, Evans served as the director of the UChicago Charter Woodlawn campus and co-founded the UChicago Charter Carter G. Woodson campus. Before joining the UChicago Charter School, Evans worked as an 8th grade mathematics teacher at the Chicago International Charter School, an AP US History teacher at Ida Crown Jewish Academy and an 8th grade teacher at Chicago Public School’s Julia Lathrop Elementary.

Evans earned a BA in Political Science and African American History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s from Concordia University. First in his family to graduate from college, Evans has spoken across the nation about what is possible for young people from underserved communities and the importance of student agency as a guide for success. Evans has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2017 NAACP Educator of the Year Award. He is a native of Chicago’s South Side and resides in Bronzeville with his wife and daughter.

Shayne Evans

Managing Partner

  • Carmen Echevarria

    Carmen Echevarria

    Chief of Staff

    Carmen Echevarria is Chief of Staff of the Academy Group.  Prior to serving as Chief of Staff, Carmen served as Senior Project Manager for the Academy Group.  Previously, Carmen served as an Executive Assistant and Project Manager for The University of Chicago Urban Labs and the Urban Education Institute. Carmen is passionate ensuring students from underserved communities receive an excellent education and the resources necessary to reach their full potential. Prior to The University of Chicago, Carmen worked at Hyatt Hotels Corporation in various management roles.

     Carmen earned her M.A. from Northeastern Illinois University and a B.A. from DePaul University. 

     In her spare time, Carmen mentor’s youth in several city programs. She is an avid Cubs fan and loves spending time with her close-knit family and puppy.

  • Gregory Jones

    Gregory Jones

    Executive Director, The Academy Chicago

    Previously, Gregory Jones served as the principal of Kenwood Academy High School. He led the school in improvements across all performance metrics. The school earned the highest quality rating awarded by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Jones also was the founding assistant principal at George Westinghouse College Prep, and teacher of business courses at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy.

    His work has been featured in the New York Times, Fox News Chicago, the National Journal and the Gates Foundation. Jones was the recipient of the Leadership Greater Chicago fellowship, and the inaugural Chicago Principal’s Fellowship at the Center for Nonprofit Management at Kellogg and the School for Education and School Policy, at Northwestern University.

    In 2017, Jones was selected to launch the CPS Master Principal Program, in collaboration with the Chicago Public Education Fund. He also was selected to participate in the Obama Foundation Summit of 500 civic leaders from around the world. In 2018, Jones received the prestigious Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award.

  • Ted Christians

    Executive Director, Amplify Chicago

  • LaTonia Arnold

    Director of Talent

Game Changers

  • Lindsey Schmitz

    Lindsey Schmitz

    Director of Academics, The Academy Chicago

  • Chiquira Showers

    Chiquira Showers

    Internship and Leadership Development Manager

  • Sean Phillips
    (Photo coming soon)

    Program Director, Amplify

  • Quiana Chapple
    (Photo coming soon)

    Program Director, Amplify

  • Jennifer Wander
    (Photo coming soon)

    Director of Finance

  • Kenneth Walker
    (Photo coming soon)

    Senior Accountant

  • Zabrina Diaz
    (Photo coming soon)

    Director of Recruitment and Program Operations

  • Chiquira Showers
    (Photo coming soon)

    Internship and Leadership Development Manager

  • Andre Scott
    (Photo coming soon)

    Lead Learning Designer

  • Lauren Adejumo
    (Photo coming soon)

    Lead Learning Designer

  • Quentin Harris
    (Photo coming soon)

    Experiential Learning Manager

  • Shannon Keys
    (Photo coming soon)

    Advising Program Manager

  • Zulmarie Hatch
    (Photo coming soon)

    Director of College Access and Persistence

  • Deon Robin
    (Photo coming soon)

    College and Career Program Specialist