Meet the Leadership Team

Dominique D. Lee

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Dominique D. Lee is the Founder and Executive Director of Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids (BRICK). He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in political science.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree he was accepted into Teach For America’s highly selective service corps where he initiated his career as an educator at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, NJ.

As a result of growing increasingly frustrated at how far behind his students were in reading and other subjects Mr. Lee lead the formation of BRICK an education management non-profit. BRICK was highlighted on the front page of the New York Times for being an innovative model within the public education system.

In 2011 Mr. Lee was recognized, as one of “TheGrio’s 100: History Makers In The Making.” Nominated by a team of experts, affiliates, and contributors from across the country, and members of and NBC News editorial teams, “TheGrio’s 100” shines a spotlight on the next generation of African-American history makers and industry leaders from 10 fields, including business, education, sports, science and the environment, media, service and activism, politics, health, pop culture and the arts.

Mr. Lee has always believed that education reform is the new civil rights movement of our time; and that we cannot remedy our nation’s ills unless we simultaneously grapple with and repair our educational infrastructure. Hence, his passion and mandate is to ensure that children living in low-income communities enter the global economy fully prepared as engaged, productive citizens—equipped with mutual respect and cross-cultural understanding.

Christopher Perpich

President & Chief Academic Officer

Chris began his career as an educator as a Teach For America Corps Member at Branch Brook School in Newark, where he taught 3rd and 4th grades for six years.  While teaching, Chris served as the coordinator for Branch Brook’s community service group and as the Math Olympics coach. As a Teach for America alum, Chris has spent three years facilitating learning teams for both first and second-year Newark corps members. He was also a recipient of a 2008 Lands’ End Teachers Light The Way Award. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in English language & literature and history from the University of Michigan and a master’s in education leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Melinda Wiedman

Chief Accountability Officer

Mindy graduated college from a small school in Pennslyvania and then completed her M.A. in History at the University of Connecticut.  After realizing her love for teaching while teaching the college students, Mindy entered Teach For America and moved to Newark. Mindy spent time teaching Social Studies at Weequahic High School and then came to BRICK Avon Academy looking to make BRICK Avon a model of the dramatic student achievement improvement a school can make when led by teachers.

Nichelle Holder

Chief of Staff & Development

With more than 15 years of management experience in the philanthropy and nonprofit fields, Nichelle Holder has effectively brokered needed social services to under-resourced schools, communities and various organizations devoted to youth development and empowerment. Nichelle began her career at The City Kids Foundation, an arts organization that trains youth to become agents of change and later became a project director at Communities in Schools of Newark, an affiliate of the largest national dropout prevention organization. Nichelle also served as a program officer of The MCJ Amelior Foundation, where she oversaw and managed $10 million in annual giving. Most recently, she was the first Chief Service Officer for the City of Newark and led a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive citywide volunteer service plan. Nichelle earned a bachelor’s of arts in English and African-American studies from Columbia University.

Chaleeta Barnes

Instructional Leader- BRICK Peshine Academy

Tsihai Hanson is a public sector professional with extensive experience in communications, public relations and community and youth development. As a 2012 Education Pioneers Fellow, she worked

with Teach for America’s national marketing and communications team to build an understanding of strategic priorities and create a customized strategy to engage key constituents across the organization’s 46 regions. Throughout her career, Tsihai has developed communications and human capital content and strategy for a number of leading organizations including Uncommon Schools, The Posse Foundation, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Rutgers

Center for Urban Policy Research as a New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Housing Scholar, playing a key role in supporting staff and school performance, launching a racial justice project, engaging youth in civil rights work and helping prepare college-bound students for success. Tsihai earned her master’s in public administration from the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration and bachelor’s in journalism and media studies from Douglass College at Rutgers. She has served on the board of the YWCA of Union County, is a co-founder of the Together AsOne Foundation and a member of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project’s Leadership Council, a young women’s leadership and empowerment program.

Charity Haygood

Instructional Leader-BRICK Avon Academy

Charity is an Assistant Principal at Chancellor Avenue School. Prior to joining Chancellor’s staff, Charity taught literacy, social studies and science to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Bragaw Avenue School for nine years.  Originally from Denver, Colorado, Charity came to Bragaw after joining Teach For America more than a decade ago. While teaching full-time, Charity earned a Masters Degree in Supervision and Administration from St. Peter’s College in 1998. A passionate and no-nonsense educator, Charity has received numerous honors for her educational contributions, including the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program Award in 2004 and 2005, her last two years in the classroom.

Venus Williams

Office Manager & Administrative Assistant

A lifetime Newark resident, Venus Williams began her career in education as a Newark Board of Education Future Business Leader, working as a clerk in the offices of board affairs and public relations before serving for 10 years as a paraprofessional in Newark Public Schools. Venus has worked with Newark Emergency Services for Families as both a youth and residential counselor for the Newark YMWCA, where she was also a volunteer volleyball coach. She has also served as a nationwide AmeriCorps member, contributing to a state-to-state environmental beautification project. Venus attended Virginia State University.

Justin Snead

Dean of English Instruction

Bio coming soon.

Caitlin Ramos

Dean of Math and Science Instruction

Bio coming soon.

Erin Jones

Dean of K-2 Literacy

Bio coming soon.