Drew has been deeply involved with the Binghampton neighborhoods for more than 14 years. For the past three years, he has strategically focused on the Binghampton area to develop the socio-economic and educational capacity of the area. He has been a board member for both the Binghampton Development Corporation and Service Over Self, both self-sustaining organizations making a difference in the Binghampton community as well as affecting thousands of volunteers’ lives by highlighting the brokenness of the city and the need to address the issues of the city thoughtfully.
Drew accepted the position of executive director of Capstone Education Group (CEG) after studying the education needs of the community for the past several years. “We want to work to eliminate injustice and oppression, and I believe that it is unjust for a child to be destined to receive an inadequate education simply for being born in a particular neighborhood. A child born in the inner city of Memphis has a 40 percent chance of dropping out of high school before graduating, and if the child does graduate, he or she will receive a high school education that equates to an eighth-grade education of a suburban student. That is unjust, and I am committed to fighting this issue as the director of Capstone Education Group.”
Drew has researched and visited many of the highest-performing urban schools in the country, as well as attending the Building Excellent Schools program in Boston, Massachusetts. Recently, he received a master of arts in education from Union University. He is bringing the best practices from these schools to Cornerstone Prep and Lester Prep, learning from the success of others.
He has a very clear picture of success for a Cornerstone Prep and Lester Prep students. “Our school will be successful when a student graduates from the eighth grade, attends a challenging high school, receives a scholarship to a prestigious university, and then returns to Memphis with a degree to invest his or her life serving this community as a leader in his or her chosen field, seeking to improve the lot of the people of this city.”
This exciting and long-term vision motivates Drew to make CEG schools life-changing schools for students, families, and the Binghampton and Frayser communities.
Lacee Rodgers is a native of the port city, Mobile, Alabama. She made her way to Memphis nearly 8 years ago and is now happy to call this great city her new home. Lacee started her career in education as an English teacher and since then has had the privilege of teaching both middle and high school English. Lacee made tremendous gains with her students, and she was a Level 5 teacher each year.
Lacee made her transition into administration as Dean of Culture at Memphis Scholars Raleigh Egypt. She focused on reducing school suspensions, implementing character education programs, and providing enriching activities that exposed students to numerous social and cultural possibilities. Her work at MSRE assisted in reducing the suspension rate by nearly 15 percent. Ms. Rodgers then served as the Assistant Principal of Instruction at Aspire Hanley Middle School where she focused her work on increasing reading and math achievement. Under her leadership, Aspire Hanley Middle was able to move from TVAAS Level 1 to TVASS Level 5 in just one school year!
Lacee is a proud graduate of Florida A&M University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English. Priding herself as a lifelong learner, Lacee completed her Master of Education at Christian Brothers University. She then obtained her Educational Specialist degree with a focus in Instructional Leadership at Arkansas State University. Lacee is passionate about education and it her life’s work to ensure that no child must ever leave their neighborhood to obtain a quality education!
Alex Wrobel joined the Capstone family in 2013 where he has held a variety of operational roles for CEG. Along with his wife and two sons, he lives in Binghampton and enjoys having students from the Lester campus play basketball in the backyard. Hailing from the Midwest, Alex is a huge Big Ten fan and will always support any team that plays against the SEC. Alex and his wife came to Memphis as a part of the Memphis Teacher Residency where they both earned a Masters in Urban Education. As an undergraduate, Alex studied chemistry and chemical engineering at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. “I see the inequality in urban education as the greatest social justice issue of my time. I came to Memphis to be a part of the solution.” At CEG Alex works to ensure that systems are effective and they meet the needs of our leaders, teachers, and students. “I want to give our schools the support they need so they can provide our students with the world-class education they deserve.”
Donna Brigham joined the Capstone Education Group family in 2016 as the Director of Special Education. She brings 27 years of educational experience in both general education and special education. She spent 19 years in the classroom as a teacher and five years in leadership as Director of Special Education at a local private school. Donna had a strong desire to work in urban education to make a difference and impact students in the Binghampton/Frayser community. She has been serving the community for three years and loves working alongside other faculty and staff.
Donna holds a bachelor degree in Elementary Education (K-8) and a Master’s Degree from Union University. She is has been married for 25 years and has raised two daughters in Memphis, TN. She loves to travel and spend time with her family, gardening and reading.
She has served on the Board of Directors for Learning Disabilities of America, a national organization that focuses on providing support for parents, adult, and students with learning differences. She has advocated on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, for Safer Chemicals through the Healthy Children’s Coalition.
While the work is hard, it is rewarding to see students persevere and reach their goals to equip them to be successful in whatever endeavor they choose. Your zip code does not define your future. Each student has the potential to go to college and be a successful member of their community.
Herbert Dickens joined Capstone Education Group in the spring of 2021 as the Director of Public Relations and Recruiting. A married father of four, Herbert was born in Kansas City, Kansas, moving to Memphis in 2002. He's spent much of his time here in and around the Binghampton neighborhood when his mother was a teacher at Lester School. Along with his wife and daughters, he spends a lot of time in “The Hamp” either visiting family or hanging out at the community center.
Herbert first started in Binghampton as a volunteer at Lester Community Center. He quickly fell in love with the community and gave all that he could to support and empower the children and families with whom he interacted. After a year of volunteering, he joined the staff part time before eventually joining Communities In Schools of Memphis as an intern assigned to Lester Prep. The excitement of growing with his students gave Herbert all the drive he needed to continue down his path of youth development at Lester Prep for two years.
Herbert eventually left the school environment to pursue a master’s degree in social work, grow his family, and learn more about non-profit management. Herbert is excited to have returned to Bingampton in his new role, reuniting with students, families, and staff that had become a second family to him.