Prior to transitioning to Educational Administration, Ms. Willis was an Educator at John Greenleaf Whittier Education Campus in Northwest, Washington, DC. During her tenure at Whittier, Ms. Willis was an elementary and middle school English Teacher who achieved outstanding results. In school year 2012 – 2013, Ms. Willis moved 18 out of 22 fourth grade students from “Below Basic” and “Basic” to “Proficient” and “Advanced” in reading. In school year 2013 – 2014, Ms. Willis earned a score of 3.3, on a scale of 1 to 4, on her Individual Value Added (IVA) Assessment. (IVA is a statistical measure of teacher impact on student growth on standardized tests). In school year 2014 – 2015, Ms. Willis moved 83 percent of students in grades 6, 7, and 8 (to include English Language Learning, Special Education, and General Education students), 2.6 grade levels on the Scholastic Reading Inventory
(SRI). (SRI is a research-based assessment that measures reading comprehension skills). As a Teacher, Ms. Willis also diverted students from the School to Prison Pipeline. For three consecutive school years, she leveraged innovative and evidence-based practices to reduce student infractions by 60% to 100%. Ms. Willis was rated a Highly-Effective Educator and Administrator by District of Columbia Public Schools and lovingly shared her practices with colleagues through coaching and school and district-wide professional development.
Ms. LaFonda Willis has a Masters in Teaching from the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Urban Education, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, from the University of Toledo (OH), and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami (FL). Ms. Willis has also completed educational programs at American University in Washington, DC, The University of Ghana – East Legon, in Ghana, West Africa, and Oxford University in Exeter, England. In 2013, LaFonda Willis was awarded the Dr. Paul Phillip Cooke Award from the University of the District of Columbia – Center for Urban Education, for her demonstrated commitment to diversity, excellence, and transformation in Urban Education. In 2015, both DCPS Teachers and Students nominated Ms. LaFonda Willis “LifeChanger of the Year”.