Keri is the Director of PreK-12 Programs and Professor of Practice in the Teacher Preparation and Certification Program at the School of Professional Advancement at Tulane. Growing up as a public school student in the rural South, Keri saw glaring inequities, but also the potential power of public schools to create pathways to upward economic mobility. She has worked in PreK-12 public schools and teacher education and held leadership roles in an education nonprofit and school district for almost 20 years. Believing a diverse, supported and dynamic teacher corps is vital to student success, Keri has focused much of her career on elevating teacher voice, increasing opportunities for teachers to lead from the classroom, and supporting instructional innovations created and led by teachers. Most recently, Keri served as the Assistant Superintendent of Innovation for Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she led initiatives centered on reimagining teaching and learning by harnessing both technology and impactful business and community partnerships.
Keri left a career in environmental microbiology research to become a high school science teacher in North Carolina where she was a semifinalist for North Carolina Teacher of the Year during her fifth year in the classroom. While in the classroom, she also was an adjunct instructor at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina in NC TEACH, an alternative teacher licensure program for career-changers through which she also received her teaching license.
After 10 years in the high school classroom, Keri moved back to her home state of Tennessee to help create UTeaChattanooga, a teacher preparation program for STEM majors, at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She then helped found the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub at the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga which supported 25 school districts in strengthening STEM education through professional learning opportunities and business partnerships. She designed and led the STEM Teaching Fellows, a year-long professional development cohort for regional teachers which has impacted hundreds teachers. As Vice-President of Learning at the Public Education Foundation, she created the Teacherpreneur Incubator, an innovative teacher leadership initiative that connects the entrepreneurial community to educators to solve problems and address challenges in classrooms, schools, the community and the teaching profession. Now in its sixth year, the program has been replicated nationally and internationally. She also designed and led the first one-to-one technology pilot in the local school system, created a policy fellowship for teachers, and created a digital literacy partnership program for schools that connected local technologists to teachers and students.
Building off her background in science and science education, Keri is also a leader at the local, regional, state, and national levels in STEM education and is a past-president of the National Science Education Leadership Association. She is passionate about community development and helped design and led a collective impact movement, Chattanooga 2.0, acting on her belief that public education in partnership with the community is at the core of a strong and vibrant ecosystem with opportunity for all.
Keri earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia and a master’s of science education from East Carolina University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education Leadership at Harvard University.