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Administration

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best."

- Duke Ellington

Sandi Logan - Principal
Sandi Logan

Sandi Logan is the Principal (previously the Director of Academic Operations) at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA). As Director, Ms. Logan lead operational coordination, implementation, and management of student data tracking and reporting. As the senior liaison to for DESA to D.C. Public School System, she ensures the organizational alignment with and implementation of local and federal standards and policies. She also leads the Special Education, SST/504 and Guidance Counseling Department in providing student support services.

Prior to joining Ellington, Ms. Logan proudly served as a Special Education Chair within the Montgomery County Public School System (MCPS) in Maryland.  In this capacity, she served on the front lines of identifying students with special needs such learning disabilities, autism spectrum, and emotional disturbances.  With a passion for supporting the educational and emotional development of our young people, she led a team a team of education professionals in teaching children with emotional disturbances at the Positive Education Program in Cleveland, Ohio.  In this role, she implemented such forward thinking programs as art therapy as an effective support mechanism for enabling troubled youth to express themselves in a positive and constructive manner.

As a native of Cleveland, OH, she attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration on U.S. and Pan-African History.  She earned a Master’s of Education (M.Ed) from Cleveland State University, and holds an Education Administrator Certification from the George Washington University.

Leadership

Harriette Ecton - Chief Development Officer
Harriette Ecton

Harriette has an extensive background in fundraising, event management, and cause-related marketing and is the President of The Events Management Group, formed in 1990. She is an experienced manager with excellent communication skills and possesses the ability to lead, motivate, and engage with others in a professional manner.

Harriette has an established track record of successfully developing and directing the execution of fundraising strategies and has worked with some of the country’s most respected and recognizable non-profit organizations and corporations, including the United Negro College Fund, Howard University, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Bethune – Cookman University, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Little Rock Nine Foundation, YWCA of the USA, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Department of Energy International Division, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Coca- Cola, Goya Foods, and others. She is also an active member of both the Reston chapter of the Links, Inc. and The Girl Friends, Inc.

Donna Hollis - Director of Student Affairs
Tracie Jade Jenkins - Director of Arts
Tracie Jade Jenkins
Sandi Logan - Principal
Sandi Logan

Sandi Logan is the Principal (previously the Director of Academic Operations) at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA). As Director, Ms. Logan lead operational coordination, implementation, and management of student data tracking and reporting. As the senior liaison to for DESA to D.C. Public School System, she ensures the organizational alignment with and implementation of local and federal standards and policies. She also leads the Special Education, SST/504 and Guidance Counseling Department in providing student support services.

Prior to joining Ellington, Ms. Logan proudly served as a Special Education Chair within the Montgomery County Public School System (MCPS) in Maryland.  In this capacity, she served on the front lines of identifying students with special needs such learning disabilities, autism spectrum, and emotional disturbances.  With a passion for supporting the educational and emotional development of our young people, she led a team a team of education professionals in teaching children with emotional disturbances at the Positive Education Program in Cleveland, Ohio.  In this role, she implemented such forward thinking programs as art therapy as an effective support mechanism for enabling troubled youth to express themselves in a positive and constructive manner.

As a native of Cleveland, OH, she attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration on U.S. and Pan-African History.  She earned a Master’s of Education (M.Ed) from Cleveland State University, and holds an Education Administrator Certification from the George Washington University.

Ronald Lee Newman - Director of Operations and Collaborative Programming
Ronald Lee Newman
Savannah Overton - Director of Admissions
Savannah Overton

Savannah Overton is a media literacy advocate, media studies scholar and diversity consultant who is deeply passionate about diversity, human rights, urban studies and all things sociological. Savannah was born and raised in Los Angeles, California but has made the east coast her home. Prior to joining the Duke Ellington School of the Arts as the Director of Admissions, she worked for several companies and non-profits in the Los Angeles, Boston and DC areas conducting research, managing community projects and social media outlets. She is also an adjunct professor who teaches courses on school violence, race, gender & class.

Savannah earned two Bachelor’s degrees from Pepperdine University in Intercultural Communication and Sociology. After college, she spent several years in reality television at Fox Broadcasting Company working as a liaison between production companies and the network on shows such as: American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, The NAACP Image Awards, The Emmy Awards, among others.

In 2012 she completed her Master’s degree in Media Studies from Syracuse University. Her work there took her back to her roots working with incarcerated persons. Her published thesis, Hard-Knock Life: Exploring Prisoner Perceptions of Media’s Influence on Society and Crime through In-Depth Interviews and Q-Methodology was accepted at an international conference in Budapest, Hungary in 2013.

In addition to teaching and consulting, Savannah loves to volunteer with youth organizations and is an avid arts and sports enthusiast.

Tia Powell Harris - Chief Executive Officer
Tia Powell Harris

Tia Powell Harris’ career as an arts educator began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and spans over twenty years. Following her work at Ellington she served first as Manager of Community Partnerships at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and then as Associate Director of Education Programs at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. While at the Smithsonian she also acted as co-chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Material Culture Forum. She returned to Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 2006 where she held the position of Dean of Arts and finally Director of Artistic Affairs. Most recently she served as Executive Director/President at Weeksville Heritage Center, a multidimensional museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn. She holds a BS in Speech and Drama Education and an MA in Communication Arts and Theatre from the University of Maryland. Tia is thrilled to resume her work with Duke Ellington, this time as Chief Executive Officer.

Vanessa Snyder - Director of Academic Instruction
Vanessa Snyder

Vanessa Williams Snyder, an author and award-winning educator, spent nearly 15 years in journalism before launching her career in education. Prior to becoming an administrator, she taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia – including a four-year stint at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. For the past three years she worked for Prince George’s County Schools (PGCPS) as a Reading Specialist and Instructional Lead Teacher.

Vanessa is a dedicated and passionate educator who loves learning, innovation, team-building, collaboration and discovering new ways to drive student gains. She’s also a compassionate leader who believes in empowering and supporting staff members while building a culture of inclusion and collegiality with a growth mindset.

A native Washingtonian, Vanessa is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and has begun work toward her Doctor of Education degree (Education Leadership). She holds an Education Specialist degree (Leadership & Administration) and a Master’s degree Reading Education) from Walden University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree (Journalism) from the University of Maryland.

Vanessa resides in the D.C. metropolitan area with her husband, Deron. They are the proud parents of two daughters, both of whom graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Administration

Melissa Bethea - Library Media Specialist
Aaron Cain - IT Coordinator
LeNae Franklin - Registrar & Records Coordinator
Shanta James - Cafeteria Manger
Lisa Jones - Instructional Coach
Brittany Robertson - Associate Director of Arts
Maxine Stone - Executive Administrative Support Manager