Our Leadership Team
LeeAndra Jamison, Executive Director
Ms. Jamison joins the EPIC team with years of experience in redesigning school culture and driving strong outcomes for students. Prior to joining EPIC, she served as the CEO of Civitas Education Partners. LeeAndra also spent ten years with the Chicago Public Schools. She served as Principal of Bronzeville Scholastic, Assistant Principal at King College Prep High School and a Math Teacher at Whitney Young Magnet High School. Before beginning her journey into education, she spent 10 years as a Civil Engineer in some of Chicago’s largest firms (Parsons Brinckerhoff, A. Epstein & Sons, and Patrick Engineering). After designing roads, highways, gas stations and bridge inspections, she decided to take her skills and share them with the children of Chicago.
Dr. Kyla Mathews, Principal
Dr. Kyla Mathews is a native of the South Side of Chicago and an active mom of a sprouting 4th-grader. After earning her bachelor's degree, she chose to root her talents back home; on a mission to significantly impact her students' connectedness to their school and their own futures. Her life's core value is "education is liberation," which grounds her dedication to ensuring all students thrive by having access to relevant and rigorous instruction in a safe and welcoming school. Her capstone defense details how she lifts up the 'heart work' that equity-focused educators must commit to in order to dismantle instructional and organizational oppression that exists in our schools.
In her most recent role as a high school assistant principal, Mathews has created conditions for teachers and staff to empathetically drive radical results for their school community. Her authenticity empowers teachers and staff to effectively problem solve in order to positively impact student outcomes while aligning their own practices to current professional research.
Dr. Kyla Mathews is a doctoral graduate of the Urban Education Leadership program at the University of Illinois-Chicago ('21). She holds a master's degree in school administration and licensure from Concordia University-Chicago ('06), and a bachelor's degree with an endorsement in secondary mathematics from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL ('02).
Roshaun Bowens, Assistant Principal
Roshaun Bowens is from Nashville, Tennessee and is the son of Olivia and Johnny Bowens. He is a proud HBCU graduate from Tennessee State University. There he was a 4 year captain of the basketball team and graduated with honors. After graduating undergrad with a B.S. in Psychology, he traveled overseas to play professional basketball in Europe. After retiring, he attended Adler School of Professional Psychology and received his Masters degree in Counseling Psychology in 2008. That same year he began his journey with Chicago Public Schools. For over the last decade, he has served the students of CPS in multiple roles, including a teacher, counselor, school-level administrator, and Central Office representative. Mr. Bowens is also a Licensed Professional Counselor. He is passionate about mental health and committed to ensuring that our school is equipped with Social- Emotional Learning systems and structures that promote student development.
Samantha Bennett, Director of College and Career Pathways & Alumni Counseling
Samantha L. Bennett is a dedicated youth service professional who has worked in the field of education for over sixteen years. Samantha understands the lived experiences of first-generation college students navigating the world of higher education. Within seven years, she earned both a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Adult and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University. Samantha returned to college as a working adult learner to pursue and attain a Master of Education Degree in Counseling from DePaul University.
Before joining Epic Academy, Samantha L. Bennett championed student success at five higher education institutions through her work in Multicultural Affairs, Student Life, Residential Life, TRIO Student Support Services, and Career Services. Samantha enjoys serving in her faith community, volunteering at local food pantries, and mentoring students through the DePaul University Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Mentorship Program. Samantha L. Bennett will assist EPIC students and LEGENDARY alumni with bridging the gap toward their diverse postsecondary pathways.
Martha Carrillo, Director of Specialized Services
Martha Carrillo was born and raised in Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools. Because of teachers that gave her the opportunity to grow and learn to her fullest potential, she decided to become a teacher. She desired to be able to give back to students that were in the same position as she once was growing up. Martha earned her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and in Psychology. She soon realized that there was a higher need in the Bilingual Education and Special Education fields and decided to pursue a master’s degree in each of those areas. Martha comes to EPIC Academy with 18 years of teaching experience in elementary and high school settings. She looks forward to continuing to grow in her profession. Most importantly, supporting all of EPIC's students in accomplishing new milestones and creating new goals for them to be successful in life.
Kamesha Hayes, Director of Culture and Engagement
Hayes graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and is presently earning her Masters in Educational Leadership from Louisiana State University. Hayes has a background in tutoring, mentorship, teaching, and program management. She considers herself a student-focused leader, with an emphasis on student voice, student needs, and student dreams. Hayes can be reached at email@example.com for collaboration efforts and student support programming.
Kevyn Harmon, Senior Director of Finance and Administration
Kevyn is an accomplished business leader with experience at elementary, high schools, and district offices (public and not-for-profit) Highly skilled in a variety of administrative functions including school relations, finance, contract management, purchasing accounts payable, and payroll. He is a qualified leader with a proven ability to identify, analyze and collaborate with staff to increase the effectiveness of organized workflows and control costs through expertise in developing and managing human capital, audit readiness, student services, facilities, information technology, fixed assets, and social media. Past administrative roles include school business/operations manager, regional business manager, and director of accounting and operations.
LaKesha Lockett, Director of Development and Communications
LaKesha brings nine years of experience to her role at EPIC Academy, previously holding various communications and development positions for nonprofit organizations serving children and families. Driven by a passion for continued learning, LaKesha received a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Wisconsin Parkside in 2016 and a certificate in Fundraising and Development from the University of California, Davis in 2021. LaKesha has a BS in Public Relations from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University. With a commitment to community involvement, LaKesha has spent her time as a youth mentor, serving on a local board and participating in various programs as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Lolita Paul, Dean of Graduation
Lolita has served as EPIC's Dean of Graduation since January 2021. Before joining the team, Ms. Paul possessed over a decade of experience serving in student-facing roles within secondary and post-secondary organizations. The first and only college graduate within her immediate family, Ms. Paul is a graduate of National Louis University, where she earned a Bachelors in Applied Behavioral Science. Ms. Paul believes education is the foundation needed to expand one's knowledge base, career, and ultimately the rest of their life. As a result of this belief, she has dedicated most of her career to motivating, empowering, and inspiring Chicago youth to strive for high school academic success and beyond.
Victor Taylor, Director of Operations
Victor was born and raised on Chicago's South Side and is a proud product of Chicago Public Schools. After high school, Victor left Chicago and went off to Wisconsin to play football and more importantly be the first in his family to earn a degree from a four-year University. Before Victor joined the Epic family, he was the Director of Operations/Special Projects for a top 5 Chicago law firm for 30 years. Victor, along with his wife, continues to mentor and support young children/adults in any way possible. Mr. Taylor is a proud father of five and passed on the legacy of higher education to all of them. All five children have attained college degrees and are engaged in trying to improve our community.