David Pickens, Executive Director
David Pickens is a former military officer who started his career in education via an alternative certification program. After spending nine years as an award winning middle school teacher at Price School in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), he became an assistant principal at Arai Middle School.
Shortly after Arne Duncan was appointed CEO of CPS, he tapped David to be his deputy chief of staff. David remained in this position for two years until Duncan created the position of Deputy to the CEO. In that position, David became senior advisor and system-wide manager to the CEO and was responsible for a wide array of high profile departments and initiatives. Departments included system-wide external and internal communications, governmental affairs, community relations, local school council relations, external partnerships and resources. Initiatives included school closings, consolidations, turnarounds and relocation, the Violence Reduction Initiative and the creation of the automated Board Report Process for the entire district. A few months after President Obama appointed Arne Duncan U.S. Secretary of Education, David was appointed chief of staff to the Chicago Board of Education. In that capacity he was the highest ranking employee in the Chicago Board of Education and one of only two direct reports to the Chicago Board of Trustees, with the other being the CEO of CPS.
David became the executive director of DC School Reform Now in August 2010. He attended Michigan State University, University of Illinois in Chicago and holds a master's degree in education and a principal’s certification from Roosevelt University in Chicago and University of Illinois in Chicago, respectively. David has served on a number of boards and has won a number of teaching awards. He was named a Golden Apple Finalist in 1999. David is married and has two children in traditional neighborhood schools in DC.
Madeline Karp, Director of Programs and Communications
Madeline earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary, concentrating in both Biology and Religious Studies. In 2013, she moved to Washington, DC as part of the 2013 Corps for Teach for America, where she taught secondary science at Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County. As a science teacher, Madeline sought to emphasize the relevance of science in her student’s everyday lives, honing her skills surrounding culturally responsive teaching.
As a history teacher at KIPP DC: College Prep in 2015, she continued to pursue excellence for her students while rigorously involving parents in her classroom, which led to passion for parent outreach and engagement. At this point it became clear to her that strong parent involvement could overwhelming change outcomes for students, positioning them even closer towards a college-bound path.
While teaching, Madeline pursued a master’s degree in education with concentrations in policy and leadership from American University, graduating in 2016. She currently lives in the District with her partner and their two cats.