BLOOM ACADEMY
TEAM MEMBERS

COURTNEY SALES

FOUNDER AND SUPERINTENDENT

Courtney Rodriguez Sales comes from an extensive and varied background that has always had the same focus: advocating for children. Courtney received a Bachelor of Arts in Crime, Law, and Justice from the Pennsylvania State University. She then accepted a position with Teach for America, instructing a fifth-grade classroom in her hometown of Bronx, New York. She led her students to achieve over two years of reading growth in one instructional year. The inequities she witnessed inspired Courtney to obtain a Juris Doctor Degree from Hofstra Law School, which she hoped to use to "dismantle the system" she felt deprived students of an excellent education. She became an Assistant Public Defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, representing juveniles in their criminal proceedings.

Years later, she chose to return to the place she felt she could make the most impact: schools. In her position as the Project Manager for the Pittsburgh Public School District's Department of Professional Development, she developed and managed a number of district initiatives. Additionally, Courtney supported school administrators in the creation of professional development plans aimed at building the capacity of teachers and producing academic achievement for students. Most recently, Mrs. Sales received a credential from Harvard University's College of Education for successfully completing its Urban School Leaders Program. Having fought on behalf of children in the boardroom, the courtroom, and the classroom, Courtney is humbled by the opportunity to create and manage a world class school for children in Houston, Texas.

LORie Terry

Neurodiversity Coordinator

Lorie grew up in SW Houston and graduated in 1986. She attended College of theMainland in Texas City, Texas where she began her educational endeavors studyingPsychology. She then attended University of Houston and received her Certification to be an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADAC). She worked as a Counselor to families and children affected by addiction. In 1997, Lorie married and was blessed with5 children (Emily-28, Hailey-23, Olivia-21, Trey-19, Rawlin-17). After being a stay home mom for many years, Lorie took a job as a Special Education Paraprofessional inKaty ISD, it was at this time she found her passion to work with students with exceptional capabilities. In 2011, she went back to college and received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Education with a minor in History and Master’s in Education with a specialization in Special Education at Ashford University. Lorie has taught Life Skills forSealy ISD and then joined the Special Education team at Mayde Creek Elementary inKaty ISD, where she served as team leader for their Special Education Department(In-Class Support, Resource, Life Skills, ECAP, YCAP, ECSE/PPCD). At MCE she also found another passion and that was the students and families who make up Title 1schools. In November 2020, Lorie joined Bloom Academy where she continues to carry her passion of advocating for children with disabilities and making their educational experience one of excellence, joy and rigor. In 2020, Lorie was certified as a Dyslexia Interventionist to service the amazing scholars at Bloom Academy.

CANDESS briscoe

Director of Professional Learning and Teacher Support

Candess Briscoe is a proud native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended public school for most of her life and graduated at 16 from Warren Easton Magnet HighSchool. She later attended the University of New Orleans and the University of Phoenix, earning both a Bachelor of Health Administration and a Master of Arts in EducationCurriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Briscoe also attended the Texas Teachers of Tomorrow alternative certification program for elementary education. Candess has over ten years of experience in various educational roles and is avidly invested in the methodology and idea of understanding, analyzing, and challenging educational practices to educate effectively. Mrs. Briscoe joined the Bloom Academy team at its inception in 2019. She prides herself on holding the highest expectations of all students and staff to yield exceptional academic results. Candess is overjoyed to be a part of the Bloom AcademyTeam and expand her role as the Founding Instructional Coach.

TIFFANY LASTER

OFFICE MANAGER

Tiffany Laster is a Houston, Texas native who attended Texas Southern University, where she received a B.S. in Healthcare Administration with an emphasis in Public Affairs in 2012.Post-graduation, Tiffany excelled from a legal assistant to an office manager at a law firm in Downtown Houston. As a strong advocate for self-love and pride within our communities, Tiffany has co-created a cheerleading organization for young children to express their creativity through cheer. Her dedication to communities of color and her alignment with Bloom’s mission is the fire that will encourage scholars to blaze their very own path. Tiffany is thrilled to bring her experiences as an office manager to BloomAcademy and looks forward to serving the families and scholars.

FRANNIE FITTS

Operations Manager

Frannie is a native Houstonian that graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a degree in Rhetorical Communication with a hope to make an impact during her career. Frannie has over seven years of experience as an administrative professional, with five of those years being in a managerial role, and the last two years were spent working with children. After her foray into many fields, working with many types of different people (& sometimes animals), she was selected to join the Bloom Academy team. Frannie truly and deeply believes in the mission of Bloom Academy and is determined to be a positive force on the Bloom team. She looks forward to connecting with all of the students & parents.

OUR TEACHERS

TENE COTTON

KINDERGARTEN LEAD TEACHER

Tene Cotton is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana where she found her passion in working with children. Ms. Cotton has worked in various organization with children of all ages from north to south Louisiana. Most recently, she worked as a Life Skills Specialist withLouisiana Methodist Child and Family Services teaching life skills to foster youth in theLafayette, Louisiana region. During this time, Ms. Cotton received her Bachelor ofScience in Business Administration at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Ms. Cotton is honored and thankful to become a part of the team at BloomAcademy. She is excited and looking forward to a great school year.

MEKA REMBERT-SIMMONS

FIRST GRADE LEAD TEACHER

Meka is from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and is following in her mother’s footsteps. Meka’s mother has been teaching for 20 years and has a master’s degree. Meka is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education.
Meka graduated with honors from University of Nebraska with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources& Family Sciences, and also holds an Associate in Arts degree. While at University of Nebraska, Meka served as the track team captain and was a dominating force on the track. A 12-time All-American, Meka set multiple Husker strength and testing records, was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Athlete of the Week and the Gatorade College Athlete of the Year, and received the Arthur Ashe Junior Award for the highest GPA and outstanding academic and athletic achievements among student athletes in the nation. Meka ran everything from the 60 meters indoors to the 400 meter hurdles outdoors. A versatile athlete and competitor to the core since childhood, Meka would become a Nike world-class professional athlete competing around the world in multiple Olympic Trials, Grand Prix, Golden League, and USA Championship meets.
Meka served as a youth counselor, a case manager at De Pelchin Children’s Center, and the manager of teen services at Houston’s Star of Hope Mission, where she developed programs for at-risk youth. Meka became a Certified Personal Trainer in 2011 and founded Dioko Health and Fitness where she focused on speed, fitness, and overall health. Meka has trained several of the Houston Texans and their wives.Meka is not just an athlete. She has over five years of experience as an assistant, lead teacher, and interventionist in the classroom from kindergarten to eighth grade. Meka has spoken at numerous youth and women’s venues as a Christian motivational speaker throughout the greater Houston area. As a wife and mother of three, Meka understands the importance of balance. As a result, she spends much of her time and talents investing in the lives of others by empowering them to reach their highest potential.

DONNITTA WILLIAMS

FIRST GRADE TEACHing Fellow

Donnitta Williams a native of Houston,Texas. Has dedicated her entire professional career to Early Childhood Education and Advocating for moms in Education.A current student at Texas Southern University with areas of research in Human Services Consumer Science of Child and Family Development. Fostering the whole child through social, emotional, physical, intellectual practices through mindfulness breathing practices and yoga. I’m excited and humbled to join Bloom Academy this year in serving black and brown students in Sunnyside community.

BRITTNEY JENKINS

SECOND GRADE LEAD TEACHER

Brittney Jenkins has always been inspired to be a teacher since she was a small child giving lectures to her stuffed animals. She graduated from the University of Houston with a major in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Education. She has interned at Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporations, and has worked with children throughout her college career.
She has a strong passion for high educational standards and approaches education through Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. She deeply believes that every student is capable of doing better than their absolute best and it is important to teach and develop successful strategies and habits for students at a young age to help them be successful.

ALEXANDER CLAYTON

Second Grade TeachING FELLOW

Alexander Clayton is a native Houstonian hailing from the east side. After working various jobs and leadership roles, Alex discovered his passion for teaching and has decided to pursue it full time. He is currently working towards a degree in Math Education and is ecstatic about being a part of the Bloom team. Mr. Clayton looks forward to meeting the future scholars and helping shape tomorrow’s leaders.

Christine Robinson

THIRD GRADE LEAD TEACHER

A Houston native, Ms. Robinson received her associates degree in Applied Arts and Science from Houston Community College in 2009. She is currently enrolled at Lamar University in which she will graduate in December 2021 with her Bachelor’s in University Studies.She has worked with children and the local community for several years, and is more than eager to dedicate her years of service here at Bloom Academy.  

COURTNEY RILEY

Self-Contained Teacher

My name is Courtney Riley, born and raised in Houston, Tx, and I am honored and humbled that I have been selected for a teaching position at Bloom Academy. I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University OfHouston-Downtown in 2012. At the moment, I attend Capella University online to receive my Master's in ChildDevelopment. Over the years, I have been in many positions to integrate the teaching model of the future. ABA therapy has been a part of my life since 2014, where I begin implementing these goals daily. I am highly knowledgeable in SPED education, and I believe each child deserves the opportunity to grow into their full potential. For years, teaching has taught me to enjoy serving the families, communities, and scholars I meet daily. Education is so rewarding to me; it gives the sense that making a change in all scholars' lives is the primary mission. Bloom Academy's mission has answered my "Why" and has left room for growth and operational goals within the classroom; with that being said, Scholars of all ages are the future and have infinite value.

BRECARIO OGDEN

Neurodiversity TEACHER

Brecario Ogden has dedicated his professional career to the Mental Health Field. He has an extensive background working with children, which includes experience as aSpecial Education Inclusion Teacher and Medical Administrator. After receiving aBachelors Of Science in Health from Prairie View A&M University, Mr. Ogden accepted a position working with children diagnosed with Autism and other neuro-cognitive disabilities. Being a native of Dallas, TX, he has been serving the Houston education system for the last five years. Mr. Ogden strives to, effectively, serve his purpose in educating children to equal academic success. Mr. Ogden is excited and thankful to be a part of the Bloom Academy Family. He is thrilled to have a great school year.

ALBREIAN CORNISH

KINDERGARTEN LEAD Teacher

My name is Albreian Cornish; I am a native of LaPlace, Louisiana. I completed my undergraduate degree at Southern University A&M located in Baton Rouge LA.After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development, I began
teaching Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. I’m currently enrolled at TexasSouthern University where I’m completing my master’s degree in human services and child development. This will be my fourth year of teaching kindergarten and it has always been my mission to enhance the minds of each student.

BROOKE WILLIAMS

First Grade Lead Teacher

Brooke Williams has spent the entirety of her professional career committed to the mental health profession. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Norfolk State University, Ms. Williams  accepted a position assisting children with mental health diagnoses in various school systems. Ms. Williams recently relocated to Houston, Texas to pursue her purpose of leading children to success with equal opportunity. She began her journey with Bloom Academy Charter School in the 2019-2020 academic school year and is excited to continue to grow with Bloom scholars.

RAYLEEN HOWARD

FIRST GRADE TEACHING FELLOW

Rayleen Howard graduated from California State University East Bay with her degree in psychology. She has plenty of background working with children of all different age groups. She recently was a toddler lead teacher and she also has background working with middle and high school students while in college being apart of an organization called peer mentor. Ms. Howard takes great joy in working with children and seeing them succeed. She recently has relocated to Houston, Texas all the way fromWashington state to follow her dreams of working with the young scholars at BloomAcademy. Ms. Howard is so excited to meet all the students and staff and be apart of the Bloom team and knows it is going to be a great year!

BRANDON BOOK

SECOND GRADE LEAD TEACHER

Brandon Book is a native of South Louisiana, where he grew up and attended public school. He graduated from Mamou High School and immediately began his pursuit of a bachelors degree from Louisiana State University. Mr. Book obtained his degree fromLSU in 2012, majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. After graduation, Mr. Book chose a career path that would lead him to the classroom. Asa result of that choice, he has had the opportunity to teach, guide and interact with a variety of students. Having taught in both Louisiana and Texas public schools, Mr. Book has been able to gain experience teaching a wide range of subject areas. Mr. Book's classroom environment focuses on implementing different teaching techniques, analyzing data and maintaining an interactive classroom. Mr. Book is excited to begin a new chapter with Bloom Academy. He is especially thrilled to be a part of the team that will grow and inspire the Bloom scholars of today and tomorrow.

HAYLEY WASHINGTON

SECOND Grade Teaching Fellow

Hayley Washington graduated from the College Of Southern Maryland with a degree in Criminal Justice. She has an extensive background in childcare that includes experience as a lead teacher to being a nanny in private homes. Ms. Washington moved to Texas four years ago, and prides herself on making a positive impact of the lives of every child she interacts with. Ms. Washington is excited, thankful, and honored to now be a part of Bloom Academy. She is ready and eager to have an excellent school year.

Travis Fortson

THIRD GRADE TEACHING FELLOW - LEAD

Travis Fortson is a Houston native who grew up in South East Houston Texas and attended University Of Phoenix where he graduated with a degree in Psychology and Organizational Studies. Travis has over 10 years of professional experience in multi-unit operations management, as well as 2 years of being a Youth Mentor for Impact Kingdom Center. He has a passion for yes and is thrilled to begin a never-ending journey in education. Travis is excited about joining the Bloom Charter School family and connecting with the students, parents, and staff.

LUZ IRENE LOZADA

SPANISH TEACHER

My name is Luz Irene Lozada, but everyone calls me Lucy. I am married, my husband’s name is Edy, I have 2 children Santiago, 11 and Sofia 10. I am Mexican/American. I have been living in Mexico City for the past 15 years and we recently moved toHouston.

I have a Bachelors of Gastronomy and Food Service. When I finished studying, I came to live in the United States to work in Beaver Creek, Colorado. When I was in Colorado, I worked as a babysitter and enjoyed it a lot. After 7 years I returned to Mexico. My first formal job with children was as teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten in a part-time job. Sometime later, I did my social service with elementary school children in a low-income area in Mexico City where we as teachers, taught them how to count, to read, and different games.

When I finished my alternative certification as an ESL teacher, I worked at international schools. I have worked with children from kinder to middle school.
I am very excited to pursue a career and grow together with the Bloom Academy team.

AUSTON WILLIS

PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER

Auston Willis is a native of Detroit, Michigan. Later, I moved to Memphis where I graduated high school and continued my education at Philander Smith College. In my years of college, I became an All Conference Player in track and I also won first place in our conference becoming the first person at Philander Smith College to do so. In my career I have held the founders position on two occasions. I have taught all types of scholars with many backgrounds. An interesting fact about me is that I have learned to speak and write some arabic. I'm excited to be a founding member of the Bloom Academy team. I'm looking forward to putting my imprint on Bloom Academy and also becoming a positive role model to our scholars.

Jaiden Emerson

PARAEDUCATOR NEURODIVERSITY

My name is Jaiden Emerson and I just moved to Houston in August from Denver, Colorado! I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in early childhood education, and plan on going back and attending grad school. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc & love volunteering in my community and helping others. I have a passion for children & love to see them succeed and grow on a day-to-day basis. I have been a private nanny for multiple families in the last 6 years and really enjoy seeing kids grow and develop.  I have wanted to be a teacher my whole life & am very excited to be working here & to be a part of such a great community. I have attended public schools, private schools, charter schools, and expeditionary learning schools & have a strong passion for kids and their success for the future. I am super excited to be here & to have a great school year!