The Georgia Charter Schools Association is excited to welcome Christa Thomas as our new Vice President of School Success.
As a native Georgian, Christa has fifteen years of experience working in schools to create equitable outcomes and a transformational experience for students, families, and communities. She has been honored to impact the educational experience for students through the roles of teacher apprentice, teacher, instructional coach, talent acquisition, founding assistant principal, successor principal, founding principal, and principal manager. Through her prior role of Vice President of Schools for IDEA Tampa Bay Public Schools, Christa served as the principal manager for four phenomenal principals towards launching four new schools in the state of Florida to provide a high-quality school choice option for families.
As a former successor and founding school charter principal, Christa understands the experience of charter principals and is dedicated to ensuring that their vision of transformational outcomes for students is actualized. She was the founding school principal of KIPP Nashville College Prep Elementary (KNCPE) School. Christa dedicated the vision of KNCPE to the trailblazing impact of the Nashville Student Movement during the Civil Rights Movement as well as the work of the ‘beloved community’ created by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Before her role as founding principal, Christa was the successor principal of Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary School after serving as a Founding Assistant Principal. There, she led the school to earn a Level 5 TVAAS score for the state of Tennessee as well as being ranked second out of 73 elementary schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District.
Before her school leadership at Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary, Christa was a 5th and 7th-grade Humanities teacher at KIPP Ascend Middle School in Chicago, Illinois where she led over 90% of her students to exceed the end of year goals on the NWEA assessment. Christa discovered her passion for coaching and developing teachers through her experience as a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development (MTLD) at Teach For America-Chicago. She directly coached and developed first- and second-year elementary school teachers in various charter and public schools throughout Chicago.
Christa has also impacted the daily educational experience of students through her work in talent acquisition at a national and regional level. As the Founding Regional Director of Staffing for IDEA Tampa Bay Public Schools, Christa directly impacted year 0 hiring for four new charter schools. Christa was also a Managing Director, Recruitment with Teach For America leading recruitment strategy to identify our nation’s top college leaders at the most selective northeastern colleges to teach in under-resourced communities.
As an avenue to expand her impact as an educator, Christa was a Curriculum Specialist for the 2011 and 2013 Teach For America-Chicago Summer Institutes where she was charged with providing over 150 hours of foundational teaching development in the areas of rigorous planning, effective execution, classroom culture, diversity, and race as well as data-analysis to over 80 Teach For America corps members teaching in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Jacksonville. Her love for education first began as a Teacher Apprentice in the Georgia Teacher Apprenticeship Program while supporting in first grade classrooms in the Bulloch County Public Schools System. As a Teach For America alum teaching in Duval County Public Schools, Christa’s love for education deepened and she knew that her life’s calling was anchored in directly impacting the life trajectory of students through influencing their educational experience.
She is a 2016 graduate of the Relay National Principals Fellowship, selected as a Fisher Fellow through the national KIPP Foundation, and has been a fellow in the Relay National Principal Supervisors Academy. Christa is grateful to be an alum of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As the fiancé to Dr. Jonathan E. Gaines, Sr., the mother to Jonathan E. Gaines, Jr., the bonus mother to Janiyah Gaines, and the fur mother to Loki, Christa will forever be incredibly blessed to have the privilege of living in her purpose through the roles of soul mate and mother to the four forever loves of her life. They provide the cadence to her purpose and the rhythm to her calling.
Christa is passionate about impacting the lives of students and families through the power of education. Dr. Benjamin E. Mays once quoted, “Every man and every woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” This quote serves as a foundational compass for Christa as she continues to directly influence, shape, and support a high-quality educational landscape for students, families, and communities throughout the state of Georgia.