Deputy Chief:  Mary Dean, M.Ed.

Executive Director of Career and Technical Education:  Michelle Armstrong, J.D.

Michelle has worked in the education field for over 17 years and has served as the CTE Director for the School District of Philadelphia since 2012. Additionally, she has five years of experience as Assistant Director for CTE, working with over 30 schools and 120 CTE programs, to ensure that CTE standards, curriculum, and equipment meet state requirements. Before this, Michelle served as Special Projects/Planning Coordinator and Education to Career Coordinator, working directly with schools, students, and instructors in various initiatives. Michelle holds a Juris Doctorate from Temple University School of Law, a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Vassar College, and a CTE Directors Certification through the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA). Most importantly, Michelle is the proud parent of two beautiful girls.

Director of Career and Technical Education: Nicholas Gasis


Director of High School Special Projects: Aja Carpenter, Ed.D.

Dr. Carpenter is a proud native of Philadelphia, as well as, a successful product of the School District of Philadelphia, graduating with the 243rd class from the Philadelphia High School for Girls’. She has been a part of the School District of Philadelphia for 15 years and has served as a teacher, school-based Instructional Specialist, and Assistant Principal, before her current role as a Director in the Office of High School Supports. Dr. Carpenter holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree from West Chester University in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, a Masters of Art in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification and a Doctorate of Education from Walden University. She continues living her passion for working in service and support to school leaders, teachers, and students.

Director of Instructional Resource: Marjorie Gaskin, Ed.D.


Assistant Director of STEM Education: Ethan Ake-Little, Ph.D.

Dr. Ake-Little brings to the district a background in K-12 and higher education and most recently was a Research Assistant at Temple University, where he supported program evaluation of the University’s core curriculum. He has authored studies on teaching and learning, reviewed for academic journals, and published commentary about K-12 and higher education in outlets such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Education Week and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Ake-Little also served as President of the Temple University Graduate Students Association (AFT Local #6290), where he led the local’s contract negotiations. Before higher education, Dr. Ake-Little was as a biology teacher first at the Charter High School for Architecture & Design and later at The Agnes Irwin School. In addition to a Principal PK-12 certificate, he holds certifications in General Science 7-12, Biology 7-12, Chemistry 7-12, and Physics 7-12. He earned his Ph.D. in Urban Education from Temple University, a M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from Chestnut Hill College and a B.A. in History & Political Science with a minor in Biochemistry from Drexel University, where he completed his undergraduate degree in three years before enrolling in the M.D. program there. Currently, he teaches statistics to students in Temple University’s Executive Ed.D. program.


Senior Project Manager:  Leslie Maddrey, M.Ed.

Leslie Maddrey manages and leads a large number of high school initiatives such as dual enrollment, the International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and the district-wide PSAT/SAT initiatives in all 56 high schools.  In her capacity, she has and continues to serve students, teachers, and administrators within the School District of Philadelphia for more than 15 years. Leslie has held a number of positions including an Education to Career Coordinator for the Office of Career and Technical Education, a Program Manager for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, an Assistant Director for the Office of High School Reform, and a School Improvement Data Specialist for the Office of School Improvement and Data Support. Ms. Maddrey is committed to improving educational outcomes and opportunities for all students. Ms. Maddrey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Delaware State University and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Arcadia University. Through her years and efforts, Leslie continues to positively impact the lives of young people in Philadelphia as they prepare for post-secondary success.

Senior Project Manager: Cathey White

Cathey White is a Senior Project Manager at the School District of Philadelphia. Cathey oversees large scale district initiatives that relate to college and career readiness. In her current role, she is responsible for the implementation of Naviance for over 200 schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Previously, she worked for the Mayor’s Office of Education, where she played an integral role in creating a city-wide infrastructure for the people of Philadelphia in need of college access assistance. While managing The Philadelphia Education Fund’s former College Access and Success Center, Cathey increased programming and visitor numbers by over fifty percent in two years. Cathey is a Philadelphia native who has worked in the post-secondary opportunity arena for over a decade. She is passionate about helping her community gain access to the resources needed to compete in the local and global economy.