Who is Milestone Democratic School?

If a decision affects you, you have the right to help make that decision.

Membership In Milestone

Students, families, and staff are legally guaranteed the right to vote on issues affecting our school, and to elect our Governance Board, because they are members of the school under our Bylaws. Community Stakeholders can also apply for membership, as long as they believe in and support the mission of our school.

Are you interested in joining Milestone as a Community Stakeholder? Contact us for an application!

The School Design Team

Milestone’s School Design Team makes all decisions about what our school will be like. The Design Team is diverse and representative of the communities Milestone seeks to serve. All decisions made by the Design Team are by consensus, so everyone’s voice is heard. They publish their work in the School Plan.

Malik McDonald

I joined this project because of feedback from other students who wanted a change in schools. I hope to make a big change.

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Gersely Rios

I was born and raised in the city of Maracaibo in Venezuela. I joined this project when I was 13. I want to change the way that kids see school, and give back to the Latinx community.

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Devika Pal

I was born and brought up in Madison by immigrant parents from India. I joined when I was 13. I am in this project because I want to have a school where students are eager to attend.

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Alex Ralyn

I am a part of the facilities and architecture group to better our school environment and see our school flourish!

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Jurie Mayo

I have been a community organizer for four years. I joined to contribute a queer, black, and gender nonbinary voice.

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Stefano Oviedo

I’m very open minded, and a proud Mexican. I want to see a change in the education of students and to help them to get the next step in their lives.

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Trendell Dobbs

I love sports, I also enjoy helping other people, and my black culture. I really wanted to be apart in this project to take on the black youth's point of view.

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Roland Kahl

I am a student in Madison, WI. I have been a design team member since late September, 2019 and will be attending when it opens next year.

Mariah Justice

I am an emerging artist, writer, musician, softball-player, and history enthusiast, born and raised in Madison, WI. My deep-rooted interest in history stems from my desire to learn from our collective past in order to create a better future.

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Sean Anderson

I love teaching democracy and design, and I have had the privilege to do that work in Wisconsin, Vermont, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Mexico.

The Governance Board

The Board of Directors of Milestone is also known as our Charter School Governance Board. The current “start-up Board” are all volunteers who are helping guide the school through opening. The members of Milestone will elect a new Board once our school is open.

President: Dr. Mary Ann Kahl

Mary Ann Kahl has over 40 years experience in education, including as an elementary teacher, special education director, principal, assistant director of human services, and superintendent. She has also taught in higher education, leading the educational leadership department and programs at National Louis University, Wisconsin Campus. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education at Southern Illinois University and two advanced degrees, MEd and EdD, from National Louis University in Educational Leadership.

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Vice President: Jurie Mayo

Jurie is 20 years old, and prior to working with Milestone she was a community organizer for four years. She joined this project because she feels like having a queer, black, and gender nonbinary voice should be essential to help shape this school.

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Vice President: Gersely Rios

I was born and raised in the city of Maracaibo in Venezuela. I joined this project when I was 13. I want to change the way that kids see school, and give back to the Latinx community.

Deepa Pal

I am in the vocational rehab field and have 19-plus years of experience in working with people with special abilities and challenges. I have a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from India and a Master's in Rehabilitation Psychology from UW-Madison. I've been very impressed with the Milestone teams and their accomplishments. (I'm proud that my daughter is on the youth design team.) I'm here to provide my support and encouragement.

Michael Davis

Hi good people! My name is Michael Davis and I am a community-organizer with Freedom, Inc., and a PH.D. student in the Educational Policy Studies Department at UW-Madison. My work looks at the role of education in Black-led/centered radical social movements and how the structure of Blackness plays out in education/schooling. I’m originally from Ohio and have been in Madison the last five years. I enjoy playing piano, shooting hoops, and collecting exclusive sneakers. I am happy to serve as a Board Member and general volunteer for Milestone!

Tomás Clasen

Tomás Clasen is an attorney in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren’s Real Estate Practice. Before going to law school, he participated in Teach For America and spent four years helping raise the student achievement rates within New York public schools. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Milwaukee Excellence Charter School. Tomás understands deeply the importance of students taking ownership over their own education and student centered learning. As such, he is excited to support Milestone Democratic School.

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Devika Pal

I was born and brought up in Madison by immigrant parents from India. I joined when I was 13. I am in this project because I want to have a school where students are eager to attend.

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Stefano Oviedo

I’m very open minded, and a proud Mexican. I want to see a change in the education of students and to help them to get the next step in their lives.

The Educators' Cooperative

The staff of Milestone is interviewed and hired by the Design Team, and then they organize themselves into an independent, democratic, worker-owned cooperative. As a #TeacherPowered school, the Educators’ Co-op manages and operates the school by sharing administrative duties between themselves.

Art Richardson

I have a Masters degree in Entertainment and Media Business. It's my personal life's goal is to bring fun and joy to teens. I love working with youth, I love youth culture, I love history, culture and social justice. I am looking forward to meeting you and co creating a new prosperous and enjoyable society for us all.

Victoria Zupancic

I believe the purpose of education is to aid in the development of compassionate, healthy, and intelligent citizens of a global community who use critical and rational thinking skills to be a positive asset to society. It is my hope that by being successful within my classroom, my students will create a positive vision for their future as an individual and as a part of something bigger than themselves.

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Stefano Oviedo

I joined the Educators' Co-op because schools have been the same for the past 100 years, and I believe that they need to change along with our times.

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Sean Anderson

My vision is an inclusive, integrated educational environment where learning is authentic, student-driven, and community-connected. My intention is to develop leadership from within a collaborative team of educators. My goal is to coach every student I work with toward learning at their very best.

Friends of Milestone

Some community stakeholder members of Milestone volunteer to serve as “Friends of Milestone.” Friends make themselves available to support the Design Team, the Educators’ Co-op, and the Board with their expertise, guidance, time, and energy. Thank you, Friends!

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Corinne Hale, New Leaders Council

“Milestone embraces the inclusive and democratic philosophies needed to foster student engagement in the classroom. Through student, educator, and advisor collaboration, Milestone is creating an innovative educational space designed to elevate student voices and ultimately help students thrive. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support Milestone Democratic School as they continue to grow and offer creative alternatives to the traditional high school setting in order to best meet student needs.”

German Rios, parent of a Design Team member

“Amigos, creo que esta iniciativa va germinar muchos éxitos a corto plazo ya que está orientado a una educación con un esquema diferente donde todos tendrán las mismas oportunidades y no van a sentirse obligados a un sistema! En mi país de origen no existen estas diversas opciones de aprendizaje ya que todo se basa a un obsoleto esquema educacional que pocas veces ofrece oportunidades a los estudiantes! Espero que Milestone Democratic School pueda ser una realidad al alcance de todos…”

Joel Jarosky, teacher

“I got into education for one main reason, to work towards making it more equitable. I believe that education should be relevant, inclusive, and driven by individuals' interests, strengths and passions. After 12 years in education, I have had the privilege of teaching in different parts of the world, and I am excited to continue working to advocate for more youth voice in schools."

Nancy Mistele, Executive Director for Community Organizations Promoting the Arts, Inc.

"With experience across public and private sectors, government and nonprofits, I have built a strong rapport with C-suite executives, employees, customers and business associates and municipal and elected officials. I served for 5 years on the Madison Metropolitan School Board Member, and I understand the importance of programming that fits and fulfills each and every student. I see Milestone placing students at the cornerstone of their education."

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Dr. Michael McCabe, EdD, Principal Genoa City School District

“Milestone Democratic School is the first school codesigned with youth from ideation through implementation. This democratic learning space is where leaders and learners are developed and equipped with a skillset and disposition necessary for our civilization to thrive.“

Phill Klamm, Principal, Walworth School District

“I am honored to be a small part of Milestone Democratic School and excited to watch the amazing work of the students and team.”

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Rhonda Ferba, parent of a Design Team member

“The School Design program has helped my son be more responsible. It taught him to work with others, be respectful, be responsible, have others count on him, voice his opinion, problem solve, and that’s just to name a few things. This project also got him excited about going to high school and college. He’s looking forward to Milestone Democratic School opening in 2020 so he can attend.”

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Jessica Ralyn, parent of a Design Team member

“We are excited about Milestone Democratic’s opening as our local youth deserve another option. An opportunity to be educated in a way that is culturally engaging and where students have a voice and can make an impact on shaping their education.”

Amitabh Pal, parent of a Design Team member

I have a Master’s in Journalism (UNC-Chapel Hill) and a Master’s in Political Science (N.C. State University), have worked in the journalism and nonprofit fields and have taught courses at Madison-area colleges (Edgewood College, University of Wisconsin, Madison College) for the past couple of decades. I have appeared on C-SPAN and BBC and television and radio stations all over the United States and abroad and have interviewed personalities ranging from the Dalai Lama to Jimmy Carter. I strongly believe in the mission of Milestone, especially the notion of young people designing a school for their peers.

Shawn Koval, Healthy Kids Collaborative

I am the program coordinator for the Healthy Kids Collaborative based out of UW Health. I recently relocated to my hometown of Madison after spending the last six years in Oakland, California leading community schools, youth leadership, and school-based health & wellness programs. I'm eager to collaborate with Milestone and other Greater Madison school communities to work on collective impact initiatives and advocate for programs and policies that strive for equitable educational and health outcomes for all children and families in Dane County.

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Jennifer Gaddis, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Jill Gurtner, Principal of Clark Street Community School

Pepe Barros Hoffens, City of Madison and Down with Bikes

I am honored to be part of such a valuable project for our community. I am an Industrial Engineer, musician, Mobility Justice advocate, and Latinx community organizer. I have invested the last decade of my life in supporting people from all ages and empowering them through the development of social-emotional skills. I work every day toward the goal of bringing our society to the next level. Thank you.

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Jonathan Rouse, Curriculum Coordinator, Monona Grove School District