Detroit Prep exists to provide a world-class, equitable education that will give all students a foundation of academic excellence and character development while fostering a love of learning and passion for exploring and fulfilling their extraordinary potential as learners, leaders, and world-changers.

Detroit Prep’s work will be urgent and will focus on holistically educating each student. Our work will be guided by these four principles:

  • Our work is active. We learn by doing and getting our hands dirty. Students are scientists, urban planners, historians, and activists, investigating real community problems and collaborating with peers to develop creative, actionable solutions. Adults are active guides of student learning and active members of their professional learning community.

  • Our work is inclusive and equitable. Students and adults celebrate the diverse backgrounds of their peers. School leaders work to recruit and attract a population of families and faculty that represents different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Our work is excellent. Students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking. School leaders, teachers, students, and families share rigorous expectations for quality work, achievement, and behavior.

  • Our work is reflective. Students and adults reflect as they triumph and as they stumble. Students and adults offer direct and sensitive feedback to their peers. Trust, respect, responsibility, and joy in learning permeate the school culture.



Jen McMillan
co-founder & Head of School

Jen McMillan is currently a Founding Teacher and current member of the Leadership Team at Detroit Achievement Academy, Detroit Prep's flagship school. In 2014, McMillan’s students were in the 90th percentile for growth in math as measured by the NWEA MAP assessment. This year, her students were in the 99th percentile for growth nationally in both math and reading, a 71% increase in grade level proficiency in both content areas. She was named the 2015 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year. She was recognized by Expeditionary Learning as an teacher leader in integrating science and social studies content throughout the day and presented at the 2014 National Conference. Jen is a graduate of Harvard University where she earned a BA in Psychology. She has her Masters in Education and a current Michigan teaching credential. Jen has coached, mentored, and developed over 50 teachers through her work with Teach For America and The New Teacher Project. She directed school operations for the Teach For America Los Angeles Institute, managing twelve School Operations Managers. As Co-Department Chair of Special Education at Skyline High School, she led 30 staff members in a strategic redesign of the service delivery model to increase the capacity and better serve students with diverse needs.  // contact :: jen@detroitprep.org

sarah paone

Sarah is beyond excited to be one of Detroit Prep’s founding teachers.  She earned her BS in Elementary Education in 2011 from Central Michigan University.  She majored in English Language Arts and double minored in Child Development and Elementary Education.  Sarah loves to read and teaching students to read is one of her favorite things to do during the school day.  She has taught kindergarten for the past 5 years and can’t imagine being anywhere else!  Currently she is working on her Masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.  // contact :: sarah@detroitprep.org 


Annie Markey is excited to be part of the founding team at Detroit Prep. She spent the last two years teaching first grade at DAA. Originally from Ann Arbor, she earned a Masters in Education and a BA in Sociology, Spanish, and International Studies from the University of Michigan. In her free time she loves working and performing with the Detroit Circus and spending time with friends and family.  // contact :: annie@detroitprep.org 


Beth Maddens is thrilled to be the art teacher in Detroit Prep's founding year. Born and raised in metro Detroit, Beth received her Bachelors degree in art education (grades K-12) from Wayne State University. Between work opportunities and student teaching, she has worked in early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school settings.She has always loved learning and sharing about art, and is so excited for the continued opportunity to do so in our great city! Beth enjoys creating mixed media artwork, reading, and spending time with her family. // contact :: elizabeth@detroitachievement.org 


Kelly Bishaw comes to Detroit Prep Academy as the Founding Office & Operations Manager. Kelly has almost twenty years of experience in early childhood. Kelly has experience as a Head Start teacher in several agencies throughout Metro Detroit as well as owning a licensed daycare in Wayne County for twelve years. Kelly is currently pursuing her degree in early childhood. In her free time she enjoys spending it with her two daughters as well as being a “Dance Mom.” Kelly is eager to bring her expertise and passion for children and their families to Detroit Prep. // contact :: kelly@detroitprep.org 


Shelly Tremaglio is excited to join the Detroit Prep team as a Founding Kindergarten Teacher! Shelly received her Bachelors degree from Cornell University in History and French. She originally anticipated becoming a librarian but changed course after her undergraduate studies and decided to become a teacher. Shelly has her Masters Degree in Educational Studies with a concentration in Urban Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. She has been living and teaching in Detroit for the past three years. In her spare time, Shelly enjoys exploring the city on her bike and endurance sports; she has run two marathons and recently completed a Half Ironman Triathlon.  // contact :: shelly@detroitprep.org 


Megan is joining Detroit Prep as a Founding Intervention & Special Education Teacher. Megan earned her Masters in Teaching and Curriculum with a concentration in Literacy from Michigan State University. As an undergraduate she studied Special Education, Learning Disabilities with a major in Language Arts and a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She's passionate about children's development and education, and has had the opportunity to work in a variety of classrooms. Megan has participated in a variety of organizations that helped develop her community outreach, leadership and collaboration skills. Megan has a passion for helping students of Detroit and plans to do so through her work at our schools. In her free time, Megan enjoys Grey's Anatomy, reading, yoga and her three cats. // contact :: megan@detroitachievement.org 

Kaitlyn Solar
FOUNDING teaching fellow

Kaitlyn Solar is excited to be apart of the founding team at Detroit Prep. She recently graduated with her MA in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan. She also has a BA in Psychology from Michigan State University. Go Green! She is passionate about learning with children and her colleagues while nurturing the whole child. When she is not at Detroit Prep she is walking her two dogs, practicing yoga and her new favorite SUP yoga, writing, reading, and spending time with family and friends. // contact :: kaitlyn@detroitprep.org 


Emma is thrilled to be joining the Detroit Prep team as a founding Social Work Intern! Emma is currently earning her Masters in Social Work with a certification in School Social Work from the University of Michigan.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Colby College with a double major in Psychology and Anthropology. For the past 3 years Emma was a pre-school teacher in the Boston area. Emma is committed to focusing compassion and energy toward early childhood and elementary aged children. She feels it is important for young children to have a positive school experience at the beginning of their academic journey.  In her free time Emma loves to be outdoors either swimming, biking, or running! She also loves cooking and baking delicious but healthy treats :)


Katy Strader is thrilled to be on staff for a third year as the new Director of Special Projects! She will split her time between DAA and DPrep, working on everything from after school enrichment, food programming, and grant writing, to managing DAA’s green space and community outreach opportunities. Katy graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Spanish and Education, and she is currently pursuing her MEd in Leadership and Policy at Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining the DAA community, Katy worked in El Salvador for two years with a small humanitarian non-profit. Katy recently got into bee-keeping, and loves to walk her dog, and bake in her spare time. // contact :: katy@detroitachievement.org

Kyle Smitley
co-founder & Executive Director

Kyle Smitley is the Founder and Executive Director of Detroit Achievement Academy, the flagship school of Detroit Prep and a high performing, nonprofit charter school opened in 2013. Smitley’s previous experience is in business, where in 2009 Inc. Magazine named her among the 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 and Forbes Magazine honored her as one America’s top 10 most promising women entrepreneurs.  // contact :: kyle@detroitprep.org