Ms. Corri Tate Ravare Executive Director

Ms. Ravare joined the CAPS organization in July 2022 with over 20 years of experience in charter school management and charter school policy development.

Most previously, Ms. Ravare served as the CEO of Extera Public Schools, a Charter Management Organization operating two schools in East Los Angeles. Prior to becoming CEO, she served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer for six years and led a team that included human resources, technology, operations, real estate, compliance, student recruitment, budget, and finance.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Ravare led regional advocacy efforts in Los Angeles for the California Charter Schools Association, where she also served as the founding Executive Director of Families that Can, a statewide advocacy organization engaging and empowering charter school parents.  Ms. Ravare also served as the Senior Vice President at ICEF Public Schools, a successful network of charter schools serving South Los Angeles.  Ms. Ravare is a certified Charter School Business Manager.  She is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and received her Bachelor’s from UC Berkeley.

Ms. Ravare also serves on the board of CharterFolk, a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the charter school movement to improve education for all students.

Ms. Maria Picone Principal: Grades K-3

Ms. Picone is very proud to currently hold the position of principal for kindergarten through grade 3 at College Achieve Central Charter School.

Having grown up in Paterson, Ms. Picone had a strong desire to return to urban education and follow in the footsteps of the exemplary educators who supported her in her youth. She started her career as a classroom teacher in Bloomingdale, and during that time, received the school level Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award. After moving into the role of school counselor/student assistance coordinator, she was recognized in 2006 by the NJ Bias Officers Association for efforts to “reduce bigotry and hate.”

During the 2018-2019 school year, Ms. Picone held the position of Director of Early Childhood Education at Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, where she served on the Superintendent’s Academic Leadership Team, supported the founding of MPTCS’s preschool program, and supported teaching and learning for grades Pre-K to 2. Prior to that, Ms. Picone held the position of principal for six years at University Heights Charter School, also in Newark, and acted as Director of Early Learning (Grades Pre-K to 2) during the 2017-2018 school year. During her time at University Heights, Ms. Picone founded the school’s Pre-K program, making it one of the first charter schools in the area to open its doors to 3-year-olds and supported the school’s expansion and curriculum advancement. Preceding this, Ms. Picone held the position of Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, and Testing in Prospect Park.

Ms. Picone has completed an Advanced Graduate Program in Educational Administration and has a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Human Services, and Guidance from Montclair State University, where she also completed a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program and an undergraduate degree in English. Currently, she is an advisory board member for NJ School Resource Officers Association (NJASRO) and holds the position of Vice-President of Public Policy of NJAEYC (NJ Association for the Education of Young Children). She has also participated in presentations to educators at various conferences, such as facilitating a workshop at the Spring 2019 NJAEYC conference entitled, “Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their Impact: Supporting the Development of Trauma Sensitive Classrooms.”

Dr. Lennox H. Small Principal, Grades 4-8

Between the ages of 7 to 16, Dr. Small attended seven schools in three countries and three states, seeing firsthand both the power of education to transform lives and the “savage inequalities” (which is how Jonathan Kozol described one of these schools) that result when students are not afforded the best instruction, resources, and guidance. These experiences left an indelible mark on Dr. Small and are why he pursued a career in education.

Dr. Small received a B.A. at Rutgers University, an M.A. at Columbia University/Teachers College  and an M.A. in Educational Administration at Kean University. He completed his Doctorate in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years experience in the field, he has served as a middle and high school teacher, vice principal, and principal; most recently he served as District Supervisor of Humanities for New Brunswick Public Schools. Dr. Small joined CAPS in July 2022, bringing his passion to annihilate “savage inequalities” to our own schools.

During his career, Dr. Small has received several awards and recognitions including serving as a US Educator Delegate to Beijing, China and a grant at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also received a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in Southern Africa, including Swaziland (Eswatini), South Africa, Lesotho, and Mozambique.  In this role, he spent two months conducting research with teachers in various secondary schools and universities throughout the region. Dr. Small currently serves as a Commissioner at the Edison Housing Authority and a board member for Edison Affordable Housing.

Mrs. Natica Brown Principal: Grades 9-12

Natica BrownAs a young woman, Mrs. Brown did not set out to become a teacher or administrator. Having earned a B.S. in Biology, she sought to fund medical school applications by taking on some substitute teaching work. Noticing that the grade 9 students had posted art collages in their science classroom, Mrs. Brown asked them why. They explained that they had been without a teacher for six months (and some an entire year before that as well), and that the last substitute was an art teacher, not a science teacher. Mrs. Brown decided at that moment that she would not sit for two weeks and let them loose any opportunity to fall in love with science. She asked the students permission to teach them and the students agreed. Within 30 days, Mrs. Brown was on the road to becoming a teacher via the Alternate Route program.

Mrs. Brown continued her career for 7 years as a teacher of Biology, Geophysical Science, and Physics. This included 4 years in Paterson, NJ, where she earned the title “Teacher of the Year”. It also included several years in Newark Public Schools. Along the way, she earned an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction in Physics.

Over time, Mrs. Brown realized that real change must start at the top. She decided that the best way she could reach children and make a difference was to become a leader and change agent. She began working on earning administrative certifications. In 2013, Mrs. Brown moved from teacher to Vice Principal. In this leadership role, she ensured that her high school graduated 90% of the senior class that entered the school in September. She continued to grow as an administrator, moving attendance rates as well as graduation rates by double digit percentages.

Mrs. Brown has an uncompromising outlook that all students can learn if given a positive learning environment that welcomes investigation and enhances student confidence. She is a collaborative leader, so her vision for school leadership is to develop a clear and shared focus for the school. It is Mrs. Brown’s belief that an educator’s mission is to make school enjoyable, exciting, and supportive — that a student who looks forward to attending school will want to learn.