The Next Step Public Charter School Announces New Executive Director

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Following a nation-wide search, The Next Step Public Charter School’s (TNS) Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce its selection of Jonathan Mathis as the school’s next Executive Director.

“Jonathan shares TNS’ commitment to provide students who face extraordinary challenges the opportunity to achieve academic success.  He brings to this role expertise in effective academic and non-academic practices in urban educational settings, a track record of enabling postsecondary success for traditionally under-represented student populations, a reflective and collaborative leadership style, and a relentless drive to do what it takes to get the job done,” said Celine Fejeran, Search Committee Chair. 

Most recently, Jonathan served as Director of National Honor Societies at the National Association of Secondary School Principals, managing all program implementation for 2 million students and professional development for over 26,000 educators across the organization. Before this, he was the Director of Education and Training at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, overseeing strategic initiatives designed to accelerate the efforts of key decision-makers in schools and nonprofits across the U.S. Previously, Jonathan served as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, as well as led transition services for high school students at Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school in Washington, DC.

“For nearly 20 years, TNS has invested deeply in its students, much to the credit of the unwavering leadership of Julie Meyer, and the entire school staff,” said Jonathan. “I am in awe of this learning community – they make the seemingly impossible, possible, on behalf of students and their communities.  I am honored to be selected to continue the tradition of excellence at TNS and am eager to roll up my sleeves to work alongside the school’s leadership team, teachers, staff, and Board.”

Jonathan succeeds TNS’s long-serving Executive Director, Julie Meyer, whose leadership over the last thirteen years oversaw significant growth at the school, including the purchase and renovation of a beautiful building; an increase in enrollment to serve nearly 500 students annually; the expansion of program offerings to include evening classes and robust student support and career preparation services; and the attainment of Tier 1 status on the DC Public Charter School Board’s Performance Management Framework – all while maintaining a nurturing environment and mission-driven focus.

Reflecting on her time at TNS, Julie Meyer said, “It’s been a privilege to have served The Next Step community.  I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am excited to hand the reins over to Jonathan, an accomplished educator who has the experience and dedication to help make TNS a national model for serving older, ‘opportunity’ youth.”

John Ingold, Chair of the Board of Trustees, added, “This transition comes at a time of strength at TNS. The Board is deeply grateful for Julie’s steadfast service, tireless advocacy, and collaborative vision – it is fitting that she will be celebrated this year as a recipient of FOCUS’ DC Charter Hall of Fame award.  Julie leaves behind a legacy of success for our students, one which we are confident Jonathan will build on.”

Jonathan is set to join TNS on January 29, 2018.  For questions, contact Paulina Barney at For more information on The Next Step Public Charter School, visit