Regional Leadership Team
Our Regional Leadership Team provides direction and vision to the CWC Kansas City school system and provides off-site administrative support to the school. Details of our regional leadership team are below.
Dr. Kristin Droege (Executive Director)
Dr. Kristin Droege began her work as Founding Executive Director on July 1, 2015, having been heavily involved in the launch of CWC Kansas City in the months preceding her start date. Over the past two years, she has worked to guide the school through the process of securing a facility, recruiting and enrolling students, hiring the founding faculty and staff, supporting the Board of Directors, and building partnerships with stakeholders across the city - all while creating and sharing the vision of the mission and model of CWC Kansas City.
Kristin has been a professional educator for more than 25 years, teaching elementary, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as serving in administration. Kristin has played a role in charter school leadership for the last 18 years. In 1999, Kristin and a colleague founding Mountain View Montessori Charter School in Victorville, CA, where she negotiated the governance structure with the district, served as head of curriculum, and developed/implemented a teacher evaluation system. By 2008, Kristin became the founding principal at Larchmont Charter School - West Hollywood (LCW), growing the school to K-8th grade, and overseeing the merger with the Larchmont Charter School network. In 2013, Kristin was appointed Head of K-8 for Larchmont Charter Schools, overseeing instruction for 1,100 students across four campuses. During her tenure, LCW, another "diverse by design" school, received an Academic Performance Index (API) score of 932 in 2013, compared to a district wide score of 750 and statewide score of 790. The API includes the results of state assessments and generates an overall score.
Kristin graduated from Duke University and holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California - Los Angeles.
Ryan Brennan (Director of Operations)
Ryan joined the CWCKC team in October 2015, just prior to the school receiving its charter. Throughout the planning year, Ryan worked closely with the build-out team to bring the vision of a bright, joyful campus to fruition. He was primarily responsible for procuring all equipment, supplies, and curriculum, establishing relationships with our supply vendors, and overseeing our accounts payable system. Ryan was also deeply involved with the recruitment of faculty and students, including overseeing the enrollment and registration process. Ryan has also worked closely with our Board, Sponsor, and Department of Education to ensure compliance across all areas of operations.
Ryan’s career reflects a passion for working in non-profit and service-oriented organizations. By applying strong organizational and process improvement skills, Ryan has a history of creating efficiency in customer service-driven companies with operational experience including financial, event planning/scheduling, insurance compliance, and inventory management. Additionally, Ryan is skilled and enthusiastic about team development, especially recruiting and coaching. His career has spanned church operations, hospitality, finance, and retail management. Ryan earned an MBA from Colorado Christian University and a BS in Business Administration from Colorado State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Ryan is also currently the Operations Team Leader at Gateway Church of Blue Springs and has been a certified soccer referee since 1995 as well as a referee instructor since 2013. Other than the soccer pitch, Ryan loves to spend time with his wife and young son.
Ava Onwu (Regional Office Manager)
With over 20 years experience in Operational Management and applying strong expertise in data-driven, long-term strategic planning, Ava will be a welcome addition to the CWCKC family.
Prior to joining CWCKC, Ava was a School Operations Manager for Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools in Los Angeles, where she trained her team to deliver legendary customer service and recruit/retain middle school families. In her first six months, Ava increased enrollment by 15%.
Previous to this, Ava held various positions as a Store Manager and Operations Assistant/Store Manager for some of the Fortune 500’s Top 50 US companies. With a strong knowledge of both cash and accrual accounting systems, Ava has been responsible for multi-fund budgets ranging from $5 million to $64 million; she has experience in all aspects of financial forecasting, resource allocation, fund management, accounting and control.
Ava is a current full-time student at Park University, where she is completing her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. Ava plans to earn a Masters in Business Administration, as well as obtain her Admin Credential. She is an active member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc and has just celebrated her 25th year in the organization. Ava stays attached to the community by partnering with Girl Scouts, Heal the Bay, March of Dimes, Project AIDS, #HashtagLunchbag, Special Needs Network, Adopt-A-Highway, St. Jude’s Hospital, Be The Match Bone Marrow Donation, and Ronald McDonald House.
Ava is also a military spouse and mother of four. When she has time, she loves to craft; she is an avid scrapbooker and demonstrator for stampin’ up!
Andrew Johnson (Family Engagement Coordinator)
Andrew Johnson is one of the founding parents of the Midtown Community School Initiative, the grassroots group of parents that partnered with CWCS to bring its innovative school model to their Kansas City community. Andrew helped support the school’s launch in various ways throughout the past four years and is now excited to step into a role supporting the collaborative work among teachers, parents, and community members.
In addition to his work with CWCKC, Andrew is a freelance writer who has published in various literary journals and newspapers including Crazyhorse, Guernica Daily, the Kansas City Star, and elsewhere. He is also currently the Executive Director of Pilgrim Center, which is focused on driving community involvement in urban Kansas City through arts programs, neighborhood initiatives, and public events. Prior to his most recent work, Andrew taught composition courses at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and worked in program development and community engagement at Harvesters (Kansas City’s food bank).
Andrew earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City and a BA in Communication from William Jewell College. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Kristen, who served on the founding board of CWCKC from 2015-2017. They have three children - the oldest being a second grader at CWCKC. When he isn’t working, Andrew enjoys reading, biking, running, and sitting on his front porch.