Our Founding Team

New Village Academy Founding Team

Romey Pittman, M.Ed., M.A., Founding Principal

Founding Principal Romey Pittman’s educational journey has included a broad range of experiences, working in traditional public schools, charters, and alternative learning programs.  She has been involved in the founding of six schools as a school leader or as a consultant/coach.  She has engaged deeply with several innovative approaches to school structure and learning, including EL Education (Expeditionary Learning), Sudbury Schools, Place-Based Education, Glasser’s Choice Theory, and Montessori, as well as community mentoring programs like Baltimore’s Thread, drawing the best practices from each approach to form a coherent vision for an innovative high school in Annapolis. 

Throughout her 25-year career in education, Pittman had wrestled with the stubborn problem of how to meet the motivational challenges and educational needs of youth who do not readily buy into the unwritten contract between students and schools: “We teachers will ‘pay’ you students with good grades and a diploma, if you do your seat time in the classes we assign to you and complete the exercises we tell you to do.”  Since her thesis at Brown University, "Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Between Black Students and White Teachers," she has understood that this failed contract is inextricably connected with questions of race, equity, and social justice in schools, and is a problem that resides in schools, not in the children they are meant to serve.  

After teaching at Suitland High School (PGCPS) in the early 90s, founding a Sudbury School in Upper Marlboro, working as a School Designer with EL Education, and serving as Academic Director of Southwest Baltimore Charter School, Pittman returned to the classroom at Annapolis High School in 2019 to re-immerse herself in a conventional public-school setting, coming home to Anne Arundel County to see what she could do to contribute to the difficult issues surrounding motivation and education, race, and class.  Being back in the classroom has sharpened her analysis of the challenges and clarified her vision of the solutions required to meet the needs of disengaged high school students.  She is thrilled to be working with a stellar founding team and visionary partner organizations to create an innovative educational endeavor that inspires young people who are disillusioned with school to take charge of their own education and future through real-world learning that is supported, accountable, and individualized. 

Cheryl Nkeba, M.S.

Cheryl Nkeba, a graduate of the NAIS Fellowship of Aspiring Heads 2020 Cohort, is an educational leader with over 20 years of experience. Ms. Nkeba is a highly effective administrator, music director and teacher, with a B.S. degree in Music from Norfolk State University, an M.S. in Music Education from West Virginia University, and G.P.D. in Bassoon Performance from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, she holds an Educational Leadership for Independent Schools certification from Johns Hopkins University, and a Diversity Leadership Institution certification from NAIS. Ms. Nkeba has twenty-plus years of teaching experience in NAIS independent schools. She was awarded the Edward K. Dunn prize for the outstanding development of character in boys in 2016 at Gilman’s Upper School. 

She served as the founder/director of the Mitchellville Community School of the Arts, Education Director of the Prince George’s Philharmonic Education Program, and currently as Education Director of the DMV Music Academy. She has performed as principal bassoonist of several chamber music groups and works as a freelance musician throughout the greater Washington, D.C. Area. Active in community arts, she has received numerous grants for educational projects as well as performance. 

Currently, Ms. Nkeba is a Music History and Instrumental Music teacher at Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland. Experienced in mindfulness education and the use of technology in the classroom to enhance learning, Nkeba supports innovative methods of providing instruction, such as flipped teaching, forum discussions, blended teaching, Jamkazam, and distance learning.

Lisa Rodvien, J.D., M.Ed.

County Council Chair, Lisa Rodvien, has served the Annapolis community as the County Council representative for Councilmanic District 6, since Dec. 3, 2018.  She ran for the Anne Arundel County Council in 2018 because she was seeing first-hand the challenges being faced by her students and their families, as well as among her neighbors and the county at large. She was also concerned about the risks of overdevelopment, including the impact on our environment, and a lack of needed infrastructure investments and improvements.  She has spent four years advocating for education, the environment, and for workers and families in her Annapolis district.  

After graduating from law school in 2000, Ms. Rodvien clerked in the Washington D.C. Superior Court, Felony Division. She went on to practice education law for a boutique law firm in Washington, D.C. during the passage and early years of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. She worked with state education agencies as they implemented the law’s new requirements. 

Eventually, Ms. Rodvien learned that she wanted to work directly with young people and transitioned to a career in teaching.  She has been a public school history and music teacher since 2007.  She has taught in Anne Arundel County Public Schools since 2010

She earned her Bachelor's degree from Cornell University, her Master's in Education from George Mason University, and her Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Rodvien lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband, George Rodvien.

Marcus Jones, M.A.

Marcus Jones provides experience in finance and workplace mentoring to the Founding Team. A resident of Baltimore, Mr. Jones has deep roots in the Annapolis and South County areas. A product of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the mission of the New Village Academy resonated especially strongly with Mr. Jones. He is very familiar with the authoritative model that has reigned over the school system for decades, a model that leaves students unprepared for the workplace. During his time at Wells Fargo Bank, he ran into the same ethos with the same results - disengaged co-workers focused on checking boxes and avoiding work. After gaining experience and rising through the ranks of management, Jones implemented his own model of management, mixing a focus on results with the mentality that everyone can achieve more if they are bought into and understand the mission. After 5 years in banking management, he recently took his talents to the United States Department of Agriculture to work for the American people. 

Jones received his post-secondary education from the University of Baltimore (B.A of Government and Public Policy) and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County (M.A. of Public Policy Concentration in Public Management). In addition to volunteering his time with the New Village Academy, he has volunteered with the Ralph J. Bunche Community Center for the past 4 years. When not working for the people, he enjoys bowling, gardening, and spending time with his cat, Justice.

Monica Lindsey, M. A.

Monica Lindsey is a Maryland-born and raised educator with a background in nonprofit sector development and strategic social justice. Lindsey holds a Master's degree in Psychology and a bachelor's degree in English. Her work experience includes the corporate and government sectors and public school education. Ms. Lindsey's specialties are working with students with learning differences, and she is a highly qualified English and Special Education teacher. She also holds certifications in Reading and Pupil Personnel Work. Linsdey's background includes contract work for the Department of Defense, creating training programs for military bases nationwide.  She is a member of the AACPS Joint Commission on Eliminating the Achievement Gap.

In addition to these roles, Ms. Lindsey serves as the Director of South Sudan Hope Network, a nonprofit charitable organization that works to build and develop schools and provide relief to communities in war-torn South Sudan. She is a board member of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, a nonprofit that seeks to illuminate the truth and seek the paths of reconciliation for racial terror. Lindsey also serves as the co-chair of Connecting the Dots, a grassroots racial justice organization that she helped found in 2017, and is a Board Member of March on Maryland. 

As an engaged citizen, Ms. Lindsey is honored to have been the recipient of the Fannie Lou Hamer Award from the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Anne Arundel County, Maryland; the Alan Hillard Legum Award; and the MSEA Human Civil Rights Award as well as a number of additional citations and recognitions.

Neal Brown, Ed.D

Neal Brown is a career-long progressive educator who brings experience in school leadership, educational consulting, and teaching to the New Village Academy Founding Team. His teaching career began at Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where he taught history, led community service, and worked on faculty development. Brimmer and May was one of a handful of independent schools to join the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school reform organization dedicated to transforming schools into more inspiring, engaging, outcome-based, and personalized places for students. Brown later worked directly for the Coalition, where he coordinated the collaboration of reform-minded independent and public schools, and where he helped to launch the National Center for Independent School Renewal.

Brown’s research and educational consulting work has focused on curriculum, school design, and developing professional cultures that best support beginning teachers. Brown served as the Assistant Head of School at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord, Massachusetts, as the Head of School at Green Acres School in North Bethesda, Maryland, and as Interim Head of School at Lansdowne Friends School in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. Brown also completed a principal internship at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School and helped to establish the Kokrobitey School in Ghana, West Africa. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Creative Minds International Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.. Brown earned both a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A.T. from Brown University, as well as Ed.M. and Ed.D. degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Brown and his family live in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Paul Dyer, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul W. Dyer has devoted 40 years to learning and studying human development at the master's and doctoral levels.  Dr. Dyer holds advanced degrees in the study of Neuroscience, Neuroanatomy, Stress Management, Psychology, Applied Psychology, and Neuro-Linguistics Programming.  He is also a Grandmaster of Martial Arts, an inductee in several national and international martial arts halls of fame, and an Army veteran with 15 years of service, including over a dozen missions domestically and internationally.  He has also done humanitarian work on behalf of the United Nations in El Salvador, the Congo, and other countries. 

Dr. Dyer specializes in helping organizations create an environment where people who are significantly different from each other can learn, work, and grow together.  Integrating diversity initiatives into the overall business strategy, structuring diversity councils and affinity groups for success, leadership development, team building, and the design and delivery of interactive seminars. His program of Emotional Reaction Training has been implemented in corporations, athletics programs, and educational settings.  He has authored several books on Martial Arts, Neuroscience, and Emotional Reaction Training and hosts an online call-in show that won the Fargo, ND Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Dyer is an active member of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County, a member of the AACPS Equity Advisory Committee, a board member of the People Escaping Poverty Project, a racial sensitivity educator, an organizer and leader of free self-defense clinics for women and children, and a volunteer in multiple Annapolis area community programs and organizations.     

Patricia Eleazer, M. Div.

Patricia Eleazer is a seeker of truth and a lover of life-long learning any way and anywhere she can find it. Since retiring from the Air Force in 2007, Eleazer has sought out opportunities to engage in learning and teaching by traveling extensively, teaching elementary school, learning gardening and foraging skills, and supporting the Alkebulan Shule, an Annapolis-based rites of passage school grounded in African cultural traditions. She also served on the Veterans Mental Health Advisory Council in Baltimore, Maryland, learning about military life challenges and locating resources for veterans, and established a youth summer camp for boys in San Antonio, Texas. 

A Native New Yorker whose launching pad to the world has now become Maryland, Eleazer has a passion for archaeology, particularly as it pertains to the preservation of African American and Native American culture, especially since her father grew up on the Shinnecock Reservation in New York and her mother has both African and North Carolina Cherokee roots.  Most recently, she participated in an expedition in Italy to search for the remains of a fallen WWII pilot.

Eleazer also finds a calling in advocacy work.  She worked in the Annapolis Mayor's Office as a community health advocate during the pandemic. She has involved herself in winning campaigns for Annapolis elected leaders, engaged in global activism interfacing with die-hards like Linda Wiley and Jane Fonda, and volunteered with several women empowerment and racial justice organizations across the country. 

Eleazer studied at Bowdoin College and the University of Chicago before joining the US Air Force as an analyst and reporter for 20 years.  During her military service, she earned a BS in International Affairs from Florida State University and a Master of Divinity from Howard University.

Tatiana J.  Klein, M.S. 

Tatiana J. Klein graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2017 with a master’s degree in Science in Education (Mind, Brain, and Teaching and Educational Leadership.)  Costa-Rican-born and an American citizen, Mrs. Klein began studying music at age 10 with piano and later flute at age 14. Mrs. Klein studied music at Duquesne University and the Peabody Institute.  A professional flutist for many years, Mrs. Klein homeschooled her son until 3rd grade and, after enrolling him at the Key School, changed careers to teaching Spanish.  Mrs. Klein has taught High School Spanish at the Key School in Annapolis since 2008.

Mrs. Klein currently chairs the Education and Programming Committee of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, is a member of the Joint Commission of the Opportunity Gap, and is the founding director of the Marshall Learning Center under Marshall Hope Corporation. At the Marshall Learning Center, Mrs. Klein brings daily educational opportunities to Annapolis-area immigrant children ages 4 to 19. Mrs. Klein has also offered a full-day summer camp at Quiet Waters Park for 40 children at no cost to families in July for the past four years.

Mrs. Klein is a former board president of the Center of Help (Centro de Ayuda), where she directed the Leadership and Learning Program. While there, she founded the María de María de la Paz Youth Outreach Center for gang prevention and co-founded Guitars For Change, with the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, now hosted at Maryland Hall by Jóvenes Artistas.  In 2022, she founded the Hispanic Children’s Choir. 

Mrs. Klein received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2022 from the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, the Excellence in Leadership Award from Leadership Anne Arundel in 2016, the Volunteer of the Year Award from Leadership Anne Arundel in 2011, and the Volunteer of the Week by the Capital Gazette in 2001. She is also a graduate of the Neighborhood Academy '06 and the Flagship program '07 of Leadership Anne Arundel and volunteered as a coordinator with the Neighborhood Academy for many years.

Advisory Board - Coming Soon

New Village Academy Staff

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