Akosua Watts

Akosua Watts


Akosua Watts
Head of School / CEO

Watts possesses a unique talent for empowering children to learn and motivating teachers to bring their best to the classroom. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from The George Washington University and worked as a Financial Analyst at Salomon Smith Barney in New York, NY. After three years, she decided to heed the call to become an educator and pursue graduate level coursework in the field. While at Columbia University's Teachers College, she was named a Helena Rubenstein Foundation Scholar and earned a Master’s degree in elementary education. Upon graduation, she taught for four years at Hugo Newman College Preparatory School – P.S. 180 in New York City. Drawing upon her work in the classroom, Watts served as an Adjunct Professor at Mercy College and a Fellow Advisor to the New York City Teaching Fellow Program. In this role she prepared prospective teachers to enter high-need schools in the New York area. Watts joined the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia in 2005 as a classroom teacher and later served as the school’s Instructional Guide before becoming Assistant Principal. She came to Chester in 2010 as the Assistant Principal of Chester Upland School of the Arts. Watts was the Assistant Principal at CCSA for the first year and served for two years as the school's Principal prior to her promotion to Head of School. She completed her Principal Certification program at Eastern University.


Find Us

Chester Charter School
for the Arts

1500 Highland Avenue
Chester, PA 19013


Mindy Nguyen-Balli

Mindy Nguyen-Balli

Stacey Milliken

Stacey Milliken

Mindy Nguyen-Balli
Director of Middle School & Arts Integration

Mindy Nguyen-Balli earned both her Bachelor’s degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Mindy taught first grade in Brooklyn, NY for five years. Her last year in NY, she was a founding teacher for the Clearpool Children’s School, a charter school inspired by the Reggio Emilia model of learning with an environmental studies focus. Moving back to the Philadelphia region, Mindy became a Museum Educator and Liaison to Public Schools at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the next seven years. It was there that she honed her arts integration teaching skills. When she was looking to return to a traditional classroom, Mindy came across the perfect job description blending all of her passions into one mission: first grade teacher at an arts-integrated school in an urban setting, Chester Upland School of the Arts.  She is proud to be one of the founding teachers who transferred when we became the Chester Charter School for the Arts. Since 2008, Mindy has also taught History/Critical Thinking to the high school bass cohort of the Chester Children’s Chorus. She is currently pursuing a principal certification at Eastern University. 


Stacey Milliken
Special Education Coordinator

Stacey has always had a passion for special education and believes that each student has the ability and potential to be successful.   She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with a dual certification in Special Education from Neumann College.  It was during this time that she discovered her enthusiasm for educating the children of Chester.  Stacey later earned a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership along with the Autism Endorsement certification from Neumann University.  Prior to becoming Special Education Coordinator, Stacey has worked as a instructional support teacher at CCSA.  In addition, she has also worked as a resource room and life skills teacher.

Tasliym Goodman

Tasliym Goodman



Lisa Wilson
Director of Operations and Reading Intervention

Lisa Wilson is the Reading Intervention Coordinator. She is a passionate educator with 20 years of instructional experience serving urban schools within and around the Philadelphia area. As a classroom teacher she taught second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades using high engagement student centered strategies. Wilson was the founding Reading Specialist at the Chester Charter School for the Arts and was chiefly responsible for developing the school’s comprehensive reading intervention program. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Temple University. Wilson earned her Master's of Education in Reading from Arcadia University. She is also certified in the Wilson Reading Program.


Faculty & Staff

Director of High School & Math Initiatives
Brian Holm

Director of Elementary
Nicole DeRitis

Leona Ahmed

Climate Manager
Michelle Freeman

Data & Human Resources Coordinator
Rachel Cameron

Registrar & Attendance Coordinator
Kyera Stewart

Kindergarten Teacher
Tiffany Flamer

Kindergarten Teacher
Alexa Garrity

1st Grade Teacher
Suzanna Seltzer

1st Grade Teacher
Lauren Usher

2nd Grade Teacher
Lindsey Kern

2nd Grade Teacher
Nicola Robinson

3rd Grade Teacher
Stacey Kucera

3rd Grade Teacher
Katie Petrello

4th Grade Teacher
Lori Foster

4th Grade Teacher
Brian Walsh

5th Grade Teacher
Cherron Carlton

5th Grade Teacher
Kimberly Bacher

6th Grade Math/Science Teacher
Leanne Heffelfinger

6th Grade English/ Social Studies Teacher
Lindsay Southworth

7th/8th Grade Math Teacher
Theresa Cummings

7th/8th Grade English Teacher
Tara Kane

7th/8th Grade Science Teacher
Megan Doran

7th/8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Christine Bloemker

HS Math Teacher
Dawn Christopher

HS Grade English Teacher
Frank Vaccaro

HS Grade English Teacher
Vincent Deery

HS Social Studies Teacher
Christopher Canary

HS Spanish Teacher
Maria Torres

HS Math & Visual Art Teacher
Truman Read

P/T Speech Therapist
Thema Williams

P/T Speech Therapist
Joan Seoni

P/T Occupational Therapist
Tameka Johnson

Guidance Counselor (K-8)
Kathleen Carpenter

Guidance Counselor (HS) / Dir. Post-Secondary Dev.
Daima Mbele

Denise Dill

21st Century Program Coordinator
Kiera Martin

Teaching Assistant
Tasha Birtha

Teaching Assistant
Lela Todd

Teaching Assistant
Shawnae Richardson

Teaching Assistant
Lamarr Todd

Teaching Assistant
Angela Bradham

Teaching Assistant
Chantele Thompson

Teaching Assistant
Lakira Comegy

Teaching Assistant
Danielle Spangler

Teaching Assistant
Vandric Broadard

Special Ed. Teacher
Ashley Graves

Special Ed. Teacher
Michael Johnson

Special Ed. Teacher
Sara Lutz

Special Ed. Teacher
Martina Hussein

Special Ed. Assoc. Teacher
Ciera Stovall

Reading Teacher
Brigid Norton

Reading Specialist
Kathleen Roach

Reading Specialist
Diane Funderburg

Reading Specialist
Kelly Nagle

Safety Coordinator
Gary Hines

Safety Officer
Patricia Breakley

Community Safety Liaison
Jonathan King

Visual Art Teacher
Alison Maddex

Dance Teacher
Ali Willingham

Physical Ed. Teacher
Ryan Fisher

Music Teacher
Frank Hosking, Jr.

P/T Vocal Music Teacher
Sean Tripline

Drama Teacher
Alyssa Franklin

Math Lab Teacher
Danielle Harrington



The Chester Fund

Keren White, Executive Director

Amy Komarnicki, Development Manager