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 Elementary
Nicole DeRitis

Director of High School & Math Initiatives
Brian Holm

Leona Ahmed

Climate Managers
Doddy Dodds (MS
Michelle Freeman (HS)

Guidance Counselor (HS) & Dir. Post-Sec. Development
Daima Mbele

Guidance Counselor (K-8)
Kathleen Carpenter

Data & Human Resources Coordinator
Rachel Cameron

Registrar & Attendance Coordinator
Kyera Stewart

Kindergarten Team
Tiffany Flamer
Alexa Garrity
Chantele Thompson, Teaching Asst.

1st Grade Team
Suzanna Seltzer
Lauren Usher
Angela Bradham, Teaching Asst.

2nd Grade Team
Shannon Damico
Nicola Robinson
Lela Todd, Teaching Asst.

3rd Grade Team
Stacey Kucera
Katie Petrello
Shawnae Richardon, Teaching Asst.

4th Grade Team
Lori Foster
Brian Walsh
Tasha Birtha, Teaching Asst.

5th Grade Team
Cherron Carlton
Kimberly Bacher
Keshana Jackson, Teaching Asst.

6th Grade Team
Leanne Heffelfinger, Math & Science
Lindsay Southworth, English & Soc. St.
Vandric Broadard, Teaching Asst.

7th/8th Grade Team
Christine Bloemker, Soc. St.
Theresa Cummings, Math
Adrienne White, Science
Tara Kane, English
Lakira Comegy, Teaching Asst.
Lamarr Todd, Teaching Asst.

High School Team
Kevin Bailey, Science
Christopher Canary, History
Dawn Christopher, Math
Vincent Deery, English & History
Christine Ellis, Science & HSEP Coordinator
Truman Read, Math & Visual Art
Maria Torres, Spanish
Frank Vaccaro, English
Rebecca Beachy, Assoc. Teacher
Dejuana Moseley, Assoc. Teacher

Arts Team
Alyssa Franklin, Theatre
Frank Hosking, Music
Alison Maddex, Visual Art
Sam Samuel, P/T Vocal Music
Ali Willingham, Dance

Physical Ed. Teacher
Ryan Fisher

Math Lab Teacher
Danielle Harrington

Special Education Team
Ashley Graves
Martina Hussein
Micheal Johnson
Sara Lutz
Ciera Stovall, Assoc. Teacher
Jared Arnold, Teaching Asst.
Rita Giordano, Teaching Asst.

Reading Team
Diane Funderburg
Lindsay Kern
Kelly Nagle
Brigid Norton, Instructor & SPED
Tara Park, Instructor & Writing Coordinator

Safety Coordinator
Patricia Breakley

Safety Officer
Miguel Cruz

Community Safety Liaison
Jonathan King

P/T Speech Therapists
Joan Seoni
Thema Williams

P/T Occupational Therapist
Tameka Johnson

Denise Dill

21st Century Program Coordinator
Kiera Martin



The Chester Fund

Alex Coll, Director of Annual Giving

Amy Komarnicki, Development Manager