Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools will begin the 2023-24 school year with four new principals that will officially start in their new roles on July 1, 2023. The district is pleased to announce the hiring of:

• Dr. Tawanna Hughes, Hazel Grove Elementary School

• Dr. Dana Jackson, New Chelsea Elementary School

• Ms. Jimmika Lawson, Frances Willard Elementary School

• Ms. Marica Rhone, McKinley Elementary School

Dr. Tawanna Hughes currently serves as assistant principal at Eisenhower Middle School and will become the new Principal at Hazel Grove Elementary School. 

Dr. Hughes has nearly 20 years of experience as an educator, beginning as an elementary school teacher in St. Louis, MO.  A lot of her early work focused in the area of math and science..  In addition to teaching middle school math, she moved on to serve as a math specialist in the Riverview Gardens school district  before becoming the the Instruction Math and Science Coach in the St. Louis Public Schools system.

She is a founding manager of the STEM program Girls Incorporated. As an assistant principal, Dr. Hughes provided key leadership and long-term management guidance for a student population of 450 students in an urban public elementary school.

Dr. Hughes has served in administrative roles in rural and urban environments with a laser focus on building collaborative relationships, data-driven conversations, and curriculum development for the betterment of students and teachers.

She says she focuses on academic wellness and the social and emotional support needed for students’ success.

“Success is the only option,” says Hughes.

She earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Lindenwood University, a Bachelor of Science in Education from Harris-Stowe State University, a Doctoral Degree in Christian Counseling from DMTS, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Administration from the American College of Education.

Dr. Dana Jackson previously served as a consultant at an education consulting firm and will take on a new leadership role as principal at New Chelsea Elementary School.

Dr. Jackson’s passion for teaching and learning has been the driving force behind her dedication to education. Her love for reading and writing drove her to pursue a career in education as a language arts teacher, and as an Instructional Coach.

Dr has been an educator for over 10 years, with six years of experience working in the KCKPS system, where she served as an instructional coach.

Dr. Jackson’s professional work experience also includes serving as a tenure-track English Professor at the University of Saint Mary, as an academic administrator for Topeka Public Schools USD 501, and also as the assistant principal at Crossroads Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.

She is a graduate of Sumner Academy of Arts and Science. Dr. Jackson believes it was in high school that her love of reading and writing was cultivated. After graduating, she attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing.

Dr. Jackson also holds a Master’s in Writing Popular Fiction, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership in Higher Education. She is also a published author and is often a guest speaker at literary events.

Dr. Jackson is married and has two children.

Jammika Lawson, who has been assistant principal at Welborn Elementary School since 2019,  will become the new principal at Frances Willard Elementary School.

“I am excited about my new role as the Principal of Frances Willard Elementary.  I look forward to meeting all of our amazing students, hardworking teachers, supportive staff, and wonderful families within our school community,” said Lawson.

Lawson is a proud product of the KCKPS system. She attended M.E. Pearson Elementary School, Arrowhead Middle School, and Sumner Academy of Arts and Science. She graduated from Sumner Academy in 2009.

Lawson is a graduate of Pittsburg State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership, as well as her Educational Specialist degree.She returned to Kansas City, KS to serve as an educator, where she has remained for the last 10 years. Ms. Lawson began her career in KCKPS as a 1st-grade teacher, later becoming an intermediate classroom teacher and a K-5 Instructional Coach.

She firmly believes in all students being allowed to have rich educational experiences through prepared and devoted educators.  As a lifelong long learner, Lawson is dedicated to providing opportunities to expand knowledge through new experiences, innovative practice, and reflection.

She aspires to motivate and build within the community like those who came before her.

“I am confident and excited to have the opportunity to continue the great work happening at Frances Willard. I am ready to help lead our school to new heights,” adds Lawson.

Marica Rhone, who is the assistant principal at Banneker Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, will become the principal at McKinley Elementary School.

Rhone has more than 22 years of experience in education, including 17 years working in various positions in KCKPS.

She began her career as a teacher recruitment coordinator at Derrick Thomas Academy in Kansas City, MO and began her teaching experience as a 2nd grade teacher, then as a Kindergarten Full Inclusion Teacher.

Rhone joined KCKPS in August 2006, teaching 2nd through 4th grades at West Park Elementary School.  As a math intervention teacher, she used multiple data sources to analyze the root cause and to close the achievement gap. She was recognized at the state level for her students’ achievement on the Kansas State Assessment.

She has experience as a building testing coordinator, and as a curriculum instructional coach. Rhone’s educational philosophy is based on her belief that all students have the right to a quality education. 

“I am excited about my new role as the Principal of McKinley Elementary.  As I join the McKinley community, I am filled with excitement and anticipation for the future we will create together,” says Rhone. “My door is always open, and I welcome your ideas, feedback, and suggestions. Let us work together to create an inclusive and supportive environment that fosters academic excellence and personal growth.”

Rhone holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Kansas, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Urban Teacher Leadership from the University of Missouri Kansas City, a Master’s in Educational Administration, and she is pursuing a Doctorate in K-12 Organization Leadership from Grand Canyon University.