Deborah Lockhart
Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Lockhart’s expertise lies in the areas of human resources, marketing, operations and technical services. She has successfully launched and operated programs for corporate entities for more than two decades. Among the clients served, both domestically and internationally, are the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Washington, DC; Riverside Hospital/Riverside Treatment Services, Inc., Washington, DC; Orion Marketing & Engineering Services, Frankfurt, West Germany; and International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, Riverside, CA.

Ms. Lockhart’s most fulfilling achievements are those associated with the success of the many young people that she has been fortunate enough to mentor and assist in their development. She also counts among her achievements the development of the Human Resources Department for a major hospital, including its recruiting, credentialing, hiring, orientation and training, and retention of personnel functions; the establishment of a broad-based marketing and technical services firm for sales and installation of office products, telephone systems, intercom systems, and other support services; and spearheading the development team transitioning the human resources system at one of the largest airport facilities in the United States from a family of antiquated software and hardware systems to a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art system affecting hundreds of employees at multiple base sites.

Ms. Lockhart’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are from California State University in Northridge, CA. She has also completed graduate studies in human resources at Villanova University.


Avril Crooks
Early Childhood Principal

Avril Codnor-Crooks is the Early Childhood Principal at Excel Academy and was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She received her elementary and secondary education at all girls’ schools. She graduated from Mico Teachers’ College in 1990 where she specialized in Elementary Education; The University of the West Indies in 1990 with a Bachelor of Education with an emphasis on Managing Learning Difficulties; then The Mico University where she studied School Administration and Management. She continued her education at American College of Education where she completed a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

Avril Codnor-Crooks has over twenty-five years of teaching experience of which twenty of these were at her alma mater –an all-girls elementary school. Her accomplishments during her teaching career include winning the Teacher of the Year at St. George’s Girls School in 1992-1993; 1997-2001, the Ministry of Education scholarship in 2002 and 2006 was featured in the nation’s newspaper ‘Teachers we Love.'   

Avril Codnor-Crooks has two daughters, one son and two grand-daughters. She believes that every child is a unique and special individual who deserves a secure, caring and stimulating environment in which to grow and mature academically, physically and socially.

Tara Warrington
Elementary School Principal

Tara Warrington is the Elementary Campus Principal at Excel Academy.  She feels that it is a privilege to work at an all girls’ school and serve scholars from the Anacostia community.  She just completed her second year at Excel.   

Prior to joining Excel Academy, Tara worked as a principal for five years in Pennsylvania: three years at an urban charter school and two years in a traditional public school.  She was an elementary teacher for ten years, teaching grades 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th.  While she was a teacher, she coached high school girls’ volleyball and basketball. 

Tara has devoted her professional career to working with children in underserved communities.  She has a passionate belief that people can change their circumstances through education.  For her, working as an educator is not a profession, but rather a vocation.  She feels blessed to do work that has a profound impact on the lives of others and society.

In her personal life, Tara enjoys spending time with her husband, John, and their dog, Harlan.  They enjoy the outdoors and traveling.  Most recently, Tara and John have fallen in love with fly fishing.  Harlan has fallen in love with eating trout! 

Nikki Williams
Middle School Principal

Nikki Williams began her career as a high school biology teacher in 2000.  From there, she went on to teach middle school science; was Magnet Coordinator and was a founding Assistant Principal for the first and only single gender, female public school in North Carolina.  With a focus on early college and leadership, Ms. Williams cultivated a partnership with a local university and was the sole administrator.  This allowed students to earn two years of transferable college courses on the university campus.  Through her leadership, each student amassed upwards of 60-credit hours to transfer to a 4-year university.   As a first-generation college graduate herself and former military soldier, Ms. Williams has made it her life work to ensure that students have exposure, opportunity, and access to college.  A native of North Carolina, Ms. Williams earned her B.S. in Biology from North Carolina Central University, cum laude. She later went on to earn her Master’s degree in School Administration from North Carolina State University.

Since moving to the District of Columbia, she has held the position of  Director of Curriculum and Instruction for a K-12 school where she had a strong focus on school culture and excellence.  She later became the Head of School for a Southeast D.C.high school that was set to replicate itself.  She was an instrumental partner in the strategic planning for the opening of the new campus. 

She is now eager to continue her internal passion of being a mentor and role model to minority young ladies.

Dr. Wallace Henry
Director of Student Support Services

As a visionary leader with over 13 years of education experience, Dr. Henry has effectively programmed for children from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. This experience has included student-centered instructional programming, compliance driven special education services, core values based climate interventions, and intentional parental engagement. In addition, he has lead successful strategic planning initiatives, annual budgets, and programs evaluation and restructuring. His passion emerges as he builds intentional and effective teams driven by the goal of student success.