Allison Keil, Co-Founder and K-8 Co-Director
Allison Keil grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Keil holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University and a Master’s Degree from Bank Street College. After graduating from Brown University, Ms. Keil went to work at St. Ann’s School, one of the most highly respected private schools in New York. Ms. Keil then decided to transition into public school teaching and was accepted into the very rigorous Teach For America program, which prepares top college graduates to teach in under resourced public schools. After spending the summer training in Houston, Texas and teaching in a bi-lingual 2nd grade classroom Ms. Keil accepted a first grade teaching position at PS 30 in Harlem, New York where she taught for two years. During this time Ms. Keil pursued professional development opportunities at Teacher’s College as well as beginning to take masters level education classes at Bank Street College. Ms. Keil then accepted a teaching position at Beginning with Children where she taught both First and Second Grades. During this time she transitioned into the Educational Leadership program at Bank Street. It was in this program, in a small school design class where she met Sara Stone and developed the initial design of Community Roots Charter School. Ms. Keil and Ms. Stone Co-Founded Community Roots Charter School in 2006. Ms. Keil was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Bank Street in 2013. Ms. Keil’s work at Community Roots Charter School is highlighted in A Smarter Charter, Finding What Works For Charter Schools and Public Education, published in 2014. Today, Ms. Keil and Ms. Stone continue to Co-Direct Community Roots Charter School, a K-8 model serving 474 students.
Sara Stone, Co-Founder and K-5 Co-Director
Sara Stone has been working in public education since 1999. After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in Inclusive Education Sara began her teaching career working with students as a learning specialist and then as a fourth and fifth grade teacher at a small progressive public elementary school in New York City. While teaching at Midtown West, Sara attained a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Through this program Sara met co-founder and co-director of Community Roots Charter School, Allison Keil. This is where the blueprints were drawn up for a school that would later become the foundation for a progressive and inclusive public school. Sara continues to be driven by the need to further develop and sustain a highly successful school that meets the needs of all students through collaboration and creativity.
Erin Carstensen, K-8 and Middle School Co-Director
Erin grew up in Bloomfield, Connecticut, a small town right outside of Hartford. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in History and minored in French, a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Educational Administration from Bank Street. She began her teaching career in 1998 as a Teach for America Corps member, teaching 4th Grade in the South Bronx. She then went on to teach 5th-8th Grade Social Studies at KIPP Academy. After leaving KIPP for a more progressive setting, Erin was part of the founding faculty of Essex Street Academy (ESA) on the Lower East Side. Erin taught 9th-12th Grade Social Studies, Humanities and Literature. Erin then became the Assistant Principal of ESA in 2007 and took over as Principal in 2010 and was there until joining Community Roots in 2016! She describes herself as a passionate educator, motivated by a deep commitment to educational equity and to empowering children, families, and teachers.
Perren Peterson, Middle School Co-Director
Perren Peterson joined Community Roots in 2013 after teaching and leading public schools in South Carolina and Washington, DC. As a native South Carolinian raised by parents who are educators, Perren and his sister grew up with consistent reminders of the transformative power of life long learning. After graduating from South Carolina State University with a degree in Elementary Education, Perren taught 2nd grade and 7th mathematics. While teaching, Perren earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of South Carolina and moved into school leadership at Fairfield Central High School. In his first assignment, he led the development of a Freshman Academy for incoming ninth grade students. Seeking greater opportunities to impact the educational experiences of students and families, Perren moved into district level administration where he worked with principals, superintendents and local school boards in the Charleston County School District. While working as a district administrator, Perren earned an Education Specialist Degree from The Citadel, Military College. He returned to the school setting to serve as principal of Fraser Elementary School. After nine years in South Carolina, Perren moved to our nation’s capitol to explore an opportunity for innovative work with students within the DCPS alternative cluster. Working with adult students and teenagers, Perren and his leadership team lead two underperforming high schools by strengthening the academic programs, offering varied programming and working to develop sustained community partnerships. After graduating the inaugural class with a 100% college acceptance rate, Perren moved to New York to work with an education non-profit in Brooklyn before joining the Community Roots family.