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Achievement First Hartford High School Achievement First Hartford High School

Achievement First Hartford High School was founded in the 2012-13 academic year on the principle of ensuring that students receive the academic skills and character strength necessary to graduate from college.  In order to achieve this, we provide a disciplined and supportive academic environment with a host of supports.  In the spring of 2018, AF Hartford High School earned the ranking of #3 high school in the entire state of Connecticut and top in the Hartford area along with Gold Medal honors from UH.S. News & World Report.

Meet our School Leadership Team

Laneka Thomas is the principal of Achievement First Hartford High School. Laneka began her teaching career at AF Hartford High in 2013 as a ninth-grade Physics teacher and later taught Government and Economics. Ms. Thomas went on to serve as the Dean of Students and Principal in Residence at AF Hartford Summit Middle School. As a Principal in Residence, she centered strong student-staff relationships as a key driver of student experience and student success in the classroom. Her work resulted in significant year-over-year growth in student investment survey results. Before finding her purpose in education, Laneka engaged in policy work at the CT state legislature. Laneka earned a BA in Political Science from The University of Chicago and a JD from The University of Connecticut, School of Law. A lifelong Hartford resident, Ms. Thomas is committed to providing experiences and an environment that will eradicate the opportunity gap.
Marrie Ayub is the Director of School Operations at Achievement First Hartford High School. Before joining AFHFHS in 2020, she spent five years at Amistad High School in various operations roles. Before joining AF, Ms. Ayub worked at Goodwin University, providing the first-year experience for scholars enrolled in the educational opportunities program Men of Vision in Education (MOVE) and Women Invested in Securing an Education (WISE). In 2013, Ms. Ayub was a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA – America Corps). She graduated with her master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
AJ Santos is the Academic Dean at AF Hartford High School. AJ entered the field of education in the fall of 2011 as a Teach for America corps member. He spent 2 years teaching middle school social studies at his placement school in Hartford, the McDonough Expeditionary Learning School. He taught United States history both years, and served as the Grade Level Chair in his second year. In the fall of 2013, AJ began teaching 9th Grade Pre-AP World History at Achievement First Hartford High School. AJ taught 9th Grade Pre-AP World History for four years. He also served as a Curriculum Fellow, writing curriculum for the entire Achievement First network, for the Pre-AP World History course. In addition, AJ served as the Grade Level Chair for two years. In the fall of 2017, AJ transitioned to 11th Grade AP US History. Achievement First is an “AP For All” school, and in his first year teaching the course, AJ led the AF network of 5 high schools with 37% of scholars passing the AP exam. In his second year teaching APUSH, he also led the network with 41% of students passing the exam. In the summer of 2018, AJ transitioned to the Academic Dean role, a role he still currently serves in! Currently, AJ is the Academic Dean at Achievement First Hartford High School, and continues to teach AP US History as well. He is the instructional coach for both the Literature Department and the other instructional coaches on staff. In addition, AJ oversees major academic systems such as grading practices and testing organization. AJ earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History and American Studies from Colby College in May 2011.
Dr. Alicia Ashman is a Dean of School Culture at Achievement First Hartford High. Prior to this role, Dr. Ashman served at Juhwa International School in Jinhua City China, as a middle school math teacher and instructional coach. Prior to serving in China, she had served as a math teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in the state of Florida. In 2018 Dr. Ashman was recognized by the State of Florida as one of the highest ‘High Impact’ teachers in the state, consistently moving some of the state’s most struggling students 2-3 grade levels in math each school year. Dr. Ashman was a 2014 Teach for America corps member in Miami public schools. Originally a resident of Connecticut, Dr. Ashman graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She earned her master’s and Doctor of Education degrees from Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts.
Jahki Manley is the Dean of Students at Achievement First Hartford High School. Prior to this role Mr. Manley served as an associate dean at AF Summit Middle School in 2018, where he also served as a Principal in Residence (2019-Current). Mr. Manley joined Achievement First in 2016 where he served as a behavior specialist. In 2016-17 he served as a behavior specialist and 6th grade Science teacher where helped maintain a strong school culture foundation. Mr. Manley is also an Achievement First Alumnus, he is the founding class of Elm City College Prep Middle School in New Haven, CT Class of 2008. He then went on to attend Achievement First Amistad High School Class of 2016. Mr. Manley attended Western Connecticut State University where he graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Justice & law.
Carmen Martin is the Dean of Special Services at Achievement First Hartford High School. Prior to this role, Carmen served as a Special Services teacher and 11th Grade Level Chair. Before joining Achievement First, she spent 10 years as a Special Educator in the Hamden-Wilbraham, Massachusetts school district. During the 20-21 school year, under Carmen’s leadership, the special services department at AFHHS launched the network’s first-ever transition program with a focus on non-traditional post-secondary pathways. Carmen graduated with a B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts -Amherst and her master’s degree in Special Education with a certificate in Autism-Spectrum Disorder from Bay Path University.
Tyrone Brown is the Dean of College and Career at Achievement First Hartford High School. Before joining AF Hartford High, Tyrone was an Access Program Director at Bottom Line, a national non-profit organization. In that role, he led a team who annually provided individualized support to 500+ high school seniors throughout the state of Massachusetts, who were first generation and from low-income families, as they navigated the college application and financial aid processes. In December 2020, AF Hartford High had the highest FAFSA completion rate in the state of CT. Financial aid completion is a testament to the strong relationships that Team College & Career have built with families and scholars and the commitment to data, which allows the team to holistically assess and personalize advising to meet the individual needs of scholars as they begin a path to earning and financing their degrees and successfully launching their careers. Tyrone graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. Tyrone also holds a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Tufts University.