Move to Mastery: Ayo Akinmoladun
Apprentice School Leader Principal
Mastery Prep Elementary
Memphis to PHL
Ayo Akinmoladun recently joined Mastery Prep as an Apprentice School Leader (ASL). Originally, from Kansas City, Ayo started as an educator with Teach for America in Memphis and served as the dean of instruction and assistant principal for a network of charter schools. Now, as an 2nd year ED.D Johns Hopkins doctoral candidate and participant in Mastery’s ASL program, he is serving a one-year residency where he can grow, plan, and learn to develop as a future leader at a Mastery school. Learn more about Ayo and why he moved to Mastery.
What made you choose Mastery?
Mastery’s reputation speaks for itself. I participated in a professional development session and they included quotes from Barack Obama and Sharif El-Mekki about Mastery. In the South especially, it seems like everyone has something good to say about Mastery. Even people who have moved on from Mastery and started somewhere new had nothing but good things to say. I knew I wanted to make a transition after I earned my Masters at Johns Hopkins and had only applied to Mastery – it was Mastery or nothing for me.
Once I started interacting with Mastery staff for the interview process, my feelings about Mastery were confirmed. The process was seamless, and I felt comfortable to ask questions and communicate with the recruitment team, knowing that they would respond quickly and clearly to my emails. The entire process set the tone for the organization and how one would be treated.
Why should someone consider a Move to Mastery?
When I walked into the building, I was greeted and welcomed warmly. I immediately felt valued and like an important member of the team. I met with several stakeholders and principals, and in hearing about everyone’s experience, you can tell that everyone is working together to embrace and create an environment where student achievement is above all – that sense of community is what sold me.
I knew that Mastery would push you individually and allow you to develop as an educator and a leader, and that’s what I wanted. I saw quickly that transparency and feedback are valued at Mastery. A lot of organizations will wait until a formal review period to discuss what needs to be improved or what an employee has been doing well. At Mastery, [feedback] is instant and I’m able to learn and pivot accordingly.
What are you looking forward to in this role?
Working with Principal Ray Fields at Prep Elementary is great. He’s the best. He is allowing me to thrive and be involved, but he is also allowing me to make mistakes and learn from them. To be able to learn from another black male on how to lead in an education space is super important, especially during this current climate.
I’m excited to continue exploring Philadelphia. I’ve lived in D.C., Kansas City, and Memphis, and Philly is definitely on top. I feel like I’ve come alive just by being here in Philly and working at Mastery. It’s embraced me and I’m taking that same energy and putting back out.