I am delighted to announce that Ms. Khashiffa Roberts has been appointed as the founding Principal of the Washington Latin Public Charter School –The Anna Julia Cooper Campus. As an integral part of the Washington Latin community for more than a decade, Ms. Roberts brings to this new role a deep understanding of and commitment to Latin’s classical mission, expertise in serving a diverse population of students and ensuring that they can succeed and thrive at the school, and strong track record of building teams and leading faculty to accomplish challenging goals. Her unique combination of experience and dedication to the Latin way makes her the ideal leader of this new campus.

Ms. Roberts first joined Washington Latin in 2010 as a Special Education teacher, with a degree from Howard University in journalism and a Masters from the University of the District of Columbia in Special Education. After five years supporting our students with disabilities in partnership with both classroom faculty and families, Ms. Roberts began taking on administrative responsibilities, serving as Dean of Students, 12th Grade Director, Director of Special Education, and Assistant Principal for Student Life over the next five years. In each of these roles, Ms. Roberts ensured that the foundational principles of our classical model remained central to our daily work, reflected in our policies and practices and clearly visible in our classrooms and daily life on campus. Her leadership balanced this “big picture” focus with her constant devotion to our students, challenging and supporting them in their academic and personal growth in the Latin community.

Due to unexpected complications with her immigration status and with a goal to ensure a  situation conducive to her eventual return, Ms. Roberts stepped down from her role as the Assistant Principal in late 2019 and returned to her native Trinidad and Tobago, remaining there through the pandemic. Throughout this period, she has stayed in close contact with Latin’s leadership, and we remained committed to bringing her back to our leadership team so that our students, faculty and families could benefit from her unique expertise and experience.

In 2021, after hopeful progress was made on her immigration status, she began consulting on a formal basis with our leadership team to plan for the Cooper Campus, including on curriculum development, faculty hiring, and more. She has been instrumental in all aspects of this work, partnering with Principal Emerita Diana Smith, and Director of Strategic Initiatives Caroline Gifford, and with me. While addressing issues related to her immigration status, Ms. Roberts has worked from Trinidad this spring, with the expectation of returning to Washington, DC by the summer to prepare for the August opening of the Cooper Campus. Diana Smith has been an essential partner to Ms. Roberts throughout this planning process, continuing as Ms. Roberts’ professional mentor and longtime friend and acting as her eyes and ears on the ground, so to speak, until Ms. Roberts is back in DC. We value having the outstanding leadership and vision of Dr. Smith and are grateful for this partnership in establishing our second campus. Mr. Jimmy Kelly and Ms. Roberts both worked together as Assistant Principals and they have been collaborating over the past few months. They both look forward to a new working relationship in the new year as the principals of our respective schools.

Ms. Roberts will lead a team of faculty that will include a small number of our current 2nd Street faculty and many others hired from other institutions. This mix reflects our philosophy of “seeding” the Cooper Campus with those familiar with the Latin Way and its core tenets, while also establishing this second campus as a community of teachers and learners in its own right. The members of our current faculty who will be joining the Cooper faculty next year include:

Diana Smith, Senior Advisor and Principal Pro Tem (if needed)

Lisa Moore, Director of Numeracy

Carenda Nunn, Dean of Student Life & Culture

Sam Spiegel, Dean of Academic Operations

Joe Starnes, Civics (6th)

Mike Evans, Music (5th and 6th)

Tom O’Brien, Special Education Teacher and Case Manager

JerBria Smith, PE and Health (5th and 6th)

In addition, the Cooper team will have the support and partnership of our senior administration in the centralized roles of finance, development, communications, operations, and technology. Please watch for news of future faculty appointments in the coming weeks.

I hope you join me in celebrating this important news about the Cooper Campus.


Peter T. Anderson
Head of School
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