About Synergy » Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Central Office Leaders

Rhonda Deomampo

Chief Executive Officer

Rhonda has worked in South LA public schools for over 10 years. After beginning her teaching career in LAUSD, she joined Synergy in 2006 as a second grade teacher. In 2009, Rhonda left her own classroom to coach and support new teachers at Synergy's elementary, middle, and high schools. Rhonda's current role on Synergy's leadership team includes coordinating data management and overseeing development efforts.

Dr. Barbara Shannon

Co-Founder and Director of STEM Education

Barbara co-founded Synergy's secondary schools, Synergy Kinetic Academy and Synergy Quantum Academy, in order to use her science and secondary education background to provide a world-class education to inner-city students. Barbara holds two degrees in the biological sciences and a doctoral degree in science education. Her previous research and experiences helped shape Synergy's schools' emphasis on empowering more Latino and African American students to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Jennifer Epps

Chief Achievement Officer

Jenn left a career as a Marketing Manager in 2001 to make a difference in the lives of inner-city children. She began her teaching career as a 3rd grade teacher with LAUSD in Watts before joining Synergy Charter Academy as a founding teacher in 2004. She taught second and third grade at Synergy for four years and then joined the leadership team as Co-Director of the elementary school. Jenn served as the Director/Principal of Synergy Charter Academy for four years before joining Synergy's central office team.

Christina Vogel

Chief Operating Officer

Christina began her charter school career in 2003 as a founding Co-Director of Stella Middle Charter Academy, managing all of the business operations for the school and eventually the high school that opened in 2006. She transitioned to the Director of Operations for Bright Star Schools, the central office serving the two schools. Most recently, she worked at Renaissance Arts Academy, a performing arts charter school in Los Angeles. Prior to entering the charter school world, Christina worked in the City Manager's Office for the City of Downey.

Sommer Jones

Director of Special Education and Student Services

Sommer began her teaching career in 1997 at a small urban school in Watts. After 4 years of teaching in LAUSD, she joined an urban charter school because she saw the charter movement as an ideal reform model for our public education system. She earned National Board Certification early in her career as an educator. Throughout her career, Sommer has served as a teacher and administrator in multiple capacities.
School Site Directors/Principals

Christine Bradford

Director/Principal of Synergy Kinetic Academy (middle school)

Christine began teaching in 1998 in South Los Angeles where, as an elementary school teacher, she developed a passion for supporting English Learners at every level of proficiency. She achieved National Board Certification in English as A New Language, after which she served English Learners in Charlotte, North Carolina as an elementary ESL teacher. Prior to joining Synergy Kinetic Academy as the Director/Principal, Christine served as the school's former Instructional Coordinator and Assistant Director/Assistant Principal.

Dr. Matthew Whitaker

Principal of Synergy Charter Academy (elementary school)

Dr. Whitaker began his career in education in 2001 as a 4th grade teacher in Tennessee. After two years teaching abroad, he taught upper elementary grades in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Whitaker has ten years of experience as an administrator, working within both charter school organizations and traditional school districts. With a proven track record of organizing administrative systems to support diverse students and families, he joined Synergy's leadership team as Principal of Synergy Charter Academy in 201

Johanna Knight-Briseno

Principal of Synergy Quantum Academy (high school)

Johanna is a founding staff member of Synergy Quantum Academy, and served as one of Synergy's first high school academic counselors when the high school first opened in 2011. Over the years, she has also served as the Assistant Director of School Counseling and Assistant Principal. Prior to joining Synergy, Johanna worked as a school counselor in LAUSD. As a proud LAUSD graduate, Johanna earned her BA in Psychology and Education Studies from UCLA, and her Masters’ degree in School Psychology from USC. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Johanna is passionate about serving the youth of South Central Los Angeles and working to advocate for educational equity for all students.