MEET OUR TEAM
Lybroan James was born and raised in San Diego, California. He moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics/Economics, and later a Masters of Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Mr. James began his teaching career in 1994 as a math teacher at Price High School in South Central Los Angeles. Over the next 15 years, he would teach at three additional independent schools: The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, New Roads High School in Santa Monica, and Milken Community High School in Beverly Hills.
Mr. James’ love of learning and passion for mathematics led him to create a tutorial company to provide math assistance to inner city students. Having attended public- schools himself and having taught in private schools for fifteen years, Mr. James witnessed a stark contrast in the way students were taught, the expectations held of them and the amount of support they were given (both intellectually and emotionally). The inequities in educational opportunities ignited in him, a vision to create a charter school; one with a private school
environment and college preparatory academic program for boys of color in Los Angeles. While in Cambridge, he studied several successful charter school models and studied under top charter school developers. His professor pushed him to consider how to make the biggest impact on students of color learning mathematics. That led Mr. James to the idea of training teachers. By training teachers, he could multiply his knowledge, experience, and methodologies and achieve his ultimate goal: teaching math to a million students per month.
Mr. James then joined New Teacher Center, one of the top teacher training companies in the country, where he worked as an instructional designer and professional development instructor (training teachers to improve their instruction, and accelerate their effective in the classroom). Mr. James' developed an expertise in developing curricula that addressed common core state standards (with an emphasis on STEM) and issues of equity, cultural competence, student engagement, institutionalized racism and privilege. These professional learnings delivered nationwide created a foundation of success, and a national perspective on the challenges schools face in providing quality instruction to prepare students for 21st Century job opportunities.
Mr. James has developed learning systems to make mathematics relevant to the lives and cultures of students of color by infusing music, humor and storytelling to communicate abstract concepts and problem-solving skills. He also conducts seminars, training teachers how to make their lessons more engaging, rigorous and student-centered. Developing a growth mindset in students as well as teachers is at the core of Mr. James’ educational philosophy. His goal is simple: meet students and communities where they are, then guide and direct them towards success utilizing the power of mathematics.
Denise Peoples was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with an emphasis in Marketing and Public Relations. She also received a scholarship to UCLA’s Anderson School of Business where she obtained her certification in the Management Development of Entrepreneurs’ Program. Ms. Peoples began her business career in 1989 as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of a high-growth company where she advanced to Director of Human Resources after just two years with the company.
Ms. Peoples is often recognized for her passion and strong organization leadership skills. She developed processes and systems that streamlined infrastructures, reduced bottlenecks resulting in increased profitability for the company and client partners. After leaving her position as an HR Director, she joined a national staffing firm where she was promoted from entry-level recruiter to the Western Regional Manager within six years. She was referred to as the
“fix it” leader known for engaging and igniting leadership to conduct thorough discovery to better understand the customer’s pain. She fixes underperforming offices within a very short period of time, turning them into profitable business units by teaching, training and driving business leaders to higher rates of success.
After years of success in the corporate arena, Ms. Peoples decided to open her own staffing firm in 2003 where she did $1 million in sales her first year in business. She grew to five million in total sales in less than five years. In 2008 when the economy crashed, revenues dropped to 1.6 million, but with perseverance she grew revenues to $19 million in less than four years, earning the prestigious award of Supplier of the Year from the National Minority Business Development Council.
After years of success in the staffing industry, Ms. Peoples decided to pursue more purposeful and passionate work launching STEMulate Learning to teach and empower students of color in math, creating successful entry points into STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Math) related fields. In addition, Ms. Peoples is parlaying her wealth of knowledge in operational leadership to support and enhance the administrative and operational leadership staff within the schools. STEMulate Learning uses a triadic approach to train teachers, empower parents and engage students in non-conventional, fun and culturally relevant ways. Most importantly, her goal is to position, promote and advocate for people of color in underserved communities where resources, educational opportunities, support and income are limited.