Principal, Noah Gordon

Mr. Noah Gordon joins GRAD Academy Memphis as theNoah Gordon Resident Principal. He has been an educator for over a decade within the public and private school sectors. Mr. Gordon is a proud graduate of Memphis City Schools earning his high school diploma from Trezevant High School. He earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Memphis with a concentration in Education and English. After completing his degree he served as an educator at Wooddale Middle School located in Memphis, Tennessee.  Over a period of 8 years Mr. Gordon held the titles of team leader, co-department chair, special education teacher, and master teacher.  While at Wooddale, Mr. Gordon conducted professional development opportunities, as well as evaluating and coaching fellow teachers.  Mr. Gordon later decided to continue his education at Cambridge College, where he earned his Master of Education degree. His focus area is supporting administrators and teachers, specifically providing techniques to effectively teach students with disabilities. Mr. Gordon completed an Education Leadership program at Christian Brothers University (CBU) with honors and became a certified administrator.


Director of Business Operations, Kenna Young

SONY DSCMr. Kenna Young joins GRAD Academy Memphis offering a wealth of both business and educational experience. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University, where he was also a graduate of the Naval ROTC Program. Mr. Young is a former Lieutenant and current Surface Vessel Reserve Officer of the United States Navy, where he serves in the Reserves. He earned his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. His business and engineering education prepared him for a range of operational positions. In the private sector, he has worked as a Business Analyst for the Target Corporation, served as a Program Manager for the Lockheed Corporation, and was a Marketing Manager for General Mills. In addition to his extensive business background, Mr. Young served as Director of Technology for two school districts, Kokomo, Indiana and Normandy, Missouri, respectively. Mr. Young’s combination of public and private sector experience across both business and technology roles positions him well within the GRAD Academy model.


Assistant Principal, Larissa Gregory

Larissa Gregory is from Knoxville, Tennessee and received an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Business from Tennessee Technological University. Following her undergraduate work she decided to continue to pursue her passion to advocate for underrepresented students by earning a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education. During her graduate work she developed a minority mentoring program for Tennessee Technological University to increase freshman retention of minority students and then implemented the program by serving as the Coordinator of the Reaching Achievement and Committed to Excellence (R.A.C.E)  program through the Office of Minority Affairs. Upon graduation she worked as a counselor for the Office of Disability Services, where she advocated and counseled students in need of classroom accommodations. She then took a position with Youth Villages, working in high-poverty areas advocating and providing counseling services for the psychological, emotional, behavioral, and physical needs of children.

In February of 2013, she and her husband moved their family to the Binghampton area, where she served as the Dean of Students of Cornerstone Prep until November 2015. During her time at Cornerstone Prep she worked to develop and implement a positive behavior intervention and support  (PBIS) system that ultimately reduced suspensions by 25%, while establishing a joyful school culture that motivated both students, teachers, and staff to always put the needs of children first. As the Dean of Students at GRAD Academy-Memphis her mission is to produce a safe learning environment that is joyful, cultivates a love for learning, empowers scholars to be responsible for their choices, and to remove any barrier within reason that would prevent a scholar from graduating and pursuing college and/or a career.


Executive Director, Tamala Boyd Shaw, Ed.D.

Tamala Boyd Shaw joined GRAD USA in the role of Vice President of School Development. As VP of School Development, Tamala will focus on continuing to build a strong professional culture at GRAD Academy Memphis and providing the leadership team with additional coaching and development support. Additionally, Tamala will work with executive leadership to concentrate on developing GRAD Academies across the Southeast region from the inside out, with a focus on developing and coaching GRAD Academy leaders and ensuring instructional, design, and assessment excellence.

Tamala has been a friend of GRAD since 2011, when she was serving as the founding Executive Director of Teach Plus in Memphis where she launched and implemented two national teacher leadership programs. Since then she has been an invaluable asset to GRAD, helping us identify talent and resources in Memphis and consider different possibilities for developing GRAD Academies. She understands the Memphis landscape well, having been a highly successful principal for Memphis City Schools before joining Teach Plus. Before joining GRAD, Tamala served as Senior Consultant at Insight Education Group, serving schools and districts across the country.

Building on her passion for new teacher support, Tamala created a district-recognized new teacher support program while serving as Assistant Principal at White Station High School (Memphis, TN) from 2003-2006. In April 2006, Tamala was appointed Principal of Wooddale Middle School during which time the TN Association of Middle Schools recognized her as the 2010 West TN Administrator of the Year. Tamala’s leadership training for urban education is attributed to her participation in The Memphis Leadership Fellows Program (2005-2006). Additionally, she is an April 2006 Fellow of The Leadership Academy, and a 2012 graduate of Leadership Memphis. Tamala believes teacher effectiveness is the great equalizer to providing students the basic civil right of a quality public school education and works to make that happen through quality teacher training, support, and retention of highly effective teachers.

Tamala earned a B.A. In English from Tougaloo College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Jackson State University.  She recently earned her Doctor of Education degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from The University of Memphis where her research focused on retention of highly effective teachers through Teacher Leadership.