Our Leadership Team

Darin Knicely
Superintendent
Athlos Academies

Darin Knicely currently serves as superintendent for the Athlos Academies charter school network. He has been a prominent leader in education organizations for 15 years and is known for consistently taking a community-focused approach to leadership. Knicely has an innovative leadership style and vision for education transformation and organizational development.

Knicely earned his master’s degree and educational specialist degree from Old Dominion University and his bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in special education from Longwood University. Knicely began his career as a teacher and then grew to a lead teacher, assistant principal, principal, chief, and eventually superintendent.

During his tenure as an education leader and executive, he has successfully elevated each of his respective district’s academic profiles realizing tremendous student growth and district-wide gains.

Knicely is licensed as a superintendent, school administrator, and special educator.

Camille Wells
Chief of Operations and Growth
Athlos Academies

Camille Wells serves the communities of the Athlos Academies charter school network as the chief of operations and growth. Wells has been an integral member of the Athlos charter school network since before the initial opening of the network’s first schools in 2016. She is known for promoting education standards and developing strong ties between schools and the surrounding communities.

Wells received her bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Brigham Young University. Since then she has developed a history in supporting and advocating for education in Idaho.

At the Idaho State Department of Education, Wells helped promote an extensive education reform agenda and provided communications and policy support. Her experience also includes state-wide campaign management and program implementation.

Josalyn Filkins
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Athlos Academies

Josalyn Filkins serves the communities of the Athlos Academies charter school network as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. She is known for her successful gains in school organizational transformation.

Filkins earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the Illinois State University. She has administration leadership cohort and international baccalaureate certifications, as well as several education related trainings. Her volunteer efforts range from Collaborative Solutions for Communities to Ronald MacDonald House.

In her fifteen years of educational experience, Filkins has worked with students and school staff in a variety of settings from leading, supporting, mentoring, and coaching.  Her roles have included head of school, middle school and elementary principal, instructional/management coach, curriculum writer, and lead middle school English teacher.

Her core accomplishments include a strong track record of improved school staff retention and approval ratings, district-wide curriculum performance, and Teacher of the Year Nominee 2006 and 2012.

Kyle Leybas
School Operations Director
Athlos Academies

Kyle Leybas serves as the school operations director for Athlos Academies.  Leybas is uniquely qualified to support schools with his combination of administrator experience in both elementary and high schools, as well as traditional public and charter schools.

Leybas earned a master’s degree in education from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in education leadership from Western Governor’s University, and a bachelor’s degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University.  Leybas began his career as a teacher then advanced to principalships.  Leybas continues to instruct students online at the university level in personal finance.

Heather Crocker
Recruitment and Communications Director, Athlos Academies

Heather Crocker serves schools in the Athlos Academies network as the Recruitment and Communications Director. Crocker is a dynamic and innovative communications professional with twenty years of leadership experience in non-profits and K-12 education, with more than ten years of digital and social marketing experience.

Crocker earned a bachelor’s degree in arts from The College of Wooster. Prior to coming to Athlos Academies, she was the executive director of an education foundation and subsequently the director of communications for a school district.

Crocker is instrumental in advising leadership on communications strategy, executing campaigns for student enrollment and public finance campaigns, and developing high-impact content and storytelling.

Cheryl Martin
Principal of Lower School
Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish

Cheryl L. Martin has been an educator for more than 20 years. Her experience includes classroom teacher, National Institute of Excellence in Teaching (NIET) TAP Mentor, and Master teacher, Academic Dean, and Assistant Director of Assessment and Instruction. Most recently Mrs. Martin has served as Director of Lower School for Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish.

Mrs. Martin’s educational journey began when a friend convinced her to enroll in an Introduction to Education course at Southern University at New Orleans. Once enrolled in the course she knew her calling was to impact the lives of disadvantaged youth by providing them with the “great equalizer”; a great education. This commitment to education later led to the completion of a Reading Specialist certification, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

In her effort to ensure every student demonstrated success, Mrs. Martin designed a school-wide intervention plan for McDonough 26 Elementary which helped the school achieve “Exemplary Growth” recognition for the 2011-2012 School year.

Mrs. Martin believes every child deserves the best education possible and the best education begins with well-qualified and well-trained teachers. This conviction motivates her to find innovative ways to support teachers and students each day.

Pillar Overview

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