Originally from Chicago, Elton Sykes graduated from Tufts University with an undergraduate degree in political science and was accepted into the Teach for America program. Teach for America selects applicants nationwide to serve in a highly acclaimed national service corps where applicants commit to teach for two years in an under-resourced urban region to help close the educational gap. Teach for America sent Mr. Sykes to complete his two years of service at McLain High School in Tulsa. Elton taught English for four years at McLain and also served the Dean of Students. He fell in love with the profession at McLain and decided to pursue a career in administration. During this time, Mr. Sykes graduated from the University of Oklahoma with his master’s in education administration curriculum and supervision. He was then promoted to be an assistant principal at Memorial High School in 2013 and also served as an assistant principal at Booker T. Washington High School from 2015 - 2017. Mr. Sykes currently serves as principal of George Washington Carver Middle School and is working on his educational doctoral degree from the University of Oklahoma, with a planned graduation date of 2021. Mr. Sykes has a strong belief that an education can change one’s life trajectory and he wants to ensure that every child receives a quality education no matter what they look like or where they live.
Mr. Philippsen was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University with an MPA in the spring of 2009 and started his teaching career as a 7th grade science educator at the former Gilcrease Middle School the next fall. He had the exceptional fortune of teaching the same wonderful young men and women as 8th graders, and spent seven years in the classroom teaching science. Mr. Philippsen also has experience with human resource management and college access – and believes strongly in the power of all students deserving a choice-filled future. He believes all students want to learn, and teachers and families must embrace the challenge and joy of developing a love of learning in all students. Mr. Philippsen is likely to be spending time with his wonderful wife Ashley and energetic son, Andrew Lawrence, when not working. They live minutes from Carver, and Mr. Philippsen frequently walks or bikes to work. He accepted the assistant principal role at George Washington Carver Middle School in the fall of 2017, and in this capacity, helps develop and support teachers, recruit outstanding students, and promote student engagement.