Who We Are
Peter McKnight, Head of School
Phone: 470-355-1200 ext. 1044
Mr. Peter McKnight began serving as Charles R. Drew Charter School’s Head of School in July 2019. In this role, he leads Drew’s “cradle-to-college” pipeline, which includes the Elementary, Junior and Senior Academies and is the educational component of the broader East Lake Community revitalization effort. Before being named Head of School, Mr. McKnight spent six years as Drew’s founding principal of the Senior Academy. As principal, he stewarded the school’s first graduating class, in 2017, to a 100% graduation rate. Under his leadership, every Senior Academy graduating class earned the highest graduation rate in Atlanta Public Schools, and the Senior Academy was recognized, in 2018, as the number one high school in the Atlanta Public Schools District based on 2018 College and Career Readiness Index scores. In addition to his deep commitment to Drew’s mission and students, during his time at Drew, Mr. McKnight has implemented a rigorous STEAM and Project-Based curriculum in the Senior Academy and has had tremendous success leading his team and meeting the varying needs of his students.
Prior to joining Drew Charter School, Mr. McKnight had a six-year tenure as founding principal of the School of Law and Social Justice. He also previously taught Geometry, Calculus and Advanced Placement Calculus at South Atlanta High School, after he was initially assigned there as a Teach for America fellow.
Mr. McKnight was recently recognized by the Georgia Charter Schools Association as the 2019 Georgia Charter Schools Leader of the Year. He is also a member of Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2020.
Mr. McKnight holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Religious Studies and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his master’s degree in education from Georgia State University. Mr. McKnight is married and has two young boys.
Monishae O’Neill, Principal, Elementary Academy
Phone: 404-687-0001 ext. 2222
Mrs. O’Neill is a career educator with more than twenty years of experience. She joined Drew Charter School in July 2013 as the Elementary Academy Dean of Students and has served as the Interim Principal from April-May 2016. During her time at Drew Charter School, she has worked collaboratively with staff to ensure effective instructional programming, evaluated teacher performance and provided meaningful feedback, monitored student behavior, and worked with parents and other stakeholders to maintain a strong community.
Prior to her employment at Drew Charter School, Mrs. O’Neill was the Director of Pre-AP English Curriculum and Content Development for The College Board, the Director of Literacy, Social Studies and World Languages for Atlanta Public Schools and held various classroom teaching roles.
Mrs. O’Neill is pursuing a Ph.D. in Middle Secondary and Instructional Technology, Language and Literacy from Georgia State University, holds a Masters in English Education from New York University and a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education from Spelman College, as well as several other educational certifications.
Mrs. O’Neill and her husband live in the Kirkwood neighborhood and have three children who attend Drew Charter School Elementary Academy.
Gregory Leaphart, Principal, Junior Academy
Phone: 470-355-1200 ext. 1045
A proud native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Gregory Leaphart attended Walter F. White Elementary School and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School. He then traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend Dillard University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. After a brief stint in New Orleans and eventually Northern California, Mr. Leaphart returned to his beloved hometown of Atlanta to start his career in education.
He joined Atlanta Public Schools in a classified position as an equipment operator while pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Program in Middle School Education from Ga. State. Upon completing post-baccalaureate work, he transitioned into the classroom teaching Social Studies and Science at Inman Middle School. For more than 20 years, Mr. Leaphart taught and coached various sports and eventually advanced to Assistant Principal, where he was initially assigned to serve in this role at Sammy E. Coan Middle School.
Mr. Leaphart joined Drew Charter School in 2009 and has served the Drew community as Principal of the Junior Academy for the last decade. He is striving to work collaboratively with staff to ensure effective instructional programming, evaluation of teacher performance with meaningful feedback, monitoring student behavior, and working with parents and other stakeholders to maintain a strong community.
Mr. Leaphart and his wife of more than 33 years have two adult sons.
Kendrick Myers, Principal, Senior Academy
Phone: 470-355-1200 ext. 1015
Mr. Kendrick L. Myers has spent ten years educating kids in grades 8-12, working in the Montgomery County, Auburn City, Opelika City, and Atlanta Public Schools systems. In 2016, he was awarded State Assistant Principal of the Year in Alabama. The following year, Kendrick moved to Atlanta as Senior Academy Dean of Students at Drew Charter School to successfully matriculate the school’s first graduating class into college. He served as Senior Academy Dean of Students for three years and was named principal of Drew’s Senior Academy in July 2019.
Mr. Myers’ tenacity and passion for children has enabled him to work with various organizations including BICS mentoring program, CLAS, Auburn University, AT&T, the International Mentoring Association, and Purpose Built Schools. In his seven-year tenure as an administrator, he has continuously contributed graduation rates above 90%, decreased discipline infractions by nearly 30%, and witnessed a host of academic achievements for his students. He attributes a large part of his success to collaboration with university/college partners, stakeholders, and colleagues that continuously guide him toward becoming a better administrator.
Mr. Myers received his Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from Alabama State University. He holds a Master’s Degree in Secondary Language Arts from Auburn University at Montgomery. He also holds a Master’s in Educational Administration and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration from Auburn University. He is currently concluding his doctoral studies at Auburn University.
Mr. Myers and his wife have four children.