Invictus Academy Founding Team

Our team is diverse, experienced, and deeply committed to Richmond.

About Our Team

  • All eight members have relevant professional experience in education
  • Five of the eight members live and/or work in Richmond
  • Four of the eight members were previously classroom teachers
  • Our team has professional expertise in education, law, finance, facilities, community outreach, and board governance
  • All of our team meetings are held in Richmond


Founding Team Members

Gautam thapar, Lead founder & executive director


Mr. Thapar, a Richmond resident, is the Lead Founder and proposed Executive Director of Invictus Academy of Richmond. He is currently a Fellow with Building Excellent Schools, through which he is studying nearly 50 high-performing charter schools across the country to learn best practices. Mr. Thapar joined Teach For America in 2010 and taught for four years, most recently as a U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher at Leadership Public Schools-Richmond. At LPS-Richmond, Mr. Thapar’s 11th grade U.S. History students had the highest proficiency rates of any open-enrollment school in the district. He graduated with honors from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

Jesse madway


Mr. Madway is in his 25th year working in urban public schools. He is currently the Head of Operations and Facilities, as well as the Testing Coordinator at Leadership Public Schools-Richmond, in Richmond California. From 2007-2016, Mr. Madway was the Dean of Students at LPS-Richmond, and prior to that he was an English teacher at the school. LPS-Richmond is one of the highest performing schools in the nation, having been ranked in the top 1% of all public schools for the past three years in a row. Mr. Madway has worked extensively in several middle schools and high schools as both a teacher and an administrator. Mr. Madway grew up in the Bay Area and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies.

Tana monteiro


Ms. Monteiro, a Richmond resident, is currently the Parent Engagement Coordinator at Richmond College Preparatory School, where she builds and maintains connections with parents and families, involving them in the broader school community. Ms. Monteiro loves working with families and strives to make their voices heard as they work together to make a safer, healthier, and happier community. Ms. Monteiro has lived in Richmond and nearby San Pablo for the past 19 years and is raising four sons, all of whom have attended public schools. Previously, Ms. Monteiro served as the Community Wellness Coordinator at YES Families from 2013 to 2016 after serving as a parent organizer and community liaison at Richmond College Preparatory School for seven years. Ms. Monteiro led YES’s Wellness Program and coordinated 15-20 adult Wellness Navigators annually to advocate for health and wellness in their communities. Ms. Monteiro received professional certifications in healthcare Healthcare Administration and Culinary Arts from Chabot College and Contra Costa Community College, respectively. As evidenced by her extensive professional experience, Ms. Monteiro is committed to working with families and strives to make their voices heard as they work together to make a safer, healthier, and happier community.

Karen norwood


Ms. Norwood currently serves as the Facilities Services Manager for Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences in Richmond, CA. She is responsible for providing daily leadership in facility operations for the school.  Ms. Norwood has always had a passion for working in health care to eliminate health disparities in California, and has been active in the community to create positive change. She serves on the Board of Directors for Rubicon Programs, Inc. and the Hercules Academic Athletic Board. Ms. Norwood is also a member of the Kaiser Permanente African American Professional Association, and is a Kaiser Permanente Care Volunteer. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education and earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Aspen University. 

Charles oshinuga


Mr. Oshinuga, a Richmond resident, was born in Louisiana to Nigerian immigrant parents and raised primarily in the Mojave Desert. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a double major in Molecular Cell Biology and Legal Studies, he worked with youth, including teaching for a year at a charter school in Southern California. Charles then went on to the UC Davis King Hall Law School where he focused on public interest law. After graduation, Mr. Oshinuga applied his skills at the Mendocino Public Defender's Office where he realized that many clients were in the system due to unstable housing situations. As a result, Mr. Oshinuga decided to work on housing issues, joining the Eviction Defense Collaborative and later Bay Area Legal Aid. Both jobs have allowed him to keep finger on the pulse of pertinent housing issues and to advocate for low-income, disabled tenants, as well as tenants in Public Housing, and to educate the general public about landlord/tenant issues.

Mitzi Perez


Mitzi Perez is a community advocate with roots in Richmond, CA. Ms. Perez was born and raised in Richmond and is an alumnus of West Contra Costa schools. She is currently the Digital Arts teacher at Kennedy High School, a reporter for the Richmond Pulse, and videographer for Fusion. She has worked in the past as a grassroots organizer centered around education. She is deeply invested in ensuring that students in Richmond and the community at large thrive. Ms. Perez graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. 

Ashwin ravi


Mr. Ravi is an experienced technology leader and financial analyst, with a commitment to improving educational opportunity and outcomes at a community level. A Detroit native, Mr. Ravi managed growth at Lumosity, the leading online program to train core cognitive abilities, helping reach over 75 million users.  He previously worked as an investor at Norwest Venture Partners with a focus on supporting high-potential education services companies. Mr. Ravi has held several roles on the leadership team of Minds Matter of San Francisco, a volunteer run mentorship organization helping low-income, high-achieving students in the Bay Area reach college success. Mr. Ravi graduated from the Honors College at the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

julia wasserman


Ms. Wasserman, a Berkeley native, works with the Google for Education Solutions Team, driven by a commitment to improving educational outcomes for students everywhere. In the two years before Ms. Wasserman joined Google for Education, she worked to shift her focus from a career in finance where she was a Senior Portfolio Management Analyst at a fund of hedge funds towards a career in education due to her deeply held belief that a great education is a most fundamental human right. During that time, she worked as a Summer Associate and Education Pioneers Summer Fellow for AltSchool in San Francisco, helping them develop their micro-schools model. She has held volunteer positions with Junior Achievement and spent a semester helping loveLife, a South African youth organization develop online, skills-based, certificate-granting programs for young people across South Africa. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Berkeley-Haas Business School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.