• MPTCS Leadership Team


     A. Robert Gregory
    Superintendent & CEO


    The Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS) Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint A. Robert Gregory as its new Superintendent in November 2018. A veteran educational leader, Mr. Gregory has more than 20 years of experience as an administrator and educator for Newark Public Schools (NPS).  

    Mr. Gregory is charged with leading MPTCS, a 20-year institution, into its next chapter. His prior experience includes serving as the Interim Superintendent of NPS, immediately following Newark Public School’s return to local control after two decades of state control.  He also worked as the Deputy Superintendent, in this role he oversaw the revision of the strategic planning process and managed the professional development of school principals and assistant superintendents while supporting the district’s successful transition to local control.  Previously, Mr. Gregory served as the Assistant Superintendent of NPS High Schools for 2 years, where the district saw an increase in graduation rates of nearly 20 points during this tenure. He also served as the Founding Principal of American History High School, the fifth magnet school in Newark and the first of its kind in New Jersey.   Under Gregory’s leadership, American History High School was ranked amongst the nation’s best high schools receiving its first Silver Medal and National Ranking in the 2015 U.S. News World Report’s Best High Schools in America.  Mr. Gregory graduated from West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a BA in Secondary Education, Social Studies and is a graduate of Seton Hall University with an MA in Educational Leadership and Management.  A third generation Newarker, he is the epitome of homegrown leadership.  Education runs in his family; his father was a teacher; vice principal and principal in Newark for 25 years.

    Misha Simmonds

    Misha Simmonds
    Interim Chief School Administrator

    Misha Simmonds joined MPTCS in 2018 as the Interim Chief School Administrator. Previous to MPTCS, Mr. Simmonds was senior portfolio director for Newark Charter School Fund.  Misha founded Scholutions LLC, a consultancy that provides management assistance to education organizations on strategy, governance, finance, operations, staffing, technology, facilities, instruction, intervention, assessment, and fundraising. He previously served for eight years as Executive Director of University Heights Charter School (UHCS). During his tenure, enrollment more than tripled to 725 students and the school added a new 35,000 square foot building, which houses the  elementary school. UHCS has also been recognized with the national EPIC Silver-Gain Award for breakthrough student achievement gains. For this work, Misha received the 2016 Charter Champion Award for Administrator of the Year. Prior to UHCS, Misha taught middle school for five years in Newark and Kathmandu, Nepal and completed a one-year Aspiring Principal internship at North Star Academy through the New Leaders for New School program. He also worked for three years as an Associate Partner at New Schools Venture Fund in San Francisco, where he managed a $20M investment strategy targeting charter management organizations (CMOs) in Los Angeles. Misha holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Princeton University, a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Baruch College.


    Lisa Finn-Bruce

    Lisa Finn-Bruce
    Founding Principal
    MPTCS STEAM Academy 

    Lisa Finn-Bruce began her career in education in the Bronx, NY.  She received her Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University; a Masters degree in Elementary Education from William Paterson University  and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her 32 years in education have included positions as a teacher, staff developer, educational consultant, assistant and interim principal and central office administrator.  Ms. Finn-Bruce is currently the Vice President of the New Jersey Association of Federal Program Administrators and was named the NJ Federal Administrator of the Year. 


    John Gamble
    Founding Principal
    MPTCS SELECT Academy

    Mr. Gamble has enjoyed a successful career in education for almost two decades.  In 2016, Mr. Gamble became the Founding Principal of  SELECT Academy. SELECT, which began as a pilot program featuring single gender classes, has grown to a stand-alone campus.  The former principal of the MPTCS Middle School, Mr. Gamble supported the growth of the middle school campus from 150 to more than 300 students, while improving the school's culture, curriculum, and student achievement. Mr. Gamble is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds a Bachelor's degree in History and Africana Studies.  Additionally, he earned a Master’s degree in administration and supervision at St. Peter's College with a Master's degree in administration and  a Master’s of divinity degree from Drew University. Currently, he is a Doctor of Education candidate at Seton Hall University and an inductee into the Phi Delta Kappa Honors Society.


    Genique Flournoy-Hamilton
    Founding Principal
    MPTCS PAC Academy

     The 2018-19 school year marks an important transition for Mrs. Flournoy-Hamilton, the former Middle School Principal became the Founding Principal of PAC Academy.  This new performing arts and culinary themed school blends performing arts and culinary project-based learning with rigorous instruction on the fundamentals: reading, writing, math, science and history.  Prior to becoming a principal, Mrs. Flournoy-Hamilton served as an impactful, highly-involved and well-respected part of the middle school community.  She served as the vice principal and school social worker.  Additionally, she led important initiatives such as the Breast Cancer Awareness  Rally, Family Resources Fair  and the establishment of the Gents and Gems Support Groups.  A native Newarker, Mrs. Flournoy-Hamilton is a graduate of University High School.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and a master’s degree from Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work and School Counseling.  In April 2015, she completed the New Jersey Expedited Certification for Educational Leadership Educational Leadership Program at the Foundation for Educational Administration. Prior to joining MPTCS, she worked for East Orange Public Schools district.


    Kimberly Wright-White
    Founding Principal
    MPTCS High School of Culinary & Performing Arts

    Mrs. Wright-White is deeply honored to have been selected to serve as the founding principal of Marion P. Thomas Charter High School of Culinary   and Performing Arts. Prior to her appointment, Mrs. Wright-White was the founding principal of Girls' Academy of Newark. Girls' Academy of Newark is the first public all-girls school in Newark, New Jersey, and in the State of New Jersey in almost 40 years. Before her promotion  to Founding Principal of Girls' Academy of Newark, Mrs. Wright-White was the principal of Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School from September 2006-June 2013. Mrs. Wright-White has been an educator for twenty years. She served in the capacity of vice principal from       1999-2006 within the Newark Public Schools at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School, Bragaw Avenue School and George Washington Carver Elementary School. Mrs. Wright-White earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her Master of Arts from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey.