St. Louis Regional Leadership

Matt Hoehner, D. Min.

Matt Hoehner headshot

Regional Executive Director – Open Sky Education, Inc. – St. Louis, MO

For the last five years, Matt has served as executive director of Open Sky Education’s St. Louis region. In this role, Matt is leading the development of a region of high performing EAGLE public charter schools and Compass Educational Programs in St. Louis. Since 2013, three EAGLE schools have been established with a fourth school scheduled to open in 2017. Matt also works with the Character Formation Project, serving schools and organizations across the nation and the world.

Matt has served in church leadership as a pastor for fifteen years. He graduated from Concordia University, River Forest in 1998. He then attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he received a Master of Divinity, a Master of Sacred Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry in Cross-Cultural Leadership. There he served as an adjunct instructor for nine years. He also served as an adjunct instructor with Concorida University Wisconsin in St. Louis. In addition, Matt has served on national youth boards and urban leadership teams.

Ciji Pittman, J.D.

Acting Principal Director – Open Sky Education, Inc. – St. Louis, MO

Ciji is a passionate educator dedicated to ensuring that every family and every child has great educational options that will support a life of purpose and opportunity. She also is a nationally recognized education leader who has supported the professional growth of more than 200 school leaders in public, district, and charter schools over the last ten years. As President of Schools for Open Sky Education, Ciji will provide leadership for the overall quality of the educational experience for students, teachers, supporters and parent partners in each Open Sky Education school across the country. Working with the Open Sky Education Academic Council, Ciji will lead innovation for all aspects of the educational model, including curriculum development, assessment, data analysis strategy, and instructional strategies. She also will lead strategic growth for Open Sky Education schools division, working to ensure that a full and lasting education is accessible and affordable for more children.

Ciji began her career as a history and civics teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. She then went on to found and serve as the Head of School of a charter elementary school in Memphis, Tennessee, through the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. Most recently, Ciji served as the principal director for the Wisconsin region of Open Sky Education. Before that she served as the managing director of the Racine region of HOPE Christian Schools. Results in the HOPE Christian Schools Racine schools have continuously placed them among the highest-achieving schools in the southeast Wisconsin.

Ciji is currently a fellow with the Leverage Leadership Institute, a highly selective fellowship program that prepares leaders to replicate academic successes within their organizations and throughout the country. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She was a member of the founding cohort of the Relay National Principals Academy Fellowship.

Amber Kraus

Amber headshot

Senior Community Relations Director – Open Sky Education, Inc.

Amber began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Rockford, Illinois and Denver, Colorado, before joining the Open Sky Education Regional Leadership Team as the Community Relations Director for the St. Louis region in 2014.

In 2018, Amber took on the role of Senior Community Relations Director in order to further develop the Open Sky brand. Amber oversees and manages systems related to recruitment, enrollment and retention for the St. Louis, Wisconsin and Arizona regions, as well as designing and implementing strategic marketing programs for each region and management of external and internal communications.

Amber has a passion for urban education, closing the achievement gap in under served communities and believes all children should receive high-quality learning experiences. She has previously volunteered as site coordinator and coach for Girls On The Run, Inc. at two schools and served on the Young Professionals Board for Girls On The Run St. Louis.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an elementary teaching license from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She completed an Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies Program with principal certification from the University of Colorado – Denver in May of 2014.

Antionette Bedessie

Antionette headshot

Regional Operations Manager – EAGLE College Preparatory Schools – St. Louis, MO

Antionette began her second career in education with EAGLE College Preparatory schools in 2016. Previously she served the City of St. Louis and various business organizations in the field of Graphic Design, Marketing, and Corporate Communications.

She received her Bachelors degree in Visual Communication from Truman State University. She has since completed her Master’s degree in Educational Technology and certification program in Online Teaching and Learning from Webster University, and subsequently a General Science 5-9 teaching certification. Antionette considers it her calling to serve her community in education and not simply a vocation, and is excited to grow with EAGLE!

Denise Blanchard

Denise headshot

Regional Business Manager – EAGLE College Preparatory Schools – St. Louis, MO.

Denise Blanchard is the Regional Business Manager for EAGLE College Preparatory Schools in St. Louis. She has served the educational arena in some form for the past 25 years. She has been an active parent, winning the PTA Presidential campaign for several consecutive years before moving into a full-time position with Sodexho at St. Louis Public Schools. After serving Sodexho she continued to grow in the community by building relationships with community businesses and even some churches. She has worked with several school districts in St. Louis as a Contract Compliance Officer, Operations Director, Finance Manager, and Human Resources Director.

She is now an active grandmother of 4 and still enjoys learning new skills that will enhance her ability to continue to serve our communities. She has mentored several students, some of whom have moved on to successful political careers. A native of St. Louis, she has decided to continue sharing her gifts and talents, serving the City of St. Louis by way of EAGLE College Prep as St. Louis’ Regional Business Manager.

Tiffany Davis

Tiffany headshot

Regional Director of Curriculum & Instruction – EAGLE College Preparatory Schools – St. Louis, MO

Tiffany Davis is the Regional Director of Instruction for EAGLE College Preparatory Schools in St. Louis. She served as Founding 2nd Grade teacher for EAGLE Tower Grove South and EAGLE Fox Park, and has most recently taken on the role of Dean of Students at EAGLE Fox Park. She has used her experience and knowledge to mentor many of our new teachers and has been formative in the shaping of our staff and student culture as well as sharing best practices in academic instruction with our team. As Regional Director of Instruction for EAGLE, she will be able to share her knowledge and experiences to impact even more children in the St. Louis region.

Nicole Richards

Nicole headshot

Regional Learning Support Compliance Manager, McKinney Vento Liason & Foster Point of Contact – EAGLE College Preparatory Schools – St. Louis, MO

Nicole served as Founding Physical Education and Learning Support Teacher at EAGLE Fox Park. In her current role, she was a founding team member of EAGLE Tower Grove EAST and Gravois Park. She has recently graduated from Webster University with a Master of Arts in School Psychology. As Regional Learning Support Compliance Manager for EAGLE, she will be able to share her knowledge and experiences to best support all scholars.

For questions or concerns around McKinney Vento, Special Education, Foster families or Federal Programming, please contact Nicole at (314)202-0301 or at nicole.richards@eagleprepstl.org

Kirk Dermint

Regional Maintenance Coordinator- Open Sky Education, Inc. – St. Louis, MO