Stephanie Preston '93, Community Prep Parent and former Trustee
For Stephanie, Community Prep was a golden opportunity. “Community Prep turned my life towards a course of events that I might not have experienced had I attended a Providence public middle school, which was my only alternative at the time.”
Stephanie found that the Community Prep values of hard work, dedication, and parental involvement formed the cornerstone of her success. “No one thing in that list is greater than the other and if one piece falls apart, you run the risk of not achieving your goal.”
Stephanie says she learned to set goals for herself and be academically responsible at Community Prep. She also feels that the warm and supportive atmosphere of the school was integral to her experience. “I felt at home at Community Prep, and I developed a real sense of myself. This quality allowed me to succeed in future endeavors where I might have been the only brown-skinned person in the room.”
Stephanie attended Moses Brown and then graduated from Duke University with a BS in Economics, a Major in Spanish Studies, and a Certificate in Markets and Management. She has traveled to Spain, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Hawaii, and Mexico. Stephanie married in 2002 and now has three beautiful daughters. After a number of years as the youngest Branch Manager at Bank Rhode Island, Stephanie earned her MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She has worked in Stop & Shop’s Leadership Development Program and served as Chief Operating Officer for Matchbox Inc. She is now V.P. of Commercial Operations at Citizens Bank.
“I thank Community Prep for completely changing my life. Middle school is such a precious time to mold a person. Now, I regularly set goals for myself and know what it takes to achieve them. Now that I have completed my MBA, I plan on buying a couple of more investment properties and building a family around the same values I was taught when I was young. I am so thrilled that my daughters attend Community Prep!"
After graduating from Morgan State University, he earned his MBA in Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Now Julian is back in Providence, making a difference in the community where he grew up. He is the Managing Partner for Clean Economy Development, LLC, which recently installed solar panels on Community Prep's roof.
He served as Director of Real Estate for PUENTE, a non-profit real estate and community development organization in Olneyville, where he oversaw the redevelopment of the 60 Valley Street Mill into over 26,500 square feet of below-market commercial space and 29 affordable Live/Work units. Julian also served as the director of the R.I. Renewable Energy Fund, managing the distribution of grants, loans and other financing for renewable energy projects that produce electricity in a cleaner, more sustainable manner and stimulate job growth in Rhode Island’s economy.
Julian's commitment to the community is broad-reaching. He has served as the president of the Rhode Island Black Political Action Committee and the Director of Diversity of the Rhode Island Young Democrats. He has been a Providence Phoenix "Local Hero," and was recently recognized by the Providence Business News as one of the State's "40 under Forty," Chosen from R.I. young professionals, business and nonprofit leaders, candidates are recognized based on career success, community involvement and a commitment to making a difference.
Julian's son attends Community Prep.
“Community Prep taught me about community service, and the lesson has stayed with me,” says Julian.
With a cochlear implant and a wonderful sign-language interpreter, Michele Neiley, he came to Community Prep in fourth grade as part of the school’s then-mainstreaming partnership with the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.
A stellar student at Community Prep, he was easily accepted to St. George’s where he thrived, learned to play the baritone horn, and managed the football team. Looking back he says, “I learned through Community Prep’s daily pledge that I should always approach anything I do with absolute enthusiasm. I steadfastly attempt ‘to use each day to the fullest, realizing that it can never come back again.’ Through the pledge and the school’s approach to education, I became an individual determined to succeed.”
West currently works as a research assistant at Harvard's Psychology Department.