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avatar for Erin Whalen

Erin Whalen

Executive Director/Principal Da Vinci RISE High
Erin Whalen, born and raised in Los Angeles, California serves as Da Vinci RISE High’s Principal/Executive Director.

Born into a proud Black, Chicano and Indigenous family, Erin found himself enticed by education’s power to provide people with a sense of self that could be leveraged as a powerful force in the world. After graduating from New Roads High School in Santa Monica as a Santa Monica Gem and Posse Scholar, Erin moved away to study Anthropology at Grinnell College in Iowa and at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. After working to develop the Black Cultural Center, IndepenDance Company and serve as the Grinnell Posse Foundation Liaison, Erin went on to pursue a career in education in Miami, Florida through Teach for America.

Erin began his teaching career at North Miami Middle School where he taught all grade levels and sections of English. After being nominated Teacher of the Year, founding the NMM IndepenDance Team and serving as a TFA Corps Member Advisor in both Los Angeles and Phoenix during the summers, Erin transferred his career in education back home to Los Angeles where he worked at KIPP: Sol in East Los Angeles. Erin taught KIPP Sol’s founding class and was quickly selected to engage in the KIPP Teacher-Leader program to be developed into a school leader. Throughout the years Erin and Kari Croft, RISE’s founder, have worked together with students, families and partners to develop concepts for Da Vinci RISE High.