Nicia Fullwood
Co-founder, Head of School

A Texas native, Nicia Fullwood has lived in Brooklyn, New York for more than 20 years – so one might say by now she is a true New Yorker. After receiving her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University, she was selected to join Cohort 8 of the New York City Teaching Fellows as a mathematics teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in East New York. Her commitment to improving educational outcomes for her students led her to Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received a Master of Education in Educational Policy and Management. After graduation, she returned to New York City, where she was the founding Program Director for the Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women (UAI). During her tenure at the Urban Assembly (UA), Nicia also served as Assistant Principal at two UA schools – UAI and the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice. Nicia is a BELA co-founder.


Shannon Riley 
Co-founder, Chief of Staff

Shannon is a native New Yorker, having grown up on Long Island. Since receiving her Master of Social Work from Columbia University, she has called NYC home for the past 16 years. She was a founding social worker with a pregnancy prevention program with the Children’s Aid Society at the Urban Assembly Institute for Young Women before embarking on her BELA journey. Shannon is one of BELA’s co-founders and serves as the Dean of Advancement. She works closely with prospective families and students as they make the transition from middle to high school and begin the relationship-building process, which is fundamental to the BELA experience. She also serves as the liaison to BELA’s donors and school partners, and oversees the College Success Department. She credits her all-girls high school experience for her continued commitment and passion for girls’ education. Shannon is a BELA co-founder.


Camile Gayle 
Chief of Student Affairs

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Camile has spent her career within the education and nonprofit arena in NYC and South Florida. Since receiving her Master of Social Work from New York University, she has worked in a variety of settings, including  schools, nonprofits and community agencies, and has led a private practice. As a licensed clinical social worker with over 15 years of experience working with women and girls, her career history has included being a former teacher and certified doula. For the duration of her career, she has been passionate about and worked towards the empowerment of girls and women at all stages of life. She contributes to the dynamic BELA leadership team as the Dean of Student Life, overseeing the counseling and behavioral needs that may arise. BELA allows her to combine her love for Brooklyn, counseling and therapy, empowering young women, education and enhancing leadership skills. She is currently a proud resident of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. 


Join a Movement to Empower Young Women

Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA) Public Charter High School believes that our greatest instructional strategy is our staff. Effective educators, who are continually learning and supporting our young women, with an expectation of excellence, are key to each student’s success. BELA’s founding team members seek inspiration and challenge from their work; seek to understand themselves and their colleagues to better achieve a shared goal; show the urgency and gratitude that accompanies doing something you love; embrace the possibility of failure and believe failures are necessary for learning.

BELA is an intentional learning community focused on learning, collaboration and results. We know the best educators are themselves lifelong learners. We support our faculty with robust professional learning experiences.