Our mission is to provide an exemplary educational program that includes all students. Our developmentally appropriate, student and family-centered educational approach nurtures students to expand their developmental skills, in order to build a foundation for life-long learning.


Bridges, the name of our school, symbolizes an inclusive learning community that builds bridges of understanding, awareness and support by connecting children and families with a variety of different needs, cultures and backgrounds. At Bridges we believe that inclusive education is beneficial to all of the students who have the opportunity to participate. Inclusion builds compassionate relationships among students, develops self-esteem in individuals, and develops the awareness that everyone has strengths and challenges.

The constructivist learning theories of Jean Piaget, John Dewey and L.S. Vygotsky are the foundation of Bridges' educational philosophy. These developmental theories support our student-centered, hands-on, active learning instructional approach. Constructivist learning theories maintain that learning is an active process. Bridges Public Charter School values the process and experience of learning as much as the product of learning.


Bridges Public Charter School was founded by Andrea Walders Singer, Olivia Smith and Erica Speight in 2005. The founding group's interest was to provide the DC community with a preschool program that has a child and family-centered approach to education and provides early intervention to students with special needs to ensure future school success. In March 2012 Bridges was granted approval by the DC Public Charter School Board to expand into an elementary school program to serve students in grades Pre-K 3 through 5th grade.

Administrative Staff


Olivia Smith - Founder / Director
Georgia Vergos – Chief Operating Officer
Kay Elaster - Principal
Judith Dorvil Director of Student Support Services
Danette Dicks - Assistant Principal
Nichole Best - Special Education Coordinator
Michael Dettloff  - Special Education Coordinator
Joseph Egan - English Language Learners Coordinator
Binta Garrett - Literacy Coordinator
Kristel Guzman - Operations Manager
Nathaniel Ho - Assistant Director of Student Support
Chishala Katongo - Special Education Curriculum Coordinator
Erika Magana - Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator  
Kristin Anclien - Arts Integration Coordinator
Ryan Norris - Behavior Intervention Lead
Colleen Sullivan - Elementary Curriculum Coordinator

Board of Trustees

Bridges' Board of Trustees is composed of a diverse group of people who are concerned about education and students with special needs. They are volunteering their time and skills to help the school's work to educate students and serve families in DC. The board of trustees includes at least two parent board members so that parents have a voice in the governance and on-going development of the school.

Charles (Chip) Warner - Chairperson
Leslie Annexstein
Claudia Callaway
Hassan Dhouti
Lionel Howard
Daniel Jinich
Tawnya Lee
Dr. Linda Macri
Richard (Rick) Plackter
Deborah Rozell
Olivia Smith
Stephen (Steve) Zagami


Building Hope - Facilities Expansion and Financing
Studio 27 - Building Design
MCN Build - Building Construction



100 Gallatin Street, NE
Washington, DC 20011