The UP Company

Student Success Program Driven By Passion & Data

How We Help Students Succeed

Reduce Suspensions

Suspensions lead to missed instruction time. We offer an ASEP that will help students learn conflict resolution skills, increase their academic comprehension and focus on career and personal goals. It's essential that at-risk students receive these additional supports.

Increase School Attendance

Students cannot receive the full benefits of classroom instruction when they miss multiple days of school. Our program incentives perfect attendance in a proven way and offers specialized incentives and accountability for students who missed 10+ days of school.

Raise EOG Scores

We recognize the importance of academic excellence in preparing students to enter a competitive global market. We offer incentives that motivate students to utilize programming that advances learning at every level. We encourage the use of programs like Compass Learning and iReady. EOG scores is one of our indicators used to determine academic comprehension.

Increase Parent Participation

Some parents feel overwhelmed and judged due to the personal challenges they face. This prevents adequate engagement at school. We build rapport and provide recognition for parents. We provide a safety net through the use of Parent Supporters, career fairs onsite, etc.

Increase Community Support

We have an Upward Mobility Crisis in Charlotte. Our program uses the findings from the Opportunity Taskforce to mold effective programming. We actively engage community leaders, the faith community and business community to give their time, talents and treasure to help students succeed and undo our city's hardship of advancing those who are underserved.

Improve Teacher Morale

Teachers often feel unappreciated and under pressure. We provide support to rejuvinate, inspire and equip teachers to face the unique challenges of teaching students at low-performing schools. This is done by providing trainings (classroom management/student engagement), recognition and additional support with referrals.

About Our Program

Charlotte is facing a devistating crisis with Upward Mobility and Acheivement Gap disparities; less than 5% of Charlotteans will be able to burst the thick ceiling of poverty.

According to Charlotte’s Opportunity Taskforce there are specific actions that make up an effective solution, which include innovative and grass roots methods of helping students.

 The UP Company uses proven, data-driven methods that drastically improve school attendance, EOG scores, reduce the suspension rate, increase teacher morale, increase parent engagement and participation through grass roots style programming for middle school ASEP. The UP Company consists of a board of high performing veteran teachers, therapists and influential community members and uses the Opportunity Taskforce findings and proven grassroot methods. 

Meet Our Advisory Board

Natasha Oates MA EdS LPC

Program Director, Licensed Professional Counselor, Speaker

She is passionate about helping young people overcome obstacles and reach their potential. She has a knack for creating fun and engaging programming for children.

She has an Education Specialist and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Natasha has a wealth of experience working with youth in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, the Greater Enrichment Program, Mecklenburg Co. Park & Recreation, Covenant Cares for Kids, group homes and in out-patient counseling settings.


Dahleesia Johnson

Beacon Learning Community, Teacher of The Year

Dahleesia is an outstanding teacher who is extremely passionate about her students and has very high expectations for every one of them.

Dahleesia provides great instruction, has excellent classroom management and works diligently to ensure that her students are successful.

Johnson graduated from North Carolina Central University with honors and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. After college, Johnson taught kindergarten through fourth grade in Durham Public Schools until her family relocated to Charlotte two years ago.

Donald Smith

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Teacher 

Donald W. Smith graduated from Barber-Scotia College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology on May 12, 1991, and immediately began working in the field of Human Services. Donald was employed by 3 agencies over a period of 9 years, providing an array of services and support to families in need.


In August 2000, Donald accepted a position with The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district, and was assigned to Eastway Middle School as a Language Arts teacher in the Exceptional Children’s Department. Donald has been with Eastway Middle School 16.5 years, serving as Department Chair for the Elective Team, current Department Chair for the Exceptional Children’s Department, and past Chair of The School Leadership Team. In pursuit of leadership certification, Donald entered Wingate University in August 2009, and graduated on May 12, 2012 with a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Leadership and Principal Licensure. One year later, in August 2013, Donald was accepted to the doctoral program at Wingate University. In December 2015, Donald received the degree of Educational Specialist. Donald is currently conducting research in preparation to defend his Capstone project for the conferring of the Ed. Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Superintendentship.


Donald has been an active member of the National Alumni Association both at the local and national level for the past 25 years, serving the Association in the following offices: President of the Charlotte Alumni Chapter, Vice-President of the National Alumni Association, Homecoming Committee Chair, Finance committee member, and The 1867 Society Committee. Donald has planned, organized, and executed successful homecoming events for more than a decade. Donald is responsible for the collection and recording of all financial transactions for homecoming, and making a final report of all funds received and receipted to the treasurer at the end of Alumni Weekend I.


In July 2011, Donald joined the congregation of Ben Salem Presbyterian Church. Donald was ordained Ruling Elder in January 2013 and is currently serving his second term as a member of the session, the governing board of the church responsible for making decisions that impact the day to day operation and functions of Ben Salem Presbyterian Church. Donald has served as the Moderator (President) for the Men’s Ministry of Ben Salem over the past 3 years, and currently serves as the treasurer for the Men’s Ministry. Donald draws his strength and inspiration from a quote found in Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”



Contact Us



1235 East Blvd E168 Charlotte NC 28203

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