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2009 Fellows

Sargeant Donovan-Smith


Sargeant Donovan-Smith




Sargeant grew up in New Hampshire and Boston, and graduated from Williams College in 1999. For the next five years, she lived and worked in New York City, Boston, and Providence. She served as a rural economic development volunteer in central Paraguay from 2005 – 2007. She spent this past year as a teaching assistant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and plans to teach high school mathematics in New York. Her Peace Corps experience taught her to take a long-term approach to working for social change. She envisions her role as a teacher as working with students, parents, and the community in a movement toward social justice.

Mark Fox


Mark Fox




Mark is from Detroit, and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004. Upon completing his undergraduate work, he left for Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer and completed his service in 2006. He was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2007 to work at San Ildefonso, a bilingual elementary school in Madrid. In New York, he will be teaching at a dual language elementary school and working toward an MA in bilingual/bicultural education. He loves teaching because he feels he learns something new about the world, his students, and himself every day.

Kolter Kiess


Kolter Kiess



After returning from his Peace Corps service in Ukraine, Kolter began teaching GED and ESOL classes at Project Learn of Summit County. His experiences there, as well as those in Ukraine, opened his eyes to the social inequities which exist in the United States and abroad, and led him to the believe that local, radical pedagogy can have a significant impact on the lives of students and individuals world wide. He plans to teach high school English, and is looking forward to a career in New York City schools.

Heath Kirkendoll


Heath Kirkendoll




Heath grew up in a small town in Tennessee, but knew many experiences and challenges existed for him outside of his hometown. In 2006, having finished his undergraduate work in International Relations at Boston University, he joined the Peace Corps to teach English in Northern Mozambique. When his service ended, he was eager to return to the classroom, and jumped at an opportunity to work with special needs children at a primary school in Toronto. He feels he has been educated and humbled by his travel and teaching experiences. He is looking forward to teaching high school level Social Studies in New York, with the goal of passing on a sense of history, an appreciation for geography, and stories of individuals who have made a difference in the world.

Adam Lammers


Adam Lammers



Adam was born and raised in Central Ohio in the small town of Granville. He attended Otterbein College, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. He served as a Student Conservation volunteer in Environmental Education in Senegal on the coast of West Africa. He is looking forward to teaching Biology in grades 7-12.  His experiences in service reflect his view of the world, have shaped his outlook, and have taught him the importance of working toward equality in education.

Gregory Landrigan


Gregory Landrigan




Upon graduating from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor's degree in English, Gregory worked for a year as a full time substitute teacher in northern Vermont. Because he missed his hometown, Greg returned to Washington, D.C. in 2001 to work as part of the communications team at the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program. While in DC, he volunteered as a teacher at the Washington Literacy Council. In 2005, he joined the Peace Corps and served as a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Systems program in Panama, where he worked with indigenous coffee producers. Extending his service for a third year, Greg coordinated the coffee program, synchronizing the efforts of Panamanian governmental agencies, members of the for-profit coffee industry, and Peace Corps volunteers. He will work as a bilingual educator with elementary school students. He looks forward to teaching in the New York City school system, and to continuing in the spirit of service which marked his Peace Corps experience.

Jennifer Lyons


Jennifer Lyons




Jennifer is originally from Austin, Texas. She attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts before beginning her Peace Corps service in Kazakhstan. As a Peace Corps Fellow, she’ll be teaching Social Studies at the secondary level. Through the experiences of Peace Corps service, study, travel, and a diverse upbringing, she has come to understand the importance of devoting herself to social change in a world full of poverty, racism, and disadvantage.

Heather Marr


Heather Marr

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Heather grew up in the very green and beautiful Eugene, Oregon, and went to college in Portland. Her Peace Corps service was as an English Teacher from 2006-2007 in Madagascar, where swaying palm trees and lapping water was the view from her classroom.  In New York City, she’s looking forward to teaching 7th-12th grade English.  She’s excited about New York’s diverse student body, and is looking forward to working with children from so many different cultures. Her goal is to use literature to teach her students about the world.

Dayla Rogers



Dayla Rogers



Dayla grew up in the Detroit area, and spent her senior year of high school as an exchange student in Turkey.  She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2006 with a degree in History and Political Science with a focus on the Modern Mid-East.  After graduation, she served as an ESL Peace Corps volunteer in the Western Mongolian city of Hovd.  She looks forward to teaching high school history, civics, economics, and geography. Her philosophy on life is to treat each experience as an adventure.

Nathan Simonini


Nathan Simonini




As the son of a military officer, Nathan moved frequently, but came to consider New Baltimore, Michigan, a small suburb of Detroit, his home.  He attended Grand Valley State University in Michigan, graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor's degree in History.  The following year, he began his service in the United States Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco.  In New York, he will be teaching high school social studies, and working toward the goal of fostering positive social change through education.

Sandi Spaziani


Sandi Spaziani




Sandy Spaziani is from the Southern Tier part of New York. For 2 ½ years, she served in Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean where she worked in a local school training teachers and students in inclusive special education practices.   Her teaching certificates are from Buffalo State College, and she is anxious to teach English in New York City. She believes everyone, given the chance, can accomplish whatever s/he wants. Universal education is very important to her, and she does not believe that disability, income, race, or religion should prohibit anyone from receiving the best possible education.  

 

Taina Torres


Taina Torres




Taina grew up in a small town in Georgia. While studying at the University of Nevada in Reno for her undergraduate degree, she worked with a charter high school mentoring and teaching. Upon graduation, her original plan to study law was overshadowed by the interest she’d developed for education. After serving as an educator with the Peace Corps in Ukraine from 2005-2007, she continued her work in education managing a literacy program for immigrants in Chicago. These experiences fueled her interest, changed her perspective, and reinforced her determination to provide equitable education to underserved populations. Her Peace Corps and Chicago experiences were the primary influences in deciding to further her education as a Peace Corps Fellow. She will be teaching English to secondary school students in New York City while pursuing an M.A. in the teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University. She looks forward to continuing to learn as both a student and teacher, and to helping to inspire her students to seek social justice through education.

Alexis Austin


Alexis Austin



My name is Alexis or Ali Austin.  I lived in Bellingham, Washington from the age of 10 until I left for college in Walla Walla Washington at Whitman College (lots of Ws!) where I majored in Psychology, went abroad to Spain, and was a varsity swimmer.  After school I took some time to drive around the country, drive around New Zealand, live in Alaska and Honduras, and work with ELL youth in Bellingham.  I served as a youth and families volunteer in a small town on the northern coast of Ecuador from June '06 till February '09.  I plan to teach 3rd through 5th grade bilingual education.  I believe in six degrees of separation between all people on earth, and that life is a series of circles.

Amber Bennett

Amber Bennett



Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Amber served in the Peace Corps from 2006-2008 teaching secondary education biology in Tanzania. She will be teaching the same subject in New York. Her personal philosophy has been shaped by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

David Davis

David Davis



David is originally from the state of Maine.He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies at Saint Michael’s College, located just outside of Burlington, Vermont. He served in Peace Corps El Salvador from 2006 – 2008. He will be teaching Social Studies in grades 9-12. He believes education is fundamental to the empowerment of all people whether in rural El Salvador or inner city New York.

Joseph Deschenes

Joseph Deschenes




Joey is from Northern California. Upon graduating from San Francisco State, he served for 2 ½ years in Albania. As a Peace Corps Fellow at Teachers College, he will be teaching middle school English. Having experienced life in various situations, he has come to believe that although the circumstances into which one is born are arbitrary, the dedication and generosity of educators, individuals and communities can bring about change.

Samantha Adams



Samantha Adams



Samantha Adams was born and raised in Kansas, and received her Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University in 2004. She joined the Peace Corps in 2006, serving as a Community HIV/AIDS Educator in Swaziland. Samantha plans to teach high school level Earth Science. She believes her view of the world is best summarized in the words of Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."