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Summer Principals Academy
The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership
Joyce Adgate is Mathematics Achievement Coach at Children First Network 563 a group of 22 public schools in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens. Joyce works to build the instructional capacity of teacher teams and teacher coaches through coaching, designing and delivering in-school and network-wide professional development, and collaborating on instructional support plans with building leaders. She also leads teachers in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the Common Core Standards and Danielson Framework. As a teacher, Joyce was a grade team leader, founder of the National Honor Society at he school, and presenter at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting. She aspires to lead an innovative school in an urban setting that fosters the growth of both learners and teachers and promotes equity for all students.
Agnes Aleobua is principal of Fall Creek Academy, a struggling charter school in Indianapolis, Indiana. Agnes will be part of Fall Creek’s new leadership and will focus on rebuilding school culture focused on academic excellence and preparing students for college. Her goal is to lead a team of dynamic educators to develop a strong culture that allows students to mature into young adults. Secondly, she plans to prepare students to complete an Associate’s Degree and an Indiana Honor’s Diploma by the time they graduate. She is excited to prioritize her own professional development in SPA, after three years of on-the-job learning as a principal, and will be honored to continue her career as a principal being able to mold the life paths of students toward what they have yet to even dream of.
Michael Anastasia teaches 8th Grade math at KIPP Journey Academy in Columbus, Ohio, where teachers know that a warm, rigorous and demanding environment will allow their students, 93% of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch, to overcome the vast challenges they face each day. As grade-level chair he oversees the staff and students on the 8th grade team and prides himself in building a collaborative team environment that allows everyone to be accountable to the school mission. Michael volunteers to tutor students after school each week to ensure that they are prepared for high school, college, and careers. Prior to joining KIPP Journey, Michael was a Teach for America Learning Team Leader in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he also led district professional development and coached varsity soccer. He hopes to lead an innovative school that will close the achievement gap by inspiring teachers and students to lead, conquer challenges, and collaborate with one another.
Ilene Arnsdorf is a 6th Grade Teacher and team leader at Groveton Elementary School, a diverse Title 1 school community of over 700 students. In addition to her classroom teaching, Ilene serves as the teacher administrator of the after school program and worked with the middle and high school to vertically align the Language Arts curriculum. She’s looking forward to engaging with a likeminded, passionate group of educators and continuing to examine her craft on a deep, intellectual level. She looks forward to becoming an instructional coach before moving directly into school leadership.
Jermaine T. Ausmore
Jermaine T. Ausmore is an experienced elementary school teacher who is driven by a desire to uplift humanity through education, as a deep believer in the teacher as a societal change agent, he has dedicated his career to the ideal that all children, regardless of circumstance, are able to be successful participants in society. Jermaine is member of the instructional staff at T. H. Slater Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia where he serves as his schools college and career readiness coordinator. In this role, he manages an initiative focused on implementing standards and instructional practices that cultivates the expectancy that all students will acquire the perquisite skills mandatory for successful college and career experiences. He received his B.A. in History, magna cum laude, from Morris Brown College in 2002 and his teacher’s certification from Georgia State University in 2004. He began his career in education as a member of Teach for America’s 2002 Atlanta Corps. Since then, Jermaine has provided leadership as grade level chairperson and representative of the T.H. Slater Local School Council. His election as the 2008-2009 Slater Elementary School Educator of the Year serves as one of his proudest recognitions.
Madeline Bierbaum teaches Special Education at P723X@338X in the Bronx, a District 75 school that serves students with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders and promotes communication and self-advocacy with the end goal of independence across all environments for all students. As part of the school’s Inquiry Team, she has worked on developing a data-driven writing curriculum and methods of data collection to measure functional communication across school environments. Madeline collaborated with the community school and SETSS provider to create and implement a mainstreaming program for special education students to participate in a general education setting, and she advises first-year teachers on students portfolio development, implementing the TEACCH model and data collection. Madeline hopes to develop an effective urban special education school focused on educational equality for students with all needs to prepare them to be integral members of their communities.
Alykhan Boolani is the founding social studies teacher at Unity Prep Charter School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Prior to joining Unity Prep, Alykhan taught math and world history at East Oakland School of the Arts in Oakland, California, where he went on to serve as Dean of School Culture and had the privilege of working with faculty and students to create a robust, exciting, and joyous environment for East Oakland scholars. Alykhan looks forward to one day starting The James Baldwin Institute for Self-Liberation, and school that prioritizes community empowerment and self-determination.
Katie Lynn Boyajian
Katie Lynn Boyajian is a Kindergarten Special Education Inclusion teacher at PS 143 Louis Armstrong Elementary in Corona, New York where she works hard to develop a love of learning in the first years of formal education for her students, many of whom are English Language Learners. She is grade level leader for Kindergarten and is working to write and implement tasks aligned to the Common Core Standards. Katie is also co-chair of her school’s Leadership Team and has been active in assessing the school Comprehensive Education Plan. Katie aspires to lead a staff at an early elementary center with a focus on early developmental years.
Susie Boyko is a Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist at Walter J. Damrosch School in the Bronx, where she recently transferred after the school lacked a bilingual speech pathologist for thirteen years. Thanks to her presence, the school is in the process of formulating two new ESL classes and has the ability to accept more bilingual students. Susie’s goal is to become and effective leader of an organization that supports a student-centered culture with high expectations, instructional support, and professional improvement.
Ellen Bray is chair of the science department at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, a school community comprised of students from East Oakland, Bayview, and nearby government housing in San Francisco, 84% of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. Ellen serves on the school leadership team and started the Science Inquiry Fair that allows students to pursue different inventions and investigations that interest them and present them to the community in a school-wide competition. Ellen looks forward to developing her skills in developing and motivating adults and wants to be principal of a middle school that focuses on technology and inquiry-based learning.
Tiffany Brutus is an Instructional Dean at Miami Northwest Senior High School, home to over 1700 students, many of whom reside in the Liberty Square Housing Projects, where average income is 20,000 and only 3% of the residents hold a bachelors degree. Tiffany’ serves on the school leadership team as a coach to administrators and content leaders defining instructional excellence, designing learning experiences for faculty and supporting departments in reaching ambitious goals for students. Tiffany also serves as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America and coaches 26 first and second-year TFA corps members. She hopes to become a principal in Miami-Dade County, leading with the vision of students first at all times.
Erin Burns is lead Biology teacher and varsity swim coach at North Mecklenburg High School, an extremely diverse school in Huntersville, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, where the population of students receiving free and reduced lunch recently jumped from 13% to 56%. Since taking the lead on the Biology team, Erin has raised test scores for each student at a higher rate than any other tested subject area in the school. In 2012, Erin created SideKicks Mentoring, a non-profit tat connects North Mecklenburg students with young professionals in the community through mentoring relationships. Erin hopes to lead a turnaround school and continue to increase the impact of SideKicks and eventually create new policies for educational reform.
Malia Burns is Dean of Students at Muchin College Prep, a member of the Noble Network of high-performing high schools in Chicago, Illinois where Malia and her colleagues struggle to ensure that 100% of their students receive the support and funding they need to go to four-year universities. In her first year as Dean of Students, Malia managed a four-part ACT preparation program that involved weekly inspirational Town Hall meetings, Saturday Boot Camps, and leveled daily prep courses. Prior to serving as Dean of Students, Malia was grade-level chair and introduced the use of meeting evaluations, action plans for struggling students, and weekly email blasts, all practices that have increased efficiency and continue to be used school-wide. Malia looks forward to becoming a school leader in a traditionally underperforming Seattle school district.
Janique Cambridge teaches English at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts, a school that challenges its faculty to offer several creative arts programs while maintaining high academic standards. Janique has held a variety of leadership roles including Inquiry Team Leader and Curriculum Mapping Leader, and she currently provides instructional support to other teachers in her role as Grade Team Leader. She hopes to assume an administrative role in which she can foster a positive and supportive, yet rigorous learning environment for students and staff.
Cindy Cascante is a dual language teacher at PS19, The Curtis School in Port Richmond in Staten Island, a primarily Mexican community where most students are learning English as a second language and 100% qualify for free lunch. Cindy has played a key role in successfully implementing the Spanish phonics curriculum. She serves as grade team leader and is currently part of the Instructional Lead Team and has been chosen to participate in the New York City Department of Education’s Teacher Leadership Program. Cindy hopes to become a school leader who inspires teachers and students to be true agents of change.
Nicole Cegielski is a 2nd/3rd Grade Teacher at IPS Butler Laboratory School, a public magnet school serving a diverse population of students in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her school is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and uses the workshop model, project-based learning, and arts integration. Nicole was hired in the school’s second year and works side-by-side with Butler University professors in order to improve experiences for undergraduates who complete student teaching and practicum experiences in her classroom. Nicole also leas the schools RTI team to ensures support for students who are struggling emotionally, socially, or academically. She aspires to be an elementary school leader in an urban environment and inspire both students and teachers to ensure their success.
Tyeisha Hillana Chavis
Tyeisha Hillana Chavis is a Special Educator at The Bronx School of Law and Finance, a school committed to the mission of preparing students for higher education through the introduction of careers in law and finance. Tyeisha built school community and heightened consciousness by coordinating the Haitian and Japanese Relief fundraising efforts. The culturally and linguistically diverse student body of her school was affected directly and indirectly by each natural disaster and thus the character of the school community was strengthened as the students became more invested in their role as global citizens. Tyiesha also worked to provide students with a creative outlet by creating the Law and Finance Step Team, which has been recognized in various competitions for its precision and unique rhythmic formations. Tyeisha looks forward to continuing her work as a public servant and establishing spheres of equitable educational practices and models that work.
Sarah Clark was one of five founding teachers at Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Laboratory School, a Reggio Emilia-influence project-based school in Indianapolis, Indiana. Along with her fellow founding faculty members, Sarah has been responsible for building a community and writing a curriculum. Sarah has focused on researching and developing Math Workshop units of study. She aspires to be a professor at a university that guides future principals.
Sabrina Claude began her tenure as an educator in Atlanta, Georgia as a 2005 Teach for America corps member. In Atlanta Public Schools, Sabrina served as a model teacher for the America’s Choice literary program as well as a District Ambassador Teacher for the implementation of the Success For All Reading Program. In her classroom she increased student performance over 80% each year with students who were significantly below grade-level and worked at the district level as a member of the common core curriculum writing team. Additionally, Sabrina has been a Teacher of the Year nominee, mentor teacher, school partnership chair, Title One chair, design team member and grade-level chair. She hopes to use the knowledge she gains in SPA to transform a school in need of improvement into a high-performing school with an emphasis on instructional capacity-building and the development of a collaborative culture based on mutual trust and respect.
Andrew Coban teaches 4th grade Social Studies at Rosa Parks Central Community School in Orange, NJ, a diverse, low-income school community serving grades Pre-K to 7. As a member of the Professional Development Committee, Andrew leads faculty workshops on best practices for integrating technology into the classroom. He has also been selected to participate in a curriculum development project in support of a series entitled, “This Week in New Jersey” for the New Jersey Historical Commission. Andrew looks forward to learning from other urban educators in SPA and working with them to transform schools into models of high academic achievement. He aspires to be a highly effective urban school leader where he can empower both students and teachers from a technological perspective and help make significant gains in student achievement.
Maisha Copeland is Activities Director at Miami Carol City Senior High School, home to 1800 students and over 120 teachers proud to serve a population where 85% of the students receive free or reduced lunch and 82% graduate, despite being located in an area with the highest youth crime rate in South Florida, Maisha built the dance program at Miami Carol City from scratch and was part of the faculty that moved the school’s grade from “F” to “C.” Maisha was nominated for Teacher of the Year and was recognized by the mayor of Miami Gardens for outstanding achievement, participation, and implementation of programs that improve the quality of life of the students. She plans to open a performing arts school that will create an educational environment that promotes optimal learning for children and empowers teachers to teach at their highest level. This environment will focus on connecting the creative learning process to academic achievement and will develop a new generation of holistically educated individuals.
Tia Corniel is Academic Dean at Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls, the first all-girls charter high school in New York State. Tia began at Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls as the founding Living Environment teacher. As Academic Dean she has been responsible for developing the school’s data and assessment program and overseeing teacher development. She looks forward to further developing her own leadership skills and continuing to support the education of those in the highest need in New York State.
Rebecca Dankner is a teacher and literacy coach at Garfield and Sherman Elementary schools in Oakland and San Francisco, California. Both schools serve a diverse student body, and, at Garfield, Rebecca is collaborating with the principal to change the school literacy model to meet the needs of the students, 99% of whom receive free or reduced lunch and have exhibited particular struggles in English Language Arts. Rebecca has focused on her own classroom instruction at Sherman, where she has received intense training in the Reading and Writing Workshop model and led classes that have scored over 95% proficient on the English CST. Her work at Garfield gives her the opportunity to share her success through strategic planning with the school leader and intensive coaching of a fellow teacher in the Reading and Writing Workshop model. Rebecca looks forward to continuing her work with principals and eventually becoming one herself.
Vernon David teaches math at the Academy for Environmental Leadership, one of four small public high schools in the Bushwick High School campus in Brooklyn. AEL focuses on environmental leadership and partners with many organizations to give students a full, rich experience learning about the environment. Vernon holds many roles as a teacher in a small school, including testing coordinator, AP coordinator, and new teacher mentor. He collaborates with teachers and administrators in making school-wide decisions as part of the principal’s Instructional Cabinet and Accreditation Committee, and is a participant in the New York City Department of Education’s inaugural Teacher Leadership Program. After honing his skills as a leader and educator, Vernon hopes to open a new high school with a team of current and former colleagues.
Adam Davison teaches English at the Juan Morel Campos Secondary School, a 6-12 school which serves a largely low-income community of 800 students in Brooklyn, New York. As 9th Grade Inquiry Team Leader, he has played an active role in the adoption of the inquiry approach to teaching practice in the building. Adam has also led the way in aligning the English curriculum to the Common Core Standards, and as AP Literature teacher, Yearbook Advisor, and iMentor teacher he has a range of opportunities to help his students prepare for the transition to college and careers. Adam aspires to become a principal in a New York City public school.
Sling C. De La Cruz
Sling C. De La Cruz is a Special Education Teacher at PS 291, a K-4 community school in the Bronx, New York. Sling has worked with Special Education and Bilingual students and trained her colleagues through professional development sessions in differentiated instruction, the Common Core Standards, and using the Special Education Student Information System as well as SMART Board Technology. Sling received special recognition for fostering a developmentally responsive classroom and aligning curriculum to the Common Core Standards. She also serves on her school’s Quality Review Panel. Ultimately, Sling hopes to lead a school where each child is given an equal opportunity to attain a diverse, adaptive, creative, rigorous, and multi-faceted education regardless of their background, abilities or socioeconomic status
Chris DelVecchio is a math teacher at Bartlett High School, a large, diverse high school that serves grades 7-12 in Webster, MA. Beyond his own classroom, Chris has served as short-term assistant principal and a mentor to student teachers. He's been involved in the development of curriculum for three new math courses and created an extensive teacher resource guide for Bartlett's advisory program. In addition to coaching soccer, basketball, and softball, Chris was proud to serve as Bartlett's lone representative on the district-wide Superintendent Search Committee. He's very excited about the opportunity to learn from the diverse leadership experiences of my fellow students, and for the chance to develop my own leadership skills under the guidance of experts in the field while in SPA and looks forward to taking a school building leadership position at an urban high school in the eastern US or at an American school abroad.
Eleese Dorsey is Assistant Principal at Thomas Carr High School, one of four schools in Indianapolis to be taken over by the state of Indiana for persistently poor performance. Eleese is part of a strong team working closely with students, parents, and the community to change this trajectory and ensure the success of the school and students who attend. Prior to becoming AP, Eleese was Curriculum Resource Teacher, a role in which she worked closely with teachers to provide them with classroom support and ongoing professional development. She led curriculum development and analyzed and presented school-wide data for the faculty. Eleese would love the opportunity to lead a group of educators, students, and parents on a journey that allows them to reach their individual levels of success.
Earl Edwards teaches ELA at Providence Career and Technical Academy, a newly established school in Providence, Rhode Island. Earl is just beginning his career at Providence Career and Technical Academy and looks forward to serving his students, 36% of whom will enter below proficiency in reading and 93% of whom will enter below proficiency in mathematics. Earl aspires to become a transformational building leader in a disenfranchised school.
Signy Emler teaches social studies at Lindenhurst High School in Lindenhurst, New York on the south shore of Long Island. Signy introduced a service learning initiative, led professional development workshops on implementing Socratic seminars and literacy across the curriculum, and introduced the Understanding by Design curriculum development to her social studies department. Signy has also initiated a district pilot study on the impact of mindfulness and attention training on adolescents and teachers and started a student-based writing center. She wants to become the kind of school leader that inspires great teaching and can create a school that allows all adults and children to realize their academic and human potential.
Daniel Fanelli teaches science at The Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, New York where the school mission is to foster educated, responsible, humanistic young leaders who will, through their own personal growth, spark a renaissance in New York. As a professional learning community coach, Daniel co-wrote the science curriculum for grades 7-12, and as an Emerging Leader Fellow, he created a science program that improved state test scores and encourages students to take advanced science courses. Daniel is also a Cahn Fellow Ally and aspires to become a founding principal of a new charter school in New York.
Daniel Garvey is an English teacher and department head at Academia de Liderazgo-Universidad Centreal del Este in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. AL-UCE is an educational academy in its second year of operation which offers a comprehensive bilingual education program for grades pre-K-12. AL-UCE's proximity to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, attracts a diverse and multinational student body. In his first year at AL-UCE, Daniel designed an afterschool program to augment English language acquisition and implemented a school-wide student evaluation system. Prior to his role at AL-UCE, he was the English and Spanish Teacher and English Department Chair at Drew Hunter High School in Drew Mississippi. In 2011-2012, the Drew School District nominated Daniel as Mississippi Teacher of the Year after leading students to significantly higher state test passage and proficiency rates. He's enthused about the personal and professional growth he will experience through SPA that will allow him to better serve his school community and aspires to use his interpersonal and leadership skills to serve all students while learning more about education at large.
Rochelle Gauvin teaches Humanities at Jefferson Academy in Washington, D.C. Rochelle has served in a range of leadership roles and played an integral part in various campus bodies, including the curriculum development team, hiring committee, and student-support team and will soon become ELA and social studies department chair. During her time at Jefferson, he school achieved academic gains in both reading and math as well as family engagement and extra-curricular involvement and will soon become an accredited International Baccalaureate Middle School. She hopes to become a principal who will lead a school community focused on transforming opportunities for all students.
Joshua Gold teaches at New Explorations into Science, Technology, and Math, a gifted and talented school in lower Manhattan. At Nest+m, Joshua has served as a mentor to new teachers and played an integral role in developing the World History Regents and AP curricula. He looks forward to learning about the philosophies and strategies that help develop effective leaders and aspires to be an effective and motivational leader who can make a difference in the landscape of education.
Nicole Gonsalves is an Administrative Coordinator at Coy L. Cox, a District 75 school in Brooklyn that serves children with the most severe special needs, including Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Speech and Language Impairment and many others. In addition, 90% of the students qualify for free lunch. Prior to serving as Administrative Coordinator, Nicole was a classroom teacher for students with Emotional Disturbance. She now holds a variety of responsibilities including coordinating SESIS, related services, and testing. She has a vision of running an elementary school for special needs and looks forward to using SPA to help her make that dream a reality.
Emily Gross teaches reading and serves as the literacy assessment coordinator at the Denver School of Science and Technology: College View Middle School. There, she is a founding teacher on a team that seeks to afford first-generation students in the community access to a 4-year college education. As Colorado Literacy Based Assessment Lead, Emily developed the school’s literacy program and helped establish the curriculum and data analysis process while also coaching teachers in cross-curricular literacy-based instruction. In addition, she started the “New Endings” tutoring program for struggling students at risk of retention. She hopes to increase her impact in the education movement in a more formal leadership position in either a traditional public or charter school.
Brittany Guillory is a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America Greater Newark, a non=profit dedicated to providing students in under-performing, under-served schools with an equitable educational experience in Newark, Paterson, Elizabeth, Orange, and Passaic school districts. Brittany supports teachers in grades K-8 and proudly works with all types of schools from Newark Public Schools to Renew Schools, to TEAM Middle Schools. In addition to supporting teachers instructionally, Brittany is developing a diversity and identity discussion series to help teachers on their self-work journey towards social justice. Brittany hopes to one day open and run a school in her home state of Louisiana where students from low-income backgrounds like hers can find a safe, empowering, well-rounded, rigorous educational experience.
Meredith Hill is a founding faculty member at the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering where she has been an integral part of the school as it has grown from one sixth grade class to a full middle and high school program. She’s served as grade team leader, English department chair, Creative Arts Program Director, Sustainability Coordinator, Bridge to New School Coordinator, and School Leadership Team member. In 2011, Meredith was awarded the NYC Blackboard Award for Excellence in English Education. Meredith directs the theater program and also founded the Columbia Secondary School Community Garden, a Grow to Learn school garden aimed at building students’ environmental and agricultural literacy and providing student-grown produce for school lunches and events. Meredith hopes to work in both school leadership and school design, incorporating environmental and agricultural education in urban public schools.
Nick Jackson teaches 4th grade at State College Friends School, a school guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship, in State College, Pennsylvania. Here, he and other teachers enjoy much autonomy in their classrooms, and Nick has designed and integrated an innovative curriculum for language arts, science, and social studies. In addition to curriculum development, Nick has spearheaded numerous projects such as the middle school musical, the all-school writing project, and several fundraisers to help build school in other countries. He also serves as the head soccer and basketball coach and formed acting and movie clubs. Nick would ultimately like to create his own charter school founded on the Circle of Courage, a model of youth empowerment based on Native American philosophies and universal values of interrelatedness and community.
Cherise Jones is Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to her career in education, Cherise served as a financial analyst for a global commercial real estate firm. In 2009, she joined Teach for America as a corps member in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where she was the founding first grade teacher in the only dual language immersion school in Mississippi and helped the school to move from “Academic Watch” status to “High Performing.” Cherise looks forward to becoming the principal of a school with a dual language immersion or comprehensive bilingual education program.
Christy Joswick is lead teacher for grades 3-5 at Washington, Elementary in Summit, New Jersey. Christy spent the first half of her teaching career in the South Bronx working with a population of 50% English Language Learners and 100% recipients of free or reduced lunch. At the High School for Medical Science, Christy was responsible for increasing test scores among her students by 84% and created numerous after school programs and resources for tracking individual student growth, goals, and plans across grade levels. At Washington Elementary, she leads workshops for other teachers in the district, participates in curriculum mapping initiatives, and is passionate about closing the achievement gap. Her ultimate career aspiration is to create positive avenues of academic excellence in which students of all backgrounds and abilities are held to rigorous standards and pushed to their highest potential.
Larissa Kenny is a literacy coach at Paul Revere School, a dual-language immersion school that draws primarily from the high-poverty Bayview Zone in San Francisco, California. Larissa serves on the school leadership team and leads a variety of professional development efforts for the staff. She has a pivotal role in the transition to the Common Core Standards and the application of comprehensive literacy practices throughout the school. She looks forward to challenging her thinking about school leadership and hopes to continue to lead reform efforts in schools similar to Paul Revere.
Jessica Kertz teaches Spanish at CICS Northtown Academy a diverse high school with over 20 countries represented among its 838 students in Chicago, Illinois. Since joining the staff in 2010, Jessica has piloted the One Goal program. She’s taken over 30 students to Spain and France to further improve the connection between language and culture in the classroom and real world and created an honors curriculum for Spanish II. Her goal is to open a high school that focuses on international study-abroad opportunities as well as social justice advocacy.
Leah Klaybor teaches English at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, a public arts high school promoting intellectual growth through creative expression. She enjoys teaching juniors and seniors at the lively, diverse school where students are free to be themselves: dress in a tutu, belt Adele tunes after class, don a fake moustache, and be different. Leah teaches a rigorous, arts-enhanced curriculum and MHSA’s STAR expectations (Safe, Timely, Accountable and Respectful). She leads the data analysis section of the PBIS Team, acts as the School Assessment Coordinator, and chairs the current Hiring Committee. While Leah loves to collaborate with her colleagues in those positions, she also enjoys her responsibilities as the senior advisor: working closely with students, planning events to make their final year special, and celebrating their accomplishments. Leah is excited for the challenging adventure SPA presents and looks forward to spending her life leading urban schools.
Sarah Kugelman is a Partner Teacher and UFT Chapter Leader at PS 770 The New American Academy, a Brooklyn school predicated on the idea that student achievement is directly tied to the quality of teacher instruction. Here Sarah and her fellow teachers work in teams of 3-5 to serve grade-level cohorts of 45-60 and loop with their students to establish relationships with families over the course of several years together. Prior to joining TNAA, Sarah taught 4th grade at PS 33 Chelsea Prep, where she developed and led the school’s Behavior Intervention Team and co-coordinated the Upstate Downstate School Partnership. In 2010, Sarah was chosen to be a part of the Whitney Museum of Art Teacher Exchange Program in which she collaborated and developed curriculum with museum educators and other New York City teachers. She hopes to be a principal for a school that fosters collaboration, leadership, and reflection for both students and teachers.
Anna LaDeaux is the Assistant Principal at Todd County Middle School a public school in the second poorest county in the nation and extremely high rates of alcoholism and suicide. Anna nonetheless leads her students at the Rosebud Reservation in Mission, South Dakota and fosters a strong sense of cultural pride and heritage. Anna brings her six years of experience as a teacher to her role as an administrator and has focused on anti-bullying policies, fostered community involvement, and supported the district’s constructivist curriculum. She looks forward to developing the skills she needs to make significant change as an administrator in struggling schools.
Christina Lee is an Assistant Principal at Jefferson Academy, a District of Columbia Public School. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Spanish and Drama. Following graduation, she moved overseas where she taught English to students ranging from Pre-K to adult learners. She later taught Spanish at Friendship Collegiate Academy in DC, and completed a Masters in Teaching at American University. After two years at Collegiate she transferred to teach Spanish and Drama as a founding team member of Friendship Tech Prep Academy. In 2010 Christina was named Tech Prep's Teacher of the Year, and in 2011 became a National Board Certified teacher. Christina was also an adjunct at American University, where she taught a graduate level class on World Language Methods and Materials, and a Seminar Instructor at The New Teacher Project. In 2012, Christina began working at Jefferson Academy as an Instructional Coach.
Kelly Lennon is the Special Education and Reading Recovery Teacher at the Bronx’s AmPark Neighborhood School, a vibrant, diverse school, which is growing and working to combine its progressive roots with the rigor and accountability of more traditional schools. During her time at AmPark, Kelly has served on the School Leadership team and worked alongside parents, teachers, and administrators o provide support for policy-making and professional development. She was recommended for and received a grant to become trained in Reading Recovery and has since piloted the program at her school. Kelly plans to become the principal of a New York City elementary school in an area deemed to have a high need for quality educational options.
Erica Christina Little
Erica Christina Little teaches science at Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School, the only college and career magnet middle school in the Duval County School System in Jacksonville, Florida. More than 90% of her students receive free or reduced price lunch and the school’s mission is to create a culture of achievement for all of these students through tools like the International Baccalaureate program and a new all boys STEM Academy. Erica serves as co-team leader for the science department and has created a mentor group for female students in grades 6-8. Erica hopes to become an urban school principal and open her own school for young African-American female students.
Sahsa Lopez is Graduation Coach at Miami Central Senior High School, one of the largest high schools in Miami-Dade County. 100% of her students identify as minorities and over 80% receive free or reduced lunch and the graduation rate hovers around 60%. Prior to becoming Graduation Coach, Sasha taught Spanish to non-native speakers at Miami Central and was nominated for Rookie Teacher of the Year and Teach for America’s Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching. As Graduation Coach, Sasha created a data-tracking tool to monitor her school’s progress-to-goal that became a model for other schools in the district. She’s also led several initiatives aimed at improving the college –going culture at Miami Central and has led to the a projected 10% increase in 4-year graduation rate over the previous year as well as 3.6 million dollars in merit-based scholarships. Sahsa hopes to lead a school that prepares and empowers students academically and personally to advocate for themselves, their communities, and their futures.
Cristina Lowry is Dean of Culture at KIPP Academy of Opportunity in Los Angeles, California. Prior to assuming Dean of Culture role in 2013, Cristina taught 5th Grade reading to a group of students averaging a low second grade reading level upon enrollment and led them to the ambitious goal of making two or more years of reading growth in their first year at KIPP. Cristina’s been an active participant in the school leadership team and has contributed to the vertical and horizontal alignment of the literacy curriculum at her school. She aspires to be a school leader within the KIPP network.
Betsaida Luna teaches math at DeWitt Clinton High School, a large school of approximately 4300 students, most of whom come from low-income families. Clinton is nonetheless able to offer 18 AP courses, 40 clubs, and collaborate with Lehman College to enable students to earn college credit in high school. Betsaida has aided several of these efforts by writing several small grants, serving on the curriculum writing committee and founding and coaching the DeWitt Clinton Dance Team, which has finished in the top 3 in each of its competitions. Betsaida was nominated for a 2013 Big Apple Award and received a Recognition for Excellence in Teaching Award from the NYCDOE. Betsaida’s goal is to lead a school that facilitates the development of lifelong learners, thinkers, creators and leaders among both its staff and student body.
Karen Macleod is a 5th grade dual-language teacher at T.A. Sims Elementary, Fort-Worth Title One Priority School and part of the Fort-Worth ISD RISE (Redesign to Increase School Excellence) Initiative. Karen also serves as a Mentor Teacher, and her students and those of the teachers she mentors obtained the highest state test scores in the school. Additionally, Karen secured sponsors and volunteers to start the Good News Club at her school through the Child Evangelism Fellowship and co-led the Running Club and Girl Scouts. Karen wants to lead students and teachers to success at an urban school and develop a transformation model that can be applied to other schools.
Virginia Maloney teaches 6th Grade English at Kennett Middle School, a rural-suburban public school in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Virginia is a three-time nominee for the Citadel Heart of Learning Award and a member of the Professional Development Committee charged with creating a new teacher evaluation tool for her district. She mentors at-risk teachers and students and led a workshop to help her school create school-wide goals to close the achievement gap. She plans to become a principal and create a model public school where knowing and understanding the needs of adolescents is the ultimate goal.
Crystal Marsh teaches 6th Grade Science at the Salk School of Science, a specialized school in New York City designed to expose students to science by authentic, inquiry-based work through a variety of community partnerships. Crystal has been 6th grade team leader, school leadership team member, scheduler, and student council advisor. As sustainability coordinator, she led a team of students to win the nationwide Million Acts of Green Contest. Crystal earned her National Board Certification in 2011 and participated in the Middle School Leader Internship with Teach for America, Teaching Fellows, and the Department of Education. Crystal is also a lead teacher with the Urban Advantage Middle School Science Initiative and has presented several workshops on at the National Science Teachers Association conferences. She hopes to apply her experiences to be a transformational leader at a New York City school.
Melissa Martinez is an instructional supervisor with the Education Transformation Office, a district team of instructional leaders who support 66 Miami-Dade County Public Schools designated as “persistently lowest-achieving” by the Florida Department of Education. Melissa has led the development of curriculum, pacing guides, and teacher training for a new Double-Dose Biology course specifically for students in the 12 ETO high schools and is currently leading the development of a restructured curriculum to better meet the needs of the 8th grade students at the 18 ETO middle schools. She aspires to use the knowledge she gains through SPA to influence dramatic change in Miami’s most challenging schools and communities.
Charles McGill teaches math at Leadership Prep Canarsie Middle Academy, a high-performing charter school within the Uncommon Schools network in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to joining Leadership Prep, Charles taught math and served as grade-level team leader and site director for a dropout prevention program in Miami, Florida. He also worked as lead teacher and tutorial services manager for a non-profit in the Liberty City area of Miami and was a 2010 Teach for America corps member. Charles looks forward to developing into an effective school leader, becoming a principal and an agent of change in the larger discussion of educational equality.
Jonathan McIntosh is Special Education Coordinator and Learning Specialist for KIPP AMP Academy in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2009, Jonathan has re-conceptualized the KIPP: AMP debate team into a fully integrated co-curricular activity, offering 50+ students free opportunities for competition, enhanced critical thinking, democratic deliberation, and foreign/domestic policy analysis. Additionally, Jonathan created a partnership with the argumentation class he teaches at New York University, to provide mentor ship opportunities for his students. Utilizing the common core as the basis of his uniquely designed argumentation curriculum, KIPP: AMP debaters have historically averaged over 2.5 years of reading growth per year, earning scholarships to the best boarding, specialized, and public high schools on the East Coast. The KIPP: AMP debate team was the first middle school team in New York State History to win both the 2013 New York State Debate Championships in both public forum & policy debate and will be attending the National Tournament in Alabama. Additionally, as special education coordinator Jonathan has worked to develop and innovate the KIPP: AMP special education delivery systems including the integration of blended learning, multimedia and computer technology and a full range of services to meet the diversity of needs of students' with exceptionalities. Serving as the primary coach for the learning specialist and student support services team, Jonathan has also worked on creating professional growth opportunities and spaces for collaboration to make sure students are getting the best instructional support possible. Jonathan aspires to design and open a 5-12 school that is founded on incorporating the concepts of deliberative democracy and political participation into the curriculum.
Patrick McKinney is Content Coordinator of Reading and Writing at the Cultural Arts Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, currently a K-3 school, which focuses on providing exemplary academic opportunities enhanced by and art infused curriculum in a high needs district. Patrick earned a B.S. in Childhood Education from Five Towns College and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Cincinnati as well as certificates in High Performance Leadership, Change Leadership, and Managing for Execution from Cornell University. At Cultural Arts Academy, he served as founding 1st grade teacher and 2nd grade lead teacher prior to taking over as Content Coordinator. He’s looking forward to working in collaboration with a cohort of individuals who have similar aspirations to close the achievement gap and ultimately would like to move into a leadership position where he can provide all students regardless of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status a quality education that will prepare them to be successful outside the classroom.
Margi Miranda is a 2008 Teach for America Chicago corps member who teaches English at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in Chicago, Illinois. Urban Prep is the country’s first charter high school for African-American young men and is located in what is considered to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country. Nonetheless, Margi and her colleagues lead 100% of their seniors to admission into four-year universities. Margi teaches 11th grade World Literature in addition to serving as Junior Class Advisor and coaching Speak UP, a competitive poetry team. Margi collaborated to create a new vision for the 11th grade focused on instruction for student growth and ultimately success in college. Margi hopes to impact the growth of teacher in order to maximize the potential of their scholars.
Kenneth Montalbano teaches 8th Grade social studies at Oliver Street School, an extremely diverse school in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey. At Oliver Street, Kenneth serves on the School Leadership Council and acts as Hiring Manager. In 2011, he was recognized by the district as leading a “Model 21st Century Classroom” He looks forward to learning from a talented network of colleagues and eventually leading a school that fosters social and cultural awareness among students and instills in them a sense of inquiry that makes them life-long learners.
Pamela Mudzingwa is a Science Coach at MS 534, a Brooklyn middle school that serves a largely economically-disadvantaged student body from Bedford-Stuyvesant. Pamela has been the face of science at MS 534 where she has worked hard to make the department come alive. Pamela volunteers to head a girls fitness club in addition to tutoring after school and has been given several awards for her dedication and commitment to her students. She hopes to be a successful school leader who can aid the effort to close the achievement gap.
Ariel Nadelstern is Language and Learning Coordinator at Crotona International School in the Bronx. Crotona serves 100% English Language Learners from over 15 countries and seeks to create a high quality learning environment that prepares recently arrived adolescent immigrants to be resourceful self-advocates and contributing members of their communities, equipped to think critically about the world around them and communicate their ideas as the work with others to address problems, make decisions, and affect positive change. As a founding faculty member, Ariel has had a hand in most aspects of instruction at Crotona, including developing and coordinating the Portfolio effort and Language and Literacy program. Ariel also mentors new teachers, facilitates grade teams and runs professional development for the faculty. Ariel has participated in the opening of two new small schools and looks forward to applying her SPA experience at Crotona and eventually opening a third.
Kristi Orange is a 7th grade inclusion teacher at Ranson IB Middle School, the only fully-authorized IB Title One school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Ranson is also part of Project LIFT, an initiative designed to support gap-closing reforms in high-needs schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. In her first year at RAnson, Kristi was able to successfully implement a balanced literacy curriculum and led each of her scholars to 1.5 years of growth or more. She also led the school culture committee to norm school culture across each grade level and create consistent cultural expectations for all 1100 scholars at Ranson. Kristi was also recognized by her superintendent as an “Irreplaceable Teacher” for her excellence in the classroom. She would like to serve as a school leader, closing the achievement gap, and propelling students ahead so they, in turn can be agents of change in Charlotte and beyond.
Nicole Padula coaches teachers at Olney Charter High School, a turnaround college prep school in North Philadelphia with the mission of having all of its graduates become strategic thinkers and socially aware leaders committed to positive local and global change. Nicole serves as a support system and pedagogical resource to a team of teachers by modeling excellent teaching, creating and adjusting individualized coaching plans, and facilitating weekly professional development. As a member of the leadership team, she formally evaluates teachers using an instructional rubric and conducts pre-conferences and reflective conversations to ensure maximized academic growth for all students. Nicole aspires to become a knowledgeable and reflective administrator of a high needs urban school with a commitment to students achievement and developing the whole child.
Alicia Quillen is a 2nd Grade teacher and curriculum specialist at Newark Legacy Charter School, and independent college-preparatory charter school in the South Ward of Newark, New Jersey founded by SPA alumna Paula White. 90% of her students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 98% of her students are African-American or Latino. Alicia is the only founding teacher remaining on the staff and as Math Curriculum Specialist, she is responsible for supporting the development of the K-3 math curriculum, including aligning materials to the Common Core. Alicia would like to lead a truly transformational school that is able to recruit and develop the best teachers who in turn will put students on the path to success.
Matthew Rankin teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies and AVID at Ashley Park PreK-8 School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ashley Park is a part of Charlotte’s innovative Project LIFT Zone, a unique public and private philanthropic partnership that aims t create equal educational opportunities for students in the West Charlotte corridor. The school has made a major turnaround over the past three years and was featured in Education Week and the Charlotte Observer for its use of the family model, which uses targeted, flexible grouping to maximize student achievement. Matthew recently completed the Emerging Leaders program with New Leaders for New Schools, where he led a project that reduced the number of referrals for chronically misbehaving students by over 40%. He’s also chaired the school leadership team, mentored new teachers, and chaired the social studies department. Matthew runs the AVID program for Ashley Park and was featured in the Charlotte Observer for the innovative instruction aimed at college success. He would like to stay in public education as an urban principal and lead a turnaround effort to create a school with 90% minority enrollment, 90% of students in poverty, and 90% achieving on or above grade-level.
Darryl Reed has been Director of Special Programs at Meridian Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. where he works to help the school confront the ever-changing cultural landscape and ensure that students of all ethnicities feel a part of the community. During his time at Meridian, Darryl was selected as the school’s first Teacher of the Year. He’s worked diligently with the school’s Parent Center Staff to elevate parental engagement from 30% to 70% in two years and has now been selected to serve as a Teach for America Indianapolis Principal Fellow.
Anne Rellihan is Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America, Kansas City. In this role, Anne coaches and develops 27 teachers in grades K-12 across three different public schools in Kansas City. Prior to joining staff at TFA, Anne taught at West Gary Lighthouse Charter School in Gary, Indiana and led her 3rd and 4th grade students to meet ambitious academic goals. Anne also mentored other teachers, planned professional development, and helped write curriculum. Later, as 5th grade teacher at KIPP Central City in New Orleans, Anne served on the assessment writing committee. She now aspires to open a high-performing school in Kansas City.
Rick Romain has been a teacher at the Bronx New School for eight years. The Bronx New School is a small learning community that provides progressive,lively curriculum for students and creative instruction in a warm, nurturing environment. It has been one of the top performing schools in the Bronx, earning two consecutive A's on the New York Department of Education's progress report from 2010-2012,one of only two schools in the Bronx to achieve to do this. Rick has has served as the second grade team leader and as a teacher mentor. He has helped make important decisions affecting the school community as a member of the school leadership team, math team, hiring committee and C-30 committee. Rick also helped plan the second grade social studies curriculum and coached the school's basketball team/club.As a member of the 2013 SPA cohort, he aspires to prepare urban kids to learn the critical thinking skills necessary to compete in an increasingly global world and help urban communities realize the power of education.
Jerrick Rutherford teaches at Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts in Brooklyn, New York. Jerrick serves as chair of the history department and has spearheaded the reformation of the history curriculum and more than doubled the percentage of students passing the state tests. As UFT Chapter leader, he’s been a bridge between administration and staff, collaborating to foster a student-friendly learning environment. Jerrick intends to become a school leader in a place where he can contribute to student growth and help to foster and maintain a results-oriented learning environment.
Nina Safane is Director of Special Education, Director of Health and Wellness, and co-founder of Girls Athletic Leadership School in Denver, Colorado. GALS focuses on integrating health and wellness into a curriculum and school day. The school draws on the connection between the brain and the body to optimize academic success and personal development. Serving a widely diverse community, GALS reaches students in grades 6- 8 from all socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds as well as geographic location and academic need and interest. After three successful years and with Nina’s support, GALS is moving to its own location and will be adding a high school in the coming years. Nina looks forward to being a school leader that helps bring her school to its potential.
Bryan Sans teaches English at Pelham Memorial High School, a suburban New York high school working actively to close the achievement gap and promote diversity in an effort to inspire excellence for all students. While at Pelham, Bryan helped build the Writing Seminar curriculum, introduced AP Language and Composition, and facilitated the summer Academics Curriculum-Based Excellence Seminar (ACES). Bryan also mentors and teaches at-risk students in the after-school Student Success Program. He aspires to lead a school that fosters the development of the whole student within an academic community that promotes excellence, collaboration, and reflection.
Khadeejah Smith teaches math at Kramer Middle School, a school that serves the low-income, disenfranchised youth of southeast Washington, D.C. and has become the first school in the country to introduce a blended learning model where students receive 50% of the curriculum through traditional instruction and 50% online. Khadeejah uses project-based learning to engage students and bring math to life. By connecting math to real-life concepts, she is able to equip disadvantaged your with the tools to overcome life’s challenges and reach their maximum potential. She hopes to open a school that follows children from birth to third grade and fosters the education of both parent and child.
Rosa Soto teaches 6th grade math at Hyde Leadership Charter School in Hunts Point in the Bronx. Rosa and her administration at Hyde Leadership provide a character-based education with an emphasis on family involvement and a belief that every child can succeed despite being part of the poorest congressional district in the country. Rosa created and managed awards ceremonies for parents and students as well as a Data-Driven Professional Development for the entire middle school staff. Rosa wants to increase her knowledge and explore different ideas about education and leadership while in SPA and ultimately cultivate and inspire other excellent urban educators.
Shanae Staples is Academic Dean at Enlace Academy, a new public charter school, which aims to develop students holistically through a curriculum and school model that fosters strong character, cultivates intellect, ignites imagination, and builds strong family and community ties in the thriving international community of Indianapolis’s West Side. Shanae works to develop school-wide culture models and systems as well as coach and support curriculum and instruction. In the future, she aspires to open and lead schools in urban environments in the South that propel student learning and academic investment while building and strengthening students’ cultural identity and social consciousness.
Henok Tadesse teaches 5th grade at Charles R. Drew Charter School, an Atlanta-Area K-8 school based on the Purpose Built Community model of holistic community revitalization. Here he is a lead teacher on a team that uses STEAM-focused project-based learning initiatives and support from partners such as Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin to overcome the cycle of poverty in the East Lake community. Henok previously taught in Los Angeles, where he was recognized as “highly effective” in the Los Angeles Times. Henok accompanies his skill of nurturing his student's academic excellence with a focus on their emotional and social development as individuals. One of only 3 National Board Certified Teachers at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Henok has established numerous enrichment programs that focus on the academic and social growth of the student, including United Nations Day, Student Government, and Drew Mentorship. Henok aspires to establish his own learning community based on the curricular integration of academic, social, and emotional intelligences.
Darren Tarshis is High School Instructional Coach at St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento, California. Prior to joining St. HOPE, Darren taught physics at Leadership Public Schools, a small public charter high school that serves primarily low-income students of color in Hayward, California. There, he founded the Advanced Placement Physics program, the schools first AP science course. In the first year of the course, 19 students passed the AP exam, exceeding the national passage rate. Darren aspires to lead a high school for traditionally underserved students while continuing to teach one course of physics a year.
Annie Tran is Data and Assessment Coordinator for Rocketship Education in San Jose, California, an organization that focuses on developing teachers and leaders, individualizing instruction, and empowering parents in low-income areas of San Jose. Annie previously worked as Department Chair and Instructional Coach at Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she served as Data and Instructional Coach and worked to ground more conversations in student academic and behavioral data. Annie looks forward to learning what it means to be a great leader and working to make a difference and be a part of the movement that closes the achievement gap in our lifetimes.
Michelle Ulysses is Curriculum Support Specialist-District Coordinator for City Year at the Educational Transformation Office of Miami-Dade Public Schools. The ETO serves 19 schools designated as persistently low-achieving by the Florida and US Departments of Education. 60% of the students Michelle and her colleagues serve qualify for free or reduced lunch and 40% of the fourth graders read below grade-level, putting them at significant risk of falling off track and not graduating from high school. Michelle has served as a teacher, department chair, and academic literacy coach in the district as well, during which time she was recognized as her school’s Rookie Teacher of the Year and received awards for innovations made on her school’s Literacy Committee and RTI teams. Michelle looks forward to becoming an instructional school leader in an urban setting and working tirelessly to provide a quality education to all students.
Michelle Venditti is a math teacher and data specialist at Metropolitan Diploma Plus High School in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a public transfer high school serving students who are overage and under-credited. Metropolitan is a small, socially and academically supportive, full-time high school designed for students who have fallen behind or are at risk of dropping out. There, Michelle is responsible for tracking and verifying all student data related to state and city accountability. She collaborates with school leaders to make decisions about student supports and interventions and is responsible for supporting teachers in better understanding how to use data and assessment in instruction. Michelle also serves as a Senior Common Core Fellow for the New York City Department of Education and a Math for America Master Teacher. Her ultimate career goal is to be a part of the development of a school where she can successfully support the diverse learning needs of both teachers and students.
Marvin Walker is Special Education Coordinator and Lead Math Teacher at Brooklyn West Alternative Learning Center, a school designed to serve a transient population of students from Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island who are serving long-term suspensions for disciplinary infractions at their home schools. In addition to the academic program, BWALC provides an intensive social-emotional advisory that focuses on teaching students strategies aimed at resolving conflicts. Marivn and his colleagues execute a curriculum comprised of social skills instruction coupled with daily physical wellness activities to promote healthy social interactions and provide students with awareness about their bodies. Ultimately, Marvin would like to design a school that supports our most at-risk populations: students who get repeatedly suspended from their neighborhood schools.
Sara Whalen is a librarian and teacher at Hamden High School, a traditional large urban high school in Hamden, Connecticut. At Hamden High, Sara serves as cooperating and mentor teacher, serves on the district technology committee and helps lead the school’s vertical data team. She is the K-12 library department chair and is facilitating the creation of the department curriculum and leading her school through the process of re-accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Sara would like to lead a school or district to use technology to improve outcomes for students.
Princess Williams teaches Kindergarten at BRICK Avon Academy in one of the poorest wards in Newark, New Jersey. Princess was one of the founding members of BRICK, a school whose mission is to build responsible, intelligent, and creative kids and seeks to transform a failing school into a thriving learning environment through a globally-minded curriculum, extended day, individualized professional development and community and family partnership. While at BRICK, Princess was personally recognized by Anderson Cooper for achievements in her classroom. Ultimately, Princess would like to be US Secretary of Education and transform the public education system such that all students receive a quality education and are equipped with the tools to not only compete in an ever-changing global society, but to change it.
Elizabeth Yarrington is English Department Chair at Muchin College Prep a growing charter high school, which serves a diverse student population, about 90% of whom receive free or reduced lunch in Chicago, Illinois. Elizabeth has worked with fellow teachers and leaders at her school to develop horizontal and vertical alignment plans and is also leading Muchin’s writing program, which ensures that students are writing in every class on a regular basis. Elizabeth loves learning from other people who want to see great things happen in their schools and looks forward to leading a highly successful, enriching school for her students.