Born and raised in Seattle and a product of the Seattle Public Schools, Linda completed a B.S. in Psychology and the teacher certification program at the University of Washington. She taught at Seattle’s Hawthorne Elementary School. She then moved to New York to teach at P.S. 165 in Manhattan and to complete her M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, focusing on elementary literacy. She continued her career as as a staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and then returned to New York City schools as a regional instructional specialist in literacy for Region 3 in Queens.
Missing the direct connection with children and the ability to impact substantive change in a school community with teachers and parents, Linda became and is currently the principal of P.S. 165 in Manhattan. She is also co-author of Balanced Literacy for English Language Learners, K-2, and is primarily dedicated to providing access and opportunities for students of color and English language learners.
“I am thrilled to return to Teachers College to be part of this cohort in the newly designed Urban Education Leaders Program,” says Linda. “I hope through this program to be able to impact change that will equip leaders to improve educational opportunities for teachers and students in urban school districts. My interests are primarily in the areas of equity and instructional leadership. I look forward to our work together in the next few years!"
Karren Dunkley came to the United States from the island of Jamaica, where she graduated from St. John’s University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science, secondary education, and international law and diplomacy. While pursuing these studies she won a fellowship from the Organization of American States and an Outstanding Graduate Student Grant. She served as an instructor of core courses at St. John’s in the departments of government and politics and education. Karren also received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently serves as internship coordinator for the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College.
Karren is the co-founder and executive director of Uhuru Incorporated, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the emotional and educational empowerment of children in developing countries. To this end her organization has sponsored numerous scholarships to provide educational and physical support to needy and at-risk students. Her scholarly interests include educational equity, social justice, and curriculum development.
Born and raised in New Mexico, Francisco began his career in the Albuquerque Public Schools while earning his bachelor's degree in education from the University of New Mexico and went on to earn a master's degree in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University. Francisco has a diverse background of over eighteen years in education, beginning as a special education paraprofessional, teaching Spanish, social studies, language arts and serving as an activities director, athletics director, assistant principal, and principal. For the past four years he has been an Assistant Superintendent with The School District of Philadelphia, and currently supervises forty-four schools with a student population of approximately 24,000 students. As an educational leader, Mr. Durán has worked passionately to ensure that all students receive a quality education that will equip them with the skills needed for post-secondary education and employment in today’s ever-changing world. Influenced to become an educator as a result of being impacted by a teacher who saw the talents in him, he was inspired to always challenge others to do their best. As the first in his family to graduate from college, Mr. Durán knows far too well that education is the key to open the door for possibilities and he continues on in a quest of ensuring that more and more students, teachers, and staff have those same opportunities that were afforded to him. Mr. Durán is a dedicated, successful, and talented leader who has received a Certificate of Honor and Recognition for Educational Service from the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco and a Distinguished Educator Award from Phi Delta Kappa International, University of Pennsylvania Chapter."
Born in Macon, Georgia, Bernard and his family moved to New York City when he was a young child. He graduated from the New York City public schools and LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, where he was president of the Minority Cultural Society. He earned his first master’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany in public administration.
Monica George-Fields is the principal of New York’s P.S. 153, the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Elementary School. The school is in the heart of West Harlem, where Monica herself grew up, and faces many challenges. When she arrived at P.S. 153 in 2002, she was the fifth principal there in five years. Since then, she has provided a sorely needed sense of continuity to the school community.
Michael Selkis' roles as a father, a husband, and an educator have shaped his path thus far, he says. “I consider myself an educator first, as that role is innately linked to my most profound responsibility: fatherhood.” He grew up all over the world as the son of a career military man. His family finally settled in Princeton, New Jersey, where he spent his high school years. He now lives in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife and two children.
Mary Skipper grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts and moved to Boston 15 years ago. She and her husband, Peter, a religion teacher, have three children, two in college and one in high school. She attended Tufts University, majoring in English and Latin, and later earned an M.A. in Latin and Greek, also from Tufts. She also holds a master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard.
Jason Snyder serves as a White House Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to the Fellowship, Jason taught social studies for six years in public secondary schools and for one year at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.
Michelle J. Walker is a first-generation American of Caribbean descent; her family is from Trinidad. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, attended public schools, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. She holds an undergraduate degree in government and Africana studies from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.
David Weiner began his career teaching kindergarten and first grade in the Boston area, then worked as a third-grade teacher and literary specialist in the San Francisco Unified School District. He served as principal of Alvarado Elementary School in San Francisco for three years before moving to New York City to become principal of P.S. 314 and then P.S. 503, its successor.
Jennie Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved with her family at the age of four to Plano, Texas, where she attended school until going to college at Stanford University. She majored in history with a minor in biology. During junior year at Stanford she became interested in urban education and started taking classes to learn about the American education system.
Fidel Ahumada Montero's family immigrated to the United States from the small province of Colima, Mexico in the 1980s. “Although I was young, the reality of poverty, marginal schooling, and social stratification was very real,” he says. “The support of my teachers, and a small miracle, opened the way to my post-secondary schooling and my success in the field of education.” Fidel’s goal is to serve students facing conditions similar to those he experienced.
Program Director: Drs. Jeffrey M. Young and Sonya Douglass
Teachers College, Columbia University
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