Internship Coaches

Internship Coaches


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Raymond Ankrum is a firm believer that education can be the catalyst to eradicate generational poverty. As a first-generation college student, Mr. Ankrum utilized education to escape the school to prison pipeline that many of his family and friends fell, victim to the system. Mr. Ankrum graduated from the University of Stony Brook with a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies and a Master’s Degree in Professional Studies with a concentration in Human Resources and Management.

Post-September 11, 2002, Mr. Ankrum decided that he wanted to become a classroom teacher. Mr. Ankrum attended Morgan State University to obtain his Master’s of Arts in Teaching Social Studies. Mr. Ankrum selected Morgan State University over John Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County because exposure to a Historically Black College or University would be more beneficial to his development as an educator. Mr. Ankrum taught US History, World History, Global History, and American Government for four years in the Baltimore City Public School System. While in BCPSS, Mr. Ankrum served as a building representative for the Baltimore City Teachers Union.

In the 2007 school year, Mr. Ankrum got his first experience in charter schools, accepting a Dean of Students position at Democracy Prep Public Charter School. After a year at DP, Mr. Ankrum brought his talents to Harlem Village Academies. In 2010, Mr. Ankrum earned his Ed.M from Teachers College, Columbia University. Shortly after, Mr. Ankrum was named principal at HVA.

Mr. Ankrum accepted the role of Executive Director of Riverhead Charter School in 2012-13. After a successful school turnaround campaign, Mr. Ankrum received a promotion to the superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School in 2017-18. Mr. Ankrum is in an advanced candidacy at Northeastern University. He is set to defend his doctoral dissertation in August of 2019.

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Tracey Benson is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He received his Ed.D in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Masters of School Administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has served as a principal coach, high school principal, middle school vice-principal, district trainer, proficiency specialist, and elementary school teacher. His research focuses on implementing operational systems of principal growth and development. Benson built a contemporary approach to supporting principal growth and development for pre-service principals as well as sitting school leaders for the Houston Independent School District. He also prepares school leaders to use data as a means of tackling inequities and structural racism in K-12 education. To this end, he has published case studies specifically for the purpose of uncovering vestiges of structural racism in K-12 school systems.

Benson firmly believes that student achievement, teacher efficacy, and school success is contingent upon high quality, equity-focused school and district leaders. He has committed his career to leading for change, courageously addressing entrenched practices that impede lifetime outcomes of students of color, and coaching leaders towards implementing anti-racist policies and curriculum in K – 12 schools."

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Charlie Bull is the founding principal of DECA Middle, a 5-8 grade middle school in Dayton, Ohio. He began his career as a teacher at the Dayton Early College Academy and was a founding teacher at DECA PREP, DECA Middle's partner elementary school. After graduating from the Summer Principals Academy in summer 2015, Charlie served as an assistant principal at DECA PREP for one year while planning for the opening of DECA Middle. In August of 2016, DECA Middle opened its doors to 360 middle school students en route to earning the state of Ohio's highest designation for value added growth in consecutive years and quickly becoming the top performing middle school in the city of Dayton. Charlie is excited to be reconnecting with the SPA community as an internship coach this summer, and he hopes to continue in his own growth and development as a school leader through this process.

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Anna Bear Dallis is currently the Principal at Excel Charter School in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Over the last 10 years, Ms. Dallis has served children and families in schools in New Orleans and New York. Ms. Dallis began her career in education through Teach for America in New Orleans, where she worked at the elementary level. After a few years Ms. Dallis had a desire to move back to her hometown of New York City to serve students and families. Ms. Dallis worked at the elementary and middle level in Brownsville, Brooklyn for a few years before becoming an administrator in Canarsie. Ms. Dallis received her Master of Science in Educational Studies from Binghamton University, and her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy also from Binghamton University.

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Bob Feinstein- Founding Middle Division Principal at The School at Columbia University, with responsibilities for developing and implementing an integrated curriculum, designing programs to support student leadership opportunities, creating and facilitating collaboration between stakeholders, while recruiting, supervising and mentoring new faculty. Instructor and University Field Advisor for the New Teacher Residency Program at Mercy College teaching and mentoring first year masters degree candidates assigned to NYC DOE schools in conjunction with the New Teachers Residency Program while collaborating with principals, teacher mentors, and Mercy College administrators.

Principal of The Computer School MS245 providing staff development and support, and overseeing fiscal and administrative functions, while coordinating community outreach, grant writing and admissions. Tutorial Program Director for Graham/Windham

Children services with responsibilities for designing and coordinating a tutorial program for at-risk adolescents in foster care through recruiting, organizing and supervising subject- specific pedagogical staff.

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Jaime Gerding currently serves as the principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary. She began her teaching career at Apollo Beach Elementary School where she also served as assistant principal and principal. She then transferred to Phillip Shore Magnet School of the Arts as principal before transferring to her current role at Booker T. Washington. In her 11 years as principal, she has developed and facilitated professional development at the district and state level and mentored administrators informally and formally as a District Lead Principal.

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Aaron J. Griffen, Ph.D. is a P-12 practitioner scholar with 20 years of experience in public and charter as a middle school English teacher, assistant principal, as a high school principal, and, currently, as the Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at DSST Public Schools in Denver, Colorado. He received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Urban Education from Texas A&M University, College Station. His research interests include Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Culturally Responsive Instructional Leadership, Multicultural Curriculum and Instruction, African American Educational Lobbying, and Urban Policy and Analysis. In addition to serving in P-12, Dr. Griffen has served as an adjunct professor in educational leadership and has presented his research at major conferences, including American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC), and the Texas Oral History Association (TOHA). His work has also appeared in the American Journal of Qualitative Research, the National Journal of Urban Education and Practice,, and Intersections: Critical Issues in Education.

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Mike Hanson- I am currently the principal at Shadow Lake Elementary outside of Seattle. I have been in the Tahoma school district since 1997 and have had many varied experiences during this time. My time as an educator has been driven by a simple belief that relationships are at the core of what we do and that learning is much more than simply content. The connection between school, student, and families is central to success.

Prior to becoming an elementary administrator, I was the Dean of Students at our high school. This was an amazing experience in that I was able to work closely with many families regarding attendance, academic support, behavior concerns, etc. This experience solidified my beliefs that relationships with students, families and staff are at the core of what we do. As the Dean, I was also responsible for planning and oversight of our building professional development for the school.

Preceding my role as Dean, I worked at our district's Teaching & Learning department as a coach and science coordinator. This provided opportunities to develop scope and sequence, assessment coordination, professional development design and delivery, and much more. This included using platforms such as Google Classroom, Google Docs, and Moodle. I was also fortunate to receive extensive training in the area of Systems Thinking and I am a Waters Foundation certified trainer. I have presented several times and have consulted other districts. This has been valuable in supporting our district and buildings as we work to understand our learning organization. I created curricula that focused on larger goals (habits of mind, thinking skills, stewardship) and understand how to embed core content around these larger goals. I have experience in documenting curricula at all levels and in working with staff to ensure that assessments support learning.

I was fortunate to work for NASA (Project Athena) writing a weather prediction unit, National Institutes for Health creating a Biology of Sleep unit, and served on the advisory board for the Biological Systems Curriculum Study (BSCS) Science: An Inquiry Approach grades 9, 10, 11 curriculum.

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Andrew Kile currently serves as the Director of School Evaluation with the SUNY Charter Schools Institute. Andrew leads the Institute's evaluation team. Andrew supports the development of the Institute's practices and protocols for school evaluations. Before joining the Institute, Andrew served as an academic dean and lead of operations at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem. He also worked as a consultant and began his career in education as a second grade teacher at a charter school in East Harlem. Andrew received his Master of Education in School Leadership from SPA at Columbia Teachers College as a member of the 2015 Cohort. He has a Master of Science in Education from Pact University and Bachelors of Arts from The Ohio State University.

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Betsaida Luna
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Paris McLean, a native of Bordentown, NJ, currently resides in the city of Trenton. Prior to his professional career, Paris attended Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ, graduating in 2000. He matriculated to La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA where he was a dual major studying Elementary (K-8) and Special (K-12) Education, graduating in 2004.

During the fall of 2004, Paris returned to Princeton Day School (Pre-K-12) where he remained for an 11-year career. During this time, he served as a 2nd Grade Lead Teacher, Lower School Curriculum Coordinator, Chairperson of the Community and Multicultural Diversity Team, and Head Varsity Basketball Coach. Starting in 2013, Paris attended Columbia University Teachers College Klingenstein Center. Paris completed the program in 2015 and graduated with a Masters of Arts degree in Private School Leadership.

In 2015, Paris was appointed as the Head of Lower School (K-4) at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (K-8) located in Princeton, NJ. His role includes faculty development, curriculum management, and enhancing the overall academic, social, and emotional scope of the program. He has presented at state, national, and international conferences, and specializes in faculty development; curriculum management; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives; and social-emotional programming.

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Rabin Nickens has supported students, parents, teachers, and school leaders for over 20 years through various roles in education throughout New York City, including classroom teacher, literacy/dramatic arts specialist, mayoral advisor, Teacher Effectiveness Ambassador, and Interschool Teacher Development Coach. As a lecturer and author/researcher, she explores the intersections of arts, culture, and education within the U.S. and internationally and how this impacts teaching, learning, and leadership. Rabin holds an Ed. M. in Organizational Leadership, an M.S. Ed. in Early Childhood and Elementary Ed., and a B.A. in Journalism/Theatre, with training in Orton-Gillingham-based literacy instruction.

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Mr. Curtis Palmore started his career as an educator in New York City through Teach for America in 1995. After teaching, he became the Elementary School Director at Beginning with Children Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. Next, he took on the role of Head of School at Harlem Day Charter School and led a school turnaround effort. He later was the Founding Principal at Exceed Charter School, a turnaround school in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Palmore is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Community Charter School of Paterson, in New Jersey. He is leading strategic initiatives including content, assessment, and staffing improvements.

Mr. Palmore holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Morgan State University. He has a graduate degree in Educational Administration from Fordham University and an Educational Leadership Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Palmore is currently pursuing his Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

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David Rosas
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Ms. Courtney Russell is the Executive Director of Lighthouse Academies, New York. She started her career as an elementary school teacher in Atlanta, Georgia through the Teach for America Program. Following her time at Atlanta Public Schools, Ms. Russell transitioned to Lighthouse Academies, where she has been ever since. Serving as the Founding Principal of Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter school in the Bronx, Ms. Russell built MetLCS from the ground up, growing the school from a K – 2 with 138 scholars to a K – 7 in 2015 with over 400 scholars. During her time as Principal, Ms. Russell led the school to a full, five-year renewal with its authorizer, the New York City Department of Education, and led the school through many challenging times such overseeing the move of the school through three different facilities in the South Bronx. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Russell transitioned to the Lighthouse Academies national team, where she was able to hone in on her passion for school operations. As the first person ever serving in this role for LHA, Ms. Russell paved the way to allow Principals to be focused on instructional leadership, where she and the school-based operations team perfected operations. Ms. Russell earned a BA in Communications from Muhlenberg College, an MA in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an EdS in Instructional Design and Development from the University of Georgia.

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Michael Scarantino is a graduate of the Summer Principal’s Academy (2008 cohort) and currently is the Principal of F.E. Bellows Elementary School in the Rye Neck School District in Mamaroneck NY. He has served in a variety of roles throughout his 26 year career as an educator. He was an elementary school Assistant Principal in the Tarrytown School District for six years and a mentor, instructional technology coordinator and teacher for the NYC Department of Education for 17 years.

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Sharon Stephens currently serves as an Educational Consultant supporting K-12 schools in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area. Ms. Stephens also serves on the faculty of Grand Canyon University supporting students who are pursuing certification.

Ms. Stephens’ experiences include over 20 years serving youth within New York State. Ms. Stephens has served on the faculty at Columbia University teaching in its Summer Principals Academy. She has also served as both a middle school and elementary school Principal. In New York City she assembled a team and designed Madiba Prep Middle School, a grades 6-8 Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Environmental Science focused school. Ms. Stephens was selected by New York City Department of Education to launch and lead her proposed school as Founding Principal. Under Ms. Stephens’ leadership this school graduated its scholars with advanced standing in High School in the subject areas of Algebra I and Living Environment; Madiba Prep then became the only gifted and talented middle school within the district. Ms. Stephens also served on the founding team that launched Promise Academy I Middle School at Harlem Children’s Zone. There she was instrumental in closing the achievement gap for urban scholars and raising literacy scores within the middle school’s first year. Prior to joining Harlem Children’s Zone she was invited to join NYC Department of Education’s Children First Network #4 serving in the role of Intervention Specialist at the district where she supported 13 New York City Principals and their respective elementary, middle, and high schools in achieving academic excellence for the bottom third of their student populations.

Sharon Stephens received a B.A. in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences Concentration from College of New Rochelle; M.S. in Education, Teaching Urban Adolescents with Disabilities from Long Island University; and Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College, SPA ’10 cohort.

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Melissa Sweazy is in her ninth year as the founding school principal of Esmeralda Santiago, located on the west side of Chicago. Santiago has appeared in Chicago Magazine as the top performing charter elementary school in Chicago and under the CPS accountability system has historically ranked as one of the highest performing schools in the city. One of the school’s greatest successes is the student attendance rate, as last year’s average was 97.7%; for the last three years, their attendance rate has consistently ranked in the top 10 out of over 670 schools in the city. Melissa believes that ensuring high attendance rates for students is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against poverty and the most effective way to get students to stay engaged with school is by putting them in the driver’s seat of their learning.

 

Melissa is most passionate about equipping students with the skills, confidence, and social political consciousness necessary to exercise their voice and choice in their school, community, and beyond. She cites a strong partnership with parents, an emphasis on student advocacy and accountability, and encouraging teachers’ engagement in continuous reflection around their practice as key levers of success. Santiago continues to remain focused on further developing and implementing a personalized learning model, which currently includes multiage classrooms, competency based instruction, project-based learning, full inclusion, a student interest-based elective block for K-8, and much more. The best part of Melissa’s job is working alongside her teachers and seeing the smiles on their students’ faces as their confidence grows, achievement levels rise, and ultimately, they disrupt the status quo.

 

Melissa was named 2016 Principal of the Year by Illinois Network of Charter Schools for leading a high-performing and innovative school with a strong team culture. She was also selected to be a Chicago Principals Fellow and serves on CPS' CEO's Principal Advisory Council. Esmeralda Santiago was also honored to be named a 2017-18 TFA School to Learn From. Melissa holds a B.S. in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an Ed. M. in Elementary Education from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an Ed. M. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. "

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Emily Veling
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Carland Washington is the principal of West Prep Academy, a public school located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Carland attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University for his undergraduate degree and teaching certifications. He is a graduate of the Summer Principals Academy and holds a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Carland has led West Prep Academy since May 2014, after serving as an assistant principal and staff developer. He is the co-author of “Authenticity and the Female African American School Leader” published in the edited book, Racially and Ethnically Diverse Women Leading Education. Carland frequently serves as a panelist for selected topics in education such as race and diversity, social and emotional development, closing the achievement gap, and has been featured in Time Magazine for his work in wellness education.

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