Julius is originally from just outside of Chicago, and he is a first-generation college graduate of Columbia University (CC '18). He is a 2018 TFA Corps Member and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Relay Graduate School of Education. Julius currently teaches AP US History at DREAM Charter High School in New York City. His professional goals include being a school principal (and perhaps even a school superintendent one day), and he is excited to return to Morningside Heights to get him closer to that goal. A fun fact about Julius is that he plays volleyball in an adult LGBTQ league (when there is not a pandemic).
Hi, I'm Brittany! I'm from Bayonne, New Jersey and teach secondary English in Newark, New Jersey. I am a Montclair State graduate and proud Teach For America Alumni. I am looking most forward to continuing to grow as an educator while developing my leadership skills! Fun fact – I teach Shakespeare and have the same birthday as him!
Jo Cabey is a native of the Bronx, NY. She is a first-generation American, who is proud of her roots which stem from the Caribbean island Montserrat. She graduated from Claflin University, the oldest HBCU in the state of South Carolina, with a degree in Mass Communications. She also has a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. Currently, Jo is the PK-5 Math Coach for an elementary school in Harlem and works as an adjunct professor at Relay GSE. Jo is wholeheartedly committed to working on behalf of black and brown student achievement. She is excited to further her leadership capacity and knowledge as a member of SPA.
Hi! My name is Erika Sun. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, attended college in Chicago at Northwestern University, and became a Teaching Fellow in New York City, somehow, I kept moving east (against my will). Some of my favorite things to do are running (away from my problems) in Central Park, hiking, skiing, reading, spending time with friends & family, and petting my cat. I've spent the past year collecting house plants I've been incapable of keeping alive, so I suppose my fun fact is that I have a brown thumb. Give me a plant, and I'll kill it for ya.
I'm so excited to attend SPA this upcoming year! I've always wanted to be a teacher and educator, and I truly believe that entering into administration and school management is the best way for maximal, meaningful impact to right the inequities and injustices that are so pervasive within New York City's public education system. I've learned so much during my tenure within the DOE, and I'm excited to begin the next chapter of my education and career with the amazing students and faculty at TC.
I was born and raised in Del Rio, Texas. My undergraduate degree is in Engineering Mechanics with a concentration in biomechanics at Johns Hopkins. I received my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (Secondary Math Education) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Currently, I teach Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC at Equipo Academy in Las Vegas! I'm also the high school math department chair and instructional coach.
Professionally, I'm very open to opportunities. As long as it involves helping kids and improving communities, I'm in! The roles and titles don't matter as much to me as the actual work. I believe relationships are the heart of all growth and success in education. I want to create a growing team of individuals who invest in people on a personal level and provide opportunities to support our community in unique ways.
I am excited at the opportunity to take a deeper dive into subjects at the SPA program which I have already incorporated into my own classes, such as restorative practices and social emotional learning. This would allow me to continue to serve in my community and sustain the environment I helped create. I believe that SPA is the right program for me because it is a program that will value my attentiveness to personal relationships and community needs.
Fun facts: I like long walks to the kitchen I love cooking I've played guitar since 3rd grade I played in a mariachi band professionally for 5 years I didn't ever think about working in education until my senior year of college I lived in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands for 2 years in high school I have a mini bernedoodle named Bailey I've bought one-way flight tickets to just see where life will take me without planning much else besides where my adventure will start
Kiera Russo is a school psychologist at Barlow Mountain Elementary School in Ridgefield, CT, where she has worked for the past three years. After graduating from Bucknell University with a double major in economics and psychology Kiera began work in sales in New York City. She quickly realized a desire to do meaningful work that gives back to others and decided to switch careers. Kiera received her Master of Arts and 6th Year Certificate of Advanced Study in School Psychology from Fairfield University in 2018. Kiera serves as a leader on her buildings social emotional learning team and is passionate about fostering positive school climates and building resilience of students. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and traveling to new places.
Sean Hudson is committed to removing roadblocks that prevent black and brown students from reaching their educational potential. He believes educational equity is the civil rights issue of our time. Sean was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is an avid Steelers fan. He currently is a Teacher Leader at B.B. Comegys School in Southwest, Philadelphia. After earning a BS and MA from Excelsior College and a M.Ed from Liberty University, he decided to challenge himself with one of the best education programs in the nation. Sean chose SPA NYC at Teachers College, Columbia University to position himself to be of greater service to his community as a school principal.
Natasha Ambria Henry is a Black, Asian, Caribbean-American musician and educator. Although a military child, she was born and raised in New York City. She currently teaches for the New York City Department of Education at her alma mater, Fort Hamilton High School. Natasha works with the Marching Regiment, assisting with drumline, and is the director of the Intermediate Band and Jazz Band. She also teaches "Music Interpretation", which is a curriculum she developed based on the studies of popular culture, musicology, and music philosophy, where non-auditioned students receive the opportunity to learn to compose, perform, analyze and appreciate music from around the world through different perspectives and inclusive discussions. She has received a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance: Percussion Studies with a Minor in Piano and Voice from LIU Post, and she has both a Master of Arts and an Ed.M.in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Natasha has studied percussion for over 14 years, piano for 10 years, and voice for 9 years. She has toured as a performing musician to Ireland, Puerto Rico, Switzerland for the Montreux Jazz Festival, and Australia for the International Music Festival. She has also performed with the North Shore Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall with the Cecilia Chorus of New York, in the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, and many other wind ensembles, choruses, vocal jazz ensembles, jazz bands, jazz combos, and percussion ensembles. Natasha aspires to change the future of education through cultivating a communicative and restorative environment, fostering community building, and continuing to engage in culturally responsive sustaining education (CRSE). Summers Principal Academy (New York) provides an innovative and rigorous space for Natasha to learn, grow, and excel in the TC community and pedagogical practices.
Adam Seidman is currently a third grade teacher at The School at Columbia University. A lifelong New Yorker, Adam particularly enjoys guiding his students through social studies units studying New York City's history. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, Adam helped teachers affiliated with an environmental education nonprofit to develop interdisciplinary units of study for students of all ages. Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College and a Master of Science in Education degree from Bank Street College. He is excited to extend his career in education with leadership skills and strategies through the SPA program. When he is not in the classroom, Adam enjoys cooking, bicycling, and music.
Kelly Bullock is an author, educator and entrepreneur. Kelly lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and teaches 3rd grade English Language Arts. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Cincinnati in Business Administration emphasizing Marketing and Management. After nine plus years of working in the banking industry, she sought a career change, earning her Masters in Education and a K-12 Reading Endorsement from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Having diverse children's literature is a true passion of Kelly's, which is why she wrote her first book to ensure that all children see themselves reflected in today's literature. When absent from teaching and writing, Kelly enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. Mrs. Bullock is thrilled to join the SPA community and seek to become a transformational leader.
Anya will be entering her tenth year as a high school teacher in the New York City public school system. She is dual certified in English Language Arts and special education and throughout her career has worked as both a general education teacher and special services provider. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino studies and political science from Hunter College and a Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary English education, with additional concentration in special education and TESOL, from Northeastern University. In her tenure as a teacher, Anya has served as English department chair and currently facilitates her school's Transformative Justice Action Team.
Anya believes deeply in the power of literacy as a mechanism of liberation and empowerment and is committed to culturally-sustaining pedagogical practice and healing-centered engagement across school spaces. As an educator and emerging leader, she views community and democratic, participatory school governance as the foreground of transformative schooling.
Connecticut native and Special Education Teacher in Greenwich Public Schools. I received my Undergraduate and Master's Degrees from Southern Connecticut State University. I chose SPA because of the rigor and diversity of it's program.
Diamond Summerville-Nelson was born and raised in Yonkers, NY. She received her BS in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Iona College, and her MS in Early Childhood Special Education from Bank Street College of Education. She has taught for the past 15 years, in both public and private school settings, in New York City and Los Angeles. She is an advocate of quality early education programs, developmentally appropriate practices, and community-based schools. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge and skillset necessary to address the needs of the whole child (and, the whole school, for that matter) from an administrative level.
Kelly Liu is a passionate Special Education Teacher currently working at a Title 1 Public School in Bushwick, Brooklyn. When she's not cycling to work, she becomes a board game fanatic, reading enthusiast, and dangerous sweet-toothed craver.
After graduating from Stony Brook University in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, Kelly began her career in education through the NYC Teaching Collaborative Program. In 2020, she graduated from St. John's University with her Masters in the Science of Education; continuing to find ways to support students with disabilities through specially designed instruction.
Recognizing the historical and systemic racial and wealth inequities burdened by generations of communities of color, Kelly aims to reexamine the gaps in access and opportunity in the public school and special education system.
Kelly is deeply humbled, privileged, and excited to extend her education, through SPA, to learn best practices to cultivate a rich learning environment. Perhaps with some reimagining, education ultimately must provide all people with the relevant skill sets and social experiences needed to become responsible, active, and contributing members of our global society.
I am a proud Afro-Latino from the South Bronx currently teaching Algebra 1 and serving as the 9th grade team leader at The American Dream High School. I was the first in my family to attend and graduate college receiving my Bachelors of Arts in Education and a Masters of Science in Secondary Education at University at Albany (SUNY). My professional goals are to serve all members of my school community by being an effective and transformational leader who never ceases to reflect in my practice and grow as an educator. The reason why I chose SPA is because I was ultimately blown away by all the virtual sessions I attended during the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021. From the inspirational and profound alumni panel session to the very informative decision making demo course with Dr. Perkins to the engaging and fun improvisational virtual activity with Hannah to the honest student panel session as well. Here are some fun facts about me. I love poetry, comic books, graphic novels, science fiction and superhero movies (especially Marvel movies). I am a huge Star Wars and Batman fan as well. In fact, some of the students and teachers at my school call me Batman. I also write and perform spoken word poetry. Most importantly, my first love will always be my family. My wife and I are high school sweethearts. We have been together for twenty years and married for ten. We have two beautiful and creative children name Gregorio and Gabriella. They are the main reason why I chose to pursue a Masters in Educational Leadership. I treat all of my students as if they were my son and daughter which means I want the very best for each and everyone of them. Lastly, I love karaoke, hip hop and R & B music.
Maura Wachter has been a teacher in New York City for six years. After graduating from Boston College in 2013 with degrees in Elementary Education and Economics, Maura worked in commercial banking in the Philadelphia area for two years. While there she decided to pivot to follow her passion for teaching. Maura moved to New York in 2015 and taught in several public and charter schools. During this time, she completed a masters degree in General and Special Education at Touro College. Maura currently teaches third grade at PS 340 in Flatiron. In addition to her duties in the classroom Maura is a member of the School Leadership Team as well as the Equity Committee. She is honored to be a part of the SPA program and looks forward to learning to lead in a way that creates an equitable and supportive community for all students and staff.
Born in Barbados, grew up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Current Position: Founding Chemistry/Geometry Teacher at Metropolitan Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy, Bronx NY (2018-present). Past Education: BEng Chemical Engineering (2008) University of Technology Jamaica; Postgraduate diploma in Education - Secondary Science (2014) University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados; MA Chemistry 7-12 (2021)Teachers College, Columbia University. Professional Goals: To be a coach and mentor to teachers; to lead a successful educational institution providing equitable educational opportunities to "students of color". SPA provides an opportunity to be in the workforce and pursue a professional masters degree concurrently. SPA also provides quality training and a network of excellent educators and leaders. Proposed to my wife with a sonnet I wrote for her which I later published in a book of sonnets.
Hello Everyone, My name is Austin Hills. I am originally from Old Bethpage New York on Long Island however have lived in Rockland county New York since graduating college. I graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a double major in education and physics. I also have received my Masters in Educational Technology from SUNY Oneonta as well.
I am currently finishing my 5th year as a high school physics teacher in spring valley New York. I have spent my entire teaching career in the same job however am excited and looking forward to my future in the world of education. Although I am only 26 years old I am confident I will be a superintendent of a school district one day. I was lucky enough to be introduced to SPA by two wonderful colleagues of mine and believe this program is just the beginning of many amazing things to come.
A little bit about myself outside of the world of teaching. I have been golfing my entire life and absolutely love the sport. Thanks to my father I am a die hard Mets and Jets fan so I suffer through sports year round. In October 2019 I rescued my dog Teddy from a local shelter and it has been the best decision I have ever made! I'm really looking forward to the SPA program and can't wait to see all of the amazing life skills and lessons I learn!
Decia Onecia Archibald, now Benjamin is a proud West Indian. Born in Georgetown, Guyana but grew up in the lovely twin Island of Antigua & Barbuda. I have lived most years of my life in New York, so that makes me a New Yorker, but as they say you can take the girl out the island but you can't take the island out of the girl, I am an Island Girl. I am currently a 2nd general education teacher in an ICT classroom. I am also the current Grade Level Chair. I received my Masters of Arts in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2016. 5 years prior to that I graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College with my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Why SPA, I believe if you want to be the best then, you must be with the best. It is my desire to be the best school leader I can be, so I want to receive the training and education I need from one of the best programs. Fun fact – Every member of my immediate family first initial is D.
I am from Brooklyn, NY and I currently teach at John Dewey High School. I am an alum of Brandeis University and Relay Graduate School for Education. My professional goal is to actively dismantle the school to prison pipeline. I strongly feel like SPA's mission aligns with mine. SPA's mission reminds me that there are so many others that also seek to do the same.
Betty Salgado is originally from Ecuador but lives in the Hoosier State. She is a English as a New Language teacher at James and Rosemary Phalen Academies. She began her teaching career with the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows and received a MA in education from Marian University. She is passionate about education. She credits her education to be the driving force in acquiring her American dream. She enjoys supporting the fast growing English learners students and their families. She has high hopes to learn in SPA great leadership skills needed to better support her students in the pursuit of their American dream. Betty enjoys gardening, cooking and taking pictures.
My name is Joianne, pronounced Joy-Ann. I am originally from Boston, MA born and raised. I am a first generation of many things, which all I am proud of. I am first generation born-American, as my father is from Haiti. My Black American and Haitian American cultures collide in beautiful and complex ways. I am a proud HBCU alumna. I received my B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College in 2007. I came to New York to attend Teachers College, where I received my M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching in 2012. I currently work in East Harlem at Central Park East 2 Elementary School as a 2nd and 3rd grade loop teacher. A loop teacher means that I have my kids for two years; 2nd and 3rd grade. I absolutely love teaching but I am continuing to walk in my purpose. At my school, I currently hold several leadership hats and realized that I am a person that administration relies on to lead and equally teachers and staff trust to communicate needs. Therefore, I serve as the Literacy Data Specialist, 2nd and 3rd grade team leader, hiring committee member and School Leadership Team (SLT) elected teacher representative. After receiving my Ed.M. from SPA, I eventually want to pursue my doctorate in Education Leadership. I want to become a principal in public urban education. My ultimate goal is to become Superintendent of a city-wide school district, hopefully, Boston Public Schools. I never thought I'd have the idea to move back to Boston, but my maternal roots run very deep in the city of Boston. My family has lived in the neighborhood of Roxbury for 100 years as one of the first black families. So I truly believe in honoring my ancestors and part of that is changing the face of leadership in a city with a haunting racist past. I believe SPA will help me gain the expertise, knowledge and confidence to transition from teacher to school leader. A few of my Spelman sisters are graduates of SPA or currently matriculating in SPA cohort 2020. I have witnessed and admired their transformative ability and confidence to lead successfully and with equity. I believe SPA will do the same for me. A few fun facts about me: I have a fur baby, named Onyx. She is a 14 year old black lab and I've had her since she was 6 months. I love animals and would have more if my apartment was bigger. I equally love love music, especially hip hop and trap music! Yes, I went to school in Atlanta so it shows in my music choice. :-) My faith if very important to me. My mom passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer, and honestly if it wasn't for my faith in God, I'm not sure how I would have gotten through the loss and grief. The beach is my happy place. So I often go to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard during the summer months. I love community service. I volunteer with the NY Urban League Young Professionals. Last but not least, I am a PROUD member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Incorporated, where I am very active in my chapter, Bronx Alumnae.
Natalie Naftel is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She obtained her Bachelor's Degree majoring in Social Studies Education and History from Hofstra University graduating cum laude and appointed into the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta. She graduated with her Master of Arts in Social Studies Education from the City College of New York. She is presently head of the Social Studies Department at Williamsburg Charter High School as well as teaching Global 9 and SUPA Sociology which offers students college credit through Syracuse University. Natalie hopes to someday open a public school centered around student choice and empowerment through leadership either through Montessori or a similar model. SPA is an opportunity to foster leadership skills to grow professionally as well as to connect with other individuals who share the same goals of investing in the futures of the students they serve.
Rebecca Martinez was born and raised in Queens, New York. She is currently a choral music teacher in her sixth year at Fort Hamilton High School. There she directs a large mixed ensemble, a treble chorus consisting of auditioned students, and is the advisor of the a cappella club. Her ensembles have performed at the school's winter and spring concerts, as well as, adjudications and choral festivals at the University of Connecticut, Brooklyn, and Hunter College. Ms. Martinez has been on faculty at Brooklyn College since 2019 as director of their Glee Club. Rebecca Martinez has performed at Lincoln Center, the United Nations, and Carnegie Hall. She is a soprano singer who was classically trained. Martinez received an undergraduate and master's degree from Brooklyn College's Conservatory of Music with a major in Music Education, and is currently a graduate student in the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University.
A bilingual artist and educator, Rebecca Martinez believes in the importance of singing through diverse repertoire, including languages and cultures. She brings her own background to her teaching to better assist her students on their musical journey. Rebecca also believes that it is important for students to make connections between the music they are singing and their personal experiences. As a leader, Martinez hopes to motivate and inspire her colleagues to continue lifelong learning and engage in work involving equity, CRSE, Social Emotional Learning, and restorative and transformative practices. SPA will provide Rebecca Martinez with the chance to study at one of her dream schools while also continue to learn and grow as a leader and individual. Rebecca Martinez grounds herself in her love of learning. She also loves Star Trek, D&D, and camping. Being a musician, nerd and lover of nature empower Rebecca Martinez to always share her authentic self.
My name is Moriah Wade and I am originally from Dallas, Texas. I did my undergraduate studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. A fun fact about me is that I finished my undergraduate degree at the age of 19. I moved to Washington DC to work for an AmeriCorps organization in 2016 and became a teacher soon thereafter. I attended John Hopkins University for my Masters of Education and I am now in SPA to continue my personal growth in leadership. One day I hope to become the Secretary of Education!
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. No matter where I've found myself, I am a California girl at heart! I moved to San Francisco for college where I graduated with both my Bachelors of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in Education and my Masters of Arts in Education from the University of San Francisco. During my stay in the Bay Area I moved to Oakland where I planted my initial roots as an elementary school teacher. I taught in East Oakland for 3 years before moving to Brooklyn, New York. My first three years in Brooklyn I taught in elementary schools in Park Slope and Brownsville. I am currently a founding member of a school in Harlem working as a middle school humanities teacher. My journey has been an intricate one, but every part of my experience has lead me to this opportunity. I believe in the public school system, but I believe that it is flawed. I believe that in order to see change sometimes you must be that change. Too many school leaders take on roles and perpetuate a system that was not designed for everyone to win. I was drawn to SPA because this program is actively educating future leaders to change that narrative and move on to create schools that can make real strides towards creating educational reform, closing the achievement gap, and educating students and staff holistically.
I am from Long Island. I grew up on the North Fork and now reside in Nassau County with my significant other and son. My family lives here and we love going to the beach!
I currently work at a charter high school in Brooklyn as the Associate Director of Special Education. This is my seventh year at my school and am proud to say I have seen four graduating classes! I earned both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from St. Joseph's College. I hold dual teaching certifications in general education and special education.
My professional goals include creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment for young people and developing a culture of life long learning for staff. I chose SPA because of its rigor and reputation. I recognize the gaps for adult learning and family engagement in my school and I hope to collaborate with my peers to develop systems and ideas to close those gaps.
Hi everyone! Originally from Michigan, I went to Grand Valley State University where I received a B.S. in Liberal Studies. I moved to New York in 2016 where I received my M.A. in TESOL at The City College of New York. Being an ENL teacher is one of my favorite things to be! I chose SPA because being a part of a program that puts inclusion and equity at its core was the first item on my checklist when searching for leadership programs. SPA offers just that!
I enjoy baking, being outdoors, bike riding, and traveling - oh, and eating! Give me any food and I will instantly love you.
Emily Clyburn Bodle is from Cincinnati, OH where she has worked as the art teacher at Kilgour Elementary since 2015. Prior to becoming an educator, she worked as a service member with AmeriCorps serving the youth of Cincinnati at an urban nature center. She strives to be an equitable, passionate, and community-oriented school leader. Service is at the heart of all she does and is the driving force behind how she lives her life. By attending SPA, she hopes to further develop these qualities and gain many more that will assist her in becoming an effective and thriving leader. In her free time, Emily enjoys tap dancing, doing yoga, reading, and going for hikes with her dogs.
Edward Sawyer is originally from Enfield, Connecticut and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently a school leader and entrepreneur at an international school in Brooklyn. He completed his masters degree in education with a concentration in curriculum, instruction and STEAM education. He has a business degree and Bachelors in Business Management with a minor in Political Science. His professional goals are entrepreneurial and include starting and leading a network of high schools nationally and potentially internationally. He believes that SPA will give me the added foundation to build upon his leadership skills and cultivate a professional network of teachers and teacher leaders to grow and enhance my career. He loves spicy food, international travel, sports, and a good political debate!
Teachers College, Columbia University 525 W 120th Street New York, New York 10027-6696 Russell Hall Box 16