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Summer Principals Academy

The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership

Dawn  Adams

Dawn Adams

B.A. in Spanish; MA in TESOL from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dawn began her career in education over seven years ago. She is currently a teacher at the only Title I high school in Reno, Nevada where she teaches heritage Spanish, beginning, intermediate and advanced ESL, and academic language for long-term ESL students. Dawn is currently the department leader for the ESL and newcomers' center at Hug High School. She has instructed college courses for teachers attaining their ESL certification, coordinated and taught ESL for the Carpenters' Union, chairs the board of a bilingual charter school, conducts SIOP trainings for her district, and runs a pilot project implementing the use of iPod touches to learn English. She is currently a candidate for National Board Certification. Dawn aspires to become an educational leader who promotes and collaboratively constructs a school that fights for educational equity and addresses the needs of its students, families, community and educators.

Monica  Amaro

Monica Amaro

B.A. in Ethnic Studies, University of Texas at Austin; Ed.M in Curriculum and Instruction, Arizona State University. Monica began her career over 10 years ago teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies and language arts in Phoenix, AZ through the Teach for America program. She is currently a 6th grade teacher at The School at Columbia University, an independent school in New York. She teaches social studies and is a 6th grade advisor. Monica aspires to return to her hometown of El Paso, TX. She hopes to open a school where culture, community and language are embedded in the curriculum and students see themselves in what they learn.

Noah  Angeles

Noah Angeles

B.S. in Adolescence Education, St. John's University; M.A. in History, St. John's University. Advanced Certification in Latin American Studies, St. John's University. Noah began his career in Bronx, New York over three years ago. Noah is currently Dean of Students at York Early College Academy, an early college school in Jamaica, Queens. He also teaches 7th grade social studies and 6th grade math and science. In addition, Noah has led teacher teams in developing the school's credit recovery program for at risk students and supervises a summer college immersion program where high school students take college courses. Noah aspires to develop and create his own school that services at-risk youth in an urban area.

Mia  Arakiki

Mia Arakiki

B.A. in Political Science and East Asian Studies, Yale University. Mia began her career over six years ago as a 2005 Teach for America corps member in Greater New Orleans. After teaching 7th and 8th grade special education math at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School in Jefferson Parish for one week, Hurricane Katrina forced her to evacuate New Orleans and move to Texas. Following a few weeks of uncertainty, Mia moved to Houston and helped found New Orleans West (N.O.W.) College Prep, a KIPP Transformation charter school for New Orleans students displaced by Katrina. At N.O.W., she taught an amazing and resilient group of kindergarteners. After the school year, Mia moved back to New Orleans and taught 8th grade algebra for the next three years at Riverdale Middle School in Jefferson Parish. She is currently a Program Director with Teach for America where she supports first- and second-year teachers and their students at various schools throughout Greater New Orleans. Mia aspires to facilitate lasting positive change for students and their communities through the power of education and hopes to inspire and challenge others to do the same.

Chelsea  Banks-Craigie

Chelsea Banks-Craigie

Chelsea Banks-Craigie B.A. and a certificate in American Studies, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. As a Teach for America corps member, Chelsea is currently a middle school science teacher and the high school advisor at Arthur Ashe Charter School, a K-8 transformation school that is a part of the FirstLine Schools network of open admission charter schools in New Orleans. She teaches 5th through 8th grade science, and helps all eighth graders gain admission to high performing high schools in New Orleans. Within the network, she writes science interim tests, helps develop the science curriculum, and is part of the blended learning team. Chelsea was also nominated by her administration to be part of a network-based leadership development program, Leading from the Middle. In addition, she supports Greater New Orleans corps members as a Corps Member Advisor for middle school science, and wrote the eighth grade curriculum and assessments for incoming corps members. Chelsea aspires to lead an organization that creates systemic solutions to problems faced at the many levels of education, whether school, district, state, or national, and to offer excellent educational opportunities for all students.

Alexandra  Bates

Alexandra Bates

B.A. in Sociology, Boston College; M.A. in Master of Education, Regent University; Ed.S in Education Leadership, Walden University. Alexandra began her career in Atlanta Public Schools over 10 years ago. She is currently a Title I Data Support Specialist at Woodland Elementary Charter School & Lake Forest Elementary, a district school in Atlanta, GA. Alexandra aspires to be a school leader who ensures that at-risk children have the opportunity to reach their highest potential because of the positive teaching and learning environments fostered by professional learning communities, rigorous curriculum, and quality instruction.

Fred  Benton

Fred Benton

B.S. in Engineering, Swarthmore College; M.A. in Education, Stanford University. Fred began his career teaching physics over seven years ago at the Bronx Academy of Letters, a small public school in the south Bronx, where he currently teaches. In his seven years there, he has chaired the hiring committee, designed protocols for recruiting and interviewing teachers, and served as the 11th grade team leader. As a team leader, he supports new teachers and coordinates information regarding student performance. Fred also leads the science department in redesigning its curriculum with a focus on college preparation AND piloted a new standards-based grading system. For the past three summers he also taught for the Mathematics & Science for Minority Students program at Philips Andover Academy. Fred is a national board-certified physics teacher and aspires to lead a community of educators.

Zachary  Boyt

Zachary Boyt

B.F.A in Cinema Studies, New York University; Ed.M in Mathematics Education, CUNY. Zachary began his career teaching at M.S. 118 in the Bronx in 2005. He is currently a math teacher at M.S. 67, a district school in Queens. Zach aspires to improve in his role as lead teacher at his school. In the long term, he aspires to become a school or district leader in some capacity.

Curtis  Buckner

Curtis Buckner

B.S. in History, Mississippi College; M.S. in Education, CUNY Brooklyn College. Curtis began his career in the NYC Department of Education as a special education teacher in East New York over five years ago. During this time he has had the opportunity to work with various communities throughout Brooklyn, NY teaching social studies. He currently teaches United States history at Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy, a charter school in New York. Curtis has also taught participation in government at the Young Adult Borough Center (YABC) in Brooklyn, NY, an alternative program for students 17 to 21, for the past three years. Curtis aspires to create a healthy environment that inspires and enlightens students to live to their maximum potential and improve our world.

Chris  Carter

Chris Carter

B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, Purdue University. Chris began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher at Central High School in Helena, AR over six years ago. Chris was a 2005 Teach for America Mississippi Delta Corps Member. Since 2008 he has worked as a Program Director and Manager of teaching and learning with Teach for America in Arkansas and Mississippi. In these roles, he managed the development and implementation of ongoing professional development structures that supported 500 teachers serving over 40,000 students. Starting in the fall of 2011 he will be teaching high school social studies at KIPP Delta, a charter school in Helena. Chris aspires to lead a school in rural Arkansas that empowers students to be college ready by developing their skills in collegiate level reading, writing, and reasoning.

Emily  Casari

Emily Casari

B.A. in Social Relations and Policy, Michigan State University; B.A. in Spanish, Michigan State University. Emily began her career three years ago as a Teach for America corps member teaching 5th-8th grade Spanish in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently a teacher at James Hillhouse High School, where she teaches Spanish as a foreign language. She is a founding member of the Freshman Academy and teaches credit retrieval classes in the Extended Day Academy. She has written a district wide curriculum addendum for heritage speakers' differentiation in the world language classroom, and will be rewriting the Spanish 1 curriculum in the upcoming year. As an alumna of Teach for America, she volunteers as an alumni mentor in its online world languages content community. She also mentored the 2010 corps members in their transition to Connecticut and teaching in an urban setting. Emily aspires to foster a community of resilient and resourceful learners, where students, teachers, and school leaders inspire each other and grow together in their pursuit of excellence.

Marisa  Castello

Marisa Castello

B.A. in Communication Sciences/Disorders, University of Vermont; M.S. in Education with a focus in Childhood Education and Special Education, St. John's University. Marisa began her career in education working at Prep for Prep, a nonprofit organization that supports and provides personal growth opportunities for students of color, over five years ago. She later worked at independent and charter schools in New York City as a teacher. In her role as a teacher, Marisa has held many leadership positions. She has served as a grade level leader and initiated career awareness and physical fitness programs in her schools. She currently works at P.S. 38M, a district school in Manhattan where she teaches 5th grade in a collaborative team teaching setting. Marisa aspires to be an effective and efficient leader at an urban school, which will provide teachers and students with the skills, training and education needed to reach their highest potential.

Esther  Cho

Esther Cho

B.A. in English and Secondary Teacher Certification, Bryn Mawr College; M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Esther began her teaching career as an undergraduate student when she went to South Korea in the summer to teach English at Noonsan University. Throughout college, she worked with elementary and secondary school students at afterschool tutoring programs in disadvantaged communities in Philadelphia. Currently, Esther is an English teacher at Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest, NJ. In addition to advising the debate team and being a former member of the school senate, she acts as a parent liaison and a core member of the professional development committee in the Northern Valley High School District. Esther aspires to be a passionate and visionary leader who helps schools creatively maximize both school and community resources to support educators, and engage students in learning and developing their potential for success.

Hoek  Choi

Hoek Choi

B.A. in English/Creative Writing, Emory University; M.A. in Education - Teaching Science, Pace University. Hoek began his career in the south Bronx in New York City over eight years ago as a middle school English language arts teacher. He is currently lead instructional teacher at Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies, a district high school in the Bronx where he teaches global history. He is also the site coordinator and elective teacher for AVID, a nationwide college readiness program. Hoek aspires to be an innovative and passionate school leader. His goals are to establish community-transforming schools by awakening students and educators to their personal greatness and potential as well as equipping them to change the world.

Shoshana  Cohen-Fraade

Shoshana Cohen-Fraade

B.A. in English Literature, University of Michigan; Ed.M in English Education, CUNY - Lehman College. Shoshana began her career in teaching over eight years ago. She has taught 6th and 7th grade English language arts, as well as art and drawing. She is currently a teacher and literacy coach at Joseph H. Wade Academies I.S. 117, a district school in the Bronx, where she teaches 8th Grade English language arts. Shoshana believes in fostering both academic and personal excellence in a community of diverse learners. She aspires to lead an urban public junior high school.

Brandon  Cummings

Brandon Cummings

B.A. in Political Science, Depauw University. Brandon began his career in elementary education over six years ago. He is currently a 4th grade teacher at Usher-Collier Elementary School, a district school in Atlanta. Brandon aspires to be a transformational leader and hopes to impact the lives of both students and teachers.

Tracy  DeOliveira

Tracy DeOliveira

B.S. in Community Health Education, CUNY York College; Ed.M in Math, CUNY Brooklyn College. Tracy began her career in a NYC Department of Education school over nine years ago. She is currently a math and science teacher at Brooklyn Ascend Charter School, a charter school in Brooklyn. Tracy aspires to be a School Director, leading and developing the growth of adults to become great leaders, as well as meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of children so that they can be successful throughout their lives. Ultimately, it is her desire to open community centers that will support all the needs of the urban community.

Samantha  Dong

Samantha Dong

B.S. in Human Development, Cornell University; M.A. in Science Education, CUNY City College. Samantha began her career in education through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. She taught General Science and Health at Sunset Park Prep M.S. 821 for four years; she also served as lead science teacher during her tenure there. She is currently a science teacher at Lower East Side Preparatory High School, a transitional bilingual school in New York City where she teaches earth science, living environment, anatomy and physiology, marine biology and forensics. Samantha aspires to become an innovative and supportive school leader.

R. Erica  Doyle

R. Erica Doyle

B.S. in Spanish, Georgetown University; M.F.A in Poetry from the New School; M.A. in English Education from New York University. Erica is a former literacy coach and is presently an English language arts teacher at Vanguard High School in Manhattan, New York. Her previous experience co-founding a community-based public elementary charter school for the arts in Washington, DC and now, at a coalition of essential principles school, has grounded her in ideas of community building, creative thinking and demonstrations of understanding through using habits of mind. She has also taught at Georgetown University, Parsons School of Design, ATLAS communities, and the Project Zero Classroom at Harvard. She has run community-based creative writing workshops. Erica aspires to support schools in developing and sustaining educational equity, creating rich curricular opportunities and meaningful performances of understanding for all. She would like to collaborate with communities in deepening democratic practice.

Angela  Dunbar

Angela Dunbar

B.A. in Psychology, The College of New Rochelle; M.S. in Adolescence Education, Mercy College. Angela began her teaching career as a special education teacher in the Bronx, N.Y. where she taught biology in a self-contained and team teaching setting. She is currently a special education teacher at Newton High School, where she teaches biology, English, and is the in-class support teacher. Angela is also the multicultural club advisor at Newton High School and a professional development facilitator for the Newton school district. Angela aspires to be an administrator who effectively promotes teacher development to increase student performance.

Caroline  Duncan

Caroline Duncan

B.A. in Journalism and Religion, Emory University. Caroline began her career in teaching over three years ago. She is currently the 4th and 5th grade math teacher at Arthur Ashe Charter School, an elementary school in New Orleans that is a part of the FirstLine Schools network of open admission charter schools. As a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans, she was a founding 4th grade teacher at Willie Smith Elementary when it re-opened after Hurricane Katrina. In her first year teaching, Caroline led her students to grow an average of three grade levels. The following year, she taught 4th grade math and led 100% of her students to pass the high-stakes exam at a proficient level or higher. She also worked to develop first year teachers as a Teach for America learning team leader. Caroline aspires to cultivate high performing open-enrollment schools for students in New Orleans.

Steven  Elam

Steven Elam

B.A. in Communication - Mass Media, Adrian College; MS in Educational Administration-Secondary, Missouri Baptist University. Steven began his career in Detroit, Michigan over 10 years ago. Steven is currently the in-school suspension coordinator at Imagine College Preparatory High School in St. Louis, MO. The in-school suspension class focuses on character development. He is the developer and co-director of the distinguished gentlemen club at Imagine College Preparatory High School. The distinguished gentleman club was developed to help 9th grade African American males develop strategies that focus on respect, setting goals, academic achievement, and community service. Steven aspires to become a dynamic high school principal in an urban area.

Sonia  Flores

Sonia Flores

B.A. in English and Political Science, UC Berkeley; M.A. in Education - Teaching, Alliant International University. Sonia began her career in Gilroy, California at Gilroy High School with Teach for America over four years ago. She is currently a writing workshop teacher, AVID coordinator, and AP assistant coordinator at Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, a public school in Gilroy, CA. By gaining essential knowledge and experiences, Sonia aspires to become a school leader that effectuates necessary changes in the world of education.

Xiania  Foster

Xiania Foster

B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College; M.S.Ed. (in progress) in Teaching Literacy and General Education from Bank Street College of Education. Xiania Foster taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade in the Newark Public School system for seven years. While at 15th Avenue School, she volunteered countless hours to help organize student programs and teacher workshops. While at 15th Avenue School, she founded and directed the Family Involvement Committee. Mrs. Foster received a Governor’s Teacher’s Recognition Award in 2008. Ms. Foster worked as the education policy analyst in the Mayor Cory A. Booker’s Office in Newark. Her career in Newark also included a fellowship in Leadership Newark. She served on the Board of Governors of Westover School and the Newark Preschool School Council. She is one if the four founders of the Newark Educators’ Community Charter School. She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at NECCS.

Jonathan  Gastel

Jonathan Gastel

B.A. in Political Theory, Yale University; Ph.D in Environmental Health, Johns Hopkin's University. Jonathan began his career in education thirty years ago when his high school physics teacher resigned and a replacement could not be found. He was a P.R.A.T. Fellow at the National Institutes of Health and a NYC Teaching Fellow through City College of New York. He is currently a teacher and research coordinator at Stuyvesant High School, a science and math magnet school in New York where he teaches a wide range of science and project based classes. Jonathan aspires to create, organize, and implement K-12 district-wide science programs and to lead a science and math high school.

Stacey  Gathers

Stacey Gathers

B.A. in Film/Video, Pennsylvania State University; M.A. in Special Education, American University. Stacey began her career in education over five years ago as a Teach for America corps member. She is currently a special education teacher at F. W. Ballou Senior High School, a district school in Washington, DC where she teaches 9th grade reading intervention. She has extensive experience working with students across a broad range of disability categories. She also serves as an academy team leader and a special education case manager. Stacey aspires to implement innovative leadership practices and continue working in public schools in order to ensure that all children are able to receive an equitable education. This goal is based on a profound belief that students and their parents should not have to complete an application process in order to improve their educational outcomes. She is interested in remaining in secondary environments to help support students as they face the mounting social, emotional, physical, and academic pressures of adolescence.

Allecyn  Gay

Allecyn Gay

B.A. in English, Southern University; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Phoenix. Allecyn began her career in educating underprivileged youth over three years ago. She is currently a physical education Teacher at Lanier Charter Elementary School in Baton Rouge. Allecyn aspires to change the world by providing the best possible quality education to all those whom she teaches.

Ryan  Glass

Ryan Glass

B.F.A in Theater, NYU University; M.A in Secondary Math Education, CUNY City College of New York. Ryan began his career in education as a NYC Teaching Fellow over 3 years ago after a stint as an actor/producer/director working in the television and film Industry. He is currently a Teacher at Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research, a public high school in the south Bronx, where he teaches integrated algebra. You can read his blog on mindfulness-based practices in the classroom at He is honored to be a part of the 2011 SPA Cohort!

Megan  Gleason

Megan Gleason

B.S. in Childhood and Special Education, SUNY College of Geneseo; M.S. in Literacy, CUNY - Hunter College. Megan began her career as a special education teacher at a public middle school in the New York City Department of Education over six years ago. She is currently an English language arts teacher, instructional coach, and teacher leader at Simon Baruch Middle School (J.H.S 104), a public middle school located in Manhattan. Megan aspires to advance her career in education by earning a voice in educational reform, developing strong leadership skills for a future in administration, and advancing her pedagogical knowledge to better prepare students for success in the 21st century.

La Toya  Grady

La Toya Grady

B.A. in Political Science, Bradley University; M.S. in Special Education, City College of New York. LaToya began her career in teaching students with special needs over ten years ago. She is currently a learning strategist at New Heights Academy Charter School, a charter school in New York where she is a 7th grade co-teacher (special education) for math, science and social studies. LaToya aspires to open a charter school that takes exceptional interest in all types of learners!

Jennifer  Greene

Jennifer Greene

B.A. in Law and Society, American University. Jennifer began her career in education over four years ago when she joined Teach for America in Houston as a 2007 Corps Member. She is currently a teacher and grade level chair at YES Prep Public Charter Schools, Gulfton Campus in Houston where she teaches 8th grade American history. This upcoming school year, Jennifer will be assuming the role of 8th grade teacher and grade level chair at KIPP Journey Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Jennifer aspires to become a principal and school leader of a middle school, and eventually assume the role of superintendent so that she can continue to be an agent of change in education on a larger scale.

Kathryn  Hayes

Kathryn Hayes

B.A. in Political Science, College of St. Benedict. Katie began her career in education seven years ago through Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta. She is currently an Assistant Principal at KIPP Austin College Prep, a charter school in Austin. Next year, she will be a Fisher Fellow through the KIPP Foundation, and will be opening a KIPP Austin middle school in 2012. Katie is very excited for the opportunity to be a founding principal.

Damon  Hoyle

Damon Hoyle

B.A. in African American Studies, University of Virginia. Damon began his career in the Houston Independent School District at Pleasantville Elementary as Teach for America Corps member in 2007. He is currently a fifth grade science teacher and head track & field coach at KIPP Polaris College Preparatory Academy for Boys, a charter school in Houston, TX. Damon has taught fifth grade social justice, first and second grade gifted/talented students, and served on the development committee for the Carson Academy for Business and Entrepreneurship (CABE), an up-and-coming charter school in Houston, TX. Damon aspires to change the landscape of education in the United States by leading effective public and/or charter schools, being instrumental in local, state, and federal education reform, and ultimately working at the collegiate level to train aspiring teachers on effective instructional practices.

Scott  Hurwitz

Scott Hurwitz

B.S. in Secondary Education, University of Connecticut; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Connecticut. Scott began his career in Glastonbury, CT over four years ago. He is currently a sixth grade social studies teacher at Gideon Welles School in Glastonbury, CT. Along with teaching sixth grade, Scott advises student council and coaches football and lacrosse at Glastonbury High School. Scott has participated in several district initiatives including the writing and implementation of Glastonbury's sixth grade social studies curriculum. Scott aspires to become a school administrator who promotes achievement and equity within a safe, supportive, and dynamic environment for both students and teachers.

Esteban  Isaac

Esteban Isaac

B.S. in Organizational Management from Nyack College; M.S. in Education/Special Education from Touro College; M.S. in Education Leadership/Administration from the College of Saint Rose. As a retired United States military veteran, Esteban came into the education profession as a member of the Troops to Teachers program. Esteban began his career in East New York, Brooklyn performing a number of responsibilities and implementing initiatives with the goal of improving student learning, developing character, and increasing academic performance. Esteban's responsibilities included serving as inquiry team coordinator, data specialist, individual educational plan (IEP) coordinator, academic intervention services (AIS) coordinator, and schools against violence in education (SAVE) coordinator. He is currently teaching at South Bronx Academy for Applied Media (M.S. 296), a district school in the New York City Department of Education where he teaches mathematics. Esteban aspires to be an urban public school leader to transform the lives of children by implementing a robust core curriculum that includes character development. His goal is to effectively increase students' ability to learn and achieve academic success as 21st century learners.

David  Joffe

David Joffe

B.A. in History, Harvard University; M.A. in African American Studies, Columbia University. David began his career after college in 2000 at the Eaglebrook School, a 6th-9th grade all-boys' boarding school. At Eaglebrook he taught 7th, 8th and 9th grade social studies. He also coached soccer, squash and baseball and worked in a dorm as a house parent. He is currently a teacher at Hunter College High School, a magnet school in New York, where he teaches 11th grade U.S. history and two senior electives: African American Studies, and "Race, Class and Gender in American Society." Over the course of his nine year teaching career David has introduced five new courses and has taught all grades seven through twelve besides tenth grade. David aspires to someday lead a school in which students of all backgrounds not only excel academically but feel safe, honored and at home. He is a firm believer in W.P. Kinsella's notion that "if you build it, they will come."

Nikhil  Kawlra

Nikhil Kawlra

B.S. in Neuroscience, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; M.S. in Urban Education, University of Pennsylvania and M.S. in Physiology, Georgetown University. Nikhil began his career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a 2007 Teach for America Corps member over four years ago. He is currently a Dean of Faculty and a biology teacher at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, where he has also served as a math teacher of algebra and geometry, math department chair, and head cross country coach. Nikhil aspires to found and lead his own charter school one day in Detroit, Michigan, not far from where Nikhil grew up.

Christina  Kim

Christina Kim

B.S. in Special Education, New York University; M.S. in Special Education, Bank Street College of Education; M.S.W. in Clinical Work with Children and Families, Columbia University School of Social Work. Christina began her career in education at a New York City public school as a Learning Specialist for three years. Inspired by her work with children with special needs and her relationship with their families, she pursued a degree in social work and then worked as a clinical therapist for three years counseling children and adults, connecting families to community services and consulting on differentiated instruction and social-emotional learning in inclusive classrooms. She is a founding member of a Saturday outreach program in East Harlem and has served as the Children’s Program Director for the past nine years. Currently, Christina works at The School at Columbia University. She has served the school's community as a learning specialist, classroom teacher and now a founder of the social work program. She aspires to cultivate positive educational communities while embracing all aspects of diversity.

Devin  Krugman

Devin Krugman

B.A. in Government and Politics, University of Maryland at College Park; M.S. in Education - Urban Adolescence with Disability, Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus. Devin began her career in high school social studies and art education over six years ago. She is currently a teacher at ACORN Community High School, a district school in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. She teaches U.S. history and a historical film studies class. Devin aspires to work towards creating a school environment run collectively by all members of the school community based on the practice of Freire's liberation pedagogy, as "education either functions as an instrument of conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

Matthew  Kuzmeskas

Matthew Kuzmeskas

B.A. in Operations Management, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Matthew began his career in education over five years ago. He is currently a Teacher at Achievement First Hartford Academy, a charter school in Hartford where he teaches 7th Grade Mathematics. Matthew aspires to open a charter school in an underserved community with a focus on academic, character, and health education.

Grace  Law

Grace Law

B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies, Cornell University; M.S. in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, Bank Street College of Education. Grace began her career in education in Manhattan over seven years ago. She is currently a teacher at P.S. 42 Benjamin Altman, a district school in Chinatown where she teaches 3rd grade English language learner students who come from low-income families. She is also a former student of P.S. 42 and is overjoyed to teach at the school where she grew up. In addition, Grace is currently serving her second year as the UFT chapter leader, working to improve logistical and communications issues between staff members and administration. She has also been serving on the school leadership team for 3 years. Grace aspires to be an elementary educational leader who can provide a positive learning environment for teachers and students so that they may attain their highest potential and become thoughtful citizens who improve society in small and big ways.

Heather  Lawrence

Heather Lawrence

B.S. in Marketing, Washington University; M.A. in Child/Middle School Education, CUNY - Hunter College. Heather began her education career in St. Louis, Missouri over fifteen years ago as a community education center coordinator, building programs to address the academic and social needs of a community. She is currently a teacher at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation; a district school in the Bronx where she teaches 7th grade mathematics, CTT environment, and CTT integrated algebra. Heather aspires to become a district principal in a 6-12 school which prepares students with and without learning disabilities for long term academic success in high school and college.

Nate  Lowry

Nate Lowry

B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. Nate began his career in classroom education over three years ago. He has taught math, English language arts and special education. Last year, he was the team leader at Sauceda Middle School. He is currently the 9th grade algebra teacher and grade level team leader at IDEA College Prep San Juan in San Juan, Texas. He hopes to work in a school that prepares 100 percent of its students for success in college.

Kathleen  Lynch

Kathleen Lynch

B.A. in Public Administration and Mass Communications, Miami University. Kathleen began her career in education nearly five years ago. She is currently the 6th Grade writing teacher at KIPP Charlotte, a charter school in North Carolina. She previously taught 7th grade social studies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a Teach for America corps member. Kathleen aspires to provide excellent educational opportunities for children and one day lead her own school.

Margaret  Marrer

Margaret Marrer

B.S. in International Political Economics, Georgetown University; M.S. in Secondary Mathematics, Pace University. Margaret began her teaching career with Teach for America in 2007 in New York City. She is currently a 7th grade math teacher/mathematics department chair/7th grade chair at Democracy Prep Charter School in New York. Next year, she will be a fellow in Democracy Prep Public School's Leader U program. Margaret aspires to open another Democracy Prep campus in Central Harlem in the next few years.


Kristin 'Mays' Levine

B.S. in Psychology, Northwestern University; Ed.M in Childhood Education, Bank Street College. Kristin began her career in New York City over five years ago. She is currently a teacher at Pritzker College Prep, a Charter school in Chicago where she teaches environmental science at the AP, honors and regular levels, and advanced algebra. Kristin aspires to open her own charter high school.

Lee Anne  McKelvey

Lee Anne McKelvey

B.A. in Biochemistry, DePauw University; M.A. in Teacher Education, Marian University Indianapolis. Lee Anne began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Charlotte, North Carolina teaching high school science over five years ago. She is currently the STEM instructional leader at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school in Indianapolis. Lee Anne aspires to become a school leader in order to provide more opportunities for our children to receive an excellent education. She also enjoys focusing on ways to bring her real-life experiences as an educator and leader to the world of education policy.

Andrea  Miller

Andrea Miller

B.A. in Economics and Public Policy with a Marketing and Management Certificate, Duke University. After one year as a corporate account marketer, Andrea began her career in education. She has just completed her sixth year as a teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Lithonia, GA. During her teaching tenure she taught 9th grade geometry (general and advanced), 9th grade integrated math I (general and accelerated), 12th grade economics, and AP psychology. Next year, she will be working as a program director with Teach for America in Atlanta, GA. Andrea aspires to use her experience as a classroom teacher, the expertise that she will gain in her new role and her SPA education to pursue school administration and leadership in the metro Atlanta area.

Chad  Miller

Chad Miller

B.S. in Secondary Education, Butler University; M.A. in Mathematics Education, Marian University, Indianapolis. Chad began his career in mathematics education over two years ago. He is currently a mentor teacher at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school in Indianapolis where he teaches algebra. Chad aspires to lead an established public or charter school in Indianapolis with the hopes of gaining valuable leadership experience. After learning how to become an effective school leader, he hopes to write a charter school proposal for a new school model focused on personal finance, with a curriculum built around financial accountability and money management.

Andrea  Minich

Andrea Minich

B.A. in Journalism, Ohio Wesleyan University. Andrea began her career as a 2007 Teach for America corps member in Memphis where she taught 11th grade English. She is currently in her second year as a Program Director with Teach for America in Indianapolis where she manages and supports 30 first and second year teachers completing their corps commitment. Andrea aspires to one day lead a successful charter high school in Indianapolis.

Lagra  Newman

Lagra Newman

B.A. in Communication Studies/Spanish, Vanderbilt University; M.A. in Elementary Education, Loyola Marymount University. Lagra began her career in 2005 through Teach for America where she taught 5th grade in Los Angeles at 109th Street Elementary. She was most recently Director of Instruction at Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School in Washington, DC, where she supported teachers and students in grades 2-5. She is starting a fellowship with Building Excellent Schools in August 2011 where she will begin the work of founding and leading her own charter school of uncompromising excellence and achievement. Lagra aspires to found and lead a school where 100% of her students are academically successful and prepared for college.

Madeline  Noonan

Madeline Noonan

B.A. in History, Cornell University. Madeline began her career in education over four years ago as a Teach for America corps member in San Jose. Madeline taught 3rd and 4th grade, and is currently a 5th grade teacher at Think College Now Elementary, a district school in Oakland, CA where she teaches 5th grade. Madeline aspires to be a public school leader.

Jason  Novak

Jason Novak

Jason Novak, B.S. in Music Education, K-12 certification, Duquesne University. Jason began his educational career as a K-5 elementary general music teacher and choral director with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV, where he taught for 7 years and opened two new schools. He then relocated to the east coast and shifted his life work from public schools into independent school culture. Jason is currently teaching early childhood and elementary general music at the Abington friends School in Jenkintown, a suburban community found just outside of Philadelphia, PA. Jason aspires to be an administrator of an institution where students can transparently express their inherent views and thoughts while developing their own unique identity in a culture that promotes diversity, arts education, and a progressive education.

Karen  Pang

Karen Pang

B.A. in East Asian Studies, Bryn Mawr College; M.S. in TESOL, Long Island University. Karen discovered her passion for education in college when she organized a tutoring program in Philadelphia. She became a New York City Teaching Fellow in 2006 and has been teaching at P.S. 85Q ever since. She has modeled lessons for the Office of English Language Learners and the Office of Gifted and Talented. Currently, she serves on the school leadership team and is working to develop curriculum maps for her school. Karen aspires to become leader in a school where educators work collaboratively to meet the needs of urban populations and to prepare them to be life-long learners in the 21st century.

Anne  Pearson

Anne Pearson

B.S. in Rural Sociology, Cornell University. Anne began her career in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas over nine years ago. She is currently the director of instruction at IDEA Public Schools, a charter school in south Texas that works to prepare all students for college regardless of their background. Anne aspires to improve the educational opportunities of our most disadvantaged students by improving instructional support and development for teachers.

Nicolas  Perilla

Nicolas Perilla

B.S. in Physics, University of Mary Washington. Nicolas began his career in education over two years ago. He is currently a science teacher at Palmview High School, part of La Joya Independent School District in Mission, Texas where he teaches Physics and AP Physics. Nicolas aspires to lead a school in South Texas that offers a well-rounded education and helps prepare our future leaders.

Constantine  Polites

Constantine Polites

B.A. in Communication Studies/Spanish, University of Pittsburgh. Constantine began his teaching career in Roma, Texas, a small town along the US-Mexico border, teaching 7th grade reading in 2005. He currently teaches English I at Idea College Prep San Juan, a public charter school, while at the same time serves as 9th grade team leader and as an instructional coach for six teachers. He will soon be transitioning into the role of Assistant Principal of Instruction/Dean of Student Life. Constantine aspires to be a school leader in the Rio Grande Valley to continue working to end educational inequity.

Joyce  Pulphus

Joyce Pulphus

B.A. in Sociology, University of Pennsylvania; M.A. in ATP: Childhood Education, Pace University. Joyce joined Teach for America New York City Corps in 2006, and began teaching mathematics at I.S. 125 in the Bronx. She currently teaches at the School of Communication Technology (C.I.S. 339), a district middle school committed to using technology to drive instruction, located in the South Bronx. She teaches within both the general education and the collaborative team teaching settings. Joyce has served as chairperson on the school leadership team, and is currently the math content facilitator for the 6th grade. Joyce aspires to make a greater change in the quality of public school education, and is committed to improving the public school system one classroom at a time, one school at a time, and further in the future, one school district at a time.

Madonna  Ramp

Madonna Ramp

B.A in Humanities, Honors College, Michigan State University. As a Teaching Ambassador Classroom Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, Madonna spent the past year involving teachers in the development and implementation of national education policy. She aspires to intentionally model the beliefs, understandings, skills, and habits of mind that will lead us, and our nation’s students, toward a brighter future. She has worked in education and training since 1999, and has led adults or students in six states and two countries. Prior to teaching, Madonna ran the recruitment, selection, and training programs for the Listening Ear Crisis Center in East Lansing, Michigan. She has transferred those skills to recruit, select, train, and mentor thousands of teachers nationwide in full- and part-time roles with traditional public school districts as well as non-profit organizations such as The New Teacher Project. She started teaching Special Education, Reading, and English Language Arts with Teach For America in Miami, Florida where she earned a Florida Professional Teaching Certificate. She received a Texas Educator Certificate and achieved National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist in Austin, Texas. For the past three years, Madonna has served as a full-time mentor for thirteen high school teachers in Austin Independent School District. After graduating from SPA, Madonna will take on a new role in her district as a Social and Emotional Learning Specialist, coaching the staff of a dozen schools as they implement a social and emotional learning curriculum.

Lorraine  Riley

Lorraine Riley

B.A. in History and Government, Georgetown University. Lorraine began her teaching career three years ago. She was a founding 8th grade English teacher at St. Bernard Middle School when it re-opened after Hurricane Katrina. In her first year of teaching, Lorraine's students closed the "gap" between their previous year's scores and those of the highest performing parish in Louisiana by 66% on the high-stakes exam. In her second year, she took on various leadership roles within her school and district serving as a TAP mentor teacher, developing professional development sessions, implementing data tracking and analysis, and writing interim exams. Her role as a member of the middle school improvement committee led to her current position as the district's English curriculum coordinator. She is designing a new rigorous English curriculum aligned to the Common Core Standards and coaching teachers across four middle schools and three grade levels. Originally a self-avowed "Yankee," she has found a home and a calling in St. Bernard Parish. She aspires to serve as a transformational principal of her founding school and foster a culture of high expectations and academic excellence within all St. Bernard Parish schools

M. Louis  Robinson

M. Louis Robinson

B.S. in Communications from Syracuse University; M.S.Ed in Elementary Education (summa cum laude), Pace University. Louis has an extensive career in the field of education. He began his career as an ELL educator in the Connecticut Public School System. As a New York City Teaching Fellow corps member, he taught elementary school children in the boroughs of Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant) and Manhattan (Harlem). During his tenure in the New York City public school system, Louis has served as a master teacher, coach, and mentor to both educators and scholars alike. As a social "edupreneur," Louis aspires to launch an all-boys academy with a strong emphasis on mentorship and leadership. Its mission will be to restore the whole gentleman by implementing a holistic approach to learning and development. His motto is a quote from one of his favorite movies, The Great Debaters, which states "I believe we (educators) are the most privileged people in America because we have the most important job in America--the education of our young people".

Jumaane  Saunders

Jumaane Saunders

B.A. in Biology, Macalester College; Ed.M in Education Politics, Teachers College at Columbia University. Jumaane began his career in education 10 years ago. He is currently Director of External Affairs at the School at Columbia, an independent school in New York. Jumaane aspires to become a successful building leader in an urban setting.

Regina  Shin

Regina Shin

Regina began her career in the Department of Education over four years ago. She taught 5th and 6th grade self-contained classrooms for three years. She is currently the IEP teacher at MS 206X: Ann Cross Mersereau, a district 10 school in the Bronx where she teaches both ELA and math. Regina aspires to one day become a principal who leads her school into a nationally recognized school. She wishes to work with middle school students in the inner city, preferably in the Bronx. Regina enjoys playing sports and video games with her free time. She is currently the coach of the girls' basketball team at her school.

Michael  Silverman

Michael Silverman

B.S. in Cinema and Photography, Ithaca College; Ed.M in Special Education 5-9, CUNY of Staten Island. Michael began his career in schools in 2002, working in the south Bronx as a school violence prevention coordinator for Safe Horizon, a non-profit organization in New York City. Since 2004 Michael has been a special education classroom teacher, serving students with learning and emotional disabilities for The New York City Department of Education. In 2008 he co-founded Boys’ Group at The Patrick F. Daly School, a project-based learning model that connects at-risk male youth with positive male role models from the community. Boys' Group engages youth in activities that explicitly teach and practice seven core values imperative to academic and social success: civic-duty, responsibility, compassion, patience, courage, perseverance and cooperation. He is currently a classroom teacher at Patrick F. Daly School, a community school in district 15, Brooklyn where he teaches special education. Michael aspires to be the principal of an elementary school with a focus on project-based learning, rigorous academic instruction, emotional well-being, teacher training and professional development.

Tamar  Sinclair

Tamar Sinclair

B.A. in History and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania; M.A. in Teaching of Social Studies, Teachers College at Columbia University. Tamar began her career in education over five years ago. She is currently a dean of discipline and safety and classroom teacher at Edward R. Murrow High School, a district school in Brooklyn where she teaches 9th grade global history and an elective called “council for unity.” She has also taught law electives as part of College Now in conjunction with Kingsborough Community College. She believes all children can be reached and inspired to be the best they can be in the future. To achieve this goal, Tamar aspires to become an educational leader who encourages student success and supports adult development and growth.

Stephanie  Skiba

Stephanie Skiba

B.A. in History and Political Science and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies from Binghamton University; M.S.T. in Elementary Education from Pace University. Stephanie began her career in education as a member of the 2007 Teach for America corps, teaching fifth grade at P.S. 86: The Kingsbridge Heights School, a district school in the Bronx. Stephanie has been teaching third grade at P.S. 86 for the past three years. She currently serves as coordinator of the P.S. 86 attendance team and the P.S. 86 service-in-schools committee. Under Stephanie’s facilitation, the service-in-schools committee was recently awarded S.T.A.R.S. (students taking an active role in service) recognition and was one of 15 schools in New York City awarded the Department of Education’s “Excellence in Service” award. Stephanie aspires to lead a school where children excel in math and science, and where students hold a competitive edge when compared with their national and global counterparts.

Ashley  Smith

Ashley Smith

B.S. in Elementary Education, Western Michigan University. Ashley began her career teaching 4th grade in Detroit, MI over four years ago. She then moved back to her hometown and taught 4th grade and 1st grade in Benton Harbor, MI. She is currently a 4th grade teacher at Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, where she teaches 4th grade writing and guided reading and has helped develop the ELA curriculum for the 4th grade. Ashley aspires to one day open her own charter school that fosters the individuality of each student and offers many outlets for creative expression. Ashley believes that learning is a unique experience that is different for each child and therefore should be approached differently. With this approach to teaching, Ashley hopes to come closer to truly closing the achievement gap in our schools.

Kathleen  Stark

Kathleen Stark

B.A. in Communications/Spanish, Furman University. Kathleen began her career in Charlotte, North Carolina as a 2008 Teach for America Corps member and received her teaching certificate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has taught the 3rd grade for three years at University Park Creative Arts Elementary, a Charlotte Mecklenburg School, where she taught math, literacy, science, and social studies. For the 2011-2012 school year she will be teaching at Ashley Park Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina as a 2nd/3rd grade teacher in a family model classroom. Kathleen aspires to foster a collaborative school environment for teachers and students by being an effective school leader.

Cary  Tabora

Cary Tabora

B.A. in Political Science and Economics, University of Florida; M.A. in Adolescence Education, Math, Pace University. Cary began his career in education four years ago as a 2007 Teach for America Corps member in New York City. He is currently the mathematics instructional specialist at his original placement school, I.S. 117 Joseph H. Wade Academies in the Bronx. He has taught grades 6 through 8 and currently teaches integrated algebra. In addition, he also serves as data specialist and is in his second year as chairperson of the school leadership team. Cary aspires to gain deeper insight into the development and implementation of successful school models.

Claire  Thomason

Claire Thomason

B.A. in English, Furman University; M.A. in Secondary English Teaching, CUNY. Claire began her career in the New City Teachers Fellow Program at a middle school in the Bronx over 8 years ago. She is currently a high school English teacher at Herbert H. Lehman High School, a district school in New York. She teaches English language arts and public speaking to 9th, 10, and 11th graders, and assists with curriculum development for both subjects. Claire aspires to be a strong teacher leader and continue following her dream of working with diverse students, leaders, and communities in the field of education.

Chelsey  Tubbs

Chelsey Tubbs

B.A. in Political Science and Education, Beloit College; M.S. in Education, Pace University. Chelsey began her career five years ago as a 2007 Teach for America corps member in New York City. While teaching at Promise Academy 2, an Elementary School of the Harlem Children's Zone for the past four years, she taught kindergarten, 1st grade, 5th grade English and Language Arts, and was the founding girls basketball coach. Chelsey has also taught at the City University of New York's Brooklyn College Graduate School of Education. This year she will be teaching 5th grade at KIPP S.T.A.R. College Preparatory Middle School in Harlem. As an educator, Chelsey looks forward to continue to transform the lives of youth and their impact on the world by empowering them through education.

 Maxwell  Turner

Maxwell Turner

B.A. in Cinema - Critical Studies and American Studies, USC. Maxwell began his career in Clinton, Louisiana four years ago. He is currently a master teacher at Pointe Coupee Central High School, a charter school in Morganza, Louisiana where he supports teachers in grades 6-12, primarily with English and social studies. This involves modeling and team teaching in career teachers' classrooms as well as pulling small groups for intensive support. In addition, Maxwell chairs several committees at his school and is part of the school and district leadership teams. Maxwell aspires to lead a successful public high school turnaround in Louisiana.

Lisa  Warnke

Lisa Warnke

B.S. in Applied Math (Systems Science and Mathematics) from Washington University in St. Louis; M.A. in Mathematics Education from Stanford University. Lisa began her career in education over 8 years ago. She is currently a mathematics teacher at Phillip and Sala Burton High School, a district school in San Francisco, CA. She teaches AP calculus AB, AP calculus BC, advanced algebra honors, and algebra. In addition to her teaching responsibilities Lisa is a member of the freshman academy team, school site council, and a complex instruction professional learning community. Lisa has had a wide variety of school site experiences in her time as an educator, from a private Catholic high school to four different inner-city public schools including one charter school. Lisa aspires to be a teacher of teachers at an inner-city high school that promotes social justice and a true joy of learning.

Tracy  Westerman

Tracy Westerman

B.A. in Psychology, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; M.S. in Elementary Education, Saint Joseph's University. Tracy began her career in education over seven years ago as a Teach for America corps member in Philadelphia. She is currently a teacher at City Neighbors Charter School in Baltimore where she teaches 4th and 5th grade math and social Studies. She is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University where she teaches courses on elementary methods and urban school reform. Next year, she will be moving to Indianapolis to take on an administrative position as part of the Indianapolis Principal Fellowship. Tracy aspires to become a founder of an urban charter school with an emphasis on collaboration, parent involvement, and project-based learning.

Ian  Yearwood

Ian Yearwood

B.A. in Education Studies, Depauw University. Ian began his career in education two years ago. He is currently a 4th grade teacher at Challenge Foundation Academy, a charter school in Indianapolis where he teaches 4th grade math, reading, writing, science, and social Studies. Ian aspires to become a transformational leader in a rigorous and achievement-focused school.

Zachary  Zeppieri

Zachary Zeppieri

B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology, St. Michaels College; M.S. in Childhood Education, The College of Saint Rose. Zachary began his career in Troy, New York over four years ago. He is currently a lead teacher at Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans where he teaches in a First grade inclusion classroom. Zachary aspires to create and inspire quality public schools that serve the needs of every student.

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