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Summer Principals Academy
The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership
Denise Alexander is an elementary Instructional Coach/Developer at Murch Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Murch Elementary School is a National Blue Ribbon school that serves grades PK-5 in the District of Columbia Public Schools. It is one of seven elementary schools that earned the District’s distinguished autonomous status. During her years in education Denise has engaged in numerous leadership capacities ranging from Lead Teacher to Academy Director. She also served as a lead professional developer where she coached teachers and administration in various districts across Southern California. Denise received a B.A. from Howard University in 1997 and worked on her M.A.T at Trinity University. Administrations of D.C. Public Schools and Edison Schools have recognized her as a highly effective educator. Her goal is to continue to develop the skills that will support her in becoming a more effective instructional leader within an urban setting so that significant gains can be made in closing the achievement gap. She wishes to engage schools in the struggle for accessible, achievable and authentic learning opportunities for all students.
Laura Allen is the CEO of We Teach All Educational Consulting, Inc., in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. WTAEC provides professional development services for educational institutions nationwide, specializing in Response to Intervention implementations, charter school start-ups, literacy coach development, special education support, curriculum development, teacher mentoring, behavior management and parental accountability. Laura received her B.S. in elementary education from Western Michigan University. With over sixteen years of educational experience, Laura has additionally served in the positions of CEO of an early childhood center, an elementary and middle school instructor, curriculum director, assistant-principal and principal. Being a member of the NY SPA Cohort 2012 will provide a wealth of opportunities and experiences that will allow Laura to achieve her goal of ensuring the success of teachers and learners in classrooms throughout the United States by creating exemplary academic institutions.
Eric Anderson is a secondary teacher of mathematics at The Charter School of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware. The Charter School of Wilmington is a Charter school that specializes in the math and sciences. Eric has engaged in leadership as a team leader, program coordinator, and school board president. He received a B.A. from the University of Delaware in 2005. Eric is a 2011 fellow of the Leadership Delaware Program and serves on the Young Elected Officials 2012 Empowering Education policy counsel. Eric looks forward to learning how to expand his educational expertise outside of Delaware by being a part of the SPA program.
Lander Arrieta is currently a Curriculum Support Specialist with the Education Transformation Office of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The Education Transformation Office works with the historically lowest-performing 26 schools in Miami-Dade County, resolving to redefine both teaching and learning at these schools. Aside from his years teaching both Kindergarten and 4th grade, he has previously worked with Teach for America at their summer training institute in numerous capacities. Additionally, he has taken on leadership positions as both a former corps member and current alum of the program in the region. Lander received a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the University of Florida in 2008 and holds a M.S.Ed. in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami. He is excited to learn from the diversity of experiences the cohort will bring to Columbia this summer and can't wait to extend his knowledge gained from SPA to teachers and students in Miami.
Alexa Avila Bront
Alexa Avila Bront is a high school Biology teacher at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn, NY. Sunset Park High School is a newly constructed public high school with three small learning communities: Visual and Performing Arts, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Health and Human Services. Sunset Park High School is an inclusive school where students prepare for college through inquiry driven instruction. Alexa is one of the founding teachers at the high school, and has become an integral part of the leadership at the school. She is currently the 9th grade team leader, and was the team leader for the teachers who taught the 9th grade summer credit recovery program in 2011. Alexa received a B.A. in Biology from Columbia University in 2002, and attended three years of medical school at St. George's University from 2006 to 2009. She then became a New York City Teaching Fellow, and obtained her MST from Pace University in 2011. She is looking forward to collaborating with her peers as she reflects on her leadership skills.
Anna Avila Williams
Anna is a middle school science teacher at Horace Mann Middle School in Miami, Florida. Horace Mann is a Title 1 school with a technology magnet program. Anna has engaged in coaching both track and soccer as well as worked as a science coach in Tampa, Florida. Anna received a B.S. in Kinesiology from Kansas State University in 2006 and will obtain a M.A.T.L. with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction from NOVA Southeastern University in June of 2012. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Anna looks forward to learning from professors and fellow cohort members to further her leadership skills. She one day hopes to successfully lead a school and eventually affect education on a district and even national level.
Jessica Azani is the English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator and Teacher at Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School in the Bronx. Jessica began her career in education in 2008 when she served as the School Operations Manager of P.S. 86, one of the largest elementary schools in the country, at Teach For America’s Summer Institute. She then joined the Teach For America New York Corps in 2009. During her two years in the corps, Jessica taught 4th grade bilingual education at P.S. 86. Jessica received a B.A. in Social Studies, cum laude, from Harvard College in 2009, as well as a Master’s in Special Education from Hunter College in 2011. Jessica is honored to be a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort and looks forward to leading a school in which students and staff alike use critical, creative, and empathetic reasoning to achieve excellence in character and academics.
Asheena Baez is a middle school teacher at West Prep Academy in New York City. West Prep Academy is a magnet program that has a theme of promoting youth voice through media. Asheena has engaged in multiple leadership experiences such as team leader, new teacher mentoring, inquiry team facilitator for closing the achievement gap for Black and Latino males and as a Step Coach. Asheena received a B.A. from Clark Atlanta University in 2003 and a Masters in Urban education from Mercy College in 2008. Asheena has served as a New York City Teaching fellow and has been admitted to attend the Data Wise Institute at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. As a member os the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Asheena looks forward to collaborating with fellow agents of change to empower the youth of tomorrow with the skills necessary to compete globally in the 21st century.
Beatriz Banuelos is a humanities teacher at the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement, a middle school in the Bronx, NY. Civic is a New York City public school with a mission to promote college readiness while focusing on civic responsibility. Beatriz was the humanities department head/ teacher leader and a member of the instructional team. She received a B.A. in Social Science and B.A in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine in 2004 and expects a M. A. in Sociology from Brooklyn College in May 2012. Beatriz was a 2006 Teach for America corps member in the Rio Grande Valley, TX. Beatriz looks forward to joining her colleagues in the journey of self-reflection as future school building leader as part of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Erin Nicole Barksdale
Erin Nicole Barksdale is the Assistant Principal at Ranson Middle School, an International Baccalaureate World School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ranson IB is the only fully authorized IB Title I school within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Erin is in her first year as an Assistant Principal and leads the 8th grade. She is the instructional leader over the 8th grade science PLC and is leading the efforts in designing the Advisory program for the 2012-2013 school year. Erin received her B.A. in English from Spelman College in 2007. She is a 2007 Teach For America-Metro Atlanta Alumna. During her time in Teach For America, she took 45 of her scholars to Egypt and was recognized as STAR Teacher and received the Project GRAD Teacher of the Year Award. During her third year of teaching, she taught at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, a Noble Street Charter School, in Chicago, IL. Erin was admitted into New Leaders in 2010 and served as the Resident Principal at J.W.Wilson Middle School during the 2010-2011 school year. Erin is extremely excited about being a member of the 2012 Summer Principals Academy New York cohort. This experience will allow her to serve as a transformative servant-leader, where she and her staff will radically alter the life paths of ALL scholars by using the pillars of data-driven instruction, school culture, and instructional excellence.
Catherine Bemis is a Kindergarten teacher and the Principal at St. Agnes School in Lake Placid, NY. St. Agnes School is a primary school serving age three to grade three. The school provides a small, nurturing setting where both cooperative and experiential learning are encouraged along with individualized instruction to create happy, proficient, and lifelong learners. Catherine has been part of the team that transformed this struggling elementary school into a thriving early education center. She has worked on budget, policy creation, curriculum development, technology initiatives, and faculty development. Catherine received a B.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004 and an M.A. is Early Childhood Education from Teacher’s College in 2006. She also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and participated in their Toy Design program. Catherine is excited to be a part of the Summer Principal’s Academy program so that she can work collaboratively with like-minded individuals and use their shared experiences of alternative school environments to inform her own setting.
Mark Boisvert is an elementary teacher at Beech St. School in Manchester, NH. Beech St. School is one of the largest elementary schools in the state, with the state’s highest poverty rate (96%), and serves the highest numbers of English learners (51%) representative of 41 countries. The school is settled in a city where hundreds of new refugees reside each year. Mark has engaged in serving as lead teacher for the school and it's district, modeling best practices in a demonstration classroom. Mark received a B.A. from Hofstra University in 2005 and a M.Ed. from Rivier College in 2007. He looks forward to living in NYC this summer and collaboratively learning with other urban educators from around the country at Summer Principals Academy.
Kevyn Bowles is an elementary teacher and Coordinator of Special Education at the Waterside Children’s Studio School (PS 317Q) in Rockaway Park, New York. As a Teach for America corps member and part of Waterside’s founding group of teachers, Kevyn has had the opportunity to influence the development of a performing and visual arts-based program. This program supports the true academic, emotional, and creative development of children and has grown into a vibrant community of educators, students, and their families. At Waterside, Kevyn has raised over $175,000 as the Co-Founder and Chair of the Fundraising Committee; served as a Budget Delegate on City Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s Education Committee; analyzed data and best practices in instruction and curriculum on the Core Inquiry/Instructional Cabinet as Grade Team Representative; participated in decisions on school wide issues on the School Leadership Team; as well as provided academic and behavioral support for struggling students through his work on the Learning Support Team and as Coordinator of Special Education. Kevyn graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 with his B.A. in Theater & Performance Studies and Sociology: Social Justice Analysis. As a corps member in Teach for America, he received his M.S. Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. As a member of the 2012 NYC Summer Principals Academy cohort, Kevyn looks forward to continuing to learn and grow as a leader in the fight for educational equality for all children.
Cristina Callagy is a 3rd grade literacy teacher at Rocketship Mosaic Elementary School in San Jose, California. Rocketship Education is a high-performing charter school network that is rapidly expanding to cities across the nation with the mission of closing the achievement gap within our lifetimes. Cristina was a founding teacher at Rocketship Mosaic when it opened for the '11-12 school year and was selected as an Emerging Leader in the organization. As a 2009 Teach for America corps member in Connecticut, she developed the 5th and 6th grade reading intervention program at New Beginnings Family Academy, an independent charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and served as a Teaching Assistant for Teach for America--Connecticut's Alternate Route to Certification. Cristina received a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. She was twice awarded the Sontag Prize in Urban Education (April 2011 and February 2012) and was a Summer Teaching Resident at Achievement First Elm City College Prep Middle School in New Haven, Connecticut in 2011. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Cristina is looking forward to collaborating with and learning from passionate educators from around the country and developing her leadership skills to one day expand her impact in the mission of closing the achievement gap.
Isaac Cardona is an elementary teacher at KNOVA Learning Charter School in Portland, Oregon. KNOVA is an open enrollment charter school serving low-income students on the city’s east side. Isaac has engaged in various forms of leadership including being an instructional coach at IDEA Public Schools, a Program Director at Teach For America, and a teacher leader in Houston ISD. Isaac received B.A.s in Criminology and English from the University of New Mexico in 2005. A former Rhodes Fellow, he is looking forward to continuing his pursuit of educational leadership with an excellent cohort of top notch individuals from across the country.
Melissa Cerina is an elementary school teacher at The Waterside Children’s Studio School (P.S.317Q) in Rockaway Park, New York. The Waterside Children’s Studio School is an arts school. Through music, drama, visual arts, film, technology, writing and dance, the rigorous and progressive curriculum empowers all of the children to grow academically, creatively and socially. Melissa has engaged in numerous leadership experiences at The Waterside Children’s Studio School such as: Special Education Coordinator, Core Inquiry Team Leader, Hiring Committee Member, Bus Coordinator, New Teacher Mentor and she participated in the Kindergarten Teacher Leader Group at Teachers College, Columbia University. Melissa received a B.S. in Social Sciences at SUNY Buffalo in May 2007 and a Masters Degree in Elementary/ Special Education (1-6) at Hofstra University in December 2008. Shortly after, Melissa went for her certification extension for Birth-9th grade at Touro College in the summer of 2010. On June 7, 2010 she was awarded Partners in Excellence by Young Audiences New York in honor of her outstanding commitment to ensuring high quality arts education for her students. Also, for the past three years Melissa has been awarded the Teachers of Tomorrow grant in recognition of the demands of teaching in the highest needs schools in the New York City Department of Education. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort Melissa is looking forward to advancing her professional career and gaining a wealth of knowledge that will help her become a truly effective leader.
For the past four years, Paul Chin has served as the 6th grade math teacher at North Star Academy's Clinton Hill Campus in Newark, NJ. North Star is a high performing charter school that has established itself as a Blue Ribbon School and it is also a leading member of the Uncommon Schools charter school network. In addition to his work in the classroom, Paul has been the sixth grade team leader for the past two years and has coached the school's basketball teams. Paul received a B.A. from Princeton University in 2006 and a preliminary teaching credential from California State University at Dominguez Hills in 2008. Paul was also a Teach for America corps member in Los Angeles in 2006, where he taught math and science for two years at an Aspire Public School in Huntington Park. Paul is looking forward to working with the 2012 SPA NYC cohort and to using what he learns to help turn around a chronically failing high school in Indianapolis this fall.
Hannah Copperman began her career in education almost four years ago as a Teach for America corps member. She is currently a history teacher at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy in Washington, DC. Cesar Chavez PCS is a college preparatory high school devoted to making students active, knowledgeable, and capable members of their community. Hannah is a member of the School Improvement Team and the Curriculum Alignment Committee and has led professional development sessions for teachers about classroom management, and next year will be the chair of the social studies department. Prior to joining the staff at Cesar Chavez, Hannah taught 9th grade social studies at F.W. Ballou Senior High School, a district school in Washington, DC, where she co-authored and was instructional lead teacher of the World History I curriculum and started the school’s first tennis team. Hannah received an A.B with honors in History from Brown University in 2008 and an M.A.T. in Secondary Social Studies Education from American University in 2010. Hannah aspires to build upon her experience to become a school leader who facilitates a positive and collaborative learning environment that pushes all students, regardless of their background or needs, to their highest level.
Elizabeth Coyle is a certified reading teacher serving as a Teacher on Special Assignment for the Office of Curriculum and Instruction in the Ithaca City School District in Ithaca, NY. She is working with colleagues to develop a district wide framework for elementary literacy instruction, improve the hiring process for the district, design an instructional coaching program, and move the district to full implementation of the essential components of RtI. Liddy has previously worked as the Primary Literacy Staff Developer and RtI Specialist for the Ithaca Schools. She has facilitated the implementation of a district wide primary literacy screening tool and the revision of the elementary report cards to a standards based model. Liddy received a B.A. in psychology from The College of William and Mary in 1986, a M.S.Ed. from Elmira College in 1990, and a M.S.Ed. from Old Dominion University in 1998. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Liddy looks forward to collaborating with educators from across the country for a unique and life changing learning experience.
Lisa A. Czerniecki
Lisa A. Czerniecki is a secondary teacher, currently teaching English Language Arts to sophomores and seniors, at Locust Valley High School in Locust Valley, New York. Locust Valley High School is a public school on Long Island that offers a rigorous program of study, including the International Baccalaureate Program, in addition to an array of extra-curricular activities to its seven hundred students. Lisa has engaged in several leadership activities including acting as a mentor for novice teachers, an advisor to the school’s Student Government, and coordinator of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which raised over $90,000. Lisa received a B.A. from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in 2003 and a M.A. in Teaching English from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2008. She has also received Locust Valley High School’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2010 and 2012. As a member of the 2012 Summer Principals Academy New York City cohort, Lisa is looking forward to joining a collaborative, academic community with a reputation for crafting excellent educational leaders. Lisa aspires to expand her leadership role in the district and gain the necessary skills in order to effectively lead a 21st Century school.
Annette de la Llana
Annette de la Llana is the Curriculum Specialist for Elementary Education at EdPower, a college preparatory charter school network in Indianapolis, IN. EdPower launched Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, serving grades 6-12, and plans to launch its first all boys elementary school in 2013 and all girls elementary school in 2014. Annette is responsible for developing the curriculum for the elementary schools and training teachers in its implementation. Prior to joining EdPower, Annette served as the Director of Instruction at Bronx Lighthouse Charter School and as the Dean of Instruction at Bushwick Ascend Charter School. She taught kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 6th grades at Achievement First in Brooklyn, NY. She began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member in Washington, DC. Annette received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in 2000 and a M.S. in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College in 2009. She is currently an Indianapolis Principal Fellow. As a 2012 SPA cohort member, she is looking forward to joining a team of passionate and remarkable educators in the mission of transforming possibilities for school improvement and fighting to eliminate educational inequality.
Stephanie has been teaching physical education for the past three years at Glenwood Landing Elementary School located on the North Shore of Long Island. She serves on the instructional support team, the special education committee and coaches numerous sports after school. Stephanie received a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from the University of Delaware and a M.S.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education from CUNY Queens College. Stephanie is looking forward to enhancing her leadership skills to become an effective elementary principal or district coordinator for health and physical education.
Jessica Deimel is a 6th grade teacher at Young Scholars Frederick Douglass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Young Scholars Douglass is a Title I turnaround charter school in North Philadelphia serving K-8 students. Jessica has been a Teacher Leader at Young Scholars, observing and coaching other middle school teachers. She has worked to develop reading and social studies curriculum at the school, and is the co-creator of an after school drama program. She has also served as Corps Member Advisor in the Teach For America program, in which she helped develop a cohort of new middle and high school teachers. Jessica received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and obtained her teaching certificate through Penn’s Graduate School of Education in 2010 as a part of Teach For America. She participated in her school’s Path to School Leadership Program in the 2011-2012 academic year, which works to prepare leaders in the Young Scholars Network. Jessica is looking forward to collaborating with other talented aspiring leaders this summer in the 2012 New York cohort and hopes to become an educational leader who encourages and inspires students.
Jennifer Dubey is the Senior Managing Director for teacher leadership development at Teach For America Miami-Dade and the Executive Director for leadership development in Miami-Dade County Public Schools Education Transformation Office. Jennifer leads the team at Teach For America in coaching and developing 240 first and second year teachers working to create transformational student learning in Miami-Dade’s most persistently underperforming schools. As a member of the turnaround office’s leadership team, she works to build the instructional leadership capacity of school leaders, instructional coaches and teachers. Jennifer started in education eleven years ago as a 5th grade teacher and Teach For America corps member in Baltimore. She received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1996 and an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University in 2003. As a member of SPA, Jennifer looks forward to building the critical school leadership skills needed to lead transformation in one of Miami-Dade’s turnaround schools.
Claudia Engel is currently a 4th grade classroom teacher at PS 25 in Brooklyn, New York – located in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Over eight years ago Claudia started her teaching career as a NYC Teaching Fellow at PS 25. She has been a team leader and model classroom site at PS 25 for many years. Claudia has assisted her colleagues in organizing and implementing classroom management techniques to further student achievement. Claudia had the only class in her school to have 100% of her students pass both the ELA and Math NY State Test with proficiency or higher. Claudia received a B.A. from Cornell University in 2002 and a M.S. in Teaching from Pace University in 2006. As a 2012 SPA NYC cohort she looks forward to developing the skills needed to become a strong school leader who can create a rigorous, structured and positive learning environment in which all learners, even those at high-risk, can reach their maximum potential.
Lindsay Feldman is an elementary school counselor for Milton and Washington Schools in Chatham, New Jersey. She is responsible for the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of her students. Lindsay works closely with faculty members and parents to develop character education and anti-bullying programs. She also coordinates the Intervention and Referral Services program, which provides teachers with strategies and techniques to help students that are in need of extra support. Previously she was an elementary classroom teacher for seven years for Fair Lawn Public Schools in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Lindsay has earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland in 2004, a M.A. in School Counseling from Montclair State University in 2009 and was named Teacher of the Year by the Fair Lawn Public Schools in 2011. She looks forward to one day helping to lead a public elementary school.
Laura Fennell is a middle school reading specialist and administrator at Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School in Chicago, Illinois. Lighthouse is a K-8 school that strives to prepare its scholars for college through a rigorous arts infused education, with a focus on the social development of each child. Laura was a 2007 Teach for America St. Louis corps member and later went on to work as a Curriculum Specialists at Teach For America’s summer training institutes. At Lighthouse, she has worked as the Director of School Culture and Reading Specialist. Laura received a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in 2007 and is currently completing a Masters in Secondary Education at University of Missouri St. Louis. Laura is eager to begin her work at the Summer Principals Academy and looks forward to learning from her new colleagues.
DuEwa Frazier is an education specialist in literacy. She works with K-12 New York City public schools to create targeted reading intervention plans for students and facilitate professional development in literacy instruction and the Common Core Standards. She has taught middle and high school students in English, Creative Writing and AP Language and Composition. DuEwa previously served as a high school grade team leader, student poetry club advisor, teacher study group facilitator and editor of student publications. She earned the M.Ed. degree in Curriculum and Teaching at Fordham University, the M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing at The New School and the B.A. degree in English at Hampton University. DuEwa is proud to be a member of the SPA 2012 cohort.
Lindsay Frigo is a 4th grade teacher and Teacher Leader Fellow at Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School in Washington, DC. Potomac Lighthouse is an arts-infused charter school serving grades Pre-Kindergarten through Six. Lindsay is currently serving as a Teacher Leader Fellow, where she has coached teachers on instruction, student investment and test preparation. Lindsay received a B.S. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in 2005 and a M.S.T. in Childhood Education from Pace University in 2007. Last year, Lindsay’s 3rd grade class was the highest performing class in Math out of all 19 Lighthouse Academies schools. Her scholars grew 2.3 years, as measured by the Northwest Evaluation Association Assessment (NWEA). Lindsay looks forward to one day leading a school where excellence is the norm and all students achieve high academic success, thus preparing themselves to not only go to college, but to graduate from college!
Stephanie Fuhs is a 2nd grade teacher at America’s Choice at SAND School, a public K-8 school, in Hartford, CT. Originally from North Carolina, Stephanie moved to Connecticut as a Teach for America 2008 corps member. Since her arrival in Hartford, Stephanie has been actively involved with the district’s technology planning committee and mentor teacher program. At America’s Choice at SAND School, Stephanie works closely with Eagle Odyssey after-school program and Saturday Academy program. She also serves on the School Governance Council. Stephanie received a B.A in Sociology from the University of North Carolina Asheville in 2004 and a M.A. in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Saint Joseph in 2011. Stephanie is passionate about technology in education and has presented at the International Society of Technology in Education 2012 Convention and at the Connecticut Educators Computer Association Tech Expo 2012. She is also a founding organizer of EdCamp Connecticut an annual participant-driven professional development conference for teachers by teachers. Stephanie is looking forward to gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to become an effective school leader as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Ronald Gamma is a social studies teacher at the High School for Environmental Studies in New York, New York. The High School for Environmental Studies is a public high school located near Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Ronald has engaged in a number of teacher led school committees including holding a position as co-chair of the Professional Development Teacher Team and technology coordinator for the humanities department. Ronald received a B.A. in History from Plattsburgh State University in 2004 and M.S. in Teaching from Plattsburgh State University in 2005. Ronald currently participates in the Teaching American History Grant at the New York Historical Society. He aspires to one day become a Principal of a New York City public school.
Carlan Gray is a secondary science teacher at Ithaca High School in Ithaca, NY. Ithaca High School is a public school of 1,400 students in upstate New York that serves a wide array of students and has a variety of contact with Cornell University, Ithaca College, and the highly engaged Ithaca community. Carlan has been the department leader of fourteen teachers for the last two years and has served on the school wide leadership team working to implement school wide policy change, facilitate PLC work, and support the development of new teachers. Carlan received a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in 2003 and a M.A.T. from Cornell University in 2005. She is looking forward to learning with and engaging in conversation with a talented, passionate group of colleagues in one the most interesting cities in the country.
Mary Grover is a Teaching Support Specialist with the Center for Teaching Excellence at Cornell University. Prior to joining Cornell in 2010, Mary taught at public and charter middle and high schools, including Sunnyside Environmental School and Mt. Scott Center for Learning in Portland, OR and New Roots Charter School in Ithaca, NY. Mary served as social studies department chair and led professional development on Socratic seminar and inquiry-based math instruction. She developed interdisciplinary thematic curricula that incorporated weekly field studies, service learning and semester-long projects with state and district benchmarks. Mary received a B.A. from Binghamton University in 1998 and her M.A.T. from Lewis & Clark College in 2005. Through her work with progressive educators, Mary developed her vision to be an educational leader who supports experiential learning and place-based education. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, she is eager to collaborate with other inspired educators.
Amanda Hageman is the Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development at Teach For America in Houston, Texas. Amanda began her career in education as a 2005 Houston corps member with Teach For America. She taught 1st grade at Roosevelt Elementary School, a title one magnet school in the Houston Independent School District, for three years. At Roosevelt, Amanda chaired the Intervention Assistance Team and led her students to meet ambitious goals as a teacher in both the ESL and gifted and talented programs. After teaching and providing professional development for new teachers as a learning team leader with Teach For America, Amanda joined Teach For America’s full time staff in 2008 as a Program Director, coaching Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers in charter and traditional schools across Houston. For the past three years, Amanda has served as the Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development, leading a large team to coach and develop teacher leaders across the city of Houston in five school districts. Amanda received a B.A. in Sociology from American University in 2005. She is looking forward to working towards expanding outcomes for children as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Atiya Harmon is a director of instruction and curriculum, middle school at People For People Charter School in Philadelphia, PA. Atiya has engaged in several leadership roles, including coordinating math instruction for grades 5-8 and being the lead on a school leadership team focused on school culture and teacher evaluations. Atiya received a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University in 2002 and a M.S.Ed. from University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Atiya is a McNair Scholar. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, he is looking forward to gaining effective leadership experience and strategies to help urban schools and ultimately urban communities succeed.
Harold S. Henry, Jr. is currently a Network Team Leader with Baltimore City Public Schools, MD, which provides hands-on supports to school leaders in all areas of instruction and operations. Harold leads a team that supports all 35 Charter schools, serving 11,300+ students. Before this, he taught for 4 years in the Business, Finance & Management Academy at Baltimore’s Northwestern Senior High School, then moved to the District Central Office where he was involved with managing budgets and federal grants for the District's 24 middle schools. From 2007-2009, Harold was the Finance Director with Imagine Schools - DC Region, where he oversaw the fiscal activities and planning for a group of Charter schools in Washington, D.C. Harold received a B.S. in Marketing from Hampton University, VA in 2000. He has also completed coursework in Education for certification and leadership training. Harold has extensive experience with leadership training: working with programs sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Foundation; participating and facilitating professional development with City Schools; and working with Targeted Leadership Consulting and Education Resource Strategies. He has twice been inducted in Cambridge's Who's Who lists - for Teachers in 2002 and for Administrators in 2006. Harold hopes SPA will allow him to build the theoretical justification for what he has experienced and observed in his professional life, with the purpose of formulating a holistic approach to educational leadership development and practice. His goal is to help school leaders be transformational in their practice; to not simply promote change, but nurture sustainable reform in urban education.
MaryAnn Holland is Director of the College Office at Achievement First's flagship high school, AF Amistad High School in New Haven, CT. MaryAnn has engaged in co-creating the College Office at AF Amistad High, as well as writing a four-year College Readiness curriculum. She received a B.A. in Classical Literature, History and Political Science from Colorado College in 2007. She was a 2007 Connecticut Teach for America corps member, teaching World Geography to 7th grade students in Bridgeport, CT. MaryAnn was a member of the 2010 Leadership Fellows Program at Achievement First and is a featured educator in Maia Heyck-Merlin's new book, The Together Teacher. MaryAnn is most looking forward to being a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort because she hopes to run her own school one day.
Marianna Houston is a 6th grade special education teacher at MS 447: The Math & Science Exploratory School, a public middle school in Brooklyn, New York. At MS 447, she helped to implement the Nest Program, a special-purpose program that integrates students with autism spectrum disorder into inclusion-model classrooms. Marianna also serves on the school’s articulation committee. She has worked as a mentor teacher through the Department of Education and Teaching Residents at Teachers College program. Marianna received a B.A. from Bowdoin College in 2006 and an M.S.Ed. from Brooklyn College in 2009 through the NYC Teaching Fellows program. She continues to work for the NYC Teaching Fellows, helping to train, select, and recruit new Fellows. Marianna was nominated for the NYC Teaching Fellows Award for Classroom Excellence in 2009. She is the recipient of an Aspiring Leaders Fellowship at Summer Principals Academy. Marianna hopes to be a school building leader who emphasizes collaboration and self-reflection, and she is thrilled to begin her leadership education as a member of the 2012 Summer Principals Academy New York City cohort.
Kyle Hunsberger is a secondary mathematics teacher at Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Middle School, in Los Angeles, California. In his time at Cochran, Kyle has taken on various leadership roles, such as chairing the math department, organizing Local District Magnet School Fairs, implementing annual school-wide fundraisers, restructuring student placement policies for mathematics classes, piloting new mathematics courses, and most recently, developing and implementing "Kids Mastering Math", a 6th grade basic-skills intervention program now in its second year of successful implementation. Kyle received a B.S. in mathematics from Wheaton College (Il.) in 2004 and a M.A. in secondary education from Loyola Marymount University in 2006. He has also participated in the drafting of the LAUSD Teaching & Learning Framework and served as a 2011 Teach For America / LAUSD Summer Fellow. Kyle looks forward to both learning from and collaborating with fellow aspiring public school leaders during his time in the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Ann Jameson is an elementary teacher at High Mountain Road School in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. At High Mountain Road School, the focus is on curriculum that emphasizes student-centered instruction. Students are challenged on a daily basis to use higher-order thinking skills and a constructivist approach to learning. Ann has engaged in work on curriculum revision committees and professional development planning committees within the school and the school district. She serves as a mentor teacher to new teachers as well as a cooperating teacher to practicum students. Ann received a B.A. from Boston College in 2006 before earning her M.A. in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College in 2007. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Ann is looking forward to SPA’s commitment to developing strong school leaders with not only sound theoretical and best practices knowledge, but also field-based experiences and an extensive administrative internship.
Carolyn Johnsen is a secondary school counselor at Westhampton Beach High School, a public high school on the East End of Long Island. In addition to serving as a school counselor for students in grades 9-12, Carolyn has implemented a college visitation program that brings students to visit college campuses starting in grade 9. Carolyn received a B.A. from American University in 2006, as well as M.A. and Ed.M. degrees in psychological counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2008. Carolyn is excited to be back at TC as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort!
Jessica Johnson is an elementary teacher at Bronx Success Academy, a charter school in Bronx, NY. Jessica was a founding lead teacher and is currently the Kindergarten grade team leader. Jessica received a B.A. in Government from Cornell University in 2003 and an M.S. in Urban Education from Mercy College in 2008. Jessica was also a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows and began her teaching career as a Special Education teacher. Jessica aspires to become a leader for educational equity and hopes to found her own elementary school serving at risk students in an urban setting.
Lacey Jung is a teacher at Aldama Elementary School, a K-6 urban Title 1 school, in Los Angeles, California. The school features a Spanish Dual Language program, with equal instruction time in English and Spanish. Its goals are to develop a high level of academic proficiency in all content areas in both languages and positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors. Lacey teaches kindergarten dual language, a K/1 combination class, 1st and 5th grades, and engages in many leadership roles. She is the School-Wide Safety Committee chairperson, the PTA secretary, has served as the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) coordinator and the Project-Based Learning grade-level lead, co-founded the Student Government Association, and creates a school yearbook. Lacey received a B.A. in Liberal Studies and her M.S.T. from California State University, Fullerton in 2005. In 2012, she received her M.A.Ed, concentrating in Gifted & Talented Education, from Azusa Pacific University. Lacey is part of a team of teachers who recieved UCLA’s $30,000 TIIP grant in 2010, to use towards the team’s project “Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child in the Dual Language Classroom”. This has taken them to trainings in Teachers College Reading & Writing Institute, Guided Language Acquisition Design, Cognitive Guided Instruction, and to regional and national bilingual conferences and professional developments. Lacey was also chosen as Aldama’s 2010 Teacher of the Year. Lacey is excited to be a member of 2012 SPA NYC where she will be empowered with the theory, tools, and leadership development needed to begin her work revolutionizing California’s urban school system, inspiring a chain reaction of positive changes focused on promoting equity and excellence in education.
Katie Kirley is a Director of Instruction at Gary Lighthouse College Prep Academy in Gary, Indiana. Gary Lighthouse CPA is a rigorous, arts infused charter high school that will have its first graduating class in 2013. Katie received a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Loyola University Chicago in 2007. After college, Katie joined Teach for America and taught 7th and 8th grade math and science at Gary Lighthouse Charter School. She continued her stay in Gary as the Upper Academy Chair and High School Algebra teacher. In her current position, she coaches teachers, facilitates curriculum development, analyzes school wide data and leads staff wide professional development; as well as coaching the varsity girls basketball team. Katie is most looking forward to collaborating with incredible and passionate educators of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, as well as continuing to develop the skills necessary to lead an urban high school that sends 100% of its scholars to college.
Wil Ko is a special education teacher at East River Academy, an alternative high school located within New York City’s Rikers Island jails serving incarcerated students over the age of 16. As the special education coordinator, Wil facilitates the process of delivering individualized instructions for students with special needs. He also serves on the school leadership team, and has led a team of teachers in designing and implementing a groundbreaking multidisciplinary project-based curriculum. Wil received a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in 2003, and a M.S.Ed. at City College of New York after joining the New York City Teaching Fellows in 2008. Prior to a career in education, Wil was an independent filmmaker and has founded a renowned restaurant as well as a weekly print publication where he served as editor-in-chief. He aspires to channel his creative entrepreneurial spirit into urban education to effect reform that is both unyielding and sustainable. Selected as a New York City Department of Education Aspiring Leaders Fellow, Wil looks forward to working with his esteemed professors, coaches, and colleagues at Summer Principals Academy to prepare for his transition into school leadership in 2013.
Jesse is an English teacher at Brooklyn College Academy, an Early College high school in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to his classroom work with grades 7-12, Jesse has worked as a new teacher mentor and served on the School Leadership Team and Peer Review Committee. He also founded the school’s literary magazine, which was given an award for excellence by the National Council of Teachers of English. Jesse began his career as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows. He received a B.A. in General Literature from Reed College and a M.A. in English Education from Brooklyn College. He will join the Summer Principals Academy as a New York City Dept. of Ed. Aspiring Leaders Fellow and is proud to take this next step along with such a dynamic group of educators.
Gavin Lamb is a high school teacher at Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago, IL. Gary Comer is a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which boasts ten of the highest performing, non-selective enrollment high schools in the city of Chicago. Gavin was a founding teacher at Comer, which opened in 2008. At GCCP, 100% of seniors were accepted into a 4-year college or university this spring. Gavin has taught 9th grade Algebra and been an advisor to a group of young men for the last four years. In addition, Gavin built the football program and has been the head coach since the first season. Gavin received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 2005, and then joined Teach For America. He taught 5th grade self-contained for three years at his placement school in Chicago at CICS Wrightwood, before accepting the position as a founding teacher at Comer. Gavin is excited to join the 2012 SPA NYC cohort and take the next step on his path toward school leadership.
Jennifer began her career in education over six years ago as a 4th grade teacher for the Bellevue School District in Bellevue, Washington. She served as a member of her school’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) and district’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT). In these roles, Jennifer collaborated with teachers & administrators to allocate school resources including people, time, funds, and materials to maximize student success. She facilitated school efforts to support the improvement of teaching and learning with the explicit goal of raising student achievement. During her third year of teaching, Jennifer worked at Microsoft under Talent & Organizational Capability (learning & development). She served as a consultant for Management Excellence (ME) and in this role she created consistent learning objectives for ME course offerings, aligned course objectives with competency models and collaborated with Employee & Leader Development teams to integrate and align models around personal, people, thought, & results leadership. She received her B.A. in Education and M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction, and is National Board Certified Teacher. As a member of SPA NYC 2012, Jennifer looks forward to joining an international cohort of fellow educators to learn, lead, and reflect on our mission as leaders in education. By engaging in the SPA experience she hopes to grow as an individual and expose herself to future professional opportunities where she can influence, impact, and inspire.
Melanie Lee is an ESL and social studies teacher at the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies, a nationally ranked public school in the Lower East Side. HSDLAS serves New York City's Chinese adolescent immigrant community, and students are either native Mandarin or native English speakers. The school seeks to graduate college-ready students proficient in both languages. Melanie is a mentor teacher at her school and has served as an English Language Learner coordinator in the past. She has also taught a College Now preparatory course as well as international relations and linguistics electives. Melanie received a B.A. in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Columbia University in 2005 and an M.S. in TESOL Education from City College through NYC Teaching Fellows. Melanie also received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan in 2005-2006, an experience that inspired her to pursue a career in public education. She is thrilled to be a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Kristy Len began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans where she taught middle school science and social studies in the Recovery School District. Most recently she spent three years at Achievement Preparatory Academy, an EPIC award winning public charter school in Washington, DC, where she taught science and served as a mentor teacher. For the 2012-2013 school year, Kristy will be transitioning to the role of the Manager of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach for America in Washington, DC. Kristy earned a B.A. from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and is honored to be joining the 2012 Summer Principals Academy NYC cohort. She aspires to support urban schools in implementing best educational practices and helping urban communities realize the power of education.
Jenna Hervitz Lipton
Jenna Hervitz Lipton is a 6th grade Humanities teacher and Department Chairperson at The Salk School of Science in New York City. Salk, a specialized school with a strong focus on science education, is consistently rated one of the top middle schools in New York City. Salk partners with the New York University School of Medicine to provide real-life experiences for students. Jenna has been Chair of the Humanities Department there for the past three years, an active member the Salk Professional Development Committee, and has led her school in aligning its curriculum with the Common Core Standards. Jenna received a B.S. from the New York University Steinhardt School of Education in 2003 and an M.S. in Literacy Acquisition and Development at the City College of New York in 2005. She earned her M.S. in conjunction with the New York City Teaching Opportunity Program Fellowship, a highly selective federally funded program that places teachers in high need subject areas and schools. In 2010, she was selected by the International Reading Association (IRA) to present a workshop about her department’s analysis of empowering students to set individualized reading goals. She was also selected as a NYCDOE Aspiring Leadership Fellow. She is looking forward to working with and learning from other educators from all over the country as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Nick Lodato has over eight years of experience as a public elementary school teacher. He most recently taught in Phoenix, AZ at the Royal Palm - Arizona Cardinals Preparatory Academy, a “small community” public school program designed to accelerate the learning of students with significant needs in core academic areas. He has served in education leadership roles such as PTO President, professional development facilitator and Curriculum Specialist. Additionally, Nick strived to provide students multiple experiential education opportunities by establishing a college partnership for science mentoring as well as initiating and leading school participation in a science project-based learning competition. He has completed the National Board Certification process for adolescent mathematics and currently serves as a Field Specialist in Educator Effectiveness and Leadership at the Indiana Department of Education supporting education reform policy. Nick received a B.S. in Business from Indiana University in 2003, with subsequent teaching certification at Rio Salado College and was recently awarded an Indianapolis Principal Fellowship to attend Columbia's Summer Principal Academy. In light of his work in teacher and principal evaluations in Indiana, Nick looks forward to learn from others’ experiences in education around the country and contribute lessons from his experiences at the IDOE as he joins members of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Andy Malone is a founding 4th grade teacher and data analyst at Success Academy - Harlem 4 (SA-H4), a public charter school in New York City. Andy began teaching as a member of the 2008 Teach for America - Mississippi Delta corps. During his corps experience, he taught elementary school in Sunflower County. He also led professional development for TFA and his district. Before joining Success Academies, Andy worked as a program director with TFA-Mississippi Delta, coaching corps members and designing the region's transformational teaching model. Andy received a B.A. from Harvard University in 2008, where he received the Jonathan W. Levin prize for Teaching and Social Justice. In 2010, he was selected as the regional recipient of TFA's Sue Lehmann excellence in teaching award. Andy believes that school leadership is a key lever in the education reform movement and he is thrilled to learn from and work with his fellow 2012 cohort members!
Megan McCarter is a secondary teacher at Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy in Chicago, IL. Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy is the Exelon Campus of the Noble Street Charter Network. Megan is the head of the Math Department, lead teacher for the 12th grade female academic advisors, an academic advisor for 14 senior students, and the varsity girls basketball coach. Megan received a B.A. in Mathematics from Pomona College in 2007 and her M.A.T. with an emphasis in Special Education from National Louis University in 2011. As a member of the SPA NYC cohort, Megan looks forward to gaining the skills and knowledge she will need to be an effective school leader in an alternative school setting.
Karen is a National Board-certified English teacher and special educator in the Boston Public Schools. She is currently in her tenth year of teaching at Brighton High School, a large, comprehensive public high school. Here she has served as a Teacher Leader, a BTU Building Representative, and on her school’s Instructional Leadership Team and School Site Council. Karen has been a Teach Plus Policy Fellow where she worked to increase teacher voice in policy-making. She is also active in her teachers union. In addition, she has partnered with the Boston Teacher Residency Program as a mentor, site director, and teacher of graduate courses. Karen has written several publications, including book reviews for Teachers College Record; she is currently in the process of completing a book chapter on early-career teachers and their unions for the Harvard Education Publishing Group. Karen has been a recipient of the Sontag Prize in Urban Education and United Way’s 2010 Teachers Rock Award, which recognizes teaching excellence and commitment. Karen earned a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a M.Ed. from Harvard University. She is excited to attend SPA, where she hopes to develop the skills needed to lead an inclusive and responsive urban school where faculty and students are supported, empowered, and involved in creating the vision and direction of the school and all students are given a challenging, exploratory, integrative, and meaningful curriculum.
Jonathan McCarty is an Elementary Reading Specialist at Harriet Tubman Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Harriet Tubman is the inaugural K-8th grade turnaround school in the Crescent City Schools network of open admissions charter schools. Jonathan has four years of early childhood classroom experience, and has worked as a team leader and mentor teacher. Jonathan received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Tennessee in 2008 and was accepted in the Teach For America program as a corps member in the Greater New Orleans region. In 2010, after his TFA experience, Jonathan completed a year of Post Baccalaureate work in Elementary Literacy at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a member of the 2012 SPA New York cohort, Jonathan is excited to develop a leadership play book that will enable students to reach their highest potential.
Rebecca Mintiens is a 1st grade teacher at PS 859 - The Special Music School of America in New York City. PS 859 is a K-8 school that is modeled after a conservatory music school in Russia. Students take various music classes and receive two private instrumental lessons a week. PS 859 is a public school with a private partnership, which enables students to receive an amazing music education free of charge. Rebecca has been engaged in various committees such as: School Wellness, Community Building and as a Teacher Representative on the School Leadership Team. She earned a B.A. in Music and Theater for Children from Marywood University and a M.A.in Early Childhood Education and an Ed.M. in Deaf Education from Columbia University Teachers College. Rebecca aspires to become a school leader who values music and arts and uses them as an avenue to teach and reach students.
Kristina is a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant and special education teacher in Warren, New Jersey. She has been employed in this public school system for over ten years. Kristina has worked on the Child Study Team, acted as a mentor to first year teachers, and worked with student teachers. She began her teaching career in the Boston Public Schools. Kristina received a B.A. in Elementary and Special Needs Education from Boston College in 2001 and an M.Ed. in Special Education from Rutgers University in 2006. Kristina loves her teaching responsibilities and is proud of the relationship she has built with parents and staff she has had the opportunity to work with. She is looking forward to becoming a strong school building leader who has the skills to educate others to be better prepared for the 21st century.
Amy Norback is an elementary teacher at Achievement First Academy Elementary in Bridgeport, CT. Achievement First is a public charter school that emphasizes a rigorous reading curriculum and creates a clear path to college in effort to close the achievement gap. Amy has served as the kindergarten grade level chair and collaborated with administration on a cabinet committee of school leaders. Amy received a B.A. from Furman University in 2007. In the fall, Amy will be beginning a leadership fellows program offered at Achievement First. Amy is eager to develop her skills as an effective communicator in a leadership position, as well as expand her impact on student achievement from her individual classroom to a school wide level. She looks forward to collaborating with her 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Erica Paley is a 1st grade teacher at P.S. 86 Kingsbridge Heights in the Bronx. P.S. 86 is one of the biggest elementary schools in New York City, with a large special education and ESL population. Erica has engaged in several different leadership opportunities at her school. She is a grade representative for the Literacy Team and the Service-in-Schools Committee. In the Fall, Erica was part of a Professional Learning Community that created performance tasks based on the new Common Core Learning Standards for her grade. She has also been piloting a new math program that will be instituted school-wide next year. Erica received a B.A. from Cornell University in 2008 and a Masters in the Science of Teaching from Pace University in 2010. She was a Teach For America corps member and taught 4th grade special education for two years before making the switch to first grade. Erica is thrilled to be a member of the 2012 NYC cohort and is looking forward to spending the summer in a challenging, but supportive environment, learning about school leadership. As a NYCDOE Aspiring Leader Fellow, Erica looks forward to another year of teaching 1st grade, to be followed by an appointment as an assistant principal or principal in a New York City public school.
Kristen Palmieri is a secondary teacher at the Special Music School in New York, New York. The Special Music School is a public/private K-8 school. The school offers a rigorous New York City public education with individualized music education funded by private music scholarships. Kristen has served this school community as Chair of the SLT, UFT Leader, Middle School Coordinator, and Humanities Teacher. Kristen received a B.A. from Columbia University in 2002 and a M.A. from Teachers College in 2004. Kristen is looking forward to heading back to Teacher's College as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Zachary Pascoe is the Head of Secondary, IB Middle Years Program Coordinator and Secondary Science teacher at Cedar International School in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Cedar International School is a private international school and also an IB World School! Zach has engaged in leadership experiences over the past several years such as his current post as Head of Secondary but also leading the Middle Years Program at Cedar International School. Zach has received a B.A. in Environmental Science from Dominican University of California in 2003. To be a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort is extremely exciting, and he is greatly looking forward to the experiences, the personal and professional transformation and the opportunity to be a part of educational change and innovation.
Thomas Pereira is a secondary social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT. Westhill is extremely diverse, with a student body of roughly 2,500 students and nearly 200 certified staff members. The school boasts a multitude of AP course offerings, numerous electives, a JROTC program, agricultural science program, AVID program, and dozens of clubs and sport offerings. In his six years at Westhill, Tom has immersed himself in the many opportunities available – he currently serves as Facilitator of the School-Wide Data Team, and sits as one of four teacher members on the School Governance Council, as well as teaching an AVID elective class. He is also assistant football and head wrestling coach. Tom received a B.A. from Sacred Heart University in 2004 and a M.A.T. in 2006. He is most looking forward to learning how other schools and teachers employ best practices and raise student achievement, so he can bring some fresh perspectives back to his place of work.
Christina Riggio is a middle school social studies teacher at JHS 117 Joseph H. Wade Academies in the Bronx, New York. JHS 117 is a district school encompassing grades 6-8. Christina has engaged in mentoring new teachers, leading the Social Studies Department at her school, administering after-school programs for struggling students, and designing the social studies curriculum for grades 6, 7 and 8. Christina received a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2007, as well as a M.S. in Childhood Education from Pace University in 2012 while a corps member in Teach For America. As a member of the 2012 SPA cohort, Christina looks forward to meeting and engaging with inspired, thoughtful, and driven educators who are working toward the betterment of the educational system at local, state, and national levels.
Vernon James Riley
Vernon-James Riley is the Director of Operations at Amani Public Charter School. Amani is the first charter school in the city of Mount Vernon, New York with the mission to prepare students in the fifth through eighth grades with the academic and critical thinking skills to be successful in high school, college and beyond. Vernon-James currently leads a team of five in managing all non-instructional aspects of the school's operation to ensure that the instructional team can focus on what matters most - providing high quality instruction in every classroom. Prior to assuming his post at Amani, he served for two years as the Dean of Scholar Life at Summit Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. Vernon-James received a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University in and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education at Michigan State University. He was a recipient of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color and is an alumni of Education Pioneers, NYC 2009 Cohort. Vernon-James is most looking forward to being able to round out his understanding of what it really takes to lead a successful school and engaging in dialogue with cohort members with diverse personal and professional backgrounds.
Alex Rock is a high school science teacher at Urban Prep Charter Academies for Young Men in Chicago, Illinois. Since the first graduating class in 2010 all Urban Prep’s graduating seniors have been admitted to four-year universities. While serving as the science department chair Alex has taught Integrated Science I, Integrated Science II, and Chemistry. He leads the Instructional Support Team, and was the head coach for Cross Country and Track and Field. Alex received a B.S.E. in Secondary Chemistry Education from the University of Kansas in 2009. Alex was a Chicago Teach For America corps member and has continued to teach at his placement school. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, he is looking forward to learning how to lead a school community that supports students and teachers reach their potential.
Robert Rosenheim is an elementary school teacher at Loring-Felmming School in Blackwood, New Jersey. He currently teaches 5th grade Language Arts Literacy and Social Studies and has taught 6th and 7th grade history. Robert has engaged in several leadership experiences throughout his teaching career. He has served as a member of his school district’s social studies curriculum committee, literacy instruction committee, worked as a school technology mentor, and served as an instructional team leader. He also has led several professional development seminars. Prior to working at Loring-Flemming, Robert served as the Director of Operations and Training for a large consulting firm in New Jersey. Robert received a B.A. in History and English from Rutgers University in 2006 and a M.S.Ed. in Literacy Education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in 2009. As a social "edupreneur," Robert aspires to launch a charter school program with a strong emphasis on critical thinking, leadership and responsibility. Its mission will be to foster positive relationships with students, families, and the community. As a future school leader, Robert believes in supporting teachers through meaningful professional development and is committed to courageous and momentous school reform. Robert is looking forward to enhancing his leadership qualities and furthering his educational goals as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Timothy Rymer is a high school teacher of mathematics and coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program at West Morris Mendham High School in Mendham, NJ. Mendham High School is a dynamic public high school and has been an accredited IB World School since 1998. Timothy received a B.A. in secondary education with a concentration in mathematics in 1997 and M.S. in curriculum and instruction in 2009, both from the University of Scranton (PA). In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is a former Intervention and Referral Services team member, coach, club advisor and new teacher mentor. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, he looks forward to working side-by-side with other committed educators looking to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Connie Sanchez is a middle school science teacher at Dr. Antonia Pantoja School #27 in Elizabeth, NJ. Dr. Antonia Pantoja School is an urban community school. Connie is a Peer Instructor with the Merck Institute for Science Education where she is also a member of Cohort 3 for science leadership. Prior to joining the Elizabeth Public Schools, Connie was a National Training Officer and a National Development Officer with Smith Barney where she did curriculum development and implementation for financial advisors and worked with managers and subject matter experts across the country. Connie received a B.A. in Justice Studies from the College of St. Elizabeth and also an M.S. in Business Management with a focus in Organizational Change Management at the College of St. Elizabeth. Connie has received awards and a grant for Technology Innovation in Elizabeth and was honored as a recipient of the 2011 Keys to Excellence Award in Teaching for superior scores on New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge Test in science. As a member of the 2012 cohort Connie is looking forward to becoming a school leader who stimulates pupils’ imagination and motivates them through tailored teaching practices to ensure that every pupil feels a sense of achievement and a valued part of the class community, while becoming the dynamic thinkers and innovators of tomorrow.
Joe Schmidt is a secondary social studies teacher at Park East High School in New York City. Park East is a small high school in East Harlem. The school proudly celebrates it three years of “A” status on the NYC DOE Report Card, while maintaining a unique and dedicated mission. Joe has served as a department head, leader of the Professional Development committee and served as testing coordinator during his 12 years at Park East. Joe received a B.A. from Rutgers University in 1999. He also received a M.A. in Teaching from Brooklyn College in 2007 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows. In 2008, Joe was the coauthor of Coaching Whole School Change: Lessons in Practice from a Small High School, a Teachers College Press publication. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Joe is looking forward to learning from the other students and the faculty in the program.
Laura Schneider is a high school English teacher at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn, New York. Sunset Park High School is a community public high school that opened in 2009 as three small semi-autonomous learning communities under one principal. Laura is a founding teacher who has moved into teacher leadership as a team leader and most recently a community teacher leader over the past three years. Laura received a B.S. from New York University in 2008 and an M.Ed. from Harvard University in 2009. She is looking forward to joining the 2012 SPA NYC cohort to work with and learn from professionals who have had experiences in a variety of types of schools and policy making experiences in various settings to expand upon and deepen her thinking about public school leadership.
Kara is a secondary teacher at Euphemia L. Haynes PCS in Washington, DC. E.L. Haynes is a public charter school, serving a diverse group of students from the District, offering year round school, expedition based learning, extended day programs, and focused on fostering a strong sense of community in students, parents, and staff. Kara has engaged in leading intervention teachers and specialist to design targeted instruction to serve struggling students in reading and math in the middle school. Kara received a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, and a M.Ed in Special Education from George Mason University in 2010. She participated in the Emerging Leaders Program in 2012 in Washington, DC. Kara is motivated to build upon her teaching experience into leadership to help create and support effective schools for students with all needs and background. Kara is honored to be a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Sheila Seedhouse is an Instructional Support Leader for the West Side Network in Chicago Public Schools. Prior to working as an ISL, Sheila was a teacher at Farragut Career Academy, a traditional neighborhood high school in Chicago, IL. Sheila was involved in leadership at Farragut as an US Empowered Program Director, Freshman Academy grade lead, teacher course team lead, and data team member. Sheila also worked as a Corps Member Advisor at Teach For America institute for two summers and a Content Course Instructor for TFA for two school years. Now, as an ISL, Sheila works closely with the principals and assistant principals of twenty-seven high schools to develop leadership capacity within their buildings. She received a B.S. from Butler University in 2008 and a MAT from National Louis University in 2010. Sheila is looking forward to learning from the experiences of all the other members of 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Aja Settles is an elementary principal at North Star Academy – West Side Park campus in Newark, NJ. North Star Academy is a public charter school that is part of the Uncommon Schools Network. Aja has served as a founding lead teacher, instructional leader and instructional fellow during her time at North Star Academy. Aja received a B.A. from Temple University in 2004 and is certified as a Literacy Coordinator through Lesley University. Aja also helped create and revise the K-4 Reading Guide (to be published in Fall 2012), which included multiple resources and videos collected from across the Uncommon Schools Network. Aja is looking forward working with passionate and visionary leaders as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.
Anthony Sgro is a 5th and 6th grade music teacher at Hillside Intermediate School in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Hillside School is a public school with special designation as an official Roots & Shoots school, a program of the Jane Goodall Institute. As a founding member of Hillside’s Professional Learning Community Leadership Team, Anthony specializes in the implementation of creative strategies that not only meet the rigorous academic environment in his school, but also engage students and teachers in meaningful, real world applications of the skills and concepts taught in the classroom. He recently initiated a project-based interdisciplinary curriculum that connects the struggle for civil rights to NJ’s new anti-bullying law. Anthony earned a B.A. from Westminster Choir College in 1993, a M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2008, and an Ed.M. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2010. Anthony has been recognized as the 2010 Teacher of the Year and 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award for his work in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. Anthony looks forward to developing the skills necessary to lead educational change that responds to the urgent needs of the 21st century learner.
Ryan Spass is a high school math teacher at Bronx High School for Law and Community Service, a public school in Bronx, NY. Ryan was previously the test coordinator for two years and is currently the program chair at his school. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003, a Master of Journalism from the University of Maryland in 2005 and a M.A. in Education at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 2008. After graduating from CCNY, Ryan was a Fellow Advisor for new teachers entering the New York City Teaching Fellows program. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Ryan is looking forward to collaborating with his fellow teachers in order to improve NYC public schools and the communities that surround them.
Nisanart Tavedikul graduated with a BA in Film and Television from New York University in 1998. She has produced several TV shows to be aired on national TV stations in Thailand. Currently, she is an Assistant Director at The American School of Bangkok. She is involved with many community projects such as organizing a fundraising for provincial schools, children of multiple disabilities, etc. Her passion includes dancing, filming, and meditation. Nisanart aspires to become a talented school administrator and to teach meditation to westerners who are seeking for spiritual developments.
Sheleena Taylor currently teaches 4th grade math at Mandarin Lakes K-8 center in Homestead, FL. She has been at the school since its inception, helping to establish a culture of student achievement through her involvement in several endeavors such as the Black History Committee, Pep Rally committee, Social Club, EESAC, grade level chair, and the school's monthly mixers. On the elementary side, Mandarin Lakes groups its students by gender. Her experience with this unique grouping has made Sheleena quite fond of working with boys, as well as allowed her to tap into an unknown storage of patience when faced with 22 girls! In 2007, Sheleena graduated from Washington University in St Louis cum laude with a degree in History and minors in both Spanish and Linguistics. As she joins the 2012 SPA cohort in New York this summer, Sheleena most looks forward to becoming a student once more, forging relationships with her fellow cohort members, and engaging in the types of conversations and experiences that will allow her to become a dynamic school leader.
Frank Terranova is an elementary teacher at Henderson Collegiate Charter School in Henderson, North Carolina. Henderson Collegiate is an open-enrollment, Title I charter school determined to help close the achievement gap for students living in poverty. At his current school, Frank teaches nonfiction studies to the school’s inaugural 5th grade class, helps to design the nonfiction studies curriculum, and expands opportunities for students by instructing chess. Before teaching at Henderson Collegiate, Frank worked as a 2009 Eastern North Carolina Teach for America corps member teaching special education and social studies, while also serving as Athletic Director of his school. Frank received a B.A. from York College of Pennsylvania in 2009 in History and Secondary Education-Social Studies with a minor in special education. Frank looks forward to continuing to develop the skills necessary to become an innovative and dynamic leader who helps achieve educational equity for all students.
Lindsey Thompson is a secondary mathematics teacher at Hartford Public High School Nursing Academy in Hartford, CT. The Nursing Academy utilizes a college-ready, nursing and health science themed curriculum that prepares students to be competitive for acceptance to a four-year Nursing or related science-based college. In her three years teaching there, Lindsey has chaired the mathematics department, written the College Level Algebra 2 curriculum, participated in redesigning the school around Nation Academy Foundation Principles (NAF), and has led as student council and class advisor. Lindsey received a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2006. As a 2009 Teach for America alumna, Lindsey has had the opportunity to coach first-year math teachers in the transition to teaching in an urban school in Connecticut. Through the program she also evaluated new teacher certification documents recommending corps members to either advancement to state teacher certification or additional development. Lindsey is looking forward to building a school community where students, staff, and parents who are challenging the systemic factors that promote educational inequity.
Michelle Trojan is a secondary U.S. History and AP U.S. History teacher at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy in Chicago, Illinois. Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy is the Exelon campus of the Noble Street Charter School Network. Michelle is the social studies department chair at Rowe-Clark and also serves as an academic advisor. Michelle received her B.A. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008. Michelle aspires to use her experience as a classroom teacher and her SPA education to pursue school administration and leadership in the city of Chicago.
Lynn VanDeWeert began her career as an elementary teacher ten years ago in the Ithaca City School District in Ithaca, New York. The Ithaca City School District is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, and serves a diverse population of over five thousand students in rural, suburban, and urban settings. Lynn currently serves as the district’s Primary Literacy Staff Developer. This position affords her the opportunity to collaborate with teachers and administrators in the district’s eight elementary schools, and to facilitate district-wide professional learning communities. Lynn also serves as the K-5 English Language Arts Curriculum Chair and leads ongoing curriculum and assessment development in this role. She received a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University in 2000 and a M.S. in Teaching from the State University of New York College at Cortland in 2002. Lynn looks forward to having the opportunity to connect with and learn from a diverse group of educational leaders as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort. Lynn expects she will lean on this group frequently as she endeavors to become a building leader in the Ithaca City School District. In this role, she hopes to lead a team of colleagues in reimagining what education can look like, to support and promote innovation in teaching, and to help transform the learning experience into one of excellence for all.
Laura Walencik is a secondary math teacher at The High School of Computers and Technology in Bronx, NY. The High School of Computers and Technology is a public high school with CTE certification, allowing students to earn professional certification in various computer areas. Laura has been the school's 11th grade team leader for the last three years and also serves as the school's Data Specialist. Laura received a B.S.B.A. (majors in Finance, Economics, and Marketing) from Saint Louis University in 2006 and an M.S. in Teaching from Pace University in 2008. She is eager to join the SPA 2012 Cohort to improve her leadership skills and broaden her understanding of educational policy on a national level
Caroline Walker is an elementary school teacher at St. Stephen School in New York City. St. Stephen is a Catholic school in Manhattan that is committed to educating the whole child. Caroline has served as the technology coordinator and, in the upcoming year, will be taking on the role of team leader for the elementary grades. Caroline received a B.A. from Bates College in 2007 and a M.Ed from Bank Street College of Education in 2009. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort, Caroline is looking forward to collaborating with fellow cohort members to develop the skills necessary to be an effective and inspirational leader.
Carole Wilson is a Kindergarten teacher and the Teacher Development Coach at the Minerva Bilingual School in Gracias, Honduras. Minerva is a privately-owned school focused on preparing students for college success in both English and Spanish. Prior to her work in Honduras, Carole was a 2009 Teach For America corps member in St. Louis, MO. During her two years at Confluence Academy-Walnut Park, she served as a lead teacher for 2nd and 3rd grade, respectively. She received B.A. with Honors in Sociology from Whitman College in 2009. Carole is excited to join the SPA NYC cohort as a member of the Indianapolis Principal Fellowship.
Lynn Windley is a secondary teacher at Christiana High School in the Christina School District in Newark, Delaware. Lynn has been a leader of several Smaller Learning Communities as well as the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. She has served as a New Teacher Mentor, a University of Delaware Cooperating Teacher, and has helped design curriculum for various courses. Lynn earned a B.A. in English from Lehigh University in 2001 and a M.A. in Literature and Pedagogy from the University of Delaware in 2004. She received the Outstanding Student Teacher Award from the University of Delaware and was Christiana High School’s 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year. Lynn is hoping to strengthen her leadership skills within the Summer Principal’s Academy to become a successful leader in the future.
Karin Wissmann is a high school English teacher at Williamsburg Preparatory in Brooklyn, NY. Williamsburg Prep is a public school that has been rated one of the top ten small high schools in New York City and focuses on four core values: citizenship, relationship, scholarship and leadership. Karin has been a 10th grade team leader, English department chair, curriculum writer, mentor teacher, and a selector for the NYC Teaching Fellows. Karin received a B.A. from Boston College in 2002 and a M.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from CUNY-Lehman College in 2005. In 2009-2010, Karin taught English in Taiwan and developed a unique curriculum for the English Wonderland at Penglai Elementary School. Through SPA, Karin hopes to make connections to people all over the country and use their experiences to create equity in all schools and develop a personal leadership expertise that addresses today's educational challenges.
Juliana Worrell is the founding principal of North Star Academy Fairmount Elementary School, a national Blue Ribbon award-winning charter school that is a part of the Uncommon Schools network. Prior to launching Fairmount, Juliana was a founding teacher and instructional leader at North Star’s first elementary school. During her Uncommon Schools fellowship year, Juliana led a national team of instructional leaders to refine and enhance a comprehensive guide on how to teach K-4 Reading (to be published in January 2013). Juliana started her teaching career as a 2004 Teach for America corps member, where she taught 1st and 4th grade in Newark Public Schools. She received a B.A. from Rutgers University in 2004, majoring in Political Science. Juliana is looking forward to collaborating with some of the brightest minds from across the country as a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort.