Yolanda Jackson teachers Kindergarten at Roberts Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. Roberts serves the city's largest population of ELL students. In this position, she has structured rigorous lessons around literacy and math integrating science and social studies. Previous to teaching, Yolanda served in the U.S. Navy for 12 years. She aspires to build her leadership skills and continue to build and produce quality education for all students.
Christina Lear is the Assistant Principal at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a public charter school affiliated with Goodwill. In this position, she leads curriculum, instruction, and assessment for the school. Previously, she served as the school's Director of Guidance and taught high school English at Herron High School and Indianapolis Public Schools. She is eager to learn from the diverse perspectives of SPA faculty and colleagues' and bring this knowledge back to her students and school team.
Michele Bailey teaches Special Education at Douglass Elementary, serving students from grades 1-5. In this position she is tasked with chairing Admission, Review, and Dismissal meetings and preparing and implementing Individualized Education Plans. In addition, she serves as the Team Lead for Fifth grade and coordinates the Douglass after school program. She looks forward to learning and developing her leadership skills so she can create transformational change for all students.
Anthony Brock serves as the Graduation Specialist for Olympia High School, a large comprehensive public school located in Olympia, WA. After developing an early warning system to identify at-risk students, Anthony supports students with interventions to increase the annual graduation rate. Previously, Anthony taught AVID at First Creek Middle School in Tacoma, WA and was appointed as AVID Coordinator. Anthony desires to use his SPA experience to become a world-class leader in education.
Lindsey Burris currently teaches 6th-grade language arts and social studies at Palmer Lake Elementary in Palmer Lake, Colorado. During her 11 years as a classroom teacher, she has passionately taught 2nd through 5th grades at three elementary schools. Lindsey has served in numerous leadership roles, such as grade level chair and most recently on the Multi-Tiered System of Support committee. At the district level, she serves as her school's representative for instructional technology. In 2009 she earned her National Board Certification. Lindsey aspires to be an effective and caring school leader that empowers her fellow educators.
Eric Cato is a founding fourth grade teacher and Restorative Practice Leader at KIPP Infinity Elementary School. Prior Eric was a founding fifth grade teacher at Harlem Prep, Democracy Prep’s first elementary school. During the summer, Eric has worked with Teach for America as a School Operations Manager and a Corps Member Advisor at their intensive summer institute for new teachers. In addition, he has also served as a Teacher Development Coach for The New York City Teaching Fellows. . Eric is looking forward to collaborating, learning and growing with some of the future leaders in education from across the country as a member of the 2016 SPA NYC cohort.
Elise Chom teaches science and art to all grade levels at John Dewey High School in southern Brooklyn, which serves over 2,000 students of varied backgrounds. Elise also leads the science department and currently serves as senior advisor. Prior to teaching, Elise worked as a Criminal Analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Elise aspires to develop meaningful science experiences for all students regardless of educational history.
Susan DeMartino teaches 10th and 11th grade Earth Science at Urban Assembly Media High School in New York City. UAM draws on the media to help students become effective communicators, informed citizens and critical thinkers. At UAM, Susan serves as the Science Team Leader and a coach and mentor to other teachers. In these positions, Susan supports colleagues in improving their planning and delivery of engaging and rigorous instruction. Susan is a current Math for America Master Teacher . She looks forward to expanding her knowledge and leadership skills in SPA so she can continue to support other teachers in providing a quality education for all students.
Kate Dibble serves as the 9th and 10th grade Academy Leader at North Star Academy Washington Park High School in Newark. As Academy Leader, Kate’s responsibilities include creating, managing, and evaluating school systems that support both students and teachers. Prior to assuming a school leadership role, Kate taught 11th grade U.S. History and served as an instructional leader at North Star. At her previous school placements at YES Prep Public Schools and KIPP Massachusetts, Kate taught history and served as grade level chair. She aspires to lead a school that maintains a high academic bar for all students and prepares them for the challenge of a college education.
Maggie Dickman teaches the 6th grade GALS Series course at the Girls Athletic Leadership School of Denver, a 6-12 charter school in Colorado founded by a SPA alum. Over the last 2 years, Maggie has helped to develop and implement the GALS Series curriculum, which takes the mission and vision of GALS and puts it into a foundational course meant to help all students achieve the GALS mission and vision, regardless of their background. Previously, Maggie worked at an elementary school in Aurora, Colorado as a part of Teach for America. By joining SPA, Maggie hopes to move into leadership at GALS Denver and possibly eventually open a sister school to GALS (there is currently a GALS LA and a brother school, The Boys School opening in Fall 2017).
Kristina Dicks teaches English Language Development (ELD) at Webster Middle School that serves predominantly students of color, approximately a third of whom are English Language Learners (ELLs). She opened the school as a newcomer site in 2014 as both the ELD department chair and coordinator. Before entering the education field, Kristina served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica where she worked in rural community development. She aspires to open a dual language immersion school within the Oklahoma City Public School district to better serve ELLs while pulling in students who have opted out of public education.
Ashley Floreancig teaches third grade math at Phalen Leadership Academy at 103, an Innovation school on the far east side of Indianapolis. PLA@103 is a public-charter partnership that serves over 400 scholars K-7. At PLA@103 she has served as the team lead for grades 3-5 for two years, working as a part of the administration team and supporting assessments across the school. Previously she was a founding teacher at Tindley Renaissance Academy in Indianapolis. Through SPA, she aspires to expand her impact and continue her mission to improve the lives of students, parents, and families in her community.
Christopher teaches fourth grade and supports teacher learning as a team lead at UCSN-Brighton Park Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. In these roles, he successfully piloted a departmentalized fourth grade curriculum and led his team in aligning the grade band's approach to vocabulary instruction. He began his teaching career as a 2013 Chicago Corps Member with Teach For America. Chris aspires to lead schools that are hubs for both student and adult learning in the pursuit of transformational change in our most vulnerable communities.
Robert Hohn teaches math and computer science at Mamaroneck High School, in Mamaroneck, New York. In this position, he has played an integral part in the development of the district-wide computer science program and the alignment of the high school math department to the common core learning standards. Prior to his work at Mamaroneck, he taught high school math in Moravia, New York, and interned with the US Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. With the skills Robert will gain through the SPA, he hopes to one day combine his passions of teaching and policy making by advocating the need for computer science to be a federally recognized core academic subject.
Phillip leads the Media and Communication efforts at Aiea High School, a 9-12th public school in 'Aiea on the island of O'ahu. In this position, he promotes collaboration and positive school culture through highlighting the school's shared efforts and enhancing school and community communication. Previously, he has served as a Math and Social Studies teacher, as well as the creator of a guidance and test preparation class called S.O.U.L. (Self-directed Opportunities for Uplifting Leaders) serving the entire junior class. Phillip aspires to develop the partnerships and supports in SPA to live out his vision of leading a diverse school with a focus on pluralism.
Dana Jason currently teaches 4th grade Math and Science at William Howard Taft Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio. William Howard Taft is a magnet elementary school with a STEM focus that serves Pre-K through 6th grade students and is located in the Mt. Auburn neighborhood. She currently serves on the school’s Local School Decision Making Committee (LSDMC). Previously, Dana has taught 2nd and 3rd grades, and spent two years coaching teachers as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America—Southwest Ohio. She aspires to strengthen her leadership skills in order to create a clearer picture for what it looks like to create path-broadening opportunities for kids, teachers, schools, and communities.
Arielle Johnson works as the K-4 Academic Dean at Vision Academy at Riverside in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this position she provides coaching and feedback to all K-4 classroom teachers as well as performs formal evaluations, facilitates school-wide testing, and serves on the administrative team. Previously, she was a 2011 Teach For America Corps Member in Indianapolis where she spent four years in the classroom teaching both 2nd and 4th grade and where she also had the opportunity to serve as a Team Leader and a Master Teacher. She is passionate about her work and believes that SPA will help her gain the knowledge, tools, and experience necessary to lead a school that provides exceptional educational opportunities for all students.
Kyle Kenan is the STEM Coordinator at KIPP Sunnyside High School--a public charter school on the south end of Houston. His role involves managing all pieces of the STEM program including community and business partnerships, course sequencing and development, and coaching of teachers in integration of project based learning and STEM principles. Previously, he taught Mathematics at a charter middle school in the Houston area. He hopes to open a STEM school for low income, minority students to provide them with the necessary skills to go to and through college and beyond.
Amber Kenis is Director of Bands for the Ridgeland School District #122 in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She founded the program in 2013 and now teaches over 270 students in five schools. She also serves on many district committees and is currently working with the National Band Association to create a Title 1 school project initiative, The William P. Foster Project, for music educators in diverse communities. Before coming to Oak Lawn, Amber joined Teach for America as a Mississippi Delta Corps member in 2011, where she rebuilt a 6-12th grade band and choir program. Amber is excited to learn new and innovative ways to initiate equitable opportunities and promote community ownership within the school district.
Ellen Kim teaches second grade at New Covenant Academy in Los Angeles, California. Ellenis the lead teacher of the Elementary Department and provides mentorship to new teachers, oversees the G.A.T.E. program, and directs school activities such as the math competitions and the annual science fair. She aspires to become a Principal and hopes to develop leadership skills that will enable her to lead a team of quality educators and administer a successful school.
Ruth Knight is the Lead Science Specialist for the K-5 Science department with Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. She provides instructional support to science teachers in twelve Duval Transformation Schools, develops and facilitates monthly professional development with a focus on best practices in elementary science, and plans the annual Elementary Science Fair for the for 2,000 students in grades K-5. Previously, she served as the school based Science Coach at Long Branch Elementary, where she also taught 4 th grade Math and Science. As a classroom teacher, she was the grade level chairperson, model classroom for math teachers, and a mentor for new teachers. While participating in SPA, Ruth looks forward to elevating her leadership skills and working collaboratively with her fellow cohorts to obtain knowledge that will provide her with the tools needed to be an effective school leader in an urban public school setting.
Jason Koch is the ELL coordinator and a teacher of high school Spanish and ESL at the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies. He recently returned from Zambia, where he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small village with the Rural Education Development Project. There he taught English to grades six through nine, started a school chess club, and lead professional development sessions for school faculty. Jason's career in education began with two years in northern Japan as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Having learned from these diverse experiences and now beginning the Summer Principals Academy, he aspires to become a principal at an urban public school.
Jenny Lee teaches ESL/English classes at Forest Hills High School that serves over 4,000 students of very diverse student population. In this position she has to plan/create the curriculum for the classes and co-teach with English teachers. Previously she taught at Louis Armstrong Elementary School. She aspires to learn, meet great people, and be challenged as an educator through the SPA NY program.
Chloe' Leech teaches high school mathematics at Constitution High School in The School District of Philadelphia. She teaches Algebra 1 and 2, is the head of the math department, and is a member of the Recruitment Team, School Leadership Team, and next school year will be the pilot teacher for the Blended Learning Model at the district’s high school level. Previously, she worked in Charleston, South Carolina as a Personalized Learning Teacher and Coach at an Apple distinguished, 1 to 1, Title I high school. As a SPA student, Chloe' aspires to enhance her leadership skills outside of the classroom, to close the achievement gap in low performing high schools.
Alex Lunz teaches first grade at Q300 that serves gifted and talented students from around New York City. In this position, he has worked with his colleagues to develop an inquiry–based curriculum for gifted and talented learners and served as a mentor to new staff. Before arriving at Q300, Alex taught second grade in Brooklyn where he founded a volunteer after school athletics program for students. He hopes to become an effective school leader with the skills to support teachers and staff for the good of the whole school community.
Alexa Miller serves as a Dean of Instruction supporting English and Reading teachers in the 6th-12th grade at YES Prep North Forest, an open enrollment charter school that serves students in the North Forest community in Houston, TX. In this position she has the privilege of observing, coaching, and planning with 12 teachers and the Literacy Specialist. Previously she served as the Special Education and Reading teacher at Todd County High School on the Sicangu Lakota Reservation in South Dakota. She aspires to become a better leader of her amazing cohort of teachers so that they, in turn, can continue to become their best selves.
Christina Monitto is a general education teacher at PS 267, located in New York City. Currently, she is teaching in a 3rd grade Integrated Co-Teaching classroom and has been fortunate to support students in both general and special education settings. She is involved in multiple leadership positions including grade team leader where she works collaboratively with her team to plan and implement new and enhanced learning curriculum across all elementary subject areas. She is also the co-chair of her School Leadership Team, where she promotes and strengthens the home-to-school connection between staff, students and parents. Through the SPA learning experience, Christina aspires to develop the skills and mindset necessary to lead an innovative school that transforms possibilities for student learning and supports positive school improvement.
Rafael Montoya teaches high school students at P.S. X721 Stephen McSweeney School that serves students with Special Needs. In this position, Rafael has spent eight years instructing students with Autism. Rafael also works alongside administrators, teachers, and parents on the School Leadership Team which directs the school in determining new curriculums, develops school-based educational policies and assesses school's educational programs and their effects on the students' achievement and success. In order to become an educator Rafael served as a paraprofessional in an inclusion classroom before being selected as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Rafael aspires to become an administrator in the New York City Department of Education in order help bring positive change and progress to inner city schools.
Elana Nashelsky teaches 4-6th grade English Language Arts and serves as the Head of Technology at Vida Charter School, a bilingual school in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she taught English to Middle Eastern refugees in Augusta, Maine, and history in Spanish at a bilingual middle school in Berkeley, California. She hopes to continue to foster multilingualism and global awareness as a school administrator, and commits to lead democratically, respecting the dignity of educators, students and families.
Brianna O’Sullivan teaches first grade at Success Academy Harlem 4: a high achieving charter school that serves low-income students in New York City. As grade team lead, she serves as a model and mentor for her colleagues. Over the past three years, she has also created a positive and competitive cheerleading program at her school. Previously she taught kindergarten as a 2012 Teach for America corps member in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She aspires to learn from and collaborate with other passionate educators in the 2017 SPA cohort.
Stephanie Paz teaches 9th grade English at Bellaire High School, which is a large inner-city public school located in Houston, Texas. In addition to teaching, she sponsors the League of United Latin American Citizens youth council, advises the school’s yearbook staff, and participates as a committee member within Houston ISD. She aspires to become a principal in the near future and eventually open up her own school that emphasizes the importance of equity, creativity, and empathy.
Beth Peters is a Math Teacher and Algebra Coach at Sequoia High School - a large comprehensive high school in Redwood City, California. She has taught a range of subjects from Algebra Readiness through Pre-Calculus, but focuses specifically on supporting her team of Algebra 1 teachers in their transition to the Common Core Standards. Beth looks forward to learning about ways to develop a school vision and culture that emphasizes teacher leadership in promoting equity and access for all students.
Samia Rahman teaches 8th grade Living Environment at Susan B. Anthony Academy that serves approximately 1,000 students from grades 6-8 in Hollis, Queens. In this position she has worked as an educator, mentor teacher, and after-school Science program coordinator. Previously, while completing her masters, she worked as a receptionist and administrative assistant. Teaching is her first career job. She aspires to learn the skills needed to have a positive impact in NYC public schools and work with educators to help students learn the skills to be successful within and beyond the classroom.
Larin Rottman is the Fourth Grade Lead Teacher at John Eaton Elementary School, a diverse public school that serves students from all four quadrants of Washington, D.C. In this position, she leads her fourth grade team in collaborative learning team meetings focused on data driven instruction, participates in setting and monitoring school-wide goals on the Academic Learning Team, promotes new hire teacher retention by leading the Eaton Mentor Mentee Program, and facilitates school-wide professional development as the lead of the Writing Committee. Previously, she taught 2 nd , 3 rd , and 4 th grades at C.T. Eddins Elementary in McKinney, Texas and KIPP DC: KEY and Promise Academy in the District of Columbia. Larin completed the New Leaders Emerging Leaders Program in 2015. She aspires to become a highly effective principal in a public school where she can guide teachers and staff to deliver an enriched, equitable education in order for all students to achieve.
Dania Saleh is a third grade teacher at Belding Elementary, a public school in Chicago, IL. Dania also serves as a Framework Specialist (FS) in the Office of Professional Learning for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) . As a FS, she creates resources and professional development that aid CPS teachers across all districts in the evaluation system, Framework for Teaching. Dania aspires to become an administrator in the CPS district. As an administrator, she envisions building a school that embodies student ownership which will drive students to make a positive impact in their community.
"Darius Sawyers teaches at Indianapolis Public School 103. At IPS 103, he delivers rigorous middle school math instruction while serving as the Middle School Team Lead. This role allows him to provide instructional feedback to other teachers, while organizing all middle school events. Previously, Darius taught high school biology and chemistry at a charter school in Indianapolis. During his time there, he created a male mentoring Program entitled Talented Tenth, which focused on the academic and social enrichment of minority males. Darius aspires run his own charter school network one day and looks forward to the further development of his leadership capabilities as a part of the 2017 SPA cohort."
Aaron teaches 5th grade at Yorkville Community School that serves students in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In this position he has worked to create and foster an engaging thematic unit based curriculum that is accessible to all students. Previously he taught first grade in an ICT classroom as the general education teacher. He aspires to create a school that is welcoming, accessible and engaging for all students.
Christine Strawn currently teaches 5th grade at a public elementary school in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. She also teaches yoga and mindfulness practices to students and staff, oversees a writing club, and serves as teacher representative and secretary for the local school council. Christine has taught in a variety of K-8 settings, including both general and special education, and completed a master’s degree program in special education instruction. Christine loves learning from people who are passionate about educational equity and work to make amazing things happen in their schools. She aspires to lead a school that is committed to serving its community and inspiring its children to be lifelong learners who are equipped with the skills and mindsets needed to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Justin Thomas is middle school teacher at Wyoming Valley West – a public school in Northeastern PA. Currently, he teaches over 360 sixth graders a year on information technology skills, such as MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Digital/Cyber Citizenship. Additionally, he is a combat veteran with over 17 years of military experience and is presently in command. He looks forward to meeting and working with other passionate and enthusiastic educators, while further deepening and enhancing his leadership abilities.
Daniel Velasco is currently the Assistant Principal at 21st Century Charter School that serves students in Gary, Indiana. In this position he has been an agent of change, helping restructure the school's existing systems and creating more effective systems for management, discipline, and curriculum development. Previously he completed a two year teaching commitment at 21st Century Charter School as a Teach For America corps member and continued working there as a certified TAP Mentor Teacher and Social Studies teacher. He aspires to continue growing as a leader in education with the hopes of empowering students staff alike to become agents of change in their communities.
Cody Whitesell is a director of school support for the Achievement Network, coaching school leaders in Eastern Massachusetts. In this position he partners with schools to establish and refine systems that promote data-driven, standards-aligned instruction. A Teach For America alumnus, he taught high school math in Indianapolis, Indiana and middle school math in Brooklyn, New York. He aspires to have a small and valuable part in changing lives for students in Indianapolis.
Stacy Miller is a middle school/high school ELA Teacher at Passages Academy. Passages Academy is a school in New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) District 79 and serves students in placement and detention settings. In 2015 Stacy was a founding teacher at Passages Academy’s first female limited secure placement facility – the first of its kind in New York City. While teaching at this facility Stacy also coordinated community events and testing. Stacy has ten years of experience serving youths in the juvenile justice system. She has been a teacher at Passages Academy since 2012. Prior to joining Passages Academy Stacy taught at New York City DOE’s East River Academy on Rikers Island. Before working at East River Academy Stacy was a member of the education departments at Friends of Island Academy and the Fortune Society. During her tenure at these CBO’s, she created educational curricula that supported youths who were reentering their home communities and transitioning out of the Juvenile Justice system. Stacy is excited to be a member of the SPA 2017 cohort. She plans to be a leader who creates innovative educational programs that support the unique needs of students in alternative educational settings.
Jess Wall teaches special education at Democracy Prep, a public charter school that serves low income children from Harlem and the Bronx. In this position, she has developed a special education program as department coordinator that meets that varying needs of students with academic and behavioral struggles. She also teaches as an adjunct professor of special education at Relay Graduate School of Education. She aspires to one day lead a school that is dedicated to the successes of individuals with severe disabilities.
Maximilian Andre Cole teaches 10th and 11th grade Algebra with Advanced Trigonometry and Geometry at Manley Career Academy High School, which serves a predominantly African-American population on Chicago's West-side. In this position, he serves as an educator, teacher representative for the Local School Council, Boy’s Cross Country coach, Assistant Head Basketball coach for the Boy’s Varsity team, Boy’s Track and Field coach, co-sponsor of the African-American Male Initiative at Manley, co-sponsor of the Sophomore Class, and Union Delegate for the Chicago Teachers Union. Previously, Maximilian has helped students get acclimated to high school through a Freshmen Seminar course, assisted students with constructing feasible post-secondary plans through a Senior Seminar course, augmented students' appreciation for African-American achievements through an African-American Studies class, supported students with the development of their communication skills through a rigorous English class, and helped students demonstrate competency regarding Common Core State Standards in both Algebra and Geometry. Lastly, Maximilian aspires to garner comprehensive information pertaining to the functions, performance, and overall interworkings of an effective principal while at the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Taylor Hamilton teaches 11th-12th grade math at James Campbell High School in Hawaii. In this position, he teaches an AP Statistics course, coaches JV and Varsity Football, and collaborates on multiple initiatives and projects throughout the school year. Taylor aspires to continue his learning on what it will take to become a principal or head of school someday and navigate students, faculty, staff, and a community to be change agents and work together as one.
Danté Jennings teaches 7th-grade Mathematics at Jean Ribault Middle School, which serves students in the Jacksonville, Florida area. In this position, he has had the privilege to serve as grade level lead, co-site director of the 5000 Role Models, and Teacher of the Year. He aspires to utilize his experiences to revolutionize the system of education for all.
ShikahKofie teaches 7th Grade English Language Arts at YES Prep Public Schools, in Houston, Texas. In addition to this position, she sets and monitors the 7th-grade level culture and coaches teachers on grade level systems, procedures, and expectations. Previously Shikah was a 2014 Teach for America Corps Member in Houston, Texas. She aspires to become an innovative school leader equipped with the skills needed to operate a successful school in an underserved community.
Jennifer Lennon teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) to students in a public elementary school that serves students of diverse backgrounds in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. Previously, she taught special education. She aspires to create a learning community where every student has the support he or she needs to reach his or her fullest potential, where teachers utilize collaboration to provide students with consistent and innovative learning opportunities, and where every child is valued for the individual that he or she is.
Gila Ogle teaches civics at the SEED School of Miami, a public charter boarding school that serves students from South Florida. In her current position, Gila takes great pride in working with a wonderful team to prepare informed and active citizens, ready to engage in the ever-globalizing world and to work to solve its problems. Gila works to build a compassionate and responsive school community through empowerment and activism by sponsoring the Student Government Association, Model United Nations delegation, and mock trial team. Gila has taught various social studies courses & math at differing grade levels. At SPA, Gila is looking forward to building relationships with other like-minded colleagues to develop alternative solutions to the challenges of modern education.
Teachers College, Columbia University 525 W 120th Street New York, New York 10027-6696 Russell Hall Box 16