Mentor teachers

Meet Season 4's award-winning team of Mentor Teachers.

Our Mentor Teachers, chosen for their record of moving kids academically fast, partner with teachers in districts and networks across the country to deliver teaching that transcends the ordinary.

Season 4: Summer 2023

Abrielle Laurent

Abrielle began her career as a kindergarten through second-grade teacher at Martin Behrman Charter School in New Orleans. After eight years, she joined Young Audiences Charter School as an ELA and literacy instructional coach, where she led teacher development in Great Minds, Geodes, Wit and Wisdom, and Wilson Foundations Tier 1 curricula. While there, Abrielle served as assistant principal and professional development coordinator, and earned her National Institute for Excellence in Teaching certification. Abrielle is currently a learning consultant at Canva, a platform aimed at creating more accessible design, where she helps schools and districts implement digital strategies. She is also the manager of curriculum achievement and instruction for foundational literacy with KIPP Texas Public Schools. Abrielle earned her B.A. in elementary education from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Alejandro De La Cruz

Alejandro began his career at Achievement First East New York as a second-grade teacher and a lead math planner, as well as a basketball coach and Saturday support teacher. Alejandro then taught fifth-grade at Almaden Country Day School in San Jose, California, where he later served as the learning support coordinator for kindergarten through eighth-grades and provided instructional coaching to a diverse staff. He currently teaches students in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms in the Durham School District in Ontario, Canada. There, Alejandro provides differentiated instruction and collaborates with classroom teachers. Alejandro earned his B.A. in legal studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his M.Ed. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Aly Shampain

Aly began teaching first and third grade at Success Academy Charter School in New York City as an integrated co-teacher and grade team lead; she went on to become the school's special education teacher support service provider. She was soon selected to be a “labsite” teacher, an exemplar for the Success network. While teaching special education in the 2017-18 year, 93 percent of her class was found proficient or advanced on the state ELA exam and 96 percent on the math exam. Aly then became a second-grade head teacher at The Dwight School, an international network of private schools, where 91 percent of her students read at or above grade level. Aly earned her B.S. from Pennsylvania State University in elementary education and a dual M.A. from Touro College. 

Anna Leonhard

Anna began her career teaching second-grade multilingual learners at Match Community Day School in Boston. Anna then moved to Denver, where she taught kindergarten and middle school literature and English language development at STRIVE Preparatory Schools. There, she was awarded Advanced Teacher status in ELA. Anna relocated to Atlanta, her hometown, where she served as humanities curriculum director at the Kindezi Schools, a kindergarten through eighth grade charter network. Anna is currently the director of program development at WPS Institute, where she oversees the delivery, recruitment, and development of research-based professional learning programs in underserved schools. Anna holds a B.A. in teaching English as a second language from the Moody Bible Institute and an M.A. from Georgia State University.

Anna Reeve

Anna began her career as a special education teacher with Teach for America in New York City. She went on to work as a special services leader and academic dean at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn. There, Anna was named a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. For the past eight years, she has been a literacy and special education consultant for both the New York City Collaborative for Inclusive Education and the Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Charter Schools. Anna also spends time in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic leading teacher professional development. She earned her B.A. in urban education from New York University and an M.A. from Pace University.

Bayron Rivas

Bayron started his career as a teacher fellow with Americorp at Citizen Schools in Newark teaching middle school and college readiness. After serving as a sixth-grade math teacher and grade team leader with the Newark Public Schools, he moved to Success Academy in New York where he was a training and development manager. During his tenure at Success Academy, over 95 percent of his students passed the New York math exam for four consecutive years. In 2019, his eighth-grade students achieved a pass rate of 89 percent on the Regents Examination in Algebra I. Bayron now teaches seventh-grade math and is STEM assistant principal at KIPP Team Academy. He has a B.A in sociology from Rutgers University and an M.A from St. Peter's University in New Jersey.

Bradley Jensen

Bradley began his career teaching ninth-grade and tenth-grade English, creative writing, and theater arts at Newton North High School in Massachusetts. He then moved to New York City and joined the Brooklyn Prospect charter school network, first as a ninth-grade literature teacher at their high school, then as a founding eighth-grade ELA teacher, literacy department head, independent reading coordinator, and grade-level lead at Clinton Hill Middle School. Last year, Bradley worked with NSSI as a sixth-grade literature Mentor Teacher, modeling the successful implementation of the progressive pedagogy for partner educators. Bradley earned his B.A. in English teaching with a minor in African American studies from the University of New Hampshire and an M.Ed. from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education as a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar.

Bridgid Goodwin

Bridgid began her career at Success Academy Charter School in Harlem, where she taught kindergarten through third grade in both general education and special education settings. Later Bridgid was a founding teacher and grade-level team lead at Success Academy Union Square. Her class ranked in the top 25 percent of the network, while achieving less than a fifteen percent variance between her students with IEPs and those in general education classrooms. She is now an elementary special education resource teacher in the Hoboken School District. She currently serves as a committee member on her school’s Intervention and Related Services Team. Bridgid earned her B.A. in elementary education with a minor in special education at Loyola University Maryland and an M.S. from Touro University. She is pursuing an education supervisor certificate from New Jersey City University.

Brittany Brooks

Brittany began with Teach for America in Charleston, South Carolina, where she taught the third and fourth grades at Sanders Clyde Creative Arts Elementary School. Brittany’s third-grade students achieved one of the highest rates of fall-to-spring growth on the NWEA MAP assessment. She became grade-level chair for five years in both third and fourth grades. Subsequently, Brittany joined KIPP Jacksonville as an assistant principal, where she coached kindergarten through fourth grade in reading and math, and served on the core equity and culture team. Currently, she is an assistant principal with the Shelby County Schools in Memphis. Brittany earned a B.A. in political science from College of Charleston, an M.A. from Francis Marion University, and an Ed.M. from Columbia University.

Caroline Roth

Caroline began with Teach for America in Los Angeles, teaching high school English as a second language. After teaching middle school history and English, she returned to her hometown of New York City, where she taught seventh-grade English with Achievement First Endeavor Middle School and was named a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher. As the school's ELA and history academic dean and principal-in-residence, Caroline led her team through the transition to Common Core standards and a 25 percentage point increase in student proficiency on the state’s ELA assessment. She then served as the school’s principal for five years; the school posted double-digit proficiency gains in both ELA and math. Today, Caroline is an educational consultant, specializing in school leader and teacher coaching and professional development. She earned her B.A in English from Dartmouth College and her M.A from Loyola Marymount University.

Carrie Roby

Carrie began her career teaching second and third grades for Teach for America in the South Bronx. Her students made on average 1.7 grades of growth in reading per year and 84 percent were found proficient in math. Carrie was a founding second grade teacher and leadership resident at Success Academy's flagship school, before becoming founding principal of Success Academy Upper West. Her school received the Blackboard Award for Rising Star Grade Schools and was ranked first in math and eighth in ELA, based on student performance on the New York State assessments. Carrie was a cognitively guided instruction (CGI) math consultant for various schools in Minnesota and most recently worked as a dean of instruction at Hiawatha Academies. Carrie earned a B.A. from Harvard University in psychology and an M.S. from Pace University.

Chris Friedline

Chris began his career with Teach For America in Washington D.C. as a grade-level leader and seventh-grade math teacher. He then moved to Achievement First (AF) Bushwick Middle School, where 100 percent of his seventh-grade math students passed the NY State Exam, with 75 percent scoring advanced. Chris held the roles of STEM academic dean, principal of Elm City College Prep middle school, curriculum specialist and writer, and director of high school math achievement. He was a principal writer of AF's widely distributed secondary math curriculum. For the last three years, Chris has taught eighth-grade Algebra 1 and is the math coach at KIPP One Academy in Chicago. Chris earned his B.S. in physics with minors in religious studies and mathematics from Arizona State University and his M.A. from American University.

Christina Gellos

Christina began her career teaching seventh grade math as a Teach for America corps member at Achievement First East New York Middle School in Brooklyn. Over three years, she increased student proficiency on the New York Common Core mathematics exam by 43 percentage points. She then joined the school’s leadership team as academic dean for math, coaching and developing teachers and managing the math department. The following year her school achieved 92 percent proficiency across all grades on the New York Common Core math exam. Currently, Christina also coaches history. Christina earned a B.A. in public policy, with a minor in education and political science, from Duke University and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education. She is pursuing an M.Ed. in education leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Colleen Linthicum

Colleen began her career with Teach for America teaching second-grade in Charlotte, North Carolina. While there, she increased student reading proficiency by an average of two years. Colleen then joined Achievement First as a senior associate of ELA and went on to become the director of kindergarten through second-grade ELA achievement. She has also worked as a literacy consultant for the New York Charter Center and as an adjunct professor at Relay Graduate School of Education. Currently, Colleen is an educational consultant focusing on literacy programming, professional development, and coaching support. Colleen earned a B.A. in history from The College of the Holy Cross and her M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Courtney Wynne

Courtney began her career with Teach for America in Miami, where she taught middle school ELA through English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). She implemented data-driven differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students speaking Spanish and Haitian Creole. Courtney then taught eighth-grade writing at Achievement First Voyager in Brooklyn, New York. In 2020, she delivered ELA instruction virtually via live video, helping AF’s students succeed in learning remotely. Courtney then moved back to Miami and returned to the classroom in person at Miami Country Day School, where she currently teaches eighth-grade English. Courtney earned her B.A. in foreign affairs and Spanish at the University of Virginia and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Danielle Perkins

Danielle began her career as a Teach for America corps member teaching middle school in the Kansas City Public Schools. She then joined Achievement First in New York, where she taught eighth-grade literature and writing for seven years. Danielle was named a Stage 5 Master Teacher by the network, their highest level of recognition. She then moved to the Brooklyn Friends School, where she taught seventh and eighth grade and was the ELA department head for their middle and high schools. Danielle has spent the last six years developing a rigorous curriculum that centers diverse texts and emphasizes project-based learning. She earned her B.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from the King’s College and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Missouri St. Louis and Relay School of Education. 

Eileen Jonas

Eileen began her teaching career at Success Academy in New York City. There, as a fourth-grade teacher, 100 percent of her students passed both the math and ELA New York State exams. At Success, Eileen went on to become a grade team lead and later assistant principal. Now in North Carolina, she is the assistant principal at KIPP Academy Charlotte. The systems and instructional methods Eileen has implemented have increased reading results by 20 percentage points across the school in just six months. Eileen is a part of the Wheatley Writing Pilot and the KIPP North Carolina literacy working group, which both examine best practices to ensure effective execution of the curriculum. Eileen earned her B.A. in history with a minor in education from Binghamton University and an M.S. from Touro College.

Ellie Bridges

Ellie is the director of ELA at NSSI. She spent the first fourteen years of her career teaching History, ELA, and reading intervention at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School in Brooklyn. In addition to Ellie's teaching responsibilities, she served as grade-level chair, department chair, curriculum writer, and coach. In 2022, Ellie's students posted the highest percent proficient on the New York Common Core English Language Arts exam in the network. Ellie was named a Stage 5 Master Teacher, the network’s highest distinction, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. Ellie currently works as a special education coordinator supporting and advocating for over 100 students with IEPs. Ellie earned her B.A. in developmental psychology at George Washington University and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Emily Banks

Emily began her career with Teacher for America in Washington, D.C., where she taught middle school math. She has since served as teacher, academic dean, and principal at Achievement First schools in New Haven and Hartford, Connecticut. During her tenure as principal, Emily led the expansion of the school from freshmen only to a fully-scaled high school, where 95 percent of graduating seniors take at least four AP courses. U.S. News and World Report named Emily’s school the number three high school in the state in 2018 and 2019.  Emily currently supports districts with leadership development and mathematics programming as a director of student learning experiences at Springpoint and a leadership coach at TNTP. She earned her B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College and M.A.T. from American University.

Emily Gutman

Emily left the world of finance after seven years to begin a career in education. She joined Achievement First (AF) Bushwick Middle School in Brooklyn, where she continues to serve today. In 2019, 80 percent of Emily’s fifth-grade and sixth-grade math students were found proficient on the New York state math exam. She was named a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher by AF, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. Emily is a coach and trainer of new and veteran teachers and is now an academic dean of math, the seventh grade math chair, and the teacher-in-residence program coordinator at her school. She earned her B.A. in economics at Barnard College and M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Erin Hortsch

Erin spent the first six years of her career teaching kindergarten, first-grade and fifth-grade in Portland, Oregon. She also served as the school’s literacy specialist, working with students across the grades. Erin wrote and edited middle school English language arts curricula for Wit and Wisdom at Great Minds. She is now a consultant for Curriculum Associates providing professional development in their programs in Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon. Erin conducted research on early literacy for the University of Portland and Portland Public School District. Erin earned her B.S. in journalism with a minor in elementary education from the University of Oregon, and her M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Portland.

Gwendolyn Page

Gwendolyn began her career teaching high school English on Long Island, then in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she earned the Novice Teacher of the Year Award in 2010. She returned to New York to teach high school English at Achievement First East Brooklyn High School. There, Gwendolyn earned Achievement First's (AF) Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher award for student achievement and quality of instruction, and served as the ELA academic dean. She later was the associate director of high school ELA for the network, where she designed curriculum and collaborated with teachers and leaders across several high schools to ensure instruction met AF’s rigorous standards. Gwendolyn is now a literacy educational consultant in the Metro New York area for Teaching Matters. She earned both her B.A. in English and M.A. from James Madison University.

Hannah Madoff

Hannah began her career with Teach for America as a ninth-grade Algebra I teacher in Washington, DC. She then taught geometry and AP Statistics at Achievement First Brooklyn High School, and later was part of the founding team at Achievement First East Brooklyn High School (EBHS). Hannah led the inaugural class of students to a 98 percent pass rate on the Algebra 1 Regents, and a 93 percent pass rate on the Geometry Regents. She was named a Stage 5 Master Teacher, the network's highest distinction, awarded to only the top two percent of their 1,300 teachers. Hannah also served as a grade-level chair, curriculum lead, math department chair, and the associate academic dean. Hannah earned a B.A. in political science from University of Michigan, an M.A. from American University, and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Ifrat Syeda

Ifrat began her career as a founding fifth-grade humanities teacher at Success Academy in New York City, and has since taught both humanities and STEM classes. On Success’s content design and management team, Ifrat was middle school content lead. Her students consistently ranked in the top three percent in the network, and 100 percent passed both the New York State math and ELA assessments. Ifrat was a finalist for the New York City Big Apple Award for exceptional teaching. She served as assistant principal for a Success kindergarten through eighth-grade labsite school showcasing exceptional teaching in the network. Ifrat currently supports schools and districts in the tri-state area in developing students’ language and literacy skills through digital learning solutions. She earned her B.A. in biology from Hunter College and M.S. from Touro University.

Jacquelyn Delgado

Jacquelyn began her career with Teach For America in Phoenix, where she taught fifth-grade math for three years. During that time she was given the highest rating, highly effective, on the Charlotte Danielson Framework and awarded the Sontag Prize in Urban Education in 2018. Jacquelyn was a Corps Member Advisor for Teach For America’s teacher preparation program in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona for two years coaching middle school and high school math teachers. Jaquelyn then joined her current school, the South Street School in Newark, New Jersey, her home state. There, she has taught middle school math and Algebra 1 and served as math team leader. Jacquelyn earned a B.A. in both mathematics and elementary education from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey and her M. Ed. from Penn State University.

Jo Dominique

Jo began her teaching career teaching kindergarten, third-grade math, and social studies at the elementary academy of Achievement First Hartford. As a third-grade math teacher, her students attained some of the highest scores in the network on the Connecticut Common Core exam, and she was named grade-level chair. 79 percent of her students were found proficient, with 47 percent found advanced. Jo then became a dean of students and STEM at the middle academy. During the pandemic, students in several grades in the middle academy were still able to produce top scores in math on network weekly quizzes. Today, Jo is a humanities dean in the school’s high school academy. Jo earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Connecticut, an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University, and an Ed.D. from the University of New England.

John Burnett

John began his career with Teach for America at Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia, teaching ninth-grade and twelfth-grade English. His class earned the top ninth-grade achievement results in his school on the Georgia state exam. John then joined Uncommon Schools’ Excellence Boys Charter School as a seventh-grade English teacher and later served as department chair and dean of curriculum and instruction. He then went on to become a principal in residence at New Orleans College Prep, assistant principal at KIPP Northeast, and principal at KIPP Polaris. John holds his Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coaching Federation, and currently is a leadership development coach at BES. John earned his B.A. in English at Morehouse College and an M.S. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Jonathan Laven

Jon taught math at Western High School in Las Vegas before enrolling at the Yale Divinity School, where he served as program manager of the school’s leadership development program. Jon was then the founding math teacher and department chair at Hiawatha Collegiate High School in Minneapolis. Pursuing his interest in educational leadership, he led Teach for America summer institutes for high school math teachers and wrote curriculum in math and culturally responsive pedagogy. Jon is now the dean of instruction for the Hiawatha Academies. He graduated with a B.A. in math and philosophy from St. Olaf College and earned an M.Ed. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an M.A. from the Yale Divinity School.

Jordan Davis

Jordan began his career with Teach For America in Brooklyn, where he taught fifth-grade through eighth-grade math. He then joined Uncommon Schools as a summer teaching fellow and grade-level chair. Jordan went on to become an instructional leader with NYC Teaching Fellows, and then an assistant principal at KIPP Texas Public Schools. He returned to Brooklyn as a sixth-grade math teacher and a STEM instructional coach at Achievement First (AF) Endeavor Middle School, where he currently teaches middle school math and recently piloted AF’s music and performance program. Last year, Jordan’s seventh-grade students had the highest proficiency level in the AF network on the New York Common Core math exam. Jordan received his B.A. in communication and education studies from DePauw University and received his M.A.T. from Relay Graduate School of Education. 

Jordan McNiven

Jordan began his career leading youth development and after-school programs in his hometown of Minneapolis. As a program coordinator and instructor at the YMCA, he oversaw experiential learning and led trips to New York City, Sweden, Russia, and Peru. Jordan taught fifth-grade social studies and coached soccer at the Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn. Returning to Minneapolis, he joined Hiawatha Academies, where for six years he has taught ELA at the elementary and middle schools. In 2020, he was awarded the National University Teacher Award for the state of Minnesota. Jordan earned his B.A. from the University of Minnesota in psychology and comparative literature and an M.A. from the Relay Graduate School of Education.

Kirby Jarrell

Kirby began with Teach for America in Prince George's County, Maryland, where she taught middle school ELA for three years. She then joined Uncommon Schools at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in New York City. There, Kirby was selected as one of eight Teach Like a Champion fellows, working with Doug Lemov and the TLAC team to be filmed using teaching strategies from Reading Reconsidered in her classroom. Kirby is currently an eighth-grade ELA teacher and instructional coach at Bushwick Middle School, part of the Achievement First (AF) network. Kirby was named a Stage 5 Master Teacher, the network’s highest recognition, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. Kirby earned her B.A. in English from Georgetown University and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Leah Samaha

Leah began her career teaching first-grade and fourth-grade at Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn. She went on to teach at Success Academy Cobble Hill, where 100 percent of her class passed both the ELA and math state exams, one of only ten classrooms in the network. While there, she designed academic intervention programs, coached teachers, and led a Labsite classroom, a distinction given to fewer than five percent of the Success Academy classroom teachers. Today, Leah works at Transcend Education partnering with schools across the country to create innovative school designs. Leah earned her B.A. in English literature from Princeton University, an M.S. from Relay Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Luana Braithwaite

Luana started her career in education in Newark, where she taught second grade at Uncommon Schools North Star Academy. During her three years there, she was also a grade-level chair and first-grade teacher. Each year, Luana’s students scored at the top of the network on math interim assessments and met all proficiency benchmarks in reading. After joining Achievement First (AF) Brownsville Elementary, she was recognized as a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher for delivering significant student achievement and meeting rigorous requirements. Luana is currently an academic dean at AF North Brooklyn Prep, where she serves kindergarten and first grade, the highest performing grades in the school. Luana earned her B.A. in childhood education at SUNY Cortland and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Mallory Morris

Mallory Morris began her career as a seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher in Champaign, Illinois, where she was named Outstanding Beginning Educator. In 2014, Mallory transitioned to the role of assistant principal, where she continued to support students by supporting teacher growth. In her most recent role as a district coordinator of data, design, and inquiry, Mallory co-led the strategic planning process, led three schools through whole-school redesign, and supported curriculum development. Currently, Mallory serves as the associate director of learning design for Digital Promise. Mallory attended the University of Illinois, where she earned a B.S. in elementary education, an M.Ed in curriculum and instruction, and an M.Ed in educational organization and leadership. Mallory is currently a doctoral candidate at Drexel University.

Marcella Chibbaro

Marcella began her career with Teach for America in Brooklyn at Achievement First (AF) Endeavor Middle School, where she taught seventh-grade math and led her students to double the proficiency of the district average. During her time at AF, she served as a grade-level chair, curriculum fellow, interim dean, course facilitator, and associate director of middle school math achievement, in addition to teaching middle school math. Marcella was named a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. She worked internationally teaching fifth grade in Guatemala City and most recently math in a secondary school in Cambridge, England. Marcella earned her B.A. in international relations with a minor in Spanish at Stanford University and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Mary Elizabeth Taylor

Mary Elizabeth began her career teaching kindergarten in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 2006, she joined Achievement First, where she was a teacher, team leader, and math curriculum fellow for the network. As a classroom teacher, more than 85 percent of her students achieved a score of 90 percent or better on network math assessments. Mary Elizabeth continued to grow at Achievement First, becoming a curriculum designer on the Greenfield team, creating content for self-directed learning and cognitively guided instruction (CGI) math. She is now the math instructional specialist for Excellence Community Schools, where, in 2021, 93 percent of her students were found proficient in math on the Connecticut state test. Mary Elizabeth earned a B.A. in education at Elmira College in New York.

Megan Korngold

Eileen began her teaching career at Success Academy in New York City. There, as a fourth-grade teacher, 100 percent of her students passed both the math and ELA New York State exams. At Success, Eileen went on to become a grade team lead and later assistant principal. Now in North Carolina, she is the assistant principal at KIPP Academy Charlotte. The systems and instructional methods Eileen has implemented have increased reading results by 20 percent across the school in just six months. Eileen is a part of the Wheatley Writing Pilot and the KIPP North Carolina literacy working group, which both examine best practices to ensure effective execution of the curriculum. Eileen earned her B.A. in history with a minor in education from Binghamton University and an M.S. from Touro College.

Melanie Green

Melanie began her career with Teach for America teaching eighth-grade math in Newark. She then joined Achievement First Voyager Middle School in Brooklyn as a founding fifth-grade math teacher. She went on to teach sixth-grade math and was named grade-level chair and math dean. Melanie's fifth-grade and sixth-grade students increased their proficiency on the New York State Common Core math assessment by 28 and 26 percentage points, respectively. As dean, she led her math faculty to make the highest student growth of Achievement First’s ten schools for each of the past four years. Achievement First named Melanie a Distinguished Stage 4 Teacher and a principal fellow. Melanie earned a B.S. in economics and public policy from Duke University and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Melissa Monaco Phillips

Melissa began her career teaching third through fifth grades in Chicago and Boulder. She then became an instructional coach, school leader, and national consultant with a focus on distributed leadership, equity-focused design, and instructional quality in both charter and traditional public schools. In the wake of the pandemic, Melissa partnered with several Texas communities and nonprofits to redesign their schools through state and federal grants. She has been a middle school ELA curriculum reviewer for the Texas Education Agency and supported ELA teachers implementing new curricula. Melissa earned a B.A. from Wheaton College, an M.S.Ed. from Chicago State University, and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Raenesha Sheppard

Raenesha began her career at Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia teaching twelfth-grade literature and AP literature. There, she served as eighth-grade social justice teacher, fifth-grade writing teacher, tenth-grade literature teacher, and dean of students. After several years at Mastery, Raenesha joined KIPP Camden High School, where she was the tenth-grade level chair and college and career readiness teacher. She is currently the director of literacy for the Belmont Charter Network in Philadelphia. Raenesha recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership and published her dissertation, Lift Every Voice: An Exploration of the Impact and Experiences of First-Generation College Graduates that Have Become Educators. She earned her B.A. in English from Temple University and her M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Holy Family University.

Rebekah Mills-Ifshin

Rebekah began her career as an AmeriCorps adult educator in New Orleans, teaching literacy skills to adults ages 17 to over 70. Rebekah became a teachNola teacher fellow, completing the TNTP Academy program with distinction, and placing in the top 10 percent of all teachers trained in 2013. At FirstLine Schools, Rebekah worked as a kindergarten teacher and kindergarten through second-grade instructional coach. She later became the assistant principal and RTI coordinator at Samuel J. Green Charter School. Rebekah joined the ARISE Schools network as literacy director and then director of kindergarten through second grade. Now in her home state of Mississippi, Rebekah provides literacy consulting services to schools and districts. She received her B.A. in sociology with a minor in gender studies at the University of Mississippi and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Roberto de Leon

Roberto began his career as a Teach for America corps member teaching special education in the Bronx. He then taught third grade and was a staff developer at Uncommon School's Excellence Boys Charter School in Brooklyn, where his work was featured in Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion. Later, at Democracy Prep Public Schools, Roberto was a founding teacher and curriculum director. He was then a consultant/teacher coach for numerous school districts, including Achievement First, where he was named a Stage 5 Master Teacher, the network’s highest distinction. After moving to California, Roberto taught sixth grade in a rural public school, where nearly all of his students passed the state’s ELA exam. He earned his B.A. in education from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.Ed. from the City University of New York.

Robert Hawke

Robert began his career at Episcopal High School in Houston teaching Spanish. He then joined KIPP Academy in Fresno as a founding fifth-grade and seventh-grade math teacher, where he was awarded the KIPP Excellence in Teaching Award, one of only ten recipients nationwide. Robert became the founding principal at KIPP Impact Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, which, under his leadership, ranked first out of 57 KIPP middle schools nationwide in reading and math growth. Robert then joined Elm City College Prep in New Haven, Connecticut, where he served as STEM academic dean, then principal and humanities dean. Robert is currently the director of middle school math at Achievement First in New Haven. He earned his B.S. in mathematics, linguistics, and Spanish from Rice University and his M.A. from National-Louis University.

Rochelle Murray

Rochelle began her career with Teach for America in the Miami-Dade school district teaching sixth-grade math while leading instructional teams. She then joined UP Education Network in Boston, where her students achieved 93 percent in median student growth (mSGP) on the state test. Rochelle then joined Achievement First in Brooklyn as a middle school academic dean of math and later became a founding principal. Under her leadership, the school’s eighth-grade students scored in the top one percent of proficiency in New York State in 2017. Rochelle is now an educational consultant, specializing in leadership coaching and professional development. She earned her B.S. in elementary education from Boston University, an M.S.Ed. from University of Miami, and an M.Ed. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Ryan Reardon

Ryan began her career teaching fourth grade at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Springs, Maryland, where she later became a math and science teacher for fourth and fifth grades. She then taught fourth grade at Achievement First (AF) Bushwick Elementary School in Brooklyn. Ryan went on to become an achievement director for the AF network. In that role, she helped to develop AF’s culturally-responsive humanities curriculum, which is firmly based in the science of reading and Common Core standards. Ryan currently provides professional development and coaches teachers and leaders in implementing curriculum rooted in the science of reading in schools in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Ryan earned her B.A. in elementary education from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. from University of Maryland at College Park.

Sarah Brickley

Sarah began her career teaching third-grade bilingual special education inclusion with Teach for America in the Bronx. As a fourth-grade classroom teacher at Success Academy, 100 percent of her students passed the New York State exams. She went on to lead the Success network’s elementary math program, whose results consistently ranked in the top one percent of New York State schools. Sarah then became director of the Achievement First middle school math program, where she spearheaded a shift to culturally relevant curricula. Sarah has also taught at an American school in Morocco, trained NYC teaching fellows, and consulted with a number of charter networks. Currently, Sarah is a math coach at Lowell Community School in Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. with a double major in journalism and Spanish from New York University and an M.Ed. from Lehman College.

Sarah Medve

Sarah began her teaching career with Teach for America as an eighth-grade math teacher, middle school lead, and math department chair at Thomas Carr Howe High School in Indianapolis. She was named Teacher of the Year at her school in 2020. Sarah was also a policy fellow with Teach Plus, where she conducted research and advocated for proposed education policy change, including transparency in teacher retention data. Since then, she has served as an eighth-grade Algebra I teacher and grade-level chair at Achievement First East New York Middle School in Brooklyn. In 2022, Sarah’s students achieved an 81 percent passing rate on the Regents Exam, 24 percent above the network's high school average. Sarah earned her B.B.A. in business management from James Madison University and an M.Ed. from Marian University.

Scotty Jean-Baptiste

Scotty began his career with Teach for America in Ruleville, Mississippi, where he taught eighth-grade math. He led his students to achieve 91 percent proficiency on the 2014 year-end state test, the sixth-highest test scores in Mississippi. Scotty then served as the math academic dean for Achievement First Summit Middle School, where he led a 24 percentage point increase in math proficiency over two years. He remained in instructional leadership roles until he joined the 2022 Education Pioneers Covid Recovery Fellowship. In his new role, Scotty is responsible for managing and progress monitoring Covid recovery projects across the Boston Public Schools District. Scotty earned his B.A. in communications and political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Sean Healey

Sean began his career teaching ninth-grade and eleventh-grade math with Teach For America in Philadelphia and later managed the organization’s recruitment team. Sean then joined Uncommon Prep Charter High School as a founding math teacher and later served as a grade team leader, STEM instructional leader, and dean of curriculum and instruction. He then became the school’s principal and, during the pandemic, drove the planning and execution of remote and hybrid learning and the return to in-person learning. Sean was a member of the inaugural cohort of the All Means All Inclusive School Leadership Program, a national fellowship for building more equitable and inclusive learning communities. He is the director of strategy and operations for Uncommon’s curriculum and assessment team. Sean earned his B.A. in international relations and his M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stephanie Sun

Stephanie began her career with Teach for America in New Haven, Connecticut as a founding English teacher for middle school students who had been expelled from their public school. She then worked at Harlem Village Academy and, later, Achievement First Brownsville Middle School as grade-level chair, curriculum fellow, and Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher. There, she was awarded TNTP's Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Teaching in 2015. Stephanie then joined MESA (Math, Science, and Engineering Academy) Charter High School, where she has taught courses including ninth-grade freshman seminar and composition, AP Language and Composition, and college writing for her current seniors. Stephanie earned her B.A. in English literature at NYU and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Taylor Janney

Taylor began her career with Success Academy Charter Schools, working with students in grades five through eight. She was grade team lead of the number one ranked sixth-grade team in the Success network. Taylor went on to become a founding teacher and administrator at Valence College Prep in Rego Park, Queens. There, she was named a “Changemaker” by her colleagues and created a professional development program promoting inclusive instruction and the Universal Design for Learning. Taylor recently lent her expertise as a dramaturg to the New York City Children’s Theater's staged adaptation of Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s novel “Fish in a Tree,” performed for young audiences Off-Broadway. Taylor earned her B.F.A. in drama from Syracuse University and her M.S. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Tiffany Delhagen

As a Teach for America corps member, Tiffany taught middle school ELA in the New York City schools. She then became part of the planning committee and founding staff of The Eagle Academy for Young Men in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, where she headed the English department and facilitated professional development. Tiffany took a sabbatical from the DOE in 2014 to conduct an educational research project in India. When she returned, she led interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum design at a small, progressive school in Brooklyn before joining an independent school, Avenues: The World School. Currently, Tiffany teaches ELA at a charter school in Asheville, NC. Tiffany holds a B.A. in English literature from the College of Wooster, an M.A. from Middlebury College, an M.S. from Pace University, and an M.A. from Bank Street School of Education.

Will Roble

Will began his teaching career with Teach for America in the Bronx. He went on to teach middle school math at Rise Academy, a KIPP school in Newark, then Achievement First (AF) in New York. There, Will’s eighth grade class achieved 100 percent proficiency on the New York state exam, and he later went on to become the director of middle school math achievement. Will then joined Avenues: The World School, an international network of private schools, where he taught a thinking skills class designed to strengthen conceptual reasoning, build cognitive flexibility, and promote empathy. He currently teaches seventh-grade and eighth-grade math and leads a math circle and the middle school math team at Greenwich Academy, an all-girls private school. Will holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology and Italian studies from Trinity College and a M.S. from Pace University.

Zachary Zeppieri

Zach began his career in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a teachNOLA fellow in New Orleans. There, he taught first grade at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School and then for the FirstLine charter network. In his last year in New Orleans, Zach’s first graders had the most growth citywide on the Terranova assessments. Since leaving New Orleans, Zach has taught first and second grades in New York City. Now at KIPP Infinity Elementary School, he is a dean of teaching and learning and instructional coach. Zach is a KIPP NYC Leader Fellow. He earned a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in Italian at Saint Michael’s College, an M.S. Ed. from the College of St. Rose and an Ed.M. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Inspiring always

Revisit the Mentors of Seasons 1, 2, and 3

  • Summer 2022

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