Get inspired

Meet Season 2's 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 2: Summer 2021

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. 

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.

Cheryl M. Kelley-Henderson

Cheryl began her career as a music educator, teaching in elementary schools in Miami and at Miami Dade Community College where she was an adjunct professor. While earning her PhD in educational leadership and music education in Memphis, Cheryl joined KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary, where she chaired the enrichment department and taught literacy and music. She is now the school’s assistant principal and ELA instructional coach. Cheryl also serves as a leadership coach for the KIPP region’s School Leadership program and as an ELA literacy curriculum coach for the KIPP Foundation Teaching and Learning Team. Cheryl earned a B.A. in choral music education and vocal performance from Philander Smith College, an M.Ed. from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and music education from the University of Memphis.

Corey Coleman

Corey began her career teaching at Success Academy in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, where she taught the first through the fourth grades and was grade team leader. Her classes ranked in the top 10 percent in the network, and the strategies she deployed resulted in 100% of students passing the state math exam. Later, Corey was principal of WeGrow, a private elementary school, and associate director of ELA for Achievement First’s Greenfield initiative. Most recently, she served as an education consultant at Solved, an education consulting organization in Brooklyn. Corey earned her B.A. from George Washington University in psychology and sociology and holds a M.S. in childhood general and special education from Touro College.

Erica Beal

Erica began her career teaching at Success Academy in New York City and immediately excelled: 98 percent of her third-grade students passed the state math exam and 80 percent the English Language Arts. Subsequently, at KIPP DC, Erica’s fourth- and seventh-grade students were the highest performing in the network, and she had the lowest disciplinary referrals in her school. Erica was honored with the KIPP DC Excellence in Teaching Board Award and was a finalist for the Teach for America Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is currently the senior director of program at School Leader Lab, a D.C-based organization that partners with schools and their networks to develop the next great class of leaders. Erica earned her B.A. from Georgetown University in English and African American Studies and holds an M.Ed. from Columbia University.

Evan Emenegger

Evan began his career with Teach for America in Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he taught tenth-grade English and was named Yazoo City Teacher of the Year in 2015. Since then he has served as grade-level chair, associate academic dean, and seventh-grade literature teacher at the Achievement First Apollo Middle School in Brooklyn. In 2018, Evan’s students posted the highest growth on the New York Common Core English Language Arts exam in the network. Evan earned Achievement First’s Stage 5 Distinction, the network’s highest distinction, awarded for student achievement, student character development, quality of instruction and planning, and contribution to team achievement. Evan earned his B.A. in political science with a minor in Russian at the University of Washington and an M.A. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Jadine Joseph

Jadine began her education career as a Teach for America corps member, teaching 7th and 8th grade math as a special educator at Democracy Prep in Harlem. Joining Achievement First in her native Brooklyn, Jadine taught fifth and sixth grade math, where she was named a Distinguished Stage 4 Teacher and 2016 Leadership Fellow. In two years, her students made a 46 point gain in proficiency on the state’s Common Core exams. Jadine is currently an academic dean of math and principal fellow in her Achievement First Endeavor Middle School. She earned a B.A. in political science from Howard University, and an M.St. in special education from Fordham University.

Jenika Mullen

As a Teach for America corps member, Jenika taught second grade at Achievement First’s Endeavor Elementary School in Brooklyn. In her eight years with the network, Jenika has also taught kindergarten and third grade, and served as an academic dean, instructional coach and curriculum developer. Her students have consistently excelled; in 2017, a remarkable 49 percent of her students were found “advanced” on the Connecticut Common Core exams. Currently, Jenika is principal of Achievement First’s Aspire Elementary School. Jenika earned her B.S. in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University and her M.Ed. from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Jeremiah Pickert  

Jeremiah’s teaching career began as a sixth- through eighth-grade English Language Arts and social studies teacher with Teach for America at Dodge Renaissance Academy in Chicago. While there, he raised grant money to found the first debate and poetry slam team. Jeremiah then joined the Noble charter network, where he taught AP English and composition; the eighteen young men he mentored in advisory all went on to college. Jeremiah moved to New York and joined Uncommon Schools’ Leadership Prep Canarsie, where he is the seventh-grade level lead and writing teacher. His students have consistently earned some of the top essay scores across the Brooklyn region of Uncommon Schools. Jeremiah holds a B.S. in political science and psychology from the University of Illinois and earned his teaching certificate at Dominican University.

John Kaczorek

A veteran Mentor Teacher, John began his career with Teach for America as an eighth-grade math teacher in a district school in the Bronx. Later, at KIPP’s Rise Academy in New Jersey, 86 percent of his fifth-grade math students were found proficient on the state exam. After moving to Minnesota, John joined Hiawatha College Prep, where he was a founding teacher, and for six years, principal. Under his leadership, Hiawatha Prep was recognized by Teach for America as a “School to Learn From" and was designated a Reward School by the Minnesota Department of Education. Following his tenure as principal, John served as seventh-grade teacher for three years and is currently Hiawatha’s director of curriculum and assessment. John earned his B.A. from St. John’s University in economics and a M.S. from Pace University.

Julia Steinberg

Julia began her teaching career at Achievement First East New York Middle School, where for three years she taught literature and writing to grades six through eight. Julia helped establish the school's first centralized library and developed a robust independent reading program which inspired a culture of reading schoolwide. Her students consistently outperformed their peers in the city, the district, and the Achievement First network. In 2015, Julia began teaching sixth grade English Language Arts at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. In 2016, she helped found the network’s second middle school, Clinton Hill Middle School, where she continues to teach sixth grade and lead the ELA and Humanities Department. Julia earned a B.A. from Kenyon College in English and American studies, and a M.Ed. from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Kimberly Tan

Kimberly is a fifth-grade head teacher at Ethical Culture Fieldstone School, an independent progressive school in New York that provides its students the framework and knowledge to live an ethical life. She began teaching at Success Academy in Harlem, and then joined the founding team of Central Queens Academy in Queens, where she was literacy coordinator. Her success in the classroom and commitment to progressive education led her to become a mentor, presenter, trainer, and curriculum planner. Kimberly is a native speaker of Mandarin and is fluent in Spanish. Kimberly earned a B.S. from Cornell University in human development and a M.S. from the City College of New York.

Megan Milliken

Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn. There, she taught guided reading in the fifth through eighth grades as well as fifth-grade literature, then eighth-grade English Language Arts. Achievement First named Megan a Stage 4 Distinguished Teacher based on her students’ outstanding academic successes. Later she earned the network’s highest distinction, Stage 5 Master Teacher, and began coaching teachers-in-residence, writing teachers, and learning specialists. She then became the ELA department head and seventh-grade ELA teacher at Prospect Charter Clinton Hill Middle School. Currently, she is their associate director of literacy and special education. Megan earned a B.A from the University of Georgia in journalism, a M.A from the University of Georgia, and a M.Ed. from Fordham University.

Mirella Sales

Mirella began her career as a math fellow at a middle school in Houston. She then joined KIPP, first in Houston and later in Austin, to teach middle school math. In 2015, she was tapped by KIPP Connect in Houston to be the founding sixth-grade math teacher, rising to course leader, instructional coach, and math department chair. In 2017, she became the school’s founding algebra teacher, and in 2018, the dean of math instruction. Currently, Mirella serves as social emotional learning director for Connect Community. The KIPP Foundation awarded Mirella the Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Kinder Foundation their Excellence in Teaching Award. Mirella holds a B.S. from the University of Houston, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Mohamad Marouf

Mohamad began his career at KIPP Houston High School, teaching math and AP statistics. After a succession of roles—dean of operations, freshman dean, data captain, testing coordinator, and assistant principal—he became principal of the Blue Ribbon school in 2016. While principal, Mohamad instituted AP For All  and adopted a social justice agenda that emphasized restorative practices. Mohamad created a community-based leadership team composed of students, parents, and other community members who formulated performance measures and advised on all aspects of school policy. Currently he is the project director at Leading Educators, where he creates equity and social emotional learning content and coaches more than twenty school- and district-based leaders. Mohamad earned his B.A. in psychology from Duke University and an M.Ed. from the University of Texas.

Sierra Strattner

After serving in Teach for America, Sierra joined Achievement First, where she has taught for twelve years in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. The network named Sierra Master Teacher in recognition of her students’ outstanding results; her students scored some 30 points above state averages on Common Core assessments. Sierra firmly believes that with strong teaching, an obsession with data, and an unwavering determination to engage all students, every child can succeed. Sierra is a National Academy for the Advancement of Teacher Excellence fellow. Sierra holds a B.A. from George Washington University in international affairs and a M.A. from Columbia Teachers College.

Suzie Zapoticzny

Suzie began her teaching career with Success Academy Charter Schools in New York, where she taught the first, second, and fourth grades. In 2017, 100 percent of her students passed the math and ELA New York State Common Core assessments with proficient or advanced scores; her scores consistently ranked in the top ten classrooms across Success’s 30 elementary schools. Suzie was invited to join Success’s central team as senior associate of advocacy, where she planned and implemented advocacy workshops to empower staff and parents to foster relationships with decision makers in their communities. She created an advocacy website which offers tutorials to help staff maintain relationships with local officials. Suzie holds a B.A. from Rutgers University in American Studies and an M.S. from Touro College in education and special education.

Wayne Banks

Wayne began his career as a Teach For America corps member teaching high school chemistry and physics in the Chicago public schools, where he led more than 400 students to make four years of growth each year. After serving as assistant principal of STEM education and programming at a Chicago vocational high school, Wayne realized that his students lacked sufficient command of math to excel in the sciences. For three years, Wayne has taught mathematics to middle school students at KIPP New Jersey, where he is currently principal-in-residence. Wayne has a B.A. from Washington University, where he studied biochemistry and molecular biology, and a M.A. from Columbia University.

Will Roble

A veteran Mentor Teacher, 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- 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.

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