About: 20 Years

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Inspired Teaching allowed me to see the importance of releasing power in my classroom to my students and allowing them a stronger voice.

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May 20 10:17 am

Joy in learning! @mslizorfaly: Making our bodies into shapes of buildings @BuildingMuseum #20yrsInspired #play2learn https://t.co/dav3mxeyKz
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Inspired Teaching Fellows use water shapes to deepen their understanding of volume relationships.

Our Team & Opportunities

Meet the individuals who are making Inspired Teaching a reality.

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Board of Directors

Bill Andresen; Associate Vice President for Federal Relations, University of Pennsylvania

Since July 2006, Bill has served as Associate Vice President for Federal Relations for the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Penn, he was Senior Vice President at Dutko Worldwide where he worked with a variety of organizations including many non-profits corporate clients. Before that, he was Vice President for Federal Affairs to the Democratic Leadership Council, where he served as a liaison to Democratic Members of Congress. Bill also served as Chief of Staff to Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and during his time as Chief of Staff, he was repeatedly named one of the 50 most influential Congressional Staffers by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Bill is married with 3 kids. He has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California. He is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center for Excellence in Education and is a Senior Advisor to Third Way.

Shelley Fidler; Chair; Principal, Van Ness Feldman

At Van Ness Feldman, Shelley supports clients and coalitions interested in policy and business strategies relating to energy innovation including smart grid, electricity, green buildings, energy efficiency, clean diesel engines, carbon capture, EPA regulation, and clean energy.  She has worked with and trained clients in effective advocacy; brought former adversaries to new, constructive relationships; and assisted a prominent organization to manage its explosive growth.

Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman, Shelley held a variety of high profile positions within the federal government, including Chief of Staff to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).  She also served as the Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives and as Assistant to the Chairman for Policy for the House Subcommittees on Fossil and Synthetic Fuels and Energy and Power for Congressman and Subcommittee Chair Philip Sharp (D-IN).

Shelley is a graduate of Brown University.  In addition to serving on the Board of Center for Inspired Teaching, she is a member of the Keystone Center’s Energy Board, Treasurer and Board Member of the Energy and Environmental Study Institute, a member of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), and a mentor for the Women’s Launch Pad, both  at Brown University.  Shelley is a Founding Member of the Women’s Council on Energy and Environment (WCEE).

Shanika Hope; Vice President of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Discovery Education
Shanika Hope is Vice President of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment for Discovery Education. She is responsible for providing leadership in the development of instructional resources including assessments and professional development content that underscores the role of digital content and technology in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the new assessment systems. Shanika serves as a thought leader and leading expert in the areas of curriculum, standards, assessment, and adult learning theory. Shanika has been with Discovery Education since 2010. Prior to joining the company, she managed and supported more than three dozen DC public schools and public charter schools in various capacities. Additionally, she served as a teacher, principal, and school turnaround specialist. She holds a PhD in Education and an MS in Math and Science Education from Old Dominion University and is a member of Phi Delta Kappa and ASCD.
Aleta Margolis; Founder and Executive Director, Center for Inspired Teaching
Aleta founded Center for Inspired Teaching in 1995 to build a better school experience for students by shifting the role of the teacher from information provider to Instigator of Thought. An Instigator of Thought teaches students how to think, not just what to think; engages students in serious play; and designs classrooms so students are engaged intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Aleta is a former professor of education at American University, specializing in authentic assessment, science and math education, and curriculum reform. In her time as a public school teacher, Aleta taught both elementary and middle school and designed and ran alternative educational programs for court-referred high school students. In 2011, Aleta helped launch the Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School to serve as a demonstration site for Inspired Teaching’s instructional model. The Demonstration School also serves as a partner site for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, a 24-month, state accredited residency program that selects, prepares, supports, and certifies exceptional individuals for long term teaching careers in the District of Columbia. Aleta and Inspired Teaching are shifting teacher practice through multi-year partnerships with DC Public Schools to train DC teachers to implement inquiry-based instruction and create new, standards-aligned curricula. In 2001, Aleta was awarded a Fellowship from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in recognition of Inspired Teaching’s innovative work. Aleta received her undergraduate degree at Brown University and her MS in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.
Jonathan Ng; Global Legal Director, Ashoka

Jonathan is the Global Legal Director and in-house legal counsel for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. With 33 country offices and approximately 3,000 Fellows across 77 countries, Ashoka is the world’s largest association of leading social entrepreneurs. Jonathan oversees all in-house legal matters for Ashoka and manages all of its external pro bono legal relationships. Because social entrepreneurs do not fit neatly into the traditional nonprofit or for-profit categories, they are constantly pushing the boundaries of the laws that apply to them. As such, he also works with leading law schools and practitioners to identify new legal trends and respond to unique legal challenges facing social entrepreneurs. Jonathan will also be co-teaching a new law course called Lawyering to Social Entrepreneurs as an adjunct faculty member at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Prior to joining Ashoka, Jonathan practiced law at White & Case LLP in its New York office as a member of the energy, infrastructure and project finance practice group. He represented lenders and sponsors on various infrastructure and renewable energy project financings. While at his firm, he also served as a UN legal representative for a permanent observer mission (AALCO) during general assembly and Sixth Committee meetings at the UN headquarters and participated in a corporate secondment with the general counsel of The Legal Aid Society of New York, the oldest and largest non-profit legal services provider in the nation. Jonathan graduated from Notre Dame Law School and the University of Kansas.

Dion Rudnicki; Vice President, Government Solutions and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corporation
Dion has 30 years of sales and business management experience working with various client organizations on how information technology solutions can satisfy their challenging operational and strategic needs. In his current position, Mr. Rudnicki leads a team focused on working with government clients across the globe to offer citizen-centric services in a more productive and cost-efficient manner. The goal with these efforts is to help clients innovate, leverage, and optimize their own capabilities and performance. In addition, Mr. Rudnicki is responsible for the operations of IBM’s Institute for Electronic Government, IBM’s client briefing center in Washington, DC that educates thousands of senior public sector executives each year on IBM’s capabilities and thought leadership. Dion has held a variety of executive sales management and business development positions since joining IBM in 1983. Prior to assuming his current role, Mr. Rudnicki joined IBM’s global government and education industry team in 2013 as the vice president of business development.


Dion earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He serves on the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum Advisory Council and Indiana University’s Advisory Board for the Kelley Institute for Business Analytics. He is on the board of directors for the United States Telecommunications Training Institute and is IBM’s representative on the Greater Washington Board of Trade. He recently ended his board position with the Greater Washington DC Junior Achievement organization after seven years of service. Mr. Rudnicki serves as IBM’s Senior Location Executive for the Greater Washington metro area representing IBM on a variety of community activities. He and his wife Michelle live in Bethesda MD with their two sons.

Katherine Wolfe; Assistant Vice President and Relationship Manager, PNC
Katherine is Assistant Vice President and Relationship Manager within the PNC Bank’s Trade Finance Group based in Washington, DC. She is responsible for managing existing and new relationships within the working capital guarantee portfolio, which is comprised of 46 Ex-Im working capital guaranteed loans totaling $459 million in exposure as of fiscal year end 2014.  Her direct responsibilities include researching client profiles, identifying credit risks, developing and analyzing transaction structures, assessing financial performance, monitoring credit quality of portfolios and assuring compliance with the Ex-Im Working Capital Guarantee program.  Katherine holds a BS in Finance from Wake Forest University, has passed all three levels of the CFA Examination, and will be eligible for the CFA charter upon completion of the required work experience.
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Miranda Brown; Manager, Research and Communications
Miranda assists the Research Department in gathering and analyzing data for program evaluation; she also implements Inspired Teaching’s Communications strategy, engaging external stakeholders through Inspired Teaching’s website and social media platforms. Before joining Inspired Teaching, Miranda was an associate at Day Pitney LLP in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from Murray, Kentucky, Miranda graduated from Yale University with Distinction in the English major and received her JD from the William & Mary School of Law.
Stephen Brown; Director of Finance and Operations
Stephen is responsible for overseeing the day to day financial operations of Inspired Teaching and for providing senior staff with monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports. Stephen has worked in the accounting profession for 12 years, gaining experience as an auditor, senior accountant, and Director of Accounting/Controller. During the course of his accounting career, Stephen also taught business education to middle school students before returning to the accounting profession in the non-profit sector. Stephen received his Master’s Degree in Accounting from Liberty University and his BS in Accounting from Hampton University. In addition, Stephen received a Master’s in Christian Education from The Carolina University of Theology and completed 12 graduate credit hours of education courses at Old Dominion University as part of his teacher certification for Prince William County, Virginia. Stephen is excited to bring his passion for accounting and the teaching profession to support the mission of Inspired Teaching.
Mara Duquette; Manager, Teacher Certification
Mara is responsible for overall program design, quality, and implementation of the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She oversees the successful recruitment and selection of Inspired Teaching Fellows, as well as state licensure and AmeriCorps reporting and compliance. Mara joined Center for Inspired Teaching after earning her BS in Political Communication from Emerson College. She previously worked for Peace First Boston, coordinating college volunteers and teaching conflict resolution classes to elementary and middle school students. She has also volunteered as a dental assistant and Spanish translator in rural El Salvador.
Jane Ehrenfeld; Director of Teaching and Learning
Jane joins Inspired Teaching after serving as an attorney with the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education. Previously, she clerked for The Honorable Judith W. Rogers of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and served as Deputy Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy. She received her JD, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar. During law school, Jane interned for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and was also a summer associate at Relman, Dane, & Colfax, a civil rights litigation firm. Prior to law school Jane taught public school for eight years in Prince George’s County, Maryland and in Boston. Jane’s publications include a journal note in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy entitled Making Lemonade: Restructuring the Transfer Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, which grew out of a project that she presented with author Jonathan Kozol to Senator Edward Kennedy in December 2007. She has also published opinion pieces in several major publications. Jane holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Pamela Greene; Operations Manager
Pamela Greene has worked as an operations manager and coordinator for several years in diverse companies. She is pleased to be putting her experience to work as part of a dynamic community that is passionate about education, social justice, and making a difference in the lives of children. At Center for Inspired Teaching she works with a team of staff members on organizational growth and strategic planning projects and manages day-to-day administrative operations. Pam attended Trinity College in Washington, DC.
Jessica Hiltabidel; Senior Manager, Teaching and Learning
Formerly a Teacher Leader for the Inspired Teaching Institute for Mathematics Teachers in Baltimore City, Jessica now works with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program and is responsible for management of program course instructors, mentors, and Fellow placement sites. She entered the teaching profession through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency and has taught numerous subjects including special education, elementary education, and middle school math and language arts. Jessica is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University with degrees in Biology and Psychology and has a Masters in Leadership and Teaching from the Notre Dame of Maryland University. Personally, she serves as the National President of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/ Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc., a nationwide Latina-interest organization.
Sarah Hughes; Development Manager and Grant Writer
Sarah is a former reporter with ten years experience writing about life in the local public schools. Through this community-based role, she had the opportunity to talk with the many people who directly or indirectly influence local schools–from teachers to parent advocacy groups to lawmakers to local realtors to budget directors. Starting in 2010, Sarah worked as a contract writer and then as a program director for PDK International, an education association. Sarah has also worked closely with high school and elementary school students; she is the founding director of two youth media projects (Youth Voices and Colorado Youth News), and she taught third grade for two years in the late 1990s as part of the Teach for America program. She is a graduate of the UC, Berkeley Master of Journalism program.
Cosby Hunt; Senior Manager, Social Studies Education
Cosby is the course creator and instructor for Real World History and also works with BLISS: Building Literacy in the Social Studies. He is a native Washingtonian who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Non-Western History at the University of Pennsylvania and began his teaching career in rural Georgia as part of the Teach for America program (’93 Corps). He stayed in Georgia to get his Master’s in Secondary Social Science Education at the University of Georgia. He returned home to DC in 1997 and spent thirteen years teaching social studies at Bell Multicultural High school (now the Columbia Heights Educational Campus) where he led the social studies department as well as the tennis and debate teams. Cosby earned his National Board Certification in 2006 and is one of only a handful of National Board Certified social studies teachers in the city.
Suzanne Katz; Director, Professional Development Academy and Senior Researcher
Suzanne began teaching math and science at the middle school level before building a comprehensive middle school theatre program that integrated core content and arts instruction. Upon completing her doctorate, she began teaching in the Department of Educational Studies at Ripon College where she developed and taught coursework in inquiry-based instruction, arts integration, and multicultural education, and conducted research on utilizing theatre as a means to develop intercultural dialogue between students. Suzanne has worked as an advocate for teacher preparation with the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and as a proponent for arts education with the Educational Theatre Association and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Suzanne holds a BA from Smith College, an MA in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an EdD from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas.
Sammy Magnuson; Project Manager
Sammy manages projects and provides administrative support out of the Executive Director’s office. Her passion for building a better school experience started as a tutor and summer school teacher in several classrooms throughout DC. Prior to Inspired Teaching, Sammy worked at the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a nonprofit that trains people and organizations in a community-centered approach to their work. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in American Studies and a minor in Theology.
Aleta Margolis; Founder and Executive Director
Aleta founded Center for Inspired Teaching in 1995 to build a better school experience for students by shifting the role of the teacher from information provider to Instigator of Thought. An Instigator of Thought teaches students how to think, not just what to think; engages students in serious play; and designs classrooms so students are engaged intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Aleta is a former professor of education at American University, specializing in authentic assessment, science and math education, and curriculum reform. In her time as a public school teacher, Aleta taught both elementary and middle school and designed and ran alternative educational programs for court-referred high school students. In 2011, Aleta helped launch the Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School to serve as a demonstration site for Inspired Teaching’s instructional model. The Demonstration School also serves as a partner site for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, a 24-month, state accredited residency program that selects, prepares, supports, and certifies exceptional individuals for long term teaching careers in the District of Columbia. Aleta and Inspired Teaching are shifting teacher practice through multi-year partnerships with DC Public Schools to train DC teachers to implement inquiry-based instruction and create new, standards-aligned curricula. In 2001, Aleta was awarded a Fellowship from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in recognition of Inspired Teaching’s innovative work. Aleta received her undergraduate degree at Brown University and her MS in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.
Brittney Oswald; Program Associate
Brittney supports the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, recording and tracking information for all Inspired Teaching Fellows, while also serving as their main point of contact. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Emerson College, she interned at Boston Children’s Chorus and Boston Children’s Theatre, supporting production and program management. She also directed and performed in one of Emerson College’s competitive a cappella groups. Upon graduation, she worked as a technology editorial assistant at National Geographic Learning in Boston, helping to create ELL e-products, before moving to Washington DC.
Robyn Sperling; Director of Research and Evaluation
Robyn began working in education as a program instructor at a civic education organization in Washington, DC and then spent five years teaching high school social studies in New York City. Most recently, she worked as a researcher at the Institute for Education and Social Policy while earning her PhD in Educational Administration, Leadership, and Policy at NYU. Robyn’s dissertation research focuses on charter school founders in New York City. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Mame-Fatou Thiam; Teaching and Learning Specialist
Fatou is the Teaching and Learning Specialist for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She provides classroom-based support to Inspired Teaching Fellows. She also collaborates with Lead Teachers and Mentors to ensure successful program completion. Her passion for educational equity began as a literacy tutor and site coordinator for America Reads, a national tutoring program providing individualized literacy support for K- 6 students.  She then served as a Corps Member in City Year New York, a non-profit organization working to close the achievement gap in urban schools nationwide. Prior to Inspired Teaching, Fatou was an elementary school teacher in a Title 1 DC Public School serving students in grades K- 5. As a teacher, Fatou worked for the DC Public Schools Office of Teaching and Learning, designing English Language Arts Curriculum to provide rigorous and consistent content across the district. Fatou holds a Masters of Education in Policy, Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction from American University.
Caitlin Wolf; Program Associate
Caitlin provides support to the BLISS: Building Literacy in the Social StudiesSCALE: Science Curriculum Advancement through Literacy Enhancement, and Real World History programs. Before joining Inspired Teaching, she was in Botswana, where she served in the Peace Corps teaching literacy and life skills related to HIV/AIDS education and also managed the country’s first Montessori school. Originally from Maine, she has a BA in European history from the University of Vermont and an MA in religious history from Boston College.
David Yarmchuk; Senior Manager, Science Education
Dave leads the SCALE: Science Curriculum Advancement through Literacy Enhancement program. His 12+ years in science education began with six years as a classroom science teacher in Baltimore, and he proceeded from there to outdoor educator, curriculum specialist, and teacher coach. He has worked in charter schools and traditional public schools, with students in grades K-12. The focus of his work has been with low-income students and students of color in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Prince George’s County. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Rutgers University and his Masters in Education from the University of Maryland. He currently serves on the OSSE State Science Leadership Team and co-anchors the In School Time committee for the DC STEM Network.
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Norman Allen
Norman served as an English teacher, department chair, and mentor at Cesar Chavez Charter High School in DC and is the founder and former director of the “Signature in the Schools” theater outreach program. Also a professional playwright, his work has been commissioned and produced by the Kennedy Center, the Shakespeare Theater Company, Olney Theatre, and the Karlin Music Theatre in Prague, among others. His plays for young actors, which include Jenny Saint Joan and Waiting In Tobolsk/The Children of the Last Tsar, are published by Playscripts, Inc. His essays have appeared in The Washington Post and Smithsonian Magazine and are heard frequently on WAMU-FM (NPR).
Thora Balk
As an early childhood consultant, Inspired Teaching mentor, and PreK and kindergarten teacher for more than ten years, Thora focuses on ensuring that all learners receive differentiated instruction that takes into account diverse learning styles and interests. A member of Capital City Public Charter School’s Instructional Leadership Team, Thora collaborates with teachers and administrators to ensure a supportive teaching community that utilizes best instructional practices. Thora has a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Scranton.
Brandi Beers
Brandi graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2001 with a BS in Elementary Education, receiving a MS EDU in Early Literacy Education (B-6) in 2005. She taught fifth grade math in McGraw, NY before spending two years working for the New York Migrant Education Department as a Migrant Specialist. Since moving to Washington, DC in 2005, she’s taught at Community Academy Public Charter School in Northwest DC, instructing second graders (for five years), third graders (for two years), and began teaching first graders in September 2012. She is dedicated to teaching all levels and honored to have the opportunity to do something she is truly passionate about.
Latasha Boone
Latasha is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and a Francis L. Cardozo Clerk. She is entering her second year at Cardozo and her sixth year as a middle and high school science teacher. She earned her BA in Middle Grades Science and Social Science from Clayton State University in her home state of Georgia. Soon after, she added her High School Science endorsements to her teaching certificates. Later, she received her MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Florida. For the past two years, Latasha’s students have participated in the Health Careers Opportunity Program with Howard University, where students further their interests in the biological science. At Cardozo, she serves as the middle school team leader, a teacher mentor, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) chair.
Kent Buckley-Ess
Kent is a National Board Certified teacher who specializes in teaching English as a second language. Fluent in both English and Spanish, he has taught all levels of learners, from preK through graduate school, in New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Paraguay, South America, and Leicester, England. Kent’s passion is finding ways to make grade level content accessible to all students regardless of English language ability, special accommodations, previous schooling, or other perceived obstacles. He has twelve years’ experience as a mentor and instructional coach, and his continual focus remains on recognizing where teachers are along the differentiation continuum and then challenging them to incorporate more inclusive teaching techniques, differentiated learning activities, and alternative assessments.
Lenore Cohen
Lenore is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She worked for Johns Hopkins University coordinating a full-time School Immersion MAT program and continued supervision for Johns Hopkins early childhood and elementary beginning teachers in a part-time MAT program.
Marites Curley
Marites is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and a third grade teacher at Langley Elementary School (DCPS). This is her 18th year in the teaching profession. Throughout Marites’ career, she has served as grade level chair, America’s Choice demonstration teacher, department chair, Project Lead the Way Lead Teacher, and a president of AFTA DC chapter. Over a decade ago, Marites came to the United States as a cultural ambassador and her experiences have equipped her with knowledge and strategies that are essential in working with scholars to ensure they succeed in their endeavors. Her philosophy for learning is that each child is unique and learns in a different way, and she believes that one of her roles as a teacher is to help each child discover his or her individuality and work alongside with him or her to maximize it. In 2010, Marites was a Maryland State Winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Citizenship award.  She has a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education,  a Masters of Education in Reading, and a Doctorate of Education (D.Ed) in Special Education.
Margot de Ferranti
Margot is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She worked as a lawyer for the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Department of Justice until she changed careers to become a teacher. Margot took a course from Aleta at American University and participated in the Workshop in the Art of Teaching (now the Inspired Teaching Institute). She taught English for four years at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School. On behalf of Inspired Teaching, Margot has led a workshop for beginning high school English, social studies, and foreign language teachers who are getting certified through AU’s AQUE program.
Emily Gasoi
Emily is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She has worn many hats over the course of her fifteen year career as an educator, including classroom teacher, curriculum and assessment developer, new teacher mentor, researcher, and adjunct professor. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include professional learning communities, alternative assessment, and the cultivation of internal accountability within schools.
Rosemary Goodman
Rosemary is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She is a former elementary school teacher and principal and spent her 26 years in education working at Blairstown Elementary School in Blairstown, New Jersey.  Ms. Goodman holds a BS in Elementary Education from Centenary College, a Masters in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University, and Masters degrees in Educational Technology and Educational Leadership, both from Lehigh University.  She is currently mentoring six fellows enrolled in the Inspired Teacher Certification Program and is looking forward to a very memorable and rewarding experience.
Sandra Grizelji
Sandra is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. After studying European Studies and French at New York University, Sandra went on to earn a Master of Arts in Childhood/Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has seven years of lead teaching experience working in New York City and Northern Virginia, in both private and charter schools. Most recently she co-taught in an Integrated Co-Teaching classroom, serving a high population of students with special needs. This experience prompted her to pursue further graduate coursework in Bilingual Special Education, which she is currently doing at The George Washington University.
Dionne Hammiel
Dionne Hammiel is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and kindergarten teacher at John Burroughs Elementary School (DCPS). She has been teaching at Burroughs for eight years and with DCPS for 16 years. She has two wonderful children, Ethan and Elissa. She loves her students and teaching.
Sally Hermann
Sally is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program and brings more than 30 years of teaching and mentoring experience to the Inspired Teaching team. During her career, she traveled the United States teaching in eight states and in the District of Columbia for public, private, and charter schools. Making her home in Arlington, VA, she spent her last fourteen years of classroom instruction teaching third grade at the Sidwell Friends Lower School. In 1999, Sally left the classroom and joined the adjunct faculty of American University where she supervised student teachers and mentored teachers for alternative certification programs. She has also provided teacher training and supervision for the Sasha Bruce Youth Build GED program and is currently a member of the Board of Directors at The Academy of Hope, an adult education organization that provides education and job skills training to low income and at-risk adults in Washington, DC.
Sara Hjort-Tyson
Sara is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and a Charles Hart Middle School Jet (DCPS). She received her BA in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park. At Charles Hart Middle School, she serves as the 8th grade science teacher and the Science Department Chair. She has served in DC Public Schools for the past five years.
Kim Hill
Kim has a BA in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Bible from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio and a MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. She began teaching in Ohio, first as a long term substitute then as an team teacher in a small charter school that serves children who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, AD/HD and other related disorders. In 2006 she and her husband moved to the DC area and she began working as a Pre-K teacher at Community Academy Public Charter School (CAPCS), then Janney Elementary School to teach Kindergarten.
Judy Holton
Judy is a retired DC Public School teacher with 30 years of service in DC. During her time in the classroom, her expertise was Special Education. Judy is a graduate of Inspired Teaching’s 1998-99 Workshop in the Art of Teaching (now the Inspired Teaching Institute), and has served as an Inspired Teaching mentor since 2001. Judy also dedicates her time to volunteering at both the Phillips Collection and the Museum of Natural History.
Carmen Jenkins
Carmen is an artist and visual arts educator. She has been teaching in the DC Public Schools system since 2001. She has a BA in Graphic Design from Hampton University and a MFA in Electronic Studio Art from Howard University. Carmen teaches at Truesdell Education Campus, grades K-8, and at Ballou STAY, an alternative high school.
May-Ling Joa
May-Ling has an MA from McGill University in Educational Leadership and a BA in Early Childhood Education. She is currently enrolled in the special education program at Catholic University. In the past 12 years, she has performed as a teacher, coordinator, researcher, and mentor — working in Montreal, Washington, DC and the Dominican Republic. She is also on the executive team of Young Education Professionals-DC and Explore Dominican Republic, a non-profit that supports under served communities in the DR through educational and health initiatives. She has been part of the Inspired Teaching team since 2012.
Sherri Jones
Sherri is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and is entering her 17th year as a Montessori Primary guide. Sherri earned her BS in Accounting/Computer Based Information Systems from Howard University and her Masters in Montessori Education from Loyola University in Maryland. This fall, she will begin her third year at Capitol Hill Montessori School in Washington, DC. This year, Sherri will serve on the Academic Leadership Team.
Rachel Kimboko
Rachel Kimboko is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and has been a Montessori teacher since 2009. Before joining Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan (the District’s only all-Montessori school) in 2012, she taught for two years in DCPS and in Prince George’s County. Rachel took her AMI Elementary training at the Washington Montessori Institute (2007) and at Hershey Montessori Training Institute (2013). At her school, Rachel has worked as an Elementary team leader and will partner with a Primary and an Adolescent colleague to build a more robust science program across the school. In her spare time, Ms. Kimboko is an avid knitter and professional knitting instructor who enjoys sharing her love of fiber arts with children and adults. She might be one of the few people you know who has been to nearly every state in the country, and it’s her ambition to visit every continent.
Liz King
Liz is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She has a MA from UC-Berkeley in Educational Psychology and a BA from Middlebury College. She has been involved in the field of education for 20 years as a teacher, tutor, curriculum developer, and consultant – working in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Singapore. She is on the Board of Directors for Caring for Cambodia – a non-profit supporting fifteen government schools in Siem Reap, Cambodia – and played a central role in the development of its Teacher Training Project. She has been a mentor with Center for Inspired Teaching since 2007.
Nicole McGill
Nicole is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader entering her seventh year as an educator and her third year as a middle school science teacher at Charles Hart Middle School (DCPS). Nicole earned her BA in Professional Theatre and her MA in Theatre Education with a concentration in Arts Integration in Secondary Education from New York University. She is currently enrolled in the Teach Now teaching certification for Secondary Science. As a native of Prince George’s County, MD, she knows how art and science are instrumental to enhancing the achievement for learners. As a past member of Odyssey of the Mind, she strives to create a three dimensional learning environment for all students. She will work closely with the science team to enhance inquiry-based instructional practices. In addition to her teaching and leadership roles, Nicole directs and produces plays in the community that provoke social change throughout the Washington, DC area.
Wylene Fatade McKnight
Fatade is a retired DCPS elementary school teacher who remains invested in the education system. As a mentor, she enjoys encouraging young teachers to enthusiastically spread the joy of learning to their students through inquiry. As a substitute teacher, she relishes working with students at different schools and observing their many successes. She also enjoys crochet, African dance, yoga, pilates, and line dancing.
Dr. Angela McRae
Dr. Angela McRae is a SCALE Content Expert. Angela earned her doctorate in Human Development with a specialization in Educational Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has experience teaching at the 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade levels, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Angela has over ten years of experience as part of the Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction team, where she designed curriculum and measures for a program that integrated science, reading, and motivation for elementary and middle school students. Angela is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at The Catholic University of America, the Coordinator for STEM Education, and the Co-organizer for the CUA STEM Initiative.
Patricia Miller
Patricia is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program and a veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience teaching and leading in public, independent, and international schools. She has a passion for building innovative frameworks and instructional programs that help all students succeed. As a Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leader, she was recognized as a powerful force for increasing student learning, adult growth, and school improvement. In addition to teaching and mentoring at the elementary level, Patricia has experience as an adjunct instructor, faculty trainer, and presenter at numerous national educational conferences including NAEYC and SACS. She earned a BS in Elementary Education from St. John’s University, a Master of Arts in Adult Learning from Ball State University, and administrative credentials from the University of Virginia.
Kerry Nolan
Kerry Nolan is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader. She began teaching in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) in 1993 with an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Radford University. Her undergraduate studies also included coursework and a student teaching practicum at Nottingham University in Nottingham, England. While teaching in DCPS, she has participated in various graduate courses at Trinity University, Catholic University, The University of Virginia, Harvard University, and Howard University. Kerry completed her Masters of Education in The Advanced Studies of Teaching and Learning for Curriculum and Instruction at George Mason University. While teaching in DC, Kerry has received numerous honors and distinctions as an educator including: admittance to The Carnegie Institute for Science Education (1995), induction into the esteemed Phi Delta Kappa, receiving the “Teaching for Excellence” award (2002), speaking at the Academic Interventions and Supports Symposium at Gallaudet University (2004), a resolution from the DC City Council for Excellence in Teaching (2005), recognition and honors from The Board of Education (2005), and honors from Howard University for “A Commitment to Education” (2004). In 2010 she was asked to present at The National Science Teacher’s Conference in Philadelphia. Kerry achieved National Board Certification in 2004 and again in 2014.
Patricia Michelle Odom
Patricia is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader and an Instructional Coach at John Philip Sousa Middle School (DCPS). Patricia earned her BS in Biology and her MA in Teaching Secondary Education from Jackson State University in her home state of Mississippi. She spent the past four years teaching at Kelly Miller Middle School, a public school in Washington, DC. At Kelly Miller, Patricia served as team leader of multiple teams and also worked to coordinate and facilitate many of the Positive Behavior Support events. She worked to help teachers in her school implement a school-wide Enrichment Model that immersed all students in enriching and experiential learning opportunities in all of their classrooms. She also worked closely with the science team to enhance inquiry-based instructional practices. In addition to her teaching and leadership roles, Patricia facilitated Kelly Miller’s annual science fair and coached the girl’s basketball team. Patricia was also a SCALE Teacher Leader in 2014.
Dr. Heidi O’Gilvie
Heidi O’Gilvie is a SCALE Content Expert. Heidi earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction – Teacher Preparation & Professional Development from the University of Maryland, College Park. In her current capacity, she is Director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of the District of Columbia leading a cutting edge teacher education program and several partnerships around the region. In addition, she is a widely sought after consultant with one of the top firms in the country. Heidi teaches a number of literacy, curriculum planning, and introductory and advanced courses for pre-service and in-service practitioners and administrators. She is a diligent researcher interested in studying the ways in which teachers engage students and promote literacy in P-12 classrooms. Her most recent publication will be featured in a text published by the International Reading Association. Heidi is excited about the opportunity to blend theory and practice into authentic content development.
Tricia Peterson
Tricia has more than a decade of experience as an educator in District of Columbia Public and Public Charter Schools. She most recently joined the Lesley University adjunct faculty, teaching literacy courses, mentoring, and coaching in DC for the Urban Teacher Center’s residency certification master’s program. In addition, she serves as adjunct professor for the University of the District of Columbia’s National Center for Urban Education – Urban Teacher Academy. Specializing in effective strategies for training teachers to facilitate literacy among urban readers and writers – regardless of special needs, first language or reading ability – she believes every teacher and child can succeed and feels strongly that an excellent education for every student is the key to all our futures. To that end, she is dedicated to using her expertise to support new DC teachers by serving as a mentor with the esteemed Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, DC.
Monique Phillips
After studying Studio Art and Secondary Education at the University of Maryland, Monique started her teaching career in 2009 as a member of the first cohort of Inspired Teaching Fellows. Upon completion of the program, she landed her dream job teaching preKindergarten for DC Public Schools. Since then, she has been a highly rated teacher each year, and looks forward to many more years in the classroom. Monique returned to Center for Inspired Teaching to serve as a mentor and a course instructor. She is completing a Master’s in the Art of Teaching at Trinity College and is an advocate and activist for educational equity.
Jan Schuettpelz
Jan is a 2015 SCALE Teacher Leader entering her 18th year as a teacher, 15 of those spent as a middle school science teacher. Jan earned her BS in Urban Elementary Education at UWM and her M.Ed in middle grades science from UNC. Prior to coming to DC, Jan lived in North Carolina teaching in both Durham and Wilmington. In North Carolina, she was a Kenan Fellow and received several grants. She worked in collaboration with Duke University with the BOOST program, which aimed to encourage students from across the city to become interested in STEM and to mentor them throughout middle and high school. Her final year in North Carolina, Jan was chosen to help reopen a public middle school in collaboration with the Blue Ribbon Commission. She is starting her third year teaching at Alice Deal Middle School (DCPS). She currently works with the science olympiad team, vegan club, and organizes the Women in Science Lecture series.
Diane Sims
Diane is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. After receiving her undergraduate degree from SUNY at Stony Brook, Diane pursued graduate studies, earning a Master’s in Public Administration. She worked for the International City Management Association before migrating to a successful career as a government contractor and consultant to Federal, state, and local government agencies. She transitioned to education after acquiring a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University (AU). She’s taught in elementary school classrooms for eight years and has since served as an instructional coach and mentor to beginning and veteran teachers in the DC area. She has taught undergraduate courses at the University of the District of Columbia and is an adjunct faculty member at AU’s SETH Program.
Dr. Edie Tatel
Edie is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program and has mentored Inspired Teachers and Fellows since the organization’s first days in 1995. She has been a classroom teacher in Chicago, IL and Ypsilanti, MI public schools and at the University of Chicago Laboratory School; Director of Teacher Education at American University; Director of Professional Development at Teach for America; and consultant for the DC Public Charter School Board. She serves on the Advisory Boards of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Americans All, and Math for America, and is an enthusiastic recorder musician.
Tisha Thompson
After completing her BA in Chemistry and Zoology, Tisha joined the Teach for America corp in rural North Carolina. She participated in classroom research and curriculum development with the University of Wisconsin, Madison, MUSE program and taught and created science and math curricula for two high schools. She currently designs exhibits and curricula for the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, KY and plays in the creek with her two young children.
Jessica Tomback
Jessica Tomback was a public elementary school teacher in DC for seven years before spending the past few years teaching in a variety of early childhood settings. In addition to her role at the Center for Inspired Teaching, Jessica is a member of the adjunct faculty at GWU, where she has taught courses and currently supervises intern teachers. She received her degree of Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction in 2012.
Dr. Richard Van Metter
Dr. Van Metter is a SCALE Content Expert and physicist, now retired from the Kodak Research Laboratories. His 30-year career was focused on improving the quality of radiographic images, both film and digital. In that time, he had the opportunity to work on a wide range of things—from the silver-halide emulsion technology to fundamental properties of the human visual system. Over the years, he contributed to or edited eight books, wrote more than 70 research papers, gave many lectures, and has been recognized with numerous awards and honors. He currently consults part-time and remains an emeritus member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. One of his most passionate research interests has been digital image-processing to help radiologists diagnose diseases and injury more easily.
Judy White
Judy is a mentor with the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. She is a teacher, playwright, poet, director, and actor who specializes in ensemble-guided playwriting and working with young artists. A notable teacher in the DC area, she was profiled in The Washingtonian in 1987. She did graduate work at Oberlin, ACT, and as a Fellow at Northwestern University. She taught drama to Inspired Teaching’s founder and Executive Director, Aleta Margolis, and to Jeanne Harrison, Traveling Players’ Producing Artistic Director. Judy taught drama and speech for 26 years at the Holton-Arms Schools, where she trained Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In 2005, she took Inspired Teaching to Gujurat, India, where she gave a series of workshops to teachers at Kala Raksha School. A student of ancient myths, Judy has written four plays based in world mythology, and recently wrote a new play, Pandora’s Fire, for Travel Players Ensemble in Great Falls, Virginia.
Dr. Dwayne Williams
Dwayne has spent more than 20 years working with teachers and students ranging from preK to graduate level learners. Currently an adjunct assistant professor at Leslie University, he also serves as an Inspired Teacher Mentor and as adjunct faculty in Inspired Teaching’s partnership with DC Public Schools, Building Literacy in the Social Studies (BLISS). His areas of expertise include interdisciplinary staff development, urban school reform, relationship-based discipline, social studies and history curricula, project-based learning, and African, African-American, and maritime histories. Dwayne graduated with a BA from Macalaster College magna cum laude and received his PhD in History and African Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Otto C. Wilson Jr.
Dr. Wilson is a SCALE Content Expert and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Catholic University of America. Dr. Wilson earned a BS (1988), MS (1991) and PhD in Ceramic Science and Engineering at Rutgers University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland on enhanced machinability of dental ceramic materials (1995-96) and was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral fellow at John’s Hopkins in 1996 prior to joining the Materials Science and Engineering faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Wilson became a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Catholic University in 2003 and established the Biomimetics, Orthopedics, and Nanomaterials Education/Composite Research for Advanced Biomaterials (BONE/CRAB) Lab. The research vision of the BONE/CRAB Lab is to develop nanophase materials to enhance the healing and remodeling of hard tissue at the whole tissue, cellular, and subcellular levels. Dr. Wilson’s research interests include biomineralization phenomena, nanomaterials chemistry, biological liquid crystals, and the synthesis and surface modification of hydroxyapatite. Dr Wilson was awarded a NSF CAREER Award (DMR-0645675) in 2007 for his work involving bone inspiration in research and education. He is very active in K-12 educational outreach and developing tools and teaching methodologies to encourage young people to excel in STEM education.
Kelly Worland
Kelly began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia and New York City Public Schools. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her research interests include elementary writing development, teacher education, and professional development. In addition to her work as a classroom teacher and researcher, Kelly has served as a mentor and course instructor for Center for Inspired Teaching, the University of Maryland, and George Washington University.

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