Meet the individuals who are helping make Inspired Teaching a reality.
• • •
Board of Directors
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.
Rodney Ferguson is an expert on public affairs and advocacy marketing and communications with more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public policy communications, and education. He’s worked with a diverse set of clients in the nonprofit, government, and corporate sectors.
Some of the clients Rodney has served include the Brookings Institution, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, RAND, Seton Hall University, the State University of New York system, The College Board, The Graduate Management Admission Council, and the U.S. Department of Education.
Rodney partners with his clients to develop messaging, materials, and campaign strategies that help accomplish their advocacy and marketing goals. These efforts have involved broad media relations and government affairs programs, international engagement efforts, and resolution of regulatory hurdles. He has also worked for government agencies, including the telecom regulatory authority in Qatar, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the education ministry of Slovenia.
For six years, Rodney served on the board for the Education Writers Association, the largest national organization representing journalists who cover education.
Rodney holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Birmingham Southern College.
Shelley Fidler, Chair
At Van Ness Feldman, Ms. Fidler 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, Ms. Fidler held a variety of high profile positions within the federal government, including Chief of Staff to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Ms. Fidler 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 The 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. Ms. Fidler is a Founding Member of the Women’s Council on Energy and Environment (WCEE).
Aleta Margolis, Founder and Executive Director
Aleta is a former professor of education at American University, specializing in authentic assessment, science and math education, and curriculum reform. As a public school teacher, Aleta taught in both elementary and middle schools and designed and ran alternative educational programs for court-referred high school students. In 2001, Aleta was awarded a Fellowship from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in recognition of Inspired Teaching’s work training teachers to transform the way schoolchildren are taught. Ashoka recognizes and supports social entrepreneurs worldwide who have created innovative programs with the potential to make large scale change in society. Aleta received her undergraduate degree at Brown University and her MS in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.
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.
. . .
Bonnie Barhyte, Managing Director
Education, training, and lifelong learning have been consistent themes throughout Bonnie’s professional and personal life. She is excited to bring her 30 years of experience in coordinating program implementation teams, conducting business development, and organizational strategic planning for several international development non-profits to Center for Inspired Teaching. At the Academy for Educational Development, Bonnie managed programs focused on youth and workforce development, international training and exchanges, and capacity building for a range of individuals and institutions from around the world. Bonnie holds a Bachelor’s degree in History/African Studies from Carleton College and a Master’s degree in International Administration from the School for International Training.
Miranda Brown, Communications Manager
Before joining Inspired Teaching, Mandy was an associate at Day Pitney LLP in Boston, Massachusetts where her practice focused on commercial litigation and white collar defense. Originally from Murray, Kentucky, Mandy graduated from Yale University with Distinction in the English major, and received her J.D. from the William & Mary School of Law.
Mara Duquette, Teacher Certification Coordinator
Mara serves as a main point of contact for Inspired Teaching Fellows. She is responsible for state licensure and AmeriCorps as well as oversees recruitment and selection for Inspired Teaching Fellows. 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.
Matt Fiteny, Social Studies Education Manager
Matt comes to Center for Inspired Teaching after 12 years in schools as a teacher, teacher-leader, and administrator. For the past four years, he has served as the Director of Instruction for the Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center (YALC), a DC Charter School that works with 17-24 year old students who have dropped out of high school. For the past five years at the YALC, he created a high performing, literacy-based GED program that infused workforce and life skills into the curriculum. Before moving to DC, he worked as a social studies teacher and teacher-leader with schools that served adjudicated, special needs, and high school dropouts in California and then obtained his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Harvard University, focusing on school development for disconnected youth and high school dropouts. Matt is excited to combine his work in literacy and social studies to impact more students in the District.
Jenna Fournel, Senior Adviser, Teaching and Learning
Jenna has dedicated her professional career to schools both as a teacher, and in the non-profit realm. She began her foray into public education as a high school English teacher in rural North Carolina and went on to support school reform in Chicago through work with parent-led Local School Councils. She holds a BA in English from Bryn Mawr College and an MS from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In addition to providing communications support for Center for Inspired Teaching, Jenna is working to create strategies for bringing Inspired Teaching to more students and schools.
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, 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 U.C., Berkeley Master of Journalism program.
Cosby Hunt, Manager, Teaching and Learning
Cosby 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 masters degree 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.
Shannon Kane, Director of Teacher Certification
Shannon manages the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, supervising overall program design, implementation, and evaluation, while ensuring overall program quality and effectiveness. She began her career in the field of education with focus on international development before becoming a DC Teaching Fellow in 2001. Since then, Shannon has spent time as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, curriculum writer, professional developer/consultant, new teacher mentor, researcher and adjunct professor. She earned her doctorate in Reading, Writing and Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and also holds Masters degrees in International Development and Elementary Education/ TESOL. Her research interests include embedded professional development, literacy instruction, teacher resilience, the seamless connection of theory and practice, and teachers as leaders/changemakers.
Monisha Karnani, Director of Teacher Preparation Initiatives
Monisha oversees the external relations of the Inspired Teacher Certification Program, including the cultivation of partnerships with schools, districts, universities, local, and national organizations. She supports the overall design and strategy to broaden the impact of the program while ensuring program quality, coherence, and effectiveness. Prior to joining Inspired Teaching, Monisha was a high school math teacher in Baltimore City. Monisha received her Masters degree in Educational Administration and Policy from Howard University and a B.S. in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. In addition to a professional interest in teacher preparation, Monisha is passionate about working with teachers to improve mathematics instruction and reducing math anxiety in teachers.
Suzanne Katz, Director of Strategic Partnerships
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.
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. Inspired Teaching’s transformative teacher training bolsters teachers’ creativity and critical thinking and elevates teacher voice. Aleta is a former professor of education at American University, specializing in authentic assessment, science and math education, and curriculum reform. As a public school teacher, Aleta taught in both elementary and middle schools and designed and ran alternative educational programs for court-referred high school students. In 2011, Aleta helped launch the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, a DC public charter school that puts into practice Center for Inspired Teaching’s inquiry-based instructional model. The Demonstration School also serves as a partner site for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. In 2001, Aleta was awarded a Fellowship from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in recognition of Inspired Teaching’s work training teachers to transform the way schoolchildren are taught. Aleta received her undergraduate degree at Brown University and her MS in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University.
Jacqueline Smalls, Science Education Manager
Jacqueline manages SCALE, the Science Curriculum Advancement through Literacy Enhancement program. After serving eight years in The United States Army as an Environmental Science Officer, Jacqueline became an elementary teacher in the Prince George’s County Public School System. Throughout her career in education, Jacqueline has served in a variety of capacities including instructor for a teacher induction program, science curriculum writer, and reviewer for the Maryland Science Assessment. Most recently, Jacqueline was a STEM Coordinator for Langley Educational Campus in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Nationally recognized for her passion for STEM in K-12 classroom, Jacqueline was on the writing team that developed the Next Generation Science Standards. A graduate of South Carolina State with a degree in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Science and Technology from Loyola University of Maryland, Jacqueline has been a consultant for numerous organizations focusing on STEM and digital media.
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.
. . .
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” theatre outreach program. Also a professional playwright, his work has been commissioned and produced by the Kennedy Center, the Shakespeare Theatre 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).
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 B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Scranton.
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.
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 worked for Johns Hopkins University coordinating a full-time School Immersion MAT program from and continued supervising for Johns Hopkins early childhood and elementary beginning teachers in a part-time MAT program. Currently she is mentoring early childhood Inspired Teaching Fellows through the certification program.
Margot de Ferranti
Margot 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.
Jacqueline is a Teacher Leader and in her third year teaching at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. After graduating from DC Public Schools, she attended Spelman College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. After teaching English for a year in France she was catapulted into the classroom. Jacqueline participated in the first cohort of the Inspired Teaching Institute for Mathematics Teachers in Baltimore City. When Jacqueline is not teaching 8th grade math at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, she is planning her wedding, tutoring math, or running.
Maya has been a science teacher at Hardy Middle School, a DC Public School, since 2006. She graduated with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from Mount Holyoke College and completed a Master’s in Teaching from American University in Washington, DC in 2008. Maya has served on the teacher advisory board for several local museums and actively works to advance science education in Washington, DC. She is President of the DC Science Teachers Association and was the featured teacher at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in 2011. Maya enjoys international travel, and was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Teaching Award in 2010 to travel and study in South Africa. She is inspired by her students and co-workers and loves learning.
Emily 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.
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. Sandra joins Center for Inspired Teaching this year as a mentor, dedicated to supporting new educators as they begin their teaching careers.
Sally 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.
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 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.
Ali Hurewitz is a graduate of Haverford College and Georgetown Law Center. She left her law practice behind to stay home with her young children and earned her CDA after becoming enthralled with early childhood education at her children’s preschool. She taught three- and four-year olds for several years at Temple Sinai Nursery School, and continues to consult there as she works toward her masters’ degree in Early Childhood Leadership at the Bank Street College of Education. Ali is excited to work with Inspired Teaching to support the growth and development of enthusiastic, committed, and well-trained teachers in Washington, DC.
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 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.
Katie has dedicated her teaching career to working with students who learn differently. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Haverford College and, after serving in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, went on to earn her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Bilingual Special Education at George Washington University. Katie began her teaching career in DC at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy and now teaches at The Lab School of Washington. She participated in the 2010 Inspired Teaching Institute and continues to work to transform her classroom into a place with more questions than answers, more student voice than teacher voice, and plenty of time for discovering about ourselves and the world around us through literature. Katie has taught in DC since 2006 and envisions spending many more years with her wonderful students in the classroom.
Liz 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.
Chris has a passion for designing learning activities that engage students in and out of the classroom. While teaching social studies at Paul Public Charter School for ten years, he created a monthly competitive scavenger hunt program on the National Mall and also “Saturday Abroad” trips, a study abroad preparatory program that introduced his students to the international communities in the DC metro area. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from American University in 1997, and in 2001 he was awarded the James Madison Fellowship to pursue his Master’s degree in teaching social studies from Brown University. He is currently an Instructional Specialist at Live It Learn It, which designs and implements rigorous field trip programs for DC Public School students grades 4-6 to take advantage of the world-class educational opportunities in Washington, DC.
As an Inspired Teaching mentor, Kaneia has worked in the classroom and alongside teachers of varying years of experience. She has taught elementary, middle, high school, and adult learners. As a native Washingtonian, she is committed to being a positive and supportive Instigator of Thought for the teachers and students of DC.
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.
Tricia has more than a decade of experience as an educator in District of Columbia Public and 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.
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.
Amy first became involved with Inspired Teaching as a member of the 2010-2011 cohort of the Inspired Teaching Certification Program, earning her certification in Elementary Education. As an Inspired Teaching Fellow, she worked for two years in a first/second grade classroom at Capital City Public Charter School. She then spent two years working as a first/second grade lead teacher at Capital City. During that time, she earned a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Trinity University and gained experience with mentoring Fellows of her own. Amy has taken on several roles within Center for Inspired Teaching and is excited to support teachers and their students through her work with the Inspired Teaching 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 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.
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 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.
Judy 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. She continues to mentor teachers through Center for Inspired Teaching, and, this past summer, was commissioned to write and direct 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.
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.