Meet P-LV Network's Teacher of the Year
Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow Shelli Shadday was honored for going above and beyond at Jungman Elementary School in Chicago's Pilsen-Little Village Network. Both the Network Chief and Principal surprised Shelli with this award on Friday, May 10th in her classroom. Shelli is a bilingual teacher to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, and served as the lead coordinator for the REACH Teachers Forum, PD designed for teachers by teachers. Congratulations, Shelli!
Interested in Teacher-Led PD?
Teach Plus Chicago is partnering with CPS Networks to host professional development forums, including opportunities to network with colleagues and provide feedback on the implementation of REACH Students. Contact Network Coordinator Veena Villivalam at email@example.com if you would like to host a forum!
Leadership Opportunities for Chicago Teachers
Teach Plus Chicago sends monthly emails featuring leadership and networking opportunities for all district and charter teachers. For the May Teacher Leadership email, please click here. To subscribe to our monthly emails, click here.
Survey: Today’s teaching force is less experienced, more open to change
By Jackie Mader
Hechinger Report, October 23, 2012
Teacher-Leader Corps Helps Turn Around Schools
By Stephen Sawchuck
Education Week, April 20, 2011
New Teachers are the New Majority
By Celine Coggins & Heather Peske
Education Week, January 19, 2011
Lesson Plan in Boston Schools: Don’t Go It Alone
By Mike Winerip
New York Times, August 8, 2010
Meet the Chicago Teaching Policy Fellows 2012-2014 Cohort:
Tai teaches middle school reading at A.N. Pritzker, a regional gifted center and fine arts magnet school. She was born and raised in Chicago and is committed to urban education. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in language, literacy, and specialized instruction from DePaul University. Tai is a certified reading specialist and believes that strong literacy skills are the essential building blocks for academic success. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in English Language Arts for Early Adolescents, and she currently mentors National Board candidates. A lifelong reader and learner herself, she voraciously consumes books and is a self proclaimed professional development junkie. She has actively participated in professional development institutes with Facing History and Ourselves, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, the Holocaust Educator’s Network, and the Chicago Area Writing Project. She has coached study groups for Boundless Readers and the Chicago Foundation for Education.
Whitney teaches third grade at Hitch Elementary, a public school in the Jefferson Park area of Chicago’s north side. She has taught kindergarten, second, third and fourth grades while at Hitch over the past 6 years. Whitney graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Marketing and Telecommunications. Through post-graduate experiences at NBC studios in Indianapolis and Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Downtown Chicago, she gained practical business and communication skills, which have contributed to her preparation for teaching at Hitch.
While mentoring Spanish-speaking students at a Chicago non-profit organization, Whitney realized her true passion was promoting equality and equity for every student in the Chicago Public School system, including English Language Learners and students with special needs. She was certified in 2006 via Chicago Teaching Fellows’ New Teacher Project. While a Teaching Fellow, she was selected from approximately 500 alternative certification interns across the country as the National Alternative Certification Award Winner, allowing her to be the featured speaker at the national conference. Whitney earned her M.Ed. through National-Louis University in the area of Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently pursuing National Board Certification as an opportunity to reflect upon her own teaching skills and to think systematically about her practice. At Hitch, she is the intermediate teacher chair of the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and lead coordinator of the Response to Intervention (RtI) team. She is also Hitch’s Sign Language Teacher, Talent Show Coordinator, Cross Country Coach, and has served previously as Volleyball Coach. Whitney has provided professional development at her school for Differentiated Instruction, Response to Intervention, Student Centered Data Reflection, and Common Core Curriculum. She is also an Early-Adopter of the Common Core Curriculum and works with fellow educators to create rigorous curriculum maps and scoring tools shared with schools across the district. Whitney remains committed to the teaching profession, with a focus on closing the achievement gap and supporting students in their fight to attain college and career readiness.
Gina was born and raised in Lockport, Illinois and attended public schools from kindergarten through high school. She received a full volleyball scholarship to the University of Illinois at Chicago where she attained her bachelor’s degree in English Education and Writing. While at UIC, she received numerous awards and recognition for her studies and athletics including: Female Student Athlete of the Year (three years in a row), The Van Kueren Award for Outstanding Senior English Major, and Phi Beta Kappa. She student taught at Kelvyn Park High School and coached the Boys’ sophomore volleyball team to a city championship.
Upon graduating with Highest Departmental Distinction, Gina began her teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools at Corliss High School, a school in the Roseland neighborhood. There she taught a variety of English courses highlighted by Advanced Placement Literature and Composition and Creative Writing. She started a school literary magazine, newspaper, and poetry slam with the help of two Oppenheimer Family Foundation grants. She also began the school’s first ever boys’ volleyball team and led them to a conference championship. In addition, she was a finalist for the Suave Performance Plus Award. She left Corliss after three years to become a founding teacher of TEAM Englewood Community Academy, a small high school in Englewood focused on partnering with the parents and community to help educate the children of Englewood. There Gina became English Department Chair and Twelfth Grade Lead where she led the professional development of English teachers and twelfth grade teachers and often led school-wide professional development. While at TEAM, Gina obtained her masters’ degree at the UIC in Literacy, Language, and Culture and became a certified K-12 Reading Specialist. She also became Nationally Board Certified working with a cohort of teachers from Lindblom Math and Science Academy. In addition, Gina trained for and ran the Chicago marathon with three of her students as a mentor in Team M3’s marathon running club. She also led the school’s talent shows for three years running.
This school year, Gina left TEAM and currently teaches sophomore English and AP English Literature and Composition at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a selective enrollment school located in Englewood that serves mainly students on the South side of Chicago. Gina is extremely excited about becoming a Teach Plus Fellow because she has always had a strong desire to impact policy for students in Chicago.
Rick Coppola is a 6th year teacher at John B. Drake Elementary School, located in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community. As a career changer, Rick came to teach because of a firm conviction that he could leverage the challenges he endured growing up as a vehicle to inspire a message of hope and possibility to today’s urban youth. He teaches 8th grade (Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Mathematics), as well as additional section of 7th grade Mathematics. He is an active member of the Instructional Leadership Team and Local School Council. For the past two years, Rick’s students have achieved at the 90th percentile in both Reading and Math on the ISAT.
Rick has been the recipient of numerous grants and honors, including Boundless Readers, Donor’s Choose and the Gotcha Award, for his leadership in the field of teaching and learning. In 2010, Rick was awarded the CPS Drive Award and was named a 2011 Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction. Additionally, he has partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago to be included as a teacher researcher on Partnership Read, Global Ed, and most recently Project ReadI, where he serves as a member of the literature design team. Project READI—officially known as Reading for Understanding Across Grades 6 through 12: Evidence-based Argumentation for Disciplinary Learning—is a 5-year study trying to improve students’ abilities to create arguments from multiple text sources within the content areas of history, science, and literature.
Rick recently began a Ph.D program in the fall of 2012 at UIC, where he will pursue coursework in Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy, Language and Culture. He is currently pursuing National Board Certification.
Kevin Cram is a Chemistry teacher at Lake View High School. Prior to teaching at Lake View, Kevin was a member of the 2008 Chicago Teaching Fellows cohort and taught for three years at School of the Arts High School in Chicago. In the fall of 2010, Kevin received a grant supported by Apple and CPS for a class set of iPads. Continuing his work with Apple and CPS, Kevin and several other iPad grant recipients and professionals organized the inaugural CPS iPad Academy professional development conference in June of 2012. Kevin has a B.A. in Chemistry from Michigan State University, a M.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University and a M.A.T from Dominican University.
Christine Dussault is entering her seventh year of teaching. During her student teaching at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, she had the opportunity to work with Hmong refugee high school students which piqued an international curiosity. She decided to leave the Midwest and begin her teaching career at Colegio Bolivar in Cali, Colombia. She taught second grade in Colombia for two years before moving to Chicago to continue her career as a bilingual teacher for the Chicago Public Schools. She began her master’s degree at UIC and was involved in the Partnership READ program, a university/school collaboration working to improve literacy instruction for CPS. In May of 2010 she presented at the International Reading Association's Annual Conference on "creating rigorous benchmarks." She graduated from UIC with an M.Ed in Literacy, Language and Culture this spring. During the past summer she worked as Fellow Advisor for the Chicago Teaching Fellows. She instructed professionals who were work working to be bilingual teachers in high need schools. She is passionate about getting equitable resources into her classroom and has written grants through Donor's Choose and a CFE Small Grant. She currently teaches fourth and fifth grade bilingual students at Chase Elementary in Logan Square.
Jayson comes from a long line of educators. All four of his grandparents were public school teachers in Greencastle, Indiana. His mother, retired principal of a blue ribbon school, instilled in him a love of teaching and learning that influenced his choice to major in education at Indiana University. He graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education and earned his Masters of Education from Xavier University. Fresh faced out of college he went to work in inner city Cincinnati where he raised 6th grade Social Studies test scores from 33% proficiency to 100% proficiency. Motivated by a desire to teach in Chicago, he moved his family from Cincinnati to Chicago in order to teach at KIPP Ascend Charter School in 2005. In 2008 he won the Office of New Schools Renaissance 2010 Teacher of the Year award. In 2010, he earned his National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Social Studies-History. He loves teaching kids about American history, politics, economics, and government.
Patti is currently in her sixth year of teaching special education at Enrico Fermi Elementary School, located in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. While earning her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, Patti grew passionate about the education of young people in underserved communities. Through clinical experiences in Peoria's urban schools and books written by author, Jonathan Kozol, Patti's passion for teaching had been ignited. At that point, Patti was determined to teach in a high-need neighborhood in Chicago.
During her time at Enrico Fermi Elementary School, she has focused on increasing the number of students with special needs being educated in their least restrictive environment. As a part of this effort, she has led multiple professional developments, both for staff and parents, in an effort to empower the learning process for students with special needs. As a co-chair of her school’s Educational Environment (EE) Committee, she has facilitated the development of the co-teaching model, which will be fully implemented in the 2012-2013 school year. In addition to her work on the EE Committee, Patti is also an integral member of the Instructional Leadership Team and Balanced Literacy Team at Fermi. She continuously works to improve the learning environment for Fermi students. In order to attain the resources that her students need to be successful, Patti has written and received numerous grants through Donor's Choose.
During the summer of 2009, Patti was a Senior Associate for the Urban Education Leaders Internship Program in Washington D.C. While working in the D.C. Public Schools Office of Special Education, she wrote and distributed a bi-weekly newsletter that kept district staff up-to-date on special education related news. Additionally, Patti was a member of the interview committees for Teach DC and Master Educator. In 2011, Patti received a Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from DePaul University. She is currently a candidate for National Board Certification. Patti is clearly a passionate teacher that believes whole-heartedly all students deserve an excellent education. This is why she has devoted her life to this work.
Erin Gilmore is a 3rd grade teacher at The University of Chicago Charter Schools- Donoghue Campus. She earned a B.S. in Marketing from DePaul University, starting a career in sales in 2005. After working in sales for a few years, Erin decided to pursue a career where she could make a difference in her very own community. In 2009, she joined the Inner City Teaching Corps (now Alain Locke Initiative) and began teaching in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. During her first years of teaching, albeit extremely challenging, she knew that she had made the right decision in switching careers because she had never been so dedicated to something before in her life! In 2011, she completed a Master's in Elementary Education degree at Northwestern University. In addition to teaching 3rd grade, Erin currently serves on the writing committee at Donoghue and supports new teachers with the Alain Locke Initiative.
Ron Hale is a Chicago native who attended Chicago Public Schools. While a child he realized that there had to be a better way to prepare students for a world that demands creativity and critical thinking. He wanted to come back to work in CPS, to help create a better educational experience for the city’s students, but always figured it would be through the law or public policy. Working in a volunteer tutoring program changed everything. He changed his career from working in business management and figured out ways to get into Chicago classrooms. It was from there he enrolled in Northwestern University’s NU-Teach program and began his teaching career. Ron now teaches 5th grade with an emphasis on science inquiry at Hayt Elementary School in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. When he isn’t teaching he coaches basketball, mentors young men through the Brothers to Hermano program and coordinates the Lego Mind storms Robotics Club.
It is his philosophy that each student is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. He has a desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in school by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites communities to share ideas.
Learning through leading for Ron has come inside and outside the classroom. Over the last 5 years Ron has worked with such organizations as the Chicago Foundation for Education, Inner City Teaching Corps, Golden Apple Foundation and the Museum of Science and Industry. He has led science inquiry professional developments, received grants and collaborated with teachers across Chicago. For his recognition as a leader by his peers he has been nominated for a CPS DRIVE award and a winner of the 2011 Golden Apple Teaching Award. For the 2012academic spring quarter Ron was on sabbatical, bringing the ideas behind science inquiry to schools around the city. During the 2012 school year along with working as a Teach Plus Fellow, Ron will be conducting research through an action research grant received from the Chicago Foundation for Education. Ron received his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University.
Matthew McCabe teaches World History and AP World History to sophomores at Pritzker College Prep, a campus of the Noble Street Charter School. At Pritzker, McCabe pioneered a partnership with the nonprofit 826 Chicago to provide online writing feedback and support to students preparing for the AP exam. The project led to more than 50 adult volunteers performing 1,900 hours of digital tutoring – resulting in record scores on the AP World History exam. McCabe also serves as the 10th grade level lead at Pritzker and varsity ultimate coach (in 2012 the Jaguars placed 2nd in Chicago, their second year as a team). Before arriving at Pritzker McCabe was a 3rd grade teacher at George B. Swift elementary in the Edgewater section of Chicago. In the past three years he has raised more than $4,000 in grants for his classrooms through Donors Choose.
Outside the classroom McCabe was appointed by President Obama in 2010 to serve as a board member for the Corporation for National and Community Service which oversees programs such as AmeriCorps, NCCC, and AmeriCorps VISTA. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for that role in 2012. McCabe recently completed the Leadership for Educational Equity Policy and Advocacy Fellowship at the Illinois State Board of Education in the office of the general counsel. Originally from Philadelphia, McCabe graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in Political Science and English, and summa cum laude from Dominican University with a Master’s of Arts in Teaching. He was a 2009 Teach for America – Chicago Corps Member.
Kelsey is teaching freshmen math at Rowe Clark Math and Science Academy, a campus of Noble Street Charter School in Chicago. At Rowe-Clark Kelsey leads her peers as the freshmen grade level leader. Kelsey began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Chicago. She taught two years at Perspectives Middle Academy and earned a master’s degree from Dominican University in the Art of Teaching. This past summer, she worked for Teach for America to train and develop teachers in Chicago. She is also currently working for Dominican University as a facilitator of a seminar for first year teachers. Kelsey graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2009 with a degree in International Studies and Sociology.
Margeaux McReynolds has been an early childhood teacher in Chicago Public Schools for the past six years. She has a B.S. in early childhood education and M.A in Literacy Education. In theses six years she has become involved in her school by being a teacher representative on the LSC, being a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, and is the Wellness Champion for her school. The past two years she spent her time out of the classroom in a MEd program at UIC in educational leadership with a focus on educational policy, especially how it relates to early childhood programs, which she finished last fall.
Michael Moriarty is a National Board Certified mathematics instructor at Morgan Park High School. He has worked for Chicago Public Schools for seven years where he contributed to his schools’ goals by serving as a department chair, data coordinator, and a member on the instructional leadership team, literacy team, and leadership team. Through these experiences, Michael developed upon his B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Illinois State University by completing a M.A. in Education at Roosevelt University with a focus in teacher leadership. During the past year, Michael was selected to represent the state of Illinois in AFT’s Common Core State Standards Expansion Team by addressing common core high school mathematics implementation for the state, districts, and schools. He is currently collaborating with the CTU’s Quest Center teacher team in developing instructional units that embody the common core content, anchor, and practice standards; a project funded by the AFT Innovation Fund grant which will serve as a model instructional unit for CPS and the nation as schools transition to the Common Core State Standards. Michael firmly believes all students deserve the highest quality of teachers and resources at all schools to move our nation forward into the 21st century.
Molly is entering her 11th year of teaching in Chicago Public Schools. The classroom is still her favorite place to be, and she loves to learn from her colleagues both at Lindblom and through various other programs in which she participates. Currently, Molly serves as department chair and Freshman Academy coordinator at Lindblom Math & Science Academy where she also teaches Advanced Placement Human Geography. Additionally, Molly is the city representative for the Yale Teacher Institute and is a teacher advisory board member at the Chicago History Museum. On Tuesdays, she can be found sitting in on a History 500 class at UIC where she gathers the energy and ideas of pre-service teachers to hopefully never lose that first year passion. Molly is very excited to learn from the other Teach Plus fellows and hopes to contribute something that will improve the craft of teaching as a whole.
Martin is currently a 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher at Kohn Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Elementary School on the far south side of Chicago. During his time as a social studies teacher, he has focused on bringing literacy and historical scholarship in the K-12 social studies classroom. Some of Martin’s other roles in education included RTI Coordinator, Freshman on Track Coordinator, a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and he is currently the Middle School Lead Teacher. As a Golden Apple Scholar (class of 2005), he earned his initial certification and degree from DePaul University’s School of Education. As a native of the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, he is keenly aware of the needs and urgency of providing all students a quality education as a gateway for success. He is very outspoken about the state of education and recently published an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times titled “I Don’t Have Anywhere to Teach this Fall,” which stresses the necessity of both the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools to reexamine methods of teacher retention. In his spare time and reads and engages in education policy and is currently in the process of completing his master’s degree in teacher leadership at the University of Illinois – Springfield.
Eliza Ramirez feels fortunate to have received an elite education, from the High Jump Program to the Latin School of Chicago and the University of Chicago. This education has shaped an understanding of herself and those around her that drive her to invest what she has learned in the service of public education. As a mentor and teaching assistant for High Jump, she developed a passion for working with middle school students. The University of Chicago's Urban Teacher Education Program allowed her to pursue that passion and prepare for the teaching profession.
This is her sixth year working at Emiliano Zapata Academy, a neighborhood school in the Chicago Public Schools’ Pilsen-Little Village Network. She works with 7th and 8th graders, teaching reading, writing, and (some years) science. She is on the Instructional Leadership Team and looks forward to her study group, book club, and writing group with other teachers. She has enjoyed being a Boundless Readers awardee and recently achieved National Board Certification in Early Adolescence English Language Arts. She is a 2011 Golden Apple Fellow, serves on the Educator Advisory Council convened by Advance Illinois, and is beginning her Action Research Leadership Institute Fellowship with the Chicago Foundation for Education this year.
Vonzele has been a member of the Lake View faculty since 2007 and has been a part of the teaching profession for the last ten years. As a member of the Social Studies Department he served as Course Team Leader for Contemporary United States History and teaches African American history. Mr. Reed earned his Bachelor Degree in History from Western Michigan University in 2000 and his Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University in 2003. He recently completed his Master’s in Educational Leadership at Concordia University Chicago in 2011. In addition to teaching history courses Mr. Reed is currently working with members of the Lake View faculty as an Instructional Coach to support teachers in their efforts to improve instruction. Mr. Reed continues to work within the belief that all students are entitled to a quality and enriching education.
Jeremy teaches 11th grade American Literature and Composition at Rauner College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter School located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. In addition to helping his students develop a passion for literature and language, Jeremy leads the Junior Grade Level Team, coaches the Boys and Girls Cross Country Team, and serves as the Advisor for a group of 9th grade boys. Jeremy’s career as an educator started in 2004 at Harper High School on Chicago’s South Side where he taught 9th grade English as a member of Teach for America. At Harper, Jeremy developed a strong interest in promoting educational equity and in improving access to college for all students—issues that continue to be at the heart of his work as a teacher. During the summer of 2011, Jeremy served as an Urban Leaders Fellow in the office of Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston while also interning at DSST Public Schools. A native of Indianapolis, Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and master’s degrees from Dominican University and the University of Oxford.
Shelli is a bilingual teacher at Jungman Elementary School in Pilsen, a predominantly Latino community on Chicago’s near south side, where she currently teaches writing to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Her passion for multilingual and multicultural education began at the University of New Mexico where she studied Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication. Shortly after graduation, Shelli participated as a World Teach volunteer teaching English in an elementary school in rural Costa Rica. There she lived and worked in an indigenous village learning the customs and culture of the people while taking on the challenges of her very first teaching experience. Upon returning to Chicago, Shelli worked as an Adult and Family Literacy Educator throughout many of Chicago’s neighborhoods providing English classes to parents as well as workshops honoring parents as their child’s first teacher. Working for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Literacy led Shelli to graduate school there where she earned a Masters of Education. Attending UIC paved the way for Shelli to further explore her passions for social justice, ESL and bilingual education. It is important to her to be a teacher who honors the youth and families with whom she works, knowing that all learners contribute in varied, yet meaningful ways.
Stephanie has been teaching in Chicago Public Schools for the past seven years after receiving her M.A.T in secondary education from National-Louis University. She also has a B.A. in psychology from The Ohio State University. She began her teaching career at Gary Elementary School teaching 7th grade Language Arts. Presently, she teaches social studies to 7th graders at Tarkington School of Excellence. Prior to teaching social studies, she taught reading and writing workshop for five years. Much of her literacy training has come from three years of ongoing professional development with Columbia Teacher’s College in New York.
Stephanie has been awarded several grants from Boundless Readers and Donors Choose which have allowed her to build a rich classroom library as well as participate in literacy study groups at her school. During the 2009-2010 school year, she was awarded a fellowship grant through Chicago Foundation for Education and became a TNLI fellow. This fellowship allowed her to conduct an action research project in her classroom focusing on deepening student response to literature. Currently, she serves on the school culture committee at her school and is working to implement PBIS for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. Her greatest joy comes from working with students in an after school setting. She started a spoken word poetry club at her school for 7th and 8th graders and is the coach for a Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam team. LTAB is Chicago’s largest youth poetry slam competition in the city. In addition, she sponsors the schools literary magazine which is funded by a grant awarded by the Oppenheimer Foundation. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys traveling and reading. This past summer, she traveled to Kenya and spent two weeks volunteering in a school working with students of all ages.
Susan Volbrecht was a 2006 Chicago Teaching Fellow and is dedicated to public education. She works seasonally for Chicago Teaching Fellows as Curriculum Manager and Lead Selector. She has written and presented workshops on literacy instruction, classroom environment, and numerous other topics in her work with CTF. Currently, Susan teaches 2nd grade at John W. Cook Elementary, and has also advised after-school programs such as Drums, Science Club, Girls Soccer, Computers, and other academic programs. She has had the privilege of providing professional development to her colleagues at Cook and at the Collaborate Chicago 2012 Conference. Susan is looking forward to advocating for more student-centered policies that will attract and retain excellent teachers in the most challenging schools.
Kylene is the daughter of a career middle school music teacher, and had always insisted that she would not go into the teaching profession. Fortunately, despite this insistence, the profession had too strong of a pull and she ended up joining the Chicago Teaching Fellows in the summer of 2010. Having worked as a Case Manager for people with severe and profound disabilities and witnessing the horrible conditions in Special Education, she decided to become a Special Education teacher to be a part of reforming the system. Kylene is going into her third year as a Special Education teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She has helped to lead Special Education trainings for the district, has contributed lessons by video for curriculum development and has participated as a selector for the most recent Chicago Teaching Fellows cohort. She is excited to represent Special Education teachers as a part of the Teach Plus Fellowship. Kylene is Level 1 certified for the Primary Years International Baccalaureate Program and will become Level 1 certified for the Middle Years Program this year. Kylene is an elected member of her school's Local School Council and recently participated in the Principal Selection Committee which helped hire a new administrator for her school.
Zorel Zambrano is entering her fifth year as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools. Zorel worked as an aide for special education for two years. She went on to become the program coordinator for the Latino Education Alliance where she worked with students who were failing or at risk of failing high school. During this time, Zorel realized the importance of classroom teachers and decided to pursue an M.S.Ed. along with an endorsement in special education. Zorel has been teaching and case managing special education children for four years. Her belief is that every child deserves an equitable education and is driven by social justice. Zorel is constantly on the search for new opportunities for her students and has received various grants and fellowships through Chicago Foundation for Education, Boundless Readers, and other organizations.