2016 Education Innovation Fellows

01 Sharifa Bernard

Sharifa Bernard, Teach For America—D.C. Region

Sharifa Bernard is a former middle school mathematics teacher who taught in New Jersey for six years. She then joined Teach For America and served in a variety of capacities; currently, she manages three teacher coaches and is working with external partners to build a professional development scope and sequence for young alum educators. Sharifa earned her B.A. in psychology and economics from Wellesley College and her M.P.A. from Rutgers University. She is a certified Real Time Coach and continues to build her understanding of adult leadership and development through the lens of culturally responsive pedagogy.

02 Adam Browning

Adam Browning, Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools—Capitol Hill High School

Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools—Capitol Hill High School Adam Browning is a special education teacher at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, where he currently co-teaches earth science, biology, and chemistry. Previously, he has co-taught Algebra II and pre-calculus. During the summer of 2015, Adam taught English to rising fifth graders at a low-income school in Migdal Ha’Emek, Israel. Adam moved to D.C. to pursue a career in special education as a member of the 2014 cohort of The New Teacher Project’s DC Teaching Fellows. He holds an M.S.W. from Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, and a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

03 Chip Chase

Chip Chase, Capital City Public Charter School

Chip Chase is the Director of Library Services and Technology Integration for Capital City Public Charter School. He holds an M.A. in library science and a B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland, College Park, and he is currently enrolled in the Educational Technology Leadership program at George Washington University. Chip is a co-founder of edcamp MetroDC, a local conference for educators operating since 2013.

04 Latisha Chisholm

Latisha Chisholm, Anacostia High School

Latisha Chisholm is a special educator for grades 9–12 at Anacostia High School. She began her career as a social worker and as a New Heights Coordinator at Ballou STAY High School, then transitioned into teaching at Ballou Senior High School through DC Teaching Fellows, earning a dual certification in special education and English. Latisha has also served as an English department chair and Washington Teachers Union Building Representative. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University in psychology, with honors in education, and earned her M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley.

05 Eric Dabney

Eric Dabney, Orr Elementary School

Eric Dabney is a fourth grade math teacher at Orr Elementary School. His journey into the world of education began in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as a substitute teacher. Through the Urban Teacher Center, Eric earned a teaching license in elementary education, special education, middle school math, and two master’s degrees in education. During his time as a teacher, Eric has only worked in D.C. bottom-40 schools, where his students have achieved a minimum of two years of growth every year.

06 Janis Dingels

Janis Dingels, The Walker Jones Education Campus

Janis Dingels is in her eighth year of teaching and is currently a first grade teacher and data team lead at the Walker Jones Education Campus. Before joining DCPS, Janis was a 2008–2010 Teach For America corps member. She taught in Prince George’s County Public Schools, where she was grade level chair of the kindergarten team, served on the technology team, and taught third grade in the after-school academy. In 2010, Janis received the Phi Delta Kappa International Outstanding New Teacher Award, and in 2014, she was nominated by her school for the PGCPS Outstanding Educator Award. Janis graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in English. She also holds an M.A. in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on early childhood education.

07 Carmalita Doss

Carmalita Doss, Tubman Elementary School

Carmalita Doss is a first grade teacher at Tubman Elementary School with 13 years of teaching experience. Carmalita has served as a lead teacher and mentor teacher, and she serves as the literacy planner for first grade. She earned her M.A. in elementary education at Saint Mary’s College of California.

08 Brenda Douyon

Brenda Douyon, Kelly Miller Middle School

Brenda Douyon is a teacher lead at Kelly Miller Middle School, where she currently teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math. She has seven years of teaching experience and is an alumna of Teach For America. Prior to teaching at Kelly Miller, Before coming to D.C., Brenda taught in Boston, New Jersey, and Georgia. She helped her school earn the top middle school CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) score in Atlanta Public Schools for two years in a row. Brenda graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in hospitality administration and a minor in business administration.

09 Julia Ellis

Julia Ellis, Monument Academy Public Charter School

Julia Ellis is the founding special education lead teacher and coordinator at Monument Academy Public Charter School. Previously, Julia has taught students with special needs in grades 4–8 at Kramer Middle School, Wheatley Education Campus, and Excel Academy. Julia completed her undergraduate studies at the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. She is a 2009 Teach For America corps member and earned her M.A. in special education at George Mason University.

10 Hannah Jacobson

Hannah Jacobson, Center City Public Charter School—Brightwood Campus

Hannah Jacobson is currently a fourth year special education teacher, specializing in math, at Center City PCS–Brightwood Campus. She is also a fourth year fellow with Urban Teachers, where she has had the opportunity to be trained and train the next generation of teachers through an intensive residency program in D.C. She holds a B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Michigan and a dual M.A. in elementary education and special education from Lesley University.

11 Ben Johnson

Benjamin Johnson, Two Rivers Public Charter School

Ben Johnson is currently a fourth grade lead teacher at Two Rivers PCS. Originally from Chicago, Ben attended Grinnell College in Iowa, where he earned a B.A. in psychology and served as the captain of the football team. After graduating, Ben was a founding teacher at SciTech Academy in New Orleans, where he taught third and fourth grade. He later moved back home and helped found a KIPP middle school on Chicago’s west side. Ben recently earned his M.A. in school leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and he has spent the past three summers coaching teachers in Chicago and Philadelphia. Before coming to Two Rivers, Ben served as a principal-intern at Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston.

12 Kayla Larkin

Kayla Larkin, Center City Public Charter School—Shaw Campus

Kayla Larkin is a second and third grade English Language Arts teacher at Center City PCS–Shaw Campus. She began her teaching career with Urban Teachers in 2012. Since then, she has taught Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. This past summer, Kayla served as a Language Development and Foundations of Urban Education graduate assistant with Urban Teachers, as well as an Ongoing Communications Fellow with the Flamboyan Foundation. In 2014, she earned a dual M.A. in elementary and special education from Lesley University and holds a B.A. in African and African American studies and global and international studies from the Pennsylvania State University.

13 Wesley Lawson

Wesley Lawson, Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts

Wesley Lawson teaches 11th grade English and journalism at Richard Wright PCS for Journalism and Media Arts. The highlight of his career was establishing a scholarship foundation to help students in D.C. achieve their postsecondary aspirations. Wesley is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, with a B.A. in mass communications and English literature. He is currently pursuing his M.S. in educational leadership from St. Thomas University.

14 Toyen Malcolm

Toyen Malcolm, Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools—Parkside Middle School

Toyen Malcolm is a math lab teacher at Parkside Middle School. She earned an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College and holds a dual B.A. and certification in special and elementary education from Mount Saint Mary’s University. In 2012, Toyen began her career as a special educator in a co-taught math classroom at Drew Freeman Middle School in Prince George’s County. Currently in her fourth year of teaching, Toyen has been rated highly effective since she began her career.

15 Sharon Michaels

Sharon Michaels, Truesdell Education Campus

Sharon Michaels is a sixth grade English Language Arts, social studies, and writing teacher at Truesdell Education Campus who enjoys designing and facilitating learning experiences for English language learners. Prior to becoming a Teach For America corps member in 2013, Sharon worked for several years on Teach For America’s national program team. At Truesdell, she is the department chair for grades 3-6 and a Flamboyan Foundation family engagement lead. During her second year of teaching, Sharon was selected from more than 3,000 teachers as a national semifinalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. She earned a B.A. in history and international studies, with a focus in Spanish from Southern Adventist University and an Ed.M (curriculum and development) from George Mason University.

16 Kaila Ramsey

Kaila Ramsey, H.D. Cooke Elementary School

Kaila Ramsey is a fourth grade math and science teacher at H.D. Cooke Elementary School. She previously taught at Powell Elementary School as both a math and special education teacher. Kaila started teaching in DCPS as a Teach for America corps member in 2009; before that, she taught and counseled high school students through the Carolina College Advising Corps and worked as a Child Find Coordinator for Ward 4 through DCPS’s Office of Special Education. Kaila holds a M.A. in special education from George Mason University and a B.A. in religious studies from UNC Chapel Hill.

17 Jereamy Rose

Jereamy Rose, Anacostia High School

Jereamy Rose is a special educator who teaches American history, government, and D.C. history at Anacostia High School. He works with 11th and 12th grade students who have severe learning and emotional disabilities. Jereamy has served as a lead teacher, the chairman for the personal curriculum policy writing committee, and a program coordinator for the Graduation Initiative Grant. He has also served as a lead special educator for the NewTech blended learning program. Jereamy earned his B.A. from Siena Heights University, his M.A. in special education from Lynn University, and his educational specialist degree in leadership and administration from Siena Heights University. He is currently in his 11th year of teaching and hopes to one day establish a blended learning program or school in D.C.

18 Pam Ross

Pam Ross, Oyster Adams Bilingual School

Pam Ross is currently a fourth grade teacher at Oyster Adams Bilingual School. She has been teaching for 26 years, 15 of which she has spent at Oyster Adams. During this time, she has served as a literacy coach, a second and third grade classroom teacher, a reading intervention specialist, and a fourth grade teacher. She is a national board certified teacher and a recipient of an ING Unsung Heroes Award. Pam has been selected as a member of the DCPS Chancellor’s Cabinet and is currently a professional development facilitator for DCPS. She holds a M.S. in early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education and a B.A. from Dartmouth College in Russian Language.

19 Antoinette Smith

Antoinette Smith, Excel Academy Public Charter School

Antoinette Smith is a fourth grade reading teacher at Excel Academy, D.C.’s first all-girls public charter school. She began her journey as an educator in 2012 as a teaching resident with Urban Teachers. Since then, she has earned two master’s degrees. Additionally, Antoinette has served as a grade level lead at Excel, a summer mentor to teaching residents with Urban Teachers, and junior clinical faculty with Urban Teachers, where she facilitated a classroom management course.

20 Donna Sothern

Donna Sothern, Cleveland Elementary School

Donna Sothern is a fourth and fifth grade dual language teacher at Cleveland Elementary School. She began her teaching career in Chiquimula, Guatemala, where she taught English Language Arts, basic computer skills, and theater for students in Pre-K through 12th grades. After returning to the United States, Donna served as a technology assistant and later the bilingual financial aid officer at Strayer University. She went on to teach ESL at Seaton School while serving adult learners in the evenings as an ESL teacher at Roosevelt STAY High School. She is a proud alumna of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she double majored in history and sociology/anthropology. Donna completed her graduate course of study at American University.

21 Stephanie Spangler

Stephanie Spangler, Tubman Elementary School

Stephanie Spangler teaches fourth grade at Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights, where she leads an English Language Arts course centered around close reading and evidence-based writing. Stephanie also serves as grade-level chair and as a Teach Plus Policy Fellow. Previously, Stephanie taught for two years at KIPP DC LEAD Academy, where she earned Teacher of the Year for the 2012-2013 school year. Stephanie earned her teaching certification through the Capital Teaching Residency Program and is an alumna of Emory University, where she was awarded the Truman Scholarship for her interest in education.

22 Jamila Thompson

Jamila Thompson, Orr Elementary School

Jamila Thompson is a fourth year English Language Arts teacher at Benjamin Orr Elementary School, where she has successfully assisted under-performing students in becoming proficient readers. Jamila received her B.A. in liberal arts from Eugene Lang College in New York City and her M.A. in elementary education from The University of the District of Columbia.

23 Veronica Torres

Veronica Torres, Truesdell Education Campus

Veronica Torres teaches seventh and eighth grade mathematics at Truesdell Education Campus. At Truesdell, Veronica is the middle grades chairperson, family engagement team lead, and a Leading Educators fellow. Additionally, Veronica has served as a DCPS Cornerstone developer and has led professional development sessions for mathematics teachers. She began her career in education at Truesdell as a Teach For America corps member in 2012. Veronica earned her B.A. from the George Washington University and is currently working on her M.A. in education at John Hopkins University. A DCPS graduate, she enjoys teaching students in the same neighborhood in which she grew up.

24 Wale TumainI

K. Omowale Tumaini, Kelly Miller Middle School

K. Omowale Tumaini is in his fourth year as a seventh grade mathematics and African American studies elective teacher at Kelly Miller Middle School. His career in education began in 2004 as a tutor in an after-school program in his hometown of Oakland. Wale holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University and graduated summa cum laude from Howard University’s Master of Arts of Teaching program. As a graduate student, he was awarded the Trustee Scholarship and had the opportunity to represent the Oakland Unified School District in New Orleans at the National Alliance of Black School Educators National Convention in 2011.