Idalmi Acosta is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellow. Idalmi teaches 8th grade ELA at Harshman Magnet Middle School in Indianapolis. As a youth organizer in New York City for five years, she recruited and trained students in the northwest Bronx to fight for changes to the education system at low-performing schools in the Bronx. She ran local, citywide, and national campaigns to promote the use of restorative justice to deal with discipline, reduce the role of police in schools, and provide more college readiness supports for students. Idalmi is a Teach For America alumna. She graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Political Science and a BA in English and earned a Masters in Teaching from Marian University.
Samantha Bandy is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Change Agent. Samantha supports schools in the West Learning Community of Indianapolis Public Schools as a special education specialist. She has served in various leadership positions, such as special education compliance monitor, response to intervention coordinator, and a member of the school improvement team while teaching at KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory and Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School. She was voted Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 while teaching special education at Carpe Diem Innovative School Shadeland. Samantha graduated from the University of Evansville with a BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Social Studies Education and received her certificate in Mild Interventions from Indiana Wesleyan University and her MEd in Education Administration and Supervision from Ball State University.
Dominique Barnes is a Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellow who teaches 4th grade at Mabel K. Holland Elementary School. She is Holland’s PTA president, bridging the gap between parents, students, and staff using engaging activities to promote school unity. Dominique is a member of Holland’s PBIS team, which serves as a component of providing behavioral and intervention systems for the school. She previously worked at the YMCA Child Care Services Branch of Fort Wayne, where she held various roles such as childcare site director and summer camp director. Dominique graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Bonnie Benson is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Change Agent. Bonnie is a literacy coach at Robert Lee Frost Elementary School, where she has planned and led professional learning community meetings, planned and implemented Saturday learning opportunities for third grade students, and served as summer building facilitator. Bonnie graduated from the University of Indianapolis with a BS in Education and received her MS in Education from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, a Gifted and Talented Endorsement from Purdue University, and completed her Principal Certification Program from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
Megan Bilbo is a Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellow. She is a special educator with an emphasis on English Language Arts at Noblesville High School, where she serves on the professional development and special education leadership committees. Megan began her teaching career in the field of health education. She then worked as a reading and math interventionist at East Elementary School in Jay County, Indiana, and later taught 8th grade reading interventions as a special educator at Mesa County School District 51 in Colorado. She received grant and scholarship awards from Noblesville Schools Education Foundation and is a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association. She earned a BA in Secondary Education with endorsements in Health and Educational Technology, and an MEd in Special Education with certificates in Autism and Applied Behavioral Analysis, from Ball State University.
Nick Brewer is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellow. Nick teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Westlane Middle School, where he also coaches academic team and track. He has previously taught both 7th and 8th grade English. Nick grew up in a teacher’s household as his mother, aunts, grandfather, sister, and brother all work in the education field. He graduated with a BA in Secondary English Education from Indiana University Purdue University and received his MEd in Educational Leadership from Ball State University.
Lesley Bright is a Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellow who teaches 6th-8th grade science at Carlisle Middle School in Carlisle, Indiana. Lesley is the Science Olympiad coach and the Jr. Beta Club sponsor for her school. Previously, she taught at Liberty Technology Magnet High School in Jackson, TN, where she coached science bowl and led a novel-writing club. Lesley attended Union University, where she earned a BS in Biology with an emphasis on biology education.
Jessica Carlson is a Teach Plus Indiana Teaching Policy Fellow and an instructional coach at Garrett Middle School. She previously taught 10th grade English and remediation at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana and also has teaching experience in Colorado, Ohio, and New York. Jessica has participated in school reform initiatives for standards-based grading, school redesign, technology utilization, and student interventions, and has led professional learning communities in curriculum design and implementation. She graduated from Houghton College with a BA in English with a concentration in Secondary Education and received her MEd in Education with a focus on curriculum and instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Mariah Cawthorne is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellow. Mariah teaches middle school Spanish at Westlane Middle School in Washington Township, where she is also the 7th grade basketball coach. She previously taught Spanish to grades 7-12 at Christel House Academy South and Christel House Academy DORS. She is an alumna of Teach For America Indianapolis and was a regional nominee for Teach For America’s Sue Lehmann award. Mariah comes from a long line of educators. She graduated from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia with a BA in Spanish and English Literature/Creative Writing and received her MAT from Marian University.
Emily Chestnut is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellow. Emily is a 4th grade teacher at Clark Elementary School and is an 8th grade volleyball coach at Clark-Pleasant Middle School. She previously taught at William McKinley Elementary, where she grew the youth sports program from one to six extracurricular activities. Emily was nominated for 2016-17 Teacher of the Year at William McKinley Elementary. She graduated from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis with a BS in Education.