Bill Curtin is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. A National Board Certified Teacher, Bill teaches English and creative writing at Carbondale Community High School, where he also coaches speech and sponsors the student literary magazine. Bill also serves as a new teacher mentor and facilitates a cohort of teachers pursuing National Board Certification. Before moving to Carbondale, Bill taught at Kankakee High School, where he was named the county's "Innovator in Education" after his class project led to an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Bill now serves on the Illinois Educator Preparation and Licensure Board and as vice president of the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. Outside of the classroom, he is an avid backpacker who has hiked the 2200-mile Appalachian Trail. Bill earned his BA in English Education with honors from Illinois State University and completed his MA in Educational Administration at Governors State University.
Traci Dean is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She is a 3rd grade English Language Arts teacher at John Mills Elementary School in Elmwood Park, teaching in the same classroom that she attended as a student. Traci holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Winona State University in Minnesota and an MEd from National Louis University with specialized endorsements in Special Education and English as a Second Language (ESL).
Maggie DePoy is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She teaches 5th grade English Language Arts at KIPP: Bloom College Prep Middle School in Chicago's Englewood community, where she also serves as the 5th grade team leader. In 2015, Maggie was named Teacher of the Year at KIPP: Bloom. Prior to her work with KIPP, Maggie was a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, where she taught 4th grade English Language Arts and served as the 4th grade team leader. Maggie earned a BA in Political Science from Bates College.
Jennifer Hartmann is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She teaches 8th grade social studies and science at PFC Omar E. Torres Charter School, where she serves on the network social studies curriculum committee. Previously, Jennifer taught social studies in grades 6, 9, and 12 at Perspectives Charter Schools' Math and Science Academy, and 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies at Rickover Junior High School in Sauk Village, Illinois. Jennifer has previously participated in the Social Emotional Learning Curriculum for Perspectives Charter School, helping her district become an award-winning example of teaching an explicit social emotional learning curriculum in grades 6-12. She graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BA in History with Teacher Certification and received her MA in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and her MA in Educational Leadership with Administrative Certification from Roosevelt University.
Kelly King is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. Kelly is an instructional technology specialist in Riverside School District 96 who works with K-8 students and teachers across the district to help provide meaningful implementation of technology in the classroom. Prior to this role, she was a 4th and 5th grade classroom teacher and a K-6 reading specialist. Kelly is a Google Certified Educator, an Amazon Teacher Innovator and a member of the Illinois State Board of Education's Teacher Leader Cadre. Kelly graduated from Illinois State University with a BS in Elementary Education and from the University of St. Francis with an MS in Educational Leadership.
Sarah Kuntzman is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She teaches 7th grade life science at Plano Middle School, where she also co-teaches in the Illinois Math and Science Academy Fusion program. Sarah sponsors Plano's scholastic bowl team and the middle school student council. She was named a 2015 influential educator in Plano School District and worked with her team to be named Plano's best professional learning community of 2014. She earned a BA in Biology and her teaching certificate from Aurora University and is working on her MA in curriculum and instruction through Northern Illinois University.
Lani Luo is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow who teaches 11th grade Honors American Literature at Rauner College Prep. Lani serves as a Policy Fellow with Leadership Education Equity's Diversity in Public Leadership Series. In the past, Lani has worked with Educators 4 Excellence on teacher evaluation, served as a summer fellow at The Ounce of Prevention Fund, and taught 1st grade at Chicago Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in in political science and Asian Pacific Studies, and earned her MSEd in primary education from Johns Hopkins University.
Ashley McCall is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She is a 3rd grade bilingual English Language Arts teacher at César Chávez Multicultural Arts Center in Chicago, IL. Ashley was a 2012 Teach For America corps member and taught 3rd grade general education at LEARN South Chicago and 2nd grade bilingual education at Peabody Elementary School. She served on LEARN Charter Network's Social Studies C3 Framework Design Team to develop and align benchmarks for a new standards-based curriculum as well as develop K-8 plans and identify instructional materials for teachers. As a community organizer with Illinois for Educational Equity (ILEE), Ashley partners with teachers, families, and community leaders to advance for a more equitable education system for students. She graduated from Amherst College with a BA in Political Science and Spanish and received her MAT from Dominican University.
Cynthia O'Brien is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. She is a veteran 5th grade, self-contained teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Maywood, Illinois. Cynthia serves on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) committee, as an Illinois Math and Science Academy Fusion teacher, and as the school's technology facilitator. Cynthia holds leadership roles in her local union as the membership chair and serves on the Region 29 counsel as the ethnic minority representative. She is also the founder and lead consultant of Push Smarter Educational Solutions Inc., an organization dedicated to equipping teachers and administrators with the tools they need to positively engage all members of their school community in order to raise student achievement. She is a five-time IEA School and Community Outreach by Educators grant recipient, a published author, and a 2016 ASCD Emerging Leader. Cynthia holds a BS in Elementary Education from Loyola University of Chicago and a MA in Administration and Supervision from Saint Xavier's University in Chicago.
Michelle Poelsterl is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. A National Board Certified teacher, Michelle is a reading specialist at Anderson School in St. Charles. She is a candidate support provider for teachers seeking National Board Certification through the National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University. Michelle has been a member of the school improvement team at her school, and has presented on the state and national level at a variety of conferences on literacy instruction. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University and an MS in Teaching and Learning: Reading from University of St. Francis.