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Teach Plus California Announces 2021-2022 Cohort of Policy Fellows

September 30, 2021

Sacramento, CA— Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in educational policy and instructional practice, has selected a group of 25 demonstrably effective teachers from around California for its 2021-2022 Policy Fellowship cohort. The cohort will focus on a range of issues of importance to California’s teachers, students, and parents. Those issues include equitable school funding, transparency and accountability, the creation of a culturally affirming and anti-racist school climate, strategies for ensuring an excellent, empowered, and diverse teaching force, and high-quality early childhood education.

“Even though this is one of the most challenging years to be a teacher, these exceptional educators have stepped forward to grow their expertise as advocates for educational equity. I am looking forward to seeing all that we can accomplish together,” said Sarah Lillis, Teach Plus California Executive Director. 

“I look forward to learning the language of policy makers and how we translate the bilingualism between teachers and policy makers,” said incoming Policy Fellow Jinhui Yu, who teaches at William Land Elementary School in Sacramento.

The new Fellows hail from across the state, from Chula Vista in the south to Hamilton in the north, and many communities in between including Los Angeles, Fontana, Sacramento, Merced, Glendale, National City, and Richmond. Their teaching experience ranges from two years to 42 years across traditional public and charter public schools, from transitional kindergarten to high school. The Fellows were selected through a rigorous application process that required them to demonstrate effectiveness, commitment to equity, and pursuit of excellence and innovation in their teaching. 

Throughout the program, the Fellows are trained in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and develop the skills necessary to advocate for changes for California’s students. 

“I am excited to learn how to advocate for students of color. If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu. The people at the table are changing and I want to be a part of that change,” said incoming Policy Fellow Gina Gray, a teacher at Middle College High School in Los Angeles.

The 2021-22 California Policy Fellows are: 

  • Natali Gaxiola, Buford Elementary School, Lennox School District
  • Gina Gray, Middle College High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Marilyn Hande, Columbus Elementary School, Glendale Unified School District
  • Nestor Henrriquez, Merced High School, Merced Union High School District
  • Chloe Hotwani, East Palo Alto Charter School, Ravenswood City School District
  • Isiah Iniguez, F.D.Roosevelt Elementary School, Lawndale Elementary School District
  • Preston Jackson, California Middle School, Sacramento City Unified School District
  • Kim Lee, Pinole Valley High School, West Contra Costa Unified
  • María Manzotti, Hilltop Senior High School, Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Bryan Monroy, Lennox Math Science & Technology Academy, Lennox School District
  • Joshua Salas, Alliance Renee & Meyer Luskin Academy High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Jamie Schnablegger, Edwin Markham Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Wendy Threatt, Felicita Elementary School, Escondido Union
  • David Tow, Terra Linda High School, San Rafael City Schools
  • Danielle Vinas, HEET Community of Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Leigh Dela Victoria, Poplar Elementary School, Fontana Unified School District
  • Amy Weisberg, Topanga Elementary Charter School, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Louise Williamson, Hilltop Senior High School, Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Carmen Wright, Elkhorn Village Elementary, Washington Unified School District
  • Jinhui Yu, William Land Elementary, Sacramento City Unified School District

The Senior Fellows are:

  • Jalina Ramirez Chatzipantsios, Florence Nightingale Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Rina Gonzalez, Hamilton High School, Hamilton Unified School District
  • Timothy Hilton, Climate and Culture Specialist, Fresno Unified School District
  • Joselyn Quintanilla, PUC Lakeview Charter High School, Los Angeles
  • Tina Starks, Educational Designer, Student Achievement Partners

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning, to create an education system driven by access and excellence for all. teachplus.org