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Meet Our Teacher Leaders

Dawn Bates
Teaching Policy Fellow
2nd Grade Teacher
Woodland Elementary School
Joliet District 86

Dawn Bates is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow who teaches 2nd grade at Woodland Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois. Dawn is a member of the district's Science and Social Science Curriculum Writing Team and has served as a member of Woodland’s Data Team. Dawn was recognized as a Joliet Area Great Teacher and has presented at the National Science Teacher Association Conference. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. Dawn graduated from Illinois State University with a BS in Housing and Environmental Design and received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Olivet Nazarene University.

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Erica Abangan
Teaching Policy Fellow
Eight Grade Math and Social Studies Teacher
Goethe School
Chicago Public Schools

Erica Abangan is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow. Erica currently teaches 8th grade math and social studies at Goethe School in Chicago, where she serves as the athletic liaison, basketball and volleyball coach, and yearbook advisor. Previously, Erica taught middle school math and science, served as an Assistant Principal, and was a member of school improvement teams. Erica has been recognized for her work as an educator through student-nominated recognitions such as the ChiGivesBack #Teach2Give Class of 2019 Honors, the Proviso Township High Schools’ Recognition Award, and the St. Ignatius College Prep Outstanding Teacher Award. Erica graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Middle Level Education and from Dominican University with an MA in Educational Leadership.

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Melanie Abney
National Board Certified School Counselor
Hamilton Elementary School
School District of Lancaster

Melanie Abney is a 2020-21 Pennsylvania Policy Advisory Board Member who advocates for her students as the School Counselor at James Hamilton Elementary. Melanie has supported her students and school community for 12 years so far. She is trained in Restorative Practices and is committed to helping her teachers build positive relationships with students. She serves on her district’s Equity Design Team where she is currently working on developing a district-wide Equity Policy. Melanie is a member of Lancaster County School Counselor Association where she strives to stay abreast with the new research in the field of school counseling. Melanie graduated from West Chester University with BA in Psychology and MEd with a School Counseling Certification (K-6).

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Samantha Agoos
Teaching Policy Fellow
Honors Biology & Genetics teacher
East High School
Denver Public Schools

Samantha Agoos is a 2020-2021 Colorado Policy Fellow and teaches Honors Biology and Honors Genetics at East High School in Denver, Colorado, where she is also the Science Department Chair and Link Crew Chair. Previously, she taught General Physics at Denver East and Honors and General Chemistry at Bloomington High School North in Bloomington, Indiana. Samantha earned her MEd in Instructional Leadership in Science Education from the University of Illinois Chicago. Before that, she graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BS in Zoology. Samantha is currently pursuing National Board Certification. Additionally, she has published curricular materials through TedEd and Inquiry Hub -University of Colorado Boulder.

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Bethany Alberts
TLPL Teacher Leader
Middle school math teacher
Herzl School of Excellence
Chicago Public Schools

Bethany Alberts is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Change Agent Teacher Leader. Bethany teaches middle school math at the Herzl School of Excellence.  She is a member of the school’s instructional leadership team and the 3rd-8th grade math lead. She formerly taught at Amandla Charter School where she was the science department head and a member of the Foundations team. She is a Teach For America alum and worked as an instructional coach for corps members at Teach for America. She previously taught at Zavala Elementary School in Harlingen, Texas.  She has been awarded four Chicago Fund for Education study group grants in her pursuit for professional growth.  Bethany earned a BA in Criminal Justice and International Affairs from The George Washington University and an MEd in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois Chicago.

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Chantei Alves
Senior Fellow
Pre-K Inclusion Teacher/BTU Building Representative
Young Achievers K-8 Science and Math Pilot School
Boston Public Schools

Chantei Alves is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Commonwealth Senior Policy Fellow. Chantei is in her 7th year as a Boston Public Schools Pre-K Inclusion Teacher at the Young Achievers K-8 School in Mattapan. Chantei is a teacher leader and a Boston Teachers Union building representative. She is passionate about equitable and engaging education, authentic family engagement, and supporting other educators to reach all students academically, socially and  emotionally. She is a member of several school district and state committees, including the NAACP Boston chapter, Boston Network for Black Student Achievement (BNBSA) and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA). Chantei was awarded the 2020 AFT Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award. She holds a master’s in Education from Northeastern University and will be attending Lesley University’s Moderate Disabilities master’s program in Fall 2021.

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Anisa Amani
Teaching Policy Fellow
3rd grade teacher
Dyer Kelly Elementary School
San Juan Unified School District

Anisa Amani is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow who teaches 3rd grade at Dyer Kelly Elementary School in Sacramento, which has a refugee population of nearly 51% refugees from Afghanistan. As a first generation Afghan-Muslim-American, Anisa uses her family knowledge and bilingual skills to engage with refugee families in the language they are most comfortable with, Dari/Farsi. Anisa is a member of Global Shapers - Sacramento Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. Anisa has published her research based on ways educators can engage young students with cultural humility in: “Weaving Diversity Amongst Cultures to Build Community.” She earned her BA in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento, and her credential and MEd from the University of California, Davis.

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Karen Amidon headshot
Senior Fellow
High School English Teacher
Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School
Boulder Valley Public Schools

Karen Amidon is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Colorado Senior Policy Fellow. She teaches high school English at Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School and advises the Student Council and coaches the Ethics Bowl team. Karen has served as English department chair and grade level leader, and she is a certified educational leadership coach who regularly mentors preservice teachers. She has been awarded several classroom innovation grants and received teaching fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Hemera Foundation. Prior to teaching, she led a nonprofit advocacy organization championing girls’ and women’s education, economic security, and civil rights. Karen graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in English and received her MA in English and secondary education licensure from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Alyssa Avila
Teaching Policy Fellow
7th grade teacher
Luther Burbank Arts Tech and Community Magnet
Los Angeles Unified School District

Alyssa Avila is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow and an LAUSD 7th grade English teacher serving students at Luther Burbank Arts Tech and Community Magnet. She serves as English department co-chair at Luther Burbank Middle School and as a mentor teacher for new teacher candidates from University of California, Los Angeles. She started her career in education as a Los Angeles Teach For America corp member in 2014. She has taught ELA, English Language Development, and English Intervention. She completed Breathe for Change’s Yoga and Socio-Emotional Wellness Program for educators in 2019 and is a certified WEB coordinator, a program that builds mentorship between 6th and 8th graders. She earned her BA in English from UCLA and MA in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University.

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Tiffany Bailey
Teaching Policy Fellow
Kindergarten teacher
Park Manor Elementary
Chicago Public Schools

Tiffany Bailey is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow. She teaches kindergarten at Park Manor Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois She has 20 years of experience teaching in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. She serves as the primary grade level team lead and an active member of the school's instructional leadership team. Tiffany has held various other leadership roles such as Instructional Coach, ASPEN Change Champion, and CPS Network Teacher Facilitator. She has won numerous awards for exceeding student proficiency and attainment targets on mClass and NWEA assessments and most recently for her instructional practice during remote learning. She earned her BS in Elementary Education from Florida A&M University, and holds an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.

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