Abigail Baiza is a 2020-21 Texas Policy Fellow. She teaches third-grade writing at IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio, Texas. Abigail proudly teaches in the community she grew up in and has attained Master Teacher recognition for her expertise in kindergarten literacy at IDEA Monterrey Park Academy. As an IDEA Teacher Policy and Leadership Program member, Abigail led a push to increase certification for charter school teachers. As a member of IDEA’s Family Advisory Council, she services the needs of her students and colleagues and advocates for parent perspectives. She is a first-generation graduate with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University and is currently working on her MEd in Education Policies and Leadership Studies with the University of Texas at Arlington.
Tara Bordeaux is a 2020-21 Texas Policy Fellow. She leads the Viking Visual - Cinematic Arts, Media & Design Program at Navarro Early College High School, where she also serves as the P-TECH Workplace Learning Curriculum Coordinator. Tara is a PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab Instructor, a Global Ambassador for Rock Your World, and a lead mentor for the Freedom Writers Institute. She was named the 2018 Texas Teacher of the Year. Tara has received numerous awards in education, including the 2018 Erma Lee Boice Instructional Advocacy Award and 2019 California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Film and Photography and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and is currently pursuing an EdD from Lamar University in Educational Leadership and Digital Innovation.
Melody Bradley is a 2020-21 Texas DFW Senior Policy Fellow and is a self-contained special education teacher at Grand Prairie High School. She serves on the campus Special Education Department Chair, and a Flippen Group Process Champion Capturing Kids Heart Campus Ambassador. Melody served as special education department chair and created a speaker’s bureau for students in grades 6-12 at YWLA. She was previously named the campus Teacher of the Year (first special education teacher to receive this honor on the campus). Melody has also served on several district and campus level committees, staff development presenter, as a mentor teacher, a peer tutor for professional examinations, and more. She received a BSE in Special Education from the University of Central Arkansas, a MA in Education, Supervision and Administration from the University of Phoenix, and completed post graduate work in Educational Leadership and Educational Technology.
Creacy Brown is a 2020-21 Texas Policy Fellow. She teaches 5th grade math at Central Middle School in Galveston, Texas. Creacy serves as a mentor teacher to new teachers at her campus and she was selected as a campus teacher of the year in her district. She’s previously taught Social Studies and English and has been a campus Response to Intervention Facilitator. Creacy was a lead presenter of a presentation called “Motivating Unmotivated Students; Achieving Academic Success” at the annual ACT Summit at Baylor University in January 2020. She consistently implements strategic interventions that result in her students demonstrating several years of growth in one academic year. She graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Biology.
Cheri Butler is a 2020-21 Texas DFW Policy Fellow and is a special education inclusion teacher at Frank Guzick Elementary School, where she also sponsors the Yearbook club. Cheri is a Distinguished Teacher and serves as the chair for the campus Sunshine Committee. Cheri previously taught 1st and 2nd grade ELAR. She graduated from American Intercontinental University with a BA in Business Management and is working on her MEd in Special Education.
Marissa Castañón-Hernandez is a 2020-21 Texas Policy Fellow and is the middle and high school Theatre Director and Fine Arts Department Chair at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Texas. She earned special recognition as an Austin ISD Professional Pathway for Teachers Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Leadership graduate and is a Young Women’s Preparatory Network Educator of Excellence Award Recipient. Marissa served as a Teacher Induction Program Facilitator and curriculum writer for Austin ISD Fine Arts and developed and presented professional development for her campus. She graduated from Southwestern University with a BA in Theatre and Communication and received her MFA in Theatre at UT Austin.
Brittnay Connor is a 2020-21 Texas DFW Policy Fellow. She teaches 3rd grade Dual Language at Geneva Heights Elementary, where she also sponsors Student Voices and Conversation club. She is a member of the District’s Association of Hispanic School Administrators, a 2020 Leadership ISD Alumna, and she sits on the Teach for America DFW Alumni Board. She is an active member of Dallas CORE and Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). Brittnay was previously a Lead Bilingual Teacher at Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center and was awarded a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching scholarship at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. She graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a BA in Spanish.
Cristina Ann Correa is a 2020-21 Texas Senior Policy Fellow and is the founding art teacher at IDEA College Preparatory San Juan, where she has taught and served her community for 12 years. As a former Texas Public Charter School Association Teacher Advocate Leader and IDEA Public Schools Teacher Policy Leader, she has enjoyed opportunities to engage with legislators at the 2019 session, present at conferences like Raise Your Hand Texas, and represent her hard-working, creative students in the news media. Cristina is ecstatic to join Teach Plus Texas for a second year as a Senior Policy Fellow and is looking forward to the new adventures of the virtual teaching world. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a BS in Mass Communications and Graphic Design and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a MFA in Studio Art, Latin American Art History, and Mexican-American Studies.
Janet Diaz is a 2020-21 Texas DFW Policy Fellow. She teaches Social Studies at Applied Learning Academy in Fort Worth ISD. For the 2020-2021 school year, she will be looping with her students and teaching seventh grade Texas History. She previously taught sixth grade World Geography. Once a student at ALA herself, Janet Diaz coaches the student Whiz Quiz teams. She initiated and continues to lead the race and equity conversations amongst ALA teachers. Janet received her BA with Honors in Anthropology and a Minor in Chicana/o Latina/o Studies from Stanford University.
Edwin DuBois is a 2020-21 Texas DFW Policy Fellow. He is the Campus Coordinator, Dean of Instruction, Parent Organization Chair, and a District STEM Department Professional Development presenter at Seagoville Middle School in Dallas, Texas. Edwin previously taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade mathematics and served as grade level Team Lead and Instructional Lead Teacher, respectively. He graduated from University of North Texas at Denton with a BA in Finance and received his MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University.