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Meet Our Teacher Leaders

Kristen Haase
Teaching Policy Fellow
Carter and MacCrae Elementary School

Kristen Haase is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow and an ELD teacher at Carter and MacCrae Elementary School in Lancaster. Kristen serves as the ELD team leader, a member of the school’s leadership team and the district’s equity team, and as a mentor to new ELD teachers. Kristen has taught at Millersville University and Harrisburg Area Community College and was an education consultant for the Lancaster- Lebanon IU 13. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in Spanish Education and received her MA in TESOL from West Chester University.

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Ross Hamilton
Teaching Policy Fellow
Building 21 High School

Ross Hamilton is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow and a teacher at Building 21 High School in Philadelphia. He teaches 12th grade Government & Civics and is a member of the Tri-Change committee whose goals are to make sure the school is practicing culturally relevant pedagogy, staying trauma informed, and implementing a system that upholds restorative practices. Spanning a 16-year teaching career in both New York City and Philadelphia, Ross has served as department chair and spearheaded curriculum design at multiple schools. He has been awarded Teacher of the Year and the Lindback Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award. Ross has a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University, a MS in Adolescent Education from St. John’s University, and is currently pursuing his EdD in Educational Leadership at Arcadia University.

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Erica Hampton Ed.D
Teaching Policy Fellow
Stewart Middle School

Dr. Erica Hampton is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow who teaches 8th grade Social Studies at Stewart Middle School in Norristown. Erica sponsors the Student Council, sits on the Cultural Proficiency Committee, is a member of Stewart’s Leadership Team, and serves as the 8th grade team leader. She has previously taught 6th grade English Language Arts and Social Students, served as the 6th grade team leader, and sat on the district Social Studies Curriculum Writing Committee. Erica graduated from Hampton University with a BA in Political Science, MEds in both Education and Educational Leadership from Cheyney University and Gwynedd Mercy College, and her EdD in Educational Leadership from Immaculata University.

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Brandi Hester-Harrell
Senior Fellow

Brandi Hester-Harrell is a 2021-2022 Pennsylvania Senior Policy Fellow and is an educator of 15 years who has been committed to community change in and outside the classroom. Using a transformative approach to ensure teachers and students have the necessary tools and feedback to ensure personal change. Throughout her career, she has been able to work throughout the spectrum of K-12 and higher education as pathways to support students of color. Primarily, serving in communities of color, the resounding feedback from all stakeholders inclusive of teachers, parents, and students is that the curriculum and supporting materials never create an authentic space for black and brown experiences. Supporting over 2,000 students over the course of her career, those seeds became the driving force for her active community change.

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Chris Horne
Teaching Policy Fellow
Girard College

Chris Horne is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow and the Director of College Counseling and Alumni Support for Girard College, where he serves students from low-income households in Philadelphia. He runs a postsecondary readiness program for the Franklin Institute’s STEM Scholars and was previously a postsecondary advisor for Mastery Schools. Chris has served on West Chester University’s Counselor Advisory Board, is a member of the PACAC committee for Inclusion, Access, and Success, and is a reader and interviewer for the Gates Scholarship. Chris graduated from Villanova University with a BA in Communication.

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Donna Kilgore
Teaching Policy Fellow
Bloom Early Education Center

Donna Kilgore is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow and a Pre-K Counts teacher at Bloom Early Education Center in Swoyersville, where she has taught for 16 years. She is a recipient of the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship and serves on the Early Childhood Education Advisory Board at Wilkes University. She is a graduate of Wilkes University with a BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a minor in Reading.

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Afia Lewis
Teaching Policy Fellow
Ardmore Avenue Elementary School

Afia Lewis is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow who teaches 6th grade General Education at Ardmore Avenue Elementary School in Lansdowne. A 20-year teaching veteran, she serves as the Head Teacher. She has been recognized by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for her advocacy, volunteerism, and mentoring in her community. She obtained her BS in Education from Temple University and her MEd from Central Michigan University.

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Derek Long
Senior Fellow
Perry Traditional Academy

Derek Long is a 2021-2022 Pennsylvania Senior Policy Fellow who teaches 10th grade English at Perry Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh. He serves as the English Department Head as well as the cross country, head boys’ basketball, and boys' volleyball coach. Derek has served on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ Teacher Advisory Council and helped to organize national and local Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) events that sought to empower teachers and elevate the teaching profession. Derek is a second-generation and veteran teacher. Derek graduated from Grove City College with a BA in English, received his MA in Teaching English from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and received his EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.

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Benjamin Madry
Teaching Policy Fellow
William M. Meredith School

Ben Madry is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow who teaches 5th grade at William M. Meredith School in Philadelphia. Ben previously taught 4th grade in Camden, New Jersey, 5th and 6th grade in Philadelphia, and in the Marshall Islands through a program called World Teach. Ben is also an AmeriCorps alum. He graduated from Colorado State University with a BA in Communication Studies and Ethnic Studies and received his MA in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.

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Katie Motyka
Teaching Policy Fellow
Freire Charter Middle School

Katie Motyka (she/her) is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow who teaches 5th-8th grade math at Freire Charter Middle School. She has been a classroom teacher for the past 8 years in her hometown of Philadelphia, where she previously taught 5th and 6th grade ELA. Katie is a member of FCMS’s Students & Standards Supports Leadership Team and coaches the afterschool Double Dutch club. Katie has been an active member of Building Anti-Racist White Educators (BARWE) since 2016 and co-leads FCMS’s local chapter. Before becoming a teacher, Katie managed UPenn’s Infant Language Center researching how babies acquire language. Her work has been published in the journal “Psychology Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.” Katie graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology & Fine Art and her MSEd in Elementary Education.

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