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Meet Our Teacher Leaders

Abigail Baiza
Teaching Policy Fellow
3rd Grade Writing Teacher
IDEA Public Schools

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.

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Jaclyn Ballesteros
Teaching Policy Fellow
ECE-4 Lead Teacher, Grade Level Chair
KIPP Northeast Elementary
Denver Public Schools

Jaclyn Ballesteros is a 2020-2021 Colorado Policy Fellow and an ECE-4 teacher and grade level chair at KIPP Northeast Elementary in Denver, Colorado, and has been in the KIPP NE community for three years. She is also a coach for the Girls on the Run program which empowers third and fourth grade girls through fitness, fun and teamwork. Before moving to Denver, Jaclyn was a first grade and preschool teacher at KIPP ZENITH Academy in Southwest Houston, Texas, and served as a regional math curriculum planner. She graduated from Texas State University with a BS in Elementary Education.

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Sara Jean Banks
Senior Fellow
Dean of Instruction
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College
Denver Public Schools

Sara Jean Banks is a 2020-2021 Colorado Senior Policy Fellow and works as a Dean of Instruction at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College (DMLK) in Denver. She previously served as a high school science teacher at both DMLK and AUL Denver, where she served as a Senior Team Lead coaching, collaborating, and evaluating her team of teachers and sat on her school's instructional leadership team. Sara Jean has been awarded Teacher of the Year in her district and has been nominated for Teacher Leader of the Year. She serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Colorado, teaching an environmental science course and also serves on the AUL Denver’s Board of Directors. 

She earned her MA in Curriculum & Instruction through the Denver Teacher Residency after earning a BA in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado.

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Allen Baugh, Jr.
Teaching Policy Fellow
High School ELA Teacher
Forest Hill High School
Jackson Public Schools

Allen Baugh, Jr.  is a 2020-21 Teach Plus Mississippi Policy Fellow. He currently serves as an English II teacher and the English Department Chair at Forest Hill High School in Jackson, Mississippi. Allen is a 2018 Teach for America Corp Member and a recent inductee into the TFA Alumni Corp. He earned his BS in Communication and Psychology from Allegheny College and currently is a candidate for a Master’s of Science in Educational Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

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Danielle Bercovicz headshot
Senior Fellow
Special education teacher
Mount Pleasant High School
Providence Public School District

Danielle Bercovicz is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Rhode Island Senior Policy Fellow. A returning Fellow, Danielle teaches 11th grade Research Seminar and 12th grade transition and is the special education teacher leader at Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, RI. She came to Rhode Island and teaching through Teach For America in 2012 and is still actively involved in the organization. Danielle earned her BA in Psychology and Communication with a minor in Education as a Social Science from Rutgers University and her MA in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. 

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Joyce Bernau-Enriquez
Teaching Policy Fellow
Music teacher/director
Central High School
Providence Public Schools

Joyce Bernau-Enriquez is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Rhode Island Policy Fellow. Joyce teaches music at Central High School in Providence, RI, where she coordinates a volunteer program for her piano students to provide music for patients receiving autoimmune treatments at the Miriam Hospital.  As a member of the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of RI, Joyce co-chairs a youth initiative that affords opportunities for college and high school students to become involved in world affairs, and serves on the programming  committee enlisting  speakers for events. Joyce graduated with a BA in Music from Rhode Island College and is pursuing a Masters of Arts Holistic Leadership program at Salve Regina University.

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Michele Berry
Teaching Policy Fellow
Science Teacher
North Central High School
Metropolitan School District of Washington Township

Michele Berry is a 2020-21 Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellow. She teaches chemistry, physical science, and AVID at North Central High School in Indianapolis, where she sponsors the Natural Hair Club and co-sponsors the NOBCChE STEM club. Michele served on the discipline committee and is currently in the restorative practices group and a discussion leader for implicit bias exploration. She graduated from Roosevelt University with a BS in Biology and received her MS in secondary science education from Indiana University NW.

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Margi Bhansali
Teaching Policy Fellow
PreKindergarten Teacher
Brunson Math & Science Specialty Elementary School
Chicago Public Schools

Margi Bhansali is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow who teaches prekindergarten at Brunson Math & Science Specialty Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, where she serves on the school’s instructional leadership team. She has been a mentor teacher for her network’s Preschool-2nd grade balanced literacy initiative and has led city-wide professional development during the annual “Ready, Set, Teach” summer conference. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. She graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with her BA in Early Childhood Education and received her MA in Reading from Webster University. She has an English as a Second Language Endorsement from Roosevelt University.

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Emily Biegel
Teaching Policy Fellow
High School Technology Teacher
Thornton Fractional North High School
District 215

Emily Biegel is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow. Emily teaches business and computer classes in the CTE department at Thornton Fractional North High School in Calumet City. Emily has extensive experience coordinating volunteer activities for campaigns and grassroots organizations and is passionate about getting young people to vote. Emily earned her BS in Special Education from the University of Illinois, her MBA from Northern Illinois University, and her Secondary Education certification from Roosevelt University.

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Lisa Biswas headshot
Senior Fellow
11th grade Algebra II teacher
360 High School
Providence Public Schools

Lisa Biswas is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Rhode Island Senior Policy Fellow. Lisa is an 11th grade algebra II and financial literacy teacher at 360 High School in Providence RI. Previously, she taught  middle school mathematics in Providence. Lisa is a member of the Better Math Teaching Network. She has coached middle school basketball for 15 years in Providence and high school fast pitch softball for 10 years at East Greenwich High School. Lisa graduated with an elementary education degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and an MA in secondary education mathematics from Western Governors University.

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