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Meet Our Teacher Leaders

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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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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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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