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.
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.
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.
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.
Kaki Blackburn is a 2019-20 Teach Plus California Senior Policy Fellow. Kaki teaches kindergarten at Manzanita Community School in Oakland, California, where she serves on the school’s positive behavior intervention supports team and the school site council. Kaki created and oversees a partnership with Saint Mary’s College to provide classroom supports for at-risk students during the school day. She was also part of the 2018-19 Teach Plus California Policy Fellowship, in which she worked to improve supports for Emergent Bilingual students. She previously taught 4th grade at Little Rock Preparatory Academy where she was awarded the The Fred and June Hemphill Teaching Fellowship for exemplary achievement as a first-year teacher. Prior to teaching, Kaki served as an AmeriCorps members with City Year in Little Rock, Arkansas. She graduated from from George Mason University with a BA in Government & International politics and earned her MAT in elementary education from Brown University.
Jennine Blocker-Lamb is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow and is the Assistant Director for the infant and toddler program at the Eyes on the Future, Inc. program in Chicago, Illinois. She holds an Infant Toddler Certificate from the Erikson Institute. She graduated from Kendall College with a BA in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Infant Toddler studies.
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.
Jody Bosomworth is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Rural Teacher Leader. Jody is a two-time National Board Certified Early Childhood kindergarten teacher at Lovejoy Elementary. She serves on the school’s leadership team and is a National Board Facilitator for the Triad district. She is active in the Illinois Education Association and serves as the region vice-chair. Jody holds an EdS in Curriculum Design for Minority Populations and is pursuing her doctorate at McKendree University.
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.
Helen Brandon is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois ILSTOY Policy Fellow and a 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalist. Helen teaches 6th grade math and science, and provides ESL services at Bloomington Junior High School, where she is also a team leader and science department chair. She has been involved in multiple grants focusing on writing NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)-aligned units for the region and state, leads professional development experiences with STEM and NGSS, and she has been a curriculum writer and director for STEM camps and other STEM experiences. She nominated for the “Women Who Excel in STEM Teaching” award and studied education in Mexico as part of a Fulbright scholarship. She has worked to create equitable experiences for all students by writing curriculum for bilingual learners, working to pass a welcoming school resolution in her district, and establishing a welcome closet to provide supplies for recent immigrants. She graduated from Bethel College (Kansas) with a BA in education and received her MS in Teaching and Learning from Illinois State University. She is currently working toward her EdD in Teaching and Learning from Illinois State University with a focus on STEM education and culturally and linguistically diverse students.