Karen Amidon is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Karen teaches high school English, global issues, and philosophy at Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School, where she also coaches the ethics bowl team. Karen has served as English department chair and grade level leader and is a certified educational leadership coach who regularly mentors pre-service teachers. She has been awarded several classroom innovation grants and received teaching fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Hemera Foundation. Before teaching, she led a nonprofit advocacy organization championing girls’ and women’s education, economic security, and civil rights. Karen graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in English and received her MA in English and secondary education licensure from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Heidi Batchelder is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Heidi teaches 1st grade as part of a K/1 loop at the Odyssey School of Denver, where she serves on the instructional leadership team. She spent seven years at Capital City Public Charter School, an EL Education Mentor School in Washington D.C., where she taught 1st and 6th grade and served as the reading intervention specialist for 1st-4th grade. There, she was awarded a competitive fellowship from Fund for Teachers to develop a trauma-informed reading intervention practice. Heidi designed and implemented a mindfulness program for students receiving reading intervention and led a professional learning community of teachers who learned about trauma-informed practices and adopted approaches to implement these with their own students. Heidi earned a BS in Elementary Education from Grove City College and received her MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Michelle Curry is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Michelle teaches English Language Arts at STRIVE Prep-Rise High School in Denver, where she is also department lead and READ act coordinator. Michelle coaches teachers and the school’s cross country team. Previously, she taught 6th-8th grade math at STRIVE Prep-Sunnyside for six years, serving as a teacher coach and as both department and grade level chair. Michelle came to teach in Denver after serving as a tutor and teacher resident at MATCH charter middle school in Boston, MA. She graduated with a BA in English Education from Manhattanville College and earned an MA in English Literature with a focus on literature as social justice from Colorado State University.
Ashley Farris is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Ashley teaches AP English Language and Composition at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, where she is the English department chair and co-director and founder of the student-staffed writing center. She previously taught 7th grade reading in a Denver charter school network and 8th and 10th grade English in Baltimore City. She has served as a member of the Colorado Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet and attended the National Academy for Advanced Teacher Education. Ashley received her BA in English with a concentration in secondary education from Goucher College in Maryland.
Cara Godbe is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Cara teaches 3rd grade at Cottonwood Elementary School and is a member of the district’s food allergy committee. Cara has taught preschool, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades and has been an instructional coach and principal. She has served on numerous school and district level committees during her time in Montrose and was a key collaborator in the opening and implementing of the Northside Health Center. Cara is a three-time nominee for MCSD Elementary Teacher of the Year. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Psychology and received her MA in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Lilia Guimaraes is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Lilia teaches literature and reading at The New America School in Lakewood, where she also advocates for all students and their rights to higher education. She has taught theatre, journalism, and Portuguese and has served as professional learning committee lead, ESL lead, and literacy specialist. She has won the district’s Value Award for Valuing People three times and has procured over a million dollars in scholarships for her students. Lilia is originally from Rio de Janeiro and has studied and taught in Russia, China, and Brazil. She has a BA in Russian from Northwestern University, an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago, and an MFA in Writing from Naropa University.
Jessica Hall is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Jessica is a K-5 SSN (Significant Support Needs) special education teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Northglenn, Colorado for the Adams 12 school district. She has experience in adult support management and training for paraeducators and has worked in both special education and general education classrooms. She has had previous teaching and leadership experiences in childcare for kids with special needs ages 6 months to 21 years of age and groundwork experience as a paraeducator for a high school special needs classroom. Jessica holds a BS in Animal Science and a BS in Business from Colorado State University, an MEd in Special Education from Regis University, and an additional certification in Autism Studies.
Madison Hays is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Madison teaches varying levels of mathematics at Glenwood Springs High School, ranging from newcomer math (a class aimed to support the transition of Spanish-speaking students who have educational gaps) to AP Calculus BC. She is an assistant coach for cross-country, track, and climbing club. Madison works with the responsive services team, which engages in wraparound supports for students who are habitually truant through home visits and goal setting. She earned a BA in Math Education with a minor in Spanish from Pepperdine University and is working on an MA in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity with CLD and Special Education Generalist endorsements from the University of Colorado.
Brandi Hester-Harrell is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Brandi serves as the director of special education at Empower Community High in Aurora, Colorado. She has served as intervention specialist, facilitator, curriculum developer, policy writer, and community outreach activist and is a member of the Colorado League of Charter’s Fellowship for Special Education Leadership 2018-2019 Cohort for Underrepresented Staff Populations. She previously taught in the Middle East, where she developed and implemented early intervention policy, practices, and development training for government schools and curated a high school special education program for a newly-founded school. Brandi received a BA in Special Education and Childhood from St.John Fisher College, an MA in Educational Leadership and Curriculum/Education Policy from the University of Roehampton, and an MA in Curriculum/Education Policy from Trinity Washington University.
Holly Hyosaka is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Holly is the director of college access at Strive Prep Excel in Denver, Colorado, where she teaches junior seminar and senior seminar, providing students with the knowledge to plan and apply for post-secondary opportunities. Previously, Holly was a pre-collegiate advisor with Colorado GEAR UP. She promoted post-secondary education to low-income and first-generation students in six Denver Public Schools and taught life skills at the American School of Guatemala for two years. Holly was awarded the Cynthia E. Gayles award recognizing outstanding achievements in the field of college admission. She graduated from Colorado College with a BA in Sociology and received her MA in School Counseling from Adams State University.