Erica Abangan is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow. Erica currently teaches 8th grade math and social studies at Goethe School in Chicago, where she serves as the athletic liaison, basketball and volleyball coach, and yearbook advisor. Previously, Erica taught middle school math and science, served as an Assistant Principal, and was a member of school improvement teams. Erica has been recognized for her work as an educator through student-nominated recognitions such as the ChiGivesBack #Teach2Give Class of 2019 Honors, the Proviso Township High Schools’ Recognition Award, and the St. Ignatius College Prep Outstanding Teacher Award. Erica graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Middle Level Education and from Dominican University with an MA in Educational Leadership.
Melanie Abney is a 2020-21 Pennsylvania Policy Advisory Board Member who advocates for her students as the School Counselor at James Hamilton Elementary. Melanie has supported her students and school community for 12 years so far. She is trained in Restorative Practices and is committed to helping her teachers build positive relationships with students. She serves on her district’s Equity Design Team where she is currently working on developing a district-wide Equity Policy. Melanie is a member of Lancaster County School Counselor Association where she strives to stay abreast with the new research in the field of school counseling. Melanie graduated from West Chester University with BA in Psychology and MEd with a School Counseling Certification (K-6).
Samantha Agoos is a 2020-2021 Colorado Policy Fellow and teaches Honors Biology and Honors Genetics at East High School in Denver, Colorado, where she is also the Science Department Chair and Link Crew Chair. Previously, she taught General Physics at Denver East and Honors and General Chemistry at Bloomington High School North in Bloomington, Indiana. Samantha earned her MEd in Instructional Leadership in Science Education from the University of Illinois Chicago. Before that, she graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BS in Zoology. Samantha is currently pursuing National Board Certification. Additionally, she has published curricular materials through TedEd and Inquiry Hub -University of Colorado Boulder.
Jeremy Akiyama is a 2019-20 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow. Jeremy is a 5th grade teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School. He previously taught general education and special education inclusion in Prince George, Maryland’s County Public Schools and served as a professional development lead teacher before moving back to his home state of California. Jeremy has served as a mentor teacher for Stanford’s Teacher Education Program and Aspire’s Teacher Residency Program and worked as a graduate research assistant at the DC Office of the State Superintendent and Education Counsel in Washington, D.C. He received his BA from the University of California, San Diego and an MEd in Education Policy and Leadership from American University.
Bethany Alberts is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Change Agent Teacher Leader. Bethany teaches middle school math at the Herzl School of Excellence. She is a member of the school’s instructional leadership team and the 3rd-8th grade math lead. She formerly taught at Amandla Charter School where she was the science department head and a member of the Foundations team. She is a Teach For America alum and worked as an instructional coach for corps members at Teach for America. She previously taught at Zavala Elementary School in Harlingen, Texas. She has been awarded four Chicago Fund for Education study group grants in her pursuit for professional growth. Bethany earned a BA in Criminal Justice and International Affairs from The George Washington University and an MEd in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois Chicago.
Chantei Alves is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Commonwealth Policy Fellow. A returning Fellow, Chantei teaches Kindergarten-1 Inclusion at Young Achievers K-8 Science and Math Pilot School in Mattapan, MA, where she is also the K0-K1 team leader, a member of the human resources committee, the school site council, the technology committee, and the joy and wellness committee. Chantei is a Boston Teachers Union Building Representative for Young Achievers, as well as a founding Parent Engagement Committee member. Chantei is on the Board for the Boston Network of Black Student Achievement (BNBSA), a BNBSA Special Education Committee member, and an educator on The Teacher Collaborative Educator Council. She also serves as a 2019 WGBH MA Education Ambassador and is on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA). Chantei graduated from Atlantic Union College with a BS in Pre-Med Biology with a Chemistry minor and received her MA in Education from Northeastern University.
Karen Amidon is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Colorado Senior Policy Fellow. She teaches high school English at Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School and advises the Student Council and coaches the Ethics Bowl team. Karen has served as English department chair and grade level leader, and she is a certified educational leadership coach who regularly mentors preservice teachers. She has been awarded several classroom innovation grants and received teaching fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Hemera Foundation. Prior to 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.
Elyssa Arroyo is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Nevada Policy Fellow. Elysa is a 2nd grade teacher at Red Rock Elementary, where she is also the founder and director of the theatre program and has served as both a mentor teacher and grade level chair. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Elysa has completed public policy fellowships in Las Vegas, Nevada with the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation, Opportunity 180, and the Nevada Department of Education. Elysa has a BA from the University of California, Riverside in Classical Studies and Comparative Ancient Civilizations, an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is finishing an MPAP in Public Administration and Policy from American University.
Qiddist Ashé is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow. Qiddist teaches 1st grade at Washington Elementary in Evanston, Illinois. She serves on the school’s instructional leadership team, where she advocates for culturally-responsive practices that accelerate student learning. She previously taught 1st and 2nd grade at KairosPDX, a community-based school that she helped to start in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. She is a 2015 Truman scholar and a full-spectrum birthworker serving on the board for Chicago Volunteer Doulas. Qiddist co-founded Ashé Living, a community enterprise that she runs with her wife, where she offers healing practices and consulting focused on reproductive justice, holistic wellness, and social justice facilitation for organizations working toward a more equitable and liberated world. Qiddist earned her BS in Social Policy and her MSEd in Elementary Education from Northwestern University.
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.