Victoria Apodaca-Fisk headshot
Teaching Policy Fellow
Social studies teacher
New America School
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Victoria Fisk is a 2019 Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellow. Victoria is a social studies teacher at the New America School in Las Cruces, where she is the faculty advisor to student council and founder of the group’s hygiene drive benefiting Camp Hope residents.  Victoria is active in the Military Spouse Caregiver Support Program, has participated in the 2016 Las Cruces Downtown Plaza Opening, and is a member of the anti-bullying coalition. She has been recognized as a Life Changer of the Year Finalist (2017), Charter School Teacher of the Year (2015), Engage New Mexico Educational Champion Award (2015), and Golden Apple Finalist (2014). Victoria holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies with an emphasis on Latin American Studies and received her Masters in Curriculum and Education from New Mexico State University.

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Andrea De Armas
Teaching Policy Fellow
PreK-8th grade EL specialist
Berwyn North 98 School District

Andrea De Armas is a 2018-19 Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. Andrea is the English Language (EL) Specialist for Berwyn North District 98, working with EL, bilingual, and dual language classrooms in grades PreK-8. Andrea leads the dual language teachers in professional development to create the district-wide thematic biliteracy unit, and is also a representative on the 1st grade ELA subject area committee. Andrea has started a running club and a community event at Jefferson Elementary honoring parents and students during Hispanic Heritage Month. She earned a BA in Elementary Education from DePaul University, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University, and an MA in Illinois Principal Preparation from Concordia University.

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Chanel Ashley
Teaching Policy Fellow
8th grade English teacher
Harmony School of Innovation-San Antonio
Harmony Public Schools

Chanel Ashley is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Texas Policy Fellow. Chanel teaches 8th grade English and Honors English with Harmony School of Innovation-San Antonio, where she also serves as the English department chair. Chanel is a member of the district’s lead Professional Learning Community (PLC) initiative and was awarded Teacher of the Year for her campus in 2018. She serves on the campus Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team and is a college readiness mentor. Chanel is a recipient of the HPS Harmony Aspiring Leaders Program. She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a BA in English and received her MA in Leadership Studies from Webster University.

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Brenda M. Ayala headshot
Teaching Policy Fellow
4th grade bilingual literacy teacher
West Handley Elementary School
Fort Worth ISD

Brenda Ayala is a 2018-19 Teach Plus DFW Policy Fellow. Brenda teaches 4th grade bilingual literacy and social studies at West Handley Elementary School.  She is the campus ambassador for Fort Worth ISD, part of the Plan for Change Committee at her school, and the grade level chairperson. Before becoming a teacher through alternative certification with Fort Worth Teaching Fellows, she was the Book Fair Manager for Scholastic Book Fairs in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.  She has an MBA in Global Business Administration and Marketing from Phoenix University and a BBA in Marketing from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

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Brianna Balke headshot
Teaching Policy Fellow
Physics and environmental science teacher
Blackstone Academy
Charter School

Brianna Balke is a 2018-19 Teach Plus Rhode Island Teaching Policy Fellow. Brianna teaches physics and environmental science at Blackstone Academy in Pawtucket, RI where she is an advisor and coordinates a partnership with Recycle a Bike in Providence. Previously, she taught physics and neuroscience to high school students in Colorado. Brianna has been a part of a national network of teachers focused on improving math and science education as a fellow with the Knowles Teacher Initiative since 2012. She has collaborated with colleagues to lead a variety of professional development opportunities ranging from sessions at National Science Teachers Association and National Association of Biology Teachers to week-long workshops in Yosemite National Park focused on integrating outdoor learning with the Next Generation Science Standards. Brianna has also served as a mentor teacher and guest lecturer for the teacher education program at Brown University. She graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Neuroscience and completed her MAT in Secondary Science Education at Brown University.

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Samantha Bandy headshot
TLPL Teacher Leader
Special education specialist
Indianapolis Public Schools

Samantha Bandy is a Teach Plus Indianapolis Change Agent. Samantha supports schools in the West Learning Community of Indianapolis Public Schools as a special education specialist.  She has served in various leadership positions, such as special education compliance monitor, response to intervention coordinator, and a member of the school improvement team while teaching at KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory and Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School.  She was voted Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 while teaching special education at Carpe Diem Innovative School Shadeland.  Samantha graduated from the University of Evansville with a BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Social Studies Education and received her certificate in Mild Interventions from Indiana Wesleyan University and her MEd in Education Administration and Supervision from Ball State University.

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Richard Barclay
Teaching Policy Fellow
11th grade US history teacher
Da Vinci Design High School
Wiseburn School District

Richard Barclay is a 2018-19 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow.  Richard teaches 11th grade US history at Da Vinci Design High School in El Segundo, California, where he also serves as the 11th grade team leader and Work Experience Coordinator for the school. He has also taught freshman US history 101 as an adjunct professor for Antioch University, Los Angeles. In addition to history, Richard teaches music, specifically percussion, to students of all ages and is one of the percussion coordinators for Riverside Community College.  He graduated from Cal State University Fullerton with his BA in History, MA in History, and Teaching Credential in the Social Sciences.

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Kimberly Baren hedashot
TLPL Teacher Leader
7th grade math teacher
MacArthur Middle School
Berkeley School District 87

Kimberly Baren is a 2018-19 Teach Plus Illinois Berkeley Teacher Leader. Kimberly is a 7th grade math teacher at MacArthur Middle School. Previously, she led an intervention at a private school and collaborated with colleagues in Dekalb to write the mathematics curriculum, aligning the standards to the teaching resources.  At her previous schools, Kimberly facilitated meetings to look at data to inform grade-level interventions and has coached several athletic teams. Kimberly earned a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics and her Middle School endorsement from Eastern Illinois University. 

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Blair Barrows
Teaching Policy Fellow
Special education coordinator
Denver Public Schools

Blair Barrows is a 2018-19 Teach Plus Colorado Teaching Policy Fellow. Blair is the Special Education Coordinator at DSST: Stapleton High School, where she teaches math, English, transition skills, organization, and serves as a case manager for students in 9th-12th grade and is the High School Content Lead in special education for the network. Blair was a recipient of the 2012-2013 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. During the fellowship, she traveled to seven countries to study the role of play in various educational philosophies. Blair received her Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification in 2016. She earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in education from Sewanee: The University of the South and an MEd in Special Education from Vanderbilt University.

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Gary Bass headshot
Teaching Policy Fellow
1st-8th grade dual language digital literacy teacher
El Camino Real Academy
Santa Fe Public Schools

Gary Bass is a 2019 Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellow. Gary teaches digital literacy in Spanish and English at El Camino Real Academy, where he runs an after-school STEM club. Gary is a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language and the school’s liaison to the New Mexico Teacher Leader Network. He has previously taught in China, Syria, and Vietnam. Gary received his BS in Elementary Education and his MA in Curriculum & Instruction from New Mexico State University and holds a graduate Certificate of Educational Technology & Information Literacy from SUNY- Buffalo.

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