Alex King recently graduated from North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago. As a member of his school's Peace Warriors program, Alex has been a leading student voice against gun violence in America's schools and communities.
As of summer 2018, Arianna Rangel is a rising junior at Lincoln Park High School. Presently, Arianna is active with the Hashtags and Handles Program offered through After School Matters. She is committed to making the world a better place through her school and community activities.
Chris Butler is first a husband and a dad. He has been involved across the spectrum of public engagement activities and has worked with a number of diverse constituencies in urban and suburban communities. He has also been involved in several political campaigns including his service as a youth and young adult coordinator for Barack Obama’s primary bid for U.S. Senate.
Chris worked as deputy campaign manager and field director for A+ Illinois where he developed a strong, statewide field operation including over 500 organizations and 50,000 individuals around the state working to bring adequacy and equity to Illinois’ school funding system and as the director of advocacy and outreach at New Schools for Chicago, a leader in school reform in Chicago.
Chris is a 2006 graduate of the Ministry Training Institute and holds a degree in civic and political engagement from Northeastern Illinois University.
Chicagoan Cristina Liberto dedicated her middle school years to serving on her school's student council, where she discovered her leadership and management skills. This summer, Cristina took part in the Hashtags and Handles summer program, sponsored by After School Matters. She is looking forward to what opportunities her high school years bring.
Jhmira Alexander is the social media maven behind 28Eleven Consulting and has worked with After School Matters, Loyola University's Risk and Resiliency Lab, Blue 1647 and the Institute for Positive Living. She is a connector of people and ideas. She focuses on assisting organizations with properly aligning their vision with their online and offline community engagement through social media education, management and strategy development. Holding a bachelor of science in communications and a master's in public administration, her drive to cultivate communities through media is unwavering. Jhmira's background includes project management, youth development, community engagement and program design and execution.
La’Tia Taylor is a Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellow. La’Tia teaches kindergarten at Hendricks Elementary and is a member of the 2017-2018 teacher advisory council for Chicago Public Schools. La’Tia has served as an instructional leadership team member, primary team lead, math instructional lead and local school council teacher rep. In addition, she has served as a core teacher representative for the district-wide Kindergarten Report Card for Chicago Public Schools. La’Tia graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Early Childhood Education with a Special Education Approval. She has earned her MA in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University.
Lily Blaustein is a 17 year old rising senior at Whitney M Young Magnet High School. She’s a lover of music, makeup, and pop culture. Lily participated in the Summer Session of the After School Matters sponsored program, Hashtags and Handles. She hopes to study communications in college and pursue her interests in digital media and its intersections with activism.
Maureen Kelleher is a senior writer and editor at Education Post, but before that she spent a decade as a reporter, blogger and policy analyst. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Between 1998 and 2006 she was an associate editor at Catalyst Chicago, the go-to magazine covering Chicago’s public schools. There, her reporting won awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the International Reading Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of an elementary student at Chicago’s Namaste Charter School. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.
Peter Cunningham is the executive director of Education Post, which funds Chicago Unheard. He is also the former director of communications for the Chicago Public Schools.
Qulanda McClendon-Lacey is the mother of two students at UChicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus.
Savannah Snyder is a student at Young Women's Leadership Charter School. At age 9, Savannah and her mother moved to Chicago from Pittsburgh. Her dream is to become a model and a photographer.
ShaRhonda Knott-Dawson is the mother of two free-spirited, strong-willed girls and has a husband who should be appointed a saint for co-existing in the madness that is their life. She writes on politics, education, current events and social justice.
She is also a taco enthusiast, a proud member of the Bey-hive, and truly believes that she will be receiving her letter from Hogwarts any day now. Find her on Twitter at @S_KnottDawson.
Tanesha Peeples is the Deputy Director of Outreach for Education Post. She was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, is a Chicago Public Schools alumna and proud Englewoodian.
She blogs elsewhere about Hope and Outrage.
As an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University, Tanesha began to develop a passion for and understand the importance of public service. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration, she returned to Chicago with a new perspective on community, politics and civic engagement.
Tanesha then attended and graduated from DePaul University with a master’s degree in public service management and urban planning and development.
Throughout her professional career, Tanesha has used her education, passion and experience to navigate a number of nonprofit, political and independent ventures, advancing her mission to educate and empower marginalized populations. Prior to joining Education Post, she also managed her own consulting firm specializing in community relations.
Tanesha’s vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or zip code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. Find her on Twitter at @PeeplesChoice85.
Tanikia is a lifestyle writer & blogger from Chicago. Her work has been featured on the TLC network, ESSENCE, and Huff Post LIVE, just to name a few. Tanikia is a regular contributor to Black & Married With Kids and the columnist of JET Magazine's "Giving You the Gospel". She is also the author of "When God Said Yes" & "The 30 Day Man Fast".
Wilbella Greer is the mother of a 7th-grader in the Chicago Public Schools and lives on the South Side.
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