Contributors

avatar for Aarti DhupeliaAarti Dhupelia

Aarti Dhupelia is Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate College at National Louis University, where she oversees NLU’s efforts to drive equity in bachelor’s degree attainment and employment. Prior to joining NLU, Aarti served as Chief Officer for College and Career Success at Chicago Public Schools.

avatar for Aimee ParkAimee Park

Aimee Park is a National Board-certified science teacher at Lisle Junior High School. She is the 2020 Illinois South Suburbs Regional Teacher of the Year and a Teach Plus Illinois ILSTOY Policy Fellow.

avatar for Ajibola Elizabeth Junaid, Chalkbeat ChicagoAjibola Elizabeth Junaid, Chalkbeat Chicago

Ajibola Elizabeth Junaid is a senior at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago. She is a Student Voices Fellow at Chalkbeat.

avatar for Alex KingAlex King

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.

avatar for Anita CaballeroAnita Caballero

Anita Caballero has been the board president of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council for the past 11 years. In 1997, Ms. Caballero and her neighbors created the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) to make the neighborhood safer for her 3 children and all of Brighton Park’s children and families.

avatar for Anita Thawani BucioAnita Thawani Bucio

Anita Thawani Bucio teaches English and AVID at Evanston Township High School and mentors new teachers as an instructional coach and professional development facilitator. She is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow

avatar for Arianna RangelArianna Rangel

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.

avatar for Ashley McCallAshley McCall

Ashley McCall serves as a 3rd grade bilingual English/Language Arts teacher at César Chávez Multicultural Arts Center on the south west side of Chicago and a teacher representative on the Chávez Local School Council. Follow her on Twitter at @ashlm_12.

avatar for Aurelia AguilarAurelia Aguilar

Aurelia Aguilar es una activista por los derechos de los inmigrantes y líder de Healing to Action. Tiene una hija en CPS.

Aurelia Aguilar is an immigrant rights activist and a leader with Healing to Action. She has one daughter in CPS.

avatar for Brandon CrittendonBrandon Crittendon

Brandon Crittendon is a 2020 graduate of Back of the Yards High School. He will be attending Ohio State next fall and is planning to major in journalism or sportswriting.

avatar for Brenna O'BrienBrenna O'Brien

Brenna O'Brien, PhD, is a writer, researcher, activist, and former teacher who lives in Chicago with her family. Find her on Twitter @BrennaDemands.

avatar for Bryan MeekerBryan Meeker

Bryan Meeker teaches biology at Garcia High School, in the Acero charter school network. He is a member of the Chicago Teachers Union, Mikva Challenge and Educators 4 Excellence, a teacher-led policy and advocacy group.

avatar for Carlos AzcoitiaCarlos Azcoitia

Dr. Carlos Azcoitia, professor emeritus in educational leadership at National Louis University, has been a teacher, principal, network chief and deputy chief of education in Chicago Public Schools. He also served as a member of the Chicago Board of Education. Dr. Azcoitia left central office to found a comprehensive community school in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, Spry Elementary/Spry Community Links High School. Spry is the first Chicago school to house preK through 12th grade programming in one building.

avatar for Cassandra KaczochaCassandra Kaczocha

Cassandra Kaczocha is the mom of two CPS middle graders and a public education advocate. She is passionate about racial equity and ensuring that all kids get high-quality education through our public schools.

avatar for Cathy CroccoCathy Crocco

Cathy Crocco (She/her) has been a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public Schools since 2017. While she wishes that she could say that what drew her to substitute teaching was a love of teaching random subjects and a passion for educating the next generation the truth is that she was drawn to the steady paycheck and flexibility that substitute teaching in one of the largest school districts in the US provides. She enjoys her job most days and finds it is not all that dissimilar from her true passion of working in theater as a director, stage manager, and performer- both jobs provide ample opportunities for her to say “no” and be ignored no matter
what she says. They also provide her the opportunity to lead and guide minds of all ages and help people discover their own passions and strengths.

avatar for Catlyn SavadoCatlyn Savado

Catlyn Savado is a CPS high school student and a youth abolitionist organizer.

avatar for Chris ButlerChris Butler

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.

avatar for Chris GravesChris Graves

Chris Graves is the principal of LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago and a doctoral candidate at Illinois State University.

avatar for Chris StewartChris Stewart

Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Post, a media project of the Results in Education Foundation. He was named CEO of Education Post in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation.

In 2007 Chris was elected to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education. In that role, he helped establish the Office of New Schools, an area of the Minneapolis Public Schools to implement school reform strategies. At the same time he created the Equity and Achievement Committee, authored a board-level “Covenant with the African American Community,” and advocated safe, orderly, and rigorous schools that prepare students for the real world.

Chris serves as chair of the board of SFER’s Action Network and also serves on the board of Ed Navigators. Chris is based in the Minneapolis area and can be found on Twitter: @citizenstewart .

avatar for Christina LasterChristina Laster

Christina Laster is a civil rights activist and humanitarian who serves as Director of Policy and Legislation for the National Parents Union. She is also the founder of the Inland Empire and San Diego Parent Unions, a former statewide community organizer with the California Policy Center, and a Black parent and grandparent in Southern California. Christina was formerly an executive committee member of the California Hawaii NAACP, the Education chairwoman and Youth Council advisor of Southwest Riverside County NAACP.

avatar for Claire JakubiszynClaire Jakubiszyn

Claire Jakubiszyn is an artist and a high school art teacher at Intrinsic Schools, a Chicago public charter high school.

avatar for Cristina LibertoCristina Liberto

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.

avatar for Darryl BundrigeDarryl Bundrige

Darryl Bundrige is the Executive Director and Vice President of City Year Philadelphia. As Executive Director, Darryl inspires, challenges, and supports staff along with 200 AmeriCorps members (ages 18-25) serving as mentors and tutors in 19 schools across Philadelphia.

avatar for Doug LowDoug Low

Doug Low is the executive director at Kidz Express, a non-profit that empowers children and youth in under-served and economically distressed neighborhoods specifically in Chicago’s Austin community. He has been a part of Kidz Express for the past 20 years.

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avatar for Elizabeth LundElizabeth Lund

Elizabeth Lund is a freelance writer and radical educator based in the Chicago area. She is the team lead at Tallgrass Sudbury School in Riverside, IL, and advocates for self-directed education and youth rights.

avatar for Erean MaiErean Mai

Erean Mei teaches kindergarten at KIPP One Primary in Chicago, Illinois. She is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellow.

avatar for Erika SanziErika Sanzi

Erika spent a decade as a teacher and school dean before becoming a full-time education advocate. She is particularly focused on inequities in the system, persistent but surmountable achievement gaps, and what she sees as a culture of low expectations that disproportionately impacts low-income students of color.

avatar for Esmeralda CruzEsmeralda Cruz

Esmeralda Cruz es una líder de Healing to Action. Tiene dos hijos en CPS.

Esmeralda Cruz is a leader with Healing to Action. She has two sons in CPS.

avatar for FaKelia GuytonFaKelia Guyton

FaKelia Guyton is the director of DuPage County's Early Childhood Collaboration. She began her career as a Head Start teacher. Her journey has taken her through training early childhood teachers, administration and program management and now providing leadership in building systems and shaping policy. She was named a 2017 Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellow.

avatar for Fanny Diego AlvarezFanny Diego Alvarez

Fanny Diego Alvarez is a lifelong resident of Little Village, and mother to a son.

avatar for Garris StroudGarris Stroud

Garris L. Stroud is a teacher and education advocate from Greenville, Kentucky. His works have appeared in Science Scope, the Kentucky English Bulletin, Curio Learning, and Education Post. He is a proud 2016 Honors graduate of Murray State University. Garris is a Kentucky State Teacher Fellow and was a 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year nominee. He was recently appointed to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education's Teacher Advisory Council.

avatar for Grace PaiGrace Pai

Grace Pai is the director of organizing at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. Grace has spent the last five years organizing in Chicago and training hundreds of organizers and community leaders across the country.

avatar for Haley Taylor SchlitzHaley Taylor Schlitz

Haley Taylor Schlitz is a third-year law student, author, public speaker and respected thought leader on the issues students of color face in navigating gifted and talented programs in our public schools.

avatar for Halle Quezada RasmussenHalle Quezada Rasmussen

Halle Quezada Rasmussen teaches bilingual third-graders in Chicago Public Schools. She lives in Chicago's West Ridge neighborhood with her husband and two children.

avatar for Heather DebbyHeather Debby

Heather Debby comes from a CPS family: she teaches middle school English, her husband is an elementary PE teacher, and her daughters are preschoolers. In addition to teaching, she loves running, reading, bottle hunting, and being involved in her local and broader Chicago community.

avatar for Jazmine LeeJazmine Lee

Jazmine Lee is a student at Lindblom Math & Science Academy.

avatar for Jennifer HusbandsJennifer Husbands

Jennifer Husbands, Ph.D., is a Chicago Public Schools parent. Professionally, she is deeply involved in education, having served as the founding executive director of Schools That Can Chicago, a network of high-performing, nonselective schools of all kinds--traditional public, charter, faith-based and independent--serving high-poverty students.

avatar for Jenny LudwigJenny Ludwig

Jenny Ludwig is an editor and writer living in Chicago. She has two school-aged children who attend CPS and her husband is a CPS high school teacher.

avatar for Jhmira AlexanderJhmira Alexander

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.

avatar for Josh CrossonJosh Crosson

From local neighborhoods to the State Capitol, Josh advocates to ensure that all Minnesota students, especially those most underserved, have access to a great education. He previously worked in D.C., where he transformed his passion for public policy into a fulfilling vocation, or, as his friends put it, made a living out of doing something “activisty”—first at the Human Rights Campaign and later on Capitol Hill. Josh holds a bachelor’s in Political Science and Religion from Santa Clara University. When he’s not working for Minnesota’s kids or spending time with his partner, Jon, in their North Minneapolis home, Josh operates an adult LGBT kickball league that benefits local homeless youth.

avatar for Josh StewartJosh Stewart

Josh Stewart is a digital media manager with brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and a brighter future for every child. In 2013, Josh earned his bachelor's in political science and Hispanic studies from St. John's University in Minnesota. He then taught in South Korea and the Philippines before joining brightbeam.

avatar for Kalyn BelshaKalyn Belsha

Kalyn Belsha is a Chicago-based reporter who specializes in writing about education, youth, race and poverty. Her work has appeared in Catalyst Chicago, The Chicago Reporter and the suburban Chicago Tribune. She was a 2019 Spencer Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism.

avatar for Karla Raigoza-GalvanKarla Raigoza-Galvan

Karla Raigoza-Galvan is a proud mom of two and works for Catalyst Maria, one of two schools in the Catalyst Schools network in Chicago.

avatar for Kat O'BrienKat O'Brien

Kat O’Brien is a parent, LSC Chair at LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago, educator, writer, and executive producer of We Still Teach.

avatar for Kathleen HayesKathleen Hayes

Kathleen Hayes, Ed.D., has been around the k-12 education block, first as a Chicago high school English teacher and later in Chicago Public Schools central office and several education nonprofits and research organizations, working on policies related to teachers and teaching. She has happily landed in a teacher preparation program at a Chicago-based university and loves her work helping to develop and support practicing teachers as coaches and mentors of preservice teachers.

avatar for Katrina AdamsKatrina Adams

Chicago native Katrina Adams is the founder of STARR Community Services Inc. (Striving to Achieve Righteous Realities). Katrina has started over 150 FIRST Robotics teams around Chicago and the South Suburban region, and has sustained/started robotics teams in Lagos, Nigeria and Kigali, Rwanda. Katrina is currently pursuing a Dual Masters in Public Administration/Political Justice and her mission is to make sure every disadvantaged community is exposed to and prepared for the STEM opportunities of the future.

avatar for Keisha RembertKeisha Rembert

Keisha Rembert is an assistant professor of teacher preparation at National Louis University. She is a Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellowship alumna, 2019 Illinois History Teacher of the Year and NCTE’s 2019 Outstanding Middle Level Educator in the English Language Arts award recipient.

avatar for Kelisa WingKelisa Wing

Kelisa Wing is the author of “Weeds & Seeds: How To Stay Positive in the Midst of Life’s Storms” and “Promises and Possibilities: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline” (both available on Amazon). She also is a 2017 State Teacher of the year, speaker, teacher and activist for discipline reform.

avatar for Kira DaultKira Dault

Kira Dault is a writer and editor who lives in Chicago with her family. She can be found on Twitter @kiradault.

avatar for Krissy NovyKrissy Novy

Krissy has served schools in multiple Chicago neighborhoods over the past 15 years as a teacher, literacy coach and Resident Principal and now Principal. As an instructional leader serving culturally and linguistically diverse student populations, she became a leader in creating curriculum and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards at the district level.As a literacy coach, she served a pivotal role in increasing student achievement by coaching teachers, implementing balanced literacy, and working with families to create a culture of high expectations and a love of reading and learning. Krissy has created strong leadership teams at two schools that used data to develop and monitor student progress, resulting in outstanding student growth and more invested staff. She also developed literacy outreach programs at multiple schools to support and invest families in their children’s education. Krissy holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University, a M.A. in Teaching fromDominican University, a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and she earned her school leadership licensure from DePaul University. Krissy achieved National Board Certification in 2009. Now in her sixth year as principal of Christopher House Elementary School, Krissy is proud to be leading the development of an outstanding whole-child focused school that prepares children for success and happiness in life.

avatar for Krista Siems WilsonKrista Siems Wilson

Krista Siems Wilson is a 7th and 8th grade math teacher at ACERO Charter Schools-SPC Daniel Zizumbo Campus in Chicago and a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow.

avatar for Kyle SchulteKyle Schulte

After teaching for seven years in the Brighton Park neighborhood, Kyle Schulte then transitioned into school leadership and has been the assistant principal at James Monroe Elementary the past four years. Kyle has updated the Second Step curriculum, secured Calm Classrooms curriculum, added daily Together Time minutes, and focused on a restorative approach to discipline.

Kyle holds a Master of Educational Leadership degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University. He enjoys jogging, reading, traveling (12 countries and counting!), and exploring his favorite city in the world, Chicago.

avatar for Kymberli-Kamille MillerKymberli-Kamille Miller

Kymberli-Kamille Miller is a kindergarten teacher at LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago.

avatar for La’Tia TaylorLa’Tia Taylor

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.

avatar for LeeAndra KhanLeeAndra Khan

LeeAndra Khan is CEO of Civitas Education Partners. Previously she served as a middle school principal in Oak Park, Illinois, and before that spent 10 years in three Chicago high schools as a principal, assistant principal and math teacher. Before beginning her journey into education, she spent 10 years as a civil engineer designing roads, highways, gas stations and bridge inspections. LeeAndra is the mom of one son and the daughter of a retired Chicago police officer.

avatar for Lily BlausteinLily Blaustein

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.

avatar for Lindsay SingerLindsay Singer

Lindsay Singer is a third-grade mathematics and inquiry teacher at Chavez Elementary School, in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. She is a Teach for America alumna and a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program.

avatar for Lindsay Singer Ashley McCallLindsay Singer Ashley McCall

Ashley McCall and Lindsay Singer both serve as 3rd grade educators at César Chávez Multicultural Arts Center on the south west side of Chicago. Follow them on Twitter at @ashlm_12 and @ChavezSinger.

avatar for Lisa HollenbachLisa Hollenbach

Lisa Hollenbach is Senior Digital Manager for Education Post. Prior to joining Education Post, Lisa developed digital and content strategy for Teaching Channel. She served on the Bill and Melinda Gates Teacher Advisory Council from 2014-2017 and was active in the planning and execution of several Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) convenings at both the regional and national level. Lisa attended both private and public schools in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and holds a bachelor’s in secondary education social studies, a bachelor’s in public policy, a minor in women's studies and a master’s in community psychology and social change. A former educator, Lisa taught for more than 15 years in both traditional public school and public charter school settings. She also served as a leader of her local and regional teachers association from 2001-2016. Lisa has worked with several universities throughout her career and is currently an adjunct professor at the Pennsylvania State University, teaching courses in sociology, psychology, education and their intersections. She is passionate about helping education advocates share their stories and creating an equitable education system that serves all students.

avatar for Lisa ThyerLisa Thyer

Lisa Thyer teaches English at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Illinois. She is a 2020-2021 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow.

avatar for Lisa VaheyLisa Vahey

Lisa Vahey is a former classroom teacher and instructional coach who now works with schools, districts and nonprofits on improving instruction, leadership and collaboration. She is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and in real life at many equity-oriented events and meetings in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

avatar for Lucy GoebelLucy Goebel

Lucy Goebel attends 10th grade in Michigan. She enjoys volleyball, reading, and exploring nature. She is passionate about gun control and plans to continue her writing with an English major from Eastern Michigan University.

avatar for Luisa DuranLuisa Duran

Luisa Durán es una líder de Healing to Action. Tiene un hijo en CPS.

Luisa Duran is a leader with Healing to Action. She has one son in CPS.

avatar for Margi BhansaliMargi Bhansali

Margi Bhansali is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Senior Policy Fellow. She teaches pre-kindergarten at Beard Elementary in Chicago. 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.

avatar for MarianournMarianourn

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avatar for Marlena LittleMarlena Little

Born and raised in Chicago, Marlena Little is a mother, educator and advocate.

avatar for Maureen KelleherMaureen Kelleher

Chicago Unheard blog manager Maureen Kelleher also serves as a senior writer and editor at brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and brighter future for every child. Before joining the brightbeam team, 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. A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of a middle-schooler. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.

avatar for Megan HillegassMegan Hillegass

Megan Hillegass is a bilingual blended PreK teacher at Dr. James Mitchem Early Childhood Center in Romeoville, Illinois. She is a Teach Plus Illinois Senior Policy Fellow.

avatar for Melissa LewisMelissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis is the principal of Pedro Albizu Campos High School. She earned her Bachelor’s in Education at DePaul University. She earned a Double Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from National Louis University.

avatar for Mikaela SalmansMikaela Salmans

Mikaela Salmans is a fifth grade teacher on the far South Side of Chicago. She grew up in Oakland, California and moved to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where she received her bachelor's in sociology and public policy and her master's in teaching. Since moving to Chicago, she has worked in Chicago Public Schools as a coach, tutor, teacher's assistant, student teacher and classroom teacher. Mikaela loves working with students and helping them see their true worth and dignity.

avatar for Mike FriedbergMike Friedberg

Mike Friedberg has been a passionate youth advocate since 2007. He began working with students at a community center and has been a Chicago Public Schools teacher since 2012. He currently teaches seventh and eighth-grade science and has previously taught language arts. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children. His writings can be found at livesleepteach.blogspot.com.

avatar for Mo ButiMo Buti

Mo Buti offers her decades of experience in educational advocacy and instructional expertise to people with autism and their families. After a long career as a special education administrator in Chicago Public Schools, Mo served as director of program development for Neumann Family Services, a leading agency that fosters choice and independence for people with disabilities while helping them integrate into the heart of their communities. You can learn more about Mo at https://www.aiepautism.com.

avatar for Natasha DunnNatasha Dunn

A resident of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, Natasha Dunn has spent more than a decade organizing with parents to help them access early childhood opportunities. Natasha is passionate about promoting greater equity for parents across Chicago. As the mom of three children, including twins, she supports fellow parents in meeting every child’s unique needs.

avatar for Nolberto CasasNolberto Casas

Nolberto Casas is a community activist and member of the Hispanic Community Collaborative and the Chicago Gig Alliance. He is also a father of two CPS students and a passionate advocate for in-person instruction.

avatar for Olivia AlbrechtOlivia Albrecht

Olivia Abrecht has been a youth organizer at the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council for the last 3 years. BPNC is a grassroots community organization in a predominantly Latinx community on the southwest side of Chicago committed to racial and economic justice. Olivia works with youth at neighborhood middle and high schools to create spaces where they can organize and leverage their power as they organize inter-generational campaigns for education justice and immigrants rights.

avatar for Patty HernandezPatty Hernandez

Patty Hernandez has taught middle school English Language Arts in Chicago Public Schools for the past 22 years, in the Pilsen, Avondale, Little Village, Gage Park and now Back of the Yards neighborhoods. She is also mom to a high school freshman and a sixth-grader.

avatar for Paul VallasPaul Vallas

Paul G. Vallas has been a candidate for Chicago mayor and Illinois lieutenant governor. He served as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 1995 until 2001, and has also served as school superintendent in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Most recently, he worked as chief administrative officer for Chicago State University.

avatar for Peter CunninghamPeter Cunningham

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.

avatar for Philissa CramerPhilissa Cramer

Philissa Cramer is managing editor of Chalkbeat. She previously cofounded GothamSchools, now Chalkbeat New York, and was its bureau chief until 2014.

avatar for Prabsimarn KaurPrabsimarn Kaur

Prabsimarn Kaur is a high school student in the Chicago Public Schools.

avatar for Q. McClendon-LaceyQ. McClendon-Lacey

Qulanda McClendon-Lacey is the mother of two students at UChicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus.

avatar for Rachel BrickRachel Brick

Rachel Brick is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow. Rachel is a 9th grade English and ESL teacher at Pritzker College Prep, where she serves as the English department chair and the English learners coordinator. Before teaching in Chicago, Rachel taught 1st grade in New York City at P.S. 46 and 180. In New York, she was a founding Common Core Fellow and worked with teachers to develop and implement CCSS curriculum. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in English and received her MS in Dual Language/Bilingual Childhood Education from the Bank Street College of Education.

avatar for Rob SamuelsonRob Samuelson

Rob Samuelson is a digital media manager at brightbeam, based in his hometown of Chicago.

avatar for Rocio CaravantesRocio Caravantes

Rocio Caravantes is a lifelong labor, immigration and gender justice community activist in Chicago. As a member of Healing to Action, she spearheads the SexEd Works grassroots campaign.

avatar for Ryan BookerRyan Booker

Ryan Booker is a wife and mother of six, ranging in age from 3-16. She is also a corporate accountant, business owner and lifestyle blogger at blackgirlbigworldllc.org. She currently resides in Hyde Park, but proudly hails from West Englewood, and spends as much of her time as possible giving back to the community that gave so much to me.

avatar for Sara UrbenSara Urben

Sara Urben is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher who leads professional development with educators from around the city. She is passionate about purposeful play in the classroom, the benefits of bilingual education, and literacy as a social justice issue.

avatar for Savannah SnyderSavannah Snyder

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.

avatar for Sean HealySean Healy

Sean Healy is an Assistant Principal of a high school in South Chicago. Before becoming an administrator Sean was a Literature teacher for 5 years. Sean enjoys writing, reading, gardening, yoga, and improv. He lives in Wicker Park. You can read more of his work on his blog: onlyeducatedarefree.wordpress.com.

avatar for ShaRhonda Knott-DawsonShaRhonda Knott-Dawson

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.

avatar for Sharif El-MekkiSharif El-Mekki

Sharif El-Mekki is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development. The Center exists to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural backgrounds and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve.

avatar for Shayla EwingShayla Ewing

Shayla Ewing is an English and drama teacher at Pekin Community High School in Pekin, Illinois and a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow.

avatar for Stacy MooreStacy Moore

Stacy Moore is the Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Chicago. She began her career as a high school reading teacher on Chicago’s south side and obtained a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

avatar for Steve RhodesSteve Rhodes

Steve Rhodes is the editor and publisher of The Beachwood Reporter, the world’s wittiest Chicago-centric news and culture review. He previously spent a life working for newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek and Chicago Magazine.

avatar for Susan AarupSusan Aarup

Susan Aarup es una activista de los derechos de los discapacitados y líder de Healing to Action.

Susan Aarup is a disability rights activist and a leader with Healing to Action.

avatar for Tanesha PeeplesTanesha Peeples

South Side community leader Tanesha Peeples is a Chicago Public Schools alumna and proud Englewoodian. She currently serves on the board of the Montessori School of Englewood. Formerly, she served the Deputy Director of Outreach for Education Post, for whom she penned the long-running column 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.

avatar for Tanikia CarpenterTanikia Carpenter

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".

avatar for Taylor StewartTaylor Stewart

Taylor Stewart, a LEARN charter alumna, graduated from Walter Payton College Prep and went on to New York University, where she expects to graduate in spring 2020. A hospitality management major, Stewart came back to LEARN in 2013 for an internship that supported her professional goals.

avatar for Tiana KubikTiana Kubik

Tiana Kubik has a Bachelor of Science in Family Community Services from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute, in Chicago. Tiana was a teacher for Pre-K-Kindergarten for almost ten years. Tiana now works full-time running a Chicago-based photography company with her husband, with both my kids in tow for the last seven years. They have been homeschooling/unschooling their children, ages 3 and 7 years old, since 2018. For the last year they have been exploring North America through living and traveling in a self-converted 2016 Sprinter Van. Follow along at their unschooling and travel adventures at @usalongtheway.

avatar for Veronica RodriguezVeronica Rodriguez

Veronica Rodriguez teaches 4th grade Spanish Dual Language at Juliette Low School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She is a 2020-21 Teach Plus Illinois ILSTOY Policy Fellow and the 2021 Bilingual Teacher of the Year.

avatar for Victor IdowuVictor Idowu

Victor Idowu is a math instructor at Percy L. Julian High School in Chicago Public Schools and a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow.

avatar for Wilbella GreerWilbella Greer

Wilbella Greer is the mother of a 7th-grader in the Chicago Public Schools and lives on the South Side.

avatar for Willie PrestonWillie Preston

Willie Preston is a Chicago Public Schools parent, owner and operator of Preston Construction, LLC, and a community activist. In 2018 he ran for Illinois state representative in the 31st district, which includes portions of Chicago's South Side.

avatar for wpenginewpengine

This is the "wpengine" admin user that our staff uses to gain access to your admin area to provide support and troubleshooting. It can only be accessed by a button in our secure log that auto generates a password and dumps that password after the staff member has logged in. We have taken extreme measures to ensure that our own user is not going to be misused to harm any of our clients sites.

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