Paul Ramirez is the founding Head of Academics at Freire Charter High School in Wilmington, which opened in 2015 with over two hundred 8th and 9th grade students and will grow to serve grades 8-12. From 2010 to 2014, Paul taught English at Howard High School of Technology, where he began his career. In each of his last two years at Howard, Paul led 99 percent of his students to achieve proficiency according to standardized learning assessments. Paul also worked with other English chairs in the district to re-write English curriculum to align with the Common Core. Paul is a recipient of the Delaware Talent Cooperative Award. He is a graduate of Yale University and Wilmington University. He was a 2010 Teach For America corps member in Delaware.
A Delaware native, Kia Johnson is the Executive Director of Great Oaks Charter School – Wilmington, which opened its doors in 2015, beginning with 6th grade with plans to serve grades 6-12 at scale. As Executive Director, she oversees both the middle school and the future high school at GO-WIL. She began her career as a middle grades English teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ms. Childs worked at several high-performing public charter school networks, including KIPP and Mastery Charter Schools. Before returning to Delaware to lead this new school in Wilmington, she served as Dean of Students and Assistant Principal for Great Oaks – New York City. Kia is a graduate of Hampton University and Columbia University. She was a 2008 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans.
As Dean, Ashley Sorenson serves as the high school leader at Odyssey Charter School in Wilmington, DE. The high school, which opened in the fall of 2016, will grow to serve all grades 9-12 by 2019. Previously, Ashley was Instructional Technology Coach at Howard High School of Technology, where she began her career as a Science Teacher and has been named the Teacher of the Year. At Howard, Ashley also served as director of the College Access Program, an after-school program that helps students prepare for, gain admission to, and fund their education in college. For eight years, she also was a leader for a summer camp for high school girls. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wilmington University, and Teach For America Delaware's 2010 corps.
In 2017, Jorden Jones began serving as Middle School Principal at Great Oaks Charter School - Wilmington, where she previously served for two years as Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, supporting teachers in creating and executing academically rigorous lessons. She began her career as a teacher at Boys’ Latin, a college preparatory high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After two years as an English teacher there, Jorden then taught middle grades History in New York City for several years at Democracy Prep Public Schools and Great Oaks – New York City. Jorden is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania. She was a 2010 Teach For America corps member in Philadelphia.
Currently the Special Education Coordinator at Woodbridge High School, Amanda Crisci has been serving as an educator for the last eleven years. Focusing her career on serving non-traditional students, she began her career as a special education teacher in Newburgh, New York before joining the team in Woodbridge in 2008. Amanda is a graduate from the State University of New York at Plattsburg and Mount Saint Mary College. Considering herself a lifelong learner, she seeks to encourage this same ethic of continuous improvement in everyone with whom she works.
Bethelehem Yirga is currently serving as the Dean of Students and School Culture at Great Oaks Charter School – Wilmington in the school’s inaugural year. Prior to this, she was the 5th and 6th Grade Special Education Teacher and Case Manager at Prestige Academy Charter School, where she served as a 2013 Teach for America corps member. Before teaching, Beth worked as a Clinical Social Worker at the Ferris School for Boys. She is also a 2011 Alumna of the Public Allies of Delaware AmeriCorps program, and served as the Enrichment Program Co-Coordinator at Serviam Girls Academy. She earned her Master’s degree in Education in 2015 from the University of Delaware and holds degrees from Temple University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Leach, a Delaware native, is a Second Grade Teacher at Shields Elementary School in Lewes, Delaware. Teaching at Shields since 2010, Jennifer was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2014-2015. She was previously the Kindergarten Team Leader, serves on the School Improvement Team and the district’s math curriculum council, and has been a member of the Delaware Dream Team. Prior to teaching at Shields, she was a preschool teacher and program director at Kids Cottage in Rehoboth. Before becoming an educator, she served as a family service specialist, dance instructor, and youth treatment counselor. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Wilmington University and other degrees in Sociology, Dance Therapy, and Counseling.
Julia Li is Director of Academic Operations at Freire Charter School in Wilmington, where she also is a coach for the school’s Math League, is a board member for the school, and was a Founding Mathematics Teacher. Previously, she taught Special Education and Mathematics at Eastside Charter School, where she served as a 2013 corps member with Teach For America, whose advisory board she joined in 2016. Before teaching, she served as a program director for UrbanPromise in Wilmington for nearly a decade. She earned both a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, with a minor in Sociology, and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Delaware.
Currently serving as a 6th and 8th Grade Math Teacher, Sara Toussaint-Moody has taught at Family Foundations Academy in New Castle, DE since 2012. Across four years at the school, she has served as the Math League Coach and the Girls on the Run Coach. She is currently the Grade Team Lead and Math Content Lead. She specializes in using technology and data to improve her students’ engagement in active learning. Sara holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Mathematics Education.
Autumn Green was a 2014 Teach for America Delaware corps member. She has been a 6th Grade Math Teacher, Team Lead, and Mentor Teacher at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, DE, and has served as a Mentor Teacher Coach and Summer Curriculum Writer for Relay Graduate School of Education, an Instructional Coach and Curriculum Coordinator at the Latin American Community Center, and as a Teacher at Prestige Academy in Wilmington, DE. She holds degrees from Wilmington University and Lafayette College. She is excited to embark on this journey to becoming a school leader by leading a force of passionate educators who are dedicated and committed to serving in the best interests of students.
Kenneth Rivera has taught social studies and served as Lead Teacher and Instructional Coach at Brandywine High School for 11 years. He was named Delaware Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 2017 by the History Education Department at the University of Delaware, school Teacher of the Year in 2011, and most “Influential Teacher” at graduation by the valedictorian seven times. He has been an elected member of the Red Clay School District Board of Education, having serving as President and Vice President, overseeing a district with 16,000 students. He was appointed by the Governor as a Vice Chairman to the Wilmington Education Improvement Committee. He holds two degrees from the University of Delaware.
Michael Williams will begin a new role this fall at East Side Charter School in Wilmington, DE and recently taught AVID (college preparation curriculum) and Math intervention for grades 6-8 at Georgetown Middle School in the Indian River School District. He was a 2014 Teach For America Delaware corps member. He earned a Master’s degree in Secondary Teaching from Wilmington University and is expected to receive a second Master’s degree in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2018. He holds undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Youth & Community Studies from The University of Texas-Austin, where he also served as the Student Body Vice President.
Nicole Lerner is an 8th Grade Science Teacher, Instructional Coach and Team Lead at Charter School of New Castle, where she has taught for five years. She works closely with her students as the Girls on the Run Coach. She began her teaching career in 2011 as an Inclusion Biology Teacher at Dover High School. She received her teaching certification through Delaware Teaching Fellows and holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Wilmington University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.
Wendee Bull is a 7th Grade Math Teacher and Lead Mentor at Georgetown Middle School in Georgetown, DE. She has served on the Rodel Teacher Council and ESSA Advisory Committee. Previously, she served with Teach For America Delaware as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development and as Aide to the Delaware Secretary of Education. Wendee was a 2010 Teach for America corps member, completing her commitment at Peak Preparatory School in Dallas, TX. From 2015-2016 she was a Rural School Leadership Fellow as part of a year-long program to learn early school leadership skills, deepen exposure to the role of the principal, and build a national network of aspiring leaders in rural communities. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree from George Washington University.
Zakiyyah AbdusSalaam is beginning a new school leader role with Vision Academies in 2017. She has served as Assistant Principal at KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia, PA since 2010. In this role, she provided instructional leadership and support to 50 staff members and 525 students in grades 9-12. Previously, she taught in the School District of Philadelphia and KIPP Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Howard University and holds a Master’s degree in Math Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. She was a member of Teach for America's charter corps in 1990.
Amy Albright is a 5th-year third grade Special Education Teacher at Castle Hills Elementary School in the Colonial School District. In addition to teaching, she is a Program Coach with the Summer Learning Collaborative and third grade team leader. Amy is a two-time fellow of the Delaware Teachers Institute, a member of the Social Studies Coalition of Delaware, and a member of the Social Studies Mastery-Based Learning Committee among various other activities. She enjoys traveling to new places, attending concerts, and reading as much as possible.
Evelyn Ruffin-Burris has been an Instructional Coach on Assignment for the Christina School District for the last 3 years, after spending 21 years teaching middle school ELA. She notes that “Working as a teacher has challenged me to be better at everything...mom, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, student and educator. I'm learning from my students daily and I pray they are getting something positive from me in return, outside of academic support.”
Justin Hanger is a 5th grade special education math teacher at Castle Hills Elementary School in the Colonial School District. 2018 marks his third year at “The Castle”, and during his tenure he’s taught 4th and 5th grade, served on the technology committee, and served as coach for the school’s STEAM showcase team the past two years. Before teaching at Castle Hills, he spent 2 years at Oberle Elementary School in Christina School District, and 2 years teaching and writing curriculum for a Computer Technician Class at Mercy Career and Technical High School in Philadelphia. A second career teacher, Justin previously worked as a computer technician and technology coach for Red Clay Consolidated School District, a graphic designer, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Animation. He is excited to join Lead for Delaware on his journey to becoming an administrator.
Keith Wisher, a Delaware Native, is a 10-year veteran Teacher of Social Studies at Caesar Rodney High School (9th Grade World History). In addition to his role as a classroom teacher, Keith has served in the capacity of student mentor, co-class advisor, and is currently one of the Lead Mentors for novice teachers participating in the Comprehensive Induction Program (CIP), and a member of English Learner Professional Learning Committee. Keith also spent three years as an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University in the College of Education facilitating Childhood and Adolescent Development graduate-level courses. Keith holds a master’s degree in Secondary Education (2008) from Wilmington University and a bachelor’s degree in History (2006) from the University of Maryland-College Park.
Monick Foote is in her second year as a member of the Freire Charter School community in Wilmington, Delaware. Though she currently teaches 8th and 9thGrade English to students with special needs, Monick spent several years working in high need schools in and around Wilmington in various roles ranging from physical education and health teacher to Dean of Students. A Wilmington native, Monick is extremely passionate about making a positive impact in her community through her work in the education sector.
Samanta Lopez is a teacher at Howard High School, where she ensures that English Learners are supported, empowered, and encouraged to reach a higher level of English proficiency and confidence. In addition, Ms. Lopez is an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware School of Education, where she engages future teachers in a pedagogical reflection of multicultural perspectives and practices in the classroom.
Ms. Lopez's career in education of 10 + years, began in non-traditional spaces, such as in Urban community centers, teaching English as a second language to community members. Today through her leadership with non-profit organizations, and work with the ASPIRA mentoring program, Ms. Lopez has been able to reach and motivate numerous young people and their parents towards high school graduation, and college persistence. Ms. Lopez is a 2017 Leadership Delaware Fellow, a Fresh Start Board Member, and an editor for Dialogic Pedagogy International Journal.