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Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council Members 2019-20 Bios

Teresa Alfuth

Teresa Alfuth is an eight-year high school math teacher who began her career in Memphis, Tennessee. She currently teaches Algebra 2 and Geometry at Capital City Public Charter School. Mrs. Alfuth was inspired by her high school math teacher Mr. Fitzpatrick to teach secondary mathematics, and aspires to be an exceptional AP Calculus teacher in the future. Mrs. Alfuth is committed to the belief that all students can master the challenges of higher mathematics if given the right entry points and opportunities to show mastery. Though teaching is her passion, Teresa also loves spending time with her husband, daughter Eleanor, and their two kittens. She is also an avid new Crossfitter and loves everything Harry Potter.

Nicole Bodner

Nicole Bodner began her instructional career as a Teach for America Corps member in 2010, and graduated from Hunter College of the City of New York with a Masters of Science in general elementary education in 2012. She worked as a first-grade teacher in New York City from 2010-2012 before moving to Washington, DC and serving as a grade 2 lead literacy teacher at DC Prep. In 2013, Nicole joined Washington Yu Ying PCS, an International Baccalaureate Chinese language immersion school. After five years as a grade 2 and grade 4 classroom teacher, Nicole transitioned within the school to serve as an instructional coach and interventionist teacher. Nicole continues her relationship with Teach for America by working as a Content Specialist within the organization. In this role, she leads seminars and provides instructional coaching to first-year teachers leading classrooms within the DC and Maryland region. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Nicole served as a Teaching Fellow with TALMA Israel, an educational program that provides students in under-resourced Israeli communities a month of free English language education. Nicole was a finalist for OSSE’s 2018 DC Teacher of the Year. She has also been awarded the “Yu Ying Mission Award,” recognizing her engagement of students and families in student-led inquiry and learning at the school.

Noelani Davis

Noelani Davis is a 7th grade mathematics teacher at Hardy Middle School. She views her classroom as an extension of her own home, and creates a learning environment that is welcoming, safe, and challenging. This is Noelani’s ninth year in the classroom; throughout her career, Noelani has served as a teacher, department chair, mentor, and coach to learners in grades 6-12 throughout Washington DC. Outside of the classroom, Noelani serves as a DCPS District Course Chair and as a Master Teacher with Math for America DC. Noelani believes in the magic that strong curriculum has on instruction. She enjoys writing curriculum as she is able to craft unique experiences to meet the needs of her students while fostering a joy of learning and self-efficacy. She has employed this passion as a DC Public Schools Cornerstone creator and assessment writer, and as a Master Teacher with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Better Lesson Project. Noelani is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Policy at George Washington University. She has earned an M.A. from Howard University in Secondary Math Education and a B.A. at the University of Maryland College Park.

Beth Dewhurst

Beth Dewhurst has been serving DC students since moving to the city in 1992. After growing up in rural Pennsylvania, she became the first in her family to graduate college. She is in her 12th year at Stuart Hobson Middle School, where she’s taught grades 6-8 in courses such as Honors English, ELA, or Social Studies. For several summers at Stuart-Hobson, she wrote grants to fund, create, and lead a highly successful summer reading intervention camp for over 80 students. Beth has also served as a department chair, LSAT school rep, and PTA liaison. For the last six years, Beth has taught reading intervention, ensuring students’ progress to grade level comprehension while building excitement around future careers through field trips. In 2017, Beth was named the DC Teacher of the Year.

Emily Forde

Emily Forde currently teaches at KIPP DC: Douglass. After graduating from Fisk University in 2008, Emily returned to home to Washington, DC. In the fall she joined the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), on their mission to use a “whatever it takes attitude” to educate students in communities impacted by gun violence, poverty and limited resources. Over the past decade, after holding various teaching and leadership roles, Emily’s colleagues continue to identify her teachings as innovative. Although her students have diagnosed disabilities ranging from the Autism Spectrum to ADHD and severe anxiety, they leave her class at the end of the year meeting or exceeding their target growth goals. Her passion, dedication and impressive academic results earned her The Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 and the KIPP DC Teacher to Teacher award in both 2013 and 2018. Emily has the ability to see the full potential in every child. Her vision inspires confidence in her students. Her class continues to be a favored place for learning by both students and teachers.

Paul Howard

Paul Howard received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas with an emphasis in Social Studies. He has spent the last six years teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies for the District of Columbia Public Schools. During those six years, Paul has served as the DC representative to the Middle States Council for Social Studies. As a fellow with the Building Literacy and Inquiry in the Social Studies initiative, he has written the 7th grade history curriculum for DCPS and contributed to the 8th and 9th grade history curricula. As a result of his dedication to urban education and the Social Studies, Mr. Howard was named the 2017 DC History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the 2018 DC Teacher of the Year by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Topher Kandik

Topher Kandik is the 2016 Teacher of the Year from the District of Columbia, and received the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Mayor’s Arts Award in 2013. He is a contributor to the book Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change (Intellect, May 2016). Topher is a National Board Certified Teacher (English, AYA) and a member of the National Council of Teachers of English. After teaching for over a decade at SEED PCS of Washington, DC, he now teaches 10th grade English at E.L. Haynes PCS.

Karen Lee

Karen Lee has a passion for education and young people. She has been teaching high school social studies in southeast DC for the past 15 years. When Karen moved to Washington, DC fifteen years ago from Idaho, she worked as a social worker focusing on housing and educational placements for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. After hearing young people’s frustrations with failing schools and their discontent with their education, she decided to transition back into the classroom. Since then she’s worked to help students feel more empowered to take ownership of their education and become change-makers in their community. Today she teaches US Government, AP US Government and Psychology at Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS. She is also the Social Studies Department Chair and helps to support teachers and students as they work toward the mission of being prepared for college and to actively engage in our democratic society. Karen was awarded the Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching in 2012 and spent eight months in Finland studying the role of choice on student motivation. She also has been awarded the Mikva Challenge DC Inspiring Educator Award and DC Teacher of the Year Runner-Up in 2019. She has a BS in Secondary Education and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

Jennifer Ramsey

Jennifer Ramsey has been an educator for 12 years, teaching in Washington, DC’s public and public charter school systems. Jennifer’s teaching career has included a range of grade levels and content areas ranging from Kindergarten through Middle School. For the past five years, Jennifer has taught Elementary Science at KIPP DC: Heights Academy and today continues to work with KIPP DC as a Science Instructional Coach. As an Instructional Coach, Jennifer directs her passion for science education to helping other KIPP DC schools develop elementary science programming. In the classroom, Jennifer uses a “three-dimensional” approach to teaching the Next Generation Science standards and is committed to providing her students with meaningful learning experiences in and out of the classroom. Jennifer earned a B.S in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland and completed her Masters of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education from Trinity University. Jennifer has also been the recipient of many teaching awards and grants, including the 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.

Jennifer Ramacciotti-Omegna

Jennifer Ramacciotti-Omegna currently teaches Algebra I at KIPP DC College Preparatory Public Charter High School and is the Instructional Coach for all Algebra I and Geometry teachers. She has been with KIPP DC for 11 years—the past four with KIPP DC College Prep and seven years with KIPP DC AIM Academy Middle School in Ward 8. At AIM Academy, Jennifer taught sixth grade math, served as Vice Principal and Math and Science Instructional Coach and returned to the classroom in 2013 to teach eighth grade math. Jennifer is a 2006 Teach for America Philadelphia Corps Member where she taught elementary school. In 2015 Jennifer was named the DC Teacher of the Year by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. She is a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) and is working with DC Teachers of the Year to build a DC Chapter of NNSTOY.  Through her work with KIPP DC, NNSTOY and OSSE, Jennifer is committed to elevating the teaching profession and being a voice for all educators in DC.

Aris Pangilinan

Aris Pangilinan, also known as Mr. P, has taught for 25 years. He is currently teaching AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science P, and Project Lead the Way Computer Science Engineering at Cardozo Education Campus. He was a class valedictorian and has a B.S., cum laude, in secondary mathematics education and a Master of Arts in Educational Management with Measurement and Evaluation.
For his efforts and innovations to improve academic access for all students regardless of their background, Aris has won several local and national awards. Some of his awards include DC Public Schools' Agnes Meyer Washington Post Teacher of the Year, National STEM Fellowship, DCPS Teachers Central to Leadership Program, and the US Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Four years ago, he was included in the World's Top 50 of the Global Teacher Prize, known to be the Nobel Prize of Teaching.

Tori Pergerson

With over 14 years as an elementary music specialist, Tori Pergerson’s greatest career accomplishment, thus far, occurred by making the transition to Stuart Hobson Middle School to help build the Vocal and Theater Arts program four years ago. Guided by her belief that combining passionate and creative teaching with a variety of learning opportunities, Ms. Pergerson often uses partnerships, community support, and relationships with colleagues from multiple feeder schools to build a community where the Arts are flourishing. Whether her choir is performing or her 100-member Drama troupe is presenting one of their bi-annual musicals, Ms. Pergerson guides children through a defining process; inviting students to explore, discover, and apply their artistic passions to their lives and work. She believes that students learn best when they have opportunities to create and collaborate. She loves that her job allows her to witness so many students growing in self-confidence and forming positive, supportive relationships with their peers during a pivotal time in their lives. Ms. Pergerson serves as a secondary Arts Cohort leader for DCPS and was honored to be recognized as a top finalist for 2018 DCPS Rubenstein Award and OSSE Teacher of the Year. Ms. Pergerson is married with three awesome, music loving children.

Sallie Routh

Sallie Routh has been teaching in DC Public Schools for the past seven years and was the OSSE Finalist for DC Teacher of the year in 2017. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in English and Social and Economic Justice. Her passion for teaching was sparked at a young age. Ms. Routh strives to make learning fun and engaging. She brings her passion for literature to the classroom and her goal is to help every child learn to LOVE reading as much as she does.

Caity Schneeman

Caity Schneeman is a Theatre Arts Teacher at KIPP DC: College Preparatory in Washington, DC, and has been teaching for eleven years. Caity grew up in Minnesota, graduated from Notre Dame, and then joined Teach For America. She earned her Master’s in Urban Education from University of Pennsylvania while teaching English at Lamberton Elementary School in Philadelphia. At Lamberton, Caity led her students to the school’s top reading growth on the PSSA, coached the school’s first soccer team, created a homework-help program, and directed the school’s first musical. Caity then moved to DC and taught History and English at KIPP DC: AIM Academy, where she led her students to unprecedented reading growth on the DC-CAS, chaired the Literacy Department, coached the school’s first DC Scores soccer and poetry slam team, produced the school’s first two musicals, mentored new teachers, and created an advisory system. After deciding to follow her students to high school, Caity transitioned to KIPP DC: College Prep where she created a freshman reading intervention course while coaching soccer, leading an advisory, and directing the school’s first two musicals. This past year, Caity stepped into a new role and created the only full-scale theatre program at a Title I high school in DC. Caity was honored with the KIPP DC Board Award (“Teacher of the Year”) at both KIPP DC schools where she has taught and she firmly believes in the power of extracurricular activities – especially the arts – to motivate and transform both students and the greater school community.

Bill Stevens

Bill Stevens has taught history to DC public high school students over the past 20 years. Currently he teaches American History and Washington, DC History courses at The IDEA Public Charter School. Bill earned his MA in American History from The Catholic University of America, where he focused his studies on the intersection of race and politics in the neighborhoods of late 19th century Washington, DC.  When not teaching his heart out in the classroom, Bill can be found hanging out with his children in his backyard garden.