The Teachers Central To Leadership Fellowship Program brings 5-8 DCPS teacher-leaders to share their wisdom and perspective with the work of central office. These eight were selected from among more than 100 applicants.
Katie Chesterson entered the teaching profession six years ago after receiving her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American University. She now serves as the instructional coach at Anne Beers Elementary School.
Ms. Chesterson regards DC Public schools as a revolutionary school system filled with professionals passionate about elevating student achievement and giving children the tools they need to be successful. For Ms. Chesterson, DCPS is a perfect balance of high expectations and robust support, and she couldn’t envision working anywhere else.
Ms. Chesterson was excited to contribute to central office’s innovative work this summer. She collaborated with the Teacher Recruitment and Selection team to develop a teacher residency program for DCPS. In reflecting on the experience, she talks about the level of significance and far-reaching impact that central office is able to have on the students of the district. Ms. Chesterson enjoyed the opportunity to use her summer working on a project that could benefit all DCPS stakeholders in the years to come.
For Ms. Chesterson, teaching has an immeasurable impact. This became overwhelmingly apparent as she was working the Beers’ Lunchtime School Store a few years ago. As she handed a copy of Anne of Green Gables to a student customer, she realized it was a book she had donated. Upon opening the book, she remembered that she had received it as an elementary student thanks to the donation of a caring group of teachers and parents. Ms. Chesterson recalls this as an important memory from her teaching career, saying “The thing we neglect to realize is that we are not just touching the lives of our students, but also touching the lives of the people our students will touch. Whatever they go on to do after school, our students will take the things we give them (both tangible and intangible) and then give them to someone else.”
After attending graduate school at the University of Florida and teaching in the Florida public school system, Tanesha Dixon joined DCPS as a middle school social studies teacher. When asked what drew her to DC Public Schools, Ms. Dixon talks about the boldly ambitious, clearly articulated goals to close the achievement gap in urban education. For her, DCPS strikes a perfect balance between supporting, developing, and appreciating teachers.
Ms. Dixon has been recognized over her ten-year teaching career in a number of ways. In addition to taking on several leadership roles in the district and at her school, she has consistently been rated Highly Effective and was named the 2012-2013 Wheatley Education Campus Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Dixon has also been working at the forefront of education technology and blended learning in the district. This summer, she worked in the Office of Teaching and Learning on the Education Technology team to help develop and launch the iDC Institute, an event designed to train teachers on education technology and blended learning techniques.
When she is not impacting the students in her classroom, Ms. Dixon enjoys gardening, exploring DC, and watching true crime shows.
Kathryn Douglas has been teaching middle school Special Education in DC Public Schools for the past five years. Like many of her colleagues, Ms. Douglas chose the teaching profession because she wanted to close the achievement gap existing in so many school districts across the country.
Ms. Douglas has contributed much to the DCPS community through a plethora of leadership positions. Currently she is serving as a teacher-leader in the Teacher Leadership Innovation (TLI) pilot as well as through the Flamboyan Foundation. Prior to coming to Jefferson Academy, she also served as a grade level team leader and a positive behavior intervention system (PBIS) chair.
This summer, Ms. Douglas worked in the Office of Specialized Instruction on the Paraprofessional team. She was not only eager to learn from the experienced staff at central office, but also to share her own experiences in the classroom to better inform policy and curriculum design. Her primary project for the summer was developing a Teaching and Learning Framework for Paraprofessionals.
On the weekends, Ms. Douglas can be found strolling through Eastern Market and playing with her puppy, Cooper.
Brian Frye brings nine years of experience in music education to the 2014 TCTL cohort. Mr. Frye received his Master’s degree in Music from Boston University and is currently teaching music at Bancroft. In addition to teaching music to pre-kindergarteners through fifth graders, Mr. Frye also directs the drum line, chorus, and drama club.
Mr. Frye attributes his impact on students to his own teachers. When thinking back to his middle school experience, Mr. Frye recalls initially disliking music class. It was not until seventh grade, when, against his wishes, he was placed in a yet another music course, that he discovered his passion for the subject. The class was led by exemplary teachers and he learned to love music and appreciate the impact of a quality teacher.
Over the last six years, Mr. Frye has been recognized as one of DCPS’s excellent teachers. In addition to leading Bancroft’s school ensembles to multiple first place rankings as well as to national competitions, he has served as his school’s resource team leader, music department co-chair, school culture team member, and has been designated a district Teaching in Action Consulting Teacher and a Leading Educators fellow.
Mr. Frye worked in the Office of Teaching and Learning assisting the Director of Music with designing the district-wide music curriculum. Reflecting back on his time in central office, Mr. Frye hopes to apply the skills and knowledge he acquired to better support all DCPS students and teachers.
In his spare time, Mr. Frye loves trying new restaurants, traveling, and spending quality time with his two Glen of Imaal Terriers, Kennedy and Madison.
Sekwana Cobham Horge brought 14 years of experience in education to the 2014 TCTL cohort. Mrs. Horge came to central office from her fourth grade math and science classroom at Simon Elementary. As a native Washingtonian and product of DC Public Schools, Mrs. Horge’s passion for teaching was cultivated from her experience tutoring while a student at Banneker High School. When reflecting on the kind of teacher she wanted to be, Mrs. Horge looks back to her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Bowie, and her third grade teacher, Ms. Harris, as exemplars and role models.
Mrs. Horge has always gravitated toward leadership positions, both at the school and district level. She’s served as a teacher lead and new teacher mentor, developed and delivered professional development, and worked with her school’s WTU School Chapter Advisory Committee, Local School Advisory Team, and Personnel Committee. Mrs. Horge is also the winner of numerous accolades, including the Outstanding Teacher Award from Phi Delta Kappa, The Content of their Character Teacher Award, and the Donors Choose Award.
As a TCTL fellow Mrs. Horge worked in the Office of Family and Public Engagement creating and revising professional learning community training sessions for the Family Engagement Collaborative.
Mrs. Horge loves to dance and in her spare time teaches at the Turning Pointe School of Dance.
Kristina Kellogg brings 15 years of teaching experience to her work as a fourth grade math teacher. She views her path to education as one that was forged generations before by the strong women of her family. Growing up, Ms. Kellogg watched her grandmother work with children for over thirty years through her position as a director at DC Parks and Recreation. Her mother then continued the legacy of working with DC youth by attending DC Teachers College for several years before marrying and starting a family. Ms. Kellogg reflects on her journey to teaching and says, “As a native Washingtonian, product of DC Public Schools, and a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia, I wanted nothing more than to coexist as a professional in my own community, contributing to the lives of those who need it the most”.
Ms. Kellogg has truly had a meaningful impact on the outcomes of students in the district. Serving in a number of leadership capacities over the years— ranging from grade level chair and math department chair to mentor teacher and member of the Personnel Committee, Academic Leadership Team, and Local School Advisory Team—Ms. Kellogg has been able to impact the experiences of a multitude of DCPS stakeholders. Her impact is further illustrated through the recognition and numerous awards she has received: 2014 Watkins Teacher of the Year, Teacher of the Month, 2014 Cluster 2 Award for student Math Proficiency, and Highly Effective teacher in 2012 and 2013.
Ms. Kellogg spent the summer working in the Office of Youth Engagement to develop materials for sexual health services and safe and supportive environment initiatives across the district. She embraced the opportunity to work in the central office for the summer to develop a deeper understanding of the processes and functional frameworks of our school system. She saw great value in the partnership created between school-based teaching staff and policymakers, and felt that the opportunity to sit and collaborate with DCPS chiefs and the Chancellor around issues facing our students was hugely impactful in moving our system forward.
Outside the classroom, Ms. Kellogg enjoys spending as much time as possible with family and friends. She especially loves cooking and the way it brings people together.
Jen Wang teaches Chinese at McKinley Technology High School, and has 12 years of experience in education. Prior to serving on the New York City Board of Education and teaching in both Oregon and Maryland, Ms. Wang had a prominent career in fashion. While she enjoyed her time in the fashion industry, Ms. Wang regards her decision to become an educator as the best of her life; she relishes the opportunity to make a direct impact on children’s lives.
Ms. Wang came to DCPS two years ago because of the district’s stakeholders’ unwavering commitment to improving student outcomes and overall achievement. Ms. Wang applied for the TCTL fellowship because she saw it as a great opportunity for teacher leaders to voice their opinions and concerns. While serving during the summer in the Office of Teaching and Learning on the World Languages team, Ms. Wang had the opportunity to network and collaborate with other people in education who care about the growth of DC students. Strengthening the connection between schools and central office is a goal of the TCTL fellowship, something Ms. Wang found to be an integral part of her experience this summer.
In her free time, Ms. Wang enjoys traveling and exploring the diverse neighborhoods of DC, sampling various ethnic foods.
Rachel Williams began her career in education four years ago via Teach For America, and currently teaches fourth grade literacy at Leckie. Ms. Williams was inspired teach because her own education played such an integral role in preparing her for college and career, and she wanted to contribute to a similar success for the next generation.
In her classroom, Ms. Williams expects her students to push themselves and step into unfamiliar territory. She felt it was important for her to model the same behavior, and decided to apply for the TCTL fellowship. Over the summer she worked with DCPS’s Press Secretary in the Office of Data and Strategy, creating a communications plan for the first administration of the PARCC assessment. Ms. Williams’ work primarily focused on providing parents with timely, comprehensive, and user-friendly information around the new assessment system.
Ms. Williams regards the Botanical Gardens as the most beautiful place to visit in DC, all year round. She loves planting flowers in the interactive kids section.