Teacher Advisory Group
The Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) was formed in 2013 to support NCTQ in its mission by providing consistent and meaningful teacher voice to our work. Teacher Advisors contribute crucial perspectives to the work that NCTQ does, helping to bridge the gap between policy and practice. Members of the TAG hail from diverse backgrounds and varied experiences and all have one thing in common: their passion to improve the educational landscape of their districts, states, and the nation.
Dan CultraDan has taught for 16 years in Elmhurst, Illinois. Dan currently teaches 6th grade language arts and social studies at Churchville Middle School. He has taught 7th grade language arts and social studies and 4th and 5th grade in a self-contained setting. Dan has experience as a grade level team leader, summer school coordinator, and curriculum writer. Dan also has experience as a union representative and currently serves on the district leadership team. He earned his BA in elementary education from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois and his MA in educational leadership from DePaul University in Chicago.
Aaron GrossmanAaron Grossman is a 5th grade teacher in Washoe County School District that includes Reno, Sparks, and Incline Village Nevada. Aaron started in education as a member of AmeriCorps helping with the Montana Reads initiative. He moved to Reno, Nevada in 2001 to teach 6th grade in one of Nevada's most impacted schools. In 2007, Aaron moved out of the classroom to become an instructional coach, then a school improvement coordinator and in 2011, Aaron started the Core Task Project. The effort garnered national attention and in 2014, Aaron was named an EdWeek Leader to Learn From. In 2015, Aaron returned to the classroom.
Melissa GuillenMelissa Guillén has served in education for seven years in several roles including as a behavioral specialist program manager, and teacher leader. She began working for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) in 2011 as a dual language 1st grade teacher. Ms. Guillén has earned a rating of Highly Effective under the DCPS evaluation system and is currently a participant in the New Leader for New Schools Emerging Leaders program. Ms. Guillén has a Masters of Education from George Washington University. She is excited to support teacher growth and voice and believes that all students deserve an outstanding education.
Mahoganey JacksonMahoganey is currently teaching 8th Grade Georgia Studies at Sylvan Hills Middle School, in Atlanta, Georgia. She has also taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English Language Arts both in gifted and inclusive settings. She started her teaching career in Decatur, Georgia in 2008 after receiving her degree from Albany State University. She nurtured her desire to learn and grow more by receiving a Masters degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in 2010, from Walden University. Mahoganey has experience as a grade level team leader, department chair, district level curriculum writer, and currently serves on her schools leadership team. In 2015, Mahoganey was in the top 10% of teachers in Atlanta Public Schools under the Georgia Teacher Keys Effectiveness System. Mahoganey has always had a strong interest in educating inner city youth. She thrives on helping youth achieve greatness both academically and personally. She is committed to ensuring that every student receives quality education, from a quality teacher, and looks forward to working with NCTQ to ensure this outcome.
Betty JensenBetty K. Jensen earned a PhD in physics from Columbia University and subsequently an MBA with a major in finance from St. John's University. She has extensive experience in energy and environmental research and the communication of scientific issues to the public. Betty has served as an advisor to a number of government, academic, and private institutions and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles. Betty has always had a strong interest in teaching. This interest was heightened by her effort to communicate scientific issues with the lay community. Since so much of our daily lives relates to technological, environmental, and risk issues, a solid foundation in math and science is a must. Since taking early retirement from industry about ten years ago, Betty has been on the faculty at Notre Dame Academy High School on Staten Island, an all-girls school, where she teaches science and math. Betty also serves as a peer reviewer for several academic journals and participated in developing tools for teachers as a member of the Air and Waste Management Association's Committee on Education. She has also served as an advisor to middle and high school students participating in an advanced science program at New Jersey's Liberty Science Center.
Brandon LedfordBrandon Ledford has taught for nine years at Ithica Elementary School in Villa Rica, Georgia. He has taught language arts and social studies in fifth grade and language arts and science in fourth grade. During his career in education, he has taken on many roles and responsibilities to contribute to the teaching profession. He was a fellow of the Cherokee Rose Writing Project at the University of West Georgia. He has served as a grade level leader and trainer for his school. Brandon worked as a curriculum consultant at the state and district levels for the state of Georgia. He earned his B.Ed. and M.Ed. in middle grades education from the University of West Georgia and his Ed.S. in teaching and learning from Northcentral University.
Jeanette SpekaJeanette has taught K-4th grade students for 18 years in both urban and rural areas of Northern California. She is currently a Literacy Specialist teacher working with at-risk kindergarten and first grade students who struggle with basic early literacy skills. She has taught at Nokomis Elementary School in Ukiah (Mendocino County), California since 2005. Jeanette holds a BA in Liberal Studies/Multiple Subjects from San Francisco State University, a Reading Instruction Certificate from University of California at Davis, and an M. ED in Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy Emphasis, from American College of Education. Jeanette is passionate about ensuring that all students start their education with well-trained teachers who understand the complexities of teaching beginning readers and the importance of high-quality, evidence-based, early intervention for at-risk students.
Karen VogelsangKaren Vogelsang has taught elementary school for thirteen years. She currently teaches 4th grade at Riverwood Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. In 2007 she became a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood. The following year she began mentoring candidates pursuing National Board Certification and discovered a new passion helping other teachers pursue the rigorous certification process. In March 2012, Karen received a fellowship from The Martin Institute to attend Harvard's Project Zero Classroom. As a result of presenting at Harvard's Project Zero conference in February 2014, Karen was asked to co-lead the Project Zero Memphis group, and currently serves as the co-chair. She served as a Study Group Fellow for the 2015 Harvard Project Zero Classroom convening. Karen has served on Tennessee's Math Textbook Committee and as a Common Core Math Coach. She is a Hope Street Group Fellow for Tennessee, and served as the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Karen currently serves on Governor Haslam's Teacher's Council and Commissioner McQueen's Teacher Advisory Council.
Emmy ClarkeEmmy spent the past two years as a 2014 Teach for America Corps member in the Greater New Orleans Region teaching Chemistry and AP Chemistry. She grew up in rural South Carolina in a typically underserved and low-performing region, which inspired her to pursue work in low-income education. Having completed an alternative teacher certification program, she is very passionate about high requirements for admission to and completion of teacher preparation programs. As a young and relatively new teacher, she is excited to learn more about how teachers are coached and evaluated across the country, and hopefully contribute towards positive and meaningful change to improve student achievement and teacher retention in our most vulnerable schools and districts. Emmy also believes strongly in the value of experiential education, which led her to spend her first summer off from teaching working in Wyoming as the High School Internship Coordinator for City Kids Wilderness Project. She is excited to be continuing her career in education by moving to Arizona to be the founding high school science teacher at Empower Collegiate Academy, which opens its doors in August 2016. Emmy is a graduate of Clemson University and will be beginning work on her Masters of Science in Education through Johns Hopkins University this fall.
Amanda ZulloAmanda Zullo is a National Board Certified Chemistry teacher at Saranac Lake High School in Saranac Lake, New York. She apart of the ADK Farm to School Initiative as USDA Planning grant coordinator and co-writer of the NYS Agriculture Grant. Amanda is an advocate for inquiry activities having served as associate editor for the POGIL project Chem, Bio, AP Chem and AP Bio books and worked with PASCO on writing guided inquiry AP Chemistry labs. She presents on these methods at local, regional and national conferences including AP Summer Institutes. Amanda is a National Teaching Fellow with Hope Street Group, a National Board candidate support provider, a member of the New York State Master Teacher program, the American Chemical Society, #TeachStrong and New York State Ed Voice Fellowship. In her ten-year teaching career she has been honored with several HACH and National Education Association grants. She serves on the teacher advisory board for the National Council on Teacher Quality and is a 2015 New York State Finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science. Amanda has a BS in Organizational Communication/Pre-Medical Studies from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo and a Master's in Science Education from Union Graduate College.
Teacher Candidate Advisory Group
The Teacher Candidate Advisory Group was formed in 2014 to support NCTQ's Teacher Preparation Studies department in its mission to ensure that every teacher enters the classroom with the training necessary to be competent and confident on Day One. As students currently enrolled in teacher preparation programs, Teacher Candidate Advisors review our work-in-progress with a perspective grounded in their ongoing coursework and clinical experiences.