Simon Ainsworth – Glenshaw, PA
A graduate of Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business, Simon has a true passion for math. He finds joy in helping students to push forward and get excited about learning math concepts. Simon is delighted to be a Corps member so that he can help Propel students succeed, both in school and in life.
Adam Bailey – Berea, KY
Adam’s rural roots in West Virginia and Kentucky have allowed him to see that poverty knows no geographic bounds. Preparing to graduate from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont, Adam believes that the Corps will produce excellent Propel teachers who possess passion, empathy and understanding.
Emily Ecker – Pittsburgh, PA
Emily sees the Corps as a way to influence young people and bring about positive change in the community. She has a passion and excitement for math that she will share with her community of students. Her experiences at Duquesne University have taught Emily that being truly engaged with students and families will lead to classroom success. She believes in and is inspired by the resiliency of youth.
Sonia Ewell – Pittsburgh, PA
Self-described as a ‘wife, mother, youth and community leader and educator,’ Sonia believes that the Corps will define the pathway to success for both teachers and students. With degrees from Youngstown State University and the University of Pittsburgh, she believes in limitless possibilities for all students.
Mayada Mansour – Bellevue, PA
Mayada chose to be a part of the Corps because of the emphasis on social justice. She believes that her tenacity will allow her to challenge students to love science. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she aspires to be an educator that develops the leaders of the next generation.
LaShawn Neal – Export, PA
The concept and practice of ‘patience’ is important to LaShawn. Keeping end-goals in mind, the move toward the classroom is vital for LaShawn. Formerly a senior cost engineer, she has always had a passion for volunteering with youth. She will now channel her experience and enthusiasm into educating students. She sees the corps as a way to inspire and be inspired by students.
Esteban Sagastume – Monroeville, PA
Esteban’s passion for education and for providing opportunity to students is a true vocation. He believes that adaptability is a key educational component for students and teachers alike. As a University of Pittsburgh graduate, Esteban brings his linguistic, analytic and experiential skills to the Corps.
LaVaughn Wesley – Pittsburgh, PA
La Vaughn is proud to be an inaugural Corps member and is ready to make a difference in the lives of students. He believes in challenging students while helping them to grow within their school family. La Vaughn’s experience at Edinboro University, combined with his work ethic and enthusiasm, will allow him to leave a lasting impact on urban students
Our second group of inspiring educators has begun their pursuit of a teaching certification and will begin their apprenticeship in a Propel classroom for the 2016-17 school year with a Propel mentor. Each participant will receive a full year of support and professional development. Read more about these amazing individuals:
Jonathan Bacon – Beaver Falls, PA
Jonathan earned a Master of Arts in Urban Studies from Eastern University in Saint Davids, PA and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. He has served as adjunct faculty and guest presenter at Geneva College as well as working as a carpenter. Jonathan is excited to have the opportunity to learn with students who are striving to find hope and write a narrative for their lives about their own unique worth and talents while exploring the world around them. He resides in Beaver Falls, PA with his wife Julia.
Rebecca Boyd – Bucks County, PA
Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in English writing and a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Rebecca moved to Philadelphia to join an AmeriCorps program in which she tutored low income students in English and math. She strongly believes that with her dedication she could benefit students in an urban setting – and with her love of Pittsburgh the PUTC was a perfect choice for her. In her spare time she enjoys crossfit training, baking cookies, and training for half marathons.
John Cheatwood – North Hills, PA
John recently has been focusing his time on tutoring students, but also had worked in financial services. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management. He is excited to enter the Propel classroom where “the leaders and the game changers of tomorrow are being developed”. John is from New Jersey and is residing in North Hills, PA.
Theresa Conley – Brentwood, PA
After graduating from Seton Hill University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative writing, Theresa served as an English Teacher in South Korea. Since she thrives in the classroom both as a teacher and student, the PUTC was an ideal program for her. She can’t wait to teach at Propel where she believes she can make a difference each day. She resides in Brentwood, PA with her daughter, boyfriend and two dogs.
Alonna Cuffe – Boston, MA
Alonna is excited to return to Pittsburgh to begin the next chapter in her education career. After graduating from IUP, Alonna struck out on her own to make her teaching dream a reality. As a Learning Specialist at Uncommon Schools, she know that “a quality education opens so many windows and doors of opportunity.” The PUTC will allow her to bring her passion for education to the students at Propel “who look like me, come from homes like mine and who face similar situations as I did, growing up.”
DeVon Gandy – Pittsburgh, PA
DeVon’s passion for youth empowerment could be traced to his childhood in Braddock, PA. He continually sought ways to define and give back to his community. As the Athletic Director of Pittsburgh’s “Blaze Athletic Program,” DeVon has discovered that patience, flexibility and drive are the factors that can influence youth the most. A graduate of Seton Hill University, he brings his energetic, innovative and compassionate viewpoints to the PUTC. DeVon and his wife Erica are raising four daughters, one of whom is currently attending Clarion University.
Danielle Gutteridge – Pittsburgh, PA
Danielle is a true believer in the power of the urban cityscape. Having grown up in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, after emigrating with her family from South Africa, Dani has enjoyed the diversity, atmosphere and resources that come with urban living. More importantly, she knows that developing quality teachers for urban schools via the PUTC “can bring improved education outcomes to students, no matter where they live.” This University of Pittsburgh graduate, former entrepreneur and soccer coach, knows the value of creativity, patience and dedication.
Kara Jackson – Pittsburgh, PA
As a University of South Carolina graduate with a Master’s in Exercise Science, Kara will bring her energy and enthusiasm for helping others into her PUTC experience. “I want to take action and make changes to the educational inequities that urban students face,” says Kara. She has learned that flexibility is beneficial in both the physical and mental/emotional areas. To be able to grow and learn from experience as well as from classroom activity will allow her students to be confident citizens of the future. A resident of Mt. Washington, Kara, along with her husband and two sons love Pittsburgh’s neighborhood feel.
Jamal Jones – Carnegie, PA
Jamal has given much thought to becoming a teacher. “I’ve always imagined myself in an urban school. I want to be a part of the renaissance in urban schools.” After graduating from Cheyney University as a Marketing major and being a part of customer support teams, Jamal found himself wanting to give back to his community – to work for social justice and a great education for all students. His participation in the PUTC will help this dream to come true. Jamal resides in Carnegie and will soon welcome a new family addition in June 2016.
Jarrod Lovelace – Murrysville, PA
“Rugby Coach Jarrod” teaches his players to hit hard, grow the game, and never give up on themselves or their teammates. “PUTC Teacher Jarrod” will teach his students to hit the books hard, grow by asking questions, and to never quit on themselves or their education. Jarrod’s passion for education brings him to the PUTC program. As a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, he has learned the value of patience as well as growth. After four years of coaching, Jarrod knows that passion, motivation, and caring are the cornerstone of an educational endeavor, and these qualities will help him bring his students to their goals and dreams.
Catherine Miller – Baldwin, PA
While obtaining her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from South University, Cat had the opportunity to look at the education system as a whole. “It is undeniable that children from underserved areas need educators willing to go above and beyond to make a difference in student lives,” says Cat. Bringing together her passion for education with her belief in resilience, persistence and patience — she found the PUTC. A lifelong resident of the area, she will bring skills learned through volunteering and mentoring to the students at Propel.
Stefanie Smith – Pittsburgh, PA
Stefanie’s attraction to the PUTC was fueled by her personal experiences as a student, growing up in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood. She watched and learned as teachers used creativity and caring to bring education to students. “Believing in the children that you serve is an essential skill for all teachers to have,” says Stef. She looks forward to being a teacher that can be described as loving, approachable and educational warrior! Stefanie resides in Pittsburgh’s East Hills neighborhood with her 4 children.
Ryan West – Wilkins Township, PA
Growing up in a relatively rural setting (Irwin, PA), Ryan has consistently and intentionally moved closer and closer to the Pittsburgh area throughout his life. “This is where I feel the most ‘at home,’” Ryan says of his current neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh /Greensburg as a Natural Sciences major, Ryan uses his knowledge each day at a laboratory company. His desire to be a part of the PUTC arises from wanting urban students to know that there are endless possibilities in life that can be achieved with a willingness to look forward, learn and adapt to all situations.
Judith Williams – Pittsburgh, PA
‘Community’ is vitally important in Judy’s world. From her childhood in Pittsburgh’s Northside to her college community at Duquesne University, to her home neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s Chartiers City, Judy has always felt the need to reach beyond herself and make her communities better places for all. “I’d like to give what I have been given and provide children with educational elevation,” says Judy. As a lifelong learner, she is excited to begin a new adventure with the PUTC. Working with integrity, compassion and confidence, Judy looks forward to strategically cultivating the learner in all students.
Matthew A. H. Davis – Penn Hills, PA
Matt is excited to move from a professional environment that insures people to a school environment that ensures educational excellence. Throughout his career, leadership, flexibility and resilience have been the cornerstones of all that he has accomplished. This graduate of ‘THE Hampton University’ is ready and willing to face the joys and challenges that accompany teaching. He will strive to be a daily affirmation to his students and always be a positive, consistent foothold for them.
Krista Frederick – Bellevue, PA
International travel and experiences right here in Pittsburgh have inspired Krista to work with urban youth. Educational journeys to China, Kenya, Haiti and Guatemala allowed this aspiring teacher to see classic concepts with fresh eyes. ‘Impact’ and ‘challenge’ are buzzwords that Krista takes seriously. Her greatest joy will be to take her students on a virtual tour of the world, allowing them to experience culture, art and ideas that will expand their horizons and stretch their imaginations.
Tilo Jordan – Pittsburgh, PA
A self-described ‘cultivator,’ Tilo is excited about joining the ranks of the PUTC to motivate students to see the best in themselves. As a teenager who spent time in an urban school in a small town in Ohio, there were few opportunities for students to reach beyond themselves. Her college years found Tilo giving back to her community, showing students that there is much on the horizon that will take them wherever they’d like to go. Facilitating events to engage students came naturally to Tilo and she will bring that talent to Propel students each and every day.
Paco (Glenn) Mahone – Pittsburgh, PA
With “Follow your bliss…” as a favorite inspirational phrase, Paco has found his bliss with music. As a graduate of the City College of New York (BFA, Jazz Performance), he has informally taught music for quite some time via the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild and at various public schools in the Pittsburgh area as well as yoga. The PUTC will give Paco the opportunity to ‘passionately serve the youth of Pittsburgh in Propel’s diverse classrooms.’ He believes in empowering students to follow their dreams, just as he did.
Margaret Repko – Reno NV
Maggie has always had a desire to help others- it’s what pushed her to complete an Americorps year of service at a Boys & Girls Club in Nevada, a long way from her home in Ohio. A graduate of DePauw University in Indiana, she is committed to “breaking the cycle of poverty through education,” a conviction that she shares with many of her teachers, professors, and work colleagues. Maggie is looking forward to having her own classroom and building relationships with students that will inspire excellence, passion, and lifelong memories.