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Student Biographies

Student Biographies

Jasmine Acevedo

Jasmine received her B.A. in Psychology from Boston College, her M. Ed in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and her M.S. Ed in Educational Leadership from Simmons College. After she graduated from Boston College, Jasmine served as a Community Officer with the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Massachusetts. While working there, she studied the learning gap that exists in Massachusetts and decided to become a teacher to make a positive change in the lives of the children in Boston. Jasmine began her teaching career with Boston Teacher Residency in 2004. Her placement school was the Mason School in Roxbury. There, she co-taught a first grade inclusion classroom. Jasmine served as a first grade teacher at the Lee Academy Pilot School in Dorchester for four years. At the Lee Academy, she served as the Math Facilitator, a member of the Instructional Leadership Team as well as the Governing Board. For two years, Jasmine taught first grade at the Boston Teachers Union Pilot School in Jamaica Plain. For the past two years, she taught second grade at the BTU School. There, she has served on the Literacy Leadership team, the Writing Committee, and on a number of Hiring teams. She has also led faculty trainings around Behavior Protocols and Classroom Management. Jasmine has mentored student teachers from Wheelock and Simmons College. Jasmine aspires to continue working in a Boston Public School that fosters the values of diversity, equity and justice. Jasmine was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where many members of her family reside.Jasmine is committed to educating the students in her classroom and creating strong relationships that celebrate culture and identity.

Marta Fernandes

Marta received her B.S. in Mathematics at Bridgewater State College and her Masters in Secondary Education from University of Massachusetts Boston through the Teach Next Year program. Marta began her educational career at the Community Academy of Science and Health in Boston where she has been teaching mathematics for the past four years. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she has been the Student Government Advisor, 9th Grade Lead Teacher, the Professional Learning Community Facilitator, and has a mentor for student teachers.

Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca received her B.A. in English from Wheaton College and her M.S. in speech-language pathology from Northeastern University. She worked for eight years as a speech-language pathologist for an elementary school in Woburn. Rebecca earned her M.S. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Simmons in 2013, and is now the Director of PreSchool progams in the Needham Public School system.  Her areas of interest in education are speech and language, developmental neuroscience, early intervention, parent education, development of school culture and team-building.

Kenneth Kozol

Kenny Kozol was a Spanish and music teacher for 15 years in New York City and Boston. He received his M.A. in Education with Honors from Teachers College at Columbia University, and graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in both Spanish/Latin American Studies and Music. Kenny began his career in education in 1997 as a Teaching Fellow at the Brearley School in New York City and then went on to spend the next nine years teaching preschool through eighth grade music at the Children's Storefront School in Harlem.

For six years he taught Spanish and World Music at Brookline High School. Kenny has been awarded numerous research grants, including the Multiculturalism and the Arts Project grant to study ethnomusicology in Cuba, Columbia University's first ever President's Office of Diversity and Community Fellowship to study children's music in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the South Bronx, and a Brookline Education Foundation grant to study the relationship between language acquisition, music and dance in Brazil.

Kenny frequently leads workshops for other educators on music, culture and language. At Brookline High School, he founded Música y cultura, a program that brings in guest musicians and dancers from Latin America to teach and perform with students and teachers at the school.

Since completing his Educational Leadership degree in 2013, Kenny has been appointed Director of Fine and Performing Arts for Brookline Public Schools.

Michael Lester

Michael graduated from Boston Latin Academy and then attended Hampton University. After two semesters, Michael joined the Army Reserves. He resumed his studies at Tuskegee University where he received his B.A. in Finance and went on to work with Lucent Technologies in Atlanta as a financial analyst for 3 years. During this time he helped to form a mentorship program between Lucent and a local high school and mentored students outside of work, including working in the Junior Achievement program. These experiences, along with two summers working for Upward Bound at UMASS Boston, led him to a career change from finance to education.

Upon returning to Boston in 2001, Michael joined the nonprofit "The Steppingstone Foundation" where he was Associate Dean of Support Services. He played many roles there, including Latin teacher at their summer academy for rising 6th & 7th graders and advisor for students who went on to attend the exam schools in Boston. After 5 years at Steppingstone, Michael wanted an opportunity to work in a charter school. He now serves as the Dean of Students at Boston Preparatory Charter School in Hyde Park. Michael aspires to not only lead but to also create a charter school in the future.

Meghan McGoldrick

Meghan received a B.A. in History from Boston College, an M.Ed. in Education, Policy, and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has a certificate in Instructional Technology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2003, she began teaching as a Teach for America corps member in North Carolina. In 2007, Meghan began teaching middle school math and science teacher in Boston Public Schools at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School. She has served as the head of the math department and as a mentor teacher for the Harvard Teacher Education Program. Additionally, Meghan is a lesson designer for 21st Century Lessons, a project sponsored by the Boston Teachers' Union and the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund. Since graduating from the Educational Leadership program in 2013, Meghan has worked as a Teacher Developer in the Boston Public Schools.

Laura Powers

Laura received B.A. in Political Science and Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her M.S. in Teaching from Pace University in New York City. Laura began her teaching career with Teach for America in 2007, teaching at MS 50 in Brooklyn, NY. There she taught a sixth grade self contained Special Education English Language Arts and Social Studies class. In addition, she served as a member of the school's Inquiry Team, and helped to oversee the Achieve 3000 Reading Program. Laura was a Corps Member Advisor with Teach for America during the summer of 2009. In this role, she managed and coached a group of eight incoming Teach for America Corps Members. Laura then became the Lead Special Education teacher at the Upper Elementary School at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Somerville, MA. In addition to her teaching duties at PHA, Laura was a member of the school's Instructional Leadership team where she worked with other lead teachers and administrators to oversee and advise on educational changes for the school. In addition to pursuing a degree in Educational Leadership at Simmons College, she was a member of the Teach Plus National Working Group on Charter School Teacher Retention. Laura is also the co-director of the Teach for America Boston Alumni Board. Since graduating from the Educational Leadership program in 2013, Laura is currently leading a charter school in New York City.