The Opportunity Trust is excited to introduce the 12 outstanding education leaders who are participating in the 2021-2022 Catalyst Fellowship.
This fifth cohort of Catalyst fellows is composed of educators with a collective mission of education equity from seven school districts, two charter schools, and an early childhood center. They are forging a new frontier of learning environments in St. Louis at a time when reimagining school couldn’t be more important. The fellowship will give them the community and the support needed to foster innovation and research-backed plans to transform learning experiences.
This year’s program is co-facilitated by Rob Strain, Deitra Colquitt, and Jessica Hawkins. Rob has been the lead facilitator for Catalyst since its inception. Deitra and Jessica are Catalyst alums and co-principals of Pershing Elementary School in the School District of University City, where they’re leading a community-oriented school redesign effort.
Fellows will participate in six virtual sessions and make virtual visits to innovative schools across the U.S. to explore how learning environments in St. Louis could evolve. The fellowship culminates in April when they present their designs on how to help transform the student experience as well as how to pilot those ideas.
Learn more about the Catalyst Fellowship and how to apply.
Ferguson-Florissant School District
Chris is principal of Halls Ferry Intermediate School. This is his 19th year in public education, and his first year working with elementary grades. He holds an education specialist degree in Educational Leadership and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Talented and Gifted Development Teacher
School District of University City
Shunetta is the Talented and Gifted Development teacher at Pershing Elementary School. This is her ninth year of teaching in the district. She is excited to implement new programs to her school such as enrichment classes, STEM, Coding and more. When not teaching, Shunetta loves spending time with family and attending book club meetings.
Ferguson-Florissant School District
Carlisha Elam is assistant principal of Griffith Intermediate School. She leads with a STEAM lens to promote project-based learning. She believes that all students can flourish and become whatever they want to be. Carlisha enjoys traveling, exploring new experiences, and spending time with family.
Nick teaches seventh grade math at Kairos Academies in St. Louis. He is passionate about using problem-based learning to empower students with the skills and habits of mind necessary to tackle issues worthy of their time and brilliance. Outside of school, he is a dutiful dog dad to a 2-year-old pit-boxer mix named Stevie and an avid home cook.
Hazelwood School District
Carla Leggett is principal of Twillman Elementary School. She has spent her career as an advocate for children. She has a passion for teaching and learning. Her efforts in school improvement throughout the St. Louis area has earned her various awards and honors throughout the community.
Riverview Gardens School District
Nahomie is a math teacher and math department chair at Westview Middle School, where she has been named Teacher of the Year. She was raised as a first-generation Haitian-American, and believes in the power of public education and the options it provides. She enjoys traveling, dancing, and visiting her family and friends back in New York.
Assistant School Leader of Instruction
KIPP Wonder Academy
Tambra is assistant school leader of instruction at KIPP Wonder Academy. She recently transitioned from KIPP:St. Louis High School, where she was a founding dean of culture and assistant school leader. She is determined to understand the educational needs and successes of K-12th grade. Most recently, Tambra was accepted to the Summer Principal’s Academy (SPA) at Columbia Teachers College. Tambra considers herself to be an amateur foodie, and she enjoys traveling to new and old cities to explore cuisine.
Spark STEAM Academy
Jacquelyn is director of Spark STEAM Academy, a private early childhood center dedicated to offering equity education experiences to children and early experiences with all things STEAM. She also is a member of The Gateway Early Childhood Alliance and has worked within the education field for 17 years wearing many hats.
St. Louis Public Schools
Rapheal is assistant principal at Buder Elementary School. Rapheal is a passionate educator, learner, and community leader. He is the founder and CEO of Incline Management and Consulting Services, a business designed to advise and cooperate with non-profits, community partners, and small businesses in the region.
University of Missouri – St. Louis
Anna is a doctoral student researching the intersectionality of critical race theory, and also works as an educational consultant. Most recently, Anna was principal of Buder Elementary School, a high-performing, culturally diverse neighborhood school St. Louis Public Schools. She loves canoe camping, traveling, and being with her two dogs, Finn and Jolene.
Normandy Schools Collaborative
Dustin is an assistant principal at Normandy High School where he is helping lead a construction project on the campus to renovate the school for the students. He enjoys reading, listening to music, and learning from others and their unique experiences in life.
Annie Niehoff Walsh
English Second Language Instructor
Parkway School District
Annie works as an ESOL instructor at the Parkway Virtual Campus. She formally led regional ELL coordination for EAGLE College Prep schools in St. Louis. She advocates for language justice in her volunteer work within several local immigration, migration, and refugee communities. She loves playing with her 1-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.