The Opportunity Trust is excited to announce its 2022-2023 Catalyst fellows — 15 education leaders from across the St. Louis region who have begun reimagining, building, and testing new ideas and approaches to teaching and learning.
This cohort of Catalyst fellows is the sixth and includes educators with a collective mission of innovation to improve student outcomes. They come from six school districts, five charter schools, and Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center. They represent a diversity of experience and backgrounds but share a common passion around improving education equity. The fellowship will provide them with the community and support needed to develop research-backed plans to transform learning.
“Especially today, Catalyst is needed to foster what’s next in education,” said Vanessa Reinertson, associate partner at The Opportunity Trust. “That might be a new approach to teacher retention, student learning loss, literacy, or many other challenges facing students.”
Catalyst is The Opportunity Trust’s signature fellowship that brings together educators committed to rethinking traditional approaches that leave many students behind. Eighty-eight percent of this cohort is composed of leaders of color, most of whom work in schools, districts or organizations that serve underserved populations.
Through May, fellows will participate in a series of six full-day convenings that combine technical skill development, adaptive leadership coaching, and differentiated professional learning communities. Each will design a pilot program that aims to improve student performance or experience.
Convenings are designed and facilitated in partnership with Indianapolis-based BelievED.
“To combat economic challenges and systemic inequality, educators within the city must be prepared to lead with innovation and transformation at the forefront,” said Kimberly Neal-Brannum, founder of BelievED and a strategic advisor for The Opportunity Trust. “Schools cannot simply maintain the status quo.”
Members of the 2022-2023 Catalyst Fellowship Cohort:
Third Grade ELA Lead Teacher and Grade Level Chair
KIPP Wisdom Academy
KIPP St. Louis
At KIPP Wisdom Academy, Desiree strives to create a classroom environment where students feel emotionally and physically safe to learn and be the best version of themselves. Her goal is to empower the next generation of leaders and thinkers in St. Louis.
Dr. LaToya Crockett
Third Grade Teacher
The School District of University City
In addition to teaching third grade, LaToya mentors new teachers to help them manage their time and develop successful strategies. She’s passionate about creating a more equitable education system to fit the needs of all learners and staff members. LaToya hopes to someday travel with her 8-year-old daughter to Ghana.
Brittany Woods Middle School
The School District of University City
Pablo Flinn is an experienced educator and advocate for social justice. A St. Louis native, Pablo has served students in a variety of private and public school capacities and currently serves as an Assistant Principal at Brittany Woods Middle School in University City, Missouri. When not at work with his daughter Kristin, Pablo will be found working on rental properties or with his partner, Lolita, supporting their son Caleb in his cheerleading endeavors.
Riverview Gardens School District
Danielle is a 15-year educator who began her career as a guest teacher and worked her way into school leadership. Over the last eight years, she has served as a fifth grade teacher, taught at a sixth grade center, and worked as an instructional coach. Danielle values education and believes that it is the pathway to all things.
Dr. Sheila Green-Samuels
Confluence Preparatory Academy High School
During Sheila’s 25 years in education, she has served as a classroom teacher, building and district administrator, and a board member. As assistant principal at Confluence Prep, she works to ensure students have access and opportunities to competitive post-secondary institutions and/or highly-skilled careers.
Instructional Coach and English Department Chair
Jazminique works intentionally and consistently toward educational equity, exceptional teacher development, and transformational personal development for our next generation of leaders. She operates with the belief that high expectations coupled with high support leads to high performance. In her spare time, she coaches All Star Cheer, travels, and hangs out with her son.
Dr. Kaylan Holloway
McKinley Middle & High School
St. Louis Public Schools
Kaylan is proud to come from north St. Louis and St. Louis Public Schools. In addition to serving as principal of McKinley Middle and High School, he is an equity coach for various non-profits and school organizations throughout the St. Louis region.
Dr. Malinda Ice
Parker Road Primary School
Ferguson-Florissant School District
This is Malinda’s twelfth year as a principal and 32nd year as an educator. She has collaborated with educators locally, nationally, and internationally, and has been awarded for her dedication to the educational community. (Photo not available.)
Cross Categorical Special Education Teacher
Gateway STEM High School
St. Louis Public Schools
One of Clifton’s goals is to help foster a love of learning and exploring in and out of the classroom. He’s taught in school districts in both Washington D.C and now St. Louis. He also founded a network of over 1,000 students and partners that organized youth voter registration drives, community service, and has pursued policy reform in Ferguson and nationwide.
BELIEVE Circle City High School
Jawn is a native St. Louisan who attended Xavier University and Tulane University School of Medicine, where she earned her master’s degree in medical genetics and genomics. She worked in a variety of education and teaching roles in New Orleans before relocating to Indianapolis to help launch BELIEVE Schools Indianapolis. Jawn is considering helping to open a future school in St. Louis.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
North Side Community School
Courtney looks for ways to provide new teachers with the training and resources they need to provide their students with transformational instruction. She began her education career in 2006 and has worked in Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Texas, recently returning to her hometown. Her passion is secondary math curriculum and instruction.
Dr. Carrie Page
Special Education Administrator
Special School District – Rockwood
Carrie has 22 years of teaching and school leadership experience in schools and communities that are financially, racially, and ethnically diverse. She has documented statistical gains as a leader, school psychologist and special educator through data-driven differentiated instruction.
Dr. Lanor Payne
Superintendent of Special Education
Annie Malone Children and Family Services
Lanor is superintendent of special education for Annie Malone Children and Family Services, where he develops and executes a special education program that focuses on integration, inclusion, and learning opportunities for all students. He’s a first generation college graduate, served eight years in the Missouri National Guard, and is a veteran of the Iraq war.
Dr. Tesha Robinson
Collinsville High School
Collinsville Unit School District #10
Tesha’s background in school social work enhances her skills as a school leader. She primarily focuses on alternative education, dropout prevention, and social-emotional learning. As a school administrator, she develops programs to break barriers to academic success for students who are at risk.
Kim is an author, screenwriter, TV producer, non-profit founder, speaker and overall creative. Kim has a passion for helping people become the best version of themselves and has touched the lives of thousands of girls and women across the globe through her books, speaking engagements, online community, and simple but meaningful daily conversations. She has experience building programs with schools that help at risk students engage in curriculum, and is a mother of four.
Learn more about The Opportunity Trust’s fellowship opportunities.