Pallavi Abraham

Pallavi Abraham

Executive Director

Pallavi has spent her teaching career working in Chicago schools. Prior to becoming Executive Director, she started as the lead science teacher at Youth Connection Leadership Academy an alternative high school in Bronzeville. She also worked at UIC College Prep, where she taught Introductory and AP Biology, as well as Biochemistry. She has earned her Masters Degree in Secondary Science Education from Johns Hopkins University. Pallavi strives to empower minority women to join competitive fields and become the future of educational leadership.

Ann Persson

Ann Persson

Director of Curriculum and Coaching

Ann has worked as a teacher, teacher leader and principal in Chicago schools.  Most recently she has worked as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at DSST in Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters Degree in Literacy from the American College of Education and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Relay Graduate School of Education. Ann is a data-driven, solutions-focused leader with a proven ability to close gaps, meet goals, and move the needle on achievement for students and schools.

Domonique Briggs

Domonique Briggs

Manager of Programming and Coaching

Domonique Briggs, originally from Detroit, MI, is an HBCU graduate of Hampton University. She comes to us with 10 years of collective teaching and coaching experience in the Chicago community, including work with EPIC Academy, Teach Plus, TST, & City Year. She is an EQ enthusiast who is passionate about helping others become the best version of themselves by nurturing their strengths and supporting their opportunities for growth. This passion for servant leadership has driven her to found 2 community organizations, SHE Chicago & Urban Community Alliance, which focus on youth development in areas of leadership, emotional intelligence, activism, community involvement, and financial literacy.

Nora Sullivan

Nora Sullivan

Grant Writing Associate

Nora is currently a preschool teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She began working at Columbia Explorers in Brighton Park and now teaches at Audubon Elementary in Roscoe Village. Nora earned her first Masters Degree in Elementary Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania and her second Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction for English as a Second Language from Lewis University. Nora believes in the power of connection between teachers and students & families and knows that these connections are strongest when teacher leaders are supported and nurtured in the classroom.

Breeze Fromm-Sarto

Breeze Fromm-Sarto

Administrative Assistant

Breeze Fromm-Sarto is a freelance non-profit professional, currently working from New York City. She received her BS in Business Management at DePaul University in Chicago. She has 5 years of non-profit program management experience and a specialty in grant writing, project management, & event coordination. Breeze enjoys working with organizations that provide solutions and resources within the communities they serve.

Abby Avendt

Abby Avendt

Social Media & Marketing Associate

Abby is currently an instructional coach in Chicago Public Schools. She has spent her whole career working at Walt Disney Elementary in Rogers Park. Abby earned her Masters Degree in Teaching & Learning from Illinois State University after originally studying education at Michigan State University. Abby is a life-long learner and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Laura McKelvey

Laura McKelvey

PD Facilitator

Laura has 8 years of teaching experience at Johnson College Prep, a charter HS in Englewood. She has taught the full breadth of science content areas, and served as the head of Science team. She originally earned her BS from The Ohio State University and in 2019 was named a Distinguished Teacher by the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Today, she works as a passionate provider of professional development, specializing in equitable grading and assessment.

Norma Ferrel

Norma Ferrel

Educational Equity Intern

Norma is an 2nd year undergraduate student majoring in Economics at the University of Chicago. She is involved with the Institute of Politics at the university, and hopes to attend the Harris School of Public Policy. Norma is interested in the intersection of public policy and education, and is passionate about improving the educational opportunities available.

Dr. Paul Riskus

Dr. Paul Riskus

Co-Founder

Paul worked as a high school chemistry and physics teacher, and was a science department chair at Urban Prep-Bronzeville High School. Following his teaching career, he became an instructional coach and assistant principal at Garcia High School. He is currently the Principal at Walt Disney Magnet School, after earning his EdD in Urban Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Paul believes that empowering and supporting teacher leaders is the clearest path to student growth.

Dr. Michael Harries

Dr. Michael Harries

Co-Founder

Michael worked as a freshmen physics teacher and freshmen team lead teacher at Urban Prep- West High school on Chicago’s near west side. He earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching at Dominican University and recently completed medical school at the University of Chicago. He is currently a resident physician at Comer Children’s Hospital. As a Pediatrician he plans to focus his career on the intersection of medical care and the K-12 school system. He also hopes to work towards increasing access to mental health resources for youth in areas of high need.

Dr. Andrew Rhodes

Dr. Andrew Rhodes

Andy works as an Assistant Principal with CPS at South Loop Elementary school.  Prior to this role, he completed his Principal Residency through the Chicago Leadership Collaborative at Coles Elementary in South Chicago and worked as a Dean, grade level lead, and English teacher with the Noble Network at Johnson College Prep in the Englewood community.  While completing his EdD in Urban Education Leadership at UIC, Andy has engaged deeply in identifying problems of practice in educational organizations in order to promote both student and adult learning.  Andy believes that great teachers are truly irreplaceable, and his inspiration in working at TST is to identify and promote teacher leadership within schools.

Morgan Russo

Morgan Russo

Morgan taught 4th-7th grade for five years in Chicago and served as an instructional coach and teacher leader. Morgan is working on her Masters in Child Development from the Erikson Institute and currently works in Children’s Digital Media.  She believes that teachers are our greatest resource and empowering them to lead in their schools will have the greatest impact on our students.

Michael Cheng

Michael Cheng

Michael previously worked as the science department head at Youth Connection Leadership Academy in Bronzeville, an alternative high school for our city’s most underserved youth. While teaching, he earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching at Dominican University. He is currently working as a Data and Analytics Consultant at Accenture. Michael believes in the intersection of education and technology to impact learning for both teachers and students.

Kelly McKimson-Rhodes

Kelly McKimson-Rhodes

Kelly is an English teacher at H.L. Richards High School, a Title I school in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn. Kelly leads the English IV team and is a founding member of her school’s Equity and Opportunity Committee, specifically working to develop Richards’ Advanced Placement program. Kelly earned two master’s degrees in education, and she is a certified yoga instructor who enjoys sharing her practice and trauma-informed mindfulness training with students and educators. In her fifteen years in the classroom, and as the daughter of a veteran CPS teacher, Kelly knows teachers are social justice advocates and the driving force in schools; they deserve opportunity, support, and recognition.

Jingwei Maggie Li

Jingwei Maggie Li

Maggie is the Research Analyst at the Health Lab at the University of Chicago Urban Labs. Prior to this role, she worked on social impact research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is experienced in conducting quantitative and qualitative research, and her research has been covered in Bloomberg, Chicago Booth Review, Chief Investment Officers, and Quartz. Maggie holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and BA degrees in Business Economics and in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.

Michael Harries

Co-Founder (Board President)

 

Paul Riskus

Co-Founder (Board Vice President)

 

Amy Sauer

Strategic Advisor – The OSA Foundation (Board Treasurer)

 

Lisa Wiersma

Executive Director –  IMC Chicago Charitable Foundation

 

LaTonia Arnold

Director of Talent –The Academy Group

 

Dr. Laquita Louie

Principal – Curtis School of Excellence

 

Dr. Greg Jones

Executive Director – The Academy Group

 

Maribel Rojas

Seward Elementary – MTSS Lead, TST Coach

 

Vicky Lee

Senior VP of Development – Focus

 

Josh Hoen

Chief Advancement Officer- One Million Degrees

 

Jack William Struthers (ex-oficio)

MBA Candidate- Northwestern Kellogg School of Business

Kelsey McCarty (Co-Chair)

Math Teacher — Chicago Public Schools

 

Shreya Singh (Co-Chair)

Development Associate—Related

 

George Magnuson 

Software Developer—IMC Financial Markets

 

Amanda Konkol

Assistant Teacher— Bennett Day School

 

Arthur Dennis

Humanities Teacher—CICS Lloyd Bond

 

Susie Choi

Lighthouse Academics NW Indiana—Regional Director of Professional Development

 

Vicky Lee

Associate Vice President, Development—Focus

 

Tori Harrrell

Acute Care Occupational Therapist—Rush University Medical Center