CSET Professional Learning

2020 Hollyhock Leading Fellows

Aaron Hess

Prior to teaching, Aaron Hess spent time as a plumbing apprentice, working for a small plumbing contractor. He recounts his experience: “My boss was angry. Often. One day, after I had screwed up countless tasks, he asked me to do something ‘simple.’ I was to hammer in supports for a piping system in the joist space of a basement. He expected the job to take 5 minutes. A full 20 minutes later, he found me still awkwardly swinging my hammer in the joist space trying to put in my first support. He was about to explode. Then he stopped himself and exclaimed, ‘Didn’t you ever build a birdhouse with your dad?’ It was at this moment that I realized I was not in the right profession. My passion was people, not pipe.” When Aaron finally stumbled into teaching, he was again unsure. His first years teaching in Milwaukee were unquestionably the most difficult of his life. He had some incredible mentors, but also believes that he received extremely damaging coaching. It was through this experience that he developed my passion for instructional coaching. Supportive coaching. Coaching that values students and teachers alike as people. In 2020,  Aaron will be entering his 10th year in the classroom, and 4th year as an instructional coach. Aaron says: “Whether it’s students or teachers, I like to think that I have found my calling in supporting people (since I was terrible at supporting pipe).”

Anna Li Bryant

Anna teaches 11th grade Writing in Chicago. Coming from a family of educators, Anna initially diverged from her family's trade of education and studied Creative Writing at Wheaton College. However, during her senior year, she fell in love with education while teaching English in the Philippines. This realization that she was meant to be an educator led her to join the Chicago Teach for America corps in 2015, where she continues to work at her placement school, Catalyst Maria High School. While at Catalyst, Anna has developed project-based learning experiences for the writing curriculum, including a resume-writing unit and a Shark Tank unit, where students create original business plans and compete in a pitch competition. This year, Anna has expanded her role to include coaching teachers, where she wrote the 11th and 12th-grade writing curriculum, designed a cross-content research paper unit at every grade level, and led professional development around writing-specific areas of growth. In addition to teaching, one of Anna’s greatest passions is bringing in community partners to the school; she currently sits as the Community Partnerships lead of the STEAM Expo and has instigated annual events, such as a Mock Interview Day and the People of Color in Entrepreneurship panel. She is grateful every day for the honor of educating her students and being a part of this profession. 

Argentina Campbell-Cintron

Argentina Campbell-Cintron is entering her 8th year as an English Language Arts teacher. She earned her English Education B.S. at the University at Albany and her M.A. in Adolescent Education from Hunter College. The roots of her career are firmly grounded in the Bronx, New York; it is here, in the Boogie Down, where Argentina has experienced so much joy as she spends each day learning and growing alongside her students. Throughout her career, Argentina has taught a range of classes; currently, she is teaching 9th grade English and AP Language and Composition. Outside of the classroom, Argentina has leveraged her position as Department Leader and her newfound role as a Peer Collaborative Teacher to facilitate and design professional learning around humanizing pedagogies and practices that impact students. In doing so, Argentina has led the efforts in her school to vertically align curriculum and instructional strategies all in the efforts to build cultural competence and empower both students and teachers. Leading and learning in this profession has truly motivated Argentina to work towards re-imagining and redefining education alongside teacher friends from the city and across the nation. When not teaching or facilitating, you can find Argentina traversing the concrete jungle--New York City--with her husband and daughter in all of its delights and surprises!

Brianne Fagan

Brianne Fagan just finished her sixth year as a high school Chemistry teacher in Providence, Rhode Island. She started her journey in education as an AVID tutor in Colorado while attending Colorado School of Mines for Chemical Engineering. After the loss of her father senior year, she knew that she needed a career that filled her soul rather than just her wallet, so she applied for Teach for America. Although she planned to return to Colorado classrooms after her two years in Rhode Island, she fell in love with the people in Providence and has been in her placement school since. In her six years at Mount Pleasant, Brianne has worn many hats. She has been a part of the Instructional Leadership Team, the Hiring Committee, the Pre-Engineering Academy, a co-author of the school’s Empowerment application, a mentor for the school’s FTC and FRC teams, and has pushed herself to work with colleagues to create the first interdisciplinary project for the 9th grade. Her time as a Hollyhock Fellow transformed her practice, and she hopes to help facilitate growth in her own science department in the coming school year. Brianne has a passion for making science learning more accessible and more purposeful for all students and learners, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with new Hollyhock Fellows this summer.

Casey Jackson

Eight years ago, Casey Jackson began her work at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas and realized that she had found a home. Since then, she has taught students from all four grade levels in English Language Arts and Composition. Because Casey believes that empowering teachers leads to empowered students, she is passionate about supporting other educators. From teaching grammar in context to equity in mathematics instruction, she has led professional development sessions across contents. She facilitated the restructuring of Wyandotte’s ELA curriculum, leading her colleagues through the process of aligning learning goals across all grade levels. Three years ago, Casey became the 9th-grade team facilitator for her small learning community and dedicated herself to teaching 9th graders. Casey’s 9th-grade students have taught her a lot about what it means to create a positive classroom environment in which students feel safe taking academic risks. Currently, she is focused on studying and incorporating more culturally and linguistically responsive practices into her instruction and coaching other teachers in doing the same. Throughout this work, the Hollyhock experience has been essential. This year, Casey and her Hollyhock school team received a mini-grant and have used that resource to further share their learning about responsive teaching and academic discussion. When Casey is not teaching, she’s busy being a mom to Marcus (4) and Eliza (1).

Charles Peters

Charles received his BA in Secondary English Education from Kennesaw State University. He has served as a 9th grade Pre-AP English and 11th grade AP Language teacher for the last four years at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate. As an evolving educator, Peters has consistently upheld KAC’s mission statement while pushing back against lessons and practices that marginalize the various types of learners he teaches and minimize the voices of a demographic that has historically been muted in America. This summer he will complete Kennesaw State’s Master of Education program. As an advocate for dialogic pedagogy, Charles embraces student-led discussions and facilitates conversations with fellow educators through workshops and professional development sessions. Most recently, as the keynote speaker at Kennesaw State’s NCTE Affiliate Conference, he used the life and lyrics of activist and rapper Nipsey Hussle to argue the need for educators to leverage the unique genius of every student in their classrooms. He presented this same presentation at the BASE Conference in New York and during Hollyhock’s Beyond LKS series. He is currently researching and facilitating conversations with students and colleagues regarding the overrepresentation of black girls along the discipline spectrum in schools across America. 

Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. He received his Bachelorss at UW-Milwaukee, majoring in creative writing with a focus on poetry. After the requisite stint as a cater waiter, he worked for a year at a private school, teaching ELA to all four high school grades. He caught the teaching bug and figured he should probably get some formal training. That and his boyfriend-at-the-time moving to the Big Apple led him to the New York City Teaching Fellows. He moved to Brooklyn in 2012, enrolled in Brooklyn College for his master’s in Special Education, and got hired at Sunset Park High School. Colin believes in equitable classroom practices, authentic culturally responsive and sustaining education, and that building rapport with students and making them feel safe comes before content.At SPHS, Colin teaches Earth Science and Geometry in Integrated Co-Teaching settings. Colin also works with the United Federation of Teachers as a Union Delegate, helps direct the entirely improvised spring show with his school’s community-based organization, and is the sophomore grade team leader for his community. His most prestigious accomplishment to date is being voted both best dressed and funniest teacher by the 12th-grade class AFTER he turned 30.

Johan Grimsrud

Johan Grimsrud is a math teacher at the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE) in his 6th year as a New York City educator. As a 2018 Hollyhock Fellow and a 2014 New York City Teaching Fellow he has envisioned a public school, secondary math experience that centers equity. Johan’s creative arts background influences his unique approach to quantitative reasoning and learning. He works to hold student-centered space for learners to explore their innate math abilities. His leadership in teacher inquiry and the 9th grade team supports the creative, dedicated efforts of the BASE community of educators. Johan’s work with young people spans 18 years and includes 11th grade internship program implementation in N.Y.C., classroom teaching art and math at the American School of Kinshasa in D.R. Congo, music instruction in Honduras, workshopping with Pongo Poetry Program in Seattle’s King County Juvenile Detention School, and social work with youth experiencing homelessness and foster care in Virginia and Washington State. Johan is dedicated to integrating math learning with systemic shifts toward transformative justice practices, racial and social justice, and holistic assessment and data use. His own range of experiences as a musician, artist, partner, father of two, and student inform his drive to develop learning spaces that foster curiosity and invite students to be their full selves.

Jordan Loey

Jordan Loey is currently completing his fifth year of teaching Modern World and US History in San Francisco. He is a multi-generational Chinese American and San Franciscan. Having been born, raised, and educated in San Francisco he has no intentions of leaving the city. He completed his undergraduate work at San Francisco State earning BA’s in both History and Asian American Studies. He continued his education at San Francisco State earning his MA in Asian American Studies, while concurrently completing his MAT at the University of San Francisco. He is currently a candidate for National Board Certification. His pedagogy focuses on cultivating student self-determination, agency, and community activism. He has predominantly worked with English Language Learners and emphasizes using history as a means to elevate student literacy, conceptual understanding, critical thinking, and academic language. By building strong relationships through culturally sustaining pedagogy, he loves incorporating the use of memes, pop culture, and gifs into his lessons. He has participated in a number of leadership roles at his site most recently as Union Building Representative. In his free time when he’s not thinking about teaching, he enjoys yoga, rock climbing, tending to his plants, and cooking.

Rachel Baker

Rachel Baker is going into her 7th year of teaching mathematics at Humboldt High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She earned her B.A. in Mathematics and Masters in Math Education from the University of Minnesota. She has spent most of her time teaching Algebra 2 and helps lead the Algebra 2 curriculum team for her school district. At Humboldt, she serves as the co-leader of her math department, has spent time as a union steward, has led the 11th grade level team, and has been awarded over $20,000 in grants for various projects. The most notable project was a public Math Carnival that brought drew almost 1,000 students, families, and community members. Through Hollyhock, Rachel drastically improved the way she does assessments in her classroom. Instead of students taking traditional math tests, they write papers where they are required to explain how they did the math. She has shared the process of written math assessments with other teachers in the building, district, the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. As a Hollyhock Leading Fellow, Rachel hopes to strengthen her ability to productively lead teachers and collaborate with new Hollyhock Fellows!  When Rachel isn’t thinking about how to get students to learn math, she likes to go to concerts, camp, play guitar, cook for family, and walk around one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

Samantha Spelker

Sam Spelker is a high school science teacher entering her fifth year teaching in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Biology. In college Sam facilitated tutoring programs in local schools, during which time she recognized addressing inequities in education as her passion.  After graduation, she joined Teach For America’s Milwaukee Corps. During her two years as a corps member she attended Marquette University and received her M.A. in Educational Policy and Leadership. Sam is a founding teacher at Carmen Southeast High School, and is excited to see the first graduating class walk the stage in June 2020. Over the last 3 years Sam acted as adviser to 18 advisees and serves as advisory lead for the 12th grade, offering support and professional development to other advisers. She also helped found a peer mentorship program at her school called Hermanos Mayores, where upperclassmen act as mentors to freshmen during their formative first year at Carmen. Additionally, Sam is a faculty adviser on the Community Trust Committee, a committee made up of teachers and students collaborating to practice restorative justice in order to maintain the community trust. Sam found both an excellent development opportunity and a wonderful community of teachers through Hollyhock, and she looks forward to continuing her development as a Leading Fellow.

Zach White-Stellato

After graduating from The University of Rochester, Zach White-Stellato moved to NYC and hasn’t looked back since. The upcoming school year will be his 9th year co-teaching Biology/Special Education in the South Bronx. Zach is very proud to have been a founding teacher at his school, so he has gotten the chance to see the school grow for almost a decade! Since then, he’s been a part of multiple fellowships such as Sci-Ed Innovators and Math for America that have informed his thinking about what equitable and ambitious science teaching looks like. In particular, he loves thinking about the nitty gritty of planning lessons, what equity looks like in terms of student discourse, and the structures that can make that happen. Zach sees his role from different angles given his background in both special education and science. He believes ambitious teaching can (and has to!) include all learners- those who have been historically marginalized and those who need additional support to be successful. This past year Zach started a new role as the Special Education Department Head, splitting time between the classroom and supervising his department. Outside of esoteric conversations about pedagogy, Zach is passionate about scuba diving and the ocean, and has brought student groups to Belize to study sharks and rays, the Bahamas to study green sea turtles, and Arizona to research the impact of climate change on owls.