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Interim Kindergarten Teacher: Monica O'Gara received her BA degree from Brown University, and Masters degrees from Bank Street College in New York and Boston University. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings, including classroom teaching, early intervention programs, and child and family agencies. She has served as a clinical instructor and master teacher at a college-affiliated child development laboratory school. She is a founding teacher at City Neighbors Charter School and taught First Grade until 2015. Monica and her husband moved to Maryland from New England in 1995 and have a daughter and son. In her spare time, Monica enjoys gardening and visiting museums.
Kindergarten Teacher: Vicki Yasuoka-Almon has a B.S. in Visual Arts with an emphasis in film/video from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master's of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California. She taught kindergarten in the Los Angeles Unified School District and in a charter school in Brooklyn, New York. While in Brooklyn, she spent two years as kindergarten grade level chair and developed a humanities curriculum which combined reading, writing, and social studies. She is excited to be teaching at City Neighbors, where there is such a promotion of the arts, project based learning, and family involvement.
Kindergarten Assistant: Ivory Johnson is a nurturer by heart. She is family oriented with strong family values. Working with children is a passion she has had since she was a kid, and she loves being silly.
1st Grade Teacher: Tamara Stanley (Ms. T) was a founding staff member at City Neighbors Hamilton where she served as the First Grade and Kindergarten classroom assistant for a total of four years. She’s works with children both in and out of the classroom; encouraging them to express their thoughts and ideas through various forms of art. Each summer she runs an initiative called A. R. I. S. E. Kids for students’ grades K-8 at Exercise Peace Summer Camp. Her program centers on teaching Emotional Intelligence in its many forms, as well as environmental awareness through creative outlets and games. Tamara was recently accepted into the Baltimore City Teacher Residency Program and will pursue a Masters of Arts in Teaching upon successful completion of the program. She is delighted share her work in service as the First Grade Teacher at City Neighbors Charter School.
1st Grade Assistant: Rachel Haley was born and grew up in Baltimore city and this is her fifth year with CNCS. She has a BA from Towson University and is certified to teach elementary education. Ms. Haley is married with two children.
2nd Grade Teacher: Jessie Sherman has a BA in Advertising and Psychology from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from American University. This is her third year teaching in Baltimore City and first full year working at City Neighbors, (she spent January-June of 2015 as the long-term substitute in first grade at City Neighbors Hamilton and the 2015-2016 school year at Roots and Branches Elementary as the 2/3 lead teacher.) She spent two years assistant teaching in Washington, D.C. at Horace Mann Elementary where she was immersed in Reader's/Writer's Workshop and the Responsive Classroom approach. She is so excited to share her passion for a strong social and emotional curriculum, Arts Integration, and the Workshop model with the parents, students, and teachers of City Neighbors.
2nd and 3rd Grade Teaching Fellow: Sharon Jackson
3rd Grade Teacher: Megan Doyle graduated from Bucknell University with a B.S. in Elementary Education, and has taught elementary grades in D.C. and Philadelphia. She completed herMaster's in Education, Culture, and Society at Penn, where my research focused on the role of schools in fostering resilient communities. Ms. Doyle is excited to be here at City Neighbors where students are encouraged to engage with the world outside the classroom in meaningful ways.
K-3rd Grade Learning Specialist: Elizabeth (Biz) Manning is in her 10th year of teaching special education and her 7th here at City Neighbors. She received her Bachelor's in Psychology and Master's in Special Education from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. As part of the Truman State program, Biz completed her student teaching on a Department of Defense base in Hanau, Germany. This amazing opportunity allowed her to witness a diverse array of cultures and encounter a variety of new people & places while teaching and traveling in Europe. This experience fostered an already deep love of traveling and creating new & memorable experiences, something she can share with so many of City Neighbors' students and staff. Biz has taught in a variety of capacities as a special educator, from co-teacher to resource teacher to substitute teacher in a Pre-K after school program. She currently works with grades K-3 at City Neighbors where she is surrounded by a community of teachers and students excited to share and ready to learn from each other. She is thrilled to be a part of the City Neighbors family and is looking forward to another fun and challenging school year!
3rd-5th Grade Learning Specialist: Megan Dash's strong background in Special Education stems from extensive work in the classroom with Pre-Kindergarten and High School students with Special Needs on the inclusion and self-contained levels. Mrs. Dash has also volunteered at a Therapeutic Horse Riding Ranch in Maryland for adults with physical limitations. Other volunteer work includes ministry and teaching in Ontario, Canada and Crihana Veche, Moldova. Mrs. Dash holds a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Behavioral Psychology, from Walden University and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education, from Johns Hopkins University. She is a married mother of one, soon to be two, who hopes to thrive in the City Neighbors Community for years to come.
4th and 5th Grade Math and Science Teacher: Tracy Pendred received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (Humanities/Theater emphasis) from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She also received her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining City Neighbors, she worked at the International School of Trieste, Italy, co-teaching second and third grade. In addition, she was their Drama Teacher for Grades 1-5. In her free time, she enjoys reading and photography.
4th and 5th Grade Reading and Writing Teacher: Kimberley Spears
4th/5th Grade Teaching Fellow: Gabe McKinney
6th-8th Grade Language Arts Teacher: Sajida Davis has earned an undergraduate degree in psychology, and a Master's degree in K-8 Education. She started out teaching 5th grade math and language arts, middle school math, and fourth grade self-contained classes, in addition to high school in a level 5 environment. Ms. Davis had a diverse education that enriched her in vocal training as well as several genres of dance and drama. She has been counseling and educating children for about 15 years. Her dedication stems from her avid belief that, "I may never change the world, but I will definitely spark the mind that does." ~Tupac Shakur
6th-8th Grade Math Teacher: David FitzSimons has a B.A. in History and Anthropology from Purdue University and has been teaching at City Neighbors since he graduated. Although his degree is officially in the humanities, he also has an engineering background and enjoys learning about, playing with, and teaching math and science. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in integrating technology and education at Loyola University. David is a die hard Washington football fan who loves talking sports and video games with his middle school students. (And, don't worry, he does root for the Orioles.)
8th Grade Homeroom and 6th-8th Grade Social Studies Teacher: Peter French is a founding faculty member at CNCS and came to CNCS having taught 4th through 8th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools for 13 years. Mr. French is the 2005 recipient of the MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Award. This national award recognizes public school teachers, in the middle grades and higher, who were nominated by parents, students, and community members for making extraordinary efforts to strengthen their schools and communities. Distractions beyond teaching include reading, biking, tennis, travel, and more biking. While an uneven chess player, he has a steady hand in the kitchen. Peter French lives in Lauraville with his wife, Jevne Diaz, and has two adult daughters,.
6th-8th Grade Science Teacher: Peter Redgrave earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 and then a MEd from the University of Maryland in 2007. He taught English as a Foreign Language before coming to Baltimore. He lived abroad in Taiwan and Germany for nine years. He was a founding faculty member at City Neighbors Hamilton before joining the City Neighbors Charter School community.
Middle School Coordinator: Trinisa Brown was originally a banker, and began at City Neighbors during its founding year as a parent volunteer. She then became a before-and after-care lead teacher and since then a full-time staff member supporting each middle school staffer and child. Miss Trinisa instructs electives, and serves as a student advisor, club leader, committee head and more! Her loving, generous spirit is enjoyed by all she meets and strengthens not only the middle school, but almost every aspect of City Neighbors’ life, from instruction to advocacy.
6th-8th Grade Learning Specialist: Kayisha Edwards journey began at City Neighbors Charter School 7 years ago. After working as an instructional aide for one year, Kayisha officially joined the City Neighbors community as a paraeducator, where she supported teachers and students in the elementary grades. Upon receiving her Bachelors degree from Notre Dame of MD University with a dual certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, Kayisha returned to CNCS as a learning specialist for middle school. Kayisha is currently in graduate school working on her master's degree in Educational Leadership. Even when Kayisha isn't at school teaching or learning, she is busy doing so as a mother to her two sons, Mon and Kendal. For fun, Kayisha enjoys cheering for her favorite teams: the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Baltimore Ravens, and any team her son plays for!
Atelierista (Art Teacher): Rachel Kotkin has a Bachelor of Arts from Seattle Unveristy and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from MICA. As a student at MiCA, she had the opportunity to intern at the GreenMount School, Roland Park, Midtown Academy and the Baltimore Design School. Rachel is passionate about the arts and arts-integration.
Music Teacher: Shakia Paylor has a B.S. in Music and a Master's of Music Education from Towson University, and will begin her third year of teaching at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. She started her career teaching music to Grades 5-8 at Sisters Academy School of Baltimore, a private Catholic institution in Halethrope, MD. Shakia has had the honor to perform with the 105 Voices of History at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and has traveled throughout the United States and internationally on choral tours. Shakia has been privileged to perform in New York, Virginia, Delaware, U.S. Virgin Island, St.Thomas, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Hawaii, and in Frankfurt, Germany. She loves teaching music at CNCS.
Physical Education: Shannon Byrd
Speech Therapist: Christine Evans received her B.A. in Speech Pathology from Loyola College in Maryland and her M.S. in Speech Pathology from Towson University. She has been a speech-language pathologist for almost 16 years, working with students from birth through 18 within a wide range of settings, including early intervention, non-public, and public schools. This is Mrs. Evans third year with Baltimore City Schools and at City Neighbors Charter and she has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the City Neighbors community. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her son and cheering on her favorite sports teams, the Ravens and Orioles.
Paraeducator (Utility Player): Cheryl Ross Shardonnay Wright is a student at Bowie State University studying to obtain her B.S. in elementary education. She began as a paraprofessional and Spanish teacher. She worked for Baltimore International Academy as an assistant director of extended care. She enters her third year at City Neighbors Charter School.
Social Worker: Emily Snellings provides counseling services and emotional and behavioral supports for our students. She graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor's in Social Work and then went on to University of Maryland, Baltimore where she received her Master's in Social Work, with a specialization in families and children. She is licensed in the state of Maryland as a clinical social worker. Prior to coming to CNCS, Emily worked for Villa Maria for six years as a psychotherapist for children and their families. Emily's other experience includes working in the foster care setting, providing outpatient therapy in homes and schools, and also working in a mental hospital as an art therapist. She is specialized in coping with trauma and grief and enjoys finding creative ways to help with different difficulties. Emily is excited to be back at CNCS this year and looks forward to working with the students and their families in an yway she is needed. Emily is also working at City Neighbors Hamilton this year. When she's not at school, Emily enjoys spending time with her daughter, going to the beach, running, and doing artistic activities.
School Psychologist: Suzy McDonough
Reading Specialist: Nadiyah Herrera
Information Technology: Justin Eames serves as the Director of IT for City Neighbors, City Neighbors Hamilton, and City Neighbors High School. Justin has a Masters of Arts in Education from Johns Hopkins University and has served as a Technology Curriculum Writer for Baltimore City Schools, as well as being a Faculty Associate at Johns Hopkins University.
School Nurse: Coleen Ferguson
Cafeteria Manager: Rochelle Rice started at City Neighbors during the 2008-2009 school year. Her work and volunteer experience includes banking, dietary, and retail. Her favorite part of her days here at our school is creating delicious menus for her ”babies”!
Day Porter: Carlton Means
Office Administrator/ Enrollment Coordinator: April Crosby has had her hand in many different secretary/office support jobs, including the Harford County Health Department, where she worked for various departments such as Medical Assistance, Women's Wellness, and Bio-Terrorism. She is not one to be described as quiet and shy. Her outgoing and friendly personality helps her relate well to anyone. April spends her off time entertaining her daughter Lydia, reading, being involved in theater projects, participating in church activities and spending time outdoors. She's infamous for collecting ladybug themed items.
Principal: Kate Seidl has been a progressive educator for more than 25 years and will continue in that tradition as principal. Kate arrived at City Neighbors in 2006, hired by the founding teachers as the Reading Specialist and Librarian. In the decade that followed, she collaborated with all staff to foster excellent teaching and learning of reading and writing and also served on dozens of committees as parent and teacher, helping to co-create the City Neighbors Charter School model as it stands today. Kate has a BA from Brown University and Master's degree from Bank Street College of Education. She is a certified special educator and is enrolled at Johns Hopkins University for coursework in School Administration and Supervision.
Executive Director: Bobbi Macdonald, Executive Director and founder of The City Neighbors Foundation, Inc. City Neighbors Foundation strives to not only provide an outstanding public education to the students who enter our doors each morning, but we also strive to serve as a model for urban public education that is progressive, child-centered, developmentally appropriate, arts integrated, and community engaged. We strive to intentionally disseminate best practices and create forums that allow urban educators to redefine public education.
Driven by a core personal vision of “nothing without joy,” Mrs. Macdonald has been a dynamic leader in the movement for transforming public education in Baltimore. Originally from Chicago, she received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Illinois in Human Development and Family Ecology, and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, in Curriculum and Instruction.
Mrs. Macdonald is a Board Member of Hamilton Federal Bank, the Maryland Charter School Network, and founding member and Chair of the Coalition for Baltimore Charter Schools.