2016-2017 Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship Cohort


Congratulations to the following individuals who accepted into the 2016-2017 Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship!

Mary L. Davis
Tyler Archer
Lindsay Schuessler
Samantha Lurie
Aaron Massey
Robyn McPherson
Ashley McMichael
Amanda Henry
Michael Zitzer
David Bosch
Matthew Cashman
Erin Ellinger

When the group was asked “Why do you want to participate in the Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship?,” here were some of their responses!

“I want to continue to grow as a leader in education. I intend to be actively involved in education my entire life. I see this fellowship as my next step.”

“The hardest jobs in the world are the jobs that help provide a quality education to our  students. Therefore leading people in these positions is a bear/mountain of a challenge. If I become a school leader, I want to be as prepared as possible. I value the professional development TFA can offer because I know it will be quality. I know this is a tremendous learning opportunity that will directly impact my role as a school leader.”

“I would like to participate in the Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship because I am deeply committed to providing educational opportunities for young people in St. Louis, and I am ready to take the next step into school leadership. I believe that this program would be beneficial to me in terms of my own professional development and that it would ultimately benefit many others if I am fortunate enough to lead a school one day.”

SLPS Foundation ACT Prep Initiative & TFA

The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation has partnered with the district’s Office of College and Career Readiness to create a district-wide approach that will provide all SLPS high school students with access to quality, curriculum-based ACT prep. Our goal is to increase the district-wide ACT average by 3 points by 2019. The current SLPS average is 16.6. Student benefits = better prepared for post-secondary pursuits and increased eligibility for financial aid.

The goal is to increase the district-wide ACT average by 3 points by 2019. The current SLPS average is 16.6. Student benefits = better prepared for post-secondary pursuits and increased eligibility for financial aid.

This summer, 50+ teachers will participate in new and improved professional development and year-long coaching from ACT experts will be available to all schools.

We are really excited about the following educators from TFA participating in this new initiative!


Blair Troudt

Kevin Pan

Victor Thomas

Mayra Garcia

Steven Grosso

Nate Lischwe

Abby Dornbusch

Matthew Pace

Michael Baird


Confidence in the Road Ahead: What’s Ahead for TFA|STL


It has been a phenomenal four years back here at home in the huSTLe city, my hometown, with each of you.  As we enter our 15th school year (yes-15!), I am filled with critical hope and revolutionary love for our students, our community, and each of you.  The last 15 years have been mighty in the ways we’ve been able to establish and expand our impact on educational equity in St. Louis through each of your leadership.  One of our founding supporters and generous board member, Maxine Clark, hosted an event to connect the dots in STL education two weeks ago.  As you’ll see from the image she shared then, our initial corps of 50 has grown to a network of nearly 600 corps members & alumni, and countless supporters and partners who are shifting the reality for our students.  Look how we’ve grown!

In the last four years alone, we have seen an increase in student achievement, corps member, and staff diversity, and support from the state of Missouri; we’ve launched a local institute that has increased summer student gains and deepened institutional partnerships with SLPS and UMSL, invested deeply in culturally responsive pedagogy while maintaining strong levels of academic rigor and student growth, and see Alumni School Leadership increase by 443%!

These wins and milestones are thanks to each of you, and our phenomenal team members, both past, and present.  But the work is just beginning.

Our greatest opportunities lie before us.  Reaching this point of a critical mass of talent, clarity on the necessity of equity, excellence, and community voice to lead our vision, commitment to culturally responsive leadership and academic rigor, and diversity of background and perspective among our community set us up at the precipice of more breakthrough for our students.  It will continue to require the leadership of each of us, in our sphere of influence and locus of change.

I have the utmost confidence in our region’s ability to move far and fast toward our One Day, and am thankful for all you have each done to bring us closer with every step.

It is both because of my confidence in our path forward and the deepening of my own convictions given my time here, learning from our students, Ferguson, and you, that I share the news that in September, I’ll be departing the Executive Director role to serve as Teach For America’s Vice President of National Community Alliances.

The opportunity to bring much of what we’ve been doing in St. Louis and merge it with the work national teams have already done to build strong partnerships across the nation is an exciting one.  There has been incredibly strong groundwork laid by our national partners, and it will be my role to move forward and deepen existing relationships, bring more community voice into TFA nationally, and embrace a marriage of democracy and innovation where we are strong allies to community, and agents to help them achieve the visions they set.

Our team will be responsible for setting our national civil rights agenda, and include 5 existing initiatives: support for our DACAmented Corps Members (learn more here), and our Black, Latinx, Asian American + Pacific Islander, and Native Alliance Initiatives (more here).  We will be focused dually on building respectful, equitable alliances in communities and ensuring that voice influences TFA. To that end, I’ll also continue to be involved with my beloved St. Louis to help refine and share our work on culturally responsive leadership around the broader organization.

It was a challenging choice to leave, as I have so much love for our city and our entire network.  Though I’m leaving, I’m not going far.  And I am more confident than ever about what lies ahead-we must continue to choose this work and what’s right for kids, everyday, to see One Day become a reality.

The search for our next Executive Director will be launched in a few weeks, and I won’t transition until the fall to ensure the handoff is responsible, seamless, and best for our community.  Should you have ideas about our next ED that you’d like to share, please feel free to email me or Shaterra.Lee@teachforamerica.org so we can capture your thoughts.

Thank you for an amazing four years.  Thank you for your support, your pushes, your commitment, and your leadership.  We huSTLe hard here for kids, and we’ll win because of each of you.

STL forever,



Holly Hick, 2010 Alum along with others are working with Gateway2Change, an organization empowering students to be the planters of positivity #PlantPositivity in their communities.

In early May at Holly’s school Seckman High School they hosted a Gateway2Change summit about racism and what it means for all of us to have “labels”

Below are resources if you would like to learn more about this work and how to connect.

Empowering Stories of Student Leaders 

More information about Gateway2Change 

I am NOT black, You are NOT white video

PowerPoint Presentation (Used for whole school assembly or in the classroom)

If you would like to connect with Holly about the work she is doing reach out to her at hickh@foxc6.org or on Twitter @mrs_hick 

Visit the Summer Experience! #SE3

Ever wondered how your institute experience compares to The Summer Experience in St. Louis?  Come and check it out!

We’re offering the opportunity for alumni to come and tour SE3 school sites, see our new CMs in action and learn how summer training looks in St. Louis.

We’ll be offering a tour of the elementary school site on Tuesday, June 14th and the middle school site on Wednesday, June 22nd.  Coffee and bagels will be provided at each site.  Please sign up here to attend, and we look forward to seeing you there!  Reach out to Mallory Rusch with questions.

STL Alumni featured in One Day Magazine

It Takes a Village to Build a Robot

 In St. Louis, a growing maker network gives students the tools to invent the future. Check out this inspiring piece about more fabulous work of our alumni community in St. Louis!!

Way to go! Andrew Goodin, Allie Cicotte, Rachel Renee, Nate Marschalk, Elizabeth Valerio, and Maxine Clark for building this network and putting STL at the forefront of this exciting work.

For Full Story: https://www.teachforamerica.org/one-day-magazine/it-takes-village-build-robot