Meet Our Team

Kauffman School teachers come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience to our students. Deeply rooted in a desire to work alongside students and their families, our teachers have an unwavering belief in what is possible for each and every student.
 
Knowing that we serve a student body where a majority of students identify as students of color, we are committed as an organization to continually working on increasing the racial diversity of our instructional team. Last year, 50% of our new teacher hires identified as teachers of color - we are proud of this collective goal as a school knowing that nationally, about 15-17% of teachers identify as teachers of color. Increasing teacher diversity will continue to be a goal of our organization.
 
Learn more about our teachers’ professional backgrounds and beliefs below!
Arlette Acosta, 9th Grade Spanish Teacher
Arlette Acosta believes education is the key to greater opportunities and greater societal change. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Acosta taught English in Madrid, Spain, Spanish II and III at the Noble Network Charter Schools in Chicago, and French I at St. Louis Public Schools. She is an alumna of Teach for America - St. Louis and received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Ms. Acosta was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its rigorous academics that provide a strong pathway to and through college.
 
Emma Allen, Learning Support Specialist
Emma Allen believes that quality education is the most fundamental part of a just and equitable society. She is dedicated to pushing students to their full potential so that they have all the tools necessary to excel in college and become agents of change. Before teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Allen taught third grade at Guadalupe Centers Elementary School (formerly Academia de Ninos) and then moved on to teach Algebra I and Geometry to 9th and 10th graders at Alta Vista High School. She is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology and Religion from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Ms. Allen joined the Kauffman School team because of the prevailing school culture of achievement. She is thrilled to work with diverse learners and celebrate students' achievements over this school year.
 

Bess Bailey, 12th Grade AP Research Teacher
Bess Bailey believes that all children in Kansas City deserve an opportunity for excellent education and if given that opportunity can succeed academically. She also believes the key to excellent education is excellent, dedicated, and caring teachers. Mrs. Bailey studied at Mississippi University for Women, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Sciences. She continued her education at University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she earned her Master of Education in Secondary Education. Prior to joining the staff at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Bailey taught third and fourth grade at Gladstone Elementary School in the Kansas City Public Schools district. Mrs. Bailey is excited to be a part of a staff that is greatly impacting the growing movement to provide quality education to all children in Kansas City. 

Sebastian Barraza-Shackelford, 6th Grade Science Teacher
Sebastian Barraza-Shackelford is convinced that every student can excel, if given the appropriate tools and support, and that potential is enough reason to deserve a quality education. Students are the authors of their stories, but teachers can be pretty good proof readers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Barraza-Shackelford earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from the University of Texas at Arlington and then a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Barraza-Shackelford became passionate about youth development after time spent coaching youth soccer and basketball in Texas, and made the decision to join Teach For America after a year spent working with urban youth in Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Barraza-Shackelford was attracted to the Kauffman School because of the unapologetic culture of high expectations and student achievement.

Matt Beltrami, 9th Grade Pre-AP World History Teacher

Matt Beltrami believes that every child in America deserves the opportunity to pursue and achieve their dreams, and that can only happen when every child receives an excellent education. He is driven by his sense of patriotism and his belief that true citizenship requires active participation in making society more fair and just. By teaching, he hopes to uphold his own responsibility as a citizen and inspire and empower his students to consider their responsibilities as citizens. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Mr. Beltrami worked in the political sector for nearly ten years, and has lived in Illinois, Iowa, Washington DC, New Hampshire, and New York. Mr. Beltrami received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Sociology from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is an alumni with Teach For America - Kansas City.

Chloie Benton, 6th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Chloie Benton believes every student has the ability to change the world. She is committed to equipping students with the tools they need to achieve their dreams through equitable and excellent education. Ms. Benton made her way to Kansas City as a 2020 Teach For America – Kansas City corps member. Born and raised in the Midwest, Ms. Benton received her Bachelor of Arts in Adolescent Young Adult Language Arts from Cedarville University, and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at Emporia State University. Ms. Benton was drawn to the Kauffman School because of their pursuit of justice in the educational system and their fervent advocacy for students. 
 
Robyn Blakemore, 7th Grade Math Teacher
Robyn Blakemore believes every student deserves an excellent education. She is committed to holding her students to high expectations so they will be ready to excel in college and their future careers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Blakemore taught seventh- and eighth-grade math in the Kansas City Public Schools district at Central Academy of Excellence (formally Central High School). Mrs. Blakemore is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Family Studies from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She went on to receive her Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mrs. Blakemore was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its unique and positive school culture. She is excited to celebrate students’ successes this coming school year.
 
Gerry Bolden, Teaching Fellow
Gerry Bolden believes in facilitating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to gain new and valuable information, and in doing so, have fun with the content they're learning. He has a gregarious spirit, and enjoys getting to know the students on an academic and personal level in an effort to better their chances of success. Prior to teaching at Kauffman School, Mr. Bolden recently graduated from Kansas State University, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English. Mr. Bolden was drawn to Kauffman School because of its unique and positive school culture. He is beyond excited to mold the young minds of the future, and even learn a few things along the way.
 
Halley Brooks, 5th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Halley Brooks believes that every student should feel empowered to love themselves and speak their minds. She is committed to helping students achieve success both inside and outside of school. Ms. Brooks received her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia with a minor in Psychology and a certificate in Multicultural Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
 

Katie Chaffin, 5th Grade Math Teacher

Katie Chaffin believes that every student deserves an excellent education taught by passionate educators. She knows that each student can achieve great things when they are held to high expectations and given the support needed. Ms. Chaffin is a Teacher Resident as part of the Kansas City Teacher Residency program and is working to earn her Master of Education in Urban Education. She most recently graduated Drury University with a Bachelors of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations. Ms. Chaffin was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its commitment to and sweat the small stuff. This year, she is excited to foster relationships with students and celebrate their growth!

 

Siobhan Conners, 6th Grade Math Teacher
Siobhan Conners believes every student has the potential to succeed, and she's committed to building strong relationships with her students and their families. She received her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of Missouri- Columbia, where she emphasized in magazine editing and minored in Peace Studies and Constitutional Democracy. She was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its emphasis on student success. She's excited to get to know her students and dive into content!

Sarah Cooper, 5th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Sarah Cooper joined the Kauffman School because she is inspired by the mission to create college graduates. She believes schools should support students in setting and reaching ambitious goals. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Cooper taught kindergarten in Houston, Texas and worked as a reading interventionist at Academia de Ninos in Kansas City. She also taught English in Chile and speaks Spanish. Ms. Cooper graduated from Northwestern University (go 'Cats!) with a degree in Social Policy. She is excited to foster her students' love for reading and celebrate their growth!

 

Michaela Creer, 5th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher
Michaela Creer is passionate about working with students who see education as a pathway to their future goals and dreams. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Liberty University and is currently completing her Master of Arts in Education. Ms. Creer was excited to teach at the Kauffman School because of the unity of the staff and students around the same goals.

 

Micah Daniels, 8th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher
Micah Daniels believes that students are the future! He believes that no matter the obstacle every student is able to succeed and grow. He's looking forward to assisting students in increasing their knowledge while reaching their fullest potential in the classroom and in life. Mr. Daniels recently graduated from Evangel University receiving a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies while also playing football for the university. Mr. Daniels pursued Kauffman School because of its vision to close the educational gap and significantly impact the lives of its students. He feels blessed and honored to be on this team serving students!
 
Ariel D'Errico, 5th Grade Math Teacher
Ariel D'Errico believes that all students deserve an excellent education and is committed to the work and dedication that it takes to provide this to all students. Prior to teaching at Kauffman School, Mrs. D'Errico taught fifth grade math and science at Primitivo Garcia Elementary in the Kansas City Public Schools district. She received her Bachelor of Sciences in Elementary Education from Missouri State University and completed her Elementary Math Specialist Certification and Master of Arts in Elementary Mathematics at University of Central Missouri. Mrs. D'Errico made the transition to the Kauffman School because she knew Kauffman School holds high expectations for all students and matched her passion for academic success in Kansas City.

 

Emma DesMarteau, 10th Grade Pre-AP Language and Composition Teacher

Emma DesMarteau believes in equal education for all people. She is committed to doing whatever it takes to create college graduates. She is dedicated to hold her students to high standards to ensure they are able to reach their goals. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. DesMarteau taught emotional intelligence at the University of Kansas Marillac Campus. Ms. DesMarteau earned her bachelor’s degree from Washburn University where she studied Sociology. Ms. DesMarteau was drawn to the Kauffman School because of their vision and culture. She is so excited to have fun learning alongside her students this year!

 

Emma Doksansky, 9th Grade Algebra I Teacher

Emma Doksansky is committed to helping every student achieve academic excellence. She believes a quality education cultivates the self-efficacy students need as they pursue their dreams. Ms. Doksansky is a member of Teach for America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology, and she is pursuing her Master of Education at University of Missouri - St. Louis. Ms. Doksansky was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the relentless support staff members provide for its teachers, students, and families and because of the confidence staff members instill in Kauffman School students.

 

Cassidy Elwell, 5th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Every student deserves a great education and Cassidy Elwell wants to be able to help and support that goal and ensure students are ready for their next step in life. Ms. Elwell graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Educational Studies. She was accepted into the Kansas City Teacher Residency program and believes this program will prepare her for holding students to high expectations and effectively teaching her students. She is enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City attaining her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is so excited to be placed at the Kauffman School for her residency and learn from the programs and teaching styles the school has in place to support students!

 

Tim Ellis, 10th Grade Pre-AP Chemistry Teacher

Tim Ellis is a firm believer that all students deserve access to an excellent education regardless of their zip code. He is passionate about making lasting and meaningful connections with his students and strives to help them become the best versions of themselves every day. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Ellis taught middle school science at Hogan Preparatory Academy, and was the math and science teacher at St. Regis Academy. As well as teaching at St. Regis Academy, Mr. Ellis also served as the STEM & Project Lead the Way coordinator. Mr. Ellis started his teaching career with Teach for America - Kansas City and is a proud alumnus. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He went on to receive his Master of Education in Secondary Science Education from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Mr. Ellis was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its mission to help students meet their full potential and make college a possibility for all.

 


Ellen Frierson, 11th Grade AP Language and Composition Teacher and Department Chair
Ellen Frierson is committed to helping students achieve their full potential so they can pursue their academic, vocational, and personal dreams. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Frierson served for two years in the Teach For America - Mississippi corps, during which she taught ninth- and tenth-grade English at Simmons High School in Hollandale, Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Frierson was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its strong school culture, emphasis on teacher development, and commitment to the Kansas City community. 
 

Debra Fox, Learning Support Specialist

Mrs. Fox believes that every child has the opportunity to change his or her narrative through perseverance and resilience. She is passionate about her students being successful, productive citizens in their community. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Fox worked in settings for children with significant emotional behavioral needs, and students with autism. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. She has completed her Master of Education in Special Education at University of Missouri-Kansas City and also holds certification in Early Childhood Education.

 

Megan Gertzen, 9th Grade Honors Biology Teacher

Megan Gertzen believes that ensuring every student has access to a quality of education is the first step to building a more equitable world. Ms. Gertzen is a member of Teach for America - Kansas City and is working toward her Master of Education from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Bioethics from The Ohio State University, where she taught Organic Chemistry labs and conducted biomedical research. Ms. Gertzen was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the school’s unwavering belief in the ability of all students. She is eager to work in partnership with families to support every student in pursuing the future they envision for themselves.

Angie Gipson, 12th Grade AP Biology Teacher
Angie Gipson believes all students should have access to an exceptional education. She is committed to ensuring all students are ready to succeed in college and their future careers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Gipson worked as a health care consultant at Cerner Corporation. Prior to Cerner, she taught high school biology and anatomy and physiology in the Houston Independent School District. Mrs. Gipson is an alumna of Teach for America - Houston and received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Mrs. Gipson was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its positive culture and unwavering faith in students and their ability to achieve at high academic levels. She is excited to see her students' growth and success this school year.
 
Ben Gipson, 6th Grade Math Teacher
Originally from Little Rock, AR, Ben Gipson has been in the Kansas City area for the last two years and is excited to dive into the year with students - teaching is what makes him feel alive and pouring into the next generation is how he loves to live my life. Mr. Gipson graduated from the Central Baptist College with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies. When he’s not watching soccer or reading a book, Mr. Gipson loves to explore new places in the city and the world.

Abby Green, 10th Grade Pre-AP Language and Composition Teacher
Abby Green believes that quality education is the key to success. She is committed to having high expectations for students through rigorous content and social behavior so that they will be given the tools they need to succeed in college and beyond. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Green taught sixth- and seventh-grade social studies at Junction City Middle School in Junction City, Kansas. Ms. Green received her Bachelor of Education from Kansas State University in both History and Government and Language Arts. Ms. Green chose to come to the Kauffman School because she is a native of the Kansas City area and is committed to educational growth in the community. She is excited to work alongside such inspiring students and staff.
 

Emiliano Gross, 10th Grade Spanish Teacher

Emiliano Gross truly believes that every child and every person has a talent that makes him/her unique and exceptional. Mr. Gross’ goal is to help students find their talents and guide them through the path they choose to fulfill their goals in life. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Gross taught Spanish I in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools district at F.L. Schlagle High School. He also was the head coach for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. He received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Central Christian College of Kansas in McPherson, KS. The education program at CCCK also allowed him to obtain the Spanish and ESOL endorsements right after graduation. Mr. Gross is eager to help develop a strong and rigorous Spanish program to prepare students for their future college challenges.

 

Michelle Hay, Learning Support Specialist

Michelle Hay believes in educational equity and that every student deserves an excellent education. She is committed to holding her students to high expectations so they will be ready to excel in college and their future careers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Hay was a student teacher at Carrollton Middle School located in Carrollton, GA. Ms. Hay is a current corps member of Teach for America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education with a Special Education concentration at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia. Ms. Hay was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its unique and positive school culture, strong adult culture, and strive for successful college graduates. She is excited to celebrate students’ successes this coming school year.

Robert Henderson III, 8th Grade Fitness Teacher

Robert Lee Henderson III believes every student deserves a champion and role model. He is committed to making sure all students are college ready. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Henderson work as a firefighter engineer in multiple cities in Colorado. Mr. Henderson is an alumna of City Year-South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and American Studies with a minor in Asian Studies from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Mr. Henderson is looking forward to working at Kauffman School because he believe they have created a living dynasty of family culture and putting students first.

 

Carley Henke, 11th Grade AP Chemistry Teacher

Carley Henke believe that every student deserves an excellent education and to find that excitement for learning.  She is committed to holding her students to high expectations to make sure they are ready to be successful in college.  Ms. Henke is an alumna of Michigan State University and is currently a corps member with Teacher for America - Kansas City.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Statistics and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.  She is continuing her education at University of Missouri-St. Louis where she is working on a Master of Education in Secondary Education.  Ms. Henke is excited to bring joy to chemistry and inspire some future scientists.

 

Isha Isme, 7th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Isha Isme believes that every student deserves a safe learning environment to learn and excel, with a teacher who will challenge them to be their very best. Before joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Isme was a substitute teacher in the Kansas City Public Schools district. She spent one year, on a long-term assignment, teaching French 1 at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy and the following year working in various other schools. Ms. Isme received a Bachelor of Arts in French with an emphasis in Education. She is currently part of the Kansas City Teacher Residency, where she completed a Master of Education in Urban Education. She was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the structure in the classrooms, student engagement, and the teacher culture at the school. This year, she is very excited to work with students, and watch them meet all their goals.

 

 

Teresa Johnson, Learning Support Specialist
Teresa Johnson believes that every child deserves an excellent education, and that absolutely no challenge should limit his or her opportunity to receive that. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Johnson taught for three years in the Kansas City Public Schools as a special education teacher at Faxon Elementary School. She worked as a Learning Support Specialist on the Kauffman School team for two years before transitioning as the Director of Special Education. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA and is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. Mrs. Johnson loves her neighborhood and her city and longs to see lasting transformation across all of Kansas City.
 
Maria Kennedy, 11th Grade AP US History Teacher and Department Chair
Ms. Kennedy views teaching as an act of justice. Grounded in her belief that all students deserve an excellent education, regardless of identity or income, she is both excited and humbled to walk with Kauffman School students as they pursue the life they want for themselves. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Kennedy taught second and third grades at Academia de Ninos. An alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City and Leading Educators, Ms. Kennedy earned a Bachelor's in History from Centre College and a Master's in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She loves reading and drinking tea.
 
 

London Koehn, 6th Grade Math Teacher

London Koehn is committed to helping every student achieve academic excellence. She is driven to support her students go wherever they want to go. Ms. Koehn received her Bachelor of Arts in Law, Politics, and Society from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Ms. Koehn is excited to grow with the students and celebrate wins each and every day.

 

Linda Kovac, 5th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Linda Kovac believes every student is capable of great things and deserves every opportunity, especially education. She is committed to holding her students to high expectations so they will be ready to leave Kauffman and be a citizen of the world. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Kovac taught preschool in Chicago, Illinois and at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Kovac is an alumna of AmeriCorps in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Saint Louis University. She went on to receive her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

 

Kalilah Lasenby, 10th Grade Honors Geometry Teacher
Kalilah Lasenby believes that quality education should not be based on whether or not you can afford it. No child should have to pay to have a quality teacher who truly cares about them and their success. Instead, it should be an expectation that all students receive excellent educators. Ms. Lasenby came to Kauffman School after graduating from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida where she completed both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Education in Exceptional Student Education. What brought her to the Kauffman School was the passion to break generational stereotypes that are projected on students; she saw a staff that expected success and great things of all students.

 
Marcus Liddell, 11th Grade Pre-AP Calculus Teacher
Mr. Liddell received his Bachelor of Art in German from the University of Notre Dame, and his Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After graduating, he taught English in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, then returned to the United States to teach sixth through eighth-grade math at Genesis Promise Academy in Kansas City, MO. He is a Teach For America alumnus. Mr. Liddell was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its rigorous academic mission. He's looking forward to getting to know a new group of students this year.
 
Amber Merola, 6th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Amber Merola stands behind the belief that all students can learn given the appropriate guidance, support, and love. Before starting her journey at the Kauffman School, Ms. Merola taught Read 180 and System 44 reading intervention programs to fourth- through eighth-grade students at a Kansas City, Missouri charter school. In addition, she also played a different role as a lead teacher and taught her own fifth-grade classroom before joining the Kauffman team. Ms. Merola received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Communication at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Seton Hill University. One of the main reasons Ms. Merola joined the Kauffman School is because the school represents her vision for the future of our youth.

 

 

Edward Morse, 7th Grade Fitness Teacher

Edward Morse – Coach Mo – believes that students deserve to have a school environment that sets them up to be able to focus on learning. A graduate of the University of Central Missouri, Coach Mo began his teaching career in Higginsville, MO. He made his way to Kansas City area and taught at both Ruskin High School and DeLaSalle Charter High School before joining the Kauffman School team. He felt like he could fit with Kauffman School team because of his belief that strong school structures allow students to feel predictability in their school day.

 

Trevor Obermueller, Learning Support Specialist

Trevor Obermueller is committed to educational equity. He previously taught in a fourth grade classroom and began his journey in education with the Teach For America - Kansas City program. During his time in Teach For America, he attended University of Missouri - St. Louis where he earned his Master of Education. Previous to teaching he attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where he studied Psychology and minored in sociology and women's studies. In this university, he was active in on-campus social movements, such as Black Lives Matter and Husker Dialogues. He was drawn to the Kauffman School because of their commitment to educational equity, college access, and sustaining a positive environment.

 

Allissa Patton, 8th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher
Allissa Patton believes that all students have the ability to succeed and that they deserve an education that will help them foster their success. She is committed to working with students to develop their own critical voice that can carry them beyond the Kauffman School. Ms. Patton currently is training with Teach for America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with a concentration in Social and Cognitive Psychology) from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. Ms. Patton was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the drive that both the teachers and students possess. She is excited to work with her new students this year!

Martina Pezzino, 6th Grade Music Teacher

Martina Pezzino believes music is a powerful tool for self-expression and communication that all students deserve access to. She is committed to using music to help students develop meaningful skills of self-confidence and self-expression. Prior to teaching at Kauffman School, Ms. Pezzino taught elementary music in Galesburg, IL. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Knox College in Galesburg. She has a particular love for choir and vocal music, but is excited to bring music of all kinds to the students at Kauffman School.

 

Megan Porche, 7th Grade Math Teaching Fellow
Megan Porche believes that every student is capable of reaching their goals and aspirations, in and out of the classroom. She is committed to creating a classroom where students can become confident in their math skills and be successful in their future math courses. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Porche was a student at Baker University and was a part of the softball team. She received her Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Math Education. Ms. Porche was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the high expectations the schools sets for their students, the commitment it has to ensuring college access for all students, and the unique school culture and supports for both students and staff. She is excited to complete her first year at both Kauffman School and teaching in general!

 

Elisabeth Randall, 8th Grade Science Teacher
Lis Randall is so excited to partner with parents and students this year at the Kauffman School. Ms. Randall is committed to helping her students get to and through college, and believes every child deserves an excellent education. Before teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Randall taught seventh- and eighth-grade science in the Kansas City Public Schools district at African Centered College Preparatory. Ms. Randall is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Centre College in Danville, KY and she received her Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Randall was drawn to the Kauffman School because she believes that its high expectations can help its students achieve extraordinary success.
 
Emily Randall, 6th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Emily Randall believes every child in Kansas City deserves the very best education. She has an unwavering faith in her students' abilities to grow as readers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Randall was a fundraiser and event coordinator for DeLaSalle Education Center and Newhouse Domestic Violence Shelter. Prior to her work in fundraising, Ms. Randall worked as a news reporter at the Atchison Globe and the Northeast News. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. Ms. Randall chose to teach at the Kauffman School because she is energized by its mission to create college graduates.
 

 

 
Macey Rose, 7th Grade Math Teacher
Macey Rose believes all students can achieve at high levels if you give them love and support. Mrs. Rose graduated from the University of Arkansas with her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and spent two years teaching in Tulsa Public Schools through the Teach For America program. Mrs. Rose joined the Kauffman School team because she believes the Kauffman School is a school in Kansas City that is truly fulfilling its promise to students and families of “creating college graduates”. She is excited to see the growth her students can make in just one year at Kauffman School and cannot wait to see her students’ results at the end of this year!

Taylor Sidles, Specials Teacher
Taylor Sidles is committed to creating a world where every child has access to an outstanding education, beginning with students at the Kauffman School. Ms. Sidles received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with focuses in History, English, Women and Gender Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She is a 2014 Teach For America - Kansas City corps member. Ms. Sidles is so excited to be a part of the Kauffman School team because of team members' dedication to helping students become confident and independent PREPsters on their journey to and through college.
 
Margo Sinclair, 5th Grade Science Teacher
Margo Sinclair believes every student in Kansas City deserves access to quality education. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Sinclair spent two years in San Jose, CA serving with City Year San Jose. There she led an after school STEAM program for third grade students and literacy interventions for fifth grade students. Ms. Sinclair graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Family Science from Anderson University. She is currently in the Kansas City Teacher Residency where she is working on her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Sinclair was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its commitment to preparing students and staff for success and their incredible results! She is excited to celebrate with students this year as they learn and grow together.
 

Ashleigh Slover, 5th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Ashleigh Slover believes that every student deserves an excellent education in order to make their wildest dreams a reality. She is committed to holding all students to high expectations and pushing them to achieve at high levels. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Slover taught Kindergarten and Third Grade in the Independence Schools district. Mrs. Slover is an alumna of the University of Central Missouri. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Literacy Education from the University of Central Missouri. Mrs. Slover was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its high expectations of students and staff. She is excited to develop relationships with students and families alike and celebrate the success of our school community.

 

Bailey Smith, 8th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Bailey Smith believes that a quality, rigorous education should be the right of all students regardless of their socioeconomic background. She is energized by pushing her students’ education to places they never imagined. Before teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Smith taught preschool in the Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a minor in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Smith was drawn to the Kauffman School because she is committed to serving the kids of Kansas City. She is excited to watch her students reach new academic heights in the coming school year!

 

Maya Smith, 6th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher
Maya Smith believes that every student deserves the opportunity to explore their interests and develop the tools they need to pursue them. She is committed to working with students both in and out of the classroom to ensure they feel supported and empowered in their education. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Smith worked with City Year Kansas City as a near-peer mentor at Northeast Middle School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Ms. Smith was drawn to the Kauffman School's strong sense of community and belief in every student's ability to succeed. She is very excited to connect with students and start learning together this year!

 

Cydney Snyder, 5th Grade Math Teacher
Cydney Snyder believes in creating equity in the education system, and is committed to meeting her students needs so that they may succeed throughout school. Ms. Snyder is a Teach For America - Kansas City corps member, and she recently graduated from Southern Methodist University where she received degrees in Human Rights, Public Policy, and Political Science. She is currently working on her master’s degree through the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Snyder was drawn to Kauffman because of the dedicated staff, and loves that she works with a community of people that are as committed to the work as she is. She is so excited to help her 5th grade students transition into Kauffman School, and watch them grow academically and personally.

 

Alice Sollitto, 7th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Alice Sollitto believes that every student has the ability to achieve his or her dreams. She is passionate about providing a high quality education to every student she works with. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Sollitto taught first and second grade at Coney Island Prep Elementary, a charter school in Brooklyn, NY. She also spent one year teaching second grade in the Kansas City Public Schools district at Phillis Wheatley Elementary. Ms. Sollitto received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Social Studies. She recently completed a Master of Education in Special Education from Niagara University. Ms. Sollitto was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its positive school culture and strong emphasis on teacher development.

 
Kasey Spencer, High School Health/Fitness Teacher
Kasey Kay Spencer believes every student should know the value and purpose they uniquely bring to the world. As a Health/Fitness teacher, Ms. Spencer wants to teach students what it actually feels like to not only set goals, but to reach them. She is passionate about walking alongside students as they get out of their comfort zones with perseverance, courage and boldness. Ms. Spencer spent the past six years in Memphis TN, where she worked at an after school program as a mentor and sports coach. Once the group of students she started with back in 2012 graduated high school, she moved back home to Kansas City to live near family and work at the Kauffman School. She graduated from Evangel University where she played softball and earned her bachelor’s degree in social work; she eventually also earned her bachelor’s degree in social work. Ms. Spencer was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the team’s drive to build meaningful relationships with students when they are in school, as well as once they graduate. She desires to build lifelong relationships with her Kauffman School co-workers, students and families!
 

Julian Vizitei, 10th Grade AP World History Teacher

Julian Vizitei believes every student deserves to go to a school that both challenges them with rigorous content and supports them with a positive and fulling school environment. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Vizitei taught ninth grade World History at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in the Kansas City Public Schools district. He received his degree in Secondary Education Social Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia and went on to receive his Master in Education in Social Studies Learning, Curriculum, and Teaching from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mr. Vizitei joined the Kauffman School because of the opportunity to not only reach his highest potential but join a school with positive school culture for both teachers and students. He is excited to see students rise to the challenge of both content and character set by the Kauffman School.

 

Davis Warton, 12th Grade AP Calculus AB Teacher
Davis Warton believes that educated minds lead to change and therefore every child deserves a high quality education. He is committed to challenging his students to do their best every day both inside and outside the classroom. Mr. Warton is a recent graduate of William Jewell College and earned a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. Mr. Warton is a current corps member of Teach For America - Kansas City. He was drawn to the Kauffman School because not only do they work towards the big picture, but they take the time to focus on the smaller things as well. Mr. Warton is very excited to start his first ever year of teaching and getting to know all of his wonderful students.
 
Natasha Waschek, 9th Grade Honors English I Teacher
Natasha Waschek has a passion for ensuring students become the strongest readers and writers they can, as she believes that is the biggest key to their future success. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Waschek taught seniors at Alta Vista High School for two years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women's Studies and Classics from the University of Arizona. Ms. Waschek then spent around 10 years working for Chipotle Mexican Grill at the corporate level before transitioning into teaching. She received her Master of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from the University of Missouri-St. Louis through the Teach For America program. She is relatively new to Kansas City, but loves getting to know the Midwest. Ms. Waschek is really excited and honored to be a part of the Kauffman School organization and cannot wait to see what this year brings us!
 
Jasmine Washington, Teaching Fellow
Jasmine Washington believes every student is capable of greatness when given the proper tools for success. She is committed to creating a safe and educational space for all students where they can use their intersectional identities to thrive and support others. Ms. Washington is a 2021 graduate from The University of Kansas and obtained a degree in Secondary English Education. Ms. Washington was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its unique and positive school culture. She is excited to celebrate students’ successes this coming school year.
 
Erin Weber, 9th Grade Honors Algebra I Teacher
Erin Weber loves seeing her students realize their own potential and develop into extraordinary adults. Ms. Weber graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and the Global Economy and a minor in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master of Education through University of Missouri-St. Louis. She was drawn to Kauffman because of the high standards they hold for their students and faculty.
 
Simone Wells, 5th Grade Guided Reading Teacher
Simone Wells believes that every student is capable of succeeding if they have the right resources and support. She is committed to doing everything in her power to make sure students succeed holistically in life. She graduated from Oakwood University, a historically-black university located in Huntsville, AL, with a degree in social science education. Simone was called to the Kauffman School because of its deep belief in creating college graduates. She is excited to start working with a team who pours into each other and provides resources and support to ensure that every student can succeed.

Chelsea Whittle, 6th Grade Math Teacher

Chelsea Whittle believes all students deserve the best education. She knows each student can obtain his or her goals with determination and hard work. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Whittle taught at Faxon Elementary in the Kansas City Public Schools district for three years and also taught in San Angelo, TX. Mrs. Whittle received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. She is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. Mrs. Whittle grew up in the Kansas City area and is very excited to influence the lives of students at the Kauffman School. She can’t wait to see her students’ achievements this year!

 
Kourtney Williams, 7th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher
Kourtney Williams believes that students learn through experience; therefore, she is committed to having her students play an active role in their education. Before teaching at Kauffman School, Ms. Williams taught for three years in the Kansas City Public Schools district. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Missouri- Kansas City (UMKC). Ms. Williams was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the support the school gives to teachers and kids to be the best they can be.
 
Peyton Wydick, 8th Grade Science Teacher
Peyton Wydick believes in caring for the student as a whole person. She is committed to doing this by providing a safe learning environment, holding students to a high standard, and providing rigorous academic content. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Wydick attended Rockhurst University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Ms. Wydick was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its strong values, community, and emphasis on teacher development. She is excited to work with students and watch their growth and success this coming school year.
 
Lyndsay Yates, 9th Grade Honors English I Teacher
Lyndsay Yates believes that a high quality education should be the expectation for ALL students, not the exception. She is committed to creating a more equitable education landscape in Kansas City and helping prepare the next generation of world changers. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Yates taught fourth through eighth-grade Social Studies at Kansas City International Academy (formerly Della Lamb Charter School). She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK and completed her teacher certification at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Yates was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its culture of excellence among both teachers and students. She is excited to be a part of such an incredible team of students and teachers.

Jason Zimmerman, 10th Grade Honors Geometry Teacher
Jason Zimmerman is committed to the idea that Kansas City's children possess the ability to compete on an absolute scale with the best and brightest of our nation. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Mr. Zimmerman served as an elementary teacher in the Kansas City Missouri Public Schools district, where he helped transition the district into its standards-based academic system. Mr. Zimmerman is an alumnus of Teach For America - Kansas City and received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Communication, and Gender Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and Master of Education from Rockhurst University. Among his reasons for working on the Kauffman School is creating a proof point for Kansas City that showcases exceptional public education.