Mr. Timothy Boyle is the Founding Principal of Science Leadership Academy Middle School, SLA-MS. He holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University and an M.ED from Cabrini College. He has taught in a variety of Elementary and Middle school settings over the last 10 years. Most recently he taught students mathematics and science at the Chester Arthur School and was one of the leaders of the Science Leadership Academy and Chester Arthur School Redesign team. Timothy is also proud Teaching Consultant for the Philadelphia Writing Project. In 2012, he co-founded the non-profit Teachers Lead Philly. He lives in Hawthorne, Philadelphia with his wife and dachshund.
Nancy Ironside - 5th & 6th Math
Nancy Ironside Nancy Ironside teaches 5th & 6th graders math. Born into a large, loving and chaotic family, she decided early on that she was well suited to be a middle school teacher. With education degrees from Westminster College and Temple University, she has taught 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th graders in a variety of schools, both public and private. She strives to assist students as they develop their problem solving skills, for math and for life. Ms. Ironside believes that learning should be joyful and personalized. She is the mom of two sons, a facilities specialist at a local arboretum and an aspiring physicist who attends university. She lives in Orleand with a three-legged cat and enjoys school, being outside, reading, swimming, singing, hiking, asking questions and spending time with people who elicit joy.
Sarah Bower-Grieco - 5th & 6th Humanities
Sarah is thrilled to teach 5th & 6th graders Humanities at Science Leadership Academy Middle School. Soon after earning a BA from Bloomsburg University in Early Childhood & Elementary Education Sarah began teaching for the School District of Philadelphia. While teaching she continued her education earning an MS in Reading at Gwynedd-Mercy University and later a Certificate of Educational Leadership from University of Pennsylvania’s School Leadership Program. Sarah has had the pleasure of teaching children in various content areas but is particularly proud of her years teaching English Language Arts. She knows that in order to get children excited about reading we must provide rich literature that allows them to learn more about themselves.. Sarah loves to watch students both find themselves and lose themselves in books, inspiring them to positively impact their own community. Sarah and her husband live in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Ami Patel Hopkins - 5th & 6th Science
Mrs. PH (Patel Hopkins) is grateful for the opportunity to join the SLAMS family and empower SLAMS’ 5th and 6th grade scientists! Mrs. PH was a 1st grade teacher fifteen years ago and decided to return to the classroom last year through the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) Teacher Residency program. During her residency year, she co-taught 6th-8th graders science at Cook-Wissahickon School in Roxborough. As a mother of a future SDP student, Mrs. PH and her husband have become very involved with the schools in their neighborhood of East Falls in Northwest Philadelphia and she is excited by the momentum of families and community members.
Prior to her journey back into the classroom, Mrs. was the Kindergarten Transition Fellow for SDP. In this role, she worked closely with the early learning team as well as a variety of partner agencies to investigate and create solutions to the infrastructure and operational challenges that hinder successful kindergarten transition. She left her position at the SDP with a lot of hope for the SDP and with the lens of wanting our families to have whatever they need to have access to the best education option for their child. Mrs. PH is also the Founder of Asha Advisors, LLC. Mrs. PH was also the Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Innovation at the Philadelphia Education Fund (Ed Fund). She spearheaded the Ed Fund’s efforts to ensure excellent teachers in every classroom – driving to enhance the preparation, support, and networking of teachers across the city. Mrs. Hopkins also served as Deputy Education Officer to former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in the Mayor’s Office of Education. She has worked on education reform issues at the national level through the Alliance for Excellent Education, served as an AmeriCorps member in Maryland, and has done college access work in a Baltimore high school.
Mrs. PH currently serves as the Board Chairwoman of YESPhilly and is an adjunct professor at Drexel University. She earned her master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in education policy from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University.
In her 10+ years of working in education in Philadelphia, Mrs. PH has learned a lot of how different systems work and she cannot wait to share this knowledge with her SLAMS family!
Hilary Hamilton - 5th & 6th Humanities
Hilary Hamilton is overjoyed to be a part of the founding faculty at SLA-MS. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a BA in Educational Studies and English Literature, Hilary spent a semester student teaching with 4th graders at Samuel Powel Elementary. From there she went on to teach 4th and 5th graders at The Philadelphia School where she fell in love with an inquiry driven and project-based approach to learning. Now, she’s excited to be teaching 5th & 6th graders at SLA-MS where she hopes to help students develop their enthusiasm for learning as they ask questions, explore, and create. Hilary recently completed her MSEd in Reading, Writing, Literacy and Reading Specialist Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia but thoroughly enjoys using her bike, running shoes, and Septa tokens to spend time adventuring with friends across the city.
Monique Carter - 5th & 6th Math
Monique Carter is excited about teaching children MATH! Throughout her career, teaching middle school students has been her ultimate joy and passion. Monique holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Swarthmore College and continues to work on receiving her M.Ed in educational policy from Widener University. Monique began her career at a special education Friends school and loved it so much she stayed for twelve years. She also taught in a Charter school in Chester city for five glorious years. Monique treasures the lessons learned from all her former students and is ready for those lessons to come!
Kristin Nakaishi - 5th & 6th Science
Kristin Nakaishi has been teaching middle school students in Philadelphia for 5 years and loves spreading the joy of discovery and education. Born in California, she credits her family for instilling the love of learning early-on, whether it be exploring sea creatures at the beach or observing the Monarch butterfly migration in the Redwood forest. She has always loved teaching and as a child would play “classroom” with her stuffed animals. However, it wasn’t until her time at West Chester University that she fell in love with teaching science. In her spare time she is always looking for ways to bring new experiences to her students and believes that education doesn’t just come from textbooks and papers but from immersing oneself in the world using all senses. Miss Nakaishi has spent time surfing in Costa Rica, hiking in Utah, and singing in a choir across Europe and has taken students on multiple journeys abroad with her. When she is not traveling she enjoys spending time with her pet rabbit and pet chinchilla, knitting, baking, practicing yoga, reading, running, and crafting. She is so excited to help SLAMS students on their own journey to self discovery.
Brittany Milnes - 7th & 8th Science
Brittany is excited to be joining the SLAMS team and start a new journey in her 8th year as a teacher. Brittany grew up in Massachusetts with her awesome family, where she often goes to visit on weekends and breaks. She has a degree in Biology from the Pennsylvania State University and after graduation, did not immediately see teaching as a career. When she moved to Philadelphia in 2009, she began her path to becoming a teacher by getting her Master’s degree in Education at Drexel University. Since that time, she has been teaching kids science in Philadelphia in middle school classrooms. She loves to find new and interesting ways to help students engage in science and get excited about their own learning. When Brittany isn’t at school, you can find her chasing after her two toddlers, trying to be a runner, cooking, cheering for the New England Patriots, or listening to true crime podcasts.
Jennie Egan Terry - 7th & 8th Humanities
Jennie Egan Terry is so excited to be joining the SLAMS community. Jennie earned a BA in Government from Claremont McKenna College, meanwhile working for a youth and community-driven non-profit organization, YStrive for Youth INC. After working with YStrive for Youth INC. for several years, Jennie continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Education, as part of the Philadelphia Teachers Residency Program. Passionate about social justice education, Jennie hopes to support students in developing historical understandings and critical thinking skills while focusing on literacy. Jennie was born in the California Bay Area and loves living in Philadelphia. Jennie and her family live in Logan, Philadelphia.
Korie Muscolino - 7th & 8th Math
Korie is excited to join SLAMS this year and teach 7th and 8th graders Math. She spent the past 12 years teaching both middle school and high school math at two different schools in Philadelphia. Korie earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics from Penn State University and teacher certification from Drexel University. When she isn’t in the classroom, she enjoys, traveling, running, visiting family and friends, and whatever new hobby she is pursuing!
Sarah Dueñas - 7th & 8th Humanities
Mrs. Dueñas is excited to be teaching seventh and eighth graders Humanities at SLAMS! Originally from Northern California, Mrs. Dueñas moved to Philadelphia in 2010 to focus on history education in this amazing city. She holds a BA in History with an option in Social Science Education from California State University Chico and is working on her Masters in History at Pace University. In Mrs. Dueñas classroom, you can expect to see students empowering themselves and their communities through service learning projects. Mrs. Dueñas believes her students are a diverse set of learners, and she always wants them to be the ones that drive instruction, helping to uncover the untold and under represented stories of history. She has an overwhelming addiction to collecting books and shoes, both of which can be found in abundance in her classroom. When she is not teaching, you can find her at home in Brewerytown with her husband Ari, son Charlie and dog Daisy.
Jim Hall - 7th & 8th Science
Jim Hall joins the SLAMS family from Simon Gratz High School, where he spent the previous 3 years teaching environmental science. While at Gratz, he organized and initiated overnight camping trips to the Delaware Water Gap, assisted on the sidelines for Philadelphia’s first public school rugby team, and co-founded an after school garden club called Triple G (Gratz Garden Group). One of his greatest takeaways from his extracurricular involvements at Gratz was to place students at the forefront of the decision-making process. He hopes to empower SLAMS students to discover their own capabilities and pursue their interests.
Jim originally hails from the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia, where he attending an astonishing 12 years of Quaker school before moving to Massachusetts to pursue a Bachelor’s in History at Amherst College. At Amherst, Jim revisited his Philadelphia roots through studying the impacts of urban education reform. Jim also holds a Master’s in teaching from Relay GSE.
Outside of school, you can find Jim rolling through the bumpy streets of Philly by bike or skateboard en route to alluring music or food spots. Jim has recently taken up the incredibly effortless and intuitive game of golf and has added birding and competitive bocce to the top of his hobbies waitlist.
Heather Tanner - 7th & 8th Math
Heather is excited to be teaching 7th and 8th graders Math this year as part of the SLAMS team. She grew up near Philadelphia and moved into the city a few years ago to attend Drexel University where she received her degree in Physics Education. Having spent the last two years of her program teaching 8th, 11th, and 12th graders science Heather is excited to transition into teaching math this year! When not at school Heather can be found at home in West Philly, camping, hiking, swimming or baking.
Sharlean Pillay - Counselor
Sharlean Pillay is delighted to be the founding counselor at Science Leadership Academy Middle School. Originally from Union City, CA, Sharlean moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia as a teenager with her family. She earned her BA in Psychology from Temple University. She immediately went to work as a social worker in Philadelphia. She became a crisis counselor in an emergency room in Bucks County. While working in the hospital, she received a dual MS in School and Community Counseling from Gwynedd Mercy College.
Sharlean held the position of Mental Health Clinician, at the C.A.R.E Program at Barratt Middle School for 8 years which provided therapeutic classrooms that incorporated the Re-education Principles developed by Nicholas Hobbs into an academic treatment design to positively impact children with chronic behavior issues.
Prior to SLAMS, Sharlean had been the Vocational School Counselor at the STARS Program, providing school guidance services to students in placement that utilized the Sanctuary Model for trauma informed care. While at STARS, she chaired the Anti Defamation League’s No Place for Hate Initiative leadership committee. She was selected to receive extensive training in Cognitive Therapy through the Beck Institute.
Sharlean lives in Harleysville with her two children, Jonah and Nika. In her downtime, she enjoys cooking, gardening, upcycling and watching japanese animation.
Emma Bergman - STEP Clinical Coordinator
Emma Bergman, LSW is thrilled to join the SLAMS team as a new STEP Social Work Coordinator! She brings her passion for positive youth development and social justice to this role at SLAMS. She holds a Bachelors in Psychology from Haverford College and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Emma’s commitment to active learning and engagement balanced with supportive counseling and safe environment coalesced working in after-school programs and continues to grow throughout her career in the field.
Emma is particularly committed to using trauma informed principles and practices that attend to intersectional oppression in supporting equitable best practice for all youth. Emma believes that social emotional learning is deeply human and universal for adults and youth alike, and is committed to using social-emotional skills and knowledge to contribute to a more equitable world in which all youth have access to high quality educational and out of school time programming. In her free time Emma enjoys cycling, gardening, engaging in community initiatives, baking, boating, and participating in revolution.
Natia Brown - STEP Team Case Manager
Natia Brown is Case Manager for the SLA-MS Support Team for Educational Partnership (STEP) Program. Natia has Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Temple University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. She has over 10 years experience in child/adolescent behavioral health and was most recently employed as a School Based Clinician for a non-profit organization. Throughout her career Natia has worked to address the needs of students and families in a trauma informed manner. She believes strongly in the resiliency of children and the strength of families and is dedicated to continuing to provide services to the children of Philadelphia.
Outside of work Natia enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music, traveling and binge watching her favorite TV series on Hulu and Netflix.
Kirsten Walker - STEP School Behavioral Consultant
Kirsten Walker, LSW is thrilled to be part of the SLA-MS team as the STEP School Behavioral Consultant. She has her bachelor’s in social work from Eastern University, and her master’s in social work from Temple University. For 7 years, she’s worked as a social worker throughout Philadelphia in a variety of capacities – therapy with undocumented Spanish-speaking youth and families, foster care case management for immigrant and refugee youth, and attendance and truancy work, most recently for the School District of Philadelphia. Kirsten lives in Northwest Philadelphia with her husband and feisty cat Teagan. When not at school, she enjoys planting as many flowers as possible in her extremely small garden, baking treats for neighbor kids on the block, and exploring the Wissahickon.
Isaiah Johnson - STEP Family Peer Specialist/Community Health Worker
Isaiah Johnson is proudly gratified to be a part of the Support Team for Educational Partnership (STEP) Program as the Family Peer Specialist/Community Health Worker at SLA-MS. After going through nine weeks of CPS/CHWP training, and two weeks of multicultural decompressing classes he was honorably awarded his certifications through Drexel Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice/Mental Health Partnership and began his new journey of trauma informed work. He supports others in their healing process with over twelve years of human service skills provided to the elderly and youth under his belt. On his leisure/down time he enjoys working on the AJ/IJ Kids Matter Foundation that he and some of his loved ones founded, and which can be found on Facebook. He also spends time doing enjoyable activities with his little humans and friends at home like making jokes, movies, dancing, and finding out who made what mess that he usually ends up cleaning up!
Helen Lee - School Nurse
Ms. Lee is the full time (yes that’s right, FULL TIME) nurse at SLA-MS. After graduating from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Ms. Lee has worked in Philadelphia since 2011. She worked as a floor nurse on the Renal Unit at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as a case manager at Esperanza Health Center in Kensington for a year, and is now happy to be a school nurse with The SDP at SLA-MS.
Outside of work, Ms. Lee loves spending time with her daughter Charlie and watching football with her Cowboys fan husband, Dan (she didn’t find out he was a Cowboys fan until it was too late!). She thoroughly enjoys trolling him every time the Cowboys lose – especially to the Eagles. Ms. Lee also plays in a flag football league with her husband and they hope to visit every NFL stadium in their lifetime.
Sheena Neal - Community Partnership Coordinator
Sheena Neal is the Community Partnership Coordinator for SLA-MS where she brings the outside community into the school and has members from the community share their talents and other amazing things with the students. Sheena is currently obtaining her degree in Education at Community College of Philadelphia. She has over 5 years of experience working with children, from working as a Nanny to Daycare teacher’s aide. Throughout her career, Sheena has worked to address the needs of students with exploring the community and learning to be their true selves.
She is known for being a “Level Seeker” with students – being in tune with them and knowing whats going on in their “world”. She believes strongly that the children are the future and always aims to give them the love, encouragement, and strength they need to have a successful Middle School Life at SLA-MS.
Outside of work Sheena enjoys reading her urban novels, listening to her music, and spending time with her friends and family.
Meredith Martin - Techsplorations Teacher & Tech Coordinator
Before becoming the founding Techsplorations teacher at SLAMS, Meredith spent twenty years teaching in New Jersey. She is a proud computer geek, with a passion for STEM and Making. In addition to working with the students at SLAMS, Meredith is also an author and a speaker at many conferences and events. Here at SLAMS, she is sharing her love of both technology and STEM with her students along with her motto: If you’re not making a mess, you’re not doing it right! When she is not teaching, Meredith spends her time reading ridiculous amounts of books, working on the many maker projects on her list, and attempting to build the perfect lightsaber. Her household is ruled by her dogs and cats, especially her evil Bengal appropriately named Loki. She is extremely excited to be a part of the SLAMS family. You can follow her education adventures on Twitter.
Greg Goettner - Health & PE
Mr. Greg Goettner is entering his 3rd year teaching at SLA-MS, and his 11th overall as an educator. He has taught at all levels of education from K-12 and has coached a variety of middle school athletic teams including basketball, soccer, and track. Currently Mr. Goettner coaches the boys & girls basketball team at SLA-MS.
Mr. Goettner was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. He graduated from Lock Haven University with a bachelor degree in Health and Physical Education and received his masters in education from Cabrini University. Mr. Goettner is a life long Philadelphia sports fan and is looking forward to building a strong health and physical education program, along with an athletic program offering students a variety of sports.
Marcie T. Hull - Art
Before becoming SLAMS’ Art Teacher in 2018, Marcie was the founding Technology Coordinator for SLA’s Center City campus. And before that Marcie spent five years at Shoemaker Middle School from 2000 to 2005. She brings a powerful understanding of both the fine and digital arts and their role in schools. She has established a reputation as one of the top digital arts educators in the city. Marcie has helped to start EduCon and presented there and at the National Educational Computing Conference, PETE&C, the NY Tech Forum and has worked training teachers all over the School District of Philadelphia. Marcie also collaborates with Inquiry Schools to help teachers across the country.
Michael Franklin - Pre-Engineering
Mike is excited to join SLAMS this year to start the SLAMS Pre-Engineering Lab (SPL). He spent the past 10 years teaching kids math, science, and engineering principles at Chester Arthur Elementary School. Mike earned his Bachelor of Science in Teacher Education from Drexel University and his Master of Science in Special Education from St. Joseph’s University. When he isn’t in the classroom, Mike can be found playing ultimate frisbee, tinkering in his woodshop, hiking, cooking delicious food, or taking photos.
Stefanie Londo - Special Education Liason 5th & 6th Grade
Stefanie Londo is super excited to be a part of the SLAMS team and embarking on a new adventure in the School District of Philadelphia. Stefanie is a life-long Philadelphia resident and has taught in the school district for fourteen years. She is a graduate of Gwynedd Mercy University with a Bachelor’s degree is Elementary and Special Education. She also holds a Master’s degree is Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. Stefanie will be returning to her roots in the classroom and helping students discover their strengths and reach their potential as a special education teacher. She believes strongly in the mission and values of Science Leadership Academy and especially in doing what’s right for kids. When she’s not teaching, you can usually find her running all over the city training for whatever crazy long distance race she has coming up. Stefanie’s passions are cooking and baking, running, anything Disney related, and most of all, her students.
Erika Saunders - 7th & 8th Special Education
Miss E. couldn’t be more thrilled to be a founding teacher at SLAMS! She has been an SLA “groupie” since she first heard that there would be a high school in Center City. Project-based, inquiry-driven education is an awesome way to learn – and teach! Miss E. is a proud parent of a SLA-Center City alumni – so SLA is pretty much in her blood. Another thing that’s in her blood? Teaching! It’s her passion. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College and is a National Board Certified Teacher. Miss E. spent the first eight years of her teaching career with the School District of Philadelphia at J.C. Ferguson, before joining Independence Charter School. At SLAMS, Miss E. teaches children how to maximize their learning as a Special Education Teacher. That’s what makes her … the Learning Maximizer!!
When she’s not teaching … or thinking about teaching! … you can find Miss E. with her nose in a book. She is an avid reader and is usually reading at least 2 to 3 books at a time! Beyond books, Miss E. loves watching movies, taking in the great outdoors (mainly just looking), and enjoying this crazy thing called life.
Chester Boyer - Climate Manager
Mr. Chester Boyer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Education Management. Both degrees were obtained from Strayed University. I have taught math and science at various schools over a 10 year period. I have been in the education field for 16 years. My passion is education and making sure the students I encounter all become successful in life. I look forward to working with our students and parents to make SL-AMS the best school possible.
Domonique Wright - Climate Staff
As I reach my 1st year as Student Climate Staff here at SLA-MS, I must say I can’t be any more excited to return as I continue to see what the future holds for our students and staff. I Domonique have received my Associate Degree in Applied Science at Community College of Philadelphia and am currently enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University East Falls Campus to obtain my Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Services Management.
As Student Climate Staff I have come to realize that students learn best when they feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe and with my position I tend to wear more than one title. Sometimes I wear the title as mother, teacher, protector, listener, etc.…and if it can make a kid feel better or learn something new, I will always wear those titles proudly. I am a mother of a beautiful 12-year-old daughter, and I love to cook, listen to music, read, shop, take selfies with/without snapchat filters, and spend time with family in my spare time.
Kathy Spencer - School Secretary
Ms. Kathy is the heart of SLA Middle School. As the school secretary, she keeps everything running smoothly. From helping staff with a multitude of requests, to assisting families with questions and concerns, to providing a safe and welcoming environment to our students, Ms. Kathy does it all! When she is not keeping those of us here at SLAMS afloat, she is spending time with her adored grandchildren.
Derek Jimenez - School Police Officer
I started my career with the School District of Philadelphia in the 2009 school year. Prior to SDP, I worked at Settlement Music School for 8 years.
Before being assigned to SLAMS, I was assigned to a K-8 school and before that I was assigned to a high school for 4 school years, and another H. S. for 1 school year.
The students and the staff safety is my priority. I look forward to greeting them all in the mornings and being there for them during the school day.
Kat Kushin - Site Director
Kat Kushin is the Site Director for Sunrise After School at SLAMS. She has worked at Sunrise for 4 years, as an Art Teacher, Site Director for Chester Arthur School, and Marketing Coordinator for all of Sunrise’s sites. She is excited to lead Sunrise West, and for the opportunity to work with SLAMS. Kat lives in South Philadelphia, where she cohosts the horror analysis podcast ‘The Ghouls Next Door’ with her roommate and their two cats.
Marina Fradera - Trauma and Curriculum Specialist
Marina Fradera is the Trauma and Curriculum Specialist at Sunrise, She supports after school educators serving upward of 800 students K-12 across the city. If you don’t see her, she is probably at another school or facilitating professional development workshops. She is a former SDP special education teacher, resident of West Philly, and deeply committed to incorporating trauma informed practices into programming.