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.
Melissa McCabe - 5th & 6th Science
Melissa is so excited to join the SLA-MS team and to teach kids science. She has worked in Philadelphia for nine years and knows that all students have the potential to achieve great things. Melissa attended West Chester University and earned two undergraduate degrees: Earth and Space Science Education and Geoscience. She then went to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and completed her masters degree in Environmental Science/Natural Resources. Melissa knows that the most impactful way for students to learn science and become environmental stewards is to DO science and EXPERIENCE the environment. She is thrilled to be able to engage in project based learning and allow the interests and curiosities of her students drive their learning. In her free time Melissa likes to hike, read, run and spend lots of time relaxing with her husband Tom and dog Vanilla Bean.
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!
Heather Tanner - 5th & 6th Science
Heather Tanner is thrilled to be teaching 5th and 6th graders Science as part of the SLAMS team. She grew up near Philadelphia and moved into the city to attend Drexel University where she received her degree in Physics Education. Heather has taught almost everything between 5th and 12th grade Math and Physics. She joined the SLAMS team in 2019-2020 school year to teach 7th and 8th graders math and is excited to join the science team this year and teach 5th and 6th graders! Heather is working on her masters of education at Eastern University and lives not far from school in West Philly. When not at school she can be found camping, hiking, swimming or baking.
Ariel Coff - 7th & 8th Science
Ariel Coff is glad to be the 7th and 8th grade science teacher at SLA-MS. This is her 14th year teaching in Philadelphia. She was born and raised in this city and went to Temple University for both a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting, and a Masters of Education in Middle Grades. She is always learning more about biology, physics, and how to be a better person, and she tries to carry that into the classroom. When she’s not at school, she’s taking care of her many pets, enjoying being out in nature, watching imaginative tv shows, and eating enough vegetables.
Aishah Nashedeem- 7th & 8th Humanities
I am excited to be returning for my 2nd year at SLAMS teaching Humanities. I have a passion for literacy, history, and teaching children to understand the world around them. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, & graduated from West Chester University in 2020. Outside of school I am a fashion enthusiast who spends time as a wardrobe stylist and creative director.
Justin Powell - 7th & 8th Math
Justin Powell is excited to teach 7th and 8th graders math this year! He has previously had the privilege of teaching 7th-10th grade students over the past decade. He currently holds a Master’s in Education and is currently working on National Board Certification. Justin knows that students need and deserve hands-on experiences to truly make math come alive and there should be joy in the classroom everyday! Justin recently moved from Tucson, Arizona to Philadelphia and is thrilled to learn more about the city. He is the father of two lovely children, a dog, and a cat.
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 a Masters in History from 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 Aristeo, son Charlie and daughter Lucy.
Leo Familia - 7th & 8th Science
Prior to arriving in Philly, Mr. Familia worked in the NYC Public School system as an educator and coach. Since 2020, Mr. Familia has been a Middle School Science teacher at SLA Beeber and SLAMS. Mr. Familia received a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and completed his Education coursework at Drexel University. In Mr. Familia’s classroom you can expect to see students taking ownership of their work and supporting their classmates. When Mr. Familia is not teaching you can find him coaching the SLAMS Boy’s Basketball team or training people in the gym.
Jessica Peoples - 7th & 8th Math
Jessica Peoples is excited to join the SLAMS community this year to teach 7th and 8th graders Math! She was born and raised in Philadelphia and earned her bachelor’s degree from West Chester University in Middle Grades Education. Shortly after she graduated, she began teaching in the School District of Philadelphia. She is currently in the process of earning her masters degree from Western Governors University in Secondary Mathematics Education. Jessica is looking forward to engaging in project-based learning where students will be able to apply what they are learning in class to real-world situations. She believes that students learn best through an inquiry-based approach where they are able to be curious, ask questions, and explore the various concepts that they are being taught. When Jessica is not in the classroom she enjoys baking, watching TV shows, and exploring new places.
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.
Sherell Patterson - LSW STEP Clinical Coordinator
Sherell (Pronouns: She/Her) brings to SLAMS a strong passion for connecting with children, families, and Staff to build healthy therapeutic relationships. She Understands therapy is a vulnerable process and uses a client center approach to establish trust and safety in the therapeutic relationship. Sherell has a background in child welfare, Foster Care Industry Expertise, Family and Youth counseling, and encouraging clients to explore how early relationships, and relational patterns, have impacted their current thoughts and behaviors.
Sherell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Bloomsburg University and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Widener University. She is a licensed Social Worker in the state of Pennsylvania. Outside work, Sherell enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children, traveling, and exploring different cuisines.
Marcedes Kennedy - STEP Case Manager
Marcedes is a mother of two loving African American boys. She loves exercising, taking dance classes, and being creative. Her famous saying is, “there are always two ways to skin a cat.” Her favorite book is “Are You There God It’s Me Margeret” by Judy Blume.
Marcedes Kennedy (Pronouns: She/ Her) is a Philadelphia native. She is energetic, personable, and understanding. Marcedes believes everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard. Her background in Art/Dance therapy, the Military, and Site Directing equipped her with the tools needed to successfully perform her role as Case Manager on the STEP team. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal Communications from Bloomsburg University. She is currently obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education at Drexel University. She has over five years of working with children from all walks of life that have been through traumatic situations.
Marqueta King - Family Peer Specialist
Marqueta King is so excited to Join SLA-MS as the new Family Peer Specialist for the Support Team Educational Partnership (STEP) Team . She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has 7 years experience working in the Behavioral Health Field and has served in many capacities . As a Mom of two small children she understands the importance of having a productive and impactful support system. Marqueta aspires to have a share in providing that type of support to the SLA-MS students and their families..
In her free time, Marqueta enjoys spending time with family, friends, traveling, reading ,listening to music, cooking and having a good laugh as often as possible!
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, playing far too many video games, 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 leads students through the Engineering Design Process (EDP) doing hands-on activities and builds. These include building K’nex cars based on efficiency and bird houses designed for specific bird species native to the area. Prior to coming to SLAMS, he spent 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 with his daughter, throwing around a frisbee, tinkering in his woodshop, hiking, cooking delicious food, or taking photos.
Stefanie Londo - Special Education Liason 5th & 6th Grade
Stefanie Londo loves being a part of the SLA-MS team and making sure opportunities are created for all learners despite any challenges they may face. A lifelong Philadelphia resident, Stefanie has taught in the school district since 2005. A graduate of Gwynedd Mercy University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education, she also holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. Stefanie works with the special education team at SLA-MS to make sure students know their educational rights and how to utilize their Individual Education Plans to be met with success. She believes strongly in the mission and values of Science Leadership Academy Middle School and in doing what’s right for kids. When she’s not teaching, you can usually find her running all over the city with her husband, training for whatever crazy long-distance race she has coming up, or mentoring students through the SLA-MS Students Run Philly Style team. Stefanie’s passions are cooking and baking, the Philadelphia Union, Costco, anything Disney-related, and most of all, her students.
Erin Orth - Special Education 5th & 6th Grade
Erin Orth is excited to begin her first year with SLAMS and her fifth year as an educator. She graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. Though she began her career working in elementary schools, she’s found her home in the wacky world of middle school. Erin grew up in Philadelphia and is passionate about helping students in her hometown discover their strengths, take risks, and gain confidence as learners.
Outside of school, Erin can be found biking around the city (typically in search of the perfect cold brew) or at home in West Philly with her cat, Mac. She enjoys running, board games, hiking, and ultimate frisbee.
Melissa McLoughlan- Special Education 7th & 8th Grade
Melissa is excited to service the special education population at SLA-MS. Melissa graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She has taught with the district since 2015. Melissa enjoys baking, crafting, and spending time with her family. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.
Chester Boyer - Climate Manager
Mr. Boyer is an administrator at SLAMS, who 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 12 year period. I have been in the education field for 19 plus years. My passion is education, and making sure that the students I encounter in life become successful. I look forward to making SLAMS the best school possible. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” Malcom X.
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.