Full-Year Program 2020 Cohort

PSL 2020 Cohort Group Photo
PSL '20 Cohort at Teachers College Orientation.  Not Pictured: Brian Konzman


R. Allen Babcock is the son of a primary school teacher and the great-great grandson of the couple who founded Darlington School in Rome, GA; education runs in his blood. After graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design, Allen began his career teaching at Culver Academies. Subsequently he taught at Mercersburg Academy, Hotchkiss School, and Leysin American School. He comes to Columbia from Keystone Academy, Beijing, where he served as an IB Middle Year Program and Diploma Program theatre teacher, dormitory head, and director of the performing arts centre. He is passionate about helping schools transition from diversity language to true cultural inclusion.

Brandon Dowd has been an instructor of English as a second language for fourteen years. Over six of those years were spent in China where he taught primary through graduate-level students. Most recently, Brandon participated as an English Language Fellow under grant from the U.S. Department of State where he provided professional development opportunities for teachers in China while teaching at universities in Changsha, Hunan and Xi'an, Shaanxi. He is an avid rock climber who sees international education and business as key players in successful diplomacy.

Perry Eaton has taught English and Global History at Beaver Country Day School, a co-ed middle and upper school in Brookline, MA since 2016. Before entering teaching, Perry worked as a journalist at The Boston Globe for four years. He's a graduate of Boston University and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University.  

Kalimah Fergus Ayele has over 20 years of experience as a school leader and secondary school science teacher in both New York City public schools as well as international schools in Africa. She began her teaching career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa and has also taught in South Africa, Lesotho and, most recently, Egypt. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Stanford University, Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education at Teachers College and Master of Science in School Administration from the College of Saint Rose. She enjoys travel and writing and is a self-published author of a memoir entitled Roundtrip Ticket Home. 

After graduating from Columbia University and Bank Street College,  Rebecca Hammerman began her career right here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at the Ethical Culture School and, later, Columbia Grammar School.  Having lived in Washington DC, Madrid, and Jerusalem for several years, Rebecca returned to the New York area, where she worked as an Assistant Dean at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  Most recently, Rebecca served as Principal of Carmel Academy, in Greenwich, CT.  

Nasreen Ikram Hussain has been teaching and learning in schools in the US and overseas for 23 years. She was founding faculty at The School at Columbia University and has taught in Montessori, International Baccalaureate, British National Curriculum and progressive schools in classrooms from pre-K to sixth grade. Nasreen earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University and a Master of Arts in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has experience as a staff developer, fieldwork supervisor, and was an instructor in the Literacy Specialist program at TC. Her interests as an inclusive educator focus on inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum design and strategic support for at-risk students. Prior to joining the cohort, Nasreen was in California in her role as director of early childhood education at Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton.

Meg Johnson is a student at Columbia Business School in the Klingenstein MA/MBA dual degree program and will return to Teachers College in the Spring.  Prior to attending Columbia, Meg taught history at Lakeside School, a co-ed 5-12 day school in Seattle, WA. In addition to teaching U.S. history, world history and an interdisciplinary elective on elections, she served as the student government coordinator, coached the crew team and served on the admissions committee. Before Lakeside, Meg was a Woods Teaching Fellow at the Lawrenceville School where she earned a master's degree in education through the Penn Independent School Teaching Residency. Additionally, she enjoys the outdoors and has led several wilderness trips for NOLS, National Outdoor Leadership School.

Sodaksh Khullar helped to start and manage Marshmallows Kindergarten Schools around the New Delhi Capital Region in India. He has also worked for ConsenSys in Delhi as a part of their educational initiatives program, and wrote a research paper on the public-private initiatives in the education sector for the Indian government think tank, Niti Aayog. He graduated in 2017 from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, majoring in public policy, finance and business economics. He was born and brought up in New Delhi and is fond of soccer, fitness and nutrition, and technology.

Brian Konzman is a Jesuit priest, living and working at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola in New York. He has served in various capacities at Jesuit schools along the East Coast, including having taught at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. He has a bachelor's in chemistry from the University of Scranton, a master's in philosophy from Fordham University, and a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. He enjoys coding, swimming, and conversation at the crossroads of theology and modern life.

Alisha Litman-Zelle has been a teacher and administrator at Dazzling Discoveries, a supplementary STEM education center based on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, since 2017. She also worked as a preschool teacher in Minneapolis, MN for five years and worked as an education apprentice at the New York City Children's Theater. Alisha graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a concentration in directing theater for young audiences. Her focus is combining STEM and storytelling to promote problem solving and creative thinking.

Since 2014, Stacey Pierre-Louis has developed and led the expansion and growth of the residential program at Christina Seix Academy, a preK-8 independent school, in Trenton, NJ. Prior to CSA, Stacey worked in various residential faculty, coaching, community service, and administrative roles at The Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, MA, and at Emma Willard School in Troy, NY. Stacey received her Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from St. John's University and is also a graduate of The Lawrenceville School.

Bajia Reed previously served as the 2016-2018 Thomas E. Wilcox Fellow at Concord Academy, a co-ed, 9-12 day and boarding school in Concord, MA. While in residence, she taught ninth grade history and served as a team member in the Office of Community and Equity. Prior to assuming this role, Bajia moved from her hometown of Woodbridge, CT to Atlanta, GA to attend Spelman College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in European and Caribbean History in 2016. In her free time, Bajia enjoys spending quality time with her dog Nigel while reading think pieces in various online news publications.

Cansu Şenocak Hersch has taught mathematics since 2016 at Robert College, a co-ed, day and boarding, 9-12 school in Istanbul, Turkey. She has served as the ninth grade level leader and advisor on the boarding students council for two years. Cansu graduated from Boğaziçi University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

Ronald J. Taylor has taught world, American, and Africana history in public, charter and independent schools in New York City since 2014. He currently teaches middle division history and serves as the co-faculty program lead for the STEPS program at the Horace Mann School, a co-ed, N-12, day, independent school, located in the Bronx. As co-faculty program lead, he is responsible for building efficient mentoring programming to support students of color enrolled in the STEPS program to ensure that they thrive during their middle school and upper school experience. In addition to this work, Ronald has been commissioned by the school to develop and implement an N-12 wrap-around service model to support students with financial need. Ronald holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Policy and a Master of Science in Social Studies Education from Syracuse University, where he studied education and the intersection of black male achievement under the guidance of asset-based mentoring programs.

Haley Vander Linden has served as dean of scholars since 2018 at Uplift Williams Preparatory, a co-ed, day school in Dallas, TX. She began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member. She started at Williams, her placement school, in 2015 as a middle school mathematics teacher. Haley is a graduate of Texas Christian University, where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.

Amy Wilson has taught at various grade levels over the past six years. While at Sewickley Academy, a co-ed preK-12 day school outside of Pittsburgh, Amy taught kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade. Prior to entering the independent school world, she taught for three years at Brooke Charter Schools in Boston, MA. There she taught fourth grade, sixth grade math, and eighth grade language arts and social studies. Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Musical Theatre from American University in 2013. Amy is also an alumna of the Klingenstein Summer Institute 2018.

KlingensteinCenter Teachers College Columbia University

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