The Office of Curriculum and Instruction (OCI) facilitates the development of a comprehensive core curriculum, ensuring that all students leave our schools college and career ready. OCI ensures success for all students by developing and implementing a high quality, standards-based curriculum, and a streamlined and data-driven evaluation model
Meet Our Leadership Team
La Tanya R. Miller, Executive Director
Early Literacy Team
Felicia Brown, Director of Early Literacy
Felicia Brown currently serves as one of the Directors of Early Literacy. In this role, she oversees the Early Literacy Specialist and Literacy Lead projects for Networks 2 and 11. Felicia has worked with the School District of Philadelphia since 1998 as an elementary teacher, school based teacher leader, literacy coach, and Assistant Principal. Felicia earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Millersville University, her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Principal Certification from Gwynedd Mercy, and her Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University.
Megan Conley, Director of Early Literacy
Megan Conley currently serves as one of the Directors of Early Literacy. In this role, she oversees the Early Literacy Specialist and Literacy Lead projects for Networks 10 and 12. Megan has worked with the School District of Philadelphia since 2007 as a classroom teacher, literacy lead and literacy coach. Megan earned a BS in Business Administration from Susquehanna University and a MS in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum from Drexel University.
Jennifer Dianna, Director of Early Literacy
Jennifer Dianna currently serves as one of the Directors of Early Literacy. In this role, she oversees the Early Literacy Specialist and Literacy Lead projects for Networks 4 and 7. Jen has worked with the School District of Philadelphia since 2014 as an Early Literacy Specialist, coaching in classrooms K-3. Jen earned a BA in Political Science from West Chester University and a Certificate of Elementary Education, a Masters in Educational Leadership, and a Principal’s Certificate (K-12) from Alvernia University.
Donna Jacklin, Director of Early Literacy
Donna Jacklin currently serves as one of the Directors of Early Literacy. In this role, she supports the Early Literacy Specialist, Literacy Lead, and Reading Specialist projects. Donna has over 28 years experience in education and has served as an elementary teacher, an instructional support teacher, a reading specialist, a reading supervisor, an assistant principal, an elementary principal, and a principal’s coach. Donna received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University, her Master’s Degree in Reading and Reading Specialist Certification from Arcadia University, and her Master’s Degree in Supervision and Administration and Elementary Supervisor and Principal Certifications from Rider University.
Antoine O’Karma, Director of Early Literacy
Toni currently serves as an ELA Curriculum Specialist. She has been teaching in the district since 1997. Toni holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Rosemont College, a Master’s Degree in Education and Reading Specialist Certification from St. Joseph’s University and is working toward a Master’s with Educational Administration at Holy Family University. Additionally, Toni is part of the Teachers’ College Reading Writing Project at Columbia University. In 2005, Mrs. O’Karma received the Rose Lindenbach Award for Improvement in Education.
ELA Team K-12
Traci McCabe, Director of Middle Years Literacy
Traci McCabe currently serves as the Director of Middle Grades Literacy. Traci has been with the School District of Philadelphia since 1998 and has served as an elementary teacher, a model classroom teacher for America’s Choice, an ESOL Coordinator / Program Specialist, a middle years math / science teacher, a testing coordinator, a Dean of students, a School Based Instructional Specialist (SBIS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts (Grades 9 -12), and an ELA Curriculum Specialist for high school. Traci received her bachelor degree in Psychology and her master’s degree in Elementary Education from Temple University. Her principal certification was received from Cabrini University. Traci is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of West Florida. Traci is grateful for the opportunities provided to her by the district and realizes how blessed she is on a daily basis to work with such dedicated teachers and hard-working students!
Yonaira Rodriguez, Curriculum Specialist, ELA
Yonaira Rodriguez serves as an ELA Curriculum Specialist with the School District of Philadelphia. She previously taught 6th and 7th ELA as well as 3rd grade and 6th grade self-contained classrooms. In addition, Yonaira has worked as an instructional coach in several school districts and in the non-profit sector. Yonaira is a proud SDP alum having graduated from Edison High School is 1996. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College and a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Neumann University. Additionally, she holds a graduate certificate in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, an Autism Endorsement, and is currently working on her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University. Yonaira was awarded Orange County Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2005.
Lauren Sturner, Curriculum Specialist, ELA
Lauren Sturner serves as an ELA Curriculum Specialist. She taught high school and middle school in Washington, DC for 8 years and has worked as teacher lead, department chair, and curriculum writer. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Secondary Social Studies Education from William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Instruction from American University. She is currently working toward a Master’s with Educational Administration at Holy Family University. Additionally, Lauren has her National Board Certification in English Language Arts/Adolescence Young Adulthood.
Shirl Ishmael, Curriculum Specialist, ELA
Gifted Education Team
Paula R Don, Director of Gifted Education
Paula Don currently serves as the Director of Gifted Education. In this role she provides resources and supports to schools to serve the instructional needs of our gifted and talented students. Paula joined the School District of Philadelphia team in 1989 as a teacher, moving to the Office of Educational Technology in 2000 where she served as a Director until taking on her current role. She has a BA and MSEd from the University of Southern California, a Principal’s Certificate (K-12) from Drexel University and a Letter of Eligibility for Superintendent from Arcadia. She serves as a consultant for the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and is an Adjunct Faculty member at Temple University.
Robynn Pitts, School Psychologist, Gifted Speciality
Nancy Nayowith, Director, Health, Safety and Physical Education
Lauren Nocito, Director, Nutrition and Health
Judith Peters, Program Coordinator, Health and Physical Education
Emily Magee, Curriculum Specialist, Math
Emily Magee is a math curriculum specialist, specializing in K-4 math. Before joining the district, she taught primarily middle grades math in public and charter schools in Hawaii and in Philadelphia. She has additionally has had roles as a Math Methods Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, and as a math teacher coach for new teachers. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia, her MEdT in Teaching Secondary Math from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and is pursuing her EdD in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and her Principal Certification through Penn State.
Meredith Scheiner, Curriculum Specialist, Math
Jaimie O’Sullivan, Curriculum Specialist, Math
Operational Staff and Other
Stacy Kerentzis, Director, Operations
Stacy Kerentzis currently serves as the Senior Project Manager, in the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. In this role, Stacy is responsible for overseeing all components of large-scale academic projects and initiatives from inception to implementation, including contract administration, grants compliance, and budget oversight. Stacy has been with The School District of Philadelphia since 2008. Prior to Stacy joining the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in 2016, she worked in the Office of Effectiveness. There she coordinated all Principal, Assistant Principal and Teacher professional development. Stacy’s areas of expertise are strategic planning, project management, database management, financial management, contract management. Stacy received her BA from Temple University.
Kara J. Adams, Special Projects Assistant II
Kara J. Adams currently serves as the Special Projects Assistant II where she provides general administrative support for projects, produces proposals, organizes and maintains project files, databases, plans and reports for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Kara received her BA in Communications from Cheyney University.
Rachel Cherry, Program Manager
Rachel currently serves as a Program Manager for the Math Science Partnership grant, Co-Director over the School District’s Annual George Washington Carver Science Fair, manager of the Penn-State Scholarship Fund for Minorities, and manage inventory for the district, in the Office of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment. Rachel has worked with the SDP since 2006, and holds an Accounting Certification from Accounting Business School of Pennsylvania. She has earned a BS, in Early Childhood Education from Eastern University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Urban Education.
Clarivel Escobar, Confidential Secretary
Clarivel Escobar currently serves the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment as the confidential secretary. In this capacity, she provides support and assistance for the entire staff as well as the Office of the Arts and Academic Enrichment. Prior to joining the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Clarivel began her career in education as a classroom assistant in the School District of Philadelphia. Clarivel’s 36 years of service has enabled her to assist the initiatives of Assistant Superintendents, Deputy Chiefs and Directors who champion success for our students.
Janicka Newbill, Director of Special Projects
Janicka Newbill currently serves as the Director of Special Projects for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. She supports and guides one of the District’s initiatives to achieve and maintain accreditation with the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) for all 54 high schools. Janicka believes every child can and will learn, if given the opportunity and the tools. This is why she has served our district as a Staff Development Specialist and the Director of Academic Intervention Services. In these roles from 2012-2017, she led the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment 5-year project to ensure the implementation of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s RtII/MTSS initiative with a focus on the overall process and approved tiered academic interventions for our schools. Janicka actively considers herself a lifelong learner for purpose of serving others, which is why she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Paterson University, a Master of Education degree from Wilmington University, and a Master of Arts degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School. She is due to graduate Spring 2018 with a doctorate degree from Liberty University.
Bridget Ruffin, Program Manager
Bridget Ruffin currently serves as the Program Manager for Operations and Grants, in the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. In this role, Bridget is responsible for overseeing large-scale contracts and completing agreements between external vendors and the School District of Philadelphia. Bridget joined The School District of Philadelphia in 2009. Prior to Bridget joining the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in 2012, she worked at Lowell Elementary School as a Parent and Community Liaison. Bridget’s areas of expertise are parental involvement, project management, administrative support, and federal grants compliance. Bridget served in the U.S. Army for 8 years as an Administrative Specialist (71 Lima). Bridget received her Bachelor’s Degree from Temple University and Master’s Degree from Liberty University.
KD Davenport, Curriculum Specialist, Science
KD Davenport currently serves as a K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist. KD earned at BA in Biology at Swarthmore College and a Masters in Secondary Education at the University of Pennsylvania. KD taught biology for 8 years at Central High School in Philadelphia, and served as Assistant Roster Chair and Coordinator of the IB Diploma Program. KD was awarded a Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship in 2009 and achieved National Board Certification in secondary science teaching in 2013.
Emily McGady, Curriculum Specialist, Science
Emily currently serves as a Science Curriculum Specialist. She is also one of the directors of the G.W. Carver Philadelphia City Science Fair. She grew up in the city of Philadelphia and is passionate about urban education. Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology (minor in Chemistry and Physics) from Drexel University in 1999, a Master’s in Science in Education in 2002 (Arcadia), and a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2009 (Cabrini). Emily also put on hold, her work towards a Doctorate Degree at the University of Pennsylvania (in Educational Leadership) to take on her new position and pursue her STEM endorsement certification at the CCIU. Emily taught science for 17 years, but in addition to her classroom role, in recent years she was fortunate enough to train teachers and bring students to work with her in Temple’s Lewis Katz Medical School (Pharmacology Lab) to study addiction. She believes her highest achievement is associated with being a mother of two and a passionate advocate for science (and STEM) education.
Caitlin Hearn, Science Curriculum Specialist
Social Studies Team
Yaasiyn Muhammad, Curriculum Specialist, Social Studies
Yaasiyn Muhammad currently serves as a Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for the School District of Philadelphia. A product of Martin Luther King High School, Yaasiyn holds a bachelor’s degree in history and Master’s degree in education from Temple University, and an Administrative Certification from the University of Pennsylvania. As a Philadelphia native, who proudly touts the city’s best qualities, Yaasiyn sees it as essential to work on the improvement of educational opportunities in Philadelphia. He has served Philadelphia’s students in grades K-12 since 2009, he has done this as a summer instructor for the non-profits Education Works and Steppingstone Scholars, and as a history teacher at Northeast High School, Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School, and Central High School. Yaasiyn’s specialty is 17th-19th century American History, and he has worked collaboratively with peers to develop and improve U.S. and African American History curricula throughout his career. Yaasiyn continues to engage in a host of activities such as school based professional development, book clubs, inquiry groups, and panel discussions with the goal of improving social studies in Philadelphia’s schools.
Shaquita Smith. Curriculum Specialist, Social Studies
Shaquita A. Smith currently serves as a Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for the School District of Philadelphia. She has been developing curriculum for the district for three years, first as a part of the ELA curriculum development team, then as part of the Science curriculum development team. In addition to developing curriculum, she is also dedicated to supporting principals and instructors with advancing content knowledge, pedagogical skills and instructional underpinnings through professional developments, one-on-one conferencing, and partnerships. Prior to coming to the School District of Philadelphia, she was a dedicated classroom instructor and teacher leader in Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee, where she began her work in curriculum development and educator instructional growth. After earning a Bachelor of Science in History, with a minor in Secondary Education, from Austin Peay State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Capella University, Shaquita begin her work in the field of education by focusing on enhancing student learning via rigorous classroom instruction, reflective practices, and teacher/principal collaboration.