Meet Our Consulting Teachers

Consulting Teachers work in the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program, a joint program with the District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and mainly provide a full year of peer coaching for all new, non-tenured teachers within the district. Coaching support is customized to meet the needs of the teacher and may include modeling, co-teaching, co-planning, data collection, and real-time feedback in the classroom. Consulting Teachers engage with a variety of school-based stakeholders to support development of teachers on their caseload. Additionally, Consulting Teachers are responsible for creating and designing data-driven Performance Improvement Plans (PIP).

Elementary Consulting Teachers

Christy Ashaba

With nine years of teaching experience, Christy Ashaba brings a wealth of knowledge, pedagogy, and practical skills to her role in the Office of Teaching and Learning.  Christy is passionate about living and working in the beautiful city of Philadelphia. She believes good teachers are not born but developed over time with practice and persistence.  Christy’s certifications include: K-6 Elementary and PK-12 Special Education.

Kia Brady

Kia Brady has been teaching with the district for 14 1/2 years.

Betsy Ortiz-Cann

Betsy is born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia. She loves teaching kindergarten and has a passion for bilingual education. She is full of great ideas and loves being creative in the classroom. She loves giving back and therefore has taught at the middle school she attended, Julia Deburgos from 2004-2016. She is now focusing on growing in her professional career by serving as a consulting teacher on the elementary team.  Betsy’s certifications include: ESL K-12 Elementary and K-6 Bilingual.

Trina Dean

Trina was born and raised in Philadelphia where she was educated within the School District of Philadelphia. She has been teaching in the district since 2009 where she has taught grades 3rd-6th. Trina currently serves as a Consulting Teacher on the Elementary team. Trina’s certifications include: ESL K-12 and Elementary Education K-6.

Sheree Ellison

Sheree is an 18 year veteran teacher with the School District of Philadelphia. She has held various teaching and leadership position during her tenure. Sheree believes that as educators we must continuously grow our practice to advance students beyond surface-level thinking to concrete and real world application.  Sheree’s certifications include: Elementary K-6 and Administration K-12.

Jessica Jaecks

Jessica taught within the School District of Philadelphia for seven years, bringing three years of teaching experience from outside of SDP prior to transitioning to her current role with the Office of Teaching and Learning.  As a Philadelphia native, Jessica is passionate about her work within the School District community and supporting teachers and students in this collaborative role.  Jessica’s certifications include: Elementary Education K-6 and Reading Specialist K-12.

Andrea Gray

Andrea is a proud School District of Philadelphia educator who has served the district’s students since 1987. After 18 years of classroom teaching, she transitioned to a leadership role supporting teachers as a School Based Teacher Leader, Reading First Coach, Reading Recovery Teacher, and a Reading Specialist. Andrea has supported teacher growth through the district’s Teacher Induction program as well as by providing professional development for teachers in the area of literacy. Andrea is a graduate of Rutgers University and earned her Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  Andrea’s certifications include: Elementary K-6, Reading Specialist K-12, and Principal Pre-K – 12.

Lisa Richardson

Lisa’s experience in the district expands over twenty years. In addition to teaching at the elementary level, she has worked in various leadership capacities: Grade Group Chair, New Teacher Mentor, Practicum Mentor Teacher, Urban Seminar Mentor Teacher, Reading First Coach, School- Based Teacher Leader, and Testing Coordinator. Lisa’s certifications include: Elementary Education (K-6) and Administration (K-12).

Michelle Shields

Michelle has served the district as a teacher, school based leader, regional literacy coach, school growth teacher, teacher coach, consulting teacher, professional learning specialist and New Teacher Induction Coordinator. She has supported and delivered professional development to teachers of all grade levels from elementary to high school. Michelle says, “I never cease to be amazed at the impact and change that the coaching process brings to teachers, students and schools.”  Michelle’s certifications include:  Elementary, Administration, Certified Professional Developer, and ESOL K-12.

Jenn Schneider

Jenn has been an educator in Philadelphia for little over a decade and is a proud product of Philadelphia Public Schools. Her experiences span across grades K-8 as; middle school reading specialist assistant, co-teacher, teacher, EL/inclusion teacher, EL specialist, grade group leader, leadership team, Teacher Induction facilitator, Teacher Symposium facilitator. In her current role as a Consulting Teacher, Jenn is passionate about collaborating to best meet the needs of students and teachers. Jenn’s certifications include: Elementary K-6 and ESOL K-12.

Gara Speight

Gara’s experience spans over a decade in various capacities including elementary school teacher, teacher mentor and teacher leader.  As a native Philadelphian and product of Philadelphia Public Schools, Gara exudes a deep passion for the teachers and students she serves.  Gara’s certifications include: Early Childhood Education N-3; Elementary Education K-6; and Administrative Principal K-12.

Sofia Vega

Sofia has been proudly serving the School District of Philadelphia’s students and families for 12 years. She has joined the Office of Teaching and Learning as a consultant teacher on the elementary team. Sofia is a certified Elementary Education K-6 teacher.

Dr. Sheena Wilson

Sheena Wilson has 18 years of experiences in the School District of Philadelphia. She has taught in varies school as a Substitute Teacher, Elementary Teacher, Dean of Students, and School Base Teacher Leader. In her current role, Sheena supports teachers in the PAR Program and is certified as an Elementary K-6 teacher.

Janell Wright

Janell has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia as an Elementary Education teacher for the past eight years. She brings over 15 years of experience working in urban education, which includes Early Childhood Education and Special Education. A New York City native, Janell is passionate about serving underrepresented communities and families. Janell’s certifications include: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education.

Middle School Consulting Teachers

Anastasia Austin

Anastasia is a proud Philadelphia native, graduating from The Philadelphia High School for Girls. Throughout her 12 years working as a Philly Educator, she has served as a Middle Years ELA Teacher, Literacy Lead, PBIS Team Lead, Dean of Climate & Culture, and an Adjunct Professor. She has a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Drexel University, a Master’s of Science in Reading Instruction from Lincoln University and a Master’s of Education with a concentration in Instructional Coaching from La Salle University. Additionally, Anastasia spends time giving back to the community as a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the Mount Carmel Baptist Church.  Anastasia’s certifications include: K-12 Reading Specialist, K-6 Elementary Education, 7-9 Middle Years English, Instructional Coach Endorsement.

Kathleen Dopkin

With over 20 years of educational experience, Kathy Dopkin serves as a Middle Level Consulting Teacher. She strives for educational excellence, working extensively with student and staff development. Kathy is NBCT certified in both Mathematics 7 -12 and Administration K – 12.

Ian Mahler

Ian Mahler has been in education for 12 years, 10 of these years with the School District of Philadelphia. He has taught grades 4-8, with the majority of his years in a middle school Language Arts classroom. He is a strong believer that the teacher is the chief learner in the classroom; learning about their students to tailor lessons to meet the individual needs of each diverse learner. As a Consulting Teacher, he is committed to learning about the teachers he supports to best serve their needs and the needs of their students. Ian’s certifications include: Elementary Education: K-6, and Middle Years Language Arts: 6-8.

Elizabeth McAnally

Elizabeth came to coaching after 25 years of service as a general/choral music educator here in Philly. In her “spare” time she writes and speaks on the topics of middle school general music and urban music education, and consults for area arts organizations. She is very passionate about providing the highest quality instruction for our city’s children and meaningful supports for teachers.  Beth’s certifications include: Music K-12 and Middle Years English.

Stan Moleski

Prior to joining the Office of Teaching and Learning, Stan taught middle school math for over 25 years and held a number of leadership roles as SBTL and RtII Champion. Stan is passionate about the work he does as a coach and the effect it has on the students we serve.  Stan’s certifications include:  Elementary K-6, Middle Years Math, and Middle Years Science.

Kathy Rhodes

Kathy is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia and has taught in the School District of Philadelphia for 24 years. She has had the fortune of teaching every grade K-12. Kathy has also fulfilled leadership roles as a School Based Teacher Leader and Testing Coordinator. She holds a graduate degree from Holy Family University in Educational Leadership. Kathy’s certificates include: Elementary Education K-6, Middle Years Science, and Secondary English.

Jordan Solomon

Jordan has been with the School District of Philadelphia since 2008. He has served as a Physical Education and Health teacher, Dean of Students, and an intern principal. Jordan has worked at Shawmont Elementary School and the Philadelphia Military Academy at Elverson. Jordan is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He is fully committed to facilitating great teaching in Philadelphia so that all students can achieve greatness. Jordan’s certifications include: Principal Certification K-12, Physical Education and Health K-12.

Leslie Strothers

Leslie Strothers embarked on her educational career in the School District of Philadelphia at Widener Memorial School. While there she taught and advocated for students with orthopedic impairments in various grades. She also worked with a non-profit to initiate and organize an after school program for students with special needs that provides academic and social skills, as well as vocational opportunities. Leslie has worked with other non-profit organizations, along with the district, to provide credit recovery opportunities to high school students in order to get back on track to graduate on time. Leslie received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She additionally earned a Masters in Education from Temple University and a Masters in Alternative Education from Lock Haven University. Leslie is also a National Board Certified Teacher. Leslie believes that it is imperative to create a community where excellence and best practices are the norm in order to provide our students with the best education and looks forward to her new role as a Consulting Teacher. Leslie’s certifications include: Elementary K-6, English 7-12; Mathematics 7-12; Special Education K-12 Mentally & Physically Impaired, Learning Disability; National Board Certification-Exceptional Needs Specialist; and Principal K-12.

High School Consulting Teachers

Kristian Ali

Kristian Ali is entering her 11th year as an educator in the School District of Philadelphia. During that time, she served as a Middle School Academy Leader, ELA Lead Teacher, and Principal intern. Kristian is a Philadelphian and a product of the School District of Philadelphia. She believes that every child deserves the right to be educated by a skilled and effective educator. Kristian is certified in 7-12 English.

Carl Ackerman

Carl Ackerman has taught History in the Philadelphia Public School District for over 16 years as a History teacher, English teacher, Lead History Teacher, and Mock Trial Coach. Carl’s certifications include: Secondary Education Social Studies and Secondary Education English.

Meenu Bhutani

Meenu Bhutani began her teaching career with the School District of Philadelphia as a high school Biology teacher. During her twenty years at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), she has taught several STEM courses including Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Physical Science and Environmental Science. Meenu received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Education from the University of Delhi, India. She additionally earned Masters degree in Zoology from the University of Delhi, India and a Masters in Educational Leadership from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia. A National Board Certified teacher, Meenu is excited in her new role as a Consulting Teacher to work alongside educators who are committed to providing equal educational opportunities for children throughout the city. Meenu’s certifications include: Physical Science 7-12, Biology 7-12, National Boards Certification -AYA Biology.

Ebony Hollingsworth

Ebony Is a proud native of Prince Georges County, Maryland. Prior to entering the School District of Philadelphia, Ebony worked for eight years in Alternative Education and later transitioned into William Sayre High, teaching Special Education students full time for three years. Ebony is now beginning her first year as a Consulting Teacher with the Office of Teaching and Learning. She is working towards her second Master’s degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University and holds a K-12 Special Education Certification.

LaShundra McCook

LaShundra moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Philadelphia in 2006 to begin her teaching career at the now closed University City High School. Over her career, she has served as Academy Leader, School Based Teacher Leader, History Department chair, and as a supervising cooperative teacher to student teachers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Temple, and West Chester Universities. She is certified Secondary Social Studies 7-12 and College Board AP US Government. LaShundra is a proud Xavier University, Ohio alumni. She is excited to join the consulting teacher team to help teachers new to the school district successfully navigate their first year to be the best teacher they can for the students of Philadelphia! LaShundra’s certifications include: Secondary Social Studies 7-12

Sharon Connelly-Menotiades

Originally from Pittsburgh, Sharon has been an educator for 17 years in California and Pennsylvania. She got her B.S. in Education and English from Duquesne University and her M.S. in School Leadership from California State University at Northridge. She is excited to be a Consulting Teacher and to help support others in the profession she loves.  Sharon’s certifications include: English 7-12, NBCT English Language Arts, and Advanced Placement Literature & Language.

Kwanita Williams-Holt

Kwanita has ten years of experience in the School District of Philadelphia. She has taught both high school English and English as a Second Language. In her current role as a Consulting Teacher, Kwanita coaches identified teachers in the PAR program.  Kwanita’s certifications include: English 7-12, English As a Second Language K-12, and Principal K-12.