Meet Our Professional Learning Specialists
Professional Learning Specialists (PLS) design and deliver focused professional learning experiences for educators grounded in multiple opportunities for practice and feedback to support next-day implementation. Sessions integrate best practices of adult learning with follow up job-embedded coaching to support the application of the session’s content. These supports include individualized coaching, data collection, modeling, co-teaching, and co-planning. PLSs also co-lead a district-wide professional development initiative, which includes: Induction, Tune Up Tuesday, Exemplary Teaching Video Library, and teacher-led professional development events.
Nick began his education career in 2004 at J.D. Smith Middle School in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 Nick came to Philadelphia to help found KIPP West Philadelphia Prep. Over his 10 years at KIPP West, Nick held the roles of Nonfiction Science Teacher, Director of Student Life, and most recently served as the school’s Dean of Students. Nick is experienced in building strong school culture as well as trained in the use of restorative practices to serve students experiencing behavioral challenges. Nick received his undergraduate degree from Saint Vincent College, a PA Teaching Certification from California University, and an M.S.Ed. in Education Administration from National-Louis University in Chicago, IL. Nick is excited to join the Office of Teaching and Learning and work to build excellent educational opportunities for all of our children.
Catherine is joining the Teacher Leadership team with over 15 years of experience in education, five of which have been devoted to coaching and adult development. Her experiences as a teacher in Miami, Washington DC, and Philadelphia have provided her with a unique perspective on different approaches and models of education. Catherine is passionate about equity-focused coaching and research-based early literacy practices, and approaches coaching as a partnership. She is particularly excited to link her work on the Exemplary Teaching Video Library with her work with SBTLs this year!
Cristina has spent her career serving students in high needs schools/neighborhoods first in Newark and Camden, New Jersey, then in Philadelphia at University City and John Bartram High Schools. By moving from elementary school to middle school to high school, Cristina realized that students arrive at school, sometimes despite myriad challenges, excited and curious. Her passion is found in nurturing and sustaining that excitement and curiosity. As a result, Cristina served in a range of school-based leadership positions before joining the Office of Teaching and Learning, first as a Consulting Teacher and now as a PLS. She looks forward to collaborating with school leaders and teachers to provide rich, rewarding teaching and learning opportunities to feed the excitement and curiosity of all involved. Cristina has earned a B.A. in English Literature from NYU, a M.A.L.S. from Dartmouth College, and an M.Ed. from Cabrini College, and holds certification for English, grades 7-12, and an Administrative PK-12 certificate.
Elizabeth Mc Anally
A Philadelphia educator since 1991, Elizabeth (Beth) has served as a general/choral music educator and teacher/leader at Fairhill Elementary and Wilson Middle School, and as a Consulting Teacher supporting new teachers in our district. She holds degrees from Nazareth College, Columbia University Teachers College, and Holy Family University. Her published work includes curriculum materials, articles in peer reviewed journals, and texts about middle school school general music and urban music education. In her “spare” time she consults for area arts organizations, and has been privileged to speak at a variety of state and national conferences. 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, Middle Years English, and Principal K-12.
Diane is entering her 37th year in education. She taught for many years in Maryland in elementary school and then high school and special education. Upon moving to Pennsylvania, Diane has worked in teacher professional development at the Intermediate Unit level and district level. She has been with SDP for almost 7 years. She is a passionate advocate for the civil right of every student to be provided an education that is supported by the best research and sees this as the foundation of positive change for students and society. Diane’s areas of expertise include foundational reading, foundational mathematics, unit-development, building background knowledge, vocabulary instruction, English Language Arts, and teaching students with learning challenges. Diane is honored to support the work of SDP schools, their teachers and leaders. Diane earned her degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of West Florida. She spent most of her childhood in South America and wishes she could remember more Spanish. She lives in rural Salem County, NJ, with her husband and 2 of her children where she paints, reupholsters furniture, and tries her hand at various other arts and crafts.
Erina Pearlstein grew up in the Philadelphia area and began her career in Philadelphia as a music teacher after graduating from Westminster Choir College with a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education. She worked as a K-8 music teacher in the School District of Philadelphia before moving to the charter world to teach high school. Through her experience in the charter world, she took on many teacher leader roles in her school. She also continued her studies, earning her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education in 2012 from Holy Family University as well as her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University in 2017 before becoming an Instructional Coach for two years. She is currently pursuing an Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University. She is thrilled to have transitioned back to the School District of Philadelphia to bring her love of learning to the teachers and students of the great city of Philadelphia. Through her work with the Office of Teaching and Learning she supports High School SBTL coaching and development, K-12 Teacher Induction, and virtual learning.
Dr. Lina Richardson
Dr. Lina Richardson comes to the Office of Teaching and Learning with 15 years of experience in the education sector and a passion for educational equity. An Arizona native, she began her career as a middle school English teacher at Henry C. Lea Elementary School by way of Teach for America (2005). After her third year, she spent one year living in Gifu, Japan and provided English language instruction to over 300 middle and high school students in a rural town through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. She subsequently returned to Philadelphia and continued teaching middle school English before matriculating into Temple University’s urban education doctoral program. Her dissertation centered around Black high school students’ experiences with the African American history curriculum in Philadelphia and specifically examined how teachers’ competing representations (framing) of the Black past shaped students’ understanding of the historical and contemporary Black experience. Upon earning her doctorate, Dr. Richardson joined the faculty at The College of New Jersey as an assistant professor of urban education, where she focused her efforts into developing equity minded, culturally responsive educators. She is excited to now join the OTL team as a Professional Learning Specialist and channel her energy into supporting schools and teachers as we work collectively to achieve the District’s mission of providing a quality education for all students. Dr. Richardson has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Arizona, a Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Temple University.
Emily began her career in education teaching English abroad before returning home to Philadelphia in 2007 as a Philadelphia Corps member. Emily taught middle school math and science for six years in Philadelphia public and charter schools before transitioning to school leadership as an Assistant Principal of Instruction. In this role, Emily supported students and teachers in grades K-8 across a variety of content areas. For the last two years, Emily has worked as a Math Counts Specialist with Carnegie Learning to support mathematics instruction in Philadelphia public schools. She is passionate about collaborating with school leaders and teachers to ensure high quality, engaging learning experiences for students and is excited to return to the School District of Philadelphia as a Professional Learning Specialist. Emily has a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her certifications include: PA Administrative Level I – PreK-12, Instructional II – Mid-level Mathematics 6-9, Instructional II – General Science 7-12.