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Lead Teachers

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Connell Cloyd

Connell Cloyd, originally from Memphis, TN, is a seasoned educator with almost two decades of experience. He holds degrees in Child Development and Education from Tufts University. Currently teaching middle school mathematics at the Henderson Inclusion School for 13 years, Connell believes in showcasing the real-life applications of math, ensuring his students grasp its significance in daily living. Recognized with the nationally acclaimed Barbara Henry "Courage in Teaching Award," Connell, a Mattapan resident, goes beyond being an educator; he's a familiar face in the community, building strong bonds with his students.

Hale Education, Inc.

Hale offers educational and recreational opportunities that develop self-confidence, inspire passion for learning, and encourage appreciation for the natural environment. They reimagine learning by guiding schools and students through experiential, interdisciplinary, community-based opportunities that empower and inspire a passion for learning and transform the education system.

Bruce Pontbriand

Dr. Pontbriand (known to TechBoston Academy students as “Dr. P”) has been teaching Civics and Government at TBA since 2005. Dr. P’s classes have been involved in active civic and government engagement including working on “tiny” designing homes in Dorchester with seniors and elementary students at the Holmes Elementary School, Green Architecture Design with AutoDesk, and government advocacy with City Councilor Andrea’ Campbell’s office. Dr. P lives in Randolph, MA, and is very active in community affairs in his town.

Valencia Hughes-Imani

Dr. Valencia Hughes is a dedicated and experienced educator with a strong passion for teaching students with learning deficits and challenges, particularly those with special needs. With a remarkable career spanning 30 years in the Boston Public School system, Dr. Hughes currently serves as a middle-school mathematics teacher. Her academic journey took her from Northeastern University for undergraduate school to Wheelock College, where she distinguished herself by earning two master’s degrees.The first, a Master of Science in Elementary Education. The second, a Master’s in Special Education, which further honed her expertise in supporting students with diverse learning needs. Demonstrating a remarkable commitment to scholarship and research, Dr. Hughes pursued her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College.Driven by her unwavering belief in the transformative power of education, Dr. Hughes “Why” centers around empowering students with learning deficits or challenges to overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Her dedication, passion, and expertise have earned her the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues alike. Dr. Hughes' deep experience combined with her advanced degrees and tireless commitment to serving students with diverse learning needs, has established her as a trusted authority in the field of education. Her remarkable contributions and unwavering advocacy for inclusive education have undoubtedly made a profound impact on the lives of countless students in the Boston Public Schools system.

Vanessa St. Leger

As a child of immigrant parents and native of the city of Boston, Ms. St. Leger has a distinct interest in serving her community and regularly seeks opportunities to assist or educate the underrepresented. She is a 2017 Teach for America MA Corps member and this is her 7th year teaching in her hometown of Dorchester, MA at the Henderson Inclusion School as a Special Education & History Teacher. She credits her two school age children for her growing passion for education equity. Ms. St. Leger is also an experienced attorney who part-time manages a boutique law firm focusing in the areas of family, immigration, and public interest law. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. St. Leger worked for a civil litigation firm. In this position, she took the opportunity to apply what she learned through her diverse educational and professional opportunities to assist a wide-range of clientele. Ms. St . Leger managed her own caseload and represented clients at all levels of administrative and court proceedings. As a result of this role, she also has developed invaluable communication skills, the competence to understand and deal with cultural differences, and a keen ability to assess individual client needs. Prior to law school, Ms. St. Leger obtained a paralegal certification and worked as a journalist for several media outlets in Washington DC. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from Boston University, a juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in MA and obtained her Bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington DC. She is an avid volunteer and a member of many community organizations and boards.

Vanessa St. Leger

As a child of immigrant parents and native of the city of Boston, Ms. St. Leger has a distinct interest in serving her community and regularly seeks opportunities to assist or educate the underrepresented. She is a 2017 Teach for America MA Corps member and this is her 7th year teaching in her hometown of Dorchester, MA at the Henderson Inclusion School as a Special Education & History Teacher. She credits her two school age children for her growing passion for education equity. Ms. St. Leger is also an experienced attorney who part-time manages a boutique law firm focusing in the areas of family, immigration, and public interest law. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. St. Leger worked for a civil litigation firm. In this position, she took the opportunity to apply what she learned through her diverse educational and professional opportunities to assist a wide-range of clientele. Ms. St . Leger managed her own caseload and represented clients at all levels of administrative and court proceedings. As a result of this role, she also has developed invaluable communication skills, the competence to understand and deal with cultural differences, and a keen ability to assess individual client needs. Prior to law school, Ms. St. Leger obtained a paralegal certification and worked as a journalist for several media outlets in Washington DC. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from Boston University, a juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in MA and obtained her Bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington DC. She is an avid volunteer and a member of many community organizations and boards.

Gabby Jean-Jacques

Gabrielle Jean-Jacques, affectionately known as Gabby, has been an educator in the Boston Public schools for the past 14 years. Most recently she has headed up the Black Studies Department at Another Course to College High School in Hyde Park, MA serving as the African American Studies teacher including serving as the AP African American Studies teacher in its Year 2 pilot stage. In addition to her teaching role, Gabby leads ACC’s SEL programming as an SEL Specialist. As a native to Boston and a first generation Haitian American, Gabby is a graduate of BPS and stayed local to attend Wheaton College in Norton, MA majoring in Sociology and minoring in African, African-American Diaspora Studies. Before graduating, with her B.A. She spent half her junior year studying abroad in South Africa! Afterwards, she pursued her Masters in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Boston through the Boston Teacher Residency program, resulting in a dual Certification in English Language Arts and Moderate Disabilities. Gabby’s teaching philosophy is grounded in Social Justice, Equity and Culturally Linguistically sustaining practices that infuses Social Emotional learning. She aims to elevate and affirm the identities of her Black and Brown students who have systematically faced inequities and marginalization in the public school system. As a lifelong learner, she continuously engages in professional development experiences that help her create safe and welcoming best practices for her students. Gabby is a happy wife and mom of two children, Washington and Alexielle. She enjoys dancing, cooking plant based dishes, and journaling as a form of self-care.

Gabby Jean-Jacques

Gabrielle Jean-Jacques, affectionately known as Gabby, has been an educator in the Boston Public schools for the past 14 years. Most recently she has headed up the Black Studies Department at Another Course to College High School in Hyde Park, MA serving as the African American Studies teacher including serving as the AP African American Studies teacher in its Year 2 pilot stage. In addition to her teaching role, Gabby leads ACC’s SEL programming as an SEL Specialist. As a native to Boston and a first generation Haitian American, Gabby is a graduate of BPS and stayed local to attend Wheaton College in Norton, MA majoring in Sociology and minoring in African, African-American Diaspora Studies. Before graduating, with her B.A. She spent half her junior year studying abroad in South Africa! Afterwards, she pursued her Masters in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Boston through the Boston Teacher Residency program, resulting in a dual Certification in English Language Arts and Moderate Disabilities. Gabby’s teaching philosophy is grounded in Social Justice, Equity and Culturally Linguistically sustaining practices that infuses Social Emotional learning. She aims to elevate and affirm the identities of her Black and Brown students who have systematically faced inequities and marginalization in the public school system. As a lifelong learner, she continuously engages in professional development experiences that help her create safe and welcoming best practices for her students. Gabby is a happy wife and mom of two children, Washington and Alexielle. She enjoys dancing, cooking plant based dishes, and journaling as a form of self-care.

Ashlyn Crossfield

Ashlyn Crossfield is a High School History Teacher at the O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury, MA. She currently teaches World/US History 1 and AP African American Studies. She received her Bachelors in Sociology with a minor in Urban Affairs from Boston University and Masters in Secondary History Education from Boston College where she was also a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar. She also serves on the Education Committee at the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Ashlyn has been a classroom teacher for almost 8 years and is dedicated to teaching through a lens of social justice while helping students make personal connections to history and work to reach their full academic potential.

Tommy Simmons

I have been in the classroom for 16 years, primarily in middle school as a humanities teacher. I have taught in Boston, Savannah (Georgia), and Mozambique. I have seen
too many motivated, creative, dedicated teachers leave the profession because they
did not feel supported. This partnership with Campus Without Walls allows me a chance to provide those supports for teachers who want it, hopefully disrupting the
systemic burnout in our profession. I am currently teaching at Mario Umana
Academy and am fully invested in the lifelong benefits of a dual language program.
Metalinguistic awareness and rollerblading are two of my favorite things.

Long Nguyen

Dr. Long Nguyen has been teaching AP Computer Science at Boston Latin School
for the last ten years. He also teaches for the Math Department and the Computer Science Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has three young
kids, Mila, Rocco and Lana and loves playing tennis and going swimming with them.
He was born in Vietnam and came to Boston at the age of ten. He graduated from
Boston Public Schools and received his Bachelor degree in Mathematics from Boston University and both his Masters and Ph.D in Mathematics from Brigham Young University. After graduating, he taught at the boarding school the Loomis Chaffee in Connecticut for two years before moving to Boston at his current position.

Maia Heggie

Maia joined Notre Dame Academy Hingham as a Theology and STEM teacher this year. Prior to joining Notre Dame, she worked as an Adolescent Clinician and STEM
Special Education classroom teacher and gained significant experience running
youth programs. Maia has her B.A. in Sociology from Boston College and her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Emmanuel College. She has obtained a Dual degree, her second M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a dual focus on Inclusive
Education and Reading from Concordia University Portland online program. Maia
loves robotics and anime.

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