Meet the Louisiana Fellows

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Traci Aucoin is the GEAR UP Project Director for the Lafayette School System. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) collaborates with community, business and college partners to provide valuable educational experiences for students and helps them plan for post-secondary education. Traci has worked in education over 30 years, beginning as a Science teacher before moving into higher education where she served the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as Directors of the Alumni Association, Special Projects for the President, University College and High School Relations. She is married and has four children and lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Kristy Brumley serves as the Supervisor of Secondary Education for Sabine Parish Schools. A veteran educator, she began her teaching career in 1998. Before serving at the district level, Kristy taught for ten years and served as a school administrator for five years. Her professional interests include leadership development, school improvement, and lifelong learning. Kristy holds degrees in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) and Instructional Leadership (Ed.S.). She earned National Board Certification (NBCT) in 2006 and was honored as a Louisiana Regional Teacher of the Year in 2008-09. Kristy is a devoted Christian, wife, and proud mother of four children.

Tony Cain is the Executive Director of Downsville Community Charter School. He has served as a school leader for 7 years. Prior to being appointed as a school leader, he served as a social studies teacher for 8 years and a publicly elected school board member for 12 years. Outside of his work in education he has served children as a member of the board of directors for Christopher House, an organization dedicated to helping children in crisis, young adults in transition, and the homeless. Additionally, he has served on the board of directors of local girls softball league.

Renee Carpenter is the assistant principal of Kentwood High Magnet School, a public 7-12 school in Kentwood, Louisiana. Prior to joining the KHMS team, Renee was a curriculum specialist and interim principal. She formerly taught high school English/Language Arts, Business and Speech. After spending twenty years in the private sector, Renee transitioned to education in order to fulfil her passion of working with teenagers. She draws from her experience as a former business and HR manager to incorporate career readiness in education ensuring students graduate prepared to attend college and with the necessary skills to successfully enter the work force.

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Angelina Drago has taught Career and Technical Education Programs in Louisiana for 14 years. She is currently the ProStart instructor at Hammond High Magnet School (HHMS), where she has established strong community and industry connections for her students. She also assisted in the process of achieving the authorization of HHMS as the first International Baccalaureate Career Programme in the state of Louisiana. She has gained national recognition for the program at HHMS, through Sullivan University's "Elite 50," a list of top hospitality programs in the nation. She was recently named the 2018 Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year.

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Ambrosia Grant is Academic Dean at Helen Cox High School in Harvey, Louisiana. Prior to joining the school leadership team at Helen Cox; Ambrosia served as Reading Interventionist, Master Teacher and Instructional Specialist in both public and charter school settings. She also previously served as English Language Arts Instructional Facilitator for Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Diplomas Now. Her particular areas of expertise are teacher support and instructional coaching, program management; professional development and school improvement.

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Kristen Green is the Dean of Transition at George Washington Carver High School, of Collegiate Academies in New Orleans, Louisiana. In this role, she is building a community-based, work-based learning program in the Upper Ninth Ward. She also manages the English Program for Upward Bound out of Tulane University. Prior to moving home to NOLA, Kristen taught secondary English at Clinton High School in North Carolina. Beyond the classroom, Kristen worked on state policy initiatives and was appointed to the Governor's Teacher Advisory Committee, advising on the implementation of statewide education policies affecting 1.5m students and 100,000 teachers.

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Courtney Guidry is the Career & Technical Education Coordinator at Sci High, a STEM-centered, open-enrollment charter school in New Orleans. In addition to this position, Courtney also teaches various Project Lead the Way Engineering courses, is certified in Autodesk AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit, and co-sponsor's Sci High's National Beta Club chapter. Prior to this position, Courtney taught various math & history courses at both the high school and middle school level. A product of Louisiana public education herself, Courtney decided to join New Orleans's education rebuilding/reform efforts following Hurricane Katrina, concentrating on both college and career readiness for all students.

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Kristin Hollins is a native of Gonzales, LA. She attended LSU, where she obtained her B.A. in History. Combining her passion for history and education led her to launch a teaching career that has taken her to Arkansas and Washington, D.C. After gaining diversified experiences in the classroom, Kristin moved back to Louisiana to teach in her hometown where she has taught 7th grade History for the past four years. She was recently promoted and currently serves as an Instructional Coach. Kristin and her husband, Josh, enjoy traveling, serving in their local church, and spending time with family and friend.

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Heather Howle is a middle school robotics and engineering teacher at West Feliciana Middle School in St. Francisville. Heather created the STEM course at her school by writing the curriculum and completely funding the program through grants. In 2016, Heather won the prestigious Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice based on her efforts to bring a robust STEM program to her rural school district. In 2017, Heather served as the chair of the K-8 work group to draft the new Louisiana Student Science Standards. Currently, Heather is serving as a science Teacher Leader Advisor reviewing instructional materials.

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Rob Howle has been an educator for 17 years. I have taught in public and private schools in Louisiana and Texas. I have served as a Master Teacher in the TAP program and have assisted in the writing of various curricula. Currently I am serving as the founding principal for the STEM Program in Pointe Coupee Parish. We are currently in our second year and have grown from 250 students to over 470.

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Carlin Jacobs manages YouthForce NOLA’s partnerships with local New Orleans high schools to enhance career pathways programming across New Orleans. Prior to leading this work, he worked for nine years as a teacher and assistant principal in New Orleans. He also worked a number of years in the entertainment industry as an audio engineer, while also working as a graphic designer in New York City. Carlin graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and is a member of New Leaders.

A native to Northwest region of the state, Spencer Kiper serves as the STEM Education Specialist at Elm Grove Middle School in Bossier City, Louisiana. For seven years, Spencer has worked with students and other educators to increase CTE and STEM awareness in his region of Louisiana, as well as serving as an adjunct professor of education for Louisiana State University in Shreveport for the past year. During the summer, Spencer facilitates professional development to educators from around the world through the Space Academy for Educators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, NASA's official visitor's center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Meredith McGovern is the Social Studies Department chair and an AP Social Studies teacher at Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana. Meredith is in her 9th year of teaching at Parkway High School, but has previously taught in Texas and Oklahoma. In addition to her work in the classroom, Meredith is a former Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow and a Fulbright-Hays Scholar. Her focus with these programs has been the globalization of education and improving instruction for 21st century students. She is also a proud mother of two elementary aged children, JP and Addison, and the wife of Patrick.

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Ellyn T. McKinney is the Director of Professional Development & Grants for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport, LA. Prior to joining the Caddo Parish Team, Ellyn was Deputy Director for Network 1 at the LA Dept. of Education where she supported 17 school districts with an emphasis on JumpStart. While Ellyn worked for the LA Dept. of Education she also served as Special Education Coordinator, RTI Coordinator, Director of Region VII Service Center, on the Adolescent Literacy Partnership Project Team, the PARCC Consortium, and certification as a Facilitator for the National Institute of School Leadership Principals' Fellowship.

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London Moore is the Principal of THRIVE Baton Rouge, Louisiana first public boarding school. She is currently obtaining her PHD in Curriculum and Instruction. Ms. Moore been award such accolades as Teacher of the Year as well as BR Business Report's 40 Under 40. Additionally, she has been a lead fellow of America Achieves, working on such projects as the RESPECT Initiative with former Secretary of Education. She has worked on supporting the work of the Common Core as a Student Achievement Partners fellow. Internationally, Ms. Moore is the Co-Founder of the Ghana Educational Collaborative.

With 26 years of dedicated experience, Robin Olivier has been a teacher, a school counselor, and also served as an Adjunct Professor and Educational Talent Search Counselor for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has also worked at the Board of Regents as the State Director of the Louisiana State Scholars Initiative, and helped develop the state’s first Early College Academy. Ms. Olivier has held numerous leadership positions with Louisiana School Counseling Association , Louisiana Career Development Association, and Louisiana State ACT Council. She currently serves as the Director of Career and Technical Education for Lafayette Parish School System.

Dr. David Schexnaydre is an Assistant Principal at Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana. Prior to Destrehan, David was an Assistant Principal at J.B. Martin Middle and a Teacher and Coach at R.K. Smith Middle, all of which are in St. Charles Parish Public Schools. In May of 2016, David received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from UNO, and his dissertation won the Louisiana Educational Research Association's 2016 Outstanding Graduate Paper. David also won the Louisiana Middle School Association's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 2011 and the R.K. Smith Middle School Teacher of the Year Award in 2008.

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Currently serving as the Jump Start Supervisor for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Martha Sealy has been involved in all areas of education from PreK to post-secondary. In 2002, she entered the field of Career and Technical Education at the Louisiana Department of Education as the program consultant for agriculture. After a stint as a regional CTE coordinator, Martha became the interim campus administrator of the Capital Area Technical College's Westside campus collaborating with area school districts to raise dual enrollment from zero to 500 students.

Jayda Spillers is the Career and Technical Education Supervisor for Bossier Parish Schools, as well as the Principal of the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning in Bossier City, Louisiana. Prior to her administrative duties, Jayda was a business teacher in both middle and high school with experience in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. As a high school teacher, she served as a school-to-work coordinator which ignited her passion for assisting students in gaining real-world experience in employer expectations for success.

Mary Elizabeth Thibeaux-Clay is the principal of the College and Career Readiness Center (CCRC), a public high school in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Mary Elizabeth opened CCRC three years ago with her instructors for St.Martin Parish School District. She has been a middle school principal, a high school science teacher, a career and technical instructor, and an adjunct professor. Mary Elizabeth believes career exploration has to begin in middle school and continue into high school. Outside of her work, she spends time with her family cheering on her boys.

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Mary Wilson Arrasmith is the Coordinator of Career & Technical Education ifor the West Baton Rouge Parish Schools. She has served as a transition specialist and a special educator, and has worked in WBR for fifteen years. Arrasmith holds a Bachelor's from Louisiana State University & a Master's in Educational Leadership. She is one of the founding members of the DOW-WBR STEM Academy & coordinates STEM Activities for the DOW-WBR STEM Hub. Arrasmith has serves on the Capital Region Jump Start team & has been a part of the Career Readiness team for that region.