Meet TFA NY’s 2021 Homeroom Cohort
Learn more about the 2021 Homeroom Cohort leading change across New York City.
April 12, 2021
This year’s Homeroom Cohort is a group of eleven teachers leading change across New York City. Each teacher has a unique journey that inspired them to teach. They are grounded in strong visions for their virtual and in-person classrooms this year. Meet them below!
ADANNA PERRY (N.Y. ‘19)
5th Grade Social Studies at Brooklyn Ascend Middle School
The Why: During a summer teaching fellowship in her junior year of college, Adanna found that her ability to make a difference in the classroom aligned with her passion for social justice. She wanted to join TFA to be a part of a like-minded community that would help get her closer to her personal goals.
“My vision for my classroom this year is to see the whole of my students—all parts of them, and not just fractures of who they might be.”
Learn more about Adanna’s vision for her classroom here.
CRYSTAL JOHNSON (N.Y. ‘16)
7th Grade Science and Coding at Baychester Middle School in the Bronx
The Why: Crystal realized that her personal educational experience was uncommon. She had access to a wide variety of mentors, teachers, and resources in and outside the classroom that inspired her curiosity and learning every year. Crystal joined TFA because she hopes to provide the same opportunities for her students.
“I strongly believe that a student’s zip code should not determine whether they get great schools and classrooms, and that’s why I teach in District 11.”
Learn more about Crystal’s vision for her classroom here.
DINA ELHADIDY (N.Y. ‘20)
6th and 7th Grade Science at Exceed Upper Charter School in Brooklyn
The Why: Dina felt a spark of joy when leading a Chemistry course for incoming freshman at The City College of New York. Inspired by Teach for America’s mission to provide all children access to a quality education, Dina joined TFA to share her knowledge and passion for science.
“I was always told that the key to being successful and enjoying your experience in the classroom is building relationships—building that strong community—and so that is my vision for the classroom.”
Learn more about how Dina hopes to grow as a leader this year here.
GEMISE JONES (N.Y. ‘19)
Pre-K at Sharon Baptist Head Start Campus in the Bronx
The Why: Gemise joined TFA after observing and experiencing educational inequities - both in her own life and in the lives of the college freshman she taught during her time in undergrad. After seeing the way K-12 educational disparities made a significant impact on college students’ success, she wanted to be part changing those outcomes. Gemsie also wants her students to have the opportunity to see themselves in her background and experiences.
“I envision that my students know that I hold them to high expectations and want nothing but the best for them, because I want to make sure that they are not only ready for kindergarten but the world at large.”
Learn more about the rest of Gemise’s vision for her classroom here.
KEUN-WOO LEE (N.Y. ‘17)
Pre-K at PrePrep: The Joan Ganz Cooney Early Learning Program II in the Bronx
The Why: After studying neuroscience in college, Keun-Woo built a strong understanding of why the first five years of life are cognitively, socially, emotionally, and academically important for all children. With the knowledge that educational inequity starts as early as 3 years old, she was motivated to join TFA NY’s early childhood cohort four years ago in order to make a direct impact amongst communities.
“Regardless of whether class is in-person, but especially when it’s remote on Zoom, it was really important for my assistant teacher and I to create a space that was very welcoming, engaging, fun, and made our students feel safe..”
Learn more about why Keun-Woo decided to teach early childhood here.
LAUREN CORDOVA (N.Y. ‘19)
8th Grade Humanities at ReStart Academy in the Bronx
The Why: Lauren studied the sociology of education and had the opportunity to apply that learning by volunteering in several schools in her community. During this time, she saw the stark contrast between underfunded and well-resourced schools and knew she wanted to take an active role in fighting for quality education for all students.
“Hybrid, online learning is all really hard. Our students are facing a lot of life changes because of COVID-19. I think another thing I want to bring into my classroom is teaching resilience and showing them that yes, things are changing so abruptly for us but we can still have some sense of normalcy—we can still learn and have a learning environment together.”
Learn more about Lauren’s vision for her classroom here.
MATT ENGEL (N.Y. ‘18)
9th Grade World History at Westchester Square Academy in the Bronx
The Why: Matt joined the Army after college only to realize that many of his fellow soldiers did not have the same opportunities as he had growing up - which led many of them to join the military. Seeing these disparities, Matt wanted to be a part of an organization working to expand opportunities for all students, preparing them for success beyond their high school degree.
“One of my goals this year is to capture a sense of normalcy and still build classroom bonds...trying to find ways to build community and friendships that you would normally be able to build in a high school environment.”
Learn more about Matt’s journey to TFA here.
NARIH LEE (N.Y. ‘18)
Math at ReStart Academy, in the Bronx
The Why: Narih believes that while education is a right, it isn’t a right that is equitably distributed and accessible. This why she wanted to be a part of an organization that works to tackle this issue through systemic change.
“I think that the best kind of learning happens when we are challenged and we actually fail a little bit. My vision for my classroom is to create a sandbox, where kids feel comfortable exploring and taking risks.”
Learn more about Narih’s vision for her classroom here.
PRINCE ISLAM (N.Y. ‘20)
Algebra II, Statistics, and Quantitative Literacy at The American Dream School in the Bronx
The Why: Prince believes education was his greatest gift. He hopes to share this gift with as many first-generation, low-income New Yorkers—just like himself—so that they may feel empowered by their education the same way he was.
“I hope to grow as a leader this year by learning to become more adaptive to the needs of my students and the greater community in which I serve in this moment, and demonstrating a commitment to quality instruction despite all of the obstacles that accompany teaching in a remote environment.”
Learn more about Prince’s vision for his classroom here.
SHOSHI SINGER (N.Y. ‘18)
Kindergarten at Harlem Link Charter School in Manhattan
The Why: Shoshi believes that education has the potential to be a great equalizer. However, she knows that there is a significant opportunity gap which impacts low-income students and students of color. She joined TFA to be a part of a community committed to expanding opportunities for all students.
“This year I hope to build a really positive classroom community—one where students are growing and interacting with each other, which I think is more important than ever since students are virtual.”
Learn more about how Shoshi is hoping to grow as a leader this year here.
STEVEN RAMDILAL (N.Y. ‘19)
5th Grade World History at Bushwick Ascend Middle School in Brooklyn
The Why: Steven chose Teach For America because he wanted to be a part of a movement reshaping the educational landscape through advocacy and teaching. This year, he leverages his own experiences and utilizes culturally-relevant pedagogy to fundamentally benefit all his scholars.
“I’m striving to uphold a classroom where diversity and inclusion is valued by every community member. During this moment in time, the humanities are even more critical. I’m empowering my scholars to become historians who dive deep into the real history and aren’t afraid to shake the table as a demand for truth in their schools and communities.”
Learn more about how Steven hopes to grow as a leader this year.
Thousands of classroom leaders like the ones above make a tremendous impact in classrooms across New York City this school year, but they can’t do it alone. In a year of uncertainties, TFA teachers resiliently build communities in their classrooms and think creatively about how to create accessible lessons for every kind of student. Investing in our leaders will go further this year than ever before. If you are interested in standing alongside our teachers, visit here to apply to the corps and here to make a donation to TFA NY.
To learn more about supporting Homeroom teachers and all of TFA NY educators in a 1:1 capacity, email Julia.Schmidt@teachforamerica.org .