Skip to main content

Teach For America St. Louis Welcomes Fifteen New Aspiring School Leaders Fellows

Fifteen Educators Will Join Fellowship to Become School Leaders in St. Louis

September 14, 2021

Teach For America (TFA) St. Louis today announced its eighth cohort for the Aspiring School Leaders Fellowship, which consists of 15 educators participating in year-long professional development and coaching to become school leaders in St. Louis.

The fellowship program prepares a racially and professionally diverse cohort of educators to lead high-performing schools by cultivating their skills to positively influence student outcomes and educational equity, and supports them in advancing along a pathway to school leadership. Since its launch in 2014, the program has graduated more than 75 participants, a majority of whom are in school leadership roles today across St. Louis. These include six school district principals, seven charter school founders and executive directors, more than 25 mid-level school leaders, and two elected school board members. One-third of last year’s cohort have already taken on school leadership roles in the 2021-22 school year.

“TFA seeks to double the number of students reaching key educational milestones in St. Louis by 2030, and school leaders play a pivotal role in contributing to meaningful progress,” said Elizabeth Bleier, interim executive director of TFA St. Louis. “Studies support that school leaders are uniquely positioned to have impact at scale, while also being proximate enough to directly influence student outcomes.” 

Nearly 75 percent of the 2021-2022 cohort identify as coming from a historically underrepresented community; 53 percent are leaders of color, and 33 percent identify as first-generation college graduates. Fellows will participate in monthly cohort meetings during the school year, four full days of professional development, and one-on-one career discussions over the year. They are also invited to pursue a Masters in Educational Leadership to earn their principal certification through Saint Louis University, ensuring they have the necessary credentials to move into leadership positions. 

This year’s fellows are:

  • Meghan Batson, Instructional Coach, Premier Charter School
  • Tyler Chance, Lead Teacher, KIPP St. Louis
  • Jasmyne Clay-Griffin, Learning Support Teacher/Family Engagement Specialist, KIPP St. Louis High School
  • Sarah Draper, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Kairos Academies
  • Nick Guadiana, Math Teacher, Kairos Academies
  • Philece Horton, Lead 5th Grade ELA Teacher/Grade Level Chair/Family Engagement Specialist, KIPP Triumph Academy Middle School
  • Taylor Jones, Middle School ELA/Mentor Teacher, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls
  • Sam Kempf, Math Specialist, EAGLE College Prep: Fox Park
  • Robert Narrow, PE Teacher/Teacher Leader, Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction, Saint Louis Public Schools
  • Nahomie Nertilus, Middle School Math/ Math Department Chair, Westview Middle School, Riverview Gardens School District
  • Samantha Orf, Neurodiverse Learners’ Teacher, Kairos Academies
  • Emily Philippone, ESL/ELL Teacher, Hazelwood Central High School
  • Christina Salmo, 2nd Grade Teacher, KIPP Wisdom Academy Elementary School
  • Jonas Vilaire, Language Immersion Lead Teacher, St. Louis Language Immersion School
  • Cynthia Williams-Peters, Academic Instructional Coach, Hickey Elementary School, Saint Louis Public Schools

“Being a part of this fellowship, I am excited to grow my skill set and knowledge in educational leadership in St. Louis,” said Christina Salmo. “I am hoping from this fellowship I grow as a leader and I am able to make meaningful connections with phenomenal educators that are making change happen in St. Louis.”

To learn more about TFA St. Louis, visit or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

*NOTE: This release was updated on October 7, 2021 to reflect a slight change in the list of fellows.


About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

News Contact

Richard Callow

(314) 308-0820