Summer Scholar 2022 Bios
Christina Baik is an Upper School English Teacher at DePaul College Prep, where she also serves on EDI Leadership, moderates the AAPI Alliance, and coaches the slam poetry team. She absolutely loves getting to know her students to support them holistically, fostering community among her colleagues, and crafting interdisciplinary curricula that allow students to grapple with their complex identities, ethics, and sense of purpose. She holds a B.A. in English Literature, Sociology, and Anthropology from Swarthmore College; an M.A.R. in Religion and Literature from Yale University; and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College Lynch School of Education. She has taught for over a decade in a range of private and parochial schools in addition to serving as a Wurtele Gallery Teacher at the Yale University Art Gallery, Senior Resident Tutor at Harvard College, and Teacher Leader for Facing History and Ourselves. She and her family live in Chicago and love to explore new restaurants, build with Lego, read, visit parks, and work on a homemade tabletop game together.
I live and teach at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. I began my teaching career in 1999 but took seven years off to be with my two children full time. When my youngest went to kindergarten 10 years ago, I headed back to the classroom! I teach primarily 11th and 12 grade students in the International Baccalaureate program, and I also teach an Inclusion class collaboratively with a special education teacher. Living near the Adirondacks has a lot of perks for outdoorsy people! I love to hike (we have 46 high peaks, and so far I have only checked off 3). I also do quite a bit of cycling. I love to read on my screened porch during the summer and I snowshoe with my dog during our long winter months! Our region also has the benefit of being just a few hours’ drive from both Boston and New York City, so I enjoy a regular city hit now and again. I love the theater and the food of cities, and I am very much looking forward to checking out San Jose for the first time!
Sovandara Chhin is a first generation Khmer American and early childhood educator, currently working in a kindergarten classroom in Santa Monica. She has over 15 years experience teaching young children– with five of those years spent teaching internationally in The Gambia, China, and India. She is a life-long learner with a California Clear Credential, two Master’s degrees and an early childhood credential from the American Montessori Society. Sovandara has a deep commitment to anti-bias and anti-racist work and she views love as an action that compels us to interrupt racism, bias, prejudice and hate with strength, experience, love and compassion. She was a featured presenter on the topic of: You Down with I.P.P.? How do we pair Inclusive Pedagogical Practices with loving action? Time stamp: 27:00- 39:00). She will also present at NCTE (National Council Teacher of English) annual conference in November 2022.
Julia Clinton is a New Jersey high school history teacher at Immaculate Heart Academy where she has taught both US history and world history. Julia graduated from New York University in 2016 with a Master of Arts in teaching social studies, and Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2015 with bachelors’ degrees in history and international studies. This will be her second National Endowment for the Humanities program, the first New-York Historical Society’s Women in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Julia hopes that through participating in this program she will be able to challenge her east coast point of view by learning more about immigration to the west coast.
Lauren Darby currently teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies and theatre in Iowa City, Iowa, where she lives with her wife and their dog, Mia. She originally hails from Massachusetts.
Britt was born & raised in Atlanta, GA and studied Art History/Cultural Studies and Film/Video Production. He has taught pre-K, worked in commercial production & post-production, and now teaches in a multi-age 3rd- & 4th-grade classroom. In his spare time, he crochets soft-sculpture & yarn-bombing & helps organize radical queer arts & advocacy events.
Jackie Grant has been teaching for over 20 years and is currently in her 18th year at Irvington UFSD in Westchester, NY. She has taught almost every English course offered at Irvington High School, and for the last several years has been teaching AP Literature and Freshman Writing Studio. She was directly involved in the creation of the Freshman Writing curriculum, and spearheaded and collaborated on the creation of a new course, Reading America, which highlights diverse narratives and the stories of those who have lived on the margins of American society. Additionally, she has created and advised many clubs throughout the years, including a theater club, a creative writing club, a film club and a book club. She is currently working with a student to create an Asian-American club, which will feature cultural events and guest speakers. She also works extensively with NYU’s Global Inclusion and Diversity program, and was chosen as a leader by the district to help create more inclusive practices for all learners. She is a graduate of The University of Massachusetts and Simmons College, holding degrees in English and Education. Jackie resides in Pleasantville, NY, with her two teenage children and two dogs.
Susan Harris-Boring teaches English, history, and eastern geography to military-affiliated students at Kaiserslautern Middle School near Ramstein, Germany, all part of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Originally from Louisiana, she’s spent twenty years exploring the world with her active-duty spouse and daughter, having lived all over the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Germany has been home for the past seven years. She loves living in Europe, taking full advantage of the opportunity to explore historical and literary sites first hand. Much of her free time is filled with student-focused activities, with the goal of getting kids out of the classroom and into the community. Harris-Boring holds undergraduates in film studies and journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a masters in teaching English from the University of Maryland University College. She is currently pursuing a masters in American history from Ashland University. For her volunteer work with Operation Allies Welcome in the fall of 2021, Harris-Boring was awarded a Public Service Commendation Medal by the United States Department of the Army.
Elisa Herrera has been teaching for 24 years. She is currently a 6th grade co-teacher and the elementary representative on the DEI team at The Paideia School in Atlanta, GA. When pandemics don’t interfere, she annually writes an original hour long play for a cast of 30 elementary students for the Mainstage at Paideia. She’s completed 21 as of this year! Elisa runs the school-wide Diversity Book Discussion group for faculty and has created professional development workshops on identity and on creating Central Subject curricula. She also has taught Fiber Arts and Middle Eastern Dance. She has completed two Fulbright-Hays Seminars in New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Hungary and has participated in past NEH programs, including “The Irish Immigration Experience” and “Political and Constitutional Theory for Citizens”. She is a graduate of Vassar College, New York University and Bank Street College of Education. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Studies, Education Theatre, and Early Adolescence. She resides in Atlanta, GA, with her husband, a senior cat, and a COVID puppy.
Caren Izzo has been teaching for 25 years and is currently teaching 8th grade Social Studies and Theatre at Haddonfield Middle School in Haddonfield, NJ. In addition to teaching 8th grade, she has been the director of the middle school after-school Drama Club for the past 12 years. She has earned degrees from The College of the Holy Cross (BA), Lesley University (MEd) and The Catholic University of America (MA Theatre Education). She began her career as a Teach For America Corps member in Newark, NJ in 1997. She has led workshops for teachers in integrating drama and the arts into the content classes, and wrote and directed two original theme theatre performances with her students “The Fight to Vote” and “Hello My Name Is…” In addition to teaching she enjoys dancing, traveling, cooking, gardening, and reading, and attending theatre. She is excited to meet and work with all the participants in the California Immigration summer institute.
Hannah Jang is a Third Culture Kid who grew up in three different countries (U.S.A., China, South Korea) before settling in Boston as an adult. This is her 5th year at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and she teaches 10th grade ELA, AP Language and Composition, as well as a senior elective called This is America: Stories of Immigrants. Hannah designed this course so students could read and discuss the stories of people like themselves and explore cultural identity, belonging, and multi-generational immigrant experiences. She’s forever on the hunt for new documentaries, movies, podcasts, essays, and novels to enrich the curriculum. Outside of the classroom, Hannah enjoys walking around the city looking for good food, playing volleyball, and is eagerly waiting for the 2022 World Cup and the next season of Ted Lasso.
Adrian Khactu teaches upper school English at ‘Iolani School (Honolulu, HI), with courses in race, social justice, and comparative American literatures. He is a pretty bad surfer, but a connoisseur of hole-in-the-wall Oahu ramen shops.
Edrik Lopez teaches in the English Department at Choate Rosemary Hall, in Connecticut. He teaches “Literatures in a Global Context,” “American Studies,” and “Postcolonial Literature.” He is also the head varsity softball coach and coaches club Brazililan jiu-jitsu. He enjoys exploring New England with his family in all the wonderful seasons.
Kelsey Miller is a high school English teacher in Box Elder, Montana. Her favorite learning moments with students often take place outside the classroom—at speech and drama tournaments, during visits to university libraries and throughinternational travel. When school is not in session, Kelsey enjoys running, reading, and farming.
Gabe Ortiz is a proud husband, father of three, a solo theatre artist, a television host on PBS, a literacy teacher, and the co-founder & vice principal of a Title 1 charter school in Florida. With over 20 years of teaching and administrative experience, he works with ‘disadvantaged’ youth, English Language Learners and students in Special Education. He is an Independent Literacy Consultant for Jennifer Serravallo and leads professional learning workshops for school districts and educators across the country on how to effectively implement responsive literacy practices in an inclusive classroom using Serravallo’s techniques. Gabe is the 2022 recipient of the Governor Ron DeSantis Hispanic Heritage Award for Excellence in Education. He holds a B.A from Cal State Northridge and an M.F.A from Penn State University, where he also taught undergraduate classes.
Julia Perlowski is a K-12 United States urban school educator and educational consultant since 2006. Currently certified in theater and English, she teaches in Boston Public Schools serving students and teachers in the areas of theater, literacy and oracy. Julia is active in the Shakespeare world in the US and abroad. She runs the Northeast Shakespeare Competition from Boston for the English Speaking Union. She was a fellow for the Folger’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute (2006) and for the UK GLOBES’s Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute (2009). In addition to training teachers across the US, Julia has worked in St. Lucia, Sweden, Poland, Pakistan and India with Shakespeare and with Boalian devising methods to get communities to talk with one another, solve communal challenges and explore personal and site specific identities. In 2010 Julia received the Teaching Excellence Award from the U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT’s IREX division through which she traveled to India to share her theater work. That same year she received the Reba R. Robinson Award from the CHILDREN’S THEATRE FOUNDATION in partnership with the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. Given biennially, this prize recognizes one secondary school teacher in the United States for outstanding achievement in, and commitment to, children’s theater. She is honored to be a part of the Immigration Institute where she may explore storytelling through theater with amazing educators.
Mary Beth Poole
I am an intermediate grade schoolteacher (fourth and fifth grade Reading and Social Studies, Interventionist) at a Department of Defense School on US Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC. I use Social Studies content to support students who are struggling readers or ESL. I’m also adjunct faculty of UNC and Nova Southeastern U. I teach graduate classes in educational research and curriculum. I live with my husband (a retired US Marine and author) on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. My avocation is supporting and advocating for recent immigrants as well as keeping fit and feeding my curiosity. I’m looking forward to meeting and learning from my fellow scholars.
Donna Rabin teaches English (currently IB Language & Literature) and is Service Learning/CAS Coordinator at International High School, part of French American International School in San Francisco, CA. She has taught at IHS since 2011. While Donna is a Bay Area native, she spent the first two decades of her adult life resisting the allure of her home state. After receiving a masters in education from Northwestern, she lived in Chicago for 8 years, and discovered the wonders of the IB diploma program while teaching at a public magnet school. With this IB experience under her belt, she moved abroad and spent 2-year stints teaching at American schools in Rome and Paris. After moving back to the US, Donna received an MFA in Creative Writing from University of SF, and then returned to full-time teaching. Donna lives in San Francisco with her 9 year old daughter.
A teacher in the suburbs of Chicago at Benet Academy, Lori Rogalski been teaching for 20+ years and served as the English Department Chair for the past 5 years. Lori currently teaches Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, British Lit, and Senior Advanced Composition. Along with moderating the school’s Creative Writing Club and literary magazine for many years, she also began Benet’s inaugural Shakespeare Slam Team in conjunction with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. In 2019 Lori attended her first NEH workshop “Teaching Shakespeare through Scholarship and Performance” in Brooklyn, NY. A career highlight has been a stint as a “Summer Scholars” instructor in London for two summers pre-pandemic. She holds degrees in English and journalism from Indiana University and an M.A.T. from Kent State.
Born and raised in Sacramento CA, I left home to study English at the University of California Santa Barbara where I completed a B.A in English. Growing up as the oldest daughter I spent my formative years helping my mom with her in-home day-care. As I worked my way through my undergrad, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my English degree, but I knew I loved nothing more than reading and writing, so when the opportunity arose to get some volunteer hours as a reading tutor for the Santa Barbara School of Squash, I decided to put my prior day-care experience to the test only to find that working with kids was not only something I was good that, but that it was also something I genuinely enjoyed. Having worked my way from tutor to academic coordinator, I decided to stick around as a graduate student at UCSB to pursue my teaching credential. It was during grad school that I met my husband at a college salsa night when he asked me for a dance. Though it was difficult to leave the beautiful beach town, I now teach back home in the same district that kindled my love for reading as a 7th grade ELA teacher and now, for the second year in a row, my schools first ever theatre teacher! When I’m not in the classroom you can catch me on the dance floor, in the pilates studio, roller skating on the bike paths, or taking a stroll with my mini australian shepherd Koda.
I’ve been teaching English and Drama for the past twenty six years in the UK and the US. I’m originally from Sussex, England, but I currently live in Detroit, Michigan with my husband and our chiweenie Archie. I run the theatre program at Troy High School, in addition to teaching American Literature, World Literature and Film. I love reading fiction and watching film and theatre. I also enjoy cooking, visiting National Parks and global travel. I look forward to working with you all!
Jolyn Unruh has been teaching English and Theatre Arts for 15 years at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, MA. She has taught ELA in grades 9-12, plus courses in Film, Performance, and American Literature/American History. Prior to teaching, Jolyn worked as a stage actor for multiple repertory companies and as the Assistant Director to Arthur Storch at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. In April she was awarded the James C. Kapteyn Prize for being a teacher of “exemplary character, integrity and honor who … imparts to students a lifelong love of learning and dedication to personal growth.” She received her M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2018 while recovering from cancer treatment. She lives in the beautiful hills of western Massachusetts with her two mostly grown sons and her two elderly pooches.
I’m a sixteen year teacher of English Language Arts, currently working at Gunderson High School. I have two teenage daughters and so at the moment my hobbies mostly include doing laundry and driving. When I do get the chance to sneak some time for myself, I like to check out what’s going on at the San Jose Museum of Modern Art, take a jog at Lake Almaden, or just loiter around the bookstore.