Faculty and Staff


Christopher Johnson became the founding principal of Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber during the 2012 – 2013 school year. Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber is the second campus to the original Science Leadership Academy, an Inquiry School, founded by Christopher Lehmann.

Mr. Johnson has served at many levels of public education in Philadelphia. Starting as a substitute teacher, he has risen through the ranks as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher; Regional Office Director; Assistant Principal at the elementary and middle school levels; High School Principal, Central Office Special assignments, and Deputy of Climate, Culture and Safety.

Gabe Kuriloff – Administrator


Eileen Moderski – School Operations Manager

Rosheka Mullins – Secretary

Rosheka Mullins is a Philadelphia native and published Author who lived in Windsor Mill, MD. and Washington, DC before returning home. She attended Kaplan University as well as Chestnut Hill College. She has 16 years of experience in the Behavioral Health field as a Program Supervisor and Vocational Specialist. She is currently working on her second novel and first Play simultaneously. Rosheka enjoys being a wife, mother of two, writing, music, and fishing.

Asekia Barmont – Nurse

Asekia is a Philadelphia native, raised in West Philadelphia. Asekia attended Temple University School Of Nursing and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2000. In 2009 Asekia received her school nurse certification from Saint Joseph’s University and in 2011 received a Master’s degree in Health Education from Saint Joseph’s as well. Asekia started her nursing career at the Pennsylvania Hospital as a Maternal- infant nurse from 2000-2008. In 2008 Asekia started her career as a school nurse with the School District of Philadelphia. Asekia has worked at numerous schools throughout the Philadelphia School District working with students in grades K-12.  Outside of school nursing, Asekia is a member of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Black Nurses Association and serves on the mentorship committee. Asekia is also owner and CEO of Wellness Health Services, a home care agency serving seniors, children, and adults with disabilities. Recently, Asekia started a company called NurseAppeal which donates 10% of each purchase to a high school senior who has been accepted into a state-certified nursing program. A qualified student may use the stipend to offset the cost of books or technology.  Asekia enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and mentoring our youth.

Upper School Faculty

Bonnee Bentum — English

Bonnee earned her B.A. at Wilkes University; her postgraduate degree work at Chestnut Hill College (M.Ed.) and Fort Hays State University (M.S.). She is currently enrolled in the Global Education PhD program at Northcentral University. Bonnee assists grassroots organizations; supports summer journalism programming for high school students at Temple University through Prime Movers Media, links students to athletic programming with Village of Champions, Inc. and much more. Bonnee also has her own STEM educational resource organization, A Matter of Xpression serving young people, especially girls in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Ghana. Bonnee serves public school teachers as a Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) Executive Board member-at-large. Bonnee has served students in Philadelphia since 2001. She has been active professionally through her participation in the Philadelphia Writing Project, Teachers Institute of Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania, and served as a National Steering Committee member for Yale University National Initiative Teachers Institute. She has committed herself to widening her global information classroom horizons by coordinating travel to Ghana, Africa for students and families at SLA@Beeber. Bonnee is a wife and mother of her daughter and son.

Katie Burrows-Stone – English

Katie Burrows-Stone studied education in upstate NY, where she earned her B.A. in English Education. She taught at an American international school in Ecuador and then moved to Philadelphia to do City Year, an AmeriCorps program. Katie earned her M.Ed. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at Olney Charter High School before joining the SLA Beeber family in 2016. As a Teaching Consultant through the Philadelphia Writing Project, Katie takes an inquiry-stance towards her practice by seeking to create learning spaces in which writing becomes a means of learning, discovering, and sharing knowledge and creativity as a part of the learning process. As a teacher-researcher, she is currently working with a team of educators on a project called “Facilitating Digital Discourse: Teachers as Learners in a Digital Age,” a longitudinal research project headed by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the National Writing Project. Katie is passionate about equipping young people for leadership by teaching students to ask questions, read thoughtfully, think critically, and write competently.  Additionally, Katie enjoys cooking (and eating!), running, cycling, hiking, playing ultimate Frisbee, and spending time with loved ones.

Mary Connaghan – History

Evan Cunha – Special Education/Psychology

Born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Evan moved to Philadelphia after studying History, Psychology, and Education at Arcadia University. He then completed his Masters of Education and Special Education certification from Arcadia as well. Evan spent two years working in special education before joining the SLA @Beeber team and has loved everything about it. In addition to teaching special education, Evan also teaches a psychology elective. In this class, he not only shows students how to understand human behavior but also entertains students with in-depth psych experiments and demonstrations. Outside of the classroom, Evan is a huge ultimate frisbee fan. When not playing himself, he also coaches both boys and girls SLA @Beeber Ultimate Frisbee. Evan takes pride in getting to know his students as individuals in the classroom as well as athletes on the field, knowing their passions, what they want to get out of life, and how he can help them move toward their goals.

Christina D’Emma – English

Christina D’Emma is inspired by learning with her students and colleagues daily. She graduated from Rosemont College (B.A. English, M.A. Mid-level Education) and Villanova University (M.A. English). She began her first years of teaching as an AmeriCorps volunteer and subsequently worked for the teacher service program. She has taught Language Arts at the middle school level and high school English in Catholic and independent schools in PA and NJ. Christina was the founding English teacher at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. She was a participant in The Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP), which continues to inform her teaching. Currently, at SLA Beeber, she teaches freshman and seniors English. She serves on the board of the McNamee Scholars Program, which offers scholarships and mentors to deserving high school students. She reads and writes alongside her students, punctuated by practicing yoga.

Gina Dukes – English

Gina is from Southwest Philadelphia and is an alum of SLA Center City (a member of the 3rd graduating class!). She gives credit to her amazing teachers and founding principal of SLA, Chris Lehmann, for providing her with incredible opportunities that inspired her to become a teacher. While a student at SLA, Gina was actively involved in the school’s Slam Poetry club through the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement and Philly Slam League, buildOn (a community service organization), and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. All of these organizations gave young Gina the space to recognize her writing talent, passion for helping others, and a desire to make a difference in her city. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and studying Urban Studies, Gina earned her Masters in the Art of Teaching while completing a teacher residency program through Relay Graduate School of Education. Gina taught English for 2 years at a Mastery Charter school before returning home to SLA. Gina loves working at SLA Beeber because every day she gets to teach is a chance to inspire the next generation of poets, leaders, and changemakers.

Karen Epps – Math

Karen Epps attended Boston College where she received degrees in Mathematics and Sociology. Here, she was inspired by her Jesuit education and participated in a volunteer program, 4Boston. In this program, she taught Adult Education courses to individuals studying for their GEDs and her passion for teaching was born. After graduating, she enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Teacher Education Program where she received her Masters in Secondary Mathematics Education and spent a year at the Science Leadership Academy at Center City. She began teaching mathematics at the Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in 2014 and has loved becoming a part of this amazing community. In 2018, she was awarded the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School District.  She has experience teaching Algebra I, Geometry, and Calculus.  When she isn’t teaching, Karen enjoys running with Students Run Philly Style, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jenn Hare – History

Jenn Hare grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and in Middlebury, Vermont. She attended Haverford College, majoring in History and minoring in Education. While in the Haverford/Bryn Mawr Education Program she had the opportunity to observe classrooms at SLA Center City for the 2008-2009 school year and became committed to pursuing a career in project-based education. After graduation, she taught at Frankford Friends School in northeast Philadelphia for three years and then moved to the Boston area to pursue her Master’s of Arts in Teaching and teaching licensure at Tufts University. After graduating, she taught World History at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge, MA for three years and finally moved back to her home, Philadelphia, in 2017. She’s been a proud member of the SLA Beeber staff since 2017 and directed SLA Beeber’s first musical in the 2018-2019 school year. Teaching history and directing theatre are her passions, and she is delighted to do both here.

Elizabeth Houwen – Math

Elizabeth Houwen is a native of South Jersey and has always loved spending time in Philadelphia. She moved across the bridge in 2012. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, Elizabeth has taught at the middle, high, and community college levels. In 2014 she earned her masters in Mathematics from Rowan University. Elizabeth currently serves on the leadership team of the Philadelphia Area Math Teacher’s Circle and is a past participant of Park City Math Institute. She strongly believes that we are all math people and is passionate about helping others see the beauty in mathematics. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Wade King – Health/P.E.

Alexander Kopp – Technology

Alex graduated from Temple University in 2018 with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science with Teaching.  Before graduating, he was ecstatic to accept a job at SLA @ Beeber without really knowing what the job entailed.   Currently, he teaches almost every grade in the building and is pursuing his master’s in instructional technology.   Alex is greatly interested in inquiry and project-based instruction, as well as bridging the computer science gap for underserved students.

Brian Petrillo – Art and Technology

After graduating from Lower Merion High School in 1999, Brian went on to the University of Pittsburgh where he spent his days writing about Samurai movies, taking photos, designing t-shirts, and punting footballs. Before his journey into the world of education, Brian spent 7 years as a video coordinator at Comcast, supporting their XfinityTV platform and organizing content for Video On Demand. … Ultimately seeking something more creative and meaningful, he began subbing in Philadelphia.

More recently Brian has taught as a substitute in over 20 different schools throughout the Philadelphia District.  He earned his PA Instructional certificate in Art and Secondary Social Studies in 2019. His goal as an educator is to show each student how to unlock their creative potential, how to think like an artist and apply these skills far beyond the visual arts classroom.

Fun Facts:

– Musical Instruments owned:  acoustic guitar, banjo, ukulele, and harmonica.

– Showed Kobe Bryant how to pick the elevator lock with a penny at Lower Merion.

– Lifted atlas stones with the World’s Strongest Man (The Mountain from Game of Thrones).

Max Lawrence – CTE/Engineering

Max Lawrence has been an official member of Science a Leadership Academy at Beeber’s staff since the 2016-17 school year as the Director of the Engineering program. He teaches students Introduction to Engineering, CTE courses, and is the all-around fix-it/build-it person. He attended Cornell University and Rhode Island School of Design, earning a BFA in Painting. Prior to joining the SLAB team, Mr. Lawrence worked in the field of engineering on a wide range of projects: serving an apprenticeship at Analog Lab, a residency at the Clocktower Museum in NYC, creating and running animatronics engineering for San Fransisco MOMA’s 75 year Anniversary exhibit, being an exhibitor at several art institutes and museums including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, audio engineering video and music production, and software and electronic engineering for nonprofits in the Philadelphia area to benefit communities in need, especially but not exclusively to Philadelphia’s youth. He stumbled into engineering curriculum creation for The Hacktory in Philadelphia and hasn’t left the field of education since. He has guest lectured and taught all over the country from Black Mountain School in North Carolina to UPenn, to holding the Lead Instructor role at the Maker Faire in DC where he won two Editors Choice Awards.

At SLAB, Mr. Lawrence’s responsibilities far outreach the MakerSpace and Engineering department. In addition to running the department and writing the curriculum, he also can be found working on a number of projects for the building’s various needs. Whether it’s creating an outdoor learning space, building the sets for the school play, running the sound system for assemblies, or basically building anything needed from scratch, Mr. Lawrence and his team of aspiring engineers can be found any day of the week, year-round, working towards providing essential engineering needs for the SLAB community.

Melissa Lawson – HS Counselor

Melissa Lawson is a native of Philadelphia but attended high school in Fayetteville, NC, and is an alumnus of North Carolina Central University where she received her BA in Political Science in 1998. She returned to Philadelphia to pursue a dual MBA and MSIT degree at Philadelphia University. She came to the School District in September 2003 as an Education to Career Coordinator with the Office of College and Career Awareness at John Bartram High School. After six years as an ETC Coordinator, she decided to become a school counselor and received her M.Ed. in Secondary School Counseling in 2009 from Wilmington University. She has been a Secondary School Counselor for eight years (John Bartram 2009-2011, Overbrook High school 2011-2014 and SLA @ Beeber 2014-present). In 2014 she was Awarded “Counselor of the Year” by Phi Delta Kappa, University of Pennsylvania chapter. In addition to being a school counselor, she has been involved in the sport of Competitive Cheerleading for over 26 years. For the past nine years, Melissa has been the Competitive Spirit Chairperson for the School District of Philadelphia and was awarded “Sports Chairperson of the Year” for the School District of Philadelphia in 2013. She currently sits on the Competitive Spirit steering committee for the PIAA as the District XII representative. She is currently the Athletic Director at SLA @ Beeber. She holds an M.Ed. in School Leadership from Wilmington University along with an Administrative certificate. When she is not in school, she enjoys spending time with her children, watching sports, and doing creative writing.

Melissa Moran – Spanish

Melissa Moran is a native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx. She is an enthusiastic and proud product of the New York City public education system. She moved to Philadelphia to pursue her post-secondary education and fell in love with this wonderful city and all of the amazing opportunities it awarded her. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Spanish from Rosemont College, a Masters of Science in K-12 Foreign Language Education from Saint Joseph’s University, and just recently attended the School Leadership Graduate Program at the University of Pennsylvania and received a principal certification. She has been a part of the School District of Philadelphia for 7 years. She began as an International Baccalaureate Intern and later became a full-time teacher. She loves animals and currently has an incredible fluffy family which includes; 4 cats, 2 turtles, and 1 bunny. When she is not working rigorously to entertain and challenge her students, she is traveling and spending time with loved ones and friends.

Timothy Payne – Math

Adelaide Pearson – Special Education/Creative Writing

Alison Pironti – ESOL Support

Born in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, in grade school Alison Pironti (nee McMahon) moved to Erdenheim, PA, where she attended Saint Genevieve’s School, Enfield Middle School, and Mount Saint Joseph Academy.  Alison attended the University of Scranton for her undergraduate program and graduated from the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts honors program with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and minors in History and Philosophy.  Inspired by the Jesuits to become a “woman for others”, Alison served as a volunteer teacher with Jesuit Volunteers International (similar to Peace Corps) from 2002-2004.  As a Jesuit Volunteer, she taught students English, Government, and Biology at Saramen Chuuk Academy in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.  Sipwe fos eikis Chuuk!  It was in Micronesia that Alison found a passion for helping students learn English.  Upon her return to the States, she served for two years as Directory of Campus Ministry at Gwynedd Mercy Academy.  Accepted as a Philadelphia Teaching Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, Alison began her teaching career in Philadelphia.    Alison believes that all learners can and will succeed when given the proper tools.  Teaching English Language Learners for over a decade in Philadelphia has been a privilege and a joy and her students from around the world, with their varied life experiences and cultural schema, continue to challenge Alison to grow in her pedagogy.  Alison is committed to serving her community and has been honored with awards such as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Eagle of the Cross Award, Champions of Caring Award, University of Scranton Campus Ministry Award.  As a founding member of the non-profit, Spark the Wave, Alison helps teens learn to be volunteer leaders and movement makers in the communities.  Alison is also the wife of a two-time cancer survivor and the proud mother of four children (three of whom were born with medical complexities); her family has taught her to be a fierce advocate for students with special needs, medical equality and the rights of those with autism/sensory processing disorder.

Stephanie Reed – Science

Micah Winterstein – History

Micah was born and raised in Philly where he attended Houston Elementary and Central High School. Micah received a B.A. in History from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. At Guilford, he was a four-year athlete as a member of the baseball team. Micah holds a Masters Degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. He began his teaching career at Strawberry Mansion, where he taught African American History and Civics. During his three years at Strawberry Mansion, he was head of the school’s restorative justice program. He was able to build relationships with judges and prosecutors, creating access to internships in the judicial system. After three years at Strawberry Mansion, he continued his teaching career at Building 21. He continued his work in restorative practices, designing and implementing a new restorative discipline system. As a social studies teacher, he developed a project-based curriculum for Civics. Students were able to learn about the functions of our local, state, and federal government and how they impact their lives. During these projects, students were able to engage with their peers and with local politicians and community members to understand government on a deeper level. During Micah’s free time he enjoys spending quality time with his son Cash and wife Samantha. He also enjoys coaching youth sports and eating cheesesteaks from Dalessandro’s.

Hannah Zieve – History

Hannah is originally from Seattle, Washington, but has lived in Philly ever since attending Haverford College and has grown to love the city and claim it as her own. She graduated college with a degree in Anthropology, always knowing that she wanted to be a social studies teacher, but got a job teaching middle school English and learned to love the entire world of humanities. For the last five years, she’s taught a mixture of history and English classes at another Philadelphia high school and is so excited to be joining the SLA Beeber team as a social studies teacher for the 2020-2021 school year. In 2019 she earned her master’s degree from Temple University in Urban Education, writing her master’s thesis on structural inequalities in the school system. Outside of school, Hannah loves to get back to her Pacific Northwest roots by hiking and camping, exploring new places and neighborhoods in Philadelphia, reading, and traveling to new places.

Max Rosen-Long – Spanish

Max Rosen-Long is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Philadelphia for college. He attended Haverford College for his undergraduate studies and then received his master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Max was a founding member of the SLA Beeber staff and has been teaching Spanish 1 at SLA Beeber since the school started. He has lived and taught in Chile and Honduras, and traveled extensively throughout Central and South America. He is passionate about students developing their leadership not only in our school, but also citywide, and sponsors a number of clubs including Philly Student Union, Mock Trial, the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Team, and GSA.

Matthew Roy – History

Though originally from Massachusetts, Matthew Roy has been associated with Philadelphia since 1994 when he attended the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his B.A. in Political Science, Matt returned to New England and received his M.A.T. in Social Studies Education from Boston University. He began teaching in 2001 and since then has spent time in a wide variety of school settings, urban and suburban, public and private. He moved back to the Philadelphia area in 2005, and in 2007 he received a James Madison Fellowship which funded his pursuit of an M.A. in Political Science at Villanova University. Shortly after finishing this degree, Matt began teaching in the School District of Philadelphia. He joined the faculty at University City High School in order to help UCHS make its transition to a Promise Academy. After UCHS was slated for closure, Matt had the good fortune to become the founding history teacher at SLA@Beeber. Just as he made the move to SLA@Beeber, Matt completed the ESOL Certificate program at Penn State-Abington. Matt is greatly interested in the inquiry approach to learning and has incorporated this model into the many different social studies and English courses that he has led over the years. He sees education as a strong force for positive change in the world and is grateful that he has the opportunity to play a part in this process. In addition to teaching, Matt enjoys running, reading, and songwriting. Perhaps most of all, he values the time he spends with his wife and three children.

Julia Sallo – Math

Julia Sallo grew up in Boulder, CO, and attended the University of Colorado, studying English Literature and Mathematics. Post-graduation, she worked in Marketing for a local media organization but discovered her true passion for teaching during the years she spent tutoring a family friend in Math, from 7th grade through Geometry. She enrolled in the University of Colorado’s teacher licensure program and began teaching High School Mathematics at South High School in Denver, CO in 2014. In 2017, she relocated to Philadelphia and joined the staff at SLA. Julia currently teaches Algebra 2 and Statistics and loves to make real-world connections with mathematical concepts. Although a hesitant Philadelphian at first, Julia is now a proud resident and enjoys cooking, doing yoga, and reading in her free time.

Alexandra Sasso – Science

Alex was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but has called a variety of different places home over the last 12 years. Alex graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida where she played 4 years of NCAA Division II Softball and earned a B.S. in Marine Science with a focus in Biology. After graduating, Alex worked for New York State’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation hospital. Gaining experience rehabilitating seals, sea turtles, and cetaceans (dolphins & porpoises), as well as performing necropsies on deceased animals for research purposes. Alex, then moved to Maui, Hawaii to work as a Naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation, an ecotourism company. Here, Alex educated guests on snorkel and whale watching cruises. Upon returning from Hawaii, Alex attended Stony Brook University in NY, to earn her Master’s of Arts in Teaching for Science Education. Education was always something Alex was passionate about and teaching provides her the opportunity to share her experiences and knowledge with her students. After earning her Masters, life then took her to Pennsylvania where she began her teaching career at SLA Beeber. Outside of teaching, Alex provides pitching and hitting lessons to young athletes, attends hula dancing classes, and enjoys spending time with her fiance and their dog, Koa.

David Schaar – Math/Robotics

David Schaar came to teaching late in life after swearing never to follow in the academic footsteps of his teacher-parents. He first tried to avoid the teaching bug by studying architecture and environmental studies at Washington University in St. Louis.  Later, he vowed not to teach and finished an MS program in physics at Emory University.  Finally, he acknowledged that teaching could be a good fit for him and he has lived mostly very happily with his family ever since. David was at Decatur H.S. just outside Atlanta, Georgia for eleven years and joined the SLA Beeber faculty in 2016.

David has taught several different flavors of physics since 2005 including 9th grade/algebra-based physics, IB Physics, and traditional high school physics. He also enjoys playing with robots and coaching FTC robotics (currently “The Rockets” #11493, previously “The Upside Down”, and “Global Dynamics”).

Kathleen Tsai – Science

Kathleen Tsai graduated from Haverford College with a B.S. in Chemistry. She completed her M.S.Ed. in Secondary Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. At SLA Beeber, Ms. Tsai teaches 10th-grade Biochemistry and 12th-grade Senior Science. Before starting at SLA Beeber, Ms. Tsai taught elementary school English in Taitung, Taiwan. The best part of teaching for Ms. Tsai is getting the chance to be creative with students, especially when it comes to hands-on science labs. Outside of teaching, Ms. Tsai is a group fitness instructor, a mental health advocate, and she participates in the dramatic arts in Philadelphia.

Lower School Staff

Alexander Kopp – LS Technology

Alex graduated from Temple University in 2018 with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science with Teaching.  Before graduating, he was ecstatic to accept a job at SLA @ Beeber without really knowing what the job entailed.   Currently, he teaches almost every grade in the building and is pursuing his master’s in instructional technology.   Alex is greatly interested in inquiry and project-based instruction, as well as bridging the computer science gap for underserved students.

Aloma Ukaegbu – LS Math

Aloma was first curious about Broadcast Journalism and Communications and earned a degree in Communications: Public Relations. She also holds several finance certificates/licenses from having worked in the business banking world for a number of years. Despite having already acquired her Communications – Public Relations degree, Aloma decided to return to school and start fresh. She enrolled at Kean University to study Mathematics and Secondary Education. During that time, she felt led to work with middle school-aged children and focused her personal time on familiarizing herself with the 6th – 8th-grade curriculum, though her study was K – 12 education. Aloma completed her practicums at several different schools within NJ and began her career there. She holds teaching certifications in NJ, MN, and PA. Aloma earned her Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on Mathematics from Concordia University and plans to pursue her doctorate. She has experience in teaching curriculum from 6th – 10th-grade mathematics. Aloma spends some of her free time reading, knitting, playing card/board/video games, traveling, etc.

Erin Richardson – LS Special Education/SEL

Erin Richardson was born and raised in Newtown, Pennsylvania. She attended West Chester University and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She later attended Temple University for her special education certificate and Penn State University for her ESL certificate.  She recently completed her masters at Holy Family University in special education with an autism endorsement. Erin has been teaching for the School District of Philadelphia for 11 years. She is a proud member of Need in Deed, and Design Thinking Philadelphia; both non-profit organizations in the city. Erin also teaches professional development to teachers throughout the district through the ER&D division of the PFT’s Health and Welfare Department.

Jackie Desrouleaux – LS Humanities

Jackie was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Vanderbilt University and went on to join Teach for America. She was in the founding cohort of Teach for America in Philadelphia and worked as a special education teacher at Gillespie Middle School in North Philadelphia. After working as a teacher and earning a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University, Jackie decided that she wanted to learn more about how to help young people reach their fullest potential. She enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work.  As a social worker, Jackie worked with many different youth populations including parenting teens. Jackie went back to the classroom and worked at a variety of school settings (charter and public) as a middle school English teacher. Jackie joined SLA Beeber as one of the founding members of the lower school. She has been teaching for over 12 years and loves the creativity and relationships that are built in the classroom environment. When Jackie is not teaching, she can be found indulging in true crime tv shows and reality tv. She is a mom to a 3-year-old toddler, McKayla.

Alyse Bacine – LS Counseling

Alyse is a Philadelphia native and earned her Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and Social Studies from Temple University then went on to earn her Masters Degree in School Counseling from Eastern University. Alyse worked as a middle school social studies teacher, then went on to become a school counselor for 7 years at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School before joining the staff at SLA @Beeber in the 2019/2020 school year. Alyse is passionate about meditation and breathwork. Alyse has implemented a meditation program for the middle school and is hoping to expand that into the high school as well. Alyse teaches meditation and breathwork outside of school and is also a mom of two children, Hazel and Levi.

Deborah Barkley – LS Science

Debbie graduated with her B.S. in General Science with Teaching from Temple University in 2016. She was in the TUTeach program, which was an innovative teaching program that focuses on engaging math and science instruction. She is currently earning a certificate in Project-Based Learning from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Holy Family University. Debbie began teaching at Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in 2019 and is extremely proud to be a part of this community. She currently teaches middle school students science. In addition to teaching middle school-aged children, she also has prior experience teaching high school. Debbie believes that every student has the ability to think like scientists to solve problems and create solutions. In her free time, Debbie enjoys yoga, camping, hiking, and scuba diving.

Lea Kleinman

Nicholas Smith – LS Science

Born and raised here in Philadelphia, PA, Nick earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University. He followed up with a Masters’s degree in Special Education/Middle School Subjects. Nick has been teaching for 17 years, with varying degrees of experience all here in Philadelphia. Nick spent his first year working as a building substitute teacher, working anywhere from Special Education to Spanish for grades 9-12. Nick then spent 2 years working at Wordsworth Academy, a school for adjudicated and troubled youth, working grades 5-12 teaching all subjects. Nick then spent the next 12 years working Special Education grades 5-8 for his first 4 years and general education Mathematics and Science for grades 5-7 for the next 8 at Maritime Academy Charter school. He left in Mid-November 2018 for a 5th-grade science and social studies position at Key Elementary. Nick started at SLA @ Beeber in September 2019, teaching 5th-grade students Science and it has been the best working, learning, rewarding and dedicated experience he has ever had. When Nick is not loving life at SLA, he is at home with his wife and 2 young boys. Nick enjoys watching all sports, with a focus on the 3 primary sports. He is a diehard local fan of Eagles, Sixers, and the Phillies. Nick also enjoys listening to music, watching tv/movies, hanging out with his friends and all things fantasy sports.

Genesis Colon – LS Math

Genesis Colón was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia. She attended Cairn University (in Langhorne, PA) where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Education (with concentrations in Middle-Level Math and Science) and Bachelor of Science in Bible degrees. After receiving some teaching experience, she ignited a passion for teaching English Learners and returned to university to receive her Master of Education degree with a focus on TESOL and Literacy from Holy Family University. She taught various grade levels and subjects at Antonia Pantoja Bilingual Charter School for several years before joining the SLA at Beeber family in 2019. She is inspired by the innovative approach SLAB takes on education and its cultivation of the next generation’s leaders. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new cooking/baking recipes, and checking out the next new film at the movie theater!

Kirsten Borowski – LS Humanities

Kirsten grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and has lived in the Philadelphia area for the past 14 years. Becoming a teacher has been a goal since childhood, and she focused her education to pursue this dream.  She attended the University of Delaware where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in history. Her specific content area of focus for her undergraduate degree was in social studies. Kirsten has been working in the field of education in a variety of settings throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. During the past 10 years, she has been a 6th grade ELA teacher in southwest Philadelphia and has developed a love for teaching reading in a cross-curricular format to help students make meaningful connections with the content. Kirsten is currently working to complete her Master’s degree in education as a Reading Specialist. In her free time, you’ll usually find her outdoors hiking, gardening, walking her dogs, tending to her beehives, and spending time with her family.

Tracey Jackson – LS Math

Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Tracey is a proud product of the School District of Philadelphia, and an enthusiastic devotee to the power of prolific instruction.  She began her career in the field of journalism after earning a B.A. in Communications from Temple University.  In her spare time, she tutored students from K-12 for a non-profit in her community.  It was from that experience that she witnessed the transformative power of education and felt compelled to transition into the education field.  In the year 2000, she was hired as a Literacy Intern for the School District of Philadelphia while also pursuing a degree in education.  She now holds a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) from Arcadia University and a Masters of Administration and Supervision in Education (M.Ed.) from the University of Phoenix.  After additional study at West Chester University, she holds a teaching certification in Special Education as well. She has been teaching since her hire as both regular education and a special education teacher, which has given her great insight into the differentiation of instruction and eliminating obstacles to learning.  She lives in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia with her husband and youngest daughter.  In her spare time, she loves to travel, write, read, and spend time with family and friends.