Click on a staff person’s name to view their biography.
Allyson Criner Brown, Tellin’ Stories Project Manager
América Calderón, in memoriam
Talia Brock, Bilingual Program Coordinator
Jazelle Hunt, Documentarian
Erika Landberg, Special Project Assistant
Maybelline McCoy, Bilingual Program Coordinator
Fayette Colon, Coordinator of Teacher Engagement and Professional Development
Don Allen, Publications Director
Lauren Cooper, Coordinator, Zinn Education Project and HowardZinn.org
Alison Kysia, Project Director, Islamophobia: A People’s History Teaching Guide
L. Nqobile Mthethwa, Researcher, Zinn Education Project
Jenice View, Civil Rights Movement, Senior Professional Development Specialist
Deborah Menkart, Executive Director
Allyson Criner Brown, Associate Director
Allison Acosta, Communications Coordinator
Mykella Palmer-McCalla, Creative Coordinator
Pat Corekin, Administrative Associate
SPECIAL PROJECT CONSULTANTS
Enid Lee, Virtual Scholar
Allison joined the Teaching for Change staff as communications coordinator in 2015. She has been active in social justice movements since high school. She worked in the labor movement with Jobs with Justice doing communications for more than a decade. Allison earned a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Multicultural and Ethnic Studies from Bard College. A lifelong D.C. resident, she is now raising her own children in the city. She is active in her children’s school and in D.C. education issues.
Don has been working in bookstores and libraries since his Kent State college days when the South African anti-apartheid/divestment movement reached the campus. His first political lesson about government lying was when Reagan fired his dad for being a striking member of PATCO, the air traffic controllers’ union. Don used his bookstore experience and those political lessons to become Teaching for Change’s first bookstore manager upon the founding of Busboys and Poets. After 5 years in the bookstore, he is looking forward to bringing his experience to the entire Teaching for Change publications department.
Don seriously believes that Naomi Klein is walking strongly in the footsteps of sorely missed Howard Zinn as a writer/activist. When not reading Klein’s tweets and newsletters, Don enjoys international mysteries by writers such as Colin Cotterill, Donna Leon, and Qui Xiaolong. Don and his wife, Kelly, live in Takoma, D.C. with a cat named after a Twain character. He often spends his free time rooting for last place baseball teams and against publicly funded sports stadiums.
Talia was born in Washington, DC and raised in Silver Spring, MD, so she has been a resident of the DMV for most of her life. In the interest of experiencing life outside of the “bubble” that is the DC metro area, she attended Denison University in Granville, OH. It was during her time studying and volunteering abroad at an education based non-profit in Santiago, Dominican Republic that her interest in social justice began to take shape. After graduating, Talia returned to DC to work as a City Year corps member, where she became deeply frustrated by the effects that systemic oppression had on her students and their families. Once her corps year had ended, she channeled that frustration into her work as a tenant organizer and manager at the Latino Economic Development Center, where she served alongside the District’s low-income residents of color to organize for the preservation of affordable housing. In her spare time, Talia enjoys reading fiction, creating art, and daydreaming about ways to change the world. She is excited to be a part of the Teaching for Change team and looks forward to supporting work that is radically transforming education in the US and abroad.
Fayette Colon has been a teacher in urban schools for the past six years. She grew up in the South Bronx and graduated from Columbia University with degrees in history and education. She was a founding teacher of Harvest Collegiate High School in NYC, where she taught about feminism, the prison industrial complex, and revolutions in Haiti and Cuba. Faye was also a founding teacher of a student organization that discussed how oppression impacts disciplinary systems in schools and the prison system. At Harvest, she helped develop student-centered restorative practices and education programs, including an accountability process called Fairness. In 2016, Faye led a student trip to New Orleans to work with NOLA students and organizers to increase knowledge about the prison industrial complex, and ways to combat it using restorative practices in schools. For the past two years she has been working as a middle school Social Studies teacher in Washington D.C., focusing her instruction on the social inequalities of ancient civilizations. Faye loves reading, cooking, and tasting new cuisines at local farm to table restaurants.
Born in Phoenix, AZ, Lauren fled the 110°+ summers as soon as she could to attend the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies in California. In this program, housed in a living/learning environment built on community and consensus, students are responsible for designing their educational path, evaluations are given in lieu of grades, and graduation contracts are negotiated with peers, professors, and administrators. She studied media and sociology, and graduated in 1998 with a BA in Visual Sociology: Film and Societal Issues.
With an interest in independent media, she worked at the Phoenix New Times back in Arizona, and then the Independent Press Association in San Francisco, accumulating six years of professional publishing experience ranging from editorial to distribution, from marketing to client and vendor management. She was able to fuse her educational and publishing experience when she joined the Teaching for Change staff in 2007. She is the coordinator of the Zinn Education Project and manages the HowardZinn.org site. She’s Native American (Muskogee Creek and Akimel O’otham) and enjoys “being around books and people who read them.”
Overly influenced by grunge music in the ‘90’s, experimental writers like Samuel Beckett, Paul Auster, and Gertrude Stein, and volunteering many hours at animal shelters, Pat found her way into the 21st century by accident. Starting out as an experimental poet under a pen name, she stumbled upon conceptual web development as an art form. She is developing a site that will feature poetry dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, and ending homelessness. Pat currently lives with an Anatolian Shepherd named Lexi who takes up most of her studio apartment. When not working, writing, or coding, Pat and Lexi roam the streets of DC in search of poetry. And most nights, they find their way home.
Allyson Criner Brown is the associate director of Teaching for Change and leads the Tellin’ Stories parent empowerment project, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Harvard Family Research Project as a leading innovation in family engagement. She is a parent, educator, and seasoned practitioner who has received prestigious honors from the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. Allyson has represented Teaching for Change in interviews, articles, symposiums, and workshops for Education Week, The Atlantic, ThinkProgress, NPR, the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. A former middle school teacher, Allyson holds a master’s degree in public administration from The George Washington University and is driven by her experiences in schools and community-based nonprofits that focus on education, youth development, and social justice. Originally from Oakland, Calif., she is an avid cyclist who lives with her husband and daughter in Washington, D.C.
Alison Kysia is the project director of “Islamophobia: a people’s history teaching guide” at Teaching for Change. Previously, she designed Islamic studies and anti-Islamophobia teaching modules for adult education audiences, including religious leaders, social justice activists, and teachers. She taught U.S., world, and Islamic history in an urban community college and English language to adult immigrants. Alison holds a B.A. in Race, Class, and Gender Studies and an M.A. in History. In addition to being an educator and curriculum developer, she is also an avid potter who is creating a three-part public art installation called “Islamophobia: A dhikr in clay.”
Convinced that her future career title would read Advertising & Design Mogul, Mykella chose to major in marketing at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was a member of the highly select, nationally acclaimed Hinman CEOs living-learning program. But it was in an African American rhetoric class where she discovered her true passion: words. Inspired by the ability of such titans as Frederick Douglass, Cornel West, and Maya Angelou to shape a culture’s ideas through language, Mykella decided to add writing to her artistic pursuits. Today, she’s the Creative Coordinator of Teaching of Change and helps manage the website and all things visual. If you really need her and can’t find her, try looking in a comfy corner somewhere. You’ll probably discover her there, hiding out, curled up with her nose in a book.