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Interns, Fellows, and Volunteers

Teaching for Change’s mission is advanced not only by our staff and board, but also by the dedicated focus on special projects by interns, fellows, and volunteers.

Interns & Fellows


Eli Heltzer-McCain

Eli Heltzer-McCain is an education and history major at Smith College, working to get her license to teach high school history. Eli was born and raised in the DMV area and, upon graduating from high school in 2020, took a gap year as an AmeriCorps member serving at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School in Sitka, Alaska. Despite coming from a family with many teachers, it was this experience with AmeriCorps that made Eli realize she wanted to pursue a career in teaching. Eli strongly believes in teaching as a tool for social justice and serving others. She has also loved sports for her entire life and hopes to become a high school strength and conditioning coach in addition to teaching. While interning with Teaching for Change, Eli will primarily work with the Zinn Education Project, Civil Rights Teaching, and Teaching Central America.


Olvin Abrego Ayala

Olvin Abrego Ayala  (he/him/él) is a Salvadoran-born, Honduran-raised undergraduate student at Dartmouth College who is currently residing in the DMV. In his sophomore year, he studied a semester abroad at La Universidad de La Habana, Cuba, where he delved into issues related to U.S. imperialism and Latin American philosophical and historical thought. He is currently majoring in Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies with a focus on Central American Studies. His research interests include agrarian reforms, climate refugees, educational accessibility, social movements, and decolonial thought. He is a student researcher for the Central America Project and co-leads his school’s first Central American Club, CAUSA.


Brad Manker

Brad Manker, Ed.D., is an educator, curriculum designer, and independent researcher with a background in elementary education. He earned his Master of Arts in Teaching degree from National-Louis University in Chicago and his doctorate in Educational Technology – Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida. He has taught grades K-8 at a variety of public and private schools in the United States and abroad.

He strongly believes in the power of neighborhood public schools and is a staunch supporter of the Zinn Education Project and the #TeachTruth movement. His wish is to dismantle inequitable educational practices and to center marginalized voices and perspectives through curriculum evaluation, revision, and development.

His interests include teaching social justice at the elementary school level, critical digital literacy, open educational resources, and service learning. He has also researched inquiry-based learning, best practices for technology integration, Makerspaces and STEAM education, and assessment methodologies.





Zapoura Newton-Calvert

Zapoura Newton-Calvert, assistant teaching professor, has been facilitating writing and community-engaged learning courses focused on social justice in education since 2004 and has been teaching full-time at Portland State University since 2014.  This work has led to partnerships with organizations like Libraries for Liberation, the Children’s Book Bank, Books Not Bars, and local schools. Participating in the practices of emergent strategy,  her teaching is relational and responsive to political, social, and environmental change. Zapoura co-founded the organization Reading Is Resistance in 2016 and creates anti-oppression reading lists, curriculum, and workshops to support parents, teachers, and readers of all ages in building collective liberational capacity and imagination through engagement with children’s literature.


Francesca Fiore

Pro-Bono Volunteer – Financial Management

Francesca Fiore has devoted her career in the nonprofit and higher education sectors to developing and scaling programs that promote educational access and economic opportunity. She provides pro bono services for nonprofit organizations in the areas of grant writing and fiscal and operations management and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kingston Land Trust. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.P.A. from New York University, and both an M.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Hunter College.

The daughter of two public school teachers, Francesca values the transformative power of education and is deeply honored to be supporting Teaching for Change.

Shawnda H. Howard, MSOD, CCP

Pro-Bono Volunteer – Human Resources

Shawnda H. Howard is a human resources executive with over 20 years of experience in publicly traded and private equity-backed companies, as well as local government and nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Her strong interest supporting education, youth development, equity and social justice causes grew from earlier experiences as a youth development program participant. Shawnda earned a  M.S. degree in organizational development and strategic human resources from The Johns Hopkins University. She is an alumna of the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia and possesses the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)® designation from the WorldatWork Total Rewards Association.



Learn more about our former interns and volunteers.