Meet Our Wave 6 Tiny Fellows!

We’ve selected 46 teams to join our 2019–20 Tiny Fellowship to pilot their innovative ideas with their communities to build a more equitable future of education.

4.0 Schools
Nov 8 · 34 min read

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the 2019–20 Wave 6 Tiny Fellows who are joining our community! Our staff and alumni had reviewed over 260 applications and held 99 interviews for Tiny this year. We cannot be more proud of the 46 innovative teams we’ve selected from that process will be piloting a diversity of ideas with their communities.

The Tiny Fellowship will take these aspiring founders from an idea with early traction to a proof point that is ready to grow. They’ll learn how to plan, run, and evaluate a recurring, part-time pilot (like an after-school club). They’ll receive coaching from alumni founders, up to $10k in pilot funding, and a community of peers, all pushing themselves to run disciplined tests of their ideas with their communities. By the end of the Tiny Fellowship, these 46 teams will have evidence of if their idea works and if people want it, and have support for moving forward.

If you have an idea for how to build a more equitable future of education, 4.0 is here to help you start. Our applications for the Tiny and Essentials Fellowships will open again in Fall 2020. Visit our website for more information and to sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know.

For now, join us in welcoming the Wave 6 Fellows to the 4.0 community!

Meet the 2019–20 Wave 6 Tiny Fellows

Destiny Woodbury | Houston, TX

About Their Idea: The Anchor School is a predominantly African American middle school in the low-income communities of Third Ward and Sunnyside Houston that provides teachers, administrators AND students PD during the school day on Restorative and Trauma-Informed Practices, Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness, Social Emotional Learning, Wellness, and Mental Health.

Apryl Felder | Atlanta, Georgia

About Their Idea: The Atlanta Free School will provide the opportunity of self-directed education to at-risk public school-aged black children by co-creating with them a collaborative democratic learning space where they can bridge pathway

Jaime Johnson-Duplessis | New Orleans

About Their Idea: Ivy New Orleans Leadership is New Orleans’ only all girls charter school designed to empower scholars to lead their way through our innovative program which integrates academic support, leadership development, and wellness. Our girls are empowered to grow, glow, and explore their gifts through guidance from our school community.

Wanda Clark (left) and Easter White (right)

Wanda Clark & Easter White | Fayetteville, Georgia

About Easter: Easter is a 31 year educator who is passionate about literacy. She taught for 22 years in the Central Learning Community Fulton County School System most of that time was spent as a EIP (Early Intervention Program) teacher. After leaving the classroom, she served as a literacy coach for 5 years. Easter then transitioned to the Title I ELA Lead Coach position for the Central Learning Community where her primary focus was to support the school-based Title I Literacy Coaches in their effort to improve literacy in their schools and community.

About Their Idea: The Family Literacy Empowerment Project empowers parents with the necessary pre-emergent literacy skills in order to work with their children in the home in order to better prepared their children for success in the PreK and Kindergarten programs.

Ameerah Bello | Atlanta, GA

About Their Idea: A modified abacus-like tool to improve the foundational math skills of 3- to 7-year-olds that is implemented by introducing the tool along with fundamental abacus-teaching approaches and strategies to families and educators. The redesigned tool makes improvement upon the ‘traditional’ soroban abacus, making it more intuitive, and also more adaptable for various learning levels.

Natalie Smith | Washington, D.C.

About Their Idea: Global Citizens School will be the first dual language immersion public elementary school in Washington, DC, that offers language immersion in both Mandarin-English and Spanish-English, the top three languages spoken in the world. Global Citizens School aims to eliminate the barriers to educational opportunities for Black and Brown children, Pre-K3–5th grade, living east of the Anacostia River in Ward 7, by providing equitable access to a high quality dual language immersion school.

Ashley Brown | New Orleans, LA

About Their Idea: The Village Charter School provides innovative and culturally/socially conscious approach to education by emphasizing the connection between student’s village/community and their educational progress and life success. Through quality community based curriculum and community experiences, students will understand their impact on their village and the impact of their village on them.

Naqibah Al-Kaleem & Jesse Leavitt | Boston, Massachusetts

About Jesse: Jesse is passionate about social justice and facilitating “light-bulb” moments in groups and in individual advising through listening/questioning, quotes/readings, and experiential/nature-based learning. He provides advising for 40 scholarship students, many bringing strengths and challenges related to immigrant, LGBTQ, low-income, or racial minority identities. Jesse also advises student-led community service programs using protocols and resources to grow undergraduates’ authentic leadership.

Their Idea: The Fire Collective curates retreats for educators to dedicate time to collective care practices, embodied (un)learning, and healing through ritual, reflection, nature, and arts. Retreats offer space to normalize narratives, communication, rituals, and arts that uplift multi-ethnic, teacher-led, and healing-centered visions of school change.

Phillip Hon | Stockton, CA

About Their Idea: Unbound Stockton Community School — Engage across lines of difference. Our learning model unpacks why difference & division exist while affirming identity, creating dialogue & cultural competency. We catalyze youth to undo systems that separate us & create an unbound society.

Tatiana Feldman & Eli Szus | New York, NY

About Eli: Eli worked with various early stage startups and was the founding CTO of SeatServe — providing technologies for large venues around the world. Previously, Eli worked in the marketing world, leading teams in full stack development and production. Looking to apply his technology skills to education, Eli I joined the board of directors at Tiegerman (formerly the School for Language and Communication Development. Circletime is an opportunity to provide parents with meaningful hands-on opportunities to educate their children.

About Their Idea: Circletime is a simple-to-use app helping mothers carve out time for activities with their children, with minimal effort and without breaking the bank. The best-of-breed early childhood classes are streamed live, to be enjoyed mommy-and-me style. Sessions reinforce responsive caregiving, comply with AAP screen time guidelines and support age-appropriate development.

Michellea Millis | Gainesville, FL

About Their Idea: BrownSTEM’s mission and vision is to create innovative schools for college and career readiness for underserved students in the East, Gainesville, FL community with a focus on the STEM strand of Cybersecurity

Saymah Nah — Washington, DC

About Their Idea: It will take 228 years for black people to build the wealth of their white counterparts. We are not waiting. The Garden is strategically designed to close the 228 year racial wealth gap.This school model addresses the need to close the racial wealth gap. Our students will receive real life experiences and learn about how to grow their ideas into businesses and the art of investing.

Holly Morris — Seattle, WA

About Their Idea: Teachers can meet and teach all bilingual learners using Global Voice. Using the app, teachers can make authentic connections with their students and families and make academic lessons accessible to learners speaking any language, at any level.

Jessica Turnquest (left) & Marilyn Edmunds (right)

Jessica Turnquest & Marilyn Edmunds | Washington D.C.

About Marilyn: Marilyn began her career as an educator with TFA because early on she realized she was privileged to live in an area that had great schools which helped shape her educational experience into a positive one. She was challenged throughout her educational career and college was an expectation for her. She became a teacher so that this experience is not the exception but the expectation for everyone in her community. She believes that all students deserve an excellent education and we can achieve that through targeted investment in developing high-quality teachers and leaders.

About Their Idea: True Education “truEd” identifies, develops, and supports determined individuals of color to teach in high needs communities so that teachers in every school will reflect the great diversity of our nation’s next generation.

Katie Saiz — Wichita, KS

About Their Idea: Green Gate Early Learning will be a nature-based preschool and childcare program designed for children 2 ½ -5 years of age. We provide a “place for childhood” where children can connect to the natural world in a home-like preschool setting rich in relationship, play, and the activities of daily life.

Lisa María Rhodes | New Orleans, LA

About Their Idea: ALAS creates educational access for immigrant and court involved youth by training educators to advocate for students by writing mitigation letters to judges and connecting undocumented students with pro bono or low bono legal representation.

Atianna Cordova | New Orleans, LA

About Their Idea: WATER BLOCK Kids aims to educate black girls, 8–11 years old, about the natural and built environment by providing educational books and experiential learning workshops that promote critical thinking, responsible citizenship, global awareness, and positive self image.

Martha Diaz — Los Angeles, Ca

About Their Idea: The HHFS is a virtual platform and global network, where youth who were formerly disconnected, siloed, or inaccessible to our student population, will get an equitable opportunity to learn at their own pace, connect to communities of interest, and collaborate with others to re-engage, develop agency, and design their career.

Mathieu Williams (left) and Bill Chen (right)

Mathieu Williams and Bill Chen | Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i

About Bill: Bill has a BA in Economics and Minors in Education and Public Policy from University of California, Berkeley, a MS in Elementary Education from Johns Hopkins University, a M.Ed in Public School Building Administration from Teachers College Columbia University. In his seven years at Kahakai Elementary in Kailua Kona, HI, he participated in the Na Kumu Alaka’i Teacher Leadership Academy, School Systems Leaders Pathway, and Rural School Leaders Academy. His passion is creating successful schools building a strong sense of belonging, responsibility, excellence, aloha, total well-being, and Hawai’i.

About Their Idea: Hale o ka Lanakila will house earning experiences, opportunities, and partnerships in a physical space for students to access on a daily basis. Just as you pick and choose the muscle group you want to strengthen, youth would choose their learning based upon their curiosities.

NJ Mvondo — Davis, CA

About Their Idea: Multiculturalism Rocks! Celebrates our world’s diversity by connecting young readers with the multicultural, including bilingual, Books that they’re looking for.

Pranoo Kumar (left) and Desiree Hunter (right)

Pranati “Pranoo” Kumar and Desiree Hunter | West Palm Beach, FL & Brooklyn, New York

About Desiree: Desiree began her career as a TFA Corps Member, was the founding social worker and Dean of Students at Achievement First, and served as Principal of National Blue Ribbon School, Bronx Charter School for Excellence. As the Managing Director of FLI, Desiree’s commitment to representation has come to life through her development of FLI’s Educator Project Fellowship for aspiring teachers. Desiree spends free time volunteering in CBO’s focused on equity and the arts. Desiree has a BA in Psychology from UofM, her MSW from Columbia University, and her MS.Ed. in Administration and Leadership from the College of St. Rose.

About Their Idea: For some, the word “math” elicits discomfort. However, what if students dove into a math problem, discovered diverse strategies and presented their understanding with pride? This new fellowship prepares visionary educators to understand the way children approach numbers.

Rebecca Gartner (right) and Ellie Adelman (left)

Rebecca Gartner and Ellie Adelman — Denever, CO

About Ellie: Ellie has spent over a decade working in international community development, peace-building, gender equity advocacy and trauma therapy. She has started and run multiple women’s leadership and family development initiatives around the world. As a white, Jewish American woman with a family history of forced migration and persecution, Ellie also sees her work with refugee families as a birthright — a way to pay forward the privilege of safety and comfort she was given by her immigrant family.

About Their Idea: The Village Institute helps refugee, single mothers get beyond “just getting by” in a trauma-informed live/learn/work space where they can build skills & community. A culturally diverse early childhood center is the backbone to its success.

Anika Rich | Washington D.C.

About Anika: Anika T. Rich is an educator from Washington, D.C. She taught third grade in the DC area as a Teach for America corps member and has worked with PK-12 students in various out-of-school time programs for nearly a decade. Anika is committed to closing skill and opportunity gaps for young people so that they have what they need to achieve their dreams. Anika earned a B.S. in Human Development from Howard University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

About Their Idea: Moonstone Education provides personal and professional development for young women and gender-expansive people of color through community engagement and social action.

Niesha Freeman | New Orleans, LA

About Their Idea: The Geaux Ready Program gives young people ages 15–21 the opportunity to take financial ownership of their future by helping them obtain employment in order to SAVE and invest money for their future endeavors.’

Cassandra St. Vil | Baltimore, MD

About Their Idea: Washington’s D.C.’s college-preparatory high school for diverse students, learning from African-centered curriculum to counter racism in the world.

Brandon Taylor | New York, NY

About Their Idea: Model Justice League (MJL) is a political simulation for high school students to act as modern or historic leaders who work to solve today’s problems. MJL empowers young leaders to envision change by learning key academic, leadership and social emotions skills through the perspectives of the past.

Edith Arias | San Francisco, CA

About Their Idea: Padres en Acción helps Spanish speaking students and parents take full advantage of local educational opportunities and prepare for careers by learning about available resources.

Johnaé Strong | Chicago, IL

About Their Idea: Razing to Restore is an online academy focused on organizing and restorative practices to bring emerging change makers including parents, teachers, and students together to build plans of action in their local community to address inequity in education while honoring human dignity of folks at the margins.

Matsuo Marti | Chicago, IL

About Their Idea: Chicago School for Social Entrepreneurs (CHISE) is an innovative high school experience that inspires passions, infuses strong, supportive relationships, and challenges students to impact their communities as social entrepreneurs and innovators. CHISE aims to empower students to design and implement solutions to real social challenges and become fearless leaders uncovering their unique talents and gifts.

Ronald Towns and Zachary Bell | Oakland,CA

About Zach: Zach is a math teacher at Oakland SOL, a dual language public middle school in Oakland. At SOL, he also runs a boy’s group through the nonprofit Ever Forward Club, is the basketball coach, and union rep. Zach earned his teaching credential through the BATTI Teacher Residency Program, and his M.A. in Education at the University of the Pacific. He previously was the 6th and 7th grade assistant math teacher at Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland, a 7th grade humanities resident teacher at Lazear Charter Academy in East Oakland, and after school director at Urban Montessori Charter School.

About Their Idea: We end racial bullying when students build relationships across cultural lines. Common Ground Leadership Club trains youth leaders to bridge cultural gaps between their peers to create inclusive schools communities.

Libby Curran — Wilmot, NH

About Their Idea: Reading Train provides hundreds of print and digital story books with audio and visual supports so that the earliest readers, special education students and English Language Learners, can read and record the books, independently, building self-confidence, vocabulary, and essential early reading skills while fostering a love of reading.

Domari Lewis | Frederick, Maryland

About Their Idea: Domari is building a community of black women who are against using physical punishment to discipline their children. These women are working together to create strong, positive relationships with their kids and they are committed to fostering a legacy of love, honor, support and respect.

Carmen Cruz and Angelo Cruz | New Braunfels, TX

About Their Idea: 1st-Gen Scholars seeks to partner with a Title I elementary school in NISD to address science underachievement by implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) afterschool program that will empower 4th and fifth grade students, teachers, and administrators that to engage in hands on learning in STEAM.

Sinthuja Nagalingam and Jimmy Kam | Evanston, IL

About Sinthuja: At her undergraduate institution, Sinthuja spent a lot of time tutoring students in the local community. After graduating, she initially entered the corporate world but quickly realized that she wanted to pursue her passion in education. After two years, she became a high school math teacher through Teach for America. After teaching for a few years, she was inspired to join a personalized learning initiative aimed at providing every student the resources they needed to excel. Now, she is pursuing her MBA and exploring how she can be a social entrepreneur in education.

About Jimmy: Jimmy is currently a second-year MBA student at Northwestern University. She is the co-founder and COO of Tilt. Prior to MBA, she had worked as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, where she led the Social Impact committee on top of her day-to-day consulting work. She also advised on education strategy for the leading philanthropic organization in Hong Kong. As a first generation student from Hong Kong, Jimmy’s keen on empowering students to achieve their college and career goals. She’s an active mentor in her high school and college, and was a summer camp English teacher serving under-privileged students.

About Their Idea: Tilt is closing the guidance gap and leveling the playing field for college admissions by providing students with the support they need to search for careers, apply to colleges, and plan their financials.

Karima Wilson | Houston, TX

About Their Idea: “Mirrors & Windows” (working title) is an advisory curriculum that helps youth explore and affirm their ethnic & racial identities, complemented by training for educators to effectively lead the curriculum.

Kendra Denmark | Atlanta, GA

About Their Idea: Clear Academy is a mobile classroom for youth that provides access to easy to learn resources to help them enhance their financial literacy skills — like a financial food truck.

Marisa Hamamoto | Los Angeles, CA

About Their Idea: #InfiniteInclusion Schools — A web-based platform & video series led by dancers with and without disabilities, empowering students K-5 to celebrate diversity and thrive through challenges, while improving on inclusion & accessibility practices at schools as a whole.

Irene Greaves | Houston, TX

About Their Idea: Behind every confident individual, every act of kindness, every healthy relationship, and every thriving community is love. Lovescaping is a program that teaches the skills to cultivate self-love and love for others.

Sarah Craig | Richmond, VA

About Their Idea: Journey Learning Labs promotes racial equity in Richmond, VA through non-conventional learning experiences for diverse groups of youth and adults alongside an equity by design practice to reimagine public education and informal learning systems.

Anna Gabriella Casalme (left) and Claudia Pacheco (right)

Anna Gabriella Casalme & Claudia Pacheco | Los Angeles, CA

About Claudia: Claudia holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley, where she explored how both the physical and social environment affect health outcomes. For the past 7 years, she has worked in building community resilience to tackle health disparities and in the last 3 years has focused on youth engagement and empowerment. Claudia is excited to continue to create opportunities for youth to be aware of underlying issues in their own communities, think critically about root causes and recognize their own role in challenging them. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health at the California State University Fullerton.

About Their Idea: What sets the March For Our Lives founders from the 187,000 students affected by school gun violence since Columbine? Survivor Emma Gonzalez suggests one factor: civic education. Novelly is an ed-tech non-profit reimagining civic education by using fiction to empower youth to discuss and take action on issues affecting them.

Jonathan Santos Silva | Rapid City, SD

About Their Idea: Liber Institute — Indigenous families and students know what they need from schools, but they are rarely asked. Our liberatory design lab will support students and families in developing promising initiatives and ventures for school community transformation.

Genevieve Backer & Colby Heckendon | St. Louis, MO

About Colby: Colby was the principal of Patrick Henry in St. Louis for 5 years. When Colby was promoted to principal, Henry scored in the bottom 5% of all schools in the state. By taking a “whole-child” approach, Colby and his team exceeded the goals set by DESE in all core subject areas by more than 20 points. Attendance increased by nearly 10%, enrollment grew by 18% and suspensions were essentially eliminated. Colby’s teacher retention rate is one of the highest in SLPS at 93%. Colby has a B.A. in Education from University of Missouri and Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration.

About Their Idea: Atlas Public Schools is launching as a diverse-by-design elementary charter school applying to open a K-5 LEA in fall of 2021 in the heart of St. Louis’ Central Corridor.

Darius Nabors | St. Joseph, Missouri

About Their Idea: 59in59 uses 360 photography/videography to provide immersive educational experiences using virtual reality viewers. Many teachers cannot take their class on a field trip to visit the Grand Canyon to discuss geology. We bring the Grand Canyon to the classroom with high quality standards aligned content.

Robert Hendricks | Boston, MA

About Their Idea: The He is Me Institute hosts STEAM-centered summer programs for boys of color. We recruit Black male college students from diverse backgrounds to teach and mentor the boys, while exploring their own identities and their individual and collective relationship with education and schooling.

John Spencer | Philadelphia, PA

About Their Idea: Seek.Find.Learn. is an ed-tech tool for teachers and parents to develop engaging project-based learning activities with students producing multimedia deliverables that showcase their creativity.

Ki’Amber Thompson | San Antonio, TX

About Their Idea: Charles Roundtree Bloom Project is an outdoor healing justice program for youth of incarcerated parents in San Antonio, Texas. We provide healing-centered outdoor experiences and culturally relevant environmental education the help these youth envision new possibilities for their lives, for their communities, and for our world.

The Future of School

Stories from 4.0 Schools on making reform more human, investing earlier and more often, tiny schools and learning spaces, and opening up education innovation to everyone.

4.0 Schools

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Early-stage education incubator. Educators + entrepreneurs + technologists.

The Future of School

Stories from 4.0 Schools on making reform more human, investing earlier and more often, tiny schools and learning spaces, and opening up education innovation to everyone.

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