Meet our 2016 Teaching Fellows!

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In partnership with Teach with Africa, the GTI would like to introduce our 2016 teaching fellows. Our fellowship program identifies high- impact teachers and educational leaders in the US and places them in our partner schools in South Africa for a short residency.

The fellowship program aims to facilitate an authentic platform for fellows and their South African hosts to learn from one another, improve their instructional practices, and shift the international engagement paradigm from one of giving and taking, to co-creation and sharing.

These five teachers will present at our Axis Education Summit before beginning their school residency. Read below for more information about this year’s team:

E Colen professional photo Elizabeth Colen

Elizabeth teaches 8th grade at Gateway Middle School in San Francisco. She has a Master of Education, a single subject and multiple subject teaching credential; she is currently working on a National Boards Certification. She taught in Whittier for 3 years before becoming a founding teacher at Gateway Middle School in 2011. She is passionate about working with students to find their love of history while ensuring to create lessons that reflect student’s interests and the complexity history.


Amelia Herbert

Amelia seeks to be a lifelong learner and teacher. She has taught for eight years in Newark, NJ at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  As a Teach For America Corps Member (’05), she taught 2nd grade in the Newark Public Schools district. She also taught 8th, 9th, and 10th grade courses in History and Research at North Star Academy Charter School (Uncommon Schools).    

Amelia holds a B.A. in History from Duke University and an M.S.Ed in childhood education from Hunter College, CUNY, which she completed through the Teacher U program. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Education at Columbia University, Teachers College.  In addition, she is an Instructional Fellow at Relay Graduate School of Education, where she serves as an academic advisor to 40 graduate students who are secondary teachers in New York City public schools.   

imageLucy Hilarides

Lucy graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from the University of North Carolina. She currently an eighth grade Humanities teacher at Gateway Middle School in San Francisco. At Gateway, she serves as advisor to the Student Council, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and represents the eighth grade team on the school Leadership Team. She has also taught in Chicago, Illinois and Seoul, South Korea. She enjoys guiding middle schoolers as they investigate history and literature with a critical lens through collaboration and rich classroom experiences.

Olivas PhotoChris Olivias

“As a San Diego native I have had a passion for learning about and preserving our oceans my entire life. This led to me to study Biology and Marine Biology at UCSD and in Queensland Australia! My devotion for education came out these experiences where I became excited to share my learning and hopefully ignite an interest in others.”        

Chris Olivias started his teaching career teaching high school chemistry and geometry at High Tech High Media arts and has since moved on to teach middle school math and science at a North County campus. Since moving to middle school he has been diving deeper into developing projects that get students thinking about and applying science in real world situations. He has been part the leadership team at High Tech High tasked with helping the integration of the Next Generation Science Standards in their schools and statewide. In addition he has facilitated many of High Tech High’s organization’s professional development workshops and recently facilitated a week long workshop on project based learning in Hawaii. Lastly Chris is very grateful for opportunities to make connections with other educators and I look forward to pushing my own learning and sharing my experiences with others.                                

IMG_8677Clifford Sykes

Clifford Sykes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Education at Lincoln University of Missouri followed by his Masters of Arts at the University of Wisconis. He was the director of Bands and Choir for 22 years at Pontianic School District and retired in 2014. Clifford has been an actor in numerous theatre and movie productions. He has travelled to South Africa before with the Kuntu Repertory Theatre from the University of Pittsburg to perform on the South African National Arts Festival. He is currently still active in church and community activities.

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