Welcome Teachers!

At KIPP Public Schools, we know teachers open doors of opportunity. They find innovative ways to teach core academic subjects, they nurture students, and they help kids express themselves through athletics and art. Great teachers are truly at the heart of transformative education.

2022 Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

Jamar Brownlee
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Jamar Brownlee

4th Grade Lead Teacher

KIPP West Philadelphia Elementary Academy | Philadelphia, PA

Mr. Brownlee does it all. He’s planned field trips, field lessons, and partnered with families while demanding excellence from his students. As a fourth-grade homeroom teacher, 20 out of his 26 students met or exceeded their growth targets in mathematics. His work extends outside the classroom. He finds time to attend football games and dance recitals, and provides instruction to those who need it with Zoom and Facetime calls. Furthermore, Mr. Brownlee helps students advocate for themselves through honest conversations about historical and current events.

“It is truly remarkable to walk into the space that Mr. Brownlee is teaching. Engagement is through the roof always. Rigorous content is being discussed and worked on by kids daily. There is a true culture of learning where he constantly pushes kids to show how brilliant they are.” —Sean Tucker, KIPP Philadelphia School Leader

Matthew Greenberg
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Matthew Greenberg

Founding 1st Grade Teacher

KIPP Star Harlem College Prep Elementary School | NYC, NY

Mr. Greenberg believes the best way for students to learn is to empower them. Students in his class don’t depend solely on him for instruction. Rather than creating an environment where learners are dependent on their teacher for all of the answers, Matthew reminds them of their successes and their ability to “do hard things.” When students have shown their best effort, he places them with a partner so that they can teach each other. It’s why, year after year, >75% of his students met or exceeded reading and math benchmarks before the pandemic. His classes run like a well-oiled machine, allowing him to give daily, individualized feedback.

“Matthew would say there is nothing special about his teaching. I would say he is right because everything about his teaching is special! It is amazing!”—Brandi Vardiman, KIPP NYC Founding School Leader

José Hernández
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José Hernández

AP & IB Spanish (11th & 12th grades) Teacher

KIPP University Prep High School | San Antonio, TX

Mr. Hernández is one of the most successful teachers in UPrep history. In 2019, 2020, and 2021, 100% of his students passed the school’s Higher Level IB Spanish B course. He aided in founding the Hispanic National Honor Society and taught every level of Spanish at KIPP University Prep for the past ten years. Mr. Hernández creates a relationship with students by allowing them to share cultural experiences and learn from one another. His classrooms are structured based on his deep knowledge of students’ strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them to support each other.

“José shares multiple identity markers with our student body which students said made them feel more comfortable and connected to him as their teacher. He centers on historically marginalized voices while considering cultural connections and differences when planning lessons with other colleagues.”—Abby Morton-Garland, KIPP University Prep School Leader

Elmer Merlos
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Elmer Merlos

7th Grade Social Studies Teacher

KIPP Summit Academy, San Lorenzo, CA

Mr. Merlos is a 15-year vet of the KIPP Summit team. Since 2014, his 7th graders have met or exceeded goals on the ELA portion of the SBAC test. Mr. Merlos won “Teacher of the Year” award in 2019 for his dedication to students and being of assistance to anyone who needed him. Mr. Merlos is dedicated to teaching his students about their history and allowing students to not only feel engaged but to be empowered. His unit on the Americas helps students who are often first-generation Latinx a chance to explore their personal history while in school. He does this intentionally for students because he recognizes that as an immigrant from El Salvador and a first-generation college student, he did not often get the chance to learn his history. He has a steady stream of current and former students visiting his classroom to share the good news about their lives.

“It’s his deep community roots that allow him to help them find their own path to justice. He has numerous students that are now employees of social justice organizations throughout the Bay, fighting for immigration, education, and workers’ rights. He knows this because he still keeps in touch with so many of them.” —Megan Roberto, KIPP Summit Academy School Leader

Shamara Moore
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Shamara Moore

9th Grade English Teacher

KIPP KC Legacy High School | Kansas City, MO

Ms. Moore is a multifaceted educator dedicating her energy to student excellence and social justice at KIPP KC Legacy High School. During the 2017-2018 school year, Ms. Moore co-taught 5th-grade science. More than half of her students landed in the top two quartiles. Last year, she taught a dual-credit course called “What’s Race Got to Do With It?” in collaboration with the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ms. Moore is best known for building excellent relationships with students and families, faculty, and staff. Last spring, every night at 8pm she would come back to school and pick up a student and drop her off at home to help her family who had to work so she could be part of the Track and Field team. After doing virtual instruction over Zoom, she rode the school buses several times a week, passing out meals to KIPP families. These are some of a million examples of how Ms. Moore shows up for her students.

“Ms. Moore is deeply committed to achieving results with her students, both in achievement and continual growth. She expects her students to grow as scholars and people, and for herself to grow as an educator as well.” —Josh Swartzlander, KIPP KC Legacy High School Leader

Shelby Powers
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Shelby Powers

9th Grade Algebra 1 & Algebraic Reasoning Teacher

KIPP East End High School | Houston, TX

Ms. Powers’ leadership and teaching style have received perfect marks from her co-workers and a nearly perfect score from her students. Her math students began the year struggling but ended the year with the highest Algebra 1 state score of any KIPP Texas school, thanks to her tutelage. Outside the classroom, Ms. Powers sponsors the Woods Projects, a program that teaches students survival skills both in life and in the woods, such as starting a fire, putting up a tent, fishing techniques, and overall survival techniques. Last year, Houston experienced a severe winter storm that caused millions to lose power, but despite not having power herself, she was the first teacher to check in with the rest of the team and respond to any of her students’ needs. One particular student’s family was out of food, and without hesitation, she delivered them food and provided the necessary resources to survive the terrible winter storm. The constant evidence of Ms. Powers’ selflessness and love for our students is just incredible and heartfelt.

“Ms. Powers builds strong relationships with students and families, and can connect with them in an especially poignant way. She’s a constant source of support to KIPPsters.” —Olvin Carias, KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston School Leader

Martina Ramos
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Martina Ramos

8th Grade Reading Teacher

KIPP Aspire Academy | San Antonio, TX

As a San Antonio native, Ms. Ramos fully understands the educational rigors needed to ensure student success. For the last 11 years as a KIPP teacher, she has focused on the “whole” child to help students achieve greatness. Mr. Ramos strives to exemplify social and emotional learning in the classroom by teaching self-management skills, relationship building, and self-awareness. In her classroom, all students are engaged, pushed to do better, and supported in various ways that reflect their learning styles. In addition, she’s always willing to help or model any skills she assigns to teachers she coaches. Ms. Ramos is also a proud KIPP Parent, her daughter Ebony will graduate with the University Prep class of 2022 in May and her son will be graduating in 2025 as the first founding K-12 class of 2025.

“From the moment you walk into Ms. Ramos’ classroom, you can distinguish her inclusive environment by cultural and identity affirming representation in books, content, and language. Ms. Ramos works endlessly to value her students’ opinions, ideas, and thoughts by providing opportunities and space for them to advocate and use their voices.” —Jaime Jaen, KIPP Texas Public Schools – San Antonio School Leader

Megan Schenauer
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Megan Schenauer

8th Grade English Teacher

KIPP BOLD Academy | Newark, NJ

Since 2018, Ms. Schenauer’s Megan’s students have consistently outperformed the district and the state on several assessments. Eighty percent of her students are proficient in the PARCC assessment, the highest across KIPP New Jersey. She’s an outside-the-box thinker who isn’t afraid to use unique ideas to reach her students, from dressing up to bringing props. She does chants and cheers because she knows 8th graders still love them. Every year, she asks for the most challenging students, then works with their families to create a plan for their educational breakthrough.

“Everyone wants to be in Megan’s class because she’s known for having a loving, safe environment where everyone achieves. She gives students opportunities to try group work, even in a post-COVID world, and wants everyone to have fun.” —Lisa Bonnifield, KIPP New Jersey School Leader

LaDerrick Williams
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LaDerrick Williams

6th Grade Science Teacher

KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle | Memphis, TN

Mr. Williams spends as much time as possible with his students at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle. He stays late at school on most days, including working on weekends to plan and prepare for the week. He works with students at lunch, and before and after school, providing a listening ear for whoever needs it. Mr. Williams’ accommodation of learning styles for his special education students led to them meeting goals and exceeding growth measures, a likely byproduct of missing zero workdays in the 2021-22 school year and only three missed days over the past five years.

“When observing his class at any time of the day during the week, all of his students are fully engaged with the lesson. He makes the information accessible to all students and leaves them with smiles on their faces. Students love learning from him.” —Natasha Smith, KIPP Memphis School Leader

Social Justice and Equity Teaching Resources

When it comes to teaching for social justice, it’s not simply teaching about social justice movements of the past. It’s about using your instruction to help students understand and leverage their own power for social change.

Click into each of the categories below to view resources. 

Diversity Policy

Diversity at KIPP

We’re committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization. Our strength and resolve, our health as a team and family, our productivity and effectiveness, and the quality of the decisions we make — all are rooted in our diversity. So we strive to create an environment in which every member of our team can bring his or her full identity and experience to the work.

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Teaching at KIPP

At KIPP, you never stop learning, you’re part of a national network that’s leading the way in getting students to and through college and beyond, and your work makes an impact in the community every day.