Class of 2004 and 2005 updates

It’s a small world after all! The classes of 2004 and 2005 are still getting caught in the CS web.  Find out who teaches at the same campus they served at as a TF and a CD, who finds themselves at CS headquarters once a month, and who lives just three doors down from a fellow TF alumni.

Vandana Goyal (’04) “I live in Mumbai, India. I work at a Mumbai-based nonprofit called Akanksha and I currently serve as their CEO. I keep in touch with Trish Kirkpatrick, Raj Mitra, Jen Kniff, and Corie Colgan from Citizen Schools. My experience at Citizen Schools shaped my view of education, of social justice, of community and gave me the confidence that even at a young age I could still make a significant impact on our world. Today I work in a city and country that experiences the same issues and challenges as our children at CS did and do but at a far greater scale and depth. My time at CS taught me resilience and perseverance which is something I need every day.”

Marta Magnus (‘05): “I live in Nashua, NH. I continue to work as an art teacher at the Wang Middle School in Lowell, MA. I recently re-connected with Asha Strazzero-Wild which was great. I occasionally see Rebecca Crawford and Jenny Clark. Since I am still working in Lowell where I was a Teaching Fellow and Campus Director, I run into former students and Citizen Teachers all the time, and everyone always has positive memories to share from their time with Citizen Schools. I am also currently participating in a teaching policy fellowship with Boston-based Teach Plus. We have monthly meetings at Citizen Schools which brings back memories for me, and I had the pleasure of running into Eric Schwarz and Emily Stainer on different occasions while there. I’ve also been able to collaborate with Lindsay Sobel who now works for Teach Plus.”

Max Fripp (‘05): “I live in Roslindale, three houses down from Paul Friedmann ’04. I am in my 4th year as the Executive Director of Playworks Boston. I see lots of fun Citizen Schools folks around town. I also have the pleasure of running into former Irving apprentices around Roslindale and JP! Citizen Schools inspires students, staff and volunteers to dream big. I am continually inspired by the organizations ability to attract amazing talent and create a bold and shared vision for changing education. Culture building remains a top priority for me as I continue to grow Playworks and I feel fortunate to build on my experiences at Citizen Schools. In February, Playworks brought 150 Junior Coaches (5th grade leaders) together for 2-days of anti-bullying workshops, leadership development and college explorations. Junior Coaches get 20 hours of training over the course of the school year and play a key role in our ability to improve school climate. Last year, 24 of 27 Playworks principals reported a decrease in bullying, thanks in part to our Junior Coaches. Keep your eyes open for our rising Junior Coaches, they will make amazing apprentices!”

Matt Thornton (‘05): “I’m currently living in Washington, D.C. working for Higher Achievement as the Director of Volunteer Management. I mostly keep in touch with Asha Strazerro-Wild and Emmanuel Schanzer. I miss grad school (sometimes!) and the ability to study and apply what I was learning to campus activities was amazing! I continue to impact my community by recruiting, training, and supporting 500+ mentors per year with a team of 6 across the D.C. metro area. We are closing the opportunity gap for middle school youth in the district.”

Zach Gustafson (’05) “Living in Portland, OR working at Bonneville Power Administration as an Environmental Protection Specialist. ”

Rebecca (Fendell) Crawford (‘05): “I live in Framingham, MA with my husband, two year old son, and our dog Guinness.  I work at the USS Constitution Museum as the Manager of Academic and Family Programs, meaning I run the school programs, develop curriculum, work on the family learning team. I’m still in touch with Jenny Clark (actually worked for Community Teamwork in Lowell, but served as our campus director), Marta Magnus and Patrick Bredehoft.  I still constantly reach into my Citizen Schools bag of tricks regularly both for managing a staff, working with kids at the museum, and developing curriculum here at the museum. At work, I’m serving a primarily tourist audience, but am always looking for ways to connect to the communities that surround us by offering teacher workshops, developing programs for kids in the area, and working closely with community partners in our neighborhood. In a given year, I’ll reach 3,000 students with hands-on, minds-on activities about USS Constitution and the War of 1812.”

Kimberly Hildebrand (‘05): “I have been in Quincy, MA for about a two and a half years with my wife, Beth and our dog, Gretzky. I have worked at The New England Institute of Art (NEiA) in Brookline, MA for about 4 1/2 years. I run the Student Activities, Involvement & Leadership Center. Working with college students often mirrors middle school aged young people. College students have a lot of “out of school time” that I work to fill with opportunities that are social and developmental to build the campus community.  I keep in touch regularly with Leah Tuckman (who was a bridesmaid in my wedding this October), Carrie Baldwin on occasion, Monica Duplessie and I catch up maybe once a year – wish it was more often. There are so many faces and personalities that I miss! I often reflect on the amount of professional development Citizen Schools provided and am ever grateful to have worked for an organization that cared so much about our potential. I appreciate the amount of praise, recognition, and support we received as Teaching Fellows. Within the NEiA Community, I try to encourage my students to learn something new everyday and reflect on their learning. While not providing direct instruction, I definitely have been able to foster a feeling of community on campus.”

John Farden (‘05): “I live in Washington, D.C. with my wife Lee and our dog Einstein.  We recently welcomed our first child last June.  I am working as the Director of Programs for Save the Children’s US Programs Department, overseeing education, health and emergency preparedness work across the country.  I am very excited to be working with Eric and Christin Driscoll on OST/ELT policy for the reauthorization of ESEA.  Dan Gorsky and I are still considering recording/releasing a West-Coast-style rap album of animal-themed children’s songs.  The working title is “Chimping Ain’t Easy.”   I appreciate that, in my time at Citizen Schools, I had lots of opportunities to both work directly with children and spend time thinking and learning about education policy at the local, state, and national level.  Save the Children US Programs work in partnership with more than 160 rural schools to ensure that children are healthy enough to learn and have the language and literacy skills to succeed in school and beyond.”

Daphne Ross (‘04): “I live in Sunnyvale, CA (about 40 minutes south of SF) with my husband, Max, and four-year-old daughter, Violet.  I’m currently focusing on our family, staying at home full-time with our daughter.  It’s been an interesting change of lifestyle, and while I sometimes very much miss having an impact on the larger community, I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time with Violet (and pursue some other interests, like cooking).  In my spare time, I volunteer with a local non-profit education org called Building Futures Now, which works with elementary-aged students from under-resourced areas doing academic enrichment and skill building, while also providing mentorship (  Since leaving Boston in 2004, I have felt pretty disconnected from the CS community and would love to reconnect with other CS alums in the Bay Area.”

Kayron Wright (‘04): “Living in Dorchester, MA with my fiancee. I am in my 6th year of teaching Pre-Algebra at Boston Prep Charter Public School in Hyde Park. I keep in touch and work closely with many CS alums such as Nick T., Fernando S., Carrie B., Amy P., Mayron R., Kendra H., Ben and Ragan. A large part of my job is reaching out to parents on a weekly basis, and the impact of keeping an open connection between families and our school is wide ranging. CS taught me that being a conduit between schools and families only enhances the learning students have. Teaching is friggin’ awesome.”

Paul Friedmann (‘04): “Allison and I are still living in Roslindale, but are contemplating a move this spring to a nearby community.  We’re the proud parents of Maya. I’m still teaching 7th grade math and science at the Edward W. Brooke Charter School.  I see Dan Restuccia and Alissa Farber when the stars align, and occasionally run into Kayron, Nick and Fernando.”

Amy Parsons (‘04): “I recently accepted a position as a Dean of Curriculum & Instruction at Brownsville Collegiate in Brooklyn. I’m in still in touch with many good friends from CS days (Ruka, Jamie Lee, Derria, Nick, Kayron, Carrie, Ragan & Ben). I remain grateful for my experience at CS; those years taught me more than I can say.”

Andrea Berger Berry (‘04): “Still living in Portland, ME with my husband Steve, our daughter Cora (who just turned 3!), dog Jelly and the 2 cats. I’m happily working as the Director of Partnerships and Learning at Idealware, a small nonprofit that helps nonprofits make smart software decisions through easy to understand research and training.  I’m excited to be a bridesmaid in Linda Baird’s wedding this fall and occasionally run into other Citizen Schools folks on visits to Maine.”

Erika Werner (‘99): “Living in Brookline, MA with husband John and 3 children (Javier, 8, Lucia, 6, and Mateo, 4).  I ‘m working at the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education working on project management in the Office of District and School Turnaround. My experience at CS is what has driven me to work in education policy/reform.”


In other alumni news…

Check out John Werner and his involvement in Education Troublemakers, a group of 10 education troublemakers who are shaking things up in big bold ways. Some are empowering passionate and creative teaching methods; others are creating entirely new school models and a couple are still students themselves. Watch these troublemakers share their story and we think you’ll agree – while there’s much to do, an education revolution is underway.


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