Who We Are

Whitney Farrell

Whitney is a high school Art teacher in Delaware, Ohio. She is a Co-Administrator of our Facebook group.

James E. Ford

James Ford is the Family and Community Support Coordinator for the Lewiston Public Schools. He is the former Restorative Practice Coordinator at Lewiston High School. He is a Black male who can trace his lineage to the middle and an owner of land in Georgia where his ancestors were slaves. He has lived in Maine for 40 years and has dealt with many layers of Affirmative Action, discrimination, racism, segregation and implicit bias. He has been doing work on race, or the subject of race all of my life. He loves the Lewiston High School; its diversity and its willingness to shift behaviors to work with the current student population. He sees his role as helping to facilitate that shift…finding ways to bring the school closer to the community. “Let’s open our doors to our parents, businesses and our neighbors.”

Heather Kostell

Elementary Educator, Parent, Artist, and a kid at heart, Heather Kostell is an advocate for children’s rights and joyful learning. Being labeled by her deficits at an early age, Heather endured years of wounds at the hands of the school system. These negative experiences were the catalyst that pushed her to become a teacher. While teaching, she made it her mission to create a space where children were valued for their strengths, passions, and natural talents. Currently, Heather is exploring self-directed learning with her husband and two children and using her art to express her beliefs in education.

Diane Nickerson

Diane is the founder and director of the Castle Island Bilingual Montessori school in Albany, New York. She is a Co-Administrator of our Facebook group.

Peter Rawitsch

Peter Rawitsch got his calling to become an early childhood educator at the age of 15 when he read the book Summerhill by A.S. Neill. He brought his enthusiasm for the Arts into his 1st grade classroom for 38 years in upstate New York. His goal was to teach a little more like Mr. Rogers and a little less like Sesame Street. He remembers when 1st grade had a block corner. Today he is a public school activist who speaks (and occasionally sings) at School Board meetings in Wilmington, North Carolina about safety, equity, and developmentally appropriate practices.

Aixa Rodriguez

Aixa B. Rodriguez (born in Bronx, NY) is a Puerto Rican educator and education activist. Rodriguez has been  a teacher of English Language Learners in the NYCDOE since 2005. She is the founder of Bronx Educators United for Justice, which hosts community events on a variety of intersectional topics related to public education. A graduate of Fordham University with a BS in Psychology and Latin American studies, she followed a stint in Japan teaching English as Foreign Language, by obtaining a Masters of Science in TESOL. She has served on the steering committee for MORE the Movement of Rank and File Educators for 2019-2020. Since realizing how education reform initiatives are preying on young idealist teachers and experimenting on public school students for profit, she has taken on activism and advocacy as part of her role as a public educator. Her issues include the abuse of standardized testing to usher in privatization of public schools, charter school co-locations, scarcity of services used to deny rights and services to ELLs and students with disabilities,  push out of veteran teachers of color, whole child education and quality rich and culturally representative, responsive and respectful curricula.

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