2022 Class of ’54 Alumni Awards

Location: United States

Class of ’54 Commitment to Teaching Fellowship for Alumni Recipients 2022

Amherst is proud of its recent graduates who have chosen to teach in urban and other school systems where students may be considered “at risk” or are socio-economically disadvantaged.  Through the generosity of the Class of 1954, which has established a Commitment to Teaching Fund, Amherst is able each year to award stipends to a limited number of Amherst graduates who have been teaching for ten years or less.

The 2022 awardee biographies are listed below.

View the Program Book Here

Shanera Brodie ’16 is a sixth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies teacher. She was born and raised in Boston and graduated from Amherst with a degree in Sociology. While at Amherst, Shanera tutored for the America Reads program, where her love of working with children developed into the desire to be a teacher. She spent two summers teaching with Generation Teach (GT) as a member of the program’s inaugural cohort in Boston. As a GT teaching fellow, Shanera learned the importance of building belonging within the classroom and fostering an inclusive learning environment. 

After Amherst, Shanera spent a year teaching English in Thailand with the Fulbright Program. While there, she delved into the intricacies of language and literacy and witnessed the positive impact of reflecting on and celebrating students’ cultures and traditions. 

After her Fulbright year, Shanera returned to Boston and began working at the Brooke Mattapan Charter School. As a Brooke alumna, Shanera is thrilled to be teaching at her alma mater and is grateful to work with such thoughtful, creative, hard-working students every day. Her work towards developing a more culturally responsive ELA curriculum and diversifying the literature and content taught in sixth grade has been energizing. This summer, she will be completing a Teacher Leadership Residency at GT and mentoring aspiring teachers.

Olivia Chase ’12 is a middle school Language Arts teacher in Austin, Texas. While at Amherst, she double majored in English and French. Her interest in teaching was nurtured by experiences in the Reading, Writing, Teaching program and Inside-Out Prison Exchange. Additionally, she taught in Hangzhou, China, for a summer as part of the Amherst China Initiative and was a founding member of the EDU, a student group that sought to highlight careers in education and advocated for the creation of an Education Studies major on campus. 

After graduating, Olivia taught English in France at the University of Burgundy as an exchange fellow for Amherst’s French department before pursuing a master’s degree in English Literature at Oxford University. When she returned to the U.S., she taught middle school and high school English and Humanities in New York City while completing a second master’s degree in English Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. 

Olivia has since hosted student teachers, participated in National Endowment for the Humanities research and curriculum writing seminars, and been selected as a Fulbright Teacher for Global Classrooms, a year-long professional development program culminating in an international exchange in Canada. She is also passionate about volunteering with LitWorld, a nonprofit that champions literacy as a human right and gives children tools and opportunities to tell their own stories. 

Jackie James ’14 is a middle school educator at Bricolage Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bricolage Academy is an open-enrollment PreK-8 charter school located in the 7th Ward of New Orleans. It was founded in 2004, under the Recovery School District, as part of the reconstruction of New Orleans public schools after Hurricane Katrina. 

While at Amherst, Jackie majored in English. She began her teaching career in 2015 as a Teach For America corps member and notes that the past seven years in the classroom have been the most challenging and rewarding years of her life! 

She strives to incorporate Critical Pedagogy into her teaching and create meaningful experiences for her students. She wishes to recognize her students, who bring such joy and laughter to her life. Outside of work, some of her favorite things include vacationing in New Hampshire with her family, celebrating Carnival season in New Orleans, and reading good books on the beach. Jackie remains close with many friends from Amherst and still considers this place a home away from home. 

Kimberly Krayacich ’18 is a special education teacher and grade-level leader for ninth grade at Match Charter Public High School in Boston. She primarily co-teaches in English Language Arts (ELA) classes and works to create a space where students can feel seen and heard while still being pushed to learn and grow both academically and socio-emotionally. 

Kimberly is an advocate for implementing anti-racism and cultural responsiveness in both classroom curriculum and school-wide policies. Her favorite project from ELA class was the “Beauty Book,” in which students analyzed society’s messages about beauty in order to create their own definition of beauty. This work culminated in a photo essay collection where students affirmed their own beauty based on their personal definition.

At Amherst, Kimberly majored in Psychology and French. She relies heavily on her psychology background to help build relationships with students and families and create systems to help students succeed. Kimberly is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University. 

Zavi Sheldon ’18 is an eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Junior High School in Dallas, Texas. She completed a Master of Science in Secondary English Education at Johns Hopkins University in 2020. 

Zavi came to Amherst from Williamstown, Mass., and majored in English, with a specific concentration in global women’s literature. In her senior year, she wrote an honors thesis examining how coming-of-age novels narrate the changing identities of young immigrant girls becoming women in America. During her time in college, Zavi was an Education Professions fellow, volunteered as a tutor/mentor in Holyoke with El Arco Iris, and taught summer school at Amherst Regional Middle School (Vela Summer Program) and at Germantown Friends School with Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia. 

Upon graduation, she joined the Dallas/Fort Worth location of Urban Teachers, an Americorps-affiliated four-year teacher preparation program that aims to train highly effective teachers for service in under-resourced urban schools. Currently, in her final year of the program, Zavi is now a member of the team interviewing candidates for the program. She plans to relocate to the Boston area to continue teaching this fall.

Teana N. White ’10 has been an educator in the New York City public school system for the past decade. She began her teaching career after joining the New York City Teaching Fellows Program as a math immersion fellow, earning a master’s in Education from St. John’s University. For seven years, she taught high school Math–Algebra 1, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus–to students in Queens and Brooklyn. As a high school sports coach with the Public School Athletic League, Teana traveled citywide with her students to double dutch and bowling competitions. 

A creative at heart, Teana transitioned to teaching elementary school dance three years ago with Success Academy Charter Schools and is currently a senior grade team lead for the organization’s dance department. She has successfully curated three virtual dance performances for her school community, featuring more than 500 students and their families. In addition to teaching, Teana is a member of two professional NYC-based dance companies, Harambee Dance Company and Forces of Nature Dance Theater. She is also the founder of Tenacious Movement Matters LLC, a company that specializes in using kinesthetic activities to promote academic, social, and emotional learning.