CEO Message
"I will be forever proud and grateful that I had the opportunity to lead this amazing organization, and am looking forward to seeing what this community will become and accomplish in the future."

December 31, 2021

Dear Friends of Knowles,

It likely goes without saying that the fiscal year ending May 31, 2021 was unlike any other in our organization’s history. The global COVID-19 pandemic required that teachers radically change their teaching practice almost instantaneously, and our commitment to teachers required that we adapt our programs and support to meet them where they were in these unprecedented circumstances. The challenge was enormous, and our staff rose to meet it with grace, creativity and unwavering dedication. We learned a great deal from this past year, and will use those learnings to improve our programs in the future.  But we also confirmed what we’ve known for many years, that bringing teachers together, in person, is critical for a strong, thriving network of leaders that can drive educational improvement.

Although the goals and trajectory of the Teaching Fellowship Program remained the same, implementing the entire program virtually required us to replan almost every aspect of the Fellowship year for all five cohorts. In July 2020, we held our first ever fully virtual Summer Meeting, then our fall and spring cohort meetings were held virtually as well. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the year was revising our process for reviewing applications, vetting candidates and awarding Fellowships to members of the 2022 Cohort. Each round of adapting our program plans and materials for a virtual environment allowed us to learn and improve, but also gave us a unique opportunity to compare data on the Fellows’ experience and learning with previous years.  

Knowles Programs
Teaching Fellows Program

The Knowles Teaching Fellowship is an intensive, five-year program that supports early-career, high school mathematics and science teachers in their efforts to develop teaching expertise and lead from the classroom. In fiscal year 2021, Knowles supported 120 Teaching Fellows in 28 states.

Senior Fellows Program

After completing the fifth year, Teaching Fellows become Senior Fellows who have the opportunity to receive support from Knowles for leadership efforts. In fiscal year 2021, the Knowles community included 302 Senior Fellows.

Knowles Academy

Through the Knowles Academy, the Knowles Teacher Initiative provides professional development services for teachers and customized services for schools and districts that are designed and facilitated by experienced teachers. Knowles Academy courses were held virtually, with more than 150 teachers attending Academy courses that were facilitated by Senior Fellows.  

Fellow Stories

Since March 2020, COVID-19 has made the job of teaching even more challenging. In this year’s annual report, we chose to highlight how a few Knowles Fellows navigated teaching during a global pandemic.

As a result of her participation in the Coaching Partnership Program, Allison became more reflective about the lessons she teaches, both in the moment and after. Also, she’s become an advocate for coaching at her school.

Allison Hardy

2020 Knowles Teaching Fellow
Second-year Chemistry Teacher
Hillwood High School
Nashville, TN

During the 2020–2021 school year, Allison Hardy taught in a large metropolitan public high school in Nashville, Tennessee. She taught virtually in 2020 and both virtually and in-person in 2021. As a second-year teacher who was still getting her bearings in the classroom, these shifts presented a major challenge. With the switch to virtual learning, she didn’t know how to do group work online or how to navigate getting students to talk. Allison came to the realization that she needed a coach to support her in developing these skills. To help fill this gap, she requested a grant from Knowles to cover the cost of participating in the Knowles Coaching Partnership Program, a program that partners Knowles Teaching Fellows with Senior Fellow coaches for one academic year. Allison met with her coach Ian Caldwell once a week for eight weeks via Zoom. Ian helped her work through how to assign effective group work and how to transition from virtual back to in-person learning. 

The majority of her students completed the at-home labs and shared pictures of their work in progress via text or in their lab handouts. In weekly reflection surveys, her students often mentioned the at-home labs in response to questions about their favorite activity or what they learned that week.

Maggie Radack

2020 Knowles Teaching Fellow
Northern High School
Durham, NC
Second-year Physical Science Teacher

In the spring of 2020, Maggie Radack struggled to keep her physical science students engaged. With the quick switch to virtual learning precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was little opportunity for hands-on learning. As the pandemic continued and Maggie learned at least the fall semester of the 2020–2021 school year would be virtual too, she realized she needed to make some changes to increase engagement. With 54% of the students at her school being eligible for free or reduced lunch, Maggie didn’t want to put financial strain on their families by asking them to purchase lab supplies. Instead, she requested funding from Knowles to purchase lab kits for all 100 of the physical science students at her school, including those in the class of a colleague. 

The funding allowed the pair to transform an old office into a wellness space with comfortable seating, meditation resources, tea, gratitude notes, and other items to promote self care. This room is available exclusively for teachers and is still in use today.

Rebecca Guarino

Knowles Senior Fellow
Sixth-year Math Teacher
Manhattan Village Academy
New York, NY

Despite having several years of teaching experience under her belt, the 2020–2021 school year was Rebecca Guarino’s first year teaching at Manhattan Village Academy (MVA). MVA is the only Title 1 school in District 2 in Manhattan; it serves a diverse student body that commutes in from all neighborhoods across New York City. For the majority of the school year, other than a brief period in the winter during which the school was fully remote, MVA practiced a hybrid model, where students were able to opt in for in-person learning. Having to teach a handful of students in-person on a daily basis, while also being responsible for teaching more than 20 students virtually created a high stress environment for Rebecca and her colleagues. During these stressful times, she met with her principal to discuss teacher sustainability and wellness. They saw that the staff was feeling burnt out and weary of teaching so they sought out ways to create space for mindfulness and wellness. 

In April 2021, they traveled to the Oregon coast, where they practiced the skills they aim to foster in their students, including nature-based data collection and analysis, and community circles.


Erin Capra, Jody DeAraujo, Lucas Risinger & Erin Smith

2017 Knowles Teaching Fellows
Erin Capra, West High School, Salt Lake City, UT, Fifth-year Science Teacher
Jody DeAraujo, Balboa High School, San Francisco, CA, Fifth-year Science Teacher,
Lucas Risinger, West Albany High School, Albany, OR, Fifth-year Science Teacher
Erin Smith, Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA, Fourth-year Science Teacher

As science teachers, 2017 Knowles Teaching Fellows Erin Capra, Jody DeAraujo, Lucas Risinger and Erin Smith recognized the need to teach climate science without causing more harm to their students, who had already experienced trauma as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, they recognized the need to develop multidisciplinary lessons that incorporate real-world phenomena while engaging students in outdoor, experiential learning—all while maintaining a sense of hope. Seeking to develop the skills needed to teach in this way, the group planned a three-day professional development retreat and successfully requested funding from Knowles. In April 2021, they traveled to the Oregon coast, where they practiced the skills they aim to foster in their students, including nature-based data collection and analysis, and community circles. On day one, they practiced authentic data collection techniques, including creating sit-spot journals and engaging in phenology, as shared by Erin Capra and Erin Smith. That evening, they held a community circle to gain experience with restorative justice. On day two, they selected a surveying location, where they captured data for a citizen science project on sea star wasting syndrome. On day three, they analyzed data, developed curricula and engaged in a final community circle.

2021 Teaching Fellows

2021 Cohort of Knowles Teaching Fellows

The 2021 Cohort of Knowles Teaching Fellows is composed of 30 exceptional early-career, high school biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics teachers. Their Fellowships began on June 1, 2021 and will continue through the summer of 2026. Read more about our newest Fellows.

Ben Blanco

Math Teacher

Charlestown High School
Charlestown, Massachusetts

Worked in a seventh-grade math classroom as a resident with the Boston Teacher Residency

Meredith Boulter

Chemistry Teacher

Darien High School
Darien, Connecticut

Wrote an article, “Building a Nuclide,” that was published by the American Association of Chemistry Teachers

Liv Craine

Biology Teacher

Pullman High School
Pullman, Washington 

Studied soil microbial ecosystems in old growth rainforests in Costa Rica through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates Program

Michael Desmarais

Chemistry Teacher

Revere High School
Revere, Massachusetts

Conducted research on how to make dark chocolate less bitter without reducing its health benefits while working as an intern at the Hershey Company

Kasey DiSessa

Biology Teacher

Deptford High School
Deptford, New Jersey

Taught literacy and STEM subjects to third through fifth graders while working as a summer intern at the Camden Dream Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School

Addie Embry

Biology Teacher

East Central High School
San Antonio, Texas

Taught freshman introductory biology labs for one year and medical microbiology labs for two years while enrolled in graduate studies at Trinity University

Jacqueline Gomez

Math Teacher

South East High School
Los Angeles, California

Worked as a high school mathematics tutor for five years through the University of Southern California’s Med-COR, a program that seeks to increase the pool of high school students of color committed to the pursuing careers in the health profession 

Mackenzie Hill

Biology Teacher

West Ashley High School
Charleston, South Carolina

Helped 40 freshman students get acclimated to college life at the University of South Carolina as the co-instructor of a freshman transition course

Dimitri Kaviani

Chemistry and Physics Teacher

Woodbridge High School
Irvine, California

Led training for rapid prototyping and manufacturing techniques while working as an intern at UCI Applied Innovation

Christy Kim

Biology Teacher

Ulysses S. Grant High School
Van Nuys, California

Participated in HIV clinical research studies involving infants, children, and mothers while working as a staff research associate at The University of California Los Angeles Department of Pediatrics: Infectious Disease

Margaret Knull

Math Teacher

Floyd Dryden Middle School
Juneau, Alaska

Worked at the Juneau Economic Development Council as the lead instructor for their STEM/Lego Robotics camps

Hannah Korslund

Chemistry Teacher

Half Moon Bay High School
Half Moon Bay, California

Worked as a teaching assistant for a freshman chemistry class for one semester and as a lead course assistant for a computer science class for two years while studying at Johns Hopkins

Sophia Loumiotis

Math Teacher

Notre Dame High School
San Jose, California

Taught all levels of math, from middle school to college, as well as SAT and ACT test preparation

Jessica Maruri

Math and Physics Teacher

Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School
Nashville, Tennessee

Traveled to Switzerland, delivered four presentations, and co-authored an article that was published in a research journal related to particle physics research she conducted while working as a research assistant in the High Energy Physics Research group at Vanderbilt University

Sesha McMinn

Biology Teacher 

Travis High School
Austin, Texas

Worked as a tutor and a teacher of math, English, history, and science through her involvement with Seeds of Hope, an organization based in Huaraz, Peru

Anna Mellos

Math Teacher

Arundel High School
Gambrils, Maryland

Worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Arundel High School and as a substitute teacher and a special education teaching assistant for Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Ciera Nickerson

Math Teacher

Kelvyn Park High School
Chicago, Illinois

Instructed an eighth-grade intensive summer session through Wolverine Pathways

Morgan Phillips

Math Teacher

High Tech High Media Arts
San Diego, California

Worked as an industrial engineer at FedEx Ground before transitioning to teaching

Kyle Reinke

Chemistry and Biology Teacher

Curtis Senior High School
University Place, Washington

Worked as a Lego Robotics instructor with Bricks4Kidz

Felisha Reza

Biology Teacher

East View High School
Georgetown, Texas

Provided quality testing of patient samples in order to select the best possible blood donor units for transfusion while working as a medical laboratory scientist at the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas at Austin

Emily Salzman

Math Teacher

Lane Tech College Prep High School
Chicago, Illinois

Planned quarterly colloquia with guest speakers on education-related topics and collaborated with administrators to restructure the program’s strategic plan while working as a graduate assistant at Northwestern University

Kelsey Scully

Chemistry and Biology Teacher

Oregon City High School
Oregon City, Oregon

Worked as a teaching assistant for a microbiology lab for one year while studying at Oregon State University

Ana Slick

Biology, Chemistry and Biotechnology Teacher

Middleton High School
Middleton, Wisconsin

Taught a summer seminar class on education to high school students through PEOPLE, a program that serves  underrepresented students in the Madison, Wisconsin, area

Peter Smith

Math Teacher

Lake View High School
Chicago, Illinois

Taught recreational math to fifth and sixth graders for four years as a lead instructor with Math Circles of Chicago

Catherine Sullivan

Physics Teacher

360 High School
Providence, Rhode Island

Served as the leader of an electrical engineering exploration for middle school students enrolled in tech camps at the University of New Hampshire

Lekha Tantry

Math Teacher

Capital City Public Charter School
Washington, D.C.

Tutored high school students and created math resources for K–8 teachers while working as a math curriculum team intern at Ascend Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn, New York

Albert David Valderrama

Physics Teacher

Walnut High School
Walnut, California

Taught English as a second language and as a foreign language in Shimotsuma, Japan, for five years through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

Kelly Wilson

Biology Teacher

Balboa High School
San Francisco, California

Provided tutoring, academic/career advising, and college planning services to middle and high school students through her work with the Cornell University Public Service Center

Oliver Yang

Chemistry Teacher

Hayward High School
Hayward, California

Designed the curriculum for a two-week environmental science course for incoming 10th-grade students while working as a summer intern at the Science Teaching Experience for Undergraduates Program at Trinity College

Donor Acknowledgment

Thank You to All of Our 2020–2021 Donors

During fiscal year 2021, Knowles trustee Dr. Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams donated all of the assets previously pledged to the Knowles Teacher Initiative by her and her husband and Knowles co-founder, the late Mr. C. Harry Knowles. We are immensely grateful for her extreme generosity and her unwavering support, and the financial stability that it will provide the Foundation and our efforts to improve mathematics and science teaching and learning in the United States. 

Additionally, we would like to thank all of our donors. Their generosity allows us to provide funding for teachers across the country to attend Knowles Academy professional development courses.


Adam Ramirez

Amy Gheysens

Anna Monteiro

Audrey Germanis

Ayanna Perry

Bei and Gordon Saville

Benevity Fund

Carlee Madis

Carolyn Ross

Cheryl Brown

Damian Carrieri

Drs. Calvin & Orsula Knowlton Foundation

Dwaina Sookhoo

Eli Heller

Ebony Freeman

George M. Wohlreich

Heba Abdo

Isacc Paez

Janet H. Knowles

Jeff Rozelle

Jen Mossgrove

Jerberco Arnold

Jodie Galosy

Joshuah Thurbee

Joyce Lin

Kayla Urquidi

Kimberly Masloski

Lawrence Tint

Laura Nutter

Laura Schafer

Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams

Michael Hughes

Mr. & Mrs. Robert F. Morris, Jr.

Meghan Scattaregia

Melissa Kagle

Michael C. Wittmann

Monica Sircar

Nicole Gillespie

Paul Johns

Paul Kuerbis

Riley Germanis

Roseanne Rostock

Sarah Ingraham

Scott Goldie

Stephanie Holm

Vassar College

Board of Trustees

Knowles Board of Trustees: Fiscal Year 2021

Heather Buskirk

Career Learning Director, Stride; Knowles Senior Fellow

Janet H. Knowles

Retired, former Vice President of Administration and Treasurer, Metrologic Instruments; Founder and Secretary, Knowles Teacher Initiative Board of Trustees

Paul Kuerbis

Retired, former Professor of Education, Colorado College; Vice Chairman, Knowles Teacher Initiative Board of Trustees

Robert F. Morris Jr.

Retired, former Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager in the Portfolio Management Program, UBS

Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams

Retired, former Senior Pathologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Clinical Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Bei Saville

Chief Investment Officer, Treasury and Fingerboard Family Office, Advance

Lawrence Tint

Chairman, Quantal International; Managing Director, Strategy Capital; Chairman, Knowles Teacher Initiative Board of Trustees

Edward D. Viner 

Professor of Medicine and Senior Advisor to the Dean at the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Michael C. Wittmann

Head of Education, APS Physics

George M. Wohlreich

Former President and Chief Executive Officer of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (Adjunct) at the Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine

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Three-minute observation generally involve teachers making short, frequent observations of one another’s classrooms and meeting to share their findings.