Anna is the founder and Faculty Director of Mills Teacher Scholars, with a decades-long passion for studying teacher learning. Her teaching and research interests center on the preparation of and on-going support for teachers in urban schools. Her profound belief in inquiry as both a stance toward practice and a methodology for teaching and teacher learning underscores all the work of the organization. She has developed strategies for teacher education and support, about which she has written extensively. Her most recent book, published by Teachers College Press, is titled, What Should I Do? Confronting Dilemmas of Teaching in Urban Schools. She is a member of the Board of the National Equity Project and a past member of the Board of the National Coalition of Essential Schools. Anna received her B.A. in Education from Skidmore College, her M.A. in Education from Syracuse University, her M.A. in Sociology and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University.
Carrie’s commitment to transformational adult learning has enabled her to lead the growth of Mills Teacher Scholars from its original single group of 18 teacher scholars to its current 17 groups across the East Bay serving more than 345 principals, coaches, and classroom teachers. She guides the development of vision and strategy for the organization as she works with Mills Teacher Scholars’ partners to better understand how to influence the design of teacher learning on a broad scale. She spearheads the organization’s fundraising efforts and develops new partnerships and programs to further Mills Teacher Scholars’ mission. Carrie continues to grow the organization and explore what it means to support our partner sites in sustaining inquiry work over the long term. Previously, Carrie taught English and English Language Development at San Leandro High School for 6 years where she developed and led teacher professional learning opportunities in literacy and language acquisition. In addition to being a literacy instructor in both elementary and junior high, she has written English Language Arts curriculum for national distribution. She received her B.A. in English from Emory University and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.
Daniela has been committed throughout her career to creating spaces where both students and teachers feel safe to share both their uncertainties and their new understandings. She brings her diverse experience as a bilingual elementary teacher and Title 1 Coach in San Leandro, a supervisor for pre-service teachers at Mills College, and a parent education facilitator to her role as Program Director. She oversees the Mills Teacher Scholar program work and supports two groups of teacher scholars: the staff of Colonial Acres Elementary School in San Lorenzo, who are using inquiry to deepen their understanding of differentiated instruction during Guided Reading, and a cross-district group of Oakland Unified teachers who are in their third year of investigating the intersection between academic learning and social-emotional learning. As a newer teacher, she was impressed by her colleagues’ professional knowledge and frustrated at the lack of opportunities for teachers to go public with their stories. She now directs Mills Teacher Scholars’ communications, including publication of a monthly newsletter that highlights the program work and provides a public platform for teacher scholars to share their learning. For the last four years she has lead the summer Mills Teacher Scholars Writing Workshops, which supports teachers in writing about their inquiries. Daniela received her B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.
Claire is Mills Teacher Scholars’ adult learning artist-in-residence. A former Carnegie Scholar with a research focus on developing teaching leadership, she specializes in how to let passion lead learning for adults. She supports three groups of teacher scholars: a cross-disciplinary group of teachers at Mt. Eden High School in Hayward focusing on how to improve teaching and learning for English Language Learners; a cross-district team of Berkeley music teachers investigating how to support students of color in pursuing musical education beyond the elementary years; and a group of 19 Albany High School teachers in their fourth year of teacher-led inquiry who are striving for continuity across disciplines so that their students can flexibly apply their knowledge. In addition to her site-based work, Claire designs the ongoing development of Mills Teacher Scholars sites and advises the organization on how to support long-term sites in sustaining their inquiry communities over many years. She also plays a key role in training and supporting new Mills Teacher Scholars facilitators. Previously, she taught science at Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro for nine years and has been a district mentor, department chair, and cooperating teacher. Claire received her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology as well as her M.A. in Education in Math, Science, and Technology from UC Berkeley.
Aija brings a deep understanding of teacher leadership to her work with Mills Teacher Scholars. As head of the Teacher Leader Network she supports teacher leaders in developing the dispositions and skills necessary to go public with their learning. She specializes in creating safe, non-evaluative spaces to meet teachers where they are and move them forward. She is also advising Mills Teacher Scholars on the design of a teacher leader certificate program and how the organization can keep equitable outcomes for students as the focus of their partnership with teachers. During her nine years as a 4th- and 5th-grade teacher in Oakland public schools she regularly engaged in collaborative, teacher-led inquiry with Mills Teacher Scholars. Through the Mills Teacher Scholars’ Writing Workshop she created a website showcasing her inquiry work. In addition to her work with MTS, she is a Common Core Teacher Leader for the Oakland Unified School District and leads workshops informed by her inquiry work for the Bay Area Writing Project. Aija received her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.
Laura brings expertise in language and literacy development to her work with Mills Teacher Scholars. She has taught elementary and middle school in Oakland for nine years and currently teaches 6th grade science and English Language Arts at Melrose Leadership Academy, where she also facilitates collaborative inquiry with her colleagues. Laura earned her Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University, and focused her research on the academic literacy development of English learners in the context of science. Her dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award in Bilingual Education from the American Educational Research Association, and she has authored several articles and chapters focused on the language and literacy development of English learners. Laura designs and delivers language acquisition content support for Mills Teacher Scholars and serves as an advisor for program evaluation and design. She also facilitates our partnership with the English Learner and Multilingual Achievement Office in Oakland, leading a cross-district group of Oakland Unified teachers of newcomer students, who are using inquiry to better understand how to improve their teaching to meet the particular needs of this population. She received her M.A. in Education from Mills College and her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz.
Jennifer is passionate about supporting teachers in developing an optimistic, asset-based approach to inquiry into their students’ learning. She partners with Life Academy of Health and Bioscience in Oakland to build and grow teacher-led collaborative inquiry as the school’s method for improvement. She supports two groups of Life Academy scholars: the Humanities teachers who are investigating how to better serve their Long-Term English Learners, and the Science teachers who are striving to support the use of logical reasoning and analysis in science writing. Previously, Jennifer spearheaded an inquiry group of high school and community college English teachers, funded by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, who vertically aligned their curriculum so students could successfully matriculate into community college English classes. Through Columbia’s Teachers College, Jennifer participated in school-wide inquiry on how to support students’ college readiness skills across disciplines. She also played an integral role in shaping the counseling and college admissions advising program at Alameda Science and Technology Institute. Previously, Jennifer worked at Hayward High School as a BTSA coach, a WASC committee lead, and a member of classroom-based inquiry groups through UC Berkeley’s Project IMPACT. Jennifer received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.
BA UC Berkeley, English and Education; MA Mills, Education
Julia brings a passion for equity to her work with Mills Teacher Scholars. As a 2nd-grade teacher in her seventh year of teaching at Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley, she remains grounded in classroom practice in her work with other teachers. In her role as Program Associate she partners with the San Lorenzo Unified School District to support a cross-district group of teachers from grades TK-12 who are exploring how teacher-led collaborative inquiry can improve outcomes for students and build connections between sites. She is also bringing Mills Teacher Scholars work to West Contra Costa County through a new partnership with Montalvin Manor Elementary, where she supports the staff in creating a collaborative and empowering learning space for teachers to reflect on their practice. She currently serves as a member of her school’s equity team and is also a liaison for Welcoming Schools, an LBGT focused anti-bullying program. Julia received her B.A. in English and Education from UC Berkeley and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.
Sarah brings her experience as a classroom teacher passionate about inquiry to her work with Mills Teacher Scholars. As a second- and third-grade teacher in East Oakland for six years, Sarah collaborated with her colleagues in conducting regular cycles of inquiry to examine student work and improve instruction. As 2nd/3rd Grade Head Teacher at the Mills College Children’s School for four years, Sarah mentored pre-service teachers and participated in frequent teacher-led inquiry projects, including collaborations with the Mills College Lesson Study Group and a partnership with Japanese math educators from Global Education Resources. Sarah supports three groups of teacher scholars: a cross-district team of Oakland computer science teachers participating in a two-year effort to bring quality computer science instruction to every Oakland school; the staff at Lorenzo Manor Elementary in San Lorenzo serving a diverse population of more than 600 students; and the Head Teachers at the Mills College Children’s School, a laboratory school with a 90-year history of inquiry into teaching and learning. Sarah received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Brown University and her M.A. in Education from Mills College. Her masters research, supported by Mills Teacher Scholars, focused on how metacognitive self-study can support ethical teaching in underserved communities. She continues to enjoy writing about education in her additional role supporting Mills Teacher Scholars’ communications.
Hillary brings an extensive background in coaching and mentoring teachers to her work with Mills Teacher Scholars. She is in her eleventh year of teaching secondary students, and is currently teaching at Realm Charter School in Berkeley, where she serves as both department chair and teacher mentor. She is also a Teacher Consultant and coach for the Bay Area Writing Project. In her role as Mills Teacher Scholars Program Associate she supports a staff of 35 teachers at Anna Yates Elementary School in Emery Unified who are using inquiry to implement high-leverage instructional strategies within new curricula and school-wide programs. She also partners with a team of 9th-grade teachers at Oakland Technical High School who are focusing on improving teaching and learning for English Language Learners (ELLs), African American students, foster youth, and redesignated ELLs. Hillary is active at her own school site in designing and facilitating professional learning communities, including a team of teachers working on social-emotional learning through advisory, grade-level teams using inquiry to support cross-disciplinary academic development, and Critical Friends Groups. Previously, she has also been a BTSA support provider. Hillary received her B.A. in History and African American Studies from UC Davis, her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University, and her M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.
Jean is a veteran organizer with thirteen years of experience in school office administration and previous experience teaching elementary art. She acted as President of an arts non-profit for 8 years, successfully implementing new procedures to handle the growing membership and funds. While working in independent schools, Jean assisted a member of the California Independent School board and School Heads, acted as the liaison to an independent school board, and assisted in editing The Head’s Handbook, published by the National Association of Independent Schools. Recently, Jean retired from 13 years of Chairing an annual Bay Area art show that displayed over 300 pieces. She manages the office and performs countless support jobs that keep the Mills Teacher Scholars program running smoothly. A love of both art and math led her to receive her B.A. in Commercial Design at the University of Michigan School of Architecture and Design.
Environmental Science BS, Mills College ‘19
Hannah is one of the team’s office assistants. She assists with tasks that need to be done around the office, helps with the small details of events as well as photographs and films them. She enjoys photography and film as a hobby when she is not studying for exams.
Mills Teacher Scholars Partners:
Eve is a principal coach and teacher instructional coach focused on classroom and school-wide strategic efforts to engage students of color in deep and powerful learning. She supports Mills Teacher Scholars in helping school leaders create the conditions for successful adult learning at their sites through the Principal Inquiry Network. She has taught English, Social Studies, Health, Academic Literacy, and Advisory in middle and high schools in Oakland and San Francisco. She was the principal at MetWest High School in Oakland and also taught in the Administrative Credential Program at University of San Francisco. She received her B.A. in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.
Julie Nicholson, PhD is a Deputy Program Director with the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. A former preschool and elementary school teacher, she works on several local and state level policy committees addressing child care and early care and education including the Oakland Education Cabinet Prenatal to Eight committee. Among other things, Dr. Nicholson’s research examines leadership development for early childhood professionals, play across the lifespan, and teachers’ use of data to inform instructional decision-making. Julie received her B.A. in Liberal Studies from Loyola Marymount University, her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University, and her PhD in Early Childhood Education from University of Michigan.