TEACHER LEADERSHIP BOARDThe Teacher Leadership Board serves as thought partners and education advisors for the organization and as ambassadors in advancing our mission.
Teacher Leadership Board Members 2021-2023
The Teacher Leadership Board (TLB) is comprised of Generation Citizen program teachers representing GC’s regional program sites. The TLB elevates the vital voices of teachers in the growing movement to expand access to high-quality Action Civics across the country. GC’s value of Grassroots Change articulates the belief that those closest to the issue are best poised to create its solutions, and the TLB will help the organization honor that value and enhance its work.
Nicole Gangi | Robinson Middle School
Lowell, MA 2021-2023
Nicole joins the Generation Citizen Teacher Leadership Board with almost ten years of teaching experience in many different grade levels of Social Studies. From elementary through high school, she has taught every level of History and now finds herself enthralled in middle school Civics. She has been in her current position at the Robinson Middle School in Lowell for four years, actively engaging her students in real-world Action Civics while constantly striving to improve upon the year before. Having only two years of experience with Generation Citizen specifically, Nicole is excited to continue to grow as an instructor of Civics education and learn from the experiences of her students’ lives. Nicole has been impressed with the awareness and degree of concern that her students show when working on their Action Civics projects. Her students are always interested in tackling issues of violence and crime in their city, as well as drug use, mental illness, and homelessness. What Nicole enjoys most about working with younger students in an inner city setting is the passion that they exude once they get into the project. They come to understand that they CAN make a difference; they just need to speak up!
Nicole won the “Teacher Change Maker” award her first year working with Generation Citizen due to her energy and dedication to engaging her students. She works with six sections of classes which meet every other day and faces challenges that come with time and scheduling constraints. Nicole emphasizes with her students that success doesn’t always mean completing something 100% but rather acknowledging what you have learned and accomplished along the way. She strives to celebrate all successes with her students, no matter how big or small. One of her class’ greatest successes so far was earning the “Systemic Impact Award” for their work on mental health and depression in 2019.
During remote learning, Nicole experienced some setbacks while facilitating Action Civics. As most teachers will confirm, teaching via Zoom is not ideal, and many students were disengaged. However, once the project began to take off, Nicole noticed that many students who had not been engaged at all prior, found the inspiration they needed to engage in virtual learning. Nicole was also asked to help coordinate the curriculum for the teachers who were taking over the in-person classes, and became their de-facto GC leader. This was a great leadership experience for Nicole and led to her interest in the Teacher Leadership Board.
Outside of teaching History, Nicole loves to live the topics she teaches. One of her biggest passions is traveling. Specifically, Nicole enjoys re-visiting Germany where she lived for six months in college and later was fortunate enough to lead a week-long student trip across the country with her high school students. In the future, Nicole is hoping to lead an annual trip to Washington D.C with her 8th graders. In addition to this Nicole loves music, concerts, seeking new places to visit, camping, spending time with her friends and family, and inspiring her students to actively engage in their own passions, whatever they may be!
Christian Scott | The Patrick Lyndon K-8 School
Boston, MA 2021-2023
Christian Scott is a middle school Social Studies educator in the Boston Public Schools. Originally from Central Florida, Christian came to New England to study Culinary Arts and graduated from Johnson and Wales University. After over a decade of fine dining experience Christian enrolled at UMass Boston to pursue a teaching career. As a resident of Boston and a parent to three BPS students is committed to urban education and diversity. Mr. Scott is also active in local politics and is a building representative for the Boston Teachers Union. As an educator Christian strives to provide a dynamic and engaging experience for his students, many of whom he has for three years. This allows him to put an emphasis on building relationships and helping students to develop their potential. Christian use a mixture of art, technology and performance in the classroom to help middle schoolers explore their interests and talents. Field trips and guest speakers are also a big part of Mr. Scott’s middle school program. By cultivating partnerships with local museums, tech companies, universities and leaders Mr. Scott is able to expose his classes to all that the city has to offer and provides them with inspiration for their own career goals.
As a Civics educator Christian has led the Boston Public Schools in training teachers to launch Action Civics projects in their classrooms. He has been a frequent panelist with Generation Citizen, presented with iCivics and evaluated curriculum for PBS Digital Learning in support of Active Civics. His work on Civics has been profiled in the Boston Globe and he has been featured on WBUR and WGBH as a panelist on teaching current events with an eye toward inclusion.
David Edelman | Union Square Academy for Health Sciences
New York, NY 2021-2023
David Edelman is a Social Studies educator in NYC Public Schools and is staffed as a Peer Collaborative Teacher. David provides instructional coaching, mentoring and professional learning, in addition to teaching Government & Economics. His classroom serves as a learning lab and demonstration classroom to foster collaboration and elevate student voice. David teaches at Union Square Academy for Health Sciences (USA) a new, unscreened, public high school with a Career & Technical Education focus in NY, NY. Students at USA take hands-on lab classes in either dentistry or pharmacy technology. In addition to receiving a standard liberal arts education, all students have paid internships and professional mentors who expose students to careers.
It was David’s service in AmeriCorps NCCC, a yearlong national service program similar to the domestic Peace Corps that solidified David’s desire to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a public school teacher. David was invited by Representative Carolyn McCarthy in 2007 to testify before Congress to reauthorize AmeriCorps and advocate for the GIVES Act. These experiences helped foster his desire to center learning on student led activism and civic engagement. Generation Citizen has played a major role in supporting David and his students in this endeavor.
His students’ recent activism aimed at improving access to clean, lead free drinking water has received international attention, was covered by WNYC and has led to the installation of new environmentally friendly fountains with bottle fillers and filtration systems. David’s students have been analyzing water quality in homes and at schools since their fountains first tested positive for elevated lead levels in 2017. David received the Alfred P Sloan Teaching Champion Award for Economics Education in 2019 for his teaching which has greatly enhanced students’ personal finance skills.
When David isn’t working, he is usually playing with his two daughters in various NYC parks, travelling, learning about tea, admiring street art and trying to identify wild edible plants. You can learn more about David, his teaching and see examples of his students’ civic action at his website www.cagebustingclassrooms.com.
Kenady Maynard | Alcott Middle School
Norman, Oklahoma 2019-2023
Kenady began using Generation Citizen curriculum in her 8th grade U.S History class at Alcott Middle School in 2018. She has cultivated her passion for a civically informed youth and spreading the ideals of action civics throughout Oklahoma. Kenady has seen Oklahoma’s civics failures at first hand, and believes that empowering young people to find their voice and discuss tough issues is the only way to make essential changes in the state of Oklahoma.
As being a crucial piece within her school, she also teaches Oklahoma History, U.S History, and Government. Kenady is passionate about seeing civics taught within the classroom. Kenady’s has had several years of experience at the OK Civics day. Her past several years of classes succeeded tremendously at their Civics Day, winning the “Action” and “Diversity” awards for their projects. One of her students also won the coveted “Changemaker of the Year” Award. Through professional and personal commitments, she strives to always celebrate human agency by celebrating human diversity and creativity.
Kenady holds a B.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education from Mid America Christian University from where she played collegiate soccer. As a born and raised Oklahoman, Kenady enjoys Thunder basketball, being a dog mom, and DIY projects.
JONATHAN MANION | COLORADO RIVER COLLEGIATE ACADEMY
BASTROP, TEXAS 2021-2023
Jonathan Manion is a social studies teacher at Colorado River Collegiate Academy (CRCA), which is a public early-college high school in Bastrop, Texas. At CRCA, he teaches government, personal financial literacy, social studies research methods, world geography, and a human rights special elective.
Since 2019, Jonathan has led students through the Generation Citizen curriculum and has seen firsthand how students are transformed when given voice and agency to tackle problems in our community. Routinely, he has witnessed students, who otherwise may have not have seen many opportunities for leadership, use their voice to produce high levels of engagement and creativity in their civics work. Over the last three years, his students have engaged in a variety of civics projects ranging from promoting the implementation of net-metering in Bastrop to advocating for specific drug education curriculum to be taught in Bastrop ISD schools.
Jonathan is an alumnus of Texas State University, holding a B.A. in History and English and an M.A. in History. In 2021, he joined Generation Citizen’s Teacher Leadership Board to help advocate for project-based civics in Texas before and during the 2023 Texas Legislative Session, which will be needed to ensure the continuation of project-based civics in Texas.
Jonathan enjoys living in Bastrop, Texas with his wife and two dogs. He enjoys reading, DIY auto repair and home improvement, and day trips around central Texas.
Melanie Simas | Central Falls High School
Central Falls, Rhode Island 2019-2023
Melanie Simas is a Social Studies teacher at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, RI. She is a teacher of Self-Contained Special Education History and Mainstream Civics. In 2017, Melanie was first introduced to Generation Citizen and her first group of students worked on decreasing waste in the community by limiting plastic bags. Their work led them to receive the Grassroots Change award and enjoys talking to students about what they are still doing to create change in the community. Subsequent classes have done great work in their community and have won some more awards including the High School Award! They focused on how school funding is limited, especially in urban districts. It is amazing to see students advocating for their own education! The students were so excited to know their voices were being heard through this great program./span>
Melanie is extremely passionate about Social Studies education and believes that it is important for all students to have access to a Social Studies curriculum to become informed citizens. Rhode Island and her school community do not give as much emphasis on the subject of Social Studies, so Melanie is actively advocating for Civics and Government education for her students in Central Falls and Rhode Island. With a Bachelor of Arts in History from Assumption College and a Masters of Education in Special Education from Rhode Island College, Melanie continues to advocate for all students on the importance of active citizenship and advocacy in the community.
In her spare time, Melanie enjoys traveling, going to the beach, reading, baking, and hanging out with her nephew Xander! She is an avid New England Sports fan. She resides in Warwick, Rhode Island, and loves Rhode Island!