Teach For America–Rhode Island Announces New Advisory Board Members

Rhode Island Leaders Partner With Local Organization Committed to Educational Equity

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Providence, R.I., January 27, 2016—Teach For America—Rhode Island recently announced the appointment of its first founding board chair Sheri Sweitzer; first founding vice chair, Kara Milner; and the addition of three new members to its advisory board, created in 2014. The new members include Cameron Berube, director of curriculum and instruction with Providence Public Schools; Naomi Ruth Thompson, associate vice president of community equity and diversity with the University of Rhode Island; and Angela Geryak Wiczek, vice president of corporate communications with International Game Technology (IGT). Teach For America—Rhode Island’s advisory board now consists of 11 members who lend their experience and expertise to recruit, train, and develop a diverse group of highly effective teachers to work in our state’s highest-need classrooms and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

“In our sixth year of partnership with public schools in Rhode Island, Teach For America is proud of the impact we are having on students. This year, almost 50 percent of our teachers identify as people of color and nearly 60 percent of our secondary teachers entered the classroom with degrees or professional backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields,” said Sheri Sweitzer, founding board chair for Teach For America–Rhode Island. “These educators have made a life-long commitment to ensuring all children have access to a high-quality education, which is reflected in the over 160 Teach For America alumni in Rhode Island who are leading classrooms and schools as well as working in districts, local and state government, and across other sectors to partner with our local communities and create equity in our state. We are incredibly grateful for their dedication and support. I am personally excited to work more closely with Kara and would like to welcome Cameron, Naomi, and Angela to our advisory board.”

Teach For America’s national organization is celebrating 25 years of working in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, the organization recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Currently, more than 200 corps members and alumni are living and working in Rhode Island, including 55 corps members who are teaching in Rhode Island public schools—reaching approximately 3,400 students—and over 160  Teach For America alumni.  As of last year, 92 percent are working in education or with low-income communities, including over 50 classroom teachers, 4 principals, 3 school system leaders, and 2 elected officials.

Newly-Named Advisory Board Members:

Cameron Berube is the director of curriculum and instruction with Providence Public Schools. Prior to this role, she served as an educator quality and certification specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Before moving to Rhode Island, Berube was the Founding Principal at the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement in the Bronx, NY and was a New Leaders New Schools resident in New York City Public Schools. A graduate of Tulane, Syracuse, and Pace Universities, Berube is a Teach For America alumna who served as a math teacher in McAllen, Texas. She is the proud mother of Violeta, Rosette, and Lilyana Rodriguez

Naomi Ruth Thompson, J.D., was appointed as the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) first permanent associate vice president of community equity and diversity. As URI’s chief diversity officer, Thompson is charged with advancing the university’s transformational goal of building a community that values and embraces equity and diversity, where every member feels welcome, respected, supported and heard. Prior to joining URI, Thompson served as the associate director for Northeastern University’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, an office where she led diversity initiatives for 13 years. Thompson practiced law for approximately a decade in both the public and private sectors, working first for a law firm, then Greater Boston Legal Services, and finally for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office before transitioning into higher education. A graduate of Colgate University and Suffolk University Law School, Thompson is the proud mother of 18-year old Benjamin.

Angela Geryak Wiczek is the vice president of corporate communications with International Game Technology (IGT) and has over 25 years of experience in communications and public affairs. She is responsible for the development, management, and execution of all corporate communications programs and works directly with the CEO and senior executives to relate the company’s strategy, vision, and mission to internal and external audiences. Before joining IGT, Angela was an accomplished television reporter and anchor at multiple network affiliates in a variety of media markets across the country. She graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. Angela is a Corporation Member of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. She also serves on the Rhode Island committee for Vision 2020, a national initiative to make equality a priority for women; and she is a member of the Executive Roundtable of Advancing Women’s Excellence. Angela is married and is the mother of a 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, 8,600 corps members are teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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