Helen Atkinson, PhD
First as a parent/community organizer, she was part of the effort to bring small schools to Baltimore. She then worked as the director of the Resident Teacher Program (pre-cursor to Baltimore City Teaching Residency Program) for 9 years, recruiting, placing, mentoring, and providing course work for career changers entering city schools. Following this, Dr. Atkinson started and led a successful full-time teacher mentor program with 40 full-time mentors. The program was geared toward schools with high teacher turnover. In 2004, she switched from administration to teaching and, with three other teachers, started a very small, highly unusual high school for students who were having problems in large city schools. She wrote her PhD at UMBC about her work in this teacher led school. In 2010 she became the executive director for the Baltimore Teacher Network. In this position she had two primary roles: she worked to create a citywide network of teachers looking for a voice in education policy at the school and district level; and she supervised the leaders at two innovative charter schools. In March 2014, she began work as the executive director for the Teachers’ Democracy Project.
Fellowships and Media Advocacy Director
Rebecca Yenawine has been founder and director of community arts organizations since 1997. As Director at New Lens she advised young people in running their own organization and supported their creative endeavors. She advised teens and young adults in media production and took part in over ten productions per year. Films include work about criminal justice, education and health related issues. Her pieces have been accepted into the Maryland Film Festival, the Media that Matters Film Festival and many other smaller festivals. Rebecca began work as a consultant with Teachers’ Democracy Project in 2014 where she helped with organizational development and helped teachers use media as a tool for change. Rebecca has a BA in English from Goucher College and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Education. She has taught social justice curriculum and action research in MICA’s Masters of Arts In Community Arts program. In 1999, Ms. Yenawine was the recipient of a Community Fellowship Award from the Open Society Institute. She has published articles through the CAN Network and the Nathan Cumming Convening. She has presented and been part of panel discussions on numerous occasions at Baltimore City Colleges and other civic institutions. She joined TDP full time in the fall of 2016 to continue media advocacy work and to manage the TDP fellowship program.
Bev Bickel, PhD
Language, Literacy, and Culture Program, UMBC
A Clinical Associate Professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program and Affiliate Associate Professor of Gender and Women Studies at UMBC. Her research broadly focuses on the production, exchange, and dissemination of transformational knowledge that supports institutional transformation and changing cultural practices that increase social justice and participatory democracy. This research aims at highlighting the essential role of building sustained relationships across differences while negotiating diverse knowledge sources, experiences, discourses and intellectual practices to address local and transnational transformational challenges. She is interested in how multiple truth claims and the discursive practices of people in diverse social knowledge networks operate in and online public places and spaces. This work also investigates changing higher education cultures of publicly engaged scholarship and the integration of research, teaching and service for higher education faculty members as well as how critical, feminist, and participatory pedagogies support the development of critical consciousness for students, K-12 teachers, college and university instructors, and community activists and leaders.
Amber is a Baltimore native and graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and UMBC with a degree in Media and Communication Studies. She brings the capacity to manage day to day operations, design social media campaigns to highlight specific aspects of TDP’s work, assist with policy work and management of our fellows program. Amber is using her interest in race, media and policy to create a video about where all the black teachers have gone and to support teachers who are interested in social justice curriculum.