Juan Armijo is in his 18th year at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces Public Schools System in New Mexico, currently teaching AP United States government and politics and principles of democracy. He previously taught at Camelback High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, he teaches AP social studies courses for the LCPS Virtual Learning Academy. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University, Arizona State University and the University of Kentucky. This past year he had the privilege to be part of the development of the new New Mexico Social Studies Standards and Benchmarks (High School Civics) and the Instructional Scope (Geography), and was part of the Materials Review Institute for the upcoming social studies textbook adoption. One of the cornerstones of teaching and learning in his classroom is the role of the First Amendment, in particular the role of a free press.
NewsLitNation News Literacy Ambassadors
The News Literacy Ambassador Program supports local community organizing efforts in the fight against misinformation toward a mutual objective of creating a more news-literate generation of news consumers. Connect with an ambassador near you for events, presentations and to discuss the unique needs of educators in your local school district or region.
Juan G. Alvarado graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American (now named University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in English and he is employed at Valley View High School in Hidalgo, Texas, as an English, STEM and Pre AP teacher. He was born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. His parents emigrated to the United States in 1988 and he has lived in South Texas ever since. In 2013, he earned the department chair title for English Language Arts at Valley View Early College Campus. One year later, he received the honor of being named the school’s teacher of the year and was also nominated as an HEB Excellence in Education teacher. In 2017 Alvarado was reassigned to teach at Valley View High School, where he became the high school journalism and ready writing coach. One year later, his University Interscholastic League team won the first-ever Academic District Championship title in journalism. His students have advanced to regional and state competitions in journalism every year he has coached.
K.C. Boyd is a library media specialist at Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington D.C. and Scholastic's SLJ 2022 school librarian of the year. She has previously worked as the Lead Librarian for the East St. Louis School District #189 in East St. Louis, IL., a Area Library Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools and a District Coordinator for the Mayor Daley Book Club for Middle School Students. She is a second-generation educator and holds Master’s degrees in Library Information Science, Media Communications, and Education Leadership. The Boss_Librarian Blog documents her work with K-12 students, discusses the effective use of technology in K-12 education, and provides helpful book reviews. Additionally, she is a sought-after and popular keynote speaker and conference presenter at the local, state, and national levels. K.C. currently serves on the executive board for the District of Columbia Library Association and the Advisory Board for EveryLibrary. She is an active committee member for the American Library Association Chapter Council representing Washington D.C., American Association of School Librarians Digital Tools, and the Washington Teachers’ Union Equity Collaborative.
Jocelyn Burlew uses culturally responsive practices to cultivate a classroom environment that places students at the heart of the learning process, and is currently a learning experience designer at Mason City Schools in Mason, Ohio. She taught fifth grade English Language Arts and social studies for 10 years and then spent four years in the middle school social studies classroom. She holds a bachelor of arts in Spanish and English from Ohio University, a master of elementary education degree from Xavier University, and a master of educational leadership degree from Miami University (OH).
Adriana Chavira is a native of Los Angeles and spent a decade as a newspaper reporter in Southern California before becoming a teacher 18 years ago. Adriana teaches photography, advises the news magazine, news website and yearbook at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, California, and is an educator with PBS NewsHour's Student Reporting Labs program. She holds a master’s in English Education, a Career Technical Education credential and is a Master Journalism Educator, awarded by the Journalism Education Association (JEA). She serves as a JEA mentor and serves on that organization’s Scholastic Journalism Week committee. When she's not teaching, she can be found running and hiking.
Dr. Cathy Collins has worked as a Library Media & Technology Specialist for 23 years at the K-12 level. She is currently a Technology Teacher at Sharon Middle School, where she teaches Engineering & Design, 21st Century Media Skills and a hybrid science/history course called “Inventions through Time.” She holds a Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Curriculum, Leadership, Teaching and Learning; and additional Masters Degrees in Education and Library Science. Cathy served on the MassCUE Board as PD Chair from 2015-2019. She has published her writing in various journals including “EdWeek,” “Library Media Connection,” “NEA Today,” and “Knowledge Quest.” She is a 2012 Reynolds High School Journalism Institute Fellow and served as a project consultant for the E-Book, “Searchlights and Sunglasses: Journalism in the Digital Age.” She received a “Teachers for Global Classrooms” fellowship from the U.S. State Dept. in 2014 and is the recipient of AASL’s Intellectual Freedom Award (2014). She was named an MSLA “Super Librarian” in 2015. She served on the MA State Science Ambassador Team and enjoys contributing to the ISTE STEM PLN Leadership Team efforts. She is passionate about STEM/STEAM and global education. In addition to coordinating the Chinese Exchange Program at Sharon High School, she has journeyed with her high school students to India, Peru and most recently Tanzania, Africa to contribute to global service-learning projects.
David Doerr has taught journalism and career and technology classes in Austin ISD (Independent School District), Texas, since 2010, serving as a faculty adviser for student publications. Currently, his students produce the award-winning print and online student newspaper The Eagle’s Eye. Since 2020, Doerr has served as a regional representative of the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, which supports the efforts of scholastic journalism throughout the state by providing conventions, contests and resources to teachers and students. He also serves as the chair of TAJE’s Legislative Committee and Policy Committee. Since 2019 he has served as the faculty officer of New Voices Texas, a student-led advocacy organization dedicated to passing a state law that aims to clarify the roles of administrators, teachers and students in the student publication process and reduce cases of censorship and prior review. Doerr has used Checkology and News Literacy Project resources in journalism classes since 2018. He encourages the use of Checkology in student journalism education in his classes and in those of others who teach core subjects related to media literacy.
Deborah Domingues-Murphy is originally from Southern California, but currently lives in Pittsburgh. After her children left for college, she went back to school for a teaching degree. She is certified as both a business and technology teacher and as a library media specialist. She is in her 12th year of teaching at City Charter High School, an urban high school located in downtown Pittsburgh. She loops with her students, starting in ninth grade and continuing until they graduate. Although she is a librarian, there is no official school library. Debbie teaches a four-year information literacy curriculum that culminates in a graduation project. During that time, students are taught how to use informational sources, evaluate sources for reliability, write academic literature reviews, apply their research to a community project, and present their findings to a panel of community members. When not teaching, Debbie likes to travel, read, and cook.
Amanda Escheman grew up on the front range of Colorado. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, receiving her BA in Philosophy, magna cum laude, and a minor in religious studies. Amanda's desire to become a teacher percolated from her own experiences as a speech and debate competitor in high school. In 2012, she took over as the head speech and debate coach at Longmont High School while finishing her college degree. In 2019, she received her Masters in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado at Denver and began her career as an English and social studies teacher. Her work as a teacher in the public education system centers on literacy as a tool for transformation and social change. She feels digital literacy in particular must be prioritized to democratize online spaces and encourage civic participation.
Amanda's public service experience also extends to the legislature. She served as an intern for Senator (then representative) Joann Ginal, helping to organize and present at town hall events and conduct legislative policy research. Amanda is a member of the One Colorado network and regularly attends their legislative kickoff events to advocate for more inclusive space in public schools. At the school and district level she has served in the following capacities: school Equity and Diversity Liaison, LGBTQ+ Employee Workgroup member, and on the Community Diversity Advisory Council.
She currently teaches 9th grade geography at Abraham Lincoln High School with Denver Public Schools.
Jill Hofmockel is the teacher-librarian at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa. An educator with more than 20 years of experience in school libraries, Jill holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in library and information science. A longtime member of the Iowa Association of School Librarians, Jill has served as a committee chair, board member, and president, as well as liaison to the American Association of School Librarians’ Affiliate Assembly. Jill is committed to incorporating information literacy skills throughout her school’s curriculum, with a special emphasis on teaching news literacy. After school, you will find Jill coaching her son’s high school esports team or enjoying a cup of tea with her daughter.
Lesli Morris is the high school ELA (English Language Arts) teacher specialist for Canyons School District in Sandy, Utah. She has a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in curriculum instruction and design with a focus on literacy. She also holds ESL and instructional coaching endorsements. Prior to working as a teacher specialist and instructional coach, she taught high school English Language Arts classes in a variety of settings that ranged from working with youth in custody to a National Blue Ribbon high school, and she has taught English Language Development, tenth and twelfth grade English, Shakespeare, humanities, and AP Lang. However, her favorite class to teach is mythology. One of her goals is to relentlessly promote diversity and pursue equity in education through access to quality curriculum and by supporting teachers with research-based instructional practices.
Molly June Roquet (she/they) is the education librarian at Saint Mary’s College of California. A former head librarian at an independent K-8 school in Oakland, public librarian and middle school history teacher, Molly holds a bachelor’s degree in history from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in library and information science from Wayne State University. They have presented at the American Library Association and California Library Association annual conferences and have written for Computers in Libraries and Information Today magazines. Molly strives to add a critical, anti-racist lens to media and news literacy education and is News Literacy Project’s San Francisco Bay Area ambassador.
Sean Scanlon is the director of curriculum and instruction at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He has guided Marian’s 1:1 iPad program for the past eight years and designed Marian Catholic’s PLC program. Sean created the Catholic EdTech Summit and hosted EdCamp Chicago and has presented at numerous educational conferences throughout the country and plans to continue presenting in our post-Covid world. He has a master’s in educational leadership and has taught social studies and a variety of other courses for over 25 years. His passion is to help teachers integrate technology in ways that help engage students, while helping them navigate the ever-shifting landscape of news literacy.
Alesha Smith was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and earned a Master of Arts degree in sociology and a Master of Science degree in education from Brooklyn College. She currently teaches for the New York City Department of Education, at Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem, in Manhattan.
Alesha has created and established several initiatives within her school, including the Young Women’s Mentoring Program for at-risk students. She is the teacher team leader for seventh grade ELA, while dedicating her time to NYC Men Teach, where she is an ambassador who mentors pre-service teacher candidates.
She also is an avid world traveler who has implemented initiatives for her students to travel domestically and internationally, recognizing that impactful learning can occur in any setting. “A student’s learning should take place in and beyond the traditional classroom,” she says. One of her goals is to ensure that students of all learning capabilities have access to information, resources, and experiences to cultivate a love for learning and zest for exploring the world.
Dr. James Stancil is the coordinator of tutoring services at Prairie View A&M University and chief program officer, Intellect U Well, Inc., a Houston-based nonprofit he founded that promotes the joy of reading, media literacy, digital citizenship, and academic achievement. He also volunteers with the Houston Network of Outdoor Afro, which seeks to reconnect African Americans with nature and the outdoors. James is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in communication studies with a focus on media analysis and criticism, received his master's in education from North Carolina State University in curriculum and instruction (secondary social studies) and did his doctoral research on increasing enrollment in advanced placement courses for African American students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Education, with a focus on Instructional Leadership. He is also a member of the class of 2016 of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, Inc., the Houston chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., the largest mentoring organization for black males in the United States.
Monica Valdes is a Miami Social Studies teacher with eighteen years in education. She is honored to have received numerous teaching recognitions including: 2016 WMMS/MDCPS Teacher of the Year, 2007 & 2009 DMS/MDCPS Teacher of the Year, 2008 Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Biscayne Chapter, Outstanding Teacher of American History and 2007 Miami-Dade Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year(Finalist). Monica is also the Founder of the (Youth) 2019 West Miami International Film Festival the (2009-2016) DocMiami International Film Festival and 2014 Florida Documentary Film Festival Series. She has curated numerous events including: Photo/Art Exhibits, Author/Film Industry Q & As and Expert Panels including hundreds of individual film screenings.
Sarah Edler has been a speech language pathologist for 14 years in Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado for the last 4 years. She became a speech pathologist because her passion is for everyone to have a way to communicate. Being able to share her passion of communication and the endless resources available for communication is what brought her to the News Literacy Project. Sarah absolutely loves learning and wants to spread awareness of how educators can empower students to know what they are learning and how to ensure the accuracy of that information. She loves being in the mountains and nature with her chocolate lab Georgia, and when she’s not doing that, she’s love baking and reading.
Tascha Folsoi is a high school librarian who has been working as an educator for 28 years. She has taught elementary, middle school, high school, and adult school students. Having taught pupils from all over the world –and in nearly every age bracket, she has a strong appreciation for the role multiple perspectives plays in a person's ability to evaluate the credibility of new information. She is committed to helping students evaluate sources and examine issues through different perspectives and lenses, so they can become effective researchers and informed citizens.
Jeff Kaufman started his career as a New York City Police Officer. While serving the people of Brooklyn, he attended law school. After leaving police service, Jeff went into the private practice of law. There he served on a panel as counsel for indigent defendants in criminal and civil matters. He became involved in education issues, and in the same precinct he once patrolled, was offered a position to start a paralegal program for inner-city high school students. His passion for education led him to Rikers Island where he joined the faculty of the jail’s educational facility teaching law to high school students facing trial for serious felony offenses. Mr. Kaufman currently teaches in a Title I school in Far Rockaway, Queens, where, for the past six years, he founded and maintains a Computer Science program. His course provided the first Advanced Placement course at the school and the first computer science program on the Rockaway Peninsula. Mr. Kaufman is committed to the Constitutional protections guaranteed to a free press and incorporates these principles in his lessons. He looks forward to his new role as a Literacy Project Ambassador, where he will help to make the resources teachers and students need in their fight against misinformation accessible.
Debbie Keen is a high school teacher at the Career and Technical Education Center in Frisco, Texas, specializing in legal studies electives for high school students interested in pursuing a career in law or public service. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and promotes civics education in classrooms across the country. She has presented teacher workshops with groups like the State Bar of Texas Law-Related Education, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and The Center for American and International Law. When she is not teaching, she enjoys travelling and learning alongside other creative teachers. In 2018, she founded the Youth Safety and Civility Alliance to promote civil discourse and conflict resolution strategies for young people. The American Lawyers Alliance gave her a 2020 Teacher of the Year Award.
Allie Niese is a James Madison fellow and graduate of Northwestern's MsEd program. She is committed to helping students learn to embrace and understand their role in the American political system through civil dialogue and rich understanding of the Constitution. She teaches AP US Government, Civics, US History, and AP Human Geography in Chicago public schools.
Samantha Solomon grew up in Southern California and attended college at Northeastern University where she earned a BA in Public Advocacy & Rhetoric. She moved to the Bay Area to pursue a MA in Education and her teaching credentials at USF, where she was part of the Urban Education and Social Justice Cohort. She began teaching in the Oakland Unified School District in Fall 2011 and still works there today. She taught middle school English for 6 years and then transitioned into being Teacher Librarian on the Calvin Simmons Campus where she collaborates to support research and digital literacy in grades 6-12 and across disciplines. Her favorite news literacy lesson was a partnership with a 9th grade math class called "Trash Graphs" and her favorite search modifier is searching by exact phrase.
Sumyat Thu (she/her) grew up in Burma/Myanmar and is currently an acting assistant professor of writing at the English department and writing programs at the University of Washington, Seattle. She completed her PhD in English language and rhetoric also at the UW, Seattle in 2020 and conducts research and teaching on the topics of multilingual and translingual literacies, language and race intersections, antiracist praxis, and community-engaged scholarship. She is excited to incorporate news literacy education into her teaching and helps connect the NLP resources to local K-12 and college teachers in Seattle.
Sandra Street is a dedicated historian and resourceful education professional with proven ability to promote, progress and monitor student growth and instruction from K-16. She is an effective communicator and a stalwart advocate for children to have access to an educational experience that is culturally inclusive, equitable, and engaging. One of her goals is for the school community to build and maintain a responsive climate and culture, with the impact of establishing sound relationships, trust, and collaboration as global citizens with a voice.
Kelly E. Tumy is the curriculum director for English language arts and social studies for the Teaching and Learning Center at The Harris County Department of Education in Houston, TX. She holds a BS in education from Texas Tech University and an MA in humanities from The University of Houston-Clear Lake. She has taught for three different school districts in Texas: Crosby ISD, Humble ISD, and Galena Park ISD, has taught all levels of high school English including AP English Language, as well as many, many electives. She was an AP Reader and Table Leader for seven years for AP English Language. Her achievements include co-authoring the The Lighthouse Document for the Texas Education Agency, co-authoring the Laying the Foundation® Series for The National Math and Science Initiatives Group, Co-Chairing the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Local Arrangements Committee with Dr. Diane MIller, UH-Downtown for the NCTE 2018 Convention: Raising Student Voice, and serving The College Board for more than 15 years as an Advanced Placement national consultant. Tumy currently serves as past-president for The Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts.