Urban Alliance’s Teacher Institute Program equips Chicago Public School educators with resources to help them facilitate Urban Alliance’s workforce readiness curriculum and reinforce students’ social and emotional skills. Established in 2020 with the support of the Pritzker Foundation, the Teacher Institute adds to the foundational relationships Urban Alliance has developed throughout the Chicago area.
Introducing this Year’s Cohort
Urban Alliance welcomes its second group of teachers, spanning nine schools during its second year of the Teacher Training Institute. The group of 26 educators and counselors have worked year-round to employ competencies such as agency and leadership to support Chicago’s young people.
Jesse Palencia – Benito Juarez Community Academy
Jesse Palencia is a first-generation graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and serves as a school counselor at his alma mater, Benito Juarez Community Academy. In his former roles at Benito Juarez Community Academy, Palencia served as a history teacher and college coach.
Dianne Pasola-Martinez – Benito Juarez Community Academy
Dianne Pasola-Martinez, a Chicago native, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Latino studies as well as a Master’s degree in Education and History from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pasola-Martinez has been teaching sophomore US History at Benito Juarez for the past ten years.
Noah Pickens – Benito Juarez Community Academy
Noah Pickens, a Benito Juarez History teacher, grew up in Columbia and Ecuador but has called Chicago home for the last ten years. He can be found playing an instrument, working on a DIY project, or spending time with family and friends when he is not teaching, grading papers, or chasing his toddler around the house.
Nicholas Dicianni – Benito Juarez Community Academy
Since 2007, Nicholas Dicianni has been a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. In his spare time, Dicianni enjoys coaching boys’ and girls’ soccer, spending time with his family, and working with Urban Alliance’s Teacher Training Institute.
Johanna Fernandez – Benito Juarez Community Academy
Johanna Fernandez has been teaching Social Studies at Benito Juarez for 19 years and is currently a co-facilitator of the Student Voice Committee. Fernandez has spent the last ten years working in the fields of student voice, youth civic action, and social-emotional learning. Fernandez also has two sons, enjoys going to the beach, and considers Chicago to be a foodie hotspot.
Luther Bounds – Curie Metropolitan High School
Luther Bounds is the Senior Marina Instructor at Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago, IL, and oversees all JROTC operations, recruiting, education functions, cadet training, and professional development. After 30 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Bounds has worked in several capacities such as Civil Affairs, Cybersecurity, and Program Management. Bounds also earned his Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management and a Master of Science in Cyber Security from Excelsior College.
Kellen Davis – Dunbar High School
Kellen Davis is the Automotive Collision Instructor at Dunbar High School and Collision Instructor at Kennedy King College and has been instructing automotive collisions for 13 years. A good part of his curriculum involved teaching Career Readiness Skills to better prepare students for college and career success. Davis currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Workforce Education through South Illinois University.
Chancy Brewer – Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy
A native of Chicago, Chancy Brewer graduated from Bloom High School and received her bachelor’s of science from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and later a Master’s in Education and Supervision from St. Xavier University. With a cumulative teaching career of 26 years, Brewer currently teaches at Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy.
Jammie Foster – Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy
Jammie Foster is a Business Teacher at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy with experience in teaching Special Education, Early Childhood, Information Technology, and Business. In addition to teaching, Foster also mentors teen girls through Sarah E. Goode’s Glitter Program, and across the North Lawndale community of Chicago.
Calvin Clark – Sullivan High School
A Chicago native, Calvin Clark received his Bachelor’s degree at Chicago State University in 2010. Clark’s journey as an educator is unique as he’s worn many hats, supporting Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as a Teacher’s Aide and Special Education Assistant at Phillips High School, and then promoted to Head of Security at Sullivan High School. In doing so, Clark also pursued several ventures, becoming a real estate developer, and launching a transportation business. From 2019 onward, Clark continues to wear many hats as he is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Business Teacher, Department Chair, Coach, Local School Council (LSC), Professional Personnel Leadership Committee (PPLC) Representative, and Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lamba, Inc. (FBLA), Advisor, at Sullivan High School.
Jason Majerowicz – Sullivan High School
Jason Majerowicz, received his degree in Physical Education, with a minor in Health Education from Northeastern Illinois University. Majerowicz began teaching part-time in 2011 for a year while completing research for the University of Chicago. Now, channeling his early passion for sports, Majerowicz is the Physical Education, Health, Drivers Ed, and Assistant Football and Wrestling Coach at Sullivan High School.
Al Raby School for Community and Environment
Benito Juarez Community Academy
Collins High School
Curie High School
Disney II Magnet High School
Julian High School
Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy
William Howard Taft High School