Founder & Executive Director
Sally sustains TU’s organizational capacity, infrastructure, and overall direction, and helps link the organization’s work to social movements. Sally is a Black, multiracial native New Yorker and graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Wesleyan University, and Bank Street College of Education. She has worked in educational settings and nonprofits for nearly thirty years. Sally taught fifth and sixth grade in a Lower East Side public school before working at the Union Square Awards where she learned about the inspiring landscape of grassroots social justice organizations working across the city. As one of New York Collective of Radical Educators earliest members, she envisioned an organization that would sustain and grow the leadership of teachers who believed both in social justice and that schools could play a critical role in reshaping society. Sally founded Teachers Unite in 2006 as a strategic center for a new generation of education justice activists to reclaim their union alongside veteran teachers, and low-income communities of color. In the decade since, Teachers Unite has built a membership of hundreds, represented educators in the local and national Dignity in Schools Campaigns, and released a documentary, Growing Fairness, seen by thousands, that helped explode the conversation about Restorative Justice in schools across the country. email: [email protected]
Bella oversees and implements TU’s base-building, leadership development, and campaign development. Since 2010, she has organized for queer-, youth-, and refugee justice in both the United States and Australia, which is where she’s originally from. Bella dropped out of high school at fifteen and four years later began organizing to make schools better, particularly for queer kids. Among the first campaigns she worked on were to ban “willful defiance” as grounds for suspension and expulsion, and create protections for LGBTQ students in California public schools. In 2013 she Deputy Directed the field campaign that won marriage equality in New Jersey before deciding to go back to school to get her BA from Hampshire College. On the side, Bella has been involved with prison abolition and prisoner justice organizing through the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in NYC and Inside/Out in Melbourne. Bella joined Teachers Unite in 2019. email: [email protected]
Ujju is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at The New School. She is excited to support Teachers Unite, an organization she have long admired. Ujju shares Teachers Unite’s vision to abolish the prison industrial complex — in all its shapes and forms, inside and outside of our schools — as we work to build power, leadership, and organizing among teachers, parents, and students to fight for the public schools we need and deserve.
When I first joined Teachers Unite, the restorative justice trainings empowered me to build the restorative justice programs within my school community. Since then, Teachers Unite has provided opportunities for my students and I to present our RJ work to others citywide. As a co-chair of the Brooklyn cohort I love that I get to facilitate relationships among educators, share ideas, and strategize about how to make our work stronger. Through TU I’ve had the opportunity to build support for RJ work and police-free schools through meetings with elected officials, testifying at hearings, protesting, and working with a coalition of student and parent activists in DSC-NY. Without a doubt, the best part of TU is connecting with other radical educators who I truly admire.
Kristy’s paid work is in philanthropic consulting, where she helps to ensure that progressive and grassroots movements are well resourced. Before that, Kristy has been a former youth worker and has provided trainings and strategic support to education justice campaigns in New England. Her commitment to social and education justice began in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when displaced students from New Orleans transferred to her Texas high school. She believes in the power of young people and their adult allies to mobilize and create schools that are safe, affirming, and joyful places for learning and growth.
Nicole is an entrepreneur, educator and activist. She is the co-owner of the Sage Street Mill where she and her business partner offer youth camps, community yoga, and live/ work opportunities for students, artists and entrepreneurs in N. Bennington, VT. Her commitment to social and education justice resulted from her work as a teacher, dean and Restorative Justice (RJ) Coordinator at EAR West Side High School in NYC for over a decade. Nicole led a movement to transform the climate and culture of the school by focusing on wellness and restorative justice. As a result, WSH was chosen to be a mentor school and one of the five case study schools for promising practices in restorative justice. Nicole’s leadership in healthy school initiatives earned WSHS national attention with a visit from Michelle Obama after winning a gold medal from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Nicole currently mentors two young girls in her UWS neighborhood and is partnering with the Organization for PsychoEducational Tutoring (OPT) to bring services to youth in NYC. As the chairmen of the board for the Kevin M Penn Foundation, she leads the board of directors in the giving of post secondary scholarships. Nicole is a long time member of Teachers Unite and is presently serving on the board in the finance and fundraising committee working alongside teachers, parents and students in the fight for social and economic justice in public schools.
Samantha is a high school teacher and restorative justice liaison in Brooklyn. She believes that transformative justice should be at the foundation of a school’s culture. As a Teachers Unite member, she is involved with the Dignity in Schools Campaign, meets regularly with other educators to collaborate on disrupting the school to prison pipeline in NYC schools, and recently became a runner to join our 5k “We Run This” Fundraiser. Samantha got involved in TU to learn about restorative justice programs designed and run by the people in a school and stayed involved because she knows that the stakeholders in a school community know best what that school needs. At school she can be found teaching Spanish or peer mediation. At TU, she serves on the finance and fundraising committee working to make sure that our work can be sustained and growing. Being a part of a member-led organization is important to Samantha because the members drive the work and the funders we are accountable to are ourselves.
Ashley is committed to improving the opportunities and well-being of young people, especially Black youth, through organizing, legislative advocacy, and movement lawyering. She is the Senior Director of Campaigns at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) in Brooklyn, NY. At GGE Ashley works to ensure that cis and trans girls and non-binary youth are heard by elected officials and that their needs are reflected in city and state policy decisions. Ashley was a staff attorney at Youth Represent, where she led the representation of youth facing school suspension hearings, and supported the organization’s School Justice Project. She also represented young people in misdemeanor criminal court and civil legal issues. Ashley was previously a Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Education Law Center-PA. She is an alumna of Douglass College at Rutgers University and the Howard University School of Law. Ashley’s life work is situated where education justice and the criminal legal system collide, to that end, she is committed to dismantling youth prisons and other forms of state violence, to build communities which invest in youth rather than harm them.
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