Timothy M. Boyle
Mr. Timothy Boyle is the Founding Principal of Science Leadership Academy Middle School, SLA-MS. He holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University and an M.ED from Cabrini College. He has taught in a variety of Elementary and Middle school settings over the last 10 years. Most recently he taught students mathematics and science at the Chester Arthur School and was one of the leaders of the Science Leadership Academy and Chester Arthur School Redesign team. Timothy is also proud Teaching Consultant for the Philadelphia Writing Project. In 2012, he co-founded the non-profit Teachers Lead Philly. He lives in Hawthorne, Philadelphia with his wife and dachshund
Dr. Joe Alberti has been a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for 11 years. He has been a teacher at his neighborhood school, Samuel Powel Elementary, since 2007, teaching 3rd and 4th grade and was a part of the school’s leadership team. He is super-excited to be following his fourth graders as they move up to fifth grade at the new SLA Middle School! He has a Ph.D. in Education from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, in 2010. He has also taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and at Community College of Philadelphia. He has also co-taught a course and led independent studies for undergraduate students at Swarthmore College in the Education Department, where he earned his B.A. He earned National Board Certification for Teaching in 2012, the highest level of commendation/certification a teacher can earn in the United States of America (fewer than 3% of teachers in the U.S. achieve this level). He is a member of the Philadelphia Teacher Learning Cooperative, the Teacher Action Group in Philadelphia, Teachers Lead Philly, and Need in Deed, an organization that brings service learning to classrooms. He looks forward to bringing this service learning framework to classrooms in China this summer.
He is a board member of his neighborhood’s Civic Association, serving as the chair of the streets committee. He is also a volunteer driver for Philly Patient Ride, a volunteer program that transports cancer patients to their treatments who have no other means of getting to the hospital.
Hilary Hamilton is overjoyed to be a part of the founding faculty at SLA-MS. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a BA in Educational Studies and English Literature, Hilary spent a semester student teaching with 4th graders at Samuel Powel Elementary. From there she went on to teach 4th and 5th graders at The Philadelphia School where she fell in love with an inquiry driven and project-based approach to learning. Now, she’s excited to be teaching 5th graders at SLA-MS where she hopes to help students develop their enthusiasm for learning as they ask questions, explore, and create. Hilary is currently working towards her MSEd in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia but thoroughly enjoys using her bike, running shoes, and Septa tokens to spend time adventuring with friends across the city.
Nancy Ironside teaches STEM to 5th graders. Born into a large, loving and chaotic family, she decided early on that she was well suited to be a middle school teacher. With education degrees from Westminster College and Temple University, Nancy has taught 4th, 6th, 7th & 8th graders in a variety of schools, both public and private. She strives to assist students as they develop their authentic voice through discussion, analytical thinking, creation, and digital media. Ms. Ironside believes that learning should be joyful and personalized. She lives with her two teenaged sons and their three-legged cat in Oreland and enjoys being outside, reading, swimming, singing and walking.
Before becoming the founding Technology Coordinator at SLAMS, Meredith spent eighteen years teaching at an elementary school in New Jersey. She is a true computer geek, with a passion for STEM and Making. Meredith is a Google For Education Certified Teacher, and a Google For Education Certified Trainer. She presents nationally for the Bureau of Education & Research, and is a sought after speaker for both educational technology and STEM topics. She has been a speaker at the ISTE Conference, National Maker Faire, World Maker Faire, and many other conferences and events. At SLAMS, she is sharing her love of both technology and STEM with her students along with her motto: If you’re not making a mess, you’re not doing it right! When she is not teaching or presenting, Meredith spends her time reading ridiculous amounts of books, kayaking the creeks and rivers of NJ, and hanging out with Maker-geek friends. She lives with two lazy dogs, the world’s least-intelligent cat, and two evil Bengals. She is extremely excited to be a part of the SLAMS family. You can follow her education adventures on her blog, Tech For Teachers, find her on Twitter, or email her.
Sharlean Pillay is delighted to be the founding counselor at Science Leadership Academy Middle School. Originally from Union City, CA, Sharlean moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia as a teenager with her family. She earned her BA in Psychology from Temple University. She immediately went to work as a social worker in Philadelphia. She became a crisis counselor in an emergency room in Bucks County. While working in the hospital, she received a dual MS in School and Community Counseling from Gwynedd Mercy College.
Sharlean held the position of Mental Health Clinician, at the C.A.R.E Program at Barratt Middle School for 8 years which provided therapeutic classrooms that incorporated the Re-education Principles developed by Nicholas Hobbs into an academic treatment design to positively impact children with chronic behavior issues.
Prior to SLAMS, Sharlean had been the Vocational School Counselor at the STARS Program, providing school guidance services to students in placement that utilized the Sanctuary Model for trauma informed care. While at STARS, she chaired the Anti Defamation League’s No Place for Hate Initiative leadership committee. She was selected to receive extensive training in Cognitive Therapy through the Beck Institute.
Sharlean lives in Harleysville with her husband, Josh and two children, Jonah and Nika. In her downtime, she enjoys cooking, gardening, upcycling and watching japanese animation.
Robert Rivera-Amezola is determined to understand 86% of the jokes he hears by the time he’s an old man (more on that later). He is also desperately searching for that perfect Arabica blend of coffee and aromatic smells to match the energy with which he meets each sunrise (his favorite part of the day).
Many moons ago, Robert wandered from a dusty pueblo in southwest Texas where he was born to a tiny south Pacific Island. There he taught in a school where among the many wonderful people he met, one student, Fanty, stood out to him. Fanty showed him around the island, introduced him to breadfruit, practiced his English (and his jokes), and took him fishing for octopus. Fanty also didn’t understand most of the jokes he heard, so Fanty hung out with Robert (who pretended to understand). Robert’s happiest moments were living on that tiny Pacific Island and since then, education has been his mission.
Robert has held a variety of educational positions. Beginning in 2001 he was a 4th grade school teacher, technology teacher leader, and curriculum development specialist with the school district of Philadelphia. He received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and was a former school social worker. He also holds a Masters in Education with a concentration in TESOL.
Today, when Robert isn’t with his students, he is avoiding complete disintegration while writing his dissertation. He enjoys spending time with his spouse, testing his tolerance for the spiciest foods on menus, answering his mother’s tech questions (“what’s a ?”), and wondering what giant squid do for fun.
Special Education Liason
Erika couldn’t be more thrilled to be a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy – Middle School! She has been an SLA “groupie” since she first heard that there would be a high school in Center City. Project-based, inquiry-driven education is an awesome way to learn – and teach! Erika is a proud parent of Merrik who is alumni of SLA-Center City – so SLA is pretty much in her blood. Another thing that’s in her blood? Teaching! It’s her passion. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College and is a National Board Certified Teacher. Erika spent the first eight years of her teaching career with the School District of Philadelphia at J.C. Ferguson teaching children in 6th through 8th grades, before joining Independence Charter School for four years where she taught children 1st and 3rd grades as a classroom teacher, and 4th and 5th grades as a Special Education Teacher. At SLAMS, Erika teaches children how to maximize their learning as a Special Education Teacher. You could say she’s the Lead Learnin’ Maximizer!! Erika lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia with her son and their cat, Joy.