Wake ’25 Cohort Fellows
Giovanna Ayers Sponsoring District: Wake
Giovanna Ayers earned a Bachelor in Technical Management with a major in Accounting from DeVry University and Master in Business Administration from Purdue Global University. Giovanna has also completed over 20 hours of coursework towards Guidance Counseling. She is a dedicated educator with a diverse background in education spanning over two decades. She began her career in education as a secretary, bookkeeper, and payroll administrator for schools at various levels and in different counties for approximately 11 years. She also served as the purchasing assistant for a school system in NC. Driven by her desire to directly impact students’ lives and a belief that ALL students are capable of learning, Giovanna transitioned into teaching Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at East Wake High School. While in this position she maintained high test scores and built strong relationships with students. She currently serves as the Special Populations Coordinator and Department Chair at East Wake High School. Giovanna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nate Barilich Sponsoring District: Wake
Nate Barilich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Teacher Education from NC State University where he was also a NC Teaching Fellow. He served as an English and Film Analysis teacher for eight years at Enloe Magnet High School between 2014 and 2022. During the 2021-2022 school year, Nate was named Teacher of the Year and advanced as a Wake County Public School’s Top Ten Finalist. Nate now serves as the Intervention Coordinator at Enloe Magnet High School, where he holds leadership roles chairing the Enloe School Improvement Team, Intervention Team, and Grading Plan Committee. Nate also has a passion for student leadership organizations and currently advises the junior class on planning prom and takes Crescenloe, the student a capella group, to compete nationally. Between 2015 and 2021 Nate was the director and chair of the Enloe Charity Ball Fund, a 100+ student-run organization raising funds and awareness for local nonprofits, culminating in an annual charity gala. Through this project, he taught student leaders vision and mission design, philanthropic leadership skills, and volunteer coordination. In seven years, Nate and his students raised $1,017,019 granted to eight Wake County nonprofits! Between 2016 and 2019 Nate was an Executive Fellow with EducationNC where he led the design and implementation of the EdAmbassadors program, worked with thought leaders, facilitated statewide convenings on equity data, and published original content on EdNC. Nate can be reached at email@example.com.
Duwayne BennettSponsoring District: Wake
Duwayne Bennett earned a Bachelor of Elementary Education from the Mico University College in Jamaica. He taught in Jamaica for three years at George Headley Primary School, where he served as a leader for the Literacy and Numeracy committee for School Improvement. Duwayne then migrated to the United States to teach at Bugg Magnet Elementary in Wake County. He has taught at Bugg Magnet Elementary for past seven years and also served as Grade Level Chairperson for the past three years. Currently, Duwayne serves on the School Improvement Committee as the leader of the Student Wellness/PBIS and is the school representative for the Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Committee. In addition, Duwayne was a school finalist for Teacher of the Year 2022-2023. Duwayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joana GonzalezSponsoring District: Wake
Joana Gonzalez earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from the San Buenaventura University in her hometown, Cali, Colombia. She began her teaching career in the U.S. in 2008 serving as a Kindergarten Dual Language Immersion teacher in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She obtained a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013 and started teaching in Wake County in 2016. She has taught Kindergarten to 3rd grade and is currently the magnet coordinator and reading intervention specialist at Jeffreys Grove Elementary in Wake County. Joana has led professional development at her school and has served as a grade chair and case manager. She has been part of the Equity, Leadership, MTSS, and Family engagement committees. Joana can be reached at email@example.com.
Drew HermansonSponsoring District: Wake
Drew Hermanson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Social Studies from NC State University. Since 2017 he has been teaching at Broughton High School in Wake County where he has taught Civics, American History 1, American History 2, and AP Human Geography. As a new year teacher Drew was a finalist for WCPSS prestigious Diane Kent Parker First-Year Teacher award in 2017-2018. During his time in education he has held numerous leadership roles including Tutoring Lab Coordinator and as a Teen Perfection Advisor. Outside of the classroom Drew coached the Varsity Volleyball team and notably won Cap 6 Conference coach of the year in 2019. Drew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mario KerseySponsoring District: Wake
Mario Kersey earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. During his first years as a teacher, he taught English at his alma mater, Anson High School. Concurrently, Mario also worked in the physical science department of Discovery Place Incorporated in Charlotte, NC. Soon, the classroom called to him, and started teaching at South Piedmont Community College as an instructor in the Adult Basic Education/High School Equivalency department. Forest Hills High School in Union County was his next high school where he taught American Literature. He relocated to Wake County where he taught AP Language and Composition, English I-IV, creative writing and debate at Knightdale High School. While at Knightdale he taught the new AP Seminar courses which is a part of the AP Capstone Diploma program. He actively served on the redesign committee for Knightdale High School. Currently, he teaches English IV, AP Literature and Composition, and creative writing at East Wake High School. He is an active member in his PLT/C and was a Process Champion cultivating the desired norms within classes and among colleagues. Mario can be reached at email@example.com.
Jordan NievinskiSponsoring District: Wake
Jordan Nievinski earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in STEM integration into the classroom from Appalachian State University. In 2020, Jordan began her career with Northwoods Elementary School in Wake County. She currently serves as a Kindergarten teacher at Northwoods Elementary. Jordan also serves as the grade-level chair for the Kindergarten team and represents her school by serving on the School Improvement team and MTAC technology committee. Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie NockSponsoring District: Wake
Katie Nock earned a Bachelor of Science Education in 2008 and a Master’s degree in Science Education in 2012, both from East Carolina University. She began her career as a science teacher at Southwest High School in Onslow County in 2009 and has continued her career at Heritage High School in Wake County since its opening in 2010. In addition to teaching many different science courses for the past 13 years at Heritage, Katie has also led the Student Government Organization, has helped to develop and assist the softball program, has led the sunshine committee, has served as a mentor to new teachers, and has been the science department chair for the past six years. She has written science curriculum for Wake County, received the NC-ACS High School Award for Excellent in Science Education, and has published a 2018 article in the Journal of Chemical Education titled “A nonlinear, “Sticky” Web of Study for Chemistry: A Graphical Curricular Tool for Teaching and Learning Chemistry”. Katie can be reached at email@example.com.
Michael RosenbergSponsoring District: Wake
Michael Rosenberg earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Campbell University in 2014. He is currently a ninth-year teacher at his alma mater and home of the Imps, Cary High School in Wake County. Michael is known as “Coach Ro” on the pool deck; he has coached both Cary’s men’s and women’s swim and dive teams. In that time, he has trained conference, regional, and state champions and is a five-time coach of the year. Additionally, he has served as a PLT leader, a BT mentor, a SIP and Re-accreditation Team member, emcee of the school pep rallies, and prom co-coordinator. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason SavoSponsoring District: Wake
Jason Savo earned his Bachelor degree in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in English Language Arts and Social Studies from NC State University. After earning his degree, Jason began his teaching career at Oberlin Magnet Middle School in Wake County and currently serves as an 8th grade English Language Arts teacher. Jason has served as Team Lead, a member of the School Leadership Team, as well the School Improvement Team. Jason can be reached at email@example.com.
Jayme WhiteheadSponsoring District: Wake
Jayme King Whitehead graduated with honors from North Carolina Central University with a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education. She began her educator journey as first grade teacher in 2018 at Ellicott Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During her time in Colorado, Jayme also served as a remote learning coordinator while teaching second, third and fourth grades. Since returning to Wake County in 2021, Jayme continues to teach third grade. Jayme has served on many committees including the PBIS, MTSS and Intervention Teams. She also partnered with other educators to develop the culture club at her school. Jayme is a strong believer in the benefits of building positive relationships within school communities and encourages overcoming communication barriers to encourage inclusive and diverse environments. She continues to serve as a third grade teacher at Adams Elementary. Jayme can be reached at Jpwhite4@ncsu.edu.
Kamilla WrightSponsoring District: Wake
Kamilla Wright earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from NC State University. She began her teaching career as a 2001 Teach For America alumna teaching math and science in Eastern North Carolina at Bunn Middle School in Bunn, North Carolina. Kamilla has been teaching math at West Cary Middle School in Wake County since 2004. She has served as the math representative on the School Improvement Team and member of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support team. She currently serves as a member of the Leadership Team, Equity Leadership Team, and grade level team lead. She was elected as her school’s Teacher of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year and was nominated for the 2022-2023 school year. Kamilla is committed to exposing her students to as much as she can educationally, in addition to learning math, and creating safe spaces for students to learn. She also supports beginning teachers with best practices for classroom and instructional management strategies. Kamilla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kendra YearickSponsoring District: Wake
Kendra Yearick earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education K-12 from William Peace University. Kendra was named The Outstanding Graduate for the Class of 2013. Since graduating, she has taught and currently teaches Adapted Special Education in an Extended Content Standards Class at Fuquay Varina High School (FVHS) in Wake County. Kendra earned her National Board Certification in 2021. She was recognized as FVHS Teacher of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year. During her time at FVHS she has been the advisor for Club Unify through Special Olympics of NC, ECS PLT leader and an assistant Varsity Softball Coach. Kendra can be reached at email@example.com.