Officers

Powell Padres 2020-21 Board of Officers

President

Kavitha Kasargod-Staub

I'm a mother to a 4th grader and 1st grader at Powell. I am hoping to bring my 10+ years of experience as a classroom teacher and instructional leader to help build our Powell community. I am passionate about building the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and linguistically diverse school community that all our Powell families deserve. I'm currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Educational Policy, focusing on how our schools can best be in service to our democracy.

Vice President

Maria Ferrufino

I have supported the Powell community for a number of years and have been a longtime Powell parent. My 5th grade twins George and Brianna have been at Powell their entire schooling and I have been an active and engaged volunteer during my entire time as a Powell parent.

Secretary

Tanya Snyder

I’m Tanya Snyder, a reporter and the parent of a third grader and a kindergartener. I’m running for the Padres board because our community is hurting right now and we need each other more than we ever have. Home-school challenges, ever-changing information and dangerous and poorly-thought-out school reopening plans are causing headaches for all parents. Some of us also have health issues, financial struggles and food insecurity to worry about. I want to make sure that parents are organizing to help each other and building power to make our voices heard on the issues that affect our health and our families.

Treasurer

Janet Walkoe

My name is Janet Walkoe and I am an Associate Prof of Math Ed at the University of Maryland. I am committed to equitable education and to public education. I was a secondary school teacher for 10 years before going to grad school in Chicago. I currently study teaching and learning and part of my work focuses on learning with technology. In fact, one of my research projects has been taking place at Powell for the past 2 years- helping kids learn computational thinking and math by programming little “Sphero” robots. My experiences on both sides of the school walls- as a parent, former teacher, and current teacher educator- would provide insights for this role. In particular, I could work to support parents as they connect with the school. Specific to this current school year, with my experience with technology and learning in online spaces, I could help parents navigate online education. My daughter, Mae Zellmer, is a 5th grader.

Director of Communications

Heather Schneider

I'm a mom to a 4th grader who has attended Powell since PreK-3. I’ve been doing the Communications for Powell Padres since the role was started several years ago. I built, and maintain, our website -- https://powellpadres.org -- and I also manage our social media accounts. Just recently I’ve been trying to increase collaboration with other local parent groups in nearby schools and I look forward to continuing that knowledge sharing and support both within Powell and our neighborhood. In addition to my work on communications, I have also helped lead our auctions and community carnivals and created and marketed the COVID financial relief fundraiser.

Director of Volunteers

Tessa Ambridge

My name is Tessa Ambridge, and this marks the 7th year that our family has been part of the Powell community. I have two sons: Owen who is currently in 3rd grade at Powell, and Caleb, who was a Powell student for 6 years. I have supported the school's teachers, students and families in many ways over time, including volunteering in classrooms and helping to organize various school events. As Director of Volunteers, I would seek out and coordinate creative ways for our families to support each other, our teachers/staff, and our school more generally, for the sake of our children!

Director at Large, PreK-1st

Scott Rechler

My name is Scott Rechler -- father of Jacob Beller-Rechler, a first grader at Powell. I am DC born and raised. When I am not facilitating home-schooling with Jacob, I serve as Co-Director of the non-profit organization LearnServe International which empowers high school students to create change, both locally and around the world. I am excited to join Powell Padres (1) to help build community across language barriers and cultures; (2) to find creative ways to support each other during this time of so many economic, health, and academic challenges; and (3) to work with families and the school leadership to facilitate a safe re-opening of in-person learning, when that becomes possible. I look forward to working with you this year!

Director at Large, 2nd-5th

Cheri McCloskey

My name is Cheri McCloskey, and I have a 2nd grader who has been at Powell Elementary since kindergarten. I hope to serve on the board of Powell's Parent-Teacher Organization to both support building our Powell community and improving the educational experience for our children. During this challenging upcoming school year, I hope the Board can continue to connect the parent community with our school community. My son, Ian Bird, is in the 2nd grade.

President

Kavitha Kasargod-Staub

I'm a mother to a 4th grader and 1st grader at Powell. I am hoping to bring my 10+ years of experience as a classroom teacher and instructional leader to help build our Powell community. I am passionate about building the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and linguistically diverse school community that all our Powell families deserve. I'm currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Educational Policy, focusing on how our schools can best be in service to our democracy.

Vice President

Maria Ferrufino

I have supported the Powell community for a number of years and have been a longtime Powell parent. My 5th grade twins George and Brianna have been at Powell their entire schooling and I have been an active and engaged volunteer during my entire time as a Powell parent.

Secretary

Tanya Snyder

I’m Tanya Snyder, a reporter and the parent of a third grader and a kindergartener. I’m running for the Padres board because our community is hurting right now and we need each other more than we ever have. Home-school challenges, ever-changing information and dangerous and poorly-thought-out school reopening plans are causing headaches for all parents. Some of us also have health issues, financial struggles and food insecurity to worry about. I want to make sure that parents are organizing to help each other and building power to make our voices heard on the issues that affect our health and our families.

Treasurer

Janet Walkoe

My name is Janet Walkoe and I am an Associate Prof of Math Ed at the University of Maryland. I am committed to equitable education and to public education. I was a secondary school teacher for 10 years before going to grad school in Chicago. I currently study teaching and learning and part of my work focuses on learning with technology. In fact, one of my research projects has been taking place at Powell for the past 2 years- helping kids learn computational thinking and math by programming little “Sphero” robots. My experiences on both sides of the school walls- as a parent, former teacher, and current teacher educator- would provide insights for this role. In particular, I could work to support parents as they connect with the school. Specific to this current school year, with my experience with technology and learning in online spaces, I could help parents navigate online education. My daughter, Mae Zellmer, is a 5th grader.

Director of Communications

Heather Schneider

I'm a mom to a 4th grader who has attended Powell since PreK-3. I’ve been doing the Communications for Powell Padres since the role was started several years ago. I built, and maintain, our website -- https://powellpadres.org -- and I also manage our social media accounts. Just recently I’ve been trying to increase collaboration with other local parent groups in nearby schools and I look forward to continuing that knowledge sharing and support both within Powell and our neighborhood. In addition to my work on communications, I have also helped lead our auctions and community carnivals and created and marketed the COVID financial relief fundraiser.

Director of Volunteers

Tessa Ambridge

My name is Tessa Ambridge, and this marks the 7th year that our family has been part of the Powell community. I have two sons: Owen who is currently in 3rd grade at Powell, and Caleb, who was a Powell student for 6 years. I have supported the school's teachers, students and families in many ways over time, including volunteering in classrooms and helping to organize various school events. As Director of Volunteers, I would seek out and coordinate creative ways for our families to support each other, our teachers/staff, and our school more generally, for the sake of our children!

Director at Large, PreK-1st

Scott Rechler

My name is Scott Rechler -- father of Jacob Beller-Rechler, a first grader at Powell. I am DC born and raised. When I am not facilitating home-schooling with Jacob, I serve as Co-Director of the non-profit organization LearnServe International which empowers high school students to create change, both locally and around the world. I am excited to join Powell Padres (1) to help build community across language barriers and cultures; (2) to find creative ways to support each other during this time of so many economic, health, and academic challenges; and (3) to work with families and the school leadership to facilitate a safe re-opening of in-person learning, when that becomes possible. I look forward to working with you this year!

Director at Large, 2nd-5th

Cheri McCloskey

My name is Cheri McCloskey, and I have a 2nd grader who has been at Powell Elementary since kindergarten. I hope to serve on the board of Powell's Parent-Teacher Organization to both support building our Powell community and improving the educational experience for our children. During this challenging upcoming school year, I hope the Board can continue to connect the parent community with our school community. My son, Ian Bird, is in the 2nd grade.