Symonds Amy Symonds, Pre-K Teacher

Amy Symonds joined the Powell team in 2013 as a Preschool teacher. Previously, Amy worked as a Preschool teaching resident at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School and in various Early Childhood settings in her native Connecticut. She has a B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Development and Education, along with Spanish and English minors, from the University of Connecticut.


RamosDadee Ramos, Instructional Aide/Asistente


She was born in Washington DC but grew up in Maryland with both her parents, an older sister and a younger sister. Her parents are from El Salvador, so she grew up with the Salvadoran culture. She speaks both English and Spanish. Dadee graduated from Montgomery Blair High school and is now attending Trinity University and majoring in Early Childhood education. She is now happily married and enjoying her new journey. Her beliefs are that all children should learn in a warm, family friendly environment and love school. She hope they become successful, kind citizens in the future and to follow their hopes and dreams.

SteinmetzLaura Steinmetz, Pre-K Teacher

Laura joined the Powell team in 2011. She was a student-athlete at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) competing in four NCAA national championships in Tennis and graduated with a B.S in Business and Finance.  She began her teaching career as a DC Teaching Fellow. Laura believes in creating a classroom community where children love learning, developing strong relationships and engaging families as partners in learning.  To develop professionally, she participated in the 2015-16 STEM cohort that focused on developing inquiry skills and facilitating curiosity and motivation in young children. 

Karina Ventura, Instructional Aide/AsistenteVentura


Karina Ventura is a pre-school educational aide at Powell Elementary. She started working at Powell in 2014 and so far her experience at this school has been great. She loves working with kids (our future) and families at Powell. She was born in Houston, Texas but grew up in Washington, DC. Karina speaks both English and Spanish. She graduated from Albert Einstein High School in Rockville MD. Karina has a 5-year-old son named Hector.


Cheryl Nicely, Pre-K Teacher

Originally born and raised in Michigan, I spent 18 years living in Ohio then moved to Washington DC in late 2007.  I worked in the marketing/business field for over 20 years before going back to school to become a teacher.  I have been teaching for over 10 years and for the 2016-2017 school year, am celebrating my 9th year teaching at Powell!  I am married to Fred and have a dog, Pepper, a cat named Sparky, chickens Sweetie and Phantom, a pond with fish and a hive with bees!  I enjoy bike riding, reading, cooking, gardening, camping, traveling and learning.  I love being a teacher and living in Washington DC!


Dallas-14Martiza Dallas, Instructional Aide/Asistente

My name is Maritza Dallas, from Medellin Colombia . This is my second en Powell year. I worked for 4 years in Kigsbury Day School (Kids with learning disabilities). During this summer I was in Medellin, the city that celebrates one of the most representative cultural festivals of Colombia including the Silleteros Parade, enjoying the Fair of Flowers. This tradition of flowers being held for 59 years attracts tourists from the city and the world. This celebration is full of color and aroma and I am so proud to be part of it. My favorite hobbies are playing tennis, painting and dancing. My goal this year is to make my team and my students feel like they have a teacher who will give the best of herself to support them to be better citizens in the future.


GrossLisa Gross, Pre-K Teacher

Lisa was delighted to join the Powell team in 2015. Before coming to Powell, Lisa taught mixed-age Preschool/Pre-K at DCPS’s Burrville Elementary School, and Pre-K in Arlington, VA. Lisa also taught art in Detroit to elementary and high school students. Lisa received her B.A. in Art and Design from the University of Michigan.

Diana Mesa, Instructional Aide



WuchinaMerritt Wuchina, 2nd Grade DL Teacher

Merritt Wuchina was born to two English teachers city of hills and bridges Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her education started before that, however, when her mother read her graduate school homework out loud to the baby in her belly.

Her favorite story as a child was The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen and the first book she ever read was Squeaky Shoes by the famous author known as Anonymous. As a child, Merritt Wuchina wanted to be her favorite cartoon character, Sailor Moon, when she grew up. While hasn’t traveled to other planets quite yet, she did live in the far off valleys of rural China for a brief period of time where she learned to play a two-stringed instrument called the erhu and eat with chopsticks.

As a teacher today, she seeks to serve children’s social, emotional and intellectual needs and searches for moments of learning and creativity in every minute of every day of her passage here on planet Earth.

If you need to contact Ms.Wuchina, you can find her this year flip-flopping between the classes of Ms. Soria and Ms. Hernandez teaching in English, hiding out in the library planning her next lesson, or sitting under a tree having lunch. (Or, if you really need her, she has a cell phone and email address too :) )

Her favorite quote by the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso is “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”


Sonia Garcia, Instructional Aide


FeldmanJessica Feldman, Pre-K Teacher

This is Ms. Feldman’s second year at Powell and third year teaching in DC Public Schools. She is from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and graduated with a B.A. in Biopsychology from the University of Michigan in 2010. In 2011 she moved to Washington, D.C. and in 2014 she received her Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from the George Washington University. Ms. Feldman loves to read, travel, hike, and to bake and cook (especially with friends). She is excited to build a classroom where students get to shape their learning experiences and are able to play, explore, and create!

Bonilla-7Rosy Bonilla, Instructional Aide/Asistente

Since being at Powell my ways of thinking have changed. Education is very important for all children. I have enjoyed learning along with all my students. I believe in making a comfortable, confident, and trustworthy environment for all my students and families. I love communicating with families about child’s progress throughout the year. I graduated from Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC). I am currently attending Trinity Washington University, majoring in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Spanish. I enjoy dancing. Moreover, I love the beach and pools. I am surrounded by many children all day. I am an bilingual instructional aide for Pre-School and Pre-K during the day, and participate in the after school program. Once my day is over at Powell, I go home to my 3 lovely daughters Alytza, Yezley, and Yarelyz. It’s a joy to be part of the Powell family.


MooreKira Moore, Pre-K SPED

Kira Moore currently serves as an Early Childhood Teacher Leader at Powell Bilingual Elementary School where she has been teaching for 8 years.  Through the different aspects of her role, Kira supports holistic child development of all young learners by providing individualized instructional coaching to pre-K and special education teachers, leading collaborative meetings of the early childhood teaching team and facilitating student learning in the classroom.  Before taking on the role of Teacher Leader, Kira served as a pre-K teacher and a special education teacher in DCPS.  She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Teaching from George Mason University.



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