Denise Recinos, 3rd Grade Math Teacher
While growing up in Connecticut, Denise was involved with social justice issues in her community. She advocated for the awareness of dating violence, human trafficking, and the rights of day laborers by becoming involved in a youth leadership organization known as Peace Project. She continued her passion for social justice at Georgetown University by majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Violence and double minoring in French and Sociology. During her time at Georgetown, she studied abroad in Paris and was also involved in DC Schools Project, a literacy organization that serves Washington, D.C.’s low-income immigrant community. As a volunteer for the organization, Denise taught English as a second language to adults in DC. After graduating, Denise received a teaching fellowship and worked for Blue Engine, a non-profit organization that partners with public high schools in New York City serving low-income communities to increase academic rigor and prepare students for postsecondary success. After working for Blue Engine, Denise decided to further pursue her interest in education and will be teaching third-grade math at Powell. She is excited to be a part of the Powell community and wants to ensure that every student receives a high-quality education.
Jacquie Alexander, 3rd Grade Teacher (English Language Arts)
Jacquie Alexander is a third-grade teacher at Powell Elementary school in Washington D.C. She grew up in New Jersey with her parents and younger sister. Jacquie attended Wittenberg University in Springfield Ohio, where she majored in Early Elementary/ Special Education, as well as minored in Dance. Jacquie knew she wanted to be an educator ever since she was a small child, and always begged her sister to be her student while they were growing up. Jacquie has taught first grade the past two years in Ohio, but is excited to be a part of the Powell team! Jacquie believes that all students are able to achieve their dreams when learning is tailored to their individual needs, and she plans on instilling that here at Powell. In her spare time, she loves to teach and take dance classes. Jacquie’s favorite book is the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and she believes in the morals and values the story teaches all who read it. Jacquie looks forward to a positive and fun-filled school year!
José Martin Patiño, 3rd DL Grade Teacher
José Martin Patiño was born and raised Cartagena, Colombia. He learned English while in high school. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a one-year degree both from Fundación Colombo Internaciónal University in Cartagena, Colombia. Before joining the amazing Powell team, he taught English to children, teenagers and adults at the Centro Colombo Americano EFL school in Cartagena for 25 years. He also taught at Fundación Colombo Internaciónal University for three years. He is convinced that every child deserves the best education they can get. As soon as they have it, they can reach amazing goals. Mr. Patiño is passionate about teaching and learning. His long-term goal is to be able to look back and say he was able to impact lives as a teacher. He looks forward to having an unforgettable experience with the 3rd grade dual language scholars at Powell ES. His favorite book is The art of sacrifice in chess by Rudolf Spielmann.
Amanda Cataneo, 3rd Grade DL LA Teacher
Ms. Cataneo is a third-grade teacher at Powell Elementary school in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Joppa, Maryland. She attended college at Loyola University in Maryland where she double majored in Spanish and History (focusing on Latin America). While in college she studied abroad for two semesters in Alcalá de Henares, Spain and Santiago, Chile. After college, she joined Teach for America and taught in a dual language school in Denver, Colorado. She also earned her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Colorado – Denver during that time. After that, she moved to Boston and taught at another dual language elementary school for 4 years. In 2014, Ms. Cataneo moved to Washington, DC and began teaching 2nd grade at Powell Elementary. Last year, Ms. Cataneo and her co-teacher, Ms. Maya, presented at La Cosecha, the nationally-renowned dual language conference in New Mexico. This upcoming school year will be her ninth year teaching overall and her third year teaching at Powell.
Natalia Fuller-Walker, SPED Teacher
Natalia Walker is a wife and mother of 4 wonderful boys. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, relaxing and observing nature. She is also a professional face painter and has face painted at professional sporting events, community days and birthday parties. Natalia gained her passion for working with children from her experiences as a Recreational Support Counselor in high school. As a counselor, she gained the opportunity to support the inclusion of children with varying needs into various recreational programs. She loved this work so much, that she decided to pursue a degree in Psychology. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she was offered a position as a Behavior Specialist/Support Staff Trainer. In this position, she supported staff and recreational programs with creating inclusive environments, behavior management and communicating with parents. While Natalia loved her position as a Behavior Specialist, something was pulling her towards education. While completing an alternative certification program for special education and elementary education certification, Natalia earned her Master’s degree in Leadership in Teaching with an emphasis in Special Education. Natalia has experience teaching children of varying abilities in a variety of settings. Natalia is currently completing training that will equip her with leadership skills to support her colleagues in Literacy. Natalia believes that education is on-going, which is why you will rarely see her not participating in some form of training. “You can always move towards being the best, but in order to get better, you must have the understanding that becoming the best always has a moving bar.”