About Philly Hub for Liberatory Academics

This Is How Our Story Began

On March 13, 2020 it was announced that Philadelphia schools would be closed the following week to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. Many teachers, parents, and students were hoping that this would be temporary but as the virus continued to spread, the city ground to a halt.

Subsequently, the break continued to be extended to the point where many of us understood that we may not go back to school for the 2019-2020 school year. Realizing the impact this could have on Philadelphia schools and Black and Ethnic studies, we sought to provide a resource and lessons hub to address these issues. 

We are a group of educators that range from Elementary to the University Level working to provide resources that all students can engage in while seeing themselves represented. 

Meet Our Team

Keziah Ridgeway

Keziah Ridgeway is a Philadelphia area educator, activist, wife, and mother. She’s also a published writer with articles appearing in Sister's Magazine and on Common Ground News. Keziah obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a major in History, particularly, of non-peripheral countries from Temple University. After Temple, she completed a Master's of Education with a focus on secondary education from Saint Joseph's University while being a wife and mother to four children.Currently, she teaches African American History & Social & Cultural Anthropology at one of the most diverse and largest schools in Philadelphia, NEHS.

 If she’s not teaching, writing, spending time with her family, or reading, you can find her working with fellow educators in the Caucus of Working Educators and its Social Justice Committee. In addition, she also works with fellow colleagues in the Melanated Educators Collective, an offshoot of WE’s Social Justice Committee. Keziah particularly enjoys facilitating discussion groups and panels around Islamophobia, Black Muslim History, Black History, Educators of Color, and Racism that are aimed at creating a safe and equitable environment within education and society.

Luke Zeller

Luke Zeller has been a teacher, school-based leader, and instructional coach in the School District of Philadelphia since 2009. He enjoys working with students and teachers to support critical, creative, and disciplined thinking and engagement where learning is truly valued as an opportunity to develop an understanding of self-identity in relation to the world and society through what we read, write, talk about, and create. He has his M.S. in Literacy Education from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing his Ed.D in Education Leadership at Temple University.

Herman Douglas

Herman Douglas is a husband, father, social activist, TedX speaker and School-Based Teacher Leader at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School within the School District of Philadelphia. He loves teaching and has been educating children for over 20 years. Herman’s fundamental purpose is to promote student achievement among Black and Brown children.   His instructional practices are data-driven through a lens of Critical Race Theory. Ultimately, Mr. Douglas’s goal is to recruit, train and retain Black & Brown educators to transform urban education while being unapologetically focused on the success of Black and Brown students. Herman received his bachelor of education from West Chester University and currently is writing his dissertation on effective instruction in blended learning for K8 Black students within Title I urban schools.

Ismael Jimenez

Ismael Jimenez is a dedicated educator, who for the last thirteen years has worked  with students in Philadelphia from preschool age to the post-secondary level. Before working as a secondary social studies teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, Ismael worked as an after school Pre-K coordinator at Drueding Center/ Project Rainbow serving primarily children living in transition.  Along with teaching at the high school level, Ismael has facilitated several professional developments with colleagues in the school district and at postsecondary institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University and Princeton University on issues ranging from structural racism  to bridging the knowledge gap of students between high school and postsecondary institutions. Also, he has taught a graduate level educational research course at Villanova University and instructs an undergraduate social studies methods course at LaSalle University. Currently, Ismael is co-chair of the Caucus of Working Educators and co-founder of the Philadelphia Black  History Collaborative, while being an active participant in several other organizations that seek racial justice in education and across the city of Philadelphia. The philosophical orientation that guides Ismael’s teaching and activism is rooted in the theoretical educational framework developed by Paulo Freire which emphasizes the interconnected nature of education with  participating in the transformation of the world. 

Kaitlin McCann

Kaitlin McCann is a coach, athlete, activist, organizer, musician and passionate, experienced educator of nine years, currently teaching in the School District of Philadelphia. She is a proud member of the Caucus of Working Educators, where she facilitates a restorative justice inquiry group. She is certified in elementary and special education from Millersville University. Kaitlin thoroughly enjoys traveling to experience other cultures. While teaching abroad in Thailand, she discovered a passion for history and also obtained her 7-12 social studies certification She currently teaches U.S. History and World Cultures to 7th and 8th graders. Kaitlin is pursuing a masters degree at the University of Pennsylvania and aspires to work in education policy. Other areas of educational development Kaitlin immerses herself into include mindfulness, racial justice, civic education and social justice activism. Outside of the classroom Kaitlin loves being outdoors, riding her bike, going camping and taking hikes. She enjoys reading, listening to music, playing the saxophone, as well as, spending time with her friends and family.

Sam Reed III

Reed aka , Samuel Reed III is a teacherpreneur and founding humanities educator at the U School in Philadelphia. His mantra is "teaching students to read, write and make sense of the world."  He is a core member of the Teacher Action Group,  serves as Board Member and Head of the Finance Committee for Media Mobilizing Project and was a 2014 BMe Awardee.  He is a thought leader with expertise in curriculum design, digital literacy, and workforce development.  Reed's work has been published by Heinemann Digital Campus, The English Journal, and Research in the Teaching of English.

Nicholaus Bernardini

   Nick Bernardini is a twelve year public school educator, labor organizer,  social activist, musician, artist, husband and father of three young ladies.  His educational philosophy embraces the critical pedagogy framework of Paulo Friere and insists that schools have a duty to create and model a positive collective community culture, reflecting the best of our neighborhoods and offering a vision of possibilities for what they can become in the future. 

He teaches bottom up history with a focus on uncovering the agency and contributions of women, Indigenous Americans and black and brown actors within a given space.  He presently teaches African American History, AP Government and Politics and various Arts for the School District of Philadelphia.  He has a BA in History/Education from Temple University and an MA in History with a focus on the Subaltern in the Atlantic World from Villanova University.