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Early Childhood Changemakers

FuelEd Fellowship Alumni

AY21-22 FuelEd Fellows completed Capstone Projects to support them in creating transformational change by bridging core learning and innovative relationship practices to their spheres of influence in order to bring about more educator social-emotional learning and secure relationships. Learn more below!

FUELED FELLOWS AY21-22

Jocelyn Tucker, Assistant Director, Foundation for Early Childhood Education

Jocelyn Tucker

Assistant Director, Foundation for Early Childhood Education

Makia Akinola Thomas, Assistant Principal, Stovall Primary, Aldine ISD

Makia Akinola Thomas

Assistant Principal, Stovall Primary, Aldine ISD

Shelby Parks, Early Interventionist and Masters Student, University of Oregon-EI, SCESD

Shelby Parks

Early Interventionist and Masters Student, University of Oregon-EI, SCESD

Melanie Leadingham, Director, St. Theresa Early Childhood Center

Melanie Leadingham

Director, St. Theresa Early Childhood Center

Sara Johnstin, Compliance Director, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

Sara Johnstin

Compliance Director, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

Gloria Garcia, Early Head Start  Teacher - PACE

Gloria Garcia

Early Head Start Teacher - PACE

Rachel Frazier, 2nd Grade Teacher, BakerRipley Charter School

Rachel Frazier

2nd Grade Teacher, BakerRipley Charter School

Jaciel Castro, Chief of Operations & Co-Founder, Community Preschools

Jaciel Castro

Chief of Operations & Co-Founder, Community Preschools

Rasha Hameed Alhalaichi, Director and Lead Teacher, Little Village Preschool & Childcare

Rasha Hameed Alhalaichi

Director and Lead Teacher, Little Village Preschool & Childcare

PATH 1: THE ADVOCATES

Projects focused on Advocating for Policy Changes that support mental health and relationship-driven learning

Gloria Garcia: Advocating for Early Childhood Educators Mental Health

Gloria’s capstone project aimed to improve the mental health of early childhood educators by working with the Unions CFT and AFT to develop interventions to support the development of empathy fellowship cohorts in public schools, and present to management teams how empathy fellowships can be developed to support Early Childhood educators mental health.

Check Out Gloria's Project HERE!

PATH 2: THE REFORMERS

Projects focused on Reforming Systems through developing relationship-driven practices and tools

Rasha Hameed Alhalaichi: Build Your Resilience

Rasha’s capstone project aimed to support teachers in her school - many of whom are refugees and single moms - in developing self-care routines, deeper self-acceptance, and trusting relationships with one another by providing weekly empathy circles and yoga classes, and advocating for her school to adopt 12 fully paid days off for teachers during the year.

Check Out Rasha’s Project HERE!


Jaciel Castro: Growing a Forest

Jaciel’s capstone project aimed to address the structural problems that don’t allow top-down systems to work as they should in early childhood education by working through a deep analysis of early childhood infrastructure to identify ways that top-down efforts could work to create systemic change that enable early childhood models to thrive.

Check Out Jaciel’s Project HERE!



Melanie Leadingham: Creating Whole Educators

Melanie’s capstone project aimed to support staff in developing emotional wellbeing, so they can be present and able to support themselves, each other, and their students by providing professional development on the qualities of secure attachment, impact of personal emotional triggers, and how to build skills to communicate needs, with ongoing learning and support opportunities to experience co-regulation.

Check Out Melanie’s Project HERE!



Shelby Parks: Increasing Family Confidence in Early Intervention

Shelby’s capstone project aimed to support families to feel empowered and confident in addressing the social and emotional needs of their children by providing a variety of resources - handouts, one-on-one survival planning and subsequent guides, and website information - to develop and build social and emotional skills.

Check Out Shelby’s Project HERE!


Makia Akinola Thomas: Peeling Back the Layers - Using Empathic Listening to Transform Organizational Culture

Makia’s capstone project aimed to improve organizational culture, improve collaboration and decrease feelings of isolation and overwhelm on teams by utilizing FuelEd principles to conduct “empathy interviews” to develop action plan for strengthening organizational culture through relationship building opportunities

Check Out Makia’s Project HERE!

PATH 3: THE MOVEMENT BUILDERS

Projects focused on Building the Movement by leading others in learning the science, skills, and self awareness of relationships

Rachel Frazier: PCS Podcasts and Empathy Circles

Rachel’s capstone project aimed to address the high level of burnout and low retention rates in my district by providing ongoing and relevant SEL learning through Podcast episodes centering on topics educators want to hear more about, and processing spaces to dive deeper into topics discussed, connect in community, and strengthen SEL skills.

Check Out Rachel’s Project HERE!

Sarah Johnstin: Addressing Educator Stress & Burnout

Sarah’s capstone project aims to support educators in managing the prevalent stress and burn out they are experiencing by providing a series of training opportunities to share knowledge and skills to address the impacts of stress and burnout, and build resilience.

Check Out Sarah’s Project HERE!


Jocelyn Tucker: What is Triggering You?

Jocelyn’s capstone project aims to support educators in developing ways to more consistently model secure attachment behavior by leading a group of Head Start supervisors in learning how to identify their emotional triggers, and to use at least one or more strategies to stay in a secure mode instead of a reactive mode when those triggers appear.

Check Out Jocelyn’s Project HERE!