Leadership Committee

The Leadership Committee of the Educators’ Cooperative consists of CoOp alumni who teach in schools and classrooms all over the city of Nashville. They share a vision for the power and potential of the Cooperative and, through monthly meetings, long conversations, email chains that go on forever, and brainstorming sessions, work to ensure its sustainable growth and improvement. Their work and commitment are essential to the operations and goals of the Cooperative.

Lauren Binkley 


I am a first grade teacher at Cole Elementary School, a part of Metro Nashville Public Schools. My passion is teaching and reaching English Learners and their families. I am a trained Thinking Maps trainer and was a member of the inaugural cohort of the MNPS Teacher Leadership Institute, for which I continue to facilitate professional development and design curriculum. The Educators’ Cooperative has been, and continues to be, a powerful part of my professional and personal growth. The Co-op has provided opportunities for not only building best practices and collegial relationships, but also for challenging my thinking and identifying areas for future growth and development.I can be reached at lauren.binkley@mnps.org.

Colleen Cummings

C. Cummings EdCo Photo

I came to the classroom by way of educational research and policy, where I investigated service-learning and civic education practices. I am currently in my sixth year of teaching in Nashville charter schools, with five of those years in first grade and one year in kindergarten.  I have been fortunate enough to be a founding educator at Explore! Community School, a project-based learning charter school in east Nashville, where I readily connect to my background in service-learning and civic engagement. 

 As an educator, I believe firmly that the primary goal of our institution is to prepare students to ask questions of, participate in, and improve their communities.  As such, I am grateful for the Educators’ Cooperative, as it gives me the opportunity to do the same of mine.  The un-siloing of educational sectors is imperative for continued growth, especially in a city as large as Nashville, and I appreciate the ability of EdCo to construct a space where educators can be vulnerable in sharing challenges while learning alongside each other.  I look forward to a day when the entire education system functions like EdCo, where individuals operate from a sense of common purpose rather than an emphasis on differences.    

Alecia Ford


My name is Alecia Ford, and I have been fortunate to have experienced a variety of diverse schools as a parent and teacher. Originally, I set out to be a scientist! I did become a food scientist and worked at Pillsbury for 8 years. While there, I volunteered in a 4th grade classroom with a program called KaPOW (Kids and the Power of Work), which makes explicit connections between what we do at school and the world outside the classroom. I loved sharing learning with others both at school and also in my training role in the lab at work, so I resigned and enrolled at Peabody, graduating with an M.Ed. in elementary ed.

Since then, I’ve taught at Jere Baxter, Meigs, East Literature and J. T. Moore Middle Schools, in that order. In between, my own children have attended the Canadian International School of Singapore, a neighborhood public school in Canada (truly neighborhood – no buses, we all walked or biked), and as of this year, both have graduated from Hillsboro High School and earned their IB Diplomas.

As an educator and a parent, I think this wide variety of schooling experiences and perspectives has helped me to be an open-minded and compassionate teacher, while my interest in science keeps me pointed at the latest research and what works. I have served in several leadership positions in my school over the years and am ready to reach out beyond my school. I’ve served on district level math committees as well as on the Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF) Teacher Cabinet last year. I am looking forward to continuing to learn and grow with other Nashville teacher leaders in the Educator’s Co-operative.

Siffat Hingorani

Siffat USN ID Photo

My name is Siffat Hingorani, and I teach high school Mathematics and Computer Science at the University School of Nashville, where I love working with children to learn and problem solve on a daily basis.  Prior to USN, I studied Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at Brown University, where I also served as a teaching assistant in the CS department.  Following my undergraduate studies, I worked as a Software Engineer for three years at Intuit in Mountain View, California, before I decided to pursue my Master’s in Technology, Innovation, & Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  As an educator, I deeply enjoy the challenge of helping create experiences that enable students to form connections, make meaning, and construct their own understanding.  The Educator’s Cooperative enables me to regularly interact with like-minded colleagues from various schools in and around Nashville, who share in my pursuit and help me continue to learn and grow.

Amy Nystrand

Nystrand headshot

I am currently in my third year teaching 4th grade at Gower Elementary School in MNPS. I believe that education has the power to improve the lives of students from all different backgrounds, which starts by connecting with students on a personal level. In order to best prepare students for the future world they will face, I believe it’s imperative to teach the whole child academically, socially, and emotionally, so I strive to create strong classroom community. I teach because I love learning and want to pass my love for learning on to future generations. The Educator’s Cooperative allows me to connect with other teachers across the city, where we can discuss best practices, identify common issues, and generate working solutions. As a lifelong learner, EdCo provides the space and opportunity to continue to push my thinking and further develop my skills as an educator. It also provides for community, reflection, and a constant source of rejuvenation necessary to continue to work at optimum levels! I can be reached at Amy.Nystrand@mnps.org.

Greg O’Loughlin


Now in my 9th year of teaching, I entered the classroom with the inaugural class of the New Teacher Project, Nashville Teaching Fellows. I taught 4th grade at Paragon Mills Elementary School for 3 years before moving to University School of Nashville to teach 3rd grade. I am now happier than ever teaching 6th grade English where I get to share my passions for the written word, grammar, and poetry.

My dream of a cooperative for teachers, by teachers became a reality in the summer of 2016 with the first cohort of the Educators’ Cooperative. I plan to grow the Cooperative over the next few years in an effort to bring Nashville’s extraordinary teachers together to collaborate, share, and learn together, regardless of the type of school in which the teach. I can be reached at edco@usn.org.

Chris Spiegl


My name is Chris Spiegl. I currently teach Earth Science to 8th graders at the Montgomery Bell Academy, where I enjoy sharing an understanding of Earth’s complexity and diversity with my students in a hands-on, engaged and practical manner. Prior to MBA, I taught agronomy in the highland Andes to K-12 students and developed 4-F clubs as a Peace Corp volunteer. Following PC Ecuador, I taught bilingual science and math in NYC Public Schools and studied at Teachers College, Columbia University in the inaugural class of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Fellows program. My challenge and passion involves keeping abreast of changes in Earth systems, technology in education and best practices in pedagogy. Conferences help, but my endeavors are enhanced, enabled and maximized when ongoing and local with like-minded colleagues. The Educator’s Cooperative allows me regular interaction throughout the school year with incredible colleagues from a variety of school models, all committed to best practices and sharing of “what works”.

Jennifer Weinblatt


I came to teaching through a love of literature, writing, and language. I have been teaching for over twenty years, working with high school students, college students, adult learners, and middle school students. Since 1999, I have been teaching sixth grade English at Harding Academy. The best educators are life-long learners who continually explore new approaches to their subject, new ways to engage students, and new ways to sustain excitement about teaching. With this in mind, I have attended numerous workshops, seminars, conferences, and lectures. Ultimately, however, I have found other teachers to be my greatest resource for professional growth, so I was eager to join the Educators’ Cooperative. The Cooperative offers a rare opportunity to experience the best kind of professional development, inviting teachers from diverse schools to carve out a week dedicated to sharing with and learning from each other. And that week is just the beginning of the experience, for staying connected with the cohort is an integral part of the Cooperative’s purpose. Regular cohort meetings throughout the year allow the inspiration and support fostered in that initial week to continue growing and nurturing us–and keep us striving to bring our students our very best.