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.

Joel Bezaire


Joel Headhost

I teach 7th grade Pre-Algebra at the University School of Nashville. I have presented at the Tennessee Math Teachers Association, International Society for Technology in Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Twitter Math Camp conferences and have been published by Christianity Today, the NCTM, and Fathom Mag. You can learn more about my work, publications, and appearances on my website, Pre-Algebra OneI am a member of EdCo Cohort 1 and and love collaborating with like minded teachers on behalf of all of Nashville’s students. Contact me via Twitter @joelbezaire or email at jbezaire@email.usn.org.

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.

Christopher Collins

EdCo Community


I teach mathematics at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet in Metro Nashville Public Schools where I’ve been teaching the past two years. Before that, I taught at John Overton High School. Growing up, I did not feel engaged by math and was trapped by the stigmas of a widely disliked topic. Instead of letting math get me down, my experience drove me to dedicate my career to changing student perceptions of the subject.

I’ve wanted to be an educator ever since I was a student in high school. I teach for the sole purpose of empowering my students. It’s like I tell the parents and families of my students, “I enjoy teaching math, but I enjoy teaching your child more.” I love that the student population is so diverse and I am able to interact with lots of different cultures. I feel it is important to take the time to connect with something that is personal to the students. I want to let them know their individuality is welcomed. Every student has value. Every voice has power.

I engaged initially in the work of The Educator’s Cooperative because of my wife who is also an educator and a member of the first cohort. I stayed for the very empowerment I try to instill in my students that I felt as a teacher. I love the work that the cooperative continually engages in with regularly. The ideas and the feedback are continually refreshing as they are a reminder of why I joined the field of education. A strong community that intertwines so many other dedicated educators to one common purpose: serving our students. You can reach me via Twitter at @CalcuChris or email at: Christopher.Collins@mnps.org.

Colleen Cummings

Grants and Development

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.

Jacqueline Gregory

Data and Trends


I teach PreK through 4th grade students as the Librarian at Glenview Elementary. I teach for many reasons: to share my love of learning, to guide children to believe in themselves, and to encourage them to help make the world a better place.  

The best way to reach me is through email at either Jacqueline.gregory2@mnps.org or jackiebgregory7@gmail.com.

Nikki Healy

Communications and Newsletter

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Originally from southern New Jersey, I started my teaching career teaching middle grade ELA. Since 2014, I have been teaching high school ELA in the Nashville area. I currently teach grades 9-11 at Early/Middle College High School located on Nashville State Community College’s Main Campus. I will graduate with a Masters in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University in December 2018. I believe in the transformational power of teaching over the transactional: “the future of the world is in my classroom today.” I am honored to be a member of the Educators’ Cooperative Leadership Team, and look forward to continued collaboration and community building for all Nashville educators. You can reach me via email, nicole.healy@mnps.org or on Twitter @mrs.g_mchs.

Amy Nystrand

Project Coordinator

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I am currently in my fourth year teaching 4th grade at Cole 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


2018 school pic

Now in my 10th 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 goloughlin@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.