Strong Schools Maryland Leadership Team
SHAMOYIA GARDINER (SHE/HER) is the executive director of Strong Schools Maryland. Shamoyia is a first-generation American, first-generation college graduate from Miami, Florida. Due in part to her identities and experiences as a former educator, she’s determined that life is best spent working at the intersection of education, advocacy, and youth development. Shamoyia's other professional experiences include directing the education policy portfolio at Advocates for Children and Youth, cradle-to-career-spectrum policy analysis at the Family League of Baltimore, and project-based work with the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the DC State Board of Education, Atlanta Public Schools, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site.
Shamoyia has chosen to live out her values as a board member at B.O.N.D. (Building Our Nation's Daughters), a board member at The Intersection and as a coordinating “mama” with A Revolutionary Summer. Shamoyia earned her Masters in Education Policy and Leadership from American University and her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVE HEILKER (HE/HIM) is the communications specialist at Strong Schools Maryland. Dave is a community organizer who has been involved with education organizing in Baltimore City and throughout Maryland since 2015. He has served as the communications chair of Baltimoreans for Educational Equity (BEE) and has been a fierce advocate and activist in Baltimore and Annapolis for schools, social justice, and racial equity. He is a graduate of public schools, of the Baltimore City Planning Academy, and of Baltimore Rising, a community organizing and leadership development training.
Dave grew up in Hamilton (northeast Baltimore City) and currently resides in the Remington neighborhood with his wife Emily, and his dog, Tomato. He can be reached at email@example.com
MAYA BOND (SHE/HER) is the local organizer at Strong Schools Maryland. Maya grew up in the Bronx, New York and has lived in Baltimore since graduating from Loyola University Maryland where she majored in Communications. She is a Baltimore Corps alumni allowing her opportunities to work for the Baltimore City’s Mayors Office and Baltimore Police Department. Her work is grounded in her communications background and is influenced by human-centered design practices.
Maya’s passion for educational advocacy stems from the influence of her mother, a special education teacher working in the South Bronx, and her journey to advocate for her brother to receive the services he needed in the New York public school system. Maya enjoys Baltimore’s local coffee shops, art, music and cultural spaces. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strong Schools Maryland Summer 2022 Team
McKENZIE FUNK (SHE/HER) is the 2022 Summer Organizing Intern at Strong Schools Maryland. She grew up in the Baltimore County area and now attends the University of Maryland as a rising senior. She is currently majoring in neurobiology and physiology with minors in Spanish and public leadership through the Gemstone Honors College program where she works on an undergraduate research team to complete their thesis on the inhibition of cancers such as Lymphoma and serves as the program’s vice president of strategic outreach.
Outside of her academic curriculum, she works as a medical scribe and a biology teaching assistant. A few things that she is involved with on campus include Terps for Change, CORA non profit organization (Combating Opioid Overdoses in Rural Areas), and the University of Maryland Ethics Bowl - Speech and Debate Team. She is a coordinator for Terps for Change and volunteers with schools in the Prince Georges Area, and she is a strategic outreach coordinator for CORA, focusing on communication and engagement with community members and health departments throughout seven Maryland counties. Her UMD Speech and Debate analyze real world issues through a practical, political, and ethical lense. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and rollerskating. She can be reached at email@example.com