Kaleidoscope Staff

Sarah Dillard, founder


Sarah Dillard has been working in education for over a decade. Kaleidoscope grew out of her interest in making high school more practical and interesting. She was on the policy team at the U.S. Department of Education, the founding team at the National Math and Science Initiative, and the management team at Quad Learning. She started her career at Bain & Company. Sarah is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where she was an A. B. Duke Scholar and won the Holton Prize for education research. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School where she was a Reynolds Fellow and a George Fellow. She is a trustee at Capital City Public Charter School, on the alumni advisory council at Harvard's Center for Public Leadership, and a founding advisor at Guild Education. With Tom Eisenmann and Eric Ries she is the co-author of the Harvard Business School note, "Hypothesis-Driven Entrepreneurship."

Benjamin Haynes, business development

Benjamin Haynes is a young professional passionate about mental health and elevating student voices. Prior to Kaleidoscope, Benjamin received a U.S. Fulbright grant to teach English in Malaysia for 2018. While there, he launched and spearheaded a 4-month initiative focused on building student agency through student projects with ~400 students and dozens of schools from across Malaysia taking part. He draws on other experience in the education field as well, having worked in EdTech at Quizlet and as a Research Assistant for Dr. Jane Fruehwirth exploring the intersection of mental health outcomes and race for high schoolers in North Carolina. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill where he graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Economics and Political Science.


Our classes are designed with students for students by expert teachers. Over the summer, we develop and test pilot concepts in our fellowships that we then refine into full-year classes.

katharina matro, social studies for social problems


Katharina Matro is a teacher, historian, and writer. She teaches history and economics at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, and has taught at Stanford University, and the Free University in Berlin. She also writes and speaks to academic historians about bringing their academic research into the high school history classroom. Katharina graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, where she majored in History and French; she holds an M.A. in International Economics and European Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Ph.D. in Central European History from Stanford University. Before finishing her PhD, she was a pre-doctoral fellow at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, and a Mellon Fellow at George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. Her dissertation won the 2016 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize for the best doctoral dissertation on a topic in German history written at a North American University.

Topher Kandik, Storytelling & Narrative

Topher headshot 2.jpg

Topher Kandik is the 2016 Teacher of the Year from the District of Columbia, and received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Teaching English in 2013. He is a contributor to the book Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change (Intellect, May 2016).

Currently, Topher is an Upper School English teacher at E. L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC. He holds an M.Ed. from George Washington University and is dual certified in English and Special Education. He earned National Board Certification in 2011. He is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), and he serves on the Teacher Advisory Council for the District of Columbia.

Topher has partnered with various arts and writing organizations including Imagination Stage, Young Playwright’s Theater, the American Film Institute, the National Press Club, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Story District (formerly Speakeasy DC), 826DC, PEN/Faulkner, Writopia, and the American Poetry Museum. Topher is also a co-founder of DC Miscellanea, a creative writing collaborative for DC youth which hosts writing workshops in conjunction with local poets and arts organizations.

Adam Browning, practical psychology

Adam Browning.jpeg

Adam Browning is Director of AP Capstone and Project Based Learning at Washington Leadership Academy in Washington, DC.  Adam graduated with his Bachelors from SUNY Binghamton where he studied Psychology and holds a Masters of Social Work from Lehman College in the Bronx, NY.  After graduation from his masters program, Adam pursued his passion of teaching Special Education by moving to Washington, DC as part of the 2014 cohort of DC Teaching Fellows.  He worked at Chavez Schools for two years until he was given an opportunity to become a founding teacher at Washington Leadership Academy.  As a teacher, he has continued his passion for learning by becoming a TALMA Fellow (2015 cohort) where he taught English to low-income students in Israel while attending professional developments; an Education Innovation Fellow (2016 cohort) where he was trained to use design thinking to help solve issues in education; and twice attending the MIT Project Based Learning Symposium (2017, 2018) where he worked with the Teaching Systems Lab at MIT to re-think project-based and interdisciplinary learning. 

David Panush, Practical Psychology

David Panush is the Director of Technology and Innovative Learning at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, DC. He started at Burke way back in 1998. Over the last twenty years (or so), David has taught Chinese History, the Individual vs. the State, Constitutional Law, Social Psychology, and Behavioral Psychology. He dedicated countless hours, heart, blood, sweat, and tears to coaching Cross Country and Track & Field for 16 seasons each, and has always wondered what it would be like if high school academics were more like high school sports. Along the way, David picked up a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from the George Washington University that has been moderately useful. Over the last few years, David has developed a passion for reimagining education for the modern world and looks forward to the opportunity to collaborate, experiment, and play with Kaleidoscope this summer.

Kerry O’Brien, Science in Society


Kerry O’Brien has been teaching high school science for over 15 years. She received her Ph. D. in molecular biology from Cornell University in 2002. After a brief stint as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, Kerry decided to pursue a career as an educator and has never looked back! She currently teaches biology and biotechnology at St. Albans School in Washington, DC where she has won a teaching excellence award and sponsors the robotics team. Kerry is passionate about making science accessible, interesting and relevant to students.

Student Interns

In summer 2019, we’re welcoming back more than half of our 2018 fellows as part of our Kaleidoscope team. They’ll be working with us on our classes and on building our organization. Look out social media, here we come!

Business Development

Lyla Bhalla-Ladd

Lyla Bhalla-Ladd

Will Ahn

Will Ahn

Lyla Bhalla-Ladd, a rising junior at National Cathedral School, and William Ahn, a rising senior at Churchill, will be working as business development interns.


Naazneen Gill

Naazneen Gill

Karenna Nambiar

Karenna Nambiar

Naazneen Gill, a graduate of National Cathedral School who will be attending Bucknell University in the fall, and Karenna Nambiar, a graduate of Churchill who will be attending High Point University in the fall, will be working as marketing interns.

Community Manager


Leila Wass, a graduate of National Cathedral School who will be attending Harvard University in the fall, will be working to build community amongst current and alumni fellows.

Teaching Fellows

A number of our 2018 fellows will also be returning as teaching fellows. They’ll give feedback on the design of the summer fellowship, help facilitate our sessions, and give advice as we build out a full year class from the experience.

Science in Society

Giovanna Eichner, a graduate of Churchill High School who will be attending Boston College in the fall, will be a teaching fellow for Science in Society.

Practical Psychology

Jessica Bowen

Jessica Bowen

Thomas Mande

Thomas Mande

Jessica Bowen and Thomas Mande will be teaching fellows for Practical Psychology. Jessica is a rising senior at Churchill. Thomas is a graduate of Whitman and will be attending Duke University in the fall.

Storytelling & Narrative

Najá Crockett

Najá Crockett

Ariel Derby

Ariel Derby

Najá Crockett and Ariel Derby will be teaching fellows for Storytelling & Narrative. Najá is a graduate of the Field School and will be attending Bates College in the fall. Ariel is a graduate of Churchill and will be attending Tufts University in the fall.


Analytics for Current Events

Karenna Nambiar will be the teaching fellow for Analytics for Current Events.