Steve Beal - Director of PR, Social Media and Partnership Strategies
A passionate educational leader who is determined to help students close their own opportunity gaps by exposing students to more than just traditional school. Steve is also the Lead Teacher of Science for the Centennial School District. This role allows him to have a hands on approach to science learning, K-12, while also negotiating and expanding partnerships for Centennial. Steve brings other interests and experiences to the team. He graduated from Moravian College with a Bio degree, produced an acclaimed film as an independent filmmaker and works in the investment real estate field.
ALBERT CATARRO Ed.D - Director of Business and Partnership Development
Partnerships and Cooperative Education Coordinator at William Tennent High School. Student focused educational leader possessing a strong commitment to the development of partnerships and student-centered, organic learning experiences. Contributor to the career development opportunities available at the school by establishing the Partnerships in Action, Career Work Experience and Internship Programs. He also is involved in grant writing and secures funding from a variety of business and community sources. Dr. Catarro received his doctorate from Temple University, completing the dissertation, No Child Left Behind – The Answer to Preparing Students for Careers, or the Demise of Career and Technical Education? He is also involved in a numerous community organizations including; Centennial Education Association - Past-President, Centennial Education Foundation - Board Member, Bucks and Montgomery County Business Education Partnership – Steering Committee Member, Bucks County Workforce Development Board – Youth Council Board Member, Pennsylvania Service Learning Alliance - State Advisory Board Member, Bucks/Montgomery Cooperative Education Association – Past-President.
Rena Friedant - Director of Design Thinking and Student Mentoring
Practicing artist and educator, Rena brings 22 years of teaching experience to the CentennialX community. WIth art education degrees from both Penn State University and the Tyler School of Art, Ms Friedant combines a strong pedagogy in education intertwined with her professional studio practice. After earning her Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Wales in the beautiful capital city of Cardiff, Ms. Friedant shares her European experiences to inspire and motivate her eclectic group of inquisitive students. Ms Friedant subscribes to the idea that the heart of the CentennialX experience is grounded in the creative processes found within each of its members. Rena strongly believes in and shares her convictions for exploring, taking risks, and getting a little dirty while growing, serve as the mechanisms for real-life learning.
MELISSA HECHT - CO-DIRECTOR OF CENTENNIALX
Melissa brings 10 years of teaching experience at 3 different school districts and currently teaches at Lower Merion School District. Her career path has taken her from Physical Therapy, in which she practiced for almost 7 years, to teaching high school in various levels of Biology ranging from AP to college prep Biology and Honors Anatomy & Physiology. She graduated with a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior and MS Ed. from University of Pennsylvania as well as an M.S.P.T. from Duke University. Over the course of her varied career, she has developed a passion for changing the way education is delivered seeking ways to make it more relevant, applicable, and better preparing students to be the problem solvers needed today. Expanding into the world of partnerships, such as the CentennialX program has initiated, has ignited a whole new vision for Melissa where education can and should really go.
IGNACIO JAYO - CREATOR AND DIRECTOR OF CENTENNIALX
Ignacio Jayo is a high school science teacher who is passionate about innovating education by leveraging the power of partnerships. He received a Physical Therapy degree from Duke University in 1997 and practiced as a physical therapist in various hospitals in Philadelphia. In 2003 he received a Master of Secondary Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation from Penn, he joined William Tennent High School where he leads a team which is working to develop partnerships as a way to increase student opportunities and engagement. He is especially interested in developing long lasting partnerships that empower students, as well as teachers, to grow while working to create novel solutions to real-world problems alongside various industry professionals.