Elise Neill

Founding STEM Teacher, North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band Oboe Player and Girl Scout Leader


My hope is that our scholars will not be afraid to explore, discover, and sometimes make mistakes as they delve into the deeper mysteries of coding, science and engineering.

I chose to teach at Catalyst because our scholars get to experience STEM in the classroom more than once a week. We explore different topics and test many engineering challenges.

My desire to go into education started out in high school, but took a hiatus as I found a niche in computer programming. It was while volunteering at my children’s elementary school that my teaching desire rekindled. I was a student-teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools as well as substitute teacher at other elementary schools and found my fit — the joy of bringing science, technology and computer science to those who might not have these resources at home.

Early elementary students have endless curiosity. They are full of joy and wonder. And they have awesome laughs. There are so many educational resources in the Pittsburgh area that I am excited to share with our students. There are museum toolkits from the Carnegie Museums, robots at BirdBrain Technologies, and the STEAM lending library at the AIU on the waterfront.

Morgan Lovely

Founding PE Teacher, Hands-On Learner and Avid Baker of Sweets


As we navigate through these unique and unprecedented times, my intention as an educator of wellness is to not just teach motor, body and mind care skills, but to also equip our students with resilience, growth mindset and perseverance skills to overcome any obstacle in their path.

I am a Physical Education teacher because I love to motivate and challenge my students through experiential learning, movement and life skills to inspire a love of lifetime physical activity and self-care.

The best part about teaching early elementary students is the contagious exhilaration and curiosity that younger students share to learn new things and make connections to their world.

I understand the value of small group instruction, consistent and collaborative family communication, and high levels of educator support. I noticed this intentional design during my interview and training process with Catalyst Academy. I believe our team will be effective at creating consistent, strong opportunities for teacher-student support, hands-on learning, and practice and advancement of skills — so students could grow into their best version!

I love to learn by engaging in conversations with people about their life perspectives over coffee, getting involved in study groups with friends or fellow educators, and as a kinesthetic learner I am always looking for ways to experience new things hands-on.

Maeve Hendricks

Founding Kindergarten Teacher, Pittsburgh Native and Curiosity Celebrator


As an educator, I seek to ensure that every student feels both challenged and successful and builds an identity as a learner.

Being an educator has always been my dream; I have had so many amazing teachers and I love learning new things.

I was born in Pittsburgh. Given my lifelong love of education, I have always known that I would be a teacher. I love working with elementary students because of their sense of curiosity and wonder! It drives exploration in the classroom, which is how I love to teach.

My goal for this school year is for students to feel safe and welcomed at their new school, and to find new ways to bring a sense of community despite staying 6 feet apart!

I chose Catalyst because I think it is a fantastic opportunity to build a new school in the city of Pittsburgh. From the very beginning, Catalyst has aligned with my values about equity in education, and ensuring that all children have access to a quality education.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Reading Specialist certification. My favorite things to do besides teach are read, hike, and try new restaurants.

Brandon Howe

Founding Kindergarten Teacher, Sci-fi Reader and Comic Book Artist


My goal is to provide students with a safe space that makes them feel loved, supported, and brave enough to take academic risks and explore their world.

Children are the future, and we need to invest in our future. All children deserve not only an outstanding education, but a teacher who believes in them as a person, and is willing to put in the hard work to nurture their unique identity and talents.

Elementary students are special because of the curiosity and joy they show, along with their silliness and love of play. Also the amazing stories they tell! When working with children, every moment counts and is a chance to make a difference in the world. I want to help lift a child up, inspire them, and encourage them to find the joy in life!

I believe in Catalyst’s mission that in order to grow and achieve, scholars need to feel that sense of belonging first. It’s my goal to help foster that sense of belonging for every one of my scholars so that they can grow to be their best possible selves.

MaryBeth Fisher

Founding Kindergarten Teacher, Creator of Excitement for School


I chose to join Catalyst because of their core values. Belong, Grow, and Achieve are things I hope for my students and need as a teacher.

I love kinders because they are so loving and excited to learn. They come to school with very little experience and are so dependent on adults. They leave knowing incredible amounts of things and independence abounds.

I became an educator because I was not always the best student but I had a few teachers that still saw me and made sure I was getting what I needed. I want to be that person for my scholars.

I grew up in Lancaster, Pa and studied at Millersville University. I graduated in 2011 and moved to Roanoke, VA for a volunteer opportunity with Brethren Volunteer Service. I spent seven years teaching in urban Roanoke; one year in third grade, two years in first grade, and four years in kindergarten.

I chose to join Catalyst because of their core values. Belong, Grow, and Achieve are things I hope for my students but is also something I need as a teacher. I appreciate that Catalyst extends those values to the teachers and families as well.

I’m hoping that despite all the difficulties this year that my scholars will still feel supported and be excited for school!

About Catalyst

Catalyst Academy Charter School’s mission is to prepare all students for college, career, and life. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s core values of Belong. Grow. Achieve. reflect the school’s deep commitment to cultivating an inclusive supportive school community where everyone – children and adults – is focused on learning every day, in order for all students to define and achieve their dreams. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s education model is designed to close both the achievement and opportunity gap. The approach couples rigorous core academics with a broad offering in the arts and sciences. Students will experience STEM learning daily and arts programming four days per week. Enroll your Kinder or first grader today!