Inside Towers

Meet Our Donors

Meet Our Students and Mentors

Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Board

Student Success

Katherine List
Executive Program Director

Katherine List serves as Executive Program Director for Towers of Excellence Foundation. For over ten years, she served in Chicago Public Schools and Catalyst Charter Schools, as a Principal, Curriculum Director, Lead Teacher, and Dean of Students. Her experiences working with school leaders, students and their families, and underserved communities, has evolved her belief that all students, regardless of life circumstances, deserve a quality education and enriching life experiences.

Katherine has served as a consultant for the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, TAP system, leading and facilitating training to principals and superintendents. Katherine has served as a panelist at the NIET conferences, addressing issues for advancing teaching through student achievement and growth in specific areas.

As a lead teacher for the TAP system, Katherine worked with 4 Chicago Public Schools principals to help them further develop their education practices, focused on areas of refinement and reinforcement. Katherine supported school leaders as they examined their practices and evolve these practices to ensure high levels of teacher performance and student achievement.

Katherine believes all school systems are responsible for providing quality education, high quality services, and programing to all of their students. Through professional development, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence, all students should experience academic, social and emotional growth. Towers of Excellence is a program designed to support a school dedicated to success!

Sharon Morgan
Parent Liaison

Sharon Morgan serves as the Parent Liaison for Towers of Excellence. She is responsible for fostering and sustaining relationships with the parents of each student. She coordinates parent meetings and informational sessions to ensure they are involved in their students success.

Sharon began her career with Catalyst Schools in 2006, when she became a member of the design team of a newly formed Catalyst Charter School Network. She was instrumental in the opening of a new charter school, Catalyst Howland Charter School, located in North. Lawndale as a Community Outreach Coordinator. In 2007, she again helped to open the 2nd Catalyst school in the Austin Community, named Catalyst Circle Rock. There, she began the Graduate Support Program, to assist parents and students to navigate the high school application process. Sharon was also instrumental in beginning the Renaissance Fine Arts program with weekly in-school programming, partnering with high profile community and not for profit organizations.

Angelica Granger

Ms. Angelica Yvonne Granger brings more than a decade of child care and teaching experience to Towers of Excellence. As a teacher, Granger works with 4th graders at Catalyst Circle Rock in order to assist students to reach their fullest potential both academically and behaviorally. Prior to teaching 4th grade, Ms. Granger taught 6th grade for approximately 5 years. During this time, Granger felt the need to not only reach students academically, but emotionally and behaviorally.

Because of this yearning, she joined Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) in order to work one on one with a Little and make a major impact in her life. Her Little was in 7th grade and was promoted to High School during their mentorship. Granger was a mentor for BBBS for over a year before concluding the mentorship due to conflicts with the Little’s residential proximity. Granger continued to develop a relationship with her Little outside of the program.

In order to continue making an impact through mentoring, Granger joined Towers of Excellence as a mentor. Throughout this year, Towers of Excellence has benefited the mentees as well as the mentor. The mentees are developing their values, which has positively impacted their confidence and self-worth. Being a mentor with Towers of Excellence provides Granger with purpose and enhances her ability to reach students of all ages. Granger looks forward to seeing additional growth in her mentees and within herself.

Troy Morris

Troy Morris serves as a founding mentor for Towers of Excellence Foundation. Troy is from Chicago and has lived here all of his life. He began teaching in the fall of 2009 as an 8th grade instructional aide. In 2011, he became a classroom teacher for 6th-8th students. He is currently a 7th and 8th grade Writing Teacher at Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School, on Chicago’s west side.

He attended middle and high school in the south suburbs of Chicago. After graduating high school, he attended Columbia College Chicago, where he received his Bachelor’s degree. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree he attended graduate school at Valparaiso University, in Valparaiso, IN. He graduated from Valparaiso University with my Master’s degree in English. He is currently working on a Master’s degree in Teaching and pursuing a Doctorate in English studies.

Troy loves to read, write, listen to music and watch movies (he loves Netflix!). He likes to travel, but hasn’t done much of it lately. One of his goals for this year is to make an effort to travel more. He enjoys Towers of Excellence because it really gives him the opportunity to work personally with a small group of scholars. This program, allows him to focus on a core group and watch them grow into successful, productive citizens.

Mary Nikoo

Mary Nikoo is joining the Towers of Excellence program as a mentor for the 2016-2017 school year. Mary teaches third grade Math and Social Studies at Catalyst Circle Rock. Since joining the CCR team, she has extended her involvement in the Mission Team and Girls on the Run. She is passionate about empowering and educating young leaders through holistic education. She currently has a Master of Divinity with a focus in Cross-Cultural Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University. In her free time, she enjoys being a tourist in the wonderful city of Chicago and running. She is officially a Chicago Marathon 2016 finisher!

Nick Tomasso

Nick Tomasso is joining the Towers of Excellence program as a mentor for the 2016-2017 school year. Relatively new to Chicago, Nick moved to the city from the suburbs of New York City in the Summer of 2013. Since coming to Chicago, Nick has taught Special Education for the Catalyst Schools, first at Catalyst Howland in the North Lawndale community and currently at Catalyst Circle Rock in the Austin community.

Nick attended Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, receiving both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Secondary Education. Following his move to Chicago, Nick completed a second Master's Degree in Special Education at National Louis University.

In his free time, Nick loves to read, watch Netflix and travel. Travel is his greatest passion, having visited 11 different countries and driven across the United States. With Towers of Excellence, Nick looks forward to being able to workw ith a group of scholars in order to help them become even better scholars and citizens.

Lynette Russel

My name is Lynette Russell, I was born in raised in Chicago. I’ve worked at Catalyst Circle Rock for 11 years. I started out as an Instructional assistance. I am currently the assistance Dean, cheer and volleyball coach. This will be my first year mentoring for Towers of Excellence. I am super excited to join a dynamic team, whose is driven to provide extra academic success to our students.

Kelsey Teegen
Senior Fundraiser Manager

Kelsey Teegen joined the Towers of Excellence team in January 2020 as the Senior Fundraising Manager. A graduate from the University of Iowa with a Bachelors degree in Spanish and International Business, and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University. She has over 8 years of nonprofit development experience, working with organizations in Iowa City, Park City, Hyde Park, and Chicago. While having worked at various social service organizations, Kelsey is excited to continue living out her passion of helping youth and families reach their full potential. Kelsey grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and now lives in West town. She loves exploring the city, trying new restaurants and spending time outside in the summer.