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Tina Kanelos Tesseract School

Seven years ago, Tina Kanelos, a graduate of Boston University, set out to follow her dreams of becoming a teacher. What she never anticipated, though, were all the hurdles she would encounter along the way. “Teaching is a difficult job,” she says. “I was ready to give up on my career until I found Tesseract.” Since joining the staff in August 2006, Kanelos, a seventh- and eighth-grade American History teacher, has never been happier. “We’re a family on every level,” she says.
In addition to Kanelos’s daily class schedule, she also helps spearhead two of the school’s most successful after-school programs: Tesseract Action Force for You (TAFFY) and Tesseract Community Outreach (TCO). TAFFY, which Kanelos founded, is a community service club that allows middle school students to volunteer at food banks, the Phoenix Herpetological Society and HomeBase Youth Services. Also, Kanelos helps coordinate TCO, a day when Tesseract students go out into the community and help in any way they can. “Tina is always thinking about how to improve her practice as a professional educator and how to instill an ethical and compassionate global perspective within her students,” says Nigel Taplin, head of school at Tesseract.
As much as she values taking part in such service-oriented programs, Kanelos finds that her students enjoy getting involved just as much. “Getting the kids out of their seats helps a lot,” she says. “A child’s perspective is a very valuable thing.”