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Meet the Team


Maia Heyck-Merlin

Maia Heyck Merlin author photoMaia Heyck-Merlin has over a decade of experience juggling high-volume roles in results-oriented organizations. She most recently served as Chief Talent Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Achievement First, a charter school management organization running 20 schools in Brooklyn and Connecticut. During this time, she oversaw teams that led recruitment, human capital, operations, and development and evaluation of school leaders and teachers at Achievement First.

Prior to joining Achievement First, she worked at Teach For America in a variety of capacities. Maia began as a corps member in South Louisiana where she taught fourth grade for two years and was named Teacher of the Year for her school and selected as a Fulbright Memorial Fund recipient. She then shifted to teach fifth grade at Children’s Charter School and directed Teach Baton Rouge’s first summer training institute for The New Teacher Project. In 2002, Maia returned to Teach For America as the Executive Director in South Louisiana, overseeing programmatic efforts for a corps that had doubled in size. She then served for three years as the Houston Institute Director, leading training and development for the incoming corps. In her last role at Teach For America, Maia founded and led the National Institute Operations team, which managed national operations for all five summer training institutes.

In 2007, Maia founded The Together Group, a business focused on training educators on topics such as time management, prioritization, organization, and efficiency. In 2011, she wrote The Together Teacher: Plan Ahead, Get Organized, and Save Time, published by Jossey Bass in 2012. Her second book, The Together Leader: Get Organized for Your Success – and Sanity, was released in 2016.

Maia holds a B.A. in child development from Tufts University. She lives in the DC area with her energetic elementary-aged children, two unruly cats, and two hamsters. In her free time, she enjoys surviving Triathlons, eating Girl Scout cookies on the couch, and trying to keep up with her farm share deliveries.

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Kendra Rowe Salas

Kendra Rowe SalasKendra holds a BA in psychology from Winthrop University and an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University. She’s taught English in Guatemala, and worked for the Washington metro area’s largest hunger relief organization.  She also served on the District’s Healthy Youth and Schools Commission, helping to encourage the full implementation of the DC Healthy Schools Act. Kendra lives in Washington, DC with her husband, toddler, and family dog, where she enjoys gardening, reading, and creating children’s books. She helps The Together Group with project management, production, travel, the website, and workshop evaluation.

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Marin Smith

Marin Smith headshotAfter graduating from Harvard in 2001, Marin taught 3rd grade and earned her Master’s Degree as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. She then taught kindergarten and worked as a school leader for Achievement First. She has also instructed adults in Literacy and Child Development as an adjunct professor for Relay Graduate School of Education. Presently, Marin works as the Clinical Social Work Fellow at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. On the side, she supports Maia with the Together Teacher blog and other editorial pursuits. Marin is an avid reader, photographer and Red Sox fan—and loves paperclips and project plans!
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