About The Civic Circle

The Civic Circle is a Silver Spring, Maryland-based nonprofit that brings civics alive for very young children with music and drama shared in assembly and after-school programs. For more information, please contact Eliza Newlin Carney at ecarney@theciviccircle.org.


Kelly Gilpin Clarke

Kelly Gilpin Clarke

Program Manager

Kelly Clarke has worked in education nationally and internationally for 14 years, most recently serving a decade as a tenured professor at SUNY Nassau Community College in New York. She has extensive experience in grant management, research consulting, teaching, student advocacy, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She is The Civic Circle’s Program Manager.


Kari Shapley

Kari Jones Shapley

Program Development Specialist

Kari Jones Shapley has experience in youth development, advocacy, and homeland security. She was a Leadership Launchpad intern at the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), and also interned at The Minotaur Group. She recently received a B.A. in World Politics from Ohio State University. She is The Civic Circle’s AmeriCorps VISTA team member.


Gabrielle Zwi

Gabrielle Zwi

Teaching Artist/Program Assistant

Gabrielle Zwi is a community organizer, educator and musician who advises the local youth organization DC Teens Action, and serves on the City of Rockville’s Human Rights Commission. Gabrielle also serves as a Public Representative on Montgomery County’s Committee Against Hate/Violence, and is a singer, songwriter and recording artist who regularly performs throughout the region.

Cassidy Little

Cassidy Little


Cassidy Little has combined experience in social work and education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Delaware State University, and was a Guest Educator at Enriched Schools, a national educator network. She also led financial literacy workshops at Delaware State’s Financial Planning Club, and has volunteered as an after-school program counselor at The Fellowship House, a center serving elementary school-age students in her home state of New Jersey.


Italia Massalla


Italia Massalla is a Montgomery College STEM and Nursing degree candidate with a passion for teaching and mentoring young students. She has classroom experience teaching students ranging from 1st to 5th Grades in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is a Civic Circle Teacher.


Benny Mattis

Web & Marketing Intern

Benny Mattis is a student in the Web Development program at Montgomery College. He comes to The Civic Circle with several years of prior experience leveraging technology in the social sector, and has a history of offering tech support pro bono to educational initiatives. Benny is also an AmeriCorps alum and a former tutor.

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Julia Wall


Julia Wall is a major in Elementary Education at the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing minors in both Human Development and Sustainability. She holds part-time posts at University of Maryland in the Leadership & Community Service-Learning office and as a campus tour guide, and has classroom experience working with students in Grades K-6.

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Albertha Joseph

Social Media Intern

Albertha Joseph is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Communications and Media Studies at Montgomery College, with plans to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Maryland. She also works a Medical Assistant at the Virginia Hospital Center.


Malachi Byrd

Malachi Byrd

Malachi Byrd is Washington, D.C. author, poet, teacher, songwriter, and arts advocate. An African-American Studies graduate from Princeton University, “MalPractice” gets his name from his commitment to mastering his crafts. He was the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate for D.C., has published three books and four albums, and is founder of the Crowning Too Early Scholarship Fund.

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Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley is an acclaimed poet who performs and teaches poetry to children all over Maryland. She is the Maryland Library Association's Poet of the Year, Young Audiences of Maryland Artist of the Year, and Young Audiences National Artist of the Year. She is a former national and international poetry slam champion, and is a  Kennedy Center master teaching artist.

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Janice Greene

Janice Curtis Greene is an award-winning Author, Master Storyteller and Historical Reenactor, and American Griot. She has been telling African, African American and Multicultural stories for more than 30 years. She is Past President and Life Member of both the Griots' Circle of Maryland, Inc. and the National Association of Black Storytellers.

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Uasuf Gueye

Uasuf Gueye is a teacher, performer and instrument craftsman who belongs to a family of Nguewel/Diali, or oral historians and musicians. He is a djembe and dundun drummer, and plays the 21-key bala, in the Manding tradition of West Africa. He has taught every age group from toddlers to adults, and was a 2017-2018 Strathmore Artist-in-Residence.

Jade Feng Lee

Jade Feng Lee

Jade Feng Lee is a cartoonist, printmaker, and game developer from Maryland. Jade has exhibited their comics at shows such as Small Press Expo and Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Previous illustration clients include Boom! Studios, Lion Forge, and Girls Make Games. Jade often works with nonprofit organizations to integrate visual storytelling with building community.

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Munit Mesfin

Munit Mesfin is an award-winning Ethiopian singer, songwriter, and teaching artist. Her performances blend her Ethiopian roots with the music she loves–roots, soul, reggae. In addition to touring, recording, teaching and consulting, she is also a cultural organizer and entrepreneur, and performs with her daughters as “Munit and z Lovebugs.” She also serves a teaching artist and project director with Carpe Diem Arts.

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Lea Morris

Lea Morris is an award-winning songwriter well known to Washington area audiences. She has worked extensively with students and adults in a variety of settings, from sing-alongs to songwriting workshops. She has performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe, including at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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Nick Newlin

Nick Newlin has been entertaining children of all ages for 30 years as NicoloWhimsey with his high-energy super-fun comedy juggling act, including storytelling, poetry and audience participation. He also directs plays at the high school level and has written a book series called “The 30-Minute Shakespeare.” Nick also plays rock and roll accordion!

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