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Summer Principals Academy

The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership

Talima Andrews

Talima Andrews

Talima Andrews, B.A. in Child Development, Spelman College. Talima began her teaching career over seven years ago in the Atlanta Public School System as a first grade teacher where she received a grant to develop an after school ballet dance program. After two years with Atlanta Public Schools, Talima spent the next three years as a first and second grade teacher with the DeKalb County School System where she implemented a ballet, jazz and tap after school dance program. Her loves for teaching and dance afforded her the opportunity to move back to New York to teach dance to kindergarten through third graders at a charter school in Crown Heights. This fall, Talima will be attending NYU for a M.A. in Dance Education for grades K12. 

Currently, Talima works as a teacher at AF Crownheigts Elementary school.

Christopher Anest

Christopher Anest

B.A. in Public Communication and Political Science, American University; M.S.T. in Elementary Education, Pace University. Christopher is a Teach for America graduate with a strong commitment to urban education. During his time at the Ellen Lurie School in New York City, Christopher drew upon his experience in the public relations sector to initiate the Sunshine Committee, which endeavors to improve morale and solidarity among the faculty. In addition, Christopher is an experienced tennis player and violinist. 

Christopher is now a Reading First Building Coach at PS 5 Ellen Lurie school.

Rudy Baez

Rudy Baez

B.A., English Language & Literature, and M.A., Secondary Education, Fairleigh Dickingson University. Rudy is entering his sixth year teaching English Lanugage and Literature in a large urban high school in a small urban community. He recently completed a certification program in the area of ESL in addition to his certification as a secondary school English teacher. He is an avid journalist and recently attended the American Society of Newspaper Editors Journalism Institute in Austin Texas. Currently, Rudy is a teacher of English in Memorial High School, New York.

Katherine Baker

Katherine Baker

B.A. in History, Yale University; M.A. in Elementary Education, Loyola Marymount University. Katherine is a Teach for America graduate whose experience emphasizes second grade education. Before entering Teachers College, Katherine worked at Achievement First in Brooklyn, NY where she was a Guided Reading Curriculum Team member. While at Yale, Katherine did a summer abroad in India, and has proficiency in French, Hindi and American Sign Language. 

Currently, she works as an Academic Dean at Elim City College.

Louis  Barocio-Uribe

Louis Barocio-Uribe

B.A. in Sociology and American Studies, University of California, Berkeley; M.S. Ed. in Education, San Jose State University. Louis is a Teach for America alumnus whose experience has allowed him to take up various positions at Lee Matheson Middle School in San Jose, California. While at Lee Matheson, Louis initiated a mentorship program among teachers and reviewed the school district’s policy on English language education. Louis won an award for Multicultural Education from San Jose State University. 

After Teachers College, Luis returns to Lee Matson Middle School in San Jose and works as a Language Arts teacher. 

Louise is now a Vice Principal at the Mathson Middle School in San Jose, CA.

Sylvia  Beevas

Sylvia Beevas

B.S. in Biology, University of Massachusetts; M.S. Ed. in Science of Education, Lehman College. A New York City Teaching Fellow, Sylvia has experience as a seasoned science teacher at Jane Addams High School where she hosts the school’s science fair. While at Jane Addams, Sylvia has facilitated sessions on teaching using technology. She is a Mission Charity worker with Grace, International and a member of Americorp. 

Slyvia is now an Assistant Principal at Jane Addams High School in Bronx, New York.

Dawn  Brooks-Decosta

Dawn Brooks-Decosta

B.Ed. in Art Education, St. John’s University and M.Ed. in Art Education, Queens College. Dawn is a Fine Art and Literacy teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem. She was a UFT Chapter Leader and took on leadership roles with staff, negotiated with administration and organized efforts for staff members in her school. She is a dedicated arts teacher who teaches the visual arts but also enhances the total learning of children in all subject areas. She was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award in 1998 and was featured on a CNN interview, “Through a Child’s Eyes.” 

Dawn is now working as Fine Arts Coordinator at Thurgood Marshall Academy, New York.

Sonya  Castellino

Sonya Castellino

B.A. in Biochemistry, Mount Holyoke College; M.A.T. in Secondary Science Education. Sonya is a Teach for America Corps member with experience in middle school education. Her teaching emphasis is on mathematics and the sciences, for which she created curricula, taught after school and advised students with the Hayden Astrophysics Internship program. She also co-founded a Specialized High School Test Preparation program at PS/MS 2118 in New York City. 

Sonya is currently a Science teacher at Urban Assembly Media High in New York.

Rosa  Choi

Rosa Choi

B.S. in Financial Economics, SUNY Binghamton; M.S. in Math Education, St. John’s University. Rosa is New York City Teaching Fellow with experience as a mathematics teacher at Joseph Pulitzer Intermediate School in Queens. At Joseph Pulitzer, Rosa was an America’s Choice Model Teacher in her field, and took the opportunity to teach dance and drama there. Additionally, Rosa has worked at East-West School of International Studies, also in Queens. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the United Federation of Teachers. 

Michele  Cohen

Michele Cohen

B.B.A. Accounting, Hofstra University, M.S. Secondary Education, Mercy College. Michele took a circuitous route to teaching math at Mott Hall II, a New York City middle school. She worked for Prudential Securities as a fund accountant and later at Klein Lipton Liebman as an accountant prior to deciding to be a math teacher. She is currently the 7th and 8th grade math special education teacher at East Rockaway High School but expects to return to Mott Hall in a teacher-leader role. 

Michele is now a Director of Operations at Mott Hall II, New York.

Denise  Delarosa

Denise Delarosa

B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, University of Notre Dame. Denise is a Teach for America alumna with experience teaching in various posts at Inman Middle School. At Inman, Denise taught 8th grade students and was a School Council Member where she helped rally community support for the school. She also has previous experience leading discussions about race and multicultural affairs in an academic setting.

Rinah  Fernandez

Rinah Fernandez

B.A. in History and Rhetoric, Binghamton University; M.A. in Reading, Montclair State University. Rinah was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the New Jersey Department of Education for excellent service in the educational field in 2006. She has taught reading, writing, language arts and the sciences to elementary school aged and middle aged children. Rinah is fluent in Spanish and has some knowledge of French and Portuguese.

Christina  Grant

Christina Grant

B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies, Hofstra University; M.S. in Teaching Adolescent English, Fordham University. Christina is a member of the National Council for Teachers of English, the National Association of Black Educators and Teach for America. She has taught middle school English and Social Studies in New York City and has helped increase student performance on state tests.

Crystal  Hamilton

Crystal Hamilton

B.P.S. in Business Management, Five Towns College; M.S. Ed., St. John’s University. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, Crystal has worked with preschool and kindergarten aged children. Her experience has allowed her to teach motor and sensory skills to children aged 0-4 and reading and math to kindergarteners. 

Currently, Crystal is a K-6 Health teacher at PS 102Q in New York.

Eric   Havlik

Eric Havlik

B.A. in Business Administration, St. Andrews Presbyterian College; M.S. Ed., Brooklyn College. Eric’s experience has led him to teaching mathematics to elementary school children and also to teaching pedagogy as an adjunct professor at Pace University. In addition, Eric has taught English as a second language to business people in Costa Rica. He is on the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Parent Advisory Committee and used to be an AmeriCorps volunteer. 

Eric is now an Assistant Principal at PS 154 in Brooklyn, New York.

Rhonda  Hinds

Rhonda Hinds

B.A. in English, Hunter College; M.S.Ed, Hunter College. Rhonda is a New York City Teaching Fellow who has worked in middle school education in Harlem, where she worked in the Special Education department. While there, she also taught English, social studies and math and science to prepare the children for citywide standardized tests. She has worked on tailoring the educational methodology to special needs students based on psychological reports, and has worked with newly implemented classroom technology.

Allison  Howry

Allison Howry

B.S. in Speech Communication, University of Texas; M.A. Communication Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Allison comes to Teachers College as a Teach For America alumna who has educated high schoolers in San Jose, Los Angeles and New York City for more than five years. She worked at Brooklyn’s Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters where she has helped to develop the institution’s instructional model, selected the founding class of students and staff and continues to create sustainable partnerships and special-program structures that support the academy’s vision. 

Currently, Alison is a Director of Programs at the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts.

Rhena  Jasey

Rhena Jasey

B.A. in Psychology, Harvard University; M.A. in Elementary and Childhood Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. While still an undergraduate at Harvard, Rhena began working with children at after-school and summer programs at elementary schools within disadvantaged communities in Roxbury, MA and Newark, NJ. Upon graduation this experience led her to take a position as a substitute teacher within the school district in which she was a student as a child. While teaching at Seth Boyden Demonstration School, a Title I school located in a low-income section of Maplewood, NJ, Rhena has demonstrated her leadership as a Mentor Teacher and a Trainer for the ACHIEVE Tutoring Program. 

Currently, Rhena is a Third Grade teacher at Seth Boyden Demonstration School in New Jersey.

Rhonda  Jeffery

Rhonda Jeffery

B.S. in Mathematics, Baruch College; M.S. Ed in Mathematics Education. For five years, Rhonda has taught at Benjamin Banneker High School in Brooklyn, NY in various capacities. Most recently, she has transitioned from the position of Math Teacher to Math Coach. In this leadership position, Rhonda has been responsible for navigating the school’s team of math teachers through professional development workshops, directing the group as they continuously revise the math curricula and managing the development of the syllabus for a six-week summer session, which culminates in the August Regents exam. Rhonda is committed to raising the standard of learning and achievement for students and teachers alike within the urban school environment. 

Rhonda continues to work as Math Coach at Benjamin Banneker High School in Brooklyn, NY.

Jude  Julien

Jude Julien

B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Columbia University; M.A. in Secondary School Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; M.S. in Secondary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Jude has taught in low-income communities for more than seven years—first in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, and now in the South Bronx. He was a General Science and Mathematics Teacher of 7th and 8th grade students at the Arturo Toscanini Community Junior High School. Since joining the school in 2001, Jude has successfully written more than 30 independent grant proposals, receiving more than $20,000 in capital. He has used those funds to finance the acquisition of new science equipment and resources, which have been instrumental in helping his students explore a variety of science topics. 

Currently, Jude is science teacher at JHS 145.

Gary  Kalish

Gary Kalish

B.A. in History, Hunter College, City University of New York; MA Ed., Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Gary started his career in education as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Since 2003, he has taught middle school Social Studies in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Gary has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Pace University. At Pace, Gary taught courses in social studies methodology and interdisciplinary teaching. 

Gary is now an Assistant Principal at Pierson High School in Sag Habour, New York.

Lisa  Karlich

Lisa Karlich

B.A. in Psychology, Columbia College; M.A. in Secondary Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. For seven years Lisa has held science education posts in New York City’s public schools—first as and 8th grade earth science teacher at the Manhattan Academy of Technology, and currently as a 12th grade physics teacher at the School of the Future. For the past five years, she has been an in-house coach for new teachers in her department and sought out the mentor position with the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Juliet  Kissoon

Juliet Kissoon

B.A. Early Childhood Administration, and M.A. English Language, University of Guyana, M.S. Education, City College.Juliet taught and was a principal in schools in Guyana prior to taking a post at the University of Guyana as a full time lecturer. She was recruited by the Department of Education in New York as an International Teacher and currently teaches several disciplines at PS 92, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School. She has authored various books and illustrated editions of childhood instructional materials. 

Juliet is now a Teacher Support at PS 92, Mary McLead Bethune Elementary School.

Welton  Kwong

Welton Kwong

B.A. in Asian Languages, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University; M.A. in Education, Stanford University. Since 1998 Welton has been chair to the English language development department at Homestead High School. In addition, he holds the position of teacher on special assignment in which capacity he has worked to restructure and align the English language development curriculum throughout his district. Welton presents at conferences frequently on various topics in education. Previous presentations have included: “Theme-based Instruction: Developing Cognitive, Academic and Sociolinguistic Competence,” “Bells and Whistles: Using Multimedia to Instruct World Languages,” and “Strategies in Vocabulary Instruction for English Language Learners.” 

Currently, Welton is a District Program Administrator for English Learners at Fremont, Union High School District, Sunnyvale, California. 

Kwong's areas of special interest include adult learning and professional development, curriculum reform and perhaps starting a small school! 

Welton is now District Program Administrator for Engish Learners at Fremont Union High School District.

Ife  Lenard

Ife Lenard

B.S. in Human Ecology, Morgan State University; M.S. Ed. in Program Development and Management, Columbia University School of Social Work. Ife currently works as the Social Worker and Educational Leader at Bronx Charter School for Excellence. Since having started there in 2006 she has also become the head liaison with the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. Concurrently, Ife holds the post of Dean of Students at Barnard College and Columbia University’s S.T.E.P. Program, where she teaches writing methods classes for accelerated high school students.

Johane  Ligonde

Johane Ligonde

Johane received a B.A. in English from the State University of New York at Albany, a Master in the Arts of Teaching (M.A.T.) in English Education from Union College, and an Ed.M degree in Educational Leadership from the Summer Principals Academy, Teachers College, Columbia University. A native of Haiti, Johane grew up in an inequitable educational system. Her childhood experiences helped shape her great passion to serve under-represented youth and make it possible for them to obtain not just an equitable education, but an excellent one. Johane has worked as an English and literacy teacher in grades 6 through 12 in the Fulton County Schools in Georgia and the Greenville County Schools in South Carolina. As one of the founding members of FDNY High School in Brooklyn, New York, Johane coached English and Social Studies teachers and served in other leadership roles to contribute to the building of the school’s capacity. Johane was also a principal of a pre-k-6 international school on the island of Anguilla. She presently holds the position of Curriculum Director of ELA, Reading, and Social Studies in the Lawrence School District in Nassau County. Johane is a member of the American Association of school Administrators, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers for the Social Studies, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jennifer Lynn Lovejoy

Jennifer Lynn Lovejoy

B.A. in Religion and History, Smith College; M.A. in Religion and Liturgical Studies, Yale University; M.A. in Elementary Education, Brooklyn College. Jennifer has been a New York City public school teacher as I.S. 218 for the past three years. While working at I.S. 218, she has taken on numerous extracurricular and leadership positions. Currently, Jennifer is the school’s Director to the Arts and Humanities Newspaper, the Sixth Grade Team Leader and a Fellowship Advisor for the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

Mitra  Lucas

Mitra Lucas

B.A. in English, California State University, Sonoma; M.A. in Multicultural Urban Secondary Education, University of California, Berkeley. For the past few years Mitra has worked as the Writing Instructor at the Bronx Academy of Letters. While there he has quickly taken on several leadership posts, including Advisory Chair and a New York City Teaching Fellows Mentor. During the summer of 2006 Mitra was the recipient of a New Visions for New Schools Grant and was awarded the opportunity to travel throughout Spain for six weeks while she researched effective language acquisition strategies for Spanish speakers.

Michele  Malave

Michele Malave

B.S. in Secondary Education, New York University; M.A. in Educational Administration, Teachers College. For the past seven years Michele has worked as a social studies teacher and new teacher mentor at Stamford High School in Connecticut—a position that afforded her the opportunity to co-author the district’s 9th grade social studies curriculum. Recently, Michele was designated as Stamford Public Schools’ coordinator for Aspira—a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of Latino youth.

Sheila  Murphy

Sheila Murphy

B.A. Program of Liberal Studies and J.D., University of Notre Dame. Sheila took on the challenges of a criminal appeals attorney for The Legal Aid Society of New York City. She turned her attention to education as an antidote to the criminal behavior that she represented as an attorney. She entered teaching through New Jersey’s alternate route program and is a fourth grade teacher at Seth Boyden Demonstration School in Maplewood.

Chinyelu  Ndubisi

Chinyelu Ndubisi

B.A. in Biopsychology and African-American Studies, Oberlin College; M.A. in Elementary Education, American University. Chinvelu is a 4th grade teacher at The Children’s Storefront in New York City. In addition to teaching a general education curriculum she teaches upper school dancers in the form and techniques of various West-African dances. Prior to taking the position at The Children’s Storefront, Chinvelu was an Educational Specialist at Higher Vision: Children Aid’s Society, where she was the co-creator of the after school curriculum used to supplement high school and junior high school based instruction. Immediately preceding that she was a DC Teaching Fellow as a 3rd and 6th grade instructor at Hendley Elementary School in Washington D.C.

Kimberly  Neal

Kimberly Neal

B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice, Alabama agricultural and Mechanical University; M.S.W., Washington University. Kimberly comes to Teachers College with a wealth of social work experience. Currently she the lead Administrator for Social Work at Harlem Day Charter School in which capacity she leads students through team study meetings, counsels individuals and groups as mandated by Individual Educational Plans and develops and implements workshops for parents. Previously, Kimberly was Dean of Students at Future Leaders Institute. She started her career in education as a Teach for America member in St. Louis, MO. 

Kimberly is a School Social Worker at Harlem Day Charter School, NY.

Rasaan  Ogilvie

Rasaan Ogilvie

B.A. in Political Science, Vassar College; M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education, New York University. Since 2005, Rasaan has been an 8th grade humanities instructor, Teacher Leader and contributing member to the Instructional Cabinet and School Planning Team at Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx, NY. Rasaan’s first teaching position was also in the Bronx at Middle School 306. He began his tenure there as a 7th grade humanities and literacy teacher as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows program.

Michael  Panetta

Michael Panetta

B.A. in English Language and Literature, and Political Science, University of Michigan; M.S. in Teaching Adolescence English, Fordham University. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree Michael was accepted into Teach For America’s highly selective service corps where he initiated his career as an educator at Henry Hudson Intermediate School 125 where he continues to teach. As the 7th grade teacher Michael has designed a core thematic and cross-curricular English language arts curriculum, facilitated heterogeneous literature circles and organized Saturday test preparation workshops to prepare students for citywide reading and math examinations.

Jolores  Polite

Jolores Polite

B.A. in Sociology, The College of New Rochelle; M.S. in Childhood Education, Mercy College. Jolores Polite grew up and attended public school in the south Bronx where she was the recipient of a United Federation of Teachers scholarship for four years of undergraduate study. Upon receiving her college degree she became a New York City Teaching Fellow and went back to the south Bronx, this time as a public school teacher. As a 5th and 6th grade special education teacher at I.S. 216 for the past five years, Jolores has worked her way to the position of Team Leader.

Maqueda  Randall-Weeks

Maqueda Randall-Weeks

B.S. in Early Childhood Education, Vanderbilt University; M.A. in Early Childhood Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Maqueda comes to the Summer Principals Academy a seasoned practitioner with extensive educational experience. For more than a decade Maqueda has worked in various capacities as a professional pedagogue. Having started as an elementary school teacher she moved on to become a guided reading specialist and a lead reading coach before accepting a position as Acting Coordinator at the New Jersey Office of Early Literacy. Currently, she is Special Education Literacy Resource Coach for Hackensack Public Schools.

Denise  Rodriguez

Denise Rodriguez

B.A. Liberal Arts, M.Ed. Educational Technology, University of Texas Brownsville. Denise began her teaching career as a teacher at Resaca Middle School in Los Fresnos, TX where she received the Teaching of the Year in 1998. She transitioned to James Pace High School in the Brownsville Independent School District. She is a coach for various subjects including literacy criticism where she encourages her students to become critical thinkers. She holds leadership roles with the district including the Site-Based Decision making Committee. Over the years she has cultivated a personal library of Hispanic authors and Hispanic heritage. She participated in the Fullbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Program and traveled throughout Mexico. 

Denise is now English Lead AP teacher at James Pace High School, TX.

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