Monday, August 29, 2016

2016-2017 UAI Table of Organization

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UAI School Leadership
Kiri Soares, Principal (ext. 40111; kiris@uainstitute.org).  Kiri Soares co-founded the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in 2006.  Targeting the gender disparity of women in STEM fields, the goal of the UA Institute is to empower young women through developing their skills and capacity in math and science.  Through pairing a system of strong social emotional education with rigorous academics, all young women at UAI will graduate with the requisite skills to thrive in and complete college.  Kiri earned her BA in Philosophy with a minor in Education at UC Berkeley.  She has two masters degrees (in teaching and administration) & has been with the NYCDOE since 1997.   





Val Binyard, AP, Operations (ext. 30111; valb@uainstitute.org).  Val joined UAI in 2008 as a Special Education provider.  From the start, Val has been dedicated to providing support to our students who struggle the most.  As the Assistant Principal of Operations, Val supervises our ELL and SPED teams to ensure that our neediest students are receiving their entitled services and supports.  Additionally, Val supervises our next level guidance (enrollment and recruitment into 6th & 9th grades and college matriculation) as well as the team of people who make our instructional problems excel (main office team and technology support).


Jen Cusa, Dir. of Student Affairs (ext. 40111; jenc@uainstitute.org).  Jen is a Licensed Master Social Worker and joined The Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in 2007.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy and received her Masters in Social Work from Hunter College.  Jen's work emphasizes the implementation of student social emotional learning practices and creating school-wide policies that promote a positive learning environment.  Jen supervises our team of counselors, social workers and deans to provide structured SEL support and disciplinary structures to ensure student success.  Jen also supervises our parent coordinator to facilitate strong family-school relationships.



Colleen DiGuiseppe, AP, Instruction (ext. 30111; colleend@uainstitute.org).  Colleen DiGuiseppe has been with UAI for her entire career beginning as the 6th grade Humanities teacher in UAI's 2nd year. While at UAI, she has taught 8th and 9th grade Humanities as well as ninth grade reading.  With a BA in English from GW University and minors in creative writing and psychology, she then graduated Teachers College with an MA in teaching English.  Last year she attended Fordham University and also earned an MA in educational leadership and administration.  As Assistant Principal of Instruction, Colleen supervises all classroom teachers and coordinates staff professional learning and growth.


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School Operations



Val Binyard, AP, Operations (ext. 30111; valb@uainstitute.org).  Val joined UAI in 2008 as a Special Education provider.  From the start, Val has been dedicated to providing support to our students who struggle the most.  As the Assistant Principal of Operations, Val supervises our ELL and SPED teams to ensure that our neediest students are receiving their entitled services and supports.  Additionally, Val supervises our next level guidance (enrollment and recruitment into 6th & 9th grades and college matriculation) as well as the team of people who make our instructional problems excel (main office team and technology support).





School Operations




Delmeter Carey, Purchasing and Personnel Secretary (ext. 14552; delc@uainstitute.org) Del is a founding member of UAI.  She has been supporting our school since the doors opened in 2006. Del is responsible for all staff payroll, human resources support, and purchasing for UAI.  As main office support, Del also answers phones and supports the Pupil Accounting Secretary when needed.  She is an amazing woman who is alway ready to support & help you when you need it. You can find Del in room 145 (our main office). 




Nancy Johansen, Pupil Accounting Secretary (ext. 14553; nancyj@uainstitute.org).  Nancy joined our staff in 2010. She shares the main office with Del and provides our teachers and students with student accounting support (metro cards, biographical information, medical records, lunch forms, attendance, etc.).  Nancy works hard to bring the highest quality of support to our staff, students, and their families. You can find her in room 145, too. 





George Nathaniel, Technology Support (ext. 14942; georgen@uainstitute.org).  George joined our staff last spring although he has a long history with UAI.  As the parent of one of our alumni, George knows our community inside and out!  He is committed to providing all of our staff with the best quality tech support and if he makes it a priority to address your tech concerns and needs as quickly and efficiently as possible!  His office is in room B42, but you'll find George easiest through email as he is often on the move in the building (both at UAI and SLJ!).








Compliance

Michelle Babick, ELL coordinator (ext. 14911; michelleb@uainstitute.org)Michelle is in her 5th year of teaching and joined UAI two years ago.  Michelle graduated from UC Berkeley.  This year Michelle will be providing both ELL support services for all of the English Language Learners at UAI.  Michelle will be working out of room 149 this year doing a combination of small group and integrated classroom ELL instruction.  Michelle is also an avid cat enthusiast.


Kristin Negele, High School Special Ed. (ext. 40311; kristinn@uainstitute.org).  Kristin completed her undergraduate studies at Kent State University and has two masters degrees - one in Visual Culture from NYU and a M.Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. Kristin provides Special Ed Support services for the 10th grade.  As the High School Special Ed. Coordinator, Kristin works witht the Middle School Special Ed. coordinator to write student IEPs, coordinate Annual Review meetings, and liase with members of our school based support team. On the weekends you will most likely find her on a bike. 


Christina Choi, Middle School Special Ed. (ext. 20511; christinac@uainstitute.org).  Christina works with our 7th graders supporting their learning in our middle school ICT classes.  As the Middle School special education coordinator, Christina works with the High School special ed. coordinator to write student IEPs, coordinate Annual Review team, and liaise with members of our school based support team.  Christina is the proud mommy of a beautiful little girl.

Jennifer Jackson Robbins, Guidance Counselor (ext. 20121; jenniferjr@uainstitute.org). Jennifer has been supporting our young women as their guidance counselor since 2009.  In addition to providing our students with IEPs with counseling support, this year Jennifer will support our incoming 6th graders with SEL support in her SEL classes.  Jennifer also is responsible for maintaining Skedula, updating student records (transcripts, report cards), and school programming.  In her work with students mandated for counseling, Jennifer also liases with the SBST team and special ed coordinators to make counseling recommendations.   


Ayda Vosoughi, School Psychologist (ext. 14911; aydav@uainstitute.org).  Ayda is our shared school psychologist.  She is with us twice a week and works with our special ed. coordinators to manage our triennial review caseload, initial reviews, and other learning support services required by our students with IEPs.  Ayda can be found in room 149.

Karen Ferguson, Family Worker (ext. 14911).  As our assigned Family Worker, Karen works hard to ensure that our students' families have the support they need as they participate in the review process and updates on the learning needs of their children with disabilities.  Karen works alongside the School Psychologist to coordinate review efforts and family support.


Dorreen Guerro, Speech Provider (ext. 20511).  Dorreen is one of our related service providers.  She works with our students who require speech services.  Periodically, she'll pull students from classes to work with them individually or in small groups to develop their speech capacity.  Dorreen works out of her office in room 205. 




Next Level Guidance



Mara Tucker, Director of College Guidance & Programming (ext. 83121; marat@uainstitute.orgMara became UAI’s Director of College Guidance & Programming in the fall of 2012. Previously she was UAI's Director of Development & Partnerships. Mara graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Science and received her Master’s in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. Mara manages all aspects of UAI’s college readiness activities & facilitates the college & financial aid processes.




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Jen Cusa, Dir. of Student Affairs (ext. 40111; jenc@uainstitute.org).  Jen is a Licensed Master Social Worker and joined The Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in 2007.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy and received her Masters in Social Work from Hunter College.  Jen's work emphasizes the implementation of student social emotional learning practices and creating school-wide policies that promote a positive learning environment.  Jen supervises our team of counselors, social workers and deans to provide structured SEL support and disciplinary structures to ensure student success.  Jen also supervises our parent coordinator to facilitate strong family-school relationships.







Student Discipline & Support


Annie Annunziato, Dean (ext. 50811; anniea@uainstitute.org). Annie joins UAI this year as a dean and classroom management coach.  Prior to coming to UAI, Annie worked at the UA Unison school and UA Bronx Academy of Letters.  Already, Annie was instrumental in supporting our summer time hiring practices.  She is excited to come to UAI, and we are thrilled to have her join our team!


Doris Twine, Dean & Senior Advisor (ext 83511; dorist@uainstitute.org).  Doris is the other anchor of our dean team.  She is stationed with our juniors and seniors in the garden level and also works hard as our senior advisor to make sure that our graduating classes have a memorable and exciting last year at UAI.  Doris is the proud mother of her very own teenage daughter, giving her a close-up perspective on her daily work!   This perspective has led to years of extremely empathetic and effective discipline support for our students, teachers, and our students' families.




Lauren McGuinness, Guidance Counselor (ext. 20121; laurenm@uainstitute.org).  Lauren returns to UAI this year after as year away working at a charter school.  Originally, Lauren was a social worker with the Carrera Treasure Academy, and now she returns to that role.  Lauren will be working with Jennifer JR to help our incoming 6th graders transition to middle school through SEL instruction and individual or group counseling.  



Lori Lidofsky, Social Worker (ext. 20111; loril@uainstitute.org). Lori Lidofsky is currently a Licensed Master of Social Work UAI.  She earned a B.A. in Communication and Rhetoric from SUNY Albany and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She has been trained and certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Teen Intervene - A Brief Intervention with Substance Abusing Adolescents and attained a School Violence Prevention and Intervention Certificate.  Lori is excited to help and be a part of the school's evolution into a strong social-emotional learning community.


Marni Brand, 9th Grade Girls Inc Social Worker (ext. 20121; marnib@uainstitute.org). Marni is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked for the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program at UAI since 2011.  She graduated from UMass-Amherst with a BA in Psychology and received her MA in Social Work from NYU.  Marni began her career at Acorn Community High School in Brooklyn.  She has experience working with diverse populations including college students, mentally ill adults, early intervention & court mandated drug abusers.  Marni has a passion for helping her students navigate through adolescence. 

Student Opportunities via Partnerships



Haelinn Seu, CAS Carrera Treasure Academy Medical Advocate (ext. 20111; haelinns@uainstitute.org).  Haelinn has been Medical Advocate with the Carrera Program at UAI since 2013.  She graduated from Temple University with a BA in Psychology, and she received a MA in Clinical & Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill Colege.  As Medical Advocate, she supports students in accessing quality healthcare including connecting families with health insurance, medical and dental providers, and escorting students on appointments.  She also facilitates the annual schoolwide Helen Keller International Vision Screen and the SoulScholars Program.  



Wazina Zondon, Carrera Family Life & Sex Educator (ext. 40411; wazinaz@uainstitute.org). Wazina is one of our Family Life and Sexuality Educators in her 7th year at UAI. In her role, she works alongside her students to understand that holistic sexuality - from self esteem to relationships and everything in between -  is a natural and healthy part of their lives and to equip them with tools to navigate it during their time at UAI and after. Wazina has been in the field of sexuality education and training for over 10 years. When she is not at UAI, she works on issues related to intersectional identities and social justice, co-performs a storytelling performance on the theme of faith and sexuality and has a silly yet informative sexuality podcast.


Alyssa Robbins, Carrera Family Life & Sex Educator (ext. 40411; alyssar@uainstitute.org).  This is Alyssa's 4th year at UAI as a Carrera FLSE teacher. This year Alyssa and Wazina are joining forces with Girls Inc. to train Girls Inc facilitators in delivering the powerful FLSE curriculum and provide counseling support for our young girls as they struggle with difficult choices in health, hygiene, relationships, and a host of challenging choices. 


Basyah Prabhu, Girls Inc Family Life & Sex Educator (ext. 30411; basyah@girlsincnyc.org).  This is Basyah's 2nd year at UAI as a Girls Inc Program Specialist. Last year, Basyah worked with our middle school running Girl Group for our middle school students.  This year she will be working with Alyssa and Wazina to deliver the Carrera FLSE curriculum and provide counseling support for our young girls as they struggle with difficult choices in health, hygiene, relationships, and a host of challenging choices. 


Fatima Dosso. Girls Inc SEL Specialist (ext. 30431; fatima@girlsincnyc.org). Fatima has been providing both in-day and after school program support at UAI  for the last three years. Fatima launched UAI's Girl Cafe last year to provide a space for our young women to engage across grades and discuss a variety of current events topics during lunch.  In addition, Fatima support our young girls in their after school program selections. This year, Fatima will be working with Lori to provide SEL instruction and support our incoming 9th graders and our 10th graders as they transition to high school.  


Kree Cason, Girls Inc Program Director (ext. 30441; kree@girlsincnyc.org).  Kree has been running Girls Inc programs at UAI for several years.  This year, Kree reunites the middle and high school programs under one leader, and is coordinating her work with the Carrera team to replace the services lost as Carrera transitions out.  In addition, Kree works tirelessly to find opportunities for our young girls, their families, and our staff that complement the programs and activities of our academic offerings.  With her leadership in partnership with UAI, our young women will grow to be strong, smart and bold!


To Add:  Vanessa (Girls Inc Middle School) and Dre (Girls Inc High School)


Parent - Family Engagement



Carol Jones, Parent Coordinator (ext. 14522; carolj@uainstitute.org).  Carol became the school's first Parent Coordinator in 2008.  In addition to serving as a key liaison between school and the homes of our students, Carol also works to support teachers and staff in communications with homes and families.  Carol is based out of the main office in room 145.  




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Subject Teams

Arts and PE Teachers                                            


Elana Greene, Physical Education Teacher (ext. 50311; elanag@uainstitute.org). Elana Greene joined UAI’s community in fall 2012 to launch the first Physical Education curriculum at UAI. She will be entering her 7th year of teaching.  Previously she was a Health and P.E. Teacher for Achievement First Charter Schools and also The School District of Philadelphia.  Elana is qualified to teach Health and Physical Education in multiple states, she earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration as well as her Master of Arts in Leisure Sports and Recreation both from Florida A&M University.  Following her Masters, she returned back to school to obtain her certificate to teach Health and PE from Eastern University in St. David Pennsylvania.   Since her start at UAI she has coached various after school sport activities such as middle school Champs basketball, Volleyball and Badminton Club.  This year she is delighted to coach both the PSAL Volleyball Team and Basketball Team for the upcoming season, this will be her fourth consecutive year coaching a PSAL athletic team.  

Sursattie Hariprashad, Dance (ext. 50311; sursattieh@uainstitute.org).  Sursattie joined our middle school staff last year to teach middle school physical education and health.  After years of teaching at SLJ, Sursattie decided to join UAI to expand her skills in working with a single-gender population of students.  This year Sursattie will focus her instruction on Dance for grades 6-12.


Tracy Kornrich, Art Teacher & 8th Grade Advisor (ext 20511; tracyk@uainstitute.org).  Tracy has been with UAI since 2007.  In the past Tracy taught PE, Dance, and Art.  This year Tracy is again bringing beauty to our building through our student's Art work.  This year, Tracy is also taking charge of the 8th graders and making sure that their final year in middle school is a memorable one!

English Teachers                                             

Marsha Dumay, 7th & 8th Grade Reading teacher and Parent Engagement Grade Team Point Person (ext. 30511; marshad@uainstitute.org).  Marsha joined UAI in middle school humanities three years ago.  Marsha has been working with the 7th graders since joining UAI and has persisted through this challenging age group from the get go! Marsha recently got married and has been glowing ever since {Marsha will complete bio later}


Social Studies Teachers                                             

Natalie Rudolph, 7th & 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher (ext. 31111; natalier@uainstitute.org).  Natalie originally joined UAI two years ago as a Job Clob teacher for Carrera.  After that, Natalie joined the UAI staff to teach English in the middle school.  This is Natalie's fourth year with UAI and her third year as a UAI teacher.  Natalie can be found in room 205A teaching history to our 7th and 8th graders this year.  


Math Teachers                                             

Cherry C. Reid is entering her 7th year as a teacher and her first year as a teacher at UAI. She earned her undergraduate degree in Accounting at SUNY Albany in 2004. She later earned a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College in 2009. After working a year as a pre-K teacher and a middle school math tutor, Cherry returned to Brooklyn College to earn a Masters Degree in Mathematics 5-9 in 2012. She entered the NYC Department of Education in 2012 as a middle school Math teacher. When she isn't assisting children in developing an understanding of and removing the "fear" out of math, Cherry enjoys jigsaw puzzles and reading the work of Nora Roberts. 



Matthew Turner, 7th & 8th Grade Math teacher and Assessment/Data Grade Team Point Person(ext 30311; matthewt@uainstitute.org).  Matthew is our newest math teacher at UAI.  Last year he taught at another Urban Assembly school in the Bronx and joined our staff this fall.  [Matthew will complete bio later]


Science Teachers                                             

Alison Green, 6th & 8th Grade Math and Assessment Data Grade Team Point Person (ext. 30911; alisong@uainstitute.org).  This is Alison's third year with UAI.  After a year of teaching science, Alison is returning to her math roots at UAI as the 6th & 8th grade math teacher.  This is also Alison's third year as a Learning Cultures teacher [Alison will complete bio later]



Erick Koon, 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher and Culture Grade Team Point Person(ext. 31511; erickk@uainstitute.org).  Mr. Erick received a Biology degree from the University of San Diego and worked for a large biotechnology company in Los Angeles prior to teaching at UAI. His favorite subjects to teach are cell processes and the miraculous workings of the human body. His hobbies include surfing, biking, reading, and simply seeking adventure.



UAI High School Teachers

Multigrade Teacher                                             





9th Grade Team                                                    

  • 9th Grade Social Workers: Bree Aitore and Marni Brand (see Carrera Bios below)
  • 9th Grade Family Life & Sex Education:  Jen Batson (see Carrera Bio) 
  • 9th Grade Girls Inc:  Fatima Dossa (see Girls Inc Bio below)

Kerry Smith, 9th Grade Instructional Support Teacher and 9th Grade Team Leader (ext. 41911; kerrys@uainstitute.org).  Kerry began working at UAI as a student teacher in 2013.  She joined as a first year teacher last year and rapidly developed her skills as an Instructional Support Teacher for the 9th grade team.  Along with Kristin, Kerry is spearheading the curriculum review team for this year's Resilient Scholars Project. [Kerry will complete her bio later]
Michelle Babick, 9th Grade Instructional Support Teacher and High School ELL Support (ext. 41911; michelleb@uainstitute.org). Michelle is in her 4th year of teaching and joined UAI last year.  This year Michelle will be providing both ELL and Special Ed support as the 9th Grade Instructional Support Teacher.  Michelle is a 2nd year Learning Cultures teacher and looks forward to extending her skills in her new role in Instructional Support. [Michelle will complete her bio later]



Damon Noland, 9th Grade Living Environment Teacher and Science Team Leader (ext. 51511; damonn@uainstitute.org).  Damon joined UAI in 2011 as a NYC Teaching Fellow and is entering his 5th year as our Living Environment Teacher. He also serves as the Science Team Leader and UFT Chapter Leader. Damon recieved a BA in TV/Radio Communications and a BFA in Theater from Brooklyn College. He also holds a Masters in Education (with a concentration in Biology) from Brooklyn College, and recently achieved his professional certificate for teaching Biology in grades 5-9. This past summer Damon, along with Darby, Jamie, Brodie, and Ilyana, completed multiple weeks of professional development at Stanford University in the highly selective Hollyhock Teaching Fellowship. Damon is very excited to begin another year of working to support our students in a strong social emotional learning environment, preparing them for their journey to college and beyond.


Jamie Ross, 9th Grade CC Algebra and Peer Coach (ext. 40911; jamier@uainstitute.org).  Jamie is entering her 3rd year as UAI teacher.  Four years ago, she began at UAI as a student teacher in a 9th grade Learning Cultures math classroom.  Today, she is a peer coach and mentor to new LC teachers and continues to shine as our 9th grade CC Algebra teacher.  This past summer Jamie along with Damon, Brodie, Ilyana and Darby participated in Stanford's Hollyhock teacher development program.  [Jamie will complete his bio later]
Michael Stuart, 9th Grade Global (ext. 50711; michaels@uainstitute.org). Michael Stuart is the 9th grade Global History teacher and has been with UAI since 2013. He received his undergraduate degree from New York University with a major in History, and went on to earn his masters degree from Fordham University with a dual certification in Adolescence and Special Education.



Marianna Wiles, 9th Grade Writing and Peer Coach(ext. 40511 or 40311; mariannaw@uainstitute.org). Marianna is entering 3rd year as a Learning Cultures peer coach and has also taken on a lead role in technology for UAI.  Through her work, UAI has developed tech systems and practices to support student autonomy in the classroom.  She will continue in these roles supporting both staff and students.  [Marianna will complete bio later]



Rebecca Candela, 9th Grade Reading, Peer Coach, and Professional Development Lead (ext. 40511).  Rebecca is entering her 11th year as a NYC teacher and her 4th year teaching at UAI.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a major in Social Studies and a minor in Language Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.  She moved to NYC almost 11 years ago to pursue her career in education and began teaching 7th grade ELA at I.S. 347 in Brooklyn.  She earned her Masters Degree in Literacy Acquisition Grades 5-12 at City College of New York.  She is certified in English and Literacy Acquisition and has experience teaching 5th -10th grade.  As a peer coach and PD lead, Rebecca works with the peer coaches and administration team to develop systems and structures that best support teacher practice.



10th & 12th (Y) Grade Team                                                    

  • 10th Grade Social Workers: Bree Aitore and Marni Brand (see Carrera Bios below)
  • 12th Grade Social Worker:  Lori Lindenbaum (see Carrera Bio)
  • 9th Grade Family Life & Sex Education:  Jen Batson (see Carrera Bio) 
  • 12th Grade Family Life & Sex Education:  Wazina Zondon (see Carrera Bio)
  • 10th/12th Grade Job Club:  Demetris Iannou (see Carrera Bio)
  • 12th Grade Girls Inc:  Fatima Dosso (see Girls Inc Bio)

Danielle Romano, 10th Grade Geometry & 12th Grade Statistics and 10th/12th Grade Team Leader (ext. 50911; danieller@uainstitute.org).  Danielle has been with UAI for 4 years.  She began as a student teacher and continued on to her current position as the 10th grade Geometry & 12th grade Statistics teacher.  She is in her 2nd year as peer coach and is stepping up to lead the 10th/12th grade team this year.  [Danielle will complete bio later].
Kristin Negele, 10th Grade Instructional Support Teacher and ISS Team Leader (ext. 51111; kristinn@uainstitute.org). Last year was Kristin's first year at UAI.  She quickly learned the Learning Cultures ropes and has rapidly risen to a leadership role taking on the Keepers of the Culture and heading the helm for the Instructional Support team.  Kristin is also partnering with Kerry to lead the curriculum component of our Resilient Scholars Project. Kristin completed her undergraduate studies at Kent State University and has two masters degrees - one in Visual Culture from NYU and a M.Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. On the weekends you will most likely find her on a bike. 


Thomas Wilson, 10th Grade Earth Science & 12th Grade Environmental Science (ext. 41511; thomasw@uainstitute.org)Thomas Wilson is a 10th grade Earth science teacher who will be starting his first year at UAI this fall. In 2008 Thomas began his BA in Earth science and secondary education at Dowling College in Long Island, New York. In 2010 Thomas moved to New Zealand where he studied volcanology and glaciology at Auckland University of Technology- a partner university of Dowling College. Shortly before Thomas graduated from Dowling in 2012, he studied geosciences abroad in Iceland and Italy during his last semester. In 2013 Thomas began his teaching career in the Peace Corps. Throughout his two year service in rural Malawi, Thomas taught geography, Earth science and life skills at a Community Day Secondary School. The 2015-16 school year will mark Thomas’ third year teaching.


Steven Bufford, 10th Grade English & 12th Grade English (ext. 40311; stevenb@uainstitute.org).  Steven is also joining UAI for the first time this year as the 10th/12th grade English teacher.  Steven comes to us via SLJ's summer school and has been working with Ilyana over the summer to become versed in the Learning Cultures formats and systems.  Welcome Steve!  [Steve will complete this bio later]

Darby Masland, 10th Grade Global & 12th Grade Participation in Government/Economics, Social Studies Team Leader and Curriculum Lead (ext. 50711).  Darby began working as a student teacher at UAI in 2008 and has been with us ever since. As one of the pilot teachers for Learning Cultures, Darby has leveraged her experience to support her peers and the school as a whole.  This past summer Darby along with Jamie, Brodie, Ilyana and Damon participated in Stanford's Hollyhock teacher development program.  [Darby will complete his bio later]


Elena Brollo 10th Grade Spanish & 12th Grade Plato and Language Department Chair (ext. 40711; elenab@uainstitute.org).   Elena is a native Italian with a dual certification in teaching Italian and Spanish. She earned an interpreting and translating degree in Italy (Spanish and English) as well an MA in Italian and Spanish from Hunter College. She joined the UAI team in 2007, after teaching at the elementary and college level in NYC. Prior to teaching, her work experiences include translating and interpreting, PR, marketing and TV production. Elena brings creativity, cultural elements, and technology into the classroom to address the many learning styles as well as different needs and interests of her students.


11th & 12th (Z) Grade Team                                                    

  • 11th/12th Grade Social Worker: Lori Lindenbaum (see Carrera Bio below)
  • 11th/12th Grade Family Life & Sex Educaiton:  Wazina Zondon (see Carrera Bio)
  • 11th/12th Grade Job Club:  Demetris Iannou (see Carrera Bio)
  • 12th Grade Girls Inc:  Fatima Dosso (see Girls Inc Bio)


Brodie Crawford, 11th Grade US History & 12th Grade Participation in Government/Economics and 11th/12th Grade Team Leader(ext. 84529; brodiec@uainstittue.org).  Brodie is entering his 9th year of teaching, having come to UAI as a career changer in the school's second year.  After 4 years as 7th grade Humanities teacher, Brodie moved to the high school, where he has been teaching 11th Grade US History & Government and 12th Grade Economics/Participation in Government.  As 11th/12th Grade Team Leader, Brodie helps to facilitate grade-wide programs to build school community, as well as provide collaborative support to 11th/12th grade teachers and staff. After completing a BA in History at Loyola University in Maryland, Brodie attended graduate school at University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he earned a MPhil. in Modern History.  After returning to the States and spending several years in the media business, Brodie completed his teaching credential at Brooklyn College.  This past summer, Brodie along with Damon, Darby, Ilyana, and Jamie participated in Stanford's Hollyhock teacher development program.


Paula Collins, 11th/12th Grade Instructional Support Teacher (ext. 84529; paulac@uainstitute.org). A native of Louisiana, Paula joined the New York City Teaching Fellows in 2009, after spending more than two decades in Houston teaching and performing as a classical pianist. Now in her seventh year in NYC schools, Paula has experienced District 75 schools, self-contained classrooms, and is now happy to start her second year in Learning Cultures at UAi as a Special Education Teacher for the 11th and 12th Grades.  
Ilyana Contreras, 11th/12th Grade English Teacher and English Department Chair (ext. 85311; ilyanac@uainstitute.org)Ilyana is a fifth year teacher in New York City and is entering her third year as a Learning Cultures teacher here at UAI. As the English team leader, peer coach, and AP coordinator, Ilyana has worked to create a sense of cohesion and rigor amongst her colleagues. This past summer Ilyana, along with Damon, Darby, Jamie, and Brodie spent several weeks at Stanford University participating in the Hollyhock Fellowship program. Along with teachers in the UAI middle school, Ilyana also received a fellowship through Fund for Teachers to travel through South Africa this summer in order to study gender and socioeconomic issues in the country.


Mike Somersel, 11th Grade Algebra 2/Trig and 12th Grade Statistics Teacher and Math Department Chair (ext. 84511; micheals@uainstitute.org). Mike has been the math team leader for the last 3 years and joined UAI in 2011 to teach Algebra 2/Trigonometry.  Mike also works closely with NYU-Poly professors to support our young women in their early college work in pre-Calculus.  In addition to being an extraordinary math teacher and team leader, Mike is an accomplished dancer and works after school to support our students in dancing. He has taught game development with Games for Learning and coached the LEGO Robotics middle school team at UAI. Micheal double majored at Cornell University, earning a B.A. in Dance and Psychology. He then earned his M.S. in Education with a concentration in Mathematics from St. John's University.


Kim Dempsey, 11th/12th Grade Chemistry and 11th Grade NYU-Poly Engineering. (ext. 85711; kimd@uainstitute.org).  Kim will serve as the 11th and 12th grade science teacher this year, where she will teach Chemistry and advise students enrolled in NYU-Poly engineering. This is Kim's first year at UAI. Before becoming a teacher, Kim received her bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College with a major in Biochemistry, and conduced research in a geomicrobiology laboratory in Maine. While science is her primary passion, Kim also studied English as an undergraduate, and believes that science and the humanities are best consumed together. Kim is looking forward to creating a classroom that will enable her students to autonomously discover the beauty and wonder of chemistry in the world around them, and share their discoveries with their peers.


Anna Avino, 11th Grade Spanish and 12th Grade Instructional Support (ext. 84311; annaa@uainstitute.org).  Anna first taught at UAI as a student teacher and Carrera Treasure Academy tutor from 2009-2011, and she returned when we finally had an opening in 2014. She has degrees in teaching Spanish and Students with Special Needs from NYU and Brooklyn College. Anna brings with her a variety of experiences from her four years teaching Spanish, English, history, and music classes in multiple NYC high schools.  She also has a long history of working privately with violin and viola students as well as English Language Learners. Anna is entering her second year as a Learning Cultures teacher. This year, she will teach Spanish and provide instructional support services for students



UAI Partner Staff



Chris Maestro, CAS Carrera Treasure Academy (ext. 20111; chrism@uainstitute.org). Chris is the Program Director of the CAS Carrera Treasure Academy, one of the main partners at UAI. Chris has led the Carrera Team at UAI for the past four years. Before Carrera, he worked for The Urban Assembly Network, supporting a cluster of UA schools, principals, and school staff. He began his career in education in 1998 as a global history teacher at the High School for Enterprise, Business, and Technology in Brooklyn. He also taught global history, music, and community organizing at Banana Kelly High School in the Bronx. In 2006, Chris transitioned from the classroom to the non-profit world when he became the director of an after school program in the Bronx. He earned his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and holds a Master's Degree in Socially Responsible Business & Sustainability from Goddard College. Chris is one of the founding members of NYCoRE, is the proud father of twin girls, deejays and produces music in his limited spare time, and is an avid home brewer.



Sara Monsonis, Middle School Social Worker (ext. 20131; breea@uainstitute.org). Sara is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has been part of the Carrera social work team at UAI since 2012.  Last year she worked with our 10th graders and this year, she is supporting the mental health and social emotional development of our young women through Girl Group in Middle School.  [Sara will complete bio later}





Demetris Ioannou, 10th -12th Grade Job Club (ext. 40211; demetrisi@uainstitute.org).  Demetris is entering his 4th year as Job Club Coordinator as part of the Carrera Program at UAI. Demetris has worked with 6th-12th graders in the topics of financial literacy, professional development and college access. He earned his Bachelors Degree from the City College of New York in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Social Work at Hunter College: Silberman School of Social Work, to be completed May 2016. He has been trained and certified in post secondary readiness education and rape crisis counseling. 





Jen Batson, 9th & 10th Grade Family Life and Sex Educator (ext. 40111; jenb@uainstitute.org).  Jen is entering her 3rd year as a Family Life and Sex Educator at UAI.  Moving from the 11th and 12th graders to the 9th and 10th graders, Jen looks forward to the challenges the new age group will bring.  [Jen will complete bio later]





Girls Inc. High School                                                                 

Girls Inc. is a founding partner of UAI.  From the 1st day UAI opened our doors in 2006, Girls Inc. has been an instrumental partner in helping us realize our vision to empower young women.  Through their parallel mission of supporting girls to become strong, smart and bold, Girls Inc works fluidly with our staff, our students and their families to provide a rich array of after school programming, in-day financial literacy instruction, and college advisement.


Nicole Souvenir, Girls Inc High School Program Coordinator (ext. 14542; nicole@girlsincnyc.org).  Nicole joined the Girls Inc staff last year to coordinate in-day and after school program.  Last year, Nicole launched a successful after school drop-in program that enabled many of our high school girls to have access to a wide variety of program offerings including STEM in Dance, Debate, and Yoga.  This summer, Nicole coordinated a full summer camp that included a new program called Occupy Summer School, which was featured in both the NYC Metro and the New Yorker.  Also this summer, Nicole coordinated Girls Inc National to provide our young women the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions in the Clinton Foundation's No Ceilings Project.  [Nicole will complete bio later]