Faculty & Staff
A. Anderson Coordinator of HS Support Services High School
Ashley has been an educator for eight years teaching in middle and high schools in North Carolina, California, and New York. She has been at Unity since the founding of the high school in 2016. Ashley has earned a bachelors degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a masters degree in Adolescent Special Education from Hunter College. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking with her husband and taking walks through Prospect Park with her son.
A. Bonaminio Assistant Principal of the HS English Language Arts Department High School
Allison holds a National Board Certificate and a Master's Degree from Illinois State University. She has taught in Chicago, New York, and China. She has been asked to speak for the Gates Foundation as well as has delivered numerous hours of professional development to teachers from all over the United States. When she is not in teacher mode, she enjoys reading, cooking healthy meals, working out, and traveling within New York and beyond. Even though she is now a New Yorker, she still has love for Chicago. Go Cubbies!!!!
A. Bond English Language Arts Teacher High School
Amanda Bond has been teaching for seven years, and this is her second year at Unity teaching ninth grade writing and theater for social Justice. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama and has taught all around the world.
A. Cirelli English Language Arts Teacher High School
An educator for over ten years, Abbie worked for six years in South Central Los Angeles, teaching 11th and 12th grade ELA, AP English Language and AP English Literature. She developed relationships with students by co-founding a hiking and camping club, founding a JSA chapter to engage students in debate and public speaking, leading the 12th grade department team, developing culturally responsive curriculum, and aiding students in the college application process. She moved to Brooklyn in 2016, and is excited to begin her fourth year at Unity teaching 10th grade English and second year teaching AP Seminar. Abbie holds a Bachelors in Journalism and Sociology and a Masters of Urban Education from UCLA. While at UCLA, Abbie's passion for increasing college retention led her to complete an action research project investigating key factors of her students' academic identities. Abbie is deeply committed to developing an ELA experience in which students speak in their own voice and see the world for themselves.
A. Coleman Director of Athletics Admin
Aaron has played the role of Athletic Director and PE teacher since 2014. He comes to Unity with hopes of serving as a positive role model for students while sharing his love of learning and infusing the students with lifelong healthy habits. Having coached and led other youth activities at several organizations including the YMCA, he has also worked in the New York Mets organization. He served as a Senior Partner Development Associate at the Positive Coaching Alliance in New York City. Most recently, he was the founding Physical Education Teacher & Athletic Director at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. Aaron also served at the Department Head for the Arts & Athletics at the school for the last two years, which included Art, Drama, Music, Dance, Health and physical education. Aaron earned his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Tampa, his M.S. in Health Education from Hofstra University, and M.S. in Administration & Leadership at Mercy College. Off the job, he enjoys mentoring high school children in his church youth group, coaching in Long Island’s Flag & Rouch Touch men’s football leagues and staying involved in his community. He appreciates the Unity Prep culture of excellence.
A. Gillies 8th Grade ELA Teacher Middle School
Annie Gillies can't wait to join the Unity teaching staff as an 8th grade ELA teacher. Annie grew up in Oakland, California and moved to New York to pursue her bachelor's degree at The New School in Manhattan. After graduating on the Dean’s List, Annie took a year to travel and build her identity as a global citizen. After returning to New York Annie began working as a middle school teacher in Bedford Stuyvesant. For the past 3 yearS, Annie has taught students to engage with literature, analyze and debate text, and explore their ability to think and write creatively. Working to cultivate a love of literature and learning in her students has inspired her to return to school and Annie is currently working towards a Master’s degree in teaching Fordham University.
A. Green Mathematics Chair and Teacher Middle School
With almost 10 years of experience working with youth, Mrs Green serve as Unity's Math Department Chair. Mrs Green formally began her work as a classroom teacher in the DOE as a part of the NYC teaching fellows program, in the south bronx teaching Algebra and Statistics. She has also taught geometry as well as 5th and 6th grade math at Success Academy Bronx 2; where she was a founding teacher. She earned her Master’s Degree in Secondary Math Education from St Johns University and a Bachelors Degree in Statistics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Mrs Green has education in her blood, as her mother is a current HS principal in CA and her father is a current 8th grade ELA teacher in CA. Mrs Green is excited to join the Unity team as not only the math department chair, but also teaching 6th grade math to our newest scholars. Mrs Green is committed to reaching all students through numbers and the connections they have in our daily lives.
A. Guerrero Dean of Students Middle School
Alberto Guerrero has been working with New York City youth since adolescence; coaching, mentoring and running programming for their benefit. He built his foundation at the Police Athletics League starting as a Group Leader, Sports Specialist and ending his tenure as the Program Coordinator. As Program Coordinator, he planned organized and managed sports leagues, facilitated staff development on various topics such as effective group management and conflict resolution, and supervised the Harlem Evening Teen Center Program serving high school students in the area. Following his time here he became an Academic Success Advocate for the District Attorney of Manhattan Reentry and Juvenile Justice Unit. Here he helped develop a curriculum for their summer program during which he was responsible for scheduling, organizing and facilitating workshops for the participants. During his tenure as an advocate he deemed communication between school personnel and family members as key to help monitor the students’ attendance, academic achievement and personal growth. As Dean of Students, Alberto seeks to assist the scholars at Unity as they continue their academic and personal journeys toward high academic achievement and self actualization.
A. Marron Chairperson of the HS History Department High School
Hi! I'm so excited to be joining the Unity Team and Family this year. I live in Flatbush and have been teaching in NY for the last 9 years. Before that I taught in India, London, and in public schools in St. Louis. My Bachelors is in African and Middle Eastern History from Washington University in St. Louis and I have a Masters of Science in teaching Special Education 7th-12th. I love creative writing, teaching from perspectives that have beeb historically marginalized and watching my students grow up into young adults. My other passions are travel and my pitbull Nala! :)
A. Nowicki Science Teacher High School
I grew up in a small town surrounded by farms, forests, and hills where I collected a few life-long hobbies that I have nowhere near perfected; I'm kind of a hobby hoarder. I love to bake, paint, do yoga, play video games, swim, and hike.
I achieved a Bachelors of Science in Geology at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of the Arts in Teaching with a Specialization in Earth Science at the American Museum of Natural History. If you have me as a teacher this year, I am going to blow you away with just how much a person is capable of loving rocks. I'll bet you didn't know someone could love them as much as I do which, oddly enough, is one of the reasons I pursued teaching; to share my love of science and hopefully, help others develop a love for it as well. I've taught at Hunter's Point Community Middle School, Midwood High School, and Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women; now I'm here.
I am here at Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn because I want to be apart of the movement to encourage and guide young scholars in developing critical thinking skills while being held to high expectations with high support. Unity is a place where young men and women can explore many subjects, find their voice, discover who they are, and what drives them while being empowered to lead fulfilling academic, personal, and professional lives.
A. Olivier English Language Arts Teacher High School
Alley Olivier is a first-generation Haitian American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Formally entering the Unity family as a step coach in 2016, Alley has found herself drawn to the esteemed profession of teaching despite graduating from Temple University in 2013 with a dual bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology. Before making her way to Unity, Alley worked as a teaching artist with nonprofit arts organization, viBe theater experience, freelanced for Ebony Magazine, worked as an editor for KarenCivil.com, and continues to maintain her own digital platform, and BrooklynButtah.com. Alley often describes herself as an avid traveler, fearless New York Knicks and Giants fan, and foodie.
A. Reinmann English as a New Language (ENL) Coordinator High School, Middle School
Allie has called Brooklyn ‘home’ for the last nine years although, she is a New Jersey native. She comes to Unity with excitement after teaching Social Studies to elementary school students in Long Island City, Queens and formerly being the Pastry Chef Instructor for rehabilitating adults at the Non-Profit program, Project Renewal in the Bowery neighborhood. In addition to her passion for teaching, Allie has a ravenous appetite for learning with an MA in TESOL from Hunter College, a BA in Drama from Ithaca College and a Pastry & Baking diploma from The Institute of Culinary Education. Allie's interests include: being a foodie, coffee enthusiast, avid traveler and has visited over 13 different countries.
A. Roth Director of Academic Counseling High School
Alia joined the Unity Prep Team after years of serving as a CBO partner for Unity middle school and high school. Alia began her career teaching special education across all subjects and middle school grades. She then served as a manager of youth programs at INCLUDEnyc supporting transition aged youth (16-26 year olds) as they moved into post-secondary life. She is thrilled to be leading the Academic Counseling Team at Unity Prep to support students on their journey through and out of high school into various college and career spaces. She is extremely passionate about ensuring that all students have the knowledge, skills, autonomy and power to make informed decisions about their academic and post-secondary lives. Alia attended Connecticut College for her undergraduate degree and City College of New York for her graduate degree.
A. Stagliano 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher Middle School
Alyssa is ecstatic to begin her career as a 7th grade ELA teacher at Unity! After receiving her Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Siena College in 2016, Alyssa went on to obtain her Masters in Secondary English Education at the Teachers College at Columbia University in 2017. She completed one semester of student teaching at a public middle school in Brooklyn and one semester at a public high school while she was studying to finish her degree. In addition to working in traditional classrooms, Alyssa has experience as a math and reading tutor, and sees great value in teaching through individualized, one-on-one moments with her students. Alyssa is bringing to Unity the optimistic mindset of a new teacher, as well as a well-developed skillset gained from her experiences teaching in different classrooms. Alyssa is looking forward to building close relationships with her students and helping them to cultivate a genuine love for reading and writing as she joins Unity's faculty this year.
A. Terry Math Teacher High School
A. Williams ELA Department Chair Middle School
Andria Williams is excited to join the Unity Preparatory team as the Lead Literacy Intervention teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida) and a MEd in Reading Education from The University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida). With a heart for the community and education, she has volunteered her time to serve and lead others through civic engagement from childhood. After graduating from Florida State University, Andria completed a year of service as a Citizen Action AmeriCorps member. She then went on to teach two years of 9th and 10th grade Intensive Reading and Reading Enrichment courses in Miami-Dade County. During this time, she served as a lead/ mentor teacher and the majorette sponsor. After realizing her passion for literacy, Andria relocated to Orlando, Florida to pursue her master’s degree as she worked for three years teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts. In this capacity, she also served as grade-team liaison, Beta club service learning advisor, and an AVID site team member. In 2014, Andria moved to New York to begin her charter school teaching career at Harlem Children’s Zone where she taught 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts and 6th-8th grade Reading Intervention. She looks forward to imparting knowledge into the minds of Unity scholars while challenging them to do their very best.
B. Lopez Manager of Safety & Facilities High School
Brandon started working with children in 2002 during his junior year of high school through the Learning to Work Internship and the Urban Youth Leadership Development programs. He has held multiple positions within After-School programs, Summer Day Camps, and Summer Sleep-Away Camps throughout his tenure with the Salvation Army of Greater New York. Most notably he was the Assistant Director of Out of School Time (OST) youth programming at the Salvation Army Community Center in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn before coming to Unity. Brandon also currently volunteers with the New York City Police Department as an Auxiliary Police Officer at a precinct in South Brooklyn where he is one of the unit’s field training officers. He has been with the police department since June 2006 and has received numerous accolades from police headquarters, councilpersons, state assembly persons and community organizations for the time he has dedicated to the mission of the Auxiliary Police Section. He currently is finishing up his Bachelors of Arts degree in Public Affairs & Administration at the State University of New York’s Empire State College, Metropolitan Center.
B. Meek English Language Arts Teacher High School
Blair Meek comes to us from Baltimore, Maryland where he earned an Undergraduated degree from Georgetown University and his Masters of Education from Johns Hopkins Univeristy. For nearly a decade now Mr.Meek has been teaching literarute and compostion in various cities guided by the simple beliefe that a child who does not like to read is simply a child who hasn't been offered the right book.
B. Pakter History Teacher High School
Ben Pakter joined the Unity High School team in 2019 after teaching for nine years at Bronx Lighthouse College Prep Academy while living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In his time there he taught writing, U.S.History, Global History, U.S. Government, and AP U.S. Government. He also started a garden at BLCPA with 13 garden beds, chickens and taught a gardening class. The garden was connected with GrowNYC and served as a place of employment for teen gardeners who harvested food for a local shelter. He brings his passion for arts-infused education that he learned at BLCPA and his passion for history and politics that he advanced with his masters from Columbia Teachers College. Before BLCPA, he taught for four years in Southern Illinois.
C. Abreu Spanish Teacher High School
Carmen is a Brooklyn native who has worked in the public school system for over ten years as a Spanish teacher. Her work has spanned from working with gifted students and more recently, with at risk teens. She started working with Middle School students while working with GO Project, a non-profit organization that provides critical academic, social and emotional support for NYC children who are struggling. Her focus has been to help & support students with learning disabilities. While working on her MS in Middle School, Special Ed & Generalist degree, she tutors children from lower school up to high school.
C. Beckford Student Recruitment and Community Relations Coordinator Middle School
Calou Beckford continues to develop a strong career in public service. He started his career as the founding Special Educator at the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem. Eventually, he was promoted to IEP Coordinator, and was tasked with ensuring that each student with a disability classification received their mandated supports and services. From there, he transitioned to CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice in midtown, Manhattan. During his time in Higher Education, he worked as an Academic Programs Coordinator for the Cybersecurity Initiative at John Jay. In this role, he assisted Computer Science students with becoming more viable candidates as they prepared to enter and excel in the tech workforce.
Prior to joining Unity Preparatory Middle School, Calou was the Membership Manager at the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA). He was responsible for managing, implementing and measuring the success of CBMA’s national membership recruitment, and engagement strategies. While working at CBMA, he was responsible for raising the total number of people engaged from 5,700 to ~ 8,000. He also lead the coordination of fellowship programs, as well as some of CBMA’s signature events.
Calou received his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, where he majored in Anthropology, and minor in Ethnomusicology and Economics. He received his graduate degree from CUNY Brooklyn College while participating in the 2013 cohort of Teach for America educators.
C. Brookins Middle School Social Worker Middle School
Clarissa is a Los Angeles native now based in New York City. Her passion for social justice, particularly as it pertains to educational equity, school-to-prison pipeline, and mass incarceration, called her to pursue a career in social work. In May 2018, Clarissa earned her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. As an MSW candidate, she specialized in Integrated Youth Behavioral Health and gained invaluable experience working in educational settings throughout the Brooklyn borough with Black and Latinx youth who are traditionally least effectively served by the public education system.
Clarissa also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Gender Studies and a minor in African American studies from UCLA and has a certification in Mental Health First Aid. She is excited to be joining Unity’s faculty and looks forward to supporting scholars socio-emotional needs and in their development as individuals!
C. Brown 8th Grade Dean Middle School
Mr. Brown is excited to join the Unity Prep team as one of the Dean of Students. Born and raised in Bed-Stuy, he has a B.S in Business Administration from Wesley College (DE) and a M.SEd in Childhood Education from Long Island University (NY). He is passionate about building and nurturing relationships with students and helping them tap into their maximum potential. He has worked with a diverse student population with a focus on students with special needs. Mr. Brown has served as the Assistant Director of First Star National which is a college prep program for youth in foster care. At his previous school, he served as a Middle School General and Special Education Math Teacher and Special Education Coordinator. He also enjoyed coaching middle school basketball. During his free time, Mr. Brown loves to spend time with his family & friends, traveling, and listening to music.
C. Burns Co-Principal Middle School
Casey began teaching in 2002 at Bronx Preparatory Charter School as a 5th grade Science and English language arts teacher. In 2004, he began work at P.S. 30 in the Bronx where he served as the 5th grade lead teacher and the teacher representative to the School Leadership Team. While at P.S. 30, Casey was the lab site coordinator and staff representative to the Teachers College Leadership Program. He also coached basketball and founded lunch time chess and visual arts clubs. In 2006, he entered graduate school at Teachers College, Columbia University, as a Carroll and Milton Petrie Teaching Fellow. That same year, Casey began teaching at M.S. 223: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the Bronx. A 7th and 8th grade English language arts teacher, Casey served in integrated co-teaching and collaborative team teaching settings. He also served as a cooperating teacher for numerous student teachers and as a coach and program leader for martial arts and boxing clubs. As a co-founder of Unity, Casey participated in the research, planning, and development of Unity’s philosophies, policies, and operational design. From 2013-2015, Casey served as Unity’s Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, 6th grade English language arts teacher, and content area leader for the English language arts department. Casey holds a B.A. in English from Boston College and an M.A. in Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University.
C. Doscher Director of Administration Admin
Chris Doscher’s career in Education began as the Founding Senior Operations Coordinator at Broome Street Academy Charter High School, where he worked closely with the Head of School to develop policies regarding data collection and reporting, student recruitment, pupil transportation, and technology. He’s worked as a mentor and tutor at Poughkeepsie Middle School and The James Baldwin School to assist students preparing for their Performance Based Assessment Tests and presentations as artifacts of authentic learning. Most recently, he served as the Operations Manager of Manhattan Charter School supervising the implementation, rollout, and utilization of a new student information system to ensure compliance and accurate reporting across two school sites. Chris is also a NYS certified business teacher with experience teaching accounting, career readiness, and résumé building at Arlington High School. Chris received his Bachelors of Arts in Economics with a correlate in Education at Vassar College and remains active as a volleyball player and Brooklyn local.
C. Gonzalez Spanish Teacher High School
Ms. Gonzalez came to Unity Prep last year, very excited after taking a yearlong break from teaching. She is thrilled to begin a new journey with her 9th grade students at Unity Preparatory High School. She earned her Master's degree in Spanish from the University at Albany with a concentration in Latin American Cultural Studies and Literature. Additionally, she is enrolled in Empire State College's MAT program in order to sharpen her skills and better serve her students. Prior to moving to NYC, Ms. Gonzalez was part of Hackett Middle School Languages team, where she taught Spanish I & II to students in grades 5th to 8th. She also led multiple beginner Spanish class sessions at the University at Albany, where she served as an instructor. Before joining the Unity Prep team, Ms. Gonzalez taught Spanish I in 9th and 11th grades at Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy I High School.
C. Harvey Science Teacher High School
Chris is thrilled to join Unity's science department. Chris has been teaching since 2011. He received his undergraduate degree from the Penn State University and his masters from the University of Central Florida. Chris comes with a proven track record of high school science literacy and proficient exam scores. Chris has made his way to the big apple via Florida where he taught Biology (standard and honors), Marine biology, Pre-Environmental Science, Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Virtual School Biology. Since Chris has joined Unity he has started and wrote two curriculums that have never existed at the school. These consisted of AP Environmental Science and Human Anatomy and Physiology. His love for the sciences and enriching students experiences has only grown as he continues his educational career. Chris is a part of the Lamont-Doherty's Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP) which brings high school students, science teachers and undergrads to the Lamont campus each summer for six weeks of field and laboratory research. Chris looks forward to helping out the Unity community in any way that he can. Chris embodies the quote from Walt Disney: You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.
C. Louirentus 7th Grade Math Teacher Middle School
Christelle teaches 7th grade math at Unity Prep Charter School. Born in Haiti, she migrated to the United States at age 11 to continue her education and pursue a career in education. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Mental Health in Criminal Justice, and a Master's degree in Mathematics Secondary Education. Her passion for teaching started as a little girl. She has a year of experience as an ICT teacher at Empower Charter School. Christelle is very excited to start the school year, and bond with all of her students.
C. McRae Dance Teacher Middle School
Ms. McRae comes to Unity with the intent to empower, educate and cultivate relationships with students by serving them what they need and deserve to be successful in dance and their educational careers. Ms. McRae has earned her B.A. in the Arts with concentration in Dance and a strong Emphasis in Education at The New School here in New York City. She has served as a dance instructor/mentor with the I Have A Dream Foundation at Ps.7 in Harlem for two years working with students grades 4-6. She has choreographed for many artists and productions as well as working with Debbie Allen, Children Uniting Nations, The Nicholas Brothers and many others. Ms. McRae seeks to create her work and collaborate with people of all ages to create artistic value, authenticity, provoke, engage and inspire excellence. Besides being an instructor, outside of work she enjoys hosting panel discussions about importance of education, cultural dialogue, empowerment and most importantly Unity in the world. She is excited to be apart of the Unity team and be a strong live example of Unity’s culture.
C. Saunders Social Worker High School
Clareese Saunders is a Queens based, second generation social worker born and raised in Asbury Park, NJ. Growing up surrounded and influenced by a family who embraced a deep commitment to generosity, she knew from a young age her desire was, put simply, to help. Anyone. Anyway. In 2013, Clareese obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in Religious Studies and Public Health from Montclair State University. Three weeks later she began a 27 month commitment to serve with the United States Peace Corps as a Healthy Youth Volunteer in Lesotho, Southern Africa. It was there that Clareese learned the Yes power and importance of creating spaces for people, especially young people, to be heard, seen and supported. Passionate about grassroots organizing, community building, global education access and eliminating mental health stigma, Clareese is never far from communal energies working to make ideas - realities. After completing a dual masters program in 2018, Clareese received her MSW and MPH from NYU Silver and the College of Global Public Health. As a former panther hailing from Academy Charter High School in Belmar, NJ, Clareese is thrilled to join the Unity family which immediately felt a lot like home.
C. Shaw 7th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Candace Shaw has a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Masters in Business Administration. She has over 10 years of tutoring and teaching mathematics to students from all grade ranges. As her second year teaching at Unity, Candace connects with students on an individual basis and finds each student's specific strengths and weaknesses in math. Candace's philosophy is that anyone can be good in math.
C. Warlick 7th Grade Art & Design Teacher Middle School
Chelsea Warlick is a native of South Carolina. She received her BA in Art History/Arts Management from Queens University of Charlotte, NC and her MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. While pursuing her degrees, she worked as a docent and art educator at a variety of museums and as an art teacher and staff photographer for a number of schools and nonprofits that provided access to art education in the lives of young children. As an artist, she employs the photographic medium to express her lust for travel with her compassion for humankind with the desire to reveal the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life. Whether landscapes or portraits, her work frequently reveal her own biophilia: an innate love for the natural world and instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Prior to attending graduate school, she traveled with National Geographic Expeditions for close to 2 years, immersing herself within different communities. It was her interest in getting to know people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds that led her to move back to New York. Chelsea is beyond excited to be able to provide a rigorous Art Education to Unity’s students while also exposing them to different cultures from around the globe. Unity in diversity is at the core of her philosophy as an educator. She is also very eager to be a part of Unity’s ever-growing Enrichment program and looks forward to the new year!
D. Charles Operations Manager Middle School
This is Ms. Charles' 7th year working in school operations and 5th year at Unity. She provides support in areas of staff and student recruitment, HR, enrollment, web development, communication, fundraising, and school wide events. Darline received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Religious Studies at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania in 2009. She moved to New York in 2011 to pursue a Master in Public Administration at Baruch College. While obtaining her Master’s, Darline conducted research on the top failing schools in Philadelphia and the impact of Charter Schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Darline’s passion for working in operations stems from her own upbringing in a school that was marred with apathy. At Unity, Darline seeks to establish a supportive environment for both staff and families. In her spare time, Darline enjoys singing, dancing, and mentoring others.
D. Reynolds History Teacher High School
Daena is excited to be a part of the Unity staff as a History Teacher! She was previously a Social Studies teacher in Sheepshead Bay while completing her service as a Teach For America Corps Member. Daena holds a BA in History from Barnard College of Columbia University and a Master's in the Art of Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. As a native New Yorker of Jamaican descent, Daena is passionate about bringing her own identities into the classroom and encouraging students to explore their own histories. Daena is committed to culturally responsive teaching and makes sure her students experiences color and shape the curriculum she teaches.
D. Thomas Middle School Dean of Students Middle School
Darnell Thomas, who hails from Bedford Stuyvesant was destined to be an Educator. As a young child, Darnell knew he would become a teacher as he played school with his younger cousins and siblings. Darnell always wanted to be a teacher because of his experiences as a student in the NYC Public School system. Being educated in NYC had its perks as it is also known as the “Melting Pot” so Darnell was able to learn about different customs and cultures. With this exposure, Darnell fell in love with literature, especially from authors of different ethnicities.
All throughout high school, Literature drove Darnell’s imagination, but there was something else on the rise. Basketball, which has always been in the heart of Darnell. Darnell balanced his love for reading and basketball which allowed him to look towards college from a different perspective. HS graduation came and went and Darnell was ready to venture out into the world. SUNY Canton was the destination and boy was Darnell proud. At SUNY Canton, Darnell was the captain on the court and majored in Psychology. At this moment, Dr. Thomas had a great ring to it, but there was more at stake. After two years at SUNY Canton, he decided to transfer to a college in the upper southern region of the country. Darnell transferred to Virginia Intermont College, a school that Darnell initially was slated to attend. Virginia Intermont was known for developing teachers, which was a direct link to one of Darnell’s life passions. So, Darnell eventually dropped basketball full time and directed all of his time to education. Years later, Darnell is still as passionate as ever about education, policies, procedures, and building appositive school culture.
E. Bencosme Learning Specialist High School
Emily is a New York native that has been working with children for over ten years. She has been a private tutor, Clubhouse Supervisor at the 92nd St Y NOAR After School Program, and Summer Camp Director at 92Y Camps. She used her role in these programs to be a positive force in the lives of the children she serviced. She began her career in education at a Catholic school in the Bronx beginning as a TA and later becoming a lead teacher. She experienced teaching grades Pre-K-8th for 5 years before joining the Unity Family as the STEM Learning Specialist.
E. Diaz Science Department Chair Middle School
Elena Diaz is the Science Department Chair for the 6th-8th grade team. She is also a Science Learning Specialist and co-teacher for 6th grade this year. Elena began her teaching career in 2009 as a 2nd grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary in Boynton Beach, Florida. The next year, she taught 8th grade Science at Odyssey Middle School in Boynton Beach, Florida. She then made the move to New York to teach Kindergarten at the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars (TAG) in Harlem. She spent three years at (TAG) as a gifted Kindergarten teacher. Elena has also been working as a private tutor through MAIA Education and Research Center. Before teaching, Elena attended Florida Atlantic University and received a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a masters degree in Bilingual TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Elena has been working at Unity Prep for four years and is committed to providing all of her students with a high quality education that is tailored to meet their individual needs.
E. Gonzalez Director of College and Career Readiness High School
Eric Rafael Gonzalez is the Director of College and Career Readiness at the High School and former DOO at the MS. He joined Unity after serving nearly three years in Washington D.C. as the Education Policy Advocate for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. In this capacity Eric helped shape federal education policy and legislation through advocacy on behalf of children living in poverty and children of color. Previously, for five years, Eric taught and directed standards-based learning units for English language arts in middle schools and high schools for Directions for Our Youth, Inc. (DFOY), a New York City-based nonprofit organization, reaching over 2400 students annually. Eric earned a BA from the State University of New York at Purchase College in 2001, an MA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009, and an M.Ed., as an Urban Scholar Fellowship recipient, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010.
E. Payne Senior Manager of Data, Analytics, and Reporting High School
F. LaPlaca 6th Grade Science Teacher Middle School
Florence is in love with all things science and is absolutely so excited to meet her 6th graders this year! Florence received her Masters of Arts in Teaching from the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. During this time she student taught 6th Grade science at Hunters Point Community Middle School in L.I.C and Earth Science/Astronomy at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers. Prior to this she graduated from SUNY Fredonia where she studied Earth Science, Mathematics, and Italian. Florence's teaching philosophy can be summed up as "mistakes are okay, giving up is not." As such, her students can expect a classroom full of enthusiasm, exploration, and high expectations!
G. Nadel 7th Grade ELA Learning Specialist and History Teacher Middle School
Gilly is a former Harvard lawyer who left the law in 2001 to fulfill her lifelong dream of teaching middle school. She taught in several neighborhood public schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She was a founding staff member of the School for Democracy and Leadership in Crown Heights, where she served as Chair of the Social Studies department and established the Student Government. In designing curriculum, she focused on integrating critical literacy, speaking skills, and activism. She spent several years working as a private tutor for a wide variety of students, and during this time she refined her knowledge of teaching literacy to students who struggle with reading comprehension and writing. She has been active in the movement to desegregate city schools and to give parents more control over their children’s education. Gilly holds a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Spanish from Indiana University; a JD from Harvard; and a Master’s degree in Education from Bank Street.
G. Teixeira 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher Middle School
Gareth Teixeira - or Mr. T - was born and raised in Hawai’i and has spent the better part of the past 11 years in New York. From middle school through his college years, Gareth spent time as a volunteer and employee with the City and County of Honolulu’s Summer Fun programs, where he was introduced to working with the middle school age group. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 2014, Gareth moved to Brooklyn (crashing on a friend’s couch for seven months!) and eventually found his way back to working at a youth summer program. Through the company’s after school program, he was able to work in a variety of public schools across Brooklyn and realized that education was the right field for him. From there, he was a paraprofessional with the NYC Department of Education and joined Unity Prep in the fall of 2019 as a Science Learning Specialist. Gareth is passionate about cooking, the arts, following sports, and empowering students of color. He is currently working on his Master’s degree at Relay Graduate School of Education.
G. West Math Teacher High School
Gracie is in her first year at Unity and excited to be a part of the Unit Prep team! She has a bachelor's degree in Math Education and a Minor in dance from New York University. She has always loved math and when she had the opportunity to be a TA for freshmen in her Senior year of high school, she knew teaching math was her passion. Gracie also fostered her love for teaching at her studio where she student taught dance since she was 14 years old. Along with teaching math and dance, her passions include: football, marvel movies, playing and listening to music, and anything creative.
G. Yun Co-Principal of Culture and Operations High School
Grace began her educational career in 2006 as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles. In 2008, she was recruited to join the faculty of a start-up charter high school in the same community and spent the next five years as the founding education specialist. She proudly helped graduate two classes of seniors fromåÊÌÅnimo Locke II Charter High School. In 2013, Grace joined the UnityåÊfaculty as the founding Director of Support Services. She wasåÊcommitted to working with teachers and staff to ensure all types of learners were supported and challenged according to their unique strengths and needs. In 2018, Grace transitioned into the role of Co-Principal of Culture and Operations for the high school site. Grace holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a MA in education from Loyola Marymount University.
H. Bond 8th Grade Science Teacher Middle School
I. Jaquez Dean of Student Culture (Lower Grades) High School
J. Beauregard Head of School Admin
Josh began his educational career in 2002 as a high school teacher at Louis D. Brandeis High School (Brandeis) in Manhattan as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Over his five years at Brandeis, Josh taught integrated algebra, AP statistics, AP microeconomics and macroeconomics, and an interdisciplinary course in mathematics and economics, which he created. In addition to his teaching, Josh also directed the school’s Academy of Finance and coordinated its SAT preparation program in partnership with the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. He also served as coach of the boy’s junior varsity and varsity basketball teams at The Dalton School. In the fall of 2006, Josh participated in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program where he taught in Chennai, India. In fall of the 2007, he returned to graduate school at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) to pursue his doctoral degree in education. While pursuing his doctorate, Josh gained extensive experience in developing teachers as both a coach and advisor. Josh was formally trained as a secondary school leader through the HGSE’s School Leadership Program and assumed a host of prominent roles and affiliations with several of the nation’s most renowned charter schools and charter management organizations, including the Media and Technology Charter High School (MATCH), the Community Charter School of Cambridge, the Harlem Children Zone’s Promise Academies, and the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). Through his work in schools, his work as an educational consultant with SchoolWorks LLC, as well as in his research as a doctoral student at HGSE, Josh has developed, piloted, implemented, and evaluated myriad school-based programs. Josh holds a BA from Vassar College, an MA in Secondary Mathematics Education from City College of New York (CCNY), and MA and Ed.D degrees in Education from HGSE.
J. Gibson 6th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
I am a Brooklyn native, who attended NYC public schools for the duration of my academic career. After completing high school, I wanted a change of scenery and decided to attend SUNY Plattsburgh and four years later, I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism. About two and a half years after that, I graduated from New York Institute of Technology (N.Y.I.T) with a Masters in Communications.
Still unsure of my calling, I worked in retail for about eight years. Soon after, I began my teacher career after having a heartfelt conversation with a former colleague who inspired me to apply for the Teaching Fellows program. Once accepted, I attended Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus) and earned my second Masters Degree in Urban Adolescent Education. While attending L.I.U, I was fortunate enough to work with a wide array of talented middle school students that made me realize that I chose the right career path of becoming a teacher.
Watching student "lightbulbs" go off in their heads once they've mastered a technique always reassures me that I have made the right decision and found my calling. With earlier mornings (4:30am wakeup) and late nights (bedtime 10:30pm and/or 11:00pm) and hours of planning, grading and repeating myself I am proud to say that teaching is what I am destined to do and I look forward to many more years of trying to close the gap of school to prison pipeline.
I am excited to join Unity Prep and I am committed to providing my students with unconditional support, techniques and tools that will help prepare them for their future!
J. Jordan Special Projects & Operations Coordinator High School
Joshua is thrilled to be joining the Unity staff this year! A Poughkeepsie native, Joshua's passion for education began when he was in kindergarten, helping his mom teach pre-school in the mornings. Many years later, Joshua recently graduated from Stanford University with a Master's degree in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; before that, he earned his Bachelor's degree in Government and Education from Cornell University. In addition to his work with Unity, Joshua serves as the Executive Director of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference, which impresses the value of confidence, positivity, and leadership in high school sophomores. With a focus on social justice and community-building, Joshua is fascinated by 'community schools' and he hopes to make a meaningful impact through his work in this field. When he isn't working, Joshua can be found taking care of his houseplants, reading a new book, or hanging out with his friends.
J. Lazar English Language Arts Teacher High School
Jacob Lazar, founding ELA 11 and AP Literature teacher, joined Unity in 2018 after teaching with the Achievement First network of schools for 8 years. He continues to be inspired by the kindness, curiosity, and whackiness of the Unity student body. His ELA passions include building inclusive, culturally relevant curricula, finding connections between literature and our current world, and finding the weirdest of texts to share with his students.
A native Californian, Jacob holds a B.A. in English and American Literature as well as Linguistic Anthropology from Brandeis University, and a Master's degree in teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education. He is a proud alumnus of the Hollyhock Teaching Fellowship at Stanford University, and is excited to continue learning: he's currently working on his Spanish skills. Even though he's been in New York for almost 9 years, and on the East Coast for 12, he considers himself a Californian at heart, and dearly misses mountains, rivers, and the slower pace of life in the Golden State.
J. McCullough Math Teacher High School
I teach 11th grade math, Algebra 2. This is my second year at Unity. I moved to Astoria from Montgomery New York. Before teaching, I earned my Bachelors of Science in Mathematics at SUNY Cortland. I plan on teaching while pursuing my Masters in Education in the coming year. I am committed to developing critical thinkers and problem solvers.
J. McDonald Dance Teacher High School
Jazsmine McDonaldåÊis a dance educator who was born & raised in Brooklyn, New York. Once she relocated to Baltimore, MD at the age of 10, she attended Southwest Academy Magnet Middle School and Patapsco High School and Center for the Art where she trained in Ballet, Modern, African and Jazz. Jazsmine moved back to NY in 2010 and attended Long Island University Post where she majored in Dance Studies. While there, Jazsmine becameåÊtheåÊpresident of the Student Dance Association where she learned how to actively participate and manage over 80 members from fall 2012 to January 2014 . SDA received "Club of the Year 2013" from the Student Life Leadership & Development department on campus and continued to be heavily involved in the college community years after she graduated.åÊSince receiving her BFA in Visual & Performing arts from LIU, Jazsmine has Instructed Dance at VariousåÊstudio's in Baltimore, D.C & NYC areas. HeråÊbiggest accomplishments thus far has been performing on the Apollo stage for amateur night in 2015 & landing a performance opportunity with London's own FKA Twigs in JulyåÊ2016 atåÊthe PieråÊ6 Pavilion inåÊBaltimore. Jazsmine is now focusing on teaching & is obtaining her Masters Degree in Dance Education from CUNY Hunter College. She is excited to be teaching dance this year at Unity & looks forward to the growth of the performing arts program in the upcoming years.
J. McPherson 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher Middle School
Jillian is very excited to be starting her 3rd year at Unity as the 7th grade Earth Science teacher and Regents Earth Science teacher. She moved to the New York City area from Saratoga Springs, NY in the summer of 2017 and to Brooklyn in the summer of 2018 to start her journey with Unity. She has a bachelor's degree in geology from the College of Saint Rose in Albany and her Master's Degree in Secondary Education from the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She is passionate about teaching her students critical thinking and informed decision making through the lens of science.
J. Pickings 6th Grade ELA Learning Specialist Middle School
Juanita Pickings is a seasoned ELA teacher and is elated to join the Unity team as the 6th grade ELA Learning Specialist. Initially from Illinois she completed her BS degree at Western Illinois University in Law Enforcement Administration and American Literature. She also served 5 years in the U.S. Army, wherein she spent a year in Central America. She later settled in Jacksonville, Florida where she completed graduate courses at University of North Florida and an alternative certification in education to obtain her teaching certificate in ELA. She taught ELA at Lake Shore Middle for 11 years where she piloted IR classes, serviced an array of special needs students from Asperger’s Syndrome to Autism, and engaged honor students to yield maximum performance. She moved to New York in 2015. Words that mostly describe Juanita are determined and persistent.
J. Rivera Administrative Assistant Middle School
Jessica is a native of Brooklyn and grew up in the neighborhood of Bushwick. She began her undergraduate studies at the City College of New York of the City University of New York and earned a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures with a specialization in Spanish in 2014. At City College, Jessica also earned the Downer Award and was inducted into Sigma Delta Pi National Hispanic Honor Society for her outstanding performance. While pursuing her degree, she served as a Finance Assistant at The Oliver Scholars Program, a non-profit organization that prepares extraordinary African American and Latino students for success at top independent High Schools and prestigious Colleges. Her duties included inputting data into the accounting database, managing employee’ timesheets and expense reports, and providing support to the Finance Manager. She also served as a freelance Spanish interpreter at Accurate Communication, an interpretation services organization, where she provided interpretation for social workers and their clients. Jessica is passionate about education and hopes to pursue her graduate studies in Bilingual Childhood Education. During her free time, Jessica enjoys cooking and practicing Zumba.
J. Russo Science Teacher High School
My name is John Russo, and this makes year 21 that I am working in the field of education. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and have been a resident of the borough for 41 years. Currently, I am teaching chemistry and AP biology, but have taught math, history, and English as well. Halloween is my favorite day of the year, and as reluctant as I may be to say it... "Let's Go Met's!"
J. Welch Math Teacher High School
K. Alli Manager of Special Projects Middle School
Mr. Alli was born in Nigeria and moved to the US at the age of six years old. While growing up, Kolapo resided in Brooklyn and Queens NY for his primary education. For his secondary education, Mr. Alli found himself in northwest Indiana where he got his High school diploma with honors. Mr. Alli is also a graduate of SUNY Binghamton where he earned his BA in History. It was in Binghamton Mr. Alli volunteered as a mentor for J.U.M.P Nation. J.U.M.P stands for Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program. Here, the students had the opportunity to receive a first-hand experience at where an education could take them while Mr. Alli got a short introduction into the life an inner-city student. J.U.M.P nation helped Mr. Alli focus his attention to students in the inner city. But, Kolapo’s true passion lies in music. You can find him on any given Sunday at the Brooklyn Tabernacle singing in the award-winning choir. Kolapo is excited to join the Unity Community is looking forward to growing as a both a professional and Individual throughout his time here.
K. Anderson 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher Middle School
Kristen is thrilled to be a part of the 6th-grade team at Unity. Originally from St. Paul, MN, Kristen began her educational career teaching GED classes at Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a non-profit in Boston. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2017, Kristen has been teaching 6th grade ELA. She is an avid reader and is committed to creating a classroom where all students can explore reading and writing to express their whole selves.
K. Cohen 6th Grade History Teacher Middle School
Ms. Cohen is thrilled to join Unity this year as a 6th Grade History teacher. After growing up in the New York Metro area, Kira received her B.A. in Political Science and American Studies from Oberlin College. She was a Student Advocate at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School, where she realized her love of teaching. Kira received her M.A. in Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, and student-taught history in 11th-grade and 8th-grade classrooms in Brooklyn. For the past three years, she has taught middle school social studies in Mexico City. She is excited to return to Brooklyn and work to support students' growth and understanding of history.
K. Malinowski Reading Intervention Teacher Middle School
Kate Malinowski is thrilled to be returning to Unity Prep for her fourth year as a reading intervention teacher. Kate began teaching as a literacy tutor while still in high school and continued working in and coordinating literacy-based after school programs throughout college. Kate earned a Masters in Education from UMass Boston and a BA in American Civilization from Brown University. She is a graduate of the Boston Teacher Residency and spent three years teaching 5th grade in Boston. She then taught science at the Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) in The Bahamas where she became re-inspired to teach reading when she worked closely with the ELA teacher to create a school-wide literacy program. More recently, Kate returned to school to earn an advanced certificate in teaching exceptional learners from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Kate loves working with middle school students and helping them pursue their many and varied interests by teaching them to be the best readers they can be. She is also a parent of a sixth-grader and a fourth grader and the fairy godmother of books to her nieces and nephews.
L. Canady 7th Grade History Teacher Middle School
Lawson is excited to embark on his new journey as the 7th Grade History teacher at Unity. Coming from a family of historians and political science majors, Mr. Canady attended Wesley College in Dover, DE. There he acquired a B.A. in History and had his first experience molding young scholars. After college he began teaching at his alma mater Immaculate Conception H.S. in Montclair, NJ, a small Catholic school that served the inner city communities of Newark, Irvington, and the Oranges. While there, he served as a mentor to his students as the director of the Peer Ministry program and coaching several sports including Football, Boys Volleyball, and weight events in track and field.
L. Conner Coordinator of Support Services & Advisory Middle School
Leigh Conner is Unity’s Coordinator of Support Services & Advisory and the school's librarian. Formerly, Leigh taught English for eight years, three of which were here at Unity Prep. Leigh began her teaching career in 2010 with Teach For America as a high school teacher at Susan Miller Dorsey (Dorsey) in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. She taught a self-contained English class for 9th-12th graders during her two years there. She then made the move to New York to teach at Girls Prep, an all-girls charter middle school in the Lower East Side. At Girls Prep, she spent three years teaching both English and Social Studies to 7th and 8th graders.
Before teaching, Leigh attended Northern Arizona University and received a bachelors degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology and later a masters degree in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University. This is Leigh’s fourth year at Unity and she is both honored and excited to bring her passion for social justice and educational equity to serve the community in which she lives.
L. Eason Academic Counselor High School
Louise has been a part of the Unity academic counseling team for the last two years. She is thrilled to continue her work with students and begin her new role as family engagement counselor. Before serving Unity, she held positions as an English teacher in the NYC Department of Education as well as Program Manager for a National mentoring organization. Louise has assisted hundreds of students with navigating high school and the college admissions process. Louise has a Bachelors Degree in English from Medgar Evers College as well as a Masters Degree in Urban Education from Long Island University. She is truly passionate about literacy and preparing students of color for college and career success.
In addition to her passion for education, Louise volunteers with local community organizations, fundraises for various non-for-profits and blogs about issues surrounding education and motherhood. In her free time, Louise enjoys spending time with her husband, children and extended family.
L. Knuckle Reading Interventionist Middle School
Lisa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a subject concentration in History from St. Francis College and a Master’s in Special Education. In 2003, Lisa began her career as a History and Science teacher at Andries Hudde Middle School, teaching students with diverse learning styles in both general education classes and self-contained inclusion classroom settings. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2005 where she continued teaching Social Studies to Middle School students in Title I and alternative learning school facilities for children with behavioral challenges. Lisa eventually returned to New York and has taught 9th grade Living Environment Science Regents to 8th grade students at Bronx Writing Academy Middle School/ Citizen Schools for New York in the South Bronx. Lastly, Lisa made it back to her Brooklyn roots, where she is excited to serve students and their families here at Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn. She has grand expectations for all scholars at Unity to achieve their personal best as they become proficient readers.
L. Shebroe 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Laura Shebroe, from Long Island, NY graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Mathematics. After working several tutoring positions and with education non-profits, she realized that education was truly her passion; this led to her becoming a Teach for America corps member in Richmond, California after graduation. During this time, she earned her teaching credential with Loyola Marymount University and taught high school mathematics to 9th-12th graders at John F. Kennedy High School. As a second year teacher, Laura served as the Mathematics Department chair, taught AP calculus, and was the advisor for the school’s Latino Club. With a strong passion for mathematics and social justice, Laura is thrilled to be teaching at Unity Prep with the 8th grade scholars. She is deeply committed to engaging all scholars in math and preparing them for high school and beyond.
L. Simon Alumni Success Counselor High School
Ms. Simon is excited to be returning to Unity this year! In the previous year, Ms. Simon was working directly with 11th graders as their College and Career Readiness Counselor. This year, Ms. Simon will be working with our newly graduated Alumni as they venture into their post-secondary lives. This would be Ms. Simon's sixth year as an educator.
M. Abawi Chairperson of the HS Math Department High School
M. Di Paoli English Language Arts Teacher Middle School
Matthew Di Paoli received his BA from Boston College and earned an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times including 2020. He has won the Wilbur & Niso Smith Adventure Writing Prize, the Prism Review, 2 Elizabeth’s, and Momaya Review Short Story Contests. He has been published in Boulevard, Fjords, Post Road, and Cleaver and is the author of Killstanbul with El Balazo Press.
M. Duphiney CO-PRINCIPAL OF TEACHING AND LEARNING High School
Melissa returns for her third year at Unity as the Interim Co-Principal of Teaching and Learning. Melissa joined the Unity team after six years at Achievement First Brooklyn High School in Crown Heights Brooklyn where she served as the Dean of Humanities and the Dean of Special Services. Melissa is a sixteen-year educator and has worked as a founding ELA teacher and instructional coach at Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate, served as a technology teacher at St. Anns of Flushing, and began her career as an ELA teacher at the Bronx MS 118. She was a 2005 TFA NYC Corps Member and holds a Bachelors from New York University and an M.A.T from the Relay Graduate School of Education.
M. Newton-Driscoll 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher Middle School
I'm originally from Minnesota, moved to North Carolina for college, and have taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ELA for the past in both Washington, DC and in Brooklyn. As a kid, I read out loud to my stuffed animals so I always knew I'd be an English teacher, and I still love it just as much as when I was 4 years old! In the classroom, I try to make sure all students feel respected, heard, and supported as they learn and am always open to feedback from students, families, and community members. Feel free to hit me up for any book recommendations for adults and for kids!
M. Richards Computer Science Teacher High School
M. Roy Gaines Co-Principal Middle School
Michelle began her teaching career in 2008 as a History teacher at MS 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx. During her five years teaching at the school, Michelle served as the chair of the Social Studies department and a member of the Professional Development Committee. Michelle then joined Unity because she was excited about building an excellent new school with strong community ties. As a founding History teacher, Michelle developed a 6th and 7th grade curriculum with a strong focus on literacy. In her second year at Unity, Michelle split her time between teaching and serving as an instructional coach. In Unity’s third year, Michelle stepped into a new role as Unity’s Co-Principal, and she is honored to have the opportunity to help build an outstanding middle school for our students. Michelle graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a BA in Public Policy. She holds an MA in Social Studies Education from Lehman College.
M. Turner History Department Chair Middle School
Maria Turner is a New York native, born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Maria graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelors degree in History. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in 7-12 Social Studies Education from Lehman College. As early as first grade, Maria knew she wanted to become a teacher. She is eager to help mold students and teachers alike into their best selves. Maria's passion to work with kids is evident as she has worked with kids for the last 10 years. She was a founding staff member of Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School where she taught history for 4 years. In her fourth year, she received the Success Academy "Teacher Excellence Award" for her students' outstanding academic achievement. Maria is going into her third year with Unity Prep Charter School as a teacher and coach to the history team.
N. Madera Academic Counselor High School
Noemi Madera is the 9th and 10th grade Academic Counselor at Unity Prep. She joined Unity after completing her Masters in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. At the University of Texas, she served as a Graduate Assistant for a program called Horns Helping Horns (HHH) where she assisted in facilitating the transition into college for financially independent and foster care alumni students. She also served as a Graduate Research Assistant where she explored the effects of racism and health inequities on the mental and behavioral health outcomes of diverse Black and Latinx adolescents and college students. Prior to her higher education experience, she served as a 5th Grade Bilingual Teacher and a Middle School Spanish Teacher. Noemi is excited to return to her home city. She is passionate about advocacy, justice, equality, and equity for minority youth and their families.
N. Shah-Taylor 6th Grade Science Teacher Middle School
Nailah Shah-Taylor is thrilled to be joining the Unity team this year and is the General Education. Science teacher for the 6th grade team. Nailah began her teaching career in 2017 as a 6th grade teacher at Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School in Harlem, New York for two years. During her second year she became grade level leader in which she communicated between both her team and leadership to ensure the students and staff needs were met. Before teaching, Nailah attended Buffalo State College and received a bachelors degree in Childhood Education and is currently working on a masters degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education. She is excited to join Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn and is committed to providing all of her students with a high quality education that is tailored to meet their individual needs.
N. Valentin History Teacher High School
A Bronx native. Ms. Valentin graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor's in History. She started her career as a teacher in South Korea, where she lived for 2 years. She returned to the U.S., and pursued her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California, as well as her teaching certification. She taught in NYC for about 2 years. She returned to Asia, and taught at an international school near Shanghai, China for 3 years. In her years as a teacher, she's worked with many different learners from many different cultures. This certainly has affected her teaching style, which is one grounded in encouraging exploration and expression.
O. Hypolite Operations Coordinator High School
Okini is born and raised in Brooklyn. He started working with children in 2008 during his senior year of high school. Since then he has worked with different non-profits, NYJTL & St.Nicks Alliance to name a few. Okini started working at Unity middle school and now has transitioned over to working at unity high.
O. Richardson Director of Support Services Middle School
Olivia-Ann is excited to be the Director of Support Services at Unity Prep. Olivia-Ann has been teaching for five years at a charter school in Harlem and this is her first year at Unity. Olivia-Ann graduated from Pace University with a bachelor's in Childhood Education and a Master's in Special Education. Olivia-Ann is passionate about all students being able to learn no matter their ability and giving them tools they will need to overcome barriers.
O. Rivera Social Worker Middle School
Otilia’s career in social work began in 2010 where she interned at her college’s counseling center providing on-campus outreach in order to encourage students to seek counseling services if needed. In 2014, Otilia worked as a case manager providing social services in order to prevent homelessness and shelter entry from low-income families and individuals residing in Bushwick and Williamsburg. In 2016, Otilia attended Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College where she obtained her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). In her first year of graduate school, she was an intern at the Roberto Clemente Center where she provided family therapy to children and adults throughout NYC while working with their schools and communities. During her final year, Otilia interned at Unity Prep, where she had the opportunity to work with scholars and staff. She had the privilege of hearing their stories, knowing their families and communities and being their advocate when needed. Otilia also holds an A.S in Mental Health and Human Services from Kingsborough Community College and a B.A in Psychology and Sociology from Baruch College. Otilia is excited to be part of the Unity team and is looking forward an amazing year.
P. Devieux 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Mr. Devieux began his teaching career for the Department of Education in 2003. Mr. Devieux attended the University of Virginia where he double majored in Government and African Studies. He went on to obtain a Masters degree in Justice, Law and Society from American University and a Masters degree in Special Education at Queens College. Mr. Devieux is a passionate and talented educator that is extremely excited to join the Unity Preparatory team. Mr. Devieux utilizes various differentiated techniques in order to propel his students towards success. He believes that all scholars have the ability to succeed regardless of any impediments. Mr Devieux has a proven track record of success and will stop at nothing to ensure the success of his scholars.
P. Hartman 8th Grade ELA Teacher Middle School
Patrick is thrilled to be a part of the Unity Team! Prior to joining the staff here at Unity, Patrick studied at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania earning, a bachelor’s degree in English in 2013, as well as a masters degree in Secondary Education in 2015. Upon graduation, he began his teaching career in southern New Jersey where he spent four years teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts. While in this position, Patrick developed a data driven approach focused on using small group instruction that catered to the students’ individual learning needs and helped all students grow. Outside of the classroom, Patrick coached basketball, piloted technology programs, coordinated various workshops, and took part in numerous community functions. He sees great value in building a culture of respect and comfort within a classroom so that students can take the risks necessary in order to learn. He believes this type of environment, coupled with engaging and exciting ELA curriculum empowers all students to grow and achieve academic and personal success.
P. Noblia Associate Director of High School Athletics & Physical Education Teacher High School
Paulo is starting his first year at Unity after working as a Physical Education and Health teacher for the past twelve years, in Newark, N.J. Aside from being an educator, Paulo has worked as a soccer, volleyball, and baseball coach. While working at his previous school, Paulo created the Weight Room and Healthy Nutrition Club. He has also worked as a Group Exercise Instructor and Teen Fitness Trainer. As a student, Paulo earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and Health from Montclair State University, in Upper Montclair, N.J. Recently, he attended American College of Education and obtained two Master's Degrees; one in Educational Leadership and another in Curriculum Development and Instruction. Outside of teaching, Paulo enjoys traveling. He has recently traveled to England, Spain, and Brazil. When he is not traveling, he enjoys watching and playing sports, more specifically soccer, football, and basketball. Overall, his goal as an educator is to create a fun and positive learning environment, but most importantly, serve as a mentor for students to inspire commitment to wellness and academic excellence.
R. Mallery Learning Specialist High School
Randi Mallery began her teaching career in Baltimore, MD where she spent three years on the West side of the city in a significantly underprivileged neighborhood and underfunded school. During her time there, she taught English Language Arts for grade 9, 10 & 11, Journalism, Women in Literature, and College and Career Readiness. After moving to New York City, she then continued to teach in the South Bronx for two years at Metropolitan Bronx Lighthouse Academy in Highbridge as a founding ELA teacher. There she was a team lead and founder of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). She then joined the Unity Team as a Humanities Learning Specialist working with students with disabilities and co-teaching ELA and US History. Randi continues her work in Brooklyn as Unity's Humanities Learning Specialist and as the 10th grade level leader.
R. Saint-Louis 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Ms. Saint-Louis grew up in Ellenton, FL and has been teaching math to middle school students in Massachusetts for the past 5 years. She moved to Brooklyn in the summer of 2020 and is excited to explore the big apple. Ms. Saint-Louis loves listening to music, traveling, and trying new foods. She graduated from the College of Holy Cross with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and earned a Master's Degree in Math Education through Boston University. Ms. Saint-Louis looks forward to being a part of the Unity community and sharing her love of math with her students.
R. Taveras Science Teacher High School
In 2008, Ruth started as a science teacher on the staff of the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula High School (AMSU). AMSU is a Catholic all girl’s high school in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx in New York City. In her 9 years at AMSU, she worked to help the growth of young female adolescent teens in the following ways. First, Ruth was a dedicated Living Environment teacher. She attended various professional development workshops that helped her design lessons to increase assessment performances for her students. She successfully maintained a 99% pass rate for her Living Environment classes in all 9 years working in AMSU. Second, Ruth also taught various science courses including anatomy and physiology, remedial science course for incoming freshman, and Forensic Science. Ruth was also the volleyball coach for 8 years and successfully led the girl’s varsity volleyball team into becoming undefeated division champions. Ruth has also had experience teaching college level science at Lehman College in the Bronx, to help struggling adults who have not taken a science course for many years. Ruth heard about Unity and is incredible excited to bring her teaching experience to a new growing school and start a new journey in her teaching career. Ruth Taveras holds a Bachelor’s in Science degree which she triple majored in Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry, as well as attaining a Master’s Degree in Science Education with a focus in Biology for grades 7th – 12th. Ruth Taveras is proud to have obtained these two degrees from CUNY Lehman College.
S. Caro Academic Interventionist High School
Sarah Caro is the Lead Learning Specialist and Associate Coach on the Support Services Team at the High School. This is her second year at Unity after teaching for 5 years in special education and general education at a middle school in the South Bronx. In this capacity, Sarah has advocated for students with disabilities in a variety of settings and has had hands-on experience creating interventions and making work accessible to all students. She grew up in and attended public schools in the Bronx, which fuels her passion for this work and in giving back to her home community. Sarah earned a BS from Fordham University in Psychology in 2014, an MS in Special Education (7-12) in 2016, and is completing her MS in Psychology in May of 2021 in hopes to pursue a PhD to further support her students socio-emotional needs, and continue to grow in this work.
S. Caspi Science Teacher High School
Shir is thrilled to return for her 4th year at Unity and her 13th year in education! While at Unity, she has taught chemistry, earth science, and AP biology and is now excited to lead the science department as Interim Chair. Before joining Unity, Shir has worked as a founding high school science teacher and instructional coach at Bronx Lighthouse College Prep Academy (now Pharos Academy) and taught middle school science in Prince George County, MD. One of Shir's favorite things about science education is the potential it holds for empowering students to question, engage critically, and experience rewarding learning firsthand. She is committed to making this the focus of the science department this year, working with teachers to challenge and support students according to each diverse learner‚ strengths and needs. Shir holds a B.S in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a M.A in secondary science teaching from American University.
S. Glickman Art Teacher High School
Ms. Glickman has taught in several contexts and subjects from middle school after school programming, to history, to Spanish and International summer programming. Now she is delighted to be teaching art at Unity and is excited to offer AP 2-D Design as well as Pre-AP Visual Arts. Outside of school she loves traveling, making art, reading, hiking, listening to music and being socially and politically active.
S. Marco History Teacher Middle School
Sarah’s career thus far has been a combination of her two educational passions: teaching history and supporting diverse learners. She began her educational career working in special education summer programs in Connecticut. During her undergraduate studies, Sarah was continuously involved in educational programs in the public schools in Poughkeepsie, New York–working with English-language-learners as well as struggling readers and writers. These experiences, along with her study of (and love for!) history, brought her to Teachers College, where she specialized in social studies education and student-taught at schools in Queens and Manhattan. At Unity, she has taught history and math, and has helped develop the school’s advisory curriculum. Sarah is committed to creating an inclusive educational environment that welcomes all learners and helps all students to be successful and fulfilled. She is particularly passionate about helping students with disabilities learn to advocate for their needs. Sarah holds a BA from Vassar College and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.
S. Springer 6th Grade ELA Teacher Middle School
Sophia is excited to be part of Unity as one of the 6th grade ELA teachers. Even when she was in kindergarten she knew she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from U.C.L.A. with a Bachelor’s in History in 2011, she began her teaching career in Los Angeles as a 7th grade history teacher. In 2013 she moved to New York to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Studies Education from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. The following year, she taught middle school writing in Brooklyn using a curriculum she designed that emphasized evidence-based writing, source evaluation and social justice. She is passionate about instilling a love of reading and writing in her students.
T. Cunningham Associate Manager of HS Operations High School
Tiffany began her teaching career in Singapore and then returned to the U.S. to teach in her native New York. She began teaching in Harlem and later moved into the world of Operations at a small charter school in Brooklyn. This is Tiffany's fourth year in operations and her first year with Unity Prep. Before entering into the world of education, Tiffany earned a degree in Biology and Chemistry at Penn State University and has scientific researched published as part of a team.
T. Del Purgatorio Director of Social Work High School
Tina is the school's founding social worker, starting at Unity in the summer of 2013 just before the doors opened to our class of 2020. Since then, Tina is proud to have built an excellent social work department at Unity which consists of four talented social workers across campuses. Tina is committed to providing the best mental health services and socio-emotional support possible for all Unity students and supporting her team in doing the same. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary work in schools and the decolonization of mental health and therapy. She attended Manhattan College for her undergraduate degree and is a proud Hunter College School of Social Work alum, getting her MSW in 2006, then obtaining her License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) in 2011.
T. Jones Dean of Students Middle School
Hi I am Tiffany Jones. I have an Undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Education. I have a diverse background that encompasses working with families from all cultures and different ethnicities. I have been working with the city beginning with Human Resource Administration, Administration for Children Services and then Department of Education. I began teaching in District 75 as an American History to 11th grade students. Over the course of my three years working in the Bronx I taught all core subjects and prepared students to take Regents exams. I’ve gone on to own a business and now I’m happy to be back in the classroom. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family and friends and serving my community.
T. Martinez Physical Education & Health Teacher High School
I have been teaching/coaching and mentoring students for 21 years. I have worked as a middle school health and P.E. teacher in the NYC DOE for 18 years. I made the move to charter school for a closer knit, empowering environment that works collaboratively for the benefit of your children our students. I have worked as a personal trainer, baseball coach, track coach, volleyball coach, athletic director and have assisted counselors in peer intervention as well.
I am excited to be part of the Unity Community for my Third Year as Health Teacher, Physical Education Teacher and Mentor to tomorrow's next generation of leaders.
T. Pierce 6th and 7th Grade History Learning Specialist Middle School
Tenelle Pierce in the History Learning Specialist for 6th and 7th grade raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. She graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester with a B.A. in Social Science with a concentration in Sociology and Political Science. She has experience working with students with disabilities on an elementary, secondary and collegiate level. Prior to Unity, Ms. Pierce was an ELA and Math learning support specialist for 6th and 7th grade students at Excellence Girls Middle Academy Charter School. She is excited to be a part of the Unity Prep team. She wants to instill in her students the confidence and academic skill to be all they can be.
T. Smith Paraprofessional Middle School
My name is Tanisha Smith, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and I have a Bachelor's degree in business. I am a very passionate and goal-driven person and serve as Lead Paraprofessional at Unity Prep. As a Lead Paraprofessional, my role is to support children with special needs physically, emotionally, and academically. Working with children brings great joy to me. My comforting personality and characteristics are my greatest tool that allow children to be comfortable and willing to push themselves into developing the confidence to be their very best.
As a mother of two, I am very family orientated and find family bonding to be very important in all human being life. My favorite comforting activity is cooking while playing music.