Faculty & Staff
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. Lokey Science Teacher High School
Anna is an educator and writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born and raised in rural Louisiana, and owes her students a dollar everytime she says "Geaux Tigers" or "Laissez les bons temps rouler." She is going broke from this. Anna moved to the city in 2015 to attend Columbia University, where she studied Philosophy and Political Science. Anna started working in the education field in 2017, and has been addicted to the joy of learning ever since. She is currently completing her Masters of Arts in Teaching with a Dual Certification in Special Education. This year she is teaching Earth (and Space!) Science, which is her favorite subject yet, because she is a total nerd for rocks. Anna loves to: (1) rant about space within your immediate vicinity (2) show you pictures of her hamster, Meatball, and (3) know your astrological sign.
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. Morel Operations Coordinator Middle School
A. Olivier English Language Arts Teacher | Co-Principal of Culture and Operations 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. Parnell Dance Teacher High School
Alyssa Parnell was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Parnell has been teaching dance in NYC schools since 2019. In 2017 she received her BFA in Dance with emphasis in education from The Ohio State University. Parnell is truly passionate about uplifting her students through the art of dance and loves being a part of the Unity community! Parnell states, “My students inspire me everyday.” Her other passions include food, music, and family.
A. Terry Math Teacher | Principal Fellow High School
A. Williams Co-Principal of Teaching and Learning 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 Dean of Student Culture (Upper Grades) High School
Brandon started working with children in 2002 during his junior year of high school through Internships and Youth Leadership Development programs. Over the course of the last two decades, he has devoted his life to youth work in many facets. He has held multiple youth program leadership positions in various Brooklyn based community centers and also worked as a youth development specialist with the Office of Children & Family Services Division of Juvenile Justice. Over the years he has been recognized by councilpersons, state assembly persons and community organizations for dedicating countless volunteer hours throughout Brooklyn. He holds an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York's Empire State College in Interdisciplinary Studies and is currently seeking graduate school options with his alma mater with plans to accomplish a graduate degree in educational leadership & planning.
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. Boadu 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. Brookins Middle School Social Worker Middle School
Clarissa is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) who hails from Los Angeles, but has been based in New York City for 5 years. 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. Clarissa earned her Master of Social Work 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 Latino 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. This is her 4th year at Unity.
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. 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. 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. Rodriguez Art Teacher High School
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.
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. 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. Ortega Safety Associate 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 Intervention 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. 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
H. Shumaker Spanish Teacher High School
Helen Shumaker graduated from Temple University with a Bachelors of Arts in Linguistics and Spanish Linguistics. She then went on to receive a Masters of Arts in Teaching with distinction from Relay Graduate School. She is very excited to be joining the Unity team this year!
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. Bryant Special Projects Coordinator Middle School
This is Mr. Jupiter Bryant's first year with Unity as Special Projects Coordinator. This is his 6th year working in education. Hailing from Louisville, KY, Jupiter attended the University of Kentucky for undergraduate studies. He earned degrees in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles (BS) and Integrated Strategic Communication (BA).
As an activator, he makes things happen by turning thoughts into action. As a maximizer, he stimulates personal and group excellence. He seeks to transform something already great into something superb. He utilizes his talents in addition to motivating everyone else right along with him, using charisma, confidence, and ability to project authority in a way that draws crowds together to achieve spectacular results.
J. Gibson 6th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
"Ms. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and is entering her 6th year as a Math teacher. She is excited to be returning back to Unity for a third year. Before starting her career in teaching, she earned her B.A and M.A in Communications while working in retail for a few years as she tried to figure out her purpose in life.
Years later, Ms. Gibson realized that she wanted to work with students in middle and high school education to build that relationship she had with her teachers growing up. Graduating from Long Island University with her 2nd Masters in Urban Adolscent Education, she started teaching in the Bronx and realized the joy of seeing student ""lightbulbs"" goes off. Missing her native hometown she decided to take her experience to Brooklyn and teach at Unity Prep miles from her childhood neighborhood. One of the many joys of teaching for Ms. Gibson is being able to change students perspective while creating a growth mindset.
She is excited for another unexpected school year and creating, growing and nurturing her relationships with her students."
J. Lalla ENL Coordinator | Learning Specialist High School
Ms. Lalla received her degree in Secondary Education at Saint Michael's College in the state of Vermont. She is presently working on a Master of Science in Education at Hunter College. She has 5 years of experience teaching multilingual learners, Spanish learners, and diverse learners k-12 in various settings. She is eagerly entering year 6 in education as Unity Prep High School's ENL (English as a New Language) Coordinator. She will also be co-teaching Algebra II and Pre-calculus.
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. McClean Social Work Intern High School
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. 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. 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. Simmons School Safety Manager High School
J. Welch Math Teacher High School
J. Winn AM Facilities Associate High School
J. Young Academic Counselor High School
Jada Young is thrilled to join Unity Prep High School as an Academic Counselor. Ms. Young comes to Unity Prep after previously working as a high school internship coordinator in Queens for the past 3 years while she pursued a Master's Degree in School Counseling at Brooklyn College. Prior to that, Ms. Young worked as a Teacher Recruiter and Youth Development professional throughout New York City. She has earned a Bachelor's degree in Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz and Master's degree in Africana Studies from SUNY Albany. In her free time, you can find Ms. Young listening to her favorite music, watching something interesting on Netflix, and spending time with her son.
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. Barnwell Safety Associate High School
K. Herrand Chairperson of the HS ELA Department High School
K. Johnson Director of Finance Admin
Kristin Johnson has worked in school business finance since 2015. Her most recent school business finance experience was at North Penn School District as the Assistant Director of Business Administration. There she oversaw the business office which was responsible for budgeting, accounting, purchasing, payroll, child accounting, and medical access billing. Prior to North Penn School District, she developed and managed the budget at Downingtown Area School District as the Financial Operations and Analysis Supervisor. Before joining school district finance, Kristin served as the Capital Asset Accountant/Property Surplus Manager/Plant Fund Accountant and Internal Audit Manager at The University of Montana. She also spent seven years in corporate America as an external and internal auditor. Kristin has a Master of Science with a concentration in School Business Leadership from Wilkes University, a Master of Business Administration from The University of Montana, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Bloomsburg University.
K. Urso Science Teacher High School
L. Ciborowski Support Services Middle School
Ms. Ciborowski has been teaching Special Education for 12 years.
Ms. Ciborowski holds a B.A. in Sociology from Queens College, M.A. in Elementary Education and Post Masters in Special Education both from Queens College. Ms. Ciborowski has many years of experience working in the Special Education field and is familiar with community organizations throughout Brooklyn to meet the needs of families. Ms. Ciborowski is an advocate for students and families in Special Education.
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. Shebroe Math Department Chair 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.
M. Abawi Chairperson of the HS Math Department High School
M. Duphiney Co-Principal of Teaching and Learning High School
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. Gutierrez Academic Counselor High School
Meredith Gutierrez is thrilled to be returning as Academic Counselor to Unity Prep. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Mrs. Gutierrez has spent the majority of her 6-year career in education working with high school students. In her spare time, Mrs. Gutierrez likes to read, make up songs, and hang out with her husband and dog.
M. Lee 6th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Mr. Lee is entering his 9th year of teaching and is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in Early Childhood Education at Temple University in 2012. He then had the pleasure to teach grades K-6 in West Philadelphia at a Charter School for 8 years. He then received his M.A. in Accomplished Teaching at Temple University. Mr. Lee is new to Brooklyn, NY and is very excited to join the Unity family.
M. Marshall Learning Specialist High School
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. Roy Gaines Director of Special Projects 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 was honored to have the opportunity to help build an outstanding middle school for our students. Michelle served as Co-Principal of Teaching and Learning for five years, and continues to support Unity as the Director of Special Projects. 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. Silber History Teacher High School
Matthew Silber has been teaching history for six years. He received his Master's Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University, and had worked in a variety of educational environments before coming to Unity in the fall of 2021. In his free time he likes playing guitar, exercising, and getting out in nature. As the 10th grade Global History teacher, he is excited to get students prepared for the State Regents Exam in June and for the AP World History Exam in May, for which students may receive college credit.
M. Torres PM Facilities Associate High School
M. Turner History Department Chair Middle School
Maria Turner is a New York native, born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Maria has always been intrigued by the unfortunate truth that the democratic ideals of America were never fully extended to all groups of people within it's society. This intrigue led Maria to study History as an undergrad at Baruch College. She then went on receive her Master’s degree in 7-12 Social Studies Education from Lehman College. Maria is passionate about challenging oppressive narratives that uphold white supremacy taught in traditional history classes.
Maria started her teaching career as a founding staff member of Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School where she taught history for 4 years. While at Success Academy she earned the ""Teacher Excellence Award"" for her students' outstanding academic achievement. Maria is going into her fourth year with Unity Prep Charter School as a department chair, teacher and instructional coach to the history team."
N. Boakye 7th Grade Mathematics Teacher Middle School
Nana Boakye is in his first year at Unity Prep. He graduated with a B.A in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo and is currently in pursuit of his Master in Business Administration. He has been tutoring students with learning disabilities for a little over 3 years. He believes that building strong connections with students is fundamental in their growth and development.
N. Hack Alumni Success Coordinator High School
Naseeba Hack is the Alumni Success Counselor for all Unity Prep high school graduates. She joined Unity after serving 8 years as a high school counselor. Naseeba earned a BA from Hunter College in 2011, an MA and Ed. M from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2013, and her PsyD from Touro in 2022. She is an avid learner and is passionate about helping Unity alumni find meaningful post-secondary pathways. In her free time, Naseeba enjoys hiking, swimming, and trying out new cuisines with her family and friends.
O. Duran Guest Teacher High School
O. Hypolite Technology 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 currently the Director of Support Services at Unity Prep. Olivia-Ann has taught for five years at a charter school in Harlem and two years at Unity. Olivia-Ann graduated from Pace University with a bachelor's in Childhood Education and a Master's in Special Education. She is passionate about all students being able to learn no matter their ability and giving them the 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.
R. Baez History Teacher High School
R. Moore Learning Specialist High School
Ms. Moore is the Math Learning Specialist and AP Computer Science teacher whose work is rooted in her love for learning and passion for service. She brings a wealth of knowledge, a collaborative spirit, and international awareness to this community, and she aspires to close the achievement gap through joyful and experiential learning. Outside of Unity, Ms. Moore enjoys nature walks, watching tv, and traveling.
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 for the past 6 years. 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 her second year as part of the Unity community and sharing her love of math with her students.
R. Topping Learning Specialist High School
Randi Topping 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.
S. Aponte Science Teacher High School
Sabrina Aponte is a native New Yorker who just recently joined the Unity High School team. Sabrina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pennsylvania State University, and completed her Master’s degree in Education with Fordham University. Sabrina is passionate about teaching and traveling. She got the opportunity to combine the two and spent some time teaching abroad in South Africa. Sabrina is so excited to share her love for science with the students.
S. Baldera Operations Associate High School
S. Caspi Chairperson of the HS Science Department 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. Jenkins 6th Grade ELA Teacher Middle School
Sydney joined the Unity Prep community this year as a 6th grade ELA teacher. She first started working with kids while in college with the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-led nonprofit organization that provides academic support and recreational experiences to communities throughout Boston. Sydney graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in English Education from Harvard University. She started her official teaching career in Brooklyn and hasn’t left since! Her favorite books are The Bluest Eye, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Giver, and she especially loves teaching YA fiction. She hopes to create a warm classroom environment where students feel encouraged to share, self-advocate, and learn from mistakes.
S. Robinson Spanish Teacher High School
I am a native from Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. I got my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Secondary Education, as well as my Master in Spanish Literature at Brooklyn College. I previously worked as a Spanish Teacher at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx for five years. Currently, I am super joyful to start a new year with Unity Preparatory Charter School!
S. Tartan History Teacher High School
First generation college student and Oberlin College grad. Spent 22 years as professor of at the Center for Languages at Sophia University in Tokyo Japan before returning to the United States to teach high school history. Keen traveler. Experimental fashionista. Devoted mama and teacher.
S. Vela 7th Grade ELA Teacher Middle School
Sarah Vela is excited to join the Unity team for the 2021-2022 school year as a 7th Grade ELA teacher. Sarah graduated from NYU in 2008 with a BA in Art History and has worked in business for the past 13 years. She recently decided to leave her former career to pursue her dream of becoming a classroom teacher. Sarah completed her Masters in the Science of Teaching in May 2021, and is certified in Secondary English Education. Sarah is on the board of The Backpacks Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to help students reach academic success.
T. Alvarenga Middle School History Teacher Middle School
Mr. Alvarenga is a lifelong learner and autodidactic student of several academic disciplines.
He loves researching and teaching topics in sociology, anthropology, and history.
Upon completing his undergraduate studies with a dual major in American Studies and U.S. History at Keene State College, Mr. Alvarenga went on to pursue teaching in Secondary Social Studies and achieved accreditation as an educator through the Upper Valley Educators Institute. Mr. Alvarenga took his formative teaching experience into the Peace Corps in 2014. Serving as an English teacher and Multimedia Coordinator for almost four years in Zambia, Mr. Alvarenga grew accustomed to living and traveling around Sub-Saharan Africa and always meeting new people. Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Alvarenga was awarded the Coverdell Fellowship for the Gallatin Program at New York University, where he wrote his Master’s thesis on Zambian independence, Frantz Fanon, and postcolonial nation building. Need help researching something? Talk to Mr. Alvarenga!
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. 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. 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.
T. Taylor Learning Specialist High School
From the age of 5, I knew that my dream was to be a teacher. That dream became a reality when I was accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows Program, and 20-year-old-me faced my first cohort of students on September 8, 2010. I've been in the classroom ever since, so with over a decade of experience and as an avid traveler and a nomad at heart,I have had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring disadvantaged high-schoolers in Brooklyn, NY, Norfolk, VA, and Las Vegas, NV.
I hold a BA in English and a MS in Special Education, and I currently serve as an ELA Learning Specialist and the 11th Grade Team Lead Teacher at Unity High. It took a long time for me to have a teacher who looked like me, so I 100% enjoy being a mirror for black and brown youth and a trusted facilitator of academic growth, and development of the whole child. It is through helping students work to their highest potential by way of risk-taking, confidence-building, team-work, and other fundamentals that will lead them to make meaning of their inner and outer-worlds, which will ultimately help them find their identity and their place in society. This is my life's work.