Founder & Principal
Director of Operations
Curriculum & Data Coordinator
Fine Arts Teacher
Phys Ed Teacher
Vocal Music Teacher
Education & Community-Based Org.
School Design & Education
Education & Community Outreach
Property Management & Real Estate
Building Compliance & Comm. Outreach
As a Native New Yorker and public school alumni, Simon is deeply passionate and committed to providing the best education possible for all future generations. As the Director of Operations, Simon believes that every successful school has a strong operational foundation and comes to work everyday to ensure every Learner and Teacher have everything they need to devote their time to learning and teaching. Simon believes that community is an integral part of a healthy school, and seeks to collaborate with parents and the Elmhurst community to cultivate the best learning environment possible.
Yoel Jorge is a creative thinker and problem solver. He is always ready to take on the day with a positive attitude. He received his Associates Degree in Business Management from Hostos Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management. Yoel understands how important it is to create and maintain a welcoming and sustainable environment for student’s success in the classroom. He believes in developing relationships with students and families as a way to not only increase family engagement but as a way to contribute to a student’s academic success and social development.
Siu believes that every child possesses innate gifts, intellectual strengths, and creative ideas waiting to be tapped. As a passionate educator, Siu desires to help students find joy in learning and build resilience. She has experience teaching children from pre-K through fifth grade. Siu holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Cooper Union and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Queens College. She is currently pursuing a Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate in TESOL and Elementary Bilingual Education at Queens College.
Savannah believes every child can achieve the goals that they set for him or herself. She sets high expectations and provides all the support her students need to meet and exceed them. She is diligent, passionate and hardworking, and teaches under the philosophy that how we teach is as important as what we teach. In her past four years of teaching, she has taught in the Dominican Republic, Virginia, and New York, grades 1-8. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Foreign Languages and Education, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching PreK-12 with a concentration in teaching English Language Learners. She is trained in the Responsive Classroom Approach to Teaching.
Paulina is an engaging music educator, passionate cultivating in students, a lens to see and learn about the world through music. She believes that music education plays a critical role in teaching young minds how to problem solve, think independently, and create freely. Paulina dedicated the last ten years of her career to teaching adults in Queens College and LaGuardia Community College, and worked with children of all ages at the Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music. She holds a Music Education degree and a Master’s in Musicology from Queens College, a second Master’s of Philosophy in Music, while currently working on her Doctorate in Musicology at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Mercedes is an enthusiastic and dedicated educator who is passionate about a high quality, inclusive, and multicultural education that equips students to succeed academically as well as beyond the classroom. For the last two years, Mercedes has taught as an early childhood teacher in a charter school, as well as an English teacher in Valencia, Spain. Mercedes holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education from St. John’s University.
Magnolia is a warm and vibrant educator inspired by the innate curiosity of children. She is passionate about creating a learning environment where students cultivate a thriving and productive community. She understands the balance needed in fostering both the developmental needs and academic skills in young children. Magnolia has worked in Pre-K classrooms of various daycare centers in Brooklyn, NY since 2013. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Anthropology and is currently working towards her Master’s in Early Childhood Education.
Lorena is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator who views teaching as a way to cultivate a lifelong passion for learning in students, as well as having a positive impact in the lives of families. Her commitment to teaching is established in the principle that all children are capable learners when given the proper resources, experiences, and guidance. Throughout her experience working as a Pre-K teacher for the last five years, she built a strong foundation for each student to promote safe child growth, cognitive development, and social-emotional awareness. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Psychology from St. Joseph’s College, as well as a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Touro College.
Laura is a caring educator who believes in educating the whole child. She is passionate about using technology to further learning and teaching children to be media creators, not simply media consumers. Laura has spent the last four years teaching in American schools abroad both in Spain and the United Arab Emirates where she worked with students from around the world using a rigorous American curriculum. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey as well as a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages from Concordia University. As a STEM teacher Laura looks forward to bringing her love of inquiry based learning and integrating classroom technology to Elm.
Kimberly is passionate in instilling hope in every young child she meets. Her belief stems from her drive to ensure every child having a success story no matter their age. She has always allowed children to have an outlet, a voice, and to never give up. Therefore, she constantly positions herself to resiliently learn and help others. Kimberly holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, and has years serving triumphantly as a lead teacher. With encouraging children to be the best version of themselves at the core, she hopes she can be a cultivator to Elm Community Charter School.
Jillian believes in fostering the whole child to reach his or her full potential. Jillian works with children on recognizing and regulating emotions, developing social skills and learning coping skills. She believes in developing relationships with each family and building a community to best support our students. Her training background includes: cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, art therapy and family therapy. Jillian holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and French from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work. Jillian has a Licensed Masters in Social Work and is a Licensed School Social Worker.
Jonathan is an enthusiastic and diligent educator who believes in every child’s potential and right to equal opportunity. Jonathan believes every child has a voice, deserves to be heard, noticed, loved and appreciated. His dream is to empower students through a community that supports social and emotional growth. For the last 3 years, Jonathan has taught elementary students from all backgrounds in lower Manhattan, and has been involved as a volunteer for the last 7 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology with a Minor in Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.
Jessica is a dedicated and caring educator who believes in an equitable education for all students that fosters not only cognitive, but physical, social, and emotional development. Jessica has five years of experience in the field of education, working in pre-school and early childhood education. She currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education. Her commitment to education and equity has led her to pursue a Graduate degree from Columbia’s Teachers College in Sociology and Education with a focus on Education policy.
Gerardo Silva is a patient and dynamic individual who leads by example with his positive ways by motivating those around him. His passion is to educate students while allowing growth and sparking inquisitive thinking. He is often known to think “outside the box”. He aims to teach the importance of movement, train proper motor skills, and develop a healthy lifestyle. Gerardo is committed to creating an academic environment that will educate and challenge students while having fun. Thus, encouraging students to work as a team by boosting confidence to form the building blocks they would need to achieve a healthy future.
Casey Neumann is a practicing artist and dedicated art educator. She is a firm believer in the importance of integrating the arts into education and children having creative license within their learning environment. Casey has taught art to grades Pre-K through 8th in New York for five years. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Kayla Cobb was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but has called New York City home for more than ten years. She began her career in education with Teach For America, working at a charter school in Harlem where she served as a teacher, leader, and eventually an Instructional Manager. As an Instructional Manager, she developed an inquiry-based science curriculum for a network of charter schools, designing engaging assessments, and providing professional development to more than 100 teachers and leaders across several elementary schools. Kayla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Marie Lucas is a dedicated and caring leader, always ready to support and equip staff in providing a high-quality education and students to engage in a rich learning experience. Marie has worked in education since 2001, serving in Early Intervention and working with Title 1 and the No Child Left Behind Act. In 2012, she joined a Staten Island Charter School as a member of the operations team and quickly grew a love for the Director of Operations role. She has since continued to serve in charter schools as a Director or Operations, enjoying the work that comes with being the backbone of support to any successful school.
Since 2010, A. Redd Sevilla has served as the Executive Director of the New Life Community Development Corporation, a local non-profit that builds relationships with the immigrant population in Central Queens. He oversees 10 programs with a reach of over 30,000 people per year. He also serves as one of the Directors for Community Board 4 in the Elmhurst/Corona neighborhood where he resides. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, a master’s degree in structural engineering and 13 years experience in construction project management.
Lawrence Zhou is the son of immigrants from Shanghai, China. He grew up in Queens and currently resides in Elmhurst. Lawrence has earned a Certificate in Commercial Property Management from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. He has held various roles in the real estate industry, including as Property Manager of Hudson River Park Trust, a New York State public benefit corporation, where he managed a portfolio of twenty (20) commercial properties consisting of 2.5 million square feet. Lawrence is currently a Real Estate Analyst at Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.
Prijo Thomas is a Director of Finance at NYU Langone Health within the School of Medicine. Prior to this role, he was an Analyst and then Associate at Goldman Sachs in Jersey City, NJ. He holds a Bachelors degree in Finance and Investments from Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College. In his current role, Prijo oversees the Finance team responsible for budgeting, fiscal management, forecasting, and strategic planning for the Research and Education Missions of the NYU School of Medicine. He is married to Jocin Thomas, an Associate Area Director for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in New York City.
Grace Yun is the Director of Support Services at a Unity Charter School in Brooklyn, NY, where she oversees the special populations programs for grades 6 through 9. Prior to this role, Grace taught students with special needs for 7 years. She also helped launch a Green Dot charter high school in Los Angeles as a member of the founding team. She has experience creating specially designed instruction for students with special needs in multiple content areas. Grace obtained her master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in education with a specialization in special education.
Brenda Frias is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, raised to believe in the importance of education and bicultural advocacy. She has experience in teaching and leading academic programs in school-settings, afterschool settings, and youth empowerment organizations. Currently, Brenda is a Younglife leader at Inwood Academy for Leadership, where she mentors high school students and organizes camping trips and activity clubs, and she directs the high school division of Pathways, a new, community-based mentorship program.
Saffiyah Gonzales Madraswala is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines and Pakistan. She grew up in Edison, NJ, graduated with a degree in women’s studies from Barnard College, and taught middle school reading and special education in New Orleans through Teach For America (TFA). She then joined TFA-NY as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, where she coached nearly 100 teachers in schools across New York City, before moving into a role focused on staff-facing development around diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI). She is currently a Managing Director of DEI Capacity Building and is pursuing an MA in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College.
Karishma Desai is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, whose research interests sit at the intersections of globalization, immigration, gender, teacher education, and curriculum. She has served as a teacher, instructional coach, staff developer, and consultant in elementary and middle school settings. At present, Karishma serves as a literacy and leadership consultant working with Unity Preparatory Charter School in Brooklyn. She is also co-leading an international educational development project in Zanzibar to enhance in-service teacher education policy focused on literacy.
Michael Dorcelly is a Community School Director at Frederick Douglass Academy II through a partnership with the Raising Educational Achievement Coalition of Harlem at Teachers College, Columbia University. He began his career in New York City public schools in 2013 by serving as a Leadership Trainer/Program Facilitator with the Leadership Program, Inc. Michael completed his undergraduate studies at William Paterson University, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English writing and interpersonal communication. He obtained his master’s degree in comparative and international education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Anupa Jacob is a Manager within the Assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP serving large public and non-public clients. Prior to this, she worked as a financial analyst for Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. She earned her Master in Business Administration from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and holds an active CPA license in the state of New York. She enjoys reading, travelling and being in the company of family and friends. She lives in Albertson, New York with her husband and son.
Debbie Thomas is a first generation Indian-American, born and raised in Queens, New York. She earned her undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law. Debbie has experience working with the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Department of Labor, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, litigating child abuse and neglect cases in Manhattan Family Court. Debbie is currently a Staff Attorney for the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and serves as a faculty member for the Administrative Judicial Institute, training faculty and newly hired Hearing Officers in substantive areas of law.
Chris Kong is a Sales Executive at Hanweck, a leading provider in options data and analytics. He began his career at Metlife before spending a number of years with Moody’s Analytics in various front office and sales roles. Chris graduated from Binghamton University where he studied Biology, and met his wife. In addition to his professional career, he is a father to 3 beautiful children, and an active member at a local church in Elmhurst, Queens.
Priscilla Walton is a relentless and deeply caring educator, seeking to serve students through a rich, holistic, and rigorous education. Her dedication is driven by the belief that all children are empowered when their sense of wonder is ignited by engaging curriculum. Priscilla has served as an educational leader in elementary and middle school settings, both district and charter. She has designed and directed instructional programs at the K-6 grade levels, as well as professional development both on school-wide and network-wide levels.