Faculty and Staff

 
 



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UAI Leadership Team

Kiri Soares as Principal heads up the school and the UAI Leadership team.  She works closely with administrators supervising operations, student affairs, and instruction.  Here she is with her team:

Kiri Soares, Principal.  (ext. 40111; kiris@uainstitute.org).  Kiri Soares co-founded the Urban Assembly of Math and Science for Young Women in 2006.  Targeting the gender disparity of women in STEM fields, through nurturing their interest and developing thier capabilities in math and science.  UAI pairs rigorous academic instruction with strong social emotional education to achieve this goal.  Kiri earned her BA in Philosophy & Education from UC Berkeley and completed two masters degrees (one in teaching from San Francisco State University and one in administration from Mercy College).  She has worked as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal in the NYCDOE since 1997.

Val Binyard, Assistant Principal of Operations. (ext. 30111; valb@uainstitute.org).  Val Binyard joined UAI in 2008 as a Special Education service provider.  From the start, Val dedicated her work to supporting our neediest students and working closely with her peers to develop strategies and interventions that could be used for all.  As the AP of Operations, Val supervises our Support Staff, ENL and SPED teams to ensure all of our students, especially those with extra needs receive the services and supports they need to achieve.  Additionally, Val supervises our next level guidance team to support our incoming students transition to 6th and 9th grade and to help our exiting students transition to high school or college.

Jen Cusa, Director of Student Affairs (ext. 40111: jenc@uainstitute.org). Jen Cusa is a licensed Master Social Worker and joined UAI in 2007.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy.  She went on to receive her masters Social Work from Hunter College. Jen’s work emphasizes the implementation of social emotional learning practices and creating school-wide policies that promote positive learning environments. Jen supervises our team of counselors, social workers, and deans to provide structured SEL support and disciplinary structures to ensure student success.  Building on this SEL work, Jen also supervises our parent coordinator to facilitate strong family-school relationships.


Colleen DiGuiseppe, Assistant Principal of Instruction (ext. 30111; colleend@uainstitute.org).  Colleen DiGuiseppe has been with UAI for her entire career beginning as the 6th grade Humanities teacher in UAI’s 2nd year.  While at UAI, she has taught 8th and 9th grade Humanities as well as 9th grade Reading. Colleen earned her BA in English from George Washington University (with a minor in creative writing and psychology) and went on to earn her masters in teaching from Columbia University’s Teachers College. After several successful years as a teacher team leader, Colleen went to Fordham University to earn her 2nd masters in administration and supervision.  As AP of Instruction, Colleen supervises all classroom teachers, coordinates professional learning, and provides adult learning experiences for teacher and staff growth.

UAI Operations – Next Level Guidance and Main Office Support Staff

Val Binyard supervises the team of professional who provide our staff and students with operational support and next level guidance.  Here is her team:

Next Level Guidance

Mara Tucker, College Counselor (ext. 83111; marat@uainstitute.org).  Mara Tucker became UAI’s Director of College Guidance and Programming in the fall of 2012.  Prior to that year, she was the Director of Development and Partnerships.  Since then, Mara has ushered each of our graduating classes into college, resulting in an 100% college acceptance, and a 89% matriculation rate. Mara graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Sience.  She received her Masters in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.  Mara manages all aspects of UAI’s college readiness activities and facilitates all college and financial aid processes.

Lauren McGuinness, Guidance Counselor & 6th Grade SEL teacher (ext. 20111; laurenm@uainstitute.org).  Lauren originally began as a Carrera Social Worker in 2012.  She largely worked with our middle school students providing mental health support.  After taking a year away from UAI, Lauren was happy to return to support our young students in developing SEL skills and strategies, and in providing next level guidance to recruit incoming students and help them acclimate to UAI and to help our matriculating students apply to high school.

Support Staff

George Nathaniel, Technology Coordinator (ext. 14241; georgen@uainstitute.org).  George joined UAI in the spring of 2016. As the father of a former alum, George has known UAI for quite some time. George provides tech support for both UAI and our sister school in the building, the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice.  With over 15 computing devices in each classroom plus all of the administrative equipment, George has his hands full at UAI trying to keep our young students plugged into 21st century learning!

Delmeter Carey, Purchasing and Payroll Secretary (ext. 14552; delc@uainstitute.org).  Del Carey is a founding member of UAI.  She has been supporting our school since the doors opened in 2006.  Del is responsible for all staf payroll, human resource support, and purchasing for teachers and staff at UAI.  As main office support, Del is one of the first faces you’ll see when you enter our office and one of the first voices you’ll hear when you call.  She is the proud mother of two amazing young men in college and is ready to happily help you whenver and for whatever you need!

Nancy Johansen, Pupil Accounting Secretary (ext. 14553; nancyj@uainstitute.org).  Nancy joined UAI in 2010.  She shares the main office support work with Del and provides our teachers and students with student accounting support (metrocards, updates to family contact information, medical record, lunch forms, and attendance).  Nancy is one of the first faces that welcome students and families to UAI (either via phone or in the main office).

UAI Student Affairs – Deans, Counselors, Partner Staff and Parent Engagement

Jen Cusa supervises & supports our team of talented and committed individuals who provide our students with learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.  Here is her team:

Deans

Annie Annunziato, Dean (ext. 50811; anniea@uainstitute.org).  Annie joined UAI in 2016 as a school dean.  A long-time Urban Assembly teacher, Annie is deeply familiar with our family of schools and the unique mission we all share in preparing students to graduate from both high school and college.  Annie works closely with Jen to help our students understand how to make strong, positive choices that further their academic goal and help them develop strong social-emotional skills. Annie also provides support to classroom teachers to establish strong classroom management practices and create effective learning environments.

Doris Twine, Dean & Senior Advisor (ext. 83121; dorist@uainstitute.org).  Doris joined UAI as a dean in 2011. She also works closely with each senior class to help them organize and execute all of the activities (including prom and graduation) that make their final year in school a memorable one.  Ms. Doris is the proud mother of her own teenage daughter, giving her a useful perspective on her daily work. Combining empathy with high expectations, Ms. Doris supports our young women to learn how to consistently make positive, pro-social decisions that lead to academic success and college readiness.

Brandon Johnson, Assistant Dean (ext. 30211; brandonj@uainstitute.org).  Brandon joined UAI in 2016 as an assistant dean.  Prior to joining UAI, Brandon worked as a teaching artist with the NYCDOE providing students with a wide variety of exposure to the arts including Capoeira, Afro-Brazilian music & dance and many other art forms.  Brandon supports our students SEL development during the day and works in our Girls Inc after school program to continue to share his skills and talents in various Girls Inc classes with our students.

Social Workers and Counselors

Marni Brand, Girls Inc. Social Worker (ext. 20121; marnib@uainstitute.org).  Marni first joined UAI as a social worker with the Carrera Treasure Academy in 2011.  Marni is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She graduated from the University of Massachussetts – Amherst with a BA in Psychology and received her MA in Social Work from NYU.  Marni began her career at Acorn Community High School in Brooklyn.  She has experience with diverse populations including college students, mentally ill adults, early intervention & court-mandated drug abusers.  Marni has a passion for helping her students navigate through adolescence.

Jennifer Jackson Robbins , Guidance Counselor (ext. 20131; jenniferjr@uainstitute.org). Jennifer Jackson Robbins has been supporitng our young women as their guidance counselor since 2009.  In addition to providing our students with IEPs with mandated counseling support, Jennifer also works with our incoming students to provide direct SEL instrution to help our students adjust and transition with strong, positive, pro-social skills.  Jennifer also coordinates Skedula and STARs support for the school, updating transcripts, running report cards, and keeping Skedula up to date.

Lori Lidofsky, Social Worker (ext 20121; loril@uainstitute.org).  Lori Lidofsky is a Licensed Master of Social Work at UAI.  She earned her BA in Communication and Rhetoric from SUNY Albany and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University.  She has been trained and certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Teen Intervene – A Brief INtervention with Substance Abusing Adolescents and attained a School Violence Prevention and Intervention Certificate.  Lori is working directly with our incoming 9th graders and our 10th graders to provide them with direct instruction in developing social-emotional skills, and successfully transition to high school. Lori is excited about her work to bring a strong SEL-based learning community to life at UAI.

Parent Outreach

Carol Jones, Parent Coordinator (ext. 14522; carolj@uainstitute.org).  Carol became UAI’s first parent coordinator in 2008.  In addition to working as a key liaison between school and the homes of our students, Carol also works to support teachers and staff in effectively communicating with parents and families.  Carol also works closely with our PTA president, Mr. McLean to develop and execute a variety of activities that bring parents into our building and engage parents in our students’ education and growth.

NeQuan McLean, PTA President (ext. 14542; nequanm@uainstitute.org).  Mr. McLean has been an actively involved parent at UAI for years.  In the last few years, as PTA president, Mr. McLean has worked tirelessly to transform the level of parent engagement at UAI.  Mr. McLean spearheaded to team to launch our fundraising activities and to develop events like “Bring Your Father to School Day” and “Health & Beauty Day with Mom” to foster strong relationships between families and school.  Mr. McLean volunteers at UAI two days a week and is always available via email.

Partner Staff

Girls Inc.

Kree Cason, Girls Inc Program Director (ext. 30431; kree@girlsincnyc.org).  Kree has been running Girls Inc programs at UAI for many years.  As Program Director, Kree supervises both in-day and after school Girls Inc activities.  In addition, Kree works tirelessly to find opportunities for our young girls, their families, and our staff that complement the programs and activities of our academic offerings.  With her leadership in partnership with UAI, our young women will grow to be strong, smart and bold!


Jade Trevino, Program Coordinator (ext 30441; jade@girlsincnyc.org).  Jade coordinate program specialists and after school logistics for Girls Inc Programs.  As program coordinator, Jade manages all new after school applications and works directly with Kree to set up program offerings and student opportunites throughout the year. Jade also tracks and compiles reports on our after school programs for DYCD.

Basya Prabhu, Program Specialist (ext. 30411; basya@girlsincnyc.org).  Basya joined UAI Girls Inc. in 2015.  Working with our Carrera Partners, Basya provides our middle school students with Carrera Family Life and Sex Education Instruction.  Additionally, as a program specialist, Basya provides after school instruction in a variety of programs.

Vanessa Santiago, Program Specialist (ext. 30421: vanessa@girlsincnyc.org).  Vanessa joined UAI Girls Inc. in 2016 to provide in-day and after school instruction for our middle school students. Along with Basya, Vanessa supports our young girls’ instruction in FLSE.

Dre Thomas, Program Specialist (ext. 30411: dthomas@girlsincnyc.org).  Dre has been working in Girls Inc After since 2014.  Starting in 2016, Dre moved to in-day and after school support providing college readiness, and computer programming instruction to our students.  Dre works with our girls to develop their coding capabilities, making them truly Girls Who Code!

Carrera

Alyssa Robbins, Carrera Family Life & Sex Educator (ext. 40411; alyssar@uainstitute.org). This is Alyssa’s 5th year at UAI as a Carrera FLSE teacher. This year Alyssa and Wazina are joining forces with Girls Inc. to train Girls Inc facilitators in delivering the powerful FLSE curriculum and provide counseling support for our young girls as they struggle with difficult choices in health, hygiene, relationships, and a host of challenging choices.

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

Wazina Zondon, Carrera Family Life & Sex Educator (ext. 40411; wazinaz@uainstitute.org). Wazina is one of our Family Life and Sexuality Educators in her 8th year at UAI. In her role, she works alongside her students to understand that holistic sexuality – from self esteem to relationships and everything in between –  is a natural and healthy part of their lives and to equip them with tools to navigate it during their time at UAI and after. Wazina has been in the field of sexuality education and training for over 10 years. When she is not at UAI, she works on issues related to intersectional identities and social justice, co-performs a storytelling performance on the theme of faith and sexuality and has a silly yet informative sexuality podcast.

UAI Instructional Staff – Teachers and Paraprofessionals

Colleen DiGuiseppe supervises all instructional staff and provides observational feedback and professional development support to improve the quality of instruction at UAI.

Math Department

Cherry Reid, 7th & 8th Grade Math (ext. 30311; cherryr@uainstitute.org). Cherry C. Reid began teaching in 2010 and in 2016, joined UAI. She earned her undergraduate degree in Accounting at SUNY Albany in 2004. She later earned a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College in 2009. After working a year as a pre-K teacher and a middle school math tutor, Cherry returned to Brooklyn College to earn a Masters Degree in Mathematics 5-9 in 2012. She entered the NYC Department of Education in 2012 as a middle school Math teacher. When she isn’t assisting children in developing an understanding of and removing the “fear” out of math, Cherry enjoys jigsaw puzzles and reading the work of Nora Roberts.


Danielle Romano, 10th Grade Geometry & 12th Grade Statistics (ext. 51111; danieller@uainstitute.org).  Danielle began as a student teacher at UAI in 2011.  Danielle quickly adapted UAI’s learning formats to maximize student engagement and access into complex math concepts. As a peer instructional coach, Danielle works with her colleagues to develop practice and pedagogy so all students at UAI have stronger and more engaging classroom learning experiences.

Jamie Ross, 9th Grade CC Algebra (ext. 40511; jamier@uainstitute.org).  Jamie began at UAI as a student teacher in 2012.  Currently, she is a peer instructional coach and mentor to new teachers and continues to inspire students in math as our 9th grade CC Algebra teacher.  Along with other UAI teachers, Jamie participated in Stanford’s Hollyhock teacher development program.  She brings this professional development experience to life in her classroom and in her work with her peers.



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


Matthew Turner, 6th Grade Math (ext. 30911; matthewt@uainstitute.org). Matthew began teaching in the Bronx in 2014.  Matthew has a passion for helping our youngest learners develop their excitement about math.  He is dedicated to improving his practice, implementing feedback and advice that he actively seeks out from peers. Matthew also works in our after school program with Girls Inc training our middle school students how to become young engineers via Lego Robotics. 






Science Department

Alison Green, 6th Grade Science (ext. 30911; alisong@uainstitute.org).  Alison began teaching in NYC public schools over 10 years ago.  Five years into teaching, Alison joined UAI as a middle school math and science teacher.  Over the years, Alison has served a mentor and coach for the NYCDOE teaching fellows program, and she now brings that expertise to UAI as a peer instructional coach.  Her work with her fellow teachers has elevated practice in the classrooms and improved learning experiences for students beyond her own classroom.  As the lead teacher of our partnership with Urban Advantage, Alison brings a wealth of resources and experiences in science education to our school, our students, and their families.

Meaghan Haugaard, 7th & 8th Grade Living Environment (ext. 31511; meaghanh@uainstitute.org).  Meaghan joined UAI in the fall of 2016 after beginning her career as a NYC public school teacher the year before.  She has a natural enthusiasm and exuberance for science that inspires our middle school students to be curious and engaged!  With a special education background, Meaghan is particularly skilled in supporting our learners who struggle the most and creates lessons and resources to promote learning and engagement for all.

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


Thomas Wilson, 10th Grade Earth Science & 12th Grade Environmental Science (ext. 41511; thomasw@uainstitute.org). Thomas Wilson is the10th grade Earth science teacher who began his first year at UAI in the fall of 2015. In 2008 Thomas began his BA in Earth science and secondary education at Dowling College in Long Island, New York. In 2010 Thomas moved to New Zealand where he studied volcanology and glaciology at Auckland University of Technology- a partner university of Dowling College. Shortly before Thomas graduated from Dowling in 2012, he studied geosciences abroad in Iceland and Italy during his last semester. In 2013 Thomas began his teaching career in the Peace Corps. Throughout his two year service in rural Malawi, Thomas taught geography, Earth science and life skills at a Community Day Secondary School.

English Department

Michelle Babick, English Language Learner Support (ext. 14711; michelleb@uainstitute.org). Michelle is began teaching in 2011 and joined UAI in 2014.  Michelle provides language support services for all of our students who are learning English. Michelle graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, and has a strong love for cats.

Rebecca Candela, 9th Grade Reading (ext. 40911; rebeccac@uainstitute.org).  Rebecca began as a teacher in NYCDOE in 2004. She joined UAI in 2008.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a major in Social Studies and a minor in Language Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.  She moved to NYC to pursue her career in education and began teaching 7th grade ELA at I.S. 347 in Brooklyn.  She earned her Masters Degree in Literacy Acquisition Grades 5-12 at City College of New York.  She is certified in English and Literacy Acquisition and has experience teaching 5th -10th grade.  As a peer coach, Rebecca works with the peer coaches and administration team to develop systems and structures that best support teacher practice.


Ilyana Contreras, 11th/12th Grade English Teacher (ext. 85311; ilyanac@uainstitute.org). Ilyana began teaching in New York City in 2010  and started with UAI in 2012. As the English team leader, peer coach, and AP coordinator, Ilyana has worked to create a sense of cohesion and rigor for her department and grade teams. In conjunction with several UAI colleagues, lyana studied at Stanford University, participating in the Hollyhock Fellowship program. Along with teachers in the UAI middle school, Ilyana also received a fellowship through Fund for Teachers to travel through South Africa to study gender and socioeconomic issues in the country. Constantly looking to expand her capabilities, Ilyana brings her new learnings back to the community in her work as a peer coach and in her excellence in the classroom.


Kristina Coriarty, 7th & 8th Grade Writing (ext. 30711; kristinac@uainstitute.org).  Kristina began at UAI in 2016 as a middle school English teacher, focusing on writing.  Kristina challenges our 7th & 8th graders by introducing them to a wide variety of writing genres that they can manipulate for their own writing purposes.  Kristina uses collaborative groups to build community and help students provide actionable, standards-aligned feedback to their peers so that everyone’s writing improves.  In so doing, Kristina works hard to prepare our oldest middle school students for high school.

Marsha Derice, 7th & 8th Grade Reading (ext. 30511; marshad@uainstitute.org).  Marsha joined UAI in middle school humanities in 2013 after 4 years of teaching in NYC public schools. Marsha works with her peers as an instructional coach to support their development and improve English instruction across the middle school. Marsha is committed to the mission and vision of UAI and works tirelessly to help her students and her peers towards achieving it!

Cassandra Guerrier, 9th Grade Writing (ext. 40911; cassandrag@uainstitute.org). Cassandra began teaching at UAI in 2016.  Prior to teacher, Cassandra was an editor and writer with a passion for lifestyle (women’s issues, mental health), education, fashion, beauty and love/relationships. She also had experience with videos/multimedia and spent a lot of time analyzing the latest YouTube and viral trends.. As the 9th grade writing teacher, Cassandra aims to create fun and engaging content, while helping students develop the writing skills necessary to thrive in high school and beyond.

Lauren Haynes, 6th Grade Writing (ext. 31111; laurenha@uainstitute.org).  Lauren began teaching at UAI in 2016.  As the 6th grade writing teacher, Lauren focuses on transitioning the elementary level literacy skills of our newest students to secondary expectations.  Lauren earned her BA in English Literature and Foreign Language (French and Russian) from Chesnut Hill Collegeand is currently working towards her Masters degree in teaching at CUNY Brooklyn College.

Kerry Smith, 10th & 12th Grade English (ext. 40311; kerrys@uainstitute.org).  Kerry began teaching UAI as a student teacher 2014. She spent her first two years teaching 9th grade ICT. Currently, she is teaching 10th and 12th grade ELA for the 2016 – 2017 school year. Kerry completed her teaching degree in English Education at the State University of New York at Oneonta and she is completing her Masters in Literacy at the City College of New York. Currently, she is participating in a teaching fellowship at Stanford University with several of her UAI colleges. Kerry is looking forward to another great school year at UAI !!


Social Studies Department

Brodie Crawford, 11th Grade US History & 12th Grade Participation in Government/Economics (ext. 84529; brodiec@uainstittue.org).  Brodie began as a first year teacher at UAI in 2007, having come to UAI as a career changer in the school’s second year.  After 4 years as 7th grade Humanities teacher, Brodie moved to the high school, where he has been teaching 11th Grade US History & Government and 12th Grade Economics/Participation in Government.   After completing a BA in History at Loyola University in Maryland, Brodie attended graduate school at University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he earned a MPhil. in Modern History.  After returning to the States and spending several years in the media business, Brodie completed his teaching credential at Brooklyn College.  Along with several UAI colleagues, Brodie participated in Stanford’s Hollyhock teacher development program.


Natalie Rudolph, 7th & 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher (ext. 20511; natalier@uainstitute.org).  Natalie originally joined UAI 2014 as a Job Clob teacher for our Carrera Treasure Academy partner.  At the end of that year, Natalie joined the UAI staff to teach English in the middle school.  Natalie can be found in room 205A teaching history to our 7th and 8th graders this year.

Michael Stuart, 9th Grade Global (ext. 50711; michaels@uainstitute.org). Michael Stuart began as a student teacher at UAI in 2012 and has been with UAI since 2013. Currently, he is the 9th grade Global History teacher. He received his undergraduate degree from New York University with a major in History, and went on to earn his Masters degree from Fordham University with a dual certification in Adolescence and Special Education.

Suzannah Tartan, 10th Grade Global II and 12th Grade Participation in Government & Economics.  After years of teaching in Japan, Suzannah returned to the states to get her teaching degree in history.  She joined UAI in the fall of 2016 as the 10th grade Global and 12th Grade history teacher.  She is passionate about bringing a justice lens to history to invigorate and engage her students.  Suzannah spent two years learning about UAI while working towards her teaching degree.  Her first year, she shadowed students as part of her course project, and in 2015 she returned to UAI to complete her student teaching.  She is committed to UAI and is excited to continue her teaching journey with our young women.

Language Department

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


Anna Avino, 11th and 12th Grade Spanish (ext. 84311; annaa@uainstitute.org).  Anna first taught at UAI as a student teacher and Carrera Treasure Academy tutor from 2009-2011, and she returned to UAI as a full time teacher in 2014. She has degrees in teaching Spanish and Students with Special Needs from NYU and Brooklyn College. Anna brings with her a variety of experiences from her four years teaching Spanish, English, history, and music classes in multiple NYC high schools. She also has a long history of working privately with violin and viola students as well as English Language Learners.



Special Education Department

Erick Casanova, 9th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching and 9th Grade Reading (ext. 40911; erickc@uainstitute.org).  Erick began as NYC teacher in 2015 and joined UAI in the spring of his first year. He is thrilled to be part of the UAI family. He began teaching as a NYC Teaching Fellow. His background includes Art&Technology (working for stockmedia startups), Social Work (as a Work Readiness Specialist and Career Advisor), and Theatre (Writing, Directing, and Performing). Erick holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The New School (in partnership with The American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and is completing a Masters in Special Education at Long Island University. He is a fan of passionate students, devoted teachers, musical theatre, and ice cream.


Christina Choi, 7th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching,  7th Grade Reading and Special Education Coordinator  (ext. 20514; christinac@uainstitute.org).  Christina works with our 7th graders supporting their learning in our middle school ICT classes.  As one of our two special education coordinator,s Christina writes student IEPs, coordinate sAnnual Review team, and liaises with members of our school based support team.  Christina is the proud mommy of a beautiful daughter.

Phillan Greaves, 6th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching and 6th Grade Reading (ext. 31111; phillang@uainstitute.org).  Phillan joined UAI in 2011 as a special education provider.  Prior to UAI she had been teaching in NYC public schools for 2 years.  Phillan is passionate about helping our younger and most struggling students succeed and grow.  Phillan is also passionate about social justice and helping our young women develop a voice to speak out against bias and injustice in their lives.  Through exposing students to a wide variety of literature and genres to broaden our youngest students perspectives and develop their thinking to the world around them.

Martine Mercier, 12th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching and 12th Grade Chemistry.  Martine joined UAI in 2010 in her 3rd year of teaching.  As a special education provider, Martine excelled at helping her co-teachers modify high school curriculum to accommodate a wide variety of learning needs.  After several years with the incoming 9th graders (and one year as a dean), Martine returns to work with the seniors, preparing our students for college and beyond.

Kristin Negele, 10th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching (Global and Earth Science) (ext. 41511; kristinn@uainstitute.org). Kristin’s first year at UAI was 2014.  She quickly learned how to use UAI’s instructional formats to support our students who struggle the most. Kristin completed her undergraduate studies at Kent State University and has two masters degrees – one in Visual Culture from NYU and a M.Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. On the weekends you will most likely find her on a bike.

Tiffany Richards, 10th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching (English) and 10th Grade Geometry (ext. 51111: tiffanyr@uainstitute.org).  Tiffany began teaching in Brooklyn in 2013 and joined UAI in the fall of 2016.  As a special education provider, Tiffany is committed to supporting our students who have the biggest learning difficulties. She helps them face new challenges and overcome obstacles through her nurturing approach paired with high expectations.  Perseverance and grit are her go-to resources for both herself and her students.

Joanna Tirone, 8th Grade Integrated Co-Teaching and 8th Grade Writing (ext. 20514; joannat@uainstitute.org).  Joanna joined UAI in 2011 as a special education and ELL service provider.  Since then, she has dedicated her work to collaborating with her co-teachers to build resources and adapt lessons to better address the individual learning needs of our students with IEPs and our students who are still learning to master English.  In 2015, Joanna took on the challenge of coordinating schoolwide assessment and has been doing a beautiful job ever since!
Physical Education, Dance, Movement and Art.



Juelle Washington, Paraprofessioal (juellew@uainstitute.org). Juelle joined UAI in 2010 to provide direct support to individual and small groups of students. Juelle is committed to supporting all students. This year Juelle splits her time between the middle and high school providing one-to-one services for students in the classroom.












Physical Education, Movement, Dance, and Art

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

Sursattie Hariprashad, Dance (ext. 50311; sursattieh@uainstitute.org).  Sursattie joined our school staff in 2015 to teach middle school physical education and health.  After years of teaching at SLJ, Sursattie decided to join UAI to expand her skills in working with a single-gender population of students.  This year Sursattie will focus her instruction on Dance for grades 6-12.











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