Fifth Grade CTT Teacher
Emily Adams is the Fifth Grade CTT Teacher and Grade Level Leader at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She works to lead all students to obtain an excellent education and love learning. Emily joined Public Prep in 2011. Emily obtained her bachelors degree in Human Development with teacher certification from Washington College. She then went on to complete her masters degree in Special Education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, Emily taught at Media Arts and Entertainment High School in Los Angeles while completing her two year Teach for America commitment.
Fifth Grade Mathematics Teacher
Laelena Brooks is the Fifth Grade Mathematics Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School . She is co-advising a fifth grade group as well as teaching all fifth graders math and helping them excel in problem solving, critical thinking, and foundations of mathematics. In addition, she is leading a theater club after school. Laelena joined Public Prep in 2013. Laelena attended Occidental College and graduated with a degree in Economics. She received her teaching credential and Masters in Education at Mills College in Oakland, CA. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, Laelena taught at Leadership Public Schools in Richmond, CA. She is very excited to be working in a such a wonderful, caring community of educators and learners.
Sixth Grade ELA and Vocabulary Teacher
Alex Cardasis is the Sixth Grade ELA Teacher and Vocabulary at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She is passionate about inspiring our students to achieve their potential as readers and writers in a global society. Alex graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Political Science and English Literature, after which she earned her master’s degree in education through the New York City Teaching Fellows. Alex joined Public Prep in 2012; prior to that she taught at schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Seventh and Eighth Grade Humanities Collaborative Team Teacher
Leigh Conner is the Seventh and Eighth Grade Humanities CTT Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Leigh co-teaches eighth grade English, seventh grade English, and seventh grade Social Studies. Leigh joined Public Prep in 2012. Leigh attended Northern Arizona University and received a bachelors degree in Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology and received a masters degree in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Leigh taught English within the Special Education Department to grades 9, 10, and 12 at Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles as a Teach For America corps member.
Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher
Snehal Desai is the Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. In her role she works with sixth graders to build joy and conceptual understanding in mathematics. She has been with Public Prep since 2011. Snehal attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with a BA in Political Science and Anthropology. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, Snehal taught seventh and eighth grade math at the Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation. Snehal is in her sixth year of teaching.
Eighth Grade ELA Teacher
Michael Farkosh is the Eighth Grade ELA Teacher, the Humanities Department Chair, and a part of the Instructional Leadership Team at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Michael joined Public Prep in 2011. Michael left the scorching sun of the Phoenix desert for the greatest city in the world, where he has been teaching middle school ELA since 2008. Michael is a proud graduate of Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland). He earned his B.A. from Arizona State University magna cum laude before joining Teach For America in Phoenix. There he taught high school English and coached swimming and women’s tennis, while completing a master’s degree in secondary education.
Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher
Rob Gilson is the Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School and helps steer its Mathletes Club. He joined Public Prep in 2011, teaching seventh grade mathematics. He earned his Master's Degree in Mathematics Education from City College New York, and is certified in grades 5 - 9. He also earned a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cincinnati and matriculated at Georgetown University, Xavier University, and Union Institute and University en route to his BA in Business. Rob has taught middle school mathematics in New York City since 2007. Before that, he designed and managed programs in inner-city Cincinnati to support children by co-creating projects in which they could beautify and enrich their communities.
Seventh Grade Mathematics Teacher
Leah Harris is the Seventh Grade Mathematics Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Leah joined Public Prep in 2013 and she is excited to be a part of the Girls Prep team and family. Leah studied French Language and Literature and Economics at Kalamazoo College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. She joined Teach for America in 2004 and earned her Masters in Education from Lehman College. Leah taught grades 5-8 math before moving into the role as an Academic Dean of Math and Science at her previous school. She is excited to be back in the classroom working with Common Core standards.
Fifth Grade ELA Teacher
Kate Johnson is the Fifth Grade ELA Teacher and Co-Grade Level Team Leader at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Kate joined Public Prep in 2011 teaching young scholars the importance of reading rigorous texts of all genres, while also being able to analyze, speak, and write about rigorous texts. Kate attended the University of Missouri graduating magna cum laude with a degree in elementary education. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, Kate gained knowledge and experience working with elementary and middle school students in other New York City area charter schools as a substitute teacher.
Sixth and Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher
Leslie Keller is the Sixth and Seventh Grade History Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She leads the sixth grade team and is a member of the Teacher Leader Task Force. She joined Public Prep in 2010. Leslie attended the University of Vermont where she earned a degree in Political Science with a minor in Speech and Debate. She also attended the University of Vermont Master's program for Middle Level Education. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep LES Middle School Leslie taught for two years in Milton, Vermont teaching 7th and 8th grade Humanities. She also coached debate at the high school level.
Eighth Grade CTT Teacher
Rickeena Richards is the Eighth Grade CTT Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She joined Public Prep in 2013 after teaching in self-contained and inclusive classroom settings at middle schools in the South Bronx. As a special education teacher, Rickeena considers all students’ learning styles and needs to nurture their academic development. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Communication and African American Studies from Saint Louis University in 2007, and a master’s degree in Teaching from Fordham University in 2013. Prior to relocating from St. Louis to New York City to begin her teaching career, Rickeena worked as an education reporter at a daily newspaper in the St. Louis area. Rickeena enjoys providing the young women of Girls Prep with an empowering educational experience similar to the one she was fortunate enough to have at an all-girl high school (St. Teresa’s Academy) in her hometown of Kansas City, MO.
Fifth and Sixth Grade Science Teacher
Sable Mensah is the Fifth and Sixth Grade Science Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She joined Public Prep in 2013. In her role, she co-creates and implements science education that will take Girls Prep scholars (and our society) to the next age in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Sable Mensah attended Swarthmore College, with a degree in Black Studies and History and Relay Graduate School of Education, with a degree Childhood Education. Prior to joining Girls Prep Sable taught at Excellence Girls Charter School in Brooklyn, NY.
Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher
Alex Perl is the Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. In this role, she teaches one section of eighth grade math this year. Alex joined Public Prep in 2012, and she is incredibly excited to work with the students. Alex attended Barnard College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and recently completed a Master's Degree in Teaching. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, she taught middle school mathematics in Brooklyn and Minnesota. She loves math and hopes to instill this passion in all of her students.
Fifth and Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher
Jennie Reist is the Fifth and Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Jennie joined Public Prep in 2012. She has a Master's Degree in teaching ESL from Lehman College and a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Social Studies from Penn State University. Prior to teaching at Girls Prep, Jennie taught Global History at Academy for Young Writers in Brooklyn, NY.
Seventh Grade ELA Teacher
Sara Walsh is the Seventh Grade ELA Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Sara joined Public Prep in 2013. Sarah brings experience from her role as a high school social studies instructor--mainly of AP United States History and AP Human Geography--in both Jacksonville, Florida and Boston, Massachusetts. She is happy that this prior experience can inform how she instructs seventh graders in the subject area of ELA. After attending Binghamton University and receiving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and cinema studies, Sara did some relocating, traveling, and working. Sara then returned to her hometown of Rochester, NY where she went to St. John Fisher College for her master’s degree in adolescent social studies education.
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Thurmeka Ward is the Learning Specialist at Girls Prep LES Middle School. In her role, Thurmeka provides academic intervention services to students in grades 5-8. Thurmeka also advocates for students' needs and acquires supports for students through collaboration with the classroom teacher and service providers. Thurmeka joined Public Prep in 2013, and she is very excited to be a new member of the Girl's Prep team. She attended St. John's University in Queens, NY with a BA in Psychology. After graduating from undergrad, she joined Teach For America New York and received her Masters degree in Childhood General and Special Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York. Thurmeka taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grade ELA, Math and Social Studies in the Bronx for several years. Prior to joining the Girls Prep team, she taught fourth grade at a charter school in New Jersey. Thurmeka believes that every student is able to experience success.
Technology and Innovation Coordinator
Amy Hobson is the Technology and Innovation Coordinator at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She joined Public Prep in 2011. Amy Hobson has earned a BA in Photography from St. Edward's University and a MS in Education/Special Education from Touro College. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Amy taught technology in elementary school settings in Austin, TX and in Brooklyn. She also taught conversational English and Reading in a Japanese high school in Sasebo, Japan. Before becoming a teacher, Amy worked as a graphic designer/editor for the Special Education Department at the Texas Education Agency and spent a year as a pastry chef in a restaurant she helped establish in Doylestown, PA.
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Jennifer DeStefano Camacho
Jennifer DeStefano Camacho is the Spanish and English as a Second Language Teacher for Grades 5-8 at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Jennifer joined Girls Prep in 2012. Jennifer previously taught Spanish at the high school level as well as ESL to children and professional adults. This has allowed her to truly appreciate the importance of students developing a better world understanding through language. She believes that it is important for us to have empathy for one another, especially culturally, and is eager to instill those moral values in her students while supporting them in their acquisition of a second language. Jennifer studied at Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay, and earned a B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education from St. Joseph’s College. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in the TESOL program at Hunter College.
Physical Education & Health
Kristine Ferreira is the Physical Education and Health Teacher at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She joined the Public Prep in 2012. This past school year she earned Girls Prep Middle School two grants; the Acceleration Grant to launch the Just Move initiative and the Presidential Youth Fitness Program Inaugural funding to help assist with implementation of the FITNESSGRAM. Kristine was a competitive cheerleader and dancer whose high school team won national championships and was featured on ESPN, Travel Channel, and Good Morning America. Her athleticism grew when she became a certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer. She continues to teach at various fitness facilities in many formats of exercise such as Zumba and Kickboxing. Kristine achieved her bachelors degree at SUNY College at Oneonta and is close to completing her masters degree in both Physical Education and Health from Queens College. She is very passionate at teaching the HealthSmart curriculum and providing our scholars with fun and special events such as Zumbathons, field day, and Move Your Body.
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Kaitlin Seaver is the Principal at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Kaitlin joined Public Prep in 2011. Having graduated from an all-girls middle and high school, Kaitlin believes deeply in Public Prep’s mission to empower all students to become critical thinkers and strong leaders. After graduating from Georgetown University (magna cum laude), Kaitlin joined Teach for America and taught seventh and eighth grade English in Newark, New Jersey. Kaitlin later served as a KIPP sixth grade English teacher and dean of students and as a district middle school assistant principal and director of instruction. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Kaitlin completed her Master’s degree in School Leadership and led a graduate course and national institute about data-driven instruction for teachers, principals, and district superintendents. Kaitlin also won the Harvard University Leadership in Education Award. As the Department of Education’s Lead Senior Instructional Coach of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Pilots, Kaitlin coached 21 New York City middle schools to create CCSS-aligned, curriculum-embedded performance assessments. Kaitlin guided school leaders to build capacity and collaborative team structures to create the instructional and curricular coherence needed for students to meet the demands of these more rigorous standards.
Director of Curriculum and Assessment
Lacy Reed is the Director of Curriculum and Assessment at Girls Prep LES Middle School . She joined Public Prep in 2011. Lacy Reed graduated from The College of the Holy Cross with a degree in Women and Gender Studies and Columbia University with a degree in literacy. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Lacy taught in Hartford, Connecticut and Brooklyn, New York.
Learning Specialist Coordinator
Kaitlyn Hamilton is the Special Education Coordinator at Girls Prep LES Middle School . In her role, she works to ensure all students are receiving an exceptional education that is inclusive, responsive and strengths-based. She is part of the Instructional Leadership team, seventh grade level team, and Child Study Team and has coached basketball and Girls on the Run. She joined Public Prep in 2011. Kaitlyn attended Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Northwestern University and Hunter College with Masters degrees in both Family counseling and Education (specializing in students with disabilities). Prior to joining Girls Prep, Kaitlyn worked for Children’s Home and Aid as a family counselor in Illinois and in 2 district schools in NYC as a Special Education teacher.
Math and Science Instructional Coach
Aggie Amaral is the STEM Department Chair and the Math and Science Instructional Coach at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Aggie works directly with teachers to provide data-driven professional development, planning and instructional support. She joined Public Prep in 2011 as a math and science teacher. Aggie attended Mercy College earning a B.S. in psychology with a minor in childhood education and a M.S. in Literacy. Prior to joining Girls Prep Aggie spent five years teaching fifth and sixth grade math in Washington Heights including one year as a school lead in the NYC Common Core State Standards (CCSS) pilot. Aggie is passionate about making mathematics accessible and inspiring to all learners.
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Director of Student and Family Affairs
Lisselot Monegro is the Director of Student and Family Affairs at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She manages and oversees the support for student and family affairs. She works closely with the staff to support teacher-student and teacher-parent communication and relationship building. Lisselot joined Public Prep in 2007. Prior to working at Girls Prep, Lisselot worked at Edison Schools on the administrative team for six years. Lisselot is bilingual in English and Spanish and chose to work at Girls Prep because it allows her to make a big difference for the children and families she serves.
Emily George is the School Counselor at Girls Prep LES Middle School. Emily joined Public Prep in 2011. Emily focuses on supporting the social and emotional needs of students and their families in order to enhance academic success. She is a member of the Student Support and School Leadership Teams. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual degree in Psychology and French. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, Emily received her Master of Science in Education from Hunter College. Following her years teaching at P.S. 101 in East Harlem, she returned to graduate school to complete her Master of Social Work at NYU. Emily then worked as School Social Worker at Ross Global Academy Charter School, and joined the Girls Prep LES Middle School team in 2011.
Raisa Capellan is the Family Coordinator at Girls Prep LES Middle School where she supports families by engaging them in every part of their scholar’s education! Raisa has been with Public Prep since 2010. Raisa attended Utica College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She is now at Long Island University earning her Master’s degree in Public Administration. Joining Girls Prep was Raisa’s first out of college job and has learned so much from her experience here.
Director fo High School Admissions and College Completion
Alex Newfield is excited to continue her work as the Director of High School Admissions & College Completion. Alex joined the Girls Prep Middle School team in 2012. In her role, Alex strategically designs and leads our College Knowledge curriculum, high school admissions advising work with students and families, and develops external partnerships to support our girls on the road to and through high school and college. Alex earned a BA in English from St. Michael's College before moving back to New York City to join the NYC Teaching Fellows. After earning a MA in Secondary English Education and teaching in public high schools for several years, she transitioned into counseling and admissions while attending NYU for a MA in School Counseling & Guidance.
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Danielle Keen Tschirhart
Director of Operations
Danielle Keen Tschirhart is the Director of Operations at Girls Prep LES Middle School. She supports instruction from a logistical and operational stance and also manages the school's finances, human resources, facilities maintenance, technology and compliance, as well as overseeing and supporting the school operations team. Danielle joined Public Prep in 2013. Danielle earned a Masters of Public Administration dual-degree from Columbia University and Sciences-Po Paris. In addition, she holds degrees in secondary education and international studies. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Danielle worked as a charter school evaluator and authorizer at the SUNY Charter Schools Institute and completed international development and education consulting projects for the World Food Programme, Pencils of Promise and other non-profit organizations. She began her career with Teach for America, teaching 8th grade in East Harlem and the Bronx.
Annette Rios is the Office Manager at Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School. In her role she will assist with daily operations, purchasing, staff technology, and student-related support. Annette joined Public Prep in 2013. Annette attended Texas State University and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Annette worked for three years at a non-profit which supports children with disabilities.
Cynthia Montalvois the Administrative Assistant of Girls Prep LES Middle School. Cynthia joined Public Prep in 2011. Prior to working at Girls Prep, Cynthia worked with the Department of Education for over thirteen years. Cynthia is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in School Counseling. Upon graduation she hopes to continue with the Girls Prep Family as a school counselor.
Tiffani is the School Aide at Girls Prep LES Middle School after joining Public Prep in 2012. As a school aide, she provides additional support to both teachers, students, and the student support staff. Tiffani graduated with a bachelor's degree in Sociology at the College of Mount St. Vincent in May 2011. Prior to joining Girls Prep, Tiffani worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side. She has a variety of experiences in working with the youth through her volunteer work within her community.
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