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MCS Staff News: Departures, Transitions and Additions for 2018-2019

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Every year at this time we prepare to say goodbye to a few members of the Manhattan Country School community and welcome some new members in the fall.

This year:

  • Flannery Denny, Upper School math coordinator, is moving to Louisiana.
  • Kerry Devine, 7-8s head teacher, is starting a new teaching position at Corlears School.
  • Lynn Haroldson, textiles teacher, is retiring after 35 years at MCS.
  • Chloe Morin, assistant to the Lower and Upper School directors, is moving to California.
  • Joe Paine, assistant cook, is moving back to Maine to study to become a teacher.
  • Katie Patterson, school nurse, is moving to the Boston area with her family.
  • Gregory Rubin, 5-6s assistant, will be teaching in public school.
  • Karen Zaidberg, sixth-grade teacher, is moving to Seattle and will be teaching at Overlake School.
  • Amabel Japitana, 6-7s assistant, and Ambreen Satia, 7-8s assistant, are leaving MCS, but have not yet finalized their future plans.

The following staff members will be taking on new roles in the fall:

  • Gregory Bednarsh ’07, farm-based education intern and MCS alumnus, is joining the MCS Kitchen staff as the kitchen assistant.
  • Romina Dedvukaj, kitchen assistant, is stepping into the role of assistant cook.
  • Max Fletcher, 6-7s assistant, is moving into a 7-8s co-head teacher role.
  • Donna McDaniel, cooking teacher, is moving into the position of textiles teacher at the Farm
  • Dawn Newman ’98, Lower School resource teacher, will be back in a part-time position.

We are excited to welcome the following people to the MCS staff this fall:

Stephanie Bloom, School Nurse

Stephanie has nursing degrees from Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a nurse for more than 20 years and a nurse practitioner since 2005. For much of her nursing career, she has focused on intensive care and neurology. Most recently she worked as a school nurse at Trinity School, where she fell in love with school nursing.

Gillian Christian, Lower School Assistant

Gillian is an elementary educator, certified literacy specialist, and a Spanish-language and TESOL educator. During her undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, she worked as a teacher aide and English tutor for low-income children in Seville, Spain, in addition to working as a summer camp counselor in New Jersey. She completed her undergraduate student teaching in a bilingual second-grade class at a Title I school in Illinois, where she designed and taught lessons in both Spanish and English before graduating in May 2016 with a dual degree in childhood education and Spanish-language education. Straight from college, Gillian relocated to New York City to enroll at Teachers College, Columbia University, from which she just graduated with a master of arts, literacy specialist degree. During her time in graduate school, she worked as an associate teacher in first- and third-grade classrooms at The School at Columbia University.

Jessica Contreras, 8-9s Head Teacher

Jessica is an elementary educator with 12 years of experience teaching in New York City classrooms. After graduating from SUNY New Paltz with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 2005, Jessica honed her skills in numerous schools and summer camps. At the International School of Brooklyn, she created and implemented a summer arts-based Spanish-immersion curriculum for children ages 4-to-10 years old. In 2010, she began working as an assistant teacher at Friends Seminary, in both kindergarten and first grade classrooms. In 2013 Jessica graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a master’s degree in childhood education, and soon after began teaching at Williamsburg Northside Schools (WNS), launching the first third-grade classroom as the school expanded. As the first third-grade head teacher, she developed and shaped the student-centered curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Additionally, while at WNS she served as the school’s service learning coordinator and also as a founding member of the Inclusivity Task Force.

Rosalinda Glennon, 7-8s Co-Head Teacher

Rosalinda is an elementary and visual-arts educator with more than five years of experience teaching in both public and independent schools. Rosalinda graduated from The City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education in 2012, and subsequently worked as a surface design instructor for a summer arts program and as assistant art teacher in a K-5 New York City public school. For two years she taught at The Dalton School as an kindergarten associate teacher, where she integrated art concepts into everyday lessons with hands-on activities. For the past two years, she has taught in fourth- and second-grade classrooms as an associate teacher at the Bank Street School for Children, where she also served as a facilitator for the Kids of Color affinity group and taught a racial justice and advocacy unit. She is currently finishing up her graduate studies at Bank Street College of Education, from which she will graduate with a dual master’s degree in childhood general and special education.

Maryam Gonzalez, Lower School Assistant

Maryam is an early childhood educator and certified child life specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human development and family sciences from The University of Texas at Austin, and her master’s degree in family and child studies from Texas State University. She worked as a child life specialist from 2007 to 2013, first at a children’s medical center in Austin, Texas, and later at Mount Sinai’s Children’s Hospital. She recently graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College with a master’s degree in early childhood education, and completed her student teaching and fieldwork at both public and independent New York City schools. From 2016 to 2017 she was a kindergarten teaching assistant at P.S. 321 in Brooklyn, and since the fall of 2017 has been teaching at MCS as a student teacher in the 6-7s and a part-time resource teacher in the Lower School.

Kevin Hershey, Lower School Resource Teacher

Kevin is an early childhood educator with more than four years of experience working with children in schools and community organizations. After Kevin graduated from the University of Portland with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 2012, he worked as a food justice advocate at a community center in Minneapolis. There he designed and implemented a food justice curriculum for low-income teenagers and co-facilitated a culinary arts program for unemployed adults and teens. From there Kevin moved to New York City and worked at a community meditation center in Brooklyn, facilitating more than 30 arts-based anti-violence workshops in public school classrooms and community centers for students ages 7 to 21 years old. Soon after, he began his graduate studies at Bank Street College of Education, where he also worked as a math club facilitator for small groups of kindergarteners in three public schools as part of a city-wide research project. For the past two years, Kevin has taught as an associate teacher in a second-grade classroom at Ethical Culture Fieldston School.

Tiffani Lynch, Sixth-Grade Teacher

Tiffani is an elementary and middle school educator with several years of experience in public and independent schools in Arizona and New York City. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in special education and elementary education from Arizona State University. Most recently, Tiffani was a learning specialist at Riverdale Country School, where she also was a co-advisor for the middle school dance team. Prior to Riverdale she was a special education teacher at Coyote Ridge Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona.

Ava Tattelman Parnes, Sixth-, Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Math Teacher

Ava is a middle school educator with more 10 years of classroom experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Yale University and a master’s degree middle school mathematics and science from Lesley University. Ava completed her formal teacher training at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, she has worked as a science apprentice at Watertown Middle School in Watertown, Massachusetts and has spent 12 years working at Camp Killooleet, a progressive summer camp in Hancock, Vermont run by Pete Seeger’s family. Ava has spent the last five years working at Rodeph Sholom School as a middle school math and science teacher.

This article was updated at 3:53 p.m. on June 2, 2018 to include Donna McDaniel's transition to a new position.