You may have noticed some new faces at 7 East 96th Street this school year. Meet the new additions to the Manhattan Country School staff, and learn which familiar faces you’ll see in new roles.
Lower School Science Teacher
Olivia Kurz, B.A. Barnard College, M.S.Ed. Bank Street. Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan. Olivia was previously an elementary science teacher at Harlem Village Academies. She has also worked at The New York Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, A Living Library, Academy of the City Charter School and Hyde Leadership Charter School. She speaks Spanish and French fluently, is trained in ballet and modern dance and volunteers in various community garden and urban agriculture programs.
Interns and Assistants
These positions at MCS have always attracted lots of applicants of extremely high quality. Teacher-training programs in colleges and universities across New York City help their graduate students find placements where experienced head teachers serve as mentors. Assistant teachers frequently stay at MCS for more than a year, and often present strong resumes for openings at MCS. Sarah, Paulo, Nicole, Kerry, Debbie, Julianna, Jermaine, Jay, Maria-Tere, Tom, Ian, Aimee and Mary all got their start that way.
This year we welcome three new assistant teachers:
Anisah Moonsammy, 5-6s Assistant Teacher. B.S. John Jay College, M.S.Ed Bank Street, previous training at City and Country, P.S. 87, LREI and Midtown West. Anisah is certified in CPR and first aid and lists her interests as yoga, poetry and painting. This year, she traveled to Costa Rica as part of a summer science course.
Reese Mason, 6-7s Assistant Teacher. B.A. University of California, J.D. New York University School of Law, M.S.Ed Bank Street, previous training at City and Country and Children’s Workshop and with MCS’ 6-7s class. Reese also has experience in real estate and was an investor in and creator of a biofuels company. His interests include playing guitar, home renovation and driving in club car racing events.
Meredith Greene-Martinez, Assistant to the Afterschool Director. B.F.A. New York University. Meredith has had many careers, including teaching at The Dalton School, advertising, casting commercial productions and serving as PTA president at P.S. 59. She will be working closely with Susan Harris.
The MCS Farm is another much sought-after training site. A farm-based education internship offers a chance to work with many age groups from MCS classes and the other schools that rent the Farm program.
Anna Rose Pevear, Farm-Based Education Intern. B.A. Wheaton College in Film and Media Studies. Anna is president of Aftertaste Slow Movement and has helped create a resource of sexual abuse volunteers. Anna’s work experience ranges from the Altogether Outdoor Camps in Boulder, CO; Spring Films in London; Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy in Thimphu, Bhutan; Boston Natural Areas Network and Apple Street Farm.
Preparing for Our Transition
Staffing MCS in 2015 included careful thinking about how to prepare for the transition to a new location where we expect to have two classes of 4-5s, 5-6s and 6-7s in 2016. At MCS, we are very familiar with mixed-age groups with only one class at each of those levels. Currently, teachers build their programs collaborating with colleagues (a year younger or older, or head teachers and specialists) instead of grade-level peers. Many MCS teachers are thinking hard about the change and asking good questions while conferring with teachers they know in other schools. The collaborative team of fifth-floor specialist teachers with advisement responsibilities is a working example of co-teaching that has been successful at MCS. Mary, Maiya and I had many discussions and decided there would be many benefits to designing our own new model of co-teaching in the Lower School this year.
Naming Nicole Joseph and Kerry Devine as co-teachers in the 7-8s is one concrete step toward that goal. Having worked together in 2014-2015, they are ideal partners to develop this model. They were eager to try new things and see what it will mean for two equal partners to play a role in designing curriculum, interacting with students and communicating with parents. They will record the process and use their reflections to conduct ongoing discussions with the rest of the faculty.
We’ve also enlisted additional administrative support for Lower and Upper School directors and the admissions office. Anna Sobel, an experienced teacher at MCS and other elementary and preschools, was thrilled to be invited back to fill this role.
Please join us in welcoming these new members of the MCS staff.