6-7s Building Study: Progressive Education

MCS Welcomes Three New Staff Members

MCS Welcomes Three New Staff Members

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ruben Ortiz, finance and human resources associate, is a New York native who graduated from Drake Business School prior to beginning his professional career. Ruben is also a graduate of Borough of Manhattan Community College. He comes to us after a 17-year career at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, first as the assistant bookkeeper in the finance office and most recently as the school business affairs officer for the past 15 years. At DTH, Ruben had considerable experience interacting with a diverse population of parents, students and organizations. His work outside the business office included overseeing the Dance Theatre of Harlem boutique, helping with special events scheduling and managing aspects of the school’s summer intensive program. 

Director of Finance Nancy Diekmann welcomes Ruben as an addition to the finance team, which includes Barbara Calamari, who will continue working part-time.


Emilie Esders, part-time cook, grew up in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. After completing her degree in foreign languages and art, and working as a preschool teacher and ski instructor, she made the trek to New York to pursue artistic endeavors. A few plot twists later, she landed in the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute and went on to spend two years on the line at Prune Restaurant, where she worked with local food vendors and managed daily kitchen operations. When not cooking or thinking about art, you can find Emilie running in Central Park or out of the city on her road bike.



David Nuss, part-time cook, trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute and spent the last decade working primarily with the Children’s Aid Society teaching cooking classes in underserved areas of New York City. He also served as head chef for a Quaker farm camp in the Pocono Mountains, where many ingredients were raised and harvested from the farm’s garden by the campers. Dave is excited to join the team at MCS because of his shared values with the school, including the community feeling around the kitchen. 

Food Program Coordinator Amanda Hallowell is happy to have Emilie and Dave as members of the team planning MCS’ transition to a new kitchen and a more comprehensive farm-based food program that can serve the larger student body in September. As she approaches retirement in June, Ana will begin reducing her schedule. From March through June she will share her time-tested recipes and her knowledge about food preferences of various classes with the new cooks. Celia will remain a part of the team that moves to 85th Street.

Please join us in welcoming these new members of the MCS staff.