Staff News

New Faculty/Staff Members and Changes

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Sunday, September 15, 2019

We welcomed new members to the Manhattan Country School faculty and staff this year. Among the existing faculty and staff, a few people have taken on new roles and responsibilities as well. We look forward to working together toward another successful school year. 

New Faculty/Staff

Ariella (Ari) Carle: 5-6s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.S. City College

AuDora (Dora) Vukaj: Kitchen Assistant 

Beth Sorrentino​: Lower School Music Teacher
Education: B.F.A. Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Theatre​​; B.A. Empire State College; M.A. Teachers College Columbia;

Caroline Biggers: Admissions Associate
Education: B.A. New York University; M.S Teachers College, Columbia University

Diana Villafañe​: Learning Specialist
Education: B.A. State University of New York at Albany; M.S. State University of New York at Albany; Professional Studies in Literacy, Bank Street College of Education (c)

Jenny Eugenio​: Admissions Associate
Education: B.A. American University of Paris

Jennifer Katz: Upper School Resource and 9-10s Spanish Teacher
Education: B.S. Marywood University; M.A. New York University

Kimberly Jackson: Upper School Science Teacher
Education: B.A. Wellesley College; M.A. Stanford University

Lacey Stewart: Farm Nature Teacher
Education: B.S. SUNY Oneonta

Leila Jacobson: Farm Intern
Education: B.A. Earlham College

Lindsay Casale: 7-8s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.A. James Madison University; M.S. Bank Street College of Education 

Kerry Devine: Lower School Assistant Director
Education: B.S. LeMoyne College; M.S. Bank Street College of Education

Miryam Pinto: Upper School Spanish Teacher
Education: B.S. Manhattan College

Njeri Gachathi: 5-6s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.A. University of Virginia; M.S. Bank Street College

Rosi Surun Rivera: 4-5s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.A. Lehman College (c)

Ryann Supple: Communications Manager
Education: B.A. University of Tampa

Samantha (Sam) Miller: Lower School Resource Teacher
Education: B.A. University of Rochester, M.S. Columbia University

Susie Kahler: 4-5s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.A. Tufts University, M.S. Bank Street College

Tanya Espy-Disparti: Director of Admissions and Enrollment
Education: B.A. Hunter College; M.P.A. Baruch College

Will Tesdell: 7-8s Assistant Teacher
Education: B.A. Bard College, M.S. City College

Current Faculty/Staff Changes

With enrollment in the Lower School now doubled, the following faculty/staff members took on new roles this fall:


Sean Dolgin is now an Assistant Teacher in the 7-8s and Cece Fleury is now an Assistant Teacher in the 6-7s. 

Max Fletcher and Rosalinda Glennon (former co-head teachers in the 7-8s) each have their own 7-8s class. 

Amanda Hallowell, current Food Program Coordinator, is continuing her work on the Food Program and joins the Advancement Team as Events Manager. Nancy Hsu left MCS this summer to enter the corporate world. 

Nicole Joseph, former 7-8s head teacher is a  9-10s head teacher along with Julianna Trementozzi.

Lo Kartzman, Upper School Resource​ Teacher, is also teaching 5th and 6th grade Shop and 9-10s Science.

Jermaine Lloyd is teaching Lower School movement and running the Upper School Athletics program with Lee Solomon.

Chawon Williams, in addition to her responsibilities as Director of Auxiliary Programming, joins the Support Team as a counselor this year. Christine Olszewski, former 5-6s Assistant Teacher is the new Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs.  

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MCS Staff News: A Time to Say Good Luck and Welcome

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Saturday, June 22, 2019

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 some long-time members of the MCS community will be leaving us and we hope you'll join us as we wish them well on their next chapters. 

The following will be leaving MCS, several after very long, memorable tenures.  We thank them all for their invaluable dedication to our students and wish them well on their future endeavors.

  • Susan Harris, lower school music. Susan is retiring after 38 years at MCS. Read more about Susan's time at MCS in the next issue of the MCS Courtyard magazine this summer. 
  • Lynne Iijima, reading specialist, is retiring after 29 years at MCS. Read more about Lynne's time here in the next issue of the MCS Courtyard magazine this summer. 
  • Ed Fersch, MCS Farm Consultant and Garden Supervisor, will be retiring after more than 30 years at the Farm. Ed's work at the MCS Farm made a huge impact on our agricultural practices and the lives of countless children. Read more about his tenure at the Farm in the next issue of the MCS Courtyard magazine this summer. 
  • Annie Pevear, MCS Farm nature teacher will be moving to Colorado at summers end. Annie joined the Farm in 2016 as our farm-based education intern and transitioned to full time faculty in 2017.
  • Cosima Higham, 8-9s head teacher will depart this June. Kevin Hershey (current lower school resource teacher) will take over that position. 
  • Callan Angrisani, assistant in 6-7s Este with Laura
  • Lesly Rodriguez, assistant in 4-5s Este with Paulo
  • Maryam Gonzalez, assistant in 4-5s Oeste with Sarah
  • Gillian Christian, assistant in 6-7s Oeste with Reese

Due to the growing enrollment in the Lower School, the following staff members will be taking on new roles in the fall:

  • Max Fletcher and Rosalinda Glennon (current co-head teachers in the 7-8s) will each have their own 7-8s class. 
  • Nicole Joseph will move from 7-8s head teacher to 9-10s head teacher along with Julianna Trementozzi

The following people will join MCS as Assistant Teachers in the fall:

  • Lindsay Casale: graduated from James Madison University in 2009 and is currently completing her Master's in Museum Education at Bank Street.
  • William Tesdell: William graduated with a BA in Music from Bard College and will be completing his Masters at City College with an M.S. in Early Childhood Education.
  • Rosanna Surun: Rosanna has had over a decade of experience in education and is currently continuing her education at Lehman College.
  • Susannah Kahler: Susannah graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Child Study and Human Development and is currently at Bank Street for her Master's in Early Childhood Special and General Education.
  • Njeri Gachathi: Njeri is retuning as an assistant after completing her student placement here. She completed her Master's in Early Childhood and Childhood General Education from Bank Street.
  • Ariella Carle: Ariella is returning as an assistant after completing her student placement here. She completed her B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from City College.
  • Samantha Miller: Samantha has completed a Master's in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College Columbia, and she will be the new Lower School Resource Teacher. 

Meet MCS' New Staff Members

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Thursday, September 20, 2018

At the start of the 2018-2019  school year, there were several new faces among Manhattan Country School faculty and staff. We are happy to welcome the newest members of our community. Read on to learn a little bit about

Greg Bednarsh ‘07: Kitchen Assistant
Education: B.F.A. University of North Carolina
Why I Love MCS: Because of the stories told, the stories being told, and the stories yet to be told. There is history in every corner of what makes MCS, MCS. and because of its rich culture and diverse nature, it is never lost on me how lucky I was to attend such a beautiful place.
More About Me: I like long walks in the beach and reading a book in a nook until I get hooked.

Stephanie Bloom: School Nurse 
Education: B.S. Boston College; M.S.N. University of Pennsylvania; ACNP-BC Board Certified Nurse Practitioner
Why I Love MCS: The warm sense of community.
More About Me: I have a 7 year old daughter named Zoe, a cat named Patty Patty Cake and a dog named Booda. We are local Upper West Siders and can be found every Sunday morning on a Unicorn scooter at the Columbus Avenue green market.

Gillian Christian: 6-7s Assistant
Education: B.A. Wheaton College (IL); M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University
Why I Love MCS: Our daily visits to Central Park. It's wonderful to be able to spend so much time together out in nature!
More About Me: I love learning new languages, working on craft projects, and riding my bike around the city.

Jessica Contreras: 8-9s Head Teacher
Education: B.A. SUNY New Paltz; M.S. Hunter College
Why I Love MCS: Being part of a community that embodies and values social justice, progressive education, and environmental sustainability
More About Me:  I love camping, hiking, running, cooking, and traveling.

Sean Dolgin: 7-8s Assistant
Education: B.A. University of Vermont
Why I Love MCS: I love going to Central Park with the kids and I’m excited to bring the 7-8s to the farm for the first time!
More About Me: I am aspiring to hike all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks!

Cece Fleury: 5-6s Assistant
Education: B.A. Tufts University; M.S. (c) Bank Street College of Education
Why I Love MCS: The warm community of educators, staff, students and families who make MCS feel like home!
More About Me: I love gardening and teaching American Sign Language to preschoolers at the local library.

Rosalinda Glennon: 7-8s Co-Head Teacher
Education/Degrees: B.A. City College of New York; M.S. Bank Street College of Education
Why I Love MCS: Working with a diverse group of children and colleagues
More About Me: I was born in Venezuela and speak Spanish fluently. I like knitting and going to hockey games.

Maryam Gonzalez: 4-5s Assistant
Education: B.S. University of Texas at Austin; M.S. Texas State University; M. Ed. Brooklyn College
Why I Love MCS: I love the diverse community that makes up MCS. Students and families travel from all parts of the city to form a cohesive family of social justice-oriented individuals.
More About Me: When I'm not busy being inspired by 4-5s, I'm busy exploring the city with my three year old son.

Gabrielle Harp: Farm Cooking Teacher
Education: B.A. SUNY Potsdam
Why I Love MCS: I love the community and hard work where everyone works together to accomplish what needs to be done.
More About Me: I love hiking and spend my free time helping out on my mom’s hobby farm.

Kevin Hershey: Lower School Resource Teacher
Education: B.A. University of Portland; M. Ed. Bank Street College of Education
Why I Love MCS: The way MCS reflects the diversity of New York and participates in a shared democratic life of the city. I love that from their first days here, children use the city’s parks and public transportation system.
More About Me: I often take long bike rides through Manhattan or find time to enjoy public parks and beaches. I am a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland and I enjoy Irish music and dance.

Tiffani Lynch: 6th Grade Head Teacher
Education: B.A. University of Arizona; M. Spec. Ed. Arizona State University
Why I Love MCS: The kids. They are the most empathetic, thoughtful, and enthusiastic students I’ve ever taught. I also love the sense of community (and the food!).
More About Me: In my free time I like to dance, hike, rock climb, camp and eat ice cream.

Ava Tattelman Parnes: 6th-8th Grade Math Teacher
Education: B.A. Yale University; M.Ed. Lesley University
Why I Love MCS: The welcoming community that works to give each member a voice. I am excited to learn so much from each of these voices!
More About Me:  Over the summer, I work at an overnight camp teaching canoeing, garden, and music. I learned to play guitar because I think music is a powerful tool for creating community, and I like to lead songs that everyone can sing together.

Ali Riggen: Farm Intern
Education: B.A. University of Vermont
Why I Love MCS: I like working at MCS because I love watching children develop their unique relationships with the natural world.
More About Me: I love gardening, making herbal remedies, harmony-singing, novels, and dreaming and scheming about someday building a house with natural materials.  

Tiffany Tsung, Assistant to the Lower School Director
Education: B.A. New York University; M.A. (c)Teachers College, Columbia University
Why I Love MCS: I love the community and how much everyone here cares about the students and the school as a place for learning and exploring. The mission at MCS is not just a tagline but a real commitment to produce better citizens of society.
More About Me: Volleyball is my favorite pastime! I play on two league teams throughout the week and tournaments on the weekends.


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

News Type:  Staff News Date:  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 in 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. 

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MCS Director Signs Open Letter Against Gun Violence

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Monday, February 26, 2018

Michele Sola, MCS DirectorManhattan Country School Director Michèle Solá is among the 150-plus heads of independent schools in New York City and across New York State who have signed an open letter to the president and the country’s lawmakers against gun violence. The letter, which appeared in the February 25, 2018 issue of The New York Times calls for “thoughtful and forceful legislation” to make schools safer.

The text of The New York Times letter:

Heads of School Speak Out Against Gun Violence

An Open Letter to the President and Our Nation's Legislative Leaders

As Heads of Independent Schools in the New York City metropolitan area and across New York State, responsible for the education and physical safety of tens of thousands of children, we are heartbroken over the recent massacre in Parkland, Florida. We stand in support of the Parkland survivors and their efforts to effect change.

It was five years ago last month we wrote following the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut. Sadly, we have seen too many school shootings since cut short too many innocent lives with little to no change in gun laws. But the horrific dimensions of the Parkland tragedy are so profound that we are compelled to rise up again and say, "Enough!" As the recent events in Parkland and the scenes of other mass shootings teach us, the easy and virtually unrestricted availability of highly lethal, semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition places our schools in jeopardy, most especially our children.

Open Letter New York TimesWe implore you, Mr. President and our national legislative leaders, to do everything necessary to stem this tide of senseless gun violence. Address, and ultimately deny, unrestricted access to weapons and ammunition that have no legitimate sporting or recreational purpose. Recognize that the proliferation of military-grade guns and assault-style ammunition leads to more gun violence and more gun deaths. The statistics are compelling and cannot be ignored.

The United States leads the world in the number of guns per capita; it leads in homicides, suicides and accidental deaths involving guns; and it leads the world in the number of children killed by guns, every year. In these grim statistical categories, no nation comes close to our level of violence and gun-related death. The United States of America can and must do better.

Now is the time to take action. As educators, we believe in the United States Constitution. We also believe our country need not choose between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence and that both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful legislation.

Never before have so many Independent School leaders in our region spoken with one voice on behalf of a single issue. We are moved to do so out of a duty to our students and all of our nation's children and we find inspiration in the voices and actions of the students who are refusing to go about business as usual. We stand ready to help in this effort, and encourage our colleagues leading schools across the country to join us. Above all, we demand that reason and compassion prevail.

We are Heads of schools serving children from nursery through high school. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We are responsible for the education, safety and welfare of children each and every day, and we know the time for action is now.


Heads of Schools (Listed Alphabetically)

John Allman, Trinity School

Concepcion Alvar, Marymount School of New York

Jessica Bagby, Ethical Culture Fieldston School

John Baldi, Vincent Smith School

Bart Baldwin, St. Luke’s School

Audrius Barzdukas, Poly Prep Country Day School

Mimi Basso, West Side Montessori School

Alan Bernstein, Lawrence Woodmere Academy

John Botti, Browning School

Micaela Bracamonti, The Lang School

Susan Braun, Waldorf School of Garden City

Bodie Brizendine, The Spence School

John Buck, Long Island Lutheran

Paul Burke, Nightingale-Bamford School

Frank J. Carnabuci III, Birch Wathen Lenox School

Brian Carty, De La Salle Academy

Drew Casertano, Millbrook School

Maria Castelluccio, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

Carrie Catapano, West End Day School

Ken Catrone, Soundview Preparatory School

Benedict Chant, Poughkeepsie Day School

Joseph J. Ciancaglini, Convent of the Sacred Heart

David S. Ciancimino, Canisius High School

Chad Cianfrani, Oakwood Friends School

John Cissel, Harbor Country Day School

Pam Clarke, Doane Stuart School

Bill Clough, Nichols School

Donna Cohen, International Preschools

Virginia Connor, St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School

Angela Coombs, Academy of St. Joseph

Bob Cunningham, Robert Louis Stevenson School

Melissa Dan, School of the Holy Child

Laura Danforth, The Masters School

Eileen Davidson, The Ursuline School

George P. Davison, Grace Church School

James Dawson, Professional Children’s School

William DeHaven, Winston Preparatory School

Andre Del Valle, George Jackson Academy

Bruce L. Dennis, Packer Collegiate Institute

Christopher Devron, Fordham Preparatory School

William Donohue, Columbia Grammar and Prep

Jesse Dougherty, The Green Vale School

Dianne Drew, Dwight School

Ariela Dubler, Abraham Joshua Heschel School

Jim Dunaway, Manilus Pebble Hill School

David Egolf, Corlears School

Caroline Erisman, Cornelia Connelly Center

Gina Farrar, Blue School

Charles Fasano, Bay Ridge Preparatory School

Anthony G. Featherston IV, The Town School

Dean S. Foster, Hoosac School

Jane Fried, Brearley School

Michael Frosch, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School

Scott Gaynor, Stephen Gaynor School

Patricia Geyer, Long Island School for the Gifted

Ward Ghory, The Harley School

Nancy Glauberman, Barrow Street Nursery School

Evan Glazer, Avenues New York

Felicia Gordon, The Brownstone School

Laura Graceffa, Robert C. Parker School

Laura Graham, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Day School

Martha Haakmat, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School

Tully Harcsztark, SAR High School

Patricia T. Hayot, The Chapin School

Matthew Heard, Dutchess Day School

George Higgins, The Beekman School

David Hochschartner, North Country School

Simon Holzapfel, Darrow School

Adrian Hood, Woodstock Day School

Stuart Johnson, St. Bernard’s School

Jean-Marc Juhel, Buckley Country Day School

Susan Kambrich, Woodland Hill Montessori School

Danny Karpf, Rodeph Sholom School

Phil Kassen, LREI Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School

Michael Kay, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester

Andrea Kelly, Friends Academy

Thomas M. Kelly, Horace Mann School

Donna Kennedy, Gillen Brewer School

Eve Kleger, Village Community School

Tara Christie Kinsey, The Hewitt School

William Knauer, Harvey School

Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy

Daniel K. Lahart, Regis High School

Jonathan Lamb, Storm King School

Robert “Bo” Lauder, Friends Seminary

Christopher Lauricella, The Park School of Buffalo

Lee Levison, Collegiate School

Avi Levitt, Magen David Yeshivah High School

Sharon Lickerman, Resurrection Episcopal Day School

Jed Lippard, Bank Street School for Children

Sean Lynch, Lycée Français de New York

Colm MacMahon, Rippowam Cisqua School

Carla Jantos MacMullen, The Kew-Forest School

Timothy P. Madigan, Churchill School and Center

Helen L. Marlette, Buffalo Seminary

TreeAnne McEnery, Green Meadow Waldorf School

Albina Miller and Leslie Thorne, Parkside School

Brenda Mizel, Metropolitan Montessori School

Scott Moran, City and Country School

Kim Morcate, Rockland Country Day School

Ronnie Moskowitz, The Washington Market School

Nicole Nash, Hannah Senesh Community Day School

Eve Nealy, Westbury Friends School

Marsha K. Nelson, The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Scott Nelson, Rye Country Day School

Douglas North, Albany Academies

Virginia O’Brien, Notre Dame School of Manhattan

Michael O’Donoghue, Holy Child Academy

Eavan O’Driscoll, St. Ignatius School

P. David O’Halloran, Saint David’s School

Greg J. O’Melia, Buckley School

Tony Oroszlany, Loyola School

Simon Owen-Williams, Portledge School

Maria Palandra, La Scuola D’Italia Guglielmo Marconi

Susan Paynter, High Meadow School

Joel Peinado, French-American School of New York

Kevin Pendergast, Kildonan School

Margaret Poggi, LearningSpring School

Dominic A. A. Randolph, Riverdale Country School

Jenny Rao, Emma Willard School

Jack Raslowsky, Xavier High School

Amani Reed, School at Columbia University

Jim Regan, Martin Luther School

Scott Reisinger, Trevor Day School

Jean Rosenberg, Chelsea Day School

Janet C. Rotter, The Studio School

John Russell, The Windward School

Carolyn Salzman, The Gateway School

Joe Santos, International School of Brooklyn

Diana Schlesinger, Greene Hill School

Susan Sheahan, Episcopal School

Karen Smith, Smith School

Michele Sola, Manhattan Country School

Steven Solnick, The Calhoun School

Jeffrey Spade, Rudolf Steiner School

Stephen Spahn, Dwight School

Lydia Spinelli, Brick Church School

Todd Stansbery, Tuxedo Park School

Ellen Stein, The Dalton School

Matthew Stuart, The Caedmon School

William W. Taylor, Trinity-Pawling School

Michael Termini, The Cooke School and Institute

Kristen Tillona-Baker, The Knox School

Barbara Tischler, The Speyer Legacy School

Vincent Tompkins, Saint Ann’s School

David R. Trower, Allen-Stevenson School

Salvador Uy, United Nations International School

Jennifer Vest, All Souls School

Patti Vitale, Brown School

Bob Vitalo, Berkeley Carroll School

Daniel Vitow, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Larry Weiss, Brooklyn Friends School

Michael Wirtz, Hackley School

Janet Wolfe, IDEAL School

Debbie Zlotowitz, Mary McDowell Friends School

MCS Welcomes New Advancement and Kitchen Staff

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Friday, December 1, 2017

Manhattan Country School is happy to announce three additions to its staff.  

Campaign Coordinator

Emily Perry joins MCS in the new position of campaign coordinator. She comes from The Brearley School, where she worked in the Office of Equity and Community Engagement. Prior to joining the administrative team at Brearley, Emily was a head teacher at Peartree Preschool and Needham Children’s Center and an assistant teacher at Hunnewell Elementary School. Emily earned a master's degree in teaching from Smith College, where she was a classmate of Alaina Daniels, our Upper School science teacher.  

Kitchen Assistant

Romina Dedvukaj is MCS' new kitchen assistant. She will be helping with lunch preparation, distribution, dishwashing and cleaning. Romina moved to the United States from Koplik, Romania, a small town where most of her family still lives, two years ago when she and her husband were married. Her father, who was a chef, taught her to cook. MCS is already benefiting from her strong work ethic, attention to detail and good-natured personality. 


Ashley Ross, MCS' baker-in-training, comes from Hot Bread Kitchen's Bakers-in-Training Program. Ashley grew up in Queens and now lives in Harlem with her husband and daughter. She will be working part-time, assisting with the Afterschool program (especially the wildly popular baking class) and helping prepare the baked goods for Friday snack.

Please join us in welcoming Emily, Romina and Ashley to the MCS community!

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Shani Brignolle Selected to Attend Master Class with MacArthur Genius Kartik Chandran

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Shani Brignole, MCS Fifth Grade TeacherManhattan Country School’s Fifth Grade Teacher Shani Brignolle has been selected by The Academy for Teachers to attend a master class lead by MacArthur “genius” Kartik Chandran. Master classes offer a rare opportunity for public and private school teachers to learn from a leading expert and work together.

Shani is one of 18 educators chosen to attend “Making the Most of Wastewater,” offered in partnership with Columbia University. The October 30 class will focus on re-engineering global elemental cycles (including carbon and nitrogen) as a necessary step toward waste-fueled biorefineries and explore various pathways to sustainable clean water and sanitation and the production of renewable energy, chemicals and nutrients.

As a master class participant, Shani will become a fellow of The Academy for Teachers, joining a growing cohort of New York City’s strongest educators.

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Manhattan Country School Director Michèle Solá Named Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Friday, October 6, 2017

This week, Manhattan Country School Director Michèle Solá joined 23 other leaders from public schools, charter schools, foundations and nonprofit organizations in Aspen, Colorado to take on the challenging task of reimagining America’s public schools. This was the first of four gatherings of the Fall 2017 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies exceptional leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools, especially those serving low-income children and communities. The Fellowship provides these leaders with the unusual opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual impact as leaders and change agents. Fellows challenge each other to think beyond traditional silos and sector boundaries to develop strategies that enhance their effectiveness as leaders, address leadership challenges in public education and accelerate the improvements needed to provide high-quality learning opportunities for all of our nation’s children.

“Meeting the educational leaders from across the country who make up a Pahara-Aspen cohort, it is inspiring to hear what creative things they are already doing as district superintendents, as founders of organizations, as researchers in foundations, and as principals and heads of school,” says Michèle of her time in Aspen this week. “Through the facilitators' persistent Socratic dialogue, or the informal conversations that continue over meals and breaks (that are anything but that), there is constant comparing of experiences. Our conversations reveal something special about each of our educational models, and what's missing. This is a place where it seems possible to focus on finding a common purpose, and raises the ultimate question of what greater good in education for all children could be accomplished if we worked together creatively. For me, and for Manhattan Country School, to be at the table is a real honor and privilege.”

The Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes. The Aspen Institute has created a leadership development model through its renowned Henry Crown Fellowship program, which focuses on inspiring Fellows to make a lasting difference in their spheres of influence through the application of effective and enlightened leadership. Pahara-Aspen Fellows become part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which currently includes more than 2,500 Fellows from more than 50 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

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Eight MCS Educators Attend PEN 2017 National Conference

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Friday, October 6, 2017 Byline:  By Angela Johnson Meadows, Communications Director

PEN 2017 National Conference

Eight Manhattan Country School educators are participating in this week’s PEN 2017 National Conference. This three-day, bi-annual event offers a host of workshops, place-based experiences and keynote presentations. The theme of this year’s conference is Continuous Lines: Amplify students’ voices, agency, conscience and intellect to create a more equitable, just and sustainable world.

Three MCS educators are presenters at this year’s conference. On Friday, Nassim Zerriffi, seventh and eighth grade history teacher and activism coordinator, led a workshop titled “Combating Islamophobia: The Impact of Islam on Western Civ. and America from the Renaissance to the Blues.” Saturday Upper School Math Coordinator Flannery Denny is presenting a workshop titled “Middle School Math Is an Important Tool for Democracy and Social Justice,” while Upper School Director Maiya Jackson is conducting a session called “Progressive Leadership: Building Schools That Educate for Democracy.”   

Also attending the conference are Paulo Arango, 4-5s teacher; Bonnie Greenwald, learning specialist; Jay Fung, librarian; Farm Director John McDaniel and Annie Pevear, nature teacher. The PEN Conference is just one example of the professional development opportunities that MCS makes available to teachers and staff each year.

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MCS Welcomes Nine New Staff Members

News Type:  Staff News Date:  Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Byline:  By Angela Johnson Meadows, Communications Director

As the 2017-2018 school year began, there were nine new faces among Manhattan Country School faculty and staff. We are happy to welcome the following people to the MCS community:

Callie Angrisani – Assistant Teacher, 4-5s Oeste

Callie Angrisani

Callie is an early childhood educator and 2008 graduate of Manhattan Country School. Throughout her high school years, Callie worked as an afterschool assistant at MCS and also as a Farm Camp counselor during the summer of 2013. Over the fall of 2014, she studied abroad at the University of Capetown in South Africa, where she worked with children from low-income communities in an afterschool program. Callie graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2016 with a degree in early childhood education and a concentration in English.


Anne Elliott – Afterschool Assistant

Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott is an educator and administrator. She graduated from Miami University in Ohio and majored in marketing management. After years in various businesses, Anne moved to New York City and began a teaching career at the Rudolf Steiner School. She taught handwork and crafts in grades one through eight. She also held key administrative and leadership roles. Anne took a four-year hiatus from school life to help create costumes for Broadway shows and ballets. The call of a school brought Anne back to education. She has been teaching crafts and serving administrative roles at the New Amsterdam School, a new Waldorf school on the Lower East Side.


Jamie Evans – Facilities Manager

Jamie Evans Facilities Manager

Jamie Evans has more than two decades of experience supervising building projects, including renovations and restorations of high-end townhouses, apartments and lofts. He has also worked as a finish carpenter and a technician for companies including General Electric and Ratheon Semiconductor. While Jamie is new to the MCS staff, he has been a member of the school community for many years as a parent (Ian '15), as a designer and photographer for the MCS Yearbook and as a volunteer carpenter. Jamie holds a B.A. in drama from San Jose State University and has worked as an actor, director and stand-up comic.


Bonnie Greenwald – Learning Specialist

Bonnie Greenwald

Bonnie Greenwald is a special education teacher, tutor and learning specialist with more than two decades of experience. Bonnie’s career in education began after she earned her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and her M.S. in special education from Bank Street College of Education. For eight years, she worked for the New York City Department of Education as both a special education teacher and an inclusion teacher at public schools around the city. Toward the end of her time working for the DOE, Bonnie enrolled at Bank Street College once again to earn her Ed.M degree. She went on to work as a learning specialist at Cathedral School and an academic liaison at The School at Columbia University.


Cosima Higham – 8-9s Teacher

Cosima Higham

Cosima Higham is an educator with many years of experience working with children. After earning her B.A. in art history from Bucknell University, Cosima worked in IT and graphic design. During her time working as a freelance graphic designer, Cosima enrolled in the Bank Street College of Education, where she completed her M.S.Ed. degree in childhood general education. While working on her master’s degree, Cosima completed her student teaching in both public and independent New York City schools and worked as a teaching assistant at Bank Street College. For the past two years, she has been teaching at Brooklyn Friends School as both an assistant and head teacher for third and fourth grades.


Amabel Japitana – Assistant Teacher, 6-7s Oeste

Amabel Japitana

Amabel Japitana is an educator with more than a decade of experience. After graduating from Ateneo de Manila University with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Amabel began her career in education working as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language first in the Philippines and then in Bahrain. After returning to the Philippines, she worked both as an assistant teacher and then as a head teacher at a progressive, Bank Street-inspired preschool in Manila. Subsequently, she enrolled at Bank Street Graduate School of Education and completed her M.S.Ed. degree. Prior to joining MCS, she worked as a 4-5s assistant teacher at the Bank Street School for Children.


Gregory Rubin – Assistant Teacher, 5-6s Sur

Greg Rubin

Gregory Rubin is an educator, tutor and musician with many years of experience working with children. Greg’s journey into the education world began at Brooklyn’s ConstructionKids, where he worked as a senior educator leading field trips, afterschool activities and summer programs. Following his time at ConstructionKids, he worked at Studio Creative Play as a teacher/facilitator for children ages 3 to 7 and as a private tutor. Prior to joining MCS, Greg was a kindergarten teaching assistant at PS 321 in Brooklyn, working with two different kindergarten classes on a rotating basis. Greg received a B.A. in English from Yale University and is currently working on his M.S.Ed. degree at Brooklyn College.


Ambreen Satia – Assistant Teacher, 7-8s Oeste

Ambreen Satia

Ambreen is an early childhood educator and speech/language therapist with more than a decade of experience teaching children. After graduating from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders, she worked at summer camps, schools and hospitals in various places around the world, including Brooklyn, Maine, Ecuador and England. Once Ambreen returned to New York City, she worked as an assistant teacher at public and independent schools while earning her master’s in early childhood education from Hunter College.


Qing Zhuang - Resource Teacher, Lower School

Qing Zhuang

Qing Zhuang is an educator, visual artist and children’s book illustrator with a wide range of experience. After earning her B.F.A. in illustration from Maryland Institute College of Art, Qing worked in media publishing and distribution. Her love for children’s literature, storytelling and illustration led her to enroll in the School of Visual Arts, where she earned a master of arts in teaching. A lover of all forms of storytelling, Qing often draws from her experiences as a young immigrant from China to enrich her work, both in the classroom and the studio. Before coming to MCS, she was the K-5 art teacher at Global Community Charter School in Harlem, where she introduced students to culturally diverse art traditions and led the production of costumes and props for the school’s spring musical.


Learn more about those who work at Manhattan Country School by viewing our Faculty/Staff Directory.


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