Faculty & Staff

DREAM Charter School staff promotes physical, social, emotional and moral growth in a nurturing environment with high expectations, inspiring every student to recognize their potential and realize their dreams.

 

DREAM is always looking for talented teachers to join our team.

Click here to join our DREAM team.

 

School leadership
     

Eve Colavito
Head of School

   

Traci L. Douglas

Director of Operations

 

Brett Fazio

Dean of Students

   

Jacqueline Frey

Director of Special Education

 

Andrew Kile

Academic Dean (3-5)

 

   

Emily Macias-Capellan

Academic Dean (K-2)

Mike McCarthy

Director of School Culture

 

   

Emily Parkey

Director of Family Engagement

Robin Rubenstein

Elementary School Director

 

   

Mike rubino

Middle School Academic Dean

 

     
administration      

Janice Northia

Manager of School Administration

   

Beverly Parsons

Operations Manager

Melanie Rodriguez

Operations Assistant
     

 

     
   

Student support

     

Jasmin Berrios

Social Worker

 

   

Gwenn Levine

Social Worker

Angel Lopez

Discpline Coordinator

 

     
       

SPECIALISTS

     

Marilyne Cartagena
Family Engagement Coordinator 

   

Stephanie e. Farmer
Science Teacher

 

ROSE GELROD
Lead Health and Wellness Specialist

 

   

E. CHERELLE HALE
Music and Theater Teacher

 

Erica Jones
Art Specialist

   

Amy Proulx
ESL Coordinator

 

Susie Purviance
Speech Teacher

   

Kaitlin Rodriguez
Health and Wellness Specialist

 

Leticia Sanchez
Intervention Specialist

   

KATIE SCHMIDT
Data and Assessment Manager

 

       
Instructional Staff      

Michela Dixon

Kindergarten Teacher

 

   

Casey Franco

Kindergarten Assistant

Charles Holiday

Kindergarten Assistant

 

   

Rebecca Mandel

Kindergarten Teacher

Stephanie Salgado

Kindergarten Teacher

 

   

Sheree Williams

Kindergarten Teacher

Kelly Baxter

First Grade Teacher

 

 

 

Renee Bernardo

First Grade Teacher

 

Elisa Cervantes

First Grade Teacher

   

Melissa L. Perez

First Grade Teacher

 

Rebecca Balint

Second Grade Teacher

 

   

Devon WRIGHT

Second Grade Teacher

Cabrina Kang

Second Grade Teacher

 

   

Katrina Ruiz

Second Grade Teacher

AngeLINA Ferrino

Third Grade Teacher

 

   

Dayna Firth

Third Grade Teacher

Jamie Platzer

Third Grade Teacher

 

   

Pamela Dodd

Third Grade Teacher

Morgan Taylor

Fourth Grade Teacher

 

   

Erin Convery

Fourth Grade Teacher

Rebecca Crossin

Fourth Grade Teacher

 

   

Alicia Morrison

Fourth Grade Teacher

Maryn Brosnan

Fifth Grade Teacher

 

   

Rachel Hess

Fifth Grade Teacher

Jessica Wynne

Fifth Grade Teacher

 

   

Crystal Floyd

Sixth Grade Teacher
(Learning Specialist)

 

Sarah Fuentes

Sixth Grade Teacher (Math)

   

Kevin Hartnett

Sixth Grade Teacher (Social Studies)

 

 

School leadership

 

Eve Colavito, Head of School at DREAM Charter School since 2010, graduated from Brown University and began her teaching career in Mmabatho, South Africa. After two years, she returned to New York City and began teaching at River East Elementary School in East Harlem, where she taught third and fourth graders in a full inclusion class. At River East, Eve further developed her belief in the importance of inclusive education and immersed herself in the practice of engaging constructivist teaching. During this time, she received her Masters in Elementary and Special Education from Bank Street College of Education.

 

Following her tenure at River East, Eve became a founding teacher and director at Bronx Charter School for the Arts. Eve held a variety of roles there and eventually became the Co-Executive Director, alongside the founder of Bronx Arts. These roles allowed Eve to think strategically about the future of the school, and shape the school's curriculum, instruction and overall approach. All of these experiences have led to Eve's conviction about the possibilities for all students to succeed and their ability to achieve nothing less than excellence. Recently, Eve successfully completed the year-long Aspiring Principals Program through New Leaders, a national nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders and designs effective leadership policies and practices for school systems across the country, and was highlighted as a feature success story.

 

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Traci L. Douglas, Director of Operations, is a 1994 graduate of Howard University and a 1997 graduate of Harvard Law School. Traci began her legal career at Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS), a non-profit, community based law office in Harlem. As a Soros Justice Fellow with the Open Society Institute, she re-established NDS’s delinquency practice while providing legal-rights based workshops to young people throughout New York City. Traci also partnered with Legal Outreach, Inc. to mentor middle school students in Harlem interested in the legal profession. She completed her two-year fellowship with the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in their Brooklyn offices. During this time, Traci taught a race relations course in NYC public schools through the New York Civil Rights Coalition.

After a two-year stint in the private sector, Traci returned to her public interest roots and joined NDS’s criminal defense team as a staff attorney. Her clients were mostly young adults disengaged from school and their families. In an effort to target students at-risk of entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems and to reduce the number of potential NDS clients, Traci became the organization’s first Director of Youth, Education and Outreach Programs in 2004 and was responsible for the programmatic expansion of NDS's youth leadership development program, Students Taking Action Towards Empowerment (S.T.A.T.E.). In that role, she solidified her desire to transition from the practice of law to full-time work in education.

In 2006, Traci moved to Philadelphia, PA to become a social and emotional learning instructor and curriculum writer with Mastery Charter Schools. Although she truly enjoyed the classroom experience, she determined that her legal and program management background also made her suitable for charter school administration. Traci has come full circle in her youth-centered public service career and returns to Harlem with over a decade of varied experiences that will prove to be a huge asset to the operations of DREAM Charter School.

 

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Brett Fazio, Dean of Students, enthusiastically joined the DREAM staff after ten years of experience both in the classroom and as an administrator. The son of an Art teacher from Oneonta, NY, Brett was inspired to become an educator after witnessing the impact his father had on his own students. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, Brett taught Physical Education in a residential treatment center. During this time, he implemented the district’s Project Adventure initiative and the high ropes course. Brett served as Dean of Students, allowing his leadership skills to transfer into an administrative role. In 2004, Brett conceptualized and co-founded Opportunity Charter School. Opening with only grades six and seven, he successfully developed a high school and created school protocol and behavior teams responsible for carrying out the school’s mission. Brett designed a Behavior Model and established a school culture that created a state–recognized sense of safety and fair accountability while holding students to the highest levels of academic achievement. All staff felt supported when he created the Teacher Mentoring Academy, problem solving and communicating some of the concerns of teaching staff as well as acknowledging successful classroom moments and embracing pride as a community.

Becoming a part of the “Dreamer’s” is an exciting opportunity for Brett to reconnect with the reward of working with younger people. He feels strongly about the Harlem RBI mission as baseball is close to his heart. Once a competitive scouted pitcher, Brett believes in baseball’s ability to recognize natural talent, foster personal goals and generate healthy competition and sportsmanship. His vision is to build a school culture that is organic to the DREAM mission through meaningful collaboration and interaction with staff, students and community. 

 

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Jacqueline Frey, Director of Special Education, has been servicing students in the NYC Charter Schools since 2008. She recently served as the Chairperson for the Bronx Special Education Cooperative. After receiving a Bachelor of Science from Pace University and NYS certification in Elementary Education Teaching N-6, she became dually certified with a Masters Degree in Special Education K-12 from Nazareth College, Rochester, New York. While attending Nazareth, she received a grant from the University of Rochester Galisano Children's Hospital at Strong Hospital to research Behavioral Strategies and Interventions for Children with Developmental Delays, with a focus on children with Autism and Behavioral Disorders. Since then, Jacky has used her behavioral and developmental expertise while working with the early intervention, preschool and school age populations. She also served as an adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York where she instructed and mentored undergraduate and graduate students within the Ralph Wilson Education Department. Jacky continues to enjoy teaching and learning along with the education staff at Dream Charter School in East Harlem so that students and staff can reach their greatest potential. 

 

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Andrew Kile, Academic Dean (Grades 3-5), joins DREAM staff after two years of working for an educational consulting firm. Mr. Kile supported teaching and learning across the United States, including Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Pomona, California. This work allowed him to see different perspectives on education and encouraged him to re-join a school as a leader in order to see a lasting impact on scholars. Previous to his consulting work, Mr. Kile served as Director of Learning and Teaching at a charter school in East Harlem, where he began his teaching career with second and fourth graders.

 

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Emily Macias-Capellan, Academic Dean (K-2), served as Assistant Principal for seven years at the Yung Wing Elementary School in Chinatown, New York City, prior to this position. Her career in education began in 1996 when she took the helm of a kindergarten class at PS 198 in New York City, a school that had been recently placed on the chancellor’s list of underperforming schools. In the early years of her teaching career, Emily worked closely with distinguished literacy staff developers and underwent extensive classroom observations and interviews by the State Department of Education. Her classroom was a model of exemplary literacy instruction and was frequently visited by outside observers. Like many of her colleagues, Ms. Macias learned and implemented effective teaching strategies, which led to notable student achievement as well as the school’s removal from the chancellor’s list of Schools Under Review. Her success as an inclusion teacher with special education students and English Language Learners made her well known throughout her school district and led to her appointment as Distinguished Teacher. As a Distinguished Teacher, she was responsible for the professional development of four new staff members and the academic achievement of all students in four inclusion classrooms. After seven years of working as a classroom teacher and literacy staff developer, Emily was selected to participate in the Aspiring Leaders Program (ALPS). At the conclusion of the program she completed the requirements for a certificate in school administration and supervision from Baruch College, School of Public Affairs. In 2008, Emily was the recipient of the Educational Leadership Project Award by the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and in 2010 was an Ally with the Cahn’s Fellow Program, Columbia University. 

 

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Mike McCarthy, Director of School Culture, is a graduate of Middlebury College and a graduate of The University of Vermont Counseling Graduate Program. With Master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling, Mike began his career as  a Mental Health Counselor at Centerpoint Adolescent Treatment Services in South Burlington, Vermon where he worked with clients and families in an intensive outpatient setting. Mike then helped found The SEED School of Maryland, a college preparatory public boarding school in Baltimore, Maryland as the school’s Director of Student Support. As the coordinator of all medical, mental health, social work, school counseling and psychological services, Mike worked to build individualized services to meet specific student needs. In 2013, Mike moved to New York City and joined the DREAM team. Mike is eager to support the mission and vision of the school by working with scholars, families and faculty to support strong character values and high performance standards in all areas of the DREAM environment.

 

 

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Emily Parkey, Director of Family Engagement, joined DREAM from Denver, CO where she served for three years as the lead organizer for Rights for All People, a non-profit community organization working to bring the voices of immigrant leaders to the struggle for equality, justice and human rights in the metro Denver area through education, community organizing, and strategic campaigns. Emily graduated from the University of Denver with a Masters in Social Work with an emphasis on community social work with Spanish-speaking populations. She has years of experience working to build trust and strengths based partnerships with immigrant students, families, and schools in her native Kentucky. Emily has spent a great deal of time traveling, working, and exploring Central and South America and is fluent in Spanish. She is passionate about social justice and Cincinnati Reds baseball.

 

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Robin Rubenstein, Elementary School Director, brings eight years of teaching experience to DREAM Charter School. Robin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona’s School of Education and a master’s degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Special Education with a focus in Learning Disabilities from Hunter College. While at Hunter she was a recipient of the Mary M. Solomon Award. Robin has three years experience working in a charter school environment and four years of experience specializing in the education of children with learning disabilities. She began her teaching career in Arizona where she taught at New Way Learning Academy, a private school specializing in the education of children with learning differences. She then taught along side her former fifth grade teacher at Mercury Mine Elementary. In 2004, she moved to New York with her husband and began teaching for the New York City DOE in the Bronx at IS 131. For the past three years she taught at Harlem Success Academy, where she was a founding special education teacher.

 

Robin is passionate about teaching students with special needs. She strives to give each student the best possible education by using cutting edge and proven educational practices. She is committed to her own continuing education and professional development and is consistently searching out new practices by consulting with leaders in the field of education. 

 

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Mike Rubino, Middle School Academic Dean, is a New York City native from Staten Island and a proud graduate of the New York City Public Schools. He graduated from Boston University with his undergraduate degree in communications and his master’s degree in secondary education. Mike began his career in education in Boston teaching mathematics to students in grades six through eight. During his time in Boston he developed his passion for working with middle school students as they prepare for the adventure of high school, college and beyond. He pioneered several service-learning programs to increase student involvement in the community in and around the Greater Boston area. Following his time in Boston, Mike served as a founding sixth grade mathematics teacher at North Star Academy Vailsburg Middle School in Newark. While at North Star, Mike served as Sixth Grade Team Leader to implement new school-culture initiatives to recognize both students’ academic and personal successes. He is thrilled to be part of DREAM’s first ever middle school team!

 

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administration

Janice Northia, Manager of School Administration, is a proud New Yorker of Ecuadorian decent. Janice is bilingual, a Bronx native and a product of New York City public schools and the City University of New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she majored in Forensic Psychology and minored in Juvenile Delinquency with a concentration in Addiction Studies. Janice aspires to earn her Masters degree in Social Work. Janice first joined Harlem RBI as summer coach for Harlem RBI's Real Kids program in 2011. Janice has also volunteered as a sleep-away summer camp counselor where she led the Leaders-in-Training seminars for adolescent girls for five consecutive years. She currently volunteers as a mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sisters of America program and firmly believes the power to change lives happens through positive mentoring. It is her life mission to give back to the community that shaped who she is today. Janice loves to be outdoors with her puggle, CJ, and enjoys exploring the city and trying new foods. 

 

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Jamaal Terry
, Manager of Facilities and Technology, joins DREAM after more than 10 years of experience in operations and technology support in both educational and private sectors. A native of New Orleans, Jamaal has built and managed two school districts IT departments as well as developed efficient processes and procedures for the successful operation of four charter schools. Jamaal is a certified educational technology trainer and also holds numerous technology certifications by Microsoft, Apple and Cisco systems. He is honored and excited to join the DREAM Charter School family.

 

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Crystal Vargas, Manager of Student Affairs, joined DREAM Charter School as an Administrative Assistant and was promoted to the role of Office Manager, then to Manager of Student Affairs. For 17 years, Crystal has been an active participant in Harlem RBI. For almost six years, Crystal was RBI’s Program Assistant and REAL Kids Administrative Assistant. She recruited 9-12 year olds to participate in the many programs offered by the organization and tracked attendance. In addition to her extensive work experience at RBI, Crystal worked as an Educational Specialist for the Scan Beacon Program where she tutored First, Second and Fourth Grade students. Crystal earned her Bachelor of Arts from City College of New York in Media Communication Art with a Minor in Jewish Studies. 

 

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STUDENT SUPPORT

 

Jasmin Berrios, Social Workerreceived her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Oswego and her Masters of Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Prior to arriving at DREAM Charter School, Jasmin worked at Harlem RBI as the Program Coordinator for a youth leadership and peer education program called, The BASE. In the past, she worked as the Assistant Coordinator of Prevention, Education & Outreach for the Ryan-NENA Community Health Center, where along with other responsibilities Jasmin supervised their sexual health education, adolescent health and HIV counseling, testing and referral programs. Jasmin is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers. She is certified in CPR and is a Spanish speaker.

 

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Gwenn Levine, Social Worker, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Richmond in Virginia and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University. The majority of her educational and professional experience has focused on working with children and families. Throughout her career, she has worked in a variety of settings, including Family Court, where she worked with abused and neglected children; a private adoption agency, where she specialized in international adoption from Guatemala and Colombia; and The Child and Family Institute at St. Luke’s Hospital, where she provided clinical and case management services to children with severe mental illnesses and their families. Gwenn also worked for three years at a private school for children with severe autism and similar disabilities, where along with other responsibilities, she provided counseling to students and collaborated with families to help children succeed. Gwenn received her LCSW in 2012.

 

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SPECIALISTS

 

Marilyne Cartagena, Family Engagement Coordinator, was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. Marilyne graduated from Berkeley College of New York with an Associates Degree in Merchandising and Marketing. She developed strong skills in leadership, customer service, managerial as well as human resources with over 20 years in the retail field before Marilyne switched career paths. In 2012, Marilyne was an integral part of the Urban Family Empowerment Center (UFEC) located in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx as the job developer and events coordinator. Her focus was job readiness as well as meeting the needs of the residents of the Kingsbridge community through counseling, support and education. Marilyne is also a licensed fitness instructor making her a strong advocate for health and wellness. Marilyne supports extra curricular activities for children and assist in her daughter's dance ministry at their church. 

 

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Amy Proulx, ESL Coordinator, piloted DREAM’s adult ESL program. Prior to joining DREAM, Amy worked for Unlocking Potential, a non-profit school turnaround management organization in Boston, MA. There, she helped launch its first school, UP Academy Charter School of Boston. During UP Academy’s first year, she supported its SPED and ELL student populations. Amy formerly interned with Excel Academy Charter School, a successful urban charter middle school in East Boston, MA, where she primarily led and managed Excel’s student recruitment and enrollment efforts and summer school program. Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts degree at Teachers College, Columbia University.

 

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Susie Purviance, Speech Teacher, has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for thirteen years in both public and charter schools. For the past five years, she worked in Central Harlem. Susie has a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia. Her past experiences include providing speech and language intervention to a range of students with mild to severe physical and/ or intellectual disabilities from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Susie believes all children are capable of educational success and enjoys supporting all types of learners. She is very excited to be a part of the DREAM family.


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Leticia C. Sanchez, Intervention Specialist, is a certified Pre-K through six educator with a decade of experience in the New York City school system. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside where she studied Spanish and English Literature. During her time there, she provided mentorship to students in the Early Academic Outreach Program. Leticia pursued her Master of Arts degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned her degree in Pedagogy and Curriculum Development. Additionally, she is the founding member of The Coalition of Latino Scholars at Teachers College. Leticia spent her summers in Yucatan, Mexico as a visiting scholar at Solexico Language School. Her teaching specializations include dual immersion pedagogy, providing intervention strategies for second language and monolingual learners, and facilitating workshops to immigrant families interested in intergenerational learning practices.

 

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Katie Schmidt
, Data and Assessment Manager, manages DREAM Charter School's assesment and data analysis activities. Prior to arriving at DREAM, Katie worked at The Achievement Network in Boston as a Network Performance Analyst, where she created high quality data reports and tools that were used by school and district leadership teams to improve student performance. She is also a proud Teach for America alumna. Katie holds a Master of Science in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Providence College.

 

Instructional Staff

Rebecca Balint, Second Grade Teacher, joins the DREAM team after nine years of teaching in the Bronx. Originally from Pittsburgh, Rebecca moved to New York in 2003 to take part in the New York City Teaching Fellows program. She received her Masters degree in Elementary Education from Mercy College in 2005 while teaching first and second grade. In 2006, Rebecca left the Board of Education to work at Bronx Charter School for the Arts. She taught third grade there for six years and is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to the 2nd grade students at DREAM.

 

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Kelly Baxter, First Grade Teacher, is originally from New Jersey and now lives in New York City. Kelly graduated from Syracuse University with a dual certification in Elementary and Special Education. She believes that making learning hands-on and exploratory encourages every student to reach their full potential. Kelly has taught students with a variety of learning strengths in both urban and suburban inclusive environments. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling and would like to experience the people and cultures of countries around the world.

 

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Renee Bernardo, First Grade Teacher, has provided whole class, small group, and individual instruction to students in both first and second grades at DREAM. Renee also worked with DREAM part-time as the Health and Wellness Assistant before joining full-time as a teacher. In that time, Renee made strong bonds with DREAM students, families and staff. In the summers of 2008 and 2009, Renee worked with Harlem RBI's REAL Kids Summer Program as a coach/mentor and program coordinator. Renee graduated in 2009 from Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She is a New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania State Certified Teacher. Renee is currently pursuing her Special Education Masters Degree at Hunter College. From her work with English language learners and students with special needs, Renee feels extremely passionate about the DREAM mission. She hopes to help students reach their potential and instill in each student an insatiable appetite and incurable curiosity for learning. Renee is excited to make an impact in the classroom with DREAM students.

 

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Maryn Brosnan, K-3 Science Teacher, is thrilled to be joining DREAM. Maryn graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She lived in Washington D.C. for two years following graduation where she taught first, third and fourth grades. With a strong desire to continue her education, Maryn moved to Pennsylvania where she earned her Masters of Education in Literacy with a Reading Specialist Certification from West Chester University. With her move to New York, Maryn taught second and third grade Literacy in the REAL Kids Summer Program for Harlem RBI. Maryn believes in building the self-confidence and motivation in each student that will enable them to achieve their potential.

 

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Ashley Bryant, Sixth Grade Teacher (ELA), began her love affair with DREAM Charter School before it even began. After a formative summer at Harlem RBI as a REAL Kids coach in 2004, Ashley decided to go after a teaching profession. Ashley graduated from King's College London in 2005, with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She joined the NYC Teaching Fellows in 2005, and began teaching 9th-12th grade high school English at Renaissance High School for Musical Theatre and Technology. She earned her M.S. Ed. in Secondary English Education from Lehman College in the Bronx. After two years, she returned to Cincinnati, to teach part time, spend time with her family, and work on the Obama campaign. Ashley returned to New York in 2009 to teach seventh grade ELA at Bronx Preparatory Charter School for 4.5 years. In 2011, she returned to Harlem RBI as a teacher in the REAL Kids program and continued to serve the organization in different capacities. Coming to DREAM has been a long journey back home.

 

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Elisa Cervantes, First Grade Teacher, taught Kindergarten in a full inclusion class in Harlem for two years before joining DREAM Charter School. She spent a lot of time working with struggling readers during after-school hours and her goal was for each child reach his or her full potential. Before working in Harlem, Elisa was a substitute teacher for one year in Staten Island where she worked with students in grades one through four with diverse learning abilities. Before getting her teaching degree, Elisa worked with incoming high school students as well as college freshmen conducting orientation and Microsoft Office workshops. She received a Masters in Childhood Education from Hunter College with a concentration in math and science.

 

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Erin Convery, Fourth Grade Teacher, recently joined DREAM after teaching for two years at Future Leaders Institute in Harlem. She taught fifth grade and second grade as part of the Teach for America program. Through high school, college, and her professional life, she has worked with children ages 1- 13. She has worked to develop and improve curriculum so that all students have access to rigorous material. Erin is very excited to be a part of a collaborative team with the common goal of working with bright students in the East Harlem community.

 

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Rebecca Crossin, Fourth Grade Teacher, joins DREAM following three years as a special education teacher in West Harlem. Becky brings experience supporting kindergarten and second grade students with special needs reach their fullest potential in an inclusion setting. In 2008, Becky graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and research experience investigating the connections between sleep and emotion regulation in young children. She was also a member of Brown's Division I Track and Cross Country teams. In 2010, as part of the Teach For America program, Becky graduated from Lehman College with an Master of Science in Education in Childhood Education and Special Education. Becky strives to address the diverse needs of all learners, help students develop a life-long love of learning by providing rich and meaningful learning experiences and help students develop the skills and confidence they need to persevere when faced with challenges. She enjoys working collaboratively with the staff and families of DREAM to create a nurturing and well-rounded learning environment for all DREAM students. 

 

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Michela Dixon, Kindergarten Teacher, joins DREAM after previously teaching Kindergarten in New Jersey for six years. She graduated from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Psychology. Michela has worked with PreK-12th grade students in various capacities throughout her teaching career. She also brings several years of special education experience to DREAM. She believes that teaching students to believe in themselves and work hard, they can truly realize their full potential. Michela is very excited to join DREAM and be part of a team that gives all students the best possible education.

 

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Pamela Dodd, Third Grade Teacher, originally from Vancouver, Canada, Pam has spent the last seven years falling in love with New York City. She began her teaching career in the Soundview area of the Bronx working for five years at a NYC public school. During her time there, she taught 4th and 5th grade. Pam had the opportunity to serve as the lead teacher for the school’s emerging 5th grade where she was responsible for the creation and implementation of curriculum for the new grade. After her time in the Bronx, Pam taught 3rd grade at a charter school in Central Harlem for two years. Along with her extensive classroom experience, she has also supported and mentored new teachers as an instructional consultant. Pam holds a B.A. and B.Ed from the University of British Columbia, as well as an M.S.Ed in Literacy from CUNY Hunter College. Pam embraces cross-cultural experiences and has also spent time living and teaching overseas. Her commitment to community development and social justice through education are driving forces in her instruction and are evident in the care she shows for her students. She is excited about being part of the DREAM community and is eager to build meaningful relationships with her students and their families.

 

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Stephanie E. Farmer, Science Teacher (4-6), joins DREAM with over 10 years of youth experience. She is a science educator, youth mentor and singer/songwriter. She graduated with her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico. After several years of being a laboratory scientist she became apart of the non-profit world. She simultaneously directed school-aged care, teen internship and summer day camp programs at a West Harlem Non-profit for 6 years. Stephanie is excited to combine her passion for science with her child development knowledge to bring an engaging inquiry based approach to DREAM’s developing scientific minds.

 

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Angelina Ferrino, Third Grade Teacher, joined DREAM after teaching at the Charter School of Educational Excellence for the past three years. While teaching at the first public charter school to be approved in Westchester County, her fourth graders outperformed the local school district two years in a row with record achievement scores on New York State Assessments in English Language Arts, Math and Science. As a fourth grade teacher, Angie has worked with students with a range of strengths and learning styles. She earned a MS in Childhood Education at Mercy College and a BA in Mass Communications with a concentration in African American Studies. She believes that with the patience she possesses she is able to maximize her students’ potential in efforts to promote academic achievement.

 

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Crystal Floyd, Sixth Grade Teacher (Learning Specialist), changed her scenery from palm trees and cobblestone streets of Charleston, South Carolina, to the unending sights of the Empire City. Crystal earned a Bachelor of Science from The College of Charleston in Middle Grades Education, and is currently working on her Master of Science in Adolescent Special Education at Fordham University. Her years spent in the South have firmly instilled a love for cooking, hospitality, and the power of community. She is truly passionate about making learning a lifelong habit and finding meaningful ways to connect knowledge to everyday life. She is thrilled to be a part of the DREAM community and looks forward to embarking on a new adventure with students and their families this school year. 

 

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Dayna Firth, Third Grade Teacher, is a second year member of Teach for America. Dayna earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida, and is currently working on her Master of Science in Teaching at Fordham University. Dayna is deeply passionate about teaching students with special needs. She also places an emphasis on social justice through education in every aspect of her life, seeking to fully embody the mission and vision of Teach for America. She loves being a part of the DREAM community, and is excited to build meaningful relationships with her students and their families.

 

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Casey Franco, Kindergarten Teacher Assistant, graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelors of Arts in Childhood Education and Spanish. Throughout her life, she enjoyed working with children ages 2-10, both in the academic and non-academic field. In 2010, she began working in the Bronx as a first grade teacher where she also taught basic Spanish. She also worked as a literacy workshop teacher for Harlem RBI's REAL Kids after-school and summer program in 2011. It was during that time that she became familiar with DREAM Charter School and its students. It was a place where she could fulfill her dreams to prepare children for the future through academic and character education. She is excited to be part of the DREAM community as a teacher's assistant.

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James Franco, Health and Wellness Specialist, joins DREAM after teaching in other New York public, private, and charter schools for several years at the elementary and high school levels. The Long Island native has experience in coaching a variety of ages in basketball, softball and volleyball. James has also been involved with children for many years as a Program Director, Athletic Director and personal trainer. He earned his Master of Science in Health Education at Hofstra University and his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education at SUNY Cortland. James is excited to share his passion of movement and health and wellness with his students as well as his colleagues. 

 

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Sarah Fuentes, Sixth Grade Math Teacher, joined DREAM after twelve years of teaching in the South Bronx. Sarah began her career teaching fourth and fifth grade elementary class and later, the Gifted and Talented Program. After five years she decided to specialize her teaching in mathematics in a charter school teaching both fifth and sixth grade math. As a Teach for America alum, Sarah received her masters degree in Childhood Education from Bank Street College in Manhattan. In her spare time, she plays volleyball throughout the city in various leagues. Given her love of sports, she was impressed with DREAM's mission of health and wellness. Sarah is excited to continue her work at DREAM, inspired by the mission and energy of the community.

 

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Rose Gelrod, Lead Health and Wellness Specialist, is a native New Yorker who has taught in charter, public and private schools for 18 years. She holds a BA in Psychology from Vassar College, a Masters Degree in Physical Education and Teaching from West Virginia University and a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts. She previously taught at Ramaz School, PS 63, in the South Bronx and Harlem Day Charter School. Rose has extensive experience teaching physical education and facilitating physical activity for children. She has also taught health and has a lot of experience developing PE programs as well as after and before school physical activity programs. She is a PE trainer for the DOE and trains summer camp counselors and after-school staff for some of NYC’s after-school organizations. Rose is active in the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and currently serves on their National Social Justice and Diversity Committee. She is committed to making sure all students grow to be skilled, life-long lovers of movement and health. She believes every child is capable of becoming proficient at physical activities and she builds her fundamental motor skills/health related fitness curriculum around fun, safe learning experiences for every child. 

 

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E. Cherelle Hale, Music and Theater Teacher, a native of Oklahoma, has turned in her spurs and taken a bite out of the Big Apple. Cherelle is a music and theatre educator as well as singer and actress. She earned a Bachelors in Music Education from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Masters in Performing Arts from Oklahoma City University. Cherelle is excited about celebrating her 10th year of teaching by making her debut with DREAM Charter School. 

 

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Kevin Hartnett, Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher, grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts. Kevin attended Connecticut College where he captained the school's baseball team while studying History, African American studies and Museum studies. After graduating, he taught seventh and eighth graders in high performing charters schools while working toward his Master's degree in Teaching Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University. Outside of the classroom, Kevin loves playing just about any sport, traveling, attending concerts. He is also a die hard Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins fan.

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Kodi Haynes, Fifth Grade Teacher, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Culture and minored in English. As a Teach For America – New York City corps member, Kodi joined DREAM at the beginning of her quest to make an impact in lives through education. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. Kodi greatly embraces diversity and hopes to enrich the perspectives of her students by enforcing a safe, passionate and rigorous learning environment. As a product of the inner city, Kodi plans to model and indoctrinate “excellence without excuse.”

 

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Rachel Hess, Fifth Grade Teacher, joined DREAM after teaching for two years at Bronx Green Middle School. She taught sixth and seventh grade special education as part of the Teach for America program. Rachel has worked with children ages 5-16 throughout high school, college and her professional life. In 2009, Rachel graduated from Connecticut College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and research experience investigating physical reactions from recalling different types of memories. Rachel recently graduated from Bank Street College of Education with a Master of Science in Education for Middle General and Special Education. She believes that all students have the ability to succeed and works hard to support all types of learners. Rachel is extremely excited to be joining DREAM and is committed to ensuring that all of her students receive the education and experiences they deserve.

 

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Charles Holiday, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Union College in Schenectady, New York where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Dance with a minor in English. For his thesis, he traveled to Jamaica where he formulated an adaptable program that taught youth to use theatrical tools as a primary means of self-expression and utilizing its capacity to foster oral traditions in the community. Upon graduating he returned to New York City where he worked in theater and film while taking acting classes. During this time, he also fulfilled his passion for education by serving as a proud teacher, co-teacher and tutor for the New York City Department of Education--mainly serving special education "at risk youth" from low-income households attending high schools that were designated as failing. Coming from a similar background, he realized the importance of being positive role model and educator for underprivileged youth within the community. Before joining DREAM, Charles served as a mentor for the Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) in Georgia and Arizona where he engaged youth in accomplishing conservation and sustainability goals set forth by the Nature Conservancy. He served as a REAL Kids after-school literacy teacher as well at Harlem RBI, where he had the privilege of teaching and reinforcing fundamental reading and writing skills to kindergarten and first grade students. He currently seeks to expand upon his work by rigorously preparing students for competitive institutions of higher learning while fostering an unbridled and genuine appreciation of life-long learning.

 

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Erica Jones, Art Specialist, joins the DREAM Team after two years as Visual Arts Teacher in Cameroon, West Africa at the American School of Yaounde working with Pre-K through 12 and AP Studio Art students. After achieving her Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School of Design in 2007 and studying Fine Art at Lorenzo de Medici in Florence Italy, Erica worked as a freelance painter, getting commissioned portraits and murals. Following a large scale mural project at the Prudential Center’s New Jersey Devils Hockey Arena, Erica began an after-school mural painting program in her home town of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Her love of sharing art with young people motivated her to go to graduate school where she receive her Masters in the Arts of Teaching from Monmouth University in 2011. Erica believes that problem solving, teamwork, and perseverance are the foundation in which all expressive art related projects should be based.  She is excited to share art with DREAM Scholars and is incredibly happy to see the creative abilities they show.

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Cabrina Kang, Second Grade Teacher was born and raised on Long Island, New York and graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in English and Economics. With a deep passion for social justice through education and community development, she joined the DREAM community. She has had the wonderful opportunity to work with students in Cambodia, Boston's Chinatown and West Harlem and believes that education is in fact the means for change and growth in communities. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Childhood General and Special Education at Hunter College. She looks forward to creating meaningful relationships with her students and their families, as well as learning from the DREAM family.

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Angel Lopez,  Discipline Coordinator, has been a part of DREAM for almost a year. He started out supporting the lunch staff and was given the opportunity to become a program assistant. At the age of 5, Angel moved to the United States of America with his family from the Dominican Republic and has lived in Spanish Harlem for most of his life. Angel played baseball with Harlem RBI as a sophomore in high school and became a coach in the REAL kids program after graduation. He was later promoted to become a youth support coach to manage youth in crisis and to act as a mentor, teacher and any other support role needed. Angel is currently studying pre-med at Lehman College in the Bronx with aspirations of becoming a physical therapist and opening up a physical therapy department for Harlem RBI.

 

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Kamala Luton, Fifth Grade Teacher, recently joined DREAM after two years in Houston, Texas. Kamala attended Long Island University at CW Post where she received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. Kamala also received her masters degree from Northern Arizona University in Elementary Education-Curriculum and Instruction. Kamala brings more than 10 years of experience in school settings both in and out of the classroom. She has taught second, third, second and third combined and fourth grade classrooms. Before coming to DREAM, Kamala was an instruction coach. She worked with teachers and students in grades two through four. Kamala is very excited to be a part of DREAM.  

 

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Rebecca Mandel, Kindergarten Teacher, earned a Bachelors of Arts in Human Development from Connecticut College as well as a Master of Science in Education in dual language and bilingual childhood special education from Bank Street College of Education. Before moving to New York, Rebecca taught second and third grade for three years at Baldwin School of Puerto Rico. Most recently Rebecca taught at P.S./I.S. 210-Twenty-First Century Academy for Community Leadership. During this time, she worked with English language learners and students with special needs while using the SIOP Model and Responsive Classroom methodologies. Rebecca spent the last two summers working at Escuela Integrada in Antigua, Guatemala where she provided supplemental services to students with diverse learning abilities and support around curriculum, management, and differentiation to elementary classroom teachers. She is excited to join DREAM and is committed to helping all of her students reach their potential.

 

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Alicia Morrison, Fourth Grade Teacher, joined DREAM as a first year member of Teach for America. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds a B.S. in Health Promotion and a B.A. in Spanish. Currently, she is working towards her Masters of Science in Education with a concentration in Special Education from Hunter College. Alicia is a believer in the importance of holistic development and is excited to be starting her teaching career as part of the DREAM community.

 

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Beverly Parsons, Operations Manager, comes to the DREAM family with a wealth of experience in compliance and operational roles in the education field. Raised in Westchester County, NY, Beverly graduated from University of Albany where she majored in public policy before graduating from UMass Dartmouth School of Law. After practicing law for three years, she decided to pursue her passion for education and helping underserved communities. Always supportive of local businesses, Beverly frequents many of the new independently-owned businesses that have been popping up in Brooklyn and Harlem. In her down time, she enjoys knitting, trying new food recipes in the kitchen and attending dance classes in her neighborhood. She currently resides in Brooklyn where she has lived for several years.

 

Melissa L. Perez, First Grade Teacher, was born and raised in the Bronx. Her experience includes ten years at P.S. 196 in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2001. She is currently working on her Masters of Science in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) leading to professional certification. During her time at P.S. 196, Melissa taught second, third and fourth grades. In addition to being a general education teacher, Melissa spent two of her ten years teaching in a fourth grade inclusion classroom. She has worked with students who have a wide range of learning disabilities, speech and language impairments as well as emotional and behavioral disorders. She has also worked with students who have limited English proficiency and watched those students succeed through her systematic approach to teaching English. Melissa has spent significant time analyzing school-wide data and trends and was able to devise interventions to help the lowest achieving students. She has also assisted in the development and implementation of a third and forth grade curriculum based on these findings. She is trained in Balanced Literacy as well as many multi-sensory models. Melissa is committed to helping her students become successful through her innovative and creative approaches to teaching and learning.

 

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Jamie Platzer, Third Grade Teacher, joined DREAM after teaching at PS 47. Jamie taught Special Education in a collaborative team teaching classroom. As a fifth grade teacher, Jamie instructed students with a range of learning disabilities and behavior disorders. She directed instruction to meet the needs of all students and developed and implemented IEPs for all students in special education. Jamie earned a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and her Master of Science in Education from Pace University as a member of the Teach for America program in New York City. 

 

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Kaitlin Rodriguez, Health and Wellness Specialist, joined DREAM after several years teaching as an assistant in Westchester County for grades Pre-K to eighth grade. She has had many experiences coaching softball and basketball at the modified and junior varsity level. Kaitlin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education with a minor in Adapted Physical Education at Manhattan College and her Master of Arts degree at Montclair University, where she became certified to teach Health Education. Kaitlin is excited to join the DREAM Team!

 

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Melanie Rodriguez, Operations Assistant, joined DREAM after working part-time as an Administrative Assistant at Harlem RBI. Melanie was Born and raised in East Harlem and has volunteered in many youth organizations in the area. With her experience, she knows first-hand the needs of the community and how DREAM can better serve scholars to reach their full potential. Melanie attended University at Albany for two semesters and returned to continue her studies for Business Management at CUNY School where she is currently working towards her Bachelor's degree. Before Joining Harlem RBI, Melanie worked and managed a spa which is where she gained experience in administrative work. She aspires to one day open up her own Spa to achieve tranquility and relaxation among the many busy, overworked individuals.

 

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Katrina Ruiz, Second Grade Teacher, was born and raised in Miami, Florida, entrenched in Cuban and Jewish culture. She attended the University of Florida and received a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature and her Masters in Education from Teacher U at Hunter College. She started as a first and second grade bilingual education Teach For America corps member in Miami-Dade. After her two-year commitment, Katrina decided to pursue her lifelong dream of living in New York City and moved in the summer of 2008. For the last 4 years, she was the 3rd grade learning specialist at Bronx Charter School for the Arts. Katrina is looking forward to being a part of the DREAM team and is committed to creating a supportive and challenging environment for her students. 

 

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Stephanie Salgado, Kindergarten Teacher, joins DREAM after teaching at a Bronx public school. Born and raised in the Bronx, Stephanie enjoyed working with her community as a bilingual special education teacher. Stephanie attended Boston College where she received a bachelor of arts degree in communications and Hispanic studies. She then went to Emerson College where she received a masters in broadcast journalism. Stephanie's interpersonal skills and desire to work closely in a community, inspired her to apply to the New York City Teaching Fellows program in 2007. Her teaching path has led her to DREAM Charter School where she is excited to be a part of a highly effective and collaborative team dedicated to the growth and knowledge of every child. In addition to speaking Spanish, Stephanie is also taking American Sign Language classes in an effort to be able to communicate with students and families at DREAM and in East Harlem.  

 

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Morgan Taylor, Fourth Grade Teacher, is originally from Richmond, Virginia and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Centre College and a Master of Arts in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Before moving to New York City, Morgan taught in Lexington, Kentucky for two years. Morgan brings a progressive and flexible perspective to the classroom because of her experience teaching students from different backgrounds and also growing up overseas herselfMorgan strives to implement a range of strategies and experiences to provide opportunities for all students to learn, grow and thrive in the classroom. She aims to provide a classroom environment in which students feel comfortable and enjoy learning in order to instill the confidence and readiness necessary to pursue their ultimate dreams and goals. he is excited to be a part of the amazing DREAM team and is committed to ensuring all of her students achieve their dreams.

 

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Sheree Williams, Kindergarten Teacher, began hercareer in education over 11 years ago in the East Harlem community as an AmeriCorps member working in an after-school setting, specifically for children residing in shelters. Sheree's ability to relate to the issues and obstacles that children in disadvantaged communities face helped her to become a teacher who models hard work and dedication. She continued her work at Harlem Day Charter School for 8 years in various roles, starting as an after-school teacher to an assistant teacher, a lead teacher and lastly a kindergarten grade level leader. As grade level leader, Sheree assisted new teachers to become acclimated to the classroom and develop their own unique and effective management and teaching style. She spent the last two years teaching at East Harlem Scholars Academy, serving as the founding kindergarten general/special education teacher.  Sheree earned a Bachelors of Arts from Touro College, where she studied Psychology and Education as well as a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She is extremely excited to be a part of the DREAM team and to continue to provide students with a nurturing and supportive environment that enhances their love of learning. 

 

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Devon Wright, Second Grade Teacher, joined DREAM after teaching first and third grade at a high performing charter school in the South Bronx. During her time as a third grade teacher, her work with her students aided the school in becoming the most improved school in New York City. An alumni of Teach For America, Devon earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Childhood Education at TeacherU at Hunter College. In 2010, Devon graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a minor in education. She was also a member of Cornell's Division I Softball team, serving as a captain her senior year. Devon is passionate about the role that health, wellness and athletics can play in education, as well as working with families to educate the whole child and develop a lifelong love of learning.

 

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Jessica Wynne, Fifth Grade Teacher, joined DREAM in 2013 after teaching middle school in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush communities of Brooklyn, New York. Born in Detroit and raised in Ann Arbor, Jessica was honored to enroll in the hometown school of her dreams, University of Michigan. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Jessica moved to New York to join the 18th City Teaching Fellows Program where she studied for her Masters of Science in Special Education at Brooklyn College. Jessica is passionate about giving back to  families and the community by supporting youth in their development. She uses her love of knowledge, humor, arts, and athletics to frame her teaching. Jessica aspires to ignite the dreams of youth with hopes that they too, will commit to paying it forward.

 

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Students thrive with individualized attention. DREAM has two teachers in every classroom.

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