Our Team of Educators

Green Ivy International School Staff Photo
PSS-Eileen-Baker-Head-of-School

Eileen Baker | Head of School

Eileen is an experienced international school leader who has implemented International Baccalaureate programs in four schools in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. She is Montessori trained and has been a workshop leader and school inspector for the International Baccalaureate since 1999.

She is uniquely qualified to bring our vision of a global school to life because she grew up overseas, immersed in a classroom of real world cultural experiences. Her experience in training teachers from around the world has given her a distinct ability to strategize, collaborate and accomplish great things across all cultures. She believes that schools should be responsive to research and adaptable to changing needs, so she's always reading the latest findings. Her goal is to prepare students for the future, not the past.

Eileen loves traveling and could never see enough museums, market places, art and architecture.

PSS-Michelle

Michelle Feiss | Assistant Head of School and PYP Coordinator

Michelle Feiss has been active in a variety of roles as an educator for over twenty-seven years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership; both from the University of Notre Dame in Maryland. She is currently pursuing an additional Masters degree in Educational Entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michelle has been a teacher of students in grades one through six and held a variety of other roles including several in senior leadership. She began her career in Baltimore, Maryland teaching first grade students in the city school system. During her ten years in Baltimore City she also served as the enrichment coordinator for third grade through sixth grade and developed an inquiry-based program in coordination with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Following her tenure in Baltimore she was intrigued by international teaching and has been both a member of faculty and leadership teams at IB schools in London, Hong Kong and Germany. During this time she has presented workshops covering topics related to leadership, inquiry-based teaching, mathematics and literacy. She has chaired several committees including; project-based learning, technology, mathematics and literacy curriculum development, the arts and development of enrichment programs. Most recently she has been the Head of Lower School at the Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York and the Founding Director of the Allendale Columbia LIttle School. It is her belief that making connections, empowering individuals and creating a shared purpose that is in the best interest of our children and education are the hallmarks of an exemplary community in today’s world. Michelle shared that she knew Pine Street was the perfect place to continue her career once she visited the campus this past spring as the school exemplified these traits.

Michelle also enjoys travel, photography, sailing, outrigging and spending time with family. Michelle’s husband Bill and their chocolate labrador, Nellie, are very excited to join the Pine Street community this school year and explore NYC!

PSS-Emily-Henley-Parent-Liaison-Executive-Assistant

Emily Henley | Parent Liaison, Executive Assistant & Social Media Coordinator

Emily comes to us from London, where she has served as an early childhood teacher for over 5 years. She holds a Master of Education from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor's degree in Childhood Studies from the University of Bristol. Emily joined Pine Street School 4 years ago as an English teacher and has since moved into the role of Parent Liaison. Emily has an appreciation for the wider school life and enjoys bringing the Pine Street School community together through events and celebrations. In her spare time, Emily is a keen runner, reader and enjoys jetting off to faraway places!

PSS-Lauren-Angarola-PYP-Middle-School-Coordinator

Lauren Angarola | Middle School Coordinator and Director of Educational Technology and Innovation for KSS Immersion Schools

Lauren has an M.Ed in Educational Technology and a B.S. in History Teaching. Since she completed her student teaching in Southern China in 2012, she has been passionate about globally-minded education and how technology can create meaningful, personalized learning experiences for students. She has worked in international schools in Shanghai, China and Dubai, UAE prior to joining Green Ivy. In 2018 she became an Apple Professional Learning Specialist in the UAE and in 2019 she became an Apple Distinguished Educator. She was also responsible for helping her previous school become an Apple Distinguished School in 2019. 

Lauren loves exploring emerging technologies and finding opportunities to bring them into the classroom. She is passionate about helping teachers feel empowered by integrating technology into their teaching and learning.

Lauren grew up in Las Vegas and recently moved to New York City. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, snow-skiing, soaking up sunshine wherever she can get it, and scoping out all the best food in New York City!

PSS-Leigh-Majer-Elementary-Coordinator

Leigh Majer | Elementary Coordinator

Leigh has been teaching for 21 years and has taught music, kindergarten and first grade in the U.S. and Europe. Most recently, she taught at Bonn International School in Germany (an IB school) where she worked as a first grade teacher for 4 years. She holds degrees in both Education and Philosophy and has teacher certification in Canada, Texas and Michigan.

Leigh is Canadian and lived in the Toronto area until she graduated from university and decided to go on a grand adventure, working as a Youth Director on a major cruise line. The ability to both work with children, as well as travel the world, allowed for a continuing exploration of cultures, traditions and languages. This was a natural extension of the multicultural melting pot she grew up in and served to cement her commitment to a global mindset in education.

Leigh infuses her lessons with music, movement and technology. She is passionate about supporting and nurturing each child's passions and helping guide them on their learning journey. Leigh enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, and traveling to new places.

PSS-Janise-Cota-Preschool-Coordinator

Janise Cota | Preschool Coordinator

Mexico is her home country and where her love for Spanish comes from. She grew up in Arizona and moved to New York six years ago. Janise obtained her Bachelors in Psychology from The Arizona State University and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She comes from a long line of educators both here in the U.S and in Mexico, Education opened up a lot of doors for her and opportunities that she may not have had otherwise.

She joins the team after being a teacher/mentor for young children for about 10 years. Whenever she has not been in a teaching position, she has been volunteering for a variety of organizations that focus on helping abused and homeless children. Some of these organizations include Free Arts of Arizona, Stand Up For Kids and Girls Scouts of Arizona. Janise strongly believes in the power of Education and its ability to change children's projected trajectory. She's one of our cooking lovers! Besides Mexican food, she also grew up learning how to cook food from South America. Janise is an avid reader and active hiker, runner, cyclist and Yogui! She also loves to ride her bike around New York City. Whenever she's not in the classroom, you might find her camping, at the beach or lying in the hammock on her deck, BBQ'ing.

PSS-Nadia-Carmichael-Early-Childhood-Teacher

Nadia Carmichael | Early Childhood Teacher

Nadia has over 13 years of experience mentoring, educating and caring for small children; she began her journey in the classroom three years ago. She's worked with children from the ages of 24 months to 9 years old. Nadia holds B.A. in English Literature and she has completed her Montessori certificate as well as IB Primary Years Programme Category I training.

She has a daughter of her own, which enables her to properly guide small children with an inviting warmth and tenderness. Hearing the laughter of children brings her a great joy that she would not trade for anything.

PSS-Janise-Cota-Junior-Kindergarten-Teacher

Janise Cota | Junior Kindergarten Teacher

Mexico is her home country and where her love for Spanish comes from. She grew up in Arizona and moved to New York six years ago. Janise obtained her Bachelors in Psychology from The Arizona State University and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She comes from a long line of educators both here in the U.S and in Mexico, Education opened up a lot of doors for her and opportunities that she may not have had otherwise.

She joins the team after being a teacher/mentor for young children for about 10 years. Whenever she has not been in a teaching position, she has been volunteering for a variety of organizations that focus on helping abused and homeless children. Some of these organizations include Free Arts of Arizona, Stand Up For Kids and Girls Scouts of Arizona. Janise strongly believes in the power of Education and its ability to change children's projected trajectory. She's one of our cooking lovers! Besides Mexican food, she also grew up learning how to cook food from South America. Janise is an avid reader and active hiker, runner, cyclist and Yogui! She also loves to ride her bike around New York City. Whenever she's not in the classroom, you might find her camping, at the beach or lying in the hammock on her deck, BBQ'ing.

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-ictoria-garwood

Victoria Garwood | Early Childhood Teacher and Team Leader

Vicky was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and was partially educated in Switzerland. Bilingual in English and Turkish, she also became fluent in French and German. Getting her BA while working in an early childhood Montessori environment, she focused on literature and history as well as education. During more than 30 years of working with young children in an IB international school as well as in several Montessori programs in CT and AZ, she developed her passion for understanding and supporting children’s language acquisition, emotional development and early learning through hands-on work. Holder of a Montessori certificate in Infant/Toddler (Ones and Twos), she believes there is no more important work than that of participating in the life of the very young child, guiding and learning from each individual in the classroom and the community. She loves people, reading, history, travel, food and the natural world that we are a part of.

PSS-Muqing-Hu-Mandarin-Teacher

Muqing Hu 胡牧晴 | Mandarin Teacher

Muqing holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College Columbia University, Initial Certification (birth-grade 2) and Bilingual Extension Certification in Mandarin and a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Syracuse University. She is currently enrolled in the Montessori teacher training program at North American Montessori Center. Most recently, she taught for several years Chinese literacy and cultural studies at The Spence School. She also designed curricula for and took charge of the Chinese after-school program in Language and Culture Institute at Spence.

Muqing has taught English and Chinese in a few schools, including Avenues, PS151 Yorkville Community School, and Central Park East II School. She values students' knowledge and respects their own language repertoire. Embracing the normalcy of differences is her belief, play is the key to learning is her slogan, and being a teacher is her calling.

PSS-Pooja-Jha-Early-Childhood-Teacher

Pooja Jha | Early Childhood Teacher

Pooja has been with Green Ivy Schools as a sub for several years now. Beyond that, Pooja has more than 10 years of teaching experience and hold the 3-6yo Montessori credential from the UK and consider myself lucky to not only teach in different countries like India, Singapore, and the United States (New York) but also had the wonderful experience in teaching children in different classroom settings like Reggio Emilia and, of course, Montessori. I also have experience in teaching STEM activities. 

I strive to create a positive community and environment that nurtures growth in all learners. I believe that learning should be hands-on, collaborative and fun, and that the classroom should be a place where each individual feels comfortable and valued being her or himself.

In her free time, she loves doing STEM activities, cooking with all sorts of ingredients, recycling and repurposing materials with her child, going out for nature walks, and practicing yoga.

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-arielle-murray

Arielle Murray | Early Childhood Teacher

Arielle was born in Queens, grew up in Long Island and her family is from Trinidad and Tobago. Arielle is NYS certified in Early Childhood Education,  graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Music and a minor in Spanish and received her MS in Early Childhood Special Education two years later. She taught group music exploration classes for 1-3 year olds at the Diller-Quaile School of Music during her undergraduate studies and started teaching at a Reggio Emilia based school the following year for 4 years. Arielle specializes in working with children ages 2-5 years old and enjoys bringing music into the classroom with her ukulele and singing. Arielle spends her free time primarily at the piano, learning pieces for church and recitals or teaching other students piano, violin and ukulele. She also enjoys reading and practicing yoga.

PSS-Marcela-OReilly-Spanish-Teacher

Marcela O'Reilly | Spanish Teacher

Marcela has been a Spanish teacher for the past 8 years, she is delighted to continue her 5th year at Pine Street school.

Marcela has a B.A. in Spanish education from the College of Staten Island CUNY, where she was the Spanish Club representative. She also obtained a Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o studies certification. Marcela is also a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society Sigma Delta and has completed her IB Primary Years Program Training, Level III.

Bilingual in English and Spanish, Marcela also has basic Italian knowledge. Originally from Colombia, Marcela relocated with her family to New York. She is passionate about sharing her own stories as well as the best of world literature with her students. Marcela believes that teaching Spanish provides an opportunity to explore culture and a path to make students globally minded people.

In her spare time Marcela enjoys time skating and dancing with her family.

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-yaritza-perez

Yaritza Perez | Early Childhood Teacher

Yaritza was born and raised in New York City. She  holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Yaritza has over 10 years of experience working in various school settings. In her free time, she loves working out, visiting museums and discovering new books.

PSS-Cindy-Qiongwei-Rang-Mandarin-Teacher

Cindy Qiongwei Rang 让琼玮 | Mandarin Teacher

Cindy holds a M.A. in International Education Development and Family Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has 4 years of teaching experience with both children and adults.

Most recently, she taught English and Mandarin at Avenues: The World School in New York City. She designs and executes Montessori, project-based, and age-appropriate curriculum and activities for 3-6 year-olds.

Cindy also values museum and science education. She is the certified public tour guide in American Museum of Natural History both in English and Chinese and designs educational tours for children and families with interactive games, quizzes and role-playing scenarios to inspire children with ideas for conserving the environment and becoming global citizens.

Cindy is originally from Suzhou, China, which is often dubbed the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China". Cindy moved to New York in 2016 where she loves to explore museums and Broadway shows. In her spare time, she loves traveling, wakeboarding, playing music (piano and flute), and dancing, as she studied ballet and Latin dance for more than 10 years.

PSS-Merian-Salazar-Spanish-Teacher

Merian Salazar | Spanish Teacher

Merian has bachelor's degree in Communications and holds a Master's in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from La Rioja University in Spain. She is originally from Caracas, Venezuela and she has been working as a preschool Spanish teacher for six years in different immersion and bilingual programs, including Avenues and HudsonWay Immersion School. 

Her mom was a Kindergarten teacher, and she grew up knowing that early childhood education is the most important and where the values are forged. As a Spanish teacher, Merian loves to share her culture and observe the process of learning the language of her students. She believes that learning a language is an open door to a new world and experiences. 

In her free time, Merian loves to bike in Central Park, spend time with her family and friends, and enjoy cultural performances such as concerts, theater, ballet, and opera. She also loves to try new food and find hidden gems in New York City.

PSS-Isabel-Tepoz-Robles-Early-Childhood-Teacher

Isabel Tepoz-Robles | Early Childhood Teacher

Isabel Tepoz-Robles has been with Green Ivy for 2 years as a teacher assistant. She was born and raised in New York by immigrant parents. She holds a BA in Childhood Education with a bilingual education extension from Brooklyn College and an AS in Childhood Education from Kingsborough.

PSS-Leslie-Vaculin-Early-Childhood-Teacher

Leslie Vaculin | Spanish Teacher

Leslie received her Early Childhood Education degree in Guatemala. She has worked as a preschool and elementary teacher for more than ten years and taught Spanish to Middle and High School students in the Czech Republic for two years. She has completed her Montessori certificate as well as IB Primary Years Programme Category I training.

Leslie grew up in Guatemala City, where her mother was a teacher and father was a school principal. Education has always surrounded her and has been a life passion from an early age. This is her sixth year at Pine Street School, where her daughter is also a student.

Leslie loves doing all the things New York City offers to feed her imagination and creativity. She likes to travel, read, and enjoys volleyball and camping with her friends and family.

PSS-Amelia-Xia-Mandarin-Teacher

Amelia Xia | Mandarin Teacher

Amelia has taught elementary and preschool Mandarin in the United States for the past four years. As a trilingual educator, she spent four years in Spain, teaching Spanish and Mandarin.

She received her master's degree in communication and culture from the University of Seville in Spain in 2013. She is currently enrolled in an IB PYP course and pursuing certification from Child Development Associates (CDA). She has also acquired further training and certificates over the years.

She has traveled to numerous countries and believes in the ancient Chinese proverb "读万卷书不如行万里路" (read a thousand books, travel a thousand miles) because she believes that education and travel complement one another to provide a clear perspective of the world. She recognizes that her passion is working with children, who provide as a reminder of how incredible and fascinating the world can be. She appreciates observing the world through their eyes and believes it makes her a happier and more optimistic person on a daily basis.

In 2015, Amelia relocated to New York with her family from Wuhan, China. In her spare time, she likes to go on family vacations. Swimming, baking, and reading are some of her other favorite pastimes.

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-casey-allison

Casey Allison | Elementary Teacher

Casey is a motivated and energetic educator who has been teaching in international schools in Thailand, Europe, and Singapore. She grew up in Virginia and holds a BA degree in Psychology and a teaching license for Elementary Education from University of Colorado Boulder.

Casey moved from Singapore to New York in 2022 to be closer to family in Charlotte NC and Madrid, Spain. Outside of teaching, Casey loves traveling, practicing Bikram yoga, being a mom, going to classical music concerts, scuba diving, and being outdoors.

PSS-Isabelle-Belneau-Elementary-Teacher

Isabelle Belneau | Elementary Teacher

Isabelle was born and raised in New York City. She holds NYS Certification in Childhood Education 1-6, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Initial certification in School Building Leader (SBL) from St. John’s University, Queens, NY. She has over 15 years of teaching experience. She’s taught in public and private/international settings in NYC, Abu Dhabi, and Haiti. She enjoys working in multilingual school communities where students flourish academically and socially in all of the languages they know and learn at school.

Isabelle enjoys traveling, visiting museums and galleries, practicing her French language skills, reading, spending time with loved ones, painting, and watching documentaries.

PSS-Caitlin-O-Black-Elementary-Teacher

Caitlin O. Black | Elementary Teacher

Caitlin has a B.S. in Elementary Education with ESL certification from The University of Tampa. She has elementary and preschool teaching experience in Belgium, Greece, and the United States. Caitlin joined our Green Ivy Schools family in 2019, first working at our sister school Battery Park Montessori and made the transition to Pine Street School in the Fall of 2020.

In her free time, Caitlin enjoys spending time with her loved ones, long days at the beach with a good book, learning new plant-based recipes, exploring different neighborhoods in the city, and traveling to new places.

PSS-Paige-Filla-Elementary-Teacher

Paige Filla | Elementary Teacher

Paige is completing her M.Ed. in Advanced Teaching this fall. She holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies for Early Childhood to Grade 6, with ESL certification from Texas State University. In 2011, she accepted her first full-time teaching position in Kunming, China. She continued her career in education in China, Singapore, and Thailand. 

She began her journey with the IB programme in Thailand. She has received her professional training in each of the three PYP categories, and her teaching practice aligns with the values of the programme. She recently moved to New York City and is ready to continue making a difference in the lives of young learners in a creative, inspiring, and diverse way. 

In her free time, Paige loves spending time with her loved ones, including her three cats, as well as being surrounded by nature. She loves family time, reading, traveling, drawing, and is currently learning piano. She always looks forward to experiencing the joy of learning with her students, colleagues, and overall school community each year.

PSS-Danielle-Fondacaro-Elementary-Teacher

Danielle Fondacaro | Elementary Teacher

Danielle received a B.A. in Elementary Education from Loyola University Maryland in 2016 and an M.S. Ed. in Special Education from The College of Staten Island in 2019. She also holds certification to teach in New York State and Maryland. She has experience teaching in the United States and recently returned from teaching in an IB school in Italy. Having grown up in Staten Island, Danielle is happy to be back home in New York City and is looking forward to continuing her teaching journey at Pine Street School.

In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her nephew. She has a passion for travel and learning about different cultures. She also enjoys working out and working towards her personal fitness goals. 

PSS-Meg-Lavelle-Elementary-Teacher

Meg Lavelle | Elementary Teacher

Meg is an experienced educator with more than 15 years teaching in the United States and abroad. She has been in a variety of roles and has experience as a curriculum coordinator for the IB Primary Years Program. Meg has a Master's of Science in Elementary Special Education and an undergraduate degree in Psychology.

Meg is originally from a small town in Delaware but spent more than a decade teaching in Asia. She taught at 3 different international schools in Guangzhou, China, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and Shanghai, China. She is new to New York City and looking forward to exploring the world through the restaurants, people, and events of the city. In her free time she can be found learning new new roller skating tricks on a halfpipe or walking her dog, Charlie, in Central Park.

PSS-Yue-Le-Mandarin-Teacher

Yue Le 乐悦 | Mandarin Teacher

Yue holds an M.A. in Bilingual & Bicultural Education from Teachers College Columbia University and a B.S. in Childhood & Early Adolescent Education from Penn State.

A native of China, Yue brings valuable experience as a bilingual teacher to Pine Street School and adds energy and passion to our rapidly growing Mandarin teaching team.

PSS-Leigh-Majer-Elementary-Teacher

Leigh Majer | Elementary Teacher

Leigh has been teaching for 21 years and has taught music, kindergarten and first grade in the U.S. and Europe. Most recently, she taught at Bonn International School in Germany (an IB school) where she worked as a first grade teacher for 4 years. She holds degrees in both Education and Philosophy and has teacher certification in Canada, Texas and Michigan.

Leigh is Canadian and lived in the Toronto area until she graduated from university and decided to go on a grand adventure, working as a Youth Director on a major cruise line. The ability to both work with children, as well as travel the world, allowed for a continuing exploration of cultures, traditions and languages. This was a natural extension of the multicultural melting pot she grew up in and served to cement her commitment to a global mindset in education.

Leigh infuses her lessons with music, movement and technology. She is passionate about supporting and nurturing each child's passions and helping guide them on their learning journey. Leigh enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, and traveling to new places.

PSS-Annica-Penn-Kindergarten -Teacher

Annica Penn | Kindergarten Teacher

Annica is a tried and true New Yorker. Annica holds a master’s degree in Teaching from The Relay Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Education from Siena College. She has completed her Initial Certificate for teaching in New York State. Annica was a member of the 2017 Teach for America NYC Corps and taught four years at her placement school in Brooklyn, NY.

In her free time, Annica is a dedicated runner and has competed in numerous races around the city as well as the 2020 NYC Virtual Marathon. As well as running, Annica appreciates spending time with loved ones, reading, and enjoying warming sunny days.

PSS-Danielle-Sleeper-School-Support

Danielle Sleeper | Library Coordinator & Elementary Support

Danielle holds master’s degrees in Teaching from The Relay Graduate School of Education and International Communication from American University. She also completed her Initial Certificate for teaching in New York State. Prior to teaching in NYC, her work focused on global education. One of her favorite projects was creating an education technology platform to connect classrooms around the world with the goal of increasing empathy in primary school aged children. She also worked with National Education Association Foundation to train public school teachers on integrating global competency skills in the classroom, which involved various study tours to investigate school systems in other countries.

She has lived in Taiwan and mainland China and traveled extensively throughout Asia and other parts of the world. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is always on the hunt for her next bowl of noodles.

PSS-Lindsay-Stefferson-Elementary-Teacher

Lindsay Stefferson | Elementary Teacher

Lindsay spent most of her life in sunny Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from the University of Arizona and receiving a post-baccalaureate certificate in elementary education, she began a nearly decade-long career in teaching first grade in language immersion settings. Most recently, Lindsay worked abroad as a first grade teacher and peer mentor at an international school in Jeju island in South Korea. She moved to New York City in 2021. 

Outside of school, she enjoys being in nature and walking her terrier, traveling internationally, crafting and handwriting notes, and exploring New York City. 

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-tristan-strasser

Tristan Strasser | Drama Director and Classroom Support

Tristan was born and raised in Cobleskill, NY and has lived in NYC for three years. He has five years of experience as a theatre director and piano accompanist across New York State, is a founding member and Artistic Director of Ursa Fountain Productions and has worked as an actor for almost a decade. He is a passionate advocate for the importance of live arts and loves introducing both the joys and techniques of theatre to young minds. Tristan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Theatre and Psychology from SUNY Geneseo. He enjoys playing piano, word games, sitcoms, and any activity that involves boats!

PSS-Sofia-Ubilla-Spanish-Teacher

Sofia Ubilla | Spanish Teacher

Sofia is originally from Chile, where she taught at a bilingual Elementary teacher for over 5 years at an inquiry-based learning school. She holds a B.A. in Elementary education and a diploma in teaching English as a second language. 

PSS-Jing Wu-Mandarin-Teacher

Jing Wu | Mandarin Teacher

Jing earned her Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been teaching young children from early childhood to early elementary level for over a decade in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and currently in New York. She holds the New York State certification in childhood education and early childhood special education, as well as a Montessori training certificate from the North America Montessori Center.

Jing was honored to be invited as a panel facilitator and presenter, making assessments of early childhood Chinese immersion and sharing in its best practices; this Chinese immersion learning workshop was the first of its kind conducted by NCLC in the field of Early Childhood Education. She is a Disney fan and loves cooking, painting, playing Ukulele, exercising and runs 1-2 marathons a year. She is always positive and tries to reflect that in her immediate surroundings every day.

gi-sirong

Sirong Wu 吴思蓉 | Mandarin Language Coordinator & Mandarin Teacher

Sirong holds a Master of TESOL from University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Art in English from Hunan University of China. She is also certified In ESL education. Sirong brings several years of IB PYP Mandarin immersion teaching experience in the U.S.

She enjoys inquiry-based teaching while integrating Chinese language and culture, math, and science. She has observed the power of immersion and she loves guiding students toward becoming global citizens through language.

Born and raised in Shenyang, China, Sirong came to the U.S. in 2013. She fell in love with the country, the music, the food and the culture so she decided to stay and spread Chinese culture.

Sirong serves as the Mandarin Language Coordinator and enjoys collaborating with the Pine Street School Mandarin teachers across all age groups. In her spare time, Sirong enjoys reading and cooking.

green-ivy-schools-team-pine-street-school-sophie-yuan

Sophie Yuan | Mandarin Teacher

Sophie Yuan is an experienced Mandarin teacher and language and culture education entrepreneur. She brings an authentic and comprehensive teaching philosophy to help her students succeed with a strong belief ——“There is a unique power in every kid”. She has led many international students to excel academically with cultural fluency and a successful learning career. Her class helps students get to where they can be the best with their potential. Sophie creates Chinese language and philosophy magazines to share the authenticity of lithography and cultural elements while hosting cultural workshops in her community. She is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher. She loves history and art. She enjoys cooking and painting with creativity and mindfulness.

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-tianqi-zhang

Tianqi Zhang | Mandarin Teacher

Tianqi is a travel enthusiast with a curiosity for exploring different cultures and connecting with people from all walks of life. After completing her Master's in Education in New Zealand, she embarked on a life-changing journey that took her to an IB school for a year. That experience ignited her passion for international education and she decided to further enhance her skills in the vibrant city of Shenzhen. There, she took on the role of a Grade 5 homeroom teacher at another IB school. It was an opportunity for her to grow both personally and professionally, and she embraced it with open arms.

During leisure time, dancing, reading, and hiking are some of her absolute favorite activities, and they bring her immense joy. Tianqi is excited to broaden her horizons, immerse herself in new experiences, and continue her personal and professional growth in the New York City.

Pine Street School Middle School

Paul Christopher | Humanities, English & Drama Teacher

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in English Education (with a state teaching license) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, a Master of Science in History from the UW - Milwaukee, a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts/Performance from the UW - La Crosse, and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts/Directing from Illinois State University.   He's worked as an English and Drama teacher at private schools in Beirut and Kyiv, public schools in Madison, WI, and taught college courses on theatre and directing while earning his MFA.

 
A lifelong fan of Shakespeare, Paul co-founded an outdoor theatre company in 2001, and has worked as an actor, director, and fight choreographer for a number of diverse companies while also pursuing his interests as a published author and historical fencer.  His theatrical training is a valuable asset as a teacher, allowing him to infuse his classroom discussions with passion and humor, emphasizing student engagement and participation.
green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-james-doga

James Doga | Middle School Counselor & Spanish Teacher

As a native Costa Rican, James is proud of the warmth and hospitality inherent to his culture. James has taught languages to children and adults throughout his college studies at University of Costa Rica, where he obtained his Bachelor's and eventually Licentiate degree in Psychology, finally completing his studies with the International Focusing Institute, where he became a certified Focusing Trainer and Focusing Oriented Therapist. James spent 5 years as an Addiction Counselor in Costa Rica Recovery, before finding his passion for working with children and adolescents as a teacher and counselor. He spent the last 6 years at Pan-American School, one of the leading IB International schools in Costa Rica, where he worked as a Middle School Psychologist, as well as teaching English, Design, Research and Life Skills.

As a teacher, he’s proud of his ability to plan creative, well-differentiated and student-centered lessons, always making sure to foster a positive and fun classroom learning environment. He is proud to be thought of as authentic, patient and caring by the students he has worked with. As a counselor, he will always make sure to be an open-hearted and solution focused listener who can form strong bonds with both students and their families. He likes to think of himself as being part of a bigger team including teachers, families and the community, dedicated to guiding children towards growth and providing them with the skills necessary to be successful students, human beings and global citizens.

In his personal life, he’s developed a successful career as a musician, having recorded two albums of his own and collaborated with a variety of Costa Rican artists on their recordings. When James is not teaching, you can find him practicing his jazz guitar, listening to music (hopefully live) or playing with someone. He also enjoys traveling -particularly eating and finding new ideas to incorporate into his own cooking-, hiking and spending time outdoors.

James is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful team and work with such a vibrant and talented community!

green-ivy-schools-staff-pine-street-school-sasha-manu

Sasha Manu | Science, Math & Technology Teacher

Sasha holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in Buddhist Studies from The University of Hong Kong, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He has spent time living in Cambodia, guiding experiential learning trips in Thailand, and just returned from living in Hong Kong for three years where he pursued his Masters and taught at an International School. He has experience with pedagogies ranging from Project-Based Learning and Montessori to the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years and Diploma Programme.

Sasha is passionate about helping students flourish. He believes that for students to thrive in the face of the complex challenges of modernity, educators must help them become global citizens who care about the common good. Sasha focuses on igniting an innate curiosity within his students that promotes lifelong learning. He is particularly fascinated by contemplative practices and finding ways to skillfully integrate them into the classroom to foster whole-child development.

Outside of the classroom, Sasha is a registered yoga teacher, meditation facilitator, avid reader and writer, and lover of hiking, nature, and weightlifting!

gi-sirong

Sirong Wu 吴思蓉 | Mandarin teacher

Sirong holds a Master of TESOL from University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Art in English from Hunan University of China. She is also certified In ESL education. Sirong brings several years of IB PYP Mandarin immersion teaching experience in the U.S.

She enjoys inquiry-based teaching while integrating Chinese language and culture, math, and science. She has observed the power of immersion and she loves guiding students toward becoming global citizens through language.

Born and raised in Shenyang, China, Sirong came to the U.S. in 2013. She fell in love with the country, the music, the food and the culture so she decided to stay and spread Chinese culture.

Sirong serves as the Mandarin Language Coordinator and enjoys collaborating with the Pine Street School Mandarin teachers across all age groups. In her spare time, Sirong enjoys reading and cooking.

PSS-Lauren-Angarola-Ed-Tech-Teacher

Lauren Angarola | Ed Tech Teacher

Lauren has an M.Ed in Educational Technology and a B.S. in History Teaching. Since she completed her student teaching in Southern China in 2012, she has been passionate about globally-minded education and how technology can create meaningful, personalized learning experiences for students. She has worked in international schools in Shanghai, China and Dubai, UAE prior to joining Green Ivy. In 2018 she became an Apple Professional Learning Specialist in the UAE and in 2019 she became an Apple Distinguished Educator. She was also responsible for helping her previous school become an Apple Distinguished School in 2019. 

Lauren loves exploring emerging technologies and finding opportunities to bring them into the classroom. She is passionate about helping teachers feel empowered by integrating technology into their teaching and learning.

Lauren grew up in Las Vegas and recently moved to New York City. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, snow-skiing, soaking up sunshine wherever she can get it, and scoping out all the best food in New York City!

PSS-Danni-Bellando-Visual-Arts-Teacher

Danni Bellando | Visual Arts Teacher

Danni is an Educator and Visual Artist from Long Island, NY. She holds a B.S. in Visual Arts Education as well as a B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from SUNY New Paltz. Danni has taught within NY Public schools, and has been an Educator at cultural and community institutions including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Wassaic Project, FABNYC, and Hootenanny Art Annex. Her teaching practice focuses on art as a tool to connect students to their inner selves, each other, our communities, and the world!

As an IB diploma recipient, Danni has a first hand understanding of the IB program, and remains influenced by her own experience as an IB student. She is excited to continue using inquiry and creativity to influence learners in a thought provoking and meaningful way.

In her free time, Danni loves to tend to her vegetable garden, play board games, experiment with new cooking recipes, and spend time with people she loves. She is looking forward to the school year and all of the opportunities for learning that will come with it!

PSS-Pablo-Cortezon-Physical-Education-Teacher

Pablo Cortezon | Physical Education Teacher

Pablo was born and grew up in Spain and moved to New York City in 2019. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in Spanish and Basque (an ancient language from the north of Spain) with major in Physical Education from the Public University of Navarre. He has developed his teaching skills working with elementary and middle school students and adults in different subjects.

He loves reading and writing and also practicing any kind of sport. Karate is one if his passions. He has been practicing it for more than 16 years and teaching it for several years in Spain.

PSS-Isaiah-Johnson-Elementary-Teacher

Isaiah Johnson | Art and Music Teacher

A proud Brooklyn and New York City native, Isaiah has taught students across several academic disciplines, and a diverse array of ages. He holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education from LIU Post (2016), and a master's degree in Music Performance form the New England Conservatory Of Music (2018). He has 4 years of classroom teaching experience.

PSS-Qingyan-Yu-Music-Teacher

Qingyan Yu 于青艳 | Music Teacher

Bilingual in Mandarin and English, Qingyan holds an M.A. in Music Education at Steinhardt, New York University and a B.A. in Music Education from The Capital Normal University in Beijing.

Music Education is Qingyan’s passion, and she has combined her experience and connection with toddlers to design and implement IB-centric music lesson plans. Her personal teaching philosophy is that music is borderless and can act as the link between different cultures and become a vehicle for learning. Qingyan wants to use music as a catalyst to improve the learning experience, incorporating traditional Chinese music experiences and helping students to express themselves via music.

Additionally, Qingyan has developed and pioneered the Mandarin Mommy and Me after-school music classes for the past two years. She recently received her Kodaly Level 2 certification, and is adept at cello, piano, ukulele, violin and recorder. She loves trying new things, especially cooking new recipes at home!

GI-Dr-Jennifer-Jones-Founder

Dr. Jennifer Jones | Founder

Dr. Jennifer Jones is the founder and visionary behind New York City's Green Ivy International Schools network and a lifelong entrepreneur and advocate for evolved learning experiences for children from birth to high school and beyond.

She has developed 24 schools and draws from a rich background as school developer, international policy consultant, and teacher. She has advised boards and governments at regional, state, national and international levels, served as a university professor, and authored a successful book on child development.

Her career is defined by pioneering efforts to break through economic and social barriers to ensure that young people from every walk of life achieve maximum potential through engaged, relevant and cutting edge approaches to education.

Her specializations include educational technology, transglobal education, bilingual education, literacy, and economic development.

Aligned with a shared mission, Dr. Jennifer Jones is delighted to partner with KSS Immersion Schools, Inc. to champion the expansion of Green Ivy International Schools to the San Francisco Bay Area.

GI-Erin-Miller-Chief-Financial-Officer

Erin Miller | Chief Financial Officer

Erin received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from Emory University and the University of Chicago, respectively. After leaving academia, she pursued an MBA at UCLA and has been working in Operations and Finance ever since, in a variety of industries ranging from dotcoms, to after-school programs, to independent schools.

GI-Gary-Mouton-HR-Manager

Gary Mouton | HR Director

Gary Mouton joins the Green Ivy Team with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector.  In that time, he's served in the roles of Teacher, Office Manager, HR Generalist, HR Manager, and currently as HR Director.  His goal is to provide the best HR services to all Green Ivy employees so they can focus on being the best in their role.

Green-Ivy-staff-Anna-Pergolizzi-Wentworth

Anna Rita Pergolizzi-Wentworth | Head of School & Executive Director of Operations

Anna Rita was raised speaking Spanish and Italian. Her linguistic and cultural background, coupled with her language interests as an adult, allows her to bring a unique perspective to language acquisition. Anna Rita is a firm believer that being able to communicate in more than one language opens windows to understanding the idiosyncrasies of people's histories, cultures, and everyday lives.

She believes that a Montessori classroom is an ideal place to encourage the learning of a new language because children are allowed to work at their own pace, are encouraged to learn from their mistakes, and are embraced for their differences in who they are and how they learn. She believes that this allows children to build the necessary sense of security required to take risks, especially linguistic ones.

Anna Rita joined Battery Park Montessori – a Green Ivy International School – from Del Mar Academy, an independent, bilingual Montessori and International Baccalaureate school located in Nosara, Costa Rica. While there, she taught, consulted, and served as its Head of School. Her journey with Green Ivy Schools began as a result of her search for her first child’s elementary education. Her son is now a middle schooler in the Mandarin language track at Green Ivy’s Pine Street School, while her younger son attends trilingual Battery Park Montessori. 

In 2022, Anna Rita expanded her role as Executive Director of Operations for both Pine Street School and Battery Park Montessori. She oversees various operations teams which include admissions, facilities, compliance, summer camps, and after school enrichment.  

Anna Rita has a B.A. in Russian Studies and Sociology/Anthropology from Middlebury College, an American Montessori Society administrator’s credential from West Side Montessori School’s Teacher Education Program, and an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University.

When she is not working, Anna Rita enjoys traveling and spending time with her sons, husband, extended family, and friends.

GI-Rosa-Nunez-Admissions-Director

Rosa Núñez | Admissions Director

Rosa leads Green Ivy School's Nursery Ones to 7th Grade Admissions, building the community by sharing our unique and forward-thinking programming. Prior to Green Ivy, she worked at the Chinese Cultural Studies Program for Children at Columbia University as their Admissions and Operations Lead. Before that, she served for four years as a parent volunteer on the admissions team at The Spence School.

Rosa is passionate about STEAM and language learning and sits on the boards of two NYC children's organizations, Robofun and Vision Education Inc. She is also passionate about equity, identity, and courageous conversations that foster meaningful understanding.

Rosa is a native New Yorker who has lived abroad for many years as an ex-pat in Shanghai, China, and Hong Kong and returns whenever she can to her beloved Dominican Republic. She is a native Spanish speaker and speaks some Mandarin and Portuguese.

GIIS-Gaby

Gabriela Santiago | Admissions Events and Data Coordinator

Gabriela was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is an alum of Prep for Prep, a leadership development program that provides promising students of color access to an education in New York independent schools. She speaks English, Spanish, and French and is currently learning Portuguese in her quest to become a polyglot. Gabriela received a Bachelor's in Sociology with a minor in Fine Art from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has earned a certification in Data Science and Analytics during her free time.

After supporting Green Ivy Schools as both a camp counselor at Green Ivy Summer Camp and teaching assistant for the Twos classes at Pine Street School, Gabriela joined Battery Park Montessori as the Assistant to the Head of School. She brought her unique creativity, experience with children, love of learning, and tech-savviness to help nurture Battery Park Montessori’s caring and growing community.

When not at work, Gaby can usually be found baking, making art, playing at the dog park, or speed reading through novels.

Green Ivy International Schools - Fela

Fela Wolski | Database Administrator & Compliance Manager

Fela is a Database Administrator and Compliance Manager for KSS Immersion Schools supporting East and West coast schools. She joined New York based Green Ivy Schools in 2018. With 18 years of experience working in the educational field, she specializes in admissions, administration, compliance and database systems for charter and private schools.

At Green Ivy, Fela is responsible for implementing, overseeing, and troubleshooting database systems as well as working with governing agencies on compliance and permitting of both Battery Park Montessori and Pine Street School. Fela is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her knowledge and tireless energy to resolve problems and ensure safety and compliance.

Fela was born and raised in Poland and moved to New York in 2002. Fela is inspired daily by her husband and two sons who attend Pine Street School. In her free time, Fela enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

GI-David-Castro-Facilities-Manager

David Castro | Director of Facilities and Purchasing

David is a seasoned Property/Facilities Manager. He loves the problem-solving and hands-on aspects of the field; each day is different and presents various opportunities to exercise his skill set. But most of all, he loves the fact that he's part of a great team that gets to see our future leaders learn and grow at the Green Ivy Schools.

GI-Johnny-Gutierrez-Facilities-Coordinator

Johnny Gutierrez | Purchasing Manager

Johnny joined the Pine Street School facilities Team in 2019. Johnny is very passionate at his job as the Pine Street Facility Coordinator. Johnny has a great deal of experience in customer service, asset protection and project management. 

His youngest child, Melody, also comes to Pine Street every day, as an elementary school student!

GI-Malik-LeTellier-Facilities-Crew-Member

Malik LeTellier | Facilities Crew Member

Malik LeTellier is a native New Yorker, raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was born on a military base, which would set the foundation for his professional life.

Malik enlisted in the U.S. Army straight out of high school. He trained at The US Army Signal Training Command in battlefield communication. His tours of duty included South Korea and Ft. Gordon, GA. His experiences included: maintaining communication for the US Army Command on the DMZ in Korea, providing medical care for Marine and Naval personnel, combat training, base security, fire safety and CPR.

Malik worked in corporate security with Allied Universal at the World Trade Center. During this time Malik began working at the Browning School and now he's happy to be part of the Pine Street School team!

GI-Eddie-Burgess-Facilities-Crew-Member

Eddie Burgess | Facilities Crew Member

Eddie joined GI Facilities in 2019 as a member of the security team and handyman. When he is not keeping the schools beautiful, he is doing beautiful things. For the past 25 years, Eddie has supported people with disabilities, working with groups such as AHRC and The Lighthouse Guild. An avid biker, shopper and shoe lover, Eddie always has a smile and a vegan recipe to share.

BPM-Wendy-Quero-Facilities-Manager

Wendy Quero | Facilities Crew Member

Wendy was born and raised in the Dominican Republic before moving to Puerto Rico for 17 years. She currently lives in the Bronx where she raised 4 beautiful children who grew up and is now a grandmother to 3 cute grandchildren.

She previously worked for a cleaning company before coming to Pine Street School. After a few years, it was time for a new change and transferred over to Battery Park Montessori. She has been part of the BPM team for 3 years now and proves to be an essential member ensuring BPM is running safely. She has a passion for learning and is currently in school to become a beautician.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, especially at the beach.

Scroll to Top