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The Russell Sage College Doctor of Educational Leadership program’s current cohort began their studies in the fall of 2017, with the anticipated goal of completion in 2019. The members of Cohort 11 come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a wide range of experiences to the program.
Asheena Baez works internationally as a Mindful leadership Coach, Curriculum Developer, and Educational Consultant in the American School of Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand and Kerela, India as well as in various areas of Haiti. She currently serves the Summer Principal Academy Administrative Graduate Program at Columbia University as a Leadership Coach and Summer Instructor. In addition, Asheena collaborates with Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence as a curriculum developer for Social and Emotional Learning practices and techniques. As a former Special Education Teacher, Director of Pupil Personnel Services and current Principal, in New York.
Susan Bishop is currently working in the Greenwich Central School District as the Director of Pupil Personnel. I am participating in the Russell Sage College Doctoral program to continue my work of implementing best practices in educational leadership for student achievement.
Gianleo Duca is currently an Assistant Principal at Ballston Spa High School, coming from a 15 year career as a Social Studies teacher at South Colonie High School. He is thrilled to be part of the Russell Sage College Doctoral Program as it is a great opportunity to further his education as a district level leader. As part of the cohort, he hopes to learn best practices in regard to working with the Board of Education, data driven decision making, and goal setting.
Camille Harrelson currently serves as the Director of Special Education for the Granville Central School District. She is excited to have joined the current cohort and is looking forward to collaboration, personal and professional growth in my journey as an educator.
Jackie Harnett has an interest in Higher Education as I am interested in learning how academic programs develop with community partners. She has worked at the State Education Dept. for the past 10 years, and was both a teacher and school administrator for 15 years prior to that.
Amy Hawrylchak is currently working as an assistant principal at Guilderland High School. She is thrilled to be a part of the Education Leadership program at Russell Sage College to bring together research and practice as we work to support students each and everyday. Her goal is to work in the district office, coordinating the bigger picture of a school system while always keeping in mind the daily successes and struggles of our students.
Darlene King is currently the Director of Pupil Services for the Saratoga Springs City School District.
She has been working in the field of special education for 45 years and hopes to work in higher education and as a consultant in her retirement. She is very happy to be a part of Cohort 11!! These are exciting times in the field of education!
Alan Lockwood is the principal of Guilderland Elementary School and a proud husband and father of two. He is in the Educational Leadership program to push himself outside of his comfort zone and to improve his leadership skills in order to better serve the students for whom he works.
James Niedermeier began his career as an English teacher at Manchester-Shortsville CSD, a small rural high school near Rochester. Following that, he moved into administration with Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and served as the Director of Instructional Technology for the Honeoye and Bloomfield school districts before returning to the district at which he taught to become its high school principal for four years. He moved to the capital region to become the principal of Tech Valley High School, a regional public high school jointly operated by Capital Region and Questar III BOCES that focuses on project-based learning and college and career readiness.
Matt Lewis is an Assistant Principal/ Director of Building and Grounds within the Mayfield Central School District. He joined the Ed.D program at Russell Sage College to further refine his leadership skills. In the future he looks forward to supporting teachers and other administrators in the goal of creating a better learning environment for all children.
An educator for more than 25 years, Beverly Bisnett-Jenks is honored to serve for the past 8 years at Guilderland Central Schools as an Instructional Administrator for Math, Science and Technology at Farnsworth Middle School. It is with enthusiasm that she has entered into the doctoral program for Educational Leadership so that she may gain a broader more systems approach to how I lead teaching and learning. Her goal is to one day serve as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and share my passion for teaching, instruction and curriculum beyond the secondary level.
Cohort 5N – New York City
Noah Angeles currently serves as the Principal of York Early College Academy, a Title I Early College public school located in South Jamaica Queens. Through collaboration with the City University of New York’s York College and the Early College Initiative, Noah has been successful in developing an accelerated scope and sequence that provides students with an opportunity to earn up to 60 college credits by the time they graduate from high school.
Tamra Collins is a 17-year educator in New York City Department of Education and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She graduated from Hampton University with an undergraduate degree in Accounting, and later received two master’s degrees in Education from New York University and Touro College. As a former founding school leader, Tamra is passionate about focusing on not only closing the achievement gap but also closing the opportunity gap.
Courage, love and service define Maria Colon’s journey from the South Bronx to a great education at Kennedy High School to the joys and commitment to and for Public Education. For 22 years, she served the NYC Department of Education community. Her educational experience at Columbia University: Teachers College, New York University, Baruch College Zicklin Executive Leadership Program, Lehman College and Cornell ILR includes Professional Certificates, Training, Professional Development and Masters in Science in Industrial Labor Relations, Masters in Arts in Educational Leadership, Linguistics, Ed. Law, History and Secondary Education. Outside of the school environment, her commitment to causes that involve AIDS, the arts and social inequities provide opportunities for learning, advocacy and volunteerism. She is grateful for the past, to her mother and to the Russell Sage College Doctoral Community knowing that the work continues and that the commitment to responsibility, moral leadership and discipline define priorities and habitual practices of excellence.
Ramona A. Duran is currently beginning my 18th year as the principal at P.S. 157X. She has worked for the NYCDOE for the last 47 years. She is an advocate of education and loves to learn and to make it possible for others to learn. However, this doctorate program and journey is for her. It has always been her goal to get a doctorate, however, family, job and life duties and responsibilities in general did not given her that opportunity until now. She is excited and looks forward to both a challenging and rewarding experience as well as being a role model for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of which she has more than a few.
Herman Guy is currently the Principal of Millennium Art Academy, a high school located in the Adlai Stevenson Campus, which is located in the Castle Hill area of the Bronx. Half of his career was spent in Los Angeles County, California, where he served as a Social Studies/ESL Teacher, Department Chair, Classroom Coach, Political Action Committee Co-chair, Dean, Assistant Principal, and Principal. He has been a Principal with the New York City Department of Education for approximately eight years, and is on the Executive Board for the NYC High School Principal’s Association, and on the Advisory Board for the Bronx Principal’s Consortium.
Shonelle Hall is a first year Principal at a K-8 school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Her goal is to learn as much as possible about system leadership to effect positive change in my school community.
Stephanie Holmes is currently the Assistant Principal of Special Education at Research and Service High School in Brooklyn, NY. We are a transfer high school, which supports students who might be overage and under-credited get back on track for graduation and ultimately help them to prepare for a post-secondary path. Our students have had an interruption in school at some point due to physical, social and/or emotional issues and that’s what I intend to research during this Doctoral Program in order to find ways to support the mental health and social emotional well being of our students.
Jameela Horton is proudly serving in her 11th year as Founding Principal of the Middle School of Marketing and Legal Studies in Brooklyn, NY. The words of Marian Wright Edelman, an activist for the rights of children resonates in her professional and personal drive: “ Education is for improving the lives of others and leaving your community and world better than you found it” The opportunity to obtain an Ed.D through Russell Sage College will provide her with a heightened level of education and intellectual fortitude to be a role model for her son and scholars but most importantly – a vessel of change within the community and world in which she lives.
Alexandra Krayets is a bilingual speech-language pathologist, working as a Supervisor of Speech Improvement in the New York Department of Education. As a Doctoral student at Russell Sage College, she is committed to enhancing current educational and leadership practices. Her goal is to support our students in reaching their best potential.”
Hazel-Ann Lewis is currently an administrator in the NYC Department of Education working in District 27 in Queens. Ms. Lewis migrated from Trinidad and Tobago, where she attended the University of the West Indies and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature. After securing her Master of Science in Educational Technology, Ms. Lewis received her certification in administration through CITE and New Leaders for New Schools. Ms. Lewis’ is pursuing doctoral studies in Educational Administration and plans on researching the effectiveness of blended learning in early childhood literacy.
Katiana Louissaint is an educator in the New York City Public School System with over 15 years of experience. She has served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and currently an acting principal. She is committed to fostering a culture of excellence whereby every child learns, grows, and achieves.
Lauren Oellerich is an Assistant Principal working for a NYC DOE District 75 school in Staten Island, NY. I She is pursuing an Ed.D in School Leadership from Russell Sage College to continue to learn and grow within the field of education.
Annette Perez is the Assistant Principal at PS 360Q in St. Albans, NY. She has been an educator in the NYC Public Schools for 15 years. Her goal in completing the Doctorate program in Educational Leadership is to further her commitment to helping students become lifelong learners through influencing public policy in education.
Danika Rux is currently serving New York City as a Community Superintendent in District 5. She is an instructional leader with over 23 years of experience in the areas of speech pathology, literacy instruction, special education, school leadership and educational administration. Danika’s experience in some of the nation’s toughest school systems has helped honed her ability to foster creative work environments, encourage the exchange of ideas amongst her peers and solve the most complex instructional issues in very innovative ways.
Andrea Velez is an assistant principal at a Bronx elementary school. She is pursuing this doctorate in order to better develop my skills as a leader in order to positively impact student achievement. She is looking forward to conducting research in teacher development and retention in schools in historically marginalized communities.
Cohort 5Y – New York City
LaRhonda Butler is currently an Assistant Principal for an elementary school in the South Bronx. Prior to becoming an Assistant Principal she worked with the Division of Early Childhood as the Special Education Liaison for NYC under the Chancellor’s initiative Pre-K for all. Ms. Butler started her educational career as a Special Education teacher working in the capacity of self-contained, ICT and SETSS classes. Ms. Butler is also a proud mother of two great children who was the motivating forces behind her becoming both an Educator and a Change Agent for NYC Department of Education.
Monique Campbell is an experienced educator with over 23 years dedicated to educating middle and high school students in a multiplicity of capacities; teacher, staff developer, assistant principal, principal, ambassador and mentor principal. As a versatile educator, Monique Campbell has worked with diverse population of students. She has coordinated the development of middle school restructuring initiatives, managed grants, led and consolidated two schools, among a plethora of professional responsibilities. Ms. Campbell if asked, will tell you that learning will never end for her. Her passion is to learn and teach: In her own words to students at weekly assemblies, her motto for students is to Follow the rules; make good choices and learn something new every day.”
Melanie A. Diaz was born to a pair of Dominican Parents that emigrated as teenagers to the US. She and her twin sister grew up in Brooklyn, NY helping their single mom raise their little sister, Emily. Overcoming various obstacles, including having minor cerebral palsy, Melanie was able graduate with her twin from Columbia University. She later on became a bilingual teacher and then a CPSE administrator. Now she continues to reach toward new endeavors by fulfilling her lifelong dream of working on her doctorate knowing that she wouldn’t have come this far without God and her loved ones.
Cyndi Kerr is presently a Principal Lead Facilitator in New York City and her professional experiences include teacher, professional developer, Principal, and Network leader. She is responsible for supporting Renewal High Schools with school performance observation walkthroughs and supports the District team to collaboratively develop and design professional learning opportunities for Principals. Cyndi attended Point Park College for undergraduate degree, Hunter College for a Masters in Learning Disorders and Baruch College for her professional administrator licenses.
Ann Leiter has been a principal at PS 56Q since 1999. She treasures the value and power of the elementary school years. As a strong believer in the power of adult learning, she has introduced Collaborative Action Research Program and the Teacher Leadership Program to the school, strengthening teaching and learning. Ann has served as a LEAP mentor, 2015, participated in the Leadership Program at Harvard 2002 and in the Elmore Institute for Transformative Leadership 2014. She is a Cahn Fellow, Columbia University 2016, receiving her B.S. and M.S in Elementary Education from St. John’s University and her Administrative diploma from Queens College.
Perceiving every experience as an opportunity for gaining knowledge, growth, and self-reflection, Beatrice Lopez defines herself as a life-long learner and an agent for social change. Beatrice’s professional experience includes 13 years teaching in New York City Public Schools, serving as a K-8 Dual Language School Assistant Principal and currently in the position of District Middle Schools Chair for English Language Arts. In addition, Beatrice has spent 8 years working with grassroots organizing efforts and state legislative advocacy for access to education policy for economically disadvantaged families. Beatrice’s mission as a professional has been to help ignite the transformation of lives through education while cultivating high quality learning environments. Beatrice knows her participation in the Russell Sage College Educational Leadership Doctoral Program will afford her the opportunity to influence the advancement of education and revolutionize an education system set up to meet the ever-evolving needs of 21st century learning that embraces diversity, social justice and equity for all.
Rani Pendharkar has been a career educator with NYCDOE for the past 18 years. He served as an elementary school teacher in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx for 13 years. He is currently an Assistant Principal at The Cinema School, which is the only school, nationally that has a compulsory film program for all four years of high school. As he pursues his doctorate, he aspires to be a high school principal in the near future.
Diana Ramsawak is an educator with the NYC Department of Education. Her aspiration is to continue to grow and develop as a leader so that she can make a difference in the education of children in New York City. Additionally, she hopes to serve as an example for her two children, fostering a lifelong love of learning.
Darryl Rascoe is in his ninth year as a high school principal and has 19 years overall as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. He is a native New Yorker who earned his bachelor’s degree from Lehman College, his first master’s degree from Manhattanville College, his second master’s degree from Baruch College, and a leadership certificate from N.Y.C. Leadership Academy Aspiring Principals Program. Darryl is currently in the process of earning his doctoral degree from Russell Sage College and ultimately aspires to start a rewarding career as a college professor. He is a staunch proponent of education for many reasons, but one of his favorite reasons was shared by President Barack Obama when he said, “The best anti-poverty program is a world-class education.”
Deonca C. Renee is a Senior Director who works with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Equity and Access to increase access, participation, and performance in Advanced Placement Courses for historically underrepresented students. Deonca believes that the future of our world depends on our educational systems and the ability of those who work within those systems to prepare ready citizens. Deonca is currently working on her EdD in Educational Leadership.
Michelle Rochon currently serves as a NYCDOE High School Principal in Central Brooklyn. In her spare time she is a Principal Facilitator for Assistant Principal Leadership Institute (APLI) within NYCDOE Office of Leadership, where she mentors and coaches aspiring school leaders. She aspires to continue to use her knowledge, skills, and experience to be in service for social justice.
Sandra Soto was hired in district 17 more than 20 years ago. She worked as a teacher, New Teacher Mentor, Staff developer and coach. She opened the school six years ago as founding Principal in Prospect Heights, one of the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the city. This thrust her into the diversity and school integration conversation. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Ernie Anastos, and Bric TV on the topic and how it is playing out in her school. School admissions practices are of interest to her as there is greater accountability around school desegregation in NYC, the third most segregated school system in the country.
Andy Szeto is currently the Academic Policy, Performance, and Assessment Lead with the Office of Field Support at the Affinity Field Support Center. He started his career in public education as a high school social studies teacher in 2002. He served as director of Flushing YABC in Queens, an evening school program for overage and under-credited youth. Most recently, he served as principal, where he provided operational and instructional supervision of adult education services at more than 25 western Queens locations and on Rikers Island. Andy has previously shared best practices and strategies as a curriculum developer, assessment writer, and program consultant for local and national organizations. Andy is a proud graduate of New York City public schools and the State University of New York. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s degree in reading.
Hoa Tu is currently the Principal Leadership Facilitator of CSD 12 in the South Bronx after developing and leading two new secondary schools. In between starting the new schools, she was the Deputy Cluster Leader and the Chief Instruction Officer for the PSO Cluster, as well as the Senior Director for New School Development. A graduate of the New Leaders for New Schools Principal Fellowship Program, Hoa received her bachelor’s degree from Bard College and her Master of Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University.
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