Marcia Cambell, Teacher
Ms. Campbell previously worked with disabled students and has taught from Pre-K to 8th grade. She attended Nova University – Bachelor’s of Science: Elementary Education, and Mercy College – Master’s of Science: Childhood Education with a minor in Students with Disabilities. Ms. Campbell believes that every child can learn and excel.
Angel Contreras, Teaching Assistant
Mr. Contreras served as a translating assistant for teachers and parents as well in additional educational support capacities. He attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College pursuing Secondary Education. He is a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success at BMCC. Mr. Contreras believes that a quality education equates to a better future for all.
Mellenia Blake, Teacher
Ms. Blake has experience teaching students from kindergarten to second grade in remote settings as well as in person. She attended Monroe College – Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Blake believes that, as a teacher, she is able to influence her students to be the best version of themselves. She wants her students to feel heard and understood and be given equal opportunities to succeed regardless of their learning needs.
Pamela Bridgeforth, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Bridgeforth has been a teaching assistant for over five years and is a founding member of CMCCS. She also has experience as a case manager for youth services and has educated and mentored various age groups. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and is a certified teacher’s assistant. She believes that working in the education field and teaching children is a very rewarding experience because one has the ability to shape young minds and watch them grow academically and emotionally. She also believes that all children are unique and special in their own way and it is up to educators to foster and embrace their individuality.
Samantha Calkins, Teacher
Ms. Calkins had the opportunity to student teach in a 3rd grade classroom. Since then, she has been observing in a wide range of school districts and grade levels. Previously, she was a teacher’s assistant at CMCCS and completed her student teaching toward her Master’s degree. As well as being a teacher, she has been coaching basketball for students K-6th grade. Ms. Calkins attended Manhattanville College – Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Childhood & Special Education Grades 1-6. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi – Education Honors Society. Ms. Calkins believes that her goal is to create a positive, safe environment for her students to grow and prosper. She wants her students to be engaged and active during hands-on lessons and collaboration. She believes it is important that her students become well rounded, respectful individuals both, inside and out of the classroom.
Carol Callender, Teacher
Ms. Callender has been teaching for over 30 years, mainly in early childhood education. She also has tutored elementary school students and worked in various after school programs. She earned an Associate’s Degree with honors in Early Childhood Education from CUNY/BMCC, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Sociology from CUNY-Queens College and a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education/Childhood Education from LIU CW Post. She is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the National Science Teaching Association and the Nassau County Reading Association. She believes that the best way to learn is by doing. All children are capable of learning, they just need the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Jeffery Chanin, Reading Specialist
Mr. Chanin started off his career in education teaching 5th grade. He has been a reading specialist for over 10 years. He received his B.S. degree in Elementary Education from The State College of New York at Oneonta and his M.S. degree in Teaching Literacy (B-12) from Mercy College. He is a longtime member of the International Literacy Association. Mr. Chanin believes that all children can achieve grade level standards given the proper support from a dedicated teacher. He believes a teacher’s role is to establish a personal relationship with each student and guide him or her to their highest potential.
Jocelyn Collazo, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Collazo has volunteered at various schools prior to working at Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology with a minor in Education and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Education to become a teacher. She was a member of the dean’s list during her studies, attaining summa cum laude upon graduation. Ms. Collazo believes that students learn best when they feel welcomed, comfortable and safe.
Colleen Corrigan, Teacher
Ms. Corrigan has been a teacher for 15 years, teaching in a preschool for many years and at Cardinal McCloskey for the past few years. She attended Mount Saint Mary College – Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary for Education and Master’s of Science in Education. Ms. Corrigan believes that all students need to feel safe and respected within their classroom and that they have the freedom to express themselves in an appropriate manner.
Carlos Diaz, Parent & Community Coordinator
Mr. Diaz has been a music teacher for almost 10 years but now serves as the Parent and Community Coordinator at CMCCS. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Music – City University of New York and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership – Concordia University Nebraska. He graduated summa cum laude from Concordia University. Mr. Diaz believes that all students are able to learn and succeed if teachers and families work together with that goal in mind.
Genesis Flores, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Flores served children ages three to eight-years-old for over 10 years before arriving at CMCCS. She started her work with children in daycare and preschool. She earned a CDA in Early Childhood and a teaching assistant certification. She believes that learning should be fun and every child feel safe and loved. Our children are our future. Let’s make our future bright!
Frances Garcia, Executive Assistant
Ms. Garcia served in administrative, sales and banking before working in education. She earned an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Her role is to support the principal, attend meetings, take notes and maintain organization while completing various tasks. She enjoys working with people. She is a driven Latina who is eager to learn something new every day and encourages her daughter to be better than her. She was born in Nicaragua and currently lives in the Bronx. During her free time she enjoys reading and strengthening her mindset through a challenging workout. She loves dogs and nature and capturing pictures of all the beautiful moments life has to offer. Ms. Garcia’s goal is to motivate students as she is the first face they see when walking into the building every morning.
Sheneka Gumbs, Social Worker
Ms. Gumbs served as a middle school teaching assistant for six years and also at an elementary school in the Bronx for two years. She specialized in working with students with disabilities. She also has been mentoring adolescent girls in middle school and high school for many years. Ms. Gumb’s attended BMCC – Associate’s Degree in Human Services, Medgar Evers College – Bachelor’s in Psychology minor in Child Welfare and Hunter College – Master’s in Social Work. She is honored to work at addressing the social, emotional and developmental needs of students and families and in helping them access appropriate services and resources. She is an agent for positive change who enjoys listening to, encouraging and supporting students and families. She believes that with love, empathy and warmth you can truly make a difference in a child’s life.
Jacqueline Herran, Office Manager
Ms. Herran began her career in education after college when her high school principal hired her as an executive assistant. Here she discovered the importance of setting, communicating and building the tone of a school’s environment and culture. Her role expanded to procurement manager before working at CMCCS. She attended Baruch College earning a BA in Public Affairs. Ms. Herran believes it is important to create the type of atmosphere in which students can meet their full potential by providing a safe environment where they can make mistakes and are encouraged to share their ideas.
Brendan Kelly, Physical Education/Health Teacher
Mr. Kelly previously worked in Yonkers Public Schools and at West End Day School. He attended Manhattan College earning a Bachelor’s Degree and Manhattanville College earning a Master’s Degree. He attained NYS Teaching Certification. Mr. Kelly believes in teaching a Physical Education curriculum that is diverse in content, incorporating fitness, team sports and cooperative activities. This creates an atmosphere that is both enjoyable and challenging for children of all ages and skill levels.
Michelle Lockward, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Lockward has been involved in education since working as a group leader in an afterschool enrichment program. She was responsible for creating SEL lesson plans and helping students cope with their emotions. She had first-hand classroom experience during her undergraduate studies in the Childhood Education program at Hunter College as a student teacher in bilingual, ICT and general education programs. She attended Hunter College majoring in Studio Art with a minor in Sociology. Ms. Lockward values a creative and inclusive space where learning can flow through student participation and active involvement of teaching. She loves motivating and inspiring students to become involved and engaged in their education.
Rosely Espinoza, Teacher
Ms. Espinoza has taught students ages 3-7 years old, teaching Pre-K for 10 years and currently teaches first grade at CMCCS. Ms. Espinoza attended Mercy College – Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Early Childhood Education. She currently holds Initial Certification in Early Childhood Education / Professional in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Espinoza believes in creating a cultural, safe, healthy and educational environment where students can learn and grow in their own way at their own pace. She also believes in giving students educational experiences that are developmentally appropriate while making sure to nourish the “whole child,” including their social and emotional needs.
Zully Fernandez, Teacher
Ms. Fernandez has experience working with children ages three to 10-years-old. Her experience in education began as an educator at the New York Botanical Garden for ages 3-10 for six years, followed by being the Director of NYBG camps for the past few years. She previously taught pre-kindergarten, and currently teaches second grade at CMCCS. She attended Mercy College – Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and holds professional certification in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Fernandez believes that each stage and age in a child’s life impacts the next. It takes a village to raise a child. Students hold many interactions with people who have different roles. Each experience a child has with a parent, teacher, friend, neighbor and community worker will impact their tomorrow. She believes that we all play an important and needed role in the success of our children.
Caryn Horan, Teacher
Ms. Horan has been working in schools in and around New York for over 10 years. She’s taught preschool and kindergarten but the majority of her experience is in first grade. She currently teaches first grade at CMCCS. She attended Teachers College, Columbia University – B.A., Early Childhood Education, Students with Disabilities and Fordham University – M.A. Sociology, Education. Ms. Horan believes that every day is a fresh start and a chance to grow and make a change. She knows that she can learn as much from her students and their families as she can teach their children. Every year she looks forward to supporting all students in their academic and social-emotional growth.
Desiree Mahmoud, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Mahmoud has been working with children for over 15 years in afterschool programs as well as mentoring students in the Bronx and Manhattan. She has an Associate’s degree in Human Services. She is a member of the community service-based sorority, Zeta Phi Alpha Philanthropic Sorority. Being born and raised in the Bronx, she enjoys being able to learn with, grow and teach the students in her community. She believes that it is important for students to see that she makes mistakes and, more importantly, learns from them.
Jaime Martinez, Head of Maintenance
Mr. Martinez served as Director of Facilities at Aquinas High School for 48 years. Prior, he served as head custodian at the high school as well as custodian at Saint Raymond’s School. He became a New York licensed refrigeration technician in 1973 and received certification for the operation of residual fuel oil burners and incinerators in 1977. He also holds certification for supervision of fire alarm systems and other related systems. Mr. Martinez is a vital member of the CMCCS community who keeps the heart and lungs of the school pumping and breathing.
Rita Massey, Teacher
Ms. Massey started her educational work at a daycare evaluating babies and toddlers and helping them reach milestones. She later worked as a substitute teacher where she grew as an educator and developed various techniques and skills to teach a wide range of students. These roles lead her to make the decision to become an early childhood educator. She attended The College of New Rochelle – Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with a minor in Psychology and is currently attending Mercy College in pursuit of a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. She received two awards of honor for maintaining a GPA over 3.7 for consecutive semesters and graduated with cum laude honors. She also received The Who’s Who Scholarship of $10,000 towards a Master’s degree. Ms. Massey believes in being a teacher that promotes creativity, critical thinking and collaboration of academic growth to a diverse range of students by establishing a positive learning environment.
Jasmine McCaskill, Teacher
Ms. McCaskill has been working in education for close to 10 years. She graduated ASA College as an AOS Pharmacy Technician and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Monroe College. She believes that everyone wears both, the teaching and student hat.
Daisy Morales, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Morales served middle school students in an afterschool program and summer school over the past few years. She also has experience working with toddlers at a daycare. She attended Hostos Community College – Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Morales encourages students to walk into the classroom with a positive attitude, determined and ready to have a productive day. It is best when students know what they are expected to do, it helps them become independent. She believes that connections between students and teachers are important and that they help them both become more comfortable and productive throughout the school year.
Wildalis Moreta, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Moreta is a founding member of CMCCS who has worked with students from kindergarten to third grade. She attended BMCC – Associate’s degree: Bilingual Childhood Education and currently attends The City College of New York – Bilingual Childhood Education with a Co-major in Spanish. She is a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success at BMCC in addition to holding the distinction of making the dean’s list. Ms. Morales believes that teaching allows one to awaken the love of learning in others. She recognizes the importance of innovating and transforming the everyday into learning and transmits knowledge and values while learning some new ones herself.
Kenroy Morris, Teaching Assistant
Mr. Morris served as a STEM instructor that helped students design and build realistic computer models. He attended Digital Animation & Visual Effects School. Mr. Morris believes that a classroom should be a safe, caring community where children are free to speak their mind. He assists his students in expressing themselves and accepting themselves for who they are.
Jodi Ortiz, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Ortiz served students from five to 18-years-old for a few years before arriving at CMCCS. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh – BA, Theatre Design and Technology. Ms. Ortiz believes that learning should always be fun.
Marie-Ann Pierresaint, Teacher
Ms. Pierresaint began her career as a teacher after serving as a teaching assistant for over four years. She received a degree in Childhood Education from Buffalo State College. She believes that every child is unique and deserves to be in a secure and stimulating classroom environment where they can learn and grow physically, mentally and emotionally.
Fabiana Pignataro, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Pignataro has been in the teaching field for 3 years. She started working as an ELA and Science teacher in Ecuador. She also served in a 1-1 setting with children with disabilities. She started college to pursue Early Childhood Education. She was, “2017 Teacher of the Year,” in Unidad Educativa Praga, Ecuador after increasing EFL 40% through implementing adaptive teaching techniques and demonstrating strong skills in parent/teacher engagement. Ms. Pignataro believes that students who feel a sense of belonging are more motivated and engaged.
Lynette Pizarro-Collazo, Teacher
Ms. Collazo has been teaching at CMCCS since its founding year. She has a B.A in Sociology, an M.A in Liberal Arts and graduated with summa cum laude honors. Ms. Collazo believes every child has the potential to exceed in their goals and accomplishments.
Brinet Rosario, Operations Manager
Ms. Rosario began her career in education in 2011 as a bilingual speech teacher in early intervention. She took a career detour and became a police officer with the New York City Police Department. After serving in the NYPD for six years, she returned to education to work with students and families. She is now in Operations doing what she enjoys. Ms. Rosario attended Hofstra University earning a B.A. in Speech Language Sciences. She believes that while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
Shari Rose, Teacher
Ms. Rose has been teaching for over 10 years and has taught first grade at Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School since its founding. Ms. Rose attended BOCES for Cosmetology, Rockland Community College earning an Associate’s degree in Business Administration, St. Thomas Aquinas College – Bachelor of Science, Natural Science and Pace University – Master of Science and Teaching, grades 1-6. She is a member of Pi Gamma Mu and the Honors Society at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Ms. Rose believes that a classroom should be a safe, caring community where children are free to speak their mind and blossom and grow. Teaching is a process of learning from students, colleagues, parents and the community. She believes that education is a lifelong process where one learns new strategies, new ideas and new philosophies.
Verki Santana, Behavior Interventionist
Ms. Santana’s role is to assist children while they cope with challenging situations and help them self-regulate their emotions. She brings to CMCCS sixteen years of experience of working with children who have dealt with trauma and neglect. Ms. Santana has extensive knowledge of The Sanctuary Model which she is able to use in assisting students. Ms. Santana enjoys working with children and showing them new positive ways to cope with challenging situations. She motivated and dedicated to assisting others by empowering them and advocating for them. She is helpful and supportive to the CMCCS family, supervisors and students. She is very artistic and has used her talent to make CMCCS a welcome, bright and special place. She is glad to be part of a school that allows her to use her talents. Ms. Santana truly enjoys working with people, helping others and providing advocacy. On a personal note, she is of Dominican descent and raised in Westchester County. She is bilingual, a skill that further supports her role here at CMCCS. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, taking photographs and going to the beach.
Shakira Stockhausen-Smith, Teacher
Ms. Stockhausen has been teaching for over ten years and has taught every grade in elementary education, minus third grade. Ms. Stockhausen-Smith attended Bronx Community College – Liberal Arts/Paralegal Studies, The College of New Rochelle – Bachelor’s in Sociology and The College of New Rochelle – Master’s in Dual Education (1 – 6). She believes that every child can learn given the necessary tools and that children gain success in their own time and way. Learning is a lifelong experience.
Santa Vasquez, Teaching Assistant
Santa Vasquez earned an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Disabilities Studies from The New York City College. These degrees enabled her to better observe children’s behaviors and interests and address their needs. Since becoming a mother, Ms. Vasquez has become even more passionate about helping children with their learning experiences and daily challenges. She believes that her role as an educator is to be caring and loving toward all children.
Jazmin Veras, Operations Associate
Ms. Veras has worked in education supporting parents and students since 2018. She is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish. She earned her Associate’s degree in Business Administration. She is currently in school earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and Accounting as well as a minor in Spanish. She enjoys working with children, they motivate her to be a better person. Ms. Veras is honored to watch students grow and admires their endless energy, honesty, creativity and resilience.
Sophronia Williams, Teaching Assistant
Mx. Williams has worked as a science teacher for after school programs and most recently as a wildlife educator across the Greater New York area bringing Biology and environmental lessons, as well as interactive animal lessons, to young learners. They have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science and is a certified teaching assistant. They believe in mindful education and enthusiasm for learning!
Mary Wirasnik, Teacher
Ms. Wirasnik served as a teacher in upstate New York for two years before teaching at CMCCS. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and a Master’s degree in Literacy at the College of Saint Rose. As a kindergarten teacher, Ms. Wirasnik loves seeing the growth in all of her students and helping them learn to read, write and play. It is her goal as a kindergarten teacher to promote a respectful, loving and caring environment for all of her students. She also believes that it is important to build a strong relationship with every student so that they can soar academically and emotionally.
Symone Wright, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Wright served as a teacher with Everbrook Academy Learning Center for 12 years, working with children ages birth to three. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Grand Canyon University in Early Childhood Education. She currently holds CDA certification. Ms. Wright believes that not all children learn the same way. It takes time to understand them and build individualized plans that work toward their needs and goals.