Faculty and Administration

Those who make up our faculty and administration are the backbone of our school. Their diverse backgrounds, passions, and approach to working within our community contribute to making The Co-op School a truly compassionate, unique learning environment. Below you can learn more about each of them. Read some of our parents’ thank yous, posted on Padlet, in celebration of Teachers Appreciation.

Middle School Teachers

Kayleen Montesdeoca,
kayleen@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I have a Bachelor’s degree in secondary math education from CUNY Brooklyn College and recently earned a Master’s degree in school building leadership from St.John’s University. Since the age of five I dreamed of becoming a teacher and I am grateful to be living my dream. I am very excited to start teaching at The Co-op School!

Ian Wharton (Humanities Teacher & Advisor),
ianw@thecoopschool.org
I am a Brooklynite who has taught in independent schools for eight years as a Spanish teacher. I am looking forward to joining The Co-op community! I have my Master’s degree from Long Island University and hold teaching certifications in general education and special education with a bilingual education extension. In my spare time, I love to read, knit, and spend time with my family and friends. Fun fact: I love karaoke, but I am a terrible singer.

Amanda Cordell (Middle School Learning Specialist, Skills Teacher,
Advisor),
amandac@thecoopschool.org
This is my first year teaching at The Co-op School and I am thrilled to join this community! I grew up in Northern California and have an undergraduate degree in scenic design for theatre. After stints living in Italy and Morocco, I moved to Brooklyn in 2010 to work in theatre education and have worked with young people ever since. I am finishing a dual program with Bank Street College of Education and Columbia School of Social Work, where I will earn both my MSW and MS.Ed in special education in May! I love to cook, garden, spend time outside, and video chat with my niece and nephews in California.

Fifth Grade Teachers

Alexis Gordon,
alexis@thecoopschool.org
Originally from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, I moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College where I earned a Master’s degree in the art of teaching program. Since then, I have been teaching in a variety of New York City and New Jersey independent schools. This is my fourth year at The Co-op School and my 10th year of teaching!  I currently live in Brooklyn with my fiancé, Samantha, and our two black cats, Basil and Zelda. I am in the process of completing my Master’s in Information Science, School Library from SUNY Albany. In addition to reading a tremendous number of middle-grade chapter books, I also enjoy running, biking, and cooking.

Fourth Grade Teachers

John Kuckens,
john@thecoopschool.org
After studying history at Wheaton College, Massachusetts, I went on to pursue my teaching credentials at Bank Street College but not before teaching math in Hartford, Connecticut, and later working with students on the autism spectrum in Manhattan. After student teaching at Brooklyn New School and then two years as an assistant teacher in the Fourth Grade at Brooklyn Friends School, I’ve amassed quite a range of experiences to draw from while now teaching at The Co-op School. My favorite parts of teaching Fourth Grade are creative and narrative writing. I like to play guitar, see live music, swim, run, write, complete the crossword, and spend time with my son, John, and wife, Kate, as well as other family and friends here in the city.

Sarah Yunus, sarah@thecoopschool.org
I am excited to join the Co-op community this year! I am a native New Yorker from Queens. This is my third year teaching, previously having taught as a Special Education teacher for third  through fifth grade in Brooklyn. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Childhood/Special Education and History, and recently my Master’s degree in International Education, both from New York University (a whole lot of Violet Pride!)  When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my huge extended family, trying out different restaurants around New York City, listening to interesting podcasts, and traveling. I strongly believe in an education that values students’ diverse backgrounds and encourages students to engage in activism for themselves and others.

Third Grade Teachers

Samantha Santiago,samantha@thecoopschool.org
I am very excited and eager to start my first year here at The Co-op School! I come from a background in childhood and special education and five years of teaching in both public and private schools. I was born in New York but lived the majority of my life in Florida before moving back three years ago. Do I miss the beach? Every day. But would I trade it for drinking a perfectly made mocha in the park, on a crisp and cool New York City day? No way. If you don’t find me in the classroom, you’ll most likely find me at a concert or making the best cauliflower gnocchi you have ever had. I enjoy embarking on new adventures, big or small. I strongly believe in fostering an inclusive student learning atmosphere and supporting all students’ needs in the classroom.

Shelby Savidge,shelby@thecoopschool.org
I grew up on the West Coast however I have made my home here in Brooklyn. It is with devotion to a progressive pedagogy and experience working in New York City independent schools that I’ve come to teach at The Co-op School. Through the years, I’ve worked with children in grades two to six as a classroom teacher and math/science specialist. I believe new knowledge is built on prior experience, meaningful learning occurs when working with authentic problems, quality work requires high standards, and diversity among learners must be celebrated. I have a Master’s degree in education from Bank Street College, alongside a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science and mathematics from University of California, Santa Barbara. The outdoors, basketball, jokes, games, and the people in my life bring me great joy.

Second Grade Teachers

Tess Cohen, tess@thecoopschool.org
I am thrilled to be joining The Co-op School community this school year! I grew up in New Jersey, moved to Manhattan in 2004 to attend Columbia University, and moved to Brooklyn in 2009 after graduation – and I’m never leaving! I received my Master’s degree in early childhood and childhood general education from Bank Street College in May of 2019. For the last three years, I worked as an Associate Teacher at City and Country, first with four-year-olds, and then two years in first grade. I believe that learning should be fun, immersive, meaningful, and should help students understand their own identities, as well as those of others, to help them navigate the world in the future. I spend most of my free time cooking, trying to learn ukulele, singing nonsense songs to my three cats, and binge-watching good tv with my husband. I am looking forward to all the triumphs and challenges that this year is sure to bring!


Tiffany Chen, tiffanyc@thecoopschool.org This will be my first year at The Co-op School. I am excited to be a part of this community and working with incredible students, parents, teachers, and staff. Recently, I earned a Master’s degree in TESOL education and completed an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education and Special Education. I strongly believe in that for students to truly be excited to learn, it is essential to foster a safe and supportive environment that recognizes and incorporates students’ individuality, culture, and background. When I am not teaching, I love watching movies, reading books, and traveling. I am excited to be collaborating with everyone to create an extraordinary year.

First Grade Teachers

Seth Levy, seth@thecoopschool.org
I am from White Plains, New York. I like to read, watch television, and hang out in Central Park. I have an undergraduate degree in political science and a Master’s degree in elementary education from the Bank Street College of Education. This summer, I spent a bunch of time outside hiking, reading, and relaxing. I’m looking forward to having as much fun as I did last year.

Alexandra Ortega,
alexandra@thecoopschool.org

This is my first year at The Co-op School and I am very excited to join the team. I grew up in Miami, Florida, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Florida International University. While in Miami, I began my teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher at a public school, and stayed for four years. I  moved up to New York just last year and I am really enjoying it. I love experiencing the different seasons, visiting Prospect Park in Brooklyn and going to museums. Some things I like to do in my spare time include trying new recipes from one of the cookbooks I own, baking, and spending time with my dogs. I’m looking forward to getting to know my students and the Co-op community this year.

Kindergarten Teachers

Emily Silver,
emily@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I feel so lucky to be working with students during their most formative ages. I have degrees in dance and interdisciplinary arts for children, and a Master’s degree in early childhood education. Within the past few years, I have traveled to Ghana, Mexico, and Israel, exploring new cultures, dance styles, and different languages. I believe strongly in a learning environment that fosters joy, celebrates beautiful mistakes and allows students to take risks, while learning and growing into their identities.

Carolyn Hart, carolyn@thecoopschool.org
I’m excited to be a part of The Co-op School team this year! I was born in Port Washington, New York and have lived in Brooklyn for the past five years. After completing my undergraduate degree in urban studies, I worked in education and fundraising for Brooklyn institutions like the New York Transit Museum and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. With over ten years of experience working with children, I completed my Master’s degree in elementary education last year. I strongly believe that the classroom should be a joyful, inclusive environment that encourages children to find their own unique strengths. When I’m not teaching, I love to read, cook, and explore Brooklyn by bike.

Preschool Teachers

Fabiola Mejia (4s, Crickets),
fabiolam@thecoopschool.org I have been at The Co-op School since 2017 where I began as a summer camp and after-school teacher. This will be my third year teaching Pre-K, Go Crickets!  I have a Bachelor’s degree in childhood education with a concentration in English. I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in special education this fall. In the classroom, I love to practice my Spanish, create art, play pretend, and read fun books. When I’m not in the classroom, I love to explore the city, read, spend time with my family and my four cats.

Laura Scatena-Romero (4s, Crickets),
laura@thecoopschool.org I was born and raised in Puerto Rico before moving to Philadelphia at the age of 12. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Film from The New School. After graduating, I became a nanny and that led me to discover the joy of teaching! I have been teaching at The Co-op School for the past seven years. Every year, I hope to bring joy and laughter to the kids and lots of dance parties!

Shandra Vega (4s, Butterflies),
shandra@thecoopschool.org I am so excited to be working as a Butterfly teacher this school year. I was born and raised in Lower Manhattan and love New York City. I have a Bachelor’s degree in childhood education from St. Francis College. After graduating, I started my journey at The Co-op School as an after-school teacher. I then became a substitute teacher for the school. I plan to earn my Master’s degree in literacy education in the fall. I love to be creative, sing, and go on adventures in the city.


Kayla Flores- ( Caterpillars 3s-4s), kayla@thecoopschool.org
My name is Kayla Flores, I am a mama, a student and currently a Caterpillar teacher. I’ve been a part of the Co-op community for almost 11 years. Almost two years ago I left when my twin girls arrived, but now I’m back and so excited to be working with the Caterpillars. I earned an early childhood education degree with a specialty in infants, which was such a great privilege. I was able to visit so many babies in a variety of schools which was an interesting experience. I am currently finishing a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education at Medgar Evers College, and so excited to see where this new path takes me. Some things I love doing on the side are baking cakes and taking long walks with the girls in Canarsie Park.

Sammi Priti (3s, Caterpillars),
sammi@thecoopschool.org Born in Bangladesh, I came to the United States with my family when I was very young and have lived in Brooklyn ever since. I attended Brooklyn College for both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in early childhood special education. I am super psyched to be working at The Co-op School and again as a Dragonfly, Pre-K  teacher. When I am not at work, I love being outside, surrounded by greenery.

Chelsea Hanawalt (Applied Theatre Specials Teacher and supporting 1st grade), chelseah@thecoopschool.org
I’m excited to be teaching applied theatre and supporting the First Grade classes this year! I grew up in Atascadero on the central coast of California. I received my undergraduate degree in the dramatic arts in Seattle, Washington. ‘During my time in Seattle I taught at an arts and science preschool that launched me in my almost 10 years of teaching in early childhood. In Seattle I was also a part of starting an original works theatre company that brought me to New York City. I recently received my graduate degree from CUNY’s Masters in Applied Theatre program where I learned to use theatre in many different forms, with the main focus on theatre for education and social justice work. I love to incorporate music, yoga and mindfulness in my teaching. In my free time I love to be creative, play in nature, and spend time with friends and family.

Freddie Southwick (3s, Caterpillars),
freddie@thecoopschool.org This will be my second year teaching at The Co-op School. I have three years of experience working with children at Shire Village Camp, a sleep-away camp in the Berkshires. When I am not at school, you can find me playing piano, mandolin, or accordion, or exploring Brooklyn on my longboard! I am so excited to meet everyone and to begin a new chapter of my life here at The Co-op School.

Holly Squashic (3s, Inchworms),
holly@thecoopschool.org This is my third year at The Co-op School, my second as a Beetle! Being an assistant teacher is what I feel strongly I am meant to do!  I am very much looking forward to getting to know the Beetles this year; helping them learn and grow in a new environment! I love helping them gain independence and confidence, build friendships, develop in a new social environment, and learn new things!  I have a 10 year old daughter, Olivia, and have lived in Brooklyn for 12 years. I love museums, art, reading, music, movies, theater and karaoke!

Jose Rios (3s, Inchworms),
jose@thecoopschool.org I was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City. I went to college in New Hampshire and upstate New York, where I majored in graphic design and photography. In 2011, I started working at The Co-op School. The part of my job that I enjoy the most is witnessing a student’s growth—for example, when the most shy one in the class becomes the one who constantly tells me about their favorite movie.

Kyla Johnson (3s, Inchworms),
kyla@thecoopschool.org I am a native New Yorker from Queens and am excited for all that is in store for my first year as an assistant teacher of the Inchworms class. My favorite thing to do in the summer when I’m not working is relaxing and enjoying New York’s beautiful parks.

Jennifer Rodriguez (3s, Honeybees),
jennifer@thecoopschool.org My name is Jennifer but I often go by Jenny. I was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and have been teaching at The Co-op School since 2008! I have recently moved to New Jersey where I live with my fiancé and seven year old son. When I’m not teaching, I also enjoy working on set as a background actress, and love to
craft, sing, and cook!

Razeia Azees (3s, Honeybees), razeia@thecoopschool.org
Hello! My name is Razeia and I live in Queens. I was born in Guyana and moved to America with my family when I was nine years old. I love eating ramen, spending time watching all sorts of documentaries and hanging out with my cat. I’m currently working towards my degree in early childhood education. I’ve been a member of the Co-op community for almost four years now and this will be my first year teaching full time as an assistant teacher for the Honeybees.

Malia Bruce (3s, Fireflies),
malia@thecoopschool.org Hey! My name is Malia, I live in Astoria with my two cats and Bearded Dragon. I love to run, teach and practice yoga, and try out new vegan recipes! This is my second year teaching at The Co-op School. Before I was teaching in Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve spent the first six  months of social distancing creating a remote learning platform on Youtube for preschoolers and learning how to propagate my plants. When I am not in the classroom as a teacher,  I’m working on my M.Ed. in special education and school administration.

Sara Johnson (3s, Caterpillars),
sara@thecoopschool.org
2020 marks my fifth joyful year at The Co-op School. I have a Bachelor of Music in Classical Vocal Performance from Manhattan School of Music and a professional studies degree from the William Esper Studio. My passion for the arts ultimately led me to pursue a Master of Science in Early Childhood General and Special Education at Brooklyn College in order to share my enthusiasm for the arts and play with the next generation! I live in Crown Heights with my husband Jay, daughter Abigail (Co-op K), and infant son Caleb (future Co-op kid!). I relished spending quality time with my recently expanded family of four this summer. My favorite things to do include going to see live performances, exploring Brooklyn by bike, practicing vinyasa yoga, reading for pleasure and most of all, spending quality time with my family.

Marina Reggiani Smith (3s, Fireflies),
marina@thecoopschool.org
I grew up in California and came to New York City to attend Barnard College. I fell in love with the city and ended up staying on this coast where I’ve worked at a variety of elementary and preschools. This is my fifth year at The Co-op School. For three years I was a part of team Firefly and this is my second year with team Grasshopper! I’m a children’s book enthusiast and expert playdough maker. I also love exploring sign language and learning right along with my students! When I’m not teaching, or working towards my Master’s degree in early childhood education & special education at Brooklyn College, I enjoy exploring the city and relaxing at home with my partner and 4.5 year old who is a Dragonfly this year!

Eric Paucar 3s, Grasshoppers), eric@thecoopschool.org
I have a Bachelor’s degree in social work from Saint Francis College. This will be my second year at the school. Prior to joining the Co-op community I was teaching online, and during my last semester of college I worked at another preschool. Last year I worked as a floater/after school teacher and had an awesome time and am looking forward to another great year! Having grown up in Brooklyn my whole life, I have a deep admiration for people, culture, and different types of music all around. During my free time you can catch me biking around Brooklyn or across the Williamsburg Bridge.

Brittany Carney (Support Teacher),
brittanyc@thecoopschool.org
I began at The Co-op School in 2019 as an interim Middle School humanities cover, and joined team Grasshopper last fall. This year I will support the Butterflies and Katydids! I grew up between Tokyo and Philadelphia and went to college in Hawaii. I earned a Master’s degree in public history in Washington, DC, where I worked in museum education for seven years before moving to New York in 2018. I love history, reading out loud, comedy, cooking, and my black cat named Carmen.

Kat Stevens (3s, Fireflies),
kat@thecoopschool.org
I have been at The Co-op school since 2012 and I’m originally from Connecticut. I just finished my Master’s degree in early childhood and special education from Mercy College! In my free time, you can find me eating tapas, hanging out with my classroom pet rats, or watching New York Rangers highlights.

Eddie Laguna (2s, Ladybugs),
eddie@thecoopschool.org
I was born in Queens and currently live in Bedford-Stuyvesant with my wife, my two sons, Oliver and Finn, and three cats named Lily, Loki, and Mogwai. I have been teaching at The Co-op School since 2010. I studied secondary education/English at City University of New York–Queens College, and in 2019 I received my Master’s of Education.. I love to skateboard, run in Prospect Park, take long road trips, eat outside, woodwork, and spend time with my family. I play several instruments, including guitar, which I play regularly in the classroom!

Patricia Powlette (2s, Ladybugs,
patricia@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. This is my fifth year as a Ladybugs teacher. I love getting creative and messy with my students. I have a son named Brandon who enjoys spending time and helping out The Co-op Community. In my spare time, I like to hang out at the park with Brandon, watch funny movies, listen to music, and learn new things (absolutely anything).

Amanda Clarke (2s, Roly Polies),
amanda@thecoopschool.org I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, though now you’ll find that I am a Staten Islander.  I’ve been with The Co-op School for seven years now and I’ve been so lucky to be a part of the Roly Polies since the beginning. This year I became a first time mama to a baby girl!  A few things you should know about me is that I love to do yoga, I love to sing, I love to dance and I especially love to give hugs!  It has been such a joy to share what I love and to have a part in the lives of these beautiful students, especially at this young age. There isn’t a better feeling than bonding and witnessing the development throughout the school year. I am sure it will be a wonderful and adventurous year filled with dance parties, singing, lots of laughter and silliness.

Heather DeGrandis (2s, Roly Polies),
heather@thecoopschool.org I fell in love with early childhood education while studying at Teachers College at Columbia University for my Master’s degree in general & special education. In the past, I have had the great joy of working and traveling with students from the ages of three months to six years old. I was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland and have been living in New York since I was an undergraduate at Fordham University, where I studied communications & psychology. Currently, I live near Brooklyn Bridge Park and adore this beautiful borough that many of us call home. I recently earned my children’s yoga certification and cannot wait to share yoga and practice mindfulness with the Beetles! I also love photography, so look out for lots of school-day photos.

Lelia Mangham (2s, Roly Polies),
lelia@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised right here in New York City along with my two younger brothers and still happily reside in Brooklyn. I’ve been at The Co-op School for 15 amazing years and have grown so much from my interactions with both the staff and the families. I received my Bachelor’s degree in communications from Brooklyn College and enjoy reading, writing and cooking in my spare time. I particularly enjoy bringing my love of cooking into the classroom to share with the preschoolers. This is my third year as a Roly Polies teacher and I’m loving every minute of it. Being able to watch how quickly and hugely these little people grow has been such a blast and I hope to be a part of that wonderful process for many more years to come.

Destiny Redding (4s,Cicadas), destiny@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve been with The Co-op community for six years now, almost seven! I started with after school for five years, and for my sixth year, I was a full time floating substitute teacher. Now for my seventh year, I am the assistant teacher in the Cicadas classroom. I attended BMCC and received my associates degree in childhood education. I love working and playing with the kids of The Co-op School, they truly make my day. In my free time I like to sing (my cousin is the late Otis Redding), write poems/songs, bake, go to different restaurants and I love to do nails. I am excited for the next academic year to come and see what’s in store!

Stephen Canino (Cicadas, 4’s)
Hello everyone! My name is Stephen. I was born and raised in a small town in the Hudson Valley. As I grew up, I developed a strong interest in art and painting. After graduating high school, I attended Purchase College to obtain my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. From there, I moved to New York City to seek out a career as a painter. I attended Hunter College and received my Master’s of Fine Arts in 2006. Gradually I began to gravitate towards a more community oriented profession. My world changed immediately as I discovered the joy of working with young children. I started working as a head teacher for three to five year olds at a head start program in West Harlem where I worked for six years. While in West Harlem, I completed my Master’s degree in early childhood education at City College. I found my way to Brooklyn where I joined The Co-op School. I have been working as a Pre-K teacher since 2013. This past year, I took a break from teaching to care for my first child. I am thrilled to be back!

Sayyid Adam Mohammed (Support Teacher, Grasshoppers & Caterpillars)
I was born and raised in Queens, New York. This will be my fourth year at The Co-op School. I got my start here doing summer camp. My first year I was with the Roly Polies and the following two summers I was with the Fireflies. This will be my first year as a full time supporting teacher. I am excited to support both the Grasshoppers and Caterpillars. I recently graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I plan to start my Master’s degree in early childhood education at Brooklyn College next year. I am passionate about decolonizing education and making school a liberatory experience for students by centering BIPOC voices and celebrating each and every student’s unique self, family, and history.

Sheldon Brown (Support Teacher for the Crickets and Dragonflies)
Sheldon@thecoopschool.org
I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Montgomery county, Maryland. I have lived on both coasts of this beautiful country spending time as a resident in South Florida and also the bay area in California. I have been a Brooklyn local for almost seven years. I received my Associate’s degree in early childhood education from Kingsborough Community College and am currently working towards my Bachelor’s at Brooklyn College. This will be my third year working at The Co-op School. I am a staunch supporter of students learning through play, social interaction and Inquiry. I have two daughters aged five years (Harper) and 19 months (Rose). I have also been a part of the Co-op community for six years as my wife (Katie) taught the third grade class at The Co-op School – who are now in 8th grade! I am excited to continue to grow my existing relationships with the Co-op family and to form new relationships with those I haven’t had a chance to form one with!

Brittany Chandler (Support Teacher for the Honeybees and Katydids) brittany@thecoopschool.org This is my fourth year working at The Co-op School. I was born and raised in Chelsea, Manhattan. I have my Bachelor’s degree in social work and will be going back next spring to receive my Master’s degree in early childhood education. I enjoy reading and writing, and most of all I love spending time with my wonderful daughter.

Specials Teachers

Josh Max (Science Teacher),
josh@thecoopschool.org This is my third year with The Co-op School and my second year teaching science to this fantastic community! I hold a Master’s degree in childhood education from Bank Street’s School of Education and I have been teaching in independent schools over the past decade. When I’m not conducting experiments or playing with computers you can find me watching all types of movies, baking something sweet or playing with my two cats and bunny at home.

Thomas Stokes (Preschool and Elementary Movement Teacher),
thomas@thecoopschool.org I am a Brooklynite born and bred, straight from the heart of Bed-Stuy! I have been in education since 2001; teaching pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade and High School over that span. I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University in Atlanta. I taught there for two years after I graduated, then I returned to New York to earn my Master’s degree in childhood education from CUNY Hunter College School of Education. I have coached a number of sports, including soccer, basketball, flag football and track. I am also a certified personal and group fitness instructor. I love exercise/movement and am looking forward to spreading this love throughout the Co-op community!


Benjamin Rojas (Art Teacher),
ben@thecoopschool.org I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area to parents who had immigrated to California from El Salvador. I attended San Francisco State University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts. in arts education, then moved to Brooklyn in 2004. After almost eight years of teaching high school art and design, I entered New York University Steinhardt School and earned a Master of Arts in arts education. I have exhibited my artwork and painted murals nationally and internationally and I continue to practice my art in Brooklyn, where I live with my wife, Adia, and our two beautiful children (currently at The Co-op School!)

Carla Rodea (Elementary Spanish Teacher),carla@thecoopschool.org ¡Hola! I come from Mexico City, where I studied music at the National Center for the Arts. While in Mexico, I taught music and English to elementary school students and adults. I have been living in New York City for the past 13 years. I came here to continue my studies in music as well as photography and anthropology. I hold a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Digital and Interdisciplinary Arts Practice program in the City College of New York. I love learning languages, teaching, performing, photographing, traveling, cooking, reading, walking in Prospect Park, visiting museums and galleries, and attending as many concerts as I can.

Hannah Sherman (School Counselor and Wellness Program Coordinator), hannah@thecoopschool.org
I am a clinical social worker who is passionate about supporting others in healing and growth, employing an integrative approach towards wellbeing. I’ve provided preventative and direct clinical services to children, adolescents, and families in various mental health, private practice and school-based settings in NYC. I earned my Master’s degree in social work at New York University and Bachelor’s degree in psychology and human development and family studies at the University of Vermont. As a children’s yoga and mindfulness educator, I work to help young people use their bodies and minds as tools to navigate their own experience of the world with curiosity and compassion.

Vanessa Drake-Johnso (Literacy Specialist),
vanessadj@thecoopschool.org I’m originally from Minneapolis but spent much of my childhood in Vancouver, British Columbia. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in history at Duke University and worked in book publishing before then earning a Master’s degree in childhood education at Bank Street College of Education. I have taught First and Second Grades in Manhattan and New Jersey, and most recently worked in Literacy Intervention at the Brooklyn New School. I live in Clinton Hill with my husband, two daughters (ages 163 and 196), and oura Havanese dog., andI love that my role as Literacy Specialist at The Co-op School combines the joys of working with children and teachers with my lifelong love of reading!

Jenna Vitale (Learning Specialist),
jenna@thecoopschool.org I am a New York native and grew up on Long Island. I have a Bachelor’s degree in childhood education from Oneonta State College and a Master’s degree in special education from Hofstra University. My journey at The Co-op School began in 2013, when I started working with preschool students as a SEIT. My love for the community was instant—so much so that I moved to Brooklyn from Long Beach. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, exploring local neighborhoods, and trying new restaurants. I am so proud to be part of the Co-op community!

Adrianne Wallace-Bearak (Math Specialist),
adrianne@thecoopschool.org I am a Bank Street graduate coming from P.S. 235, where I worked as a classroom teacher, math teacher, math staff developer and coach, and, finally, as an assistant principal for the last 30 years!


Administration

Deanna Bocchetti (Head of School),
deanna@thecoopschool.org
I am excited to join The Co-op School this year as Head of School. After receiving my Master’s degree in elementary education from The City College of New York. I taught fourth and first grade for over a decade on the Upper West Side. I then entered administration as Director of Curriculum and Assistant Head of Elementary, also in New York City. I moved to Bed-Stuy in 2001 and am enjoying being “back home” after spending the past six years as the Head of Lower school at a PK-12 school in Wilmington, Delaware.

Maureen Boucher (Business Director),maureen@thecoopschool.org I grew up outside of Philadelphia, and a circuitous path from a University of Delaware Bachelor’s in art history, ten years in ad agency art departments, an MFA in design and technology from Parsons School of Design, and running my own freelance design business led to my first position with The Co-op School as Genevieve’s mom and Board Treasurer in 2005. Overseeing the school’s financial operation, planning, and the move in 2009 to Irving Place honed my skills. The new scale of the organization required full-time focus on the finance side of The Co-op School and I became the Business Director. I earned an MPA in Nonprofit Administration from Baruch College in 2017 and look forward to the school’s next exciting chapter. Denise Honoroff (Billing Coordinator) denise@thecoopschool.org I was born in Malden, Massachusetts and moved to New York to work in publishing. My three children were the cutest Ladybugs, Fireflies, and Bumblebees. The Co-op School is an amazing community that hosts legendary parties. When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my family, eating, and going to CrossFit!

Amanda Rodriguez (Cooperative Coordinator), amandar@thecoopschool.org I was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have a background in events, marketing, and communications. I joined The Co-op School in 2011 after teaching English in South Korea for 2 years.  I started my career in the classroom and I am now a member of the administration team. In my spare time, I enjoy going to museums, dancing, traveling and spending time with my one year old daughter, Emilia. It’s been such a pleasure growing with The Co-op School over the years—I’m excited to see what’s still in store!

Jennifer En (Interim Middle School Director),jennifere@thecoopschool.org I grew up in Northern California, moved to New York City for college, and never left—for long anyway. My first job in education was as a middle school English teacher at a public school in Brooklyn. I went on to work as a children’s book editor for several years before going abroad to teach sixth grade English in Bogotá, Colombia. Back in New York, I was at Grace Church School and City and Country School before coming to The Co-op School. I enjoy spending time with my son, writing, and baking the occasional non-essential batch of cookies.

Mandy Vadnai (Elementary School Education Director),
mandy@thecoopschool.org I have been with I have worked at The Co-op School since the elementary school program began in 2012 as the founding elementary school education director. Prior to this, I worked at P.S. 261 in Boerum Hill, where I taught Kindergarten, Third Grade, and was a Special Education Support Teacher (SETTS) for seven years. I also taught at The Churchill School in Manhattan, working with special education students from across the spectrum. I hold a Master’s degree in both elementary and special education from Bank Street. I am a New York City native and live in Brooklyn currently  I live near the school with my husband and two girls, Charlie and Willa (both graduates of The Co-op School). When not working, I enjoy reading, like to spend time with friends and family, read, watching movies, traveling, listening to music, cooking (well, more importantly, eating), and watercoloring and, occasionally, watercoloring if there is a free minute.

Christie Gallagher (Preschool Education Director),christie@thecoopschool.org Hi, my name is Christie! I was born and raised in Queens, New York and I have been a part of The Co-op School community since 2008. During my career here, I have enjoyed teaching 2-5 year old students, collaborating with families, and supporting the teaching staff. I’ve taught in the 2-5 year old students 2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K classes and have been enjoying the role of Preschool Education Director. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in childhood education and a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood General and Special Education. I love the cooperative spirit, creativity, and family involvement at The Co-op School. My child started his first Co-op school year and I couldn’t be more grateful for the learning experiences the preschool staff bring to this community. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, going to the beach (year round!), camping, and going on coffee dates with friends and family.

Evelyn Espinoza (Human Resources/Payroll Manager), evelyn@thecoopschool.org
Hi, I’m Evelyn! I have been with The Co-op School since August 2019. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but while I was in high school my family and I moved to Pennsylvania, where I also earned my degree. Brooklyn has my heart, so I came back home. In my spare time, I enjoy doing CrossFit, traveling, reading, and spending time with my three dogs Nighty, Luna, and Thor.

Lasana Williams (Administrative Coordinator)<ahref=”mailto:lasanawilliams@thecoopschool.org”>lasana@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. I started off my college education at Siena College only to transfer back home to LIU Brooklyn, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in sports science. In my spare time I run a business and enjoy traveling as much as possible. I am no stranger towards The Co-op School, I started working summers at Irving and Breevort in my teen years, later I worked as the summer camp facilities manager at Brevoort and recently worked as a temp helping to oversee the afterschool and enrichment program. I am excited to be back and looking forward to a successful school year.

Lennox Acque (Security Guard)
Hi! I’m Lennox, the security guard. I grew up in a little known country called Guyana which is located on the northern tip of South America bordered by Brazil, Venezuela, and the Atlantic Ocean. I immigrated to America in 2006 and started working at The Co-op School in 2009. During my time here, I have enjoyed the camaraderie and the hospitality of the parents and staff members. My favorite pastime activities are reading, watching sports, listening to music, and going to social events.

David Green (Maintenance Manager), David@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I am the youngest of three siblings. I have been in the facility maintenance field for over 10 years. I have been at The Co-op School since November of 2019 and look forward to another great year with some of the most amazing people. During my free time I enjoy playing video games with my son, listening to music and traveling.

Hassan Williams (Custodian Assistant) hassan@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. This is my first year as an employee at The Co-op School. My daughter Brooke-Lynn attended Co-op for her first year of Middle School during the school year 2019-2020. It is refreshing to know how welcoming the school community has been while displaying positive energy during the recent day to day struggles. I’ve worked in the education field for 28 years in the facilities department at Medgar Evers College. I am married with three children, ages 27,12 and 10. I spend my free time traveling with my family, reading, working out and studying ancient Africa (Egypt).

Spencer Eagle (Custodian Assistant),spencer@thecoopschool.org
Born and raised in Queens but I also spent some time in Alabama where I learned a lot about how people view the world through the eyes of others. I enjoy watching and attending sporting events, spending time with my daughter, family and friends, concerts, museums, and dining. I joined The Co-op School late summer of 2020 as part of the Facilities Department and it’s been a delightful experience thus far. I’ll continue to work hard at keeping the building clean and safe for students and all faculty members. I hope to continue seeing the wonderful smiling faces for the ongoing future.

Rose Martin (School Nurse)rose@thecoopschool.org I was born in Louisiana, grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended nursing school in Oklahoma where I resided for six years after graduation. I am entering my fifth year as a registered nurse but have served in the medical field in another capacity for over 10 years. Before becoming a school nurse here at The Co-op School, I specialized in pediatric/adolescent behavioral health and recently cared for patients with COVID diagnosis. I have worked as a travel nurse for the past three years and have worked at different hospitals and facilities across the U.S. I am currently enrolled in Capella’s University Master’s degree program in nursing education. During my leisure time I love indulging in self-care activities, spending time with family and friends, attending church, dancing, traveling, cooking, listening to music and relaxing outdoors. I wholeheartedly believe that nursing is not only a career, yet it is a calling.