Faculty and Administration

5th Grade Teachers

Sheldon Brown, sheldon@thecoopschool.org
I am excited and optimistic to be teaching 5th grade students. I am currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education at Kingsborough Community College and have worked with students from Pre-K through 3rd grade as a student teacher in a variety of classrooms. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my 2-year-old daughter, Harper, and my wife, Katie, as well as watching movies and going to concerts.

Alexis Gordon, alexis@thecoopschool.org 
Originally from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, I moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College and ended up staying there to complete my masters in the Art of Teaching Program. Since then, I have been teaching in a variety of New York City and New Jersey independent schools. Prior to teaching at the Co-op School, I taught 3rd/4th Grade at Stevens Cooperative School in Hoboken, NJ. I currently live in Brooklyn with my girlfriend Samantha and our two black cats, Basil and Zelda. In addition to reading a tremendous number of middle-grade chapter books, I also enjoy running in Prospect Park, going to concerts, knitting, and birdwatching.

Fourth Grade Teachers

Akia Goudy, akia@thecoopschool.org
I am a native New Yorker from Queens and love helping students explore their ideas and questions through projects and experiments that lead to new discoveries. I have a Bachelor degree in teaching from CUNY City College, a Master degree in curriculum design from Teachers College, Columbia University, and am currently working toward a Master degree in Elementary Mathematics. When I’m not studying, I enjoy cooking, painting, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

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, CT, and later working with students on the Autism spectrum in Manhattan. After student teaching at Brooklyn New School and two years as an assistant teacher in the 4th grade at Brooklyn Friends School, I’ve amassed quite a range of experiences to draw from this year. I love teaching 4th graders and couldn’t be happier to join the team at Co-op! I like to play guitar, see live music, swim, run, write, complete the crossword, and spend time with family and friends.

Third Grade Teachers

Elizabeth Alfandre, elizabeth@thecoopschool.org
I am so happy to be a part of the Co-op School community as a new third grade teacher! After receiving a master’s degree in childhood education from Fordham University, I spent a wonderful year teaching English in a small French village. When I returned to New York City, I joined a start-up school in Williamsburg and began to study progressive education and apply my findings to my classroom. As I embark on my sixth year of teaching, I am excited to share my love of learning with my new third graders. When I am not in my classroom, you can find me cooking, reading, or traveling the world.

Tiffany Melville, tiffany@thecoopschool.org
I am thrilled to be a part of The Co-op School community. More importantly, I am thrilled to be one of the 3rd grade teachers! I was born and raised in Brooklyn. Since I was 6 years old, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have a passion for learning, and I love kids! I went to college in Long Island at SUNY Old Westbury and received my degree in teaching. I have a son named Aiden who attends the Co-op School. I’ve taught preschool, kindergarten, and 5th grade. In my leisure time, I like to spend hours playing at the park with Aiden, listening to music, and watching funny movies. I am a fan of books about baking and cooking. I love to read about different desserts, especially cupcakes.

Second Grade Teachers

Dahna Bozarthdahna@thecoopschool.org
I am a New Yorker.  I grew up here in the city, migrated upstate to a small town called Port Jervis, and eventually made my way all the way back to Clinton Hill. I studied East Asian Studies and Asian History at the University at Albany and began teaching while living abroad in South Korea. I received my Masters in Childhood Education at the City College of New York and worked in several schools in Manhattan, including Columbia University where I was Director of Sports Camps. I’ve always loved dance, sports, and yoga, which is good because I love noodles, dumplings, and pretty much all things spicy. Food = Yum.

B Dyson, b@thecoopschool.org
I am an educator, activist, and dancer. Originally from the Baltimore area, I pursued an undergraduate degree in dance and psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After dancing professionally for a few years and teaching dance for over a decade, I moved to New York and earned a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College. I’ve taught pre-k, kindergarten, and 2nd grade. My goal as an educator is to embolden every child to explore the world around and within them with curiosity, a critical mind, and a kind heart. I am excited to be at the The Co-op School!

First Grade Teachers

Seth Levy, seth@thecoopschool.org
I am from White Plains, New York.  I like to read, watch television, and go on afternoon runs. This summer I was once again at summer camp playing sports and going swimming. I’m looking forward to having as much fun as I did last year.

William Lazarus Wacker, william@thecoopschool.org
I have been teaching in the United States and abroad for the last fifteen years. I have a Master of Education in elementary education, and hold a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology with a minor in English, and BFA degrees in painting and photography. I am currently writing fiction under the tutelage of Tom Spanbauer and writing literary reviews for Drunken Boat. I really like 8 oz. French Press coffees with a shot of espresso added—the small size of the 8 oz. cups; they make me feel dignified. I still complete a lot of painting and photo projects and try to show regularly. I am happy to be a part of The Co-op School team.

Kindergarten Teachers

Angelica Martinez, angie@thecoopschool.org 
I have worked at The Co-op School since 2010, teaching pre-K for 7 years before becoming a kindergarten teacher. I graduated from Brooklyn College with a Master degree in Childhood Education-Mathematics. I am originally from Brooklyn but currently live in the Bronx with my husband, daughter, and cat. When I’m not looking for a new book or game to teach little ones, I am spending time with my family, traveling, cooking, and exploring fun weekend activities.

Emily Silver, emily@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I feel so lucky to be working with children during their most formative ages. I have degrees in Dance and Interdisciplinary Arts for Children, and I am currently pursuing my masters 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.

Specials Teachers

Kali Barnett (Preschool and Elementary Music Teacher), kali@thecoopschool.org
I am so excited to be creating music with all our Co-op School musicians! Originally from Kansas (yes, there’s no place like home), I pursued a Music Education degree from Friends University and a Master’s degree in Elementary Music Education from Wichita State. I also completed all three levels of Kodaly music methodology training while in Kansas and actively participate in many Kodaly organizations. This is my 11th year teaching Pre-K through 5th grade music in schools, and I can’t believe it! Time flies! When I’m not teaching, I love to play my ukulele and sing, dance, hang out with my dog and fiancee (that order), and I’m currently publishing my first children’s book. Life is good!

Rotem Linial (Preschool and Elementary Creative Making Teacher), rotem@thecoopschool.org
I grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where I studied visual art, performance, and puppet theater. I moved to the United States to study art and completed my Bachelor of Arts at Columbia University and my sculpture MFA at Hunter College. I love collecting materials and objects and inventing ways to transform them—I am always on the lookout for an interesting looking pebble or a colorful bit of broken plastic. I love making things, whether it be a new sculpture in my studio, a fancy pie in the kitchen, or a three-tiered roost for the chickens in my garden.

Andre Marcano (Preschool and Elementary Movement Teacher), andre@thecoopschool.org
I love teaching, believe strongly in the power of education, and strive to help students reach their fullest potential. Outside of school, I enjoy traveling, watching movies, and participating in track and field on a competitive level.

Nicole Porter (Elementary Science Teacher), nicole@thecoopschool.org
I grew up in Colorado and have been living and teaching in New York City since 1997. I have a bachelor of arts from the University of Colorado and a Master degree in Teaching in Museum Education from The George Washington University.  I became interested in teaching elementary school science while I was writing curriculum and teaching with the American Museum of Natural History Science and Nature Program. My favorite activities are spending time with my family, gardening, exploring nature, and creating art.

Carla Rodea (Elementary Spanish Teacher), carla@thecoopschool.org
¡Hola! This is my third year teaching Spanish at The Co-op School. 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 to adults as well. 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’m currently an MFA student at the DIAP program in the City College of New York. I love teaching, performing, photographing, traveling, cooking, reading, walking in Prospect Park, visiting museums and galleries, and attending as many concerts as I can.

Preschool Teachers

Ian Seiter (4s, Dragonflies), ian@thecoopschool.org
Originally from San Diego, California, I recently moved to New York after a long-time fascination with the city. I hold a degree in English Literature and hope to pursue my Masters in Creative Writing next year. I am a former touring musician and semi-professional ice hockey player, but currently focusing on my writing (realistic fiction) with hopes of becoming a published novelist.

Fabiola Yauri Leon (4s, Dragonflies), fabiola@thecoopschool.org
I was born in Ecuador but raised here in Brooklyn. I am a recent graduate who’s already working towards a Master degree in Early Childhood Education with a Bilingual extension at Brooklyn College.  In my spare time I enjoy exploring the city and hanging out with my loved ones.

Christie Gallagher (4s, Crickets), christie@thecoopschool.org
I was born, raised, and currently live in Queens, New York. I’m one of four children, and I love spending time with my family, traditionally on Sunday for my mother’s delicious dinner. I really like doing anything outdoors! I enjoy going for long walks, watching the sunset, going to the beach, and camping in the Poconos, with my husband. Most of all, I am truly passionate about teaching young children, especially while being part of The Co-op School.

Lelia Mangham (4s, Crickets), lelia@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised right here in Brooklyn along with my two younger brothers. I’ve been with the with The Co-op School for over 10 years. It has been a pleasure being a part of this community, and I’m looking forward to this new academic year.

Stephen Canino (4s, Crickets), stephen@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Highland, NY, and attended Purchase College to study painting. My creative path led me to further study painting at Hunter College to obtain an MFA. I continue to explore visual art possibilities while composing and producing my own music. Things changed for me when I took a job as an assistant teacher at Dorothy Day Early Childhood Center in 2007. I quickly discovered a passion for working with young children and soon took a position as head teacher and enrolled in the graduate program in Early Childhood Education at City College.

Sara Johnson (3s, Caterpillars), sara@thecoopschool.org
I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​delighted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​member​ ​of​ ​The​ ​Co-op​ ​School​ ​community!​ ​I​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​in​ ​a​ ​tiny​ ​town​ ​in Pennsylvania​ ​then​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​NYC​ ​to​ ​attend​ ​Manhattan​ ​School​ ​of​ ​Music.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​Bachelors of Music ​in Classical​ ​Vocal​ ​Performance​ ​from​ ​Manhattan School of Music​ ​and​ ​a​ ​Professional​ ​Studies​ ​degree​ ​from​ ​the​ ​William Esper​ ​Studio.​ ​My​ ​love​ ​for​ ​the​ ​arts​ ​ultimately​ ​led​ ​me​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​a​ ​Master​ ​of​ ​Science​ ​in​ ​Early Childhood/Arts​ ​General​ ​and​ ​Special​ ​Education​ ​at​ ​Brooklyn​ ​College.​ ​I​ ​love​ ​to​ ​share​ ​my​ ​passion for​ ​the​ ​arts​ ​and​ ​play​ ​with​ ​my​ ​students!​ ​I​ ​live​ ​in​ ​Crown​ ​Heights​ ​with​ ​my​ ​husband​ ​and​ ​daughter (Roly​ ​Poly!).​ ​My​ ​favorite​ ​things​ ​to​ ​do​ ​include​ ​going​ ​to​ ​see​ ​live​ ​performances,​ ​exploring​ ​Brooklyn by​ ​bike,​ ​sneaking​ ​in​ ​a​ ​little​ ​yoga,​ ​reading​ ​for​ ​pleasure,​ ​and​ ​most​ ​of​ ​all,​ ​spending​ ​quality​ ​time with​ ​my​ ​family.

Kayla Flores (3s, Caterpillars), kayla@thecoopschool.org
I love being a teacher at The Co-op School and getting to know and build relationships with my students. I also enjoy cooking, rollerblading, and dancing. My home town is Central Falls, Rhode Island, and I love taking road trips to see my family there.

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! I’ve worked at a variety of elementary and early education schools and love reading, learning, and playing with the little ones. When not teaching, I enjoy hanging out in Brooklyn and relaxing at home with my partner, new baby, and two cats. I’m so excited to be a part of the Firefly classroom!

Kat Stevens (3s, Fireflies), kat@thecoopschool.org
I’ve lived in New York City for 8 years. I am currently pursuing a masters in Early Childhood Education. I am excited to be back in the Butterfly class! In my free time you can find me eating tapas or watching New York Rangers highlights.

Deja Ross (2s, Ladybugs), deja@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I absolutely love reading and the beach, preferably enjoying both at the same time. I love spending time with my family. I have my Bachelor degree in early childhood education, and this year I will be starting my masters, which I am unbelievably excited about. I absolutely love The Co-op school because you can’t go a day without laughing. I’m excited for another great year with the Ladybugs.

Eddie Laguna (2s, Ladybugs), eddie@thecoopschool.org
I was raised in New York and live in Crown Heights with my wife and three cats. I studied Secondary Education/English at City University of New York–Queens College and am continuing graduate classes there as well. I love to skateboard, ride my bicycle, take long road trips, read Brownstoner, pretend to eat my students’ lunches and drink a ton of coffee. I eat a lot of tacos. I play several instruments including guitar, bass, drums, piano, trumpet and am excited to play for my students.

Melissa Le (2s, Roly Polies), melissa@thecoopschool.org
I came from the Dallas/Fort Worth part of the Lone Star State a long time ago, ya’ll. I moved to New York, imagining myself becoming a rock star or famous author. The latter seemed more likely and since receiving my BFA in literature/creative writing I’ve been quietly spinning my tale. My love for children and the creative energy they fuel brought me to The Co-op School and Brooklyn College for Early Childhood Education where I recently finished my Masters of Science. I’m working on my first novel—hoping to bring a Vietnamese-American coming of age piece to light and to be the greatest rock star teacher.

Amanda Clarke (2s, Roly Polies), amanda@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I am the oldest sibling out of three. During my spare time I like activities such as indoor rock climbing, hiking, kickboxing, swimming, yoga, dancing, and running. This will be my 3rd year at The Co-op School with the Roly Polies. It is such a joy to have a part in the lives of these beautiful Ropos, especially at this young age. There isn’t a better feeling than the bond and growth developed throughout the school year. Hopefully they like my singing because I have a bad habit of singing along to music. In fact, Roly Polies in the past have demanded that I “stop singing” and “stop hurting their ears!” With that being said, I am sure it will be a wonderful, adventurous year filled with lots of hugs.

Hilda Medina (2s, Roly Polies), hilda@thecoopschool.org
I am so excited to be a part of the Roly Poly class this year. I have had such an amazing time here and hope to continue teaching and learning from all these little bugs! I am all about the arts and crafts, so prepare to pick up some pretty messy bugs! I always love to encourage the kids to get their hands dirty and enjoy all that is around them!

Jennifer Rodriguez (2s, Half-Day), jennifer@thecoopschool.org
I’m currently working toward my degree in Early Childhood Education and have a growing baby boy. I’m super energetic and love to sing, dance, and let my sillies out whenever I can.

Jessica Diaz (2s, Half-Day), jessica@thecoopschool.org
I come from Southern California where I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Visual Art. Ever since I moved to New York City I have worked as an assistant teacher at The Co-op School while developing my artwork in my spare time. I enjoy teaching and sharing my passion for drawing, painting, and crafting with my students.

Jose Rios (2s, Half-Day), jose@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in the Lower East Side. 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 child’s growth—for example when the shyest one in the class becomes the one who constantly tells me about their favorite movie.

Amanda Price (3s, Half-Day), amandap@thecoopschool.org
I am a native of Philadelphia and was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But I have many family roots in Brooklyn. My deep love of teaching is what brought me to New York City in 2010 to complete a Masters in Education, and while in graduate school, I also obtained a Yoga certification. This year I am looking forward to lots of cooking, dancing, painting, reading, singing, and of course…yoga! In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with my daughter, Adelaide (Ladybug alum and soon to be Caterpillar), and love reading, writing, and traveling.

Laura Scatena-Romero (3s, Half-Day), laura@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico before moving to Philadelphia at the age of twelve. I received my bachelor of art in dance and film from The New School. After graduating, I became a babysitter and that lead me to discover the joy of teaching! I am so happy to be a part of The Co-op School!

Kyla Johnson (3s, Half-Day), 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 for the Inchworm class. My favorite thing to do in the summer when I’m not working is relaxing and enjoying New York’s beautiful parks.


Meredith Gray (Executive Director), meredith@thecoopschool.org
I have been at The Co-op School as executive director since it was founded in 2004 with only 10 families in the garden apartment of a brownstone. I grew up down south and moved up to Brooklyn at the age of 18. I attended Pratt for as an undergraduate and received a Master of Public Administration from Baruch. Prior to working at The Co-op School I taught in Mexico, East New York, and Harlem.

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, 10 years’ experience in ad agency art departments, an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design, and the experience of 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 am finishing my MPA in Nonprofit Administration at Baruch College in December 2017 and am ready for the school’s launch into its next exciting phase.

Mandy Vadnai (Elementary School Education Director), mandy@thecoopschool.org
I have worked at The Co-op School since 2012. 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 7 years. I also taught at The Churchill School in Manhattan, working with special education students from across the spectrum. I hold a Master degree in both Elementary and Special Education from Bank Street. 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 like to spend time with friends and family, read, watch movies, travel, listen to music, cook (well, more importantly, eat) and, occasionally watercolor if there is a free minute.

Kerry Roeder (Middle School Coordinator), kerry@thecoopschool.org
I have been supporting teachers and students in NYC independent schools for the past decade; serving as a librarian, educational technologist, advisor and English teacher. Having taught students in preschool through 12th grade, I have gained a valuable understanding of where students are coming from and where they are headed. Originally from Queens and Long Island, i hold degrees from St Joseph’s College and Queens College. I currently live in Brooklyn with my husband, who is a math teacher, and our cat, Tesla. In addition to my passion for education, I also enjoy reading, rock climbing, following soccer, and volunteering.

Hannah Sherman (Social Worker), hannah@thecoopschool.org
I am a Brooklyn-based clinical social worker who is passionate about supporting others in healing and growth through integrative psychotherapy and mind-body work. Through both my educational and professional experience, I’ve developed a well-rounded understanding of child development and family systems, working with children and families from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. As a children’s yoga and mindfulness teacher, 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.

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

Vanessa Drake-Johnson (Literacy Specialist), vanessadj@thecoopschool.org
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in History at Duke University, worked in book publishing before earning a Master degree in Childhood Education at Bank Street College of Education, have taught 1st and 2nd 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 13 and 16), and Havanese dog, and love that my role as literary specialist at The Co-op School combines the joys of working with children and teachers with my lifelong love of reading!