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

Michelle Bellamy (Humanities Teacher & Advisor), michelle@thecoopschool.org 
After studying dramatic arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I worked as a costumer in a number of costume shops on the East Coast. Wanting to delve deeper into the world of theatre, while also fostering my love of education, I went on to New York University to attain my Master’s in educational theatre with English certification. I taught reading and writing in charter schools for a few years before coming to The Co-op School. I am excited to continue bringing my love of literature and theatre to our middle school community. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy sewing, knitting, reading, cycling, and spending time with my husband and daughter.

Veronica Perez (Spanish Teacher & Advisor), veronica@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.

Joel Schudson (STEM Teacher & Advisor),joel@thecoopschool.org
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and attended Dartmouth College, where I received a Bachelor’s in religion and music. After Dartmouth, I moved to New York City and began composing music, touring the world, and tutoring math privately. Certified to teach both middle and high school students in math, I have a Master’s of Education, which I completed in Portland, Oregon. I have a passion for progressive education, music, math, soccer, and theater.

Fifth Grade Teachers

Alexis Gordon, alexis@thecoopschool.org 
Originally from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, I moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College and ended up staying here to complete my 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. Prior to teaching at The Co-op School, I taught Third and Fourth Grade at Stevens Cooperative School in Hoboken. I currently live in Brooklyn with my partner, 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 and spending time outside.

Shelby Savidge, shelby@thecoopschool.org 
Shelby is new to the Co-op School. She has worked at LREI for three and a half years teaching Third and Fourth Grade. Shelby has previously worked in the Fifth and Sixth Grades teaching math and science in California public schools. She has also spent time at PS 87 and City & Country as a teaching assistant in Second and Fifth Grades. Shelby has also worked as a curriculum resource coordinator at Lesson Planet, a California-based EdTech company, and as an environmental planner for the local government of South Lake Tahoe. Her personal interests include reading, gardening, botany, puzzles, and basketball.

Fourth Grade Teachers

Akia Goudy, akia@thecoopschool.org
I am a proud native New Yorker from Queens, with a penchant for learning! I love helping students explore their ideas and questions through projects and experiments that lead to new discoveries–especially in math. I have a Bachelor’s degree in teaching from CUNY City College, a Master’s degree in curriculum design from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and I recently completed a Master’s degree in elementary mathematics. I’ve been teaching in New York City for a decade! When I’m not studying, I enjoy cooking, painting, dancing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. In addition to teaching Fourth Grade I am also the assistant math coach

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 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 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.

Third Grade Teachers

Dahna Bozarth, dahna@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 Master’s 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.

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.

Second Grade Teachers

Mary Courtney,mary@thecoopschool.org
This will be my third year as an educator. I’ve taught in Second Grade and Kindergarten at an independent school in Chicago. I am very excited to be joining The Co-op community and to be in New York City! I am originally from Connecticut, so I am so happy to be close to my family again after a few years away. When I’m not teaching, you can find me at the beach, traveling, and/or with my nose in a book.

Eva O’Neill, eva@thecoopschool.org
I am super excited to begin teaching Second Grade at The Co-op School! I have been a Brooklynite all my life, but I enjoy traveling, exploring new places, and camping outdoors. I received my Bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Purchase, followed by my Master’s in elementary education from CUNY Hunter. I began my teaching journey in New York City public schools throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, prior to discovering the progressive model of education while working in independent schools. I have taught Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade for the past several years. When I am not teaching, you can find me reading historical fiction novels, watching sci-fi movies, and taking long walks with my dog, Jazzy.

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 in elementary education from the Bank Street College of Education. This summer, I was once again at summer camp driving my bus, 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 over fifteen years. I have a Master’s of Education in elementary education, and hold a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology with a minor in English, and B.F.A degrees in painting and photography. I really like 8 oz. French press coffees with a shot of espresso added—the small size of the 8 oz. cups makes me feel dignified. I still complete a lot of writing, painting, and photo projects and try to show regularly. And I love being 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 seven years before becoming a kindergarten teacher. I graduated from Brooklyn College with a Master’s 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 Master’s 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.

Preschool Teachers

Fabiola Mejia (4s, Crickets), fabiolam@thecoopschool.org
I have worked at The Co-op School since 2017 as a summer camp and after-school teacher. I graduated in May from St. Francis College with a Bachelor’s in childhood education and plan to pursue my Master’s next 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 spending time with my family, exploring the city, and enjoying the company of 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 twelve. I received my Bachelor’s in dance and film from The New School. After graduating, I became a babysitter, and that led me to discover the joy of teaching! I am so happy to be a part of The Co-op School!

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 NYC. I have a Bachelor’s 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 get my Master’s in literacy education in the fall. I love to be creative, sing, and go on adventures in the city.

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 my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in early childhood special education. I am super psyched to be working at The Co-op School this year as a Caterpillars’ teacher. When I am not at work, I love being outside, surrounded by greenery.

Freddie Southwick (3s, Caterpillars), freddie@thecoopschool.org
This will be my first 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
I am a mom, reading and art enthusiast, music lover, terrible speller, and Brooklyn dweller! I absolutely love the Edwardian, Victorian, and Romantic eras and any movies, books, and art that reflect these periods. I also love museums, going to see bands, and Broadway shows. And I love eating and sleeping way more than any person should. I had the pleasure of being a stay-at-home parent for four years and have since worked in various fields. I’m most excited about being a teacher’s assistant at The Co-op school!

Jose Rios (3s, Inchworms), 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.

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
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.

Malia Bruce (3s, Fireflies), malia@thecoopschool.org
Hey! My name is Malia, and I live in Washington Heights with my two cats and bearded dragon! I love to run, do yoga, spend hours in bookstores, and try out new vegan recipes! I spend my free time going to concerts, working in a garden, and trying to go to every coffee shop in NYC. I just moved back to the city after attending Goucher College studying early childhood development and special education as well as teaching full-time in Baltimore. I am eager to join the team as a full-time preschool teacher!

Sara Johnson (3s, Caterpillars), sara@thecoopschool.org
I am so delighted to be a member of The Co-op School community! 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 Education (Gen. and Sp.) at Brooklyn College. I love to share my enthusiasm for the arts and play with my students! I live in Crown Heights with my husband, daughter Abigail (Butterfly!), and son Caleb (future Co-op kid!). 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! 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 Fireflies classroom!

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 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 son, Oliver, 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 MsED. 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 fourth 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).

Lauren Schmitz (2s, Ladybugs), lauren@thecoopschool.org
This is my third year working at The Co-op School. I have a BA in painting and art history from Pratt Institute, and I am just about finished with my Master’s degree in early childhood education from Hunter College. When I’m not studying for my classes (which will be soon!), I enjoy hanging with friends, snuggling with my chubby cat named Merv, painting, exploring Brooklyn, going to museums, and trying out new restaurants! Some of my favorite activities to do in the classroom are large scale group art projects, sensory play, and lots of dance parties.

Amanda Clarke (2s, Roly Polies), amanda@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I am the oldest sibling 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 third 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 said, I am sure it will be a wonderful, adventurous year filled with lots of hugs.

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 in general and special education. In the past, I have taught children from 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 undergrad at Fordham University, where I studied communications and psychology. Currently, I live in Fort Greene and adore the borough of Brooklyn. I recently earned my children’s yoga certification and cannot wait to share yoga with the RoPos! I’m also learning to play some songs on the ukulele, so stay tuned . . . and I love photography, so look out for lots of school-day photos. I am very excited to meet and get to know all of you, as our hope is to have family involvement in many forms throughout the year!

Lelia Mangham (2s, Roly Polies), lelia@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised right here in Brooklyn along with my two younger brothers. I’ve been with The Co-op School for over ten years. It has been a pleasure being a part of this community, and I’m looking forward to this new academic year.


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 ten 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 as an undergraduate and received a Master’S of Public Administration degree 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, ten years 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 and am ready for the school’s launch into its next exciting phase.

Selena Delgado (Dean of Students), selena@thecoopschool.org
Growing up in New York City has provided me with a rich foundation of experiential learning, essential for working alongside diverse populations. My intent is rooted in amplifying initiatives centered on equity through the celebration and advocacy of children with developmental variations. I hold a Bachelor’s in behavioral neuroscience from Hunter College and a Master’s of Science in Education for infant and family development, early intervention, early childhood special and general education from Bank Street College of Education. I love to travel, practice yoga, dance, and explore the Arts.

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 (Enrichment and Summer Camp Coordinator), amandar@thecoopschool.org
I was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and have a background in events, marketing, and communications. I began working at The Co-op School in 2011 after spending two years teaching English in South Korea. I have since worked as a sub, an after-school teacher, a summer-camp teacher, a classroom teacher, and now as a member of the administration team. In my spare time, I enjoy going to museums, dancing, and traveling. Recently, I did a work-stay on an aquaponics farm in Hawaii. 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!

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 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 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 Director), kerry@thecoopschool.org
For over a decade, I have served as a teacher-leader in NYC independent schools and am passionate about working with, advocating for, and enjoying middle schoolers. Having taught students in nursery school through 12th grade, I have supported a wide range of curriculum, collaborated with teachers in all subject areas, and gained experience in my understanding of both where students are coming from and where they are heading to. I hold degrees from St. Joseph’s College and Queens College and am currently part of the Progressive Leaders for Educational Change Cohort at Bank Street College of Education. Originally from Long Island, I currently live in Brooklyn with my husband, who is a math and computer science teacher. I love reading, bouldering, following soccer, and volunteering.

Christie Gallagher (Preschool Education Director), christie@thecoopschool.org
Hi, my name is Christie! I was born and raised in Queens, New York and currently live in my hometown with my husband and son. I have been a part of The Co-op School community since 2008. During my career here, I’ve taught in the 2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K classes and have been enjoying the role of Preschool Education Director. I hold a Bachelor’s in Childhood Education and a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood General and Special Education. I have also obtained Teaching Certifications in Early Childhood, Childhood 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 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
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. In my time off, I enjoy doing CrossFit, traveling, and spending time with my three dogs, Nighty, Luna, and Thor. This is my first year at The Co-op School, and I look forward to working with such an amazing staff and community.

Sofia Estrada (Office Manager), sofia@thecoopschool.org
Originally from St. Louis, I studied clinical psychology at Tufts University and then moved to New York. Working at The Co-op School is such a joy! I love meeting students, parents, and working with The Co-op staff. In my spare time, I enjoy finding new places to walk, cooking with my friends, and making curry.

Specials Teachers

Jack Henson (Music Teacher), jack@thecoopschool.org
I was born in London and raised on the Isle of Wight, UK. I have been teaching music for nearly 15 years, and I absolutely love it. From playing music at a young age in middle school orchestra to performing regularly in local venues by the age of 14, it’s always been a huge part of my life and passion. After graduating high school, I moved to London to study music at Thames Valley University. While studying there, I also performed regularly, playing gigs at many venues, including The National Theater, 93 Feet East, and West14. I then moved back to the Isle of Wight, continuing live work and teaching music privately and in local schools. I enjoyed being a part of building local community music projects including 4siteMusic at Ryde Theater, Eccleston, and George, and A.I.M.M (Aspire Inspirational Music Movement), part of Ryde Aspire–an award winning community center. Since fulfilling a dream of moving to NYC nearly five years ago, I have been teaching music in local schools from pre-K to adults. I spend a lot of my time studying drums, guitar, piano, and singing and learning music that inspires me. I am very excited to be part of The Co-op School community and look forward to great musical adventures ahead.

Josh Max (Science Teacher), josh@thecoopschool.org
I am a New Jersey native who went to the hills of Bennington, Vermont, for a Bachelor’s in liberal arts and then came to New York City and received a Master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education. I have been teaching in a variety of independent schools over the past eight years and am so excited to be a part of The Co-op School this year! I currently live in Brooklyn and love reading, watching movies, performing comedy, and playing with my kitten and bunny.

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 for 17 years and have taught pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, and high school. I have a Bachelor’s 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 in childhood education from Hunter College. I have also coached a number of sports, including soccer, basketball, and track. I love fitness and 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 B.A. 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 an M.A. in arts education. I have exhibited my artwork and painted murals nationally and internationally and continues to practice my art in Brooklyn, where I lives with my wife, Adia, and our two beautiful children.

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’m currently an M.F.A. 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.

Hannah Sherman (Social Worker), 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 from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds in various mental health and school-based settings in NYC. I earned my Master’s in social work at New York University and Bachelor’s in psychology at the University of Vermont. 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.

Vanessa Drake-Johnso (Literacy Specialist), vanessadj@thecoopschool.org
I earned a Bachelor’s in history at Duke University and worked in book publishing before earning a Master’s 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 13 and 16), and a Havanese dog, and 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!

Jennifer En (Middle School Learning Specialist), jennifere@thecoopschool.org
After studying English Literature and Secondary Education at New York University, I taught Language Arts at a 6-12 public school in Brooklyn. Wanting to immerse myself in books and help young people connect with reading, I went on to work as a children’s book editor for several years before teaching middle school English at a private school in Bogotá, Colombia. While living in South America, I also started a food cart business that specialized in homemade meringue. Upon returning to New York City, I became a writing consultant and literacy teacher at Grace Church School in Manhattan. Most recently, I was an associate member of City and Country School’s educational support team before coming to The Co-op School. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in Adolescent Special Education at Hunter College. I am thrilled and humbled to bring my love of children and passion for educational equity to this growing middle school community. When I am not in school, I enjoy writing fiction, baking desserts, and watching “chirps-chips” in the park with my two-year-old son, Forrest.

Jenna Vitale (Learning Specialist), jenna@thecoopschool.org
I am a New York native and grew up on Long Island. I have a Bachelor’s in childhood education from Oneonta State College and a Master’s 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!

Akia Goudy, (Assistant Math Coach) 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’s in teaching from CUNY City College, a Master’s degree in curriculum design from Teachers College, Columbia University, and am currently working toward a Master’s in elementary mathematics. When I’m not studying, I enjoy cooking, painting, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.