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Faculty & Staff Bios


Ms. Emily Shu, Principal

M.S.Ed. Leadership in the Arts, Bank Street College of Education; MAT Art and Design Education, Rhode Island School of Design; BA Art and History, Swarthmore College

Ms. Shu, a photographer and former art teacher, has worked for the New York City public schools since 2003. She is passionate about creating opportunities for students to stretch their thinking, be creative, and find opportunities within the school community and beyond.

Ms. Angel Bookal, Assistant Principal

M.S. Ed. Educational Leadership, Bank Street College; M.S. Urban and Multicultural Education with a Specialization in Instructional Technology, College of Mount Saint Vincent; B.S. Biology, Guilford College

Ms. Bookal commenced her career as an educator in 1996 as a science and math teacher for an alternative/transfer high school in Queens and later taught Living Environment at a high school in the Bronx.  In 2006, she became an assistant principal at a high school in the South Bronx and is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to work for the betterment of our community.  She looks forward to collaborating with our students, faculty, staff, parents and partners to bring rich and meaningful experiences, which will promote college and career readiness.

Guidance & Administration

Ms. Alanna Cheyney, LCSW, School Social Worker

MSW, New York University; BA, Manhattan College; CHHC, Institute of Integrative Nutrition

NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker, NYS Certified Public School Social Worker, Certified Health Coach

Ms. Cheyney, who is a therapist, educator, artist and yogi, has been working with the NYC Department of Education since 2004. Since receiving her license to practice social work, she has worked with children of all different ages and abilities in a number of different therapeutic and educational settings. Ms. Cheyney is currently studying holistic nutrition and yoga, and is dedicated to helping young people integrate healthy choices into their lives.

Ms. Carmelina Gomez, Dean
MA Spanish Literature with concentration on Baroque and Renaissance Period, Hunter College

MPA Metropolitan College of New York

BA Spanish Literature and Classical Studies, Hunter College

Ms. Gomez has worked for the Department of Education since 1999, working with students from pre-K through twelfth grade. Ms. Gomez has taught Spanish on the middle school and high school levels and has worked as a Dean since 2001.

Ms. Gina Marie Jones, College Bound Initiative Director of College Counseling

M.S. - Guidance and Counseling, The College of New Rochelle

B.S. -  The College of New Rochelle

Bank Street College of Education - Completed School Counseling certification requirements

NYS, Certification in School Counseling

Ms. Jones has over a decade worth of experience in the college access field. Born and raised in the Bronx and having been a first generation student herself, Ms. Jones wants to empower students to overcome barriers and help increase college entrance and graduation statistics.  Having been brought up in the Puerto Rican culture, Ms. Jones is able to communicate with families in Spanish.  She is excited to connect each senior class with the many opportunities and resources that the higher education field has to offer.  ​

Ms. Traci Palmieri, Guidance Counselor

M.S. Ed School Counseling, CUNY, Lehman College

B.A. Liberal Arts Psychology, CUNY, Lehman College

Adv. Cert. Youth Studies, CUNY, School for Professional Studies 

Ms. Palmieri was born and raised in the Bronx and has been educating Bronx students since 2008 in various roles.  Prior to being a school counselor she worked in higher education directing grant-funded programs that help improve promotion and graduation rates in a variety of Bronx high schools.  In 2017 she went back to school to pursue her advanced certificate in youth studies which motivated her to become a school counselor and to further her education by enrolling in a doctoral program.  Ms. Palmieri loves going to concerts and spending time with her family, especially her daughter and three dogs.

Ms. Gloria Toscano, SAPIS Counselor

M.S. Art Therapy and Counseling, College of New Rochelle

B.A. Liberal Arts Psychology, City College (CUNY)

Ms. Toscano has been working as a SAPIS for the New York City Public High Schools in the Bronx since December of 1999.  The drug prevention program offers leadership skills, involving students in conversations about drug use and teaching students factual information about drugs.  It also engages students to develop communication and decision-making skills to help guide them to live a healthy lifestyle. Ms. Toscano is very passionate about supporting and empowering our teens.

Ms. Michele Watson, Secretary

B.A. Liberal Arts Psychology

Ms. Watson has been working in the Department of Education since 1996 as a payroll manager.  Initially beginning her career as a secretary with the intention of becoming a Guidance Counselor, she fell in love with payroll and really enjoys working closely with the staff. Ms. Watson is a creative, who enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her three dogs, family and close friends. 

Instructional Faculty

Ms. Abbee Bourret, Visual Art & Graphic Design Teacher

Masters of Art in Teaching, School of Visual Arts

BA in Graphic Design, School of Visual Arts

Ms. Bourret has been working as a Visual Arts teacher for New York City Department Of Education since 2005. She believes in creating a learning environment that fosters each student’s individual growth as an artist and a person.

Ms. Antonette Brown Whittick, Humanities Teacher

M.S. Ed.- Special Education- Grades 7-12- The City College of New York

B.A. Liberal Arts-  with Social Science Concentration- The College of New Rochelle

After a 15 year career in social services, Ms. Whittick chose to follow her passion for education and become a teacher. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and educated in the NYC Public School System, Ms. Whittick believes that all students in NYC Public Schools deserve and can receive a quality education. Ms. Whittick carries this belief with her into her classroom and uses it as motivation to teach and advocate for her students. Ms. Whittick considers herself to be a life-long learner and hopes to instill this passion for learning and education in her students. Ms. Whittick enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. 

Ms. Nicole Bryant, Dance Teacher

B.F.A. in Dance - Ohio University

M.A. in Dance Education, K-12 Teaching All Grades -  New York University Steinhardt 

As a K-12 dance educator and arts team manager, Ms. Bryant worked for public and charter schools throughout New York City for several years. Under NYU Steinhardt’s Dance Education Program Director, Deborah Damast, she completed a brilliant abroad program in Uganda, Africa. Ms. Bryant serves as the Director of Awards for the New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA). She enjoys teaching modern/contemporary and jazz dance. She also includes cultural dances, ballet and hip-hop as fundamental units in her curriculum. Ms. Bryant believes that movement is a universal language within every living being. Every child deserves a holistic education that nourishes their movement skills and creativity.


Ms. Megan Cottrell, English as a New Language Teacher

M.S. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) - Lehman College

B.A. in Political Science, French - Michigan State University

Ms. Cottrell comes from Michigan but came to New York City in 2006 to do the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. She worked for 9 years in public schools in the Bronx and Manhattan. Then, she took a break to raise children and also worked in a law firm for a couple years. She is excited to come back to the NYC Department of Education this year. Ms. Cottrell also likes civic activism and is an elected volunteer member of her city council known as the Board of Representatives in Stamford, Connecticut. She believes that everyone is capable of learning a language, and that practice and patience are the keys to success.  

Mr. Demetrios Giannios, Global History Teacher

M.S. Ed.- Special Education- Grades 7-12- Saint John’s University

B.A. in History & Geography - The State University of New York College at Geneseo

Mr. Giannios has been working as a Social Studies teacher in the New York City Department of Education since 2019. He was inspired to join the education field by his younger brother with autism along with his general curiosity about the world. Mr. Giannios currently teaches Global History but has also taught 7th grade United States History,10th grade AP European History, 12th grade Participation in Government, and 12th grade Civics for All. In his classroom, Mr. Giannios encourages students to critically think about how our history currently affects our present and future through student-led classroom discussions. In his free time, Mr. Giannios enjoys playing video games, running, and traveling to different amusement parks across the world (He has currently ridden approximately 250 different roller coasters). 

Ms. Anna Gonzalez, Spanish Teacher

MSW, Mercy College; MS Early Childhood Education, BA Psychology

Ms. Gonzalez has worked with the Department of Education since 2007. Before working in New York City, she was a teacher in Rockland County. Ms. Gonzalez began as an elementary school teacher but quickly realized high school was where she felt at home. She believes in creating a positive environment where students can grow academically, socially, and mentally. Ensuring family involvement in students' education will promote self determination in our youth which will lead to the overall success of students.

Ms. Felia Joseph-Henry, Chemistry Teacher

MA in Science Teaching at Brooklyn College

BA Chemistry Teaching, Brooklyn College

Certificate/AS in Secondary Education from Commonwealth of Dominica State College.

Ms. Joseph-Henry has taught science for 12 years in the Commonwealth of Dominica and is excited to be part of the BEA team. She enjoys teaching, motivating and engaging students.

Ms. Petrina Kidd, Mathematics Teacher

MA in Math Education, Lehman College 

BA in Psychology, State University of New York at Albany

Ms. Kidd started her career in teaching in 2015 in South Korea, where she spent 2 years teaching students from K-12 English language through different subjects. Upon returning to the states, Ms. Kidd completed her Masters in Math Education at Lehman College. Ms. Kidd now teaches mathematics to our ninth graders here at BEA. She enjoys working with each of her students whether in a full class, small groups or individually to ensure great academic success.

Mr. George Ludovici, Mathematics & Computer Science Teacher

M.S.Ed. Public School Building Leadership, Columbia–Teachers College, M.S. Mathematics Education, CUNY Lehman College, M.S. Computer and Information Science, Syracuse University, B.A. Computer Science, SUNY Oswego.

Mr. Ludovici has taught in public schools in the Bronx since 2004.  He enjoys discussing and presenting math in ways that make it easy to relate to and understand as well as working with students to find harder problems that develop deeper thinking and more persistent effort.  Mr. Ludovici also teaches AP computer science after working in IT for many years.  He has four children and four grandchildren, he likes time with family, running, skiing and tennis.  Mr. Ludovici once rode a motorcycle 12,000 miles across the US and Canada.

Ms. Joann Mariani, English Language Arts Teacher

M.S. in Education, Empire State University

B.A. in English Literature and Communications, Sacred Heart University

Ms. Mariani has been teaching ELA, AP Literature and Composition, and Film Studies for ten years in New York City. Beyond academic success and preparing students for college and career, her mission as a teacher is helping young people recognize themselves as agents of change in their communities and providing them with the tools to make that change. She believes that literature is a powerful medium to help us understand our world, and enjoys teaching English in ways that help students make connections between fiction and their own lives. She enjoys traveling, reading all kinds of fiction, and theater.

Ms. Eduvigen Mella, Math & Science Team Teacher

M.S. in Adolescent Special Education with a Bilingual Extension, City College.

B.A. in Behavioral Science, Mercy College.

Ms. Mella fosters students’ identity and heritage to create a nurturing environment that embraces students’ culture and experience to accomplish academic success. She has been working for the New York City Department of Education since 2008. Ms. Mella has helped students to be academically successful by providing educational, emotional, and behavioral support to linguistically diverse students. She joined the faculty at Bronx Envision Academy to continue making a difference in the lives of the students of New York City.

Ms. Daria Pennington, English & AP Art History Teacher

M.A. Arts Administration, Teachers College, Columbia University

B.A., Art History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Ms. Pennington taught English in the San Francisco Bay Area for 8 years before moving to New York. Prior to joining the faculty at Bronx Envision Academy in 2012, Ms. Pennington worked in the arts education and nonprofit sectors in New York and as a writing tutor. She is excited to incorporate the artistic process into her teaching and support students in expanding their worldview through literature and self-expression. Ms. Pennington received her teaching certification in English at San Francisco State University.

Ms. Xiomara Pescador, English as a New Language Teacher

B.A. English Education, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, 

M.A. Teacher Leadership, University of Phoenix-Fairfield, Connecticut. 

Ms. Pescador started teaching English as a Second/New Language in 2001 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico and still loves it today.  Teaching language and helping her students reach their goals is what keeps her going every day.  She loves trying new strategies that will engage and facilitate language learning for all her students.  She also loves learning other languages, customs and cultures from all her students and incorporating them in the classrooms.  

Ms. Precious Picart

MAT Relay Graduate School of Education; BA SUNY Potsdam, Criminal Justice and Sociology 

Ms. Picart is entering her second year here at BEA. Born and raised in the Bronx, her goal is to make sure every student is seen, heard, and protected. After COVID hit, she was unsure of what to do. She knew she wanted to give back to the community and soon after she received an offer to join NYC Teaching Fellows. She looks forward to working with all students and getting to know you all. She will be teaching Math and Science. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and exploring new places in her city.

Ms. Siby Phillips, English Teacher

M.A. English Education, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, B.A. English and History, State University at Albany, New York

Born and raised in New York, Ms. Phillips has been an educator in New York City schools since 2003.  She started her career at a portfolio assessment school in Manhattan and also taught at another ISA school in Brooklyn.  She has been teaching at BEA since 2014 and appreciates that this school values inquiry and project-based learning.  She is a passionate reader and hopes to share the interest with her students.  She also enjoys baking, snorkeling and traveling.

Mr. Julian Rondón Rivera, Living Environment Teacher

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers-Newark University

M.S. in Teaching Science, Pace University

M.S. Biology, Rutgers-Newark University

B.A. Biology, Rutgers-Newark University

NYC Teaching Fellow

Mr. Rondón is excited to return to Bronx Envision Academy. During these past years as a Ph.D. candidate, Mr. Rondón worked with high school students in a Science intensive program. Through this program, Mr. Rondón gained the desire to teach Science at the secondary level, bringing with him content knowledge that he hopes will spark in his students a greater appreciation for the biological sciences. 

Mr. Daniel Roldán, Physical Education Teacher

M.A. Physical Education, Manhattanville College, B.S. English, Binghamton University

Mr. Roldán has taught Physical Education in the New York City public schools since 2006.  He shares his enthusiasm and passion for sports and physical activity with his students. Mr. Roldán believes that Physical Education is an integral part of each student’s education. He looks forward to a fun and exciting school year.

Ms. Jessica Rosen, Speech Teacher

M.A. Speech and Language Pathology, CUNY Lehman College 

B.A. Economics, CUNY Queens College

Ms. Rosen has worked with various populations ranging from preschool to geriatric, but has since found a passion in working with high school students. She values the faculty collaboration at BEA, and is excited to continue in helping the students grow and succeed in their speech and language skills. 

Ms. Michele Roth, Advanced Placement Biology and Forensics Teacher

M.S.Ed Secondary Science, Lehman College

B.S. Biology and Chemistry, College of New Rochelle

Ms. Roth has been teaching science since 2004 and joined the Bronx Envision Academy family in 2014.  She knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher.  Ms. Roth’s decision to be a science teacher came about from her own high school Biology teacher who made her see science as fun and as an important part of everyday life.  Ms. Roth hopes to help her students appreciate science not only in school but in the world around them.  She wants her students to see that even the idea that they can send a text message is a scientific concept.  

Mr. Jim Roumeles, Music and Theater Teacher

M.S. in Educational Theatre, CCNY

B.M. in Music Education, Ithaca College

Mr. Roumeles gladly joined the BEA team after spending over a decade teaching music and drama to students at various levels. In addition to teaching, Mr. Roumeles is also an actor, singer and theater director.  He enjoys bringing his passion for the arts into the classroom and helping students to identify and develop their own unique talents.

Ms. Ana Tavarez Perez, Physical Education Teacher

M.A. Educational Technology, Mercy College

B.S. Physical Education, SUNY CORTLAND

Ms. Tavarez-Perez has worked for the NYC public schools as a high school physical education instructor for over 24 years. She has served as an Athletic Director, and she joined the faculty at BEA in the spring of 2016. She believes all students should have the opportunity to experience a quality physical education program in which students are exposed to various sports activities as well as fitness-related activities in the hope that physical activity becomes part of their lifestyles.  Ms. Tavarez-Perez has also coached for the NYC Public School Athletic League (PSAL) in various sports: Boys & Girls JV/Varsity Volleyball, Boys Varsity Tennis, Softball, and Girls Gymnastics 2003-present). She’s currently coaching our Campus’s Girls Varsity Volleyball Team.  

Mr. Michael Thomas, English as a New Language Teacher

M.A. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, City College

B.A. Rhetoric, Bates College

Mr. Thomas has been teaching since 2016 and has been at Bronx Envision Academy since January 2018. He teaches AP English Language, AP US History, 12th Grade English, and 12th Grade Social Studies at BEA. He loves talking about movies, books, and history.

Mr. Anthony Trabucco, History and English Team Teacher

M.S. in Special Education, Long Island University - Brooklyn

B.A. in History, Fordham University

Mr. Trabucco has been teaching at BEA since 2017. A former teaching fellow, you can find Mr. Trabucco in 11th grade ELA or US history classes, or working with the special education department to ensure that all students have access to the curriculum. 

Mrs. Sandra Vega-Diaz, Earth Science Teacher

M.S. in Science Education, City College, B.A. in Anthropology, Union College

Ms. Vega has taught Regents Earth Science in New York City public schools since 2008. She is a native of the Bronx and attributes her accomplishments to the inspirational teachers at Christopher Columbus High School. Ms. Vega’s goals in the classroom are to show students how the Earth works and to inspire students to observe the natural world that exists in their urban neighborhoods.

Ms. Vanessa Vega, Literacy & Humanities Team Teacher

M.S.Ed. - Adolescent Special Education, Hunter College

Extension - TESOL, College of Mount Saint Vincent (2024)

Extension - Bilingual Education, The College of Saint Rose

B.S. - Public Administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Ms. Vega has worked with New York City Public Schools since 2011, guiding and educating students of all grade levels. Born in New York City and raised in the Bronx, and as an accomplished student of NYC Public Schools, she wants to give back to the educational system that has molded her into who she is today. She prides herself on being a continuous learner whose goal is to create multiple opportunities and provide pathways for student achievement to take flight! Ms. Vega looks forward to building collaborative relationships with parents to support the needs of our students.

Mr. Aleksis Visners, Humanities Team Teacher

M.A. in Special Education, Relay Graduate School of Education 

B.S. Behavioral Science, Mercy College 

A.A. Arts, Communication, Dean College

Mr. V has been working for the New York City Department of Education since 2011. Born in Michigan and transplanted to the Bronx, N.Y. at an early age, Mr. Visners was a Varsity Football Letterman at Mount St. Michael Academy and in College. Syndicated and Published International Artist, Mr. Visners continues to establish his creative direction in Film, Music Production and Special Education. Mr. Visners is dedicated to positive reinforcement and helping all students to reach their short and long term goals at Bronx Envision Academy.

Ms. Sheena Wilson, Mathematics Teacher

M.S. in Education, The City College School of Education

Ms. Wilson has worked with a variety of student learners in the Bronx since 2004. She loves mathematics and looks forward to encouraging each students’ love and comprehension of the subject throughout the new year.

Mr. Jian Xiao, History Teacher

M.S in Secondary Education in Social Studies, City College

B.A in History, City College

Mr. Xiao started teaching in the Bronx in 2016 and has been teaching at BEA since 2020. He has taught Global History, US History and Government/Economics. He also helped create the Anime Club at BEA. In his spare time he likes to read science fiction, fantasy and historical biographies. He’s excited to share his love of history with his students. 

Biographies Coming Soon…

Mr. Schemel Andrews, Humanities Teacher

Ms. Lourdes Bonilla, Spanish Teacher

Mr. Ernest Buonocore, Global History Teacher

Ms. Megan Cottrell, English as a New Language Teacher

Mr. Jack Gomez, Teaching Assistant

Ms. Sasha Guzman, Teaching Artist (ArtistYear)

Ms. Aja Hanna, School Psychologist

Ms. Michelle McLaggan, School Secretary

Ms. Jillian Silva, Teaching Assistant

Ms. Ja’nae Simmons, Family Worker

Ms. Abigail Stephenson

Mr. Ronald Thomas, School Aide

Ms. Ariella Torres, Bilingual Guidance Counselor

Ms. Kimberle Triplett, English Teacher

Ms. Tanesha Vaughn, Team Teacher