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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, B.S. Biology, Guilford College

Ms. Bookal commenced her career as an educator in 1996 as a science and math teacher.  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.


Mr. Jonathan Clayton, Assistant Principal

M.S Ed. Educational Leadership, College at Saint Rose; M.A English Literature, NYS Advanced Certification English 7-12, NYS Advanced Certification Teaching Students With Disabilities 7-12, City College of New York; B.A English Literature, University at Buffalo.

Mr. Clayton began his career as a writing instructor, first at the undergraduate level, then at the graduate level. Eventually, he transitioned to teaching English at the middle school level in both Brooklyn and Harlem, before teaching for several years as a High School English and Special Education instructor in the South Bronx. He looks forward to bringing his knowledge and passion to the BEA community, building lasting relationships and creating a culture of excellence.

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, Permanent Certification in School Counseling

Ms. Jones 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 loves to help students discover the benefits of joining community based organizations and summer programs. Ms. Jones will help connect each senior class with the many opportunities and resources that the higher education field has to offer. ​


Instructional Faculty

Ms. Molly Balk, Literacy Teacher

M.A.T. Adolescents with Disabilities, Relay Graduate School of Education

B.S. Communication Sciences and Disorders (minor in Theatre), University of Pittsburgh

Ms. Balk is ecstatic to join the BEA family. She moved back to NYC in 2017 to become a Teaching Fellow in the first Bronx cohort. She loves instilling her passion for reading and intellectual curiosity in her students, and forming meaningful relationships to ensure that all students learn. She believes in the transformative power of arts and literacy education and is proud to be in a school that shares this belief. When she’s not teaching, you can find Ms. Balk at a Broadway or Off-Broadway show, singing with her friends, reading, or watching the latest TV show.


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 choose 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. 


Mr. Daniel Burke, ESL/Team Teacher

M.S. ED. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Touro College

B.S. Marketing, Manhattan College

Joining the teaching profession after a brief career in pharmaceutical advertising, Mr. Burke is excited to bring his knowledge of second language acquisition into the classroom.  Mr. Burke is also an active musician and studies with a number of well-known drummers in the New York City area. Going into his fifth year as an educator; he is an avid believer of lifelong learning and its importance inside and outside of the classroom.


Ms. Dana Cardona, Math/Team Teacher

M.S. in Adolescent Special Education with a Concentration In Behavioral Disorders, Hunter College

B.S. Criminology with Law Minor, John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
After working in the juvenile justice field for years, Ms. C decided to pursue a career in teaching based on her passion for working with youth. As a special education teacher, Ms. C dedicates her days to assuring students’ academic, social and emotional needs are met. She believes in building growth mindset in her students. She wants youth to know their mindset can guide them to their success in life. In addition to teaching, Ms. C enjoys making a difference in her community by volunteering and mentoring with various organizations.

Ms. Christine Catalano, Dance Teacher

M.A. Dance Education, NYU Steinhardt

B.A. General and Special Education, St. Joseph’s College

Ms. Catalano has provided students ranging from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade with dance instruction in various school and studio settings. She believes all students should have the opportunity to experience dance as a personal expression as well as be encouraged to create, explore and discover new ideas through dance making. Ms. Catalano has designed BEA’s dance program to assist students in the creative process and encourage personal exploration through individual movement ideas with knowledge of different dance techniques.


Mr. Nicholas Dubrowsky, Humanities Team Teacher
J.D. University of Miami School of Law
B.A. Economics and Political Science, Boston College
Mr. Dubrowsky has been practicing law in New York State since 2007. During that time, he served on the Law Guardian panel for the  Appellate Division - Second Department; representing children in cases throughout the State. Additionally, Mr. Dubrowsky has frequently taught students across New York City and Long Island about First and Fourth Amendment Constitutional protections as part of the New York Civil Liberties Union, led and instructed mock trial teams to participate in state and city competitions, and was a member of the New York City Lawyers’ Association’s Civil Rights and Liberties subcommittee against cyberbullying. A strong proponent of integrating classroom learning with practical applicability, Mr. Dubrowsky hopes to hone students’ critical thinking and communication skills by encouraging discussion, promoting collaboration and challenging one’s own ideas. Mr. Dubrowsky is elated to bring his consummate passion for education and student civic engagement to such a welcomingly diverse and dynamic school as Bronx Envision Academy this year. 


Ms. Ravin Joseph, Global History Teacher

MS.Ed.  in Educational Leadership at The College of Saint Rose

BA in Secondary Education and Social Studies at SUNY Cortland

Along with her teaching experience Ms. Joseph, is a proud member of her community. She runs a nonprofit mentoring young women, as well as supports the initiatives for her local NAACP chapter and Community Board.


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 (In Progress)

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 enrolled in the NYC Teaching Fellows program, where she is working on 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. Paul Liebler, Mathematics Teacher

M.S. Secondary School Mathematics Education, St. Johns University, M.S. Computer Science, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, M.S. Mathematics, SUNY Stony Brook, B.A. Mathematics, CUNY Queens College.

Prior to joining BEA in 2015, Mr. Liebler taught mathematics at Herbert H. Lehman H.S. in the Bronx since 2009. Before that, for twenty-five years Mr. Liebler developed computer systems for a variety of applications, including submarine navigation systems and retail banking software for financial institutions. His first love has always been mathematics, though he also majored in theater for three years. He impresses upon his students that understanding usually comes only after periods of confusion, and to be persistent in asking good questions, as well as working earnestly with their fellow students.  Mr. Liebler has also worked as a photographer (mostly nature) and a swimming instructor. Until recently, he has been an avid long distance runner, competing in over 20 marathons, from Florida to Quebec, and even London. His favorite races are team relays, some as long as 200 miles.


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 achievement. 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. Danielle Moore, Humanities Team Teacher

M.S. in Adolescent Special Education with English Extension, St. John’s University

B.A. in Creative Writing, Minor-Cultural Anthropology, CUNY Lehman College

After being in the Social Work/Human Services field for several years, Ms. Moore joined the NYC Teaching Fellows program to pursue her love for education.  Born and raised in the South Bronx, Ms. Moore wanted to become an educator to give back to her community and is excited to be a part of the Bronx Envision Academy team.  Ms. Moore is looking forward to bringing her passion for education, and experience with working with youths to support students and bring them to their full potential both inside and outside the classroom.  Ms. Moore believes that all students deserve a quality education and is fortunate to be a part of a school community that shares that same value.

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, 18 years ago 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. Guerlain Philizaire, Math & Science Team Teacher

Ms. Philizaire is enthusiastic, friendly, easy-going, and able to develop rapport with students and staff. She is committed to her students’ growth, as well as her own growth.  She works daily on creating a respectful positive impact on her life and her students’ lives that could shape and reshape their vision and purpose; she likes to inspire her students and influence them to develop optimistic skills to help them attain their highest potential. 


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. Most recently, she was teaching at another ISA school in Brooklyn and is excited to continue working at a school that 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 2007.  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. 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 for the past sixteen years, 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. Ms. Roth is excited to be working with such a caring and dedicated staff at Bronx Envision Academy.  She is looking forward to having her students believe in themselves and accomplish all of their goals.  


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. Zayne Sibley, Government and Economics Teacher

B.A. in American Studies, Vassar College

Ms. Sibley is excited to start her second year of teaching at Bronx Envision Academy. She is passionate about teaching history in a way that is relevant and engaging, and hopes to empower her students to be active and informed citizens in their community and country. 


Ms. Ana Tavarez Perez, Physical Education Teacher

M.A. Educational Technology, Mercy College NYU Steinhardt

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 20 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.  


Mr. Anthony Trabucco, History and English Team Teacher

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

B.A. in History, Fordham University

Mr. T. is a New York City Teaching Fellow with a passion for helping students of all learning styles succeed. Having spent time teaching English to students in Hebei Province, China, Mr. T. loves exploring how students’ cultural backgrounds inform their learning. Mr. T. is looking forward to helping all BEA students work towards college and career readiness.


Ms. 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.


Mr. Aleksis Visners, Teaching Assistant

A.A. Arts, Communication, Dean College.

Mr. V has been working as a Teaching Assistant for 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.


Ms. Nicole Wolf, English Teacher

M.A. Comparative Literature, University College London

B.S. English Education, Florida State University 

Ms. Wolf started her career in Chicago and is excited to spend her third year teaching in NYC at Bronx Envision Academy. She has a passion for reading and writing and hopes to spark the same interest in her students this year. 


Biographies Coming Soon…

Ms. Lourdes Bonilla, Spanish Teacher

Mr. Ernest Buonocore, Global History Teacher

Ms. Yirlin Delgado, School Secretary

Ms. Anna Gonzalez, Spanish Teacher

Ms. Michelle McLaggon-Clarke, School Aide

Ms. Lillian Nieves, School Aide

Ms. Yasmiri Polanco, Teaching Assistant

Mr. Thomas Reynolds, United States History Teacher

Mr. Alex Rodriguez, Parent Coordinator

Ms. Jillian Silva, Teaching Assistant

Mr. Michael Thomas, English as a New Language Teacher

Mr. Ronald Thomas, School Aide

Ms. Ariella Torres, Bilingual Guidance Counselor

Ms. Tanesha Vaughn, Teaching Assistant

Ms. Crystal Vitaliano, Teaching Assistant