Downtown Elementary Faculty & Staff

Jumaane Saunders


Macalester College, B.A., Columbia University, Teachers College, M.A.

Before joining our team as founding elementary principal, Jumaane Saunders served as Director of External Programming for the The School at Columbia University. There he worked closely with both the head of school and parents association to grow a number of programs within the vision and mission of the school. Prior to that, Jumaane worked with the New York City Department of Education as a program manager helping schools craft and adopt assessment procedures and support mechanisms in anticipation of New York’s adoption of the national common core standards. An alumnus of the prestigious Teach for America program, Mr. Saunders spent many years at Kaplan, developing their science offerings and training teachers. For six years Jumaane taught biology and chemistry in New York and California.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jumaane attended the Hackley School, earned his B.A. in biology from Macalester College, and his M.A. in Educational Politics and Finance and M. Ed. in School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. He and his wife, Mónica, also an educator, have three young children.

Anabel Rivera

Operations Coordinator

Binghamton University, B.S., Human Development

Andrea Khan

Associate Head of Operations

Montclair State University, B.A., New York University, M.A.

Andrea Molina

Program Manager

Pace University, B.A.

Angela Park

Lead Teacher

SUNY Stony Brook, B.A., Columbia University, Teachers College, M.A.

Anita Walsh


Parsons School of Design, B.A., George Washington University, M.Ed.

Avery Williams


SUNY, College at Westbury, B.A.

Cassandra Jimenez

Lead Teacher

University of Hawaii, B.A., New Jersey City University, M.A.

Dana Mulwanda

Head of Resident Teacher Development

Boston College, B.A., Hunter College, M.S.Ed.

Danielle Ponce-Roden

Learning Specialist

State University of Oneonta, B.A., Touro College, MS

Deanna Perez

Lead Teacher

Hamilton College, B.A., Charles Sposato Graduate School of Education, M.A.

Diana Wangerin-Foster

Resident Teacher

SUNY Purchase College, B.A., Hunter College, M.A.

Doreen May-Davis

Classroom Aide

Boricua College, B.A.

Drew Pallas

Classroom Aide

Drew St. Lawrence

Lead Teacher

Harvard University, A.B., Relay Graduate School of Education, M.A.T.

Emily Vandehey

Head of Academics

University of Oregon, B.A., Lewis and Clark University, M.A.

Folake Akinola-Pinard

Youth Development, School Culture Head

Wellesley College, B.A., Columbia University, Teachers College, M.A.

Heather Elgin

Learning Specialist

Santa Clara University, B.A., Harvard University, M.A.

Isamar Rosado-Aponte

Spanish Teacher

University of Puerto Rico, B.A., New York University, M.F.A.

Jacob Kramer

Music Teacher

Northwestern University, B.M., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, M.M.

Kara Lesondak

Learning Specialist

Northwestern University, B.S., Fashion Institute of Technology, B.F.A., San Francisco State University, M.A.

Karla Salamea

Lead Teacher

SUNY Buffalo, B.S.

Kate Nugent

Resident Teacher

State University of New York at New Paltz, B.A., City College of New York, MS, Education

Kendra Thomas

Lead Teacher

Delaware State, B.A.

Kishan Singh

Resident Teacher

City College of New York, B.A.

Kristin Schaumleffel

After School Program Manager

San Francisco State University, B.A.

Lusdymer Pichardo

Lead Teacher

Yale University, B.A., University of New Haven, M.A.

Mandy Ip

Lead Teacher

SUNY Binghamton, B.A., Hunter College, M.S.

Melina Garcia

Lead Teacher

City College of New York, B.A., Touro College, M.A.

Michelle Guevara

Resident Teacher

Monica De Jesus

Classroom Aide

Bronx Community College

Monique Sierra

Social Worker

UC Santa Barbara, B.A., Columbia University School of Social Work, M.S.

Nancy Jacobs

Learning Specialist

Rochester Institute of Technology, B.A., Hunter College, M.A.

Nicholas "Chris" Pappas

After School Program Coordinator

City College of New York, B.A.

Nicholas Padilla

Lead Teacher

University of Arizona, B.A.

Niki Nino

Resident Teacher

Queens College, B.A., Hunter College, MS

Nivia Marrero

Spanish Language Teacher

University of Puerto Rico, B.A., School of Professional Studies, M.A.

Rohaitou Siby

Dance Teacher

Howard University, B.F.A., Hunter College, M.A. Candidate

Shilpa Raman

Social Worker

University of Virginia, B.A., New York University, M.A., Columbia University, M.S.W.

Tara Marsigliano

Physical Education Teacher

Iona College, B.A., Hofstra University, M.A.

Yolande Tyrell

Resident Teacher

Touro College, B.S.

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