(Alphabetical by FIRST name)
Addison Love – Algebra I
Adison grew up on Long Island and went to college in upstate New York. He earned his B.A. in Statistics and Economics, and an M.A.in Special Education. He has taught in 4 of the 5 boroughs and will begin his 30th year of teaching this fall! Addison enjoys showing his students how interesting and important math is. He does so by engaging his students in relevant real world problem solving and puzzles that challenge students’ thinking. Addison is a big believer in the Socratic Method of asking key questions to enable students to think deeply about math. He is also known for integrating jokes and puns into math class to help students feel more at ease. In his spare time, he hikes, bikes, and swims. He also has a passion for travel, National Parks, Roadside Attractions, photography, and reading. He looks forward to teaching Algebra 1 to 8th graders and to preparing them for the rigors of high school and beyond.
Alexandra Cappello – 6th Grade ICT Math and ELA
Alexandra was born and raised in New York and is currently living in Manhattan. Teaching and coaching are two of Alexandra’s greatest passions since her adolescent years. She received her BA in physical education and a masters degree in special education from Manhattan College. During college, Alexandra competed on the NCAA Division I level for cross country and track and field, from which she developed a strong desire to guide young adults with aspirations for being college-bound scholar athletes. Alexandra has experience coaching cross country and track and field on the high school level in Westchester schools. The most enjoyable part of coaching has been training beside her student athletes and working with them toward meeting individualized goals. Prior to WESS, Alexandra taught physical education in a Title I elementary level for four years. During those four years, she focused on differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners and was successful in doing so. Her students also benefited tremendously from the youth running program she developed and lead through the New York Road Runners. Alexandra pursued her masters in special education because she has seen how successful students can be when instruction is tailored to their individual needs. In her free time, she travels, runs, and plays in an adult soccer league with her friends. She wants to learn the Italian language and become a better cook than her father. Alexandra is thrilled to be a part of the WESS team and looks forward to learning from her students.
Alexandra Larkin – Algebra II
Alexandra was born and raised in Port Jefferson, NY, a small town on the north shore of Long Island. Growing up, Alexandra spent her summers teaching swimming lessons at a summer camp and as a lifeguard at a local beach. It was here that she discovered her true passion for working with children and teaching. Alexandra attended Quinnipiac University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and her Master’s degree in Secondary Education. Shortly after graduating, Alexandra moved to New York City and began her teaching career. She has spent the past five years teaching middle and high school level students in Manhattan. Alexandra is a firm believer in applying mathematics to real world problems to show her students how important math is to our everyday lives. She enjoys finding fun new ways for teaching her lesson plans that are both hands on and engaging, and loves to see her students become so captivated in a lesson that they forget they are even learning! Alexandra currently lives in Manhattan with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, yoga, puzzles (preferably a crossword or sudoku), cooking, traveling to new places and spending time with her family and friends. Alexandra is excited to begin a new school year at WESS, and to be part of such a supportive, engaging and welcoming community!
Amanda Beck – 9th grade Integrative Co-Teacher & NYCDOE Model Teacher Leader
Amanda was born and raised in San Jose, California. She went to undergrad at Santa Clara University where she earned a B.A. in Music. After studying abroad in Italy and Austria, she went to Boston University for a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. Amanda spent the next few years singing in the US and around the world before working in marketing at Carnegie Hall, Opera Boston and acting as Executive Director for a small opera company in Boston. Amanda began teaching in 2014 and earned her Master of Science in Education from Hunter College and is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership also from Hunter. Amanda is a huge fan of Doctor Who, mermaids and the ocean and continues to sing in her “free” time. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and SUPER CUTE dog Luna!
Ana Miranda – 7th & 8th Grade Spanish
Ana was born and raised in Mexico City. She moved to New York with her family when she was thirteen years old. As a teenager, Ana had to adjust to a new educational system while learning English as her second language. Ana knows what is like to struggle with a new language because she experienced it herself when she was a high school student. During her high school years, Ana experienced firsthand the power teachers have over shaping a child’s future. In 2018, Ana received her BA in Secondary Education with a concentration in Spanish from Queens College. She was immediately hired as a Spanish teacher at WESS and has taught all levels of Spanish to both middle and high school students. Ana believes that acquiring a new language involves learning to speak and write, while simultaneously exploring the cultures, practices, and perspectives associated with that language. Therefore, her goal is to serve not only as a Spanish teacher, but also as a bridge that connects students to a world full of diversity. In her spare time, Ana enjoys doing puzzles, listening to music, and watching Korean dramas. She is very fond of the Korean culture and hopes to one day become fluent in the Korean language. Ana is excited to be a part of a growing foreign language department at WESS.
Aristo Orginos – 9th Grade English
Aristo grew up in northern New Jersey, where his public school teachers consistently served as an inspiration. After graduation, he went off to study education at New York University. In 2015, he graduated with a B.S. in English Education from Steinhardt and was hired by Jessica to teach English at West End Secondary School. As a founding teacher of the school, watching the growth of the students who attend WESS has been the single most impactful experience of his life, and he views working with West End’s students as the highest privilege of his life. Over the last two years, Aristo has worked on and recently completed his master’s degree in Gifted Education at Columbia University, and he plans to continue his research and work in education with further graduate studies. His academic interests include equitable teaching practices, nontraditional models and theories of education, and the nature of intelligence and creativity. His favorite authors include Cormac McCarthy and Kazuo Ishiguro, and his favorite book of all time is Blood Meridian. Since he was literate, Aristo was encouraged by his parents to write, and is now the proud author of several unfinished manuscripts and many unpublished short stories and poems. A lifelong lover of music, Aristo attends rap concerts with some frequency as long as they don’t fall on a school night, and he derives significant joy from buying multicolored Post-Its and white board markers. He believes schools are vehicles for the becoming and self-actualization of the child and encourages every student to follow their passions wherever it takes them.
Ayesha Randolph – 8th Grade English
Ayesha is a proud native New Yorker. She attended The New School where she received her B.A/ and Master’s degree in Teaching. Her first English teaching position was at her middle school alma mater Wadleigh Secondary School. She learned once more from the teachers who taught her when she was a child. Ayesha often refers to her first years teaching as her awakening. The classroom is where she was meant to be. Opening up a student’s eyes to a new concept, a child having the “Ah ha!” moment and having a student connect a situation to a reading are powerfully fulfilling experiences for Ayesha. Over the past 23 years, she has experience teaching English to 7th – 12th graders. She has taught in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brazil and in the United Arab Emirates.
Carlos Gonzalez – Student Teacher, ELA
Carlos was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. In high school, he played for his school’s basketball, baseball and bowling team, as well as being a part of student council and the yearbook committee. After high school, he remained in NYC, attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice where he earned a double major in English and Forensic Psychology. After taking a year to travel and explore the world, Carlos joined WESS as a coach/teaching assistant to help develop the Manhattan Youth After School Program in 2017. The following year, he stepped in as a school aide, building stronger relationships with faculty and devoting more time getting to know the students at WESS. It was then that he realized his next role was to become an educator and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Special Education at Concordia College. Outside of WESS, he enjoys playing sports, hiking, traveling, reading, listening to music, and most of all, eating different foods. Carlos is most excited for another great year at WESS!
Chloe Kimberlin – 7th Grade English Language Arts & 10th Grade English
Chloe was born in Connecticut and has only been in NYC for one wonderful, busy year, during which she completed her Masters degree in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Chloe attended Skidmore College for her undergraduate, studying English with a focus on poetry writing, as well as minoring in both Education and Sociology. Throughout high school and college, Chloe was very involved in writerly endeavors: she was on the editorial staff of her school newspapers, was an Editor in Chief of her college literary magazine, and founded a monthly reading series for Skidmore community members to share their writing in a supportive, cozy environment. During her college summers, she taught at a creative writing camp for adolescents, which cemented her desire to teach English Language Arts. Between undergrad and grad school, Chloe spent a year co-teaching fourth grade in a tiny town in Connecticut. Her favorite experience of that year was helping two ambitious nine-year-olds co-found an afterschool Harry Potter club. Outside of teaching, Chloe is passionate about poetry, pop culture, music, podcasts, hiking, and of course, spending time with friends and family. Chloe is incredibly excited to work with both middle and high school grades at WESS; she finds that working with adolescents always inspires her to think deeply and strive towards the best version of herself. She hopes that her classroom communities will provide that same inspiration for her students.
Christina Stampolis – Dance
Christina is from Huntington, Long Island. She began dancing at the age of 7, and went on to join both her local studio and high school’s competitive dance teams where she experienced a variety of dance styles. She decided to pursue Dance Education as a career at Hofstra University, where she further developed her foundations in Modern Dance and Ballet technique, as well as learned how to share her joy of moving with others in a classroom setting. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education from Hofstra University and a Masters in Dance Education from Hunter College. Additionally, she has continued her education through courses at the Dance Education Laboratory at the 92nd Street Y. Christina has presented her research on technology in the dance classroom as part of the Movement Talks series at the 92nd Street Y and at the 2013 National Dance Education Conference in Miami, and performed professionally with the Isadora Duncan repertory company Dance Visions NY from 2010-2016. As a New York State certified dance educator, Christina is entering her 10th year of teaching dance in New York City schools. She piloted WESS Dance in 2016, and is extremely proud of both the program and her dancers’ growth over the years. Outside of school, Christina enjoys working out, cooking, baking, food photography, and hanging out with her dog.
Chrissy Grenier – Integrative Co-Teacher English, Science, & NYCDOE Model Teacher Leader
Growing up as the oldest of five kids, Chrissy knew from a young age that she would someday be a teacher. She attended the Neag School of Education at UConn, first earning her B.A. in English Education, and then her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction. Chrissy got her first job at a Special Act School in Westchester County, where she found her true calling working with students with diverse learning needs. There, she taught 11th and 12th grade English in a Project-Based Learning program for five years, and along the way got certified in Special Education. After getting married and moving to the city, Chrissy took a job at a middle school in Brooklyn where she developed a highly successful reading intervention program, instilling a love of literature in her students. Chrissy is in her second year at WESS and works alongside her 9th-grade team to lay the foundation for our high school. Outside of school, she loves to travel to new places, test new recipes, and stay active!
Christopher Herries – AP World History: Modern
Chris was born in upstate New York and attended a regional Catholic school where he captained the wrestling team and the chess team. After high school, Chris spent two years living and working in Cape Town, South Africa as a school assistant. He then went to Stanford University in California where he studied classical history and played Division I rugby. He received his M.A.T. in Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University and went on to teach in the South Bronx. Chris enjoys teaching world history and is passionate about passing on a love of history to the next generation. He now lives in central Harlem, continues to train in wrestling, and has joined a competitive e-sports team.
Ellyn Lankford – 6th Grade Social Studies
Ellyn grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a Social Studies teacher. She always dreamed of living in New York City and in 2012 made the leap. With over 10 years of teaching experience, Ellyn has taught World History, Civics, Geography, and ELA. During this time, she has received a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and School Counseling. In her spare time, Ellyn loves to travel to see and experience everything the world has to offer. Through her travels, Ellyn likes to incorporate authentic, real-world experiences into her classroom to help students become passionate about history.
Emily Hollyday – 6th Grade Science
Throughout high school, Emily was envious of her friends who went to an EL School (Expeditionary Learning) where their learning extended beyond the classroom. In chemistry, they not only read about the BP Oil Spill but also went to Mississippi where they took part in service projects and interviewed people impacted by the spill. When Emily graduated from College of the Atlantic in Maine, she was determined to teach at an EL school where she could help students explore relevant topics and engage in real-world projects. Emily is grateful to be a part of the innovative and passionate community at West End Secondary School. In 2018, Emily received a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Brooklyn College and, during the past two summers, she has worked in a dermatology lab through Columbia University’s Summer Research Program for Teachers. Emily enjoys being involved in community organizations and loves to garden, swim, and bike.
Evens Lafleur – World Languages (French/Spanish)
Evens has been teaching French for 15 years in the New York City Department of Education system, with prior experience working in a founding school in Brooklyn. Originally from Haiti, Evens pursued his education at Brooklyn College, earning a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education with a concentration in French and a Master’s in School Education Administration from Grand Canyon University. In addition to teaching, Evens enjoys spending time with his family and writing poetry in several languages including Haitian Creole and French. He also enjoys sports, especially soccer. He aspires to continue inspiring his students to love learning. His philosophy is that all students are capable of learning and become productive citizens within their communities and beyond. Evens is excited to bring his knowledge and experience to the WESS community this year!