(Alphabetical by FIRST name)
Sarah Kieval – 10th Grade English
Sarah was born in a small town near Boston with big-hearted Red Sox fans. She had the privilege of attending a small, community-based school where every teacher knew every student and every student knew every teacher’s dog. Since then, she enjoyed earning her masters from NYU graduate school of education and teaching in the WESS community because they inspire the same love of learning and collaboration as her childhood school. It also brings her immense pleasure to coach WESS girls’ basketball teams and advise the student newspaper. Sarah loves English class because our texts illuminate large ideas and bring about discussion of how these ideas play out in our own lives and society. Outside of class, all topics of conversation about movies, books, sports, New York, puppies, and TV are always on the table. Sarah loves following sports, playing ultimate frisbee and basketball, cooking without a recipe, and hitting up podcasts.
Sarah Peskanov – Music
Growing up as the daughter of two classically trained musicians, Sarah has always felt connected to music. Sarah received a degree in Music Education and Flute Performance from Ithaca College. Following graduation, she remained in Ithaca and actively performed with the Genesee Orchestra, New Music Collective and taught concert band in the public school system for two years. After living in Upstate New York for 7 years, Sarah has returned home to her roots on Long Island. She currently freelances and teaches flute privately in the NYC area. During her free time she likes to go hiking with her rescue pup, listen to live music and explore new cuisines. She is thrilled to be a part of the WESS team!
Stacey Gruber – 7th Grade Mathematics
Stacey was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She spent her formative years in the suburbs, about an hour outside New York City. She has made her home in Manhattan for the past seven years. It was clear from an early age that Stacey dreamed of becoming a teacher and loved being around children. As a young child, she often set up a classroom with her dolls and stuffed animals as students and read to them. She spent her teen years working as a counselor at a local summer camp and college breaks as a substitute teaching assistant in her local schools. Stacey achieved her dream of becoming an educator when she received her degree in Childhood Education with a concentration in Mathematics from SUNY Oneonta. For 7 years, she taught 7th grade mathematics in the Bronx. During this time she earned her Masters Degree in Childhood Special Education from CUNY Lehman. At her previous school, she was the head of the Math Department as well as the Math Team Coach. Stacey has been the recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award three times. Stacey’s favorite part of teaching is being able to instill the same love of math that she has in her students. She is a big believer in teaching mathematics through the use of manipulatives, hands-on activities, and being able to make what she is teaching relatable to the real-world and to her students’ lives and personal interests. In her spare time, Stacey enjoys knitting, going to concerts, and is an avid Sudoku player. She is excited to start her third year at WESS and 10th year teaching! She’s looking forward to meeting all the new students, parents and staff!
Stefanie Urciuoli – High School Integrative Co-Teacher
Stefanie was born and raised in the lush forestry of Staten Island and is thrilled to begin her new teaching journey at WESS this year. She has a degree in English Literature from the College of Staten Island and is currently pursuing a Masters in Special Education from Pace University. After a long and rewarding career in cosmetic management and education at Sephora, she realized that the most rewarding part of her career was tied to teaching others. She loved equipping her team with the skills they needed to succeed in endeavors throughout school and life. This led her to pursue a career in education to make an even bigger impact as a teacher. It was that passion that led her to join the NYC Teaching Fellows program. She is inspired by the Expeditionary Learning model and looks forward to using New York City as the ultimate learning lab. Outside of the classroom, Stefanie enjoys watching Jeopardy, staying up to date on pop culture trends, filling up online shopping carts that never make it to checkout, and dreaming about owning a Chow Chow.
Travis Lankford – Earth & Space Science
Travis is a proud son of the Commonwealth of Virginia where he spent his formative years then attended one of the first women’s colleges in the entire country (now co-ed) at Longwood University. While attending, Travis was a part of the Longwood Men’s Rugby Football Club and Epsilon Chi Phi fraternity. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he took a job teaching English in South Korea where he resided for a calendar year. In 2013, Travis moved to New York City where he was accepted into the New York City Teaching Collaborative, a partner program of the Teaching Fellows, as a Science Teacher. In May 2016, Travis received his Master of Science in Adolescent Education. Travis then taught in the Bronx for the next two years followed by Inwood for the last two. He looks forward to the new opportunities and challenges ahead at WESS and hopes to kindle a lasting passion for the sciences in his students. Travis enjoys playing computer games, painting and playing Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar, and watching Chelsea FC play in the Premier League.
Vitoanthony Deliso – Physical Education, Health, & Athletic Director
Vitoanthony or “Coach” as he likes to be called, was born in Mola di Bari, a small town in Italy. In the early 70’s his family moved from Italy to Carroll Gardens Brooklyn, and has lived there for the past 47 years. He has been playing sports and working out for as long as he can remember. He has coached numerous sports teams in countless leagues. Vitoanthony is a graduate of Kingsborough Community College where he earned an AAS in Physical Education and Recreational Therapy. He then attended Brooklyn College, earning a BS and MS in Physical Education. His teaching career began as a founding teacher of a transfer high school in Brooklyn and continued at a small NYC high school dedicated to sports management. In addition to teaching physical education, health, and weight training for the past 12 years, he has also served as a dean and coach for multiple PSAL teams. Aside from teaching, Vitoanthony has been an International Flight Attendant/Purser for Delta Air Lines for the past 30 years. He spends considerable time in Italy (working) enjoying the people, culture and the many friends he’s made throughout his flying career. He is fluent in Italian and working on improving his Spanish skills. Beyond that, his first true love is his family: daughter’s Brittany and Alexandra, son Matthew, and his better half-Janice. Vitoanthony is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to bring his leadership, knowledge of sports, passion for teaching, and strong organizational skills to the WESS community.
Wendy Cole – Algebra II
Wendy was born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA. She attended Louisiana State University, earning her degree in Mathematics with a minor in Biology. She has taught middle and high school math and science for 17 years in Louisiana and Florida. She then took a hiatus from teaching to homeschool her daughters for middle and high school. While homeschooling, she went back and earned her Masters Degree in Library and Information Science, with a specialty in Archives. After relocating to Texas, she then taught AlgebraFor the past two years moved to Texas and taught Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II for the last two years. She is following her dream of living in New York City, and could not be more excited about being a part of the WESS family! In her free time, she loves traveling, reading, hanging out with friends and family, and playing with her dog, Duke. She truly considers herself to be a nerd in all subjects, and cannot wait to show students that, with patience and persistence, they can all be successful in math.