Our faculty is exceptional — in its depth of experience, diversity of talents, and commitment to inspiring students.
All faculty E-mail addresses are the teacher’s first name @harvestcollegiate.org. For example, Ted Sizer’s email would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Avery, Senior College Counselor
Susan has been doing college counseling since the 1990s, helping students with their applications, financial aid, essays, interviews, recommendations, and SAT preparation. She worked at the United Nations International School and St. John’s University. She’s also been a journalist since 1981, spending the bulk of her career at The New York Times, writing special sections on education, home decorating, fashion, and weddings. She was also the Kids Editor and columnist at New York magazine, the Ask A Mom advice columnist at Brides magazine, and the media columnist at Adoptive Families magazine. On the web side, she served as the Founder and Chair of AOL’s Editorial Advisory Council, the Founding Executive Editor of Grandparents.com, and the Digital Director at More magazine. Susan has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in community health education from Hunter College. She also spent 6 seasons at Madison Square Garden, entertaining New York Knicks and Liberty fans as a member of the senior dance squad.
Shirlene Blake, Dance Educator & Teacher Leader
Shirlene is a passionate and enthusiastic educator who uses dance as her vehicle to motivate and inspire young people. She brings to her classroom a diverse background in performing and teaching various dance disciplines, arts advocacy, dance and special needs, as well as working with pregnant teens and teenage mothers. She has performed professionally all styles of dance with independent choreographers as well as taught nationally and lived and taught in Reykjavik, Iceland. Shirlene received her BFA from Southern Methodist University; MEd from Temple University and holds District and Building Leader Certificates from Hunter College. Shirlene serves as a citywide dance facilitator for NYCDOE Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as a curriculum writer and reviewer. For New York State, Shirlene is on the NYSED Arts Standards Writing Team and is a Subject Matter Expert for the Dance Content Specialty Test for NYS Teacher Certification. She also serves on the NYS Arts Content Advisory Panel which advises the Commissioner and Board of Regents on curriculum and assessments. A 2016 NYSDEA recipient of the Diana Domoracki-Kisto dance educator award, Shirlene has strong interest in advancing the field. She is an active Board member of the New York State Dance Education Association and remains on the cutting edge of arts and educational theory and practice.
Kiran Chaudhuri, English Teacher
Kiran has been a pioneer of the progressive schools movement in New York City over the past two decades — she has extensive expertise in cultivating students’ lifelong love of reading, in field studies and experiential learning and in engaging students with the great texts of the world’s religions, including Gilgamesh, Genesis and Exodus, the Buddha, and The Ramayana. As a teacher, Kiran is a delicate artist who cares deeply about knowing and reaching every student to read, write and express more than they previously thought possible. Raised in Cambridge, Kiran holds a BA from Oberlin, an MA in the Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University and has contributed to various professional circles including The Prospect Institute and The Writing Project. She has published extensively in educational journals and in addition to teaching Humanities, now leads our Art and GSX club.
Andrew del Calvo, History and Art History Teacher
Andy del Calvo is a Social Studies teacher who is committed to using the arts and the cultural institutions of New York City to approach complex historical questions. By exploring the vast cultural resources of New York City with his students, Andy seeks to challenge them to take part in the ongoing artistic dialogues throughout the City. Andy graduated with Honors in History from Bowdoin College in Maine, where his thesis, “Biographical Representations of Fidel Castro” examined how the various biographical portraits of Castro reflect the political consensus of the eras in which they were written. He earned a Masters in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to teaching at Harvest he taught at the Marie Curie School for Medicine and Health Sciences, a high school in the Bronx. A Californian by birth, he enjoys distance running, gastronomic adventures around all five boroughs of New York City, and going to concerts. He is excited about coaching Harvest’s soccer team.
Liana Donahue, English Learning Specialist
Liana is a passionate educator committed to challenging students inside and outside of the classroom. Liana has worked for New York City Public Schools for two years. Liana taught 11th and 12th grade U.S. History as a Learning Specialist at Bronx Leadership Academy II. With the help of the prestigious Posse Scholarship, Liana earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and African Studies from Bryn Mawr College. She served on the Student Government Association at Bryn Mawr College for two years as Class President. Liana comes to Harvest with an array of undergraduate research experience. She was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, performing research on the criminal justice system in America that led her to working with several gang populations in Cape Town, South Africa. In Cape Town, Liana facilitated and organized an anger management program at a juvenile detention center for boys – a transformative experience that cemented her love for the education and justice system. Through the Leadership Alliance Summer Program, Liana performed research in the Philosophy department at Princeton University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (PSURE) with Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah analyzing moral responsibility and judgment within a criminal gang. Liana earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Hunter College. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, getting lost in Central Park, and theorizing ways to dismantle the prison-industrial complex. Liana is excited to assist in leading our Student Government Association, and she is eager to contribute meaningfully to the English Department as the newest member!
Angelo Garcia, Science Teacher
Angelo unites his background as a neuroscience researcher at NYU-Mount Sinai coupled with years of teaching at an independent middle school to bring the beauty and wonder of the scientific world to Harvest Collegiate. Angelo holds a PhD in Cellular Neurobiology. Angelo’s graduate research involved the study of a gene, VGF with a complex function in the brain where it was found to be involved in the regulation of metabolism, spatial learning, and depression. Angelo elucidated a key bioactive part of the protein. Angelo has also contributed his expertise in Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology to consult on cancer, fibrosis, and the neuroendocrinology of aging; his work has been published in numerous journals. His postdoctoral work focused on the similarities between healing and what is called tissue plasticity, the ability of a mature tissue to undergo changes that enable it to adapt of which learning is one example. Angelo is also interested in the biology of longevity, Alzheimer’s, gene therapy, cancer therapy, the use of antibodies as drugs and the development of biofuels. In a university setting it would be impossible to research all of these areas, but it is Angelo’s dream to found a senior honors high school research program that involves students in all of these research areas. Angelo: “If I could live a thousand years, I would be a poet, film maker, Industrial designer, philosopher, scientist, and teacher. Since my life span is probably a lot shorter than that, I choose to be a science teacher with interesting hobbies. My goal is not just to empower students but to help them ‘see’ the amazing beauty that is right in front of their eyes if they only could see with the penetrating vision and imagination of a scientist who remains a curious child all of their lives.”
Katia Genes, Mathematics Learning Specialist
Katia is an innovative mathematics and special education teacher, with twelve years of experience teaching and a background in architecture and anthropology. Born in Brazil and fluent in Portuguese, Katia worked in the architectural field for more than a decade in a variety of projects, many of which involved Indigenous people in the Amazon region. Her work focused on green architecture, sustainability, and ethno-knowledge. Upon moving to the United States in 1993, she explored a career in education and pursued a Masters in Math Education at City College in New York, as well as her Students with Disabilities license. In this capacity, she taught at the Child School/Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island for 11 years. She is committed to developing project-based hands-on lessons in a friendly, respectful, and engaging environment. She enjoys putting together cross curriculum projects, and she is dedicated to creating a classroom in which every student’s curiosity for learning is cultivated. Katia has been an enthusiastic synchronized swimmer since childhood, and continues to practice and coach this sport as a therapeutic hobby.
Brittany is a Guidance Counselor, Internship Coordinator, and Yoga Teacher at Harvest. She graduated as President of her program’s Graduate School Counseling Association, recipient of the Alice Crow Award in Guidance and Counseling, and with honors from Brooklyn College in 2015 with her MSEd for School Counseling. She completed graduate studies for her Advanced Certificate in School Counseling at Brooklyn College May 2017. Brittany has a BA in Philosophy from Eugene Lang: The New School for Liberal Arts. She is a 200 hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Wellness Champion through Breathe for Change and uses her knowledge and skills in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation to support our school culture. She grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania where she cultivated a great love for nature. Brittany is passionate about mental/physical/emotional wellness, social justice, and ensuring every student feels truly seen and supported.
Ashraya Gupta, Chemistry Teacher
Ashraya has taught in New York City since 2009 and seeks to connect science education to the urban environment. She began her career at Victory Collegiate High School, an ISA affiliate, where she taught chemistry and physics and designed many structures essential to the development of a new school. During her time at Victory, Ashraya served as an AVID elective advisor, led the science department, and earned her School Building Leader certification through the Leaders in Education Apprenticeship Program. Ashraya earned her B.A. from Columbia University, with concentrations in American Studies and pre-medical sciences, and her M.S.T. from Fordham University. She is inspired by the possibilities of collaborative school communities and brings a commitment to social justice to her teaching practice. To her, chemistry is the most poetic of the sciences, and she seeks to share her joy in the discipline with her students.
Jessica Jean-Marie, Humanities Support Teacher and Dean
Jessica cultivates youth empowerment and responsibility by leading our Student Government and Restorative Justice programs. She is passionate about fighting the school-to-prison pipeline that trap too many NYC youth by supporting the positive behavior of all of our students. Jessica grew up in Brooklyn in NYC public schools, earned a Bachelor’s in Arts from SUNY Binghamton, a Master’s in Education from LIU Brooklyn, became a social worker and is now committed to building an education system that helps all students reach their potential. She also works with Scholars for Educational Opportunity to prepare students for the rigors of work at top colleges. She is fluent in Haitian Kreyol and enjoys reading and traveling in her spare time.
Merida Lang, English Teacher
As an English educator Merida is passionate about the ways in which reading and writing can give students power and voice, through the development of empathy and creativity. Prior to teaching she worked in criminal justice reform. She studied creative writing at Bard College, then transferred to Hunter College where she graduated from the Thomas Hunter Honors Program with a B.A. in Sociology, followed by a masters in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia. She has presented in conferences in New York on artistic and authentic literary response, and in her prior school, M.S. 51, founded a bridge program to support incoming students. She is a Brooklyn native, food enthusiast and mother to a rowdy red-headed toddler.
Steve Lazar, Social Studies & English Teacher
Steve Lazar is a National Board Certified Social Studies and English teacher, who is profiled in the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead but Don’t Leave. He is passionate about helping students to think deeply about the complexities of the world as they develop their communication skills. Steve is an expert in curriculum and assessment development, regularly delivering workshops for teachers around the country for such organizations as the National Council for Social Studies, and the American Federation of Teachers. He previously taught at the Academy for Young Writers in Brooklyn and the Bronx Lab School, where he served as Department Chair, Instructional Coach, and UFT Chapter Leader; he first taught in Fairfax Co., VA. Steve has a bachelor’s degree in Political Philosophy and Religious Studies from Brown University and a masters in African-American Studies from Columbia University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in History at the CUNY Graduate Center. His article, “Septima Clark: Organizing for Positive Freedom,” which focuses on adult literacy education during the Civil Rights Movement, appears in The New Black History, edited by the late Manning Marable. Steve’s writing on teaching and education policy have been published in Chalkbeat, Schoolbook, and Education Week Teacher. He was the lead writer of the US History curriculum for New York state’s Social Studies Toolkit, and is currently a member of the state’s Social Studies Content Advisory Panel (CAP) which provides oversight and review of the development of the NY’s Social Studies standards, curriculum, and assessments.
Julissa Llosa, Science & Math Learning Specialist
Julissa Llosa (M.Ed, LMSW) is a founding Special Education, Art and Science teacher at Harvest. Julissa grew up in Callao, Peru, where she learned the power of indigenous ancestral healing from her grandmother. She studied Studio Art and Gender Studies at Dartmouth College, as well as Education and Clinical Social Work at Hunter College. She is passionate about teaching climate justice, art and compassion. At Harvest, she loves teaching Science and Art Therapy, as well as helping students when they need counseling or just someone to listen. She finds creative expression through dancing, printmaking, and jewelry making.
John McCrann, Math Teacher
John’s passion for teaching math was sparked by civil rights activist Robert Moses’s Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights and developed out his two strongest professional curiosities: a) finding ways to help students reason more effectively to solve problems that interest them and b) finding ways to empower young people to create a more just society. He is an experiential educator who believes that students learn by doing. He is really excited to apply these values while teaching Math, Urban Ecology, and the after school Mountain Program club at Harvest. He earned a B.A. in Math with a minor in Social and Economic Justice of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A.Ed from Wake Forest University where he wrote and published a thesis titled “Re-membering Mathematics: The Effect of Culturally Relevant Lessons in Math History on Students’ Attitudes”. Previously he instructed courses in Math and Physics, lead department and advisory faculty teams, and directed the schools’ extensive outdoor education program at the Bronx Lab School. He was born and raised in North Carolina where he also taught for two years; this is why he says “y’all” quite a bit and will be cranky if the UNC Tarheels lose in any athletic competition.
Colin McGrath, Music & Theater Teacher
Colin McGrath’s approach to music education draws heavily on the unique opportunities that music offers in terms of community building, self-expression, and historical perspective. Before coming to Harvest Collegiate, Colin McGrath worked as a teaching artist for The New York Philharmonic, The Lincoln Center Institute, and The Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His music has been heard in national commercials (Converse), on PBS, in children’s entertainment (Super Sprowtz, MeeGenius), and in numerous theatrical performances (TACT, BAM Outside Art Festival). Colin received his Masters in Music Education from New York University and his Bachelors from Oberlin College, where he studied guitar. He has toured both in the States and in the UK and performs around NY as a sideman and leading his own band at such venues as Rockwood Music Hall, Union Hall, and The Bell House. His songs have won awards, including The Wildflower! Songwriting Competition, The Listening Room Retreat Competition and The Belfast Nashville Song-writing Festival Competition in Belfast Ireland. He enjoys growing food, cooking it, and spending time with his wife and six year old daughter.
Laura Mourino, Mathematics Teacher
Laura uses her world experience of over 15 years at United Nations to bring the study of numbers and patterns alive for students. As the Statistician for the United Nation’s Human Development Report Office, Laura worked one-on-one with prominent policy makers including Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen to develop various metrics that captured multi-dimensional poverty. She was the focal point for Latin America of her unit and specialized in gender empowerment and educational policies. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay and fluent in Spanish, Laura holds a Bachelors of Business and Administration degree from Baruch College, intensive Graduate studies in Economics from New York University and a Masters in Arts in Education from St. John’s University; she also has specialized training in Singapore Mathematics and advanced training on quantitative research from the Luxembourg Income Studies. Rooted in New York now to raise her son and committed to education for the past decade here, Laura loves to see the “ah ha” moments of mathematical understanding on her students’ faces. Recently, she was involved with a team of experts in developing STEM performance tasks bundles for the NYC Department of Education as well as the City College STEM Institute. Over the summer, she was a leading member of Hunter College’s Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom grant and mentored several math educators. Laura has earned several awards and recognitions including nomination for Teacher Fellow of the Year and winning Walsworth’s Yearbook National Yearbook of the Year award in 2011-2012. Laura enjoys creating Lego designs with her son, visiting aquariums, cycling, raising money for charity and making short films. Laura leads our Filmmaking Club and Student Ambassadors program. Her mantra: Life is good!
Gina Moss, English Teacher
After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College with a major in literature and a minor in painting, Gina put literature on hold while pursuing a career as an independently-employed graphic designer. Eventually, though, she was called back to her childhood desire to be a high school English teacher, and returned to school to earn a Master of Arts in English Education from the City College of New York. She began her new career in the Bronx where she began to expand her students’ ability to unleash the power of the written and spoken word. She was invited to participate in a year-long research project in independent reading funded by the National Writing Project, presenting the results at National Writing Project conferences in Las Vegas and Baltimore. This led to a close association with the New York City Writing Project and ultimately to five years as an NYCWP on-site teacher-consultant, advising and coaching teachers in literacy practices at schools in the Bronx and Queens. Gina has presented her work at numerous conferences, including NYCWP’s Teacher-to-Teacher, New York State English Council, and Institute for Student Achievement. She was one of five New York City teacher-consultants selected to participate in the National Writing Project’s three-year National Reading Initiative, which studied the function of reading in content areas. Gina returned to the classroom in 2009, once again taking delight in fostering her own students’ discovery of the world we live in.
Betsy Nordlander, Social Worker
Betsy Nordlander received her Master’s in Social Work from Hunter College where her thesis focused on how parent-child connectedness influences adolescent emotional functioning. Betsy joined Harvest in its inaugural year while completing her Master’s degree and was invited to come on board full-time in 2014. At Harvest she helps foster social and emotional growth in students and their families through supportive counseling and advocacy. She is honored to work alongside an incredibly dedicated faculty in helping Harvest students develop their minds, hearts and voices. Betsy’s past experiences include working with families in the pediatric unit of New York Methodist Hospital and at Birch Family Service’s Queens Early Childhood Center. While living with her family in London, England Betsy trained to work preventatively with immigrant, refugee and low-income expectant mothers identified as being vulnerable to post-partum depression and also took part in The Race Equality Foundation’s Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities program. In 2016 she completed the One Year Introductory Program in Relational Psychotherapy at the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center. Prior to finding her calling as a social worker, Betsy obtained a B.A. in Literature from Bard College and then worked for nearly 10 years offering creative and organizational support in the Architecture and Design fields. She maintains a love for architecture, design and all things DIY. Her other interests include spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, reading, getting lost and practicing yoga.
Danny Ramos, Mathematics Teacher
Danny Ramos is a proud product of the New York City public school system where he went on to study at Hunter College, and The City College of New York. He loves all mathematics and is enthusiastic to share his passion for statistics and mathematical thinking. Danny is a life-long learner and tries to improve in every aspect that he can, including video games such as ‘League of Legends’ which reflects the practices he wishes to share with his students: stepping into play all the different roles; challenging foes whom are above his skill level,; and when he loses, reflecting on his mistakes in an effort to learn from them. Danny believes that trying new things, seeking challenges, and learning from mistakes are the best ways to learn anything in the world, including math. In an interview for Humans of New York, Danny shares that one of his biggest goals as a teacher is to eliminate the anxiety that students face when they are learning math. Danny wants students to embrace the challenges of math, rather than hate them, and to overcome their mistakes in the process of learning.
Nikki Richards, Arts & Special Education Teacher
Nikki Richards is a special education teacher who is excited to bring her versatile repertoire of skills to the Harvest Collegiate community where she will be teaching French, Theatre, co-teach Biology, and assist with “The Happenings” Theatre Troupe. A New Jersey native, she graduated from Rutgers University where she double majored in Theatre and French. While at Rutgers she was also involved in Model United Nations, Twese African Culture Club, and the Black Student Union. Nikki is currently completing her Masters Degree in Teaching Urban Adolescents with disabilities at Long Island University in Brooklyn as a part of the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. Nikki strongly believes in the education of the whole child, and that is evident in her interactions with students, and her constant striving to create curriculum that is meaningful and relevant. In her spare time Nikki enjoys fitness, karaoke, dancing, trying new restaurants, attending plays, and visiting art exhibits.
Zoe Roben, English Teacher and Outdoor Educator
An educator since 2003, Zoe comes to Harvest with experience as a wilderness trip leader at a high school in Maine, a Montessori elementary teacher in California, a college instructor in Connecticut, and a high school teacher in New York City. She has served as a department head, mentored pre-service teachers working towards certification, and presented at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and National Board Teaching Certification in English. Zoe is committed to helping students become skilled readers and writers who can use these tools to examine social issues and personal experiences in order to create a world that is more kind, more sustainable, and more just. Her interest in the relationship between humans and the natural environment led her to co-found a small farm in rural Connecticut and to pursue urban agriculture in New York City. She enjoys reading, playing guitar and banjo, hiking, and biking.
Matt L. Rohrer, English, Science & Special Education Teacher
Matt L. Rohrer is an English, Science, and Special Education teacher at Harvest Collegiate. He has a MA in English with an emphasis in Poetry, and an MS in Education. Matt began teaching creative writing classes at San Francisco State University in 2006 and has been teaching ever since. With over 5 years of experience teaching in New York City, Matt is dedicated to teaching literacy, and helping students engage in texts that both challenge and inspire them. Outside of teaching he enjoys writing, playing music, and surfing.
Adam Sanchez, Social Studies Teacher
Adam Sanchez is a social studies teacher and activist who is deeply committed to social justice inside and outside the classroom. He strives to inspire students to use history as a tool for understanding—and changing—the world today. In addition to teaching at Harvest, Adam is also the Zinn Education Project Organizer and Curriculum Writer and serves on the editorial board of the social justice teaching magazine, Rethinking Schools. His articles on education policy and curriculum have appeared in several publications. Most recently, Adam’s column for the Zinn Education Project’s If We Knew Our History series titled “What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement After 1965? Don’t Ask Your Textbook” was published on Huffington Post, Common Dreams, and the History News Network. He is also a contributor to the books Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation and 101 Change-makers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History.
Julia Shube, Mathematics Teacher
Julia Shube, Mathematics Teacher is excited about engaging students in math through integrating design and art into the curriculum. In Geometry, students will exercise their creativity through problem-solving and will see connections between math and solving larger problems of social justice. Julia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science with honors. There, she published an article in the Journal of Consumer Research that examined the effects of explanation on peoples’ understanding of how products work. Later, for her senior thesis, she took these same ideas of explanation and applied them to education. Through the Math for America Fellowship, Julia earned a Masters of Arts in Secondary Math Education from the City College of New York. Outside of the classroom, Julia enjoys creating
and viewing art, basking in the sunshine, and listening to podcasts.
Andy Snyder, Social Studies Teacher
Andy Snyder has worked for many years with young people to help them develop their insight, courage, and strength. In his own words, “Why? Partly because he wants to work on his own qualities. Partly because it feels like the right thing to do – to help others develop their capacity to live more deeply. And there’s something magical about a group of people working together to do something really important.” Andy lives in Brooklyn by Prospect Park, sails a small boat in Sheepshead Bay, and originally grew up in Southwestern Florida. One of his main difficulties in life is that he likes to have challenging discussions but is also an introvert. His interests include philosophy and juggling—he leads our Think TANK after-school group—and he feels he has room to grow in dancing and writing. Andy is a National Board Certified teacher.
Scott Storm, English Teacher
Teaches English and chairs the department. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s in educational leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Scott is recipient of the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation’s prestigious teacher development grant for his work in the teaching for social justice. Scott has written and presented papers on his classroom research for the National Council Teachers of English, the Literacy Research Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the UPenn Ethnography Forum in Education. Scott’s writing about teacher leadership was recently published in the journal “Schools: Studies in Education.” At Harvest, Scott holds the role of Professional Learning Community Organizer, in which he helps to facilitate faculty professional learning. Scott also directs the Harvest Writing Center where he trains students to help their peers with the writing process.
Lucy Stowe, Science Teacher
Lucy is a science teacher and hails from a small town (just 2000 people!) in Northwest Arkansas. Growing up in a rural environment (she grew up in the forest in the Ozark Mountains) left her with a love of science and the natural world. She moved to New York City to study environmental science and sustainable development at Columbia University, work that was furthered by her experiences in Ghana with her school’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders. After undergraduate school, Lucy went on to get a Masters of Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying groundwater decline in Central Wisconsin. Her academic path led her to diverse research experience including working on a research vessel in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, studying lead contamination in soil, and tracking agricultural runoff in Arkansas lakes. Lucy’s interest in teaching came from working with students in Ghana and Jamaica through the educational non-profit, Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE), and working with college students as a teaching assistant. When not teaching, Lucy loves to create art, cook, explore the outdoors, and dance!
Josh Vasquez, Social Studies Teacher & Restorative Justice Counselor
Joshua has been a community organizer for over a decade, first working as Director of Management Information Systems at the Public Advocates’ Office and then working with East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) as a school community leader. Joshua loves history and has worked as a social studies teacher and History Department Chair for many years. Joshua was a finalist for The New York Daily News’ Hometown Heroes Award in 2013 for his work with EBC and the New York Police Department (NYPD) in providing a Safe Zone for students going to and from school in the Bushwick, Brooklyn community. Joshua grew up in Chelsea, Manhattan. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Arts from Hunter College, a Masters in Education from New York University and a school administration license from the College of St. Rose, Albany NY.Joshua currently lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where he can be found enjoying a cappuccino and a croissant at his favorite French bakery.
Tara Williams, College Counselor
Tara Williams is a Brooklyn native who graduated from John Jay High School. Tara received her Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University and her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from New York University. She has worked as a College/Guidance Counselor since 2008 at several schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Tara also volunteered with College Summit for 10 years, serving as a Workshop Coordinator, Rap Director, Writing Coach, Rap Director Trainer, and Field Manager at over 30 summer workshops. In addition to College Summit volunteer work, she has facilitated leadership and new student orientation workshops at St. Peter’s College and Hudson County Community College. This summer, Tara served as a guest facilitator at one of four College Access for All Institutes, a new education initiative from the NYC Department of Education, training other educators to foster effective, impactful college going cultures at their schools through various planning methods. Tara has traveled as far north as Montreal and as far south as Mexico City, and is passionate about traveling to more countries outside of the U.S. within the next few years. Tara loves spending quality time with her two kids, while empowering and motivating students to go to college and pursue their dreams!
Atash Yaghmaian LCSW
Atash is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Director of Wellness at Harvest Collegiate High School. As a founding member, she worked with Kate and our growing team to take Harvest from a vision to a reality. She has more than a decade of experience working in New York City public schools and providing social and emotional support for urban youth, recent immigrants, and their families. She received a master’s degree from Hunter College School of Social Work in January 2005 and is certified as a Permanent School Social Worker. In addition to her love of counseling, she enjoys supervising social workers and those in training from NYU and Hunter College, thereby fulfilling a long-time dream of hers to give every student access to social and emotional support through a network of passionate and trained professionals. She also has a private practice in which she treats adults through a mixture of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and Reiki. In her spare time, she travels, dances tango, and writes creative nonfiction. Currently she is working on an autobiographical trilogy about growing up in post-revolutionary Iran titled “My Name Means Fire.”
Nitzan Ziv, Learning Specialist & Social Studies Teacher
Nitzan Ziv, has been learning specialist and social studies teacher in New York schools for the past eight years and has guided hundreds of students through the Capstone process. As a Religion Studies major, Nitzan graduated with high honors from Wesleyan University. She spent some time studying in Morocco, where she further cultivated her interest in cultures, religions and identity groups. She then traveled through the US, Mexico, and Europe in search of new curriculum and ideas to bring back to her students. Nitzan published her curriculum with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She recently returned from a year abroad teaching English and Hebrew Literature to teenagers and adults in Switzerland. She has previously advised yearbook and coached girls basketball at Acorn High School for Social Justice and served as Chair of the Social Studies department at Gotham Professional Arts Academy in Brooklyn. With an eye towards the greater education system, Nitzan is also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education and Social Policy with NYU’s Steinhardt School.