Melissa Giroux was born and raised in Connecticut and has always been passionate about learning, especially exploring new ideas through reading. As an undergraduate at Syracuse University, Melissa had the opportunity to lead an after-school academic intervention program which sparked a passion for working in education. After joining the New York City Teaching Fellows, she worked as a special education and ELA teacher at schools in the South Bronx for 6 years. As a teacher, she helped bring NYC students to New Orleans on service learning trips, develop interdisciplinary writing curriculum, and coach English teachers to create more student-driven classrooms. She’s excited about a new learning opportunity as Campus Director at Citizen Schools. Melissa loves to travel and explore new cultures, eat all the food, and meet new people.
Currently going into his fourth year the Unison School, Courtney is passionate about the opportunities given to students at Unison. A special place is kept in his heart for the Unison Trailblazers basketball team. When he isn't trying to figure out how to break a full court press, he is trying to find the best slice of pizza NYC has to offer.
Lauren O'Neal, a military brat, spent her early years living in places like Germany, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Washington. After graduating from a public high school in Virginia, she attended Cornell University and earned a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Creative Writing and Theatre Arts. She then popped on a plane to New York and worked at a white collar criminal defense law firm for two years, where she put together rainbow binders, edited sentencing memorandums, and became quite proficient at making post-it note art to decorate her co-workers' cubicles. Realizing she would much rather help kids and teens with infinite potential, she joined Citizen Schools at Unison and couldn't be more thrilled. Lauren attends a comic writers workshop in her spare time with the goal of writing and illustrating her own graphic novel. She hopes to bring her passion for all types of creativity into her work with Unison middle schoolers and help them take their own creative impulses to the next level.
Born and raised in the Republic of Georgia, George Kobakhidze arrived in New York City 7 years ago. After graduating from high-school, he attended Hunter College, majoring in Applied Anthropology and Data Analysis. George’s goal as the 8th grade teacher is to provide students with support they need to successfully transition from middle-school to high-school settings and set them on the path of successful academic career. In his free time, George enjoys playing various sports, reading books, and listening to music