Prior to becoming our Principal, Emily was a Learning Cultures coach with Urban Assembly, a network of 23 high poverty public schools serving students in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Emily worked as a teacher for 11 years at the Jacob Riis School, a culturally diverse PK-8 Title 1 school near Chinatown in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where she taught 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th grades in both general education and inclusive special education settings. Through her close and extensive work with Cynthia McCallister in implementing, developing, and coaching other teachers in the Learning Cultures approach, she has had the opportunity to revolutionize her own understanding of what matters most in classrooms.
Amy Piller has taught middle school English and social studies in New York City since 2007. In 2009 she began practicing the Learning Cultures curriculum at the Jacob Riis School, a PK-8 public school in lower Manhattan. She holds a BA in literary arts from Brown University and an MA in teaching English that she earned as a New York City Teaching Fellow at Brooklyn College. Through professional development around Learning Cultures, she has honed her specialty in middle school literacy, and has presented at national conferences about the curriculum, as well as taught as an adjunct professor in New York University’s Department of Teaching and Learning. She is now pursuing her degree in leadership in the arts at Bank Street College.
Annie Annunziato was born and raised on Long Island. She received her undergraduate degree in History and Art History from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. While at Augsburg, she competed on the women’s ice hockey team and earned First Team All-American honors. After playing semi-professional hockey in Minnesota, Annie was chosen to join the USA National Bandy Team and competed in world championships in both Sweden and Norway. After five years of running an organic farm in Southern Minnesota, Annie went back to school and earned her master’s degree in Physical Education from Manhattanville College in May 2010. She comes to The Unison School after teaching physical education at an elementary school in Long Island City for the last two years.
Margaret Coppolo has taught middle school in New York City since 2009. She began her teaching career as a New York City Teaching Fellow and obtained her MA in Special Education at the City College of New York. Prior to teaching, she studied political science and philosophy at Rutgers University. This past year she worked with Educators for Excellence on the Teacher Pay Structure policy team to draft and publish a policy paper, which addressed the current problems with retention and hiring of great teachers in NYC, and how pay structure could help solve these problems. Margaret is an avid runner and helped bring her personal passion into her school by starting a track and field program to help promote running and a healthy life style to middle school students.
Johanna Josaphat has taught Middle School in New York City for the NYC DOE since 2002. Prior to becoming a Middle School educator, Ms. Josaphat has served as an Instructor of Developmental Reading for the NOAH Program at Hofstra University. She holds a BA in Psychology, M.S. Ed in Foundations of Education and an M.S. Ed in Elementary Education from Hofstra University. Throughout her career, Ms. Josaphat has served in many capacities in the school community to develop her skills as a Teacher Leader. Some of these areas have included data analysis, staff development, NYC & NYS Assessment Initiatives, as well as collaboration with community resources. Through a constant drive for student success and achievement, Johanna Josaphat has strived to develop her professional practice to improve the quality of educational opportunities for her students.
Eric Berg began his professional career as a teacher of special education in 2005. He completed his training as a NYC Teaching Fellow and received a Masters of Science in Teaching from Pace University. Since that time he has worked as a pedagogue serving at-risk students in a high school in Brooklyn. More recently, Eric received his Masters in Social Work from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. As part of his training as a social worker, Eric worked with children and adolescents impacted by parental incarceration, providing individual and group therapy. He also provided psychotherapy services to college students at the Counseling and Wellness Service at the New York University Health Center. Having recently joined the team at The Urban Assembly Unison School as School Social Worker, Eric is excited to continue working with students and their families towards greater academic achievement.
Ms. Mazo is super excited to be part of the faculty at The Unison School. After spending the past couple of years teaching out on Long Island, she’s very happy to be working in the community where she lives. She attended Syracuse University where she received her B.F.A. and later received her M.A. at New York University through the Steinhardt School of Education. Ms. Mazo is on the Board of Trustees for the New York State Theatre Education Association. When not teaching Social Studies and Theater, Ms. Mazo spends her time volunteering with Special Aces; a tennis program at the Prospect Park Tennis Center for children with special needs.
Tamika Stewart was born and raised on Long Island where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Hofstra University. In 2004, she earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Prior to teaching Tamika was a professional in Corporate America and worked as a Paralegal and Office Supervisor. In 2006, to quench her thirst for personal gratification and her commitment to valuing education, she dedicated herself to remaining a lifelong learner by stepping out on faith, resigning from Corporate America, and earning a Masters Degree in Childhood Education from Metropolitan College of New York. Since this leap of faith, Tamika has taught 6th-8th grade Middle School English Language Arts/Social Studies throughout Harlem and Brooklyn, New York, while obtaining her School Building Leadership Certification from the College of Saint Rose. Tamika is passionate and tenacious her growth as a Learning Cultures Instructional Lead because she believes the model abolishes all barriers that may get in the way of all students’ right to receive an equitable education.
Sabina McNamara is a reading and writing teacher for sixth and seventh grade at the Unison School. She was born and raised in Mastic Beach, Long Island. Sabina received her BA in elementary education and MS.Ed in Literacy at Pace University, NYC. Sabina taught for seven years at PS. 126/MAT, a culturally diverse, Title I school located on the Lower East Side. In addition, as an educator, she taught at New York University as an instructor for both undergraduate and graduate students. In 2009, Sabina traveled to Philadelphia for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and presented the Learning Cultures model specifically focused on reluctant learners, which is the instructional model at the Unison School. She has done extensive research and work through her teaching years at PS. 126 and in 2012 as a Learning Cultures Coach. As a coach she worked with two Urban Assembly middle schools located in the South Bronx. Sabina feels a strong passion for learning. She is really excited to be in the classroom this year, especially because at the Unison school, every student will have a seat at the table.
Ellen Weeks is from West Hartford, Connecticut and earned a degree in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford. Prior to her teaching career, Ellen worked as head swim team coach at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Ellen has been teaching middle school special education since 2010 when she participated in the New York City Teaching Fellows. She earned a Masters of Science for teachers in 2012 from Pace University. Ellen (Ms. Weeks to her students) will be teaching 6th and 7th grade math in the Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) setting with Ms. Jones and Ms. Williams. Ellen looks forward to using the Learning Cultures model to create a safe and promotive learning environment for all of her students.
Tracy Gibson has taught for nine years. She was also born and raised in Brooklyn. She holds her B.A in Media Management and English Creative Writing from Hunter College. Prior to becoming an educator, she interned for Fox Five’s Good Day New York and PBS’s In the Mix as a production assistant. She holds a Master Degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Touro College and a Master’s Degree in Business Media Management from Metropolitan College of New York. Tracy enjoys watching the news and analyzing trends in politics and fashion. Most recently, Tracy received her license in School Leadership from The Center for Integrated Teacher Education in Partnership with The College of Saint Rose in 2011.
Ariana Jones was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Maryland. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Political Economy and Anthropology at Fordham University in the Bronx. Although she envisioned herself in international relations (she has traveled to Europe, South America, and Africa), soon after graduation she realized she has always gravitated to and loved the rewards of teaching. She is a New York City Teaching Fellow currently working on her master’s degree at Relay Graduate School of Education. Ariana is excited to be a part of the Unison community, which celebrates the independence and individuality of its students.
Ms. Williams was born in Jamaica, West Indies. She attended Mannings’ School (High) in Savanna-la-mar and colleges in Kingston, Jamaica – Shortwood Teachers’ College, gaining an associate’s degree in Secondary Education, and the University of the West Indies, gaining a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She taught Math, Biology and Economics in high school in Jamaica; Social Studies, Math and Special Ed in Georgia, grades 6-8 (2006-2011) and 7th grade Math in New York, (2003-2006). Ms. Williams is divorced with two adult children and three grandchildren.
Tara Poyau was born and raised in Switzerland, where she obtained her first teacher’s license in 2001. During her studies, she had the opportunity to go to India for a 3 months volunteer project, teaching English and drawing to children in shelter homes in New Delhi. Upon receiving her license, she taught middle school for 3 years before moving to New York to pursue her career as a teacher in America. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology, Special Honors and Philosophy at Hunter College, and her Masters in Special Education and General Education also at Hunter College. While in school, Tara has worked in different NYC middle schools as a substitute science teacher. For the past 7 years, she has also worked as a German Language teacher, preparing middle schoolers to take the German Certificate B1. In her free time, she enjoys running, photography and knitting.
Mr. Mark is a special education teacher at Unison, teaching both 6th and 7th grades in an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) setting. Mr. Mark is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in education, teaching students with disabilities. Prior to teaching, Mr. Mark worked as a counselor in residential treatment programs, working with individuals with substance abuse problems. He lives in Brooklyn and is passionate about being a part of the Unison community.
Gabriel Perkins grew up in rural New Hampshire. After high school he spent some time traveling in Central America and then completed his undergraduate degrees at the University of New Hampshire (B.A. in English and B.S. in Environmental Science). Gabriel also spent some time in Milan, Italy studying and then teaching ESL. After Milan, he moved to Istanbul, Turkey to teach PreK-5 Physical Education. While in Istanbul he founded his school’s after school sports program as well as traveled throughout Turkey and parts of Western Europe. Gabriel has also taught English Literature and Composition, Math, and Outdoor Education. He is currently working on his master’s degree at Relay Graduate School of Education.