Stephen has experienced the field of education from three distinct perspectives: as a teacher in the New York City Public School system, as an instructor designing curriculum and professional development programs at the American Museum of Natural History and as a national consultant for STEM Education and curriculum reform. These three vantage points have given him a unique sense of how schools and informal learning institutions interplay.
He has worked with teachers around the United States, United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia and serves as a member of various advisory committees — including the STEM Nobelist Mindset Program, a partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. His work often involves bringing scientists and teachers together in professional development settings. Stephen once tagged along on a press trip to the Amazon with a UK-based environmental charity, moonlighting as a journalist, and left the experience with a renewed sense of how education can play a role in addressing climate change. He founded the NGO’s Cool Earth Teacher Fellowship a program that supports the professional development of teachers through expeditionary learning experiences in the Amazon Rainforest and serves on the Board of US Trustees.
Kerry received her doctorate in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University where she was a full-time instructor in the Teaching of English M.A. program. During that time, she developed courses that explored, among other things, curriculum planning and assessment design, effective instructional practices, the teaching of writing in the secondary classroom, and ways to engage students in reading and analyzing Young Adult literature. Kerry’s career in education began as a middle and high school English teacher, first in the Philippines and then in NYC public schools.
As a curriculum consultant and literacy coach, she has worked for the National Academy for Excellent Teaching and the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers — both at Teachers College — supporting teachers in public schools in and around New York City. Kerry’s interests — as a classroom teacher and consultant — often focus on designing inquiry-driven, project-based curricula and engaging students in exploring genres and writing for authentic audiences. Kerry used oral history to teach literature in a middle school English classroom, as a yearlong intergenerational project in a small high school in the Bronx section of New York City, and with student-inmates on Rikers Island. She is the author of Project Notes: Conducting Oral History in the Secondary Classroom.
Paula Fleshman, Ph.D.
Paula Fleshman brings over 20 years combined experience in instruction, supervision, and education/youth development research and evaluation.
Paula Fleshman brings over 20 years combined experience in instruction, supervision, and education/youth development research and evaluation. She has enjoyed teaching elementary and secondary mathematics curriculum and methods courses for general and special education pre- and in-service teachers at Hunter College and Brooklyn College. She has supervised pre-service elementary and secondary teachers in mathematics at various public schools throughout New York City. She has had the privilege of supporting student interns as they prepare to enter the classroom, new teachers as they gain their footing in their first years, and veteran teachers developing and redefining their craft. These experiences have given her a nuanced perspective on teacher preparation, needs, and support from K-12, especially around inquiry-based and student-centered instruction in mathematics. She enjoys helping teachers to develop a mathematical mindset for themselves and with their students to allow all classroom members to enjoy and successfully engage in mathematics. Dr. Fleshman also provides job-imbedded coaching for mathematics teachers and teams, and professional development on STEM problem-based learning and numeracy integration to schools and educational leadership organizations.
Jessica Chen, Ed.D.
Jessica Chen has worked as a science and STEAM educator at the elementary, secondary, and graduate levels
Jessica Chen has worked as a science and STEAM educator at the elementary, secondary,
and graduate levels. Her focuses include providing science professional development, developing
STEM/STEAM programs in schools, and promoting equity, diversity, and social justice in
science education in urban spaces. Along with her consultancy work, she currently is an
Assistant Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Queens College, and
Lehman College. She teaches science methods courses for elementary and secondary pre-service
and in-service teachers, preparing them to teach science to diverse student groups in underserved
communities. Previously, she was a secondary science teacher for eight years and taught
chemistry in both public and private high schools in New York City. As a chemistry teacher, she
utilized the flipped classroom to address the learning needs of her diverse students.
Lance Ozier, Ed.D.
Lance Ozier has worked and taught at the elementary, middle and secondary education levels. Having also spent 15 seasons in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York at Morry’s Camp, […]
Jami Craig has over sixteen years of experience as an elementary school teacher, literacy coach, and administrator.
Jami Craig has over sixteen years of experience as an elementary school teacher, literacy coach, and administrator. She began her career as a special education teacher, where she learned to see every challenge as an opportunity to be creative, and to reimagine the ordinary. As an instructional coach, she has supported the growth of teachers and schoolwide systems that are self-sustaining and rooted in the true needs of the students and school communities they serve. As a founding administrator of the Brooklyn Urban Garden School, Jami developed sustainable systems for creating instructional and leadership teams, developing curriculum, and supporting diverse learners. Jami also has a passion for literacy education and is also a trained Orton Gillingham reading specialist.
Stephen is a passionate, veteran leader in STEM and maker education who has established over 100 STEM makerspaces in public and private schools nationwide.
Stephen is a passionate, veteran leader in STEM and maker education who has established over 100 STEM makerspaces in public and private schools nationwide. Stephen is a father, former inner-city public school teacher, veteran, activist and champion of student-centered, hands-on learning that fosters joyful, autonomous, and inventive lifelong learners at the earliest ages. Stephen and his son, Ben, started MakerState to bring fun STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts, math) building and learning projects in robotics, coding, game design and more to all kids, schools and communities. Stephen is a founding board member of the Urban Assembly Maker Academy, a founder of the Carnegie Learning Center, a founding teacher and dean of Bronx Collegiate – a public school based in Outward Bound experiential learning – and a founding board member of the volunteer network, UlsterCorps. Stephen enjoys historical fiction writing, game design, geocaching, hiking, biking around NYC, and creativity of all kinds, especially if it’s with Ben and his partner, Laura.
Usha Kotelawala, Ph.D.
Usha Kotelawala focuses on working with teachers to motivate recognition of non-routine problem solving alongside the essential variations of logic and algorithmic fluencies.
Usha Kotelawala focuses on working with teachers to motivate recognition of non-routine problem solving alongside the essential variations of logic and algorithmic fluencies. She has become dedicated to raising teacher’s recognition and tools for improving student mathematical thinking in productive and positive classrooms.
In 1993 Usha began her career as a high school mathematics teacher in Seattle and then for New York City. She worked and trained under Lucy West as a lead mathematics coach beginning in 2003 in Region 9. She received her doctorate in mathematics education from Columbia University in 2007. She taught elementary and secondary math teachers at Fordham while also serving as a principal investigator for an NSF Noyce grant. Recently, she was selected by CUNY to write the LINCT curriculum for struggling 12th grade students through a grant funded by New York State entitled the Transition Course Initiative. This curriculum along with her 10-day professional development sequence is currently used by over 80 high schools. She also edited and provided professional development for the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.
Her research has focused on attitudes toward proving, mathematical modeling, teacher collaboration, and lesson study. She has had the opportunity to share her work at both national and international mathematics education conferences.
She currently directs the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival’s Math On the Border program in NYC and works as an educational consultant with high need schools. She also continues professional development for teachers and adult educators.
Tanya Wiggins, Ed.D.
Dr. Tanya Wiggins has 25 years of experience as an educator, focused on supporting equitable opportunities and outcomes for historically underserved and/or marginalized youth through middle school instruction and nonprofit leadership.
Dr. Tanya Wiggins has 25 years of experience as an educator, focused on supporting equitable opportunities and outcomes for historically underserved and/or marginalized youth through middle school instruction and nonprofit leadership. Through her work providing professional development to schools across New York City, she has supported teachers in a wide range of areas, from integrating technology to culturally responsive pedagogy. In higher education, Tanya is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Foundations and Adolescent Education in the School of Education at Pace University, where she works to make teaching candidates aware of the inequities in the system, and their role in promoting social justice. Her writing is featured in Afterschool Matters, The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice, and she has a chapter in the book, At Our Best: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships in Out-of-School Time Settings. Tanya’s research seeks to bridge the worlds of research and practice by exploring the triumphs of community-based youth organizations as well as challenges they face. In this work, she also examines the role of these organizations as educational spaces.
Rob Menken taught social studies and English. He founded two schools, the second of which, The New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, he served as principal for twenty years.
Rob Menken taught social studies and English. He founded two schools, the second of which, The New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, he served as principal for twenty years. His many years of experience provided him ample opportunity to develop skills in the areas of developing leadership capacity, collaborative teaming, and instructional focus. Menken feels most strongly about helping principals come to the realization that quality instruction is the goal; test scores will follow that achievement.
Coaching work in Louisiana and Detroit, as well as in multiple schools in New York City, have provided Menken with multiple perspectives on how to be sensitive to schools’ and leaders’ needs.
Sheila Breslaw has been a school coach since 2006. She was an English teacher, reading teacher and the founding and co-principal of New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, where she led for 20 years.
Sheila Breslaw has been a school coach since 2006. She was an English teacher, reading teacher and the founding and co-principal of New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, where she led for 20 years. Breslaw also worked with new and upcoming principals in both new and already established schools during her time with the Office of New Schools in New York City’s Department of Education. Breslaw’s areas of expertise include developing school leadership, curricula and pedagogy.
Having coached in Baton Rouge, Point Coupee, Detroit, and New York’s five boroughs has provided Breslaw with a variety of approaches to draw from.
Brigid Dunn designs innovative educational experiences that expand the way both students and teachers think, learn, and grow.
Brigid Dunn designs innovative educational experiences that expand the way both students and teachers think, learn, and grow. Her career in public education has spanned working inside and outside the classroom as a teacher, coach, curriculum writer, and consultant. Brigid’s approach to curriculum design invites adults and young people alike to explore their own ideas and make meaning of them through storytelling and connection. Her work emphasizes culturally responsive and inquiry-based pedagogical approaches as key to facilitating learning that is empowering and most importantly, joyful.
Kiah Johnson is a Master's student at Teachers College, Columbia University and is studying developmental psychology with a focus in children's media.
Kiah Johnson is a Master’s student at Teachers College, Columbia University and is studying developmental psychology with a focus in children’s media. In addition to her current studies, she holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from Tulane University and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Delta State University. Before coming to New York, Kiah lived in Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Clarksdale, Mississippi; Accra, Ghana; and Washington, DC, and has used her skills as an educator and professional development coach to make a unique contribution to each setting. Kiah’s areas of expertise include curriculum development, data analysis, unit and lesson planning, literacy strategies, classroom culture, character development, differentiation, and culturally-relevant pedagogy.
Laura Rigolosi, Ed.D.
Laura Rigolosi has taught English at the middle school, high school, college and graduate school level and continues to find joy in teaching and learning!
Laura Rigolosi has taught English at the middle school, high school, college and graduate school level and continues to find joy in teaching and learning! She began her teaching career nearly twenty years ago, and is passionate about finding ways to help students access texts at all levels. She has facilitated workshops nationwide on content- area literacy, and approaches to teaching reading and writing to heterogeneously-grouped secondary students. Laura loves working with schools on how to increase student participation and engagement, and looks forward to continuing her work this year!
Molly is an enthusiastic lover of mathematics, problem solving, mathematical games, and all things teaching and learning.
Molly is an enthusiastic lover of mathematics, problem solving, mathematical games, and all things teaching and learning. She has been working as an instructional coach in NYC Public Schools since 2018 and is currently working toward earning a PhD in Mathematics Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Molly has extensive experience teaching mathematics at a secondary level, developing inquiry-based curriculum, leading math departments in instructional work, collecting and analyzing student data, supporting teachers to improve mathematics instruction, and supporting school administrators to develop a vision for mathematics learning in secondary schools. Molly believes that mathematics can and should be taught in a way that fosters interest, confidence, excitement, and moments of insight and that anyone can enjoy and succeed at mathematics. She is committed to working towards greater equity in educational experiences and outcomes for students in public education and believes that all students should have opportunities to do engaging, meaningful, and rigorous mathematics.
Gerald Ardito, DPS
Dr. Gerald Ardito has been working in Education for almost three decades. His experience includes adult education, adolescent Biology, and most recently higher education.
Dr. Gerald Ardito has been working in Education for almost three decades. His experience includes adult education, adolescent Biology, and most recently higher education. He is the Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor of STEM-D Education at Pace University’s School of Education. His research interests include the development of self-directed, technology-enhanced learning environments.
Carolyn H. Strom, PhD
Carolyn is an early literacy expert who works with preschool and elementary educators, families, and children to improve reading outcomes.
Carolyn is an early literacy expert who works with preschool and elementary educators, families, and children to improve reading outcomes. She taught first grade in Los Angeles and Compton, California for 8 years before becoming a Reading Specialist in New York City. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU, instructional media developer, and speaker.
Leah Tillman, Ph.D.
Leah Tillman began her career with the NYC Department of Education as a Lab Specialist in a middle school and twenty years of teaching biology at the high school level.
Leah Tillman began her career with the NYC Department of Education as a Lab Specialist in a middle school and twenty years of teaching biology at the high school level. For almost ten years, she worked at Walton High School as the Assistant Principal, supervising a large science department. Leah’s NYCDOE tenure culminated in becoming a middle school principal for the now defunct Chancellors District where she utilized best instructional practices in two “failing” schools. All of her experiences have been working with Bronx teachers and inner-city students to make learning accessible. After retirement, Leah continued her educational endeavors through several partnerships that Fordham University had with the NYCDOE. She looks forward to continuing working with science teachers in their own classrooms.
Denise Mahfood, Ph.D.
Denise Mahfood originates from Kingston, Jamaica and has always been curious about how the world works.
Denise Mahfood originates from Kingston, Jamaica and has always been curious about how the world works. Her teaching and professional experiences are strongly engrained in the sciences and education, which spans over an 18 year period. She continued on a science track from her studies at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, and New York University in NYC where she earned Master’s Degrees. After teaching in the NYC public schools for 8 years, she went on to do her doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Her educational philosophy seeks to enhance science curriculum and science teaching methods, which involves developing engaging lessons to motivate student learning by building confidence and exploring with them what they know, how they learn and the value of scientific knowledge. Currently, she is a full-time lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University, and she continues her work in STEM education by working with teachers and students in New York City and New Jersey doing professional development.
Joshua Cabat is currently serving as Chair of English for the Roslyn (NY) Public Schools.
Joshua Cabat is currently serving as Chair of English for the Roslyn (NY) Public Schools. For the preceding decade, he taught English and Film Studies at Roslyn High School in Roslyn, New York. Previously, he taught in the New York City public high schools for over a decade. He is a founding member of both the Folger Shakespeare Library National Teacher Corps and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Education Advisory Panel, and for nine years was the Teaching Artist for the Young Film Critics program at BAM. In addition he is currently serving on the Secondary Steering Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English. He was the co-founder of the New York City Student Shakespeare Festival, and has been awarded three fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been a featured speaker at several national conferences, and has published many articles on Shakespeare and Film in publications such as the English Journal. He earned an MA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Columbia University.
Deirdre Hollman is an avid educator with over twenty years of experience engaging youth and teachers in the study of black history, art, and culture.
Deirdre Hollman is an avid educator with over twenty years of experience engaging youth and teachers in the study of black history, art, and culture. She served as Director of Education and Exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for fifteen years where she engaged teachers and learners of all ages with the Schomburg’s collections through year-round programming for youth and teens; professional development workshops for teachers; school day programs for K-12 students; and curriculum development partnerships with schools and community organizations. A graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in art history, Deirdre earned her master’s degree from Bank Street College in museum education and ed leadership. She earned an EdM in social studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she is now pursuing a PhD. Her research interests include historical and racial literacy, community education, critical and visual literacy, transmedia literacies of comics and graphic novels, youth identity development, artivism, speculative civics and afrofuturism in education.
Stephanie began her career as a high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools, before moving to New York City, where she developed and facilitated social entrepreneurship workshops for students and teachers with Project Breaker, an innovative organization dedicated to closing the gap between education and employment.
Sarah Creider, Ed.D.
Sarah Creider is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Multilingual Multicultural Studies at New York University.
Sarah Creider is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Multilingual Multicultural Studies at New York University. She received an EdD in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Sarah specializes in preparing teachers for multilingual classrooms in urban settings and has supervised pre- and in-service ESL and bilingual teachers at NYU, Teachers College, and Hunter College. Sarah is particularly interested in developing teacher skills for content-based language instruction, working with SIFE students, teacher-student interaction in multilingual settings, and teaching in multi-level classes. She also offers courses and coaching in second-language pedagogy for adult students with limited first language literacy. As a researcher, Sarah uses conversation analysis to look at talk, gesture, and body position in educational environments, asking how close analyses of interaction can inform teachers’ moment-by-moment choices in the complex world of a classroom.
Her work has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Foreign Language Studies; Learning, Culture, & Social Interaction; Discourse Studies; Language and Information Society; the Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice; and Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics. She was co-chair of the first and fourth annual meetings of the Language and Social Interaction Working Group (LANSI) at Teaches College, Columbia University.
Keri Scriva has worked in mathematics education for over twenty years. She is currently a math coach at several schools throughout New York City.
Keri Scriva has worked in mathematics education for over twenty years. She is currently a math coach at several schools throughout New York City. Keri has a B.A. in Mathematics and M.S. in Mathematics Education from Hofstra University. She taught math and science for thirteen years at Landmark High School in Manhattan where she also assumed roles in advisory and academic intervention support in addition to serving as a team leader and mentor. In 2012, Keri became an instructional coach. She is passionate about connecting teachers and students to real life mathematical experiences, creating engaging classrooms focused on meaningful discussions, and coaching teachers to support their growth.