Meet the BUGS Team!

BUGS Staff are defined by their passionate commitment to the individual needs of our students, academic rigor, adolescent development,  sustainability education, celebration of diversity, and their personal professional growth and collaboration with colleagues. The BUGS Staff culture is one of can-do attitudes, support and joy. Here are staff after one of our annual Meditation weekend retreats upstate. We are so grateful to all of our staff and their role in our students' lives!

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Co-Founder & Executive Director

Susan Tenner has over 25 years of experience creating, developing and managing educational and social service programs in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She is passionate about both individuals' and organizations' potential for growth and learning.  She has broad-ranging experience in administration, including program and staff development, financial oversight, grants management and fundraising for nonprofit organizations and schools. She has brought her professional skills to the public school system by serving on the School Leadership Team and other committees of P.S. 295 in Brooklyn.  In the private sector, she oversaw national employer-sponsored child care programs and customized early childhood schools for clients such as Intel and Ford Financial. In her teaching and educational consulting practice, Ms. Tenner worked directly with parents, teachers, students and organizational clients on curriculum and program development, with a focus on constructivist and experiential learning models.  She earned her B.A. with honors from Brown University and received her Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She lives in Greenwood Heights with her husband and children, and is an active, enthusiastic member of the community and public school system.

Email: susan.tenner@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Founding Principal

Linda Rosenbury is invested in family partnership, staff collaboration, and student voice. These elements of school culture ensure that all students are challenged and staff continue to grow as educators. She leads the staff in leveraging our diverse student body to close the opportunity gap and build a future free of racial discrimination. She was born in Indiana surrounded by an agricultural family dedicated to social justice. A Yale University graduate and former Children's School teacher, she is passionate about music, biking and travel.

Email: linda.rosenbury@BUGSbrooklyn.org  

 

Assistant Principal (ELA, Social Studies & 6th Grade)

Wynette Caesar joined BUGS in 2015 and brings with her over ten years of experience as a special educator, professor, and administrator. She formerly taught several grade levels at PS 372K, The Children’s School and continues to be an Adjunct Professor of Literacy at Long Island University’s (LIU) Brooklyn Campus, where she has taught since 2012.  Wynette holds a Bachelor’s/Master’s of Science in Childhood Education and Student with Disabilities along with a Master’s of Science in Teaching Literacy from LIU.  She also holds a Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Education Leadership from SUNY Stony Brook.  Wynette was born in the sunny island of Trinidad, West Indies and was raised there until the age of 17.  She connects the school's sustainability theme with use of water collection systems as this is a valued resource in many areas of her native island.

Email: wynette.caesar@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Assistant Principal (Math, Interventions & 8th Grade)

Jane Steffen joined BUGS as an Assistant Principal in 2015.  Before joining the BUGS team, she served as a special education teacher, a general education teacher, and a school administrator in middle schools across New York City. She has taught math, reading, writing, social studies and phonics, all to grades 5 to 8.  In addition to leading teachers and staff at schools as a coach, dean, and administrator, she has trained pre-service teachers as an advisor with the New York City Teaching Fellows and is an adjunct professor at LIU Brooklyn, where she teaches in the graduate special education program.  She earned a BA with Honors in English Literature from Hunter College, a M.S. in Teaching Middle Childhood and Special Education from Pace University, and a M.Ed. in School Leadership and Administration from the College of St. Rose.  Jane is very excited to continue her work with the BUGS community and contribute to the joint missions of sustainability and academic excellence. When she is not working, she enjoys reading, visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the beach, cooking, listening to live music, and spending time with her wife, son, and new daughter.

 

Email: jane.steffen@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Dean of Student Affairs

Dameon Muhammad is excited to join the team at BUGS as Dean of School Culture this school year.  He is entering into his fifth year as a Dean in Brooklyn.  Prior to being a Dean, Dameon taught in Atlanta, Georgia for ten years (grades K-6). With an undergraduate degree from William and Mary and a Master's from Brenau University, Dameon hopes to use all of his experiences to enhance the rich culture that has been established at BUGS. 

Email: dameon.muhammad@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Dean of Student Affairs

Lucie Davis is excited to take on the role of Dean at BUGS! She has 15 years’ experience teaching elementary and middle school, both in general and special education classes.  Lucie is a graduate of Sacred Heart University, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science. Later she received an MSEd. in Elementary Education from Lehman College and is currently pursuing a 2nd Master’s in Educational Leadership at City College.  As a native New Yorker, Lucie is excited to show city kids where nature exists in the concrete jungle.  In her free time Lucie enjoys cooking, cheering for the Knicks,  traveling and quilting.

Email: lucie.davis@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Director of Operations

Lydia Bailey is thrilled to be at BUGS as the Director of Operations. In March 2016, she relocated to Brooklyn, NY after spending the past 9 years in Washington D.C. working in charter schools, education associations, and various nonprofits committed to closing the achievement gap. She attended the College of William & Mary where she received her degree in Government Affairs. Lydia enjoys reading, being outdoors, and traveling to new places. She looks forward to truly experiencing New York, especially exploring the beautiful borough of Brooklyn!

Email: lydia.bailey@BUGSbrooklyn.org  

 

Guidance Counselor

Anali Chavez began her youth work 15 years ago as a youth development counselor at a Boys and Girls Club on Long Island. She graduated from Molloy College with a B.S. in Psychology and went on to receive her Master's in School Counseling from Long Island University, C.W. Post. She has worked as a school counselor at both elementary and high school charter schools in Brooklyn.  Anali came to BUGS as the founding Guidance Counselor in 2013, because of the school mission focused on community, exploration and student voice. In addition to counseling, she oversees the Advisory program and High School Placement Process. She looks forward to continued collaboration with BUGS students, parents and faculty to help every student develop strong character, life skills and academic skills. On her free time, Anali enjoys reading, yoga and spending time with her family.

Email: anali.chavez@BUGSBrooklyn.org

 

Guidance Counselor

Olivia Heffernan is excited to join the BUGS team! Completing her undergraduate degree at Northeastern University in Psychology and her masters at CUNY, Hunter College in School Counseling, Olivia is committed to serving every student in their path to academic, social, and emotional success.  She has previously worked as a guidance counselor for elementary and middle school students within New York City.  Olivia wholeheartedly believes in BUGS’ values of community, sustainability, kindness, and commitment to continually push ourselves to reach higher.  In her free time, Olivia enjoys reading, traveling, cooking (and eating) new foods, and spending time with her family and friends.

Email: olivia.heffernan@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

English as a New Language Teacher

Fiona Coen-Tunca discovered her love for teaching ten years ago while working part time at a local school during her studies at Fordham University. She discovered how rewarding it was to help students who didn’t speak English. Since then, she has completed her M.A. in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages. She has taught ESL in some of NYC’s most unique and challenging high schools, and has taught English abroad in Turkey. A native New Yorker, Fiona is thrilled to start her third year at BUGS, working amongst a diverse staff to enrich the lives of young adults and especially help children of immigrant families acclimate to life and learning in NYC. Her hobbies include bike riding, cooking vegan cuisine, and all things cats.

Email: fiona.tunca@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Inclusion Coordinator

Temeka Osborne Godbolt is excited about joining BUGS this year. She has been an educator for over 15 years. Temeka was a special education and general education teacher in elementary, middle and high school for many years. She has been a special education administrator for several years. She has work in both public and charter schools. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Special education at Delaware State University and her Master’s of Arts degree in Early Childhood & Elementary Education at Queens College. She is currently working on her certification in Educational Leadership. She loves spending time with her son, shopping, traveling, reading books, dancing, doing community outreach with her sorority and spending time with her friends & family.

Email: temeka.osborne@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Reading Specialist

Betsy McGowan is excited to be part of the team at BUGS! Betsy holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and English from Boston College, and is completing a Reading Specialist master’s degree at Teachers College at Columbia. Betsy’s favorite part of being a reading teacher is the special moment when a student achieves one of their goals or masters a new skill. Betsy loves working at a welcoming, positive school like BUGS. In her free time, Betsy runs in Central Park with her hound dog Reba, reads books written for middle school students and adults, and visits her family in Idaho.

Email: betsy.mcgowan@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Special Education Math Teacher

Kelly Caiazzo was born and raised in Queens, NY.  After attending Marist College for her undergrad, she received her Master’s degree in Education and Special Education at Touro College in Manhattan.  This is Kelly's second year teaching math at BUGS and is looking forward to moving to 8th grade with her students from last year!  She is excited to integrate BUGS’s mission of sustainability into the math curriculum and help prepare her students for the future, in and out of the classroom. When Kelly is not teaching she loves to cook and spend time with her family and two dogs!

Email: kelly.caiazzo@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Math Teacher

Anela Feratovic was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She came to BUGS in early 2016 from Brooklyn College where she earned a bachelor's degree in Childhood Education (1-6), and a Master's degree in Teaching Mathematics. She has experience working with children of all ages. Anela has worked at BUGS for the past two years as a 6th Grade Math Teacher and an Academic Support Teacher for grades 6-8. Anela is passionate about math and loves to share her learning with the students and staff at BUGS. Anela's hobbies include running, yoga, traveling, watching hockey, and spending time with her family and friends.

Email: anela.feratovic@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Laura Cameron received her master’s degree in Social Studies Education from CUNY Hunter College and holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of South Florida in her hometown of Tampa Bay. She is a published photographer (The Knot, 2004) and musician who has created music with her husband for JibJab and Marbles the Brain Store. Laura is often found photographing and transcribing tombstones, mausoleums, and cenotaphs for genealogists and family members who need help documenting memorials that they are unable to visit themselves. Since changing careers in 2014, she has been working with students of all ages throughout New York City in various capacities. She is eager to share her passions for human history and cultures, rational inquiry, and general curiosity with BUGS’s incoming community members.

laura.cameron@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher - Writing, 6th Grade Level Leader

Zsazita Walker was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  She has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University and is certified in General Education 1-6. She enjoys reading, writing, experiencing new foods and spending time with her family. Zsazita is committed to teach her students the educational and life skills they will need to successfully navigate through middle school, high school, college and beyond. 

 Email: zsazita.walker@BUGSBrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Science & Social Studies 

Lauren Hamernick comes to BUGS each morning with a passion for teaching. Lauren is a proud Brooklyn native and graduated from Monmouth University with a Bachelor's in Communication and a Masters in Education from Metropolitan College of N.Y. Lauren first began her career in education as an assistant teacher working with children on the autism spectrum. Several years later she began working as the primary special education teacher for a Catholic School in the Lower East Side. Lauren enjoys using her sense of humor, knowledge of pop-culture and contemporary music to connect with her students. Lauren is a fun, hands-on teacher that is enthusiastic and dedicated to helping her students meet their personal and learning goals. She is well versed in all subject areas and has taught 8th grade mathematics and 6th grade science and social studies at BUGS. In her spare time Lauren likes to listen to live music, take long walks, relax on the beach, exercise, and spend time with her family. Lauren is also a new mom to her son, Liam. 

Email: lauren.hamernick@BUGSbrooklyn.org

   

8th Grade Writing Teacher, 8th Grade Interdisciplinary Sustainability Coordinator 

Aaron Morales came to BUGS in 2014 and since that time he has integrated his past environmental justice experience with his teaching practices. During his time at BUGS, Aaron has worked with students to develop their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills by interweaving real world sustainability topics in the writing workshop model. 

 

Email: aaron.morales@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade Social Studies Teacher, 7th Grade Team Leader, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Jessica Carp loves teaching at BUGS because of its reputation as a place where students' creativity and curiosity shine! Jessica is a graduate of NYU with a Master’s in Social Studies Education and of Ithaca College with a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies. Jessica has been teaching in NYC schools for 5 years as a 6th grade Social Studies teacher. She is now bringing her enthusiasm and joyfulness to the 7th grade team as Social Studies teacher and Grade Team Leader. Jessica also serves as the Instructional Technology Coordinator here at BUGS. Jessica is committed to understanding each of her students' individual learning needs and meeting them where they are with targeted, engaging instruction and opportunities to grow. On the weekends, she can be found cooking, pampering her rescue cat Louie, reading a thought-provoking book, or pursuing her passion for travel. 

Email: jessica.carp@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Humanities Teacher

Callie Quinn holds a B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies from Castleton University and a Master's Degree in Literacy from Queens College. Callie came to Brooklyn Urban Garden School with over three years of field study experience in a variety of special education settings including Elementary and Middle schools in Vermont. After honing her instructional leadership working with English Language learners in Italy for two years, Callie returned to her roots in New York. She chose BUGS as she was drawn to the curricular emphasis on sustainability and student exploration. Callie is passionate about education and seeks to build positive relationships with scholars and their families. In her free time, Callie enjoys traveling, reading and participating in winter sports.

Email: callie.quinn@BUGSBrooklyn.org  

 

6th Grade Reading Teacher

Shanyn Rubinstein is excited for her second year of teaching at BUGS! She holds a B.A in Childhood Education and Business from SUNY Fredonia. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in special education at Brooklyn College. She is excited to bring her love of literature and sustainability to the BUGS community. When she is not teaching, Shanyn enjoys working out, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Email: shanyn.rubinstein@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Science Teacher

Breanne Church is thrilled to be at BUGS teaching her favorite subject, science! She earned her Master’s degree from Touro College and is dual certified in General and Special Education. She is excited to work with students toward a better future through sustainability education. Breanne grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and has been living in New York City for the past 12 years. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling.

 

Email: breanne.church@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Math Teacher

Caroline Quan is excited to join the BUGS team this year as an 8th grade math teacher! Caroline has a Bachelor degree in Integrated Mathematics and Science and Master's degree in Adolescent education in Mathematics. This is her 3rd year teaching 8th grade math. Caroline cannot wait to be begin her journey at BUGS in an inclusive co-taught classroom. In her free time, Caroline likes to cook/bake and spend time with family.

Email: Caroline.Quan@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Science Teacher

Tim Rutgers is excited to be joining the BUGS team this year and teaching 6th grade science. He earned his Bachelor's from Hunter College and is passionate about interdisciplinary science learning, including renewable energy systems. He is currently studying these systems with Solar Energy International and received his Solar Professionals Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems Certificate in 2017. He taught 7th and 8th grade at East Side Community High School in Manhattan, he was a Director of Education at Green Thumb (NYC Parks), a Program Director at Open Road, a consultant for the Trust for Public Land Playground Program, and a carpenter. He has planted gardens, built compost heated greenhouses, designed and installed solar systems and wildlife ponds all over New York City and looks forward to new adventures in science with the BUGS team. Tim lives in Brooklyn and loves to spend his free time with his family (including his dog Spot).  He loves the outdoors, boating, camping, and model making.


 

6th Grade Sustainability Teacher

Caroline McKean is excited to return to BUGS this year to teach our students about sustainability. Along with a passion for environmental learning and exploration, she has a background in Environmental Studies, Education and English. She earned her B.A. from James Madison University and has since enjoyed her experience working for various environmental nonprofits and government agencies. In her free time, Caroline is an avid movie watcher and enjoys running, reading, hiking, exploring the city and spending time with family and friends.

Email: caroline.mckean@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Math Teacher

Harriet Brown is in her second year at BUGS and is very excited to be teaching 6th grade math. Born and raised in Queens, Harriet lived in Maryland and South Carolina before returning to New York City.  She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Potsdam, and a Master’s in Education from Touro College. Harriet has 10 plus years experience teaching high school and middle school and while she enjoys teaching math, her hobbies are reading fiction, writing fiction and traveling.

Email: harriet.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade Math Teacher

Gene Szuflita is a Founding Teacher at BUGS, having been here from the day it opened. Gene left his established law practice in 2009 to teach math, a subject he loves and one he believes teaches reasoning and making informed decisions. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and received his Masters Degree in Math Education from AdelphiUniversity. At BUGS Gene has taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade math as well as Algebra and Applied Math. Gene’s passion for math carries over to his hobbies, which include solving puzzles, coaching baseball and serving on the boards of various organizations.

 Email: gene.szuflita@BUGSbrooklyn.org   

 

7th Grade Math Teacher

Jaime Desormeaux has come to BUGS looking to bring access to mathematics to all students and offer insight into preparing for and succeeding in high school and beyond.   Her preparation through the New York City Teaching Fellows program and high school teaching since 2002 has laid the foundation of her professional experience.  After her undergraduate education, earning her a BA in English from Dartmouth College, she entered into Adult Education and small group instruction.  Teaching Fellows allowed Jaime to complete a Master's degree in Math Education from  City College in 2005. Jaime is also a recent grad of the Math Leadership program at Bank Street College.  As a native Brooklynite of Haitian descent,  Jaime continues to make her home in Clinton Hill Brooklyn where she lives with her two children.  Jaime is also very active in her faith and looks forward to the meditation portion of the day at BUGS.  Her personal mission statement: “I'm committed to always seeking ways to improve myself and the lives of  others.”

Email: jaime.desormeaux@bugsbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Special Education Social Studies & Social Studies Department Chair

David Gari was born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn. From there, he went to the State University of New Paltz where he lived for 6 years. He earned his B.S in adolescent education social studies and then continued to get his master’s in special education. While going through school, he managed an Advance Auto Parts and found a hobby in fixing cars. He joined the BUGS faculty in 2015 and enjoyed relocating to his old neighborhood and serving its students. In addition to his passion for teaching, he enjoys watching tons of TV shows on Netflix, traveling, and rooting for the New York Mets.

Email: david.gari@BUGSbrooklyn.org 

 

7th Grade Special Education Social Studies Teacher

Georgia Wright joins BUGS in the fall of 2017 after teaching for three years in the Bronx. She studied International Studies at the University of San Francisco and later received her Masters in Special Education at Hunter College in New York. She is a 2014 Teach For America corps member and is passionate about teaching social studies and history. Prior to becoming a teacher she worked for a low-income housing development corporation in San Francisco. In her free time she loves to cook, run, and travel.

Email: georgia.wright@BUGSbrooklyn.org


7th Grade Reading Teacher

Michelle Bellamy is excited to join the ELA team as a 7th grade reading teacher. She is entering her third year of teaching. Michelle earned her bachelor's degree in Dramatic Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her master's degree in Educational Theatre and English at NYU. After graduation and prior to coming to BUGS, she worked at an all-girls middle school in Brooklyn as a writing teacher and technical theatre enrichment teacher. Michelle is committed to listening to and understanding students' perspectives through an intersectional lens in order to adjust her teaching to suit their individual needs. Michelle came to BUGS because of their wonderful commitment to sustainability. Her hobbies include painting, gardening, bread baking, indoor cycling, and reading.

Email: michelle.bellamy@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade ELA Teacher

Hilary Shrair holds a B.A in English Literature and a Master's in Teaching from Simmons College. She has taught 7th grade ELA for the past three years and is incredibly excited to see what year four will bring. Hilary joined the BUGS community because BUGS prioritizes student centered learning. Hilary is most passionate about creating a kind, cohesive and productive classroom environment where her students support each other and hold themselves to high expectations. In her spare time, Hilary loves to hang out with a good book in the park, explore new neighborhoods and eat delicious food.

Email: hilary.shrair@BUGSbrooklyn.org


7th Grade Special Education Science Teacher

Lauren D'Italia is very excited to be joining the BUGS team this year as a 7th grade Science teacher! Lauren has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Delaware and a Master's Degree in Special Education and Childhood Education from Dowling College. Lauren has seven years of experience in the field of Special Education and before coming to BUGS she taught for three years in an Inclusive co-taught class in Marine Park. Lauren can't wait to begin fostering an inquiry-based learning approach in her classroom at BUGS as her passion for science and passion for teaching special education combine! In her free time Lauren is an avid reader and enjoys hiking and traveling. She is currently working on her goal of visiting all 59 U.S. National Parks!

Email: lauren.ditalia@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade Reading - Special Education

Mikhail Leybovich first began his career working in the field of foster care. His experiences there drove him to Dowling College from which he graduated with a Masters of Science in Special Education. Since graduating, he has had the opportunity to work with students in Charter, public, and Catholic schools. During vacations he spends his time doing anything nature related; camping, kayaking, foraging, and gardening. By joining BUGS, Mike hopes to fuse his professional career with his passion for urban farming.

Email: mikhail.leybovich@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Interdisciplinary Coordinator & Studio Art Teacher

Jess Norris came to BUGS in 2014 after five years as a program developer and facilitator at a grassroots community center in Richmond, Virginia.  Jess is the author of several published works and presents on arts integration, social practice, and experiential education. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Art in Painting and Printmaking and a Master's of Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Jess enjoys experimenting with materials in her studio that could lead to exciting new projects in the classroom and beyond the walls of the school.

Email: jessica.norris@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade ELA Teacher

Tim Brown brings over fifteen years of educational experience to BUGS as an 8th grade Reading teacher. He has taught in the public, private and parochial school settings at varying grade levels from Pre-K to high school. Tim graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Studio Art minor. He holds a K-12 special education teaching certification in New Jersey. He has also taken master's level courses in Education and Special Education at Rutgers University, Rowan University, and Saint Peter's University. After ten years of teaching (focusing mainly on high school English), taking graduate courses, and coaching varsity high school football, he spent several years as a stay-at-home dad to his three children. After starting and running a successful frozen yogurt business, Tim realized he was missing his passion for teaching and became a fixture as a "permanent" substitute teacher at P.S. 10 here in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Tim is excited to begin his third year teaching eighth grade here at BUGS. He is passionate about reading, writing, music, art and the theater. He lives in Brooklyn with his beautiful wife, son (18), two daughters (13 and 16), two dogs, and two chinchillas.

Email: timothy.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Spanish Teacher and 6th Grade IS Coordinator

Laura Karlen has brought a broad range of experience to the BUGS team since 2013. She has worked in many facets of the environmental field over the past 20 years in the areas of education, local food production, green architecture and sustainable large-scale agriculture. She received her B.A. in Environmental Science from Drake University with a focus on Latin America and minored in Spanish. After completing her undergraduate work she spent a year studying at the University of Costa Rica and working with local environmental organizations. During her work in agriculture, she led research trips to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Growing up bicultural and bilingual (traveling between Iowa and Mexico City) has given her a unique perspective inside the conversation of sustainability. She is looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the BUGS team to bring her many passions together in the service of igniting a spirit of global citizenship and local action within our future BUGS sustainability leaders!

Email: laura.karlen@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Spanish Teacher

Miguel Diez is excited to be part of the BUGS team starting this year.  He grew up in New York City before joining the Air Force and later the National Guard. Miguel has lived in all corners of the United States and has earned a B.S. in Management of Information Systems with a minor in Spanish. He is a native speaker from Peru and his passion is teaching Spanish and sharing the Hispanic culture.

Email: miguel.diez@BUGSbrooklyn.org

  

8th Grade Living Environment Teacher & Science Department Chair

Anika Yasin, a native of Long Island, earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master’s in Teaching Biology from SUNY Old Westbury. She has taught General Science and Living Environment to 6th, 7th and 8th graders throughout New York City. Anika is happy to continue her passion nurturing relationships with students at BUGS and incorporating creativity into her hands-on approach to scientific exploration in the classroom. Outside of school, you might spot her sightseeing, discovering new restaurants, and spending time with friends and family.

Email: anika.yasin@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade ELA Teacher - General & Special Education

Shirleen Brown, who was born and raised on the Lower East Side of N.Y. but currently residing in Jersey City, N.J., earned her Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from City University of New York and her Masters in Teaching from Pace University. Shirleen entered teaching after successful careers in healthcare, sports, and banking. She has effectively taught students with multiple levels of learning abilities since 2004. Outside of school, you might spot her traveling from state to state sampling foods at restaurants profiled on the Food Network or writing a chapter in one of her soon-to-be published books.

Email: shirleen.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher & 8th Grade Team Leader

Aaron Linskey is ecstatic to join the BUGS team as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher. Aaron received a B.S. in Literature, Language, and Writing and a History minor from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI. While in school, he worked for the school newspaper and helped curate a film series of documentaries about schools and teaching.  After completing his undergraduate degree, Aaron worked at schools in the Detroit, MI and Flint, MI areas before moving to Brooklyn where he taught at a high-performing high school as a 9th grade teacher. Aaron looks forward to bringing his boundless passion and excitement for Social Studies to BUGS.

Email:  aaron.linskey@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Gym, Drama & Enrichment Teacher

Joshua Colon is excited to spend his first year teaching as a physical education, drama and enrichment teacher at BUGS.  He worked in the Department of Education for 3 years as a Paraprofessional at PS 295, while achieving his B.A. in Business from St. Joseph College in 2016. Formerly a United States Naval Photographer of 8 years and graphic designer for 10 years, he looks forward to passing on his skills and utilizing everything life has taught him to work with and reach children. Joshua is currently furthering his education to become a Special Education teacher.  Working in a community like BUGS, Joshua hopes to absorb the leadership and community the school fosters. Joshua has a passion for art, fashion, design and occasionally belting out a Broadway tune.

Email: joshua.colon@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Teacher Leave Replacement

Raven Mena is excited to join the BUGS team this year as the Teacher Leave Replacement.  Raven has over eight years of experience working with children, and has spent the last three years as a long-term substitute teacher at P.S. 372, The Children's School. Raven is looking forward to contributing to the academic growth of our students and assisting them to be sustainable participants in our society.  Raven is a native Brooklynite and holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies of Childhood Education and History from Nyack College. Currently, Raven is working on her Masters in Special Education. In her spare time, she loves diving into history books, traveling with friends and family, and enjoys dining at Smorgasburg.



Operations Manager

Cay Tolson came to BUGS in 2014 via a circuitous route involving graphic design, motherhood, bookkeeping, and leading her children’s PTA.  She has been organized and organizing others all of her life, and is thrilled to get to do it all day at BUGS! She loves living in Brooklyn (for over 20 years!), but still thinks of herself as a Virginia girl. Cay loves to read, knit and cook for her family & friends. She does not love to go running or vacuum.

Email: cay.tolson@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Operations Coordinator

Elsie Martinez comes to BUGS from the faraway land of New Jersey.  Her passion for environmental sustainability, love for the outdoors and 7 years’ experience as a nanny has led her to BUGS. Elsie left a quick paced and highly demanding position at an inflight catering company based out of Teterboro, New Jersey to join the BUGS operations team.  She will complete her BS in Fashion Marketing at Berkeley College this fall.  Her greatest joys in life include trips to Mexico City, long distance running and racing, Zumba, and the occasional mud run.

Email: elsie.martinez@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Office Coordinator

Lacresha Pierre has been our BUGS Office Coordinator, Peer Mediation Coordinator and Recruitment Coordinator for the past 2 two years and has been progressively making changes with our students since arriving. Possessing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice specializing in juveniles, she has always been able to interact well with our staff, parents and students and has made an impact on the BUGS community. Besides spreading love to our precious Bugsters, Lacresha' true passion is traveling and seeing the world.

Email: lacresha.pierre@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Office and Cafeteria Assistant

LaTonya Brown  joined the BUGS team for the 2016-17 school year.  Having worked in the administrative field for many years as well as with children as a teacher aide, Tonya is ready to dive right in interacting with the kids and being that extra hand where needed. Her daily goals are to help everyone's day go a little smoother. She will be attending school in the fall to start her journey in becoming a Social Studies teacher. She loves the kids here and B.U.G.S and wants to teach here one day.

 Email: tonya.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Parent & After-School Coordinator

Joshua Altamirano is excited to take on the roles of Parent & After-School Coordinator at BUGS!  Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Josh graduated from Baruch College, where he earned a B.B.A. in Marketing & Psychology. Prior to arriving at BUGS, Josh developed his passion for education and working with families by running an after-school tutoring center in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Josh is committed to helping foster a strong family and community presence at BUGS so that students have a well-rounded support system. In his free time, Josh enjoys hosting competitive game nights with family and friends.

Email: joshua.altamirano@bugsbrooklyn.org 

 

Academic Program and Data Coordinator

Tiffany Cunningham is excited to join the BUGS team as the Academic Program and Data Coordinator. Prior to joining BUGS she was an educator in Harlem and is an alum of Pennsylvania State University where she earned a B.S. in Biology. She enjoys traveling the world and experiencing local cuisine. Her love for new experiences led her to live in Asia for three years as an educator. On the weekends she loves to explore the Cafe's of New York and read a book or three along the way.

Email: tiffany.cunningham@BUGSbrooklyn.org

Quiet Time Site Leader

Raisa Martinez is happy to be working at BUGS with the Quiet Time Program. Raisa studied psychology at Georgia College & State University and received her masters in Human Development and Social Intervention from NYU.  She truly enjoys meditating with students and loves that she is able to provide a space for peace and relaxation.

Email: raisa@davidlynchfoundation.org

 

Quiet Time Teacher

Joshua Pittman is excited to return for his third year teaching Transcendental Meditation at BUGS! Joshua learned to meditate when he was 16 thanks to his mom and step-dad and remembers wishing his high school had meditation as part of the day. Since 2005 he has taught Transcendental Meditation to over a thousand people, including veterans, homeless individuals, and students in schools from Hartford to Harlem, LES, Queens, and Brooklyn. Originally a filmmaker with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University, Joshua now enjoys sharing tools for students to develop their innate creativity, intelligence, and awareness.  Joshua also loves movies and swimming in the ocean with his daughter.

Email: quiet.time@bugsbrooklyn.org 

  

Supply and Events Coordinator

Corina Cowen has been an artist for most of her life, and while her work and medium of choice have evolved over time, her passion for creating remains constant. She loves to beautify spaces, whether it be designing a flyer, filling a blank wall with a mural, or just creating a visually pleasing snack plate. She loves to garden and get her hands dirty, and she previously worked on organic farms and city gardens. Corina is inspired by the sense of community at BUGS and is so happy to have found a position that combines all of her passions into one. And although she’s from California by way of half a dozen other states, she’s happy to have made Brooklyn her adopted home.

Email: corina.cowen@BUGSbrooklyn.org