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 20 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 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 visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Rockaways, cooking, listening to live music, and spending time with her wife and son.

Email: jane.steffen@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Dean of School Culture

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

 

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 10 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

 

Social Worker

Michelle Kilimnik is ecstatic to return to BUGS where she serves as the school social worker, providing social-emotional support to students during their middle school career. Michelle came to BUGS in Fall 2015, after three years working as an elementary school social worker in Des Plaines, IL. Michelle received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and she completed her Master’s degree in school social work at Jane Addams College of Social Work in Chicago, IL. Some of Michelle’s passions include social justice, practicing her Spanish, reading, and cooking up a storm. Michelle is also a beginner potter and she loves exploring the outdoors. She is looking forward to bringing her passions to BUGS and supporting the school community!

Email: michelle.kilimnik@BUGSbrooklyn.org  

 

Reading Specialist

Candice Bolton joined the BUGS team in 2015 as an intervention teacher.  Candice started her teaching career in Fairfax, Virginia where she taught Social Studies at both the middle and high school levels.  In 2014, when she relocated to Jersey City, Candice took on a new role as a reading specialist and discovered her passion for teaching literacy.  Candice is a graduate of George Mason University, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Special Education.  What she loves most about BUGS is the opportunity to educate and inspire others to incorporate healthy, sustainable practices into their everyday lives.  In her spare time Candice enjoys practicing yoga, exploring restaurants, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

Email: candice.bolton@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, 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 be 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

 

Quiet Time Site Leader

Sarah Rose is the Quiet Time Site Leader at BUGS and is responsible for strengthening and evolving the Quiet Time program and the four-year partnership between BUGS and the David Lynch foundation. Sarah Rose is also a masters student in Leadership for Educational Change at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. As such she is committed to building on the Quiet Time program's practical, evidence-based approach for reducing stress, improving academic performance and supporting student wellness with her knowledge and techniques as an educator.


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.  Kelly has taught a range of grades for the past three years, and is now excited to join the BUGS team as a 7th grade math teacher.  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

 

Academic Support 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 different ages. For the past seven years Anela has worked in after school programs, summer camps, and tutoring centers. At her previous job she worked at an after school program as an Educational Coordinator and STEM Specialist. She has also spent the last two years working as a sub teacher for the NYCDOE. Anela is passionate about math and can't wait 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 ELA Writing Teacher

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 that 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 special education. As a Brooklyn native, and after graduating from Monmouth University with a Bachelor's in Communication, she began working as an assistant teacher at a large local not for profit in Brooklyn teaching Elementary School children on the autism spectrum. A few years later, after getting her Master’s in both general and special education, 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 taught 8th grade mathematics last year.

Email: lauren.hamernick@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

School Culture Coach & 7th Grade Science Special Educator

Lucie Davis is excited to share her passion for teaching and science at BUGS! She has 12 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 yoga.

Email: lucie.davis@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Interdisciplinary Sustainability Coordinator & Garden Team Leader

Mandy Rice has shared her passion for gardening and sustainability at BUGS since 2014. She has worked in education for twenty years in a variety of settings. She taught middle school English in the Bronx, was the academic coordinator of a college prep program in East New York and ran a visual literacy program at a photography museum. She has also tutored students with learning challenges for many years. She is a graduate of Yale and has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia. She is currently working towards her Certificate in Horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is an active member of her neighborhood community garden,  a regular at her local farmer's' market, and loves being outside.

Email: mandy.rice@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Humanities Teacher (ELA & SS)

Aaron Morales is a MFA Creative Writing graduate from the New School. He brings his writing expertise to BUGS in order to inspire young writers. In the past, he has worked with BUGS students to create a literary magazine, write for poetry contests, and mail letters to the New York Times. Prior to teaching at BUGS, Aaron worked with environmental groups all over Massachusetts in their efforts of strengthening community involvement. 

Email: aaron.morales@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Jessica Carp is overjoyed to join the BUGS team this year. Jessica comes to BUGS with experience teaching 6th grade social studies in a NYC charter school, in an Integrated Co-Teaching classroom setting. Jessica is excited to come to 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 an undergraduate degree in Social Studies. 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 ELA Teacher

Callie Quinn holds a B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies from Castleton University and is currently pursuing 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 to be teaching at BUGS this year! 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

 

6th Grade Science Teacher

May Man came to BUGS in 2015 with a passion for sustainability and focus for the learning needs of her students. May received her B.A in Media Studies and an M.A in General Science at Brooklyn College. Prior to BUGS, May taught 8th grade General Science in the Bronx. May is excited about bringing an inquiry based learning approach in science and hopes to foster an appreciation for science in her students so that they may become environmentally conscientious citizens. During her free time, May likes to participate in many active sports such as martial arts. She also enjoys museum hopping and learning languages.

Email: may.man@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th 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.

breanne.church@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

6th & 8th Grade Math Teacher

Harriet Brown is new to the BUGS community and is very excited to be teaching 6th and 8th 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 years experience teaching high school and middle school and while she enjoys teaching math, her hobbies are reading fiction, writing fiction and traveling.

harriet.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade Interdisciplinary Sustainability Coordinator & Science Department Chair

Dan Strauss was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens.  Dan has been been involved in youth work for over twenty years as a social worker, environmental educator and a high school/middle school science teacher. Dan is in his third year at BUGS after three years as the Education Manager for The Nature Conservancy. Dan earned a degree in Communications from the State University of New York College at Oswego and a Master’s degree in Environmental Education from Antioch New England.  He is passionate about the intersection of the urban and natural environments and exploring both through project and place-based learning.  Dan is also a musician and songwriter and performs live throughout the city.

Email: dan.strauss@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.  Currently Jaime is finishing up a  Math Leadership degree from 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: jamie.desormeaux@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

7th Grade Special Education Social Studies & English Language Arts

David Gari was born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn until his parents moved to Pennsylvania. 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 Reading Teacher

Opal McPherson joined the BUGS team this year and jumped right into being part of the team! She has 6 years years of varied teaching experience, including teaching preschool, college and middle school. She Graduated from LIU Post with a Bachelor's degree in Adolescent English Education and hopes to continue her education next year to pursue a degree in Family Counseling. Opal has a passion for student mentorship and empowering urban school students to surpass their environmental challenges, and hopes to continue that work with the students at BUGS. Opal is a native of Brooklyn and enjoys exploring and sightseeing new areas within the city as well as shopping for makeup and ​trying new restaurants with her daughter.

opal.mcpherson@BUGSbrooklyn.org


 

7th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Eric Kennedy is a seventh-grade social studies teacher who began his teaching career at BUGS in Fall 2015. He was born and raised in Dyersburg, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee in May of 2015 with a degree in Secondary Education - History. In June, he and his wife moved to New York to begin their careers. Eric continues to be involved with kids when school is not in session by working at day camps in the area. In his free time, he loves running and staying active, while also spending quality time with his wife, dog, and soon, baby boy. Eric is most excited to create new and worthwhile experiences with both students and their families, along with helping students obtain important life skills that begin in the classroom.

Email: eric.kennedy@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Spanish Teacher

Christian Aponte joins the BUGS team as the 7th and 8th grade Spanish teacher. Although this is his first time teaching languages in a middle school setting, he has experience teaching English at a Brazilian university as a Fulbright Scholar and teaching bicycle safety lessons to NYC teens with Bike New York. Christian is passionate about equipping BUGS students with tools needed to succeed in a globalized world. When he isn't planning lessons for class, he can be found riding his bicycle, playing capoeira or relaxing and enjoying the city. He is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University with a B.A. in Global Studies and Hispanic Studies.

christian.aponte@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 has traveled throughout the United States and internationally leading workshops and presentations 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 Social Studies Teacher

Brittany Jayroe was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She graduated with a BA in Public Relations from Texas State University.  After a career in the corporate world, she decided to switch gears and apply her passions to teaching.  She currently attends Relay School for Graduate Education, working on a Master’s in Teaching and recently completed a full-year teaching residency.  Brittany loves to read, travel and cook. She is excited to be on the BUGS team since 2015, helping shape young minds and build social and civic awareness.  She is now teaching 8th grade Social Studies.

Email: brittany.jayroe@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

 

8th Grade ELA Teacher

Tim Brown brings over a dozen 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 Brooklyn. He is passionate about reading, writing, music, art and the theater. He lives in Brooklyn with his beautiful wife, son (17), two daughters (12 and 15), two dogs, and two chinchillas.

Email: timothy.brown@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade ELA Teacher

Dana DiPalo earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing with a focus on Adolescent Education from the CUNY College of Staten Island. She is currently working towards her Master's Degree in Adolescent Special Education. Before coming to BUGS in 2015, Dana spent more than three years as a full-time individualized education tutor. During her time as a tutor, she helped students gain acceptance into many of the country's top middle schools, high schools and colleges. Although Dana lives on Staten Island, she grew up on Long Island and spent much of her adolescence in Germany and North Carolina. Dana is always excited to build relationships with students and to continue exploring BUGS' devotion to nature and sustainability. When she is not teaching English, Dana loves to go on road trips, visit flea markets and antique shops, and cook vegan cuisine with her fiance Anthony.

Email: dana.dipalo@BUGSbrooklyn.org  


8th Grade Math Teacher

Kyle Wasko is excited to join the BUGS Mathematics Department as an 8th grade mathematics teacher. Prior to joining BUGS Kyle taught Chemistry and AP Environmental Science for five years at Uncommon Charter High School in Brooklyn and acted as a Science Department Lead and Mathematics Department Co-Lead at North Haven Community School in North Haven, Maine. Having earned a B.A. in Geography: Environmental Studies at Millersville University and an M.A. Ed. in Environmental Education from Arcadia University, Kyle is thrilled to extend his passion for math, science, and sustainability to his students. 

Email: kyle.wasko@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

8th Grade Spanish Teacher

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  

 

8th Grade Living Environment Teacher

Anika Yasin is thrilled to join the BUGS team as the 8th grade Living Environment teacher. A native of Long Island, Anika 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. During this time she’s also worked as a Certified EMT, where she’s dealt with cardiac arrests, life threatening medical situations, and even assisted in delivering a newborn baby. Anika is happy to be a part of the creative and nurturing environment at BUGS and excited to incorporate sustainability into her hands-on approach to scientific exploration in the classroom. Outside of school, you might spot her being a tourist in her own city, sightseeing, discovering new restaurants and cuisines, or relaxing at the beach. She also likes to indulge her sweet tooth occasionally by baking brownies and cookies from scratch.

Email: anika.yasin@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

 

Physical Education, Enrichment & Science Advancement Teacher

Taylor Nystrom comes to BUGS as a physical education, enrichment, and science advancement teacher born and raised in Richmond, VA.  She is moving to BUGS from Columbia University, where she worked as a researcher in a neurophysiology lab.  With a degree from the University of Colorado in Ecology and Evolutionary biology and an incredible passion for playing outside, Taylor has learned a lot about and developed a deep appreciation for the natural world around us and the ways in which we can live within it in a healthy and sustainable way.  Taylor has been working in youth instruction for over 10 years, teaching science and math programs to 4th and 5th grade in Richmond, VA and neuroscience enrichment programs around New York City, as well as coaching nationally competitive youth climbing teams in Virginia, Colorado, and NYC.  When she's not at BUGS, Taylor can be found climbing, coaching The Vikings youth climbing team, reading, riding her bike, playing with her little bitty dog, or telling really long stories.

Email: taylor.nystrom@BUGSbrooklyn.org


Speech-Language Pathologist

Rivky Susskind, the Speech-Language Pathologist here at BUGS, provides assessment and intervention for our students who qualify for Speech and Language services. Rivky is originally from Queens, NY and has over 6 years of experience providing Speech and Language therapy to a broad age range of school-age children (K-12) and bringing a multi-sensory, holistic approach to learning and growth.  She is excited to be back at BUGS for a second growth-filled year, where she can help our students continue to grow into becoming effective, confident communicators.

Email: rivky.susskind@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Enrichment Teacher

David Lower graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in philosophy in 2008. Since then, he has spent 5 years working with special needs students. He worked for two years as a certified para at Adelphi Academy, and three years as a special education teacher at the Association for Metro Area Autistic Children (AMAC). Recently, David left law school in order to go back to teaching. David is currently pursuing a Master’s in Special Education at CUNY Hunter.

Email: david.lower@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Enrichment Teacher

Monika Wuhrer is the founder and executive director of Open Source Gallery.  Originally from Austria, she received her MFA in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Monika founded Open Source Gallery in 2007. She has given talks at NURTUREart, Rutgers University and Hunter College and has received awards and grants from the Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Chancellery, Puffin Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Monika has exhibited in the US, Norway, Austria, Italy, Thailand, Finland, France, Switzerland, and Japan.

Email: monika.wuhrer@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Student Support Coordinator

Caroline McKean comes to BUGS with 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. She can’t wait to continue forward with BUGS and help students learn about their environment!

Email: caroline.mckean@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Academic Program Coordinator & After-School Coordinator

Lore Pinder is excited to be at BUGS for her second year and is excited to oversee the After-School Program as the new coordinator. Passionate about cooking and getting kids acquainted with fresh food in a fun way, she will also be leading the after-school BUGS Chef Club again, a food exploration and cooking class. Lore completed her culinary arts diploma at Capsicum Culinary Studio South Africa, where she spent a glorious four years, first, working with youths as a Fulbright Research Student, and then in marketing. Lore's passions are traveling, podcasts and singing aloud to Pandora radio while cooking and hanging out with her dog Nala.

Email: lorendra.pinder@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

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 is to be beginning her journey as the BUGS Receptionist.  She recently, graduated with a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice specializing in juveniles. She has plenty of experience working with children ages 5-18 and is excited to interact with and make an impact on the BUGS community. 

Email: lacresha.pierre@BUGSbrooklyn.org

 

Admissions Assistant

Rick Anderson, a former teacher at BUGS and in New York City, is excited to begin working with families and students in the middle school application and recruitment process.

rick.anderson@BUGSbrooklyn.org


 

Office and Cafeteria Assistant

LaTonya Brown is excited to join 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 teachers aide Tonya is ready to dive right in organizing , filing , interacting with the kids and being that extra hand where needed. Tonya's goals is to help everyone's day go a little smoother. A Brooklyn native, Tonya likes to go out with her family including  her own middle schooler as well as go to karaoke once a week to have some fun and enjoy the weekend after the work week.

tonya.brown@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