Señor Josh is passionate about his work at BUGS. Whether he is supporting families both new and returning, or in the background synchronizing the technology needs of students and staff, Joshua is driven by being able to provide solutions for the BUGS community. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joshua 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. Joshua 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, Joshua enjoys hosting competitive game nights with family and friends.
Josh came to BUGS in 2016. 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 passes on his skills and utilizes 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.
Julia grew up an hour north of the city in the Hudson Valley. Before coming to BUGS Julia previously taught sixth grade humanities and reading in both independent and charter school settings. Julia holds a B.A. in Adolescent Social Studies education from SUNY New Paltz and Master’s degree in Technology Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. When she isn’t teaching she enjoys tending to her small balcony garden or spending time with her 10 pound shih tzu, CC.
Kirby is the 7th grade science teacher at BUGS. His experience includes over 9 years as a classroom teacher in both the NYC Department of Education and charter schools throughout Brooklyn. Kirby is a New York state certified teacher who has a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts, a Masters of Science in Urban Affairs, and a second Masters of Science in Special Education. He is also an astronomer, yogi, fitness instructor, DJ, and martial artist for over 18 years. He has a passion for science, specifically astronomy, which is the study of the solar system.
Laura 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.
6th Grade Sustainability Studio Teacher, 6th Grade IS Coordinator & Garden Manager
ProfeLaura is a founding BUGS teacher andbrings a broad range of experience to the BUGS team. 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!
Lauren is a proud 4th year teacher at BUGS. Lauren is a Brooklyn native and graduated from Monmouth University with a Bachelor's in Communication and later, a Masters in Education from Metropolitan College of N.Y. Lauren first began her career as an assistant teacher working with children on the autism spectrum. Several years later she began working as a SETSS 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 advisory, advancement, math, science, social studies and writing. In her spare time Lauren likes to spend time with her son, Liam.
Mike 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.
Olivia is excited to return to 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 school 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.
Paula is excited to teach 8th grade Living Environment indoors and outside in the BUGS garden with students! She has been teaching Living Environment and Sustainable Architecture for over 25 years in NYC public schools and she loves working with students on creative green projects. Paula is a political cartoonist with WW3 and was the first female editor of this publication in 1984, now the longest running political art magazine in the world. She has published books and articles on subjects ranging from Skateboarders and Public Architecture to Worms. She has a Fine Arts degree from Cooper Union, a Bachelors in Visual Art from SUNY Empire State, a Masters in Science from LIU and she is currently studying Neural and Behavioral Science with a focus on Adolescent Development.
Raven is excited to be returning to BUGS this year as the 7th grade science teacher. Raven has over eight years of experience working with children, and has spent 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.
Sade came to BUGS in January 2018 to serve as the Inclusion Coordinator, after working as a Special Educator in central Florida for grades K-5 and New Jersey for grades 5 -6. Over the summer she transitioned into the role as Director of Inclusion and is super excited to support the growth of all students. Currently completing her Master’s Degree in Education, specializing in Leadership in Educational Administration, she believes learning is a lifelong journey. Outside of BUGS, Sade, is a wife and mother of 3 boys who enjoys traveling with her family and dog, Cookie.
Shanyn is excited to be teaching at BUGS this year! She holds a B.A. in Childhood Education and Business from SUNY Fredonia. She just finished 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.
Tiffany joined 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.
Tim brings over sixteen 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 fourth year teaching 8th grade here at BUGS. He is passionate about reading, writing, music, art and the theater. He lives in Brooklyn with his beautiful wife, son (19), two daughters (14 and 17), and two dogs, Odin and Loki.
Tim is excited to be back for his second year teaching at BUGS and will be teaching 6th grade science. He earned his Bachelor's from Hunter College and is passionate about interdisciplinary science learning, including renewable energy systems. He studied these renewable energy systems at 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 continuing 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.
Tonya is excited to be returning to BUGS for her third year. Having worked in the administrative field for many years as well as with children as a teacher aide, Tonya continues to interact with the kids and now dives into the role of receptionist by keeping the office organized and helping whoever enters get the information they need by guiding them in the right direction. Tonya has so many ideas for BUGS and can’t wait to show them.
William, an 8th grade algebra teacher, is excited to meet all of the returning and new scholars in his second year at BUGS. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he cannot see himself living anywhere else. Mr. Jones graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a Master's degree in Education. When not teaching math, he is playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, playing board games, or practicing guitar. He is excited to continue his career as a teacher and hopes to create lasting memories.
Director of Humanities - Social Studies and Writing
Zsazita 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. This is Ms. Zsazita’s fifth year at BUGS. Ms. Zsazita utilizes her upbringing in Brooklyn, NY to establish a common ground with her students. It's warranted that she has an uncanny ability to be viewed by her students as exceedingly relatable. This has opened the door to innovative teaching methods which her students have responded to. Ms. Zsazita is committed to teaching her students the educational and interpersonal skills necessary to navigate through middle school, high school, college and beyond. She's a mother of 3 which has naturally allowed her to be nurturing. Ms. Zsazita feels as though her students are her extended family and cares for them as her own. She loves to read, write, experiment with new foods and most of all spend time with her family.
Abdul Belle aka Mr. Kid started his professional career at the age of 18 years old. Later on, he became a local NYC street performer and started booking professional jobs, such as a Stussy Clothing photo shoot, Jolly Rancher and Nickelodeon commercials, as well as appearing on BET, MTV, VH1, NBC, and other cable networks. Mr. Kid also realized the joy of teaching and in about a year, he grew from two classes a week to eight classes a week, and teaching at various studios around New York. He is now brought in as a special guest choreographer to various studios and conventions. His choreography has won multiple national titles and recognition. Mr. Kid is well known for not only his dancing, but also his community outreach work, such as motivational speaking at public schools, performing for the Department of Homeless Services and The Seton Foundation for down syndrome and special needs, and he has taught at the Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brooklyn NY. Mr. Kid continues to inspire his colleagues and motivates his students.
Valencia is thrilled to join the BUGS team as the Afterschool Director. As a native New Yorker, she was educated through the city’s public school system. She holds a BA in Sociology from Long Island University (L.I.U) and received a MS .Ed in School Building Leadership (SBL) from St. John’s University. She brings over 19 years of teaching and youth development experience. Prior to joining BUGS she taught various elementary grade levels; subsequently she worked as an Educational Consultant providing Academic Intervention Services in English Language Arts for 6th-8th grades. She later joined the CBO of Italian American Civil Rights League as their Education Specialist performing curriculum development for multiple sites programming. Lastly, she held the position as the Director of an afterschool program at a charter middle school in Brooklyn, NY. She is committed to honing students’ social and emotional development through engaging activities and providing them with exposure to new experiences. During her free time she enjoys traveling, event planning, cooking and spending time with family.