Melissa Menake, Principal
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Menake attended public schools her entire life. She graduated from Binghamton University and has earned two Masters Degrees in English Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. She is proud to say that she is serving her thirteenth year as a New York City educator. Over the course of the last thirteen years, she has taught English Language Arts to students in Middle, High, and Transfer Schools in Districts 2, 4, and 13. She has also taught freshman composition to returning adult students at The College of New Rochelle. Currently, the founding principal of Cambria Heights Academy, she is excited to embark upon her second year as a school leader in District 29, Hollis, Queens.
Saby Malary, Assistant Principal
Saby Malary comes to us with more than 14 years of experience in New York City public schools, and wears many hats at CHA. With a background in both classroom teaching and guidance, as well as an administrative license, Ms. Malary will teach Living Environment and run the guidance office at Cambria Heights Academy. She will also assist Ms. Menake with administrative duties.
Nicole Alamu, Assistant Principal/Mathematics
Nicole Alamu, formerly a member of the CHA math department, is the Assistant Principal for discipline. Ms. Alamu has taught mathematics and technology at the Middle School level for four years. She is a pioneer on the technology front in that she has used technology to individualize and differentiate mathematics instruction before it was cutting edge. She has received the first level of SMARTboard certification and has also used online math curriculum software to help students prepare and review for the Regents. Ms. Alamu is an active member of the Long Island Chapter of the National Hampton Alumni Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Ms. Alamu was the first graduate of the 5-year MBA program, receiving both her BS in Business Administration and her MBA from Hampton University, and her MS in Teaching from Pace University. She is also a recent graduate of the LEAP Program, where she received her administration license from Baruch College.
Bhan Bhatia, Technology Specialist
Michael Beaudry, Social Studies
Michael Beaudry has been teaching for six years, including four years in the New York City Department of Education. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Hofstra University. He completed his four-year degree in three and a half years with honors, and wrote his honors thesis on the new Welfare system. While studying at Hofstra University he participated in an internship program in Washington DC with United States Senator Alfonse D’Amato and other high-ranking government officials. While in Washington DC, he had the opportunity and honor to participate in a program that focused on locating and recovering money, jewelry, and other personal items taken by the Nazi’s from the victims of the Holocaust, and returning those recovered items to survivors and/or their families. In 2007 he earned his first Master’s Degree in Education from Hofstra, and in 2010 he completed his second Master’s degree.
Ruth Camargo, Social Studies
Ms. Ruth Elizabeth Camargo is very much looking forward to becoming a member of the Cambria Heights Academy family. Most of her teaching career has been in the middle school setting though she has been fortunate to work in all grade levels in the recent years. She enjoys engaging students in project-based and experiential learning. She has coached tennis across the city and in her spare time, loves to play tennis herself.
Ellie Cui, Mathematics
Aisha Edwards-Jeremiah, Mathematics
Jocelyn Espinoza, Social Studies
Rachel Florman, Art/Technology
Rachel Florman is CHA's technology coordinator and digital art teacher. Over the past nine years, she has worked with high school students in both school and museum settings. Before joining the CHA staff, she worked at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, planning and teaching new media art classes. She has a bachelors degree in Visual Art from Brown University, and a masters in Art and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Cheyenne Gaynor, Guidance Counselor
Ms. Gaynor was born in Jamaica, West Indies and raised in Laurelton, Queens. She attended public school throughout her childhood and teenage years. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Children and Youth Studies and minored in Sociology. Shortly after completing her Bachelor’s Degree, she enrolled in Manhattan College Graduate program in School Counseling. She completed the graduate program within a year and earned a Master’s Degree in School Counseling. While she was in college she was working as a Guidance Counselor Assistant at the high school level. She is now joining us part-time as a Guidance Counselor at CHA.
Myron was born and raised in southeast Queens. He attended elementary, middle, and high school in the community. He is no stranger to working with children from all walks of life, having been a residential counselor for the last 10+ years. His experience includes developing educational and vocational goals and assisting with personal and social-emotional problems. His experience has also equipped him with a wealth of resources and connections to community based organizations. Myron is known for his ability to relate to children. When it comes to the students, he has the perfect balance of being firm, yet friendly. Having two children of his own provides insight to the concerns of parents and allows him to be a liaison for the home-school partnership. Myron plans to continue his education at York College and become a Special Education Teacher.
Tai'Asia Hutchinson, Community Assistant
Tai'Asia is a recent graduate of Brooklyn College where she received her Bachelors in Health and Nutrition Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health also at Brooklyn College. During her undergraduate years, Tai'Asia enjoyed working with many different communities and enjoyed helping put the members of these communities in touch with needed resources. In her previous positions, she has had the opportunity to tackle the issues of goal development, direct recruitment, and a myriad of administrative tasks.
Gayitri Indar, ISS
Ms. Indar has been an educator for eight years, having received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Psychology from StonyBrook University. Additionally, she has her Masters in Education from Pace University. For most of her career, Ms. Indar has served as a team teacher, collaborating with colleagues to create differentiated lessons that made content accessible to all students. Her growth as a professional has always been a priority, and therefore, Ms. Indar has served as a curriculum writer for the Global Studies Department and as it's Professional Learning Community team leader. These opportunities allowed her to gain valuable organizational and leadership skills.
Ketlynne Joseph, Science
Ms. J was raised in Queens, New York and found her passion for working with children early on. She volunteered regularly as a P.S. 4 volunteer tutor and peer tutor throughout her time at St. Francis Preparatory School. She went on to attend Spelman College where she pursued a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. In 2006 she was accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows as a secondary science teacher and pursued her Master's in Education. Ms. Joseph's teaching career began at the middle school level teaching seventh and eighth grade science. There she also served as Dance Coordinator which has allowed her to incorporate her passion into her career. Over the past six years she has taught science to grades 7, 8, and 9, served as step coach at Christ the King, and assistant dance teacher at K.E.Y.A. Dance Studio. She has been blessed to have the opportunity to continually renew herself and grow as an educator.
Meisi Lau, ELA
Mrs. Lau was raised in Long Island and received her Bachelor’s degree in English and her Master’s Degree in Education and TESOL/Lingusitics from StonyBrook University. She is dually certified in ESL and ELA, and has taught both ESL and ELA in NYC public schools. Prior to joining the DOE, Meisi served the Asian-American community in Chinatown where she coordinated an afterschool program, designed and taught SAT prep classes and held multiple workshops on writing college application essays. In her free time, Mrs. Lau likes to draw, cook, dance and do yoga.
Crystal Lauren, Mathematics
Crystal Lauren was born and raised in the streets of many of NYC's finest boroughs. She will always be a girl from Lower East Side, but she also spent a great deal of her life in the Bronx. She has been teaching for 5 years at I.S. 93, her former school, and just graduated her final class of 8th graders. Prior to teaching, she worked in an animal hospital and spent a few years working at Columbia University as a security guard. Ms. Lauren went to school upstate at Clarkson University, but received a double Bachelors degree from Hunter College in Economics and Sociology. She is a NYC Teaching Fellow and graduated from Pace University with a Masters in Education. She is currently attending Queens College for Exercise, Nutrition, and Dietetics. Along with teaching, she is pursuing a bodybuilding/modeling career and is an avid boxer. She hopes to eventually train young female boxers in the city. Ms. Lauren has played all kinds of sports since she can remember and is pretty much an open book when asked respectfully.
Daniel Lindner, Science
Mr. Lindner was raised in Long Island, NY. He received his Bachelors of Arts at Hofstra University, majoring in Biology. After earning his Bachelors, Mr. Lindner was the field research assistant for Dr. Myla Aronson of Hofstra University. Mr. Lindner worked with high school students throughout Long Island by mentoring them on how to conduct a proper experiment. Mr. Lindner continued his education by attending SUNY Old Westbury, earning his Masters in Biology Secondary Education. Mr. Lindner is looking forward to teaching Living Environment at Cambria Heights Academy, and is committed to preparing students for their academic and professional careers.
Emilio Macalalad, Science
Emilio Macalalad (Mr. Mac) has taught science for the last 8 years in NYC, from middle to high school, from Manhattan to Brooklyn and now Queens. He has taught Health, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Living Environment during his years as a science educator. He has also served as Dean of Discipline and Project Arts Coordinator at a previous school in East Harlem. He was born and raised in Southern California. Mr. Mac completed his Bachelor's of Science in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. He went to graduate school and earned his Master's of Education at University of Massachusetts, Boston. He went on to complete his administrative license and Post Master's Certification in Educational Leadership at Long Island University in Brooklyn. Mr. Mac is looking forward to working at CHA this fall because he believes in the mission and vision of the school. Mr. Mac shares a lot of the values and beliefs that help lay the foundation for the school. He believes that students need to be better prepared for the future and college by teaching and learning in a 21st century classroom and school.
Armando Madera, ISS/Dean
Mr. Madera was born and lived in Brooklyn until turning 5 years old. He was raised in Queens ever since, graduating from Forest Hills H.S. in 1987. Mr. Madera had two degrees in Marketing, an A.A.S. from NYC Technical College and BBA from Baruch College, but felt he found his calling working with teens and young adults for fourteen years as a assistant and substitute teacher, job coach, and J.V. basket ball coach at a private day school. In 2007, Mr. Madera was accepted as a New York City Teaching Fellows and received a Master of Arts in Teaching in 2009 from Queens College. Over the years, he has taught math, worked as a Transition Linkage Coordinator, and coached Girls Varsity Tennis. He is excited to begin his seventh year with the NYC DOE at Cambria Heights Academy.
Dilcia Medina, Parent Coordinator
Dilcia Medina was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and lived there until she was eleven. Her family relocated to New York City and she has been living here for 21 years. She attended public schools throughout her school years. Right after high school, she attended City College and later transfered to the School of New Resources, College of New Rochelle, where she graduated with a bachelors degree in Psychology. Ms. Medina has been serving families for ten years in the Department of Education. She started in a small school in East Harlem called The Heritage School as a school aide, and later was hired as a parent coordinator. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and is very honored to join the Cambria Heights Academy for New Literacies.
E. Miller Jr., Physical Education
Mr. E. Miller Jr. has been a teacher for 8 years. Mr. Miller was born and raised in Queens, New York. He has taught for the New York State Board of Education and Florida State Department of Education. Mr. Miller has taught Elementary, Middle, and High School level children. He holds a Bachelors degree from Michigan State University in Physical Education and Exercise Science, and a Master’s Degree from Alfred University in Literacy. Mr. Miller also teaches Martial Arts and has been a Black Belt since 1985. Mr. Miller has also coached basketball at the high school level, and participated as a skills coach for various other levels. Mr. Miller has become a part of CHA because of his desire to help the children from his hometown succeed. He also enjoys the opportunity to grow with a school and develop opportunities for the students that can last for decades.
Maureen Murphy, ISS
Maureen Murphy was born and raised in Yorktown Heights, NY. She graduated with her Bachelor's degree in English from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Immediately following graduation from college she went on to serve in the United States Army for six and a half years. She worked as a communications specialist in the Signal Corps setting up telephone lines, running and splicing cable for various networks. While serving in the military she lived in North Carolina, South Korea and Georgia. She moved to New York City at the end of 2004 and currently resides in Astoria, NY. She worked as a compliance officer for Citigroup on Wall Street for two years. She was accepted into the NYC teaching fellows program in 2007 and received her Masters of Arts in Special Education in 2009. She is entering her sixth year of teaching in New York City. She is currently working on a Masters of Science in Literacy grades 5-12, which will be completed in May 2013. She enjoys reading, yoga, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, and weight lifting.
Jasmine Ortiz, Spanish
Ms. Ortiz was raised in New Rochelle, NY and graduated from New Rochelle High School before completing her bachelor's degree in Secondary Education at St. John's University in Queens. She is a Spanish teacher who previously worked at a transfer high school in the Bronx where she served under-credited and over-age youth. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Bilingual Education.
Rob Strobel, Physical Education
Mr. Strobel has been a teacher for 8 years, during which he has taught at the Elementary and High School levels. Mr. Strobel received his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from SUNY Cortland and his Master’s Degree in Health Education from Hofstra University. While attending Cortland, Mr. Strobel swam and ran track. Mr. Strobel has coached 8 seasons of track, getting student athletes to State Championship meets many times. Mr. Strobel is very excited to join the CHA community and to help and grow our school.
Christopher Toffolo, Art/Technology
Born and raised on the south shore of Long Island, Mr. Toffolo has experienced a public education for most of his life. Mr. Toffolo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Hofstra University where he worked intensively with cutting edge technology in the fields of film, television, and radio. After working in the field for the Apple computer company, Mr. Toffolo decided to dedicate his life to teaching his real passion: reading and writing. He went back to Hofstra University to complete graduate work and obtained a Master's of Science degree in Secondary Eduction in English. Mr. Toffolo is now certified to teach grades 7-12 in English throughout New York State. Mr. Toffolo comes to Cambria Heights Academy after spending time at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. Here, Mr. Toffolo taught English courses to 9th and 10th graders from various backgrounds and learning styles. During this time, he successfully integrated technology and various types of writing into daily lessons. Technology and writing are two important areas that Mr. Toffolo uses in his daily lessons. Along with a strong passion for reading, writing, and technology, Mr. Toffolo loves to bike, snowboard, and surf the sweet waves on the south shore of Long Island.
Adam Sacher, Science
Adam Sacher is beginning his fifth year as a physics teacher in NYC. Trained as a Chemical Engineer at the University at Buffalo, he has done research in Oxygen storage and generation systems. His talents also are in construction where he and his wife were featured on HGTV’s Small Space Big Style due to his wife's interior design talents paired with Mr. Sacher’s execution of her designs. Mr. Sacher’s first Masters degree was in Special Education where his thesis focused on how students can better organize their knowledge and enhance their approach to word problems by “thinking on paper.” It has been said that there are two parts of the brain, the finding part and the analyzing part. If both are asked to suspend and use information at the same time, the ability to conquer complex and layered problems is diminished. Like Mr. Sacher says, “It is easier to have the puzzle pieces in front of you to be manipulated and pieced together to completion, rather than trying to put imaginary pieces together in your mind.” It is with this approach that Mr. Sacher helps students master physics and other subjects that utilize tests as a type of assessment. Mr. Sacher is also a health enthusiast and is currently in a Masters program for Nutrition at Queens College.
Josh Schulman, ELA
Josh Schulman has been teaching ELA and Literacy for nine years. He received his undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education from SUNY Geneseo, and his Masters degree in Fiction Writing from Queens College. An amateur writer, filmmaker, and musician, Mr. Schulman brings his love of all forms of literacy into the classroom. He is a strong advocate for the use of technology in education, believing that technological literacy is an essential ingredient of success in a 21st Century world.
Eli Steier, ELA
Eli was born, raised, and currently lives in Queens. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, and completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees at Stony Brook University. His global perspective, which was deepened from living in New York City, was expanded at Stony Brook where he was a Graduate Residence Assistant in the international dormitories. He is dual certified in ELA and ESOL and is thrilled about teaching at Cambria Heights Academy for New Literacies. His passion for teaching, reading, and writing was recognized by the student council at Hauppauge High School which awarded him the 2010 LEAD Award. Throughout his teaching career Mr. Steier has brought innovation and dedication, whether it be initiating and advising the Juggling Poetry Club, or securing a DonorsChoose.org grant for his students. In addition to being a teacher, Mr. Steier is a poet whose most recent work was published in Poetica magazine. On a unique note, Mr. Steier is also a fan of the often libeled bird, the pigeon. Committed to education, Mr. Steier knows that each student is unique and has the ability to succeed.
Teana White, Mathematics
Ms. White has lived in four of the five boroughs of New York City, working with students in a number of capacities to help develop their academic, social, and personal interests. An advocate for student achievement both inside and outside of the classroom, Ms. White enjoys using the arts to encourage students to think creatively and strategically about their goals. A proud graduate of Amherst College, where she double majored in English and Theater/Dance, she is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Education at St. John's University. Ms. White is looking forward to joining the CHA team where she will be teaching Integrated Algebra and Dance.