Chapin Welcomes 2021-2022 Professional Community Members

Twenty-five accomplished faculty and staff have joined us at Chapin as the 2021-2022 school year begins. Below are brief profiles provided by these newest members of the Professional Community:

LOWER SCHOOL

DESIREE BUTLER, Kindergarten Associate Teacher

  • Experience: Desiree began at a military day care center and most recently taught at a private elementary school and day care in Brooklyn Heights.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Park University and is currently in graduate school at Hunter College.
  • Fun Facts: Desiree likes to travel, roller skate and eat seafood.
  • In Their Own Words: “Something that excites me about Chapin is the partnership amongst teachers. There is so much support offered to help you grow as an educator and feel welcomed.”

JENNY JIANG, Class 1 Associate Teacher

  • Experience: Jenny has worked with numerous educational institutions as a student teacher, teaching fellow and tutor. She has worked with lead teachers and co-teachers, including in two Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes.
  • Education: Earned dual bachelor’s degree in Childhood and Special Education and Psychology from New York University.
  • Fun Facts: Jenny loves to travel and visit new places.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am super excited to learn and grow as an educator at Chapin this year. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work closely with Jes Thies, who has been with Chapin for over 15 years. On top of that, I am looking forward to forming deep and meaningful connections with each and every one of the students and staff.”

ALEXANDRA LEIB, Class 3 Associate Teacher

  • Experience: Alexandra taught as a consultant general education teacher for the resource room at a public elementary school on Long Island.
  • Education: Graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Elementary Education and is currently getting an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Hunter College.
  • Fun Facts: Alexandra enjoys spending time with family and pets, reading and traveling.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am most excited to be part of the excellent teaching community Chapin has cultivated. From the moment I first entered the building, I have been met with welcome smiles and open arms.”

MAHEEN NASIR, Class 3 Associate Teacher 

  • Experience: Last year, Maheen was a Teaching Assistant in Chapin’s Lower School.
  • Education: Holds an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education from St. John’s University and is pursuing a master’s in special education.
  • Fun Facts: Maheen likes to read new mystery books, hang out with friends and family, and free write.
  • In Their Own Words: “I look forward to building relationships with my students, so they feel comfortable in the classroom and enjoy learning. Chapin has an amazing work environment, which excites me to build more relationships and learn from all of the community.”

MARY OSTROVER, Science Teacher

  • Experience: Mary has held teaching position at the Taipei American School in Taiwan, in international schools in Hong Kong, and at The United Nations International School (UNIS).
  • Education: Studied Political Science at Vassar College and received an Educational Technology certification from Michigan State University.
  • Fun Facts: The parent of a Chapin student, Mary spends free time throwing pottery, sewing and gardening.
  • In Their Own Words: “I’m excited to teach at a girls school, which is new to me. I’ve always taught in the tech and science world, where women are underrepresented so I’m looking forward to changing that.”

ROWEN HALPIN, Lower School Associate Science Teacher

  • Experience: Rowen was a Chapin Teaching Assistant during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Education: Holds a B.S. in Theater and Biology from Skidmore College.
  • Fun Facts: Finding the best food in New York City, solving crossword puzzles and tending to houseplants are among Rowen’s favorite activities.
  • In Their Own Words: “What excites me about working at Chapin is the opportunity to show young women that they belong in STEAM. Chapin students are so resilient and eager to learn. To get to be a part of their educational journeys is really a privilege.”
     

MIDDLE SCHOOL

ANITA CHENG, Health Educator

  • Experience: A New York State-licensed and certified School Counselor, Anita spent 12 years working in New York City schools, collaborating with Columbia University’s Teachers College. Anita also worked as a district-wide School Counselor on Long Island, developing and implementing a social-emotional learning program.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a master’s in School Counseling from Touro College.
  • Fun Facts: Anita has an adventurous spirit and loves to explore new cultures through travel and also enjoys yoga, playing the piano and family dinners.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am excited to work at Chapin for many reasons, but the one that stands out to me the most is the high caliber level of commitment and dedication that Chapin has for providing its students with an experience that facilitates their growth and development into strong individual minds and nurtures them with the tools necessary to make a positive impact in the world.”

INÉS DE BRACAMONTE, Associate Teacher

  • Experience: Last spring, Inés joined Chapin as a Teaching Assistant.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wheaton College Massachusetts and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
  • Fun Facts: Inés likes to attend spin classes, play tennis and take advantage of New York City’s diverse cuisine offerings and was a four-year member of Wheaton’s varsity tennis team, playing in the number-one singles and doubles spot.
  • In Their Own Words: “Being a Teaching Assistant was a great experience as I was introduced to a polite and motivated student body and supportive faculty. I am excited to return to Chapin as a full-time member of the community.”

JOANNA DISINI, Science Teacher

  • Experience: Joanna taught various elementary grades at P.S. 334 The Anderson School, The Beacon Academy and Brent International School Manila, followed by five years at St. Agnes Academy in Key Biscayne, Florida, teaching 4th - 6th grade Science.
  • Education: Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from The University of the Philippines Diliman and received a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University.
  • Fun Facts: Joanna likes wakeboarding, running and Megaformer Pilates and was a member of the varsity swim team in college.
  • In Their Own Words: “I’m excited to be working with very accomplished teachers in their field and to be teaching science to fourth graders again.”

JAMIA JORDAN, Dance Teacher

  • Experience: Jamia studies with Rod Rodgers Dance Company and Jamel Gaines Dance Theatre of Brooklyn and has performed both nationally and internationally with both companies.
  • Education: Received a B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington and an M.A. in Dance Education as a 21st century scholarship recipient at New York University.
  • Fun Facts: Jamia is the proud founder of a non-profit dance organization that brings young dancers of color together to move and groove as well as educate their communities in dances from the African diaspora.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am especially excited to work with the 4th grade students as we are both new to Middle School. I cannot wait to see them blossom throughout the school year and over the course of their academic career here at Chapin.”

KYMBERLY MATTERN, Humanities Teacher

  • Experience: Kymberly student-taught at both Stuyvesant High School and at Mott Hall II Middle School.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Juniata College and has a Master of Arts in Teaching of Social Studies degree from Teachers College and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Clemson University and the College of Charleston.
  • Fun Facts: When not at school, you may find Kymberly swimming at the pool, at the park with Chestnut or reading an historical fiction book. Before becoming a teacher, Kymberly worked as the Grounds Conservation Manager at Historic Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am excited to join a community of educators who are truly passionate about what they are doing and the students that they teach, to be teaching inquisitive, curious and creative learners, and to combine my background in history, women and gender studies, historic preservation, and social studies education in my teaching practice.”

RACHAEL PIETROCOLA, Learning Resources Teacher

  • Experience: Rachael began teaching 5th grade in Harlem and, most recently, taught 7th grade in the Bronx.
  • Education: Graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and from Hunter College with a master’s degree in Teaching Students with Disabilities.
  • Fun Facts: Rachael loves to practice yoga and meditation, cook, read and spend time outdoors.
  • In Their Own Words: “What excites me most is being able to work with both students and their teachers to make the learning that is happening more accessible to all.”

AUGIE SHERMAN, Associate Teacher

  • Experience: Augie worked as an assistant teacher at the preschool PlayTogether NYC and in Advancement at Grace Church School.
  • Education: Graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A. in Dance and minors in English and Sociology.
  • Fun Facts: Augie directs a New York-based dance company and has presented choreography across New York City and Boston.
  • In Their Own Words: “It is a privilege to be part of a community that celebrates innovative teaching. I especially admire Chapin’s commitment to and appreciation of the arts. In the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve felt supported by my Class 5 faculty team and inspired by my kind and curious students.”
     

UPPER SCHOOL

LUKE D’ARGENIO, Mathematics Teacher

  • Experience: Luke has spent the last seven years teaching across the globe, including positions in both London and Singapore and recently taught Mathematics at Avenues in Manhattan.
  • Education: Studied Civil Engineering at Melbourne University and Teaching at LaTrobe University, also in Australia.
  • Fun Facts: Luke’s hobbies include playing and watching basketball, watching movies and staying up late to catch live Aussie rules football games.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am struck by how enthusiastic everybody is towards education. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of the community and, of course, I’m excited to meet and get to know my students.”

MARY GRACE CHAPMAN, Mathematics Teacher
 

THEODORE PRESTON, Mathematics Teacher

  • Experience: Theodore has held teaching positions in the New York City Board of Education, the Clayton County Board of Education in Georgia, and York Preparatory School.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Mathematics from Baruch College and a Master of Education degree from Georgia State University.
  • Fun Facts: Theodore also has over 20 years of college lecturing experience at Hunter College, New York City College of Technology, New York Institute of Technology and Barnard College.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am most excited about teaching at The Chapin School as I have never taught at an all-girls school. My prior teaching experience has been conducted in a coeducational learning environment. I embrace the challenge to acclimate to this new environment.”

KATHARINE REEVES, Learning Specialist

  • Experience: Katharine worked as a Special Education Coordinator at a public Middle School in Manhattan and an Upper School Learning Specialist at an Independent School in Brooklyn.
  • Education: Earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Policy Analysis and Administration with a minor in Education and a Master of Public Administration with a focus on Education Policy from Cornell University.
  • Fun Facts: Katharine enjoys running, skiing, baking and exploring New York’s museums.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am excited to work at Chapin as I want to be part of a school that emphasizes the importance of individuals coming together to work and grow as a community. I already feel very connected to the school and look forward to learning with and from my colleagues and students.”

LAUREN UPADHYAY, French Teacher 

  • Experience: Lauren worked for eleven years in higher education and for five years at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Education: Earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in French from Georgia State University and a doctorate in French Literature from Emory University.
  • Fun Facts: Lauren has continued an active research schedule, regularly presenting and publishing around the world on the work of Marguerite Duras.
  • In Their Own Words: “One of the reasons I was inspired to join the community at Chapin is because of the history of the school, having been founded by a suffragette focused on women's rights. I am also very excited to have the vast resources of the city of New York to draw from and bring into my classroom: the museums, libraries, parks and theaters.”

 

ATHLETICS

BRAD GREENMAN, Associate Director of Athletics

  • Experience: Brad worked at Trinity School for eight years teaching Physical Education and Health and serving as the Head Girls Basketball Coach.
  • Education: Graduated from Drew University with a degree in Political Science and Fairleigh Dickinson University with a master’s in Athletic Administration.
  • Fun Facts: Brad loves spending time at the beach, visiting new restaurants, binging TV shows and taking walks with family and Piper, a rescue dog. As an athlete, Brad became the first person in Newark Academy history to reach 1,000 points in basketball and 100 hits in baseball.
  • In Their Own Words: “I’m most excited about having the chance to be involved in the entire Athletic Department, not just the specific team I’m coaching that season. I’m also looking forward to developing new relationships with our coaches and players.”

MARISA MACCARIO, Manager of Fitness, Wellness and Sports Events

  • Experience: Marisa spent three years with Orangetheory Fitness as a head coach, coach and regional fitness educator.
  • Education: Graduated from The University of Connecticut with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Women’s Studies.
  • Fun Facts: Marisa loves working out, reading, hiking and talking long walks with Tucker, a golden retriever.
  • In Their Own Words: “The ability to further the knowledge to students and faculty about fitness and wellness is very exciting to me. The positivity, health benefits and team bonding that come along with fitness and wellness is something I can’t wait to share.”

 

STAFF

JOSEPH ALI, Senior Technology Specialist and Systems Coordinator
(Technology Department)

  • Experience: A member of the IT industry for over 15 years, Joseph has worked in schools previously and most recently moved from California to continue his career.
  • Fun Facts: Joseph likes going hiking, mountain biking, exploring the city and attending art and music events.
  • In Their Own Words: “The thing that excites me about working at Chapin is that I am in a high-energy environment where the focus is on the students and giving them the best possible learning experience.”

MARYORY DIAZ, Assistant to the School Nurse

 

BRYCE KENNEDY, Database and Office Services Coordinator
(Business Office)

  • Education: A recent college graduate, Bryce earned a B.A in Media and Communications with a minor in Photography from Drew University.
  • Fun Facts: Bryce was captain of the varsity tennis team at Drew and is interested in basketball, tennis, volleyball, esports, Japanese manga/anime and photography.
  • In Their Own Words: “What excites me most about working at Chapin is getting to know the members of the Professional Community. Everyone has been so kind and helpful to me, making me feel right at home.”

KAREN LEE, Associate Director of Lower School Admissions and Financial Aid

  • Experience: Karen began as a preschool teacher in a Montessori school in New York City, then served as the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights/Inwood. Most Recently, Karen was the Associate Director of Admission at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.
  • Education: Has a background in Early Childhood and Special Education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and master’s degree from Fordham University.
  • Fun Facts: Karen is deeply committed to community service and has traveled to Cambodia, Thailand, India and Tanzania to volunteer in varying capacities.
  • In Their Own Words: “The pandemic has caused us to take a step backwards in terms of women's progress in society. Now more than ever, I am excited to be a part of school community whose common goal is to educate, empower and uplift girls and young women.”

KATHRYN VAN SICKLE, Director of Major Gifts and Strategic Engagement
(Advancement Office)

  • Experience: Kathryn worked in major gifts at Columbia University and also held a role as regional officer, representing the university raising six and seven-figure gifts. Kathryn’s career launched at Trinity College, working on the annual fund with the leadership giving society.
  • Education: Received an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Connecticut and earned a master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia’s School of Professional Studies.
  • Fun Facts: Kathryn is the host of the podcast, “The Development Debrief” and volunteers for Trinity College’s Women’s Leadership Council and is a fundraising chair for the Jericho Project. Kathryn loves to run and spend time in Central Park.
  • In Their Own Words: “I am looking forward to working with and around strong women and girls in pursuit of bravery and academic excellence.”