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Taina Torres  Co-Principal

Taina Torres

Ms. Torres grew up in a small town in Georgia and upon graduating traveled across the country to study at the University of Nevada. While studying English Literature and Writing at UNR, she worked with a group of professors to write grants for and eventually open a new high school. The mission was and is to create a space where quality education that reaches beyond the walls of the school building is accessible to students from traditionally underserved communities. Once the school opened, she taught writing while earning her undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, her plan to go to law school was overshadowed by her interest for equity in education. Ms. Torres traveled to Ukraine for the next two and a half years with the US Peace Corps. There she built literacy programs for grades 3 - 12 and worked at local universities training teachers in pedagogical methodologies and curriculum building. She also began working with an American nonprofit in Ukraine, as the Director of Curriculum for an international academic project that brought students from the US and former CIS States together around issues of international importance.

After her time with the Peace Corps, Ms. Torres moved to Chicago to direct a literacy program for newly arrived immigrants. While in Chicago she received a fellowship to study education at Columbia University and work in New York City Public Schools as an English/ENL teacher and teacher consultant. She also spent summers delivering workshops at various universities, including Columbia University, to support teachers and teams in pedagogy and professional learning. After many years working as a teacher and teacher leader, Taina co-designed a new school and became a founding School Leader of the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management. At UASEM she has had the experiences of being a Teacher, Teacher Leader, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal and Co-Principal.

Robert Magliaro  Co-Principal

Robert Magliaro

Mr. Magliaro is a founding member of UASEM and helped write the initial proposal for the school. He earned his B.S. as a triple major in Economics, International Relations, and Public Policy from Syracuse University where he graduated as one of 12 University Scholars.  Mr. Magliaro came to education through Teach for America and for the past five years has taught math from grades 7 to 12 in the South Bronx.  He has also helped support teachers and students as an Instructional Lead and Data Coach.  Prior to teaching Mr. Magliaro worked at the Pennsylvania Governor's Office, for the Mayor of Syracuse, and Lovell's International Law Firm in Hong Kong.  Always data driven, outside of UASEM Mr. Magliaro logs miles training for marathons, adds to the list of places he's traveled, goes to at least one concert a month, and tracks down good food. 

Mr. Innes grew up in Long Island, NY and has also lived in North Carolina and NYC. He currently resides in Connecticut with his family.  Mr. Innes was a history major as an undergrad and earned his Master’s of Arts in Teaching degree in 2004 from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  He taught high school social studies in North Carolina for one year before moving back to New York to continue teaching. After working in a middle school for one year, Mr. Innes transferred to a 7 – 12 school in the Bronx where he taught Humanities for two years. It was during this time that Mr. Innes developed a passion for educational leadership.  He applied and was accepted into the New York City Leadership Academy, which he graduated from in 2012. He accepted a position as an assistant principal at a 7 – 12 school in Harlem and worked there for six years. In his spare time, Mr. Innes enjoys going to the beach with his family, playing golf, reading and watching sports on TV.

Sal Puglisi  Emergency Management

Sal Puglisi
Emergency Management

Mr. Puglisi joined the NYC Department of Education in 2007 after earning his Masters of Urban Education at Mercy College in the Bronx. Mr. Puglisi has been teaching Middle School Science ever since. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Puglisi had a 10-year career as an Emergency Medical Technician (“EMT”) in New York City. He responded to 911 emergencies and was a founding member of a hospital-based Hazardous Material Team. Mr. Puglisi has been honored by the “Women’s Bond Club of New York” and the “NASDAQ” for his efforts on 9/11 and the rescue and recovery effort that followed. Currently, in addition to teaching, Mr. Puglisi is a volunteer firefighter and the Emergency Medical Service Lieutenant of his local fire department. In 2012 Mr. Puglisi was awarded the EMT of the year award. Mr. Puglisi has led a life of community service, and is passionate about teaching and emergency preparedness.

E Oliver  Partnership Coordinator

E Oliver
Partnership Coordinator

Ms. Oliver was born and raised in Minnesota. She earned her B.A. in English and History from the University of Minnesota and went on to work as a writer in Minneapolis, a bike messenger in Oregon, an ESL teacher in rural Thailand, and a literature teacher at an IB School in Burma, among many other motley pursuits. She is an avid bicyclist, reader, writer, loves travel and nature, and is always on the look-out for her next adventure. While earning her M.A. at the New School for Social Research, Ms. Oliver helped grow the Civic Engagement and Social Justice program there. This work nurtured her passion for service and for connecting academic learning to communities outside the classroom. She is excited to help bring the world into UASEM, and to get UASEM students out into the world.

Janet L-Perosi   Office Manager

Janet L-Perosi
Office Manager

Ms. Perosi was born in the Bronx, was raised in Brooklyn (graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School), and now lives in New Jersey. She has her Bachelor's degree in Accounting  and Business, which led to her first major career in banking at the Industrial Bank of Japan on Wall Street. Eventually she moved over to the DOE, where she has been ever since. Her first 16 years with the DOE were at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn.  Ms. Perosi is an awesome wife, supportive mother, and a fun grandmother who loves to spend money and shop. She likes to travel abroad to Italy, Paris, Greece, Portugal, and other exciting places like Alaska.

Thaddeus Bower  English

Thaddeus Bower

Mr. Bower, a Baltimore native and dyed-in-the-wool Ravens fan, has lived in New York City for the past fourteen years. Prior to his teaching career, Mr. Bower worked as an editor, agent and international scout in the book publishing industry in New York. In 2007, he joined the Department of Education as a Teaching Fellow. He has since taught myriad high school courses in the South Bronx ranging from Journalism and Life Skills electives, to Honors and AP English. Additionally, he has served as English Department Chair and College Advisor. Mr. Bower holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.F.A. from Columbia University and M.S.T. from Fordham University.

Michael Buchney   Emergency Management

Michael Buchney
Emergency Management

Mr. Buchney grew up in Highland Lakes, NJ. Prior to teaching, he worked for three years at the Academy for Educational Development in Washington, D.C., administering Human and Institutional Capacity Development programs in Liberia and Indonesia. In 2011, he entered education through Teach for America. Mr. Buchney has experience teaching a variety of math courses at the High School level as a Special Educator. He holds a bachelors degree in International Development and Economics from American University and an MSEd in Adolescent Special Education from Hunter College. In his free time, Mr. Buchney enjoys collecting vinyl records, supporting Liverpool FC, and attending Yankees games. 

Falynn Newman  Global History

Falynn Newman
Global History

Ms. Newman was inspired by her passionate teachers throughout her life to pursue a career in education. She joins UASEM after a variety of teaching experiences in both urban and suburban settings. A New Jersey native, she spent her summers as a teenager working with children for many years at summer camp, which only furthered her passion to make a difference for the youth around her. Her journey continued during her time at Syracuse University, graduating with a degree in Social Studies Education and she went on to New York University where she received her Master’s degree in Literacy Education. Ms. Newman enjoys creating unique learning experiences for her students and often does so by integrating what she learned while studying in London, as well as the time she spent with the Anti-Defamation League, to convey the importance of studying history in order to better understand the present and the future.

Gary Cruz  Math

Gary Cruz

Mr. Cruz was born, raised, and currently lives in the Bronx.   His dream was always to become a teacher and was known to have an imaginary class at the age of five.  Mr. Cruz volunteered to tutor other students at his high school, Monsignor Scanlan, under the supervision of his math teacher, Mrs. Marilyn Slattery.  Under her tutelage, his interest in Mathematics grew exponentially and so did his desire to become a teacher.  Mr. Cruz double majored at Fordham University in Math and English and was quite indecisive about which subject he would rather teach.  Upon completion of his B.S. in Mathematics in 2003, Mr. Cruz returned to Monsignor Scanlan High School where he became a Math teacher for the next six years.  With Mrs. Slattery as department chair, Mr. Cruz grew as a teacher and taught various subjects including, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Calculus.  Mr. Cruz also developed and taught a curriculum for SAT Math prep.  He was also able to teach English 10 for a couple months while another teacher fell ill and enjoyed it, but definitely prefers Math. At Scanlan, Mr. Cruz also coached bowling, became assistant coach and eventually head coach of boys’ volleyball and became assistant coach of girls’ volleyball — all experiences that he thoroughly enjoyed. After six years, Mr. Cruz had to go on hiatus from teaching in order to pursue an M.S. Ed in Mathematics Education. Mr. Cruz graduated from CUNY Lehman in 2012 while working at M.S. 80, a middle school in the Bronx, where he taught 7th and 8th ELL Mathematics.  His desire to work at a high school led him to work at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx for three years where he taught Geometry, Trigonometry, and Applied Math and founded a chapter of the National Honors Society for the school. Mr. Cruz is fluent in Spanish and likes to fill his free time with fantasy football, watching football and various television shows, and playing handball. Mr. Cruz hopes to one day be an assistant principal, but cannot imagine ever leaving the classroom.   

Diana Herrera

Diana Herrera

Ms. Herrera was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended Cerritos Community College and majored in Economics and accounting while working at Bank of America and a retail shoe store to get her through school. During that time she also earned her Medical Billing certification and was highly involved in the community through Project HOPE, Scholar Honor Society, and as Vice-President of the Business Club. After three years she transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara and became involved in education through The Family Literacy Program where she worked with undocumented elementary students. Her interest in Chicano Studies and education grew thanks to a course on educational barriers and the teachings of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. Working as an Elementary Teaching Assistant, one special student made her want to become an educator focusing on students with learning disabilities. She switched her major to Psychology to better understand human growth and development. That year she became a research assistant to her professor and worked with at-risk adolescents in a high school in Santa Barbara County. Ms. Herrera learned about Teach for America that same year and felt that TFA's values and mission were aligned with her own, which brought her to New York City classrooms. She has a newly obtained Masters Degree from Fordham University in Teaching Exceptional Adolescents grades 7-12. She taught math at two schools in Brooklyn. When she’s not in the classroom, Ms. Herrera enjoys reading a good book, Sunday brunch, authentic Mexican food, and meeting new friends.

S. Rose Horn   Art

S. Rose Horn

Ms. Horn grew up as a country girl in the rural hills of south eastern Ohio. She graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A. in arts with a specialization in life size sculptural ceramics. For graduate school she moved to the big apple and earned a M.A.T from the School of Visual Arts. Upon graduation she started her work with the Department Of Education helping students realize their artistic voices. Her greatest love in life is racing and cruising sailboats. She plans to become a skipper of her own boat and sail around the world. 

Elise Ritter  Global History

Elise Ritter
Global History

Ms. Ritter grew up in New Jersey. She attended Boston University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education. She then completed a master’s degree in Reading Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Ms. Ritter has taught a variety of history courses ranging from grades 6 – 12 and subjects including Global History, AP United States History, Ancient World, and Geography.  Outside of school, Ms. Ritter enjoys traveling and exploring as a way to learn more about the history of our nation and world.

Emmy Lee  Math

Emmy Lee

Ms. Lee grew up in East Williston, Long Island. As a freshman in high school, thanks to an inspirational math teacher, she fell in love with math and solving complex problems. From that point, she knew she wanted to pass on her love of math and become a teacher. After four years of college, she graduated Adelphi University with a Bachelors in mathematics and a Masters in Education. Through her education, she found that she wanted to pass on to her students the idea of making connections to better understand concepts, rather than through memorization. Ms. Lee loves traveling and exploring new places. She has a strong fascination in the art of the Italian Renaissance and tries to infuse art into her classroom. She plans on going back to school this Spring to learn American Sign Language.  Ms. Lee believes that learning never stops, and that we are all life-long learners.

Andrew Foley  ESL

Andrew Foley

Mr. Foley grew up in Stony Brook, Long Island. He earned a B.A. degree in Political Science with a minor in Spanish at SUNY Geneseo and first pursued a career in education law and policy by attending law school here in New York City. While attending law school, Mr. Foley taught a variety of law and ELA based classes through several non-profit organizations. In doing so, he recognized his true passion for teaching and working with high school students. Mr. Foley entered the teaching profession as an English as s Second Language(ESL) instructor through the NYC teaching fellows. He is familiar with how difficult it can be to become proficient in a second language and is dedicated to helping all of his students to succeed. In his spare time Mr. Foley enjoys traveling the world, kayaking, running, and cooking with friends.

Kimberly Coleman   French

Kimberly Coleman

Ms. Coleman decided early on to immerse herself in world language and culture, studying both French and Italian in school as a teenager. Her love of food, movies, and politics helped drive her to learn more about other ways of life around the world. She continued to study language at Stony Brook University, focusing on French and Russian. However, speaking in the classroom was not enough, and wanting to experience life abroad herself, Ms. Coleman attended L'Institut de Touraine in France and St. Petersburg University in Russia over the summer semesters. Studying abroad became an important motivator for Ms. Coleman to go into education, graduating from her home school with a Bachelors in French Language and Literature and a Masters in Pedagogy. Having taught and tutored for several years within Manhattan, Ms. Coleman continues to travel over breaks so she can bring real-world experiences and souvenirs into her daily lessons. Outside of school, Ms. Coleman teaches and practices yoga. She also really loves her pet,  Bunny the Cat. 

Sundoes Elbery   Anatomy/ Psychology

Sundoes Elbery
Anatomy/ Psychology

Ms. Elbery received a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Rutgers University- New Brunswick, NJ, where she also participated in the Aresty Research Program, studying the effects of low-income individuals with diabetes in relationship to their health beliefs and behaviors in New Brunswick. She then expanded that research through the G.H Cook Scholars Program, studying the possible causes and effects of having Type 2 Diabetes in patients who reside in Alexandria, Egypt. She also rowed, for two years, on the Rutgers Women’s Rowing team, and was the Public Relations Officer, Treasurer, and Events Coordinator for a non-profit organization on campus called United Muslim Relief, of which her twin sister was the president.  Ms. Elbery is currently a New York City Teaching Fellow and will be receiving her Masters in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2018. She was born and raised in Newark, NJ and still resides in New Jersey. Outside of school she is a social justice activist and loves weightlifting and cats. 

Cameron Simerau  Health and Phys Ed

Cameron Simerau
Health and Phys Ed

Mr. Simerau is a Michigan native, having grown up about an hour north of Detroit. He is entering his 3rd year in education after earning a bachelor's degree in K-12 physical education & health from Grand Valley State University. Mr. Simerau has taught a variety of physical education courses at the high school level, ranging from strength and conditioning to team/individual activities. Mr. Simerau has a background in coaching, having spent the past 6 years coaching varsity football in the state of Michigan. Mr. Simerau is an avid Michigan football fan. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and trying new foods with his wife, Courtnee, and their dog Bo.

Josephine Piccinic   Physical Education

Josephine Piccinic
Physical Education

Ms. Piccinic was born in Hoboken, NJ and attended high school in Cliffside Park where she ran track for three years.  She attended Bergen Community College on a full athletic scholarship and majored in Physical Education with the goal of becoming a teacher.  Ms. Piccinic then continued her education and track scholarship at Long Island University.  Upon receiving her Bachelors degree, she remained at LIU to pursue two Masters degrees -- one in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training and the second Guidance & Counseling.  Additionally, she was an Olympic track & field candidate for the marathon.  Ms. Piccinic has taught PE for over 25 years.  Her educational philosophy is founded on the belief that a well-rounded education in a variety of physical disciplines prepares students to better understand and engage in the challenges they will face in life.  Her breadth of experience, both as a professional athlete as well as an experienced educational professional well-versed in a variety of teaching methodologies, allows her to effectively engage with her students as both a mentor and a role model, exposing them to a wide range of sporting activities and guiding them in matters of health and fitness.

Kathy Pham   Living Environment

Kathy Pham
Living Environment

Ms. Pham teaches Living Environment.

Asma Shabbir

Asma Shabbir

Ms. Shabbir was born and raised in a small valley in Kashmir, Pakistan. At the age of 18, she moved across the world starting a new educational journey. Inspired by her experience of learning English as a New Language, she decided to major in English earning a B.A. from Mercy College. Getting into higher education was her childhood dream, though it was not met without challenges in the new world. With the help and support of her teachers and professors, she was able to succeed in college, and she realized how education can transform one’s life. It was at this time that she decided to become a teacher and give back to her community. In pursuing her dream, Ms. Shabbir attended St. John’s University through New York City Teaching Fellows and earned her MS in Education in 2019. In her free time, Ms. Shabbir enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time in nature and with her family and friends. At UASEM, Ms. Shabbir lives her dream of teaching and learning everyday along with her students.

Veronica Morera  Guidance

Veronica Morera

Ms. Morera is UASEM's Guidance Counselor.  Ms. Morera was born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan . She earned her BA at City College of New York where she majored in Human Services and minored in Psychology; she earned her master's in Social Work at NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has worked in non for profit community organizations for the past 15 years facilitating the empowerment of adolescents and their families. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with her family and watching movies.

Joshua Garcia   Parent Coordinator

Joshua Garcia
Parent Coordinator

Mr. Garcia was born, raised and currently lives in the South Bronx. He wants to continue his studies in psychology, where eventually he can work deep within similar communities he grew up in. His first year working as a parent coordinator, he was awarded by one of the parents “Parent Coordinator of the year,” for helping them get through hardships. Mr. Garcia loves sports (a two time fantasy football champion) and enjoys playing football and basketball on his free time. He has been playing piano for over 10 years and has a diverse taste in music. He also enjoys traveling, watching anime and eating a bacon, egg and cheese every morning (with ketchup.) His dream is to open up a school in the South Bronx one day; offering an equitable amount of opportunities to those living in poverty and distress.

Shawna Wint  Special Education

Shawna Wint
Special Education

Ms. Wint was born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Nutrition Science at Brooklyn College. She is currently a New York City Teaching Fellow and will be receiving her Master of Arts in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2020. Her decision to become an educator was a personal one, inspired by her own experience and triumph. Ms. Wint  believes that every student deserves equal opportunity to achieve success. Academic success for all students means taking the necessary steps to make a difference in the lives of our future. In her spare time Ms. Wint enjoys socializing with friends and family, traveling, dancing, and reading.  

Yasnery Ramirez-Wood  Math

Yasnery Ramirez-Wood

Ms. Ramirez-Woodard earned her B.S. in Political Science at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. As an undergraduate student, she was an intern at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations for a non-profit organization. She worked as a paralegal for law firms in New York and in the midst of her work there, she decided to pursue teaching instead of law school. She earned her M.A. in Special Education from the City College of New York. She has taught middle school Math for the past 8 years. She served as a theatre advisor, a cycling coach, a running coach and has led many other extracurricular activities including student trips to Canada, Chicago, San Diego, and Boston. She is a runner and has completed the New York City Marathon multiple times. She loves to travel and is always up for a challenge.

Samantha Elkaim  English

Samantha Elkaim

Ms. Elkaim is a New York native and a product of the New York City public school system. She completed a Bachelors in English from Hunter College and went on to receive her Masters in Education at St. Johns University. She joined the Department of Education in 2014 as a New York City Teaching Fellow and worked in the Bronx before coming to UASEM. Quality public education is a priority for Ms. Elkaim and she has worked with CUNY and the Early College Initiative to make sure students are receiving the tools they need to graduate and be college ready. Outside of teaching, Ms. Elkaim enjoys biking, traveling, and cooking.