For Malik Bembrey, the best part of being a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of his students. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Bembrey moved to Staten Island as a teenager where he graduated from Port Richmond High School. When he isn’t working or spending time with his son, Mr. Bembrey enjoys reading, traveling, and sports. In fact, Mr. Bembrey was the first African American to join the Staten Island Blackhawks hockey league!
“Observation is the key to intelligence!”
Damon Sean Black is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Mr. Black studied at Florida A&M University before beginning his twenty-year-long career as a professional basketball player in Europe! Since his return to the states, Mr. Black is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree while teaching at Lavelle. His favorite parts of being on our team are his co-workers as well as the children.
Tiara Brown is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. A Curtis High School alum, Ms. Brown is currently pursuing her teaching career while studying at the College of Staten Island. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the diversity in its staff. In her free time, Ms. Brown was a dancer and a model.
“Shoot for the Stars, even if you miss you’ll land on the Moon.”
Jessica Bruschi is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Mrs. Bruschi graduated from Wagner College with a BA in music and a BS in Elementary Education. She has also earned her MS in Elementary Education at the College of Staten Island. Mrs. Bruschi’s favorite parts of working at Lavelle Prep are the small class sizes, caring staff, supportive administration, and the opportunity to carry out her vision for music. Prior to her employment at ICS, Mrs. Bruschi taught music at I.S. 51 for several years. She then held the position of principal of Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun Hebrew School before retiring from her role to serve on the advisory committee. She lives with her husband, Louis, and has four daughters named Hannah, Isabel, Lila, and Frances. Mrs. Bruschi is inspired by David Bowie, her favorite musical artist!
“We can be heroes, just for one day.” -David Bowie
Victoria Caputo is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Caputo received an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the Borough of Manhattan Community College as well as a BS in Psychology from Brooklyn College. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Elementary Education 1-6 at the College of Staten Island. “My favorite part of working at Lavelle Prep is the teamwork between staff, teachers, and the students,” Ms. Caputo says. As a child, Ms. Caputo moved between Brooklyn, Connecticut, and Staten Island, where she now resides. She is a Virgo, loves watching science documentaries and spending time with her loved ones.
“Never give up.”
Amanda Casertano is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. An alum of Rider University, Ms. Casertano studied public relations and event planning as an undergrad. She graduated from her Master’s program with a degree in General/Special Education 1-6 and is currently pursuing her dual-certification. Ms. Casertano’s favorite part of Lavelle is learning alongside her co-workers. “The best part is that we do it as a team,” she says. “Each and every day, we work to better ourselves as teachers, educators, and role models to the future leaders of the world.” Prior to her employment at ICS, Ms. Casertano worked in editorial for a magazine in New York City until she quickly realized that the profession was not the best fit for her. Instead, she discovered her passion for teaching and feels empowered by watching her students grow confident in their writing each day. A few fun facts about Ms. Casertano is that she’s dessert-obsessed, a Sunday dinner advocate, and was once snuck into the front row of her first bridal fashion week!
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful.”
Carmelo Catapano is a school aide at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She received her Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the College of Staten Island. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is inspiring students to put forth their best efforts. Born and raised in Staten Island, Mr. Catapano played baseball throughout his life. He loves going to the gym as well as spending time with family, friends, and his German Shepard, Leila.
Christine Cormican is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Cormican graduated from St. John’s University with an MS in Childhood and Special Education. She enjoys working at Lavelle because of the collaboration between staff members. Born and raised in Staten Island, Ms. Cormican is the youngest of three siblings and describes herself as an avid football fan.
Jenna Curran is the principal at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Mrs. Curran graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations before pursuing her dual Master’s in Elementary and Special Education at St. John’s University. She has also earned her Master’s in School Administration from Wagner College. Mrs. Curran’s favorite part of working at Lavelle is the ‘teamwork’ mentality. “Different team members within the organization contribute different perspectives, and the synergy between team members produce creative and productive results,” she says. “I love to help draw out the unique skill sets of different staff members and watch their ideas come to life for children on Staten Island.” Mrs. Curran enjoys the simplest pleasures in life, such as spending a night at a Dave Matthews Band Concert or going to the park with her sons. A fun fact about Mrs. Curran’s family is that her nieces are named after New York Yankees players! Mattingly is named after Don Mattingly and Torre is named after Joe Torre.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”
Victoria Diglio is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Diglio graduated from the University of Scranton with a BA in liberal studies with a concentration in education, counseling, and behavioral sciences. She has also received a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and is currently pursuing her second in Early Childhood Education. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the amazing community of teachers and staff. “Everybody is very welcoming, helpful, and supportive,” Ms. Diglio says. “They make anyone feel comfortable and are always available to help when needed.” The youngest of two siblings, Ms. Diglio moved to Staten Island from Long Island as a child, where she attended Staten Island Academy in high school. She has helped to rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and is excited to be the aunt of her new nephew who was born in June!
“Difficult and meaningful will always bring more satisfaction than easy and meaningless.” – Maxime Lagacé
Alessandra D’Onorio-DeMeo is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. A graduate of Wagner College, Ms. DeMeo has a MA in education and psychology as well as an MSEd in Literacy. Her favorite part of working at ICS is the supportive staff and administration. “I always feel like someone is in my corner and rooting for me,” Ms. DeMeo says. “It is amazing to work in a place where your needs and wants are valued by all.” Ms. DeMeo discovered her passion for education at an early age. She remembers teaching her stuffed animals the alphabet as a child while “playing school.” A few of Ms. DeMeo’s favorite things include summer, pizza, shopping, iced coffee, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephews. She is also fluent in Italian!
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way. Kid, you’ll move mountains!” – Dr. Seuss
Alanna Dunn is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Dunn has received a BFA in Fine Arts from St. John’s University as well as an MFA in Studio Art from The City College of New York. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of staff and students. “Lavelle Prep is such a welcoming community and it is a pleasure to work here,” she says. Prior to studying in New York City, Ms. Dunn was born and raised in New Jersey. While in college, she was a Division 1 fencer at St. John’s University!
“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” -Anni Albers
Carissa Gonsalves-Doyle is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated with a Master’s degree after studying at St. John’s University and the College of Staten Island. “My favorite part about working at Lavelle is that it doesn’t feel like a job,” Mrs. Gonsalves-Doyle says. “It’s like being with my family while I educate and build relationships with my students.” Raised in Staten Island, Mrs. Gonsalves-Doyle recently moved to New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, four-year-old son, Alex, and their chocolate Labrador Retriever, Daisy. She loves to travel, especially cruising. In the past ten years, Mrs. Gonsalves-Doyle has spent 100 years at sea!
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Amanda Guida is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She received a BS in General/Special Education 1-6 from the College of Staten Island and an MSEd in General/Special Education 0-6 from Touro College. Ms. Guida discovered her passion for teaching at an early age. Her childhood teachers in both Staten Island and Brooklyn inspired her to pursue education as an adult. “I still keep in touch with my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Soren!” Ms. Guida says. Her favorite part about working at Lavelle is a similar connection she has with her own students. She loves to attend professional development seminars, spending time with family and friends, and cuddling with her Pitbull/Boxer, Rambo.
“Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.”
Laura Healy is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. An alumnus of St. John’s University, Ms. Healy has been an educator for twenty-eight years. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the creative and supportive staff. “I’ve been fortunate to work with some wonderful children and their families during my time at Lavelle,” she says. Ms. Healy admits that she loves Disney a bit more than should!
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Rawan Husein is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She has both a BA and MA in Elementary Education 1-6. Mrs. Husein’s favorite part of working at Lavelle is how friendly and welcoming her coworkers are. “Everyone greets each other with a smile. Everyone is willing to help,” she says. Mrs. Husein met her husband through a happenstance at a family gathering. When they got engaged, she planned on finishing college and moving from Staten Island to Dubai where he was living at the time. They decided to begin their life together in New York instead and now live there happily with their young daughter, Sophie. Mrs. Husein describes herself as a Disney fanatic. She owns 350 pairs of Mickey ears!
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney
Danielle Keeler is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Keeler graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BS in Early Childhood and Childhood Education as well as an MS in Childhood Education with a concentration in STEM. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the students and staff. “The students are motivated learners who love and care for each other’s success,” she says. “As a staff, we are a family.” While in college, Ms. Keeler led professional development for prospective teachers to learn how to utilize 3D printing in their classrooms. In her free time, she loves cooking, hiking, and her Australian Cattle-Mixed dog named Nugget.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
Nicole Lalla is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated from Touro College with a dual certification in both general and special education. One of her favorite parts of working at ICS is the diverse population of students and staff who collaborate, encourage, and support one another school-wide. “I love the opportunities that we have to offer to be inclusive for all such as parent workshops for literacy and mathematics, volunteering at local community events, and simply building parent-teacher relationships to ensure success for every student,” she says. “Lavelle implements culture and considers the needs for all because we acknowledge that all students are unique and learn in a variety of ways. When people ask if I love where I work, I am proud to say that I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else!” On school breaks, Ms. Lalla enjoys going on adventures with her four-year-old son, Daniel. She loves to decorate her home for the holidays and is the BIGGEST New York Yankee fan. Ms. Lalla has been playing softball for twenty years!
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
“No one is you and that is your power.”
“Be inspired, be inspiring.”
Deanna Legere is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated from the College of Staten Island with a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education 1-6 and a Master’s degree in Special Education 1-6. Mrs. Legere’s favorite part of working at Lavelle is the students and staff. “All of my coworkers are so supportive in everything I do and I consider them a second family,” she says. Born and raised in Staten Island, Mrs. Legere now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their fun-loving Pitbull, Enzo. She is big on sports and is a fan of the Yankees!
“Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”
Allison Lo Savio is the assistant principal at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated with a BA in Education, an MS in Childhood Education SWD, and a School Building Leadership Certificate. Mrs. Lo Savio’s favorite part of working at Lavelle is the tight-knit community. “Everyone is there to support one another from staff, students, families, and beyond,” Mrs. Lo Savio says. “Every day I wake up thankful that I’ve found my second home.” Born and raised in Staten Island, Mrs. Lo Savio currently lives with her husband, who she describes to be “exceptionally supportive of her career.” Ms. Lo Savio is a lifelong learner and is currently in school to receive her second Master’s degree. She loves karaoke and playing the harmonica!
“There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning is all linked.” — Eric Jensen.
Amanda MacIntyre is a teacher and instructional coach at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Mrs. MacIntyre received her BS in Childhood Education 1-6 from SUNY New Paltz. Following her graduation, she began teaching second and third grade at another charter school before pursuing her MS in Education from the College of Staten Island. Mrs. MacIntyre says her favorite part of working at ICS is a teacher’s opportunities for growth and development in their practice. She began at Lavelle as a fifth-grade mathematics teacher and moved to teach third grade ELA only a few years later. Mrs. MacIntyre lives with her husband, Donald, and her young son, Benjamin. She enjoys doing crafts and spending time with her MANY nieces and nephews!
“Never stop learning; for when we stop learning, we stop growing.”
Allison Mackey is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Mackey has completed the Montessori teacher training program and is a certified educator through GCMS. She is currently continuing her studies as an undergrad at the College of Staten Island. For Ms. Mackey, it is a rewarding feeling when her students have a breakthrough, whether it be academically, socially, or emotionally. She describes her co-workers at Lavelle as “awesome, intelligent, hard-working and fun” people. Born and raised in Staten Island, Ms. Mackey has worked in many different capacities in education and the arts. She is a singer, a musician and a painter. Ms. Mackey’s most cherished memory was her time spent in the traditional village of Djenne in Mali, West Africa. She has a passion for learning and plans to continue to do so every day of her life!
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
Savannah Mangin is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Mangin is currently pursuing a BA in Education. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is getting to know the students and coming up with new ways to make school fun for them. “It only takes a little bit of time and effort to know a student but it makes a world of difference,” Ms. Mangin says. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Mangin loves to perform in musicals!
“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won’t do that.” – Walt Disney
Wendy Migliorisi is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She has a Master’s degree in education with a concentration in school counseling grades K-12. Mrs. Migliorisi’s favorite part of working at ICS is the comradery and collaboration of her coworkers. “Everyone is willing to share ideas to help you grow in your profession,” she says. “I also feel like I have a voice in our school community. Whenever I have a suggestion or need advice, my principal and vice principal’s doors are always open. ICS makes me feel like what I say matters.” Mrs. Migliorisi says that she pushes herself because ICS teaches that hard work opens up opportunities for their employees. “I was able to move from a school-aide to a Teacher in just 1 year,” she says. “The growth potential at ICS is like no other company I have worked for.” A mother of three boys, Mrs. Migliorisi moved to Staten Island with her husband after living in Brooklyn for most of her life. A fun fact about her is that she was born in Andrews Air-Force base in Maryland!
“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” -John Cotton Dana
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
Alicia Olivieri is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated from St. John’s University with a BS in Elementary Education. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the staff, who has been welcoming towards her since her first day of work. Born and raised in Staten Island, Ms. Olivieri attended St. John’s Lutheran from grades K-8, Notre Dame Academy, and St. John’s University. She enjoys running, playing basketball, and cooking. Her biggest blessing is her three-year-old son, Daniel!
“It all starts with you.”
Jillian Porrino is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Porrino graduated from Wagner College with an MS in General/Special Childhood Education. She appreciates the strong team support at Lavelle as well as the flexibility in teacher pedagogy. Born in Monroe Township, New Jersey, Ms. Porrino moved to Staten Island when she was 13 years old, where she attended Staten Island Academy for high school. She is trained in TaeKwonDo and has a black belt!
“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”
April Rudloff is a teaching assistant with a BA from Pace University currently working towards obtaining her master’s degree in General Education and Special Education. For Mrs. Rudloff, being able to see the joy in her students’ faces when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could is her favorite part of the job. When Mrs. Rudloff isn’t working, she is spending time with her son or planning her next trip to go skydiving… she used to go twice a year!
A teacher at Lavelle Prep, Cristal Sicca has master’s degrees in Childhood Birth-6 and Special Education grades 1-6 from the College of Staten Island. Since joining our team, Mrs. Sicca has found her instructional family to be her favorite part of our school because they have helped her to adjust to her new teaching career. She is also grateful for her family at home, including her husband, twins, and two dogs. A fun fact about Mrs. Sicca is that she has been a coaching and tumbling instructor since the age of fourteen! She is currently a coach during after school hours.
Ashley Sinodinos is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated from Wagner College before pursuing her Master’s degree at Touro College. Ms. Sinodinos enjoys the small class sizes at Lavelle because it allows her to form a unique bond with each student. “I love how I’m able to know them as well rounded individuals and help them not just academically but socially as well,” she says. Born and raised in Staten Island, Ms. Sinodinos has attended both public and Catholic schools throughout her academic career. She enjoys cleaning, organizing, dancing, spending time with loved ones and her adorable dog, Georgi. In high school, Ms. Sinodinos majored in dance and acting.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” -Bernard Baruch
Kristie Stapleton is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Prior to the teaching movement at Lavelle, Ms. Stapleton received her BS in Physical Education. She enjoys coming to work each day to teach her students a new physical skill and encourage their love for sports, activities, and health. In her free time, Ms. Stapleton rock climbs compete in Spartan races, and play soccer and lacrosse at a collegiate level. A fun fact about Ms. Stapleton is that she has four years of experience playing semi-professional soccer!
“Always make a total effort, even if the odds are against you”
Amanda Tucker is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Mrs. Accornero graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s in Childhood Education and a Master’s in Teaching Literacy from Birth to 6th grade. Her favorite part of working at Lavelle is the staff, who she describes to be friendly and supportive. Raised in Staten Island, Mrs. Accornero currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their Husky/Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd mix named Lyra!
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” -William Shakespeare
Amanda Uccio Ruisi is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Ms. Ruisi graduated from Wagner College with a BS in Mathematics and Childhood Education/Special Education 1-6. She has also earned her MS in Education Literacy Ed B-6. She loves her team at Lavelle Prep almost as much as she loves teaching her students. Following her college graduation, Ms. Ruisi moved from Long Island to Disney World to work in the amusement park for half a year. She now lives in Staten Island with her adorable Lab/Beagle/Pug mix, Bailey Jane, and her fiance, Anthony, who she is excited to marry in July 2020!
“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -John C. Maxwell
Taylor Varvara is a teaching assistant at Lavelle Prep Elementary. She graduated from Wagner College with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education 1-6. Ms. Varvara’s favorite part of working at Lavelle is seeing her students each day and helping them to succeed throughout the school year. Ms. Varvara was raised on Staten Island and still lives in the borough today. A few of her favorite things include spending time with her family and friends as well as the colors blue and pink!
“She believed she could… so she did!”
Lucille Villa is a teacher at Lavelle Prep Elementary. Prior to her employment at ICS, Ms. Villa graduated from college with a Master’s in Childhood Education. She lives in Staten Island with her fiance and three young children and loves to spend time exploring with them on the weekends. Ms. Villa likes to read, style hair, and binge-watch movies and TV shows on Netflix! She is grateful to have an amazing support group both at home AND at work. Ms. Villa describes the friendships she has made with co-workers at Lavelle as “life-long.”
“Practice makes progress.”