Scroll down for staff biographies and email addresses!
Luke Bauer, Principal
Madelaine Hackett, Assistant Principal
College Counselor - Ivy Anderson
Director of Student Culture - Steve Roberts
Guidance Counselor - Clint Fisher
Parent Coordinator - Birdie Chesson
|Lev Fruchter||Michelle Genovese||Liz Dowdell||Brock Burkett||Josh Lapidus||Annie Pichardo - Physical Education|
|Gerry Irizarry||Margarita Lopez||Ben Hoser||Kandice Marcacci||Katie Moylan||Erin Hunkoenmueller - Spanish|
|Jen Ward||Alex Sosa||Pete Wood||Jared Russo||Jay Salas|
|Morgan Riley||Jason Feldman||Anthony Segreti|
Luke Bauer, Principal
Luke has been a teacher and administrator, working in both middle and high schools since 2002. Luke started his career in Kansas City, Kansas working at Turner High School as a high school social studies teacher and a baseball, basketball, and soccer coach. In 2006, he began working at East Bronx Academy for the Future (EBA), a 6-12 South Bronx school, where he taught both middle and high school social studies. In 2007 while still at EBA, Luke founded the Boston Road Alliance of Small Schools Athletic League to provide opportunities for students from small schools to compete in athletics. During the first three years there were 6-8 schools who participated in boys and girls basketball which culminated each year in a final tournament.
Luke became an Assistant Principal at EBA in 2008 and helped develop the school’s use of mini-observations, interim assessments, and real-world performance assessments to improve student achievement. Luke strongly believes students should learn to apply skills and knowledge to real-world situations because that is what will be asked of them in college and the world of work. While at EBA, Luke realized his passion for working with high school students. He believes these years are important for students to build the academic skills needed to be successful after high school and for figuring out who they are as individuals. Luke enjoys supporting them in both of these journeys.
In 2012, he joined Odell Education and helped develop and write a Common Core literacy curriculum for New York State, which is featured on the Engage New York website. In 2013, Luke was appointed Director of Professional Development for Odell Education where he created and delivered training for teachers, principals, superintendents and other leaders in districts across the United States. It has been a dream come true to be the founding Principal of the Urban Assembly Maker Academy (UA Maker).
Madelaine Hackett, Assistant Principal
Madelaine "Maddy" Hackett is the Assistant Principal, at UA Maker. Through developing professional learning experiences, coaching to improve instructional practices, and developing opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery in multiple ways, Maddy creates collaborative and reflective experiences to continuously improve the impact of the school.
Maddy began her work in education as a teaching artist in Binghamton, New York. She joined the New York Teaching Fellows, where she taught English as a Second Language, English, and Visual Arts at the Academy of Urban Planning. During her tenure, she served as a grade team leader, instructional cabinet member, and department chair while developing the school’s iZone curriculum. She then became a School Development Coach for New Tech Network, where she coached schools in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Delaware, to develop school with strong culture, a wall to wall Project Based Learning methodology in a 1-1 computing environment.
Madelaine received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor in Philosophy from Binghamton University, and Master of Art in Teaching English to Speakers from Other Languages from Long Island University. She completed a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from Canisius College. When not at UA she enjoys DIY work on her house, and spending time with her family.
Ivy Anderson, College & Career Counselor
Ivy Anderson has worked alongside people fighting for social justice in the education and social services world for the past 10 years. She previously worked for non-profits and public schools in Boston, in a variety of roles including after school teacher, public advocate and director of communications, thus bringing a breadth of administrative and relationship-building skills to her role as College & Career Counselor.
Ivy believes deeply that young people (well, all people) develop identity through exposure to difference and the world around them, which is what she strives to show UA Maker students as they prepare for life post high school.
Ivy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where she majored in English/Writing with a concentration in African American Literature. She also studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and continues to travel whenever she can!
Clint Fisher, Guidance Counselor
Originally from Ohio, Clint Fisher earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and English from the University of Dayton. After living in Central America, immersing himself in both the culture and the language, he returned to his Alma Mater to earn his Masters of Science in Education with an emphasis in Guidance Counseling. In 2012, Clint also received his clinical counseling license and is recognized as a professional mental health therapist. As a result of his training and experiences, Clint takes an approach with students that is solution focused. He uses various therapeutic and mindfulness techniques to promote an attention to the present moment and reduce emotional reactivity. Clint assists students with everyday life struggles and encourages building self-insight, acceptance, compassion and morality. He is stoked to be a part of the UA Maker team.
Outside of school, Clint enjoys a multitude of different activities. He is an avid runner and yogi. He completed his yoga teacher certification in 2014 and is desperately trying to change the world one yoga class at a time. In addition to these hobbies, Clint danced professionally for 5 seasons with MamLuft & co Dance in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the rest of his spare time, he recharges by hanging out at home or exploring the city with his partner in crime Adam and their dog Carlos.
Banj August, Theater Arts
Ben "Banj" August will be breaking the consistency of the staff page by writing his bio in the first person. Cue grating gear shift.
I've lived in New York City since 2013 after completing some undergraduate degrees in Education and Theater at Monash University in Australia. In the process, worked as a bowling technician, designer in a software outfit, a restaurant server, etc. The restaurant was troubled by me because it "always looked like I was thinking about something else", so I became a teacher where I could look thoughtful all the time and score some credit for it.
I spell it Theater because if there are implications around privilege then I want to be on the side of the people. Never liked that "-re" lilt. As a teacher I embrace carefully constructed spontaneity. I believe we should be story-tellers, I think learning should be adventurous, I like teams, I want every game to have a clear victory condition and I know you'll agree the best source of competition is your past self.
I work a lot on our data strategy, am currently engaged in a Masters program (Digital Innovation) and if you ever want to talk you can find me on github (@banj) or throw an email on the peak of the mountain.
Brock Burkett, Mathematics
Brock Burkett has spent his entire life asking "why?" To date, his parents, teachers, friends and even employers have given him answers when they have them, pointed him to encyclopedias and the Internet when they don't, and always encouraged him to stay curious. Brock asks his students to be equally curious ... correct answers in math are great, but knowing how and why students get these answers is much more important. Brock cares deeply about teaching the story of math: knowing how it's all connected is the key to success!
Brock graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Computer Science, and has had long-standing careers in software development, medical engineering, business intelligence, record label management and DJ performance. When not in the classroom, Brock can be found hiking, camping and rock climbing in upstate New York or United States national parks. He is currently completing his Master of Arts in Education at Hunter College.
Kelly Carrion, Secretary
Kelly Carrion, raised in the Bronx graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. She began her career in the Department of Education as a School Aide in November 2007 at The High School of Graphic Communication Arts (which she attended). As the school was phasing out she came to work at Maker Academy as the Parent Coordinator in 2014. In 2015 Kelly transitioned to school Secretary.
Birdie Chesson, Parent Coordinator
Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, Birdie has been a family advocate for over 20 years. Starting out as a caregiver for several "at-risk" families, she used her time to innovate and utilize ways to help families communicate better. Within that mission, she was inspired to write, illustrate and self-publish over 10 children's books. She has now pledged to continue her legacy at UA Maker in helping children and their families have a happy, healthy "whole family experience" within their educational experience.
Liz Dowdell, Physics
Liz Dowdell has been working in education since 2005. Her education career began at community centers in Erie, Pennsylvania where she provided after school enrichment to youth of all ages. In 2009, Liz became a classroom teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows. Before coming to UA Maker, she taught Physics and Mathematics for 5 years at Frederick Douglass Academy VII (FDA VII) in Brownsville, Brooklyn. While teaching at FDA VII, Liz was also an instructional lead teacher and technology coordinator who lead initiatives to increase the use of instructional technology and promote a mastery-based grading system. As a science teacher, Liz strongly believes that students should learn science by engaging in scientific inquiry and investigating real-world applications.
Liz completed a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at Rowan University in New Jersey, and a Master of Arts in Teaching at Pace University. She lives in Brooklyn, and enjoys hiking and exploring nature whenever she can.
Jason Feldman, Special Education
Jason has always been passionate about teaching and learning outside of the classroom. After graduating from Boston College with a B.A. in English, Jason traveled to Mexico and Ecuador for yoga, surfing, and Spanish classes. Shortly after, he moved to Spain, and taught English at a public elementary school. A year later, his passion for experiential learning guided him to Outward Bound, and the field of outdoor education. As a field instructor, Jason worked for Outward Bound bases in Australia, Boston, and New York. After field instructing, he spent a year and a half working as a dean at an Outward Bound affiliated high school in Brooklyn, New York. While at this school, the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders, he was introduced to Restorative Justice - which quickly became his passion and inspiration in the field of education. In addition, during his summers, he started leading service trips in Central America. His personal travels have brought him to over thirty countries and six continents. Most recently, Jason completed his M.A. in Secondary Inclusive Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a special education teacher, he looks forward to fostering inclusive learning spaces at UA Maker - both in and out of the classroom. Jason hopes that after leaving UA Maker, his students will feel prepared to meet opportunities and obstacles - as they pursue their individual and communal goals. He is always looking to collaborate, so please feel free to reach out!
Michelle Genovese, 11th Grade English Language Arts
Ms. Michelle Genovese is an English teacher at UA Maker. Michelle graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta with a Bachelor of Science in Adolescent Education - English. Michelle was also a three-year student athlete at SUNY Oneonta, while earning honors in both academics and women's lacrosse. She is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Touro College.
Michelle believes in a student friendly and centered classroom, while maintaining a professional and positive environment. She amplifies our project based learning strategy, and is able to teach through our Design Thinking technique. Michelle prides herself in teaching relatable and enjoyable fiction and non-fiction texts. She works towards making daily lessons have a real world application so that students are college and career ready!
When she is not teaching, Michelle enjoys spending time with her friends and family at the beach, waitressing at her favorite restaurant Nicky's on the Bay, traveling, and of course, reading!
Lev Fruchter, CTE 9/10 Programming/Computer Science
Lev grew up in Brooklyn and is a graduate of New York City schools, in which he has now taught english language arts, math and computer science for over 15 years. Instead of using numbers, equations and other mathematical models to teach programming, Lev uses stories, characters and action to model digital principles and behaviors, opening up coding to all types of learners. He is looking forward to connecting technology learning with all other classes at UA Maker.
Lev graduated with honors in English from Oberlin College and holds a Master of Arts from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. He has taught in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and can be relied upon to play either frisbee (outside) or board games (inside) after school.
Ben Hoser, Earth Science
Ben teaches Earth Science at UA Maker and extends the school’s Australia contingent into the sciences. Ben has a Bachelor of Arts in Geoscience from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ben firmly believes that students learn most effectively when they are engaged and intrinsically motivated, and he prides himself on being able to find ways to make learning enjoyable and relevant for all students. To this end, Ben’s approach to Earth Science is expansive and interdisciplinary. Ben combines traditional Earth Science skills and content with social justice, sustainability, and human geography topics to teach a subject that more closely resembles Geography than traditional Earth Science.
Ben is also a maker at heart, bringing woodworking and culinary experience to his teaching. Ben is constantly looking for opportunities to get out of the classroom, to learn earth science in nature with real rocks and plants and animals replacing pictures and descriptions. This carries through into Ben’s personal life – when not teaching, Ben loves hiking and rock climbing, travel and food, adventure, exploration, and taking on new challenges.
Gerry Irrizary, CTE 9/10 Visual/Commercial Arts
Born and raised in the Boogie Down Bronx, Gerry was a student and documentarian of pop culture and eventually became a photographer for such urban publications as The Source, Spin and Vibe Magazines. His passion for design thinking became the throughline for his many work experiences including graphic designer for Fat Beats Record Distribution, Loud Records and Marvel Comics. Gerry moved to Brooklyn in 2000 to complete Graduate School at Pratt Institute and his NYC teaching certification.
When Gerry looks at his own childhood drawings from the 1980's & 90's, he can see that the culture of his youth and the era it was created in influenced his level of creativity. Cartoons and advertisements were his introduction to the world of art & design, as is the case with the majority of today’s youth. Reflecting upon this, he can say that popular culture is a lens through which children see the world. Everything they create is a direct outcome of a sound or image they might have just experienced.
Josh Lapidus, Social Studies
Josh Lapidus was born and raised in New York City and attended University of Colorado at Boulder where he majored in Human Geography. Before working at UA Maker, Josh taught United States History and Urban Geography for 10 years at the Academy of Urban Planning High School. Josh lives in Brooklyn with his wife, two kids and two cats.
Margarita Lopez, 10th Grade English Language Arts
Margarita, a Brooklyn native, attended Brooklyn College in New York City where she studied Journalism and Creative Writing. While at Brooklyn College she realized her commitment to social justice and what it means for her to be an activist - by being an active member in organizations she was (and remains) passionate about: newspaper, the Puerto-Rican Alliance, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance.
In 2014, Margarita completed a Master of Arts program at Teachers College, Columbia University in Secondary Teaching of English/English Education. While at Teachers College, Margarita's commitment to social justice through working in education strengthened.
She is a writer who believes in using media literacy as a vessel to get young people to think critically and begin to unpack larger themes and messages that permeate their lives. Margarita asks her students to push against the media and provide alternative perspectives for viewing their world. At the core of her pedagogy, Margarita believes that young peoples' voices are essential to the way that we navigate literature and the world around us.
When Margarita isn't teaching, she is spending time with friends, writing, traveling and spending time with her partner and their English Bulldog, Langston at the dog park.
Kandice Marcacci, Mathematics
Kandice is very excited to bring her passion for mathematics and problem solving to the UA Maker team. Armed with an affinity for numbers and logic, she completed of a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. After ten years of experience working in the actuarial field, she made the decision to take her skills to the field of education. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Mathematics Education at Hunter College.
Kandice has felt the most inspired and most accomplished when directly involved with helping other people. Prior to pursuing teaching full-time, she volunteered a significant portion of her time to fundamental math tutoring and SAT preparation for students from low income communities.
Having lived in New York City since 2008, she loves the way the city continually grows and changes such that it never feels stale and you can always discover something new. She is a big fan of binge worthy TV shows, chef's tasting menus, and cats.
Katie Moylan, Teacher of English to Students of Other Languages
Annie Pichardo, Physical Education
Annie Pichardo was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Queens College where she majored in Physical Education. Before working at UA Maker, Annie worked at Greenpoint Beacon, an after school program, as a program assistant and bootcamp/softball instructor for three years.
Maritza Ravelo, School Aide
Morgan Riley, Special Education Coordinator
Stephen Roberts, Director of School Culture
Stephen Roberts was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, the land of snow, the best buffalo wings and one of the greatest National Football League teams, the Buffalo Bills. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from the State University of New York at Brockport and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Long Island University.
Stephen began his teaching career in Harlem, New York where he taught for three years. After Harlem, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York where he worked for ten years with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Charter School, as a Math and Science teacher as well as Dean of Students.
This year marks his fourteenth year working as an educator. He is both honored and privileged to help nurture and develop the future generation. He is proud of the career he has built and equally as proud to be the Director of School Culture at UA Maker.
Jared Russo, Special Education
Jared Russo is a life long learner and Special Education teacher. He completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of California Berkeley, and a Master of Arts at the New York University. He is a proud visual artist, and believes that performance and practice in the arts are excellent training ground for character and critical thinking. Most recently he put his philosophy into action leading the Sony Stop-Motion Animation Project and the Music Unites Youth Choir.
Jay Salas, Global Studies
Jay Salas is a Brooklyn native who is passionate about educating tomorrow's future leaders. While growing up as a child, he was motivated by his mother Carmen, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic. She was only able to obtain an Elementary School education and worked very hard in restaurants to support his education. Jay went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany and later a Bachelors of Science from St. John's University, presenting his diploma to his mother on both occasions. Jay teaches children citizenship in the communities where he resides through camping skills with an emphasis on planning trips to show them wilderness they don't usually experience. He is married to a wonderful woman named Glenys and hopes to start a family one day.
Anthony Segreti, Social Studies
Anthony Segreti is a Social Studies teacher at UA Maker. Before Anthony became a teacher, he had a two year stint as a government contractor with the technology company, Northrop Grumman. His experience at Northrop Grumman was positive, but he was not passionate about the job and so Anthony found himself in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh to earn a teaching certification in Social Studies Education. Anthony began teaching in 2009 and has experience in developing curriculum and providing instructional support to his fellow educators, all in support of positive outcomes for students. Anthony has always loved history and he was always helping his younger siblings with their schoolwork as a child, so becoming an educator was a natural fit.
In 2012, Anthony relocated and began teaching at a new high school in Newark, NJ, called People's Prep. In Newark, he served as chair of the History Department, an instructional coach, and an advisory leader. After four years, Anthony's advisory had graduated and his attention was captured by UA Maker and its unique approach to education by empowering students through the Design Thinking methodology.
Like nearly everyone who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, he is very proud of his city and will proselytize about how great it is to no end - he apologizes in advance. In his spare time, Anthony enjoys playing hockey, seeing live music, and trying new restaurants.
Alex Sosa, 9th Grade English Language Arts
Alex Sosa is a native New Yorker and successful graduate of the New York City Public School system. Through his dedicated educators and mentors, he has come to love learning about life through literature. Alex believes English class teaches us more than just to read and write; it teaches us to think critically about the world we live in and how we can actively shape it instead of being shaped by it.
As an English Teacher with UA Maker, Alex hopes to use technology in his classroom to redefine the way learners experience literature. He believes in harnessing student’s knowledge to create a rich classroom culture of varied and valued experiences. These collective experiences will lead to sharp, dynamic writing that occupies the page with the learner’s stories, and, in the process, creating literature that is both insightful and introspective.
Alex completed his Bachelor of Arts at Hunter College In New York City, and his Master of Arts in Secondary English at Boston College’s Donovan Urban Scholars Program. He currently resides in Brooklyn, where he adventures for fun foods to eat.
Ashley Vega, Partnership Coordinator
Pete Wood, Living Environment
Pete Wood has always loved science, nature, and the environment. As a Living Environment Teacher he will bring the richness of the natural world into the classroom for all to explore.
After a fulfilling career, working for companies that provide water and wastewater treatment solutions to industry and municipalities, Pete left behind “life in an airplane seat” to join the classroom. Having travelled to all 50 States and many countries in pursuit of environmental control technology, he brings an awareness of the unique potential that exists within New York City. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Pace University in 2014 and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1994.
When he is not in the classroom, Pete can be found skiing, fishing, scuba diving, golfing, or gardening.
Jennifer Ward, Career Technical Education
Jennifer Ward is a passionate individual who taught Career Technical Education for five years. Her areas of expertise is in the field of graphic, animation and web design. She is prepared and capable to share her technical skills for design and programming with the students of UA Makers.
Jennifer is a graduate of the New York City College of Technology who received a Bachelors of Technology in Communication Design and a certification in Career and Technical Education. Jennifer is also a graduate of the Borough of Manhattan Community College where she received an associate degree in Multimedia Programming and Design. In her majors, she has learned and obtained many skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Quark, Flash, Microsoft office and many more.
Her goal is to prepare and teach our children of the future for a career in today’s many multimedia industries, companies and institutions.She is willing to pass on her knowledge and experience as an industry professional to students who share the same passion.