2016-17 Team Members Kindergarten Team Margarita Cardona works with the Kindergarten Team as a Teaching Partner with Bette Renoni and supports Kindergarten students learning English as a second language. Margarita joined The Learning Community in 2006 and is also the proud parent of a student at The Learning Community. Margarita completed college in Colombia and has degrees in modern languages and education. She has always worked with children and loves to work with the local community. She currently teaches English at Channel One. Margarita and her husband have two children and live in Central Falls. Janelle Conroy has been a Kindergarten at the school since 2005. Janelle was previously a preschool teacher in Pawtucket and Washington, D.C. Janelle holds Masters degrees from American University and RI College in education. She also has a degree in Sociology and Russian from the College of the Holy Cross. Janelle is also certified as an English as a Second Language teacher. Janelle loves the curiosity, enthusiasm, and love of learning that kindergarteners have. She is proud to help children craft their first story and read their first book. Janelle enjoys getting to know families and working with them over time. Janelle also enjoys reading to and exploring Rhode Island with her two young children. Barbara de Jesus is a Teaching Partner with Mrs. Sena in Kindergarten and supports Kindergarten students learning English as a second language. Before joining The Learning Community in 2004, Barbara worked at the Hartford Park Community Center assisting families and children for 7 years. She is a certified teacher’s assistant and is currently a student at the Community College of RI. Barbara spends her free time with her three children and her husband. Barbara has a wonderful singing voice and participates in local theatrical productions. Bette Renoni has been teaching Kindergarten at The Learning Community since 2004. Previously, Bette was a preschool teacher for sixteen years, working primarily with 3 and 4 year olds. Bette loves the enthusiasm young children bring to the classroom and wants to instill in each child the feeling that their future is limitless. She has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College.
Laurie Sena joined us in 2004 as a Kindergarten Teacher. Laurie is committed to every student. She says, “As an elementary student, some teachers made me feel inferior. I vowed that when I grew up, I would make a difference. I became a teacher so that I could give each student the tools to become a successful adult. All children can learn and succeed. I want to empower each student to dream and to believe in themselves. I want them to shine!” Laurie taught for four years in Providence and Pawtucket. She enjoys kickboxing, skating, reading and spending time with her family. She received a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Rhode Island.
Alcidia Silva is a Teaching Partner in Kindergarten with Mrs. Conroy and was previously an InHouse Substitute. She received her teaching degree from URI in December of 2005 and is certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has worked as a substitute teacher for the Pawtucket and Lincoln school districts. She has also served as an experience coordinator at the Providence Children’s Museum, helping children learn and develop skills in an informal environment. Alcidia has lived in Pawtucket and Central Falls most of her life, and speaks both Portuguese and Spanish. She enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband, two sons and family.
First Grade Team Jim Chanonhouse has been a first grade teacher at The Learning Community since 2007. Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Boston University. Jim previously taught in preschools, children’s centers and summer camps in Boston and Rhode Island as a teacher and lead teacher. Jim believes that a strong community leads to strong learning and loves to help his first graders "take off" in their learning lives. Jim also competes year round in obstacle mud runs and believes in a "strong body, strong mind" philosophy. Jim is a trained singer and amateur guitarist and brings his love of music, movement and exercise to share in the classroom.
Lynn Lotierzo is a First Grade Teacher at The Learning Community. Her belief that all children should have access to a quality education drives her work with students and families to promote academic and personal growth. Lynn is the lifelong learner she hopes her students will become. As a Teaching Studio consulting teacher Lynn enjoys the opportunity to work with educators from other Rhode Island schools. She joined the school in 2006 after earning a master's degree in teaching from Brown University and BA in human development from Cornell University. She is also certified as an English as a Second Language teacher. Lynn lives in Providence and she likes to read and travel.
Second Grade Team Nikki Griffis is a Second Grade Teacher at The Learning Community. Nicole graduated from Brown University with a Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2008 and taught at private and public schools in Rhode Island as part of her studies. Nicole, who lives in East Greenwich, has worked with young people as a camp counselor, tutor, afterschool program leader, preschool teaching assistant and childcare provider. In her free time Nicole enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her husband, Dylan, and their son, Lucca and dog, Bodie. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and is interested in history and the environment. Roxann Plamondon Romanow (or Mrs. PR) began teaching at the Learning Community as an in-house substitute teacher in 2010. She is currently in her seventh year as a Second Grade Teacher. Roxann also works as a consulting teacher with the Teaching Studio and has prior experience in elementary schools in Cranston, Newport, and Providence. Roxann loves teaching, learning from, and laughing with her students (also known as her "Sweet Peas"). As an undergraduate student, Roxann studied business at Bryant University and psychology and business at URI, where she also studied elementary education as a graduate student. Outside of school, Roxann enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and their Boston Terrier, Bernie. She loves all kinds of music (especially "oldies"), photography, traveling, and spending time near the ocean whenever possible.
Meghan Recupero is a Second Grade Teacher at The Learning Community, and she previously served as a Teaching Partner. Meghan has worked for six years as an afterschool advisor and teacher's assistant at the Paul Cuffee School in Providence. She received her MAT in elementary education from RI College and has a degree in English from the University of Rhode Island. Meghan has had student teaching experiences at public schools in West Warwick, Providence, Coventry and North Providence. Meghan lives in Warwick with her husband and children.
Third Grade Team William Mockry is a third grade teacher at The Learning Community. He earned his Masters of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and he has degrees in French and English from Williamette University. He previously worked in schools in Kansas and California. He enjoys running, writing, art and nature. When he was in third grade, he loved reading The Boxcar Children and playing four square at recess.
Karina O’Halloran is a classroom teacher in The Learning Community’s third grade. Karina is a graduate of Brown University's MAT program in elementary education. She also has degrees in psychology and Latin American studies from Scripps College in California. Karina has student teaching experiences in two Providence elementary schools and worked as an assistant in a public school in Los Angeles. Fluent in Spanish, Karina studied at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in México. She lives in Providence. Marie Provenzano joins the Third Grade Team as a classroom teacher. She was previously an In-House Substitute at The Learning Community. Before joining our team Marie was a substitute teacher in the Pawtucket Public Schools and a summer school teacher in the Central Falls public schools. Marie completed her MAT degree at Johnson and Wales University and has a BS in equine science from State University of New York at Morrisville. Marie lives in Johnston.
Fourth Grade Team Cassie Jendzejec joins the Fourth Grade Team as a classroom teacher. Cassie previously served as The Teaching Studio Partnerships Coordinator and recently completed her MAT at Roger Williams University. Before joining our team Cassie worked with English for Action facilitating ESOL courses for women and at the Wolf School as an in-house substitute. She has a varied background in community and economic development including work in education in Nepal and India as well as work with community agencies in Massachusetts, Georgia and Maine. Cassie has a degree in International Studies from Colby College and she lives in Providence. Leni Kwait is a new Fourth Grade Teacher at The Learning Community. She previously taught third grade at a Springfield, MA public school and taught K-4 science at public charter schools in New York and Massachusetts. Leni studied History at Brown University and has an MAT from Teachers College at Columbia University. She lives in Providence. When she is not teaching, Leni loves reading, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her dog.
Stephanie Meuse is excited to be returning for her fourth year as a Fourth Grade Teacher at The Learning Community. Stephanie previously taught first grade and English as a Second Language in public schools in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Stephanie received her MAT in Elementary Education and a BA in English from Northeastern University. She lives in East Providence, and enjoys reading, writing and spending time outside with her husband and their (very) rambunctious puppy.
Fifth Grade Team Bonnie Calderon brings her creativity and enthusiasm to our Fifth Grade Team as a classroom teacher. Bonnie has taught first grade, fifth grade and kindergarten in the Greenwich public schools in Connecticut. She also brings experience as an assistant teacher and extended day instructor in private schools in California and Connecticut. Bonnie has an MAT in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Manhattanville College and a degree in Culture and Communications from New York University. Hayley Greene is from North Kingstown, Rhode Island and is thrilled to begin her first year at the Learning Community as a member of the fifth grade team! Hayley is a recent graduate of the Brown University Master of Arts in Teaching program, where she was selected as a program ambassador. Before earning her graduate degree from Brown, she graduated from the University of Rhode Island with degrees in both elementary education and English with a minor in middle level education. While attending URI, Hayley was awarded the University Excellence Award for her work in the field of education and was a Teacher Education Scholar Award recipient. In her free time, Hayley enjoys knitting, reading historical fiction novels, and trying new vegetarian recipes. Graham O‘Halloran, or Mr. O, is a Fifth Grade Teacher at The Learning Community. Graham is a graduate of Brown University’s MAT Program and also holds degrees in public policy and education studies from Brown. He attributes his passion for teaching and learning to two core beliefs: 1) Education is the pathway to liberation, and 2) Only through suffering do we come to understand our true nature. When he is not at the school, you are likely to find him playing or coaching on a local athletic field or weeding the gardens of his West Providence home. Graham also works with the Teaching Studio as a consulting teacher.
Middle Grades Team Meagan Amylon came to The Learning Community as an AmeriCorps Education Fellow in 2012. After her year of service she came on as a guest teacher before taking over the 8th grade science role in December 2015. Meagan is a dedicated educator and lifelong learner. She lives in Providence and has a passion for volunteer work and travel.
Emilie Audette is a Special Education Teacher in the 7th Grade on The Learning Community’s Middle Grades Team. Emilie was previously an In-House Substitute. Emilie graduated from Providence College with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. She has served as a long term substitute in the Smithfield public schools and has had student teaching experiences in Barrington, Smithfield, Pawtucket and Cumberland. Emilie also has worked at a variety of summer camps and after school programs in RI and MA. She is a Providence College Basketball fan and enjoys spending time with her friends and family by the water.
Lauren Balbuena is a Special Education Teacher working with 8th graders at The Learning Community. Most recently Lauren worked at Trudeau Center for adults with disabilities. Lauren holds degrees in Elementary and Special Education from Keene State College. She spent a semester abroad in Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish. Lauren spent two years teaching in the Dominican Republic where she became fluent in Spanish and where she met her husband. Lauren works with children because “I know they all have the ability to learn and achieve as long as someone believes in them. I love being the one to believe in all of my students and watch them as they learn and grow.” Vera De Jesus teaches 8th Grade Math at The Learning Community. She also was a member of our Education Fellows and Extended Day teams before completing her MAT at Brown University. Prior to working in education, Vera studied journalism and psychology at Northeastern University and worked as a communications manager in Boston. She is conversational in Tagalog and is working on learning more Spanish!
Patrick Duffy is a new member of our Middle Grades team teaching 6th Grade Math. Patrick has spent the last year as a 6th grade math teacher at a charter school in Springfield, MA. Patrick graduated from Harvard University with degrees in social studies and philosophy, and wrote a senior thesis on public school teachers and standardized testing. He helped lead a program that engaged Boston high school students in learning about international relations and worked at a camp for middle school students from China. Patrick rowed crew while in high school in Worcester and rowed and played rugby in college. David Falk joins the Middle Grades Team as a 7th Grade Math Teacher. David has been teaching in the Providence Public Schools for several years at middle and elementary schools. He holds an M.Ed. in elementary education from Lesley University and B.A. degrees in mathematics and American Civilization from Brown University. David spent many years in higher education advancing the work of campus-based literacy programs across the country. David loves the beautiful game of soccer -- he plays competitively and coaches his daughter’s team. He lives with his wife and two children in Cranston. Sari Guttin is a 7th Grade Science Teacher at The Learning Community. She has recently been teaching 2nd grade and coordinating the STEM/Design Lab at the Jewish Community Day School in Providence. She has also worked at a private tutoring center, as the education director at a temple, as a camp counselor and as a tennis professional. She has a BA in International Relations from Simmons College and is completing a Master of Education at Framingham State College. She lives in Smithfield with her husband, her cat, Meeko, and her 10 chickens. In her free time, she enjoys working in her huge vegetable garden, hiking, biking, playing tennis and knitting. Michael McGuigan teaches 7th and 8th grade Social Studies and 6th Grade Technology classes. Mike brings experience as a teacher in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic as well as coordinator of service learning at an independent school in Providence. Michael also has an extensive background in affordable housing having worked for over a decade on housing and community development in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. He has an MAT from Brown University, a master's degree in Theology and studied religion as an undergraduate. Michael is passionate about travel, visual and performing arts, technology and mountaineering.
Ada Okun teaches 6th and 7th grade Social Studies at The Learning Community and previously taught on our 4th grade team. Ada has taught at SummerPrep in Providence and The Cloud Forest School in Costa Rica. Ada has a wealth of volunteer experience with young people as a tutor, mentor and in afterschool and summer programs. Ada graduated from Brown University's MAT Program and has a B.A. in Education and English from Swarthmore College. Ada is from Washington Heights, New York City; speaks Spanish; and in her free time likes to run, play piano, talk about books, explore nature, and hang out with friends and family. Erin O’Neil is a member of the Special Education Team at The Learning Community working with the 6th grade. Erin brings a wealth of experience in public schools in Cambridge, MA and New York City to her work. Erin has previously taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade as well as working in special education classrooms. She has also been a consultant to teacher preparation programs. Erin has a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy from Boston College and a degree in elementary/special education from Providence College. Erin lives in Massachusetts, where she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and her family. Brooke Rennie teaches English Language Arts to 8th graders at The Learning Community. Previously Brooke taught reading and offered English Language Learner support at a charter school in Washington, DC. Brooke has also worked in education at a history museum and served as an academic peer educator. Brooke has two master’s degrees in education from Lesley University and a degree in in classical archaeology from The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate of the Urban Teacher Center in Washington, DC. Brooke likes to read, run, and refurbish old furniture in her spare time. Emily Spikell Sullivan is a 6th Grade English Language Arts teacher at The Learning Community having spent several years on our fourth grade team. Emily also serves as a consulting teacher for our Teaching Studio work with other public schools. Emily first came to The Learning Community as a student teacher during her training at Brown's Elementary Education MAT program. Emily also holds a BA in education and diversity studies from the College of William and Mary, in Virginia, where she grew up. During the summers, Emily continues to work with Brown as a mentor for beginning teachers. Emily lives in Providence. Amy Sullo teaches 7th Grade English Language Arts on our Middle Grades Team. Previously Amy served as an In-House Substitute and was a member of our first group of Americorps Education Fellows. Amy is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and English and has a Middle Level Endorsement. As a student teacher, Amy received the University of Rhode Island’s Outstanding Student Teacher Award. Amy enjoys spending her free time reading and exploring the outdoors. She is a multitalented educator with a passion for literature.
Content Specialist Team Mary-Ellen Coppage is the Middle Grades Art Teacher at The Learning Community. She was most recently an art teacher at an independent school in the United Arab Emirates and she also worked as a substitute art teacher in the Warwick public school system. Mary-Ellen has a BFA in Art Education from RI College and did her student teaching in public schools in Chepachet, Cranston and Warwick. Her interests include the arts, including dance, music and painting as well as world travel. Joanne Fulton is a Science Teacher at the Learning Community in Grades 2 -4. Joanne holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Roger Williams University, a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has been teaching elementary science since 2010 and enjoys inspiring a love of exploration and science in her students. Joanne also has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has worked in the private sector in operations, training, staff development and curriculum design. Joanne lives in Barrington with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.
Michael Lewis is the Music Teacher at The Learning Community. Before joining the school in 2015, Michael taught instrumental and general music in the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C., where he helped design music curricula and lead his department. He has also taught music in public schools in Billerica, Wayland and Lexington, Massachusetts and private lessons in afterschool and community music programs. Michael holds a Master of Music Education from The Boston Conservatory and a BA in Professional Music from the Berklee College of Music with emphasis on contemporary and world percussion performance. Michael enjoys sharing his passion for performance and music with students! Steve Peck supports Information Technology at The Learning Community bringing a wealth of experience in marketing, broadcast media, and technical problem solving to this role. Most recently Steve was a programmer with a medical information technology firm and managed his own marketing firm. He has over a decade of experience in radio in Providence and Worcester. He has a degree in Information Technology and Software Engineering from New England Institute of Technology, and has studied Communications at Framingham State College and Business Management at Johnson And Wales. Steve loves music and all kinds of sports, and he's been a guest clown in circuses! Steve lives in Barrington with his wife and three children. Ella Bodnar Rodriguez is a Physical Education Teacher at The Learning Community. Ella has engaged young people in exercise and sports as a track and field coach and Girl Scout leader. Ella also worked as a mentor and afterschool leader for elementary students in Providence through the Children’s Crusade. Ella was a national champion track athlete in her home country of Romania and a Rhode Island State Champion. She has earned a B.S. in Physical Education in Romania and a M.S. in Kinesiology from University of RI. Ella is passionate about healthy living, and she loves to dance and travel. She lives in North Smithfield with her husband and two children. Domenique Rossi is a Science Teacher at The Learning Community. She says, “that I seek to create a classroom environment that is centered on student interest and involvement. I believe that students learn best when working together to solve problems and encourage them to do so.” Domenique graduated from the University of RI where she majored in elementary education and psychology. She has worked with elementary students at St. Mary Academy Bay View and in Providence public schools. Domenique lives in North Smithfield.
Special Education Team Lindsay Correia is a Speech-Language Pathologist and joined our team in 2004. She was born in Guatemala, but has lived in the U.S. for most of her life. She speaks Spanish fluently and is one of the few bilingual speech-language pathologists in the state. Lindsay received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Boston University and a Master’s degree from URI. As a consultant, she has worked at Rhode Island Hospital, the Autism Project, and various public schools in the Washington, DC area. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and spending time with her family and friends. Cathy Derouin is the Director of Special Education. Cathy, who has been a special education teacher since 2001, says, “I want to see all children learn. I want to make a difference in the lives of children who find school more of a challenge.” Before coming to The Learning Community in 2004 she taught at schools in Warwick and Providence. Cathy has a bachelor’s degree in Special Education/Elementary Education, a Masters in Counseling and Educational Psychology and is certified as a special education administrator. Cathy enjoys spending time with her husband and son traveling, especially to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Catarina Massa is on the Special Education Team at The Learning Community. She has recently been serving as a substitute in the Pawtucket School District and as an aide at a local day care center. Catarina has a BA in elementary education from RI College and speaks Portuguese and Spanish. She loves going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.
Lesly Porras is a Special Education teacher at the Learning Community. She grew up in Providence, RI and graduated from Providence College with a duo Elementary/ Special Education degree. Lesly speaks fluent Spanish. She has worked extensively with families and children under the age of three, providing services at their home. Her ultimate goal is to encourage students to be the best they can be when pursuing their dreams.
Tara Slack is a part-time Occupational Therapist at The Learning Community on our Special Education Team. Tara brings experience working with children at United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island and at The Meeting Street Center in Providence. She has a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Tara lives in Cumberland with her husband and three sons, and she loves to support them at their various sporting events. Christina Tavarozzi is a Fifth Grade Special Education teacher at The Learning Community. She recently received an MAT from Roger Williams University through the Teacher Residency Program at the Gordon School. Christina also holds a degree in English from RI College. While at Gordon she was a resident teacher in 4th and 5th grades, and she also completed a student teaching experiences at the Paul Cuffee School and the International Charter School. Christina has two children, lives in Providence and has a love of literature, poetry and the outdoors.
Reading & Math Specialist Team Jeff Chanin is a Reading Specialist at The Learning Community. He was most recently an educator in public schools in Connecticut where he served as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. He was president of a chapter of the Connecticut Reading Association for three years. Prior to his work there he was a learning specialist, classroom teacher and afterschool program director at elementary schools in New York. Jeff has an MA in Literacy from Mercy College and a BS in Childhood Education from the State University of New York at Oneonta. Jeff grew up outside New York City and he is a big sports fan, rooting for the Mets, Jets and Knicks. In his free time, he enjoys reading, biking and brushing up on his cooking skills. Jeff is excited to explore New England! Angela Kemp is a new Reading Specialist at The Learning Community. Angela has most recently served as a Reading Specialist and Instructional Coach at a public school in. She has also worked as a Special Education teacher at elementary schools in Colorado and New York. Angela has engaged in extensive training and professional development and holds an MS in Special Education and Literacy from SUNY at Albany and a BA in Health Science from SUNY Brockport. Angela became Nationally Board Certified in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts Early Middle Childhood in 2013. Angela lives in Pawtucket with her husband and dog, Ivy.
Kim Lee is a Math Specialist at The Learning Community. She has previously taught pre-school and been a classroom teacher in grades K-5 in Rhode Island and California, as well as in Japan. Kim has a BA and teaching certification from California State University, Northridge. She keeps busy with her triplets that were born in November of 2015, but when she and her husband get a chance, they love to explore new places and root for the Red Sox.
Kiersten Prucha is a new Reading and English Language Development Teacher. She most recently worked with young children and their families in the early intervention program at Children's Friend but has also worked as an ESL teacher in Providence, New York, and Utah. She has an M.S. in Teaching and Curriculum for TESOL and Spanish from the University of Rochester and her B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Delaware. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, she grew up near the mountains and loves to hike, bike, and snowshoe. She enjoys spending time with her husband and new baby son and taking advantage of the beautiful Rhode Island beaches.
Casey Woodard is a Reading and English Language Learner Teacher at The Learning Community and joined our team in 2008. Casey previously served as a substitute teacher in Johnston and Pawtucket public schools. She also taught at a private tutoring center supporting individual students in math and reading. Casey received a BA in Elementary Education from RI College. She lives in Warwick with her family.
Social Emotional Support Team Kelly Baraf is a School Social Worker and has been working with our students and families for several years as a clinician through the North American Family Institute. She was previously an assistant principal and social worker in the Denver public schools and also worked as a caseworker for the Denver Department of Human Services. Kelly has an MS in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and holds RI clinical social work, school administrator and school social work licenses. Kelly is also the parent of two Learning Community students. She loves to cook, ride her bike, and welcomes opportunities to practice Spanish. Judy Diaz is The Learning Community’s School Nurse Teacher. She was most recently a Behavioral Health Nurse Care Manager at Blackstone Valley Community Health Care and previously served as the Director of Community Health Services for Lifespan. Judy has also worked at community-based non-profits and major hospitals in clinical roles. Judy holds a Nursing degree from RI College and a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. She serves on the board of the RI Free Clinic. Judy grew up in Central Falls and speaks Spanish. She lives in Providence with her family, and her son is a student at The Learning Community. Maria Eguia-Brusco works part-time as our School Psychologist. She completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and her Doctorate in Child Clinical Psychology at Pennsylvania State University. At The Learning Community Maria supports the mental health needs of children and families and consults with parents and team members. Maria also has a private practice where she works with children, adolescents and families. In her free time, Maria enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Cheryl Luciano, a founding team member, is a Behavior Specialist providing support throughout the school, but focusing on the middle grades. She is a certified paraprofessional and was previously a Kindergarten Teaching Partner and a Literacy Assistant. Cheryl is bilingual/bicultural and has deep connections to the community. She worked for a decade as a program manager at a local community center. Her background as a certified case manager and interpreter for Family Service of RI in their early intervention, wellness, and Critical Incident Support (CIS) programs helps her support students and families. Cheryl enjoys dancing, cooking, laughing and spending time with her family. Lenny Martínez is a Behavior Specialist at The Learning Community and was previously a Kindergarten Teaching Partner and a Literacy Assistant. Lenny joined the school in 2004. In his free time, Lenny enjoys participating in community events and functions. Lenny says, “Growing up in Central Falls gave me a strong sense of diversity. It gave me a good foundation for the love of diverse ethnicities and also a curiosity and drive to learn more about different cultures.” Ginny Miller is the Director of Social and Emotional Supports at The Learning Community. Ginny is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), having recently worked with the Fall River Public Schools, a psychiatric day school for Family Service of RI, and the East Providence Public Schools. She has also worked as a therapist in home-based, outpatient, residential and after-school settings. Ginny has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Buffalo and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Binghamton University in New York. Ginny also minored in Music and enjoys singing in choirs when time allows. She spends most of her free time with her husband, 2 daughters and new baby son. Kevin Ramos is a Youth Worker at the Learning Community. He began his work with youth while completing two years of AmeriCorps at the Institute for Nonviolence. There he worked with different non-profits to set up after school programs. Kevin continued his passion for youth work when he joined the Learning Community in 2013. He has been part of the lunch/recess and afterschool team. He currently supports the Social Emotional team while working as a one to one aide. Kevin believes the youth are the key to a bright future for humanity, and continues to support their growth in any way he can.
Miguel Zapata is a Teaching Aide and part our Social and Emotional Team. He first joined our community a few years ago as a youth worker for our extended day and lunch program where he started to influence young minds. During that time he was attending the University of Rhode Island obtaining a Bachelors in Science degree in Human development and family, as well as a minor in Psychology. During his senior year he interned for set, then once he was finished Miguel had joined the full day staff and continued with the extended program. Miguel had previous work at our local Community Action Program agency doing various jobs such at heating, furniture bank, and food pantry. During his off time he enjoys being with his wife finding new adventures and being creative.
Classroom Support Team Steve Clements is a Guest Teacher at The Learning Community. Steve previously served as a Special Education Assistant and worked with our middle grades students teaching technology. Steven taught in the upper grades at the San Miguel School and also coordinated the school’s mentoring program. Steve studied elementary education and math at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota where he completed his student teaching in a 4th grade classroom. He has also volunteered as a tutor, ELL assistant and accelerated math teacher. Steve is an Eagle Scout and he likes to play tennis.
Patrick Kavanaugh is a Guest Teacher at The Learning Community. Patrick holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and English from the University of Rhode Island. He has previously taught 3rd grade in Manchester, Connecticut and has observed classrooms all over Rhode Island. Patrick strives to bring a positive attitude to each classroom he is in. He loves to ski and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Meaghan Landry joins the Fifth Grade Team this fall as a long-term Guest Teacher. Meaghan is a recent graduate of Brown University’s MAT Program and has a B.A. in French from Providence College. She has experience teaching third, fourth, and fifth grade during her time as a student teacher. She studied abroad in both Nice and Paris while in college, where she took classes at French universities and also volunteered as an English teaching assistant in elementary and middle schools. Meaghan enjoys reading, kayaking, playing hockey, and spending time with her five siblings and two dogs. Adam Limoges is a Guest Teacher at The Learning Community. Adam was previously a member of our Education Fellow program, serving for two years with our English Language Development and Extended Day teams. Adam grew up in Smithfield, RI and studied criminal justice at Johnson & Wales University. Adam enjoys hanging out with friends and playing hockey.
Lianne Masucci is a Guest Teacher at The Learning Community. Lianne is a recent college graduate from Rhode Island College. Lianne received a B.A. in Elementary Education and student taught in Providence. Lianne loves working with children, especially in inner city schools. Besides working with children, she also loves to read. Lianne has been working in the children's room of the public library in her hometown since she was 14. Lianne is really excited to officially begin her career as a teacher and is eager to learn from the students as well as other teachers and staff.
Heather Tatterfield is a long-term English Language Arts Guest Teacher to 8th graders at The Learning Community. Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Heather taught at Indian Trail Intermediate School in Johnson City, Tennessee where she also served as a Learning Leader for the English Language Arts Department, was director of the school-wide spelling bee, and coached Girls on the Run. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Missouri Southern State University. Heather is passionate about using literature to inspire and empower her students. She lives in Providence with her family, and in her spare time enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and scuba diving.
Americorps Education Fellows Our Education Fellows Program, supported by AmeriCorps, gives recent college graduates indepth experience in the life of an urban public school and invests in them as emerging educators. Education Fellows play a variety of roles at The Learning Community & in partner sites across Rhode Island that help close the achievement gap. Education Fellows make a targeted impact on cohorts of students and their dreams for their future. Fellows serve one year terms August through June.
Instructional Coach Team Josh Johnston is an Instructional Coach for English Language Arts in grades 6-8 at The Learning Community. He previously taught sixth grade ELA. Josh earned his Master’s in Elementary Education from Brown University's MAT program, and he also has a degree in history from Denison University. Josh loves reading, including favorites like Bluebeard, by Kurt Vonnegut, The High Window, by Raymond Chandler, and Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli. He lives in Providence with his wife, Abby, his baby daughter, Bronwyn, and an increasingly large number of plants. Ava Vanech is an Instructional Coach for Math in grades 5-8 having previously been a 6th Grade Math Teacher and a member of our Academic Support Team. Prior to joining The Learning Community, Ava taught in Milton, Dorchester and Lawrence, Massachusetts, as well as schools in California. She worked as a mentor in Peru and as a preschool teacher in Chile. Ava received an MAT from Tufts University and also holds a degree in Sociology from Wesleyan University. Ava loves to spend time exploring the outdoors with her family and crazy dog.
Teaching Studio Team Christine W. Alves is an Instructional Coach and the Director of The Teaching Studio, our professional development lab that shares our work strategically with other public schools. Christine supports our classroom teachers as they serve as external consultants for clients including our nationally-recognized partnership with the Central Falls Public Schools. Previously Christine was an instructional coach and a first grade teacher. Christine joined our team after several years at a charter school in Providence. Christine has served as a mentor teacher at Brown University where she received her Masters of Arts in Teaching degree as well as a B.A. in Biology. Her parents migrated to the U.S. from Trinidad before she was born. Melanie Griffith joins our team as Project Manager for The Teaching Studio with a focus on the accreditation process for our Principal Residency program as well as supporting the work of Teaching Studio consulting teachers and school partners. She comes with a range of experiences as a writer and professor of writing. She most recently was a fulltime Instructor for Blinn College, Bryan, TX where she taught Composition and Introduction to Literature. She has also been an Instructor of Record for Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, NY and State University of New York at Purchase. Melanie also worked at P.S. 132 which is an elementary school in the Bronx / NYC through the Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program with a focus on Poetry, Prose and Performance. She has her M.A. in English from Louisiana State University, her M.F.A. in Writing (Nonfiction) from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY and her B.A. in English from The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY. In her free time, you might find Melanie seriously thinking about working on her memoir while cooking or watching Netflix.
Tori Thomson is the Assistant Project Manager for the Teaching Studio. She first joined the LC team in the 2015-2016 school year as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Tori has a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Rhode Island College. In her free time, you can probably find her wandering around outdoors, reading Harry Potter for the 47th time, or pretending to be a professional hairdresser.
Consulting Teachers and other Team Members from across the school work with the Teaching Studio to support our external partners.
Finance Team Kathy Army joined The Learning Community in 2008 as a Finance Assistant supporting the school’s operations. Kathy has worked in a variety of education and community settings including at a college, a day care center, and at her church. Kathy is the mother of three children. She enjoys gardening, reading, taking walks with her dogs and going on long motorcycle rides with her husband.
Tory Soutiere is the Director of Finance at The Learning Community. She brings experience in finance, fundraising and operations from Generations Incorporated, a Boston early literacy initiative, Fortunato Consulting, a fundraising consulting group, and the Girl Scouts of Vermont. Tory has served as an Americorps VISTA in Boston and as a counseling intern at a public school in the Bronx, NY. She has a BS in Psychology from Fordham University and lives in Boston.
Development, Communications & Data Team Derek Collamati brings his enthusiasm and energy to The Learning Community as the Director of Development. For more than fifteen years, Derek has supported the philanthropic and strategic growth of a number of institutions, including parochial schools in RI and MA, arts centers and youth development organizations. He has served as a director of advancement and consultant, choosing to work with organizations impacting positive change for our most underrepresented communities. Derek is a graduate of Stonehill College and is an avid New England Patriots, Jeep Wrangler and classic rock fan. He enjoys tennis, golf, biking, jet skiing and time with his family. Jeremy Giller is the Director of Data & Information Systems and was previously the director of development and the director of foundation relations at the school. Jeremy worked at a communications and strategy consulting firm in Providence that served clients in education, healthcare and public policy. Jeremy was also the Director of the Providence HELP Lead Safe Center, a policy analyst for The Providence Plan, and a freelance writer and editor. He graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in public policy. Jeremy enjoys cooking, obsessing about the Red Sox, and spending time with his wife and children in and around Providence. Alexis Jackson is the Foundation Relations and Development Manager at The Learning Community. Alexis graduated with a degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania and received her MA from Brown University specializing in Medieval Architecture. Alexis volunteers with several RI and national organizations. Alexis lives in Providence and enjoys blogging, cheering on her football and hockey teams, and catching new movies.
Extended Day Team Chiquita Adams is a Guest Teacher at The Learning Community supporting 7th grade Science. Chiquita is a native of Mississippi, where she received her Bachelor's in Chemistry at Tougaloo College. She has been a resident of beautiful Rhode Island for a little over a year. Some of her passions include traveling, cooking, attending live music shows/concerts, learning about (and experiencing) other cultures, and free writing amongst other self-expressive activities. This year she looks forward to being a helpful addition to the amazing Middle Grades team as a 7th grade science teacher and to the entire Learning Community in helping to wholly impact and guide the young learner on his/her path to academic greatness and self-discovery. Maribel Morales is the After-School Program Coordinator at The Learning Community. She joined our community last year as a youth worker for our Extended Day and Middle Grades lunch team. Maribel graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.A. in English. She is passionate about helping her community and the children that are part of her life. She has lived in Central Falls most of her life since she came from Guatemala, she is fluent in Spanish. During her free time she enjoys cooking, listening to music, dancing and spending time with her daughter and husband.
The Extended Day Team includes many community providers and a core team including: Wendy Interiano, Dawn West, Abigayli Pedroza, Evelyn Lopez, Miguel Zapata, Maribel Morales and Kayla Zapata.
Facilities Team Alisha LeBlue is a Maintenance Assistant at The Learning Community. Alisha has many years of experience in landscaping which includes working on pools, patios, and any outside work. She also used to work for an events company helping to coordinate a variety of parties and events. Alisha enjoys spending time with her son and attending his football games. She also loves pets and has two dogs.
Ed Reis is the Maintenance Assistant at The Learning Community. Ed joined our team with over 35 years of experience in various departments at a manufacturer of furniture upholstery. Ed was born in the Azores and came to Rhode Island when he was 12. He likes to read, fish, play tennis and visit historical sites. Ed lives in Cumberland.
Administrative Team María Duque, a native of Colombia, is The Learning Community’s Administrative Manager. Maria served as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of the Central Falls Public Schools. She also spent over six years as the assistant to the Executive Director of Progreso Latino in Central Falls. María is the proud mother of Jorge, a student at The Learning Community.
Mindy Farrow is an Administrative Manager at The Learning Community, providing support to the school's Co-Directors. Mindy has most recently worked in Operations and Marketing in the software services industry. She also brings experience working with children as a nanny and teacher assistant at child care centers in Massachusetts. Mindy holds a degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a certified infant/ toddler teacher. Mindy lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She enjoys cooking, exercising, and spending time with family and friends. Carol Ferris is an Administrative Manager at The Learning Community, providing support to the Director of Instruction, bringing her enthusiasm and years of experience in systems development and administration. Carol has worked in a number of administrative roles including human resources, office management, payroll, operations and customer service in fields including health care, automotive and manufacturing. In her free time she loves to spend time with family, running, and gardening. Sarah Friedman is a Co-Director of The Learning Community. Sarah was the director of the Mental Health and Wellness Initiative at Hope and Feinstein High Schools in Providence, systematizing a model of student support with Family Service of RI. As the Associate Director of Teaching for Tomorrow, Sarah began a successful model of family engagement in six Providence elementary schools. She holds a degree in American Civilization from Brown University. In her free time, Sarah enjoys painting, running and reading. She also traveled through Central America on her bicycle! Sarah believes that all parents care about their child’s education and that all parents have the right to be a part of their child’s education. Luisa Jeetan is an Administrative Assistant at The Learning Community helping to keep the busy main office running smoothly. Luisa previously provided administrative support at several professional staffing agencies and also served as a manager at a manufacturing company. Luisa has extensive experience in office operations and interacting with employees, vendors, clients and the public. Luisa is a Learning Community parent, and she is fluent in Spanish.
Jeannie Lapierre is our AmeriCorps Program Director. She is a Rhode Island native who came to the Learning Community in 2011 as a Youth Worker in our Extended Day program, the Exploratorium, which she became Program Director of from 2013-2017. Prior to moving back to Rhode Island, she served in the U.S. Army for 8 years, where she fostered her leadership skills as a Human Resources Sergeant responsible for personnel and administrative support of over 400 personnel. While in the Army, Jeannie managed, processed, reviewed, and coordinated admin tasks pertaining to personnel accountability, strength management, evaluations, awards, promotions, reductions, and legal actions. She also supervised, mentored, and was accountable for the health, welfare, morale, training, and actions of three Soldiers. When she is not utilizing her problem solving skills or streamlining projects, Jeannie enjoys hunting for vintage finds, visiting art museums and dancing. Jeannie lives in Pawtucket with her husband, daughter and 2 cats.
Elizabeth Merchán is an Administrative Assistant at The Learning Community helping the main office run smoothly. Elizabeth has worked for over 10 years providing administrative support to a busy insurance agency in Providence and directly serving clients. She is a student at the Community College of RI and a graduate of the Providence public schools. When not at work or at school Elizabeth enjoys salsa dancing, spending time with family, cooking and helping others. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish. Michelle Minicucci is an Administrative Assistant at The Learning Community. Most recently she worked for a global financial services corporation as a client service associate following a long tenure in the field of accounting. Michelle is an experienced customer service professional, having worked directly with senior management assisting high net worth clients for many years. She is passionate about community service, having experience in heading numerous fundraisers and donation drives within the workplace. Michelle currently resides in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and enjoys traveling, boating, cooking and spending a lot of snuggle time with her rescue pup, Julia.
Meg O’Leary is Co-Director of The Learning Community. Meg was director of the Olneyville Community-Schools Initiative and has extensive experience working with schools and community-based organizations. Meg directed Teaching for Tomorrow, an innovative professional development program with the Providence public schools and was director of the SCOPE initiative in Central Falls. She believes that children from every economic and cultural background deserve an excellent education and that professional development schools are one way to achieve high quality. Meg holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Rhode Island.
Ana Soares is the Director of Operations at The Learning Community. Ana is excited to return to Central Falls, which she refers to as “the smallest city with the biggest heart.” It is here that she spent 12 years engaging the youth and families of the community in several capacities. Prior to her work in Central Falls, she managed after school enrichment programs in Providence. She is an AmeriCorps Alumni, serving two years with the city of Pawtucket and Providence. Ana studied Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island and when she does have a moment to spare, she enjoys time with her friends/family and her dachshund Thai. She loves hunting for vintage/antiques of all kinds and selling her finds at the Providence Flea.
Abi Wilson is the Director of Instruction at The Learning Community and previously served as an Instructional Coach and Reading Specialist. Abi completed her school administrator certification through the Principal Residency Network program, has a Master’s in the Teaching of Reading from Wheelock College, and holds degrees in elementary Education and theater from Roger Williams University. Abi taught first and second grades in Providence where she also served as a mentor teacher for teachers in training. Abi has two young daughters who love to play board games. When not at school, Abi enjoys gardening, cooking and reading!