Faculty News

As part of a collaboration with NYU Neuroscience department, Grace students took part in a study looking at the adolescent brain. High School science teachers Kim Chaloner and Dana Beviacqua were two of the authors of a paper on the study, “Morning Brain: real-world neural evidence that high school class times matter,” published in the scientific journal “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” in October 2020.

Kim and Dana also contributed to a second paper, “Neuroscience Research in the Classroom: Portable Brain Technologies in Educational Research,” highlighting the use of wireless electroencephalography technology in neuroscience education to improve engagement in STEM. The research paper was accepted for publication in the academic journal “Educational Researcher.”

Neuroscience Research in the Classroom
Students gather data in collaboration with NYU Neuroscience grad students

Jean Robert Andre, Dean of Equity and Inclusion, was accepted into the most recent cohort of NYSAIS’ Emerging Leaders Institute, which is a two-year program to develop independent school leaders. He is excited for the opportunity to bring what he learns back to Grace!


Baby picture
Ben Latimer, Grade 3 and Aubrie Hall, Learning Specialist
Sylvia Kathryn Latimer, April 2021
baby picture
Colin Todd, Visual Arts
Margarita Fay Todd, July 1, 2021

New Faculty

New Administrators

Courtney Archer-Buckmire Director of Advancement

Sarah Adler

Dean of Family and Faculty Support

Sarah has been at Grace for 30 years, first as an Early Childhood classroom teacher, while serving on a number of board and faculty committees. Most recently she has taken on the lead of overseeing our financial aid budget and is a senior member of the JK-8 admissions team. This new position will include her responsibilities as Director of Financial Aid, and she will also continue to mentor the associate teachers and serve as a resource for all faculty members.

Sarah continues to enjoy teaching in the EC, LS and MS divisions. A little known fact about Sarah is that she was the founder of the JK Variety Show, also known as the best show in town.

When asked about her new role, Sarah said, “I am excited to be a part of the support team at Grace, and I look forward to developing the role in order to meet the needs of the parents and my colleagues. My office is centrally located and my door will always be open.”

Sarah is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.A. in psychology, and she holds a masters degree from Bank Street College of Education. She is certified in early childhood and elementary education. Sarah has served on the board of Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club and was the Chair of Junior Activities which included the sports group, swimming, tennis and sailing programs. Sarah lives with her husband, Ellis, and her teenage sons, Max and Sam, along with her dog, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Maria Capelle-Burny

Dean of the Seventh and Eighth Grades

In this new position, Maria will work with the guidance team to support seventh and eighth graders, and she will continue to teach Lower and Middle School French along with creating the Middle School schedule.

Maria began as an associate teacher in Early Childhood and then Lower School, and since 2013 she has taught French to Grades 3, 4 and 7. She has also been a seventh grade advisor for eight years. Beginning last year, she has been the Middle School scheduler, and co-leads the Faculty and Staff of Color Affinity Group.

Maria grew up as a “third culture kid” to Belgian-Filipina parents and has lived in Cuba, Guatemala, Brazil, Hungary, Poland and Canada. About her childhood, Maria said, “Moving around every few years makes me attune to the students’ needs and understanding of their circumstances.” On starting her new role she says, “I can't wait to have everybody back in the building this fall!”

Maria has a B.F.A. in Theatre and French from Concordia University and an M.A. in Educational Theatre from The Steinhardt School at NYU. Prior to Grace, Maria taught French at the International School of Brooklyn. She is an avid home cook. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children: Felix is two and Javi is in 1st grade at Grace.

Randall Flinn Interim Head of the Lower School

Randall Flinn

Head of the Lower School

Randall came to Grace in 2020 as Interim Head of the Lower School. Previously, she served as Assistant Head of the Lower School at Convent of the Sacred Heart School on East 91st Street. While at Sacred Heart, she was the Co-Director of their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team, provided leadership in curriculum development and was a part of their admissions team. Randall was also a Lower School classroom teacher and a Literacy Specialist at P.S. 212, a public elementary school in Manhattan established by Bank Street School for Children, which emphasizes integration, collaboration and project-based learning.

Of her first visit to Grace in 2010, she described that the school immediately felt like home to her. "Everywhere people were chatting and laughing in the hallways of the lobby at 86. I felt the most joyous, kinetic energy from the community that was both instantly contagious and inspiring." Randall spent the 2020-21 school year getting to know the families and faculty in her interim role.

Randall has an M.Ed from Teachers College, Columbia University in Organization and Leadership, an M.Ed in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from NYU, and a B.A. from Pitzer College. She lives in Brooklyn with her two boys, Oscar, 11 and Emerson, 8.

Elsa Hepner Head of the Middle School

Yojairy Sands

Head of Early Childhood

Yojairy (pronounced Joe-HI-ree) comes to Grace from The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine where she served as the Lower School Dean and K-2 Math Specialist. Previously, Yojairy taught kindergarten and second grade at a charter school in Harlem and was an associate teacher at the Trinity School.   

At Cathedral, Yojairy led the associate teacher program and since then has been especially passionate about guiding teachers in the development and implementation of equitable and inclusive classroom practices. “Part of what drew me to Grace was its commitment to antiracism and the efforts it has already made to create spaces where everyone is valued and welcome. I am so excited to continue my journey as a leader and educator as part of the Grace community.

Yojairy received her M.Ed from Hunter College. She completed her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in religion. In the years in between, she worked as a women’s minister for her church. Yojairy and her husband, Charles, have two children at Grace: Charly in 6th grade and Aaron in 2nd grade.

New Head Teachers

Milo Calvo-Platero ’07 Associate Teacher, Middle School Science

Shelby Brody

Fourth Grade head teacher

Shelby comes to us from Bank Street School for Children where they have been for the past three years teaching Grades 3-5. Shelby has an M.S. from Bank Street and a B.A. from Barnard.

Milo Calvo-Platero ’07 Associate Teacher, Middle School Science

Xueyao Cui

First Grade head teacher

Xueyao was a first grade associate at Grace last year. Before that she was an associate and a Mandarin teacher at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine, where she worked with the new  Head of Early Childhood Yojairy Sands. She has a B.A. from Beijing Normal University and an M.A. from Teachers College Columbia University.

Margaret Coster Grade 4 Head Teacher

Chelsea Flores

Third Grade head teacher

Chelsea spent two years in “The Egg” as a third and fourth grade associate before becoming a first grade head teacher two years ago. Chelsea has a B.S. and an M.A. from New York University.

Sharifa Footman

Sharifa Footman

Lower School science

Sharifa joins us from Hunter College Elementary School where she was a Math and STEM teacher. She attended Hunter College, where she received a B.A. in Childhood Education and Biology and an M.A. in STEM Education.

Caleb Goh

Dr. Caleb Goh

Artistic Director of the Grace Theater Company

Caleb comes to Grace after having been at Poly Prep for the last three years and at schools and colleges in Singapore and California before that. He has a B.A. in Drama from the Queensland University of Technology, an M.F.A. in Theater, Television and Film from San Diego State and a Doctor of Philosophy in Musical Theater from the Western Australia Academy of the Performing Arts.

Alison Cucco Biology

Hilary Harnischfeger

Lower and Middle School art

Hilary comes to Grace from Avenues, where she has taught for the last seven years. Before that she taught both in schools and college in New York and around the country. A native of Houston, Texas, she has a B.F.A. from the University of Houston and an M.F.A. from Columbia.

Mae Jan

Mae Jan

High School Mandarin

Mae comes to us from the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. Before that, she taught Middle and High School Mandarin at Public Schools in New Jersey. She has a B.S. from Rutgers University and a Chinese teaching degree from William Paterson University.

Matthew Kolodzieski

Middle and High School strings

Matthew served as support teacher for Yvonne Hicks last year. He has taught strings in non-school settings for the previous four years and holds both an M.A. and B.A. from the Mannes College of Music.

Kaitlin Frohman Associate Teacher, Grade 1

Susanna Moller

JK head teacher

Susanna has been at Grace for the past two years, first as an associate and this year as the co-head teacher of the hybrid “Purple Room” in the Kindergarten. Before Grace, she was a head teacher of the 3’s and 2’s at Little Missionary Pre-School. She has a B.A. from Grinnell and an M.S. from Bank Street.

Ali Osborn

Ali Osborn

Middle and High School art

Ali is a working artist who has also taught at Wesleyan, where he received his B.A. in Studio Arts. He also holds an M.F.A. from Rutgers University. Before coming to Grace, Ali had a career as a printer, managing the printing operations at the South Street Seaport.

Melissa Las Fargeas Junior Kindergarten Head Teacher

Uyen Nguyen

High School math

Uyen has been a support teacher and co-pilot teacher this year. Before teaching, they combined math with fashion and origami and was also a research associate in the Cohen Lab at Cornell. Uyen has a B.A. in Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union.

New Associate Teachers and Staff

Associate Teachers:

In the 2020-21 school year, Grace brought in support teachers to assist in hybrid learning. We are so lucky to have this group, which includes many alums, decide to stay on as associate teachers.

Emily Bearden

Third Grade

Emily is a career changing associate teacher. She was a professional athlete, coach and trainer for twenty years before coming to us last year, first as a P.E. support teacher, then all through the school. She has a B.A. from George Mason University in Fine Arts.

Lucy Consagra ’08

Second Grade

Acting has been Lucy’s passion and focus since graduating from Skidmore with a B.A. in Psychology, but she has come to love teaching through her experience as a support teacher last year at Grace.

Victor Diaz

Middle School Humanities

Before coming to Grace, Victor worked as a freelance tutor and a teaching assistant at BMCC. He has a B.A. from Queens College.

Micaela Macagnone ’16


Micaela is an alumna from the High School’s first graduating class who attended Grace from JK-12. She was a support teacher throughout last year and is excited to be working as an associate in the Kindergarten working with Jennifer Bullock in the fall. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Affairs from Pomona College.

Margaret (Maggie) Perkins

Third Grade

Maggie will be working with Grace’s third graders this fall after working at the Indian Mountain School in Connecticut. She received a B.A. in Drama from Kenyon College.

Charlotte Phillips ’16


Charlotte joins us from Georgetown International Relations, where she was chief operations officer. She received a B.A. in History and Government from Georgetown University.



Jasmine Brown

Jasmine Brown

IT support technician

Jasmine joined us in 2020, after having worked as a client services technician at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. She has a B.Tech. in Computer Systems from the New York City College of Technology.

Sheila Rigby Dolan

Learning specialist for Grades JK-8

Sheila joins Grace from the Chandler School in Los Angles, where she was a grade 3 teacher for 20 years. She has a B.A. from Hunter College, an M.S. from the New York Institute of Technology and an M.Ed from Baruch.

Antonella Dominguez

Assistant to the Office of Community Engagement

Antonella joins us from George Jackson Academy, where she was the External Relations Manager. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Amherst College.

Shamiso Mtangi

Shamiso (Miso) Mtangi

School counselor, JK-4

Miso joins Grace after having worked as a clinical social worker at NYU Langone - Brooklyn. She has a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University and a M.S.W. from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Aaron Trujillo

Aaron Trujillo

Assistant to the College and Admissions office, 9-12

Before coming to Grace, Aaron worked in academic support and advising at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He has a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Albright College and is currently earning his masters in Caribbean History at City College.

Julia Warren

School counselor for Grades 9-12

After having served as a leave replacement last year, Julia joins us full-time this fall. Before coming to Grace, she was a therapy assistant at SAGE for Children. She received her B.A. from Hampshire College. She also earned an M.A. in Psychological Counseling and an Ed.M in School Counseling, K-12, both from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University.


June marked the beginning of a new chapter for these exceptional educators.

○	Beverly O’Mara, art teacher and JK–12 curriculum coordinator, has been at Grace since 2004
Beverly O’Mara, art teacher and JK–12 curriculum coordinator, has been at Grace since 2004
Cheryl Kelly, Head of Early Childhood
Cheryl Kelly led the Early Childhood division since 2003.
Marilyn Sapperstein, Childhood Head Teacher
Marilyn Sapperstein headed up Grace Jr. K classrooms for 27 years.
Yvonne Hicks, Music
Yvonne Hicks taught instrumental music at Grace for more than 30 years.