Jennifer Ardizzone-West, Executive Director of Business Development, worked at Blue Man Group for 13 years prior to joining Blue School, most recently as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development. In addition to developing the Human Resource and Organizational Development functions for the organization, she grew the company infrastructure to support what started as a small company with two productions to an international phenomenon with 5 domestic companies, a record label and recording studio, and separate international and special appearances divisions (from 200 to over 650 employees). Throughout her tenure with BMG, she developed multiple organizational structures and processes to meet the ever changing goals of the organization, created the foundation for BMG as a learning organization, oversaw the creation and implementation of the BMG’s mission, vision and strategies, oversaw multiple different operational functions, served as chief spokesperson for labor negotiations, and led the organization through a difficult reorganization in order to ensure the survival of the Blue Man Group brand and its work in a dramatically changed economic environment. Passionate about learning and improving education, Jeni took on a special project in 2006 partnering with the founders to develop the business models and infrastructure for Blue School.
Prior to joining Blue Man Group, Jeni worked with a variety of organizations including The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Inc, and Playwrights Horizons. Jeni received a master's degree from Brooklyn College in Performing Arts Management, and is certified by NYU as an Executive and Organizational Coach.
Laura Camien, Director of Advancement, has spent much of her career building the Blue Man Group brand around the world. She began by helping the original Off-Broadway show grow into a global entertainment entity across the country and eventually around the world. As VP of Communications, she culminated her Blue Man career by earning a PR News Platinum Award nomination for the company’s 25th anniversary campaign. She served as Creative Director and Head Writer for Blue Man Group’s first book, Blue Man World.
A published playwright, screenwriter and producer, Laura also formed Bridge Club Productions and developed various theatrical shows, including the original musical [title of show] and co-produced it’s Obie Award winning and Tony nominated Broadway productions.
Laura proudly hails from a family of teachers and educators is thrilled to apply her marketing and communications experience to support Blue School’s mission to reimagine education for an ever-changing world.
Sherika Campbell, Advancement Coordinator, is so excited to join the Blue School! She is a Queens native and Brooklyn Friends School Alumna. She graduated from UNC- Chapel Hill with a BA in Sociology and returned to NYC after arguably the worst case of home sickness. She previously worked for Math for America and The Kew-Forest School. Outside of the Advancement Office, Sherika can be found enjoying good food, Reggae music and the Far Rockaway Boardwalk.
Linda Chang, Director of Learning Center, has more than 20 years of elementary teaching experience, including considerable teacher coaching and administrative responsibilities. She has served as the director of curriculum and instruction at Mott Haven Charter School in the Bronx. Linda holds a B.A. in ethnic studies at the University of Colorado and a Masters of Arts in Teaching for elementary education from Simmons College (Boston) and holds extensive training as a Reading Recovery teacher and a primary literacy coordinator from Lesley University (Cambridge). She has served as the early primary resource specialist and also as the co-facilitator of S.E.E.D. (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jean Delgado-Caceres, Technology Coordinator, holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Technology. Jean is a New York native but spent most of his childhood in the beautiful city of Cuenca, Ecuador. Outside of Blue School; you'll find him pursuing other passions such as traveling, writing, rock climbing and playing soccer.
Gina Farrar, PhD, Head of School, has been involved in education for more than thirty years -- as a teacher, psychologist, and administrator. She has worked in special education and in mainstream schools, with all ages of children ranging from 3 months old to adults. Growing up in the South, Gina excelled in her traditional elementary and high school education. Her excitement about learning expanded when she entered Wesleyan University and began to take ownership of her learning. In her years there, she developed from a shy freshman too afraid to talk in class into a confident learner participating in collaborative and cooperative projects. As a dancer and a math major, Gina successfully balanced and nurtured her creative and academic sides. After college Gina moved to NYC during an incredibly creative time in the 80’s and the 90’s. She taught high school math at LREI and pursued her doctorate in clinical/school psychology from Derner Institute, where she deepened her understanding of self and social intelligence as well as the science of learning. After earning her doctorate, Gina spent years working with children clinically, in and out of school environments.
As she reflected on her collective years in the field and the breadth of knowledge she had obtained, Gina realized she could best utilize her well rounded educational experience as an administrator. She went on to be the director of special education programs in Brooklyn and Queens. Her most recent headship was at Williamsburg Northside School, a progressive, independent, preschool and elementary school in Brooklyn. Gina believes very deeply in the caretaking of the community that is a school. At the core, children do their best work and are most free to learn when they feel seen, heard and understood.
Wanda Frankel, Pre-Primary Child Development Specialist, is a licensed clinical social worker and early childhood educator who has over 25 years experience working with children, families, teachers and administrators in schools and clinical settings. In addition to Blue School, she is the developmental specialist at Brooklyn Friends School and a childcare center in Park Slope. Wanda taught preschool children at Lexington School for the Deaf for many years and then facilitated professional development experiences for early childhood teachers through Bank Street College. Most recently, Wanda was on the administrative staff at a special education preschool in Harlem run by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. She has a Masters in Special Education and a Masters in Social Work from CUNY Hunter College and has trained as a play therapist. Wanda is passionate about promoting the connections between families, teachers and administrators in order to enhance children’s growth and well-being.
Nico Garbaccio, After School Coordinator, hails from New Jersey and holds his BA in Journalism from Ramapo College. He worked as a sports journalist for two years after graduating, but he was always enamored with the infectious humor of young children, so much that he often feels that he is just an overgrown kid. Ever since stepping into the world of education, he has worked at schools and nonprofit organizations, most recently running a creative writing workshops program at 826NYC. He is thrilled to be at Blue School and is dedicated to finding new ways to make learning fun. Nico enjoys writing, exploring New York City, thinking up puns, learning odd facts in order to win trivia contests, and watching Simpsons re-runs.
Ashley Hughes, Director of Operations, is in her tenth year with Blue School. Prior to joining the administrative team, she worked as a director, stage manager and production manager on theatre projects throughout the city. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MFA in Theater, Contemporary Performance from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She lives in Brooklyn with her two children, Ellie and Archie.
Richard Jenkins, Education Technology Coordinator and STEAM Co-Curricular, received his BA from The New School in Creative Writing and English Literature. Born and raised just outside New York City, Rich is an avid reader, writer, hiker and a passionate naturalist – his expeditions have taken him from the Appalachian Trail to the wilds of the Canadian Yukon. Rich joined Blue School in 2010 after teaching at Beginnings: A Toddler Program, a Reggio-inspired pre-school. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner Chelsey and their (sometimes bad) cat Leo. Rich is currently working towards his Masters of Science in Elementary Education at Hunter College.
Laurie Kardos, Middle School Director, has spent nearly two decades working to create and lead innovative and inspiring educational experiences for children. Grounded in her classroom teaching and school leadership experience, she comes to us with a lifelong love of and appreciation for middle school students, their ideas and their enormous capabilities. She has extensive knowledge of new school startup, innovative curriculum development, and inquiry learning. In her most recent role as the Deputy Executive Director in the NYCDOE Office of New Schools, Laurie led a team to recruit, select and train new leaders for over 100 new schools, and to collaborate on creating several new middle and high schools. Prior to her work at the DOE, Laurie was a founding assistant principal at an innovative New York City high school that integrates academics, personalized learning, and design thinking. She began her work in education as a teacher and instructional leader at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a small, progressive middle and high school. Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Laurie lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
David Levin, Controller. For the last five years, David has served as the Director of Finance and Administration for Legal Momentum, a women´s legal defense and education fund (originally founded by NOW in 1970), and before that, he worked for over a decade at the Fashion Institute of Technology as their Controller. Those who met with him during his visit to Blue School were impressed with David's deep experience with non-profit accounting, steady demeanor, and positive attitude, all attributes enthusiastically endorsed by his references. At FIT, David enjoyed the creative energy and dynamic programming, and he is looking forward to getting a chance to work closely again with dedicated faculty and staff in support of an inspiring educational mission.
Genevieve Little, Assistant Director of Admissions, is thrilled to be entering her second year at Blue School. Having first joined the community through the after school program, she is so glad to have found her permanent home in the admissions office. She loves to spend her days exploring Blue School classrooms and meeting new families through the application process. She has previously worked in education and publishing, most recently running an after school tutoring and writing program. Genevieve holds a BA in Liberal Arts from The New School, where she studied Creative Nonfiction Writing and Religious Studies.
Patricia Lynch, Primary Program Director, moved from Michigan to New York City after college. She knew immediately that she was meant to stay forever. Her college years were frequently interrupted by travels throughout the country dabbling in improvisational theater and social activism. However, once she stepped into a classroom as a teacher of young children, she never looked back. Education has been an exciting quest branching into many areas. Pat has worked as a literacy consultant, independent school administrator, graduate school adjunct and most importantly a teacher of children K-12. Working with the visionary Blue School community is a dream come true for Pat. The boundless potential and energy of the community is palpable and brings with it unique challenges and inquiries that could not be found in any other school. Pat has an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Theater Arts from Western Michigan University and a Masters in Elementary Education from Hunter College. In her spare time Pat loves to garden, read, watch tennis and build birdhouses.
Dr. Alice Mangan, Consulting School Psychologist, holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center and a master’s degree in special education from Bank Street College of Education. Formerly a member of the graduate faculty at Bank Street College of Education, Alice combines her passion for progressive, child-centered education with her training in psychology to thoughtfully respond to complex issues that arise in the life of a school community. In addition to her psychological and educational consultation in schools, Alice works clinically with children, adolescents, and young adults as well as parents and families providing assessment and evaluation, consultation, intervention and remediation, and psychotherapy. Alice’s research interests center on relationships between schools and families and the influence of learning disabilities on the psychological and relational life of the child, parent, and family system. Alice has a strong commitment to sensitively addressing concerns related to learning and learning disability, autism spectrum disorders, the interplay between disability and social/emotional development, parenting, and other crucial dimensions of identity such as gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity.
Lauren Miller, Registrar, joined Blue School as an administrative assistant in 2013. Lauren came to Blue School from the Metropolitan Opera Guild where she worked in finance, education, and for the magazine Opera News. Prior to that, she worked for Kirkland and Ellis LLP as a Case Assistant. Lauren holds a BA in Psychology and Theater from Oberlin College.
Harriet Richards, Child Development Counselor, started her professional path in working in higher education as a career counselor. Passionate about the arts, she worked with both undergraduate and adult students who were considering careers paths in the arts. While raising a family and working part time, she chose to pursue a Masters degree in Counseling at Villanova University. Moving into elementary and secondary education, Harriet spent nearly ten years working as a school counselor in both public and private schools, most recently at Princeton Day School. During this time, Harriet developed a keen interest in neuroscience and learning. She went on to earn a Masters degree in Mind, Brain and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Harriet brings a deep commitment to supporting the emotional lives of children and thrives on being able to partner with parents, teachers and administration in this endeavor. Harriet has two grown sons and enjoys visiting friends and family whenever she gets the chance.
Sue Roberson, Chief Financial Officer, hails from Virginia and she graduated from the UVA with a BA in English. She received her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Sue was lured to New York after business school and she has spent the last two decades in a variety of finance, operations and marketing leadership roles at Time Inc. (which publishes Time, Sports Illustratedand People). For the past five years, she served as SVP and CFO, Consumer Marketing and Revenue, overseeing the financials and operations of the company's consumer magazine, book and product businesses. She served on the Board of Directors for Next Issue Media, the Alliance for Audited Media, and JobPath. She also taught as an Adjunct Professor at the NYU Center for Publishing. It was Sue's stint at Time for Kids, a few years back, however, that helped fuel her passion for education and that ultimately sparked her interest in coming to Blue School. She is very excited to be here to start her next career chapter! Sue lives in Manhattan with her husband, Dave and her two sons, Spencer and Angus.
Vanessa Rosas, Program Coordinator, is so excited to join Blue School! She comes to us after four years with Wingspan Arts managing arts enrichment afterschool programs throughout the boroughs. Outside of the Operations office, Vanessa loves practicing photography through her small portrait business, attending Broadway shows, and traveling the world. She holds a BA in Communications & Public Relations from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Theatre from Long Island University Post.
Domenica Ruggieri, Staff Accountant, joined Blue School in August 2014. Prior to joining Blue School, Domenica worked as an accounting associate at the Pontifical Mission Societies, a non-profit organization in NYC. She has more than 10 years of experience working within the accounting department and is currently pursuing a degree in Accounting. Domenica is thrilled to join Blue School and to be able to give back to the community. She lives in Staten Island with her husband and two young boys, and enjoys traveling, exploring different neighborhoods, baking, and spending time with family and friends.
Laura Sedlock, Pre-Primary Program Director, grew up in New York City, where she attended the Bank Street School for Children and the Fieldston School. She has a BA in English from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College. Laura has fourteen years of experience in the field of early childhood education, having taught at the Bank Street School for Children, City and Country School, P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Beginnings Nursery School. Most recently, Laura has been the Educational Director at Beginnings since 2008. She has also been an adjunct lecturer in the department of Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. Before entering the field of childhood education, Laura taught English to adults in New York and Indonesia, where she lived for four years. Laura finds the world of early childhood to be endlessly fascinating and engaging, and is thrilled to be part of a community with such an energetic and thoughtful approach to children and education. She lives in Brooklyn with her spouse and two daughters.
Maria I. Serrano, Human Resources, has worked in Human Resources for 13 years. For the last nine years, she has served as the HR Manager of a NYC multi-site non-profit organization. She was responsible for all Human Resources functions including recruitment, on-boarding, payroll processing, employee relations, compliance and implementation of policies and procedures. She has a Master of Science degree in HR Management. Maria is thrilled to join the Blue School community. She currently resides in Queens along with her son, Christian, who is her pride and joy.
Jessica Vanderberg, Associate Director of Advancement, graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Comparative Religion and has a MA in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. Her graduate work focused on identity development for new Americans coming from culturally religious backgrounds. She’s previously worked in schools (teacher/curriculum developer) and for international educational non-profits (program coordinator). She has spent the past eight years working in sales and marketing for international and boutique luxury retail brands. Jessica was called back to education when she began searching for an inspiring, engaging and community-building space for her son’s Pre-K experience. She is excited to support Blue School’s vision. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, James, and two children, Julian and Alice.
Dawn Williams, Director of Admissions, has been a part of the Blue School community for the past 8 years. She came to Blue School as a parent first (of a then 3 year old who’s now a Blue School middle school student!) and shortly thereafter found her home in the admissions office. Dawn loves getting to know children and their families throughout the admissions process—from tour to interview—and answering any and all questions along the way. She also sits on the NYSAIS Admissions Conference Planning Committee. Prior to her work at Blue School, Dawn worked as a theatre director regionally and throughout the city. Over the past 20 years she has worked exclusively with non-profits including The Museum of the Moving Image, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, the Watkinson School, the Women’s Project, and the McCarter Theatre in educational, creative and administrative capacities. She has been a teacher of theatre, film, vermicomposting and children’s gardening and cooking. Dawn lives with her husband and son in Astoria.