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.
Marc Bogursky, Chief Financial Officer, was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, attended college and taught math in Manhattan, and after a long sojourn in the midwest, is very excited to have returned home to New York City. Marc has worked in independent schools for over three decades and his experience includes 12 years at The Dalton School, the last six as Director of Student Activities, and 16 years at The Blake School in the Minneapolis area where he served as Upper School Director for the first eleven and Director of Business and Finance for the last five. Marc is married to Ethel (also a native New Yorker) and they have two children, Eli (who attends the University of Chicago) and Katrina (who attends Trevor Day), and one dog, a Havanese named Chester (whose school plans are still undecided).
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.
James David, Director of Advancement, started his career at public relations agencies and companies in industries such as consumer electronics, mobile, media, and technology. Happily shifting his focus, James went on to join the development office of Goodwill Industries of San Francisco before discovering his passion for education. In his roles at previous schools, James has fostered inclusive communities while aligning resources to the goals of each institution where he was employed. He has worked at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, California, and most recently The Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, New York. He sits on the board of Lola Children's Fund, an organization that raises money to provide housing, medical and educational services for HIV-affected orphans and local children in Ethiopia. He received a B.A. from the School of Media Arts and Design at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and a M.S. from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Molly Cain Dodin, Admissions Outreach and Playgroup Teacher, grew up in Chicago and moved to New York in 2004 to attend Teachers College at Columbia University, where she received her MA in Early Childhood Education. After graduating, Molly taught 4 and 5 year olds at University Settlement’s Early Childhood Center on the Lower East Side. She was thrilled to join Blue School’s incredibly inspiring community in 2013 as part of the Admissions team. Molly lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her husband Dmitry and her two children Auggie, age 3 and Julian, age 1.
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.
Allison Gaines Pell, Head of School, is a native New Yorker, a K-12 alumna of Saint Ann’s School, a graduate of Brown University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Allison has been working in educational innovation since graduation from Brown. She has been a teacher in public and private schools in both elementary and high schools. As co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools, she helped build a highly successful national non-profit organization focused on training urban school principals. Following her work at New Leaders, she became Director of Partnerships at PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning), where she created private-public partnerships on behalf of New York City public schools.
In 2005, she participated in Mayor Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy, and developed a proposal to start Arts & Letters, a small, progressive public middle school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, founded on the notion that a great school transforms children into young adults who can successfully use their voices critically and creatively. Over the past seven years, she has built Arts & Letters into a thriving and innovative K-8 school that receives over 1,000 applications each year. It has been featured in Clara Hemphill’s New York City’s Best Public Schools, awarded a Blackboard Award, and highlighted in a recent Chancellor’s address as a model of excellence.
Allison has authored articles for Educational Leadership and presented at panels and conferences sponsored by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Project Zero. She has been featured in articles about school leadership in the New York Times, and in Harvard’s Ed. Magazine. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband Ben, an architect and Yale professor, her two children Miles, age nine and Hannah, age six and Charlie.
Ashley Hughes, Director of Operations, is in her ninth 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. Her son is a life-long Blue Schooler - busy exploring in Kindergarten.
Richard Jenkins, Education Technology Coordinator, received his BA from The New School in Creative Writing and English Literature. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, 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 currently lives in Manhattan with his girlfriend Chelsey and cat Leo.
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: Simon, age four and Josie, age two.
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, After School Coordinator, is very excited to be joining the Blue School community this year. She has previously worked in education and publishing, most recently running an after school tutoring and writing program at 826NYC. She is dedicated to finding new and exciting ways to foster learning during out-of-school time. 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, Operations Coordinator, 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.
Kendra Pettis, Assistant Director of Admissions, is an independent school graduate turned independent school admissions professional with a background in cultural criticism. After graduating from Oberlin College with a BA in Anthropology and Cinema Studies, she joined the non-profit Prep For Prep and worked three years there as an admissions officer. After spending last year in New Jersey at the Elisabeth Morrow School as their Associate Director of Admissions, Kendra is thrilled to be back in New York with Blue School. The vibrant, unique personalities of NYC kids have always made coming to work each day an exciting prospect. When not doing admissions for Blue School, Kendra volunteers for the Oberlin College admissions office, coaches figure skating locally, blogs about pop culture, and honors her theatre kid roots with the occasional costume design project.
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.
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.
Jill Teitsworth, Program Coordinator, has been working in both independent and public schools for nearly a decade. Throughout those years, Jill assembled an eclectic background working both directly with children and behind the scenes. She has spent much of this time as an early childhood educator, but has also worked as a counselor and after school coordinator. She is a graduate of Skidmore College and Teachers College, Columbia University, holding degrees in Social Work and Developmental Psychology. Outside of work, Jill enjoys learning things, making things, and spending time with her dog, Trudy.
Jessica Vanderberg, Associate Director of Communications, 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.