There are two teachers in every Early Learning Program classroom, an Early Learning Teacher (ELT) and an Early Learning Teaching Fellow (ELTF). The Early Learning Teacher is the primary teacher in the classroom whereas the Teaching Fellow plays a support role to the Early Learning Teacher and often is in training to become a full teacher. Contrary to the rest of our program, the Early Learning Program classroom is self-enclosed. For certain courses, a Subject Expert Teacher will push into the room to deliver content.
Ms. Amy graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a double major in History and Classical Studies, two subjects for which she has great passion. Thereafter, she earned her Master of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Florida.
After teaching stints in Florida, Ms. Amy moved to New York and worked as an educator at The Long Island Museum. There, she taught classes of elementary and middle school children about art and history when they visited with their schools.
As an Early Learning Teacher, Ms. Amy’s goal is to pass on her love of learning to her students while helping them build long-lasting friendships with their peers.
She chose BASIS Independent Manhattan due to the robust curriculum and focus on helping students become well-rounded. “It’s important for students to be challenged academically, but school should also contribute to their social and emotional growth as well”, says Ms. Amy.
In her spare time, Ms. Amy loves to read, spend time with her family, and travel. Fun fact: She has visited forty states and their capitals. She hopes to see the other ten in the years to come!
Ms. Andrews hails from Minnesota, where she developed and implemented the Chinese program in Fergus Falls Public Schools in 2009 and has taught Mandarin ever since to students ranging from kindergarten to high school, and into college. Ms. Andrews attended the Startalk program in Fargo as a student in 2015 and returned as a teacher in the immersion program in 2016.
Ms. Andrews holds two Master’s degrees, one in English Linguistics from Shandong University in China and another in Publishing Management from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom. She is
also a freelance translator and has published a number of books, including topics of second language acquisition and traditional Chinese cultures.
Ms. Andrew’s strengths include the design of interactive and multi-disciplinary curricula to meet the students’ needs, and integrating technology to maintain interest. She is thrilled to be joining the BASIS Independent Manhattan team as a Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and traveling.
Ms. Delaney graduated from Scripps College with a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Studio Art. In 2016, she studied architecture and art history at the Chelsea College of Arts in London, UK.
During the summer of 2015, Ms. Delaney’s interest in architecture led her to complete the Career Discovery Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she studied design under Harvard professors and graduates. After completing her undergraduate degree, Ms. Delaney worked as a junior architectural designer at Kenneth Boroson Architects in New Haven, Connecticut.
Navigating her career towards education, Ms. Delaney is thrilled to be a Subject Expert Teacher who teaches Engineering and Art at BASIS Independent Manhattan. She loves having the opportunity to bring her knowledge of architecture, science, and art into the classroom. “I am excited to encourage my students to make connections between ideas and concepts across different disciplinary boundaries.”
It was the collaborative model that initially drew her to BASIS Independent Manhattan. She believes that one of the biggest barriers to interdisciplinary study in education is the necessity for collaboration of educators. BASIS Independent Manhattan offers an unmatched learning environment for students comprised of interconnected subjects and the unique teaching partnership of Learning Expert Teachers (LETs) and Subject Expert Teachers (SETs).
When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Delaney enjoys visiting her family’s lilac farm in Bridgewater, Connecticut, trying out new recipes, and boxing.
Mr. Figueroa holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Economics. He also obtained a Masters in Childhood Bilingual Education. He aims to use his expertise to educate students in a joyful learning culture where they grow to be as passionate as he is about the subjects he teaches! In his spare time, Mr. Figueroa enjoys reading graphic novels and manga, watching sports, and traveling. He also likes to go sightseeing and go out to New York City restaurants.
Ms. Flanagan was born and raised in Ireland where she earned her Bachelors of Education degree at University College of Cork. She has a passion for sports, in particular, acrobatic gymnastics, and has coached since the age of 14. Many of Ms. Flanagan’s summers were spent as a camp counselor teaching gymnastics in upstate New York, where she fell in love with this beautiful state and moved here after graduation.
She loves exploring new places and cultures. Ms. Flanagan moved to Dubai and taught P.E. for two years at a school with a co-teaching model and found that it worked extremely well for both teachers and students. That is what caught her eye and attracted her to BASIS Independent Manhattan. She is thrilled to be a part of this school community and return to New York.
Ms. Flanagan is dedicated to creating independent learners who think critically. She hopes to instill in her students a life-long passion for learning and staying physically active. In her spare time, Ms. Flanagan likes to go to the gym, do acro-yoga, try new foods all over New York City, and travel.
Ms. Hadzibrahimi graduated from the University at Buffalo with Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Early Childhood Education. While earning her Bachelors, she worked at her university’s early childhood research centers, where she enhanced her knowledge of childhood development and curriculum design. After graduating, Ms. Arlinda continued to work with children in private school settings within New York City.
As an Early Learning Program Teaching Fellow, Ms. Arlinda strives to support children while they embark on a journey to making discoveries about themselves and the world. She believes children do this best through play. It is Ms. Arlinda’s goal to incorporate play within a challenging, and hands-on curriculum, to foster children’s curiosity and creativity.
“I am very excited to join the BASIS Independent Manhattan team,” she says. “The joyful learning culture reflects why I am so passionate about teaching. Learning is fun! With this attitude and some hard work, any child can excel.”
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Arlinda enjoys doing yoga, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.
Ms. Hendrickson graduated cum laude from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Her major was Film, Video and Interactive Media with a minor in Sociology. She is currently completing a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.
Ms. Hendrickson started at BASIS Independent Brooklyn as part of their inaugural Early Learning Program team. She joined the BASIS Independent Manhattan family as a Learning Expert Teacher in 2018. She is excited to be back in the Early Learning Program where she can share her creativity and love of learning with her students. Ms. Hendrickson loves to incorporate her love of art, animals, and nature into the everyday joys of the early learning classroom.
Ms. Hendrickson was drawn to BASIS Independent Manhattan for its impressive curriculum and the talented and welcoming staff. She is proud to be part of a program that helps create curious and independent learners while supporting both academic and social-emotional growth.
When outside of school, Ms. Hendrickson enjoys going to the movies, trying new restaurants, traveling to new countries and spending time with her family by the ocean.
Mr. Laga graduated from Five Towns College with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. He received his master’s degree in educational theatre in 2018 from The City College of New York. During the summers, he runs a theatre program at a sleepaway camp.
Mr. Laga’s goal as an educator is to help develop strong, positive, and creative individuals whose hard work is applicable to the real world, and who will succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.
He says he chose to join the founding faculty at BASIS Independent Manhattan due to the strong community. He says, “the idea of ‘support’ plays a huge role in growing to be successful. I feel that our school truly understands that. We ensure that there is support by faculty for each and every student. But we also have a community of support and respect among faculty and staff – and make sure that students support each other, as well.”
Ms. Liu received her master’s degree in Teaching Chinese from Middlebury College, and a master’s degree in English Language and Literature from Shanghai Maritime University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Translation from Sichuan International Studies University.
Ms. Liu has nine years of experience teaching Mandarin to students ranging from grade school to college level and most recently was the homeroom Mandarin Chinese teacher at Cathedral High School.
As a Subject Expert Teacher, her primary goal is to inspire young learners to discover the beauty of Mandarin, while allowing them to have fun with language learning. Ms. Liu loves sharing her passion for foreign language with students, building their confidence in communicating in Mandarin, developing their cultural awareness and empathy in general, and enabling them to connect with Chinese speakers around the world.
Ms. Liu chose BASIS Independent Manhattan because it seeks to “educate students to the highest international levels.” As a lifelong educator, she encourages students to set the bar high, work to their full potential, and never give up. I believe in empowering students because, with enough support, they can actually change the world.
Ms. Liu likes to spend her time outside of school traveling, reading, and with her family.
Ms. Long is a fourth-generation music teacher. With two classical musician and music educator parents, Ms. Long has been listening, playing, or creating music from birth. As early as three years old, her mother began teaching her Suzuki cello. She played cello all through high school and performed with the Nashville Youth Orchestra for three years. Ms. Long was naturally drawn to singing, dancing, and acting on stage early on, and has performed and worked backstage with over 40 shows in her lifetime. She received a B.F.A in Theatre (emphasis in Musical Theatre) from Western Kentucky University in 1996.
Arriving in NYC in 1998, Ms. Long performed as an actor/singer/dancer with various performing groups around the city and eventually completed her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College City University of New York. For seven years, she taught in the Kindergarten and PreK classroom but yearned to get back to the arts. Since 2010, she has been teaching chorus, rhythm instruments, movement, recorder, and ukulele to PreK through grade 5. Ms. Long believes all children are musical. The best part about teaching music is experiencing the joy children have as they explore and create music together. It is very rewarding to instill the love of music with young children.
Ms. Long’s favorite role is being a mom to her two daughters, Madeline (12), and Juliet (7).
Ms. Magnotta received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in English and a Master of Science in Education from the University of New Haven. She also has a Provisional Educator Certification (K-6) in the state of Connecticut with specific experience teaching kindergarten and grade 1 students.
As an Early Learning Teacher, her goal is to foster a passion for learning and help students develop critical thinking skills in a warm and welcoming environment. Ms. Magnotta encourages her students to be curious about the world around them.
It was the rich and engaging curriculum that drew her to BASIS Independent Manhattan. She also finds the two-teacher model beneficial for students, especially in their early learning years.
When not in the classroom, Ms. Magnotta likes to read, practice mindfulness, exercise, explore New York City, and travel to new places. She also likes listening to music and watching soccer, baseball, and hockey.
Mr. Rodriguez graduated from St. Francis College with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. During his tenure as an undergraduate, he was a classroom observer at several schools and a student teacher at Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School.
Prior to coming to BASIS Independent Manhattan, he worked for two great organizations: Kids in the Game, and Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation. At Kids in the Game, he experienced many different school environments, each with vastly different student populations. With Sports and Arts at Queens Gateway Middle School, he started the sports program, and coached both the flag football and soccer teams.
As an educator, Mr. Rodriguez says his goal is to weave relatable life skills into fun games and sport activities—while making it inter-curricular. “Physical education encompasses science, mathematics, geography and history, while affirming confidence and enjoyment,” he says. “I chose BASIS Independent because of its high-achieving and rewarding curriculum, and our school’s belief in balance, in both challenging and supporting the students to turn out the best results.”
When not teaching, Mr. Rodriguez enjoys reading leadership books, writing poetry, listening to music, and watching comedy shows and movies.
Mr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Art Education Certificate from the University of Iowa. Since 2013 he has been teaching art to young children, and moved to New York City in 2015 to join the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning as the Education Associate.
As a teacher, Mr. Smith’s goal is to create an environment that allows students to become the architects of their own education, and that fosters their love for learning.
When he is not in the classroom, Mr. Smith is in the studio sharing his passion for pottery with a Wednesday after-school ceramic workshop for kindergarten–grade 6 students. An avid sports fan, Mr. Smith enjoys biking, the outdoors, cooking, and finding great food with his partner Lindsay.
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Thomas received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and Arranging degree in 2013 and a Masters of Music in Music Education plus Teaching Certification for Grades PreK through 12 in 2016 from the Esther Boyer College of Music & Dance at Temple University. Prior to joining BASIS Independent Manhattan, Mr. Thomas held numerous teaching positions in Philadelphia and New York City.
Mr. Thomas’s goal is to further students’ passion for learning by building and refining their personal character through musical study. He wants his students to use music as a tool to academically excel and help them realize the scope and depth of music as an intersection of multiple experiences.
Mr. Thomas maintains an active performance career as a freelance music performer throughout New York City and the tristate area. He enjoys all manner of comic book and graphic novel, watching and discussing film and theatre, hiking, and discussing and researching the African Diaspora and Black liberation studies.
Ms. Wahrheit holds a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education from James Madison University. While at NYU, she worked with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was an original member of Shakespeare to Go, a touring outreach theatre company that presents free cuttings of Shakespeare’s plays to K-12 students in NYC schools.
Ms. Wahrheit will use her 11 years of experience as a drama and health teacher to support the students and explore themes that are important in their lives. Her goal is to help students foster a respect for the arts as a means of self-expression, help them find their voice while working within a strong ensemble, and to guide them in creating work in which they find meaning and take pride.
A native of Long Island, Ms. Wahrheit loves yoga, swimming, being outside, creative writing, and engaging in theatre as often as possible. She now lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, her six-year-old son, Mack, and a gaggle of pets!
A former “Beijinger” before moving to Boston, MA in 1995, Ms. Zhang grew up code-switching between Mandarin and English. She continued to cultivate a love for languages, eventually adding French and some conversational Spanish and Japanese to her linguistic repertoire.
Throughout high school, college, and a post-grad summer fellowship in China, Ms. Zhang tutored children and her peers in Mandarin, math, SATs, APs, and classical piano. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Languages and Civilizations and in French at Amherst College in 2010, she moved to China for a year to teach English. It was then a natural progression that led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Bicultural Childhood Education from Columbia University Teachers College.
As a Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Manhattan, Ms. Zhang encourages her students to be curious and take risks as they navigate a new language environment. Together a space of learning is created that promotes diversity, equity, and social justice not only in the classroom but also in the greater community. Music is her other passion. Ms. Zhang loves being immersed in a good song whether in a SoulCycle studio or at a concert!