Ms. Bakunets

Math
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Ms. Bakunets

Subject Expert Teacher Math

Ms. Bakunets graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of Saint Petersburg State University (Russia) with a diploma equivalent to a master’s degree.

Since she was a primary school student, Ms. Bakunets had a dream of going into teaching. That aspiration evolved into a true intention to become a math teacher once she realized the beauty of mathematics and felt the satisfaction it brought when helping her classmates or siblings understand the concepts.

Ms. Bakunets followed this passion by teaching mathematics in Russia and the U.S. for over 18 years. She worked at two specialized physics and mathematics schools in Russia, teaching grade 5-11 students. Once in the United States, Ms. Bakunets continued teaching, bringing her expertise to tutoring and working with the enrichment programs SchoolPlus and City Smart Scholars Program. In this realm, she is able to deliver complex ideas to kids with different personalities and background knowledge. Ms. Bakunets believes that every child is creative by nature and her goal is to awake and expand their creativity and self-confidence. When her students succeed in a math competition or by successfully being accepted by the best schools, Ms. Bakunets reaps the rewards of her work.

Ms. Bakunets views mathematics as a form of art and carries that passion outside of teaching. She loves to draw, visit galleries, and listen to music. In sport, she gravitated toward rock climbing because it looks like a dance when one solves puzzles written by features of the rock in the most efficient way. In addition, Ms. Bakunets enjoys mountaineering and hiking and has organized several multi-day backpacking trips with her students.

Mr. Belotto

History
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Mr. Belotto

Subject Expert Teacher History

Mr. Belotto received his undergraduate degree in history and holds a Masters of Arts in History with a concentration in European History.

Born and raised in South Florida, he received both of his degrees at Florida Atlantic University and then went on immediately following graduation to teach at a private school in Boca Raton. That is where he honed his skills as a teacher and learned the best strategies to help students reach their own, individual, academic excellence. What Mr. Belotto enjoys most is employing these strategies for each of his students at BASIS Independent Manhattan every day.

Throughout his career, Mr. Belotto has had many incredible opportunities to learn with and from prestigious members of the academic community in the fields of European History, World History, U.S. History, with specific focuses on Medieval History, American Social and Political History, and Holocaust Studies, to name a few.

In his spare time, Mr. Belotto loves watching any and all sports (especially his hometown Miami Dolphins!), traveling to new places, and spending quality time with his fiancée and their young golden retriever.

Ms. Horoszewski

Chemistry
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Ms. Horoszewski

Subject Expert Teacher Chemistry

Ms. Horoszewski has a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Binghamton University where she graduated with honors for Distinguished Independent Work in Chemistry. Before graduating, she was invited to the American Chemical Society National Conference to present her research and thesis on “Using Tattoo Inks to Develop Undergraduate General Chemistry and High School Chemistry Students’ Understanding of Atomic Emission and Spectroscopy.” She expanded her education with several exciting, interdisciplinary courses such as bioinorganic chemistry, surveying the relationship between metals and biological systems, and a materials science course centered on the chemistry of painting, glassmaking, rocks and geodes, and more.

In the classroom, Ms. Horoszewski aims to create a culture of inquiry-based learning and to encourage students to take control of their education through research and exciting laboratory experiments and demonstrations. She says, “I want to use my passion and expertise to inspire my students’ affinity for chemistry.” Outside of the classroom, Ms. Horoszewski enjoys making charcuterie boards, writing, and cuddling with her cat, Fara.

Dr. Noudéhou

English
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Dr. Noudéhou

Subject Expert Teacher English

Dr. Noudéhou comes to the Wildcat community from BASIS Independent Brooklyn, where she taught Honors English Language, AP English Language, and AP English Literature for five years. She enjoys challenging students to read texts from the 16th century to the present, written in English by authors from around the world, and supporting students as they develop their writing skills.

Her Ph.D. in English is from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in English with a minor in Latin American Studies is from Brandeis University. Prior to teaching at BASIS Independent Schools, Dr. Noudéhou taught AP English Language in Potomac Maryland, and taught at institutions such as Howard University in the District of Columbia, Tsinghua University in China, and Rhodes University in South Africa.

Outside of teaching, her passion is bilingual children’s books that are full of imagination and joy. Her Playing with Osito | Jugando con Baby Bear (Barranca Press) received recognition as the best bilingual children’s book in New Mexico/Arizona in 2018. Dr. Noudéhou has long been impressed with the BASIS Independent School model that supports multilingual students learning at international levels of excellence.

Mr. Nuñez

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Mr. Nuñez

Student Affairs

Mr. Nuñez is a native New Yorker who has taken his passion for education around the world. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Sociology from Hamilton College in 2004. Mr. Nuñez began his professional career working in admissions at universities in both New York and Los Angeles before making the transition to high schools in 2013.

Next, he leveraged almost a decade of expertise and a vast network of admission colleagues in a move to China. At a competitive Advanced Placement and British A-Levels curriculum high school in Shenzhen, he worked with a team to strengthen the college counseling program and assist families in the college application process. From there, Mr. Nuñez worked at an International Baccalaureate high school in Düsseldorf, Germany, before returning to the Big Apple in 2017. He spent two years as the Associate Director of College Counseling at the UN International School.

Mr. Nuñez is currently completing a Master of Arts degree in International Education Development at Teachers College – Columbia University and is excited to work with BASIS Independent Manhattan students and families, guiding them along the process of academic success and college admission. In his free time, Mr. Nuñez enjoys discovering authentic cuisine from around the world to enjoy with family and friends in New York City.

Mr. Robertson

English
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Mr. Robertson

Subject Expert Teacher English

Mr. Robinson joins BASIS Independent Manhattan with more than a decade of teaching experience. He graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in English Education at City College.

Mr. Robinson began his career at Manhattan independent schools teaching preschool and lower school students as they traversed the adventures of learning to read and write. That was the time when he not only discovered that teaching was both a strength and a passion, but also that his calling was to work with older and more developed minds. Mr. Robinson feels deeply privileged to continue pursuing his lifelong dream of teaching, and now at BASIS Independent Manhattan can help his middle school students grapple with the engaging complexities of literature at greater depth.

Outside of school, Mr. Robinson enjoys writing both literature and music and is currently beginning to work on his first novel.

Mr. Smith 

Art
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Mr. Smith 

Subject Expert Teacher Art

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 students of all ages.

Mr. Smith joined the BASIS Independent Manhattan community in 2017 as a founding staff member and is using this experience to help set the foundation for the Upper School campus in his Teacher Mentor role. As an educator, 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 of learning.

When he is not in the classroom, Mr. Smith is in the studio or sharing his passion for pottery in an adult wheel throwing course. An avid sports fan, Mr. Smith enjoys biking, the outdoors, cooking, and finding great food with his partner, Lindsay.

Mr. Solano

Computer Science, Physics
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Mr. Solano

Subject Expert Teacher Computer Science, Physics

Mr. Solano received a Master of Science in Physics from The City University of New York (CUNY) and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida Atlantic University. Beginning in 2014, Mr. Solano entered the sphere of education and went on to teach at various institutions including CUNY, Manhattan College, Columbia & Barnard College, and Mandl College. He taught a range of classes such as Conceptual Physics to Physics with Calculus and their associated laboratories as well as Computer Applications for the Sciences.

Before finding his calling in education, he worked in numerous specializations in applied physics at City College’s NASA Center for Optical Sensing and Imaging, Columbia University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. His work as a physicist ranged from remote sensing in photonics to nanofabrication techniques for biomedical research, and high energy calorimetry for Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

Mr. Solano aims for his students to apply new concepts and thoughts to STEM-related fields and then use that skill in life as well. He hopes they learn to think analytically and appreciate their environment and the universe we live in.

Mr. Wirth

History
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Mr. Wirth

Subject Expert Teacher History

Mr. Wirth received his Master of Arts in Honors History from Brooklyn College and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Queens College. He has spent over two decades in the classroom, teaching American History, American Government, Global Studies, English Language Arts, and Humanities to middle and high school students at private, public, and charter schools. In addition to teaching, Mr. Wirth has served as a Faculty Advisor, chess coach, and mentor for a student mentor project, all of which have helped make him a productive collaborator with fellow faculty members and administrative teams.

Mr. Wirth was drawn to BASIS Independent Manhattan because the school’s mission was in line with his educational philosophy and its belief in the unlimited potential of all students. His goal is for students to exceed expectations in a supportive and respectful environment by managing and recognizing their individual needs.

As an avid reader, Mr. Wirth is extremely interested in the political events of the moment. He enjoys going to the movies, listening to all forms of music, attending concerts, cross-country skiing, and walking in Nature. He has had many incredible experiences including working as a Flight Simulator Instructor in the United States Air Force, making furniture, working as an indoor horticulturist, working in the film industry, and working in the field of human/civil rights.

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