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. Cavallini is a Teaching Fellow on the Lower School Kindergarten team. This is her first year at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, and she is thrilled to bring her enthusiasm of the creative arts into the classroom.
Following her graduation from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, she spent time as a teaching artist in Massachusetts and has also worked as a museum educator, early learning educator, and teaching assistant at a theater school. As a Teaching Fellow, she aims to help students use the full scope of their imagination and inspire empathy for all, instilling a joy of learning each day. She was drawn to BASIS Independent because of the ability to create a unique learning experience, infusing science and the arts.
When not in the classroom, Ms. Cavallini absolutely loves spending time cuddling her two kittens, finding new places to eat in the city, and attending cultural events.
Mr. Chen is a language enthusiast! He joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn in 2017. Mr. Chen earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Shanghai University in China in 2009. He continued on to earn his master’s degree in nuclear engineering with a full scholarship from the same university in 2012.
Previously Mr. Chen taught Mandarin at P.S. 9 and P.S. 166. He also worked with Qtalk Publishing LLC to develop the QTalk method being used worldwide to teach many languages.
“As a Mandarin Teacher at BASIS independent Brooklyn, I truly enjoy teaching the students each day. I offer a full Mandarin immersion classroom, providing young learners a chance to acquire the language naturally. It is very important to me that my students are making progress and enjoying the learning process,” says Mr. Chen.
In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, learning Spanish, and traveling.
Ms. Collins returns to BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher. She is passionate about languages and grew up in a bilingual household. Ms. Collins is fluent in English, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, French, and Hebrew. While in college, Ms. Collins started her focus on Mandarin because she was intrigued with the language. She loved it from day one, and she feels she has a deep understanding of the roadblocks and hurdles English-speaking children encounter when learning Mandarin since she did as well.
Ms. Collins completed her studies at Columbia’s Teacher College and focused on teaching Mandarin not only to English speakers but also to speakers of multiple other languages. She chooses readings that are relevant and applicable to real-life situations and to cultural experiences in China that may connect to their experiences.
Ms. Collins spent the past nine years privately tutoring students with Rennert International and earlier at Columbia University while studying at Columbia’s Teacher College. She also served as a Chinese Language Teacher at the International Leadership Charter High School. While in college, she worked as a translator with Sky News in the past as well.
As an undergraduate Ms. Collins attended Mount Holyoke College and majored in Asian Studies and International Relations. She continued on with a Summer Language graduate program with Mount Holyoke in Mandarin. She graduated the top two percent in her class with the International Language Program/Falcon Chinese Summer Program with Cornell, and she supplemented her studies by enrolling in the International Chinese Language Program at Peking University School of International Studies.
Mr. Cono is excited to join our Lower School faculty as a Physical Education and Movement Teaching Fellow. Previously, he taught at Nesaquake Middle School and served as a swim coach and lifeguard for years.
Mr. Cono graduated from SUNY New Paltz where he was an honored NCAA varsity swimmer.
Ms. Corbett is a member of our Fine Art Faculty. She is an accomplished artist with more than ten years of experience as the owner and operator of a custom paint and design company. Previously, she spent eight years in film and television production as a prop master, lead scenic director, art director, and ultimately production designer.
Ms. Corbett received her bachelor’s degree from Tuft University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. For the past three years, she has provided fine arts instruction to students in K-Gr. 8 as a volunteer with the Red Hook Art Project.
Ms. Crowley is a Performing Arts Subject Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She attended Dawson College then New York University studying acting and educational theater K-12. She received her Master of Arts in drama, theater, and performance studies at the University of Toronto.
Starting her career in the theater, Ms. Crowley worked at the New York Theater Workshop before transitioning to a Teaching Artist role at Wingspan Arts for four years. At Wingspan, Ms. Crowley taught courses in drama, chorus, and creative play to students in partner schools.
For the past five years, Ms. Crowley has been a key part of building and growing the performing arts program at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She works with students as young as PreK up to high school, and she has been a driving force behind our fall and spring performances at the school.
According to Ms. Crowley: “The performing arts program aims to foster artistic and emotional development in our students. Skills are honed in physical and verbal communication, creative interpretation, imaginative play, and abstract thought. For me, the most important aspect of what we do is in the cultivation of empathy and global curiosity by learning to see ourselves in the lives and experiences of others. Here at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, the performing arts program works in conjunction with the other fine arts disciplines as a creative and emotional outlet for students while also posing exciting academic challenges.”
Ms. Cruz is a Teaching Fellow in the Early Learning Program at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. As a BASIS Independent educator, her goal is to create a positive space for children to grow and acquire knowledge in a fun and rewarding manner. She desires to create an outstanding learning environment.
Ms. Cruz chose a career at BASIS Independent because it allows her to be creative and teach in the style that suits her. She was attracted to the fact that BASIS Independent has trust in their teachers, permitting them to teach in their own unique way.
Ms. Cruz attended Queens College, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree. She majored in psychology and minored in sociology.
When Ms. Cruz is not in the classroom, she is hitting the gym. She views the gym as a relaxation technique, and it has become a great part of her life. Ms. Cruz also has a passion for makeup as a form of creative expression.
Ms. Harris is a Teaching Fellow in our Early Learning Program. Last school year, worked hand-in-hand with Mr. Kaponyas in supporting Kindergarten Zinc. After graduating from City College, Ms. Harris worked as a medical assistant in Manhattan and even pursued a master’s degree in acupuncture. Later she worked at Accenture in their Innovation HUB in SoHo.
Ms. Harris shared that children inspire her, and that is why she wanted to change careers to be back in the classroom. Early childhood education, in particular, is her great focus as she reenters the classroom. Ms. Harris previously taught English as a second language in the U.S. and abroad. In France, she was an Assistant Teacher creating daily lessons, preparing all class materials, and customizing programs for different learning styles.
Ms. Joyce was drawn to BASIS Independent Brooklyn by the desire to teach an accelerated academic curriculum that is infused with joy and creativity. She sees each day as a chance to impart foundational skills and inspire a love of learning in her students.
Ms. Joyce completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola University where she focused on both English literature and education. She also earned teacher certification for English Language Arts, grades 7–12.
Following graduation, Ms. Joyce taught English at the high school level in her hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania where she also coached a children’s swimming team. She later made the big move to New York City when an opportunity arose to teach kindergarten at a school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was in that classroom that Ms. Joyce discovered her passion for early childhood education. Witnessing the strides her students could make in less than a year simply amazed her. “I am in constant awe of what four- and five-year-olds can accomplish if you only give them the opportunity to try.”
Outside the classroom, Ms. Joyce enjoys spending time with family, exploring local restaurants, museums, and shops, and going to the beach.
Ms. De Leon
Ms. De Leon was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She received the Gates Millennium scholarship and attended Brown University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in elementary teaching. After twelve years teaching and curriculum consulting, Ms. De Leon decided to transition to administration as the Director of Student Affairs at the Lower School Campus.
As Director of Student Affairs for the Lower Campus, her goal is to cultivate productive and positive relationships with teachers and families so that all students can achieve at their highest levels. “At our Lower Campus, every moment that the kiddos are working in their classrooms they are deepening their curiosity, building their resiliency, and thinking critically about their world. This strong foundation sets them on a path to not just be personally successful but also to be a part of the success of their global community. I am eager to be a part of their journey and support them at every stage of accomplishing their goals.”
Outside the classroom, Ms. De Leon enjoys running half marathons, biking around all the boroughs, and exploring all the cultural spaces that New York City has to offer with her husband and two children.
Outside the classroom, Ms. De Leon enjoys running half marathons, biking around all the boroughs, and exploring all the cultural spaces that New York City has to offer with her husband and two children.
Ms. MacCoille is a Subject Expert Teacher in the Music Faculty at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. Ms. MacCoille received her degree in performance and music education from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She continued on to receive her master’s degree in classical civilizations and Italian from Trinity College Dublin. She recently started her master’s degree in early childhood education at Hunter College. This past summer Ms. MacCoille also started her Orff Schulwerk certification and completed her Level 1 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Previously, Ms. MacCoille worked as a performing operatic mezzo soprano for several years and was the lead vocal and early learning music teacher at the Glasnevin Academy of Music for five years. She enjoys working with children of all ages PreK through Gr. 12.
Ms. MacCoille was drawn to BASIS Independent Brooklyn for the high expectations it has for 100% of its students. “I’ve always taught my students that making mistakes and facing challenges is an invaluable and welcome part of the learning process, and this is central to the BASIS Independent ethos!”
Ms. Moon’s life passion is working with early learners; she brings to BASIS Independent Brooklyn over two decades of experience working with children from ages two to five. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology at Hunter College in New York City. She then completed a Master of Science degree in early childhood education at Hunter College (and graduated with a perfect grade point average!). She holds New York State Professional Certification in Birth through 2nd grade.
After her initial training, Ms. Moon began her professional career teaching young children at the Discovery Programs in Manhattan in 1992. She acted as the Director of Discovery Programs from 2004 until 2008, when she happily followed her love for teaching back into the classroom. Ms. Moon is a familiar face to many BASIS Independent Brooklyn students and families as she taught two-year-olds and three-year-olds at Grace Church School from 2008 until 2012, when she switched into their Pre-Kindergarten program. She enjoys teaching the youngest students “because they are so full of light and love and eager to learn and grow. They inspire me to be a lifelong learner!”
As an expert in early childhood, Ms. Moon understands the importance of supporting her students’ social and emotional needs, while inspiring them to grow academically. “I always listen and strive to be as compassionate as possible so I can be understanding and helpful in every situation. Academic learning must be supported through social and emotional play.”
Ms. Moon is excited to pioneer the Early Learning Program and bring her expertise to our classrooms. She says, “I was attracted to the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Early Learning Program because of the high quality of the teachers and the outstanding administration team developing this new program.”
Ms. Moon is also an accomplished musician and brings her love of music to her teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar and has even released two children’s albums!
Ms. Morehouse is excited to return to BASIS Independent Brooklyn Early’s Learning Program Family. Ms. Morehouse graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and government with a minor in sociology. After several years working in advertising in Chicago, she realized teaching was her true calling and returned to school to obtain her master’s degree in education from DePaul University.
After obtaining her master’s degree, Ms. Morehouse taught kindergarten in Chicago before moving back to New York City to be closer to family. Prior to joining BASIS Independent Brooklyn, she spent three years teaching kindergarten at another nearby school in Brooklyn. She also obtained her New York State Elementary Education Certification.
When not teaching, you can find Ms. Morehouse spending time with my family in Westchester, reading, or planning trips with family and friends.
Ms. Porter is a Gr. 1 Learning Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She first joined as a Teaching Fellow in the Early Learning Program earlier this year working in our Kindergarten Zinc class. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a double major in psychology and early childhood education.
Previously Ms. Porter spent two years teaching pre-school and two years instructing Pre-K. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in elementary education.
Ms. Porter’s goal as a BASIS Independent educator is to learn and grow with the mentorship of both the Learning Expert Teachers and Subject Expert Teachers. Also, she hopes to inspire and support students to focus, stay on track, and excel. Ms. Porter chose BASIS Independent Brooklyn because of the academic program and campus built to maximize learning.
When not in the classroom, Ms. Porter loves being outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, and traveling.
Ms. Porter is a science and fine arts Subject Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Lower School Campus. Previously she focused on our Cubs as a Learning Expert Teacher at our school. She has taught for many years in both school and museum environments, and she appreciates the unique, joyful, and challenging approach to learning that the BASIS Independent Schools offer.
Ms. Porter earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and religious studies at the University of Colorado. She continued on to earn her Masters of Arts Teaching in Museum Education from The George Washington University. Ms. Porter holds a NYS PK-6th teaching license. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Pre-K-5th grade Science and Fine Arts. As an educator, she looks for ways to foster every students’ natural curiosity to experiment and create as they gain confidence and develop a joy for learning.
Ms. Reilly is an Early Learning Lead Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn for our PreK-1 BASIS Independent Bear (cubs). She received her bachelor’s degree in human development at SUNY Binghamton. She focused on human cognitive development, and she is excited to nurture the curiosity of some of our youngest learners at the school. Ms. Reilly is currently finishing her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College.
Ms. Reilly joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Early Learning Faculty in 2017. She has years of experience teaching and caring for infants, toddlers, and young children in daycare centers, and as a child care provider for multiple families. Previously, Ms. Reilly cared for twin boys as a nanny when they were in the preschool and kindergarten years. She knows and enjoys being with children during this formative period.
Ms. Reilly chose BASIS Independent Brooklyn because of the co-teaching model which she believes allows teachers to effectively develop strong teacher-student relationships that support learning. She believes it is so important to foster a warm, welcoming environment that allows children to explore all of the excitement school and learning has to offer.
When Mr. Reilly is not teaching, she enjoys traveling, cooking, playing piano, and learning new songs on the ukulele to bring into the classroom.
Ms. Rivera has taught at BASIS Independent Brooklyn for the past five years as a founding teacher in the new Early Learning Program. She has enjoyed her experience working with young children. “My passion lies in the foundations of learning – a time in a child’s life when they are beginning to achieve the greatest level of success through motivation and discovery,” said Ms. Rivera.
Ms. Rivera graduated from Hunter College with a master’s degree in childhood education. She was inducted to the National Educational Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi and graduated summa cum laude. After graduation, Ms. Rivera gained experience in the classroom as a prekindergarten teacher in an Independent school in Manhattan. She later taught kindergarten at a charter school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, before joining BASIS Independent Brooklyn.
When she’s not teaching, Ms. Rivera enjoys traveling to new countries with her family and friends. She also enjoys attending Broadway shows and spending quality time with her three cats.
Ms. Tietjen joins the Lower School Team as a Humanities Subject Expert Teacher for both Gr. 1 and 2. She previously taught at the Packer Collegiate Institute in the Primary School Program. Ms. Tietjan graduated from Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and went on to receive her master’s degree in Childhood Education Gr. 1-6 from Hunter College.
Ms. Tietjen’s goal as a BASIS Independent educator is to prepare students to be successful in school and out, and to help students form empathy and compassion for others, confidence in themselves, and challenge themselves.
Ms. Tietjen chose to teach at BASIS Independent to help prepare students for the future.
BASIS Independent gives teachers control over their curriculum and lessons which was something that Alexandra really wanted autonomy over. It is a network of schools that provides the opportunity to learn from teachers on multiple campuses.
When not in the classroom, Ms. Tietjen enjoys traveling, staying active, and spending time with her friends and family. She can be seen walking around Brooklyn with her puppy sidekick,
Baloo. She loves to paint and goes to Target whenever she can!
Ms. Ye is a Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher. She attended Brooklyn College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood education with a concentration in mathematics. She is currently enrolled in a master’s program in adolescent Chinese education at Hunter College.
As a Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher, Ms. Ye’s goal is to motivate students to learn how to converse fluently in the language. “I strive to create a learning environment where my students feel excited and empowered when they are able to express their thoughts and talk about themselves in Mandarin,” says Ms. Ye.
Ms. Ye is thrilled to join the BASIS Independent Brooklyn community. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys working with students from multiple backgrounds, as well as discussing various topics.
In her free time, Ms. Ye spends time baking, since it is one of her passions. One of her favorite desserts to make is cheese cake. Also, Ms. Ye enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures with her family.