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.
Hailing from East Tennessee, Ms. Bennett graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a minor in dance performance. She continued her studies receiving a Master of Fine Arts in dance choreography from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where she was also an Iowa Arts Fellow and a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Currently she is finishing up her master’s degree in early childhood education at Hunter College.
Ms. Bennett is thrilled to return to BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Early Education Teacher faculty. She began working at BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a Kindergarten Teaching Fellow last year. Though Ms. Bennett started teaching dance in 2004 to students ranging from 18 months through college age, she wanted to spend more time with her younger students, engaging with them in ways not limited to movement. Ms. Bennett then transitioned to a lead teacher role in PreK2 and PreK3 programs. With a desire to teach in an elementary setting, Ms. Bennett set her sights on BASIS Independent, hoping to gain more insights into the emotional and academic needs of our earliest learners.
Ms. Bennett has lived fully, including filming an ethnographic documentary in Mexico, backpacking through Europe without a smartphone, knocking on doors for a good cause in southern California, hand-delivering a newborn calf, driving cross-country, and has since committed herself to her ultimate adventure: classroom teaching. Outside the classroom she can be found in contemporary or modern dance classes, working out, watching movies, or eating her favorite ice-cream at her home in Red Hook.
Ms. Bhowmik is currently an Early Education Teaching Fellow at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. As such, her goal is to provide every student with the confidence they need to succeed in higher grades and throughout the rest of their schooling.
Ms. Bhowmik graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelors of Science in psychology and biology with a specialization in developmental genetics. After graduating from college Ms. Bhowmik worked as an Associate Teacher teaching 3rd grade and Kindergarten at a charter school in New York City.
The community and the autonomy provided to teachers at is what drew Ms. Bhowmik to BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She is looking forward to the opportunity to become a better educator by exposure and learning from an experienced lead teacher.
During her free time Ms. Bhowmik enjoys curling up with a good book and traveling.
Ms. Bothun is an Early Learning Teaching Fellow with BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University and received her bachelor’s degree in special education. She was deeply involved within the College of Education and the Student Florida Education Association (SFEA). Her involvement included teaching life skills at the elementary and middle school levels and traveling to many SFEA professional development conferences in and out of state. She also participated in student mentor programs and coordinating different school and community fundraising events.
While attending Florida Gulf Coast University, Ms. Bothun also worked in the Campus Recreation Department as a Head Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. Originally from Florida, Ms. Bothun grew up loving and always being around the water. She combined her passion of working with children and water to become an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. She has been coaching and teaching swim lessons for almost 10 years within different facilities such as preschools, city community centers, and country clubs.
Ms. Bothun was a live-in caregiver and tutor in Greenwich, Connecticut prior to moving to New York. She is looking forward to meeting all BASIS Independent Brooklyn students and families.
Ms. Bunkers is excited to return to BASIS Independent Brooklyn team as a Subject Expert Teacher in our Science Department, and she looks forward to the opportunity to learn from the amazingly dedicated, passionate faculty. She hopes to create an environment for students where curiosity and creativity in all subjects can flourish.
In 2012, Ms. Bunkers graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Oberlin College. During her undergraduate career, Ms. Bunkers worked in laboratories both in Ohio and Chicago, participating in research in subjects varying from invasive species to oral cancer. In 2011, Ms. Bunkers had the opportunity to travel to Australia where she worked with Landcare Australia, rehabilitating natural habitats and providing botanical illustrations for their book about native Australian plants.
Ms. Bunkers was drawn to the beauty of BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s facilities, but more importantly, the dedication of its teaching faculty and staff. She is thrilled to work amongst such impressive colleagues.
In her free time, Ms. Bunkers can be found playing the piano, working on illustrations, or enjoying time out at the movies.
Mr. Chen is a language enthusiast! He previously taught Mandarin at P.S. 9 and P.S. 166, and worked with Qtalk Publishing LLC to develop the QTalk method being used worldwide to teach many languages.
Having earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Shanghai University in China in 2009, he went on to earn his master’s degree in nuclear engineering with a full scholarship from the same university in 2012.
“As the 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. Crowley is a Teaching Fellow in the Early Learning Program at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She received her bachelor’s degree in applied science and mathematics from the City University of New York.
For the past two years Ms. Crowley has supported our youngest learners at BASIS Independent Brooklyn in conjunction with our Early Education Team and Subject Experts.
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 fourt years. At Wingspan, Ms. Crowley taught courses in drama, chorus, and creative play to students in partner schools.
For the past three 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.
Mr. Festo is very excited to return to BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a Teacher Fellow in the Early Learning Program. He chose BASIS Independent Brooklyn because of the school’s drive for self-improvement not only in the students but also in the faculty as well.
Mr. Festo graduated from the University of Vermont’s Elementary Education program, majoring in elementary education and minoring in special education. He has taught in classes ranging from Kindergarten to grade 5 in Connecticut, Vermont, and even New Zealand during his time abroad.
In his spare time, Mr. Festo loves to listen to, write, and perform music. He plays guitar and sings in his own band, and he plays the drums and bass guitar in other bands. He is also a big New York sports fan, following the New York Mets and New York Knicks.
Mr. Galloway joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s faculty the end of the 2016-2017 school year as Teaching Fellow, and he was instrumental in redesigning our recess program across the grades to incorporate collaborative group sports. In his work to date, Mr. Galloway has distinguished himself by revamping recess to make sure all children felt valued during the play time and also incorporated significant physical activity.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Galloway grew up in Battery Park City and ventured to the University of Arizona in Tucson to obtain his master’s degree majoring in science with a minor in German.
Before joining our BASIS Independent Brooklyn faculty, Mr. Galloway worked with Solar One helping bring solar energy to Brooklyn neighborhoods and assisted New York State Senator Daniel Squadron by overseeing the petitioning process to include the politician on the ballot for reelection.
In 2012, Ms. Greenberg graduated from the University of Vermont with Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, and concentrations in anthropology and communication science. After graduation, she was a Special Education Instructional Assistant in a small K-2 school in Vermont, then taught pre-kindergarten at an independent school for two years. Ms. Greenberg has led first grade classes at BASIS Independent Brooklyn for the past two years, and she is excited to focus on our youngest learners in the Early Learning Program this coming year.
As an Early Education Learning Expert Teacher, Ms. Greenberg’s goal is to “maintain an encouraging and joyful learning environment, while harnessing each individual student’s strengths and talents and instilling in them a life-long love of learning.”
“I was drawn to BASIS Independent because its culture places such a strong emphasis on the positive relationship between joy and learning. It is also a community where students are taught to be kind and mindful world citizens and appreciated as individual human beings,” she says.
Outside of the classroom, music and the arts are very important aspects of Ms. Greenberg’s life. “I have dabbled in learning a few instruments, such as the cello and guitar, but mostly enjoy attending live events. I love exploring new restaurants and recipes, particularly finding ways to enjoy being gluten-free,” she says.
Ms. Heinold joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Fine Art faculty bringing more than 17 years promoting progressive learning opportunities and artistic growth in schools and cultural institutions. Ms. Heinold received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology with a joint concentration in contemporary American art history. She received her Master of Fine Arts with a specialty in painting, from the State University of New York at New Platz.
Ms. Heinold’s passion for teaching and love of the fine arts reflects in her commitment to teach all ages and a wide range of artistic disciplines. Prior to joining BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s faculty, her most recent work included a distinguished partnership with Studio in a School Institute as a curriculum developer and teacher for a Department of Education research grant (Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination) for New York City public schools where she taught grades K-6 and special needs classes.
Earlier in Ms. Heinold’s career she taught at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and held a Term Lecturer position at the State University of New York at New Paltz for five years, where she taught undergraduate fine art and the summer intensive graduate program for art educators. Some of her mid-career roles include educator for the Rubin Museum of Art and assisting at the Museum of Modern Art Library & Archive as well as working in collaboration with Brooklyn hospitals, using art and teaching to assist youth with chronic medical conditions through the non-profit organization ArtWorks: The Naomi Cohain Foundation.
Ms. Heinold exhibits her painting, collages and sculptures both nationally and internationally and in her spare time, she enjoys creative sewing, reading magical realism and backpacking.
Ms. Hodari attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Following graduation, Ms. Hodari moved to New York and began her teaching career at a charter school in Fort Greene where she taught kindergarten for three years and led her team for two of those years. During this time, she also completed her master’s degree in childhood education and special education.
Ms. Hodari is excited to bring her passion and knowledge to BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a kindergarten teacher. “I am thrilled to be joining the BASIS Independent Brooklyn team and eagerly anticipate the opportunity to foster a sense of excitement around learning in every child, nurturing interest about the world around them and making learning meaningful by embedding educational goals within social development,” says Ms. Hodari.
As an avid baseball fan, Ms. Hodari roots for her hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, but has adopted the Mets as her New York team. She also enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and trying new restaurants.
Ms. King, PE/Movement Foundations instructor, is a native New Yorker and proud graduate of the High School of the Performing Arts – the ‘Fame’ school! She was a professional dancer and choreographer from 1985-2002 touring the USA, Europe and South America extensively. Ms. King then returned to school as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow in the Arts and Sciences and received her Master of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and her Master of Arts in performance studies from New York University. In addition to her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Ms. King is a New York State certified dance teacher, a CMA (certified movement analyst) is certified in Karma Kids Yoga, and has completed her course work for certification in Pilates by Ellie Herman.
Ms. King began teaching movement to children as a teaching artist working for the Lincoln Center Institute, Dancewave and The Joyce Theater. She spent ten years teaching dance in the New York City public schools, most notably at NEST+m, a K–12 school for the gifted and talented. As a teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn she is excited to share her love of the study and practice of movement of all kinds—a subject she finds endlessly interesting!
Ms. King lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two daughters, and dog in a house built in 1903.
Ms. Lewis is a Brooklyn native who has spent her entire academic career within New York City. She has participated in NYU high school academy and has earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from CUNY – Medgar Evers College. As an active participate in BEYA STEM Conferences she travels domestically to stay up to date with the new technology and science discoveries throughout the country. She is excited to nurture a love of science and engineering in her students as a member of our Science faculty.
Ms. Lewis has always been passionate about the well-being and education of children. She has worked as a tutor for ten years and a youth group coordinator for five years. She enjoys helping students bring their personalities into the classroom and sparking excitement into the learning process.
In Ms. Lewis’s spare time she loves trying exotic foods, traveling, listening to music, and reading.
Ms. Leyzerenok is an Early Learning Teaching Fellow at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She received her Bachelor of Arts in social sciences at The University of Buffalo, specializing in early childhood education. Ms. Leyzerenok joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn at the end of the last school year as a Teaching Fellow and spent time in several different PreK and kindergarten classes.
In her free time, Ms. Leyzerenok enjoys traveling to new places and exploring new recipes she finds. She is thrilled to be working in class Xenon in partnership with Ms. Rivera this year!
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.
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. Miller-Sims is the Director of Student Affairs for both our Early Learning Program and Primary School, and she looks forward to supporting all her students and faculty achieve at their highest level in a joyful environment.
Ms. Miller-Sims graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was a modern languages major studying both Italian and French. While an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Padua, Italy. Ms. Miller-Sims later attended the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University where she received a Master of Arts degree in foreign language education. Ms. Miller-Sims received a Master of Science degree in general and special education grades 1–6 from Touro College.
Ms. Miller-Sims first joined the faculty at BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a Learning Expert Teacher for the Primary School because she wanted to be an integral part of a community with a strong culture of learning and curiosity.
“While it is always a difficult choice to leave the classroom, I am excited for the new challenges that moving into an administrative role will provide. During my time as a teacher I saw how crucial having an excellent, supportive admin team is to the success of a school, and I am excited to bring a fresh perspective to my role as Director of the Early Learning and Primary Programs.”
Outside of school, Ms. Miller-Sims enjoys exploring new cultures both inside New York City and by travelling to other cities and countries. She also loves taking her dog for long walks in Prospect Park.
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. For the past three years, she has taught 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. Palette joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn as a founding member of our Early Learning Program. The upcoming school year marks her third one as a Teaching Fellow, and she will be working with Ms. Morehouse to nurture the curiosity of our kindergarten students.
Native to New York City, Ms. Palette graduated from St. Francis College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in childhood education (k-6) with a concentration in English.
In her spare time, Ms. Palette enjoys reading a good book on the beach, drinking iced coffee, spending time with family and friends. She also has a passion for traveling and learning about other cultures.
Ms. Reilly is an Early Learning Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. She received her bachelor’s degree in human development at SUNY Binghamton. She focused on human cognitive development and is excited to have the opportunity to be an integral part of a classroom. Ms. Reilly is currently pursuing her master’s degree.
Ms. Reilly joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Early Learning Faculty last year. 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-Murphy 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. Rivera has taught at BASIS Independent Brooklyn for the past two 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. Salvatore 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. Salvatore 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. Salvatore 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. Salvatore 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. Salvatore enjoys spending time with family, exploring local restaurants, museums, and shops, and going to the beach.
Mr. York graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication in broadcast journalism from Lincoln University.
As the Physical Education Teaching Fellow for the Early Learning and Primary Program, Mr. York’s goal is to ensure that our students have a great experience through sports and fitness, while gaining social growth and building relationships with their peers.
“I love being part of the BASIS Independent team because I enjoy the atmosphere and relationships that the teachers have with the students and also the relationships between faculty and staff,” he says.
In his spare time, Mr. York enjoys coaching basketball and traveling.