Director, The Collaborative for Inclusive Education
Melissa is an inclusion and equity advocate for historically underserved populations in NYC charter schools. As the Director of The Collaborative for Inclusive Education, she works to ensure that schools have access to the essential supports, trainings, resources and technical assistance necessary to ensure the success of all of their students. Prior to joining the Collaborative, she worked as a French dual language teacher and an ESL teacher within the NYC DOE. During her time in the classroom, she strived to provide equity and access for all her students through culturally relevant pedagogy and research-based language supports. Melissa holds B.A.s from Trinity College (Hartford) in French, Spanish and English, earned her M.S. in TESOL as a Teach For America corps member from Fordham University, and her M.S. in Educational Leadership from Hunter College.
Inclusive Education Specialist
Jenn facilitates high quality and equitable experiences for all learners via professional development, school visits, and the providing of necessary resources. Jenn started her career in education as an NYC Teaching Fellow and has since worked as a special education teacher, instructional coach, and school leader in both self-contained and co-taught classrooms in New York City district and charter schools. She has helped charter schools implement Universal Design for Learning, effective co-teaching, and Response to Intervention. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University, an M.A.T. in Special Education from CUNY Queens College, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Building and District Leadership from the College of St. Rose.
Inclusive Education Specialist
Alexandra (Ali) Apfel is an Inclusive Education Specialist, who partners with schools to share her experience in school leadership, pedagogical expertise, and passion for supporting students with disabilities. Her support includes leading the Collaborative’s Leadership Cohorts for Special Populations, and general professional development in the form of school visits, workshop and training facilitation, and technical assistance. Prior to joining the Collaborative, Ali worked as a Special and General Education Teacher, a Director of Student Services, an Assistant Principal, and a Principal. Regardless of the role, her purpose in education has always centered on creating inclusive and accessible educational environments for students, staff and families. Ali holds a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University, earned her M.S. in Early Childhood Special Education as a Teach For America corps member from Hunter College, and completed her principal training through the KIPP School Leadership Programs.
Jennifer is a Multilingual Learner/English Language Learner Specialist at the Collaborative. She has spent nearly a decade working in English Language Learner education in many different capacities throughout her career. She began her career in education supporting and guiding program development at schools with low ELL populations for the Nashville Public School District. After her time in Nashville, she spent a year in Guatemala teaching first grade at Colegio Americano de Guatemala, a dual language international school. Prior to joining the Charter Center, she served as the English Language Learner Coordinator at a charter school in Phoenix, AZ. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies with an emphasis in Globalization and Culture from Middle Tennessee State University and a M.S. in Elementary Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Kevin is responsible for conducting member support, event coordination and presentation preparation at the Collaborative. A Brooklyn native with a growing background in the arts and stem-based nonprofit fields, Kevin strives to provide children with the best tools for success. Kevin has served as program coordinator, digital marketer and community outreach director for multiple community development nonprofits and holds a B.S. in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
Part-time Special Education Specialist
Anna provides resources and professional development to schools with a focus on literacy instruction and culturally responsive practices. Anna lives in Haiti, working as an education specialist with Universitè Quisqueya where she helps design alternative programs and pathways for teacher and school leader certification. Prior to moving to Haiti, Anna spent 7 years at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn. Anna has worked as a special education teacher, coordinator, and dean for 9 years.