Vice President, Inclusive Education
Melissa is an inclusion and equity advocate for historically underserved populations in NYC charter schools. She leads The Collaborative for Inclusive Education, ensuring that schools have access to the essential supports, trainings, resources and technical assistance necessary to secure 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.
Alexandra (Ali) Apfel is the Assistant Director for The Collaborative for Inclusive Education. She 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 Principal Cohort for Special Populations, P.I.P.E.L.I.N.E. programming for parallel teacher, coach, and principal tracks, 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 (Jen) is the Program Manager for MLL/ELL Supports at the Collaborative. She has spent over a decade working in Multilingual Learner education in many different capacities throughout her career. She began her work in education supporting and guiding program development at schools with low MLL/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 Collaborative, 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.
Eleanora (Ellie) Grose
Inclusive Education Specialist
Eleanora (Ellie) is the Inclusive Education Specialist for the Collaborative for Inclusive Education. Ellie works closely with schools in creating inclusive programs that support all students. She joins the Collaborative after spending over two decades working in special education and supporting special populations in many different capacities. She began her career in private education, specializing in language-based learning disabilities. She spent 8 years teaching in the public charter specialized & integrated classroom before moving to administration—and has proudly served as a teacher, coordinator, and director of special populations for some great schools. Ellie holds a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and a M.S. in Special Education from Simmons University.
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.
Kimberly (Kiki) Almonte
Kimberly (Kiki) Almonte is the Administrative Coordinator for The Collaborative for Inclusive Education. Kiki provides vital logistical and administrative support for events, and ensures that charter schools have access to resources that support their ability to serve diverse populations. Prior to joining the Collaborative, she worked as a Special Education Coordinator at Success Academy Charter Schools, and has a background in IT Support and Data Management. Kiki holds a B.A. in History from Hunter College.