Faculty & Staff

 

Faculty & Staff

Molly Abernathy
Position: 1st Grade Teacher
Email: mabernathy@hc.school
Bio:

Molly has been apart of the Highlander Community since 2016. She began teaching PreK and will be serving as the 1st grade teacher. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education from Rhode Island College. When she's not teaching, Molly loves to spend time with her family, hiking, traveling, cooking, and playing games.



Lacee Aguiar
Position: Pre-k Teacher
Email: laguiar@hc.school
Melissa Andrade
Position: 1st Grade Teacher
Email: mandrade@hc.school
Bio:

Melissa holds a bachelor degree in Elementary Education and a core concentration in Visual Arts from Roger Williams University. In her free time she is the assistant coach of the Roger Williams women's soccer team. She enjoys traveling, reading, painting, and spending time with friends and family.



Cheila Avalo
Position: Administrative Assistant
Email: cavalo@hc.school
Ryan Baily
Position: 9th Grade ELA teacher
Email: rbaily@hc.school
Dan Baldassi
Position: 3rd Grade Teacher
Email: dbaldassi@hc.school
Bio:

Dan has been a teacher at Highlander since the fall of 2002. He graduated for the University of Hartford with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. He went on to get his Masters at Wheelock College with a focus in reading. In his free time he enjoys family time, reading and cooking.



Holleigh Bergstrom
Position: 6th Grade Teacher
Email: hbergstrom@hc.school
Bio:

Holleigh has been teaching at Highlander since spring of 2017. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University. Holleigh is a proud Washingtonian who loves golden retrievers, playing soccer, and being with family.



Kerri Biagiotti
Position: HS Spanish Teacher
Email: kbiagiotti@hc.school
Roslyn Birke
Position: Literacy Support
Email: rbirke@hc.school
Jessie Blanco-Busam, EdD
Position: Middle School Principal
Email: jblanco@hc.school
Tessa Bohnert
Position: HS Math Teacher
Email: tbohnert@hc.school
Trevor Borges
Position: Coordinator of Technology
Email: tborges@hc.school
Jeremy Bovay
Position: HS Science Teacher
Email: jbovay@hc.school
Bio:

Jeremy has worked at Highlander his entire teaching career, since 2006 when he started as a substitute teacher. He enjoys the outdoors, playing hockey, and spending time with his wife and son and daughter.



Breanna Canning
Position: HS Science Teacher
Email: bcanning@hc.school
Bio:

Breanna Canning joined Highlander Charter school as a middle and high school science teacher in 2017. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Biology at Rhode Island. Breanna made it her mission to learn how to teach scientific concepts in a innovative and hands-on ways. She teaches Biology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, and Design and Build (an introduction to engineering class).



Yomary Casado
Position: Lower School Teacher's Assistant
Email: ycasado@hc.school
Oneika Castro
Position: Middle School ELA Teacher
Email: ocastro@hc.school
Bio:

After years of working in various industries, Oneika meandered her way into fulfilling the lifelong desire to educate others. Since joining Highlander in 2015, Oneika has taught English and History at both the middle and high school levels. She earned her degree in English and Film Studies from Rhode Island College, and in addition has attended Portland State University and Providence College, where she earned her teaching certification. Oneika is the proud producer and provider of two inquisitive, clever children, ages 10 and 2. In her limited spare time, she enjoys food, family, traveling, reading, writing, hiking, sewing, wondering, and beaching it.



Katelyn Chouinard
Position: 4th Grade Teacher
Email: kchouinard@hc.school
Bio:

Katelyn has been a fourth grade teacher a Highlander since fall of 2014. She has a bachelors degree in elementary education/ special education from Rhode Island College. In her free time she enjoys going for hikes, working out and spending time with family and friends!



Brittany Ciullo
Position: Speech and Language Pathologist
Email: bciullo@hc.school
Karen Clements
Position: Middle School ELA Teacher
Email: kclements@hc.school
Bio:

Karen joined the Highlander team in the Spring of 2018 as the 7th grade English teacher . Prior to that, she taught at The San Miguel School of Providence for 11 years. Karen holds a Bachelors of Science in Elementary and Special Education, from Temple University. In addition to teaching, she loves coaching basketball, baking, family and friends.



Benjamin Coburn
Position: Upper School Math Instructor
Email: bcoburn@hc.school
Jane Cotter
Position: HS Transition Coach
Email: jcotter@hc.school
Julissa Cruz-Brown
Position: 1 to 1 Support Staff
Email: jcruz@hc.school
Bio:

Julissa Cruz has been a teacher assistant since 1990 and started at Highlander Charter School in 2013. She holds an associates degree in Human Development with a concentration in social development from CCRI. Julissa enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with friends and family.



Jeanne D’Agostino
Position: Development Director
Email: jdagostino@hc.school
Christine DaSilva
Position: Music Teacher Upper School
Email: cdasilva@hc.school
Carlisa DeLawrence
Position: HS Resource Teacher
Email: cdelawrence@hc.school
Bio:

Carlisa has been working in education since 1998 and started at Highlander in 2016. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters in the Art of Teaching in Regular Education and Special Education from Johnson and Wales University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.



Holly Dobson
Position: Pre-K Teacher
Email: hdobson@hc.school
Bio:

Holly has been a PreKindergarten teacher at Highlander since 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island in 2013 a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies with an Early Childhood Education concentration. In her spare time, Holly enjoys spending time with her family, reading and cooking.



Michael Dodge
Position: HS Art Teacher
Email: mdodge@hc.school
Bio:

Michael has taught Visual Arts at Highlander Charter School since 2012. He has a Bachelors in Illustration and a Masters in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. In addition to teaching art, Michael enjoys creating art on his own time, playing various types of games, and traveling the world.



Mary Dolan
Position: Middle and High School Art Teacher
Email: mdolan@hc.school
Bio:

Mary's began teaching Visual Arts at Highlander Charter School in 2018. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Art + Design Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to teaching art, Mary enjoys creating art, surfing, riding her bicycle, and reading.



Lauren Durante
Position: 2nd Grade Teacher
Email: ldurante@hc.school
Bio:

Lauren is settling in happily as the 2018 second grade teacher at Highlander. She recently received her Masters in Education from Rhode Island College but went to undergrad at URI. When Lauren is not consumed with her guilty pleasure of laminating school supplies, she enjoys spending time with her dog and running with her run club!



Sheila Foley
Position: Orton Gillingham Tutor
Email: sfoley@hc.school
Susan Froehlich
Position: Speech & Language Pathologist
Email: sfroehlich@hc.school
Bio:

Susan has been a Speech and Language Therapist since 1982 specializing in Pediatrics. She has worked at Highlander Charter School since 2006. Susan received her Bachelors of Science at Clark University and a Masters of Science at Boston University Sargent College of Allied Health. In her free time she enjoys biking, snow shoeing, cooking and spending time with her family.



Ely Garcia
Position: Teacher Assistant Lower School
Email: egarcia@hc.school
Dulcina Glenn
Position: Office Manager/Business Assistant
Email: dglenn@hc.school
Angela Goulart
Position: Middle School Science Teacher
Email: agoulart@hc.school
Bio:

Angela has been a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Highlander since 2016. Prior to that, she taught for 11 years at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from URI and Masters in EL Education from Brown. She also enjoys teaching yoga and running mud races in her spare time.



Rose Mary Grant
Position: Superintendent
Email: rgrant@hc.school
Bio:

Rose Mary has over 30 years of experience in the education profession. Before coming to Highlander in 2002, she worked at a range of public and independent schools both as a teacher and an administrator. She began her teaching in North Carolina at a school for students with multiple handicaps and continued using her special education degree at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, RI, where she was a resource teacher and the Special Education Director. Rose Mary also worked at Barrington High School as a resource teacher before returning to St. Andrew’s as the academic director. She started at Highlander teaching grades 7 and 8 before moving into the Principal and Special Education Director position in 2004 and finally the Head of School in 2007.



Michela Grover
Position: HS ELA teacher
Email: mgrover@hc.school
Bio:

Michela has been an English teacher since 2015, and started at Highlander in 2016. She holds a Bachelors of Arts & Science in English and Secondary Education, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rhode Island College. Michela is a Rhode Island native, and enjoys spending her free time reading, traveling, and spending time with family.



Francis Gutiérrez
Position: Administrative Assistant
Email: fguitierrez@hc.school
Alenoush Hagopian
Position: 4th Grade Teacher
Email: ahagopian@hc.school
Seneida Hernández
Position: Administrative Assistant
Email: shernandez@hc.school
Atenea Hernandez
Position: STEM Instructor Lower School
Email: ahernandez@hc.school
Jimmy Hiraldo
Position: 1 to 1 Aide
Email: jhiraldo@hc.school
Patty Houlik
Position: Middle School Math Teacher
Email: phoulik@hc.school
Amanda Iacampo
Position: HS ELA teacher
Email: aiacampo@hc.school
Bio:

Amanda began teaching English in 2015, and started at Highlander in 2017. She holds a Bachelors of Arts & Science in English and Secondary Education, from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition to being a teacher, Amanda is a published writer and certified Reiki Master. She is a Rhode Island native, and enjoys spending her free time reading, writing, and exploring the great outdoors.



Tatiana Iezzi
Position: After School Coordinator Providence
Email: tiezzi@hc.school
Helena Johns
Position: Guidance Counselor
Email: hjohns@hc.school
Bio:

Helena began at Highlander in 2007 beginning as an AmeriCorps member, then advanced through several jobs while she completed her education. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's degree in School Counseling. She has two children who attend Highlander. During her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking, and dancing.



Curtis Johns
Position: Technology Support Assistant
Email: cjohns@hc.school
Nathan Keesee
Position: HS PE Teacher and Athletic Director
Email: nkeesee@hc.school
Patricia Mason
Position: Elementary Resource Teacher
Email: pmason@hc.school
Bio:

Patty has been a Resource Teacher for grades 5 and 6 since 2015. She has been teaching for 39 years and has a Bachelor's of Arts from Providence College and a Masters in Special Education from Worcester State College. She grew up in Framingham, Mass. but raised her six children here in the Ocean State. Patty enjoys traveling to visit her children, running with her dog, Titan and reading.



Dehlia McCarthy
Position: School Psychologist
Email: dmccarthy@hc.school
Susan McKee
Position: Lower School Reading Teacher
Email: smckee@hc.school
Bio:

Susan has been a Reading Specialist at Highlander since 2010. She has a Bachelors Degree and two Masters Degrees from Rhode Island College. Susan grew up in Rhode Island and in her spare she likes to swim, read, bicycle, and do volunteer work.



Marlene Medeiros
Position: Kindergarten Teacher
Email: mmedeiros@hc.school
Claribel Mejia
Position: Behavior Specialist
Email: cmejia@hc.school
Katie Meloro
Position: Elementary Resource Teacher
Email: kmeloro@hc.school
Bio:

Katie has been a resource teacher at Highlander since 2014. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Elementary/Special Education from Providence College and a Masters Degree in Urban Multicultural Special Education from Rhode Island College. Katie is from New Jersey and enjoys the fierce sports rivalry she has with almost everyone she meets in New England. She also loves reading, taking spin classes, and spending time with her friends and family.



Michael Monteiro
Position: HS Math teacher
Email: mmonteiro@hc.school
Karen Nencka
Position: Lower School Physical Education Teacher
Email: knencka@hc.school
Patrick Nigro
Position: HS Social Studies Teacher
Email: pnigro@hc.school
Bio:

Patrick has been an educator since 2012, and started teaching at Highlander in 2017. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science & History, and graduated a semester early from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Patrick also holds a Masters in the Art of Teaching in History/Social Studies Secondary Education from Brown University in Providence, RI. In addition to being a teacher, he is a Boston native but has lived many other places across the Northeastern United States, and enjoys spending his free time reading, making music with his band, and watching a variety of sports.



Will Pabst
Position: Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Email: wpbast@hc.school
Alexandria Palrao, RN
Position: Elementary School Nurse
Email: apalrao@hc.school
Annemarie Pavao
Position: Wilson Reading Tutor
Email: apavao@hc.school
Arelis Pena Brito
Position: Bilingual Teaching Assistant
Email: apena@hc.school
Frank Picciotti
Position: HR Director and Business Manager
Email: fpicciotti@hc.school
Jane Picciotti
Position: Lower School Principal
Email: jpicciotti@hc.school
Bio:

Administrator Bio



Sophia Picciotti
Position: Lower School Teacher Assistant
Email: spicciotti@hc.school
Bio:

Sophia started working at Highlander in the summer of 2010 as an After School Provider and became a Teacher Assistant in Pre-K in 2015. She is currently enrolled at CCRI and will be transferring to Rhode Island College for a degree in Elementary Education. Sophia enjoys spending her free time hiking, playing guitar, and playing volleyball.



Zoila Polanco
Position: Teaching Assistant Lower School
Email: zpolanco@hc.school
Myron Reese
Position: Maintenance
Email: mreese@hc.school
Sabrina Reyes
Position: 1 to 1 Support Staff
Email: sreyes@hc.school
Lindsay Robinson
Position: 3rd Grade Teacher
Email: lrobinson@hc.school
Bio:

Lindsay has taught third grade at Highlander since 2014. She’s earned a BA in sociology from Grinnell College and an MAT in elementary education from Brown University. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Lindsay enjoys working on her house, creating ceramics, sewing, and weaving.



Kelly Rodriguez
Position: Lower School Art Teacher
Email: krodriguez@hc.school
Bio:

Kelly has been an Art Teacher at Highlander Charter School since 2013. She has a Masters Degree in Art Education received from the University of New Mexico. When she's not on duty she loves to be with her children, out connecting with nature, and trying new experiences.



Ada Rojas
Position: Director of School Life and Admissions
Email: arojas@hc.school
Tania Rosa
Position: Occupational Therapist
Email: trosa@hc.school
Bio:

Tania has been an Occupational Therapist for 13 years and started at Highlander in 2007. She holds a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy and Bachelors of Science in Psychology both from Sacred Heart University, in Fairfield, CT and holds a variety of certifications in pediatric and school based therapy practice. Tania is a mom to three busy boys and enjoys spending free time exercising, reading, crafting, and spending time with family.



Wileen Rosner-Snow
Position: Orton Gillingham Tutor
Email: wsnow@hc.school
Mary Lou Scalzi
Position: HR and Business Office Assistant
Email: mscalzi@hc.school
Annie Schultz
Position: 1 to 1 Support Staff
Email: aschultz@hc.school
Bio:

Annie began working at Highlander in 2018, but has enjoyed working as a teacher assistant for many years. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading and digging in her garden. She also trains with East Bay Rowing Club as part of their Master's Team. Annie received a BA from Simmons College in Boston in 1983.



Lisa Schwartz, RN
Position: School Nurse Teacher, Upper School
Email: lschwartz@hc.school
Bio:

Lisa has been a school nurse at Highlander since 2014. Prior to school nursing she worked in a nursing home. Because of her love of children she continued her education to become a certified school nurse teacher. In her spare time she loves to travel especially to Italy!



Maintenance Supervisor
Position: Maintenance Supervisor
Email: rshears@hc.school
Amanda Small
Position: Middle School PE Teacher
Email: asmall@hc.school
Tiffany Solomon
Position: Kindergarten Teacher
Email: tsolomon@hc.school
Mark Sperduti
Position: Asst. Building Manager/Bus Driver
Email: msperdutti@hc.school
Justine Mainville
Position: Fifth Grade Teacher
Email: jmainville@hc.school
Bio:

Justine has been a fifth grade teacher at Highlander since 2015. She holds a Bachelors of Arts and Science in Communications and Film Studies from Rhode Island College and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Brown University. You can find her at the beach, reading books, traveling and playing music in her free time. She loves coffee, cats and art.



James Stringer
Position: HS Social Studies Teacher
Email: jstringer@hc.school
Megan Sullivan
Position: Elementary School Resource Teacher
Email: msullivan@hc.school
Wendy VanGyzen
Position: Middle School Resource Teacher
Email: wvangyzen@hc.school
Dilia Vidal
Position: Accounting Supervisor
Email: dvidal@hc.school
Marie Waring
Position: 2nd Grade Teacher
Email: mwaring@hc.school
Sue White
Position: One to One Support Staff
Email: swhite@hc.school
Adriana Whittier
Position: ELL Teacher Elementary School
Email:
Mike Willard
Position: High School Principal
Email: mwillard@hc.school
Peter Winston
Position: Middle School Math Instructor
Email: pwinston@hc.school
Michaela Wnuk
Position: 5th Grade Teacher
Email: mwnuk@hc.school
Bio:

Ms Wnuk is the 5th grade Math and Science teacher. She has been working at Highlander in various roles since 2007. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Masters in the Art of Teaching degree from Rhode Island College. She’s a New England sports enthusiast and loves to travel.



Barbara Wnuk
Position: Student Counselor
Email: bwnuk@hc.school
Tanesha Wray
Position: Upper School Behavior Specialist
Email: twray@hc.school
Deborah Zolkos
Position: High School Resource Teacher
Email: dzolkos@hc.school
Bio:

Deborah has been a Resource teacher at Highlander since 2005. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary/Special Education and a Master's Degree in Secondary Special Education from Rhode Island College.