Middle School Leadership
Middle School Assistant Principal
Devin Fitzgibbons earned his B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams College in 2004. Before joining Quest, Devin taught at the Churchill School and Center for 5 years, obtaining a Masters in ELA and Special Education instruction from Manhattanville College. At Quest, Devin coordinated the special education services for our 230 students with IEPs. He also worked on three initiatives: student-teacher placements for NYU education students, fieldwork placements for NYU psychology students, and internships for NYU game design students. Devin is excited to work with Principal Jurman and Assistant Principal Jones.
Middle School Faculty
Middle School Guidance
Rachelle Vallon graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Education. At Hofstra, Rachelle became a member of Chi Sigma Iota, the National Counseling Honors Society and was awarded the John Dewey Van Buren Endowed Scholarship for academic achievement. Rachelle started her career in counseling at a charter high school serving as a Mandated Counselor and College Advisor. Joining Quest during its second year, Rachelle works as the Middle School Guidance Counselor and Wellness Coordinator. With an ongoing passion to support children holistically, Rachelle works with Quest’s Middle School students, parents, and staff to provide Social and Emotional intervention and support, build the Home Base Advisory program, and collaborate with Wellness staff to enhance school and community culture.
Suzanne graduated from SUNY Albany in 2005 with an Undergraduate degree in Psychology. She worked as a paralegal during graduate studies at Mercy College and obtained her Masters in School Psychology in 2011. After two years at the Committee on Special Education, Suzanne began working at Quest to Learn at the start of the 17-18 school year. As a school psychologist, Suzanne consults with teachers, administrators, parents, and students regarding behavior, academic achievement, and other important issues that pertain to education. Suzanne became a school psychologist to help students understand their own areas of strength and need; she believes in encouraging students to advocate for themselves and take an active role in their education. She is dedicated to the success of Quest to Learn students and is glad to be part of such a wonderful school environment.
6th Grade, Codeworlds
Kate Litman began her career in New York City as a Teaching Fellow in 2005. Kate has taught Codeworlds at Quest to Learn for 8 years and was the founding 8th grade teacher. Kate holds a BA in English and American Literature from NYU and a Masters degree in Mathematics Education from City College of New York. She is a Master Teacher with Math for America, a former facilitator for Institute of Play, and has achieved Peer Collaborative Teacher status with the NYC DOE. In this role she acts as a curriculum developer, still teaches a full schedule, and facilitates engaging PD for her colleagues. Whether teachers are building teamwork through a BreakoutEDU puzzle, brainstorming solutions to complex problems using LEGO Serious Play, or taking on the role of a secret agent at the Spyscape museum in Manhattan – they are sure to have an inspiring experience that embodies the principles of game-like learning. Kate has designed many games at Quest including The Whole Enchilada, FracJack, Get to the Point and Lazy Triangles.
6th & 7th Grade, Sports for the Mind
Chris has been an educator in a variety of cities for close to 20 years. His last twelve years have been spent as a part of the NYC Department of Education teaching technology and social studies in Brooklyn. Chris graduated from Oswego State with a BA in American History and a BS in Secondary Education. He later earned his Masters in Educational Technology from Cambridge College. Chris believes in a Socratic or constructivist approach to education and feels that the students should be allowed to explore the content being studied and be able to build their own meaning and understanding of how it relates to the world around them.
7th Grade, Codeworlds
David Nagar Sadoff
7th Grade, The Way Things Work
David has been teaching TWTW at Quest 2 Learn since 2012. Throughout his teaching career he has worked with students from K-12 both in formal and informal teaching settings. David seeks to make science come alive for his students through authentic hands on design experiences. He holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Rochester and a M.S. in Adolescent Science Education from the Warner School, also a part of the University of Rochester. When not engaging the class with a science demo, David’s class is full of student-to-student discussion in order to foster a classroom community in which students challenge each other and learn to defend their reasoning to their peers
6th Grade, POV
Joanan Sanchez graduated from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development with a Bachelor of Arts in English Education. Joanan graduated Magna Cum Laude and received both the NYU Founders’ Day Award and Excellence in Scholarship Award. After graduating, Joanan started out at Quest to Learn as an interim substitute teacher and shortly thereafter became a full-time substitute teacher. After working assiduously, building relationships, and adapting to the amazing culture at Quest, he was hired as a lead teacher. In this role, Joanan aims to challenge and change oppressive conditions/narratives related to language, culture, textualization, and power. He also aims to be inclusive and build a safe classroom environment where all voices and persons are valued, respected, and heard.
8th Grade, The Way Things Work
Lencey graduated with a BA in Childhood Education from Long Island University and earned a MA in Middle School Science Education with a concentration in Environmental Science from CUNY Brooklyn. Lencey joins Quest to Learn after teaching 6th and 7th grade Science at the UFT Charter School. During her Spring and Summer vacations, Lencey works as a teacher’s assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in the Education Department. Lencey is an energetic, outrageous and experiential individual and educator. She believes in hands on learning and creates an encouraging and challenging scientific environment where everyone matters.
8th Grade, Being, Space & Place
Will Nicastro has been teaching social studies in New York City since 2008. He has taught courses in world, American, New York City history, as well as courses in International Law & Human Rights and AP Psychology. Will has been involved with curriculum mapping, leading inquiry teams, and designing CCLS-aligned coursework. He has a BA and MA in history, with his Master’s thesis focusing on an ethnography of underground music. Will believes that an engaging and dynamic approach to history offers students the opportunity to think critically, evaluate information, and collaborate, all essential 21st century skills.
Middle School Physical Education
Alyssa has been teaching Physical Education and Health at Manhattan schools since 2008. She has taught all ages ranging from Kindergarten to High School. In addition to her interest in Health and Physical Education, Alyssa enjoys working with students in extra-curricular activities and believes that these activities are just as important to a child’s development as the required curriculum. During her time at a Charter School, Alyssa helped to develop an internship program for students. Alyssa holds a BA in Physical Education from Syracuse University and a MA in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Motivated and thoughtful, Alyssa believes that games offer students the opportunity to approach learning from a different perspective.
Community Coordinator, Technology Assistant and Coach
William is originally from New York City and grew up on the Lower East Side. Will attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT. While at Trinity, Will majored in American Studies with a special concentration in Education and Race Relations. William has always been active in community service. While a senior at Trinity, Will served as the Assistant Chair of FACES—the largest community service organization at the college. Will has worked as a U.S. History teacher at Salisbury School in Salisbury, CT. While at Salisbury, he was very engaged in the life of the school, working as an individual and small group tutor in different subject areas. William also served as a dorm parent and sports team coach for Salisbury’s wrestling, football and baseball teams. Will has coached the Q2L Middle School Wrestling and BREC High School Wrestling teams and Q2L’s Chess in the Schools, Project Chess team. Will is now the Head JV Wrestling Coach, Varsity Assistant and Boxing Instructor at Xavier High School. Through his work at Q2L, William continues his commitment to civic and community engagement.
Pupil Accounting Secretary
Born in San Francisco, Suzanne moved East to go to Brown University. After graduation, she came to New York to attend NYU film school and begin a 20-year career in film editing. When she had her son, Sam, she decided to become an educator and attended Bank Street College where she got her degree in Early Childhood Education. After six years teaching pre-K/K classes at Corlears School, she decided to move into administration and now works in the office at Quest to Learn. She looks forward to supporting the community of teachers, staff, family and students at this visionary school.
Middle School Learning Strategist
Hallie graduated from the University of Massachusetts where she received her Bachelors in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Prior to teaching she worked in the fashion industry and quickly realized that the corporate world was not for her. She grew up in the world of education, with her mom being an elementary school teacher and grandmother a school secretary (both for the NYC DOE). This will be her first year at Q2L. She has previously taught 8th grade ELA in Washington Heights. She will be receiving her Masters degree with a dual certification in Special Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. Hallie is excited and committed to setting high expectations for all her students and hope they are just as excited as she is to come to school everyday!