Middle School Leadership

Nicholas Jurman

Principal

Bio coming soon.

Devin Fitzgibbons

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.

Q2L Faculty

Middle School Faculty

Rachelle Vallon

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 McMonagle

School Psychologist

Bio coming soon….

Sara Widman

Social Worker

Sara has been a Social Worker in New York City public schools for 11 years.  She’s been a member of the Quest to Learn team for the past three years, working with both middle and high school students while supervising a team of social workers-in-training.  Sara holds a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Stony Brook University and an M.S.W. from Stony Brook’s School of Social Welfare.  Sara was also awarded a clinical license in social work in 2015. Outside of school, Sara’s passions include crossfit and reading novels.  As the middle school cross country and track coach, Sara’s enthusiasm and dedication are contagious.  She believes that in order for students to be successful academically, they need a school where they feel safe and accepted. Sara is proud of the Quest community, and of the unique and incredible students that call Quest home.

Jenna Lupinacci

6th Grade, The Way Things Work

Jenna received a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health from Pennsylvania State University in 2011.  She later went on to earn a M.A. in Middle Childhood Science Education, with a specialization in Biology, from Brooklyn College in 2016. Prior to working as a 6th grade Science teacher for the NYC DOE, Jenna worked as a global health Program Assistant for the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid agency that serves over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities.  In this role Jenna traveled to various countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe to support the implementation and evaluation of health facilities and programming. After two and a half years working in the global health sector, Jenna embarked on her career in education through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program.  Throughout the school year, Jenna’s 6th grade students will partake in collaborative engineering design challenges, investigative work, explanatory evidence-based scientific writing, and Socratic Seminars.  Through authentic experiential learning opportunities, Jenna hopes to pique students’ curiosity, and encourage further questioning and exploration about the way things work!

Eric Finkelstein

6th Grade, Being, Space & Place

I am originally from Monroe, NY, about a 50 miles north of the city.  I then lived in northern California for ten years where I started college at College of the Redwoods.  In 2000 I got married  and moved to Kenosha, Wi where I finished my Bachelor’s of Arts in history.  In 2004 I moved back to Monroe where I was a substitute teacher while I worked on my Masters in secondary education. I moved to Queens in 2008 and  substituted in NYC for a few years and then taught 8th grade humanities at East Side Middle school for 6 years.

Kate Litman

6th Grade, Codeworlds

Kate Litman has been teaching in the NYC Department of Education since 2005 and began her career as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Kate has taught Codeworlds at Quest to Learn to both 7th and 8th graders and is thrilled to move to the 6th grade team. Kate is inspired by travel and used a trip to Thailand with Leah to plan an amazing Thai Cooking Boss Level experience. Kate has also traveled to Ecuador & Madagascar through an Earthwatch Educator Fellowship to help scientists conduct field research regarding climate change and wildlife conservation. Kate loves to use NYC as an extension of the classroom and has organized many trips to locations like MoMA, The Highline, and Coney Island’s Luna Park. Kate was a lead teacher at the Summer Science institute at Queens College where she collaborated with organizations such as the New York Hall of Science and the Bronx Zoo to create and implement an engaging summer program for New York City Science educators. Kate holds a BA in English and American Literature from NYU and a Masters degree in Mathematics Education.  Kate has presented at numerous local conferences and led professional development throughout the city. Energetic and thoughtful, Kate is excited to design innovative and intriguing ways for her students to encounter mathematical phenomena. 6th grade Codeworlds students will learn to persevere when confronted with challenging ideas and problems and find enjoyment in their path to greater math literacy.

Chris Schilling

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.

Gianna Caramanica

Learning Strategist

Gianna is thrilled to join Quest to Learn as a Learning Strategist for 6th Grade! Gianna is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Childhood Education, Special Education, and Spanish. She is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. She has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember, but was inspired to study Childhood Education after her experience with America Reads. She has worked at a variety of schools throughout the NYCDOE. Gianna believes in the power of progressive education and project-based learning. She is excited to put those beliefs to work at Quest.
Gianna is a self-proclaimed nerd. She is interested in all things nerdy, and attends New York Comic Con yearly. This summer, she read Harry Potter for the first time and loved it. (Despite her avatar, she is a Ravenclaw, not a Gryffindor.) Gianna also loves coffee (especially cold brew from The Bean), and is always excited to try new restaurants and dessert places.

Alexa Kaplan

7th Grade, Codeworlds

Alexa has been at Quest to Learn as our Grade 7 Codeworlds teacher since 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Albany with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics. During her undergraduate career, Alexa was the recipient of the Steen Gravitt and Mayfred Lucas Dutton scholarships for female scholars pursuing a career in mathematics. Upon returning home to Long Island, Alexa studied at Teachers College, Columbia University and received a Master of Arts in Secondary Mathematics Education. During her career at Quest, Alexa hopes to inspire and encourage future mathematicians through an engaging curriculum.

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

Vaughn Locascio

7th Grade, Being, Space & Place

Bio coming soon.

Karen Declet

Spanish, ESL

Bio coming soon.

Hannah Cahow

8th Grade, Sports for the Mind

Hannah Cahow graduated from the University of Missouri, with a B.A. in English and a minor in Art History. After graduating, she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, where she worked as a victims’ advocate at a domestic-abuse shelter. Hannah soon decided her true passion lies in education, so she began studying English Education at Colorado State University, where she worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and taught College Composition to first-year students. Currently, she is working on her master’s degree in Teaching English at Brooklyn College. Hannah is excited to be a member of the Quest to Learn family, and to be working with Quest’s stellar eighth-graders. She is committed to fostering a classroom community of readers, writers, and speakers who feel confident taking academic and creative risks.

Lencey Hagan

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.

Kelvin Smith

8th Grade, Codeworlds

Kelvin Smith began his teaching career in 2005 as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Kelvin has since taught most branches of mathematics at alternative high schools and specializes in the development and design of asynchronous learning spaces. He has led professional development at his schools and has had the pleasure of presenting at city and state conferences. Kelvin’s personal interest in coding and automation has afforded him the opportunity to bring innovative teaching and learning methods to bear in digital spaces.

Will Nicastro

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.

Alyssa Richman

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.

William Moyet

Technologist, Community Associate 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 currently coaches the Q2L middle school wrestling and BREC high school wrestling teams and Q2L’s Chess in the Schools, Project Chess team. Through his work at Q2L, William continues his commitment to civic and community engagement.

Suzanne Pillsbury

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.

Learning Strategists

Olivia Roberts

IEP Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

Nkomo Morris

8th Grade Learning Strategist

Nkomo Morris, a proud Native New Yorker, is an 8th grade Learning Strategist and POV teacher at Quest to Learn. She attended Stanford University, where she earned her B.A. in English, and holds two Masters of Science in Education: one in Teaching Urban Adolescents with Disabilities from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, and one in School Counseling from Alfred University. Nkomo also has a graduate certificate in Teaching Computer Science and Blended Learning from Pace University. Prior to joining Quest to Learn, Nkomo co-taught English and U.S. History in public and independent high schools throughout New York City. Nkomo believes that all students will learn when they feel respected, loved, understood, and valued.

Jenna Denino

Learning Strategist

Bio coming soon.

Hallie Glickman

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!

Joe Warcholak

Middle School Learning Strategist

Mr. Warcholak graduated with a Bachelors in Humanities from York College in Pennsylvania and went on to receive a Masters Degree in Special Education from Long Island University in Brooklyn.

Mr. Warcholak joins Quest to Learn after teaching 9th, 10th, and 11th grade Special Education at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies. During his Spring and Summer vacations, Mr. Warcholak spends time between traveling and following his passion for music and the arts. Mr. Warcholak is an energetic, straightforward, and experiential individual and educator. Every year, as students learn and grow so does Mr. Warcholak– he loves questions and inquiry in his class because it makes him a better teacher.