Category Archives: Staff

Jessi Brunken

Chief Program Officer

Hometown: Delano, MN

Education: BS Business Administration, Indiana University;
MS Teaching Secondary Math, Pace University

Jessi began her career as a 7th grade mathematics teacher at MS 223 in the South Bronx. After experiencing firsthand the many challenges students and teachers face in the NYC public school system, Jessi became curious about alternative ways to increase positive academic outcomes for students while making teaching more sustainable. She took a role teaching and leading a department at an alternative school in London that deployed a unique team teaching model. After returning to the States, Jessi joined Citizen Schools as a Campus Director to launch Bronx Writing Academy’s first Extended Learning Time program and support the school in thinking about creative ways to structure the school day. Jessi joined Blue Engine in the summer of 2013 and has held a number of different programmatic roles, including direct support of partner teachers and school leaders, staff development, and core program model development and improvement. Jessi is currently the head of Blue Engine’s Organizational Learning & Innovation team. She is excited to spend her time working towards increasing Blue Engine’s programmatic impact as well as innovating and growing to serve more students.

Ray Canada

Director of Instruction, Co-Teaching Program

Hometown: New York, NY

Education: BA Psychology, College of the Holy Cross;
MS Teaching (Secondary Mathematics), Pace University

Ray’s journey to Blue Engine began in 2002, when he left the business world to enter the field of education as a Teach for America Corps Member. In his role as a middle school mathematics teacher at IS 143 in Washington Heights, Ray discovered his love of teaching. Ray remained at IS 143 beyond his TFA commitment, serving as both a teacher and grade level chair to widen the scope of his impact towards solving educational inequity by working to unlock the academic potential of approximately 300 students.

Over the course of the next 12 years of teaching, Ray has worked in school communities located in West Philadelphia, PA and Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He has served as a mathematics general educator, a special educator, a co-teacher, a curriculum writer, and an instructional coach. These experiences have shaped two core values that continue to drive his passion in education. First, that the most complex problems related to educational inequity can be solved. Second, that solving these challenges requires intentional collaboration from teams of people.

Ray is excited to share his 17 years of teaching experience with the Blue Engine community and to collaborate with all partner schools to build on their success and to unlock the potential of their co-taught classrooms in service of improving student outcomes.

Megan Carey

Senior Director, Learning & Product Design

Hometown: Pompano Beach, FL

Education: BA International Development and Cultural Identity, New York University;
MS Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Pace University;
UX Design, General Assembly

Megan brings to Blue Engine a decade of using human-centered design methodology to improve in-person and virtual learning experiences. Megan began her career in education as a Teach for America Corps Member, teaching English as a Second Language at a high school for newcomers in the Bronx, NY. After completing her tenure with TFA, she spent time working in new school development in Chicago with the Renaissance Schools Fund, designing learning experiences for new school developers. Additionally, she spent two years leading the English as an Additional Language department at EtonHouse International Schools in Xi’an and Suzhou, China.

Prior to joining Blue Engine, Megan led design projects at both Teach for All and Teach for America focused on improving teacher and staff learning practices. Over the past four years at Blue Engine, Megan has held the roles of Site Director as well as Director of Learning & Development. In her current role on the Organizational Learning & Innovation team at Blue Engine, Megan leads on all product design for Blue Engine’s Team Teaching Playbook, developing usable tools and assets to ensure effective implementation of Blue Engine’s Team Teaching Model. In addition to her passion for education and design, Megan enjoys traveling and doing gymnastics in her spare time.

Aisha Chappell

Vice President, NYC Program Implementation

Hometown: Canton, MI

Education: BA Economics and Spanish, University of Michigan;
MA Secondary Mathematics Education, City College of New York

Aisha began her collaboration with Blue Engine in 2011 as a lead teacher in the geometry classroom at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. This was the same building where Aisha began her teaching career in 2004 as a New York City Teaching Fellow. It was during her time as a Fellow, studying for her Master’s in Secondary Mathematics Education, that Aisha began to explore and develop a deep passion for constructivist math education. This passion led her to several leadership positions, including Mathematics Grade Leader at IS 143 and Math Department Chair at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. Outside of the classroom, Aisha has enriched her experience in education by studying education policy and coaching middle and high school track teams. She was a Teacher Network Leadership Institute MetLife Fellow in 2008 and is now a School Captain for Educators for Excellence (E4E). In addition to her passion for education, Aisha is an avid runner and is dedicated to health and wellness.

Stephanie Durden Barfield

Chief Operations Officer

Hometown: Washington, DC

Education: BS Commerce, University of Virginia;
MPA Domestic Policy, Princeton University;
MEd Educational Leadership, The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems

Stephanie began her career in education as a financial analyst at Success Academy Charter Schools. During her time as a financial analyst, Stephanie quickly discovered the critical role public policy plays in K-12 education. After two and a half years at Success, she left the organization to study policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. While attending the Woodrow Wilson School, Stephanie served as an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow at the New York City Department of Education’s District 79, a network that serves students across the city who are enrolled in alternative schools and programs. After graduate school, Stephanie joined Uncommon Schools, where she served as the Director of Finance for Uncommon’s New York State charter schools and as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the New York City region. During her time at Uncommon, she also participated in the Broad Residency and was a member of the 2014-16 residency class. Stephanie joined Blue Engine in the summer of 2016 and is thrilled to work with the Blue Engine team to unlock both student and future teacher potential in historically oppressed communities through team teaching.

Anne Eidelman

Chief Executive Officer

Hometown: Born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Grew up in Pittsburgh, PA.

Education: BA Chemistry, Washington University in St Louis;
MS Chemistry, Northwestern University;
MBA, Columbia University

Anne is inspired by life’s “Aha!” moments and driven by the belief that students and adults alike must feel seen and heard to fulfill their true potential. She has a passion for leading teams of people with different perspectives and a common purpose towards the goal of creating conditions in which all can thrive.

Before joining Blue Engine, Anne led the Finance and HR teams at Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization undergoing rapid scaling (1,400 employees, $200M across 42 schools). In 2015, Anne joined Blue Engine as COO, and she became CEO in 2017. Now, she is leading Blue Engine’s efforts to scale impact across multiple-adult classrooms and, ultimately, of playing a role in the broader, collective work to create a more inclusive and just educational system.

Anne is a fourth-generation teacher who spent the first eight years of her career working with students and teachers in a variety of contexts. Anne was originally trained as a chemist; she has a Master’s degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St Louis. She also earned her MBA from Columbia Business School. Most importantly, Anne is the proud mother of her curly-haired, chatty 10-year-old son.

Sarah Fuentes

Senior Site Director

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Education: BA Cultural Anthropology, Macalester College;
MS Childhood Education, Bank Street School of Education;
MA Mathematics & Leadership, Bank Street School of Education

Sarah came to Blue Engine after 17 years in education. She started her teaching career as a Teach for America Corps Member teaching elementary school in the South Bronx, not far from where she grew up. She realized that students want to learn and feel successful, but there were obvious challenges. She had the drive, but as an early teacher, she struggled to help her students grow. After five years in the Department of Education, Sarah started teaching middle school in a charter school in the Bronx. She learned how to create a classroom culture that helped her students invest in their learning and how to use data to adjust her instruction. As a veteran teacher, she developed curriculum for her classroom and supported teachers on their educational journey. However, Sarah believed she could do more with more knowledge. Her next transition was from teaching to leadership. She earned a second Master’s in Mathematics & Leadership from Bank Street School of Education and has taken on various roles in education from Data Specialist to Instructional Coach and Assistant Principal. Sarah loved her work, but found herself further away from students—and what she enjoys most is working with teachers to create educational opportunities for students. Sarah came to Blue Engine because she believes in the mission and vision of a learning organization that believes in teachers. She is part of this movement to help teachers grow in their craft so that they can tap into the potential of their students.

Meg Hutchinson

Senior Site Manager

Hometown: Sudbury, MA

Education: BA Psychology, University of Virginia;
MA Teaching, Relay Graduate School of Education

Meg began her career in education by joining Blue Engine in 2013, working in Bronx River High School’s 9th grade ELA classroom. After feeling like a needle in a haystack in her own educational experiences, Meg was stunned and inspired by the amount of personal and academic growth possible for students with multiple adults in the classroom. Meg remained with Blue Engine for a second year as a Team Coordinator from 2014-2015. As her passion for collaborative teaching fully blossomed, Meg signed on as a Lead Teacher at Bronx River High School, teaching 9th grade ELA with her own teams of BETAs from 2015-2018. She’s since transitioned to her role as a Site Director, where she works in close collaboration with BETAs, teachers, and school administrators to support the implementation of the Blue Engine’s team teaching model at MS/HS 223. She is thrilled with the continued opportunity to work alongside new educators and teams of dedicated, innovative people who live and breathe student needs and empowerment. For fun, Meg avidly practices Crossfit and loves reading historical fiction.

Elandria Jackson Charles

Vice President of Development & External Affairs

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Education: BA Journalism and Spanish, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management & Policy, New York University

Elandria Jackson Charles brings a range of for profit and nonprofit experience to her role at Blue Engine. Prior to joining Blue Engine, she was the Director of Development at Achievement First, a network of 34 public charter schools across NY, CT, and RI, where she managed a portfolio of funders who supported network support operations and school expansion. While at AF, she also served as the Interim Director of Extended Learning to launch a summer homework program and Interim Chief of Staff to lead a retreat for over 200 staff members.

Prior to her transition to nonprofit education as an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow, Elandria was an advertising executive and managed integrated campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble and “Got Milk?” Milk Mustache. She led award-winning TV and print advertising development for P&G’s Ribbons Body Wash, the most successful product launch in the history of its Personal Cleansing Care Division.

Elandria joined Blue Engine in 2018 and is responsible for raising private revenue to meet the organization’s operating needs and shaping its brand identity as it enters an expansion phase. Through mentoring, she discovered her commitment to increasing educational opportunities for young people. Since 2005, she has been a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of NYC and more recently founded a girls’ mentoring group called SHINE (Sisters Helping Inspire New Excellence). Elandria lives in Brooklyn with her husband and young son.

Lindsay Kent

Senior Manager, Talent & Human Resources

Hometown: New York, NY

Education: BA Sociology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Lindsay graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Urban Studies in 2014. She has always been passionate about education reform and making a positive impact on students’ lives. In 2014, Lindsay joined Blue Engine as a BETA and spent the next two years working with students in math classrooms. In the summer of 2016, Lindsay moved onto the Operations team and has been managing talent and human resources ever since. She is excited to work with a team that is incredibly dedicated to student growth and success in the classroom.

Caitlin Keryc

Director of Learning & Design

Hometown: Westbrook, CT

Education: BA English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University;
MA Secondary Mathematics Education, UMass Boston

Caitlin has spent the past 15 years working as a dual-certified secondary ELA & math educator, an instructional coach, and an action researcher in urban public schools throughout Boston, New York City, and Newark. In these roles, she has been involved in the training and support of nearly 1,000 teachers and has, by extension, impacted the learning of tens of thousands of children. She is a proud alumna of Columbia University (BA) and UMASS Boston (MA), and she has learned from the best while employed by The New Teacher Project, Relay Graduate School of Education, and now Blue Engine. Caitlin joined Blue Engine in 2018 as a part-time ELA Instructional Coach; in mid-2019, she shifted to a role in Learning and Design where she partners with program teams to research and design opportunities to improve Blue Engine’s model. Caitlin spends her free time with her husband and small daughter, as well as volunteering in a Psychology and Social Intervention lab at NYU studying racial socialization.

Seth Miran

Senior Director, Talent & Operations

Hometown: Swarthmore, PA

Education: BA International Politics & Economics, Middlebury College;
MS Teaching Secondary Math, Pace University

Seth comes to Blue Engine with over a decade of experience in the world of education and schools across New York City. Seth began his career as a Teach for America Corps Member, teaching high school math and economics for four years in the Bronx. Following his time in the classroom, Seth joined Citizen Schools as a Campus Director, working in close collaboration with administration and teachers to oversee an Extended Learning Time program for over 200 students at a public middle school in East Harlem. Inspired by the role that volunteers played in that model and seeking to move in a more external-facing direction, Seth joined Bottom Line, where he spent five years in a variety of roles. During that time, Seth oversaw corporate & government fundraising, marketing & communications, and operations—while also assisting the program team in building out impactful career programming and thought partnering with the leadership team around strategic planning. Seth is excited to join the Blue Engine team and work with our BETAs, staff, and school partners to drive dramatic academic gains for thousands of students.

Maegan Ruiz

Director of Instruction, Co-Teaching Program

Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Education: BA English and Education, University of Florida;
MA Teaching English, Florida Atlantic University

Maegan began her career as an English Composition instructor during her time in graduate school. Her roles as both teacher and student heavily impacted her chosen areas of research, and she spent several years studying the ways in which an individual’s identity can impact their ability to access the dominant academic discourse and therefore experience agency in terms of their own educational pursuits and life outcomes. Upon completion of her Master’s degree, Maegan began teaching 5th grade English at a charter school in St. Louis, MO. While the experience was incredibly rewarding, it also revealed that she had both passion and aptitude specifically for supporting students with learning differences in the classroom. As a result, Maegan joined the Special Education department the following year in order to work specifically with students in 5th and 6th grade who were in need of targeted Math, Reading, and Writing interventions as part of their Individualized Education Plans. During the next 4 years, Maegan saw her impact spread as she transitioned to the role of Director of Special Education and Instructional Coach. As part of her school’s leadership team, she was able to implement best practices in the areas of instruction, assessment, data teams, and compliance, which led to improved outcomes for all students regardless of their learning differences. Now that Maegan is at Blue Engine, she hopes to effect change once again by giving students greater agency over their educational and career trajectories through direct support of instructional practices for teams of teachers.

Alexis Walls

Manager of Development Operations

Hometown: Henderson, NV

Education: BS Sociology, Mercy College

Alexis manages development operations work at Blue Engine as the Manager of Development Operations. Prior to Blue Engine, she was the Development Coordinator for Reading Partners New York. Alexis is committed to equipping non-profits with efficient and effective organization-wide systems to support results-driven change and initiative. She’s excited to bring a background of development operations and program experience to the Blue Engine team to help improve operations that will in turn drive student success.

Emily Walsh

Site Director

Hometown: Cortland, NY

Education: BA Art History and Graphic Communications, Hartwick College

After working in design, Emily began her career in education, something that she’d been drawn to her whole life. She joined Blue Engine in 2014, working in both an Algebra and ELA classroom in 9th and 10th grade at Bronx River High School. She quickly saw that more adults in the classroom meant more students were seen and heard, and loved that Blue Engine was questioning norms while pushing her and those around her to deeply consider the importance of mindsets. Emily stayed for a second year as a Team Coordinator and joined the program staff in 2016. She was first on Blue Engine’s recruitment team, and transitioned in 2017 to the leader of BE’s first School Support Manager team. She’s since transitioned to her role as Site Director, where she works in close collaboration with BETAs, teachers, and administration to support the implementation of the Blue Engine team teaching model. She’s very excited to continue to support BETAs and teams doing work that means so much to her.  For fun, Emily loves to cook, enjoys the outdoors, and still does freelance design work.
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