Category Archives: Staff

Michelle Bianchi

Senior Manager of Institutional Giving

Hometown: Monroe, NY

Education: B.A. Psychology, University at Albany,
M.S. Education Administration and Policy Studies, University at Albany

Michelle manages institutional development work and relevant communications at Blue Engine as the Senior Manager of Institutional Giving. Most recently, she was Director of Charter School Information at the SUNY Charter Schools Institute. In that role, she was responsible for overseeing all external communications, which involved crafting press releases, opinion pieces, talking points, and managing the website. She was also responsible for internal communications such as newsletters, and leading strategic document production processes.

Prior to her role at SUNY, Michelle served as Project Coordinator to the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. In that role she worked with the State Education Department and the New York State Council on Children and Families to roll out the Federal Pre-K Expansion Grant, which included coordinating and managing all of the subcontractors of the grant. She also assisted the Co-Chairs of the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council, which advises the Governor on a variety of early childhood education issues.

Michelle is near completion of her Ph.D. in Education Policy and Leadership, and is excited to bring her research, policy, and communications background to the Development Team at Blue Engine. She hopes to further her personal and professional mission: to ensure all students have equitable access to a high-quality education.

Jessi Brunken

Chief Program Officer

Hometown: Delano, MN

Education: BS Business Administration, Indiana University
MS in 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 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 ELT 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:

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 I.S 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 his scope of impact with 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- it requires intentional collaboration from teams of people to solve these challenges.

Ray is excited to share his 17 years of teaching experience with the Blue Engine community and to collaborate with all partnership 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 members, 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 Additional Language department at EtonHouse International Schools in Xi’an and Suzhou, China.

Prior to coming to 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 roles as Site Director as well as Director, Learning & Development. In her current role on the Organizational Learning and 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 is the same building 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 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.

Veronica Colon

Senior Director, Co-Teaching Program

Hometown: All over!

Education: BA Political Science, Columbia University; MS Dual General and Special Education Middle School, Bank Street College of Education

Veronica began her career in education as a Teach for America Corps Member (NYC ‘10) and high school special education teacher.  After completing her corps commitment, Veronica continued to teach as an 8th grade math and Algebra I teacher for three years at a public school in the South Bronx.  Appointed grade team leader there, Veronica thus began her journey in instructional and school leadership. Upon attaining her Master’s in Middle Childhood General and Special Education from Bank Street College of Education, Veronica was recruited to join a principal pipeline program and moved to Dallas, Texas.  Beginning as an instructional coach, she led a high school’s mathematics and fine arts departments for one year before being selected to help found one of Dallas Independent School District’s first early college high schools. Inspired by the mission to create new educational opportunities for students that second year in Dallas, Veronica transitioned to becoming a founding principal in residence for a rapidly growing Texas charter network before returning to where her passion for education reform started–her home of New York City.  Veronica now leads Blue Engine’s Co-Teaching Pilot program as Senior Director of Instruction. In this role, she is charged with supporting existing co-teaching teams in NYC DOE schools to grow BE team teaching practices via instructional coaching and professional development. Her position sits on Blue Engine’s Organizational Learning and Innovation team, where it is the hope that the pilot’s learnings and insights will guide how Blue Engine seeks to expand its ability to further serve the incredible kids of New York City.

Lisa Marie De La Rosa

Hometown: New York, NY
Education: BA Psychology, Syracuse University

Lisa Marie graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Psychology and minor in Forensic Science. She has always been passionate about youth academic and social development and representing and pushing forward underrepresented communities. Starting her career in education in 2011 as a City Year corps member in New York, Lisa Marie provided academic intervention in a 6th grade math classroom, attendance/behavior coaching to 6th grade students, and after-school programming to 6th-8th grade students at I.S. 204, Oliver W. Holmes, in Long Island City, NY. The following year, she served as a Team Leader at the same school, leading/peer coaching a team of corps members who were providing academic intervention, attendance/behavior coaching, and after school programming. After City Year New York, Lisa Marie joined New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science (AMS) as Finance Associate and Finance Coordinator.  After two years at AMS, she joined GEMS Education – Americas as Interim Accountant. Lisa Marie joined Blue Engine in the summer of 2017 as Senior Manager of Finance and is thrilled to work on a team that believes in utilizing team teaching as a vehicle to dismantle systems of oppression to ensure provision of equal opportunities to the students we serve in an effort to liberate their potential.

Stephanie Durden Barfield

Chief Operations Officer

Hometown: Washington, DC

Education: B.S. Commerce, University of Virginia; M.P.A. Domestic Policy, Princeton University; M.Ed. 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.

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

As CEO of Blue Engine, Anne is developing the organization’s strategy and capacity for scaling impact in classrooms across the country. Anne has dedicated her nearly 20-year career to ensuring all students have access to a high quality educational experience. After eight years of teaching and direct service work with students, Anne determined she wanted to broaden her impact in education. She earned her MBA at Columbia Business School and then spent five years at Uncommon Schools where she led and built the Finance and HR teams for a scaling organization (1,400 employees, $200M across 42 schools). She joined the Blue Engine team as COO in 2015 and became the organization’s second CEO in 2017.

Anne was originally trained as a chemist (she has an MS from Northwestern University and a BS from Washington University in St Louis) and is still a proud nerd and teacher at heart. She thrives on life’s “Aha!” moments; and is driven by the belief that, under the right classroom conditions, students experience deep, authentic engagement that enables purposeful learning and fulfillment of their true potential.

Anne also is the proud mother of a curly-haired, chatty 8-year old son.

Sarah Fuentes

Senior Director, Math Instructional Coach

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Education: Education BA Cultural Anthropology, Macalester College
MS in Childhood Education, Bank Street; MA in Mathematical Leadership, Bank Street

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 to create class culture that invested her students 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 masters in Mathematics and Leadership from Bank Street School of Education and have taken on various roles in education from Data Specialist, Instructional Coach, and Assistant Principal. Sarah loved my work but found herself farther 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 this learning organization. This organization believes in teachers and she is part of this movement to help teachers grow in their craft so they can tap into the potential of their students.

Meg Hutchinson

Senior Site Manager

Hometown: Sudbury, Massachusetts

Education: B.A. Psychology, University of Virginia,
M.A. 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. With 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 Site Director where she works in close collaboration with BETAs, teachers, and administration to support the implementation of the Blue Engine model at MS/HS 223. She is thrilled with the continued opportunity to work with 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 and External Affairs

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Education: B.A. Journalism and Spanish, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.P.A in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, New York University

Elandria leads fundraising and communications efforts at Blue Engine as the Vice President of Development and External Affairs. Most recently, she was the Director of Development at Achievement First, a network of 34 public charter schools across NY, CT, and RI. In that role, she was responsible for a portfolio of donors who supported network support operations and school expansion in Brooklyn. She also helped improve AF’s governance-management relationship with two Boards of Directors. Elandria’s five-year tenure at Achievement First began when she was an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow while attending NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Beyond her development role at AF, she contributed as the Interim Director of Extended Learning to launch a summer homework program and by serving as the Interim Chief of Staff to lead a retreat for over 200 staff members.

Prior to graduate school, Elandria was an advertising executive. She managed integrated campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble and the got milk?/Milk Mustache. She led award-winning TV and print advertising development for Ribbons Body Wash, the most successful product launch in the history of Procter & Gamble’s Personal Cleansing Care Division.

Mentoring is the reason Elandria currently works to increase educational opportunities for young people. Since 2005, she has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC and most recently founded a girls mentoring group called SHINE (Sisters Helping Inspire New Excellence). Elandria joined Blue Engine in 2018, and is excited to drive efforts that will scale impact of team teaching in classrooms across the country.

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 and Design

Hometown: Westbrook, CT

Education:

Caitlin has spent the past 15 years working as a secondary educator, instructional coach, and 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 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 and 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: B.A. International Politics & Economics, Middlebury College; M.S. in 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 and government fundraising, marketing and communications, and operations, in addition to 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.

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