Co-Founder & Executive Director
Before founding South Bronx Community, John was a Director of School Design providing leadership and expertise to EPIC Schools’ competency-based academic program. Prior to joining the Expanded Success Initiative School Design Fellowship in 2013, John was the Director of Educational Services at Teaching Matters, a non-profit whose mission is to develop and retain great teachers and measurably increase their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education. John led their team of over 35 instructional coaches for six years. He also previously served as an instructional coach and wrote culturally relevant performance-based curriculum for several large scale programs. He was an inaugural member of the New York City Teaching Fellows, teaching middle school in the South Bronx for four years and also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA working with foster teens and adjudicated youth in Paterson, New Jersey. He holds a Masters in Education from Lehman College, a Masters in Media Studies from New School University and a Bachelor of Arts from New York University. On July 1, 2018 John stepped into the role of Executive Director.
Brandon is a founder and former co-leader of EPIC South High School in South Ozone Park, Queens. Previously he was a mathematics teacher at the James Baldwin School: A School for Expeditionary Learning, a transfer high school in New York City. He is a graduate of Chicago State University with a BS in Mathematics/Secondary Education and is an established leader, teacher, and child advocate. He was born and raised in Chicago and represents the Englewood community of Chicago’s Southside with great pride. Brandon has worked with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program since 2004 in various capacities. His role as co-founder and Project Director of the “World Famous” Bethel-Imani CDF Freedom Schools site in Chicago and the Imani-Harambee CDF Freedom Schools site in Milwaukee, his time as an Ella Baker Trainer, and his work planning regular youth mobilizations, conferences and events has earned him recognition amongst his peers. Mr. Corley’s widespread community involvement and volunteer work include the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America where he has served as the multicultural representative for the Lutheran Youth Organization; Nation Builder with the Simba Circle Camp; basketball coach for the Southside YMCA in Chicago; National Membership Chairman of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. Currently, he is an advisory board member for Mature Cradle, Inc. Through this work, he has directly served communities in Champaign and Chicago, IL, as well as Milwaukee, WI, Mt. Vernon, NY, New Orleans, LA, and Philadelphia, PA.
Co-Founder & Youth Development Director
Previous to being a founding member of South Bronx Community, Natalie was the Director of School Design for the NYC Department of Education, providing leadership and expertise to EPIC Schools’, a network of schools designed collaboratively through a fellowship commissioned by the mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, around social-emotional learning, youth development supports and systems of improvement. Previously, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic where she worked to build the capacity of a children’s advocacy nonprofit around collaborative action research and youth development initiatives. She has also served as a teacher coach and education consultant both in the US and abroad and has published research on the effects of school choice on student wellbeing. Natalie began her career as a bilingual teacher at a middle school for recently arrived immigrants in Washington Heights, New York. Natalie holds a BA in Latin American Studies and a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University, as well as a Masters in Teaching with a focus on ESL and bilingual education.
Associate Director of Capacity Building
Karen’s extensive experience in teaching, STEM curriculum development, and instructional coaching initially brought her to South Bronx Community to launch its physics and maker programs. Her entrepreneurial spirit served as a catalyst for her move into school leadership as South Bronx Community’s first Associate Director in 2018. A decade prior to her return to education, Karen founded a fashion brand which offered high-end custom-designed wedding attire to diverse clients. Her experience in talent management and leading cross-functional teams contributed to the growth of her business, which she owned and operated for eight years. Karen spent her earlier years in education as a STEM teacher, first with the DOE, and later on, at Friends Seminary and Horace Mann School. She has done extensive research on best practices to engage and retain female-identified students of color in STEM fields. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, where she earned her BS in Physics with a minor in Mathematics.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mayling represents corporations and individuals in white collar defense, government investigations, and commercial litigation matters, notably concentrating her practice on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and corporate fraud, as well as matters implicating criminal tax exposure. She has conducted domestic and international, multi-jurisdictional investigations for clients with ventures in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and has represented her clients before the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal, Civil, and Tax Divisions. She also advises corporations and financial institutions in connection with corporate governance and compliance matters. In litigation, Mayling has experience before various Federal District Courts, U.S. Tax Court, the Superior Court of New Jersey, the New Jersey Appellate Division, and the New Jersey Supreme Court, defending clients in white collar, tax, commercial, employment, and constitutional matters. She is a member of the Seton Hall Alumni Council, the Firm’s Diversity Committee, and active with the Hispanic National Bar Association and the New Jersey Hispanic Bar Association.
Michael Busch is Associate Director of the Office of Student Success at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York, where he also teaches in the departments of Political Science and International Studies and the Master’s Program in International Relations. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Michael helps oversee student advisement and academic support services for the college’s division of social sciences, manages a portfolio of student fellowship programs, and directs social science undergraduate research at the school. In this capacity, Michael supports outreach to and liaises directly with community based organizations, city, state, and federal government agencies, and elected officials. Previous to his work in higher education, Michael was in the inaugural cohort of the New York City Teaching Fellows program, and taught elementary and middle school in the Bronx and Harlem. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
Rema Davis has been the Head of client relations at Atlantic Investment Management, a $1.6 billion value focused equity hedgefund since 2000. Since 2013, Rema has been a mentor with iMentor, program that matches high school students one on one with a college-educated mentor to guide the student through his/her journey to college graduation. Rema has earned her MBA in Finance from NYU (2007) and her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (1999).
John Duval (Ex Officio)
John Duval is a private consultant working at the intersection of education and workforce development. Currently, his clients include the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, #DegreesNYC – a community-based collective action project aimed at increasing postsecondary access and success young people – and the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Previously, he spent over 10 years at the DOE where he oversaw a range of education innovation initiatives focused on equity, competency-based education, linked learning eco-systems, effective uses of school time, and whole school design. Prior to that, he worked in research and development, overseeing an annual operating budget of approximately $60M in local, federal, and private funds. He also managed longitudinal research efforts to assess the return on investment for the Multiple Pathways and CTE portfolios and led policy development in the areas of finance and accountability. He came to education after working as a job coach for adults recovering from mental illness in the Bronx and central Brooklyn. John holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a MPA from Columbia University.
Dr. Fenton’s work is focused on the intersection of equity, culturally responsive research and social impact. She is currently the founder and Chief Thought Partner at The Fenton Collective, a firm centered on supporting change management efforts for education and arts based organizations. She previously served as the director of Leader Support and Development at Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), where she Led EdLoC’s efforts to identify learning and developmental needs for 300+ leaders of color across the nation with the aim of increasing leader effectiveness. She has also served as associate Director for the NYC Men Teach Program at the City University of New York. She began her career as a special education teacher in Brooklyn, where she was born and raised.
Paul Ortiz is Director of JASA’s Community Guardian Program where he manages a court appointed guardianship program that services 550 incapacitated clients that are in need of a legal guardian. Prior to this work, Paul worked in the housing field for 18 years developing and operating supportive housing for special needs populations in NYC. Paul also served as Executive Director for Crotona Naval & Marine Cadet Corps, a youth & community development organization that worked with youth ages 8 – 18 year old in leadership development in Bronx, New York. Mr. Ortiz received his Bachelor of Professional Studies, Human Services Concentration from Audrey Cohen College, a Masters in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of NY and studied Social Work at Adelphi University.
In addition to being a founding member and Treasurer of the board, Kate Karageorgiou is a Facilitator in the NYC Department of Education’s District-Charter Collaborative, a program that facilitates collaboration between district and charter schools with the goals of improving instructional practices and student outcomes while building schools’ capacity to solve their own problems of practice and eliminate disparities along the lines of race. Kate is also a NYC native and educator at heart, who started her career with Teach For America, teaching middle and high school math to students in Philadelphia. She has held various leadership positions in the non-profit and public education sectors, including Executive Director of Schools That Can NYC and Dean at VOICE Charter School. Kate earned her BS in Political Science and Communication Studies from Northwestern University and MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. When she isn’t working towards equity for NYC students, Kate can often be found frolicking in Astoria Park with her husband, children, dog, and cat.
Alvarez Symonette currently serves as the Head of Business Development for a private investment firm. Previously, he served in a similar capacity at the Continental Grain Corporation, a 200-year old family-owned private company, where he focused on building co-investment structures and syndicates for ultra-high net worth individuals and family offices in the US, Europe and Latin America. Previously, Alvarez worked as Managing Director at Ader Investment Management. Before that, he was a co-Founder of 360 Global Capital and was responsible for managing the firm’s institutional relationships. From 1996-2007, Mr. Symonette held various leadership positions in the non-profit and education field including serving as a Managing Director, Teacher Support & Development at Teach for America, Inc., and as the Director of Educational Services at Teaching Matters, Inc. Prior to those roles, Mr. Symonette taught high school history for 5 years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Star Fund, a 37 year-old non-profit organization, and also serves as a Management Committee member for the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable. Mr. Symonette received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Masters in Education from Harvard University. He has also completed coursework at the London School of Economics.
Subha Ahmed is the 10th grade English Language Arts Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She is a poet, educator, and community and youth advocate born and raised in New York City. Before entering the classroom six years ago via Teach for America, Subha worked in youth development programs for youth in secure detention facilities, libraries and community organizations. She integrates performing arts, social justice, sports, service learning and international travel while working with young people. Subha holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from City College where she studied International Studies, Anthropology and Black Studies and she holds a Masters from Relay Graduate School for Education.
Prior to becoming a Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School, Gaylene served as an 8th grade Paraprofessional for English Language Arts and Math. She has also served as an After-School Multicultural Dance Activity Specialist, and a Mentor for an all girls Mentorship program. She has worked with students in the South Bronx and Harlem for over 15 years. She earned her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Minor in Inclusive Classroom (SPED) from Concordia University-Portland, Oregon. She holds her BS in Sociology from CUNY City College.
Jocelyn is a Learning Coach and Licensed Social Worker at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She spent the last two years while in school and working as a social work intern at Leadership and Public Service High School and West End Day School, a private elementary school for children with special needs. Jocelyn earned her Masters in Social Work from NYU Silver, and her BA in Psychology from Muhlenberg College.
Cathleen Collazo is a Youth Development Specialist in Counseling and Trauma at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Therapist providing support and case management to children and adolescents. She graduated from City University of New York Baruch College with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Black and Latino Studies. She also holds an MA in Mental Health Counseling.
Asia Cruz is a Founding Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously served as an AmeriCorps Team Leader overseeing mentoring and tutoring supports for students. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education, from Wheaton College.
Christopher DeLa Cruz
Christopher DeLa Cruz is a Founding Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He is a teaching artist, actor, and producer. He earned his BA in Literacy Studies with a minor in Education Studies from Middlebury College. He also holds a MA in Secondary English Education from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Travis Delancey-Goodman is a Founding Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He previously worked as a Learning Coach and youth development specialist overseeing advising and recreational programs for students. He earned his AA in Liberal Arts from Borough of Manhattan Community College and is currently pursuing his BA in Education from Boricua College.
Robert is a Special Education Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He has worked in the South Bronx for six years as a Special Education teacher and has also worked for the Teaching Fellows Program. Rob graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, and attended graduate school at Hunter College for Special Education.
Priscilla Inoa is the 10th grade Math Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously worked as a Special Education teacher, teaching math and science to high school age students. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Psychology and she holds a Master in the Art of Teaching.
Rakim Amalu Jenkins is the 10th grade History Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter School. He is a 2013 alumnus of The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York and 2014 alumni corps member of Teach For America-New York City. He is also a recent graduate of Relay Graduate School of Education (MAT), After spending three years teaching History in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY he is thrilled to be joining the SBC community as the 10th grade History teacher.
Roderick Lopez is the Founding Science Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He previously worked as a STEM educator both in New York CIty and Los Angeles Unified School District. He received a BA in Biology from California State University and has completed preclinical coursework at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Crystal Montalvo is a Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously worked as a case worker for foster care youth and families. Crystal earned her BA in Psychology with a minor in Political Science at City University of New York Baruch College.
Ferne is a Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He previously worked as a school paraprofessional providing academic assistance and curriculum support and serving as an academic enrichment group leader, and fitness and sports activity specialist. He was also the coach for the girls junior high school basketball and boys flag football team. He earned a B.A in Fire and Emergency Management and minor in Health & Physical Education from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Felix Polanco is a Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He previously served as a Summer Quest Leader for Liberty Partnerships Program’s Summer Quest at Fordham University. He assisted in facilitating academic enrichment and workshops for rising 9th graders transitioning into Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus. He received his BS in Social Work at the University at Albany.
Madeline Richer is the Founding Special Education Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously worked as a Special Education Teacher in the South Bronx. She graduated with a BA in Religion and Human Rights from Barnard College and a BA in Talmud and Rabbinics from List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She also holds a Masters in Special Education from Hunter College.
Maria Rosario is the Founding Campus Manager at South Bronx Community Charter High School. She previously served as an Operations Manager and Associate at PAVE Academy Charter School and Democracy Prep Public School. She earned her BA in African American Studies with a minor in Political Science from Lehman College.
Padraig Shea is the Founding English Language Arts Teacher at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He has worked as an ELA teacher across several states and internationally including work in Massachusetts, Arkansas, New York, Texas and South Korea. He received his BS in Print and Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Political Science from Emerson College. He earned his Masters in Education from Delta State University.
Zulibeth Velazquez is the Campus Associate at South Bronx Community Charter School. She previously worked for nonprofit organizations focused on youth development and higher education. She is a proud TEAK Fellowship alumna and is pursuing a BA in Psychology at Lehman College.
Christopher Wilson is a Founding Learning Coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School. He previously served as a Youth Development Director and Parent Coordinator connecting students and families to key services, resources and supports. He holds a BS in Social Science from the College of New Rochelle.