Meet Our Fellows

Each year, a cohort of full-time New York City public school teachers are selected through a competitive application process to receive an Astor International Travel Fellowship. Fellows represent multiple boroughs and levels of experience within K-12 instruction. Read below to meet our fellows. 

2017: The Hyper-Diverse Classroom
London, United Kingdom 

Eniale Beachem
Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem
Eniale Beachem has spent his nine years in education committed to finding innovative ways to close the achievement gap. The product of a quality public education and the father of four sons who are currently receiving a public education, he is invested in making sure that learning is accessible for all students. Eniale teaches in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world, and he looks forward to using the ideas and best practices he learns as an Astor Fellow to help his students close the achievement gap.

Wayne Casimir
Growing Up Green Charter School
Wayne Casimir is an educator who is dedicated to establishing meaningful connections with students through relevant and experiential teaching. A product of New York City public schools, Wayne credits his rearing in diverse communities for his commitment to teach students to think critically about the world and become advocates for positive social change. Wayne has worked with children in a variety of settings, from after-school centers to summer camps, and as a first, third, and sixth grade teacher at traditional public and charter schools. He earned an MA in inclusive elementary education at Teachers College, where he was also a clinical faculty member for two years.

Tara Cox
John Melser Charrette School
Tara Cox is a fifth grade teacher at the John Melser Charrette School (PS 3) in the West Village. She holds an MA in disability studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies and a BS in education from Temple University. Tara is dual certified in special education and elementary education. She has taught a wide range of student age groups, with and without special needs. Outside the classroom, Tara is a part-time adjunct instructor at NYU Steinhardt; she is enrolled as a graduate student in the school as well. Over her ten years of teaching experience, Tara has developed a passion for equity in education in the face of adversity, and she embeds themes of justice and injustice in her curriculum, using difference as a critical lens.

Carine Darnell
Cultural Academy for the Arts & Sciences High School
Carine Darnell is a proud graduate of the New York City public education system, from elementary school through the Queens College graduate school. Since emigrating from Haiti at a young age, she has been motivated by her education and inspired to share her knowledge with others. She started her work in public schools as a paraprofessional. After some time in the corporate world and as a stay-at-home mom, she returned to public schools and became a teacher. Carine is excited to participate in the Astor Fellows program, and looks forward to sharing her learnings with colleagues and applying new strategies with her students.

Peter Healy
Belmont Preparatory High School
Peter Healy is an English and music teacher at Belmont Preparatory High School in the Bronx. After graduating from Fordham University with a BA in philosophy and literature, Peter worked in the Bay Area for Habitat for Humanity in the Bay Area as an Americorps Fellow. After two years Peter returned to New York, joined the NYC Teaching Fellows, and earned a master’s degree in English education from the City College of New York. He is in his fifteenth year as an educator and also works as a dean for the school, serving as the conflict mediation liaison. Peter intends to use his experience as an Astor Fellow to create curriculum and awareness that addresses the issues of inequality, discrimination and injustice facing our students each day.

Andrea Kung
Urban Academy Laboratory High School
Originally from the New York City metropolitan area, Andrea Kung studied chemistry at Caltech before joining the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, where she taught mathematics at the middle and high school levels. At the end of her service, she was selected as a Peace Corps Fellow by Teachers College at Columbia University. Andrea now shares her love of STEM and the arts with her students at Urban Academy Laboratory High School, where she is also the girls’ varsity basketball co-coach. She specializes in inquiry-based learning, giving hints (not answers), and creating a space for students to make mistakes and learn collaboratively.

Tsee Lee
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
Tsee Lee is a product of the New York City public schools, from elementary to Stuyvesant. After cofounding a political newspaper at Cornell, he spent a decade as a union researcher who helped thousands of janitorial workers organize for better working conditions. He is now a Math for America Master Teaching Fellow, a math teacher on the Instructional Support team, and an instructor in AP Computer Science Principles in East Harlem. He has doubled the percentage of female students in the college-level computer classes to well above majority. He wants his students of all backgrounds to master math and technology, instead of just being customers.

Carey Ma
The Frederick Douglass Academy
Carey Ma majored in English and minored in cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. He teaches English and American literature at the Frederick Douglass Academy 1 in Harlem, and has worked there since his Teach for America placement in 2005. Carey recently became a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Teacher Advisory Council, and served for two years. He credits his commitment to hard work, determination, and education to his father and mother, who immigrated to the United States from Macau and Hong Kong respectively. His students are a constant inspiration to him, and he feels privileged to be their educator.

Zulay Martinez
Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and Technology
Zulay Martinez has been a public school teacher in New York City for 12 years. She became a teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows, and has taught every level of high school English language arts, from self-contained special education to AP Literature and Composition. She has a bilingual extension in Spanish, and often uses her personal experiences as the child of immigrants, and someone who grew up in poverty, to connect with her students and broaden their perspective on life and education. She believes in the power of technology in the classroom to engage students and give them wider access to the world, and she strives to increase her students’ access to cultural capital that will help them succeed.

Rianna Moustapha
Mary White Ovington
Rianna Moustapha is a kindergarten ICT teacher who empowers her students to work through their academic and social challenges. Her public school education led her to present her undergraduate thesis on early childhood learning environments at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Recently, she has improved her practice by researching the influence teachers have on students’ perceptions of themselves as scientists. She strives to create similar experiences for her own kindergarten Engineers, and for the middle school STEAM Leadership Team that she meets with after school. Rianna believes in the magic of public schools, and she strengthens them by helping her students realize the profound influence they can have on their school and surrounding communities.

Alexis Neider
The Neighborhood School
Alexis Neider is a fourth and fifth grade general education teacher in an ICT classroom at the Neighborhood School, a public, progressive elementary school in the East Village where she has taught for 8 years. She serves on the diversity and retreat committees and is the Neighborhood School’s arts liaison. Additionally, she serves on the steering committee for the DOE’s Blueprint for the Moving Image, designing and executing professional development workshops for teachers around film and new media. Alexis has developed and translated curriculum for BRIDGES, a program through the Research Foundation at CUNY, for Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE). Alexis strives to create interdisciplinary, project-based, and critical curriculum that incorporates students’ perspectives and voices.

Frances Peterson-Murray
Brooklyn College Academy
Frances Peterson-Murray has been a high school science teacher for 25 years, working in the Caribbean region and in New York in equal measure. She recently developed a course in environmental sustainability at Brooklyn College Academy, to help promote the understanding of ethical practices and social justice through case study analysis. Her technique focuses onmaking the classroom conversation a global conversation, and she incorporates the broader community into her teaching and learning through a thematic and cross-curricular approach. She sees science as a conduit to understanding the world, and believes that public schools must design and implement rigorous science curricula that support a better understanding of today’s highly technological, rapidly evolving world.

Ekaterine Siracusa
Edith K. Bergtraum
Ekaterine Siracusa has been a special educator for eight years. Her commitment to serving Title One schools in Queens and working to close the achievement gap began with her first placement through the New York City Teaching Fellows. For the last five years, she has worked with the Department of Education’s NEST program at The Edith K. Bergtraum School of Visual and Performing Arts in Queens. There, Ekaterine has committed her professional development to meeting the needs of fifth graders with high-functioning autism, across academic disciplines. She is an adjunct professor at LaGuardia Community College, where she designed and now teaches the class Cross Cultural Studies of Identity Among Female Writers. Her mission is to empower all students to rely on their personal strengths and skills to lead productive, happy lives.

Monica Salazar-Austin
John M. Harrigan School
Monica Salazar-Austin graduated from NYU with a degree in childhood education and special education and Teachers College with a master’s degree in literacy. This is her twelfth year teaching at PS 29 in Brooklyn, where she has been a grade team leader, literacy leader, and hiring committee member. She is an active member of her school’s service and diversity committees, which provide opportunities for discussion and response to issues of race, identity, equity and class that affect her school community. With her students, Monica works to bring multiple perspectives and social justice to different areas of the literacy and social studies curricula.

Ruby Singh
Achievement First Brownsville Middle School
Ruby Singh is the founding visual arts teacher at Achievement First Brownsville Middle School, where she has been teaching for four years. She received a BA in art education from the Ohio State University and a master’s in art education at New York University. Her curriculum is grounded in the intersection of research, contemporary art and social justice issues such as mass incarceration, immigration, and identity politics. She is particularly interested in collaborating with the surrounding community, whether it is through placing student work in local galleries and shops, or bringing in visiting artists for workshops. She plans to use her experience as an Astor Fellow to continue developing a diverse and culturally relevant curriculum.

Fabienne Doucet
Astor Fellows Faculty Leader
Fabienne Doucet is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education and Program Leader for the programs in Childhood Education in the department of Teaching and Learning at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.