Tamika Harding

8th Grade Team Leader/Humanities Teacher      

Tamika is from Montego Bay, Jamaica and completed a BA in English at The University of the West Indies. She later received her Masters in Education at Brooklyn College after migrating to the US. This year, she serves as our 7th and 8th grade Humanities teacher and 7th Grade Team Leader. When not at school, she is busy planning fun family events and fundraisers to give back to her high school in Jamaica. She loves teaching because no two days are ever the same and who doesn't love that!   

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Cristine Maisano

Science Department Head/Science Special Education Teacher

Cristine grew up in Brooklyn, NY and earned and undergraduate degree from Columbia University, law degree from New York University and Masters in Education at Hunter College.  In addition to teaching (and coaching middle school soccer) at the Academy for Young Writers, Cristine is a Lead Teacher with the Urban Advantage program where she conducts science teacher professional development through the New York Botanical Gardens on the weekends. Cristine enjoys the outdoors and playing soccer.

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Jessica Velez

Humanities Teacher

Jessica grew up in Bushwick and has lived between Queens and Brooklyn most of her life. She majored in English Literature and Fine Arts at Brooklyn College, and received her Master's in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is our new "Girls Who Play" advisor, which encourages girls who code and play video games to use their skills in the tech industry. During her free time, Jessica loves to read, hike, and travel. She became a teacher because she loves working with young people, and wants to encourage them to use their diverse backgrounds as a strength within their community.

Neeya Byrd                                                                    

Science Teacher

Neeya grew up on a farm in rural Alabama and moved to New York in 1997 to dance.  She holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in modern dance, a Masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine, and is now teaching 7th grade science while finishing her Masters degree in Education specializing in Biology.  She is a mom and loves spending time with her family and friends, dancing, rock climbing, hiking, and reading.

Iskander Kapkayev

Math Teacher

Daria Mccloskey

Drama Teacher