West Hempstead Welcomes New Teachers

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The District is excited to welcome 15 teachers for the 2019-20 school year.

Susan Abbott joins George Washington after spending the past three school years in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District. This past spring, she completed her student teaching in a fifth grade self-contained classroom. Susan spent the previous 13 years at St. John’s University and Stony Brook University as a professional in athletic special events. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from St. John’s in 1999 followed by a master’s degree in marketing in 2001. She most recently completed a Master of Education in Special Education degree from Grand Canyon University.

Chestnut Street and Cornwell Avenue welcome Jarrod Alexander as a social worker for the new school year. Jarrod joins the Rams from the United Federation of Teachers where he was a social worker since August 2015. He previously spent three years as a senior social worker at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Dowling College and a dual major master’s degree in clinical and client-centered management.

Nicole Cohen started in West Hempstead in February of 2018 as an itinerant therapist at George Washington and Cornwell Avenue schools and returns this year as a speech teacher for George Washington. She spent the first part of the 2017-18 school year as a speech language pathologist at the Brookville Center for Children’s Services in New Hyde Park. Nicole first earned her bachelor’s degree in speech and language disabilities from SUNY Cortland before completing a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a speech language pathology concentration from Adelphi University. 

Tracy Cousins transitions into a reading teacher role at Cornwell Avenue following eight years at Camp Avenue School in the North Merrick Union Free School District, where she was a guided reading teacher. She previously worked as a literacy diagnostician at St. John’s University for eight years as well as a reading specialist at the Newbridge Road School in the North Bellmore Union Free School District. From 1989-1995, Tracy rose to a second lieutenant in the 310th military police battalion and the 423rd military police company. She holds three degrees from St. John’s that include a bachelor’s degree in history and pair of master’s degrees in childhood education and literacy.

Marissa Evola studied abroad over the course of two summers to help solidify her fluency in both Italian and Spanish. She spent July of 2016 at the University of León in León, Spain before attending the University of Siena in Siena, Italy in June 2018. Marissa joins the district as a Spanish teacher at the middle school and high school.

Sara Fine returns to West Hempstead after spending last school year as a leave replacement at George Washington and Cornwell Avenue schools. During the 2017-18 school year, Sara was a teaching assistant at Glenwood Landing School in the North Shore School District after spending four years in the Syosset School District. During her time in West Hempstead, she worked in an Integrated Co-Teaching setting while providing support to special education students and the general education students.

The high school welcomes Al Fixl as the technology teacher for the 2019-20 school year. Al joins West Hempstead after two years at White Plains High School as a computer science teacher and robotics club advisor. He previously worked throughout the New York City Public Schools system since 2009, stationed at the High School of Arts and Technology, South Bronx Academy for Applied Media, Jonas Bronck Academy and High School for Medical Science. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University in addition to a master’s degree in semiconductor physics. He also holds a Master in Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University and master’s degree in education mathematics from St. John’s.

Andrew Hochler is set to join the music department at the middle school and high school after graduating from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and a performance certificate in trumpet. An East Meadow native, Andrew has musical experience with Royal Caribbean International and the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island. He recently spent the past two years as the band teacher at P.S. 206 Joseph F. Lamb in Brooklyn.

Robyn Linn brings nearly 20 years of experience to George Washington School as she assumes the role of an occupational therapist. Robyn spent the past nine years as an occupational therapist at the Shelter Rock Elementary School in Manhasset where she was responsible for the evaluation, coordination and administration of occupational therapy services. She previously served eight years at Stepping Stone Day School following nearly two years at Schneider Children’s Hospital. She graduated from Boston University with two bachelor degrees in occupational therapy and psychology.

Nicole Mellone embraces her first teaching job as a Spanish teacher in the high school. Nicole completed her bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Binghamton University in May 2018 followed by a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish Adolescence Education the following May. While earning her post-graduate degree, she worked as an adjunct lecturer. She was also a teaching assistant for a semester during her undergraduate career.

A recent graduate of The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Diana Minerva earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music education while minoring in design and technical theatre. She gained teaching experience as a volunteer teacher at COLTS Day this past April where she created and presented workshops for 60 students from the Colton-Pierrepont Central School. She also completed her student teaching last fall throughout the Herricks School District.

John O’Dwyer joins Cornwell Avenue as a special education teacher with a degree in childhood education from SUNY Old Westbury. He spent last school year as a leave replacement at Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview. John also taught for a year at P.S. 186 Dr. Irving Gladstone Elementary School in Brooklyn. 

Konstantino Papakonstantis continues his tenure at West Hempstead following a leave replacement position he held last year. During the year, he developed and implemented lesson plans in United State History for seventh and eighth grade students. Konstantino spent the previous year in a similar role within the Sachem Central School District at Sagamore Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with a history minor from SUNY Cortland in addition to a Master of Arts in Teaching Social Studies from Stony Brook University. 

Jillian Sarro completed her Master of Science in Education from Queens College this past May to go along with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood/childhood education and a minor in geological science from SUNY Potsdam. While earning her master’s degree, she spent last school year as a special education teacher at the Center for Development Disabilities in Woodbury. Jillian also worked for three years at the James A. Dever Elementary School in Valley Stream as a leave replacement and a permanent substitute.

Leah Zimmerman worked as a psychological intern for both Hewlett High School and Robert M. Finley Middle School in Glen Cove last year before joining George Washington School as a psychologist for this year. During that time, she completed her Master’s degree in school psychology from Queens College. Leah also earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Yeshiva University. 

The district wishes everyone the best of luck for a great school year!