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22 Ericsson Place
New York, NY, 10013
United States

(212) 226-9070

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Our Staff


+ Ayala Marcktell, Founder

Ayala was born and raised in Israel. She has a passion for education, music, and dance. Ayala came to New York City to study modern dance and choreography at The Julliard School. Soon after, her focus shifted to starting a family, raising children and running the first in a line of pre-schools. She loves to spend time with her family, especially her three sons and her grandchildren. Ayala is also passionate about travel, exploring new places and cultures, and shopping (especially for shoes!).

In 2006 after three decades of managing her own 4 preschools, Ayala opened TriBeCa Community School with the idea that early childhood education can be a partnership between the child, the teacher, the family and the school.

+ Kristen Pallonetti, Program Director

Kristen joined TCS in 2009 as a Pre-K teacher, becomming the director in 2010. Kristen attended Cornell University where she earned a B.S. degree in Human Development with concentrations in Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education. At Cornell, Kristen was involved in research with infants and young children studying language development and spatial awareness. She then completed the Harris Fellowship in Child Development and Early Childhood Education at Yale University where she was a preschool teacher at Calvin Hill Day Care Center, a model progressive early childhood center, and was also part of a clinical child psychiatry team at the Yale Child Study Center. Kristen then went on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, earning a Master of Education degree in Human Development and Psychology. Her background in child development, developmental psychology, and early childhood education guides her work at TriBeCa Community School, implementing constructivism and Reggio Emilia-inspired work with children, teachers, and parents.

+ Brittney Moers, Administrative Assistant

Coming Soon!

+ Kara Canal, Atelierista

Kara has been merrily teaching art to children for the past ten years, and is delighted to continue teaching with TCS. She previously was a founding Atelierista for Reggio Emilia inspired Williamsburg Northside School, and has worked with children in public and private schools from Harlem to Coney Island. Kara focuses on collaborations with students, families, and fellow educators on new ways of engaging art materials through listening, observing, and offering experiences that connect deeply to project work. Kara also hosts pop-up art exploration programs with Open Studio Brooklyn for young children in her community.

+ Meg Boyle, Collaborative Teacher and Pedagogical Support

Meg is beginning her 6th year at TCS. Previously, she worked as a 2s and 3s teacher at Barrow Street Nursery School at Greenwich House, Inc. for nine years. She served as the director of the West Side YMCA Summer Arts Camp and as a drama and music specialist in four after school programs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Kid’s Company, Enter Stage Write and the conflict mediation program PAZ: Peace from A to Z. She received a BFA at Tisch School of the Arts in Theater with Honors from New York University and a MST in Early Childhood/Childhood K-6 Education at Fordham University. Additionally, Meg had the opportunity to study Reggio Emilia approach firsthand in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

+ Paige Beazer, Collaborative Teacher

Paige Beazer is a second year teacher at TCS in the 2's classroom. She has earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Lehman College and an MA in Childhood Education from New York University. She has been an educator for over 9 years.

+ Melissa Coan, Collaborative Teacher & Atelierista

Melissa Coan is excited to return for her second year at TCS. Originally from Manhattan, she received her B.A. in Communications and Cultural Anthropology from the University at Buffalo, and her Masters in Childhood Education, K-6th grades, with Honors from the University of Southern California. She was previously the Education Director and School Art Teacher of a Montessori school. She owns a mindful tutoring company, called Learning Honey, Co., and is a fine-artist.

+ Julianne Esposito, Collaborative Teacher

Julianne is starting her first year at TCS in the 4s classroom. She comes to TCS with two years of teaching experience in New Jersey where she was a co-teacher in a 4 and 5 year old classroom. She earned her B.A. in Family and Child Studies from Montclair State University in New Jersey.

+ Kimberly Gregory, Collaborative Teacher

Kim Gregory is a first year teacher at TCS in the 3s classroom. She has earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Cognitive Science with a minor in Spanish from the University of Delaware, and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Childhood General and Special Education from Touro College.

+ Naila Hanak-Smith, Collaborative Teacher

Naila is returning this year for her third year teaching at TCS. She received her dual Masters in Early Childhood Special and General Education at Hunter College. Although she has worked in a variety of settings with different populations and curricula, Naila is drawn to the Reggio Emilia philosophy and being a part of he TCS community.

+ Justin Jackson, Collaborative Teacher

Justin begins in his second year at TriBeCa Community School after seven years experience working in Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood education environments. He taught as a lead teacher for 3 and 4 year olds at Community Academy Public Charter School in Washington D.C. and went on to support teachers as a mentor and administrative team member at various educational settings in the greater Washington D.C. area. Justin completed the Second International Summer School Program in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2012. Before becoming an early childhood educator, Justin worked as an Art Director, developing creative art programs for diverse groups of inner-city children. Justin earned a BA in Fine Arts, with a specialization in painting and graphic design, from Howard University.

+ Isabella Johnson, Collaborative Teacher

Isabella is beginning her first year at TCS in the 3’s classroom. She has a B.A in Philosophy and Political Science from Barnard College and is working towards her M.A in Childhood Education from Teachers College. Isabella has worked with young people in New York in various capacities including as an after school program mentor and a middle school English Teacher.

+ Monica Lakhaney, Collaborative Teacher

Monica is starting her second year at TCS in the 3's class. She has a B.S. from Syracuse University and an M.A. in Early Childhood General and Special Education from Teachers College. She has previously taught in a 2’s and 3’s classroom in a variety of progressive schools, as well as in a Kindergarten classroom.

+ Margo Lash, Collaborative Teacher

Margo Lash is starting her second year as a collaborative teacher at Tribeca Community School. Margo has experience working in 2s and 3s classes and she is excited to begin a new school year with the 2s in September. Prior to joining the TCS team, Margo spent two years teaching at Gillen Brewer, an independent school for children with disabilities. Margo earned her Master’s in Art & Art Education from Teachers College at Columbia after studying English and Art at the College of William & Mary.

+ Kaitlin McNee, Collaborative Teacher

Kaitlin is beginning her 3rd year at TCS. She will be teaching in the 3s classroom after having taught for 2 years in the 2s. She received a BA in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz. While in New Paltz, Kaitlin volunteered at several community outreach organizations, as well as co-founded the Undergraduate Psychology Association. Since then, Kaitlin has taught in a variety of settings: special needs inclusion classrooms, as well as progressive and Reggio Emilia inspired programs such as Beginnings Nursery and Explore + Discover. Kaitlin has co-taught in 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s classrooms and is thrilled to be with the 3s this school year.

+ Rose Mendoza, Collaborative Teacher

Rose Mendoza began at TCS in December 2015 as a substitute and floating teacher and most recently a 2s collaborative teacher. Since moving to New York from her hometown of Chicago, she has worked extensively with children with cognitive disabilities as well as social and emotional development in the school system through multiple non-profit agencies. Rose is currently pursuing her degree in Early Education with a focus in Special Education and ENL.

+ Brianna Moretti, Collaborative Teacher

Brianna is starting her first year at TCS in the 2s classroom. She has four years teaching experience in a variety of preschools and after school programs. Brianna grew up on the Jersey Shore and recently moved to New York. She attended Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and Education.

+ Sarah Nolan, Collaborative Teacher

Sarah Nolan is a recent graduate of NYU with a B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education and this is her first year at TCS. Sarah has been working with chidlren for over 6 years, including extensive work with young children with a wide range of special needs.

+ Katie Shirke, Collaborative Teacher

Katie Shirke is returning to TCS for her second year as a collaborative teacher in the 2s. Prior to teaching at TCS, she taught in a 2s classroom at Columbus Preschool and Gym. Before that, Katie taught creative movement and yoga in many different New York City Schools. Katie received her Masters in Education from Bank Street College of Education.

+ Paige St. Onge, Collaborative Teacher

Paige St.Onge is starting her 4th year at TCS, having previously taught in the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s classrooms, and has 6 years experience teaching and tutoring in New York City. She received a BS in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and History, and a Master’s degree in Literacy Education from New York University.

+ Stevie Strauss, Collaborative Teacher

Stevie has been teaching at TCS since 2013 and will be in the 3's class this year after teaching in all of our age groups: 2s, 3s, and 4s. She earned a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education at the City College of NY with a minor in Children’s Literacy. Stevie has worked and taught at schools in Zambia, Africa and Los Angeles for many years before landing in New York and at TCS.

+ Lopa Visaveliya, Collaborative Teacher

Lopa has been working as a preschool teacher inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach since 2011. The children are her greatest inspiration because they have the courage to re-imagine the world from completely revolutionary and thoughtful perspectives. She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies & Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, a PA Teaching Certificate for grades PreK-4, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Carlow University. In April 2014, she had the opportunity to attend a study group to Reggio Emilia, and in August 2015 she joined the Cyert Center for Early Education as an educator while they hosted the Wonder of Learning Exhibition and NAREA conference in Pittsburgh, PA. This is Lopa’s second year at TCS, and she is looking forward to integrating her passion for learning and teaching in this beautiful space, and, to building new relationships with all the children, families and educators.

+ Dzuli Rudaj, Floater

Floating Teacher
coming soon!

+ Dawn Williams, Floater

Floating Teacher
coming soon!

+ Rachel Costello, Yo Re Mi Music and Yoga Specialist

Rachel Costello is a professional touring musician and yoga teacher specializing in hatha, vinyasa, prenatal, postpartum, as well as yoga for labor and delivery. Through Yo Re Mi Rachel brings musical yoga enrichment to children all over NYC. She is also the co-founder of Yoga Builds - a professional development training program for adults that want to share yoga with children, pre-teens, teens and special needs youth. She believes yoga is a perfect way to harness our innate energy to increase self-awareness, confidence, health, positivity and balance, while having FUN!

+ Paola Trigari, Pedagogical Consultant

Paola Trigari is an Educational Consultant on Social-Constructivism and Reggio Emilia inspired approaches to Education. She worked as Pedagogical Coordinator and Program Director of the Reggio inspired International Italian school in San Francisco (La Scuola of SF). In New York, she consulted for a number of schools, including TriBeCa Community School and the Columbia Family Annex. Paola holds seminars and PD for school directors on Social Constructivism and Reggio Emilia approaches to education. Paola is a fully qualified ECE Site Supervisor (from the State of CA). Paola has an International background: native of Italy grew up in Turin (Italy), Paris (France) and Sâo Paulo (Brazil). Paola holds a BA (Bocconi University) and an MSc (UPF) in Economics. She then lived and worked in London (UK), San Francisco and New York. Italian native speaker, Paola speaks French, Portuguese, English and Spanish. Paola enjoys traveling, cinema, music and hiking-rock climbing-skiing with her husband and their dog.