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22 Ericsson Place
New York, NY, 10013
United States

(212) 226-9070

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Our Staff


+ Babur Habib, Chief Executive Officer

Babur is a tech entrepreneur who co-founded Kno Inc, an ed-tech company which set out to reimagine how students consume content. The company was acquired by Intel Corporation where Babur spent time implementing innovative solutions in classrooms globally. Working with schools within US and internationally made him realize that there is a lot of room to rethink how best to serve each child's creativity and help them learn through authentic experiences which all led to the start of Portfolio School and ownership of TriBeCa Community School, where his daughter is in the 4s program.

His previous experience includes designing Pentium microprocessors at Intel and digital consumer products at Philips. He's served as a fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, working on the role of science and technology in informing public policy. He’s currently an advisor to multiple tech startups and is passionate about building a solid tech ecosystem on the east coast. In addition, he serves as an advisor to the New York Academy of Sciences on their Global STEM Alliance project and is an expert in residence at the NY Media Center. Babur holds an MS from Stanford in electrical engineering and a PhD from Princeton in quantum computing.

+ Doug Schachtel, Chief Operating Officer

As a creative project manager, Doug has worked in media, film, children’s play systems, communications and graphic design. As a filmmaker his award-winning music videos and short films that have been shown all over the world. He has two young children and is proud to be part of a school in which he would be happy to enroll them one day. Doug holds a BA from Princeton, an MFA from Columbia and an MBA from Baruch College.

+ Kristen Pallonetti, Program Director

Kristen joined TCS in 2009 as a Pre-K teacher, becoming 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 social constructivism and Reggio Emilia-inspired work with children, teachers, and parents.

+ Meg Boyle, Education Director

Meg is beginning her 8th year at TCS. Meg has taught 3s and 4s at TCS and has been a mentor teacher for the past three years. As Education Director, Meg will work alongside teachers as they develop curriculum and innovative learning experiences with the children. Previously, she worked as a 2s and 3s teacher at Barrow Street Nursery School 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.

+ Adiylah Washington, Director of Extended Learning

Adiylah joined the TCS staff as our Director of Extended Learning in 2018. Prior to joining us, Adiylah has worked as Associate Director of Extended Learning for a number of schools in New York including Montclare Children’s School, Williamsburg Northside School, and Aaron School. Adiylah designs and manages After School, Summer Camp, and Vacation Camp programs with the goal of enhancing the overall educational experience. Adiylah is a certified School Business Administrator and School Principal in the State of New Jersey. She taught in New Jersey for sixteen years in specialized dual language immersion programs and the advanced placement Ivy Program in Englewood. She holds a BA in Elementary Education Mathematics Concentration and a MA in Educational Leadership. She recently completed the Bookkeeping and Accounting certificate at the New York University School of Professional Studies. Adiylah decided to become an educator after her first job as a Research Associate at Duke University in her hometown Durham, North Carolina.

+ Brittney Moers, Administrative Associate

Brittney has been at TCS since 2015. She grew up in Tribeca and has been working with children for over 10 years.

+ Dawn Williams, Administrative Associate

Dawn has veen at TCS since 2018 and has been in the early childhood field for over 20 years.

+ Gabi Acosta-Cohen, Administrative Associate

Gabriel (Gabi) Acosta-Cohen is entering his fourth year at TriBeCa Community School. Previously Gabi was a Pre-K teacher and floater. Gabi was born and raised in Manhattan and earned his B.A. in Sociology at Hobart College. He has been a New York City pre-k teacher for the last 8 years and has provided childcare for families in TriBeCa the past 18 years.

+ Justin Jackson, Atelierista

Justin begins in his fourth 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.

+ Melissa Coan, Atelierista

Melissa Coan is thrilled to return for her fourth year at TCS as a classroom teacher in the 3s and the PM Atelierista. Originally from Manhattan, Melissa left the big city to receive her B.A. in Communications and Cultural Anthropology from UB, and her Masters in Childhood Education, K-6th grades, from USC. Before arriving to TCS, she was the Education Director and School Art Teacher of a Montessori school. During her free time, Melissa loves to paint, tutor (with Learning Honey, Co.), travel, and volunteer.

+ Alex Schmidt, After School Atelierista

Alex has been working with TriBeCa Community School in a variety of capacities since 2013. She was the full-time school-wide Atelierista (2014-2016) and studied in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2015. That same year, she founded "Art in the Atelier" - the first after-school program at TCS. She is inspired to extend her passion for art, movement, early childhood pedagogy, and community throughout the TCS community!

+ Razan Abdin-Adnani, Collaborative Teacher

Razan is delighted to be joining the TCS team as a 3s teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Education degree in Montessori Studies from Loyola University Maryland, and an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) credential at the Primary (3-6) level from Washington Montessori Institute. Razan has several years of experience teaching in progressive, constructivist classrooms in the US and abroad. When she isn’t learning and growing alongside children, Razan can be found exploring the outdoors, traveling, reading, writing creative non-fiction, and facilitating workshops around culturally responsive education.

+ Meg Anderson, Collaborative Teacher

Meg is excited to return for her second year at TCS, having perviously taught 3s and 4s in Connecticut for the last four years. Meg has experience teaching and implementing the Reggio Emilia philosophy, emergent curriculum and project approach. She earned her B.A. in communication sciences (speech and language pathology/ audiology) from the University of Connecticut and her M.A.T in Early Childhood Education from Manhattanville College.

+ Anne Bae, Collaborative Teacher

Annie is excited to be working in the 3’s classroom in her first year at TCS. Prior to working at TCS, she had the wonderful opportunity to work in different schools and age groups including: River School as a 2’s head teacher for 2 years, as an ESL Coordinator/Teacher at Family Life Academy Charter Schools for 5 years, and as an Educational Director at a preschool on the Upper East Side for the last 2 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from NYU in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education and her Master’s Degree from CUNY Hunter in Teaching English as a Second Language.

+ Paige Beazer, Collaborative Teacher

Paige Beazer is entering her fifth year 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 10 years.

+ Sara Beebe, Collaborative Teacher

Sara is excited to return for her second year at TCS as a 2s teacher. Prior to arriving at TCS, she taught in the infant/toddler classroom of Lakewood Avenue Children’s School in Durham, North Carolina. Sara received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Meredith College and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Education Policy at Teacher’s College of Columbia University. Being a proponent of the Reggio Emilia approach, she has a special interest in teaching children through art, music, and movement.

+ Emma Bolles-Beaven, Collaborative Teacher

Emma is joining the TCS community in the 2s program. She earned BA in Film Studies from Barnard College and an MSEd from Bank Street College of Education in Family and Infant Development, Early intervention, and early Childhood General and Special Education. For over 5 years, she has worked with children of varying abilities aged between 9 months and 5 years in a variety of settings.

+ Britt, Collaborative Teacher

Britt is joining the TCS community in the 3s program. Britt is a recent transplant from Boston, MA where they taught in a 3s-5s classroom for the past year. Britt graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Gender Studies and American Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.

+ Julianne Esposito, Collaborative Teacher

Julianne is returning for her third year as a 4s teacher. She earned her B.A. in Family and Child Studies from Montclair State University and holds a New Jersey state teaching certification. She previously taught 4s and 5s for three years and is excited for another great year!

+ Rachel Geier, Collaborative Teacher

Rachel is thrilled to be joining the TCS community in the 3s group. She has spent the past 6 years teaching at the Early Childhood Learning Center at the JCC of Northern Virginia, a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool. She obtained NYS Initial Certification to teach Visual Arts (K-12) at Queens College. and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with minors in Cultural Anthropology and Secondary Education. She has worked as a Visual Arts instructor in different settings, including USDAN Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and in Arlington, Virginia at Bright Horizons (Crystal City.)

+ Clare Gilbert, Collaborative Teacher

Clare is returning for her second year at TCS as a 3s teacher. She previously taught the 3’s at The Mandell Preschool and has always loved working with children. She holds a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing and Literature with a minor in Psychology from Wheaton College, where she completed coursework in education and childhood development. Clare is also completing her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street.

+ Kimberly Gregory, Collaborative Teacher

Kim is returning for her third year as a 3s teacher. She earned her M.S. degree in Childhood General and Special Education at Touro College and B.S. degree in Cognitive Science and Spanish from the University of Delaware. She is looking forward to another great year at TCS!

+ Stephanie Habibullah, Collaborative Teacher

Stephanie is beginning her fourth year at TCS in the 2s classroom, having began as a student teacher. Stephanie is completing her degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Literary, Media, and Visual Arts at The City College of New York. She has over six years of experience working with children ages birth to eight years old, including young children with an extensive range of special needs.

+ Amanda Kaczynski, Collaborative Teacher

Amanda is returning to the TCS team for her second year as a 4s teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Keene State College and holds a Connecticut State teaching certificate. She has been teaching preschool for over four years and currently pursing a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education at Pace University.

+ Lika Kortava, Collaborative Teacher

Lika is returning for her third year at TCS in the 3s program. She earned her Master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education where she studied Infant and Family Development/Early Intervention and Early Childhood General and Special Education. Her thesis focused on resiliency in early childhood. She has extensive experience in Reggio-inspired early childhood classrooms as well as in early intervention programs.

+ Nadia Leonard, Collaborative Teacher

Nadia is excited to join the TCS community this year. Nadia earned her B.S. in Health Science at Mercy College before gaining more than 10 years of teaching experience in NYC. She finds children to be fascinating people capable of doing amazing things, is enthusiastic towards arts education, and naturally passionate about building the artistic sensibilities of children.

+ Paige LaZebnik, Collaborative Teacher

Paige St.Onge is starting her sixth year at TCS, having previously taught in the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s classrooms, and has 8 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.

+ Jenny Liang, Collaborative Teacher

Jenny is returning for her second year at TriBeCa Community School in the 2s program. She earned a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Disability Studies from The City College of New York.

+ Miranda Meier, Collaborative Teacher

Miranda is eager to begin first year here at TCS. She recently moved from Portland, Oregon where she was previously teaching at another Reggio Emilia inspired Preschool program. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Studies and has been working with young children for over three years.

+ Allyn Merida, Collaborative Teacher

Allyn is excited to be joining TCS and working in the 2’s classroom. Prior to working at TCS, Allyn was a lead 2s teacher at NY Preschool for 3 years and recently worked in the last year at a Montessori based school. She received her B.A in Theater from Rowan University and recently opened her own pop-up dance studio in Hoboken, NJ called Studio AM.

+ Brianna Moretti, Collaborative Teacher

Brianna Moretti is starting her third year as a collaborative teacher at TCS. She has five years of teaching experience in a variety of preschools and after school programs. 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 is returning for her third year at TCS with the 2s and had taught 3s previously. She is a graduate of NYU with a B.S. degree in Early Childhood General and Special Education. She has been working with children for over 8 years, including extensive work with young children with Autism and other special needs. She is passionate about providing personalized, engaging educational experiences for children of all abilities, learning styles, and curiosities.

+ Kathryn O'Connor, Collaborative Teacher

Kathryn is thrilled to be beginning her second year at TCS! Prior to joining, Kathryn taught at a number of wonderful, child-centered schools including; The City and Country School where she worked for nine years as a 3’s and then 4’s teacher, The Dalton School where she was a Co-Teacher in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade classrooms and most recently at two inspiring, Reggio-based programs, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Day School and the 14th Street Y. She received her Master’s Degree from Bank Street College, a Post-Bac Art Ed Certification from SVA and a BA in Fine Arts from Moore College of Art.

+ Yaritza Perez, Collaborative Teacher

Yaritza is joing the TCS team in the 2s program. This will her 9th year of teaching. Prior to coming to TCS, Yaritza worked in various school settings in 2’s classrooms. She previouslyt taught in a toddler classrooms of The International Preschools, Montclare Children’s School, Tompkins School, Bank Street Head Start. and Little Angels Head Start. She received a BA in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education.

+ Tatum Regan, Collaborative Teacher

Tatum Regan is excited to return to the TCS community for her second year. Tatum earned her B.A. in English and French at the University of Pennsylvania before gaining four years of teaching experience in NYC. She has taught a wide range of ages in a variety of settings and cannot wait to be with the 3s this year at TCS.

+ Diana Segovia, Collaborative Teacher

Diana joins the TCS team in the 2s porgram this year. Previously, she was a student teacher in our 3s program. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood/ Special Education from New York University. Prior to joining TCS, she taught 3 year olds for two years and was a research assistant at NYU.

+ Lindsey Tommasini, Collaborative Teacher

Lindsey is thrilled to be joining the TCS team. She first discovered her passion for teaching through different volunteering programs in New York City, mainly tutoring children at P.S. 192 with Reading Partners, helping patients in the PICU keep up with their schoolwork at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, teaching children on Saturdays with the Go Project, reading to children before bed with the Pajama Program, along with a number of others. Last year she was an assistant first grade teacher at The School of the Blessed Sacrament in midtown and is currently pursuing a dual masters degree at Fordham University in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, where she enjoys learning more about the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

+ Nura Yasin, Collaborative Teacher

Nura is beginning her first year at TCS in the 3s program. She earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology. She has been working with children for over five years in New York City.

+ Aaliyah Zeng, Collaborative Teacher

Aaliyah started at TCS as a student-teacher and fell in love with the Reggio Emilia Approach. She received a B.S. in Human Development with a focus on Early Childhood from UC Davis and recently earned her Master's degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education from NYU. She volunteered and worked at a diverse range of schools and welfare institute in China and the U.S. Her background and teaching experience help her to be a culturally responsive teacher.

+ Dzuli Rudaj, Floater

Dzuli has been a floating teacher at TCS since 2016. She spends time in each classroom, working with all children and teachers in our program.

+ Ashanti Gajadhar, Floater

Ashanti has been a floating teacher at TCS since 2018. She spends time in each classroom, working with all children and teachers in our program.

+ 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.

+ 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 consults 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.