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22 Ericsson Place
New York, NY, 10013
United States

(212) 226-9070


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.

+ 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.

+ Meg Boyle

Collaborative Teacher
Meg 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. She received her BFA at Tisch School of the Arts in Theater with Honors from New York University and is currently completing her MST in Early Childhood/Childhood K-6 Education at Fordham University. Meg has additionally had the opportunity to study Reggio Emilia approach firsthand in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

+ Rachel Cato

Collaborative Teacher
Rachel Cato is starting her second year at TCS. She began teaching in the Boston Public School district as an elementary paraprofessional. She has a BS from Arizona State University and has been teaching for the last four years.

+ Melissa Coan

Collaborative Teacher
Melissa Coan is excited to enjoy her first year at TCS. She born and raised in Manhattan. She received her B.A. in Communications and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Buffalo, and her Masters in Childhood Education from the University of Southern California. She was previously the Education Director and School Art Teacher of a Montessori school. She is a member of the Con Artist Collective and likes to partake in art residency programs around the world.

+ Tiffany Davis

Collaborative Teacher
Tiffany Davis is beginning her second year at Tribeca Community School in the 4's class. She has over 5 years of classroom experience teaching in New York City preschools. Tiffany has a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from the City College of New York.

+ Laurie Frantjeskos

Collaborative Teacher
Laurie Frantjeskos has been instructing children and adults for 15 years. She has a BFA in Dance and Art History from the University of Buffalo. Early in her career, Laurie worked with children (ages 0-3) and their families as a Service Coordinator through the NYS DOH/ Erie County Early Intervention Program and People Inc. She has since taught at several NYC Early Education facilities embracing a wide range of educational approaches, including the Reggio Emilia philosophy. This is Laurie’s eighth year teaching at Tribeca Community School. As a member of NAEYC, Laurie has had the opportunity to attend the organization’s annual national conferences. She presented her own research and documentation at the 2010 NAEYC annual conference in Anaheim, California and 2012 conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Laurie’s documentation was also presented at TCS’s own regional conference in May, 2012 and May, 2016. This is Laurie's eighth year teaching at Tribeca Community School and she is always excited to share her passion and experience in music, voice and dance around the classroom.

+ Naila Hanak

Collaborative Teacher
Naila Hanak is returning to TCS this year, having recently completed Hunter College's M.S.Ed program, receiving dual certification in early childhood general and special education. She has worked at a variety of schools, following various curricula and philosophies and looks forward to returning to her teaching roots in the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

+ Justin Jackson

Collaborative Teacher
Justin Jackson begins his first 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.

+ Monica Lakhaney

Collaborative Teacher
Monica Lakhaney is beginning her first year at TCS in the 2's class. She has a B.S. from Syracuse University and recently received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education/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 first year at TCS in the 3's classroom. She has two years of teaching experience in New York City. Margo earned her Masters in Art & Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia. Before that, she studied English and Art at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

+ Lopa Madhani

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 first year at TCS, and she is looking forward to building relationships and bringing her passion for learning and teaching into this new and beautiful space.

+ Kaitlin McNee

Collaborative Teacher
This is Kaitlin’s second year at TCS. 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 s Beginnings Nursery and Explore + Discover. Kaitlin has co-taught in 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s classrooms and is thrilled to be with the 2s this school year.

+ Rose Mendoza

Collaborative Teacher
Rose began at TCS in December 2015 as a substitute teacher and then as a floating teacher. This year, Rose will be an assistant teacher in one of our 2s classrooms. Since moving to New York from her hometown of Chicago, she has worked with many New York families and children as a sitter and tutor for nearly four years. She have worked extensively with children with cognitive disabilities as well as social and emotional development in the school system through multiple non-profit agencies.

+ Chelsea Parrott

Collaborative Teacher
Chelsea Parrott has received her MA in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, as well as her BA in Communications and Art History from New York University. She is beginning her second year at TCS in the 3’s classroom. Previously, Chelsea taught in the 2s at TCS, as well as at P.S. 3 in the West Village.

+ Autumn Potter

Collaborative Teacher
This is Autumn Potter’s first year at TCS. She has been teaching in NYC for five years. She began her teaching career with the International Rescue Committee, teaching art at the Refugee Youth Summer Camp and started her own after school program for Tibetan Refugee students. Most recently, she taught in a pre-k classroom at Central Synagogue Nursery School, where she began her study of the Reggio Emilia approach. She received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts with honors in theater.

+ Paige St. Onge

Collaborative Teacher
Paige St.Onge is starting her third year at TCS. She has four years of experience teaching and tutoring in New York City. Paige received a BS in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and history and an MA in Literacy Education from New York University.

+ Stevie Strauss

Collaborative Teacher
Stevie has been working at TCS since 2013 and teaching in the 4's class this year. Stevie has taught in the 2s, 3s, and 4s classrooms. 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.

+ Gabriel Acosta-Cohen

Floating Teacher
Gabriel (Gabi) Acosta-Cohen is entering his third year at TriBeCa Community School, where he will be floating in the Hudson location. Gabi was born and raised in Manhattan and earned his B.A. in Sociology at Hobart College. He has been a pre-k teacher in New York City for the last 6 years and has worked with children and families in TriBeCa for the past 16 years.

+ Kara Canal

Kara Canal has been teaching art to children all over New York for the past ten years and is delighted to start her first year with TCS. She previously was Atelierista for a Reggio Emilia-inspired school in Williamsburg, and most recently led her own pop-up art studio for two- to four-year-olds.

+ Rachel Costello

Music 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!

+ Isaac Gillespie

Music Specialist
Isaac Gillespie has been an early childhood educator since 2011. As a teaching artist at the Children's Museum of the Arts, a camp counselor for Hispanic Family Services Arts & Literacy Camp and as a Yo Re Mi teacher he has enjoyed spreading the joy of music, art and movement. Isaac is an independent touring musician and film artist. His favorite color is green.

+ 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.

Brittney Moers, Administrative Assistant