The fall is always an exciting time at St. Luke's School. As we prepare for our students to arrive for orientation, we look forward to an exciting year of learning. Our newest professional staff members will certainly make their mark at St. Luke's School this year.
Rajit Malhotra joined us as our CFO/COO on July 1. Rajit earned his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and a master's of education in Technology, Innovation, and Education at Harvard. He most recently served as the Head of Acquisition Strategy for the International Society for Technology in Education, a nonprofit providing support to over 100,000 educators. Prior to that, he was the Director of Strategy, Finance and Operations at the Bank Street School for Children, where he led them during building renovations and the expansion of their student body. He has also worked for the Parthenon Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Sophia Schwatka has joined us as our fourth learning specialist. With an undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and a master's in Childhood General and Special Education from Bank Street, Sophia has been a primary grades teacher at The Windward School for the past five years, and she also was appointed the staff developer for Windward's assistant teacher program. We look forward to the expertise she will bring to our children and the support she will offer our teachers.
Matt Critchlow has joined us as an Associate Teacher in Grade 1, working with Kristina Bassiacos. Matt spent the last three years teaching Grade 1 at Friends Seminary and is finishing his master's in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street this year. Matt spent his first four years out of college working in the sports industry, but realized teaching was his calling after coaching soccer part-time and experiencing the fulfillment of working with children.
Katie Muniz has joined David Recht as the associate teacher in Grade 2. Katie has two years of prior experience teaching preschool at Saint Gabriel School in the Bronx. She has also been a lead counselor for fourth grade girls at Mount Tom Day Camp for the past four summers. Katie is very excited to be teaching a new grade and join the St. Luke’s community. Katie attended SUNY Oneonta and received a master's from Bank Street College of Education.
Phillip Perez has joined our Grade 3 team as an associate teacher and will be working with Jack Woodhull in 3W. With almost ten years of experience working with children of all ages in various settings, Phillip has most recently worked as a teaching assistant in Grade 1 at St. Luke’s and also in our after school program. Phillip attends the City College of New York.
Isabel Rubin has joined Rachel Perry as co-lead and family-leave replacement teacher in Grade 3, as Rachel and her husband are expecting their first child at the end of October. Isabel, who has been a lead teacher in preschool, a third and fourth grade associate teacher at Brooklyn Friends, and a third grade co-lead teacher at Packer Collegiate, as the co-lead and family-leave replacement. Isabel attended Skidmore College and received a master's from Bank Street College of Education.
Daniel Hyatt has joined us as our Grade 5 and 6 math teacher. Daniel has more than ten years of teaching experience from first through eighth grades. He is passionate about teaching all students and has intentionally sought experiences in public charter and independent schools as well as schools focusing on children with learning differences. Most recently, he has been a middle school math and science teacher at Churchill and Gateway Schools. Daniel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and holds two master's degrees, one in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum from Drexel University, and one in School Building Leadership from NYU.
Synthia Olveda-Rodriguez has joined St. Luke's as a teacher of Spanish. She has nineteen years of experience teaching language and has worked at The Spence School, Instituto Cervantes, and Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, where she served as the Academic Coordinator. She graduated from UANL (The Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico).
Liana Rosabal-Bushnell has joined us as a third full-time lead science teacher who will expand our science offerings for our younger children. Liana has taught primary science at The Chapin School and Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. She has her undergraduate degree from The New School and her master's from Bank Street College of Education. She is particularly excited about bringing hands-on science opportunities to our early childhood and primary students.
Ellen McCabe PhD, PNP-BC, RN, joined us as a school nurse. Ellen received her Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, and Bachelor in Nursing degrees from The University of Pennsylvania. She is also an assistant professor at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing at Hunter College. Ellen has practiced in primary care, school health, and public health settings for many years. Her research focuses on school health services, chronic illness management for children, social determinants of health, and health policy.
A cause-driven professional and equity practitioner, Chiarna Morton will join us as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Integrator. She will work with the professional staff in enhancing day-to-day implementation of DEI-related perspectives, practices, and programs. Chiarna has taught in and worked with K-12, co-ed and single-gender independent schools in New York City for over a decade. She has experience designing, leading, and facilitating diversity initiatives and equity programs including student and adult affinity groups, K-12 anti-bias curriculum design, and professional development. Chiarna is a trained National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project Facilitator. She has presented at professional conferences such as the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Diversity Conference and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference. Chiarna holds a master’s degree in education from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Old Dominion University.
Rebecca Swanberg, our beloved former After School Music Program Director and member of the Communications team, returned to St. Luke's full-time this summer as our Communications Manager after completing her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. We appreciate all of her hard work in envisioning our beautiful new website, and we know that our students will look forward to having her presence back in our community on a day-to-day basis.
Colleen Vasey joined us as the High School Placement and Admissions Associate, working with Lauren Mazzari on our students' transitions into high school and with Susan Harriot on enrollment. Colleen has over twenty years of experience in education, beginning as a teacher and then working in a variety of admissions and placement positions, most recently at the Academy of St. Joseph and Grace Church School. She has an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Tennessee. Her daughter, Annie, graduated from St. Luke's School in 2019.
We eagerly await the opportunity to formally welcome these new members of our professional staff to St. Luke's School. It will be good to be together again, undoubtedly different, but equally familiar, and comforting, and strong.