2017 - 2018 Staff

Jamie Davidson is the Founding Principal at City School of the Arts. She previously served as an instructional coach at Bronx Prep Charter School, where she oversaw literacy curriculum and instruction, managed culture and discipline, and coordinated family engagement for the 5th and 6th grade teams. Under her leadership, both grade levels made substantial gains in ELA and math. She earned her BA in comparative literature from Barnard College with New York State certification in secondary ELA, and completed a master’s degree in language and literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to Harvard, Jamie was a reading teacher at Brownsville Collegiate, a middle school in the Uncommon Schools network.


Kate Quarfordt is the Founding Director of Arts Integration & Culture at City School of the Arts. She previously served as the director of the musical theater program at Bronx Prep. Charter School, where she helped young people engage with the arts as a pathway to transformational learning experiences in all disciplines. Her students have gone on to win speech championships, gold medals for acting performances, and numerous college scholarships. She earned a BS in visual art and theater from Northeastern University, and an MA in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Columbia Teacher’s College. 



Dr. Geoffrey Kiorpes is the Founding Artistic Director and Piano Teacher at City School of the Arts. He previously served as the artistic director and piano teacher at Bronx Prep. Charter School, where he managed a team of ten full-time arts educators and oversaw a budget for a program that served over 700 middle and high school students. He was also active in the school’s annual Broadway musical production, overseeing a department that included orchestra, jazz band, visual art, choir, dance, speech, and digital media. He holds a DMA in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. 



Sara Sheffer Corona is the Founding Dean of Students at City school of the Arts. She previously served as the Founding Director of Student Support at CSA. She holds a Master's Degree in Special Education, and has served in both public schools and charter schools in Las Vegas, Los Angles, Washington DC, and New York City for over ten years. She brings a passion for serving students with special needs and supporting whole child development. 




Melissa Andrews is the Director of Operations at City School of the Arts. She previously served as a project manager at Edison Schools and brings years of experience from a varied business career serving public and private sectors, as well as educational institutions.  In consultancy and project management roles, Melissa has worked for clients such as: the New York City Department of Education, Newark School District, the North Bergen School District, the Essex County Schools, College of Staten Island, the Ford Foundation, the Prudential Foundation, and the Salvation Army.

Melissa is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps; and attended New York University, Columbia University, and Union County College.

Molly O'Connell is the Director of Teaching and Learning at City School of the Arts. Before joining CSA, she wrote science curriculum for Uncommon schools in Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant and served as both a middle and high school science teacher. A member of New York City Teaching Fellows Cohort 18, she received her master's degree in science education from City College of New York, and her bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University. 

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Emily Badillo is a 6th and 7th grade humanities teacher at City School of the Arts. Prior to joining CSA, Emily taught at Uncommon Schools in Brownsville and Bed-Stuy for seven years. She also developed writing curriculum for both 4th and 5th grade Uncommon Schools across NYC. She has a master's degree in Education from Hunter College and a bachelor's degree in English from Stanford University. 










Shamie Cuthbert is the Founding ICT Instructor at City School of the Arts. She has taught creative writing to all ages for more than ten years and has facilitated educational workshops both online and in person. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood and general education from the Bank Street College of Education. 







Kristen O’Donnell is the Founding Social Worker at City School of the Arts. She graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Sociology and holds her Master of Social Work degree from City University of New York, Hunter College with a concentration in Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families.  Kristen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who, in the past, has worked as a School Social Worker for Uncommon Schools and as a Youth Development Counselor and Adolescent Case Worker for Good Shepherd Services.  




Zoë Galle is a Teaching Artist at City School of the Arts. She is a Brooklyn based Dance Artist and Multimedia Maker. She studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and earned her BA in Community Studies and BFA in Fine Art with an emphasis in printmaking from the University of California Santa Cruz. She has shown work at Dixon Place, BAX, the Martha Graham Studio, Gibney Studios, Jennifer Muller's studio, Velocity Dance Center, Motion Pacific, The 418 Project, and the Joe Goode Annex. She has performed in works by Alessio Silvestrie, Alex Ketley, Angela Mazziotta, Tristan Ching, Christian Burns and Summer Lee Rhatigan. 


Meghan Ginley is a 7th grade ICT teacher at City School of the Arts. She previously worked with middle schoolers teaching Social Studies and serving as the director of Theater Club and Student Council at Good Shepherd School. She also worked to implement a technology-based blended-learning program called Classroom, Inc. into the curriculum and served on Classroom, Inc.’s advisory board. Meghan has organized and taught creative theater arts classes in her neighborhood since moving to NYC. Meghan also works as an actor professionally in the city, as she holds a BFA in Theater Arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, her hometown. 


Lehna Huie is a Teaching Artist and City School of the Arts. She is a multi-disciplinary fine artist, arts educator, curator, and activist exercising a belief in the power of multi-vocal art. Huie is deeply committed to the fusion of arts and social change as a path to liberation. Her work embodies cultural critique, celebration, and transformation. Huie’s studio practice makes use of various materials on canvas, paper, and wooden surfaces. Often layered with diverse materials, such as paint, plaster, sawdust, beads, and shells, her work brings forth a symphony of moods. Grounded by the global community, New York City life, and the essence of her familial homeland in Jamaica, Huie is ever inspired by the African Diaspora. 




Nasrin Jafari is the Special Assistant to the Head of School at City School of the Arts. She works alongside the Head of School to shape CSA's academic program and community relationships. In addition to her work at CSA, Nasrin is a conference organizer and writer who focuses on k-12 education and education policy on her website, nasrinjafari.com. Previously, she served as the President of TEDxNYU and and holds a BA in Politics and Education from New York University.





Willow Joffee is the Founding Director of School Partnerships & High School Placement at City School of the Arts. In addition to serving as the founding parent coordinator at CSA, she most recently managed a youth mentorship program with young creatives at Urban Arts Partnership. Throughout the past years Willow has worked worked with incarcerated young women at Riker’s Island, teenagers in foster care, and high school students and their parents in a variety of settings. She earned her MSW from Hunter College. 









Michael A. Jones is a Theater Ensemble Teaching Artist at City School of the Arts. In addition to teaching, Michael is an actor/writer/producer of theater and film. He also volunteers for many organizations that support marginalized and/or under represented groups.









Alissa Koerner is a 7th-grade Humanities teacher at City School of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse background in education and performing arts, Alissa spent the past five years at Williamsburg Charter High School, teaching English, Beginning and Intermediate Theatre, Advanced Musical Theatre, and Playwriting and Literacy. She received her EdM with a focus on English and Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt and graduated from The University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in Theatre. Alissa is currently pursuing her masters in English from the Bread Loaf School for English and is also a Fellow of the Academy of Teachers in New York. 






Ruaridh Pattison is a Teaching Artist at City School of the Arts. He is a jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, who performs and teaches the world over. An enthusiastic educator, Ruaridh counts community engagement as a vital part of the life of an artist in the 21st century. As a specialist in improvisation, he encourages freedom of expression and creativity in today’s young people. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School and London’s Guildhall School, a former member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the 2011 winner of the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition. 






Caeli Smith is a String Ensemble Teaching Artist at City School of the Arts. She is a concert violinist and violist strongly dedicated to community engagement and education. Caeli is a New York Philharmonic Teaching Artist, and is the Associate Director of Frisson, a nine-piece chamber ensemble based in New York City.  As a journalist, Caeli’s print articles have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as Strings and Teen Strings magazines. Caeli holds both a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.







Christina Taylor is a Founding 6th grade East and West Humanities Teacher at City School of the Arts. She previously served as a founding teacher at Bronx Park Middle School, where she built a social studies curriculum that fused critical thinking and student-led investigations. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago, as well as an MA in education from the City University of New York. 








Andréa Wood is a choir teacher at City School of the Arts.  She has spent the past decade working and touring as a performer and a music educator, having released two studio albums.  In 2013, she served as the Chair of the Vocal Department at the True School of Music in Mumbia, India.  She has taught early childhood music at Lincoln Center and the Diller-Quaile School of Music.  She received her EdM in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University with New York State teaching certification, her MM in Jazz Vocal Performance from The Manhattan School of Music, and her BM from Michigan State University.



Jarod Wunneburger is the 7th grade math instructor at City School of the Arts. He previously served as the program director of the South Bronx Early College Academy, where he supported efforts to create school culture and discipline systems, spearheaded yearbook, and trained new staff. He also taught math and science at Booker T. Washington Middle School, where he piloted a 1:1 program in the special education department. He earned a BS in sociology from the University of Southern California, and an MA in special education from St. John's University. 






Lawrence Wong is the 6th grade math teacher at City School of the Arts. Before moving to New York, Lawrence was a middle school teacher for the Oakland Unified School District, where he taught twenty-four wonderful children in a self-contained, looping classroom for three years. Prior to teaching, he received his B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and dabbled in the finance industry. More recently, he completed his Masters in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. His current interests include charter schools, social emotional learning, and inexpensive meals. He believes that a love of learning is the key to education and that you can never have too many socks.



Jill Vachhani is the 6th Grade Science Teacher at City School of the Arts. Prior to working here she taught Science to middle and elementary school students and developed curriculum and assessments.  At CSA, Jill plans the 6th grade Science curriculum and focuses on project-based learning with a focus on bringing in the creative arts to help students express their learning. Jill graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and explored there love of teaching through years of working with students of all ages. She taught at high school SAT/AP test preparation as well as at elementary and middle school after school programs working with students with learning disabilities. Jill went on to earn her Masters in Elementary Education and Special Education from Touro College.