As a New York State Certified Teacher for Birth through Second Grade, Mrs. DeGesero has most recently served as Education Director at the Shirley Chisholm Early Childhood Center Brooklyn, NY, innovating programs to ensure compliance with Early Learn, Head Start, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Education and Department of Health standards.
As Kindergarten teacher, and later the Faculty Leader for 4s and Kindergartens, at the Blue School in Manhattan, Mrs. DeGesero received acclaim for incorporating such innovations as curriculum created around sociologically and environmentally critical issues as Nature in the Urban Environment. It was at Blue School that she developed a deep commitment to project-based learning, emergent curriculum, and the Reggio-Emilia approach to education. During her 6 years at Blue School she developed grade level projects, held teacher leadership roles, ran workshops, presented at conferences, and was an active spokesperson for the school. Molly was chosen to present the school’s philosophy and curriculum with founders to The New York Times, Huffington Post and CNN.
Mrs. DeGesero has conducted presentations for educators and parents at the Teaching Innovations Conference on the use of digital portfolios using Google Sites in a Kindergarten Classroom, the process of project-based learning in a Kindergarten Classroom as well as the use of documentation and reflection with children to create curriculum. Molly has authored a staff-development handbook, Sensory Responsive Classroom (Kindergarten – 2nd Grade), on creating a classroom that supports the sensory development of all students and teaches children about their sensory needs.
Mrs. DeGesero graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, with degrees in education and developmental psychology, and arts in dance. She has her Master of Science in Education from Bank Street College of Education.
Molly is a proud life-long resident of New York City raised in a family of educators, who began her career as a modern dancer and currently lives in Harlem with her husband, Randy, and their dog Uno.
Mikuko Shimura is a native New Yorker with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Asian Studies from SUNY New Paltz. Her experience working with children includes being a junior and head counselor at Tokyo Frost Valley YMCA, where she was also a camper growing up. Mikuko enjoys film photography and being the darkroom, as well as finding new restaurants to try in the city.
Paul Soobryan has over 15 years of experience managing the finances, accounting, audit, human resources, and administrative functions of not-for-profit organizations in New York City. The work of these organizations focused on workforce development, housing, education, harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, advocacy, and the LGBTQ community. Paul graduated from CUNY Lehman College with a Bachelor of Science in accounting and is a NYS licensed CPA.
Marcella McGuire is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland. She has enjoyed raising her two children, now teenagers, in New York City and participating in all their activities. Marcella has volunteered extensively in the art rooms and libraries of her children’s schools. She is extremely passionate about art education and children’s literature. Marcella worked as a substitute teacher at PAMDS and is excited for her fifth year in her own classroom.
Sophie Laird is a native New Yorker whose first word as a child was, “taxi.” After graduating from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and art history, Sophie spent some time in Orlando working in the entertainment department at Walt Disney World. Having experienced the joys of creating magical moments for children and families, she returned to New York City and completed a Master of Arts in early childhood education from Teachers College, hoping to provide more long-lasting magic and joy for children within a classroom setting. Ironically, she has found that her students often end up generating more magic and joy for her.
Aditi Gang is excited to be teaching the 3s/4s this year at PAMDS and looking forward to being a member of this wonderful community. She has been teaching children in New York for five years and is ready to tackle her sixth year teaching with the 3s/4s! She graduated from Bank Street College of Education with a Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood General Education and Early Childhood Special Education. She also has a background in art, psychology, and dance. Growing up in the melting-pot of Singapore and coming from an Indian family, she loves exploring the richness of different cultures with students and watching them learn more about each other, their community, and the world around them. She is passionate about fostering creativity in children through work with open-ended materials as well as advocating for social justice within the classroom. Aditi believes children and educators both can learn from each other and is delighted to have the opportunity to learn from the children at PAMDS and discover who they are!
Claire Fleitz is a theatre collaborator and educator who has done extensive work using the devised theatre method to create new and unique projects. After experiencing immersive theatre for adolescents and adults, Claire wanted to find a way to bring interactive theatre to younger audiences through education. Claire’s experience has led her to apply theater primarily in the classroom through collaborative theatre with elementary aged students. She loves to facilitate her students through improvisation activities in order to build original plays and musicals. She is excited to use these experiences and tools to enhance the PAMDS classroom through creative play and world building. Claire is originally from Florida, but has felt like a New Yorker since the moment she moved here. She loves walking down the Hudson River and snuggling her cat, Hazelnut, while enjoying the joyous sounds of the Washington Heights streets.
DAY SCHOOL COMMITTEE