Alexandra WalkerCollege Advisor
Aspen HarkeyEnglish 1 Teacher
Courtney EppsMathematics Teacher
Timothy ArnoldTechnology Coordinator
Tula Richards-GiftUnderclassmen Dean
Vanessa Cruz9th and 12th Grade English Teacher
Charae BaulkmanFutures Teachers
Wallace GaffneyDean of Culture
Karen MuradHistory Teacher
Sueda TonyaliGrade Level Liaison
Ted CherneyMusic Teacher
Alana AllenScience Teacher
Tonya BewleyOperations Manager
Christopher CanadyGrade Level Liaison
Morgan ClarkSchool Social Worker
Parinaz ColeDevelopment Officer
Juan CorreaHealth and Physical Education Teacher: Men of Fairfield council Coach
Tahirah CrawfordDirector of College Placement
Dominique DixonHealth and Physical Education Teacher - Chair of the Phys. Ed. Dept.
Erika Doehler10th Grade Health and Physical Education Teacher
Kevin Farrell11th Grade Team Leader / Art Dept Chair / Visual Art I, II, and III Teacher
Andrew Hollander11th Grade Health and Physical Education
Jamila JacksonHistory Teacher
Taylor JonesMathematics Teacher
Emily KaplowitzAlumni Coordinator
Samantha LaycockSpecial Projects Coordinator
Ana LopezOffice Manager
Annell WaltenbergSpanish Teacher
Jennifer Moore9th Grade Math Teacher
Tasina MuttakimGrade Level Liaison
Nathan PattonDirector of Curriculum and Instruction
Jordan PetersMusic Teacher
Amy Pozmantier EberlyCommunity Program Coordinator
Jason RobertsArt II Teacher
Keith RobinsonAssistant School Leader
Jess RooneyFounder, School Leader
Bobby RubinEnglish 1 Teacher
Alison Laycock-RuizDean of Student Intervention
Samuel SantiagoClassroom and Support Aid
Nicole SousaMathematics Teacher
Denise TorresSchool Psychologist
Brent Weber9th Grade English Teacher

Staff Profile

Alexandra Walker

College Advisor

Alexandra Walker joins People’s Prep as one of the newest College Advisors in the Office of College Placement. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education/Speech Pathology and more recently from St. John’s University with a master's in School Counseling. Before going back for her master’s, Alex taught 5th grade math and science as an in-class support teacher at Hillside Avenue School in Montclair, NJ. During graduate school and while living in Queens, New York, she continued to educate and counsel students by working with programs like Avid and Gear Up to help students with college readiness and other post-secondary opportunities. Ms. Walker believes that education is one of the greatest tools that someone can receive and to come back and give those tools to those in her community means everything to her.

Staff Profile

Aspen Harkey

English 1 Teacher

Aspen Harkey is a new addition to People's Prep and currently teaches English 1. Originally from Southern California and a first generation college student, Aspen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis in English and Psychology with a minor in Education. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America and moved across the country to join the Wolfpack. When she's not teaching, she spends her time reading, watching movies, and hanging out with her sweet rescue dog (Moxie) and cat (Morticia).

Staff Profile

Courtney Epps

Mathematics Teacher

Courtney Epps joined the People's Prep team at the start of the 2016-2017 school year as a mathematics teacher. Courtney earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Montclair State University and has been working in education for 10 years. Courtney is also a mathematics professor at the local colleges in the area. Courtney has worked as a home instructor for Montclair Public Schools, GED Instructor for Middlesex County College, and a Resource Specialist (Academic Advisor) for Essex County College. Courtney brings her vast knowledge of college placement and mathematics to the team. In Courtney's spare time she loves to go to the shore, travel, deejay, and play the piano and drums.

Staff Profile

Timothy Arnold

Technology Coordinator

Timothy Arnold joined the People's Prep team at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. Tim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Anthropology from Ball State University and holds a graduate certificate in Human Computer Interaction from Purdue University. Tim taught high school social studies for eight years before pursuing opportunities in the corporate world. Tim returns to the educational environment of People's Prep as technology coordinator.

Staff Profile

Tula Richards-Gift

Underclassmen Dean

Tula Richards-Gift is the first ever underclassmen dean at People's Prep Charter High School. Prior to joining the Wolfpack, she worked as an English, reading, and speech and presentation teacher at Catherine McAuley H.S. and Achievement First University Prep in Brooklyn, New York and at Marion P. Thomas Charter High School in Newark, New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education at St. Francis College, a Master of Science degree in Literacy at Brooklyn College, and a Master of Science degree in School Building Leadership at St. John's University. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family.

Staff Profile

Vanessa Cruz

9th and 12th Grade English Teacher

Vanessa Cruz joins People's Prep this year as a 9th and 12th grade English teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Kean University and is the first person in her family to graduate from college. Prior to joining People's Prep, Vanessa taught in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey at Toussaint L'ouverture-Marquis de Lafayette. Vanessa hopes to inspire her students to overcome social challenges and graduate from the college of their choice by sharing her story with them and opening their minds to believe that success is possible through hard work and perseverance.

Staff Profile

Charae Baulkman

Futures Teachers

Charae Baulkman joins People's Prep this year as the futures teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Performance from Howard University. Charae attended Howard University on a full athletic scholarship as a member of the Lady Bison Women's Basketball Team. Prior to joining People's Prep, Charae taught in Washington D.C. for three years at Friendship Collegiate Academy as the lead health and physical education teacher. She is committed to make sure every student has a goal in life and that they have the tools to be successful. As a native of Newark, New Jersey she is delighted to come home and give back to her community.

Staff Profile

Wallace Gaffney

Dean of Culture

Wallace H. Gaffney III joins People's Prep this year as the Dean of Culture. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Virginia Union University. Wallace also holds a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. Wallace has been working with adolescents from various backgrounds for over ten years; he has served teens who were homeless, drug addicted, truant, and those with mental illness. Wallace also serves as the pastor of The Saint Paul Baptist Church in Passaic, NJ. Wallace was most recently employed as the climate and culture specialist at Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ. Wallace has dedicated his life to serving urban communities.

Staff Profile

Karen Murad

History Teacher

Karen Murad grew up Fanwood, New Jersey. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree in History from the University of Maryland in 2012 (go Terps!), and completed her Master of Arts degree in Teaching at Montclair State University in January 2016. She worked in many fields before joining People's Prep, including retail, hospitality, and food service and was most recently employed at a middle school in Montclair as a student teacher and aide. She currently teaches 12th grade US History II and one section of World History I and is the council coach to the Women of UMD. In her free time she enjoys photography, hiking, baking, writing, and reading.

Staff Profile

Sueda Tonyali

Grade Level Liaison

Sueda Tonyali received her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the People's Prep team, she had worked at a satellite company. She is excited to be at People's Prep and help students from Newark.

Staff Profile

Ted Cherney

Music Teacher

Ted Cherney is in his first year at People's Prep. In spring 2016, he graduted from the University of Delaware with a degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Chorus/General Music. While there, he was in the award-winning a cappella group, Vocal Point. He also took part in the many choirs and jazz ensembles that Delaware offers. Outside of school, he loves playing piano, singing, and spending time with friends and family. Ted is excited to start his journey here at PPCS.

Staff Profile

Alana Allen

Science Teacher

Staff Profile

Tonya Bewley

Operations Manager

Tonya Bewley has served as Operations Manager at People's Prep since 2012. Ms. Bewley previously worked as Operations and Resources Manager for Wynona's House Child Advocacy Center, a Newark-based nonprofit. Ms. Bewley was educated in the East Orange Public School District, and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pine Manor College.

Staff Profile

Christopher Canady

Grade Level Liaison

Before coming to Peoples's Prep as a grade level liaison, Christopher Canady was a case manager at the Mental Health Association of Essex County. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Becker College.

Staff Profile

Morgan Clark

School Social Worker

Morgan Clark is in her first year at People's Prep as a School Social Worker. She received her Bachelor's of Arts in psychology and communications from the University of Connecticut in 2013. She then completed her Master's of social work degree from Rutgers University. Morgan remains a part-time research assistant for one of the international research centers at Rutgers. As a research assistant, she also participated in research projects in South America and Asia. Prior to coming to People's Prep, Morgan completed her clinical practicum at another New Jersey high school and at an outpatient counseling center.

Staff Profile

Parinaz Cole

Development Officer

Parinaz comes to People’s Prep from NJ SEEDS, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing greater access to educational opportunities for high-achieving students from low-income families. Prior to that, Parinaz was a member of the fundraising and development team at the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, an organization whose mission is to transform the lives of orphaned children. Prior to entering the world of nonprofits, Parinaz worked at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor, Kodak as a major accounts manager, and IMPAC Europe as a management consultant. Parinaz completed her middle and high school education in the United Kingdom. She has a B.A. from Kent University at Canterbury in economics and development studies, and a Diploma in French language and civilization from The Sorbonne.

Staff Profile

Juan Correa

Health and Physical Education Teacher: Men of Fairfield council Coach

Juan Correa graduated from Montclair State University and joins PPCS as a first-year health & PE teacher. Juan holds a B.A. in science with a concentration in physical education and health. He played soccer for MSU and is a proud 2014 New Jersey Athletic Conference champion. Currently, Juan plays for an amateur, semi-professional team in Ridgefield, NJ and was recently named Head Coach for the Boys' Varsity Basketball team here at People's Prep. His philosophy is to teach students how to develop healthy and active lifestyles through physical education, to in turn apply those concepts to achieve longer-lasting health benefits. Juan believes that students can apply themselves on and off the playing grounds, by developing social skills, discipline, and a work ethic that will have a positive impact on their personal lives later on.

Staff Profile

Tahirah Crawford

Director of College Placement

Tahirah Jordan Crawford joins People's Prep as the Director of the Office of College Placement. Having been an Administrator in the Higher Education sector for several years, she brings a wealth of knowledge in the area of college readiness to our students and families.

Staff Profile

Dominique Dixon

Health and Physical Education Teacher - Chair of the Phys. Ed. Dept.

Dominique Dixon is the founding Health and Physical Education teacher at People's Prep and has been here since 2011. In addition to teaching Ninth Grade Health and Physical Education, he is the Chair of the Physical Education Department. He earned his B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Montclair State Univiersity. Mr. Dixon has a strong athletic background including All-American honors at the Division III level, and coaching experience for high school football. He continues to work with athletes throughout all four seasons of the year.

Staff Profile

Erika Doehler

10th Grade Health and Physical Education Teacher

Erika Doehler is the tenth grade health and physical education teacher. She earned her B.S. at The College of New Jersey and has her Master's certification in Strength and Conditioning. In 2013, Erika was a presenter at the NJAHPERD (New Jersey Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance) Convention. She has been an athlete all her life, which she believes helps her to connect with students and make learning fun.

Staff Profile

Kevin Farrell

11th Grade Team Leader / Art Dept Chair / Visual Art I, II, and III Teacher

Kevin R. Farrell, Jr. teaches Visual Art I, II, and III, is the Chair of the Art Department, and serves as the Eleventh Grade Team Leader. Mr. Farrell spent the past two summers as part of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education, where he focused on teacher leadership and instructional mastery. He is also an active painter, poet, and arts advocate. Mr. Farrell holds a B.A. in Art History and an M.A.T. in Art Education from the School of Visual Arts. Mr. Farrell believes that art can be taught--raw talent can be refined, imagination can be nurtured, and creativity can be guided.

Staff Profile

Andrew Hollander

11th Grade Health and Physical Education

Andrew Hollander, the Eleventh grade Health and Physical Education Teacher, received his B.A. in Health and Physical Education from Kean University. Mr. Hollander is an avid fan of the New York Yankees and New York Rangers. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and riding his mountain bike. Mr. Hollander is also well known amongst his friends and family for making an amazing guacamole!

Staff Profile

Jamila Jackson

History Teacher

Jamila Jackson is happy to continue in her role as a Classroom and Support Aide into the 2014-2015 school year. Prior to joining People's Prep, Ms. Jackson devoted her energies to working for education non-profit organizations such as Citizen Schools and Uncommon Schools. She is a graduate of Rutgers University–New Brunswick, where she majored in History and Communication. Ms. Jackson continues to look for opportunities to impact urban education, and her future goals include becoming a secondary school Social Studies teacher.

Staff Profile

Taylor Jones

Mathematics Teacher

Taylor Jones is a born, bred and raised Strong Islander (from Long Island, NY). A first generation college graduate, explorer, educator, and foodie, she attended Manhattan College & St. Joseph's College to obtain a B.A. in mathematics. Taylor interned at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, FL, for 8 months. Outside the classroom you can find her at a cooking class at Pirch, reading comic books, walking around Jersey City or Europe, or on a road trip. Taylor is a firm believer that an education is essential to opening doors for a better future. Her motto that has been influenced by her mother and now to her students is, “If it is to be, it is up to me!”

Staff Profile

Emily Kaplowitz

Alumni Coordinator

Emily Kaplowitz is thrilled to join People's Prep as the alumni coordinator for the OCP. Emily holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Maryland, an M.S. in counseling from Barry University, and most recently, a M.B.A./M.A. in educational leadership from Mills College. During her studies at Mills, Emily held a fellowship with Education Pioneers at KIPP NJ. With over ten years of experience in education, Emily is excited to hold a position where she can help students get to and through college.

Staff Profile

Samantha Laycock

Special Projects Coordinator

Samantha Laycock is excited to join the team at People's Prep as the special projects coordinator. She earned a B.A. in anthropology and Italian from the University of Notre Dame and has a professional background in sales and marketing. Currently, Ms. Laycock focuses on student enrollment and marketing of the school among other projects. She is committed to introducing People's Prep's mission to the Newark community and welcoming all students to the Wolfpack.

Staff Profile

Ana Lopez

Office Manager

Ana Lopez has been with People's Prep since August 2013 and serves as the Office Manager. Before joining the team, Ms. Lopez worked at a Rehabilitation Center for nine years. Making a career change proved to be a tough decision but also one of the most rewarding choices Ms. Lopez has ever made.

Staff Profile

Annell Waltenberg

Spanish Teacher

Annell Waltenberg is a Spanish I teacher and a grade team leader at People's Prep Charter School. Annell studied English at Thomas Edison State College. Before joining People's Prep in 2013, Annell worked for Citizen Schools for four years.

Staff Profile

Jennifer Moore

9th Grade Math Teacher

Jennifer Moore is a Teaching Assistant to the Math department at People's Prep. She has worked with students in Public, Private, and Charter school settings. Her experience with students range from Abbott PreSchoolers through Middle School students. Ms. Moore has a solid background in a supportive role and looks forward to helping students fulfill Peoples Prep's Mission—to graduate from college and to become involved, informed, and resilient citizens.

Staff Profile

Tasina Muttakim

Grade Level Liaison

Tasina Muttakim holds a Bachelor's of Arts in political science, with a double minor in pre-law and Latin-American/Latino studies from Montclair State University. Prior to her employment as a grade level liaison at People’s Prep, she served as an AmeriCorps member in Paterson. Tasina is dedicated to educational excellence and improving the condition of social issues in urban environments. Ultimately,Tasina hopes to create her own non-profit organization to educate immigrant families and youth about the importance of higher education.

Staff Profile

Nathan Patton

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

In addition to serving as Dean of Instruction, Nathan Patton teaches Ninth Grade English at People's Prep. Mr. Patton has taught English at the Isaac Young Middle School in New Rochelle, NY; the TEAM Academy Charter School in Newark; and I.S. 195 Roberto Clemente Middle School in Harlem. Mr. Patton holds a B.A. in English from Furman University and an M.S. in Teaching from Pace University. As a leader and teacher, he focuses on providing students with opportunities for improvement, iteration, and creative problem solving. He maintains high standards of success for both himself and his students to ensure that students' skills improve each year.

Staff Profile

Jordan Peters

Music Teacher

Jordan Peters is entering his first year at People's Prep as the drumline, chorus, and jazz ensemble teacher. Prior to working at PPCS, Jordan studied music education at the University of Delaware, where he earned his Bachelor's of Music (B.M.). Jordan student-taught at Elkton Middle School in Elkton, MD and North East High School in North East, MD. Within his four years in the department of music at UD, he was in the University of Delaware Wind Ensemble, the University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hen Marching Band (UDMB), jazz ensembles, jazz chamber groups, as well as his band "Tree". During his time at the University of Delaware, he played with jazz stars such as Graham Breedlove, Larry McKenna, Dave Schiff, Todd Groves, Matt Harris, and Buster Williams. Jordan’s main instrument is the saxophone, from sopranino sax through baritone sax. Jordan wishes to get his master's degree in both music education and education administration.

Staff Profile

Amy Pozmantier Eberly

Community Program Coordinator

Amy Pozmantier came to People's Prep in 2013 from Grover Cleveland Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia, where she was a Sixth grade reading teacher. In her first year at People's Prep, Ms. Pozmantier placed thirty students in internships across the city of Newark. She continues to build lasting relationships with organizations and companies in Newark, with the goal of placing more students in internships and community service work. Ms. Pozmantier holds a B.A. in Individual Studies from New York University and a M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Staff Profile

Jason Roberts

Art II Teacher

Jason Roberts, the art II teacher, earned his B.F.A. in sequential art with a minor in art history at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He worked on his Master's at the Maine College of Art. After working in the SoHo and Chelsea gallery scenes, Mr. Roberts earned his teaching degree at Montclair State University. Before coming to People's Prep in 2014, Mr. Roberts worked for four years at the Newark Educators' Community Charter School.

Staff Profile

Keith Robinson

Assistant School Leader

In addition to serving as Dean of Culture, Keith Robinson teaches Ninth Grade Mathematics at People's Prep. Mr. Robinson has taught World History at Newark's Rise Academy Charter School, and Mathematics at I.S. 195 Roberto Clemente Middle School in Harlem. In addition, he has worked extensively to develop after-school programs in Harlem. Mr. Robinson holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Florida, as well as an M.S. in Teaching (Secondary Math) from Pace University. Mr. Robinson is committed to supporting students and their families in the hard work necessary to be successful in applying to and attending college.

Staff Profile

Jess Rooney

Founder, School Leader

Jess Rooney is the Founding School Leader of People's Prep. She developed the vision for People's Prep during her time as a Newark Charter School Fund Founder-in-Residence, and as part of the nationally-renowned New Leaders for New Schools program. Prior to coming to school leadership, Ms. Rooney spent 4 years as a classroom Spanish teacher at New Design High School in Manhattan. Ms. Rooney holds a B.A. in Women's Studies from Smith College and an M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the City University of New York-Baruch College. Ms. Rooney is thrilled to be rejoining the Wolfpack after her maternity leave following the birth of her first child.

Staff Profile

Bobby Rubin

English 1 Teacher

Bobby Rubin is entering his first year at People's Prep as a 9th Grade English teacher. He is from Annapolis, MD and graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in English and secondary education. Prior to working at People's Prep, Bobby taught English in Beersheva, Israel for a year. When he's not teaching, you can find him pursuing his passions of baseball, basketball, football, drumming, music and hiking.

Staff Profile

Alison Laycock-Ruiz

Dean of Student Intervention

Before becoming the Dean of Student Interventions, Alison Laycock Ruiz taught tenth grade English for three years at People's Prep. She began her career in education in rural Louisiana where she taught English and Spanish for two years. She earned her Master of Education degree from the University of Notre Dame and studied English and Spanish there as an undergraduate as well. Alison is committed to doing whatever it takes to prepare all of our students to graduate from the college of their choice.

Staff Profile

Samuel Santiago

Classroom and Support Aid

Samuel Santiago joined the People's Prep team on September 2013 as Classroom and Support Aid. Previously, he taught in an elementary school in Orlando, FL. Sam earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Seton Hall University. He enjoys working at People's Prep because it gives him the opportunity to help students from Newark, his hometown.

Staff Profile

Nicole Sousa

Mathematics Teacher

Staff Profile

Denise Torres

School Psychologist

Denise Torres is in her first year at People's Prep as a school psychologist. She received her B.A. in psychology in 2005 and her M.A. in educational psychology from New Jersey City University in 2009. She then became certified as a New Jersey school psychologist through Montclair State University in 2015. Prior to coming to People's Prep, Denise worked as a senior primary therapist for Jersey City Medical Center since 2006, where she worked closely with people suffering from persistent and severe mental illnesses and their families. In her spare time, Denise enjoys reading, watching movies, and taking dance lessons.

Staff Profile

Brent Weber

9th Grade English Teacher

Brent Weber is entering his fourth year in the People's Prep English Department. He currently serves as the Ninth Grade Team Leader, and is the co-founder of the school's guitar club. He holds a B.S. in Journalism/New Media from Towson University and earned his state teaching certification from Seton Hall University. When not in the classroom, Mr. Weber can be found pursuing one of his many passions like hockey, basketball, swimming, guitar, travel, and vegan cooking. He is a firm believer in the transformative power of writing, and encourages his students to find their own creative voice.