The Guest Panel:
Ramon Gonzalez, Principal
MS 223 – The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
Ysidro Abreu, Principal
MS 319 – Maria Teresa Mirabal
KenDra William-Melendez, Teacher,
PS 157X - Grove Hill School
Ramon Gonzalez has been a lifelong educator. Mr. Gonzalez is the founding principal of MS 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, a middle school in the South Bronx. He has created a community reading initiative with lending libraries at local bodegas to increase reading materials to South Bronx families to participate in community reading time every Thursday at 6pm. He holds a BA from Cornell University, a MS from City College, a MA and Ed.M from Teachers College Columbia University. He was named a 2007-2008 Cahn Fellow for Distinguished Principals at Teachers College/Columbia University, and was admitted in 2009 to the Teachers College Urban Education Leadership Doctoral Program. In 2010 he was named a Principal’s Fellow for the Center of Arts Education. Mr. Gonzalez resides in East Harlem, across the street from the tenement that he was raised in as a testament to his belief in providing an accessible role model for high poverty youth in his neighborhood.
Ysidro Abreu, Principal and Founder of MS 319 Maria Teresa Mirabal Middle School 319 in 2004, was born in New York City from Dominican Parents. Mr. Abreu pursued his education by attending the University of Southern California and City College of New York where he obtained his Structural Engineering Degree in addition to his Bilingual Education Masters Degree. He continued his passion for education and attained his School Administrative License under which he served as an Assistant Principal for seven years, as well as, a Principal and Founder of Middle School 319 for the past six years. As Principal, Mr. Abreu has received a great deal of recognition over the years, such as the Excellence Award for Middle Schools and the Teaching Matters Award of Excellence. Under his leadership, Middle School 319 has received four years consecutively an “A” Progress Report Card and has been rated “Outstanding” in the School’s Quality Review.
KenDra Williams-Melendez is an elementary teacher at PS 157X – Grove Hill School in Bronx, New York. She holds a Bachelors in Public Affairs and Policy with a concentration in Urban Policies. She also has obtained a Masters in Childhood Education. She has been in the classroom for 7 years. Currently, Mrs. Williams-Melendez teaches third grade in The Gentlemen’s Club – the first all boys classroom in the history of the school.
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