Our Team

Micaela Bracamonte
Founder & Head of School.
Micaela was a 2e kid from the get go, skipping preschool when she learned to read at three and failing kindergarten when she couldn't memorize the alphabet. Throughout her studies, teachers and peers told her she had too many questions and too many answers (years later, something teachers would say about her first son). In high school, she once skipped classes for a month, because the local library was more interesting. She kept an A average throughout college, despite her distractibility, and attended class when it interested her. Micaela received her Honors BA in English and MA in Journalism from The University of Maryland, then worked as the managing editor of a city magazine and freelanced arts coverage, including for “The Wall Street Journal Europe.” Her plan to return to journalism after giving birth to her first son was a non-starter, as the little guy wouldn’t stop crying – for a year.

So began a long journey of searching for a tolerable daycare, a supportive preschool, and a good-fit elementary school for her 2e boy. Following forays into Montessori, public G&T, public special education, ICT, and private special ed., she concluded that a good-fit school didn't exist for her (by then) two 2e boys, one of whom she pulled out of a citywide gifted program (because they kept asking her for advice on how to keep her restless, inquisitive son engaged). She started taking education courses at Bank Street College of Education and Columbia University’s Teachers College; she received certification training from SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and in Ross Greene’s CPS (Collaborative & Proactive Solutions).

In 2009, Micaela created The Lang School, using her journalistic skills to vet experts in their fields and collaborating with education leaders to open the school’s doors. As a social entrepreneur, she works hard to conceive and create opportunities for unusual learners and passionate teachers to partner in innovating education daily. As an educator, she is a member of the National Association for Gifted Children's (NAGC's) 2e Special Interest Group, is a NAGC lifetime member, was named a 2017 Educator of the Year by "Education Update," and teaches writing to loquacious, articulate, but reluctant writers at the school she started.

And she, her ADHD children, her ADHD husband, and their cats live happily ever after.
Andreas Olsson
Director for Systems & Education.
Andreas was born in Stockholm and lived in Paris and Munich as a teenager. His early years were characterized by serial, voracious commitments to master a wide variety of subjects that didn’t necessarily correlate with what he was being taught at school. In class, he was that kid who could never find his half-done homework but always had plenty to say, not always directly on topic (“Yes, but when is a chair no longer ‘a chair’?”). While studying film in Stockholm, Andreas immersed himself in the newly invented World Wide Web. He rediscovered his childhood passion for linguistics and programming, which naturally led to mastering object-oriented techniques and ontological concepts used in sophisticated database designs. He is the founder and CEO of AI^n, a software engineering company specializing in smart databases that aggregate, consolidate, and correlate big data.

Since joining forces to help his wife found The Lang School in 2010, Andreas has been teaching and developing curricula for G&T students. Leveraging his deep knowledge of a wide variety of subjects across multiple domains, he developed a framework called MESH™. MESH takes STEM and STEAM education to a new level, reintegrating all of the humanities -- literature, history, philosophy, and the arts -- back into a curriculum organized around the question: how does what we do serve core human ends? Andreas is studying at Rutgers University’s graduate gifted education program to partner with academics in further refining this framework.

Like many 2e kids, Andreas has a hard time sitting still both literally and figuratively. When he’s not at school, he spends his time engaged in his passions: engineering virtual systems, thinking of ways to teach Universal Questions, tinkering with robotics, modeling in 3D, creating languages, and pondering ethics, artificial intelligence and our amazing evolution from a tiny single-celled organism. He is also a board member at the Center for War/Peace Studies.
Anne Palmer
Co-Director for Pedagogy
Anne works collaboratively with the Director for Systems & Education, as well as the school's Learning Specialists, to support the professional development of teachers and supervise the nuts and bolts of curriculum planning and implementation. Anne has a BA from Bard College in Dance and an MS from Hunter College in Special Education with a focus in Behavior Disorders. She was a classroom teacher for 10 years, teaching grades K through 5 in both self-contained and inclusive co-taught classrooms.

Seven years ago, Anne left the classroom to work for the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project where she designs full-day workshops for teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators, coaches staff in schools, and works as the coach at two of NYC DOE's Demonstration Schools. Anne has worked closely with the Lang leadership team since before the school opened, then supported staff in a variety of ways when the school opened doors; her role continues to grow and evolve as the school itself does. This year, she is thrilled to be splitting her time between Lang and TCICP and looks forward to more years of collaboration and learning with the Lang community.
Erika Hughes Hooper
Co-Director for Pedagogy
Erika received her undergraduate degree in Dance from Bard College and holds a master’s degree from Hunter College in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities. She has spent the past 20 years working with students of all ages and teachers in classrooms around New York City. At Lang, she partners with the Director for Systems & Education and the Learning Specialists, with a particular focus on mathematics and systems development; she also works for TCICP as an instructional coach. Like Anne, Erika has played a pivotal role in Lang’s development since its inception. It is her mission to support teachers in designing curriculum and classroom experiences that unleash student potential and bring joy to school-based learning. She is eminently grateful to spend her work life thinking deeply about how students and teachers learn and exploring ever more innovative ways of maximizing both.
Katie Dempsey, M.S.Ed
School Psychologist
Katie is a certified School Psychologist who came to Lang last fall from a Brooklyn-based charter school where she provided individual and group counseling, psycho-educational assessments, crisis intervention, and school consultation. She received her BA in Psychology from Villanova University, then entered Fordham University's School Psychology doctoral program. She is writing her dissertation on school psychologists-in-training and their ability to effectively consult in schools and partner with teachers. She has trained in both independent and public schools, serving students with diverse learning profiles ages preschool through eighth grade. Katie is Lang’s reigning Connect Four champion.
Adrienne Frumberg, M.A.
Guidance Counselor
Adrienne Frumberg is the founder of Lighthouse Guidance, co-founder of Teenz In The City, and a passionate educator and counselor. She has 10 years of experience in the field of college counseling, with particular expertise in colleges offering support for students with LDs and other needs. She has toured more than 100 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. Adrienne also works privately as a college counselor to assist students and families with the college process, as well as to support students with the transition from secondary school to college and work life. She has worked as a college guidance counselor at independent schools including Loyola School, Aaron School, Fordham Preparatory School, and Academics West. When she is not working in college guidance, Adrienne focuses her energy on Teenz In The City, a social skills program for adolescents and young adults with a history of social challenges and/or learning differences. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from NYU, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Lafayette College, and completed the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions. Though she is married and has a five month old at home, Adrienne is a cat lady at heart.

Laurie Stern
Head Learning Specialist
After 13 years as Riverdale Country School’s Lower School Learning Specialist, Laurie is now in her fifth year working on reading and writing with Lang students in the lower and upper school. She finds it especially exciting to work on remedial challenges with students who are also gifted, because there are so many "ways in" to help them understand and work on their literacy skills. Drawing on her graduate and post graduate work, as well as current literacy research, she enjoys the "detective work” of finding the right, systematic path(s) to working with each of her Lang students, then witnessing the progress they make in their areas of challenge.

Laurie loves finding books to hook kids into reading. She finds picture books by Peter Sis especially compelling, because of his gorgeous, intricate illustrations and the rich themes he addresses from his childhood in the former Czechoslovakia. Laurie is enthusiastic about anything in any format that excites and interests her students in reading and writing. She also loves it when her husband, an actor, reads her a good bedtime story.
Lauren Arcuri, M.S. CC-SLP
Speech/Language Pathologist
This is Lauren’s second year at The Lang School. During the prior two years, she worked as lead SLP with 56 children from Pre-K through 8th grade at The Barnum School’s Autism Spectrum Program in Bridgeport, CT. Before that, she worked as an SLP at a Connecticut middle school with students who had diagnoses of intellectual disabilities, LDs, or ADHD. She also worked with the Connecticut Autism Training Initiative (CATI) on the launch of a transdisciplinary team approach to autism programming in public schools.

Lauren holds a BA in Speech Language Hearing Sciences from Hofstra University and an MS in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Rhode Island, plus professional licenses in both Connecticut and New York. She is particularly inspired to help students work on social language and language organization. She decided to become a speech language pathologist after watching home movies of herself as a young child.

When not working, Lauren loves to read, watch movies, travel and, more recently, train for marathons.
Michael Ryan, M.S. OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
Michael was awarded his MS in Occupational Therapy from NYU and is now in his eleventh year of professional practice (and second year at Lang). Before joining the Lang team, he was an outpatient pediatric OT at Charleston Pediatric Rehabilitation in SC. Prior to moving south, he was the senior therapist at The Gateway Schools and Createabilities Occupational Therapy. He has extensive experience in clinical and school-based practice, exclusively in pediatrics, and he specializes in sensory integration treatment. Michael is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. When he is not providing OT, he manages a private practice promoting fitness, exercise, and wellness to pediatric and special populations; over the summer months, he is the Head Counselor at a children’s weight loss camp in the Poconos.

Michael is an avid runner and regularly competes in “ultra” marathons ranging in distance from 50k to 100 miles.
Kate Yourke
Assistant Director for the Creative Arts
Kate has nurtured artistic expression and the experimental use of materials in Lang’s Creative Lab and KidWorks classes for the last six years. She has supported hands-on learning in diverse educational settings for over 30 years. As part of her Weaving Community initiative, for example, Kate collaborated with OTs, PTs, and SLPs in using the creative arts to support social-emotional learning and other growth goals. Two years ago, Kate founded Make: STEAM, a program that enriches the experience of Brooklyn public school students through hands-on workshops, professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and the annual Festival of Curiosity-STEAM WORKS! As a visual artist, Kate’s installations used projections to create compelling optical illusions that prompt reflection on our relationship to nature and memory.
Michael Cates
Associate Director for the Dramatic Arts
Michael was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in Arts and Law (M.A and LL.B.). After spending two years as a trainee lawyer, he took a break from the profession and moved to Chicago, where he joined a band, started a theater company, and worked in film production and dance. He was cast as a performer in the Chicago production of Blue Man Group, and relocated to New York to join the cast of the off Broadway production. He performed in the show for six years, at which point his parents finally accepted that he was not returning to Scotland to become a lawyer.

At Lang, Michael can be found wherever drama, art, music, engineering, or film are being taught or tinkered with -- and wherever a good story is being told. Prior to landing in the Lang community five years ago, he worked as a paraprofessional in NYC public schools.
Jim Stewart
Associate Director for Technology / Engineering & Logic Teacher
After moving to New York from New Mexico, Jim worked as a web designer before becoming a New York City Teaching Fellow. He earned his master’s in teaching mathematics while teaching in NYC public schools, and he has been teaching technology and math for the last 15 years. Now in his fifth year at Lang, he teaches our students formal logic, applied logic (programming/software engineering), and engineering in our make space. Jim believes that by the time his son becomes a father, programming will be as essential a part of every student’s education as math or a second language.
Montserrat Hernandez
Associate Director for the Arts / Spanish Teacher
Montserrat, in her fourth year at Lang, is a multidisciplinary, multimedia artist with degrees in Acting and in Arts Education from Chilean universities. She recently completed her certification as a Teacher of Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Miguel de Cervantes Institute here in NYC. “Montse” is also an Associate Member of the Nettles Artists Collective, with whom she performs regularly. She was their assistant director on the original play “Apple Of My Eye,” the first play written and performed by a woman with Down syndrome and later on tour in the U.S., South America, and Europe. Nettles' mission is to bring globally diverse voices to the American performing arts scene.
Matthew Gross
Upper School Math Specialist
Matthew earned his master’s degree from Teacher's College in 2010 and has been teaching mathematics in New York City ever since. This is his fourth year teaching at Lang. He is drawn to the beauty and simplicity of theoretical mathematics. He is slowly warming up to application and engineering problems, but he will probably never truly love statistics. He enjoys well-made cups of coffee, bicycles, and late-in-the-week “New York Times” crossword puzzles. He does not enjoy being photographed.
Katharine D' Oliveira
Lower School Math Specialist
As a math teacher for gifted and asynchronous students, Katharine cherishes the opportunity to share her love of math with many different types of learners. She is as driven to meet the needs of students with an insatiable appetite for math as she is to find ways to “unlock” students who think math is just not their thing. Her mission is to help her students recognize that math is both beautifully ordinary and extraordinary and to inspire her students to make joyful mathematical connections in their daily lives. This is Katharine’s second year as part of Lang’s math team. She hold two BAs – one in Mathematics and one in Early Childhood Education with certification in Students with Disabilities.
Michele Lipman
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Michele is a 2nd/3rd grade head teacher at Lang. She earned her BFA in Fine Arts from University of Florida. Having long believed in the pivotal importance of a progressive education, it was having her own two children that inspired her to go back to school to become a teacher, earning her master’s and dual licensure in Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities. She has been teaching elementary school students in NYC for the last eight years and is now working toward certification in Gifted Education. She is happy to have found in Lang the supportive, collaborative teaching and learning opportunity she has long been looking for.
Michele Heggli
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Michele co-teaches sixth grade at Lang. She received her BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Durham (UK), and her master's degree in Elementary Inclusive Education and Teaching Children with Disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a Gifted and Talented Education Certificate from the University of California, Irvine. Now in her Fifth year at Lang, she feels fortunate to work with such intriguing and inspiring students in a very supportive and forward-thinking environment.

Originally from Hong Kong, Michele spends most of her school breaks traveling around the world to see family and friends. She also enjoys skiing, swimming, playing field hockey, and attending music performances.
Elizabeth Masci
Upper School English Teacher & Advisor
Elizabeth is a graduate of William Paterson University, where she obtained a BA in Secondary Education with a concentration in English Writing and an endorsement in Teaching Students with Disabilities. In May of 2015, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction. She is currently enrolled at Rutgers University in their graduate-level program for Gifted and Talented Education. This is her fifth year working as an upper school ELA teacher.
Amanda Nelson
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Amanda co-teaches sixth grade at Lang. A bachelor's degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston led to working as an ABA therapist and elementary school TA while beginning graduate school course in her home state of Virginia. She moved to New York during the summer of 2014 and quickly found a wonderful fit at Lang, as well as a great graduate program at Hunter – where she is working towards finishing her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. Amanda is in her fourth year at Lang and has loved having the opportunity to teach students of all ages and to collaborate with talented colleagues.

In her free time, Amanda loves to cook, eat delicious food that others cook, run (so she can eat said delicious food), travel, and spend time with family.
Linda Yantz
Office Manager
Linda joined the Lang community last school year with eight years of office management experience. In her last position, she worked as an office manager/payroll administrator at Twoseven, a creatively led design/build firm in Brooklyn. Before that, she worked as a Development Associate at SoBRO, a non-profit community development organization.

Linda graduated magna cum laude from Molloy College with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy. She is a singer-songwriter who sometimes arrives at school with her guitar slung over her shoulder, ready to play a local gig that evening. She also enjoys going for runs in the park, traveling with her husband, and hanging out with their cat, Penny, in their home in Brooklyn.