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 only when it suited 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 good-fit elementary school for her 2e boy. Following forays into Montessori, public G&T, public special education, ICT, and private special ed. programs, she concluded that a good-fit elementary 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 for advice on how to keep her inquisitive son engaged). So in 2010 she created The Lang School, using her journalistic skills to vet experts in their fields and to partner with education leaders to open the school’s doors. As a social entrepreneur, she works hard daily to conceive and make real ways for unusual learners and passionate teachers to partner in innovating education.
And she, her ADHD children, her ADHD husband, and their cats lived happily ever after.
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.
Co-Director for PedagogyAnne 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.
Six 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 at Lang since the school opened, supporting the staff in a variety of ways as the school has grown. 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 PedagogyErika 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.
Theresa Moran, Ph.D
Director for Admissions & OutreachTheresa joined The Lang School in the winter of 2016. Before Lang, she worked at the NYC Department of Education and Committee on Special Education as a practicing School Psychologist. For three years, she served many families and students in helping pen authentic individualized education plans. Theresa also worked at The Child School, where she provided individual and group counseling to middle and high school students with HFA, ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, and substance use diagnoses. Throughout her career, Theresa’s overarching goal has been to provide information and support to families, educators, therapists, and specialists in order to ensure appropriate academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional interventions. Theresa received a BA in Liberal Arts from Bard College with a concentration in Psychology. She earned a master’s in School Psychology from Queens College, then completed her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology at The City University of New York, The Graduate Center.
When Theresa is not working, she spends time with her husband and two boys in Queens. She enjoys reading, karaoke, dancing, traveling, watching movies, and dessert. She also loves elephants. A performer at heart, she attended LaGuardia High School for drama.
Rachel Deyong, Ph.D
Director for School PsychologyRachel earned her master’s degree in School Psychology at Queens College and completed her doctorate in Educational Psychology, specializing in School Psychology, at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. She has particular expertise in ADHD, executive functioning, Theory of Mind, and data-driven behavioral interventions; she is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic approaches to counseling. Rachel strives to understand the factors that influence individual development and learning, advocating for individualized strategies to meet each student’s distinct needs. Three fundamental theories inform her approach: (1) a collaborative problem-solving approach that considers individual and ecological variables to focus on targeting specific problems and working towards solutions; (2) ecological theory that considers the influence of external environments as contexts for human development; and (3) a cognitive-behavioral orientation. Her uniquely informed approach has proven pivotal in helping students achieve behavioral, emotional, and academic improvements at school. Rachel has worked on research projects at CUNY Graduate Center and NYU focusing on cognition, learning, and technology. Her independent research focuses on Theory of Mind, ADHD, and executive functioning. Now in her fourth year at lang, she has presented at professional conferences and is always exploring ways to bridge recent advances in cognitive neuroscience into a school setting.
Katie Dempsey, M.S.Ed
School PsychologistKatie is a certified School Psychologist who came to Lang this fall from a Brooklyn-based charter school where she performed 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.
Supervisor for School Psychological ServicesPaula earned her doctoral degree in School Psychology from Fordham University and her master’s in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. She completed extensive training at the NYU Child Study Center's Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement, Institute for Prevention Science, Institute for Trauma and Resilience, and Institute for Anxiety Disorders. She has a background in neuropsychology, educational assessment, parenting skills for families with young children, and school-based intervention and prevention of early childhood disorders. Paula has worked in a variety of settings, including public schools, center-based preschools, private schools, and clinical facilities.
Head Learning SpecialistAfter 13 years as Riverdale Country School’s Lower School Learning Specialist, Laurie is in her fourth year working on reading and writing with Lang students in the lower, middle, and upper school grades. 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 especially 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.
Associate Director for Education / Learning SpecialistShana Buxton joined The Lang School four years ago as a middle school teacher and drama co-teacher. At the age of sixteen, she began pursuing a BA in musical theatre at the prestigious Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Serendipitously, she was asked to help out with a theatre program for children with developmental disabilities and that was where Shana found her true passion. She then designed her own dual major in musical theatre and special education. She went on to do graduate work at Lehman College, where she earned her first master’s degree and three NYS teaching certifications: Students With Disabilities-English Language Arts (Grades 7-12), English Language Arts (Grades 7-12), and Theatre (Grades K-12).
Shana will soon complete her second master’s degree -- in adolescent literacy at Hunter College -- in which she is focusing on writing instruction for struggling and resistant writers. She recently completed her classroom instructor training through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, and she is now working toward becoming one of the 1200 accredited Orton-Gillingham providers in the world. This fall, she spoke at the NYS Reading Association’s conference about how she integrates the arts into her literacy instruction. In her spare time, Shana teaches the performing arts to children and adults with developmental disabilities, casts educational films, and continues her own work as a performer. She also loves puppies, show tunes, and grilled cheese.
Lauren Arcuri, M.S. CC-SLP
Speech/Language PathologistThis is Lauren’s first year at The Lang School. For the last 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 (next trip: Amsterdam, Brussels, and Cologne) and, more recently, train for marathons.
Michael Ryan, M.S. OTR/L
Occupational TherapistMichael was awarded his MS in Occupational Therapy from NYU and is now in his tenth year of professional practice. Before starting at The Lang School, 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.
Assistant Director for the Creative ArtsKate has nurtured artistic expression and the experimental use of materials in Lang’s Creative Lab and KidWorks classes for the last five 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.
Associate Director for the Dramatic ArtsMichael 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 joining the Lang community four years ago, he worked as a paraprofessional in NYC public schools.
Associate Director for Music EducationTrombonist and pianist Brian Drye leads the group Bizingas, whose debut album was hailed as “one of the best introductions to a new band” by “The New York Times.” As a founding member of the eclectic chamber ensemble “The Four Bags,” his compositions have premiered at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space and BAM. Brian has lent his unique trombone voice to groups as diverse as Balkan brass juggernauts Slavic Soul Party, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars (from the Klezmatics), and Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee (of Medeski, Martin and Wood). He has performed and recorded on both piano and trombone with Tony award winner Stew from Stew and the Negro Problem. He spent his formative years touring the nation with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Paul Anka, and The Four Tops.
In 2008 Brian created Ibeam Brooklyn, a music performance space that operates as a laboratory for some of the most cutting edge jazz in NYC. He is a teaching artist for Carnegie Hall and has worked as a coach and mentor for music educators throughout the boroughs. He is in his third year at Lang, but he’s been teaching music for the last 16 years. He received his BM in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami. When he’s not teaching or playing his trombone or piano, you can probably catch him running in Prospect Park, playing with his daughter, or scouring “The New York Times” for a new recipe to cook.
Associate Director for Technology + Engineering & Logic TeacherAfter 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 fourth year at Lang, he teaches our students formal logic, applied logic (programming/software engineering), and engineering. 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.
Associate Director for the Arts / Spanish TeacherMontserrat, in her third year at Lang, is a multidisciplinary, multimedia artist with degrees in Acting and in Arts Education from Chilean universities. She is completing 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 currently on tour in the U.S., South America, and Europe. Nettles' mission is to bring globally diverse voices to the American performing arts scene.
Upper School Math SpecialistMatthew earned his master’s degree from Teacher's College in 2010 and has been teaching mathematics in New York City ever since. This is third 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 SpecialistAs a math teacher for gifted and asynchronous learners, Katharine feels she has a unique opportunity to share her love of math with many different types of learners. She is equally 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 a beautifully ordinary and extraordinary part of our world and to inspire them to make joyful mathematical connections in their daily lives. This is Katharine’s first 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.
Lower School Homeroom TeacherMichele is a 2nd/3rd grade “Sprouts” co-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. She is happy to have found in Lang the supportive, collaborative teaching and learning opportunity she has long been looking for.
Lower School Homeroom TeacherZak is a 2nd/3rd grade “Sprouts” co-teacher at Lang. A Brooklyn native who ran varsity track and cross country at Wesleyan, he earned his BA in Government, then served as a corps member in Teach for America working with students who had diagnosed social and learning challenges. He still says that those were some of the most intelligent individuals he’s ever known and insists that they taught him far more than he taught them. He also earned his master’s in Special Education at Loyola Marymount as a TFA corps member. Zak started working with young children during summers in high school as a camp counselor, continuing throughout college as a volunteer in local preschools, which he considered a “refresher from the daily bustle of college life.”
Zak has been playing the drums since he was a “Sprout,” and he is as obsessed with Harry Potter as any self-respecting tween.
Lower School Homeroom TeacherMichele is the Saplings Head Teacher. 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. Now in her fourth 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.
Upper School English Teacher & AdvisorElizabeth 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 fourth consecutive year working as an upper school English Language Arts teacher.
Mary E. Steele
Upper School Social Studies Teacher &This is Mary Steele's first year at Lang teaching Upper School Comparative History. Her love of history extends deep into the tendrils of her daily life, and she can often be found exploring museums, watching documentaries, or exploring NYC’s historical landmarks. After earning her BA in History and Secondary Education, she taught at the Fort Belknap Reservation in Hays, Montana. She is excited to be working with Lang’s twice exceptional students and sees Lang’s curriculum as the future model for a authentically engaging education. Mary also feels incredibly fortunate to work with supportive colleagues who take such care and interest in her work.
Science Teacher (Physics & Psychology)Jamie teaches Physics and Psychology in Lang’s Upper School; this is his third year at Lang. He earned his BA and MA in Mathematics from Harvard, where he also trained as a teacher and took plenty of poetry courses. He had an IEP as a student growing up in Brooklyn and attending Stuyvesant, and he identifies himself as a 2e student. That, along with his work coaching poetry slam teams and facilitating writing workshops, sparked his interest in a holistic approach to teaching that integrates a student's strengths and social-emotional development.
Outside of his work at Lang, Jamie writes and performs his own poetry, sings, and thinks constantly about linguistics, in denial that Latin and Greek are dead languages.
Science Teacher (Chemistry & Biology)Jesse is our upper school biology and chemistry teacher. A Boston native, he attended Bard College, where he earned his BA in Chemistry with a focus on Organic Synthesis. In his work at Bard as a research assistant and TA for introductory chem. classes, he developed a love for hands-on science activities and teaching in 1:1 and small group settings. Following graduation, he moved to NYC and serendipitously found Lang, where he values his collegial relationships with students and colleagues alike. Jesse is also an avid athlete (volleyball) and musician (guitar), as well as an underground supporter of the Red Sox.
Lower School Assistant TeacherAmanda is the Saplings Assistant Teacher 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 the summer of 2014 and quickly found a wonderful fit at Lang, as well as a great graduate program at Hunter where she is currently working towards finishing her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. Amanda is in her third year and 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 her family.
Office ManagerLinda joined The Lang School in August of this 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.
BookkeeperKelli attended The University of Mississippi -- Ole Miss -- where she earned two BA degrees, one in Marketing and one in Finance. In Mississippi, she worked for seven years at Camp Lake Stephens, which cultivated her passion for working with children and nonprofits. She and her husband Lamin moved to NYC and 2013. She came to Lang with more than 10 years of financial experience, ranging from business management to development work. Kelli is the proud mother of Kamri, a student at Mississippi State University, and Karli, a student at Clemson University.
LibrarianShelly Paus is a professional librarian with many years of experience working in academic, school and public libraries. She earned a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she is completing her MSEd in Special Education, specializing in Learning Disabilities, at Hunter College. Shelly also loves to read classic literature, watch old and foreign films, play guitar, and practice yoga.