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, 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 lived 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.

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 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.
Theresa Moran, Ph.D
Director for Admissions & Outreach
Theresa 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, her 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. She received a BA in Liberal Arts from Bard College with a concentration in Psychology. Theresa 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 Psychology
Rachel 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 Psychologist
Katie 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.
Daphne Anshel, Ph.D.
Supervising Psychologist
Daphne received her PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where her research focused on children’s social and moral development as it relates to the development of externalizing disorders, including ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). She went on to complete postdoctoral fellowships at Children’s Hospital Oakland and at the NYU Child Study Center. Daphne joined the NYU Child Study Center School-based Intervention Program in 2003, where she provided clinical supervision, and consultation to teachers and administrative staff. She has extensive experience with behavioral treatment of ADHD & ODD, in addition to the cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) of anxiety and mood disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. She is in private practice in Hoboken and Manhattan. Daphne began her supervision work at Lang in the fall of 2010.
Adrienne Frumberg, M.A.
Guidance Counselor
Adrienne Frumberg is excited to join The Lang School team. She 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 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.
Shana Buxton
Associate Director for Education / Learning Specialist
Shana 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 just completed her second master’s degree -- in adolescent literacy at Hunter College -- in which she focused on writing instruction for struggling and resistant writers. She also 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 Pathologist
This 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 Therapist
Michael 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.
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 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.
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 joining the Lang community four years ago, he worked as a paraprofessional in NYC public schools.
Brian Drye
Associate Director for Music Education
Trombonist 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.
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 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.
Montserrat Hernandez
Associate Director for the Arts / Spanish Teacher
Montserrat, 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.
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 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 Specialist
As a math teacher for gifted and asynchronous learners, 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 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.
Michele Lipman
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Michele 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 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.
Zak Malik
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Zak 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 with 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 is as obsessed with Harry Potter as any self-respecting tween.
Michele Heggli
Lower School Homeroom Teacher
Michele 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. She also holds a Gifted and Talented Education Certificate from the University of California, Irvine. 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.
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 fourth year working as an upper school ELA teacher.
Mary E. Steele
Upper School Social Studies Teacher & Advisor
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 Indian 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 an authentically engaging education. Mary also feels incredibly fortunate to work with supportive colleagues who take such care and interest in her work.
Jamie Banks
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 trained as a teacher and took plenty of poetry courses. He also holds a Gifted and Talented Education Certificate from the University of California, Irvine. Jamie had an IEP as a student growing up in Brooklyn and attending Stuyvesant High School, 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.
Jesse Small
Science Teacher (Chemistry & Biology)
Jesse is Lang’s 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 chemistry 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 feels he lucked upon finding 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.
Amanda Nelson
Lower School Assistant Teacher
Amanda 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 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 third 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 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.
Kelli Long-Jatta
Kelli 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.
Shelly Paus
Shelly 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.