Jolon Shields, I.A. Principal
Dara Kammerman, I.A. Assistant Principal
Dara is originally from the great state of Maine. She has a passion for working with young people and their families and hopes that she can support the students at Origins as they strive to be everything they want to. Dara is the I.A. AP now, but used to be a social worker and a teacher. Dara taught high school English at The American School of The Hague in The Netherlands and at The New York City Lab School in Manhattan. As a social worker, she has worked in schools and after school programs in East New York, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens. In her free time, Dara enjoys swimming, biking, cooking and reading. Dara holds a BA from Vassar College, an MA from Teachers College at Columbia University and an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.
David Elliott, School Business Manager
David Elliott was born in Queens but raised in Huntington, on Long Island. He earned a BA in English from Temple University in Philadelphia and an MA in Culture and Communication from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He comes to Origins after a varying tenure in Public Service at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, Higher Education at Hunter College, and the Arts at the New York Philharmonic. His passions for public policy and education are brought out and highlighted in his role at Origins. He spent his formative years reading subversive comic books and playing drums in loud rock ‘n’ roll bands. In his spare time he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two cats, collects records, sings karaoke, and still plays the drums.
Jamie Luft, Guidance Counselor
Jamie is so excited to be joining the Origins staff as a guidance counselor! Before coming to Origins, she worked as a Spanish/English bilingual counselor in a few other New York City high schools. Her career before becoming a counselor was as an ESL teacher in Washington, DC where she lived after graduating from Georgetown University. Here in Brooklyn, Jamie lives with her husband, 3 children and a cat. When she’s not watching her son play baseball or taking her littlest one to the park, Jamie enjoys running, cooking and knitting. She is very much looking forward to collaborating with the Origins staff and getting to know the Origins students.
Yahya Haoumi, Parent Coordinator
Yahya Haoumi is originally from Tangier, Morocco. He has a BA in English Studies, MA in Translation, Communication and Journalism, and a Master in Public Administration with distinction. He also has a Digital Cinematography diploma from the New York Film Academy, Small Business Management Certificate from Hunter College, and Leadership Training Diploma from the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports. Yahya is a Martial Arts trainer, and speaks three languages. In his free time, he enjoys, reading, exercising, playing music and travelling.
Daniel Farrell, 9th Grade English
Daniel Farrell has been teaching ELA in New York City since 2010. A native of suburban Massachusetts, he earned his B.A. in English from Providence College in 2008 and his M.A.T. in English Education from New York University in 2011. He enjoys teaching reading strategies, argumentative writing, and digital integration, as well as blending humor and theater into lessons. Outside of school, Dan can be found cooking, playing bass guitar, scanning Brooklyn’s stoops for used books, and watching his favorite sports teams lose. He also has unusually strong opinions about Emerson, Motown, and dark roast coffee. Above all, Dan considers it a privilege to teach your children.
Mohamad Awad, 9th Grade Participation Government & US History
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mohamad is appreciative of the cultural and linguistic variations that exist in the borough and in the other four boroughs of NYC. To him, NYC is a microcosm of the world and therefore he views it as an extraordinary opportunity to bringing it into the classroom so as to inspire in his students the desire in becoming socially responsible individuals and valuable members of their communities and the wider world. Mohamad earned a BA in History and Social Studies Education from Brooklyn College and an MS in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. Prior to joining Origins, he taught social studies at an alternative high school in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn for five years. In addition to spending time with his wife and three children and travelling with them throughout the United States, sampling various types of coffee and trying different cuisines from around the world are some of Mohamad’s favorite pastimes.
Bryan Mosher, 9th Grade Physics
Bryan Mosher grew up on Long Island. He went to The New York University College of Arts and Sciences and earned a bachelor of science in physics. He took all of the pre-med classes and originally wanted to go to medical school. After shadowing a doctor, he found out that it wasn’t the job for him. He tutored through America Reads at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in his senior year and discovered that he wanted to teach science to NYC students instead. He went to New York University again for his master of arts in teaching middle and high school science. He taught at the Institute for Collaborative Education for two years, teaching middle school earth science and programming classes in game programming and web design. At that school, he got to work with non-traditional classroom structures, standards-based grading, and project-based assessment. He’s very excited to continue this work at Origins High School. He loves tinkering with Linux computers; listening to comedy, news, and science podcasts; late nights browsing Wikipedia; learning to play the ukulele; and biking around Brooklyn. He’s also spending a little time this summer improving his Pokémon collection.
Andrew Rizzo, Art
Andy Rizzo is an exploratory sculptor, designer, tinkerer, and teacher who is originally from Buffalo, NY. He spent the last 17 years in Boston earning a BFA in Sculpture and an MFA in Studio Art Teaching at Boston University, working in galleries, and teaching in Winthrop, MA. Having recently relocated to Brooklyn, he had the good fortune to join the Origins team. Mr. Rizzo will be helping to create a rich and engaging art program at Origins, exploring the city’s creative venues, making funny little inventions, and even getting out into the wilderness from time to time.
Pete Diamantis, 10th Grade Algebra
Pete Diamantis is thrilled to be a member of the Origins staff! He is originally from New Haven, Connecticut, and attended Vassar College where he earned his BA in mathematics. While sitting in the math department lounge one fateful afternoon, Pete read about an amazing opportunity to teach in New York City and earn a MA in Mathematics Education from Teachers College through the organization Math for America. He has taught in the city ever since, mostly at the high school level and exclusively in small schools. Pete has learned to love teaching a subject that so many openly express a great distaste for. In the classroom, he treasures student creativity, aiming to help students think about mathematics as another way of viewing the world around them as opposed to just a set of procedures to memorize. Out of the classroom, Pete enjoys playing basketball, poker, being outdoors, and hanging out with his silly kitty Victoria.
Jaydra Johnson, 10th Grade English
Ryan McKeon, Earth Science, Climate Change and Ecology
Ryan was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Ryan earned his B.A. in Individualized Studies from the University of Toledo earned his M.A. in Science Education from Brooklyn College. Before becoming a teacher, Ryan worked in Florida, South Carolina, Maryland and New York City at various wilderness bases leading 30 day canoeing and backpacking expeditions with incarcerated and at-risk youth. For the past 10 years, Ryan has called Brooklyn home. He continues to lead wilderness expeditions and climbing trips with NYC Outward Bound Schools and Baltimore Outward Bound. When not working, Ryan can be found rock climbing and backpacking in search of the World’s most beautiful places to bring back to the classroom to enrich the curriculum.
Mary Agramonte, Visual Arts,
Mary Agramonte is thrilled and honored to serve at Origins High School having graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA and from Hunter College with an MsEd in education. She is experienced art and STEM teacher. She has extensive experience in fashion advertising and graphics having returned to teaching where her true passion lies, serving the community, giving back to others and making a positive difference in the lives of many. Ms. Agramonte has been published in National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Teaching Infants and Children Physics and Beyond” in 2011, was awarded exemplary service award at Rafael Hernandez PS/IS 218 in 2017 for years of outstanding service and dedication to her students and presented “Teaching Social Justice Digital Photography” at the 2019 National Conference in Boston. She is a proud mother and active volunteer who enjoys making art, writing, visiting museums, and helping others.
Vassilios Kokkinelis, 11th Grade History
Vassilios Kokkinelis was born and raised in Plainview – Old Bethpage, New York. He received his BA in History along with a minor in Classical History from St. John’s University. He earned his MA in Education from C.W. Post, L.I.U. His love of history was born in the mountains of northern Greece, where he spent his summer learning about the accomplishments of his forefathers. He lives with his wife, a teacher herself, on Long Island. He loves his family, soccer, reading history, and traveling. He is looking forward to joining Origins and inspiring the future great thinkers of America as well as getting to know the staff and students.
Maria Rosario was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She received her B.A. in English from The City College of New York and her M.S.Ed. in Literacy 5-12 from Hunter College. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literacy 5-12 from St. John’s University. Ms. Rosario has been working with high school students and the ELA regents since she began teaching in 2015. She enjoys teaching her students how to utilizes a variety of skills and strategies to ace the many exams encountered throughout Junior year, and how to excel in life outside of school. When she is not working or going to school, Ms. Rosario enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, learning something new, picking up a new pair of sneakers, and swimming.
Abdelhafid Djemil, 12th Grade Statistics
Abdel Hafid Djemil graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a BSc and from Bradley University in Peoria Illinois with MSc, both in Mechanical Engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in Education from Capella University. After working few years as an engineer, he decided to go for teaching. He taught aeronautics and mechanical engineering before starting teaching at the high school level in 1999. As a parent, he has been active with several organizations that deal with social issues and challenges facing the youth. Abdel Hafid enjoys teaching and helping students achieve their academic goals; he believes that every child is born to succeed, and school is the place where students make the success happen. Abdel Hafid is happy to be a part of a successful and energetic team of educators at Origins High School.
Kyle Janosch, 12th Grade English
Kyle Janosch was born and raised just outside of Chicago, Illinois. He received his Bachelors in English Education from Kent State University in Ohio and went on to teach in Ohio and Germany before coming to teach in New York to obtain his Masters from LIU Brooklyn. He is very passionate about the importance of literature and reading and uses that passion in his teaching. He is interested in law and helps with the Mock Trial and Moot Court teams. When not teaching, Kyle enjoys reading, watching movies, running and traveling. He is consistently excited to work at Origins High School to help students explore their interests through reading.
Regina Morgan-Belle, Physical Education & Health
Physical Education and Health Teacher, Regina Morgan, was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn where she attended NYC public schools and developed a passion for physical activity and team sports. Regina went on to pursue her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Physical Education at State University of New York at Cortland. It was there where she became heavily involved with community outreach and cultural awareness programming. After graduating, Regina worked as an Assistant Director of after school program for Middle School for Art and Philosophy in East New York, Brooklyn and most recently at John F. Kennedy High School in the Marble Hill section of the Bronx as their Physical Education teacher. Her passion for life long fitness and cultural awareness is evident when you walk into her classes. In her leisure, Regina enjoys bike riding, exploring the latest fitness trends, community outreach and caring for loved ones.
Cardain Williams, Physical Education & Health
Mr. Williams was born on the island of Jamaica and immigrated to the U.S at the age of 10. He grew up in East New York, Brooklyn and was very involved in sports as a teen, and could often be found playing street football or basketball. At Grady High School, he was a star Track and Field athlete. He eventually joined the U.S. Navy, working on airplanes and earned a certificate in Aviation Structural Mechanic. After leaving the Navy, he returned to university. He received his Associate’s degree in Teacher Education from Medgar Evers College, his Bachelor’s in History from Brooklyn College, and his Master’s degree in Physical Education also from Brooklyn College. Mr. Williams’s hobbies and interests include Track and Field, track cycling, motorcycles and cars.
Galanaelle Georges, Special Education
Gaelle is elated to be a part of the origins team! She was born in Haiti where she only spoke French and Creole. When she came to America she was an English language learner in grade school. However, she quickly adapted to the language and culture here in America. Gaelle attended Old Westbury as a history and philosophy major and is currently advancing her education at Relay graduate school. During her undergraduate career she was a scribe/para for a peer with cerebral palsy. Gaelle also volunteered as a recreational leader teaching students with autism how to ride bicycles. When Gaelle is not in the classroom she can be found traveling to different places she’s never been.
Mr. Zisser has been with Origins High School since 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting for the Theater, from Brooklyn College, and a Master of Science in Education, also from Brooklyn College. Before coming to Origins, Howard taught English Language Arts, the summer of 2016, at Victory High School, Brooklyn, New York, and he was a Substitute Teacher, during the 2015-2016 school year. One of the schools that he frequently taught at was I.S.187 The Christa McAuliffe School, Brooklyn, New York, working with Gifted Students, in a variety of subjects. Mr. Zisser is passionate for students to think critically and to apply it to their future endeavors.
Jason Schecter, Special Education
Jason Schecter grew up in Brooklyn, NY and is a proud Mets fan. He earned a BA in History from Stony Brook University, while in a Teacher Preparation Program and a MA in Liberal Studies, which focused on Social Sciences from Stony Brook University as well. He completed a Special Education Program at the Graduate School of Education at Touro College. He is currently in the process of completing an Educational Leadership Program from Stony Brook University. When Jason is not working, he spends time with his wife and daughter, but also finds time to still play hockey, and is not embarrassed to admit playing softball also. Jason likes to listen to alternative and classic rock as well as country music. He is excited to bring his knowledge and energy to Origins High School.
Di Zhang, ENL and Chinese
Di Zhang was born and raised in China. Right before Origins, he taught Chinese in High school and middle school in Schodack CSD for a year as an intern. Before he moved to the US, he worked in Xueda Education Group in China for 6 years in business management, and taught Business for Ocean University of China for 3 years. He has a MAT in Chinese at Clarkson University, NY, a MA in Business Management at Latrobe University, Australia, a BE in Civil Engineering at Ocean University of China, China. Di Zhang likes basketball and music, he always likes to share authentic Chinese food in class.
Chani Ivry , French Teacher
I am Chani Ivry French Teacher
College: Stony Brook major in French Languages and Literature/minor/Education
Touro College: Masters of Science/Special Education
Fun facts: lived in France, love Paris, visited many countries
Interests: being a mom, spending time with my kids , family and friends, travelling, learning new languages– would love to speak Spanish more fluently!
Clubs: n/a yet
Boris Balan, ENL and Russian
Partnership with Children
Kate Breslin, Social Worker Director, LMSW
Kate was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she still resides. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from CUNY Brooklyn College and previously worked for the inpatient psychiatry unit at Maimonides Medical Center before attending graduate school for her MSW. Kate received her graduate degree from Long Island University and interned with Partnership with Children for a year before becoming a full time social worker with the agency. She is now the Social Work Director of the program for Origins High School, where she has worked since the school opened in 2013. Kate is excited for another year of working with young people and supporting them and their families.
Alexxis Farenga, Social Worker, LMSW
Alexxis was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She interned with Partnership with Children at Origins High School for a year before receiving her MSW from College of Staten island. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising and cooking. She has a passion for working with young people and is looking forward to supporting them and their families.