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Faculty

Headmaster
George Higgins
Education:
BA, Learning Disabilities: Salisbury University
MA, Administration and Supervision: New York University
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George Higgins
Headmaster
Biography:

George Higgins moved to New York in the summer of 1979 and begin teaching history at The Tutoring School of New York in 1980.   For the next ten years, he taught the ninth through twelfth grade core academic history courses, as well as a variety of elective courses.  In 1990, George became the head of the school and changed its name to The Beekman School, creating a program within Beekman called The Tutoring School.  From those early days through to today, our school’s design and program have remained the same.  With the introduction of technology, George’s new challenge is to learn ways of incorporating the ever-advancing development of computers and the Internet into Beekman’s classrooms.

Director of The Tutoring School & Teacher
Maren Holmen
Education:
BA, Math and Drama: Bard College
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Maren Holmen
Director of The Tutoring School & Teacher
Biography:

Maren Holmen (B.A., Bard College, 2000) teaches Algebra I and Calculus for The Beekman School and is the coordinator of The Tutoring School.  She is a self-professed "math nerd", and enjoys working with students to help them realize their full potential in whatever they do (whether or not it is math-related).  Maren joined the Beekman family in 2001 as a part-time math teacher and tutor in The Tutoring School.  In 2009, she took over the program and has overseen its growth and renovation into a new, fresh space.

Business Manager
Suzan Damsky
Education:
BA, Psychology, Hunter College & NYU
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Suzan Damsky
Business Manager
Biography:
Attendance Supervisor & Teacher/Tutor
Jason Watkins
Education:
BFA, Theater: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
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Jason Watkins
Attendance Supervisor & Teacher/Tutor
Biography:
Outreach Coordinator
Charles Cohn
Education:
MA, Education: Hofstra University
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Charles Cohn
Outreach Coordinator
Biography:

Charles Cohn joined the Beekman team in August 2016 as the school’s Outreach Coordinator. Prior to his appointment at Beekman, he served as Assistant Principal for the Windsor School (a 7th-12th grade international school in Queens) for twelve years. Before his appointment as Assistant Principal at Windsor, he taught courses in Regents U.S. History and Government, AP United States History, Business and Marketing. He possesses a Master’s Degree in Education with Distinction from Hofstra University as well as an Advanced Post-graduate Certification in School Leadership from Stony Brook University. His credentials include New York State School Building Leadership (SBL), NYS School District Leadership (SDL), and NYS Social Studies 7-12 (permanent).

College Guidance Counselor
Kristin Schmidt
Education:
BA, Sociology: Union College
MA, School Counseling: Long Island University
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Kristin Schmidt
College Guidance Counselor
Biography:
Teacher
Kate Bendrick
Education:
B.A. Economics/French, Southern Connecticut State University (2007)
M.A. Economics, University of Connecticut (2008)
Dr. rer. pol. Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany (2012)
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Kate Bendrick
Teacher
Biography:

Kate’s interests range from math to dance via language, and currently teaches math (Geometry, Algebra II, Finite Math, and SAT Math) at the Beekman School, as well as special topics such as Mathematical Economics in The Tutoring School. She believes in the value of a well-rounded education throughout high school and beyond, and enjoys helping students find and nurture their autonomy. She is an advocate of the “flipped” classroom, in particular as a way to encourage individual initiative in learning.

Teacher
Linli Chin
Education:
BA, Industrial Psychology: Baruch College
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Linli Chin
Teacher
Biography:

Linli Chin (B.S Baruch College, City University of New York, 2000) teaches 9th through 12th grade math and science at the Beekman School, with specializations in Pre-Calculus, Physics, Conceptual Physics and Theoretical Physics. A faculty member since 2000, Linli is known for her hands-on teaching, which include the Egg Drop Project from the third floor (to test Newtonian laws) and the kite-building/flying unit, where Bernoulli’s principles on velocity and pressure are observed on the grounds of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Teacher
Deborah Doering
Education:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA
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Deborah Doering
Teacher
Biography:

Deborah Adams Doering (B.A., Wheaton College; M.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago) teaches Art, Drawing, and Photography. Deborah has taught a wide variety of art courses for all ages, from elementary to post-graduate. Deborah is a practicing artist whose work is included in private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Teacher
Michelle Koza
Education:
B.A., Boston College, 2005
M.L.S.., Pratt Institute, 2008
M.S.T. Pace University, 2011
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Michelle Koza
Teacher
Biography:

Michelle Koza teaches 9th and 10th grade English and Creative Writing. Her main interests are in medieval and twentieth century literature. She has taught electives in Philosophy and Arthurian literature. Her favorite novel is The Once and Future King. Before joining Beekman in 2013, she taught 10th and 12th grades in New York City public schools, and extensively tutored SAT Verbal skills.

Teacher
Victor Ledezma
Education:
BA, Philosophy and Spanish: DePaul University
Certificate Castilian Language and Literature: Universidad Complutense
MA, Humanities in Cultural Literature: New York University
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Victor Ledezma
Teacher
Biography:

Victor Ledezma teaches Spanish (Levels I-IV), Health Education, and Philosophy. Born in Chicago, he previously taught Undergraduate Spanish Conversation Courses at DePaul University. He then joined the faculty at the Chicago Academy for the Arts where he was the Spanish Language Department Chair. He moved to New York in order to pursue his Graduate Degree at New York University.  While working on his Master’s Degree he was a contributing writer to Fodor’s Road Guide USA, published by Random House.  After working on travel guides for Chicago, New Mexico, and Colorado, he returned to teaching and joined the faculty at The Beekman School. He is currently writing an independent travel journal that he seeks to publish in the near future.

Teacher
Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez
Education:
BA, Biology: Texas A&M University
Double Minor - Chemistry and Speech Communications
Teacher Certification - Secondary Biology and Composite Science
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Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez
Teacher
Biography:

Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez (B.A., Biology with a double Minor in Chemistry and Speech Communications, 1999, Texas A&M University; Teacher Certification-Secondary Biology and Secondary Composite Science, Texas A&M University, 2004) teaches Biology, Chemistry and Ecology and is the Student Council Advisor.  She worked for the Dallas Independent School District as a teacher and Instructional Lead for six years at the prestigious Skyline High School Science Magnet.  She was promoted to district administration in 2005 as part of a team of Science Coaches charged with overseeing the science curriculum, testing and professional development needs of all high schools in the Dallas Public School System before joining the Beekman faculty in 2007.

Teacher
Ian Rusten
Education:
BA, History & Classics, Hunter College
MA, Education & Social Studies: Hunter College
MA, American History: Hunter College
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Ian Rusten
Teacher
Biography:

Ian Rusten (B.A., Hunter College, 1995; M.A., Hunter College, 2000; M.A. in American History, Hunter College, 2009) teaches U.S. History, Government, Economics, Modern Politics and International Politics.  His specialty is American History, though he also has a passion for European History, Ancient History and Classics in general.  He began teaching while overseas in the 1990s and has taught at various New York schools since 2000.  He joined the Beekman faculty in 2010.

Teacher
Gabriella Skwara
Education:
BA, Comparative Literature: UC Davis
MA, German: UC Davis
MA, German: University of Pennsylvania
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Gabriella Skwara
Teacher
Biography:

Gabriella Skwara (B.A., UC Davis, 2000; M.A., UC Davis, 2003; M.A., UPenn, 2007; ABD, UPenn, 2009) has taught at The Beekman School since 2013. Her career background includes managing academics for Kaplan Test Prep, serving as the Resident Director for the University of Maine's study abroad program in Austria and advising international undergraduate and graduate fellowship recipients. In addition to teaching at The Beekman School, Gabriella is an Adjunct Lecturer at Queens College, CUNY.

Teacher
Cavin Thuring
Education:
BA, Visual and Environmental Studies: Harvard University
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Cavin Thuring
Teacher
Biography:

Cavin Thuring (B.A., Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University, 1989) is the new Digital Arts teacher for Beekman.  With 23 years experience in production and post production graphics and design for the largest global advertising agencies and all major US broadcast networks, Cavin wanted to share his experience and knowledge by teaching the next generation of artists and designers.

 

Teacher
James Vescovi
Education:
BA, English: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
MA, English: Columbia University
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James Vescovi
Teacher
Biography:

James Vescovi (B.A., Miami University, 1982; M.A., Columbia University, 1984) teaches 11th and 12th grade English, Advanced English, and New York City history.  His specialty is 19th and 20th century American literature, and international fiction.  He worked for 25 years as a writer and editor in publishing and academia before joining the Beekman faculty in 2011. His essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, The Baltimore Sun, the Georgetown Review, The Hudson Review, and elsewhere, and he is coauthor of The USS Essex and the Birth of the American Navy (1999). He is also author of Eat Now; Talk Later, a memoir about his eccentric immigrant grandparents (eatnowtalklater.com).

Teacher/Tutor
John Cortez
Education:
BS, Mathematics and Spanish Studies: Fordham University
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John Cortez
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:

John Cortez (B.S., Fordham University, 2009) joined the Tutoring School faculty in the spring of 2012.  His undergraduate concentrations were mathematics and Spanish studies, and he specializes in all levels of these subjects here at Beekman.  John has also had the pleasure of teaching such electives as Economics and Astronomy.

Teacher/Tutor
Paula Nance
Education:
BA, Religion: Wake Forest University
MDiv, Duke Divinity School
MA, Text and Performace Studies: King's College London and Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
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Paula Nance
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:
Teacher/Tutor
Charles Sitler
Education:
BA, Mathematics: Fordham University
MS, Mathematics: Pennsylvania State University
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Charles Sitler
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:

Charles Sitler (B.A., Fordham University, 1968; M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1971) is the chair of the Mathematics Department.  He teaches Geometry, Algebra II & Trigonometry, and Finite Mathematics, as well as one semester electives in the Mathematics of Symmetry, and the Mathematics of Infinity.  His specialty is Logic and the Philosophy of Mathematics, and in previous years has also taught an elective in Eastern Philosophy.  In addition, for over twenty years Charles has been an adjunct professor at New York University, where he most recently taught a course in Precalculus Mathematics.   Charles has been a member of the Beekman faculty since 1988.

Teacher/Tutor
Valentina Figini
Education:
MA, Modern Languages and Literature: UCSC University, Milan
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Valentina Figini
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:
Teacher/Tutor
Touria Ghaffari
Education:
B.A. International Affairs, American University of Paris, France
M.A. TEFL, Azad University, Tehran, Iran
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Touria Ghaffari
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:
Tutor/Teacher
Raven Koch
Education:
BA, Linguistics: University of Oregon
MS, Acupuncture: Tri-State College of Acupuncture
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Raven Koch
Tutor/Teacher
Biography:

Raven Koch (B.A., University of Oregon, 2000; M.S., Tri-State College of Acupuncture, 2007) has over five years of experience teaching and tutoring Beekman students in a wide-range of subjects, from English language and literature to Biology to test preparation and study skills development.  Ms. Koch's academic background included intensive study in both hard and soft sciences and left her with a love of language and the human story.  She can often be found gesticulating wildly while teaching private history classes in the lower level of the school.

Teacher/Tutor
Luis Martin
Education:
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Luis Martin
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:
Teacher/Tutor
Emma Ramos
Education:
BA, Psychology: Marymount Manhattan College
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Emma Ramos
Teacher/Tutor
Biography:

Emma Eden Ramos is a writer from New York City. Her middle grade novella titled The Realm of the Lost was published in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. Her short stories have appeared in Stories for Children Magazine, The Legendary, The Citron Review, BlazeVOX Journal, and other journals. Ramos’ novelette, "Where the Children Play," was included in Resilience: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for LGBT Teens, edited by Eric Nguyen. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems (Heavy Hands Ink, 2011), Ramos’ first poetry chapbook, was shortlisted for the 2011 Independent Literary Award in Poetry. Still, At Your Door: A Fictional Memoir (Writers AMuse Me Publishing, 2014) is Ramos' third book. Ramos currently writes for Luna Luna Magazine. She has published interviews in Agnes Films Journal and WomenWriters, Women['s] Books.