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Bridge Education Homeschool Teacher Bios Narratives & Teacher Philosophies

Gabriel Chelala holds an MA degree in Education from Saint Peter’s College and an MS degree in Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. He holds a BA degree in Economics from Pace University. Gabriel possesses TESOL and TEFL certificates and is well versed in matters pertaining to International Student Education. Gabriel has taught English and ESL for over 10 years, and he worked as a substitute teacher for the Union City and Englewood, NJ, public school districts, and at North Bergen high school in NJ. Gabriel is presently employed as a CAMPUS school administrator, performing multiple roles. As an ESL Coordinator, he manages a team of faculty, and as a Designated School Official (DSO), he oversees his school’s international student population.

Gabriel’s Teaching Philosophy: Each student learns in his/her own unique way. As an educator, I employ multiple teaching methodologies to ensure that no student is left behind.

Denitra Muhammad holds an MS degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Capella University, and a BBA degree in Business Administration from Dowling College. She also possesses a teaching certificate for English for Speakers of Other Languages from the University of the State of New York and a certificate in HR Management from Middlesex College. She has been an ESL and TOEFL Preparation teacher for several years, providing adult learners with the linguistic tools required to pursue their professional and academic goals. Denitra has worked as an elementary and middle school S.T.E.M teacher, as a S.T.E.M tech assistant instructor and as a S.T.E.M workshop leader. She has also taught Business and Computers as an adjunct instructor.

Denitra’s Teaching Philosophy: The object of learning is knowledge. Knowledge is power. The more knowledge we attain, the more powerful we become.

Jenelyn Ponce holds an M.ED (dual degree) in Special Education/Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations, and English as a Second Language from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She holds a BA degree in English and Professional Education from St. Theresa’s College, Cebu City, Philippines. Jenelyn possesses a graduate certificate in Special Education, Initial Certification (Grades 7-12), Special Education, and an Extension License - ESOL from the New York Department of Education. She is a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards candidate (Early Childhood Through Young Adult Special Education), and she holds an ESL professional teaching license from the University of the State of New York. Jenelyn is a Colorado state licensed teacher with 20 years of teaching experience (having taught ELA, ESL, Special Ed, Math, and Biology). She has a solid training background in and over 8 years of experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.

Jenelyn’s Teaching Philosophy: I believe that a successful teaching-learning process is when everyone interacts, builds positive relationships, and thrives together by celebrating individuality.

Hasan Hafez will soon hold an M.ED degree in Special Education (Generalist 7-12) from Lehman College. He holds an M.ED degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Toronto. He possesses a BS degree in Biology from Umm Al-Qura University. Hasan has years of experience as an ESL instructor, having taught elementary to advanced-level learners. He has delivered college-level language instruction to adult students preparing to enter North American universities. He is a NY state licensed teacher, whose several years of experience working for the NYC DOE includes working with multiple grade levels, elementary and secondary. He has taught Biology and Geology and is presently teaching high school Special Education & Math for the NYC public school system.

Hasan’s Teaching Philosophy: Education is the key to social mobility.

Husam Hafez holds a BS degree in Biology Education from Umm Al-Qura University. He possesses a TESOL certificate (with TOEFL specialization) from TESOL International, and a TESOL license from the University of the State of New York. Husam is a New York state licensed Earth Science and Physics Special Education teacher and has several years of experience working for the NYC DOE; where he has developed syllabi and innovative teaching methods to facilitate learning and implemented initiatives to maintain student retention. He has also taught all levels of ESL and has taught TOEFL iBT Preparation to adult English language learners preparing to transition to colleges and universities in North America.

Husam’s Teaching Philosophy: All children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Students should be given choices and be encouraged to let their curiosity direct their learning.

Sarah Kay holds an M.ED degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She holds a BBusMgt degree (with honors) from the University of Westminster, London, UK. Sarah possesses a TESOL certificate from CUNY, Hunter. She has over 5 years of experience as an ESL instructor, having designed and developed college-level seminars and lessons to enhance students’ group/pair work and presentation skills. She has prepared lessons aligned with the communicative methodology of teaching ESL, and she has composed curricular materials that advance the following skills: reading comprehension, SAT/TOEFL-academic-vocabulary-building and retention, college-level essay writing, oral presentation delivery, listening comprehension, and note-taking. Sarah has also worked as an elementary school teaching assistant.

Sarah’s Teaching Philosophy: The beauty of learning is that it never ends.

Lauren Hendrix holds an MA degree in Music from the University of North Texas and a BA degree in Music from The Berklee College of Music, Boston. She possesses a TESOL certificate. Lauren has taught ESL/English and Music for over 15 years, and she is a member of multiple professional TESOL and Music organizations. Incorporating music into her English-teaching repertoire, she has delivered innovative language instruction to ESL students of all ages and all levels of linguistic proficiency. As an adjunct instructor, she delivered ESL and Music instruction to community college students, and she has worked as a Jazz Chair and Ensemble Coach, and as a Music Theory and String Orchestra Director. She holds numerous awards, including The Berklee College of Music World Scholarship Tour and Elvin Jones Scholarship awards.

Lauren's Teaching Philosophy: Learning is maximized when tradition meets innovation and creativity.

Elayna Kong holds a BA degree in Professional Services in Human Services: Psychology, Counseling, and Social Work, from Audrey Cohen College, New York, NY. She also possesses TESOL/TEFL/TESL certification. Elayna has over 16 years of experience as an English/ESL teacher. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school students abroad, and she has taught adult and senior populations in the US and abroad. She helped college-bound students prepare for the TOEFL iBT exam, and she worked as an English Training Director, in charge of designing and implementing a diverse curriculum for high school and adult students, ages 16-55, of all linguistic competency levels. In addition, Elayna has over 6 years of experience working with students who are intellectually gifted: students who have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Autism, and Asperger's syndrome.

Elayna’s Teaching Philosophy: The simplicity of life: You are never too old to learn.

Susan Choe Modi holds an MA degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore and a BS degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland. She possesses a TESOL certificate from Trinity College, London. Susan has over 25 years of experience as an educator. She has taught English and ESL to middle and high school students, to university undergraduate students, and to adults of all age levels. She has prepared college-bound students to take the TOEFL iBT exam and has taught ESL classes and classes on American Culture to university students. Additionally, Susan worked as an English Language Coordinator and Lecturer where she developed program materials and the course curriculum for undergraduate business students.

Susan’s Teaching Philosophy: An effective educator must encourage students, while engaging in the students' learning process.s

Eileen Fitz Maurice holds an MA degree in Social Psychology from Columbia University, New York, NY, and a BA degree in English (cum laude) from Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She also possesses a TESOL certificate, has been an ESL instructor for several years, and has assisted adults in preparation for the TOEFL iBT exam. Eileen has worked as a Medical Education Program Manager, a Continuing Education Program Manager, a Prevention Educator, and a Director of Recruitment and Volunteers. She has delivered evidence-based life skills and character education programs to hundreds of youth (K-12), adults, and seniors throughout Bergen County, NJ, and has supervised several university interns per year. She has coached middle school up through graduate students on academic writing to prepare them for everything from application requirements to graduate thesis papers. She worked as a Program Coordinator for PSAT/SAT and other entrance exam preparation courses offered by Ivy Test Prep. Additionally, she has worked as a substitute teacher.

Eileen’s Teaching Philosophy: Learning should be enjoyable and a two-way communication. I always try to connect what we are learning to students' every-day lives, and I also always try to have fun. I often learn just as much from my students as they do from me.

Anne Downey holds an MA degree in Foreign Language Education from New York University and a BA degree in Asian Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She possesses a CELTA teaching certificate, a BEST Plus 2.0 Testing Administrator certificate, and a New York State Private Career School Teacher certificate. She is an accomplished ESL teacher, having taught elementary to advanced level adult learners of all ages at multiple ESL schools in New York and New Jersey. She has helped college bound English language learners master university level English proficiency skills via lecture and seminar-style remote and in-person classroom instruction. Additionally, Anne has worked with middle school students as a Mandarin and Future Problem-Solving teacher, and she has also taught Mandarin to elementary school students.

Anne’s Teaching Philosophy: Every student has the potential to succeed. I love nothing more than helping others reach their academic potential through one-of-a-kind, engaging instruction that creates community and boosts confidence in and out of the classroom.