Murray Fisher graduated in 1998 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a degree in Biology and a double minor in Latin American Studies and Environmental Studies. He moved immediately to New York to work for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. at Hudson Riverkeeper. Here he developed an intense love and understanding of the Hudson River, where he spent one year patrolling the river, creating a museum about the history of the environmental movement, and delivering education programs to schools throughout the Hudson Valley. He later helped launch Waterkeeper Alliance, the umbrella organization for the then thirty six Waterkeeper programs throughout the world. Murray left Waterkeeper Alliance in the fall of 2002 to found the NYHS with Richard Kahan from The Urban Assembly.
NYHS was approved in April 2003, and Murray became the school’s Program Director, charged with leading the school with Principal Nate Dudley and bringing the Harbor to NYHS, which was located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Specifically, Murray developed the Career and Technical Education programs, managed the school’s outside partners, raised approximately $300,000 yearly for our on-water and after school programs, and created and managed many of these same after-school, weekend and summer opportunities for students, particularly on the water.
Most importantly, Murray focused on locating a new home for the Harbor School. Governors Island was always the ideal site, though he proposed eighteen sites around the Harbor. And in September 2010 the school moved to its new home on Governors Island. That same fall, Murray opened the New York Harbor Foundation and completed the $3 million capital campaign for the school’s future Marine Science and Technology Center.
Edward joined NYHS in 2010.
Stephanie joined NYHS in 2010. Stephanie is a native New Yorker and has enjoyed teaching English Language Arts here for the last eleven years. She majored in English/Communications and earned a B.A. from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, as well as an M.A.T. from Fordham University. In 2006 she earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification. Prior to pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher, she spent nine years working in the high-paced world of direct response advertising. She is passionate about teaching and learning and hasn’t looked back since. Stephanie is always keeping an eye out for opportunities to add more stamps to her passport and more recipes to her handwritten cookbook.
Mia joined NYHS in 2010.
Tim joined NYHS in 2005. After graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington with a BA in English Literature, Timothy spent a year as an intern at the Leaderships Decisions Institute in Nobleboro, Maine. There he felt too close to home and moved to Brooklyn concurrent with acceptance to the New York City Teaching Fellows program. He spent three years teaching at a middle school in Bushwick before joining the staff at New York Harbor School. He currently misplaces his papers in a text rich classroom where his students deftly recover them.
Nellie joined NYHS in 2010. Nellie has worked as a Social Worker with various populations in and around New York City since 1987. She has experience both in her private practice and in the public sector. Nellie has worked with the criminal justice system providing alternatives to prison programs, providing therapy and case management for HIV/AIDS population, a PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision) Diversion program, transitioning parolees back to society. She earned her BA at the College of New Rochelle, and her Masters of Social Work at The Hunter College School of Social Work. She later studied at the Salvador Minuchin Family Therapy Institute, and participated in a post-graduate training supervision and administration program at Hunter college. At Columbia University, Nellie was a supervisor with the SIFI (Seminars In Field Instruction) program. Nellie is loving the opportunity to immerse herself in the world of marine sciences at Harbor School and she really appreciates Harbor’s sense of community.
Karla joined NYHS in 2010. Karla is the Social Worker and Site Director for the GPS (Graduate, Succeed, Prepare) Program of Grand Street Settlement. Karla earned her BA in Secondary French and International Studies (Education Minor) from Adelphi University in Garden City, Long Island. She earned her Masters of Social Work and Law Policy from Stony Brook University. Karla has experience counseling both families and individuals through issues surrounding substance abuse, adolescence, domestic violence. Karla is dedicated to ensuring students come to Harbor every day ready to learn. She challenges each Harbor student to commit to 100% attendance.
Alissa joined NYHS in 2011. In 2006, Alissa graduated from SUNY Maritime College with a B.S. in Marine Transportation and a USCG 3rd Mates any gross tonnage license. She worked in the shore side Maritime industry for three years before deciding to make a career change working with young adults. She returned to her alma mater as a College Admissions Counselor. To further her education in this field, she is currently pursuing a M.S. in Educational Psychology at Capella University. She is now joyfully combining her maritime and educational passions working with Harbor students to prepare early for college and building their college portfolio by engaging in opportunities outside of the classroom.
Emily joined NYHS in 2010. In 2004, Emily graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a B.A. in Sociology. She moved to New York and worked at a law firm before returning to school to pursue her passion for working with children. At Teachers College, Emily studied School Counseling and received her M.A. and Ed. M. in Psychological Counseling. She developed her interest in working with high school students on the college process when volunteering with New York City teenagers and seeing the challenges students face. She now happily helps Harbor students as they prepare for college.
Liv joined NYHS in 2007. She is an east coast native, with family roots in Brooklyn and the Bronx. She has lived in Brooklyn off and on since 1993. After a broad survey of New York’s facilities of higher education she received her Bachelor’s degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and is finishing her Master’s work at Pace University. She is an east coast native, with family roots in Brooklyn and the Bronx. She has lived in Brooklyn off and on since 1993. After a broad survey of New York’s facilities of higher education she received her Bachelor’s degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and is finishing her Master’s work at Pace University. She has been frequently distracted from her formal education by a wide variety of social justice issues and endeavors. She currently lives fifteen blocks from the New York Harbor School. Liv is an avid scuba diver, gardener and teacher. She has a small cat named Peanut who frequently falls off the porch and various other flat surfaces. Liv is married to Joseph Gessert, another Harbor School staff member.
Ann is a founding member of NYHS faculty and has been teaching interdisciplinary Harbor classes since 2003. Ann holds an Earth Science, Social Studies and Administrator Certificate. Before joining the Harbor School she had one year of NYC public school teaching experience at John Ericsson Junior High School in Greenpoint. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University where she majored in Environmental History and minored in Education in 2001. Ann was a member of the second cohort of the the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College and graduated in 2007. She has crewed on tall ships all over the North Atlantic, with Sea Education Association and other outfits, where she gained experience sailing and doing on-water education. Additionally, Ann spent two months aboard the RV Ewing in 2002 working with a science team to study the South East Indian Ridge in the Southern Ocean. Ann recently earned her Merchant Mariner Credential for 100-ton Inland Vessels and prefers to be called “Little Captain Annie.”
Tizoc joined NYHS in 2004. As a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain, and with years experience of with water-related programs, Tizoc co-teaches Harbor School’s on-water programs and classes. From teaching students how to drive boats to in-class buoyancy challenges, Tizoc uses all of his skills and talents from working in the movie industry, restorative work in museums and maintaining historic ships. He also is Head Coach of the school’s premier rowing team, which has won both local and regional competitions for student and teacher crews.
Mauricio joined NYHS in 2010. Born 2,500 meters above sea level on the Andean mountain plateau, amongst ammonite fossils pushed up from the bottom of the Pacific 25 million years ago, Mauricio was flown to the US by his parents and grew up in Flushing, New York, where he attended Archbishop Molloy High School. After a brief stint studying aerospace engineering in college, he decided to go cross country to explore and live in San Francisco. After a year of soul searching he felt he was ready to pursue a degree in Marine Biology back home on the Andean Plateau. He spent 7 years in Colombia, finishing up his degree with a full scholarship. While there he wrote a thesis book on coral reefs of the Tayrona National Park, where he was the park scientist for a year. He also defended sea turtles from poachers often sleeping on a raincoat on the beach with one eye open. After conducting workshops and living among local fisherman he decided his calling was in environmental education. With this experience he returned to New York in 2001, and immediately began to work at schools with underrepresented youth. In his 9 years of teaching he has developed innovative programs to enhance youth’s exposure to the natural world. He is currently an adjunct professor of research through SUNY Albany, lives in Harlem, and when not working, he enjoys delicious meals with his fiancée, practices martial arts, and listens to 80s punk from Chicago’s finest forges on his old ‘70s Sansui stereo.
Rick joined NYHS in 2005. Rick is a native of Colorado, where he was born and partly raised. He received his B.A. in English and Creative Writing from NYU and his M.S. in Math Education from Pace University. Prior to teaching, Rick spent eight of his summers fishing salmon commercially in Southeast Alaska. Prior to teaching, Rick reviewed books for Associated Press while working as a welder and carpenter for various small shops in Brooklyn. He is developing the Ocean Engineering CTE Course of Study.
Pete joined NYHS in 2008. Pete was raised farming Fishers Island Oysters and uses the bivalve as an environmental and sustainability teaching tool with young people in New York City. After graduating from Vassar, Pete went to work with Ocean Classroom, sailing with high school students on Tall Ship Westward. Pete teaches Aquaculture, runs the Oyster Research and Restoration Project, and believes in the healing powers of an oyster population on the Harbor. .
Brendan is a founding member of the NYHS faculty and has been teaching Marine Technology at the school since 2003. Brendan is a life time sailor and rower who attended The Sound School in New Haven, CT and graduated from City College in 1991. Brendan has been a house and boat carpenter, founding and running his own company, Malone Marine Carpentry for many years. He was the Youth on Water Coordinator for Floating the Apple from 1998 to 2005. He began his teaching career in 1996 at PS 811M in Manhattan where he supervised a junior high school class in the building of Rachel Carson, a 25 foot White Hall Gig. Brendan has two daughters. Brendan is an ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) Certified Marine Systems Technician. He is also the coach of Harbor School’s winning Rowing Team.
Aaron joined NYHS in 2010. A native of New York City, Aaron has worked on vessels of all shapes and sizes, in and around New York’s Harbor and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. He has experience on tall ships, schooners, and motor boats of all sizes. He knows all the tricks to the art of line tossing and rope tying. Aaron is delighted to coach students and staff of all ages and abilities at the helm of Harbor School’s own vessel, the Indy 7.
Michael joined NYHS in 2008. A “native” New Yorker by way of Greece, teaches both Math and Forensic Science at New York Harbor School. Mike is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where received a Bachelor’s of Science degree for his study in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He also received a Master’s degree in Secondary Education of Mathematics from St. John’s University through the New York City Teaching Fellows program. He is currently certified to teach both math and science and hopes that by challenging his students he can instill in them the love he has for both subjects.
Marilyn joined NYHS in 2006. Marilyn is the Track Coach.
Harold joined NYHS in 2011.
Johnny joined NYHS in 2010. He is active in the Rowing Team and is dedicated to making sure Harbor Students are at their best physically so they can be their best academically.
Jason joined NYHS in 2010.
Ernest joined NYHS in 2009.
Bev joined NYHS in 2005.
Sofie joined NYHS in 2010. Sofie began working at the Harbor School in September 2010. Before coming to Harbor she spent two years as the Assistant to the CEO and Marketing Coordinator of the publishing company ReadHowYouWant. Sofie graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2008 where she majored in History and minored in both Caribbean & Latin American Studies and Gender Studies. She also played Varsity Lacrosse and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma where she held the positions of Secretary and Philanthropy Chair. Sofie grew up on the Fishers Island Oyster Farm with her Mom, Dad and four older siblings and has lived in New York City since 2008.
Belia joined NYHS in 2004. She is the mother of three and her youngest son graduated from New York Harbor School.
Cadian joined NYHS in 2009
Pamela joined the staff of NYHS in 2005.
Carter joined NYHS in 2010.
Jason joined NYHS in 2010. Jason has taught Spanish and has a degree in Conflict Resolution. He is enthusiastic about scuba diving in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas. He loves it when students pick up after themselves on the basketball court.
Sarah came to New York City from Connecticut to attend Fordham University. There she received her Bachelors degree in Chemistry, with a minor in Sociology. Sarah received her Masters in Science Education from New York University through the Teach NYC Partnership for Teacher Excellence Scholarship. There she gained teaching experience at Essex Street Academy and Beacon High School. She came to New York Harbor School in 2008 after hearing about the school during a weekend sail on the Lettie G. Howard.
Roy is a native of Brooklyn, and has been teaching science in New York City since 1989 and has served as a science department leader and curriculum developer in a variety of secondary education settings. He has developed and taught courses in biology, environmental science, research and marine science. An original member of the planning team – Roy has been at New York Harbor School since its inception. He has a B.S. in biology from Marist College, on the Hudson River, and a Master’s in Environmental Science Education.
Roy helped develop and co-teach Introduction to New York Harbor, an interdisciplinary 9th grade field class that has an in-house component for lab and class work. The course takes students on and near the water around the NY/NJ estuary system to learn about local ecology, marine science, water quality, human impact and history.
Roy is currently involved in several community projects related to estuary science, small boat handling, composting, local food systems, community gardens and bicycle advocacy. He seeks out research opportunities during the summer and has volunteered as a field tech on several projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Alaska. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Columbia University Summer Research Program for Science Teachers since he participated in the program in 1996- where he spent two summers studying the molecular biology of parasitic worms in an environmental health science lab. When not in the field, on the water or on his bike, he likes to see live music or escape the city for the forest.
e-mail Roy at: rarezzo(at)nyharborschool.org.
Melissa joined NYHS in 2009.
Melissa Dowd, a native New Yorker, graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. She received a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education from CUNY City College with a specialization in Biology and Earth Science through the NYC Teaching Fellows program. Melissa teaches the science component of the “Introduction to NY Harbor” freshman course here at Harbor. Melissa’s extensive outdoor environmental education experience led her to the Harbor School, where experiential education is a keystone of the program. Melissa can be found snowboarding the slopes of the northeast with Harbor students through Burton Snowboard’s CHILL program.
Susie joined NYHS in 2007. She had been teaching in New York City for seven years before finding safe harbor at The New York Harbor School where she currently teaches Civics and Marine Policy. Prior to working at Harbor School she taught and worked on a team to develop the internship model at the Bronx Guild High School. She gained a passion for environmental and social justice issues at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where she earned a degree in Humanities. She completed her Masters degree in Education with a concentration in Secondary Social Studies from the City College of the City University of New York in June 2005. Susie is a surfer, an activist, and the leader of the New York Harbor School Surf and Ocean Conservation Club.
Alex Jones joined NYHS in 2010. He teaches U.S. History and wears glasses that make him look like Drew Carey. He reads a lot of comics and plays a lot of pinball. He went to Reed College in Oregon but graduated about a hundred years ago and is glad to be out of there. He taught for five years at Metropolitan Corporate Academy in downtown Brooklyn, where he coached debate and listened to plenty of heavy metal. He hopes someday his commute to the Harbor School will be by kayak instead of bike. He makes great split pea soup.
Jeremy joined NYHS in 2007. He is from a small town in Southern Oregon. He grew up fishing, tubing, and kayaking on the Rogue River. He made his way to New York after a short stint in Boston, and ten years in Boulder, Colorado. There he received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and his Secondary Teaching License in Social Studies from The University of Colorado at Boulder (go Buffs!) Jeremy found a home at the New York Harbor School because of his love for the rivers and waterways of New York and his passion for history. Outside of school Jeremy and his wife Nicole enjoy hiking, fishing, and traveling the Eastern Seaboard whenever possible. Jeremy also enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, and cooking for anybody willing to eat.
Awilda has a passion for teaching. Awilda is originally from Puerto Rico but grew up in Brooklyn, having lived in East New York, Bed-Stuy and Bushwick. After graduating from Bushwick High School, Awilda attended Manhattan Community College where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Bilingual Secretarial Science. Next, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Upper Iowa University with a major in Special Education and a minor in Business Education. Awilda went on to earn two master’s degrees at Long Island University in Bilingual Special Education and English as a Second Language with a Spanish extension. Awilda is a veteran teacher with more than 20 years experience teaching in the Bushwick community. She currently serves as the Foreign Language teacher and Collaborative Team Teacher in Global Studies. Awilda enjoys teaching because being around young people gives her stamina and energy, and at the same time she gives them the time and attention they need to succeed.
Curtis joined NYHS in 2009. Curtis started college in Madison, Wisconsin, on an isthmus between two giant lakes. From there he travelled to St. Andrews, Scotland, where he found himself nestled in the gorse of the River Eden Estuary. Following that he headed west again, to study at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he hiked seemingly untouched alpine lakes and streams. From there he felt the pull of the Atlantic, and after a short stint in Providence, RI, wound up in New York State.
He studied first at Bard, in the heart of the Hudson Valley, and then became a Teaching Fellow in NYC. Realizing the common theme running through his life was cool, crispy water, Curtis quickly raced to accept a job at the New York Harbor School. He is now a proud co-teacher for the Special Education Department.
Joseph joined NYHS in 2007. He hails from the drizzly city of Eugene, Oregon. He moved to New York in 1997 and graduated NYU with a Bachelor’s degree of great interest but little use. He has worked at a number of youth centers, including the WOW Hall in Eugene Oregon and ABC No Rio in NYC. His dedication to “the kids” and the community has led him to volunteer in organizations against globalization, police brutality and gentrification. He has traveled extensively, loves all animals (particularly cats and otters), and is a solid bassist. He has a large cat named Mama Yaga, who frequently eats, and currently weighs a mere 18 pounds. He is also married to Liv Dillon, a teacher at the NY Harbor School.
Rebecca joined NYHS in 2008 . She began her teaching career at Far Rockaway High School in 2005. After completing her Bachelors in Biology at Binghamton University, she joined the New York City Teaching Fellows program. She joined the Harbor School because no other school in New York City offers such a unique mission with such a dedicated and energized staff and student body. In addition to teaching self-contained and CTT Living Environment at the Harbor School, she is also the lead teacher for the Special Education division of the Intro to New York Harbor Course. Rebecca completed her Masters at Pace University.
Heather joined NYHS in 2010 after teaching for three years in Brooklyn. She has a BA in Psychology from Colgate University. After graduating from Colgate she worked for Johnson & Johnson in the pharmaceutical industry. While working, she wished to continue her education and completed a Masters degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University in May 2007. Her love of education ultimately drove her into the classroom and to complete a degree in Education. In August 2010 she graduated from Pace University with a Masters in Education. Heather resides in nearby Battery Park City and enjoys the NY Harbor on a daily basis. This summer she began a basic sailing course and will continue to progress in her passion for the water! Her interests include softball, traveling, skiing and biking.
Shelley joined NYHS in 2011.