THE BEST & THE BRIGHTEST

Our Team

Research demonstrates that providing gifted children with in-school opportunities for accelerated learning and talent development with ability peers improves long-term academic achievement, creative accomplishment, and commitment to learning — and not doing so contributes to chronic underachievement, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation and direction, especially among gifted students with learning challenges (i.e., 2e students).

 

At the heart of everything we do at Lang is talent development, which surfaces and stokes passions, provides structure and viability for big ideas, instills a sense of purpose and commitment, and, ultimately, develops gifts and grit. Professional development (PD) — talent development for staff — is as vital to Lang's model as talent development for students. Our staff is invited to refine and reflect on their own skills and passions via ongoing in-house coaching and year-round PD both on campus and off. A school can only sustain a robust student talent development program with a growth mindset-oriented team of teachers continuously invited to develop their own strengths and talents.

 

With highly credentialed faculty trained in gifted and special education who are content area masters and who understand our students' acceleration and support needs, students thrive at Lang. We take great pride in our staff's commitment to helping our students achieve their full potential, and we demonstrate that pride by investing heavily in our staff's achievement of their own full potential. 

We are always looking for dynamic, driven, collaborative educators and support professionals with a growth mindset to work with our unique population of learners. Lang staff enjoy exceptional on-site supervision and coaching in pedagogy and planning, plentiful access to paid professional development, generous planning periods, and a strong sense of community support (from school leadership to peers and parents). Interested applicants should email micaela.bracamonte@thelangschool.org (no phone calls) and include a professional resume listing credentials, as well as a cover letter explaining interest in Lang and describing experiences with exceptional populations.

Micaela was a twice-exceptional student from the get-go (gifted with “special” needs), skipping preschool because she learned to read at 3, then failing kindergarten because she couldn't memorize the alphabet. Throughout her studies, teachers and peers told her she had too many questions and too many answers.

Micaela received her honors English B.A. and Journalism M.A. from The University of Maryland and, after graduate school, she wrote for the Gannett family of newspapers. At Gannett, she was the managing editor of a city magazine, and a freelance writer covering the Arts for publications including The Wall Street Journal Europe.

Micaela's plan to return to journalism after giving birth to her first son was a nonstarter, as he didn't stop crying — for about a year. So began a journey of searching for the right daycare, a good-fit preschool, and an accommodating elementary school for her precocious, high energy boy. Following forays into Montessori schools, a citywide gifted program, and both public and private special education classrooms, Micaela concluded that the rigorous, supportive elementary school she was looking for didn't exist yet for her (by then) two boys. She expected her children to be challenged, respected, supported, and inspired at school.‘’

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, was named a 2017 Educator of the Year by
Education Update, and teaches writing to loquacious, articulate, but reluctant writers at Lang.

When Micaela is not at Lang, she enjoys spending time with Andreas, her two sons, and their four cats in Brooklyn.

Founder & Head of School

Micaela Bracamonte

Co-Head of School & Director for Education

Andreas Olsson

Staff Developer

Anne Palmer

Anne works collaboratively, supporting 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 on behavior disorders. She was a classroom teacher for ten years, teaching grades K through 5 in both self-contained and inclusive co-taught classrooms.

Eight 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. She is thrilled to be splitting her time now between Lang and TCICP and looks forward to more years of collaboration and learning with the Lang community. Anne looks forward to more years of collaboration and learning with the Lang community.

Staff Developer

Erika Hugh Hooper

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 more than 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 about how students and teachers learn and exploring innovative ways of maximizing both.

School Psychologist

Katie Dempsey

Katie is a certified school psychologist who came to Lang in 2016 from a Brooklyn-based charter school where she provided individual and group counseling, psychoeducational 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 8th grade. Katie is Lang’s reigning Connect Four champion.

Guidance Counselor

Adrienne Frumberg

Adrienne Frumberg is the founder of Lighthouse Guidance, co-founder of Teenz In The City, and a passionate educator and counselor. She has ten years of experience in the field of college counseling, with particular expertise in colleges offering support for students with LDs and other special learning needs. She has toured more than 100 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. Adrienne works privately and with schools to assist students and families in navigating the college application process, as well as supporting students with the transition from secondary school to college and work life. She has worked in this capacity at independent schools, including Loyola School, Aaron School, Fordham Preparatory School, and Academics West. When Adrienne 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 or learning differences. She has a master's in counseling from NYU and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lafayette College. She has also completed the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions. Though she has a family, Adrienne is a cat lady at heart.

Director of Occupational Therapy

Michael Ryan

Michael was awarded his M.S. in Occupational Therapy from NYU and is now in his eleventh year of professional practice (and second year at Lang). Before joining the Lang team, he was an outpatient pediatric O.T. at Charleston Pediatric Rehabilitation in S.C. Before moving south, Mike 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 O.T., 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 the distance from 50k to 100 miles.

Director for Theater Arts

Michael Cates

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. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Michael 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. Michael was 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. Before Lang, Michael worked as a paraprofessional in NYC public schools.

Assistant Director for Computer Science & Technology

Jim Stewart

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. 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 over fifteen years. Now in his fifth year at Lang, Jim teaches our students formal logic, applied logic (programming/software engineering), and engineering in our make space.

Upper School Advisor & Math Teacher

Matthew Gross

Matthew earned his master's degree from Teacher's College in 2010 and has been teaching mathematics in New York City ever since. He has been working at Lang for five years. He is drawn to the beauty and simplicity of theoretical mathematics, is slowly warming up to application and engineering problems, but realizes 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.

Middle School Science Teacher & Coach

Michele Heggli

Michele co-teaches sixth grade at Lang. 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 Fifth 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.

Upper School Advisor & English Teacher

Elizabeth Masci

As an English Teacher and Upper School advisor, Elizabeth brings her love of writing and character analysis to every student, whether they enjoy Shakespeare or graphic novels. 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.

Upper School Science Teacher

Rey Horowitz

Rey was born and raised in Queens and now calls Brooklyn home. Rey received an M. Ed. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, after graduating with a B.S in Environmental Science from Antioch College. Rey has taught high school science for over fifteen years, including at one of the city’s specialized high schools, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program. Rey was awarded a Master Teacher fellowship with the first cohort of science teachers by Math for America.

6th & 7th Grade Co-Teacher

Cara Dempsey

Cara grew up in small-town New Jersey, where she was usually hiding in the library or trading comics with her friends at recess. From an early age, she knew that she wanted to become a teacher. Her commitment to learning and a lifelong love of reading eventually brought her to Skidmore College, from which she graduated with a degree in Childhood Education and English Literature. Cara's mission is to empower her students to communicate and to share their stories with the world.

Organization & Efficiency Czar

Dawn Falcone

Dawn has been working for ten years with busy NYC families, executives, and businesses to clear clutter, eliminate overwhelm, and streamline operations to increase productivity. At Lang, she helps teachers with different priorities, ways of thinking, and needs for organization to work more seamlessly in sharing physical and virtual spaces. She also supports the Lang administration in creating and implementing systems that translate the school's mission and values into daily practices. Dawn is a time management expert and problem solver extraordinaire.

In her spare time, Dawn likes to read, write, dance, and hang with her boys in their PA house in the woods.

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 the topic.

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 a software engineering company specializing in smart databases that aggregate, consolidate, and correlate big data.

Since joining forces with Micaela to found The Lang School in 2010, Andreas has been teaching and developing curricula for G&T students. Leveraging his in-depth 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. He is also a board member at the Center for War/Peace Studies.

Andreas also enjoys working on his passion projects, 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.

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