NYC Teaching Collaborative


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Meet Our Teachers

Successful Partner Teachers…

  • Are committed to raising the academic achievement of students in low-income communities.
  • Want to join a community of educators at a high-need school.
  • Respond well to coaching and feedback.
  • Have a track record of success and leadership experience.
  • Persevere in the face of challenges.
  • Think critically and analytically.
  • Desire to grow professionally and seek new opportunities to learn.
  • Demonstrate integrity and clarity in all interactions.

Get to know a few of the extraordinary teachers and exceptional leaders currently inspiring NYC public school students. Meet our talented, dedicated, and driven Partner Teachers.

From diverse personal and professional backgrounds, our cohort is bound by the common belief that every student has limitless potential for academic achievement and success. Our Partner Teachers never give up on our students, our communities, or themselves.

Dionne Letts

Special Education

After years of the corporate world hustle, I began to ask myself "what more can I do?" Prior to applying to the NYC Teaching Collaborative, I was working for one of New York's largest healthcare systems as a Marketing Coordinator. I also have tons of experience as a dance teacher. The length of training in the classroom appealed to me. Having not experienced a classroom setting outside of my time as a student, I wanted to give myself the best chance to succeed at this new venture. 

If teaching is what you want to do, you will know within the first week of being in the classroom. As you go through the program you'll face many hurdles. However, you should always think back to the reason why you were drawn to teaching in the first place. My biggest joy is getting through a lesson and reviewing exit tickets or homework. Just to know that "I did that" makes me so proud. 

"Whether it is the shy kid who never wants to speak up or the performer who doesn't have any outlets to share their talents; I want to be there to help them navigate it all."

Jesse Markowitz

Science Immersion

I became a teacher because I knew I needed to find a job that would be meaningful, require creativity and problem solving, and be different every day. The extended training apprenticeship model of the Collaborative ensures hands-on experience from the beginning, which meant I could apply what I learned immediately. The cohort model provides a tight-knit community of support from other teachers who are in the same situation as I am, so I always have someone to go to for help. The community we formed is easily the most valuable part of the Collaborative.

I love that no day is ever the same, that I have the chance to continually learn from my mistakes and improve my practice

My biggest joy in the classroom is watching my children learn without me. I can only provide opportunities for them to learn; I can’t learn for them. When they take what I’ve given them and run further than I thought they could, it’s the best feeling in the world.

"No matter how good I get at teaching, there will always be new things for me to learn and new ways for me to improve."

Robert Jordan

English Language Arts
As the son of working class parents, and the first child in my family to graduate from high school and college, I experienced firsthand the transformative role education plays in the lives of students who grow up in poverty. Outstanding teachers, fantastical books, and the zeal of unbounded learning provided me the escape hatch I needed for success, and now I want to be a guidepost for the next generation of learners who seek to free themselves from the confines of their inherited socio-economic circumstances.
I am teaching at a high school in the Bronx with a 46% graduation rate. Education attainment, particularly the ability to read, write, and think critically, is crucial to the success of our students, in and out of the classroom. I feel indebted to the teachers who came before me, and inspired by the students I teach everyday in my classroom, to do everything in my power to help transform our kids from bystanders to active participants in learning and discovery. The kids are hilarious, brilliant, and delightful. Even when I’m sick or struggling with personal problems, they will say or do something that makes me laugh so hard I start crying, or cry so hard I start laughing.
"The days are long and challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is my life’s calling, and if it’s yours too, you’ll want nothing more."

Patrick Higgins

History/Social Studies

"I come to school every day excited, not only to teach social studies content, but to help foster skills that each and every student will use as they further their academic careers. At the end of the day, those transferable skills such as accountability, argumentative writing, and professionalism, are what I try to instill in my students. 

What drew me to the NYC Teaching Collaborative was the extended, hands-on experience in the classroom that it offers. Whereas other alternative certification programs only provide a few weeks of classroom teaching, the Collaborative allows Partner Teachers the necessary time to develop their teaching practices. These include classroom management, lesson planning and eventually unit planning. In my view, I will be much more well-prepared to become a full-time teacher because of the Collaborative experience."

"Students in high-need schools need teachers who are passionate about learning."

Yaritza Prendergast


"I have a background in science and I have always had a passion for teaching, evident from my experience teaching children and adults in the art of dance. I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to be an inspiration the way I was inspired when I attended school. 

In the beginning, I was more nervous than scared. I never thought that I would be able to teach successfully. After implementing the tools and strategies I learned, my biggest joy is watching my students get the “Ah-ha!” moment, and I know they learned something. My biggest doubt was the ability to be prepared to teach in such a short amount of time, but with all the training I feel more confident and more effective at teaching."

"I can see my students are gaining knowledge and it gives me a sense of pride."

Arthur Jackson

Special Education

For the past 18 years, I have worked with parents, teachers, school administration, and other agencies to improve students' attendance, create programs to address academic and social needs, and create opportunities to increase college and career readiness. What excites me about teaching in NYC public schools is getting the chance to influence our youth by modeling positive behaviors, setting standards and expectations for student achievement, and working with others to improve the educational process from within

By modeling best practices for us during our training, the instructors from the NYC Teaching Collaborative painted a high definition image of how to succeed in the classroom. My ability to comprehend complex situations has improved vastly over the past 5 months. Now, I have considerably better understanding of the educational system and how important educators are to our society. Listening to, observing and learning from our instructors, on-site coaches, administrators and others gives me the motivation to stay focused, becoming a part of the solution to better serve our students and communities.

"What motivates me is my desire to be a person of action and not just talk about social awareness and change for improving our nation."