Foundations (FS)- 9th Grade 

Alioune Sonko

Alioune Sonko - English/ ESL

I was born and raised in Senegal where I taught English in middle school and high school before migrating to the US. I fell in love with New York at first sight and never left it for the past 10 years! At MIHS, I work with an incredible team to teach English to Foundations (FS) students. When I’m not teaching, you might well find me on the field coaching the JREC Girls’ Soccer team, or holding my daughters’ hands exploring the city. I wish to know more about American football and baseball.

Michele Santo-Park - Literacy/WBL

Hello, my name is Michele Santo-Park. I was born in Queens and grew up in central Jersey, but now have returned back to my Queens roots. I teach Literacy/WBL and enjoy welcoming the Foundations class to MIHS! When I am not teaching, I love to run, discuss TV/movies, play piano, hoard stickers, and take care of my plants. Visit me in Room 432 anytime!

Areum Kang

Areum Kang - Social Studies/ ESL

I teach Global History at MIHS, and I am very happy to be here! I was born in South Korea, but was raised in different cities in the U.S. and in South Korea because my family moved around quite often. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy reading, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends. 

Nelly Chouiri

Nelly Choueiri - Math/ Computer Science

Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think. Albert Einstein

Hi, my name is Nelly Choueiri. I am an immigrant myself - a Lebanese American. Besides English, I do speak Arabic, French, and Spanish. I teach Math and Computer Science to our newcomers and I am a Math for America Master Teacher.  When I am not working, I enjoy traveling, walking, spending time with family and friends, and cooking for them.

Leonard Melzer - Earth Science

Hello there!  My name is Len Melzer, and I am the Earth science and technology teacher for the 9th grade Foundations team.  I was born in Flushing, Queens, and have lived in New York city all of my life.  I am a passionate educator who strongly believes that the path to success is paved with bumps along the road!  Helping our student population traverse those bumps is what makes me take pride in what I do everyday here at Manhattan International High School.  In addition to teaching, I enjoy playing guitar, exercising, and spending time with my family. 

Joshua Apple- STEM/ Computer Technology

Choices, Action, Resolution (CAR) - 10th & 11th Grade

Nina Kogut-Akkum

Nina Kogut-Akkum - Social Studies/ ESL

I was born and raised in NYC. Upon spending a semester abroad in Italy while attending Hamilton College, I was smitten with the international life. After graduating from Hamilton with a B.A. in History, I went back overseas and spent two years teaching ESL in Krakow, Poland. I happily teach Social Studies to 10th and 11th graders who bring everything I loved about living abroad to the classroom everyday. When I’m not in the classroom you can find me running, reading, traveling, or admiring art.

Tania Mohammed

Tania Mohammed - English/ ESL 

Hi! I am so thrilled that I get to  teach English Language Arts at MIHS. I was born and raised in in Astoria, Queens, but now I live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I feel very fortunate as both of these places are diverse and has delicious food. When I have free time, I am usually reading, watching foreign dramas (Spanish, Korean, or Hindi), traveling, and relaxing with my friends and family. 

Saul Almanzar-


I was born in  Santiago, Dominican Republic and was raised in Brooklyn NYC. I now live in Queens which Is my favorite borough mainly for its diversity and foods! I am so happy to teach 10th and 11 graders Mathematics here at CAR and am amazed how people from all over the world interpret mathematics in our classroom. In my free time I usually like to read, travel, find the best foods in NYC and play video games. 

Thor Garcia

Thor Garcia - Chemistry/ AP Principles of Computer Science

I was born in Mexico City, or as we like to call it “El D.F.”.  In 1986, my mother and I moved to NYC, where I have been ever since.  My interests are quite varied; art, computers and science to name a few.  Most of all I love to encourage in others their inner scientist. I teach chemistry and health at MIHS and would love you to visit me in room 516.

Jacqueline Thomas

Jacqueline Thomas - Literacy/ WBL

Hello! I am thrilled to be joining the MIHS team as the CAR Literacy teacher. I’m from California originally but I’ve lived all over the West and East Coasts. When I’m not teaching or at my desk in 519 you can usually find me reading, playing video games, traveling, or being active at the gym or outdoors. I’m a huge superhero fan so stop by and talk nerdy things with me!

Seth Blum - Computer Science/Math/WBL

Hello! I'm Seth Blum, currently teaching Computer Science, Financial Literacy and math. From 1999-2014, I proudly taught mathematics at MIHS - everything from algebra to AP Calculus. I am so grateful to be returning after a nine year hiatus, during which time I performed in multiple off-Broadway musicals and also taught math at a High School in Denver, CO. I grew up on Long Island, attended Binghamton University, received a BA at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and an MA in Math Education at CW Post on Long Island. This semester I am starting a music club to share what I've learned singing and playing both piano and guitar in multiple rock bands. I also plan to initiate a Stock Market Club at MIHS where students will compete with other schools in the statewide Stock Market Game while learning about stocks, bonds, mutual funds and how to invest wisely for their future.

Innovation and Transformation (IT) - 10th & 11th Grade

Kholood Qumei

Kholood Qumei - Social Studies/ ESL 

Hi! I was born in Brooklyn, raised in Amman, Jordan, and then began school in America in 7th grade. I’m very proud of my hyphenated (Arab-Filipino-American) background and love learning about my students’ backgrounds! I enjoy teaching 10th and 11th grade Social Studies. When I’m not in room 413, I’m either reading a memoir, traveling, or enjoying the great outdoors!

Yanira Roman

Yanira Roman - Literacy/ WBL

Hola! I’m Yanira, the Literacy teacher for IT. This will be my 4th year at MIHS and in that time I have worked with all the clusters! I love learning about different cultures especially their music and food, so if you ever want to share some delicious samples while listening to some cool tunes come visit me in room 413! 

Laura Allen -


Hello! I'm Laura. I grew up a passionate reader in Monterey Park, a major Chinatown in Los Angeles, California. The women in my family are Cantonese and Mexican... and I learned French as a second language! I am a first-generation American, and I am delighted and grateful to work with immigrants every day, sharing my love of words and learning. I also enjoy rock-climbing and watching ballet. Come by Room 422 and say hi!

Martin Pascual

Martin Pascual - Living Environment/ Health

I am Martin Pascual. I was born in the Philippines and moved to NYC in 2004 as an International teacher. I am currently teaching Living Environment and Health with 10th and 11th grades. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Manhattan International HS, I am very proud and grateful to be part of this amazing community for eleven (11) years. Go MIHS!

Darlene Murphy

Darlene Murphy - Literacy/WBL

I am from Worcester, MA (pronounced Wistah). I grew up in New England, lived on the West Coast and found a home in New York. Words to me are the most powerful weapon any person can own, and through studying the writings of others, and creating our own written masterpieces, we become  powerful.

Edward (Ned) Lauber- Math

Hello! I'm Ned Lauber. I am very grateful to be the IT math teacher here at MIHS! I grew up in Ithaca, NY, attended college in Massachusetts, and spent a few years teaching math in Connecticut before moving to New York City. When I'm not teaching, I enjoy running, playing board games, and exploring new outdoor areas. I also really like different kinds of puzzles. Feel free to stop by room 413 if you ever want to try a new puzzle!

Elvis Nunez- Social Studies

Achievers (ACH) - 12th Grade

Jonathan Weir

Jonny Weir - English/ ESL

Hello! I am so excited to join the MIHS team this year and to work with students from all across the world. I have been teaching for the past 8 years in many different settings from elementary schools in Madrid, Spain to high schools in my home town of Boston. Outside of schools I love traveling, seeing live music, cooking, and practicing yoga. I’m truly looking forward to learning along side my students this year! : )

Dara Valconcha

Dara Valconcha- Math

I teach Calculus. I want students to see mathematics come alive in my classroom as well as in the world they live in. We do portfolio projects in a way that will empower students to be engaging learners in Math and English.

Athena Theodoris

Athena Theodoris - Living Environment

I teach 12th grade Biochemistry at MIHS. Born and raised in NYC. I received my Bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences from Fordham University in New York City and my Master's in Science Education from CUNY Lehman College. I am also a Math for America Master teacher. When I’m not teaching I enjoy traveling, gardening, running, and learning about new scientific discoveries!

Dorentina Caka -

Literacy/Special Education

Hello, I’m Dorentina, but everyone calls me Tina. I was born in Kosovo and moved to the United States at the age of 2. I was raised in Brooklyn but currently live in the Bronx. I am thrilled to teach 12th grade Literacy at MIHS! Can’t wait to grow with each and every one of you!

When I am not in the classroom, I am out shopping, traveling, watching romantic movies, and reading novels! One thing about me is that I LOVE iced coffee! You will never see me without it.

Zachary Klurfeld

Zachary Klurfeld - Government/ Economics/ AP Government & Politics

I was born in Washington DC but have lived in California, Massachusetts, New York, and even New Zealand for a year. I teach 12th grade Government and Economics, which is the best! Outside of the classroom, you might see me playing soccer, going to concerts, or listening to podcasts while walking through the city.  Also, you’ll see me cheering on the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals!

Steven Edwards - Literacy/ESL 

Having come to teaching after spending more than 25 years in the media, I apply journalistic writing techniques to my literacy teaching. As a journalist, I served as UN Bureau chief for Canada’s National Post, and later wrote for Fox News and The Hill. I covered the celebrity scene as a Star magazine reporter and, when based in Paris, covered issues across Europe and Africa. I received award recognition for my reporting on the Guantanamo Military Commissions, the Rwanda Genocide and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Like our students, I learned additional languages, studying French at the Sorbonne and Spanish in Ecuador. I later obtained my Baccalauréat ès Arts (BA) at Université Laval in Québec, and completed a Master’s degree in teaching English at CUNY’s Hunter College. In addition to teaching at MIHS, I advocate for research funding to find a cure for kidney cancer, while my past communications work has included serving with the UN’s campaign to end child-soldier recruitment, which is focused on at least some of the countries from which we draw students.

Physical Education - Grades 9-12

Thomas Pinto

Thomas Pinto- Physical Education 

I am from and currently live in Eastchester, NY. I went to undergrad and graduate school at SUNY Brockport. I love teaching physical education to further enhance quality and necessary physical activity in my students’ lives. When, I am not teaching I am probably playing basketball or torturing myself watching the Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers.

Support Team - (9th-12th)

Alli Finiasz

Allison Finiasz - Guidance Counselor

I am a school counselor and college advisor. My passion is helping students realize and reach their full potential, helping students to become aware of their thinking and how it impacts their lives. I love the energy of high school students and love supporting them through all of the challenges of teenage life/high school! 

Daira Olivero

Daira Olivero - Guidance Counselor

I was born and raised in Colombia. I am an immigrant who loves New York City. I worked as an Early Childhood teacher and in my role as a manager of a community organization I implemented programs to support and mobilized high need communities in my hometown for many years. My passion to strengthen communities led me to a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and a Master's Degree in Counseling with advanced training. I feel blessed to work as a school counselor with newly arrived immigrant students at MIHS. During my leisure time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Madelin Zambrana-Gonzalez

Madelin Zambrana-Gonzalez - School Social Worker

Working at MIHS is a dream come true. My passion is to work with young people and help them to achieve their utmost potential in spite of the barriers that they may face. I am a proud first generation mainland-born American of Puerto Rican and Salvadoran heritage. For years, I’ve worked servicing children and families in underserved communities in the NYC area. My background is in Sociology and Women’s Studies. I am also a NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have a Master’s degree in social work with a specialization in clinical work with adolescents.  During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my daughter and family!

Carolina Cedano

Carolina Cedano - Parent Coordinator

I am a Legal Studies Bachelor’s graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at a young age. Here I had the opportunity to attend The Manhattan International High School. As a former student, I feel that I can relate to many of the struggles our students face as English language learners. My advice to them is that the road may be bumpy but with hard work and dedication they will go far.

Professional Photography © Laura Dwight

Teachers at a PD
Teachers chaperoning a trip
Achiever's Teachers
Faculty Picture from 2018-2019 School year
Foundations Teachers
Field Day at Prospect Park