MEET OUR EDUCATORS
Foundations (FS)- 9th Grade
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.
Leonard Melzer - Earth Science
Hello everybody! My name is Leonard Melzer, but around these parts, I’m better known as “Mr. Len.” This is my 14th year teaching Earth science at MIHS. I was born and raised in Flushing Queens, which happens to be where I’m still residing at. I’m a big NY sports fan, with a love of cycling, working out, bowling, guitar playing, and rock/heavy metal music. If you want to get to know me more, feel free to stop by room 518. =)
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 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 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.
Jacqueline Thomas - Literacy/ Special Education
Hello! I am thrilled to be joining the MIHS team as the Foundations 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 432 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!
Choices, Action, Resolution (CAR) - 10th & 11th Grade
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 - 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.
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!
Ammar Bouruba - Math
Mr. B teaches 10th & 11th grade math.
Jane Lawrence - Art/ Literacy/ AP Studio Art
I love teaching literacy through visual arts. There is art club on Fridays after school. Take time from your busy week to make some art!
Innovation and Transformation (IT) - 10th & 11th Grade
Darlene Murphy - English
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.
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 - Literacy/ ESL
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!
Brian Wasserman - Math/ Computer Science
Hello, my name is Brian, I am from upstate NY but currently reside in Queens. I teach math and computer science at MIHS. Some of my hobbies include playing guitar, camping/hiking, and traveling. You can usually find me in room 420 so don’t hesitate to come by and say “hi”!
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.
Achievers (ACH) - 12th Grade
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- 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 - 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!
Gallia Kassiano- English/ ESL
Hi, I'm Gallia (like the flower Dahlia but with a G instead)! I'm the 12th grade ELA teacher at MIHS. I'm also a proud Bronx native, a first generation Mexican American, and a NYC public school alumni. When I'm not teaching I enjoy hiking, indoor cycling, listening to true crime podcasts, and playing competitive board games.
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!
Physical Education - Grades 9-12
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)
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 - 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 - 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 - 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