Francis Mechner, PhD, (Director) received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1957 and remained a member of the psychology department's teaching faculty until 1960. He has performed basic and applied research in the fields of learning and educational technology; created applications of individualized instruction for numerous industrial and governmental agencies; developed and installed innovative statewide early childhood programs for several states; and was part of Sesame Street's original design team. As an educational consultant to UNESCO, he led projects for the modernization of science teaching in South America and Asia. In 1969 he founded the Paideia School, a K-12 independent school in Armonk, NY, which first implemented the approach to personalized instruction that is now employed at Queens Paideia. Dr. Mechner has published influential technical papers and articles and has lectured and taught courses at universities worldwide. He is president of the Mechner Foundation, which conducts research in the field of learning, and is a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Karyn Slutsky (Assistant Director) is a graduate of Brandeis University and worked as an editorial and production consultant (nonfiction/academic books and Web sites) for more than 20 years. She co-founded QPS in 2009 and oversees outreach and communications as well as develops and teaches QPS's Belief Systems curriculum, which examines beliefs across different aspects of living—religion, food, birth/death, the media, psychology—and how they are formed.
Vic Fiallo (Learning Manager) has served in managerial, administrative, and leadership roles in New Jersey and New York schools for more than 12 years, including as Department Chairman for Math and Science Education. An alternative education professional and advocate, he is also a highly regarded math educator and has many years' experience teaching biology and the sciences in general. Mr. Fiallo, whose master's degree is from Teachers College, Columbia University, is committed to creating learning cultures that promote consciousness regarding health, nutrition, and fitness, as well as social, environmental, and economic awareness. His background and philosophy fit in well with QPS's emphasis on self-motivation, independence, and contribution.
Tim Fredrick, PhD, (Learning Manager) has taught elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as college undergraduates and graduates. Through his wide range of experience, he understands how language is acquired, how literacy is improved, and the latest best practices for encouraging both. He has a master’s degree in English Education, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from New York University. Mr. Fredrick has been published in international academic journals and regularly presents (in the United States and abroad) his research on language use. He is also a published short story writer and the founding editor of Newtown Literary, a semi-annual literary journal that focuses on supporting writers and poets living in Queens, NY.
Sara Boyle (Learning Manager) earned a BA in International Relations from Boston University and a master’s in Museum Education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education. Her teaching experiences in classrooms and museum settings, and with diverse groups of students (preschool to grade 12) using progressive methodology, bring a fresh perspective to QPS’s social studies program. She has previously held positions at the American Folk Art Museum, Bank Street School of Education, Ethical Culture Fieldstone School, Bright Horizons preschool, and Harlem RBI & REAL Kids.
Brandon Glasgow (Learning Manager) has taught biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as all levels of mathematics through pre-calculus, while working as an instructional tutor at Lydian Academy in Menlo Park, California. He has coached students in test-taking skills and time management, taught ISEE/SSAT and intensive SAT prep courses, and wrote ISEE/SSAT course prep material. Mr. Glasgow, a graduate of University of Boulder-Colorado in Engineering and Applied Science, is also a musician and audio engineer.
Jaime Andrés Cubillos-Ballesteros (Spanish) has taught Spanish for more than 7 years, while also working as an interpreter for New York businesses and institutions. In addition to his work at QPS and language classes, he is a private instructor and language consultant to prominent business figures and politicians. He received his degree in Literature Studies from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, his native country. Cubillos-Ballesteros’s awareness of the growing importance of Spanish in the United States led him to form his own company, Gatold.com Language Solutions.
Camille Hoffman (Art) holds a BFA in Community Arts and Painting from California College of the Arts and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art. Since 2006 she has worked as an educator, mentor, and program manager for the California College of the Arts Center for Art & Public Life, 826 National, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jerome Project. She was recently Yale’s Department of New Haven and State Affairs Artist in Residence at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School in New Haven. Ms. Hoffman has received the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize from Yale University, an NEA scholarship, and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Her work has been shown throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Aaron Butler (Music) is a specialist in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and is on the faculty of the Lucy Moses School and LIC Academy of Music. He is musical director for Mind the Art Entertainment and a founding member of Sound Narcissist. Mr. Butler graduated from Amherst College and holds a master's in piano from the Longy School of Music. As a musician and accompanist, he is comfortable in a variety of musical styles—from baroque through contemporary classical, opera, Broadway, and improvisation.
Mary Lauren (Drama) holds a BFA in theater, with a musical theater concentration. A professional actor, singer, dancer, and director/choreographer, she has directed and choreographed more than 30 shows, worked all over New York, including off-Broadway, and regionally in California and New Mexico, and is a member of the illustrious Workshop Theatre Company. She has taught children ages 2- 18 for 14 years, including as part of Long Island City's Secret Theatre, through whom Mary is aligned with Queens Paideia. Through song, dance, and storytelling, her students have a joyful time and learn and practice important social skills.
Lisa Graziano (Movement Education) is an instructor of dance and general movement to children of all ages and involved in many aspects of New York’s dance scene. She has taught at the Mark Morris Dance Center, LIC School of Ballet, and Astoria Dance Center, and recently became part of Alvin Ailey's teaching faculty; she served as production intern for Gallim Dance and special ed teacher for Rebecca Kelly Ballet. Her educational “mission” is to provide students with tools to continually learn about themselves and incorporate practical but enriching physical regimens throughout their lives. She received her BFA in dance from Montclair State College.
Laurilyn Jones (Administrator/Mechner Foundation)
received a B.A. in history of art from Yale University in 1991. Since 1998, as the Mechner Foundation's Director of Operations, she has coordinated and conducted a basic research and publication program in the field of learning and the behavioral sciences, in collaboration with Dr. Francis Mechner, and administered the Foundation's grants program. She manages the Learning Cloud
project and assessment functions at Queens Paideia School. Before coming to the Mechner Foundation, she worked in nonprofit administration.
Rebecca Mannis, PhD, (Advisory) is the founder of Ivy Prep Learning Center, a New York City-based center for children and adults with learning disabilities. She holds a master's degree in reading, language, and learning disabilities from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is uniquely qualified in assessing individual learning styles and identifying resources and customizing instruction to address them.