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West Hempstead School District welcomes new teachers for 2019-20 school year


The West Hempstead School District is excited to welcome 15 teachers for the 2019-20 school year.

Susan Abbott joins George Washington School after spending the past three school years in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District. In spring, she completed her student teaching in a fifth grade self-contained classroom. Abbott spent the previous 13 years at St. John’s University and Stony Brook University as a professional in athletic special events. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from St. John’s in 1999 followed by a master’s degree in marketing in 2001.

Chestnut Street and Cornwell Avenue welcome Jarrod Alexander as a social worker for the new school year. Alexander joins the Rams from the United Federation of Teachers where he was a social worker since 2015. He previously spent three years as a senior social worker at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services.

Nicole Cohen started in West Hempstead in 2018 as an itinerant therapist at George Washington and Cornwell Avenue schools and returns this year as a speech teacher for George Washington. She spent the first part of the 2017-18 school year as a speech language pathologist at the Brookville Center for Children’s Services in New Hyde Park. Cohen earned her bachelor’s degree in speech and language disabilities from SUNY Cortland before completing her master’s in communication sciences and disorders with a speech language pathology concentration from Adelphi University.

Tracy Cousins transitions into a reading teacher role at Cornwell following eight years at Camp Avenue School in the North Merrick School District, where she was a guided reading teacher. She previously worked as a literacy diagnostician at St. John’s for eight years as well as a reading specialist at the Newbridge Road School in the North Bellmore School District. She holds three degrees from St. John’s that include a bachelor’s in history and pair of master’s degrees in childhood education and literacy.

Marissa Evola studied abroad during the course of two summers to help solidify her fluency in both Italian and Spanish. Evola joins the district as a Spanish teacher at the middle school and high school.

Sara Fine returns to West Hempstead after spending last school year as a leave replacement at George Washington and Cornwell Avenue schools. During the 2017-18 school year, Fine was a teaching assistant at Glenwood Landing School in the North Shore School District after spending four years in the Syosset Central School District.

The high school welcomes Al Fixl as the technology teacher for the 2019-20 school year. Fixl joins the district after two years at White Plains High School as a computer science teacher and robotics club adviser. He previously worked throughout the New York City Public Schools system since 2009, stationed at the High School of Arts and Technology in New York City, South Bronx Academy for Applied Media, Jonas Bronck Academy and High School for Medical Science. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University in addition to a master’s degree in semiconductor physics.

Andrew Hochler is set to join the music department at the middle school and high school after graduating from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and a performance certificate in trumpet. Hochler has musical experience with Royal Caribbean International and the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.

Robyn Linn brings nearly 20 years of experience to George Washington School as she assumes the role of an occupational therapist. Linn spent the past nine years as an occupational therapist at the Shelter Rock Elementary School in Manhasset where she was responsible for the evaluation, coordination and administration of occupational therapy services.

Nicole Mellone embraces her first teaching job as a Spanish teacher in the middle school and high school. Mellone completed her bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Binghamton University in 2018 followed by a master’s degree in teaching Spanish adolescence education in May. While earning her post-graduate degree, she worked as an adjunct lecturer.

A recent graduate of The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Diana Minerva earned a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in design and technical theater. She gained teaching experience as a volunteer teacher at COLTS Day in April where she created and presented workshops for 60 students from the Colton-Pierrepont Central School.

John O’Dwyer joins Cornwell as a special education teacher with a degree in childhood education from SUNY Old Westbury. He spent last school year as a leave replacement at Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview. O’Dwyer also taught for a year at P.S. 186 Dr. Irving Gladstone Elementary School in Brooklyn.

Konstantino Papakonstantis continues his tenure at West Hempstead following a leave replacement position he held last year. During the year, he developed and implemented lesson plans in U.S. History for seventh- and eighth-grade students. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with a history minor from SUNY Cortland in addition to a master’s degree in teaching Social Studies from Stony Brook.

Jillian Sarro completed her master’s degree in education from Queens College in May in addition with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood/childhood education and a minor in geological science from SUNY Potsdam. While earning her master’s degree, she spent last school year as a special education teacher at the Center for Developmental Disabilities in Woodbury. Sarro also worked for three years at the James A. Dever Elementary School in Valley Stream as a leave replacement and a permanent substitute.

Leah Zimmerman worked as a psychological intern at Hewlett High School and Glen Cove’s Robert M. Finley Middle School last year before joining George Washington as a psychologist this year. During that time, she completed her master’s degree in school psychology from Queens College. Leah also earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Yeshiva University.