PS16 Teacher Bios

Jose Atencio (World Language/Spanish), a seasoned teaching veteran, has been teaching Spanish at CFB #16 in Jersey City for 12 years. Prior to joining the staff at CFB #16 he taught physical education at the High Institute of Exact Sciences, V.I. Lenin for 21 years in Cuba. Mr. Atencio also studied and taught French at the French Alliance in Havana. He holds a degree from the ISCF Manuel Fajardo University of Cuba and after relocating to the U.S. he continued his teacher education NJCU. Additionally, Mr. Atencio holds a MA from the University of Salamanca in Spain with additional post-graduate study at the University of Alcala de Henares at Spain. Mr. Atencio’s passion for culture has guided his study of history and language. He is enthusiastic about bringing his love of culture, history and Spanish (one of the oldest languages) to his students. He hopes that they too also love to learn, and are excited about, the history of Spain, Europe, and the world.

Bernice Amadeo (3rd Grade) has been teaching for over 25 years and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Georgian Court University with a New Jersey State Elementary Teaching Certificate. Presently she is the third grade teacher of Language Arts at Cornelia F. Bradford, PS #16 in Jersey City. She is the recipient of three Excel Grants from the Jersey City Public Schools. They include: Me, Myself, and I, I, I”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Poetry in Motion.” She was also nominated during the 2005-2006 school year for the New Jersey Department of Education’s “Best Practice Award” for her “Poetry in Motion,” nominated for Hudson County Teacher of the Year during 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. In addition, Mrs. Amadeo was a Jersey City Public Schools Lab Site Teacher from 2003-2007. Mrs. Amadeo lives with her husband and is the proud mother of five children which includes two sets of twins! Happily, she is the grandmother of five precious grandchildren, Matthew, Luke, Ava, Sophia, and Nicholas, with two more arriving this fall! She frequently has said, “I am a better parent because I am a teacher, and a better teacher because I am a parent.

Annette Bigger (Enrichment Teacher, Technology) Mrs. Bigger wears many hats at CFB #16, as the enrichment teacher, the technology coordinator, the head teacher for the afterschool program, Advisor of the National Elementary Honor Society, and member of the School Leadership Committee. Since her arrival at CFB #16 in 1999, she served as the 1st grade teacher, 5th/6th grade math teacher, 7th grade science teacher, science fair coordinator, Technology Coordinator, and theatre director. For her commitment to high standards and her dedication, she has received a Best Practice Award as well as having been elected as the Teacher of the Year in 1999 and 2016. Mrs. Bigger received her BS from The College of New of New Jersey (Trenton State College) an MA from Marygrove University, holds additional graduate credits from FDU, an Orton Gillingham certificate and served at East Newark Public School for a dozen years before coming to CFB #16.

Kristen Brennan, RN (School Nurse). After graduating from Bayonne Hospital School of Nursing, she worked in the Maternal-Child Health section of Bayonne Hospital for several years. During that time, she obtained certification to be a school nurse, and has been with the Jersey City Public Schools since 1996. Currently, she is pursuing a MA in Science, Nursing and Health Administration. Ever dedicated to our school community, she constantly encourages the children to become self advocates and managers for their health. Mrs. Brennan enjoys traveling, exercising, and cooking.

Brian Cook (4th grade, Math). This is Mr Cook’s 15th year at CFB #16, where he now primarily teachers 4th grade math, but has experience teaching students from the 3rd grade through the 8th grade. A member of the School Leadership Council and Budget Committee, he has been acknowledged frequently, receiving numerous awards, such as the Hudson County Teacher Recognition Program, the Claremont-Lafayette Presbyterian Church Teaching Award, and the Superintendent’s Award. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys surfing, kayaking and running, and is a proud father of two girls.

Rosalind Douglas (1st Grade Teachers’ Assistant). Mrs. Douglas has been a staff member at CFB #16 since 2008. Before coming to our school, she was a certified nurse assistant at Hudson View Health Care Center for 17 years. Mrs. Douglas recently completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology form New Jersey City University, where she is continuing her education by pursuing a master’s degree in early childhood and special education.

Monika Figueroa (5th grade). Monika Figueroa has been teaching the diverse studentbody of Jersey City Public School for the past sixteen years. She has received her B.A from New Jersey City University and A Master’s Degree from New Jersey City University as well. She continues to dedicate her time during school or after school hours to the extended day programs. She is passionate to teach even on Saturdays for PSAT programs. Mrs. Figueroa also works during summer as an extended year teacher. Her dedication towards education shows how passionate she is about providing quality instruction for the next generation. In fact, she has won the teacher of the year award in 2012, because she takes pride in her work ethics. As a multi-lingual educator, she has also devoted five years of her time to adult language learners at Hudson County Community College.  As a weekend adjunct professor, she follows pedagogies and learning styles that has helped children and adults with achieving their goals. During her free time Mrs. Figueroa challenges herself with trivia games and encourages herself to learn a new language. She also believes in: “Dream high to achieve high”

Favorite Quote: “Arise! Awake! And stop not until the goal is reached.” – Swami Vivekananda

Monica DeStasio (5th Grade, Language Arts). My name is Monica DeStasio; I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. I am the proud mother of two children. I attended Snyder H.S. for my freshman and sophomore years and then later transferred to St Aloysius H.S. where I completed junior and senior years.

I began my career in education in 2001 as a per diem teacher aide at Public School #9, which turned into a permanent Paraprofessional position.  I have always enjoyed working with children and I had the honor to work with some fantastic teachers who encouraged me to attend college to further my education in order to become a teacher.

In September 2002 I began my journey to become a teacher. At that time I was working full time, attending NJCU full time, and was a full time mommy to two babies.   It was very difficult to juggle all three things but I was determined to become a teacher so I refused to give up.  I graduated in May 2007 with my Bachelor in Arts.

In September 2008 I officially had my own classroom at PS #9. Through the years I have worked at # 9, # 5, #38, and I am happy to say that I am now in a school that feels like “HOME,” The Cornelia F. Bradford School P.S. #16.

I am grateful for all the experiences I have attained and the students I have had the honor to work with. I love what I do and take pride great pride knowing the impact I have on tomorrow’s future.  I also love the impact the students have made and continue to make in my life.

Carrie Gordon (Art). I loved art from as long as I can remember. I was the child who always had to bring a coloring book and crayons everywhere I went. In high school I won various awards for my projects and realized art was something I wanted to incorporate permanently into my life. With a little advice from my father I decided a career as an art teacher would allow me to share my passion with others. I attended New Jersey City University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art with teacher certification. I have been an art specialist in PS 15 since 2007. In addition to art instructions for K-5 I teacher Artistically Talented Classes. I have served as Artistic Director for various school plays. I give private art lessons and do freelance artwork for clients.

Dawn Isoldi (Kindergarten, Rm 101) began her teaching career at JCPS eight years ago. She holds a Standard Teaching Certificate in grades K-8, and is recognized by the state as highly qualified. At CFB #16, she has taught Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. After recently completing her master’s degree in special education from Walden University, she will be continuing her education by enrolling in the Ph.D. program there. A native of Bergen County, she is a proud Alumna of Felician College, where she maintained a 4.0 average during her junior and senior years.

Sean Manes, Ph.D. (Vocal music). Dr. Manes has been the vocal music teacher at CFB #16 since 2007, where he teacher general music, piano, choir, and musical theatre. Before coming to CFB #16, Dr. Manes taught at PS #29 and in the Seattle Public Schools. An accomplished musician, he was the musical director for Columbia Musical Theatre Society’s production of Godspell and composed incidental music for the production of Kushner’s Angels in America. As an operatic tenor, he has performed with the Opera Festival of New Jersey and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. For the last few years, he has specialized in rarely performed Bach cantatas and Handel oratorios with the New York Cantata Singers. Dr. Manes just completed his Ph.D. from the University of Washington – Seattle and is also a graduate of Columbia University.

Leigh Martino (Collaborative Consultation Teacher). Ms. Martino began her career in 2005, teaching in inclusion and resource room classrooms within Jersey City. In 2012 she began her current position as the Collaborative Consultation Teacher (CCT) at CFB #16. As the CCT, she provides ongoing support for students with an IEP in the general education class. She works closely with classroom teachers to devise strategies and implement modifications that will best meet each student’s needs. Additionally, she provides support and strategy intervention to struggling General Education students. Ms. Martino received her bachelor’s degree from Rowan University and her master’s degree in Special Education from Jersey City University. She currently holds teaching certificates for General Education K-5 as well as Teacher of Students with Disabilities. In her spare time, Leigh works at Paramus High School, where she choreographs the school’s color guard shows.

Theresa Miceli-Mistretta (3rd Grade /Pull-Out Replacement Specialist /Language Arts and Mathematics). Ms. Miceli-Mistretta received a Teacher of the Handicap degree with a minor in psychology from NJCU as well as earning a highly qualified recognition for mathematics. She began her teaching career in 2003 and is proud to say she has been a faculty member at CFB #16 since her first day of teaching. Today, she leads frequent professional development workshops regarding differentiated instructions, co-operate teaching, learning styles, technology in the special needs classroom, autism, ADHD, modification and adaptations. She has been involved and initiated numerous educational activities including Project unity, character education and differentiated instruction sample lessons for faculty.

Kalliopi Nicholas (Kindergarten, Rm 103). A 13-year veteran Kindergarten teacher at CFB #16, Nicholas holds a BA in Education and an MA in Early Childhood Education from William Peterson University. Before coming to Jersey City, she taught in Saddle Brook for three years. She is a member of the School Leadership Committee, and represents the Jersey City Public Schools in the NJ State Committee on math curriculum. She is the mother of a 12 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. She is looking forward to learning more about her new students.

Candice Nolan (5th grade, Inclusion). While this is only her second year at CFB #16, Ms. Nolan has been teaching in the Jersey City Public Schools for nine years. Prior to coming to our school, she taught for seven years at P.S. #3, where she taught Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, and received the Teacher of the Year Award in 2010. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Felician College and later received her teaching credentials from St. Peter’s College. She now holds a master’s degree in special education from Grand Canyon University. Currently, she is a dually certified teacher in general education and special education. Prior to coming to the field of education, she worked in the corporate division of Toys R Us.

Marie Nolan (2nd Grade). Ms. Nolan has taught for the Jersey City Public Schools for 36 years, with the last 19 being at CFB #16. After graduating Jersey City State College (NJCU), Ms. Nolan obtained a Masters degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, an has pursued various other avenues of educational interest including, the Orton Gillingham method of multi sensory reading to assist students with dyslexia. Because of her extensive training in helping children with dyslexia, she was later engaged as an adjunct instructor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and at the Masonic Learning Center in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. She was also awarded numerous Excel Grants, one of which, Draw Me a Story, Technically Speaking, was named a New Jersey State Department of Education Best Practice 2004-2005. Ms. Nolan, a proud shopaholic, resides close to the shopping venues in Bergen County, and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Pinky Payumo-Gomes (2nd Grade). Known simply as “Ms Pinky”, she was born in the Philippines and moved to Jersey City in middle school, barely speaking any English. Ms Pinky has been a pre-K teacher for 17 years, and has been with the Jersey City Public Schools for 10 years, currently teaching 2nd Grade. Ms. Pinky received her BA in child psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and her master’s degree in early childhood at New Jersey City University. An avid reader and a world traveler, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her two daughters. (Winner of the “Teacher of the Year Award” for 2015!) 

Jillian Roskin (1st grade). While she is a newcomer at CFB #16, this is her 11th year as a teacher. She graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a degree in communication and a specialization in public relations. After working at a pharmaceutical company in Manhattan for a few years, she realized that her passion was in teaching and pursued a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. After teaching in New York City, Verona, and Elizabeth, she came to Jersey City. She is highly qualified in math and language arts and currently holds two New Jersey certifications, in teaching and supervision.

Scott Sigler (Guidance Counselor ). Mr. Sigler has been at CFB #16 since 1999, having worked as the special education teacher and inclusion specialist, and now serves as the guidance counselor. After earning his undergraduate degree at Felician College, he went on to earn a master’s degree for School Counseling. He is in charge of the general well-being of the students, including the School Bullying problem, and conducts quantitative analysis of students’ performance on state-mandated tests.

Edward Stroh (Instrumental Music.) Prior to beginning his JCPS teaching career in 2002 Mr. Stroh lived and taught English in Frankfurt, Germany. Before joining the faculty at CFB #16 he served at PS 23, James J. Ferris High School, PS 5, and the Jersey City Arts High School Program. While at the Arts High School Program he shared various conducting duties for the award winning concert band, percussion ensemble, and jazz ensemble. Additionally, Mr. Stroh directed the JCARTS student rock group “The Reminiscents.” To international acclaim, these exceptional students twice attended the International Youth Arts Festival in Oberhavel, Germany and were the pilot group for a groundbreaking summer work study program sponsored by the NJ Youth Corps and the NJ Department of Labor during the summers of 2008 and 2009. In tandem to his teaching career Mr. Stroh works as a freelance musician in the NY/NJ region (Columbia Music, HBO Productions “The Sopranos,” Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” Connie Francis, Dick Dale, Gramercy Brass, The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, et al.) He holds a bachelor’s degree in Classical Percussion and a Master of Music in Music Education from William Peterson University. Mr. Stroh enjoys his instrumental music duties at CFB #16 where he also facilitates a Little Kids Rock program, can be seen as the school’s sound engineer for concerts and special events, and serves as the school’s JCEA director. Twice a week Mr. Stroh employs his talents at PS 30 where he teaches general music and runs an additional Little Kids Rock program. Integrating rock music styles and technology into traditional school music curricula is his ongoing research focus within the field of music education.

Sharon Tapia (Kindergarten Paraprofessional). Now in her 12th year of service at CFB #16, Mrs. Tapia is not only the paraprofessional assigned to Kindergarten, where she assists her young students with their math and language skills, but is highly valued school-wide for her efficient organizational and logistical capabilities. Ms. Tapia has completed the early childhood behavior program for educational paraprofessionals at Hudson County Community College.

Octavia Thomas (Physical Education). An accomplished athlete, we are pleased to have Ms. Thomas on the faculty here at CFB #16. After completing the University of Massachusetts on a full basketball scholarship, Ms. Thomas played professionally in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1998, she began her teaching career, first at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, and soon became the physical education supervisor and the school athletic director. As the head girls’ basketball coach, her team won three championships in four years, and she was named the Teacher of the Year by student vote. After returning to New Jersey, she joined the Jersey City Public School system.

Victoria Williams (1st grade inclusion). Ms. Williams has served the Jersey City Public Schools for 25 years, 15 of which has been at CFB #16, where she currently teachers 5th Grade Inclusion, as well as being the director for the CASPER program. While she is known for her attention to the holistic development of each of her students, especially throughout her directorship of the Join Activities Program, she has embraced caring for our environment as one of the core values of her teaching, arranging for numerous field study programs, including the overnight camping trips to Stokes State Forest. Yet, she is also known for her rigorous academic focus, and alongside Mrs. Kosakowski, each year her students are ranked among the highest, if not the highest, scoring students in Jersey City. She holds a master’s degree in life sciences and reading.