Dr. Kenneth Byalin is the President of ICS and has broad experience in organizational leadership and education, as well as social work. With nine years of experience as leader of LPCS and NVCS, he is also the President and Founder of the Verrazano Foundation, a member of the Zen Peacemakers for over 25 years, and was previously the Chief of Service at South Beach Psychiatric Service for 18 years. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from NYU, a MS in Social Work from Columbia University, and a BA in English from Carleton College.
Dana Volini is the Vice President of Administration at Integration Charter Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Arizona State University, her Master’s Degree in Middle School Education and Special Education from Touro College, and as a recipient of a Race to the Top grant, she received an additional Master’s degree from Wagner College in Educational Leadership and Administration. Mrs. Volini worked previously as a Special Education Mathematics teacher, Special Education Coordinator, 7th-grade team leader and Director of Operations. She currently oversees the office administration, human resources, kitchen, technology, facilities, finances, legal compliance, data, and communications. Mrs. Volini also is part of the SIEDC’s Executive Women’s Council and the Executive Club of Staten Island.
Evelyn Finn was the founding Principal of Lavelle Prep. She has been with Lavelle Prep since 2009. Prior to coming to Lavelle, she was Principal of PS 37 on Staten Island, and the Hospital schools, including Bellevue in Manhattan. She was also an adjunct professor at the College of Staten Island, Long Island University and Touro College. She has also been a Vice President at the Council of Supervisors and Administrators.
Theresa Peterford has been an educator since 2002 and joined the ICS team in 2011. She holds a MSed in School Building Leadership as well as NYS teaching certifications spanning grades K-12 in both general and special education. As the Vice President of Education, Integration Excellence, she works collaboratively with the executive leadership team to ensure that the educational and emotional needs of all students are met and that the promise of career and college readiness is attainable for all students, including those with special needs. She also ensures that each school within the organization maintains a commitment to the full integration of students with disabilities and other challenges and that these students have access to the tools necessary to be successful in the integrated setting offered at Integration Charter Schools.
Mary joined Lavelle Prep in 2010 part-time as an Event Coordinator after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Business from the College of Staten Island. Mary’s previous career was in College Recruiting for the investment firm Merrill Lynch. During her time at ICS she has served as an HR recruiter, a key member of the Operations & Development teams, a liaison to the Board of Trustees, and now continues to coordinate & support special projects for the organization as the Vice President of External Affairs and Chief of Staff. Mary earned her Executive MBA from Wagner College in 2019.
In her most recent position prior to joining ICS as Vice President of Education/Instructional Excellence, Aimee Horowitz served as the Executive Superintendent of the Campus Showcase Program, an initiative designed to increase opportunities for students, staff, and families at co-located high schools. Prior to that Aimee was the Executive Superintendent for the School Renewal Program, spearheading the systemic efforts to turn around New York City’s most struggling schools. Prior to that, Ms. Horowitz was the founding Principal of the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies; Staten Island’s first small high school created in collaboration with Asia Society’s International Studies School’s Network, College of Staten Island, and the Department of Education. Ms. Horowitz is an alumnus of the College of Staten Island, having earned an Advanced Certificate in Supervision and Administration. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law and a BA from Brooklyn College.
Ryan Melis is the Principal at New Ventures Charter School. Ryan is in his 8th year under the ICS umbrella, with his first 5 years working at Lavelle Preparatory Charter School. He has held many positions since starting his career including Teacher’s Assistant, Teacher, Athletic Director, After School Program Director, and Grade Leader.
Joseph Zaza is the founding principal of the Lois and Richard Nicotra Early College Charter School (NECCS). Mr. Zaza has served as a School District Leader, Principal Leadership Facilitator of District 31, Staten Island Pre K-12 (as well as in the Renewal Schools Initiative) and a Network Leader since 2012. In this role, he supervised and mentored principals, conducted aspiring and new principal workshops, and led professional development opportunities for both teachers and administrators. Previously, he served as principal of the Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences for 12 years (2001-2012), a CUNY affiliated high school located on the campus of Kingsborough Community College.
Chris Zilinski joined Lavelle Prep in 2009 as a classroom teacher. During his time at Lavelle Prep he taught History, Visual Arts, Middle School English and High School English. In 2010, Chris assumed the role of Team Leader, in 2013 he became the Assistant Principal, and in 2014 he became the Principal of Middle and High Schools. Chris has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate degree from the College of Staten Island, and a post-graduate certificate from the College of St. Rose. He will serve as the Founding Principal of Richmond Preparatory Charter School when it opens September 2021.
Jessica Carnavas is the Assistant Principal for Nicotra Early College Charter School. She began her career at ICS 7 years ago at Lavelle Prep teaching science. Throughout her years at ICS, she has been the 8th-grade team leader and science coach liaison. She earned her first Master’s Degree from Wagner College in General and Special Education. After a few years, she went back to school and received her second Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences and most recently completed the School Building Leadership program from CSI. Jessica works closely with Principal Joe Zaza to create a culture of learning and opportunity for all students. She is very excited to make this division of ICS her new home and help foster the ICS Values here.
Jenna Curran has been with ICS for 8 years, having begun as a teaching assistant, and working through positions including Mathematics Teacher and 6th Grade Team Leader for six years. After serving as the Elementary Divisions founding Assistant Principal for three years, she is now the Principal of the Elementary Division, where she manages the operations, instruction, and function of the school on a daily basis, ensuring all students are prepared for, and provided with, opportunities for academic success.
Kristina Mazza is the Principal of Lavelle Prep’s Middle School Division. She has been a part of the ICS family since 2009. She assumed the roles as English Language Arts and Orton Gillingham teacher while also serving as Lavelle Prep’s Literacy Coach throughout the years. Kristina was the proud recipient of Lavelle Prep’s Night of Champions “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award in 2015 and Andrew Lanza’s Staten Island “Teacher Appreciation” award in 2017. Kristina earned a BA in Psychology with a focus in General and Special Childhood Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Literacy from Touro College.
Dhurata Rexha is the Principal of Lavelle Prep High School. She has been with ICS since 2009 and has taught middle and high school mathematics courses. In her role as Math Coach for Lavelle Prep beginning in 2011, she supervised and mentored mathematics teachers in their daily instruction while also creating supportive learning environments to deepen student engagement and learning. Mrs. Rexha received her first B.A. in History and her second B.A. in Mathematics. She earned her first M.S.Ed. in Education from CSI and as a recipient of a Race to the Top Grant she received a second M.S.Ed. in School and Building Leadership from Wagner College. As the Assistant Principal for Nicotra Early College, she worked closely with Principal Joseph Zaza, and is now the Principal of Lavelle Prep High School Division, where she provides students with an atmosphere conducive to collegiate learning that encourages high levels of performance and enables students to become active, caring global citizens.
Ronald Carara joined Integration Charter Schools as Director of Human Resources in January 2019. He received his bachelors of science degree in Business Management from St. John’s University. Ron brings with him 30 years of human resources and administrative experience, as well as a passion for working with people, from both the city and federal levels and is committed to the ICS mission.
Erin Nicole Celletti is the Director of Communications for Integration Charter Schools. She earned a BA in Journalism from Quinnipiac University, a MS.E.d. in Childhood and Special Education from St. John’s University, and as a recipient of a Race to the Top Grant, she received a second MS.Ed. in School and Building Leadership from Wagner College. Serving as both 6th and 7th-grade team leader throughout 5 years of leadership, she has also taught ELA, Orton Gillingham and Journalism courses for six years, since beginning at Lavelle Prep as a teaching assistant in 2011. Erin now oversees the writing, editing, content creation, media relations and various other communications responsibilities at ICS.
Diane DiSalvo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with over 30 years of experience working with youth and families. She earned a BA in Psychology from New York University and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Diane was previously the Chief of the Children and Youth Service at South Beach Psychiatric Center, and joined the ICS staff in 2015 as the Director of Counseling.
Priyanga Iddamalgoda is the Controller for ICS. She has been with John W. Lavelle Charter school as the director of finance for five years. She is a proud alumna of the prestigious eMBA program at Wagner College and of the College of Staten Island.
Yelena Osores first began her career with ICS at Lavelle Prep in September 2010 as a 7th grade science teacher. During her time at Lavelle Prep, she grew into leadership roles including science coach and team leader, as well as high school science teacher. In 2015, she joined the New Ventures team as a science teacher and in 2017 became the Director of Academic Guidance. In 2018 she then took over the role of Director of Program Evaluation. In this new role, she is responsible for acquiring and compiling data to be used in evaluating the various programs as well as to be used in informing academic decision making.
Catherine Uttaro joined Integration Charter Schools as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis in May 2019. She is an alumna of Stony Brook University and St. Louis University, where she earned an MBA (concentration in supply chain, finance, and entrepreneurship) and a Master of Science in Sustainability. Catherine has experience developing strategy, managing projects, and system implementation across both the public and private sectors. Catherine is thrilled to join the ICS family and ensure the financial success of the organization.
Susan Varvara has been with the organization since 2011 and has been promoted to increasingly higher levels of responsibilities during her career with the organization. In her role as Director of Operations, she oversees the Lottery process, Student Registration, and Student Transportation for all ICS schools. Susan has continued to both ensure and maintain the operational integrity of the functions that involve both students and staff.
Jeremy ZIlinski retired from the NYPD in 2009, and first joined the organization in 2012 as a part-time security guard. In 2013, he became the Head of Security and his role has now evolved to the Director of Security and Facility Management. Jeremy supervises all security staff and ensures all facility work, maintenance and expansion are performed in a professional, quality and timely manner.