Dr. Kenneth Byalin, Founder and President of ICS, has broad experience in organizational leadership and education, as well as in mental health as a manager in the New York State Office of Mental Health and as a psychotherapist in private practice. Dr. Byalin earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University, a MS in Social Work from Columbia University, and a BA in English from Carleton College. Dr. Byalin is also a Zen teacher in the lineage of Bernie Glassman.
Mary Cottingham is Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of Integration Charter Schools. She joined Lavelle Prep in 2010 as Events Coordinator after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Business from the College of Staten Island. Mary has served as a key member of both the Operations & Development teams, HR Recruiter, Liaison to the Board of Trustees, Coordinator of Special Projects for the organization and as Vice President of External Affairs. Mary’s previous career was in College Recruiting for the investment firm Merrill Lynch. Mary earned her Executive MBA from Wagner College in 2019.
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.
Florence Guarnera has been working at Integration Charter Schools for 5 years. Her time at ICS has been nothing but inspirational. She started off her journey as a Teacher’s Assistant, then moved into a teacher’s position to teach English Language Arts, and she is now the Director of Special Education for Integration Charter Schools. Florence has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and has obtained her master’s degree in Teaching Students with Disabilities for grades 7-12. She has a deep passion for guiding her students towards the right path to help them achieve their personal and academic goals.
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. Ms. Peterford is also currently serving as the Interim Acting Principal of Lavelle Prep’s Middle School Division.
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 10th 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.
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 is now currently serving as the Founding Principal of Richmond Preparatory Charter School, opening September 2021.
Jessica Carnavas is the Principal for Nicotra Early College Charter School. She began her career at ICS 9 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. She is very excited to make this division of ICS her home and help foster the ICS Values here.
Jenna Curran has been with ICS for 11 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.
Alison Losavio is the assistant principal of Lavelle Prep Elementary division and first began with Lavelle Prep Middle School as a teaching assistant over 8 years ago. She has a BA in Science Letters & Society (Education) from The College of Staten Island, MS in Childhood Education/Teaching Students with Disabilities from Touro College, and both a School Building Leadership and District Leader Advanced Certificate from the College of St. Rose. Alison considers Lavelle Elementary to be her second home and cherishes the opportunity to interact and build relationships with students, staff, families, and the community.
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.
Elizabeth Roman is the Assistant Principal of English Language Arts at Nicotra. This is her eleventh year with the ICS family, as she began in 2010 as a teacher assistant at Lavelle Preparatory Charter School.
Hafida Zitouni is the Assistant Principal of Mathematics at Nicotra. This is her ninth year with the ICS family, having begun as a 6th grade mathematics teacher at Lavelle Preparatory Charter School in 2012.
Jodi Guagliardo serves as the Director of External Relations at Integration Charter Schools. She has more than 25 years of non-profit and development experience, including 11 years as Executive Director and Associate Director of the March of Dimes Staten Island Division and more than 15 years as Vice President of Events and Fundraising at the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation. Currently, Jodi oversees the Integration Charter Schools community partnerships and is dedicated to the organization’s overall mission in serving the Staten Island community. Jodi holds a leadership role in the Staten Island Community Transformation initiative with the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation in the education stream of influence.
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.
Priscilla Chen is the Assistant Director of the counseling department at ICS and is a Licenced Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of experience in the mental health field. She received her BA in Human Services and Human Resources Management from Boston College. Then Ms. Chen went on to Columbia University to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work. As a social worker, she has worked as an outpatient therapist and supervisor at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services on Staten Island. Joining the ICS team in 2016, she worked as the 7th-grade counselor during the day and a high school counselor in New Ventures during the evening. In 2019 she was then promoted to the Assistant Director of Counseling. Priscilla currently is the McKinney Vento Liaison and is the field placement and program coordinator for master level social work and psychology interns placed 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 seven years, and is now the Controller for Integration Charter Schools. She is a proud alumna of the prestigious eMBA program at Wagner College and the College of Staten Island.
In March 2020, Jonathan Lipschitz CPA became Director of Finance of Integration Charter Schools. His most recent experience has been as Director of Financial Planning and Strategy for the largest minority Community Bank in the U.S. He has an extensive background as CFO and Controller of various banks including a Staten Island Community Bank responsible for financial reporting, internal controls, various financial regulatory audits and management of accounting staff. Prior to that, Jonathan has had a successful career of more than 20 years at JP Morgan Chase where he had roles as CFO and Controller of various business units gaining a broad band of accounting and management experience. Jonathan has previously been Co-Chairman of the Board for Integration Charter Schools and Chairman of the Board for New Ventures Charter School where he gained a deep passion for ICS. Jonathan has a bachelor of science degree in Accounting from Ithaca College and is a Certified Public Accountant.
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 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.
Crystal Rios is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at ICS. She holds a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Education and English Literature from the College of Staten Island, and she is an RYT certified Yoga Instructor. Crystal has been a part of Integration Charter Schools since 2015 where she began as an English and Wellness teacher at New Ventures Charter school and continues to hold the role of a Wellness coach. Crystal’s work at ICS centers on monitoring diversity, and creating and developing programs that promote equity and inclusion. In addition, she supports various groups by providing Wellness and professional support in order to foster healing and productivity. Crystal believes that education can be a space where compassion, healing, and justice are ever-present.
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.