Bard High School Early College Queens


Our staff are highly-qualified professionals who are dedicated to promoting student success. Our staff come from a range of professional backgrounds in the public and private sectors.


Valeri Thomson
B.A., Bard College; M.A., Ed.M., M.Ph., Ph.D., Columbia University.
Director of Immediate Science Research Opportunity Program at Bard College, 1998-2007; research scientist at Rockefeller University; visiting faculty in Bard's Master of Arts in Teaching Program; associate of Bard's Institute for Thinking and Writing. Articles published in Journal of Bacteriology, Journal of Molecular Biology, and Plasmid. Primary research interests include factors underlying pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; and development expression of the neuronal NMDA receptor in zebrafish.
718-361-3133 x8002

David Allen
Assistant Principal
BFA, Creative Writing, Brooklyn College; MFA, Creative Writing, The University of Michigan, Advanced Certification in School Leadership, Brooklyn College.
Taught English at Brooklyn Technical High School, The Dalton School, Bushwick Outreach Center, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, Phillips Academy, The University of Michigan and Brooklyn College. Served as Assistant Principal, English at Art and Design High School. At The University of Michigan, he received the Hopwood Award in Major Fiction. His poems and stories have been broadcast and published in several New York City outlets.
718-361-3133 x8000

Laura Hymson
Dean of Academic Affairs, Social Studies Faculty
B.A., American Studies, Wesleyan University; M.A., Gender/Cultural Studies, Simmons College; Ph.D., American Culture, The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Taught at Rutgers University-Newark; Hunter College; and University of Hartford. Areas of research include 20th century U.S. cultural history, with a particular focus on the historical constructions of race and gender; branding and advertising; and globalization.
Phone: 718-361-3133 x7706


Sara Aboobakar
Office & Admissions Liaison
718-361-3133 x6713

Jonathan V. Cann
Systems Analyst & Manager
B.A., Asian Studies, Bard College.
Independent author and programmer. Interests include art, photography, and gaming.
718-361-3133 x6813

Elizabeth Dunn Canty
Guidance Counselor
B.A. English & Communications, Boston College; M.A., Education, CUNY Brooklyn College; M.A., School Counseling, New York University. Worked previously as New York City Teaching Fellow & Secondary English teacher at Harry Van Arsdale High School, as Guidance Intern & Health Teacher at BHSEC Manhattan, and as Guidance Counselor & Study Skills Instructor at Bard Early College Academy.  Founding staff at BHSEC Queens.  Special trainings include: Options College Access training, Suicide Prevention, Respect for All with a special focus on anti LGBTQ-bias, Opportunity Gaps for students of color, Adult Basic Literacy, and Project Adventure Ropes Course.
718-361-3133 x6923

Justin Casale
Guidance Counselor (9th grade) & Student Activities Coordinator
B.A., Psychology and Education, Muhlenberg College; M.A., School Counseling, Boston College
718-361-3133 x6723

Jess deCourcy Hinds
A.A., Bard College at Simon's Rock; B.A., English, Smith College; M.F.A., Fiction, Brooklyn College; M.S.L.I.S, Library Science, Pratt Institute. Publications include School Library Journal, Brain, Child; The New York Times; Newsweek; Ms. Magazine; Seventeen; Teachers & Writers. Awarded a Twining Fellowship for research in Italy (2009). Named one of the Pratt Institute's "40 Under 40 Rising Stars" for library leadership and nonfiction writing (2012). Fiction Fellow at Pen Parentis (2015). Awards include second place in the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize (2017).
718-361-3133 x6642

Marlon Unas Esguerra
Special Education Faculty 
B.A. Poetry, Columbia College-Chicago; M.F.A., Poetry, Michener Fellow, University of Miami; M.S., Urban Education and Special Education, Mercy College; Institute for Urban Education, Creative Pedagogies for School Change, The New School.
Seven years as an English & Creative Writing teacher and Program coordinator for Chicago Public Schools, alternative schools, youth writing programs and Cook County juvenile justice system. Has since focused on teaching the Physical Sciences and Computer Science in the NYCDOE. Twelve years of experience as a Special Education teacher, eleven years of which were working in co-teaching partnerships. FIRST Robotics Programming Mentor for ten years (Java, C++). An endurance athlete, he usually writes about running and contemplates what to write as he runs.
John Grauwiler 
Special Education Faculty
B.A. Art History, Bard College; M.A. Special Education, Long Island University. 10 years experience as a special education ICT teacher in English.

Mike Herrod
Special Education Faculty
BA, Columbia University; MA in Television, Radio, and Film, Syracuse University.
Mike Herrod recently concluded his training with the New York City Teaching Fellows, and is currently working on his Masters in Education at Hunter College, focusing on special education. Mike worked most recently in the publishing industry, and is also the author and illustrator of several books for children. He lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with his wife and two young sons.
Angel Johnson-Telesca
Guidance Counselor
BA, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY; M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Development, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY.
Angel brings over 18 years of College Counseling and Guidance experience from the New York City school system and private sector.  Professional interest include providing mentoring and counseling to underrepresented students in areas where access to secondary educational opportunities may not be readily available.
718-361-3133 x6823

Gabriel Mollica
Learning Commons Director
B.A., Music, Comparative Literature minor, Hamilton College. 
Served as the George Watson's Teaching Fellow in Edinburgh, Scotland. Taught lessons in English, Philosophy, and Music, as well as Special Education. Teaching Assistant at the Henry Viscardi School, a K-12 school for children with physical disabilities. Worked five summers at the Double H Ranch, a summer camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Interests include storytelling, stand up comedy, essay writing, and disability advocacy.

Wilfredo Pagan
Payroll Secretary
718-361-3133 x6613

Renae Plummer
Parent Coordinator
718-361-3133 x6621

Olga Ramos
Director of Admissions
A.A., Bard High School Early College; B.A. Psychology, Bard College; M.S. candidate, Urban Affairs, Hunter College.
Trustee Leader Scholar at Bard College and founder of the Young Rhinebeck Youth Program: Life, Learning, and Language, 2005. Worked in admissions at BHSEC for more than ten years, first as Admissions Coordinator, then as Smart Scholars Outreach Coordinator. Olga has a long-standing commitment to outreach into the NYC public schools and particularly in recruiting students to BHSEC who come from disadvantaged academic and economic backgrounds. Research/interests include urban public education, program evaluation, early college initiatives and community activism.
718-361-3133 x6913

Adam Rhodes
Technology Coordinator
718-361-3133 x6625

Olga Russell
Laboratory Technician Biology
B.A., Biology, Bard College; M.A., Social Studies, Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia; M.A., Microbiology, Columbia University.
718-361-3133 x7315

Karimah Shabazz
Director of Bard DNA
718-361-3133 x6715

Marion Stack
Special Education Coordinator and Assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs

Jessica VanScoy
Special Education Integrative Collaborative Teacher
B.A., Non-Fiction Writing and Photography, Hampshire College; M.A., Special Education, Pace University; M.A. Candidate, Education Policy, Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
Three years of experience as a special education IC Teacher in math and in humanities at the Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School (BCAM) and has significant experience as a general education teacher in Government and Economics at BCAM.

Lenni Yesner
Director of College Transfer Office
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
B.A., Religious Studies, Grinnell College; M.A. Applied Theatre, CUNY School of Professional Studies; M.S.Ed. Candidate, School Counseling at Alfred University. A BHSECQ staff member since 2010, Lenni is also a co-facilitator of the TransGeneratational Theatre Project, a multigenerational theatre group for trans and gender non-conforming people. Their interests include college access for undocumented and DACA students, racial justice, supporting trans and gnc students, LGBTQIA issues, music, scuba diving, and mindfulness.
718-361-3133 x6635