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The Arts

Name: Ms. Risa Schneider


Position: Visual Arts Teacher


Hometown: I grew up in Elmont, Long Island and have lived in Manhattan for almost 30 years, including 6 years on St. Marks’ Place and now 11 years in West Harlem.


Education: Bachelor Degree in English Literature from Barnard College, Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Columbia University School of the Arts, and Master of Science in Education from Hunter College, City University of New York


Years as an educator: 18


Why are you an educator? I’m passionate about teaching visual art and love when students make those “a-ha” connections to how art is really interwoven with all facets of our lives.


What are STAR Academy’s best qualities? I’m looking forward to getting to know the STAR Academy family, and am excited to be joining a school community that values the arts as an important part of the education process.


Life outside school:  Outside of school you can usually find me working on my own artwork—papercuts, collage, and book arts; out enjoying museums, theatre, and other cultural offerings throughout the city; or simply curled up with a good book!

Name: Mrs. Jenny Gouker


Position: Music Teacher


Hometown: I grew up in Baltimore, MD, and now I live in Brooklyn, NY.


Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Towson University in Maryland.  Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Capella University.


Years as an educator: 11


Why are you an educator? I knew I wanted to be a music teacher in 3rd grade when my brother taught me how to play the trumpet.  I am passionate about teaching students to love the language of music and about how to use those skills to open the doors to creativity in their daily lives.


What are STAR Academy’s best qualities? The support for the arts through programs such as “Music and the Brain” and school-wide focus on character education.


Life outside school:  Outside of school you can find me at my husband’s jazz shows (he plays trumpet too) or escaping to nature either in a park, camping, or hiking.

Physical Education

Name: Lloyd Jones

Position: Physical Education/Health teacher


Hometown: I grew up in Queens, NY,  and now I live in Flushing, Queens.


Education: Bachelor's Degree in Community Health Education, Master's Degree in General and Special Education from Touro College, Certificate in School Building Leadership from College of St. Rose 


Years as an educator: 19

Why are you an educator? I enjoy life!  What better way to enjoy it then through the eyes of young children who find joy in everything. 

What are STAR Academy’s best qualities? I look forward to what STAR Academy has to offer.


Life outside school: When school is out you can find me outside on a ball field or shooting pool.

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