Founder & Head of School
Founder & Head of School Ben Samuels-Kalow spent his career as a public-school teacher in the South Bronx, teaching middle and high school Computer Science and Economics, developing innovative curricula, and leading professional development. He was selected for the nationally recognized Building Excellent Schools (BES) Fellowship, a year-long school design and leadership program that trains founders on the management, design, operations, governance, and accountability of public charter schools. He holds a BA from the University of Chicago, a MS in Education from St. John’s University, and a sincere belief in the capacity and promise of young people in the Bronx.
Director of Operations
Director of Operations Joshua Canela was born and raised in New York City and is a proud alumnus of All Hallows Institute in the South Bronx. Previously, Mr. Canela was an Operations Manager at Success Academy. He holds a BA in Political Science from Stony Brook University where he was a student athlete and coached middle school students. He believes that every student deserves the opportunity to receive a free and excellent education regardless of background or location and will ensure all students are prepared to learn, grow and use the skills we teach every day to better our community in the future.
Dean of Student Supports
Dean of Student Supports Ambar Hernandez is a native New Yorker with a proven commitment to teaching in her community. Prior to teaching, Ms. Hernandez directed a non-profit teen center and college preparation program. As a career Special Education teacher, she brings expertise in teaching, coaching, and designing curriculum accessible to all the students. She holds a BA in Psychology from Long Island University, C.W. Post and an MA in Inclusive Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is excited to be part of the passionate team at Creo College Prep and looks forward to ensuring all students have a voice and are successful.
Dean of Students
Dean of Students Ishmael Hall has spent the last 15 years of his life pushing norms and expectations to benefit every student regardless of where they are in life. This passion led Mr. Hall to work in a number of fields as a caseworker, Director of After School Programming, ELA teacher, and as a Dean of Students for the past 3 years. He holds a BA in Psychology from John Jay College and is currently pursuing a double degree MA in Special Education and Educational Leadership at Liberty University. With the belief that every student can succeed in school, college and beyond, Mr. Hall is confident that Creo will not only prepare for their future by building the framework now.
Family, Community, and Office Coordinator
Family, Community, and Office Coordinator Lorena Machado is born and raised in the South Bronx. Prior to Creo College Prep, Ms. Machado worked in the bodily injury field where she assisted families in need of legal aid. She holds a BA in Speech Language Pathology and a minor in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College. At Creo College Prep, Ms Machado will help family and community members be actively involved in the education of our students, ensuring that students receive the support they need and deserve in order to thrive.
5th Grade Math Learning Specialist
5th Grade Math Learning Specialist Angeline Dominguez is a proud Bronx native Her passion for teaching led Ms. Dominguez to the nationally recognized and highly selective Teach for America Corps where she taught fourth and eighth grade in Los Angeles, California. She received her BA in English from John Jay College, and her MA in Education Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Ms. Dominguez is ready to give back to the community that raised her and to ensure that her students’ voices are heard and validated, and that every opportunity is open to them.
5th Grade Math Teacher
5th Grade Math Teacher Ashley King has been serving the New York City community for most of her teaching career. Prior to Creo College Prep, Ms. King taught middle school math, elementary, and special education for 11 years. She holds a BA in Elementary Education from Purdue University and an MS in Mathematics Education from Walden University. At Creo College Prep, Ms King will teach math and support students in building knowledge, skills and character as they identify and solve problems within our community and world.
5th Grade Social Studies Teacher
5th Grade Social Studies Teacher Blake Michael spent two years teaching sixth grade math and social studies in Tulsa, OK before moving to Oklahoma City where he taught sixth grade math. Mr. Michael was raised in Frankton, IN and holds a BA from Cornell University and an MPA from the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Michael has recently relocated to West Orange, NJ and is extremely excited to be returning to social studies.
5th Grade Health & Wellness Teacher
Health and Wellness teacher Brian LeGacy grew up in Sandwich, Massachusetts, where sports, school and music played an integral role in his childhood. He played soccer collegiately in Boston while studying at Emerson College. Prior ot Creo College Prep Mr. LeGacy spent 8 enriching years teaching and coaching at Riverview School, an independent school for students with complex language and learning disabilities. After 4 years coaching high school soccer in the Bronx and on Cape Cod, he is excited to play a role in creating a consistent and high-performance learning environment at Creo College Prep.
5th Grade ELA Teacher
Fifth Grade ELA Teacher Crystal Jones has lived in the Bronx for most of her adult life. Prior to Creo College Prep Ms. Jones spent several years as an executive before returning to her first love- teaching. She holds a BA in History from Franklin & Marshall College and is completing her MA in Special Education at Mercy College. She has taught in public, private, and charter schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. She has also held positions as a Program Assistant Director and ELA Dean of Instruction. An avid reader, she volunteers for several organizations that promote literacy in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Ms. Jones enjoys sharing her love of reading with her students.
5th Grade Computer Science Teacher
5th Grade Computer Science Teacher Emma Wingreen was born and raised just next door in New Jersey. Prior to Creo College Prep, she worked at Mariposa DR Foundation in the Dominican Republic as a Monitoring and Evaluation Fellow and Spanish-language STEM teacher. During her two years in the Dominican Republic, Ms. Wingreen developed a passion for teaching computer programming and robotics. She holds a BA in Public Policy Princeton University. Ms. Wingreen is excited to be teaching critical digital literacy skills in the South Bronx.
5th Grade Science Teacher
5th Grade Science Teacher Jessica Bell is an alumnus of Jackson State University, and holds a BS in Biology Pre-Medicine and a MPH in Behavioral Health Promotion and Education. Prior to joining Creo College Prep, she worked with non-profit organizations focused on minority health and health disparities. She conducted research with the Department of Homeland Security, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ms. Bell is excited to share her experiences with Creo students and expand their content knowledge in STEM.
Social Worker Mary Nilan is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was also a member of the Varsity Women’s Rowing Team. Ms. Nilan went on to teach ninth and eleventh grade ELA for two years in the South Bronx before pursuing her Masters in Social Work at New York University. At NYU, her work focused on children and adolescents in schools and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. She excited to be a member of the Creo College Prep team and to collaborate with teachers, students, and families both inside and out of the classroom.
5th Grade ELA Learning Specialist
5th Grade ELA Learning Specialist Mauricio Rojas has been serving the New York City community for over a decade, teaching 1st - 5th grade and serving as a school culture leader.. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and a MS in Teaching degree from Pace University. As a proud father, Mauricio will be serving the Creo community and facilitating the growth of students’ critical thinking skills and belief in self.
5th Grade Math Teacher
5th Grade Math Teacher Sam Brotman grew up in Virginia and is new to New York City. Prior to Creo College Prep, Ms. Brotman taught in Israel and spent two years teaching math with Teach For America in Jacksonville, Florida where she served as the Faculty Advisor for the National Honor Society. She holds a BA in Psychology and Social Work from Christopher Newport University. Ms. Brotman spent the summer of 2017 working in a New York City school and is excited to return to New York ready for a strong year.
5th Grade ELA Teacher
5th Grade ELA teacher Seth Kumar-Hull started teaching in 2010, and for the past six years has served as a middle school teacher and instructional coach in The Bronx. He lives in West Harlem with his wife, a family medicine doctor in the Bronx. He holds a BA in Economics and History from Trinity College, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Hull looks forward to facilitating lively discourse and debate between his students this year.