• Fernando Wagner

  • Education Advisor

  • Fernando Wagner

    Education Advisor

    Fernando is a human being who really enjoys aquatic animals. He was born in Mexico City, Mexico and has lived in New Orleans since 2005. He has taught in varied classroom settings and was most recently engaged at the New Orleans aquarium in their school and youth volunteer programs.

    His alter ego is named “Captain Tangent” and has the incredible superpower of turning basically any discussion into an exploration into the strange and interconnected paths of biology. You’ll usually learn something interesting, but you won’t always know how you got there.

    Fernando’s prary ambitions revolve around environmental education and ecological conservation. He is beyond excited to join the New Harmony team to take these issues to the front lines and to explore the many and incredible natural resources we have waiting in our metaphorical back yard.

  • Amanda Murray

  • Education Advisor

  • Amanda Murray

    Education Advisor

    Amanda is a Latin female gerundive name meaning “deserving to be loved,” “worthy of love,” or “loved very much by everyone.”[1] Its diminutive form includes Mandy, Manda and Amy.

    This Amanda is also an advisor and math teacher at New Harmony High. She loves math and dogs and is committed to getting her students love them as well.

    Her background in education began a charter middle school in New Orleans East. She has taught math, science, english, and special education courses in a middle school in New Orleans East. This past year, she took a brief hiatus from classroom teaching to spend some time under the sun. She worked for a year as an outdoor educator on the Chesapeake Bay where she learned to make the most beautiful campfires (ask any NHH student to verify this information but, please, do not ask Fernando). Amanda is so excited to have returned to New Orleans to be teaching at New Harmony High.

  • Dina Ross

  • Education Advisor

  • Dina Ross

    Education Advisor
    Dina is an eclectic, old soul. Since childhood she has always been interested in equity and empowering people to create change. She believes that education is not only the key to opportunity, but also the key to social change.
    Dina began working in classrooms during her undergraduate education while attending Northwestern University where she majored in education, social policy, and civic engagement. After graduating she began working in schools full-time and has had the privilege of teaching many students across the country in a variety subjects including English, math, social studies, and physical education. She came to New Orleans in 2014 and has been a lead classroom teacher in middle and high schools across the city.
    When she’s not with her students you can find her creating a mess in her kitchen, eating across the city of New Orleans, hitting the gym, or attempting beautifying her backyard space.
  • Jeff Carver

  • Education Advisor

  • Jeff Carver

    Education Advisor

    Not-so-FAQ’s about Jeff:

    Where are you from? 
    * In chronological order: Santa Cruz, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Seattle, WA; Richmond, VA; New Orleans, LA

    Where did you go to school?
    * California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) – Undergrad | University of New Orleans – Masters

    How long have you been teaching?
    * Five years — all in New Orleans.

    What courses have you taught? 
    * Technical Writing, English III: American Literature, AP Language and Composition — and now English I and Civics.

    What about school stuff outside of the classroom?  
    * Over the past five years, I have been an academic department lead, a grade level culture lead, helped launch and operate a traveling writing club (called WriteBrained), produced a podcast, published several volumes of student writing, led a school-based guitar club, and worked a lot of nights and weekends. 

    What were you doing before working in education?
    * I worked as an A&R rep for a record label for a good part of a decade and spent a couple years working as a project manager for a company that composed music for national advertising campaigns.  Lots of writing.  Lots of reading. Lots of communicating.
    Why New Harmony? 
    * New Harmony’s approach to education resonates with me on a deep level, and I am inspired by the school’s innovation and fearlessness in creating authentic learning opportunities for students.  As a humanities teacher, it feels necessary to really lean into the humanness and sensory spectrum of everything we are learning and discussing and New Harmony is a place where it is possible to do that.
    Are there any books you’ve been thinking about a lot lately? 
    * Actually, yes.  In no particular order: Teaching a Stone to Talk – Dillard, East of Eden – Steinbeck, The River Why – Duncan, Their Eyes Were Watching God – Hurston, My Struggle – Knausgaard, The Wisdom of the Desert – Merton, and Infinite Jest – Wallace.  I would love to talk to you at length about all of these books.
    What are you interested in?
    * Family, birding, reading, music, backpacking, the natural world (in general), podcasts, field recordings, yard beautification, and trying to fix things around the house (see: usually unsuccessfully).
    Are there any birds you’ve been thinking about a lot lately? 
    * Actually, yes!  In alphabetical order: Belted Kingfishers, California Quail, Harpy Eagles, Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers (or lack thereof), Painted Buntings, and Roseate Spoonbills.
  • Sunny Dawn Summers

  • School Leader

  • Sunny Dawn Summers

    School Leader

    Sunny is a passionate and dedicated public school educator. In the recent past, she’s had great success as a teacher leader, department head and instructional coach at New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School.

    Her achievements include having the school’s only 100% passing ratio for the English II EOC, as well as co-developing a new, innovative English curriculum to meet the needs of incoming sophomores with writing deficiencies. Her World Lit classroom has been host to camera crews filming real-time sessions for teacher education as well as radio producers test driving podcasts and teaching storytelling. Sunny has taught Algebra, Geometry, reading intervention, 8.5 writing, and English I and II. As a founding teacher at ReNew Accelerated High School, she received Teacher of the Year Honors.

    Sunny received her BA in English and Art (Magna Cum Laude, All College Honors, Departmental Honors) from the University of Saint Mary in 2001, and her Masters in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education (Honors) in 2015. She completed teachNOLA in 2011.

    Prior to becoming a teacher, Sunny had a successful nine-year career as Vice President for Content Development in the business of adult education, where data mining and instructional coaching were critical. She has extensive non-profit and volunteer experience including advising the founder of The HALO Foundation and serving as Board Vice President and teaching English in Nicaragua.

    Sunny was a founding member of the New Harmony High design team that won the nationally competitive XQ: The Super School Project, receiving a $10 million grant to open a public high school focused on coastal restoration and preservation. She is currently serving as the school leader for New Harmony. Summers and her husband share a Bywater home with Harry the cat.

    You can catch her marching in front of the Treme Brass Band on Lundi Gras as El Capitan Ad Infinitum for Krewe of Redbeans and Rice in New Orleans.

  • Anthony Burrell

  • Community Coordinator

  • Anthony Burrell

    Community Coordinator

    Anthony believes that high school is a critical time during which youth learn to engage and hold themselves in the world. Throughout this period, they discover and develop their talents as they begin their pilgrimage into adulthood.

    Anthony aspires to aid students in finding their vocational calling through work internships, research projects (and other unique learning opportunities) by utilizing his career experiences that span the fields of corporate finance, corporate social responsibility, and education.

    Anthony’s background in Education includes participating in the Education Pioneer fellowship and working as the Finance and Accounting Controller for a CMO with five schools.

    Prior to entering Education, Anthony Burrell spent six years providing accounting and sustainability professional services, most of which were spent at Ernst & Young those services included financial audits, carbon and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) assurance, environmental liability testing, and conflict minerals management and reporting.

    Anthony is a founding and current board member with Compass Community Collaborative school, serving as the Board Treasurer. Anthony received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans, and a CPA license in Louisiana.

    In his life outside of work, Anthony enjoys photography, traveling and listening to jazz music.

  • Hope Clark

  • Special Projects Coordinator

  • Hope Clark

    Special Projects Coordinator
    Hope is an enthusiastic contributor to local start-ups, New Orleans youth empowerment, and environmental education. She recently graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in Environmental Studies (Cum Laude, Recipient of Honors Convocation “Most Outstanding Environmental Service Award”). During her time in higher education she lead Student’s for Sustainability and Divest Loyola. She also founded her universities’ annual Earth Week. In addition, she studied horticulture at the Eco-Village in the South of France during the Summer of 2016 to gain hands on experience of natural environments and resources.
    Prior to starting with New Harmony, she interned with Restore the Earth Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to coastal restoration. She was also the Assistant Director of local non-profit Electric Girls from 2016-2018, which empowers young women in STEM and resource ethics. Hope’s love for New Orleans, youth, and the environment and skills in management has lead her to us as Operations Coordinator/Smooth Operator.
    In her free time, you can find Hope biking, reading, baby/dog sitting, and most likely, eating ice cream.
  • Kitty O’Connor

  • Special Education Coordinator

  • Kitty O’Connor

    Special Education Coordinator

    Kitty is devoted to listening to youth and supporting them to discover, unfold and explore their passions.

    Kitty has been teaching in New Orleans public schools since 2008, when she completed TeachNOLA with a certification in Special Education. She has a wide range of classroom experience working with youth across the spectrum of disabilities (low and high incidence), and in a variety of classroom settings (inclusion, pull-outs and special programs). Kitty’s belief in a radical change of schooling and education is what brought her to New Harmony High. She is currently serving as the Special Education Lead at New Harmony, a position she feels is more aptly titled Care of Magical Creatures.

    Prior to her work as an educator, Kitty received her BA in English (Cum Laude) from the University of the Pacific in 2004. While earning her undergraduate degree, she spent an academic year in Ireland at University College Cork studying Irish literature, language and culture.

    You can find Kitty en route to an outdoor adventure in her Astro Van with her family (two kids, three dogs and her sweetheart).

     

  • Chiquita Adams

  • SPED Interventionist

  • Chiquita Adams

    SPED Interventionist

    Chiquita is a self-proclaimed artist who marches to the beat of her own drum, a beat that has led her to New Orleans from Mississippi. She believes in the reverence of Mother Nature, in the unity of one’s physical and spiritual being, and in having a strong sense of community and responsibility to it.

    Chiquita’s began her humble teaching journey circa 2005, volunteering her time to tutoring and mentoring high school graduates in Jackson, MS on their way to college. Since then, Chiquita has taught students both inside and outside of the classroom, academics and nonacademics, traditional and nontraditional settings (and subjects). She most recently served a year as an Americorps Ed Fellow and another year as 7th grade science teacher and director of the after school program at a charter school in Central Falls, RI.

    Her hobbies include cooking, eating, traveling, reading, and all things music-related. She looks forward to rooting and growing like a giant tree, branching up towards the sky, with New Harmony.

  • Katy Clatyon

  • SPED Interventionist

  • Katy Clatyon

    SPED Interventionist

    Though she grew up in a tiny, rural New York town and always figured she’d live in the mountains somewhere, Katy felt immediately at home when she visited New Orleans for the first time, during an education conference (which happened to fall during parade season). She knew right away that this was the place she wanted to pursue her hopes of working in schools, following the example of her parents, both career teachers.

    Since 2014, Katy has lived in the Upper Ninth Ward, first teaching 8th grade in Jefferson Parish, and then 11th grade English in New Orleans East. Building genuine connections and understanding with students & their families is what drives her commitment, while bringing her the most joy (read: laughter), even on the toughest days. She is excited to begin a new role at NHH, working towards the individualized support that helps every student grow.

    If Katy’s not in a classroom, you’re likely to find her cooking a big meal for friends (and inevitably serving it at least an hour late), watching television that some might call “trash,” or talking a long walk with her pup Bayou – or, more accurately, being walked BY Bayou, who defies all leash training.

  • RJ Gutierrez

  • School Nurse

  • RJ Gutierrez

    School Nurse

    RJ Gutierrez joined New Harmony in the Fall of 2018 as our School Nurse. He is a graduate of LSU’s School of Nursing and uses his degree to help inform the New Orleans community about healthy lifestyles. Before starting with us he provided care for several years in hospitals, emergency departments, home health and hospice, and management.

    His focus at New Harmony is to instill healthy eating and exercise habits, as well as raise awareness about high rates of obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes which are, for the most part, preventable with proper education and minor changes in lifestyle. He also manages and executes all communication with students, parents, and guardians about their individual health plans, as well as the routine injuries and illnesses, and any other medical concerns.
    RJ has two daughters, is passionate about the outdoors, the environment, and hands-on projects such as wood working and mechanics. He also has chickens.
  • Dr. Danique Dolly

  • School Leadership Coach and Interim Principal

  • Dr. Danique Dolly

    School Leadership Coach and Interim Principal

    Danique Dolly is a Big Picture Learning doctoral resident who will be providing principal support and coaching for New Harmony High principal, Sunny Summers.

    Danique Dolly is an educator who has worked with public schools as a teacher, coach and administrator for the past 20 years. He is from the Bronx and East Harlem in New York, and is dedicated to innovative and progressive school models that can help improve public schools. Danique is a graduate of Morehouse College and Brown University. He recently received his doctorate in education leadership at Harvard. He started his journey as a teacher/advisor at The Met School in Providence, Rhode Island with Big Picture Learning. While there, Danique also served as a principal and principal coach during a time when the Big Picture model was taken to scale. The early years with the Big Picture helped Danique develop a deep understanding of progressive school designs and the details that go into the implementation of startup schools.

    Danique was a founding administrator at DC Prep Elementary in Washington, DC and also worked as an education coordinator at the Harlem Children’s Zone before serving as the founding principal of City Neighbors High School (CNHS) in Baltimore, Maryland.  CNHS is a school designed around project-based learning, an internship program, parent partnerships and an advisory model.  While principal, CNHS maintained above 90% attendance rate, above 85% graduation rate, and Danique was recognized by Baltimore City Schools as a transformational principal.

    With a love for schools and learning, Danique now embarks on a mission to better understand how to help school leaders, schools and school systems thrive when faced with so many challenges and competing priorities. Danique hopes to help Sunny and New Harmony High launch successfully and flourish as a new start up school.

  • Rae Banks

  • Operations Coordinator

  • Rae Banks

    Operations Coordinator

    “You must learn to be still in the midst of activity, but vibrantly alive in repose.” -Indira Ghandi Rachel better known as Rae, is a native New Orleanian however spent her formative years in Detroit, Michigan. She is proud to be a product of Detroit Public Schools, and is also a proud Wolverine (University of Michigan). An exceptional experience for each student has been her passion since entering New Orleans Public and Charter school system, four years ago. It is her absolute passion to blur the line of the experience that students obtaining privatized education with those of a more common and urban demographic in Orleans Parish. Rae is a Mother of two bright and beautiful children whom she encourages to reach beyond the sky. She enjoys cooking, dancing, art, great salads, Mardi Gras, and loving family/friends extra hard.

  • Jaron Berliner

  • Spanish Teacher

  • Jaron Berliner

    Spanish Teacher

    Originally from an island near Seattle, an island where you actually have to take a boat to come and go, Jaron Berliner has lived, mostly, in New Orleans since 2003. His experience in public education began with the STAR reading program. After a year living in Bolivia, Jaron and his wife Caitlin returned to New Orleans and he has been a foreign language classroom teacher ever since. Jaron is a deep lover of words, culture and travel.

    When not in the classroom playing games, singing, debating and putting on puppet shows, Jaron is often found chasing after his speedy toddler. The chase usually takes place in City Park, the Lafitte Greenway, along Bayou St. John and through endless restaurants and grocery stores.
    In addition to the aerobics of parenting, Jaron is devoted reader, an emotive guitarist, a passionate traveler (with family, students, and toddlers alike!), a hopeful exerciser, a music nerd, a serious soccer fan and a lover of his wife and child.
    Jaron is particularly proud of having taken cohorts of students abroad to Panama on multiple trips. He looks forward to future adventures and reading Roald Dahl books to his son!
  • Lauryl Grimes

  • SPED Case Manager and Advisor

  • Lauryl Grimes

    SPED Case Manager and Advisor

    Lauryl is a native New Hampshirite, long time Bostonian, recent Portlander, and a New Orleanian at heart. After getting her Masters in Public Health at Tulane, she and her partner moved to Portland, Oregon where Lauryl became a begrudging west-coaster and found herself, sort-of-accidentally, in education. 

     

    Interested in food systems and nutrition, she served a year with AmeriCorps as the garden coordinator at Trillium Charter School. Gardening is objectively the best but Lauryl quickly realized that high schoolers are the coolest, most interesting group of humans and argued to become a high school advisor and teacher the following year. She believes relationships and diversity-in-all-its-forms are fundamental to education. She loves breaking down constructs and smashing the patriarchy and is thrilled to continue her work in special education, equity, and advisory at New Harmony! 

     

    When Lauryl isn’t at school, you can likely find her at a dog park with Zuzu (her pet velociraptor), cooking, camping, or thinking about running.