2020-21

Welcome New Faculty and Staff!

List of 12 items.

  • Mitchell Alexandre

    Director of Upper Elementary (3rd-6th)
    Mitchell started his career as a primary school teacher in a co-teaching environment for 16 years at Columbia Grammar in New York. He then moved to the Assistant Head of the Lower School role at Fort Worth Country Day, and most recently served as Principal and Vice-Principal internationally. He has master’s degrees in Education Leadership and Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Columbia University Teachers College and Bank Street College of Education. Mitchell brings a focus on curriculum development, a student-centered approach, social-emotional learning and diversity to The Center.
  • Akeen Bernard

    Plant Engineer
    Akeen joined our Facilities team this past April as Plant Engineer. Akeen comes to the CEE community with over fifteen years of facilities and plant engineering experience. Most recently, Akeen served as a Building Engineer, managing several large facilities with Colliers International. Akeen is OSHA and EPA Section 608 technician certified.
  • Arapaie Black

    First Grade Teacher
    Arapaie’s career as a teacher began when she served as an AmeriCorps member in Rochester, New York. Her experience as an elementary teacher’s assistant showed her the powerful impact of education. Following her time in AmeriCorps, she earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. After graduating, Arapaie became a founding first grade teacher at Equitas Academy #3 in Pico-Union.
  • Jill Collito

    Fourth Grade Teacher
    Jill has over 15 years of elementary experience, including teaching second grade at CEE from 2013-2017. Prior to returning to CEE this year, Jill spent three years living in Boston. During her time on the East Coast, Jill taught fifth grade at The Chestnut Hill School and third grade at The Fessenden School. She has also been working as a Curriculum and Instructional Designer for a new social-emotional curriculum, Fly Five, with The Center for Responsive Schools and Responsive Classroom.
  • Amy Flemming

    Senior Instructional Support Teacher
    Amy previously taught both physical education and in the classroom as a certified teacher. She has spent the last 20 years working as an administrative assistant and being very involved in the Parent Association of her children's elementary school (our very own CEE!). Amy shares that she is most proud of being a parent, and is excited to be returning to working full time as part of a school community, especially one she loves as much as The Center.
  • Olivia Gadson

    Upper Elementary Learning Specialist
    Olivia previously served as an educational therapist, providing one-to-one instruction to help students gain confidence in their academic abilities, and as a behavior therapist for students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. She also worked as a substitute teacher while obtaining her master’s degree in Educational Therapy from Cal State Northridge. Olivia’s passion for education stems from students finding value in overcoming challenges and exploring themselves in the process.
  • Ashanti Gordon

    In-House Floating Master Teacher
    Ashanti joins the CEE community following several years teaching Kindergarten through fourth grade as a reading specialist and special educator. She is originally from Connecticut and attended the University of Connecticut. Ashanti has also earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a focus on special education and literacy support. In her free time, Ashanti enjoys making and teaching art.
  • Casey Haltom

    Kindergarten Teacher
    Casey comes to CEE from New York, where he taught at Grace Church School for 14 years, serving as a lead teacher in the Pre-K classroom for the past 12 years. He was also the director of the NYSAIS Beginning Teachers’ Institute conference for the past 5 years. Casey grew up in Texas and attended Southwestern University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Music in Vocal Performance. He earned his master’s in Childhood Education from The City College of New York. 
  • Paola Jeon

    Second Grade Teacher
    Paola joins CEE following a move from New York, where she worked at a school, P.S. 87, for four years. Paolo started as a lower elementary reading specialist, teaching first grade and Kindergarten, both in general education and integrated co-teaching classrooms. She previously taught Pre-K at the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center, which focuses on the whole child. Paola holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Jesse Mariel

    Day Porter
    Jesse is originally from Oakland, California, and he grew up in Los Angeles with his two older siblings. This past spring, Jesse joined the CEE facilities team as our Day Porter. Before becoming a member of The Center’s team, Jesse served as a member of the CEE night cleaning crew with Start Fresh Building Services, having worked with them for several years. He is looking forward to the opportunity to get to know faculty, staff, parents and students in The Center community.
  • Rebecca Schollmeyer

    Third Grade Teacher
    Rebecca comes to CEE after two years teaching at an International Baccalaureate PYP school in Milan, Italy. While in Italy, Rebecca taught inquiry-based and project-based units of study with real-world connections while incorporating Responsive Classroom practices for her students. Rebecca attended Boston College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Applied Psychology and a master’s degree in Special Education, after which she taught for three years at a school in Boston.
  • Debbie Wilhite

    Controller
    For the past 25 years, Debbie has worked in Accounting for a variety of industries including Entertainment, Sports and Media. She earned a BS in Business Administration (with a dual concentration in Finance & Accounting) from Northeastern University in Boston. Debbie holds an active CA CPA License and is a member of the Financial Executives Networking Group (The FENG). She is originally from the East Coast but now resides in Mar Vista with her husband, daughter, and her many rescue animals.
The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, strives to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.