Ms. Colarusso is the founding Head of School of Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary 2. She joined the BVP family as a Kindergarten teacher in 2009. Ms. Colarusso started her career in education as a Teach for America Corps Member teaching both Kindergarten and First Grade in the urban school district of Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida. A native resident of Massachusetts, Ms. Colarusso holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in History and Spanish from Regis College and a Master’s degree from the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has previously worked in both traditional public and public charter schools in her home state.
Beth Dowd, Dean of Operations
Ms. Dowd is super excited to join the BVP team! She graduated from Providence College and later earned her MBA at Brandeis University. She began her career as a project manager and operations guru for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, and has also worked as an independent consultant supporting strategic and programmatic planning efforts for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Ms. Dowd most recently served as an Education Pioneers Fellow in the Boston Public Schools Department of Transportation. In her spare time she loves to do anything outside, including snowboarding, swimming and biking. She has even completed a few triathlons!
Nicole Hayes, Dean of Culture
Ms. Hayes is currently in her fifth year working at BVP. After working as a Kindergarten teacher for the past four years, she is excited to transition to her new role as Dean of Culture. She is a proud graduate of Salve Regina University where she majored in Early Childhood Education and minored in Special Education. Ms. Hayes is currently pursuing her Master’s in Urban Education at Providence College. During high school and college she danced on her school’s dance teams and has taught dance to children between the ages of 3 and 10. Ms. Hayes is looking forward to another exciting and successful year at Blackstone Valley Prep!
Sara Tucker, Dean of Academics
In 2008, Ms. Tucker, formerly Ms. Covino, earned her Bachelor’s degrees in French and Public Policy at Syracuse University and joined Teach for America. Ms. Tucker has taught kindergarten, first and second grade during her seven years in public education. A Cumberland native, she returned to the great state of RI after teaching four years in both traditional public and charter schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is currently studying for her Master’s in Urban Teaching at Providence College and training with the Building Excellent Schools Leadership for Emerging Networks of Schools (LENS) program. In her free time she enjoys playing with her niece, walking her dog, and reading books.
Alex Calpa, Office Manager
Mr. Calpa was born in Colombia and move to the United States 27 years ago. He lived in Connecticut for 24 of those years, where he graduated from Manchester High School and Manchester Community College. He earned an Associate’s degree in Sports & Exercise and a soccer coaching license. Before becoming part of the BVP family, he was a college, high school and premier soccer coach. He currently coaches the BVP soccer teams and is working hard to make us a soccer powerhouse.
Jennifer McGrail, Social Worker
Mrs. McGrail is excited to be returning as the Family and Scholar Support Provider! Mrs. McGrail grew up in MA and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Salve Regina University in RI. She is currently enrolled in the Master’s Program for Social Work at Rhode Island College. She has experience working in agencies including foster care, long term care, juvenile probation, and hospital social work. She enjoys working with youth and their families, advocating and supporting them with resources and services that will benefit their well-being! In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family, yoga, and anything outdoors!
Erika Iafrate, Nurse
Mrs. Iafrate, formerly Ms. Bento, is excited to be at BVP for her second year as school nurse. She previously worked at Women and Infants in the Neonatal ICU and at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in the Emergency Department. In her free time, she loves to be with family and friends, as well as her husband, two cats and dog. She is looking forward to another wonderful year of keeping our scholars healthy!
Mary Catherine Amadu
Mrs. Amadu is incredibly excited to be joining BVP this year as a kindergarten teacher! She graduated from Colby College with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and continued on to receive a Master’s degree in early childhood education from Pace University in New York. She is entering her eighth year of teaching and can hardly believe it. Time flies when you’re having fun! In her spare time, Mrs. Amadu loves reading, Zumba, and spending time with her family. She is looking forward to an amazing school year!
Ms. Boyle began her journey with BVP last year as a student teacher from Rhode Island College. She is eager to begin her first official year as a Kindergarten teacher! As a Cumberland native, Ms. Boyle strongly believes in giving back to the community. Her favorite part about working at BVP is being part of an intentionally diverse community. In her spare time, Ms. Boyle loves to travel, eat delicious food and spend time with her family and dog!
A native to Rhode Island, Ms. Nunes recieved her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Rhode Island College. This will be Ms. Nunes’ second year teaching kindergarten at BVP and is looking forward to working with the new kindergarten scholars. Currently, Ms. Nunes is taking classes at RIC and working towards her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. In her spare time, Ms. Nunes enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Ms. Perras worked in a kindergarten classroom in Tiverton, RI last year. She is a recent graduate from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore MD. While at school Ms. Perras was a member of the Education Society, Student Council for Exceptional Children, Best Buddies, Autism speaks and Relay for Life. Ms. Perras loves reading, spending time at the beach, spending time with friends, and learning new things!
Born in NY but moved to RI as a toddler, Ms. Santana likes to say she is a true Rhode Islander at heart, minus the cold because she lives for the summers and spends her days at the beach or by the pool. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from the University of Rhode Island and a M.A.T. in Elementary Education from Roger Williams University. She has a seven- year- old daughter named Gania who is just as creative and spunky as she is. Ms. Santana enjoys spending all of her free time with Gania and their dog cocoa. Early childhood is her passion and she is excited to join the BVP team!
Mrs. Thibeault graduated from Rhode Island College in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education. Born and raised in Rhode Island, she is passionate about working with scholars and has extensive experience working with youth from different districts in Rhode Island.
Ms. Chavarria grew up in Massachusetts and attended the University of Vermont where she studied Early Childhood Education and fell in love with teaching and working with young minds. After graduating, she followed her passion for travel and culture and joined the US Peace Corps. Under Peace Corps, she spent three amazing years living, teaching and working with the community of a rural Zambian village.· She is extremely excited to join the BVP team and is looking forward to a great year.
Mrs. Yankus is one of the founding teachers of BVP, and is thrilled to be back! Mrs. Yankus loves to read, go to the beach, and spend time with her daughter. Her favorite thing about BVP is how excited her scholars always are to learn. She can’t wait to meet her new University of Alaska scholars, and start learning!
Ms. Tolson is a Cincinnati Ohio native! She moved to Rhode Island over 13 years ago. Ms. Tolson is super excited to join the school year here at BVP with first grade. Ms. Tolson attended Rhode Island College and earned her degree in Elementary Education and Special Education back in 2014. Ms. Tolson is extremely excited to start working with the BVP team and her talented scholars.
Mr. Moran is so excited to start his educational journey at BVP with the first grade scholars. He earned his Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Johnson & Wales University in 2014. Mr. Moran worked for the BVP Network throughout the Summer, completing numerous projects for the Teachers and Scholars. Mr. Moran has faith that he will be able to make a positive impact on his scholars, and that he will learn as much from his scholars as they will from him. When outside the classroom, Mr. Moran enjoys relaxing with his wife, trying new cuisines, and serving at his Church.
Ms. Melillo is a Rhode Island native! Here, she graduated from Providence College in May 2014, where she earned her BA in both Elementary and Special Education. She has had the opportunity to teach children in many grade levels ranging from first to seventh grade. She is committed to teaching and loves to see her scholars succeed and grow. She can’t wait to begin her teaching career at Blackstone Valley Prep in ES2! In her free time, she loves to spend time with family, go to the beach, and shop!
Ms. Donahue is excited about teaching first grade for her fourth year here at BVP! Ms. Donahue attended the University of South Florida in Tampa Florida and Rhode Island College where she recieved her Elementary Education and Special Education degree in 2011. She is looking forward to having the opportunity to continue to inspire first graders in BVP as well as first year teachers!
Mr. Crean was born in Fort Worth, Texas and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan when he was 10 years old. He graduated from Brown University in 2013 where he volunteered as a literacy tutor in Providence public schools. In 2014, he received his Masters in Arts of Teaching from Brown. In his free time he enjoys reading mystery novels and playing sports, including basketball and football. He is excited to be a member of the BVP team and work with these bright scholars.
Ms. Castiglia is a student at Rhode Island College and is so excited to be completing her student teaching placement at BVP! In her free time, Ms. Castiglia enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Niedmann is excited to return to her second year of teaching at BVP. She graduated from Salve Regina University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Special Education. She also played for her school’s soccer and basketball team during her time at Salve. She has taught in a kindergarten classroom at BVP, as well as a first grade student teaching placement in Middletown, RI. Ms. Niedmann is eager to spend time with a new group of scholars and ready to put them all on the path to college!
As a graduate of Stonehill College for Early Chilldhood Education and Psychology, Ms. Corriveault has always been dedicated to teaching. She is currently in the process of completing her Master’s for Literacy at Providence College. In her spare time, Ms. Corriveault loves to go to the beach, to go running, and to spend time with her family and friends. She taught first grade last year at BVP and is so excited to return for her second year!
Ms. Colestock is originally from the Chicago area. She made her way east to study at the University of New Hampshire where she double majored in Sociology and Women’s Studies. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Division 1 UNH field hockey team. After coaching field hockey at the college level she went on to receive her Master’s in Public Policy from UMass Dartmouth in 2012. For the past two years she has worked at BVP on the Network team. The majority of her work has been focused on recruting and selecting the very best teachers to serve our scholars. She’s excited to transition into the classroom this year at ES2 as the 2nd grade math teacher.
Ms. Grant is thrilled to be returning to ES2 for her fourth year at BVP! She will be teaching science to every second grader and is so excited to see how much learning is going to take place in her classroom! Ms. Grant is continuing her education through Providence College in Urban Education. In her free time, Ms. Grant loves to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. She is looking forward to seeing the scholars ROCK it this year!!
Having entered part-way during the 2013-2014 school year, Ms. Fagundes had the unique opportunity to work with scholars and teachers ranging from kindergarten through second grade at ES2. After learning so much from this wonderful experience, Ms. Fagundes is excited to begin her first full year of putting all scholars on the path to college at BVP! In her spare time, Ms. Fagundes enjoys playing soccer, reading, and she especially loves cooking!
Ms. Luzzi is thrilled to be starting her second year teaching here at BVP working with the Second Grade Team. ·She was born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island. She is a proud 2004 graduate of Rivier University in Nashua, NH where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Human Development, and General Special Education. After college, she returned to Rhode Island to work for South County Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program as a preschool teacher, and, in 2008 she started working as the Special Needs Coordinator. In her free time, Ms. Luzzi loves to bake, go to the beach, and spend time with her brand new niece, Giuliana, along with family and friends.
Ms. Putta is excited to be returning to BVP this year as a third grade teacher. Ms. Putta grew up in Princeton, NJ and spent her college years exploring Cambridge and Boston. She received her BA in International Relations from Tufts University - go Jumbos! Ms. Putta speaks three languages: Telugu, English and Spanish! In college, she studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and explored much of Western Europe. In her free time, Ms. Putta loves to travel, cook, and exercise.
Mrs. Falk, formerly Ms. Delaney, is excited for her second year at BVP and seventh year of teaching! Mrs. Falk graduated from Brown University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation she joined Teach For America and taught for five years at Amistad Elementary in New Haven. Mrs. Falk also holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Fairfield University. In her free time she loves running around Providence, walking on the beach, and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Abreu has taught in Dominican Republic for the past six years. This is her seventh year teaching. She also served as Chair for the Language Arts Committee for three years and opened and advised a chapter of National Junior Honor Society. She recently received a certification in ESL. Mrs. Abreu was born and raised in RI and is excited to be back in her home state doing what she loves: teaching.
Mr. D’Avanzo is excited to begin his fourth year at BVP ES2 as a member of the third grade team. He graduated with a BA in Spanish and International Relations from Brown University in 2011. He is a former member of the Brown men’s soccer team and still enjoys playing in his free time. In the fall of 2009, Mr. D’Avanzo studied abroad in Havana, Cuba, where he taught English to adults in his community. He is a proud member of the BVP community and is 100% committed to the success of all scholars.
After graduating from Syracuse University, Ms. Manning was accepted into the 2009 Teach for America corps in South Dakota. After serving three years teaching on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Ms. Manning became a founding third grade teacher at KIPP Academy Elementary in the Bronx, NY. Becoming inspired by what she had learned, Ms. Manning returned to Rosebud reservation for one more year to teach third grade once again and relay the knowledge and skills she had attained while in NY. Ms. Manning is excited to be apart of BVP’s amazing third grade team!
Although Ms. Mehra spent the first few years of her life in the Boston area, she mostly grew up in Portland, Oregon. She also lived in Bangalore, India for three years during middle school. She just graduated from Brown University, where she studied International Relations and French. In her free time, Ms. Mehra loves to read, dance, and travel. She is so excited to join the BVP team!!
Eligio Vuono, P.E.
Mr. Vuono will be returning to BVP as the P.E./Health Teacher. Mr. V is a 2013 graduate of the University of Rhode Island. At the University of Rhode Island Mr. V earned his degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Physical Education, Health Education, and Adapted Physical Education. Mr. V is excited to return to BVP and continue helping scholars on their road to college.
Katelyn Guignard, Art
Ms. Guignard is the founding art teacher at ES2. She was born and raised in Northwest New Jersey and decided to come to beautiful Rhode Island for college. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor’s degree in art education. Ms. Guignard can’t wait to continue her career with the scholars at BVP with a choice-based art curriculum. She is so excited to be starting her fouth year at BVP ES2 and is even more excited to move into the art studio in the new building! She is very enthusiastic about helping to prepare every scholar for success in college and the world beyond.
Raffi Rachdouni, Music
At the age of six, Mr. Rachdouni discovered his love for music while learning to play the piano. Since Mr. Rachdouni graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Music in 2011, he is now pursuing his Master’s degree to further his Music Education. Mr. Rachdouni is extremely excited to continue teaching these bright scholars everything he knows about music.
Student Support Services
Ms. Wood graduated from Salve Regina University in 2014 with a duel degree in Elementary and Special Education. As a Cumberland native, she is heavily involved with the community from coaching cheerleading to leading after school programs at the Boys and Girls Club. This is Ms. Wood's first year teaching and is excited to begin her journey with Blackstone Valley Prep as a K-1 interventionist. In her spare time, Ms. Wood is a certified Zumba instructor and loves to spend time at the beach with her family.
Ms. Lorraine is very much looking forward to another fantastic year as a BVP Special Educator! She is excited to see her former scholars continue to grow, as well as watch her new incoming kindergarteners blossom throughout the year. During her free time, Ms. Lorraine enjoys spending time with Charlie and Lola (her two adorable puppies), cooking and spending time with friends and family.
Mr. Mosher went to school at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI in 2009 to fufill his dream of becoming a teacher. Immediately out of college, Mr. Mosher knew he wanted to work at BVP after learning about how much they did for their scholars. Then he began working at BVP last year at the middle school in the sixth grade. He enjoyed his time working with the sixth grade, but really wanted to return to working with younger students. Therefore, Mr. Mosher is joining the team and family at Elementary School 2. He is excited to begin working with the scholars at ES2!
Ms. Neville was raised in Oklahoma City, OK and just recently moved to New England after living in Atlanta, GA for over 20 years. She has taught for 10 years at all grade levels, from Prek-12th grade. She enjoys traveling with her family, listening to music, and shopping.