Class of 2025: Keene State Brown University Clark University
Class of 2024: University of Chicago Rhode Island College Providence College Class of 2023: Tufts University Indiana University New York University University of Rhode Island
Class of 2022: Amherst College Northeastern University University of California Santa Cruz
Sample Daily Schedule
English Language Arts
Whatever I Need (WIN)
Meet Our Middle School Team
Joy Souza, Head of School
Mrs. Souza is a founding team member who has held many roles at BVP. After spending her first three years with BVP at the Elementary School, she is now the Head of School at the Middle School. She holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island and completed her Master's Degree in Elementary Education at Rhode Island College. Mrs. Souza lives in Cranston with her husband and four daughters. As a veteran Kindergarten teacher, she has twice been nominated as Teacher of the Year in Exeter-West Greenwich, Rhode Island and was nominated for the Rhode Island Amgen Award for Science and Teaching Excellence. Since beginning her career at BVP, Mrs. Souza has been nominated for the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, and twice been nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. Mrs. Souza has represented BVP and RI Charter Schools by attending Education Nation in New York City and visiting RI Senators and Congressmen in D.C. She has been invited to present professional develpment programs at schools and conventions across the country. Mrs. Souza has been a youth soccer coach for many years and enjoys reading and discussing books in her spare time.
Marielle Emet, Dean of Academics
Ms. Emet is excited to return to Blackstone Valley Prep for her fourth year to ensure that all scholars are on the path to the college of their choice! In 2013, Ms. Emet received the distinguished national Milken Educator Award. She earned a history degree from Towson University in 2006 and received a Master's in teaching from John Hopkins University in 2008. Ms. Emet was a Teach for America 2006 Baltimore corps member, and taught at her placement school, Digital Harbor High School, for four years. She also worked as a mentor teacher for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for two years. After writing curriculum both for Teach for America and her school, she worked as a Curriculum Specialist for Teach for America during the summer of 2010. Ms. Emet was also BVP's Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013. Ms. Emet has fallen in love with fifth grade math the past three years and is eager to continue this important work with an amazing team of teachers, staff, parents and, most importantly, scholars!
Al Speaks, Dean of Students
Mr. Speaks was born in raised in Providence RI. He graduated from RIC with a bachelor's in Political Science. After a short stint in the State House as a Research Analyst for the Senate, he realized that politics was not his cup of tea. He did know that he worked well with kids and decided to follow that passion. Thoughout his tenure in education, Mr. Speaks has worked with every age group from elementary to college level and plans to continue serving kids in various communities. In his free time Mr. Speaks enjoys spending time with his kids, speeding on his motorcycle and thrashing various cities on his ATV. He doesn't mind keeping his fashion on point as well!
Angie Cruz, Office Manager
Ms. Cruz, a parent herself, knows the value of a strong home-school connection and is committed to making sure all of our scholars and families continue to have a positive relationship with the school. Ms. Cruz brings her extensive experience in operations and administration. Ms. Cruz is bilingual in English/Spanish.
Maria Llano, Receptionist
Ms. Llano was born and raised in Providence, RI and is the mom of a 3-year-old son named Wilmer. She is fluent in English/Spanish. Ms. Llano previously worked six years for the Sawyer School in Rhode Island as an Administrative Assistant and has an Office Information Systems Certificate that she earned at The Sawyer School. She is very excited to have joined the BVP team!
Ms. Chatham graduated from Clark University with a degree in Psychology and concentrations in Peace and International Studies. She completed her Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Urban Education at Clark. Ms. Chatham has studied and worked from Washington, D.C. to Cyprus, but considers Rhode Island to be her true home. She is looking forward to a successful third year at BVP, and inspiring a love of literacy in all BVP scholars!
Ms. Emet is excited to return to Blackstone Valley Prep for her fourth year to ensure that all scholars are on the path to the college of their choice! She earned a history degree from Towson University in 2006 and received a Master's in teaching from John Hopkins University in 2008. Ms. Emet was a Teach for America 2006 Baltimore corps member, and taught at her placement school, Digital Harbor High School, for four years. She also worked as a mentor teacher for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for two years. After writing curriculum both for Teach for America and her school, she worked as a Curriculum Specialist for Teach for America during the summer of 2010. Ms. Emet was also BVP's Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013. Ms. Emet has fallen in love with fifth grade math the past three years, and can't wait to meet her new scholars. Ms. Emet is eager to continue this important work with an amazing team of teachers, staff, parents and, most importantly, scholars!
Miss Leonhardt is a 5th grade English Language Arts Teacher at BVP. Her passion for reading and writing is overflowing. Miss Leonhardt is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she also worked for the Office of New Student Programs to help orient incoming freshmen. During her time in college, Miss Leonhardt studied abroad and lived in Ireland for several months. Traveling is one of her favorite things to do, because wherever she travels, she learns. In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Psychology, Miss Leonhardt brings energy and creativity into the classroom which make her lessons (and the books she reads) come alive. She wishes to help scholars find the same joy in learning that she has.
Ms. McCoy is an enthusiastic and creative teacher committed to ensuring that each of her students has the tools they need to succeed in college and life. Raised in Rhode Island, Miss McCoy received her undergraduate degree in Communications at Keene State in New Hampshire. She completed her graduate work at Rhode Island College, earning a Master's degree in Elementary Education. Miss McCoy is an experienced teacher and performer in the art of Irish Dance. Miss McCoy describes herself as a "life long learner" who enjoys music, travel and art.
Ms. Rooney has her Master's in Spanish from Middlebury College and her BA from Scripps College, one of the Claremont Colleges in California. Ms. Rooney taught Spanish for many years to scholars of all ages and recently moved to Rhode Island from Hawaii. Ms. Rooney is very passionate about both reading and traveling and loves to 'see the world' through the books, newspapers, and magazines she reads. Ms. Rooney is extremely excited to begin working with the scholars at BVP to help them learn about and see the world and other cultures through ELA classes.
Miss Stimpson is a proud graduate of Rhode Island College. She holds a degree in Elementary Education and in Mathematics. Miss Stimpson brings a diverse skill set to her classroom as a result of her years coordinating out-of-school time programs in Cranston and Woonsocket Public Schools. She has a flare for fun and creativity that is always present in her classroom and is excited to begin the year with her scholars at BVP! When Miss Stimpson is not teaching, you can find her spending time with her dog Roxy or curling up with a good book!
Miss Alessandrini is thrilled to teach sixth grade mathematics this year! She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to Lincoln, Rhode Island in 2002 with her family. Miss Alessandrini went on to receive her BA in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College, concentrating in mathematics. Throughout the course of the school year, she hopes to share her passion of mathematics with her scholars.
Mrs. Bour holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. She also concentrated in English, especially Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. When she graduated, she taught in public schools in Lincoln, RI as a substitute teacher. She has worked at The Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls teaching fourth grade. Mrs. Bour is now very excited to be back and teaching sixth grade social studies with this dedicated middle school team!
Ms. Church is excited to start her second year at BVP. Born and raised in RI, she attended Providence College for Elementary and Special Education. While at Providence College Ms. Church played for the PC Pep Band, and dedicated a lot of her time to volunteering in neighboring Providence schools. She is extremely excited to work with scholars on their path to success, and instill a love of math in all of her scholars. Math is the key to the universe, and Ms. Church hopes to show all scholars how to use that key to open doors.
Ms. Fagan is originally from New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Chicago where she majored in Anthropology and International Studies. While at UChicago, Ms. Fagan played varsity softball for two years and worked at a local literacy nonprofit organization, Open Books. Ms. Fagan is super excited to continue working with the incredible scholars, families, and staff at BVP as a sixth grade ELA teacher this year!
Ms. Zwang is so excited about beginning her first year at BVP! She was born in Connecticut and majored in Geology at the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!). Ms. Zwang moved to Rhode Island in 2006 and was employed as an Archaeologist until she finally decided to pursue her dream and become a certified science teacher at Rhode Island College. Ms. Zwang can't wait to show scholars how they can use science to learn about themselves and their world!
Mrs. Bishop is a native Rhode Islander who graduated from Rhode Island College with her Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education and History. She also earned a Middle School Endorsement in Social Studies and is currently working toward her Middle School Math Endorsement. In her spare time Mrs. Bishop loves to cook, take her dogs for walks and spend time with family and friends rooting for her favorite sports teams. Mrs. Bishop is very excited for her first full year at BVP and can't wait to help scholars reach their full potential and put them on a path to the college of their choice!
Ms. Donovan is very excited to return to BVP, the 7th grade team, and the science lab! Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Donovan graduated from New York University with a B.A. in environmental studies. Specifically, Ms. Donovan's interests include environmental education through experiential learning and fostering sustainable communities. She enjoys hiking, running, going to the beach, and spending time with friends and family. Ms. Donovan is a 2012 Teach for America corps member and is eager to cultivate a love for science and inquiry among all of our scholars!
Ms. Manzella grew up in New York, and then attended Wagner College where she received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. After college, she went back to Long Island to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching. Ms. Manzella spent the last year teaching high school math in Massachusetts. She now lives in Rhode Island and is very excited to be a part of the BVP team!
Mrs. Pinheiro grew up in New York, then attended URI where she received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. After college she moved to Anchorage, Alaska and attended Alaska Pacific University for a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. She's excited to return to Rhode Island to teach 7th grade ELA at BVP!
Ms. Shapiro was born and raised in Newton, Ma and graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Economics, Philosophy, and Management. A 2012 Teach for America Rhode Island Corps Member, Ms. Shapiro is thrilled to be returning to BVP and looks forward to another great year in 7th grade math!
Mr. Tamposi is fired up to return to Blackstone Valley Prep and the seventh grade team! Mr. Tamposi was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, but soon moved to Citrus County, Florida - where he was raised with a mix of New England flair and Southern sensibility. Upon graduation from Lecanto High School, he attended Tufts University and graduated with degrees in English and Entrepreneurial Leadership. He swam distance freestyle and IM on the varsity Swim and Dive team. Go Jumbos! Mr. Tamposi is a 2012 Teach for America RI Corps Member and is excited to continue devoting his time and energy to our great Rhode Island scholars!
Mr. Acosta graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a degree in Political Theory and Ethnic Studies. He spent the last two years teaching eighth grade math and Algebra 1 Honors in Miami Dade County. In his first year teaching, Mr. Acosta's students were 100% proficient on their End of Course Algebra 1 exam and in his second year teaching, his students were 93% proficient. Mr. Acosta enjoys tutoring students after school and coaching wrestling. Last year, Mr. Acosta started the wrestling program at his middle school and coached one district champion, two second placers, and one third placer. He is very excited to work at BVP this year with students and staff who are passionate about learning and motivated to succeed.
Mr. Fei is THRILLED to join the BVP team and family! Born in Massachusetts and raised in Hong Kong, China, he is excited about teaching BVP scholars English Language Arts. Prior to teaching, Mr. Fei was a Trade Advisor and Campaign Coordinator for the Brisitin Consulate-General in Hong Kong and a Business Development Associate at a Google-funded technology company in Boston. He received his BA in Public Advocacy & Rhetoric from Northeastern University in Boston, where he co-ran the school's venture accelerator and worked closely with non-profit organizations to advocate for foster care, media justice, and education equity. Mr. Fei is also a HUGE basketball fan and loves reading.
Mr. Herdt is thrilled for the opportunity to dedicate his time and efforts to the amazing college-bound scholars of Blackstone Valley Prep. Mr. Herdt was born in Colorado and moved with his family to Massachusetts soon after. He graduated from Westborough High School and then went on to graduate from Amherst College, a liberal arts school in Massachusetts. While at Amherst he double majored in Economics and History and played on the Lord Jeffs' varsity lacrosse team. Mr. Herdt is now an enthusiastic Teach for America corps member and is passionate about inspiring his scholars to push beyond where they thought possible – and to learn a bit of math! Go Jeffs, woo!
Ms. Narkiewicz is very excited to start her first full year at BVP! She is a graduate of three Rhode Island schools; CCRI, RIC, and PC! In her free time, Ms. Narkiewicz enjoys reading books, hiking and camping, and hanging out with her family and friends. She is overjoyed to be working with the eighth grade this year, helping them learn ELA!
Mr. Samuelson is a native of Michigan and graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a double major in History and Social Studies Education. Mr. Samuelson came to Rhode Island six years ago to teach Social Studies to middle school scholars and is now proud to call Rhode Island his home. Mr. Samuelson is currently studying at Providence College and is scheduled to graduate with a Masters of Education in School Administration in April. In addition to teaching, Mr. Samuelson has been a swim coach for 15 years and is a passionate follower of Detroit professional sports teams. At BVP, he most enjoys working with scholars to achieve the goal of success in college. At home, he is dedicated to spending quality time with his wife and daughter.
Ms. Swanson cannot be more excited to begin the 2013-2014 school year with her 8th grade scholars! Ms. Swanson was born and raised in Sacramento, California. During high school and throughout college, Ms. Swanson was a competitive gymnast and cheerleader, and was part of the national championship team 2007. She also was an active coach for both sports, coaching beginning gymnastics and a special needs cheerleading team. After graduating from high school, she went off to college on the west coast at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Go banana slugs!! There, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Looking for a new adventure, she moved to Rhode Island and joined the BVP family! If you ever would like to get a cup of coffee, look for Ms. Swanson at any Starbucks or give her a call! She always enjoys company! :)
Art, Music and P.E.
Bethany Sousa, 5th Grade Music
Ms. Sousa is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Psychology and is currently working on her Master's. She has been playing the violin since the age of three and has been teaching at Blackstone Valley Prep for one year. Ms. Sousa is very excited to be teaching 3rd and 4th grade strings this year as well as 5th grade general music and recorder at the middle school. She is excited for the new school year and eager to see what the new year brings for her scholars!
Genvieve Spitale, Music
Ms. Spitale is very excited to share her passion for music with the scholars at Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School! A native of Mystic, Connecticut, Ms. Spitale earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Rhode Island where she studied voice, piano, and harp. She is an accomplished vocalist who has toured Italy and Canada with various choirs, has performed as a church soloist and section leader, and is the program director of the Chorus of Westerly's Summer Music & Movement Camp. In addition to performing and teaching music, Ms. Spitale loves shredding the slopes on her snowboard in the winter.
Steven DaRosa, P.E.
Mr. DaRosa graduated from Rhode Island College with a BS in Physical Education. He is also certified in Health Education and endorsed in Adapted Physical Education. He is excited to share his passion of living a physically active and healthy lifestyle. He is also looking forward to coach and prepare the soccer team for another great season.
Edmund Laskowski, P.E.
Mr. Laskowski graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2006 with a degree in Kinesiology, concentrating in Physical Education, Health Education and an endorsement in Adapted Physical Education. He is a founding teacher at the middle school, the PE/Health content lead teacher and the network Athletic Director. Mr. Laskowski is excited to continue his work on comprehensive education and athletics programs for the scholars at BVP while providing them with an enthusiastic, health-enhancing and physically fit environment.
Michelle Turner, Art
Ms. Turner, a born and raised Northern Rhode Islander, holds a BA in Art Education and a Master's in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. Ms. Turner will be returning for her fifth year at BVP and is super excited to continue and develop the art program at the Middle School. While upholding her belief that everyone is capable of making meaningful art, Ms. Turner strives to provide relevant and purposeful art experiences for children of all ages.
Erika Sanzi, Spanish
Ms. Sanzi will be teaching Spanish this year to 7th and 8th graders. She is a former Cumberland school Committee member, mother of three young sons, and former Spanish Teacher in MA and CA as well as Dean of Students in Providence. She consulted with BVP as interim Dean of Students at the Middle School last year before transitioning back to the classroom this year. Her BA and MA are both in Spanish, from UVM and Middlebury College, respectively.
Student Support Services
Trevor Hancey, Interventionist
Mr. Hancey is thrilled to be returning this year to the Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School. A native of Portland, OR, he holds teaching degrees from New York University and Brown University, and has taught in the New York City Public Schools and in the United Kingdom. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking, yoga, and visiting history museums. Mr. Hancey can't wait for scholars to return to the Middle School, so that the important work of preparing 100% of scholars for success in college can be furthered.
Sarah Hayhurst, LCSW Social Worker
Mrs. Hayhurst is excited to return for her second year as the Social Worker at BVP Middle School! Mrs. Hayhurst was born and raised in Kansas before moving to RI two years ago. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work and worked as a School Social Worker in elementary and middle schools on the Fort Riley military base in Kansas for 5 years. In addition to experience in schools, Mrs. Hayhurst has also worked at Gateway Healthcare Inc., coordinating community and home-based services for RI children with special needs. In her spare time, Mrs. Hayhurst enjoys cooking, reading, spending time with her husband and dog, and cheering for the Kansas State Wildcats!
Liz Laguerre, Special Educator
Ms. Laguerre is thrilled to be a new member of the BVP family this year. She is originally from Providence, RI and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2013 with a BA in English and African-American Studies. Ms. Laguerre hopes to later pursue a Master's Degree in Educational Policy. She is excited to bring her passion for literature and the arts to scholars this school year!
Nick Mosher, 1:1
Mr. Mosher is new the BVP team this year, but is excited to begin working with middle school scholars! He graduated from Salve Regina University in Newport, RI with two bachelors degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. Mr. Mosher comes from a little town named Hopedale, Massachusetts and has always wanted to be an educator. He hopes to help all scholars in their quest to be successful at BVP and progress on to college.
Sarah Riley, Special Educator
Miss Riley is new to the BVP team this year. She grew up in Berywn, PA and came to Rhode Island to study at Providence College. Miss Riley graduate from Providence College with a BA in elementary and special education and a minor in mathematics. Miss Riley is studying to get her Masters in Literacy at Providence College. Miss Riley spent last year as the assistant swim coach at Providene College. She was a four year member of the Providence College Women's swim team. Miss Riley loves math and is excited to be teaching math this year. Miss Riley hopes to share her excitement and enthusiam about math with her scholars.
Kendra Volpe, Special Educator
Ms. Volpe is a RI native and excited to joining the teaching team at the Middle School. Ms. Volpe holds a BA in Elementary Education, and a BA in Studio Art from URI and she has earned an MEd in Special Education at PC. Ms. Volpe has been teaching Special Education for several years and has a variety of teaching experiences. She has most recently worked with the Middle Grades team at The Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls. She also taught for several years at Mount Pleasant Academy. In her free time, she enjoys yoga and running and playing with her chihuahua!
Beth Matthews, Nurse
Mrs. Matthews is excited to be a part of the BVP Middle School! A native Rhode Islander, Mrs. Matthews earned a Bachelor's Degree from URI in Human Development, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She recently finished her Master's in Nursing at the University of New Hampshire! Mrs. Matthews has worked as an RN at hospitals in New Hampshire and Rhode Island and currently works per diem at Butler Hospital in Providence. Mrs. Matthews is the proud step mom of a BVP scholar at ES 1! She lives in Lincoln with her husband Nathan, stepdaughter Akoda, dog Polly, cat named Pepper and her two turtles! In addition to making people feel better, Mrs. Matthews sings some mean karaoke, loves to travel and is always looking to rescue some more animals in need :)