School Administration

Valerie Babb, Manager of Hiring and Family Engagement

Valerie spent four years leading charter school parent organizing and advocacy efforts for the New York City Charter School Center. She worked closely with policymakers, elected officials and educators to give charter school parents a voice in the education policy debate. She spent the earlier part of her career in the field of fundraising, working for one of the pre-eminent nonprofits in Harlem, the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC). Valerie also spent five years as a radio personality at Harlem Community radio (WHCR 90.3fm). She is a graduate of the City College of New York, with a B.A. in Communications. Valerie enjoys finding the newest flavor of artisan popcorn and developing her “jumping” technique. Her first airplane jump was in Summer 2015.

Aviva Buechler, Assistant Principal, Grades Pre-K and K

Ms. Buechler received her B.A. in History from Barnard College and her M.A. in Teaching in Childhood Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. She has certification to teach K-6 from New York. She is currently completing her Ed.M. in Leadership for Educational Change at Bank Street. This is Ms. Buechler's seventh year at Harlem Link, where she previously taught kindergarten and served as Director of Family Engagement. While at Link, she enjoys speed-walking the many halls and stairwells of the building. She also loves zumba, reading all news and various nonfiction books, sharing her passion of Mo Willems' books, running, traveling, and reading with Link scholars.

Ramelle Brown, Manager of Data and Accountability

Ms. Brown received her B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy from Kenyon College. This is her third year working with Harlem Link and she previously worked as an Advocate Counselor at an alternative high school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In her free time you can find Ms. Brown running, reading and eating (though usually not all at once). She is very excited to work with Harlem Link and meet all of the brilliant scholars here!

Eugene Campbell, Executive Director of After All

Bio coming soon!

Steven Evangelista, Principal, Co-Founder

Mr. Evangelista, who calls himself a five borough New Yorker and who attended city public schools from grades K to 12, began working in public education in 1998 as a Teach For America corps member. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Georgetown University, he expected elementary education to be a temporary career stop but found it to be a calling. Initially opposed to charters, he began researching them because of feedback from parents, experience watching the system fail to serve students and the promise of the charter law.He attended several national conferences and visited schools in major urban areas to learn more before completing an independent study on a rationale for an urban charter school at Bank Street College of Education and then providing consulting to teams starting schools in other states. Mr. Evangelista earned an MS.Ed. from Bank Street College in 2001. In 2004, he completed Building Excellent Schools, a national fellowship designed to train founders of new charter schools. He holds passionate interests in baseball, popular science and being a great father.

Tyson Gregg, Director of Student Affairs

Bio coming soon.

William Harney III, Director of Finance

Mr. Harney earned an A.B. degree in Economics from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. degree in Finance from Columbia Business School. After a career in banking and finance (and a dozen years of observing our educational system up-close through his two sons), Mr. Harney decided to apply his skills and experience in that educational system. He was excited to discover charter schools, something he had known nothing about. He met Steve Evangelista in late 2009, and shortly thereafter, joined the Harlem Link Charter School as its first Director of Finance. Somewhat philosophical by nature, Mr. Harney has become known around the school for quoting one of his favorite writers, Jimmy Buffett, most notably with his statement “I love my job!”.

Mariela Lemus, Behavior Specialist

Ms. Lemus received her B.A. in Psychology and Education with a minor in Sociology from Bucknell University (Go Bison!) and her M.A. in Special Education from Hunter College. This is Mariela’s ninth year working in education within New York City and is really excited for her fourth year at Harlem Link! She enjoys traveling, running and spending time with family.

Christine Murray, Special Education and ELL Coordinator

Ms. Murray earned her B.A. in Theater Arts from Drew University and her M.S.Ed. in Childhood Education and Literacy from Bank Street College of Education. She has certification to teach childhood education grades 1-6 and literacy from birth to grade 6 in the state of New York. This is her tenth year teaching, and tenth year at Harlem Link. Alongside teaching, she's passionate about music, writing and reading. She's grateful to all the scholars at Harlem Link for inspiring her every day with their curiosity, wonder and joy.

Karissa Prieto, Assistant Principal, Grades 1 and 2

Mrs. Prieto earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Special Education and Psychology from New York University in 2009. She is dually certified in both Early Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities Birth-2 in New York State. Mrs. Prieto also completed the Reading Specialist graduate program at Teachers College to earn her Masters degree. She is currently enrolled at Bank Street College of Education pursuing a second Masters in Educational Leadership. She has been in Education for 8 years, 6 of which have been at Harlem Link. She taught first grade at Harlem Link for four years and worked as the Academic Intervention Services teacher for grade K-1 for half a year before transitioning into her current role of Assistant Principal for Grades 1-2. Mrs. Prieto is fluent in both English and Spanish. During her free time, Mrs. Prieto enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, cooking, arts & crafts, and spending time with family and friends.

John Reddick, After School Director, Associate Dean and Founding Board Member

In 1974, Mr. Reddick studied Education at Brooklyn College and that year he helped write the curriculum for the Department of Education of the City of New York at Columbia University. Mr. Reddick worked for 25 years for the First Avenue Daycare under C.P.C. and A.C.S. He also worked as an Environmental Educator for Trust for Public Land for 25 years. In addition to his full time work at Harlem Link since its founding, he still works for New York City Housing Authority doing Environmental Education after school for them. In 2006 he was voted Garden Crusader 2nd Place for Education in the U.S. In 1973 he was awarded black belt by Hoteikan Dojo. He has done self-defense workshops for the U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Department of Corrections, and New York City Police Department. Once a year for the past 10 years, he works out and leads workshops at West Point.

Margaret Ryan, Director of Curriculum, Professional Learning, and Student Support; Co-Founder

In 1995 Margaret graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from Marist College. She is a Teach For America corps member and alumna in the South Bronx and Harlem for six years in middle and elementary school. While teaching elementary she earned a master’s in teaching elementary at Bank Street College of Education in 2001. In 2003, Margaret, with Steve Evangelista, co-founded Harlem Link Charter School. Upon opening, Margaret was Co-Director Principal of Harlem Link from 2005-2011. In 2006, Margaret participated in a five week KIPP Leadership Summer Institute at Stanford University and continued her learning with other KIPP participants in a year-long Educational Leadership program through National Louis University. Currently, Margaret is a part time leadership team staff member working diligently with curriculum and professional development to ensure that Harlem Link reaches its ambitious mission and vision of well-rounded, values-driven, college-bound scholars. When not at Harlem Link, Margaret spends her time with her daughters Eleanor and Penelope and rekindling her fiction writing.

Daniel Steinberg, Assistant Principal, Grades 3 to 5

Mr. Steinberg received his B.A. in American Studies at Penn State and his M.A. in Elementary Education at Holy Family University. He is currently completing his Ed.M. in Leadership for Educational Change at Bank Street College. This is Mr. Steinberg's sixth year at Harlem Link, where he previously taught fourth grade. He loves playing music, rooting for Philadelphia sports teams, and spending time with his family.

Marianne Van Auken, Director of Start to Finish Program

Mrs. Van Auken (formerly Ms. Kinney) earned her B.A. in Political Science, Education, and Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond, and her M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. She was a classroom teacher for 8 years. This is her ninth year with Harlem Link. As Director of the Start to Finish program, she supports our Link community from Start (early literacy in the community) to Finish (middle school placement and alumni support). She has managed special programs in Germany, Virginia, South Africa, New York, and Sierra Leone. She loves reading the NY Times, learning from all members of our community, traveling, cooking, and hanging out with her son and husband.

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Student

“Harlem Link has established strong instructional leadership...the school had in place teacher development structures to support the implementation of a high quality program.”

(SUNY renewal report, 2013)