About Our Staff
Ms. Smith is a Pre-K Head Start teacher at Jackson. She has been a dedicated teacher in the Philadelphia School District for 28 years and for 8 of these years, has been part of the wonderful staff/family at Andrew Jackson school. She has a Masters Degree in Education and has her teaching certification in Early Childhood Education as well as Elementary Education. She is looking forward to this new, exciting school year.
Mr. Malara is a kindergarten teacher and began his teaching career at Christopher Columbus Charter School 12 years ago. During that time, he taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. For the past 7 years, he has been with the School District of Philadelphia, teaching kindergarten at Andrew Jackson for the past 6 years. Living and teaching in the same neighborhood has been a wonderful experience!
Ms. Levy is a kindergarten teacher at Andrew Jackson Elementary. This is her ninth year in the School District of Philadelphia. She has a Master’s Degree from Temple University. In addition to Kindergarten, she has also taught fourth and first grades. Ms. Levy hails from Long Island, New York but has lived in Philadelphia since 2007. Outside of school her favorite activity is eating at one of Philadelphia’s many great restaurants. In case you were wondering, Zahav is her favorite. You can also find her saying hello to every dog she meets on the street!
Ms. Santo has been a teacher for seven years and with the School District of Philadelphia at Andrew Jackson for six of those seven years. Ms. Santo has a Master’s degree in education from Temple University and is certified in multiple areas including secondary education. In addition to being a kindergarten teacher at Jackson, Ms. Santo has been running the after-school robotics club with Mr. Kuhn for the last five years. Outside of school, Ms. Santo enjoys riding her bike, watching Jeopardy, playing Yahtzee, and spending time with her cat Pablo and dog Daisy.
Ms. Pena has been teaching in the School District of Philadelphia for 17 years. She has been teaching 1st grade at Jackson for the last 10 years. She has a PA Certification in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a MS in Education Leadership/Curriculum Supervisor. She is the PFT representative and the Book Trust Manager for our school. She is currently enrolled in a program to obtain her ESL Certification.
Ms. Cucinotta is a first grade teacher at Andrew Jackson School. She holds a PA Certificate in Elementary Education K-6. She is entering her eight year with the School District. In addition to teaching first grade, Mrs. Cucinotta has taught sixth Grade and Kindergarten at Jackson. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Cucinotta enjoys spending time with her husband, John, and son, Ryan, as well as good food and traveling!
Ms. Brozdonis is a first grade teacher at Andrew Jackson. She has been teaching in the district for 23 years. This is her 16th year at Jackson. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She has Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and also Literacy. Ms. Brozdonis is certified in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Rob, daughter Emma, and dog, Bella. Ms. Brozdonis enjoys reading, walking, exercise,good food, and watching her daughter play field hockey.
Ms. Harrigan is in her tenth year teaching at Jackson Elementary. She loves reading teen novels, binge watching Netflix, music (she proclaims she was born for Broadway and the kids often see her break out in random song and dance), eating out, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and hanging with her 7 year old son Micah and 11 year old Pitbull Bella Noche’. She knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in the 5th grade. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Special Education from Kutztown University, Master’s from Cabrini College and is enrolling in a second Master’s program at Lincoln University for Administration and Leadership. She’s excited to have always been a part of the best staff in Philadelphia!
Mrs. Ryan is a second grade teacher at Jackson and is going into her fourth year at Jackson. Mrs. Ryan completed her second Masters in School Leadership this past summer at the University of Pennsylvania and also has a dual Masters in Elementary and Special Education from La Salle University. She is Wilson Certified and the Head Coach of Girls on the Run. She loves running marathons, doing CrossFit, Halo Top (Red Velvet and Pumpkin Spice), anything Pumpkin Spice, Game of Thrones, and the Marvel Universe.
Ms. Pierce is a 2nd grade teacher at Andrew Jackson. This is her 4th year at Jackson and 8th year in the Philadelphia School District. She enjoys reading, playing sports, and going to the beach. Her favorite things are Starbucks, Harry Potter, and Sharpies. Ms. Pierce loves teaching and hopes to be in classroom for many years to come!
Ms. Chan is a third grade teacher and has taught in the School District of Philadelphia for 14 years. In addition to Elementary Education, Ms. Chan is also certified as a Reading Specialist and an ESOL Specialist. She is a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project and has presented her teacher research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ethnography Forum. Prior to teaching in Philadelphia, Ms. Chan taught English in Japan for two years. She received her B.A. from Haverford College and her M.Ed. from Boston College.
Ms Atkins has been a third grade teacher at Jackson School for three years. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. A career changer, she spent 15 years as a community organizer, where she became fluent in Spanish while working on issues of immigrant rights, affordable housing, and racial justice. Atkins lives in south Philadelphia and is the parent of two young children.
Mrs. Rafferty is a 3rd grade teacher at Jackson. She has been teaching at Jackson for 8 years. She is a graduate of Holy Family University with a Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She has a son in 6th grade and a daughter in 5th grade. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with family, friends, and her cat, Buster.
Mrs. Galdo is a fourth grade teacher at Jackson school and is going into her third year at Jackson. Mrs. Galdo completed her Master’s of reading specialist this summer and graduated from Temple University. Mrs. Galdo has two daughters Livia, 3 and Vida 16 months. She loves reading, teaching and Starbucks.
Mr. Clark-Hladczuk is teaching fourth grade at Andrew Jackson Elementary. He has worked with children in the Philadelphia area for the past seventeen years teaching third, second, and first grade in the School District of Philadelphia and art camp with the City of Philadelphia Department of Visual Arts. He holds a Master’s degree from Temple University in elementary education and holds an additional certification to teach English language learners. He believes that education has the transformative power to help children achieve their dreams.
Ms. Pugliese is the 5th grade Mathematics and Science teacher at Andrew Jackson. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Literacy, and is currently working on her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Administration at Holy Family University. Her classroom is very STEAM-focused; she has two 3D Printers, a 3D scanner, 3D printing pens, ozobots, and other various technologies. She was the recipient of a Milken Educator Award in 2016, and was one of ten nationally recognized teachers for the Best in Education prize. She enjoys learning about new technology, traveling and drinking tea.
Mr. O’Karma teaches 6th grade Math and Science. He has been with the School District since 1999. He’s currently certified K-6, Literature 7-12 and Social Studies 7-12. Mr. O’Karma has a Master’s of Education from St. Joseph’s University and a Master’s in History from Villanova University. He also coaches for the Palumbo Soccer Club outside of school.
Ms. Thompson attended Holy Family University and her degree is in Secondary Education Citizenship. She is currently teaching 7th grade social studies and reading and she is also responsible for designing and creating the year book. Ms. Thompson is entering her ninth year teaching, eight of which have been at Andrew Jackson School. In her free time she enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, and listening to live music.
Mr. Lindberg is a 7th grade Science and 8th grade English and Social Studies teacher. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History and a Masters of Science in Education. He was a student teacher at Andrew Jackson in 2017, and this is his first year being a lead teacher in the classroom.
Mr. Kuhn is a special education teacher and has been teaching for fourteen years. This is his third year at Andrew Jackson. Along with his classroom duties he is also one of the coaches for the school’s robotics program and runs different collection drives throughout the year. He is a huge baseball and Star Wars fan. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf whenever he can.
Ms. Ghanayem has been teaching special education at Andrew Jackson for over 25 years. She attended high school in the School District of Philadelphia and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree and a Master of Education Degree from Temple University. She is certified to teach early childhood education, regular education and special education students. Ms. Ghanayem also serves as the Special Education Liaison for the Jackson School.
Ms. Storti is a special education teacher at the Andrew Jackson School. This will be her fourth year teaching Learning Support. Ms. Storti is also a Wilson certified teacher and uses the Wilson curriculum daily in her classroom. Ms. Storti is currently working towards obtaining an ESL certificate as well. Ms. Storti has a Bachelors Degree in Special Education, Regular Education and American Studies along with a Masters Degree in Education with an Autism endorsement.
Ms. DiFlorio has been a teacher for the School District of Philadelphia for 24 years. She is has been an ESOL teacher at Andrew Jackson for 6 years. She grew up in this wonderful neighborhood and is happy to serve our students and help them achieve their full potential!
Ms. DeVine is excited to be starting her second year at Andrew Jackson Elementary School as one of the ESOL teachers. Before returning to the SDP, Ms. DeVine worked in public and independent schools, facilitated literacy trainings, and supervised student teachers. She and her husband have two amazing daughters and two sweet dogs. She likes to cook, travel, read and spend time with her family.
Mr. Henry has been the Health & Physical Education Teacher at Andrew Jackson for 23 years and has been in the School District of Philadelphia for 24 years. He is a husband of 30 years and has 5 daughters and 5 grandchildren. Mr. Henry likes to exercise, is an avid cyclist, and plays various sports. Fun fact: Mr. Henry is into antiques and Steampunk projects!
Ms. Casanova is the School Counselor for all students, grades K-8. She has been a counselor in the School District of Philadelphia for 9 years, 7 of which have been at Jackson. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Eastern University in 2009 after completing her bachelor’s degree in History and Spanish from Loyola College in Maryland in 2006. She is a Pennsylvania certified school counselor for grades K-12. She grew up in Hamden, Connecticut, but Philadelphia has been her home since 2006. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, walking her dog and exploring the city.
Ms. D’Alessandro graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Gwynedd-Mercy College in 1974. She also received a Masters of Education degree from Villanova University with a major in Educational Administration. She will be entering her 44th year of teaching this year. She started her career as a 5th to 8th grade teacher at Epiphany of Our Lord School on 13th and Jackson Streets in Philadelphia. After 15 years, she was hired by the School District of Philadelphia. She spent the next 20 years at Turner Middle School as an 8th grade science and Math teacher, SBML, School Growth Teacher, and Empowerment School Instructional Specialist. The last 8 years was at Andrew Jackson School as an Instructional Specialist and SBTL. She presently teaches Algebra I to 8th grade students and is the roster person, testing coordinator, and data specialist. She holds certifications in elementary education and Middle level math.
Mr. Argerakis is the K-8 general music teacher at the Andrew Jackson School. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, attending Philadelphia public schools from K-12. He studied music at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in music performance, and Master’s of Arts in Music Education. After college he relocated to Los Angeles, CA where he apprenticed with film composer, William Ross and scored numerous independent films and theater projects. This is Mr. A’s tenth year at the Jackson school, and he is looking forward to a very successful year with all of his general music classes, as well as with our band, “HOME”. Other than music, he enjoys running, reading, gardening, cooking and baseball. He lives in Northeast Philly with his two hairless cats, Izzy and Shelly.
Ms. Franko has been an art teacher in the School District of Philadelphia since 2009, and has been the art teacher of Jackson School since 2012. Originally from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Ms. Franko moved to Philadelphia after attending Kutztown University for Art Education with a concentration in fine metals, and later earned a Master’s degree and certification in Special Education at La Salle University. Ms. Franko is also a hobbyist beekeeper, and enjoys gardening, indoor rock-climbing, and pizza-making.
Mr. Levinson is the Computers/Technology teacher and Dean at Jackson. He is a product of the School District of Philadelphia. He has a B.S. degree in International Business and Economics from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan and a M.S. degree in the Science of Teaching from Drexel University. Mr. Levinson holds the following certifications: Elementary Education K-6, Business Computer – Information Technology, and Administration K-12. Prior to teaching in the School District, Mr. Levinson taught English as a Second Language to adult learners at St. Joseph University ELS, and he lived in Japan where he taught English, went to university and worked in business. He has traveled extensively and his hobbies are reading, sports, computing, and enjoying the theater.
Ms. Mazzone is currently the K-3 Literacy Leader and Reading Specialist for Jackson School. This is her 23rd year as an educator for the School District of Philadelphia. She received both a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Reading from Temple University. She also received a Master’s degree in K-12 Leadership from Lehigh University. She currently holds four state certifications: Early Childhood, Elementary Education, Reading Specialist and K-12 Educational Leadership.