Our Story

In March 2011, the SUNY Charter Schools Institute approved Democracy Prep to turn around Harlem Day Charter School, a failing elementary school in East Harlem. The immediate effects were staggering. In their first year, Harlem Prep’s scholars achieved the highest proficiency growth scores in English Language Arts (ELA) in New York State and the highest combined proficiency growth scores in ELA and Math in New York City.
To attain these dramatic results, Harlem Prep’s DREAM Team worked tirelessly to deliver Democracy Prep’s rigorous and structured model to the same students in the same building, turning the school into a high-performing elementary school where students are prepared for success in both college and citizenship. Although much ground remains to be covered, the turnaround has unequivocally proven that it was not the children, but rather the adults in the building, that led to persistently low academic achievement.

Bryan Stroud

Justin Richmond

K – 5

315 Scholars


The DREAM Team

Bryan Stroud


Justin Richmond

Assistant Principal

Carolyn Narvaez

Instructional Coach

Colleen Smith

Learning Intervention Coach

Bernado Melinette

Dean of Culture

Lesley Santos

Operations Manager

Krystyna Gloss

Administrative Manager

Maciel De La Cruz


Mandell Pratt

Dream Coach

Amy Spina

Social Worker

Danielle Rivera

Social Worker

Samantha Kienemund

Kindergarten Teacher

Emily Kick

Kindergarten Teacher

Essence Wilson

Kindergarten Teacher

Tamara Celestine

First Grade Teacher

Alexandra Ortega

First Grade Teacher

Sidney Bellamy

First Grade Teacher

Kadine Cousins

First Grade Teacher

Alexander Haas

Second Grade Teacher

Aboubacarr Ceesay

Second Grade Teacher

Diana Pena

Second Grade Teacher

Natasha Rivera

Second Grade Teacher

Ashley Silver

Third Grade Teacher

Cara Cherapakov

Third Grade Teacher

Madeline Hess

Third Grade Teacher

Katherine Devaney

Third Grade Teacher

Sofia Roman

Third Grade Teacher

Aisha Kebbeh

Third Grade Teacher

Courtney Cox

Fourth Grade Teacher

Emily Perlmutter

Fourth Grade Teacher

Steve Saunders

Fourth Grade Teacher

Fatoumata Ceesay

Fourth Grade Teacher

Zakiyah Floyd

Fifth Grade Teacher

Brittany Buchanan

Fifth Grade Teacher

Caitlin Geis

Fifth Grade Teacher

Jennifer Baez

Fifth Grade Teacher

Kevin Lassiter

Science & Social Studies Teacher (3-5)

Stephen Kovalcik

Physical Education Teacher

Marion Lopez

Performing Arts Teacher

Kristina Bounviri

Movement Teacher

Chesi Zana

Music Teacher

Elena Heitke

ELL Teacher

Shakema Philbert

SETSS Teacher (K-3)

Michael Thomas

SETSS Teacher (4-5)/ACT Coordinator

Kelvin Negron

Facilities Manager

Jissette Duran


Michael Farley


Javon Treherne


Juan Rodriguez


Antonio Sanchez

Security Guard

Christian Kemavor

Security Guard

Julio Duran

Security Guard

DPNY Board of Directors

Dr. Robert North

Chair, Harlem Hospital

Josh Pristaw

Vice Chair, GTIS Partners

Brian Berger

Treasurer, Glocap Search

Doug Snyder

Vice Chair, Starboard Value, L.P.

Roger Berg

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Trevor Gibbons

Prosek Partners

Sean Windsor


Ken Weiller

Westfield Investment LLC

Alastair Wood


Brittany Mullings

Human Resources Business Partner, National Basketball Association

Gregory Weston

Winston & Strawn LLP

Jake Foley III

Khary Barnes

Vice Chair, American Express

Ross Frommer

Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Stephanie King

Columbia University

Farida Ilboudo

Columbia University

  Click to download HPCS Board Meeting Minutes – 2016-17
  Download Annual Report 16-17 

To contact the DPNY Board, please email Boardoftrustees@DemocracyPrep.org

For information about the DPNY Board of Trustees, including minutes and upcoming meeting dates, click here.