Dr. David Penberg, Head of School 

Dr. Penberg holds a Ph.D from the University of British Columbia and a Master's Degree from Bank Street College. One of the professions that gave him considerable experience, time management, analysis and information search skills, communication skills with students is the work of a writer in the purchase college research papers service. For more than thirty years, he has taught and held leadership positions in independent and international schools, higher education, community based organizations, and not-for-profits. He has lived in three continents and is a native of the Bronx.

Peter Katcher, Associate Head of School

Mr. Katcher is a graduate of CUNY Queens College and the College of St. Rose. He has over 21 years of secondary education and administrative experience and has taught in both public and charter schools. He has extensive experience as a music educator, middle school administrator, and curriculum developer. Additionally, as a cellist, he has toured England and France. Mr. Katcher enjoys reading, following baseball, and spending time with his wife and children. They are all actively involved in music and martial arts.


Whitney Allen, Middle School Physical Education Teacher

Whitney Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, Master of Education with a concentration in History, and a Master of Public Health from George Washington University.  Whitney was Co-Captain and four-year starter on the GWU Women's Basketball Team.  She played professional basketball for 2 years in Europe before pursuing her MPH. As the PE teacher, Whitney hopes to provide her students with the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. 

Darline Charles, Operations Coordinator

Darline Charles holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Religious Studies from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Baruch College (CUNY). She has years of experience providing both operational and programmatic support services in CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs.  Darline has a background working with the general public in different capacities and is fluent in Haitian Creole with working knowledge of French.  She enjoys singing, dancing, and looking for opportunities to be of service to others.    

Meghan Countryman, 6th and 7th Grade Science Teacher

Meghan Countryman holds a Bachelor of Science from Purchase College in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.  She earned her Master of Science in Education in Secondary Science Education from Lehman College. Over the past few years, Meghan has been a avid Soccer Coach at the Varsity level and younger through out Manhattan. She is also a Sports Coach for Special Needs in Westchester County and has taught middle school students in the Bronx.

Sarah Dailey, 6th and 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher  

Sarah Dailey holds a Dual-Masters Degree from Manhattanville College. She is certified in general and special education. She has experience teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Sarah has taught in the Greenwich public school district in Connecticut as well as for New York City schools. 

Matthew Gilli, Middle School Art Teacher

Matthew Gilli holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Master of Education from Grand Canyon University. He has taught at Northern Highlands Regional High school in Allendale NJ, and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He is also a public artist for the City of New York.  

Amy Indursky, Foundational Literacy Teacher & Special Education Coordinator

Amy Indursky holds a Bachelor's Degree from American University and a Master’s Degree from New York University. She has taught at Cornelia Connelly Middle School and Girls Prep Middle School. She is from New York City and loves to travel.  

Juliana Liang, 6th Grade Math Teacher

Juliana Liang holds a Bachelor of Science from New York University in Secondary Mathematics Education with a minor in English and American Literature.  She has taught students at MS 131 Dr. Sun Yet Sen and Lower East Side Preparatory High School.  She is also classically trained in piano, an avid traveler and a bookworm. 

James May, 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

James May graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with Highest Honors, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Creative Writing. He earned his Master of Arts in Adolescent Education in Social Studies from Hunter College. James has taught avalanche safety and backcountry skills at California's Sierra Ski Touring and taught in UC Berkeley's Celtic Studies Department. In 2007, he received the Rosenberg Prize for Lyrical Poetry and has had several poems published in national journals. He also taught ESL at Global Education New York and Social Studies at Cobble Hill High School of American Studies.  

Joel McKay, Middle School Special Education Teacher (Math Focus)

Joel holds a Bachelor's degree from St. Joseph's College in Early Childhood Education. He is dual certified in Special Education and General Education. He has taught in Long Island and spent the last seven years teaching in Queens. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and wood working     

Callie Meserole, Middle School Math Teacher 

Callie Meserole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Design Communication from the George Washington University and a Master of Education in Secondary Mathematics. Callie has taught in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Harlem. Callie is an avid surfer and enjoys traveling the world to find the perfect wave. In her free time, she loves to create bronze sculptors, wrestle alligators, and improve her psychic abilities. 

Monica Nastasi, Social Worker

Monica Nastasi holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with years of experience working with children and families, and she has a part-time private practice. When not working, she enjoys meditation, yoga, and travel. 

Amber Peterson, 8th Grade ELA Teacher 

Amber Peterson hold a Bachelors Degree in English Literature, Geology and Theater Arts from Oberlin College.  She received a Masters in Education from St. John's University.  Before joining the Innovate family, she worked for five years as a middle school ELA teacher in Brooklyn, and taught English as a Second Language for two years in Tokyo, Japan.  She loves travel, theater, science, and exploring exotic cuisine. 

Brenda Rivera, Administrative Assistant 

Brenda Rivera was born and raised in New York City.  She has been working in the administrative field for twelve years.  She enjoys working with the families and students of Innovate.  Brenda is fluent in Spanish. If not found working hard at Innovate, she is spending time with her three daughters and one grandson! 

Katrina Scherben, 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Katrina Scherben is originally from Rhode Island but now calls New York City her home. She graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in Behavioral Neuroscience, and holds a MS from Mercy College in Adolescent Education. For five years, she taught science to middle schoolers in public schools in the Bronx.  Ms. Scherben is also a consultant for science curriculum and technology integration. In her spare time she enjoys yoga and exploring the city.

Christopher Telesca, 7th Grade ELA

Christopher R. Telesca holds a BA in English Literature and a minor in Philosophy from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where he was also a teaching assistant. He also holds a Masters in English Comparative Literature and Poetry from Lehman College where he studied under former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Mr. T has taught ELA and Science for the past six years to middle schoolers in Astoria, Queens. He is a sport nut; a huge NY Knicks, Giants, and Rangers fan! 

Erin Van de Merlen, 7th Grade Math Teacher

Erin Van de Merlen holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattan College and a Master’s Degree from St. John’s University. She has taught math and science for three years at Our Lady of Trust School in Brooklyn. She is also an avid sewer and traveler.  

Brittany Vilar, 6th Grade ELA Teacher and Middle School ESL Teacher 

Brittany Vilar holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Grand Canyon University. She has taught for The Cartwright School District in Phoenix, AZ and for Lee County Schools in Sanford, North Carolina. She is certified to teach in many subject areas including ELA, ESL, Theatre and Elementary Education. 

Erin Vilar, Middle School Health Teacher & Guidance Counselor (High School Placement)

Erin Vilar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Joseph's College and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Long Island University C.W. Post. She has been a Counselor at Fowler Elementary School District, Cartwright School District and Harnett County Schools. She is permanently certified as a School Counselor grades K through 12.