Passionate, expert teachers who believe that with the right support and encouragement, any student can excel
Ask any BASIS Independent student what makes their school different and they will tell you “the teachers.” The foundation of our culture and the success of our students lies in the hands of our faculty.
As educators, our goal is for students to always want “more.” Inspiring students comes easy when teachers are truly excited about their material and have deep expertise in their discipline, whether elementary pedagogy, musical theater, or astrophysics. Our teachers light a fire in the heart and mind of every student, helping them discover their passions and leaving an indelible mark on their scholastic experience.
Ms. Anipchenko-Ulaj Teaching Fellow | Middle School
Mr. Adam Subject Expert Teacher | Middle School
Mr. Adam is a Chemistry Subject Expert Teacher in our Middle School Program. For the past four years, he has taught high school chemistry at a public high school while also founding and running a tutoring center. Prior to that, Mr. Adam taught chemistry at Lehman College, City University of New York. Mr. Adam graduated from Lehman College with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, and he is currently pursuing his master’s degree. He is a member of the National Science Teacher Association and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers.
Mr. Adams Subject Expert Teacher | Middle & High School
Mr. Adams is a Latin Subject Expert teacher in the Middle and High School School Programs at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. Previously, he was a Latin Teacher at a private school in Manhattan, where he taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grade for the past two years. “Latin is not a dead language – it is the parent of the Romance languages, and still very much serves as the basis in terminology for many present-day careers. The irony that this most classical of Classical subjects is not best served by the Classical teaching model, which treats students as tabulae rasae, is not lost on me; but as Latin was once a living language it is best taught in an environment that recognizes the humanity of its learners.” Mr. Adams graduated from Trinity University and spent years in academic publishing followed by archeological research. He returned to college as an adult, receiving two master degrees – one in Art History with an emphasis on cultural heritage preservation from Rutgers University, and a Masters in Adolescent Latin Education from Hunter College.
Ms. Amoako Teaching Fellow | Early Learning
Ms. Amoako is a Teaching Fellow in our Early Learning Program who joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn last year. She has been teaching for two years now. Ms. Amoako was born in Ghana, but raised in the United States. She speaks three different languages including English. Ms. Amoako attended The City College of New York, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Outside of teaching, Ms. Amoako is a co-founder of a newly established foundation with the aim of providing assistance for the needy. She enjoy singing, and from time-to-time she assist with my church youth choir. Outside of school, Ms. Amoako also enjoy painting, shopping, and crocheting.
Mr. Anderson-Salo Subject Expert Teacher | Primary Program
Mr. Anderson-Salo, is a Mandarin SET with BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Lower School campus, which he joined in 2021. He graduated from National Taiwan Normal University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, and he continued on to complete his master’s degree in Chinese Pedagogy from Middlebury College in Vermont. As a Mandarin teacher, Mr. Anderson-Salo looks forward to showing students that they can be successful in the Mandarin classroom, regardless of their experience and background. When not in the classroom, Mr. Anderson-Salo enjoys spending time with his wife, dog, and cat, as well as exploring everything the city has to offer!
Mrs. Baessa Subject Expert Teacher | High School
Mrs. Baessa joins our Science Faculty as a Chemistry Subject Expert Teacher, and she looks forward to exploring student curiosity in chemistry and explaining difficult topics in approachable ways. She previously interned as an analyst in science labs, and she spent eight years teaching middle and high school students. She is very happy to have the opportunity to focus on advanced chemistry students at our school. Originally from Brazil, Mrs. Baessa received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in São Paulo. She is concluding her master’s degree in applied chemistry. She is writing a thesis focusing on MRI contrast agents and their applications to specific diseases. Mrs. Baessa chose BASIS Independent Brooklyn because she appreciates the opportunity to have creative license in classroom instruction, and she is appreciative of the support provided to students to help them succeed. Mrs. Baessa enjoys working with students and guiding them over the course of their academic careers. She is passionate about being in a classroom environment. Last school year (2022-2023) she started a Cooking Club. When not in a classroom, you can find Mrs. Baessa baking at home, playing board games, hiking, spending time with her cat (Oliver), and watching TV shows. One thing that she loves doing on the weekends is exploring new restaurants and theaters with family and friends.
Mr. Bedes Subject Expert Teacher | Middle & High School
Mr. Bedes is a French Subject Expert Teacher in our Middle and High School Programs. He brings more than a decade of experience in language instruction. Previously, Mr. Bedes was a French language teacher for three years at the French Institute Alliance Francaise. He also taught French to middle and high school students at Wuhan Foreign Languages School. Before that, he taught Spanish to tenth and eleventh-grade students at a high school in Saint-Orens-de-Gameville, France. Mr. Bedes graduated with high honors from Sorbonne University with a master’s degree in languages, literature, and foreign cultures. He was born and raised in France, so he is a native speaker.
Mr. Bissinger Subject Expert Teacher | Primary Program
Mr. Bissinger is a third grade Math and Science Subject Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. He also serves as the Subject Advisor for third-grade math and science instruction across the network of BASIS Independent Schools. Originally from Long Island, Mr. Bissinger graduated cum laude with a degree in childhood education from Long Island University. His teaching career spans public, charter, and private education including teaching roles leading both third- and first-grade Math and Science at BASIS Independent, second-grade general education at a charter school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, fifth-grade mathematics in Harlem, and fifth, sixth, and eighth-grade special/general education in Elwood, New York. Needless to say, Mr. Bissinger is a solid New Yorker at heart. “My ultimate teaching goal is to prepare my students for higher education by laying a solid foundation through hands-on, interactive, cross-disciplinary FUN,” says Mr. Bissinger. “Outside of teaching,” continued Mr. Bissinger. “I can almost always be found walking my pup up and down the streets of our neighborhood.” So keep your eye out for Mr. Bissinger and his gentle giant, Layla.
Mr. Bohanan Subject Expert Teacher | Primary, Middle, & High School
Mr. Bohanan is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in K-12 Instrumental Music Education and will receive his master’s degree in Museology this spring. Mr. Bohanan has worked in both public and private education settings throughout Oklahoma as well as New York State, and he serves as the Band teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. At the Upper School campus in Red Hook, he teaches general music, jazz band, and chamber ensembles. As an educator, Mr. Bohanan uses modern and classical repertoire to engage students in building characteristic tone, technical fluidity, and a demonstrated mastery of music theory on their selected instrument. Mr. Bohanan currently plays Principal Bassoon with the Brooklyn Symphony. He has previously performed with the Band of Long Island, Long Island Wind Ensemble, and the Oklahoma State University Orchestra, Choir, and Band Programs. One of his favorite performances was performing with the Oklahoma State Wind Ensemble at the 2016 Band Master’s Conference in Hamamatsu, Japan. When he is not performing, Mr. Bohanan can be found outdoors, camping, or reading a book with his dog Leo.
Mx. Bonder Learning Expert Teacher | Primary Program
Mx. Bonder is a Gr. 4 Learning Expert Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. They graduated from Bard University with a degree in political studies. After graduation, they took a job for a year before moving to New York City and launching a career in education. Mx. Bonder started working at BASIS Independent Brooklyn first in Operations and then moved into teaching once a position opened up. They have been a tremendous addition to our faculty ever since. Mx. Bonder has always been drawn to the classroom, and they are extremely excited to nurture the curiosity of our 4th grade Bears! While not in the classroom, Mx. Bonder enjoys composing digital music. They also love to garden and learn more about plants in their free time.
Mr. Budisin Subject Expert Teacher | Middle & High School
Mr. Budisin received his Bachelor of Arts in classics from Williams College, post-baccalaureate in classical languages from the University of Pennsylvania, and master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma. Matt’s scholarly work explores the relationship between ancient and modern philosophy. Mr. Budisin is a Latin teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn and applies his training in philosophy, philology, history, and pedagogy to bring Latin back to life for his students. The study of Latin can be thought of as a compass to orient an educated young person around the liberal arts, or an entryway into the study of not just the arts and humanities, but the social and natural sciences as well. Mr. Budisin chose to work at BASIS Independent because of the tremendous potential and talent he sees in the students and the incredible spectrum of experience, knowledge, ability, and vision that his fellow colleagues bring to their work with students. He wishes to contribute a positive part to this work. Outside of school, Mr. Budisin is usually reading and doing research, but also cycling, cooking, exercising, traveling the world and exploring, painting, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.
Ms. Bunkers Subject Expert Teacher | Primary & Middle School
Ms. Bunkers is a Subject Expert Teacher in BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s Science Department, and she looks forward to nurturing an environment for students where curiosity and creativity in all subjects can flourish. In 2012, Ms. Bunkers graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Oberlin College. During her undergraduate career, Ms. Bunkers worked in laboratories both in Ohio and Chicago, participating in research on subjects varying from invasive species to oral cancer. In 2011, Ms. Bunkers had the opportunity to travel to Australia where she worked with Landcare Australia, rehabilitating natural habitats and providing botanical illustrations for their book about native Australian plants. Ms. Bunkers joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn in 2017. Ms. Bunkers was drawn to the beauty of BASIS Independent Brooklyn’s facilities, but more importantly, the dedication of its teaching faculty and staff. She is thrilled to work amongst such impressive colleagues. In her free time, Ms. Bunkers can be found playing the piano, working on illustrations, or enjoying time out at the movies.
Mr. Cailibotte Subject Expert Teacher | Middle School
Mr. Caillibotte is a member of our math faculty focused on Pre-Algebra instruction in the Middle School Program. He brings more than a decade of teaching experience. Most recently, he taught math at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. Previously, Mr. Caillibotte instructed technology classes at Brooklyn Friends. Mr. Caillibotte is French and taught economics at the collegiate level in both College Alain and Lycee des Canuts in Lyon after spending years as a commercial engineer. Mr. Caillibotte graduated from Universite de Rennes and went on to receive his master’s degree in teaching, education, and training from Universite Claude Bernard Lyon. He ranked third for the Concours National Professeur de Lycee out of 2,350 candidates. Mr. Caillibotte believes in the importance of collaborating with parents as partners in their children’s education, and we are excited to have him join our team.
Ms. Cavalini Subject Expert Teacher | Early Learning & Primary Program
Ms. Cavallini is the Drama & Movement S.E.T. for K-2nd on the Lower School team. This is her third year at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, and she is thrilled to bring her enthusiasm of the creative arts into the classroom. She graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater with honors. Ms. Cavallini then spent time working as an Educational Theater teaching artist in Massachusetts and she has also worked as a museum educator, improv coach, and teaching assistant at an acting conservatory for children. She is a current student in the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at City College. As the Drama & Movement S.E.T., she aims to help students use the full scope of their imagination and inspire empathy for all, instilling joy in learning and building confidence each day. Ms. Cavallini loves spending time with her two cats, trying new recipes and food around the city, dancing, perusing art galleries, watching films and theater, and being silly.
Mr. Chen Subject Expert Teacher | Middle & High School
Mr. Chen is a language enthusiast! He joined BASIS Independent Brooklyn in 2017. Mr. Chen earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Shanghai University in China in 2009. He continued on to earn his master’s degree in nuclear engineering with a full scholarship from the same university in 2012. Previously Mr. Chen taught Mandarin at P.S. 9 and P.S. 166. He also worked with Qtalk Publishing LLC to develop the QTalk method being used worldwide to teach many languages. “As a Mandarin Teacher at BASIS independent Brooklyn, I truly enjoy teaching the students each day. I offer a full Mandarin immersion classroom, providing young learners a chance to acquire the language naturally. It is very important to me that my students are making progress and enjoying the learning process,” says Mr. Chen. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, learning Spanish, and traveling.
Ms. Collard Subject Expert Teacher | Middle & High School
Ms. Collard is a British-born composer-lyricist, orchestrator, and arranger. She recently graduated from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU Tisch, having previously studied Music at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Her songs and orchestrations have been featured at cabaret venues; and on various online streaming platforms, including YouTube web series Is This Art Now?, and musical theatre podcast The Latest Draft, for which she is also a programming manager. Ms. Collard has also been the musical director of several vocal and orchestral ensembles, as well as for a student production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (site-specific production dir. Eric Gelb, 2019), and played percussion for a variety of concerts and musicals, including the original Edinburgh Fringe run of Six. She is a proud member of Maestra and of the Dramatists Guild.