Welcome to the second edition of the Public Prep Unity newsletter, focused on our core value of Merit. When our students think of Merit, they recite the phrase: “The harder I try, the more I achieve.” With that determination to achieve in mind, I am very pleased to introduce Verta Maloney, our new Managing Director of Student Learning & Achievement. Verta comes to Public Prep having spent four years with New Leaders for New Schools where she served as Managing Director of Programs, Senior Director of Leadership Coaching, and prior to that she was the Founding School Director for Bronx Charter School for the Arts (Bronx Arts). Welcome Verta!

All Best,

Ian V. Rowe



Public Prep Network School Open Houses!

You are invited to attend one of three Public Prep Open Houses on September 29th or 30th.

Come see how our schools focus on academic achievement, character development, and college knowledge.  In sum, this approach will ensure our students learn, early on, what is necessary to ultimately be accepted into and thrive in the college of their choice.

Visitors will also witness our core values of scholarship, merit, sisterhood, and responsibility. These values help create a positive environment for students, families, and staff. You’ll have the opportunity to engage in a discussion with these stakeholders after your observations.

All teachers, specialists, and school leaders are welcome; however, space is limited, so we ask you to please RSVP  HERE .

To learn more, please visit our website.

We hope to see you there!


Rob Gilson, Girls Prep LES Middle School

Rob Gilson, Seventh Grade Math Lead Teacher/Math Department Chair

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio. The Queen City, home of George Clooney, Graeter’s Ice Cream, the Little Miami River, Kings Island, Eden Park, the Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest chicken-dance, and Gilson’s Inc. 🙂

College(s)/Affiliations:  Georgetown University, Union Institute & University, University of Cincinnati, City College New York

What inspires you about your job:  As a parent, my bond with my daughter is one of my absolute joys. I’ve really enjoyed the home visits this year to see that bond in place for our girls and their caregivers. I’m inspired as a teacher to be able to help strengthen the caregiver/scholar bond with what we do in the classroom, integrating components of the curriculum that might include things like interactive homeworks and projects, family gaming-nights, open channels of communication, and the campus card, all of which help spark conversations of substance at home.

One commitment you are making this year that will support our college completion mission:  I am committing to giving our girls access to college-level mathematics at least once per quarter, so that they know they can stand confidently as freshmen in the college of their choice.

Jenny Poole, Girls Prep BX Elementary School

Jenny Poole, Lead Kindergarten Teacher/Grade Level Leader

Hometown: Youngstown, OH; Home of the Butler Institute of American Art, the first museum dedicated exclusively to American Art.

College(s)/Affiliations: Ohio University; Teachers College

What inspires you about your job: I am inspired by my colleagues at GPBX.  It is incredible to work with a committed group of intelligent people who are all driven to help every one of our students succeed.  I love being part of a thoughtful community of teachers.

One commitment you are making this year that will support our college completion mission: I am committed to creating a strong foundation for my kindergarteners so that they can become confident, passionate learners as they grow at Girls Prep.

Lora Dever, Girls Prep LES Elementary School

Lora Dever, Lead Fitness Teacher/Recess Coach

Hometown: Allentown, PA, made famous by a Billy Joel song (Allentown) which is an unfortunate yet fairly accurate portrayal of the city.

College(s)/Affiliations: Barnard College/Columbia University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, married to a Fordham Ram….

What inspires you about your job: I never liked gym class when I was a kid. The boys dominated everything, my natural ability was nonexistent, and we stuck to a very traditional PE curriculum. When I came here, I knew I wanted to give our girls an experience that more accurately encompassed the many recreational and physical activities that make up the sphere of ‘fitness’. I was blown away by the core values and school culture we had, and knew that here at GP I could create a curriculum tailored to our girls, where all strengths and roles were valued in our athletic programs, (including my personal favorites: strategic thinkers and hard-core fans) and health played an integrated role!

One commitment you are making this year that will support our college completion mission: We are rocking the path of the scholar-athlete this year! I intend to work with our staff and our networks to have short after-school clinics so that all our girls can experience an organized sports opportunity. We also want to connect students and families with community organizations that offer sports and fitness programs throughout the year. My goal is to open paths to collegiate play!

Jenny Maderal, Public Prep

Jenny Maderal, Administrative Associate

Hometown:  Bloomfield Hills, MI; home to Aretha Franklin (RESPECT), and Robin Williams (who had the same fifth grade teacher as me).

College(s)/Affiliations:  University of Michigan. GO BLUE!

What inspires you about your job:   Within moments of entering a Girls Prep School, I am reinvigorated about my job.   I’m happy to know that I am part of a network of schools that empowers both its staff and students to grow and learn as scholars and dynamic individuals.  I love the supportive culture of Public Prep and the constant collaboration that allows us to bring new ideas to fruition.

One commitment you are making this year that will support our college completion mission:   I will be working with Tiffany and Ian to help raise financial support for our College Completion Initiative.


Welcome to the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year! The Leadership Development Report in UNITY will serve as a place for our families, friends, and staff to be updated on professional development and highlight staff members from our network.

We kicked off our school year by joining together at our Summer Institute at Riverdale Country School on August 18th and 19th. We connected and collaborated with 125 new and returning staff members to reenergize and thoughtfully prepare for the year to come. We were fortunate to learn from leaders within our network and distinguished guest speakers. We were joined by:

  • Dominic Randolph, Head of School at Riverdale Country School;
  • Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In and Creative Force behind “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”;
  • Shael Polakow-Suransky, NYC DOE’s Chief Academic Officer; and
  • Kathleen Ponze, Director of Education at the Young Women’s Leadership Network.

These speakers shared their knowledge and research on character-based education, positive psychology, Common Core standards and all-girls education.

Public Prep Network staff members responded to the Institute with comments such as, “fantastically real,” “extremely inspiring,” “positive” and “a great start.” We could not agree more. Public Prep has launched our very own blog!! The blog will feature a “Who Are We?” post monthly. This post will highlight at least one staff member from our three schools or Public Prep. We sincerely believe it is the people in our network who make us strong. The post will serve as one way to celebrate the wonderful work done by our staff and to develop an understanding of how all roles are contributing to our college completion mission.

Throughout this school year, I look forward to keeping our community informed about our continued growth in professional learning and development. I warmly welcome you to UNITY.

Kelly (Pesce) Cassaro

Managing Director, Leadership Development


To Staff, Family and Friends of Public Prep:

Welcome to our first Public Prep Network monthly newsletter, appropriately titled UNITY, in honor of the bi-weekly gatherings in which Girls Prep scholars come together to celebrate the core values of Scholarship, Merit, Responsibility and Sisterhood. As each school-based Unity meeting is framed around a core value and guiding question, each month the UNITY newsletter will celebrate a core value, and this first edition is dedicated towards Scholarship.

This week marks the first week of school as we welcome now 772 K-7 students across Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary and Middle Schools, and Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School. We are excited to welcome our exceptional new and returning staff, which has grown to a total of 125 team members. This past recruitment season we received nearly 30 applications per open staff position – this is truly a select group! As evidence, this fall, a documentary will air on PBS and feature two of our newest team members, Vibha Patel Mahadeo and Aggie Amaral, for their work developing performance-based assessments for the common core standards in math.

As Kelly Cassaro, our new Managing Director of Leadership Development remarks below, our entire staff convened during a two-day Summer Learning Institute to discuss our north star of college completion and our goal to achieve student growth in academic achievement, character development and college knowledge.

Academic Achievement: On the New York State exams, six out of ten Girls Prep scholars in grades 3-6 scored proficient or advanced in English Language Arts, and more than eight out of ten scored proficient or advanced in Math. With these results, Girls Prep scholars out-performed district, city, state, and charter school wide averages. Notwithstanding that performance, given what we know is necessary for our students to succeed in college, comparable success is not enough to meet our expectation. We have much work to do, especially in strengthening our ELA scores and empowering our scholars to become independent learners and achieve high academic results across our rich curriculum of math, science, history, physical education and the visual and performing arts.

 Character Development: We are making a more deliberate effort in our curriculum to help Girls Prep students develop character strengths such as resiliency, self-control, optimism and gratitude – traits that will empower our students to possess the intrinsic motivation to ultimately persevere through college despite its inevitable and considerable challenges.

 College Knowledge: Beginning in the fall, every Girls Prep Elementary and Middle School student is going to have a New York State 529 college savings account in her name. And Barclays Capital has agreed to provide financial literacy training for parents to help in saving for college. Girls Prep is also committed to build relationships with high-performing public and private high schools and colleges. In sum, these steps will ensure our elementary and middle school students learn, early on, what is required to be prepared financially and have what is necessary to be accepted into and thrive in the college of their choice.

We are eager to stay in touch and keep you abreast of new developments. UNITY will be published the last Friday of every month. Overall, our team has a palpable feeling of enthusiasm, camaraderie and a great sense of purpose for how we are putting our students on a path to earn a degree from a four-year university. Here’s to a great new year!

 Ian V. Rowe

Chief Executive Officer