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Meet our Team

Cheryl Watson-Harris
Senior Executive Director

Cheryl began her career in education in the New York Public School System, working in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where she was featured as a “lab site” teacher for the Lucy Calkins Writing Project.  After being appointed assistant principal of an elementary school in Boston for one year, her leadership skills as a reading/writing specialist, grant writer, supervisor, and motivator resulted in her being appointed the youngest principal in the history of the city of Boston.  While a principal, Cheryl served as one of district’s senior leadership mentors and participated in the development and support of aspiring and new principals. She has also been noted for her work with the national Full Service Schools movement, building strong school partnerships, aligning resources with student achievement, and developing Family and Community Engagement programs. She served as principal of an elementary and K-8 School, both with over 80% English Language Learners, for 15 years before moving to the central office as a Network Superintendent, supervising and evaluating school leaders, and supporting an urban district restructuring. Cheryl’s work developing engaging strategies for Black and Latino boys, and the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) have been noted by Harvard University, leading to a formal partnership between HUGSE and Cheryl’s network of schools. Cheryl holds a B.S. from Marymount College and a M. Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in addition to certificates of attendance from the American University of Cairo and Columbia University Teacher's College Writing and Reading Institute. Cheryl is a Lynch School of Education Leadership Fellow and a Chinese Bridge Delegate Alum. 
   Administrative and Coordination
Brandon Slaughter
Chief of Staff

Brandon Slaughter began his educational career as a high school history teacher and later transitioned into central office roles serving as the Director of Advanced Placement & International Baccalaureate Programs and as a Director of Network D Academics for Boston Public Schools. Most recently, he served as the Support Service Liaison for Brooklyn South's Field Support Center.
Katiana St. Jean
Administrative Assistant

Katiana St. Jean joined the Office of Field Support (OFS) in 2016 to provide Administrative support to the Senior Executive Director of OFS, working alongside the Senior Executive Director to coordinate strategy development and implementation. Previously Ms. St. Jean had a relationship with Operations/ Administration in Brooklyn South Field Support Center where she worked with the OPT team which was responsible for both Sped and General ED Students transportation and with the BK South FSC Director. Originally from NYC, Ms. St. Jean studied Psych. from Long Island University, in Brooklyn NY. Following her studies, she is now enjoying her career in NYC at the Board of Education.
Helen Kwong
Director of Communications

Helen currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Office of Field Support. Her roots in the New York City Department of Education goes back to when she started attending pre-Kindergarten. Ever since then she has remained committed to education and working to empower children and youth to reach for their dreams. Helen is a graduate of Cornell University and NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 
   Business Services
Sandy Brawer
Executive Director of Finance and HR


Sandy began his career 40+ career in city government as a summer worker in the then Board of Education in 1975 working in the Division of Personnel. Sandy has worked his way through the agency in many capacities in offices in the Division of Business and Administration, Office of School Safety and the then Division of Pupil Personnel Services. Sandy left the Board of Education in 1984 to work for the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs where he served as Budget Director for 4 years. He returned in 1988 to serve as the Director of Operations in Community School District (CSD) 12 and then as a member of the Chancellor’s District Management Team providing support to troubled CSDs before joining CSD 16 and CSD 27 as Director of Operations. Sandy was an integral part of the re-organization to the Department of Education in 2003 dissolving CSDs to a regional setting where he served one of the seven Executive Directors of the Regional Operation Centers. He later served as a Deputy Executive Director of the Integrated Service Center, Deputy Cluster Leader of a Cluster under the new Cluster/Network redesign until he began his role as Executive Director for Business Services for the Office of School Support which transition into the Office of Field Support where he currently serves.
Charles Geier
Director, Human Resources and Finance

Charles Geier is entering his 15th year with the NYC Department of Education. He has served as a Human Resources Director for the past 7 years, most recently with the Queens North FSC; providing high-level strategic support to his cohort of schools. Prior to that, he assumed a wide range of responsibilities as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent in the Regional and LSO configurations. Charles has worked in both an instructional and operational capacity over the years, enabling him to see the critical role that both functional areas play in the DOE. He is also a proud graduate of DOE elementary and middle schools (PS 114Q & IS 239K).
Kebrina Carter
Senior Budget Director

A former Brooklyn teacher, Kebrina Carter is currently the Senior Budget Director in the Office of Field Support (OFS), in which she oversees budget-related support to more than 1,500 schools, including the oversight of $10 billion in operating expenses that directly impact school budgets. This graduate of Fordham University Graduate School of Business, where she received her MBA in Marketing and Finance, has enjoyed several positions at the DOE and relies on these experiences as she helps to advise chief executives on financial policies and professional training opportunities for field-based staff.
Lisa Batson
Senior Director of HR & Operations


Lisa serves as the Senior Director of Finance and Human Resources.  She oversees an $86.0M dollar annual budget, administers and reviews all Field Support Centers financial plans and budgets. In her role, she works with Field Support Centers teams to manage resources effectively in keeping with strategic Initiatives in both Finance and Human Resources.  Additionally, she provides policy recommendations to Office of Field Support executive leadership team to implement human resource plans and solutions to achieve goals and deliver results.  Lisa also oversees a team responsible for the management of citywide large-scale rollouts of school-based hiring, training initiatives and policy to ensure that field based-staff are equipped to support their schools.  Before joining the Office of Field Support, she held key roles as the Chief HR Administrator in the Office of New Schools, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Empowerment Schools and as a Deputy Network Leader.  Lisa is a graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Finance.  
Nick Elkins
Manager of Finance and Human Resources

Nick brings more than 3 years of experience providing support to schools and central offices around all aspects of operations. Before moving back to NYC, Nick was part of the grand opening leadership team which oversaw one of the largest gaming companies in the United States - Penn National Gaming. He spent more than 3 years in the Kansas City industry developing teams and processes at Hollywood Casino at Kansas City Speedway. His areas of expertise included Casino Operations Management and Financial Auditing. Nick joined the NYC Department of Education in 2013 as a Special Education Data Analyst. Since then, he’s filled numerous roles in both the field and central offices supporting Data IT, Procurement and Budget. More recently, Nick played a pivotal role within the Division of Budget Operations and Review, overseeing the Division of Human Resources and Division of English Language Learners central budgets. His current areas of interest include data analysis, process improvement, compliance, policy making, fiscal management and labor relations. Nick currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University at Albany.
Shaquanna Balfour
Manager of Budget Operations

Shaquanna Balfour is the Manager of Budget Operations and Implementation within the Department of Educations, Office of Field Support (OFS) Unit.  She currently holds a Master of Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with focuses in Human Resources Management and Management Operations.  Before joining OFS, Shaquanna was the Section Chief of Budget Operations at the Department of Environmental Protection  (DEP).   Ms. Balfour has had the opportunity to serve in several different capacities within DEP; each providing enhanced knowledge and professional growth.  She brings to the Department of Education (DOE), 10 plus years of experience in Human Resources, Procurement Management and Budget Operations.
Sylvia Jamison
Senior Grants Officer

Sylvia supervises the Senior Grants Officers, and works with the FSCs to ensure that reimbursable funds received by schools are appropriately spent as per the fund guidelines. Sylvia also oversees extended use and reviews permits from central offices, schools, and external organizations to ensure that they are in compliance with Chancellor's Regulation D-180, and she provides training to schools and the charter schools around Chancellor's Regulation D-180 and the extended use protocols and procedures. In addition, she works closely with FACE to ensure that CECs spend their annual budgets appropriately to support CEC business activities and she trains the CECs in the DOE's standard operating procedures. Sylvia obtained an MPA from Columbia University and a BA from Hofstra University. She had several positions prior to coming to the DOE and had worked for the Teacher's Retirement System, KPMG LLP as a Education Consultant, and she also worked in the Mayor's Office of Operations.

 Data and Measurement
Dan Simoes
Senior Director of Data Management and Analytics

Dan is the current Analytics point for the Office of Field Support. Before taking on this role, he started his career in education over a decade ago as a high school math teacher in district 4. He joined central as part of the Office of Enrollment in 2011, and later joined Sandy Brawer’s Business Services team with whom he still collaborates on projects regularly. Outside of tweed, Dan is adjusting to a life in a new neighborhood, a new home, and a new permanent roommate, his wife.
Kevin "Rhodie" Edwards
Senior Director of Strategy and Measurement


In addition to being the OFS point person for FSC Data Managers, Kevin "Rhodie" Edwards is chiefly responsible fostering the strategic use of data within Field Support and for supporting work in the field, as aligned to Field Support Priority #4: Evidencing our Impact on Student Achievement.  Rhodie has worked in education for 16 years, spanning public, private, and nonprofit education sectors. He began his career as a fifth grade teacher at 10x046 (Edgar Allen Poe). Since leaving the classroom, he has managed educational outreach programs for American Ballet Theatre; co-directed the Critical Educator Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to the design and organization of peer-to-peer professional learning opportunities for educators; and worked as a product manager for Amplify, supporting a crowd-sourcing engine for educational media. Most recently, Rhodie served as the inaugural Data Manager for the Brooklyn South FSC, where he provided strategic data support to FSC cabinet and staff; created and managed Brooklyn South internal systems, website, and web tools; and was principally responsible for organizational goal-setting, benchmarking, monitoring, and reporting. Rhodie is a proud Education Pioneers Fellow alumnus (NYC 2014) and Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt, certified in process improvement. He holds an M.S.Ed. from Mercy College and an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

 Instruction and Professional Learning
 Jo Ann Benoit
Lead Senior Director of Instruction & Professional Learning

Jo Ann has been in education for over two decades and with the NYCDOE for over 19 years, having started in the classroom. Before joining the Office of Field Support, she served on the Brooklyn South Borough Field Support Center cabinet as the Deputy Director for English Language Learners (ELLs) where she worked with a team of ELL specialists to support schools in the areas of English Language Learner instruction and compliance. Prior to being at the Brooklyn South BFSC, Jo Ann served as the Director of English Language Learner Instruction (DELLI) for Cluster 1 as well as conducted quality reviews throughout the City. Before that, she served as a Senior Instructional Coach at the Central Office where she led the design and facilitation of the Achievement and Citywide Institutes. Jo Ann also supported schools at the network level from 2004-2013 as an ELL Instructional Specialist, Special Services Manager, Achievement Coach and eventually as Deputy Network Leader for Instruction. Jo Ann currently serves as the Lead Senior Director for Instruction and Professional Learning, a role that allows her to provide instructional and compliance support across to Field Support Centers.
Marcella Barros
Senior Director of Instruction & Professional Learning

Marcella Barros began her career in the NYC Department of Education almost twenty years ago as a high school science teacher in Brooklyn. During her seven-year teaching career, she worked in various roles, including as a Professional Development Team leader. This inspired her to pursue school leadership opportunities and later became the founding principal of an international high school in Queens. After six years as principal, she joined the Office of Teacher Effectiveness as a Teacher Effectiveness Coach supporting K-12 principals across the city to implement the Danielson Framework for Teaching and then, as a Director of Implementation, training peer validators to evaluate classroom practice for all grade levels, diverse learners and content areas in all five boroughs. Before joining OFS, she worked with high schools in Brooklyn South and Queens South as a Principal Leadership Facilitator. As a PLF, she conducted Quality Reviews and Principal Performance Observations, led professional learning for a cohort of science teacher leaders across seven districts, led monthly principal inquiry sessions and coordinated district wide events to foster opportunities for principals and teachers to share instructional best practices across schools. She now works on the Central OFS team as the Senior Director of Instruction and Professional Learning and is excited to serve and support our Field Support Centers’ teams across the city.
Hiral Dillon
Instruction & Professional Learning Manager

Hiral Patel Dillon began her career in education as a New York City Teaching Fellow. During her fellowship she taught Spanish at the High School for Youth and Community Development at the Erasmus Campus (17K537) and graduated with her M.S.Ed from Pace University. Her most recent position had her at the Brooklyn Latin School (14K449), where she worked as their Director of Operations, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator, Spanish Department Chairperson, PSAL Cross-County Coach and lead teacher. Hiral brings 10-years of school-based pedagogic and leadership experience to her current work of aligning support for our city schools to the Framework for Great Schools, on the Strategy & Policy Team at Office of Field Support.
Sahar Mirsepassi
Senior Program Manager

Sahar Mirsepassi serves as the Senior Program Manager on the Instruction and Professional Learning Team within the Office of Field Support. She began her career in education working at two middle schools in NYC. She served on the administrative team of both schools as an Operations Associate, where she worked closely with her Principals manage and improve day-to-day operations systems. She then decided to expand her impact by joining the central office of the NYCDOE. She has held the role of Program Manager within the Division of Teaching and Learning and Office of Renewal Schools. She is excited to continue to support our 1,800 schools and their communities at the Office of Field Support. Sahar received her B.A. from Hampshire College in Public Policy. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration from Long Island University Brooklyn, with a focus on Social Policy Management.
Maria Toledo
Project Associate

Maria Toledo is a Project Associate within the Instruction and Professional Learning Team. Before joining the DOE, she was the Impact Fellow at the education non-profit, Pencils of Promise where she was lead on aligning their Water and Health program across 300 schools in Guatemala, Ghana, and Laos. Maria received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from SUNY New Paltz and is a product of the NYC Department of Education. She looks forward to continue supporting the work of the Field Support Centers’ teams across the city and our schools.
Debra Maldonado
Executive Director of Organizational Policy and Operations

Debra Maldonado joined the NYC Department of Education in 2003 and has held a variety of positions within the Department ranging from Senior Counsel of the Empowerment Schools, Network Leader, Executive Director of the PSO Office and Cluster Leader.  In 2016, Debra joined the Office of Field Support as the Senior Advisor on the Strategy and Policy Team. As Senior Advisor, Debra partnered with her colleagues across OFS, Central Divisional Offices and the FSCs in building and deepening coherence across our Central Divisions and our FCSs. Currently, Debra has expanded this cross-divisional portfolio and now serves as the Executive Director of Organizational Policy and Operations. In this role, Debra will continue her work with our Central Divisions and FSCs and she will also lead the OFS Operations Team and provide support to the FSC Directors of Operations and their teams.  Before joining the NYC DOE, Debra was a civil litigator in public and private practice, including serving as an Assistant Corporation Counsel with the New York City Law Department.  Debra is a graduate of Cornell University and earned her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. 
Joel Mendoza
Senior Director of Systems

Joel was born and raised in New York City, and has attended NYC public schools through high school. Joel began his career in the DOE as a school assistant program chair, and has spend most of his time as a School Business Manager in District 2. He was hired as an Applications Support Liaison by the Brooklyn ISC in 2009, where he was assigned to lead the citywide implementation of summer school. After being assigned as a Budget Director under the CFN structure, Joel was asked to join the Division of School Support & Instruction and helped re-engineer the city’s promotion process and enhance its summer school systems. In 2011, he became the head of the Academic Information Management Systems (AIMS) group, which oversaw and managed the city’s core student information systems: ATS, STARS, and ARIS, and launch the city’s new parent-facing system, the NYC Schools Account. In 2015, he joined the new Office of Field Support. Joel holds a B.S. in Business Administration.
Wanda Morales
Director for Operations & Special Projects


Wanda Morales began her educational career with the NYC Department of Education, when she became the Founding School Business Manager at a middle/high school in the Bronx.   During the years at this position, Wanda grew to love education and making an impact on our young people.  She was encouraged to, and enrolled in a School Building Leader program, earning her Masters in Educational Leadership.  With this degree, Wanda stepped outside of the DOE and joined a team to open a K-5 charter school, as the Founding Director of Operations.   After a number of years there, she moved on to a K-8 charter school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  Through the years and positions, Wanda has not lost sight of the importance even the smallest instance can make in a young person’s life.  With that in mind, in 2018, she brings it full circle as she returns to the NYCDOE as the Director for Operations & Special Projects at the Office of Field Support. 
Jennie Bargman
Project Manager


Jennie Bargman began her career at Edison Schools (now Edison Learning), where she supported the head of the Human Resources Department. She spent a year working and traveling in Australia before joining the communications team at Teach For America, where her projects included analyzing media coverage of TFA and education reform, and implementing the roll out and adoption of Salesforce.com to track TFA’s media relationships and coverage. After three years on the communications team, Jennie moved to a new role at TFA, developing systems and resources for the professional development needs of Teach For America’s public affairs team. Before joining the DOE full-time she worked as a DOE consultant in the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning and as a group leader in the after-school program at Harlem Link Charter School. She most recently worked as the Support Services Liaison at the Affinity Field Support Center. Jennie graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in human development and is currently pursuing her masters in Organizational Psychology.  Jennie serves as the project manager on the OFS Organizational Policy and Operations team. 
  Student Services
Gregory Bowen
Senior Director of Student Services

Gregory Bowen is the Senior Director of Student Services for the Office of Field Support. He has worked in the Department of Education for 21 years and has a strong operational and administrative background. Gregory Bowen’s extensive experiences as an educator include: classroom teacher, Dean, Assistant Principal, Safety Administrator, Deputy Network Leader, Network Leader and Director of Student Services for the Brooklyn South Field Support Center. His expertise and successful background in implementing School wide Protocols and Procedures, Restorative Approaches, Capacity Building and School Culture/Climate enhancement will provide our schools exemplary support in Student Services initiatives. Gregory Bowen is dedicated to assisting our schools in building capacity, utilizing citywide best practices and strengthening school community engagement in order to increase student achievement. Gregory Bowen brings a passion and wealth of operational knowledge to the Office of Field Support, Division of Student Services.
Barnaby Spring
Principal Advisor

Barnaby’s cross-functional role on the OFS Team draws from a skill-set including eight years of experience as a classroom teacher, dean of students in a transfer school, principal of two high schools, principal advisor to leaders of schools K-12, working with NYCDOE superintendents, administrators, directors and managers to sustain existing educational services while working collaboratively to develop new, innovative initiatives to address the emerging needs of our students pursuing their educational goals in an increasingly complex, ever-changing world.   His passion is to work collaboratively with NYCDOE officials and OFS leadership to research and introduce school leaders and all stakeholders to the ways in which Mindfulness in Education can help to bring our city’s Framework for Great Schools to life in every school, every classroom; every day. His goal is to apply mindfulness in his own work, collaborating and co-facilitating special projects, student services initiatives and introducing mindfulness to schools city-wide.
Kevin Dantzler
Director of Special Projects

Kevin serves as the Office of Field Support (OFS) Director of Partnerships. He collaborates with internal offices across the Department of Education (DOE) and with external partners outside of the organization in connection with special projects and key initiatives. With a deep passion for positively impacting young people, Kevin liaises with all OFS teams, particularly the OFS Strategy and Policy Team, and works to ensure the successful implementation of partnership initiatives. As a former practicing attorney, he incorporates both an analytical perspective and operational effectiveness. In all partnership collaborations, Kevin is guided by his firmly held belief that “it’s all about the kids.”
  School Improvement Team