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Meet the Listen Up Panelists


Shavon Frazier is an early childhood educator who has taught pre-K and kindergarten for the past nine years at the Newport School in Brownsville and FirstStepNYC. She leads and participates in various committees at her school, including the School Leadership Team and the Instructional Leadership Team. Shavon is also an adjunct lecturer at the CUNY School of Professional Studies for its Child Development Associate program. She holds two master’s degrees in education from Bank Street College of Education: in Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Leadership. Shavon will be receiving the Bank Street Alumni Association Recent Graduate Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of education.


Jenna Lempesis has been an educator in Brooklyn and Manhattan for nine years, teaching kindergarten, 2nd, 4th and 5th grades. She currently teaches 4th grade in an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) setting at PS 111 in Hell’s Kitchen. Jenna describes teaching as “the hardest and best thing.” She began her career as a Teach for America recruit and was a founding teacher at a charter school for four years. During this time, she received her master’s in Early Childhood Education and Specducation from CUNY Hunter. After acquiring her second master’s degree in Literacy from Teachers College at Columbia University, Jenna joined the Department of Education.


Jason Petsch has taught mathematics at the Jonas Bronck Academy, a middle school in the Bronx, for the past nine years. Serving as a special education teacher, he leads his school’s Scholar Support Services team as the Special Education Liaison. He is committed to ensuring equitable access and outcomes for all learners. He has also served as a teacher leader for the past three years and now serves as his school’s Peer Collaborative Teacher and as a Lead Coach with the New York City Teaching Collaborative.


Genevieve Quinones is a pre-K teacher at The Garden of Learning and Discovery Pre-K Center in the Bronx. Her master’s degree in Literacy focuses on the early years and the development of oral language analysis. She advocates for play as an equitable and effective prelude to academics, believing in the child as capable and competent and the educator as a co-learning guide. Her commitment to a play-based, student-led approach prompted the integration of Reggio Emilia elements not only in her classroom, but also throughout the school building. Genevieve is dedicated to supporting each child in recognizing and contributing their talents to their local and global communities.


Chanel Quintero is a special education teacher who has worked in District 9 in the South Bronx for more than a decade. She possesses a balance of firm conviction and a compassionate, nurturing nature. With a master’s degree and certification in Childhood Special Education, Chanel specializes in behavior/ crisis support, curriculum modification and specialized instruction. As a fierce advocate for her students, she is always looking for the most equitable and actionable solutions possible, while maintaining the balance of fun and joy that should be found in an elementary school.


Cherly St.Louis is a third-year District 75 teacher dedicated to advocating for underrepresented students. She curates a community of value by providing each student she encounters a quality educational experience. Her commitment enables her to help students achieve a deeper level of thinking, while also providing family support and collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure student success. She holds a Master of Science in Childhood Education with a specialty in Special Education. Her enthusiasm for learning while teaching is what drives Cherly’s passion for making a difference.


Liaisha White is a 10th-year special education and economics/ government teacher at Brooklyn Preparatory HS, where she’s created and piloted a Sociology/Activism course as well as a Student-Led Elective program in which students develop and execute their own curriculum for their peers. Through her work with the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity as well as the NYC DOE Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education Fellowship, she’s presented at NYU’s Decolonizing Education Conference and brought her training back to Brooklyn Prep through workshops and by assisting departments in making their curricula as student-centered and culturally responsive as possible. Liaisha is a strong believer in teaching as a form of activism.


Casmira Wildeman is a fifth-year 1st-grade Integrated Co-Teaching teacher at PS 567 in the Bronx. A member of the Equity Team in her school and part of the 2021 Critically Conscious Educators Rising Cohort Series at NYU, she regularly builds culturally responsive-sustaining education content for K-5 teachers. For the past three years, Casmira has been part of the model teacher team in her school building for observations by District 11 Superintendent Chris Vaughan and by the federal agency overseeing magnet school grants. She was a selected speaker on a 10-member NYC Department of Education panel with Chancellor Richard A. Carranza on new teacher supports to improve retention. An avid lover of yoga, mindfulness and reading, Casmira lives in and loves the Bronx.