Neil Poynter, Principal
Neil began teaching as a New York City Teaching Fellow in 2008. He earned his Masters in Education with a specialty in Learning Disabilities from Hunter College at taught at The James Baldwin School in Manhattan, whose mission and advisory structures are similar to The NET. A native of Baton Rouge, Neil returned to Louisiana in the summer of 2011. He taught at Samuel J. Green Charter School before joining forces with Educators for Quality Alternatives in 2012. Mr. Neil was an Advisor and the Academic Dean before becoming principal. Neil is proud to be a part of this mission, and honored to work alongside this staff and is responsible for coining the iconic phrase, "Swing the NET!"
Todd Reynolds, Principal
Mr. Todd has been working with at-risk youth for over twenty years. He began his career with the Youth Build program and directed operations for a two charter schools in Philadelphia before coming to The NET in 2012. In addition, Mr. Todd has worked in construction project management, a useful background for building The NET's carpentry and construction trade program. He holds a Masters of Science in Community Economic Development from the University of Southern New Hampshire. Mr. Todd joined as the school's Dean of Students before being promoted to Principal. He will co-principal at The NET for the 2016-17 school year before moving to The NET2 to be its founding Leader.
Trisha Botello, Mental Health Counselor
Ms. Trisha joined The NET through a partnership with Communities In Schools. Trisha is a certified LPC, MT-BC. She provides intensive on-site mental health counseling, with a focus on healing and helping students to gain improved socio-emotional wellbeing. Ms. Trish has provided counseling and creative arts therapy to youth in schools and treatement settings for over 12 years in New York, Texas, and her native Louisiana.
Adam Bourne, Construction Teacher
Mr. Adam has been working in different facets of construction for most of his life, most recently renovating and selling residential properties. He has worked with students in different capacities since moving to New Orleans five years ago. He's excited about helping solve the problems facing students at The NET and getting them on a path that leads to success!
Bianca Briggs, Advisor/Teacher
Ms. Bianca joined the NET after teaching in 9 years in New York City. She holds an MSEd from Long Island University and was a NYC Teaching Fellow
and a NYC Writing Project Fellow. In addition to her teaching skills, Ms. Bianca is a floral designer and brings her love of nature and beauty to the classroom.
Kara Dorsey, Academic Dean
Ms. Kara joined The NET at the start of the 2012-2013 school year as an advisor. Prior to joining The NET, she taught middle school English in St. Helena Parish. A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University and of Concordia University Portland with an MA in Ed. Leadership, her primary objective as an educator is to empower underserved youth to reach their maximum potential. As a native and a mother of four beautiful daughters, she is passionate about teaching and learning to continually seek innovative, research-based methods to meet all her students' needs.
Ashley Everett, Receptionist & Office Manager
Ms. Ashley works at the front desk at The NET and makes sure everything runs smoothly. She holds a BS from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught Biology for two years in New Jersey with Teach for America.
Leanna First-Arai, Homebound Teacher
Ms. Leanna works with The NET's English Language Learners and Homebound students who cannot attend physically school. Ms. Leanna loves traveling the city, meeting students, and helping them be successful, no matter what barriers they are currently facing. She teaches English and ELL and can tutor in every subject under the sun! She is fluent in Spanish and graduated with a Master's Degree in Latin American studies from Tulane University.
Vee Francis, Math Teacher
Ms. Vee has a BA in Education from LSU and has taught Special Education, English, Math, to almost every age level in New Orleans and Georgia. As well as teaching at The NET, she leads the Senior Committee. Ms. Vee is a native of New Orleans and is committed to giving every student in our city a high quality and competitive education. She believes in every student and gives them lots of love, high standards, hard work, and all the time and support they need to shine.
Joelle Gentner, Advisor/Teacher
Ms. Joelle, or "Ms. G." moved to New Orleans from Chicago to teach at The NET. She has taught Social Studies, English, English as a Second Language, Economics, Special Education, and brings her positive energy to every room!
Temple Gowen, Advisor/Teacher
Ms. Temple taught college English and Writing courses at her alma mater, the University of Mississippi. She is happy to be back with high school students at The NET!
Diriki Guillory, Personalized Learning Lab Teacher & IT Manager
Mr. Diriki grew up in New Orleans and graduated from O. Perry Walker High School. He attended Sacramento State on a basketball scholarship and has lived in Israel, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, and Washington D.C. He is proud to call New Orleans home and loves working at The NET.
Chelsea Hylton, Yoga Teacher
Ms. Chelsea was introduced to yoga early in life then began a consistent practice her freshman year in College. Chelsea loves to combine an intelligent, juicy, flow with music that rocks your soul! Her goal is to create a spiced up, fun class that incorporates many physical challenges. She believes this allows one to bring their “focus inside their body, giving you freedom from your mind.” Chelsea completed her first 200-hour training in 2010 with Marianne Wells Yoga School in Costa Rica, and the second in 2013 with Charleston Power Yoga.
Farhad Karim, History & Lab Teacher
Mr. Karim has been with The NET since its inception in 2011 as an Assistant Teacher, Advisor and Teacher. He currently teaches American History and works with students in The NET's personalized learning lab. Every summer he leads the highly popular "Human vs. Fish" course in which students learning about the Louisiana environment while fishing its many waterways. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Special Education at Xavier University. Mr. Karim works to liberate young people's minds and ignite their passions so they can lead our city.
Christie Kieschnick, Next Steps Coordinator
Ms. Christie is a native New Orleanian with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from St. Edward's University in Austin and a M.C.D. in Speech-Language Pathology from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. She has worked in education since 1997. In 2009, she started BeREAL, an organization that supports the education and career development of youth aging out of foster care. Ms. Christie began part-time at The NET to pilot a tiny "Next Steps" project for NET seniors. She has grown this program to a full transition department that supports each NET senior and each NET alumni as they continue their education and start employment after high school. Ms. Christie is passionate about making sure that all NET alumni have the skills, confidence, and experiences to thrive in their choosen careers.
William Lambert, Teacher-Advisor
Mr. Bill has taught for thirty years and brings all that wisdom to his classrooms at The NET. He has graduate degrees from Duke University and the University of Southern California. He believes that great education is more than "book learning" it is also learning about ourselves-- our strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and blindspots-- so we can make healthy decisions that help us reach our goals. The most important part of his work is helping each student reach his or her highest potential.
Benjamin Landau-Beispiel, Advisor/Teacher
Mr. Ben has taught high school and adults in Philadelphia, worked on an Organic Farm, travelled the world and now is dedicated to the students of The NET. He has a BA in History from Harvard College and a MEd from Temple University.
Kim Legaux, Counselor
Ms. Kim is a native of New Orleans, LA. She holds a BA in Psychology and a MS in Counseling. She is currently working on her Phd in Social and Community Services and her License in Addiction Counseling. She has worked with at-risk youth for over 16 years in a variety of situations which includes education, social services, adolescent drug rehabilitative services and juvenile corrections. She has worked in the public school system as a Teacher, a Behavior Interventionist, Reading Interventionist, a Crisis Prevention Interventionist Instructor, as well a State Trainer of Trainers for Positive Behavior Intervention Support. She has been trained to teach Social Skills/Life Skills by a nationally recognized program, Boys Town, which she also had the pleasure of working for. Ms. Kim is a founding staff member at The NET. Her door is always open to students, families and staff who need a listening ear, a motherly lecture, a connection to a resource, or a funny story to cheer up their day.
Erin Lierl, ELL Teacher
Ms. Erin works with The NET's English Language Learners.
Adam McElwee, School Nurse
I am intrinsically motivated and embrace the responsibilities of my profession to facilitate normal development and positive client response to interventions; promote health and safety including a healthy environment; intervene in response to actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build client and family capacity for adaptation, self- management, self advocacy, and learning.
Chuck Medley, Dean of Students
Mr. Chuck joined The NET first as its Personalized Learning Teacher and now leads as a Dean of Students. Mr. Chuck has taught in Illionis, Georgia, Alabama, and New Jersey. However, he has spent the most time in New Orleans leading in middleschools opening after Hurricaine Katrina. As a result, every student, parent, and sibling that comes to The NET seems to already know and love Mr. Chuck and say things like "if Mr. Chuck is here, then I'm registering!" Mr. Chuck has a BA in Special Education and is currently completing is MA in Education Leadership.
Elizabeth Ostberg, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Ms. Elizabeth developed Educators for Quality Alternative and The NET in response to the high drop out rate in her beloved adopted city. After teaching students who had dropped out of high school in Philadelphia, Ms. Ostberg moved to New Orleans to help re-build The New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School after Katrina. She then served as Director of Talent Management/HR for FirstLine Schools as it expanded from one school to a CMO of 5 schools. She holds an MEd. from Harvard University with a focus on education in crisis zones.
Rebecca Pentes, Speech Language Pathologist
Ms. Rebecca has delivered speech services at The NET since 2014.
Robin Perkins, Food Service Manager
Food Service Manager
Kelley Pursell, School Psychologist
Ms. Kelley is a native of northern California who originally came to New Orleans to study Psychology at Tulane University. She received her MA in School Psychology from University of California at Berkeley and has worked as a school psychologist in California, North Carolina, and Louisiana.
Justin Ross-Hillard, Dean of Students
Mr. Justin works with students to build the skills and confidence they need to be successful. Mr. Justin joined The NET in 2012 as Asst. Dean of Students before being promoted to Attendance and Family Coordinator and now to Dean of Students. A pastor outside of work, Mr. Justin, bring his belief in every individual to all his relationships at The NET. He is the school's chief trainer and coach for restorative practices. Mr. Justin holds a BA in theology from Xavier University.
Tim Sattler, Internship Coordinator
With the heart of a social worker and the mind of an organizer, Mr. Tim was born and raised by Los Angeles. After graduating from USC where he studied Public Policy, he worked at Youtbuild Charter School of CA and RiseUp Community School in Denver. He is currently studying at UNO's PhD program for Educational Leadershup forcusing on alternative education policy while also participating in Education Pioneer's Analyst Fellowship. Mr. Tim connects students with the internships across the city, helping them ignite their passions, develop their dreams and learn valuable skills and experiences for the future.
Nancy Striggs, Special Education Teacher
Ms. Nancy supports Special Education students at The NET.
Lee Thomson-Yood, Special Education Coordinator
Ms. Lee is in her tenth year of teaching. She holds a Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Jennie Wimbish, Science Teacher
Ms. Jennie is originally from Clinton, MS but moved to New Orleans in 2004 upon graduating with a BA in history from the University of MS. She decided to get her teaching certification in Chemistry through teachNOLA in 2012 and currently teaches biology and chemistry at the NET. At present, she is working on completing her Master’s in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. She has three daughters and enjoys cooking, fishing, and music.
Amber Zu-Bolton, Data & Enrollment Coordinator
Ms. Amber joined The NET after working in operations and administration at New Orleans College Prep, Cafe Reconcile and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. She is proud to be a New Orleanian and a Howard University Bison! Ms. Amber welcomes families to The NET, helps them navigate the city-wide enrollment system, and get settled comfortably. She also keeps everyone at the school on track with her amazing organizational skills