Head of School
Ms. Castelluccio was named Head of School at Léman Manhattan in October 2015 and began her term in July 2016. A proven educational leader and visionary, Ms. Castelluccio has dedicated her career to driving student performance and building community in PreK-12 schools in the U.S. and internationally for more than 25 years. She joins Léman after four years as the Head of School at Marymount International School of Rome, also an International Baccalaureate School, where she developed and carried out a strategic plan that increased IB scores to 98% pass rate and 45% of students scoring in the top 20th percentile worldwide.
From 2009-2012, Ms. Castelluccio served as Marymount Rome's Elementary School Principal, where her accomplishments included introducing Columbia University Teachers College Reader's and Writer's Workshop and Responsive Classroom, and advancing the academic rigor of the educational program. For more than a decade prior to Marymount Rome, Ms. Castelluccio held senior administrative roles at high-performing elementary schools in Westport and Stratford, Connecticut. She began her career as a 3rd and 4th Grade teacher. Ms. Castelluccio holds a Bachelor of Arts in Intermediate Education, Magna Cum Laude, from Southern Connecticut State University; a Master of Science in Science Education from Southern Connecticut State University; and a Sixth Year Degree in Administration and Supervision from Sacred Heart University. Originally from the Bronx, Maria raised her four children in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She is an avid reader, and when she has the time, loves to travel, walk and practice yoga.
Assistant Head of School
Head of Lower School
Dr. Maraia serves as the academic dean of the school across PreK-12 with a focus on four major areas: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Development; Student Support Services; and Accreditation. In partnership with the Head of School, divisional leaders, and department heads, Dr. Maraia leads the development of curriculum to best support measurable student outcomes and Léman's mission, vision, and values as an International Baccalaureate school that equips students to be global citizens.
Since joining Léman in the 2013-14 school year as Head of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Dr. Maraia has advanced the learning experience at Léman in the Middle States accreditation review process, the curriculum renewal cycle, and English language and student support services. He was named Assistant Head of School in January 2016 and in 2017, he took on the additional responsibility of Head of Lower School, where he leads the academic program for grades 1 through 5, focusing on developing children's skills in reading, writing and mathematics, and building fluency across fine arts, science, and world languages. Working collaboratively with the Upper School Leadership, Dr. Maraia also spearheads the transition process to Middle School to support the academic, social and emotional success of every child.
Prior to joining Léman, Dr. Maraia was a curriculum consultant and staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University where he consulted in private and public schools across New York City, the United States, and around the world. Previously, Dr. Maraia taught English at the Clinton School for Writers and Artists. He is a frequent presenter at national conferences and universities on curriculum and instruction. He received his Bachelors from Skidmore College, followed by a Masters from New York University, and a Masters from Bank Street College of Education. Dr. Maraia received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.
Director of Curriculum & Interim Head of the Center for Early Childhood Education
Maria Sweeney is Léman's Director of Curriculum, as well as Interim Head of the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE). Mrs. Sweeney will serve as the academic dean for PreK-12th grade, working closely with the academic division heads to further develop and implement curriculum consistent with our school mission, vision, core values and IB philosophy. Mrs. Sweeney joins Léman from Oakhill Academy in Temecula, CA, where she has been Head of School since 2015. Previously, Mrs. Sweeney was the Curriculum Coordinator PreK-12 and then the Early Childhood and Elementary Principal at the Marymount International School of Rome from 2007-2015. For more than 25 years before joining Marymount, Mrs. Sweeney served as an administrator and classroom and ESOL teacher in schools across the world. Mrs. Sweeney holds the following educational credentials: Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; Teaching Certificate from University of California, Los Angeles; Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from University of California, Riverside; Post-Master's ESL Certificate in English as a Second Language from Eastern University, St. David's; and Principal's Certificate in Educational Leadership from The Principal's Training Center. Outside of Léman, Mrs. Sweeney likes to read, cook, travel and spend time with her family.
Head of Upper School
Mr. Spezzano directs the academic program for grades 6 through 12. An experienced international educator with more than 25 years experience in the classroom and as an administrator on a global scale, Mr. Spezzano joined Léman in August 2016 after having worked at schools in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. Mr. Spezzano joined Léman after four years as Upper School Assistant Principal at the Washington International School (WIS), one of the world's premier co-ed private international schools, where he led the daily operations of a 280-student high school that shares a mission similar to Léman's: build critical thinking skills within a rigorous academic program and prepare students to be engaged and effective members of a global community.
At WIS, the first school in the D.C. area to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and whose IB scores have consistently exceeded world averages, Mr. Spezzano oversaw grade-level coordinator and advisory programs, student government, and service programs to provide students with practical opportunities to apply their global curriculum locally. Prior to joining WIS, Mr. Spezzano served as a mathematics teacher and homeroom advisor at the International School of Stuttgart. Previously, Mr. Spezzano was interim middle school head, chair of the mathematics department and middle school mathematics teacher at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA. Mr. Spezzano began his career as a mathematics teacher and dormitory advisor at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). Mr. Spezzano holds an A.B. from Brown University with a concentration in Italian Studies and an Ed.M. from Harvard University with a concentration in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. Outside of school, he enjoys hiking and cycling.
Assistant Head of the Upper School
In his role as an Assistant Head of the Upper School, Mr. Hawthorn has a focus on working with middle school students (grades 6-8), and serves on the upper school leadership team to build community across grades 6 through 12, spearhead new initiatives and special projects, and develop programming that supports students academically, socially and emotionally.
Mr. Hawthorn joined Léman in Fall 2014 and taught both Middle School and High School Social Studies and launched a new Student Ambassador program. After one academic year, he was promoted to the Assistant Head position. Prior to joining Léman, Mr. Hawthorn taught Social Studies, P.E, and Health in charter and private schools in the New York City area. Originally from the U.K., Mr. Hawthorn holds a B.A. in Education with specialization in History and Physical Education. Outside of school, Mr. Hawthorn enjoys exercising, reading, watching and coaching soccer, listening to music, and spending time with his three godchildren.
Assistant Head of Upper School
Emily Khan serves as an Assistant Head of the Upper School with a focus on High School. As Assistant Head, Ms. Khan supervises teachers through Léman’s observation, collaboration and feedback model. In addition, Ms. Khan manages all scheduling issues in the High School as well as mentors student leaders and contributes to the development of curricular programs for the High School Advisory Programs.
Ms. Khan has extensive experience teaching English, including at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, as well as George Washington High School in San Francisco. Ms. Khan taught IB Language and Literature at Léman for six years, and served as the English Department Chair. During the 2015-16 school year, Ms. Khan served as interim head of the Upper School at Léman. Ms. Khan has a MA in English Education from NYU Steinhardt School of Education and a BA in English Literature from Fordham University.
Upper School Dean of Students
Demetrius Laffitte serves as the Upper School Dean of Students. As Dean of Students, Mr. Laffitte takes the lead in supporting students and faculty regarding all discipline issues in the high school, including academic dishonesty. Mr. Laffitte oversees student clubs and activities in the High School as well as oversees the planning, logistics and scheduling of the high school advisory program, and more.
Mr. Laffitte joined Léman in 2017 as Assistant Athletic Director and physical education instructor. He has 22 years of teaching experience, which include many accomplishments as a teacher of physical education, health and science, and as a basketball, football and volleyball coach. Mr. Laffitte has worked at schools in San Diego, Milan and Rome, most recently at Marymount International School. He also played 12 years of professional basketball throughout Europe and South America. Mr. Laffitte has a MSc degree in education from Asuza Pacific University, and a BA in physical education from United States International University. Demetrius and his wife, Barbara Pluchino-Laffitte, have three sons - Dominic (grade 12), Daniel (grade 10), and Diego (grade 4) - who are all Léman students.
Director of International Baccalaureate (IB) Programming
In her role as Director of IB Programming, Lucy Alexander supports the IB Teaching team in the delivery and assessment of the school's IB Diploma Programme and she collaborates with faculty and staff throughout the school (pre-K to 12) with curriculum alignment and implementation of the IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning.
Originally from Canada, Ms. Alexander has undergraduate degrees in both History and Education and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. She has 30 years experience as an educator and senior administrator at top tier independent schools in Canada, Italy and United States.
Much of Ms. Alexander's academic career has involved working with the IB Organization including her work in an advisory capacity for the Italian Parliament and the Ministry of Education on IB recognition legislation. In her free time she loves reading, travel, urban walking, and beach camping.
Megan Storey Hallam
Director of Student Support Services
Mrs. Hallam is responsible for leading Léman's Learning Support Department, supervising and coaching learning support specialists, school nurses, school counselors, and the school psychologist. This dedicated and experienced team of resources is committed to the academic and social/emotional well-being of each student, and supports students across PreK-12 in achieving success and flourishing at Léman. In addition, Mrs. Hallam serves as the Student Support Services Department Chair.
Mrs. Hallam has more than 20 years of experience in PreK-12 schools in the U.S. and around the world. Prior to Léman, she oversaw student support at The Washington International School, a leading PreK-12 International Baccalaureate World School in the D.C. area. Mrs. Hallam served as the Lead School Psychologist at Marymount Rome International School for three years. Mrs. Hallam also worked at the University of Pennsylvania researching child development, publishing studies in Pediatrics, Obesity and the Journal of Nutrition. Mrs. Hallam supports various volunteer positions dedicated to building resilience in military populations and providing education and health related support to underserved populations. In recent years, she has led volunteer programs for high school students in Peru, Costa Rica and Zambia.
Mrs. Hallam holds an M.S. in Psychology from Villanova University and an Ed.S in School Psychology from The College of William & Mary, and is also pursuing an Ed.D in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership. Mrs. Hallam and her husband have two children, a daughter attending Swarthmore College and a son who attends high school at Léman. During her free time, she enjoys yoga, running and traveling with her family.
Director of Residential Life
Dr. Colpitts has served at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School as the Director of Residence Life since August 2017 leading the educational, operational, and student support aspects of the boarding program. Dr. Colpitts has been an educator, administrator, and leader in higher education and K12 independent schools for over 10 years serving in the areas of residence life, university housing, student conduct, campus safety and security, emergency management, enrollment management, and student affairs. Dr. Colpitts has also served in educator-leader roles at diverse educational institutions including Clark University, Landmark College, Southern Oregon University, Utah State University, and Interlochen Center of the Arts. Most recently, he was the Dean of Students for the Academy at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also an independent risk and safety management consultant.
A first-generation college student from rural Maine, Matthew is a proud graduate of Clark University in Worcester, MA with a B.A. in English and Philosophy. He holds a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) where he researched emergency management in educational institutions. Outside of school, Dr. Colpitts enjoys reading, traveling, and learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Director of Fine Arts
Ms. Nowicki oversees all curricular and extra-curricular programs in Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, and Film for Léman Manhattan. Prior to coming to Léman in 2011, Ms. Nowicki served as the Performing Arts Department Chair at the Sanford School in Hockessin, DE, where she worked for 19 years and produced award-winning music ensembles and a nationally recognized Theatre program. In Theatre, Ms. Nowicki has worked as a musical director, producer, and conductor. She is the co-founder of Delaware All-State Theatre®, the nation's only All-State Theatre organization for students, and serves on their Board of Trustees. In addition, she is a former chairperson of the DAIS Music Educators group, which involves 23 schools in DE, PA, MD, and NJ. Outside of education, Ms. Nowicki has worked in corporate arts administration and has served as an Associate Producer for “Lisa Howard: Songs of Innocence & Experience, The Songs of William Finn” (Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom Records). Ms. Nowicki received a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University and a Masters in Educational Psychology from Widener University. She has graduate credits in music history from the University of Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria. Apart from her interests in music, theatre, and film, she enjoys reading, baking, and travel.
Director of Athletics
Keith Sequeira leads athletic opportunities for students school-wide at Léman, including team sports in grade five, to elite level varsity sports at the high school level. During his time at Léman, Mr. Sequeira has grown the athletic program significantly, from 8 teams in 2009, when he joined the school, to 36 teams today. In his leadership of the athletic program at Léman, Mr. Sequeira builds a culture of community, sportsmanship and physical well-being across the school community. Mr. Sequeira brings a wealth of knowledge of New York City school athletic programs, from his Adjunct Professor position at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, as well as his positions as Athletic Director, Physical Education Chair, Admissions Director, Summer Camp and After School Director at schools in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Sequeira earned a B.A. in Physical Education from Hofstra University and a Masters in supervision from Adelphi University. Outside of his duties at Léman, Mr. Sequeira is on the board of the Old Bridge Girls Soccer League, where his daughters participate in the soccer program. He enjoys quality time with his wife and two daughters, as well as the most recent addition to their family, "Bubba" the mini pincher.
Director of Technology
Mr. Karim oversees all aspects of educational technology at Léman, and drives the school's strategic vision for leveraging technology to enhance student learning. He has oversight for all technology systems that support student information, enrollment management, scheduling and grading, faculty collaboration, parent communication, and the cultivation of technology skills that prepare Léman students for an interconnected, digital world.
An IT professional with over two decades of experience in educational technology and technology support, Mr. Karim brings many years of teaching and administrative experience to our school. Prior to joining Léman, Mr. Karim spent 25 years at The Buckley School on the Upper East Side, where he managed all hardware, software, systems, and infrastructure initiatives, including implementation of makerspaces. He also has extensive experience in developing and leading technology professional development workshops for faculty and staff. Throughout his career, he has taught coding, robotics, and circuit building in grades 1-9.
Mr. Karim holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from The College of Staten Island. He is a Google certified Educator and also a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. He lives with his wife and daughter in Forest Hills, Queens, and during his free time, Mr. Karim enjoys cooking, reading and traveling with his family.
Director of After-School and Summer Programs
With over 20 years of experience developing children's programming in New York City, Steve Levin leads Léman's after school and summer programs. With a broad array of offerings ranging from chess to math club to tennis, our after school programming compliments the Léman academic program to harness the interest of every child. In addition, Camp Léman, for both Léman students and children in the community, is one of Lower Manhattan's premier program for children, enrolling over 270 children each summer. Prior to joining Léman in 2008, Mr. Levin served as the Director of Camp Programs at the 92nd Street Y, and as camp director in the Poconos. Mr. Levin spent four years on the adjunct faculty of Fordham University's Graduate school of Social Service and has been a speaker and co-chair for various regional and national camping conferences. Mr. Levin has a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College. Outside of his work at Léman, Mr. Levin enjoys travel, running, exploring New York City, and the New York Times crossword puzzle. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.
Head of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement
In partnership with faculty, students and parents, Mrs. Murphy leads Léman’s marketing and communications initiatives to build a dynamic and engaged community of families. She has oversight for all internal and external school communications, including publications, PR, social media and digital, school events, and community relations throughout Lower Manhattan.
Since joining Léman in 2014 as Head of Marketing, Admissions & Communications, Mrs. Murphy has helped establish Léman as a leading Manhattan private school and grow enrollment to 900 students. Mrs. Murphy has worked closely with thousands of New York City parents to help them navigate the admissions process and find the right school for their child.
Mrs. Murphy joined Léman after more than 15 years in education communications, both in K-12 and higher education. For nearly a decade, she was a senior marketing executive at Kaplan, one of the world's leading providers of educational services, where she oversaw global brand development. Previously, she was Assistant Director of Communications at Columbia University.
Mrs. Murphy holds a B.A. in Political Science and French from Colgate University. She lives in the Financial District with her husband and two sons, who are students at Léman in the Center for Early Childhood Education and Lower School. Outside of school, Mrs. Murphy enjoys cooking, travel, and architecture.
Director of Admissions
Mrs. Whelehan leads PreK-12 admissions at Léman, advising families with children as young as toddlers through high school to discover the distinctions of a Léman education. Mrs. Whelehan is responsible for managing all aspects of the admissions process, from strategic enrollment management planning and execution of ongoing admissions events to interviewing families, performing student interviews and assessments, and leading Admissions Committee and Financial Aid reviews. She represents Léman at independent school conferences and events, and collaborates with Léman faculty, parents and students to continue to grow the Léman community.
A native New Yorker, Mrs. Whelehan is a graduate of The Town School and The Dalton School. She has 20 years of experience in independent school administration, having held senior admissions and financial aid positions at Dwight School, Rodeph Sholom School, and The Town School. In addition, she has served as Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Buckley Country Day School and Director of Admissions and Marketing at East Woods School in nearby Long Island. She has also served on the ISAAGNY Board of Trustees and on the Board of the Association of Teachers in Independent Schools. Mrs. Whelehan holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College and did graduate work in English Education at New York University. She lives in Long Island with her husband and three children and enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and sailing with her family.
Director of Global Enrollment
Joshua Anchors collaborates with the school's partners from around the world to bring talented, motivated international students to Léman Manhattan. For five years Mr. Anchors worked as director of Léman's unique boarding program and was responsible for the academic, social, and emotional well-being of 120 students from over 20 different countries. Originally from northern Maine, Mr. Anchors worked in humanitarian relief for a variety of organizations including FEMA, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, and the US Peace Corps, before transitioning into education. Prior to working at Léman Manhattan, he taught at Saint Ann's School and worked at the Brooks School as a teacher, coach, and dorm parent. Mr. Anchors holds a MA in the Teaching of English from Columbia University Teachers College. Outside of his work at Léman, he enjoys bicycling, sea kayaking, and creative writing.
Head of Human Resources
Leona Mizrakhi leads the human resources department at Léman Manhattan with the goal of attracting and retaining top talent from around the world. Mrs. Mizrakhi is responsible for training and onboarding faculty and staff, as well as managing payroll and benefits, to ensure that Léman employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful in their roles. She is also a proud Léman parent, with two daughters in the lower school. She joined Léman with over 15 years of human resources and organization development experience. Mrs. Mizrakhi has extensive experience partnering with senior management to create and maintain HR policies and procedures that align with the company's overall vision while consulting and coaching employees on all levels on day-to-day operations. She has a passion for providing training, employee relations, recruiting, performance management, as well as implementing and maintaining policy and procedures. She is a member the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) national chapter. She graduated from St. Francis College with honors, enjoys international travel, cooking and playing tennis. She currently resides in New York with her husband and two children.
Chief Operating Officer
An experienced finance and strategy executive in the education industry, Mr. Naya oversees the business office, facilities and technology functions at Léman to help support our school’s continued growth. Prior to Léman, Mr. Naya was Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at Schoology, a PowerSchool company and leading K-12 learning management designed to improve student performance, foster collaboration and personalize learning. He also served in senior leadership positions in operations and finance at Kaplan Test Prep, the leading provider of test preparation services for college admissions exams and held financial planning and analysis roles at UBS and Unilever. Mr. Naya holds a bachelor of science degree from University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from Yale University.