Abran Maldonado is the Co-Founder of NuSkool. After nearly a decade working in the music and entertainment industry, Abran decided to enter the academy to further explore Hip-Hop, digital media and other aspects of youth culture and their implications on the advancement of 21st century education. Abran was honored by Bill Gates as a Gates Millennium Scholar, an award given to future leaders in the community. He has made the most of the opportunity afforded him through this award and has since received a BS in Communication Arts from St. John's University, an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education from Teachers College of Columbia University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Education at New York University where he is working on developing new research in the field.
Abran is also the Program Director of Positive Entertainment And Creative Education also known as PEACE, an enrichment program that specializes in addressing the needs of underserved youth using a hybrid approach fusing both entertainment and education through professional development, student enrichment and educational research. Known to many in the music industry for his roles in music publishing, artist management as well as an artist himself, he has always maintained a balance between his work in entertainment, education and the community.
Steven Netcoh is the lead content developer for NuSkool and is also a professor at St. John's University where he teaches First-Year Writing and Introduction to Global Literature. He also holds a Masters in English from St. John's and a Bachelor's from Trinity College in Hartford. Steve's writing course uses Hip-Hop as an overarching theme to challenge traditional and more conservative approaches to English composition. He challenges his students to think like Hip-Hop artists when they write and wants them to address issues that are relevant to and important in their lives while developing styles that are uniquely their own. Much like the content he develops for the NuSkool platform, Steven incorporates popular culture into both his writing and literature classes to promote critical thinking and to show students how the course content relates to their everyday lives.
Prior to his work at St. John's, Steven taught a freshman seminar at Mercy College's Bronx campus in the fall of 2011, which primarily used Hip-Hop texts, films, and music to help students develop their critical reading/thinking skills and information literacy. Steven is also the creator of the Hip-Hop, Race and Education blog (http://hiphoppedagogy.blogspot.com/) which explores the benefits of critical Hip-Hop pedagogy.
Michelle is a content developer and has a background in education policy and community development. She is a graduate student at the New School's The Milano School of Management and Urban Policy. Additionally, she is also working at The Institute of Urban Education as a Graduate Assistant on The Creative Pedagogy for School Change project. The Creative Pedagogy for School Change is a three years school DOE pilot program to encourage teachers to use creative pedagogies to improve student learning and outcomes. Michelle is working with a group of teachers to create a democratic school culture and atmosphere by infusing new teaching approaches into project-based learning.
Prior to joining NuSkool, Michelle worked at a D.C. based non-profit organization, The 21st Century School Fund, which focuses on education policy on local, state and national levels. She was involved in various different reports such as evaluating federal funding for education, and surveying outdoor spaces of D.C. public schools. Additionally, she was responsible for community outreach, which included meeting with local businesses on development strategies, organizing student involvements in community service projects, reaching out to parents on school events and trying to build a line of open communication between teachers, parents, students and community members. While in DC, Michelle received a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and served as a peer mentor at a DC public school. She enjoys traveling, trying new types of food and reading David Sedaris books.
Katharine Yu is Manager of Instructional Game Design at Classroom, Inc. in New York City. She began her career as an accomplished educator with over 9 years of experience in grades K-8 and actively incorporated media and technology into her classroom instructional design. Katharine currently designs digital media with accompanied curriculum and materials and provides professional development and expertise to teachers. She recently received her Master's Degree in Digital Media Design for Learning from New York University and also holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from California State University, Northridge.