Every child deserves a chance to achieve.
The mission of the Amani Public Charter School is to provide Mount Vernon, New York students in the 5th through 8th grades with the academic skills necessary to succeed in competitive high school programs, college and the career of their choice.
The concept of Amani began at their kitchen table. Founders Charles and Debra Stern then formed a coalition to bring a high performing charter school to Mount Vernon, NY. The Sterns, along with other public school parents, educators and business people joined forces to develop the school's charter application. In 2010 the New York State Education Department authorized Amani Public Charter School. Amani is the first and only charter school in Mount Vernon. Admission is open to all children, including those with special needs and English language learners. Nearly all of our students reside in Mount Vernon. Students are admitted through a random lottery held each April.
Mrs. Stern brings to Amani her experience as a college administrator, adjunct faculty member and social worker. She is also a public school parent and an active member of the Alumni Council of Cornell University. She holds a Masters in Social Work from College of New Rochelle, and a Master of Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. A New York City native, Debra grew up in New Rochelle and then lived in Mount Vernon for many years, where she founded the Friends of Mount Vernon Public Library, and also served as President of the districtwide PTA Council. This unique background makes her exceptionally qualified to lead the organization as it grows and pursues its mission of educational achievement.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Director of Operations
Director of Finance
Director of Pupil Personnel Services
Director of School Culture/ Athletic Director
Director of Data Management and Math Program Coordinator
Kacie Anderson, Dean of Scholar & Familes
Alysia James, Assistant Dean of Scholar & Families
Karl Eason, Assistant Dean of Scholar & Families
Harvey Zuckerman, Dean of Guidance & Enrichment
Kelly D. Gardner , Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
Amiell Cobb, Registrar
Maureen Moser, ELA Program Coordinator
Beth Johnson, Science Program Coordinator
Rebecca Wise, Bookkeeper
Mandy Zoffness, Social Worker
Nicole Francis, Nurse
Ashley Davenport, Office Manager
Rebecca Johnson, Office Aide
Antonio Scott, Head Custodian
Jerry Lester, Custodian
Brittany Woodley, Food Service Associate
Board of Directors
Sid Burke: a partner in the New York Office of DLA Piper LLP (US), a global law firm. Mr. Burke lends his own legal expertise and facilitates pro bono legal assistance for the school. Mr. Burke received his J.D from NYU School of Law and his A.B from Harvard University.
Adell Dowdy: an educational professional with a career spanning over thirty years. Presently Ms. Dowdy is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Education Department of Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. She brings expertise in professional and curriculum development as well as school administration. Ms. Dowdy earned a BA from Bennett College in Elementary Education and Reading, an MA in teaching from New York University and the Professional Diploma in Supervision and Administration from the City College of the City University of New York.
David Eichler: a Certified Public Accountant with extensive professional experience as a controller for a multibillion-dollar division of a public company. Mr. Eichler earned his BS in Accounting from New York University and has a long career in the motion picture industry.
Laura Francis: a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon, and a former teacher in the Mount Vernon City School District. Ms. Francis has a long history of school and community involvement. She holds a Bachlor of Science from The American University and a Master of Science from Fordham University.
Jim Killoran: Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, Westchester County. Jim is a graduate of St Josephs College BA Seton Hall University MDiv. and has an honorary doctorate degree from St Josephs College of Maine. He is also the treasurer for the Yonkers Charter School of Educational Excellence. Mr. Killoran believes every student deserves an excellent education.
Robert Jones: An entrepreneur and former corporate executive with multi-functional experience spanning consumer goods, retail, and education sectors. Mr. Jones is a Mt. Vernon resident with keen interest in improving the city’s K-12 achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Mr. Jones earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MBA degree at Harvard Business School.