Dear Families of P.S. 398 Jackson Heights Community,
I can not think of a greater privilege than nurturing the education of your children and starting this journey together of growing our new school alongside all of you and our Jackson Heights Community. I know how important the first years of education are to the foundations and development of a child and how it feels to be in search for the perfect school that can provide your child with everything they need to grow into independent learners.
Please know that I believe in being open, honest and transparent. I am looking forward to meeting and working with all of you throughout the school year. I am excited to serve the children and families of P.S. 398 Community! This is going to be a sensational year!
Erica Ureña-Thus, Principal
Meet Our School Based Support Team
School Social Worker
Hello everyone, my name is Yakaira Ramirez! I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Bilingual in English and Spanish. I am honored to be joining the P.S 398 community as a social worker. I look forward to forming meaningful, long-lasting relationships with students and their families. I believe that emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness sparks our consciousness, expands mindfulness, and conquers Healing. Healing is possible. I am a huge advocate of self-care and, I look forward to sharing tips on ways our children and their parents can each discover little things they can do to live a healthier and happier life. In my free time, I like going for walks in the park and enjoy looking at nature’s beautiful surroundings. I also love and appreciate trying out diverse food from all different cultures. I received a bachelor’s degree in arts from John Jay College and a master’s degree from Fordham University. I’ve been working in the social service field providing human services to the most vulnerable and underserved populations for the last 18 years. In my previous role, I worked as an Instructor, Training Specialist, and Community Coordinator for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene empowering, supporting, and doing outreach for individuals in our communities most impacted by disparities and inequities, primarily by providing emotional support and helping them access available resources. I was raised in the beautiful Dominican Republic in a poor, run-down, rural small town surrounded by high mountains where suffering and poverty around me stimulated compassion and inspired strength to believe that somehow, I would have something to offer to everyone.
I look forward to meeting you all of you in person and creating a memorable school year filled with learning and joyful experiences.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller
Meet Our Teacher Team
3K & Pre-K Team
Hello everyone!! My name is Jamie Pachucho and I am excited to be joining the P.S. 398 community, as a teacher. I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to teach and give back to the diverse and beautiful community of Queens; where I was born and raised. I obtained a Bachelor degree in Sociology and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Bilingual Extension from Hunter College. As a teacher, I am very passionate and dedicated in creating a welcoming and warm classroom environment, highlighting the uniqueness and diversity of our children. My desire is to always bring out the best in students using their qualities and talents while also providing the space for growth and development. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my two precious kids and my family; watching movies, playing card games, and mostly traveling around the world learning from the different cultures. I look forward to meeting all of you in person to create a wonderful school year at PS 398Q filled with learning, joy, and long lasting memories.
Pre- K Classroom Teacher
Hello everyone! My name is Mariah Chaudry and I am excited to be teaching Pre-K this year at PS 398Q! I feel grateful to be in our beautiful school with our amazing students and families for our 2nd year. I graduated from Queens College with my Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. I acquired my certifications in Grades 1-6 as well as my Birth-2 extension to teach our young minds. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family as well as hanging out with my dog, Toby. I look forward to having a wonderful second year at PS 398Q filled with learning, laughter, and memories to last a lifetime!
Yi Jin Kim
Pre- K Classroom Teacher
Hello, My name is Yi Jin Kim. I am so excited to join the PS398 TEAM. I will be teaching PreK. I love learning new languages and cultures. I look forward to meeting all the staff and students!
Hello! Hola! My name is Johanna McNeal. I am absolutely excited to be a Founding Staff member here at P.S.398Q. I am a Dual Language Pre-K teacher and I have been teaching since 2008, and couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I truly love being in the classroom and helping my students grow and learn. I have a Masters Degree in Early Childhood from Touro College. Aside from being a teacher, I am also a mom and wife. I have two children, Aiden and Aria. We also have a pet dog, Juno. When I am not in school, you will find me spending time with my family, at Target (probably looking for classroom supplies), or sipping my iced coffee!
Kindergarten Classroom Teacher
My name is Mrs. Filippi and I am very excited to start my new journey at PS 398. I can’t wait to get to know the students and parents within this diverse community. I am so excited to be working in Jackson Heights, the neighborhood where I grew up. Jackson Heights has a special place in my heart!!!
I would also like to share with you some information about myself. Some of my hobbies include listening to music and dancing which I love to do. I come from a big soccer family where we all enjoy watching soccer games together. I am fluent in English and Spanish. I am also a mom to a beautiful daughter. My daughter and I love READING books together!!! I received my Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College. I received my Master’s degree in Education at Touro College. One of my favorites quotes is- The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. -Dr. Seuss
As a teacher, my ultimate goal is to provide a warm, nurturing, and kid-friendly environment for my students. I look forward to bringing out the best in my students each and every day! Looking forward to making memories and history with my PS 398 family.
Kindergarten Dual Language
Hello Everyone! My name is Christy Gómez. I was born and raised in Woodside, Queens. I have a beautiful daughter and two adventurous cats, all of whom I enjoy spending my time with. I enjoy traveling, visiting places I have never been to before, and learning about other cultures and traditions. I am excited to be serving the diverse community of learners in Jackson Heights, Queens. I will be teaching the Pre-K Dual Language at P.S.398. I am delighted to be a founding teacher and foster a learning environment that is nurturing and empowering for all of our children.
Kindergarten Special Education
Hello! My name is Mrs. Natsis and I am excited to be joining the PS 398Q school community! I attended St. John’s University for both my Bachelors and my Masters degree. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Childhood Education and a dual Masters degree in Special Education and Literacy. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like to travel to different places and learn about the different cultures. I especially love traveling back to my homeland of Greece! I love to motivate my students by tapping into their inner strengths, abilities, and creating learning experiences that truly inspire them. My goal is to provide a stimulating learning environment that fosters confidence and encourages children to reach their full potential!
Kindergarten Classroom Teacher
Hello everyone! My name is Ms. Shih and I am very excited to be a part of this beautiful and diverse community at P.S. 398! I graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and I acquired my TESOL K-12 teacher certification at Hunter College. I have been in the educational field for over 8 years. I love teaching! I believe the students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds are the precious assets that can lead them to academic success and to a life of purpose and happiness. Some of my hobbies include playing the piano, cooking, and travelling. I look forward to creating wonderful memories with the P.S. 398 family for the upcoming school year!
First Grade Team
First Grade Classroom Teacher
Hi everyone! My name is Heidy Castro and I am overjoyed to be part of the P.S. 398Q family. I was born and raised here in Jackson Heights, Queens so being able to teach the children growing up in the same community as I did, is so rewarding. I graduated from Brooklyn College with my Bachelors Degree and Certification in Early Childhood Education. I am currently attending the Hunter College Graduate Program in the School of Education to receive my Masters Degree and certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I am very passionate about using every students’ language and cultural background as well as their knowledge and strengths to develop a strong respectful and safe learning classroom community for all of my students. I enjoy spending time with family over some cafecito con pan, dancing Salsa, spending way too many hours at Target, getting lost in a good book and exploring every corner of NYC. I cannot wait to meet all of my students and their families to begin building a lifelong love for learning.
I believe that every child possesses innate gifts, intellectual strengths, and creative ideas waiting to be tapped. As a passionate educator, I desire to help students find joy in learning and build resilience. I have experience teaching children from Pre-K through fifth grade. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Cooper Union, a Master of Arts in Teaching, and a Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate in TESOL and Elementary Bilingual Education from Queens College.
First Grade Special Education
I am glad to join P.S.398’s faculty as a Kindergarten teacher. I have my Bachelors degree in Childhood Education as well as English Literature. I graduated from Queens College with a Masters in Special Education. I was raised in the Jackson Heights community and I am excited to serve my community. My hobbies include playing tennis, singing, and spending time with my family and friends. I strongly believe in teaching students to apply their learning to real-world situations. I see the importance in hands-on learning, student-centered activities, and differentiated instruction to make lessons purposeful for diverse learners. Having a fun, exciting, and safe learning environment is very important to me, as I use student interests to connect with young minds.
First Grade Dual Language
¡Hola! My name is Ms. Sosa and I am very excited to be a part of the P.S. 398Q family as a Dual Language teacher. I have been working with young children for over 10 years. I have a bachelor's degree in Childhood Education and a master's degree in Early Children Education, as well as a Bilingual (Spanish) Extension from Queens College. I am also currently considering taking courses in interior design to learn more about ways to keep things neat and inviting because I have a love for organizing! I have three beautiful children of my own. I love spending time outdoors with them and staying active through play (dancing is one of our favorites!). My children remind me every day that it truly “takes a village!” I look forward to working together with fellow teachers, parents, and families to ensure we provide the best learning experiences for our growing learners. I value working together to set a solid foundation and love of learning in our children that will support their success, not only in school, but through life!
Second Grade Team
Second Grade Special Education
Hello! My name is Yuri Choi. I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree and have certifications in Early Childhood/Childhood and Special Education. I have a cat named Vader who thinks he’s a dog! I also enjoy traveling. When I am not teaching, I enjoy playing sports or going hiking. I was born and raised in Woodside so; I am thrilled to teach in a community that is close to home. I can’t wait to embark on this special journey with everyone!
Second Grade Dual Language
Hello! My name is Denisse Rivera and I am very happy to be joining the P.S.398Q community! I love to read, sing, paint and my favorite subject growing up was math! I value the power of education and understand first-hand the struggles and triumphs that come with language learning. My motivation is to help students on their academic, social-emotional and language learning journey. I received my master’s degree from Hunter College and my certifications include Childhood Education, Bilingual (Spanish) Education, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I am excited to be joining the second-grade team and working alongside the dual language team as well. We are going to have a great time learning and growing together! ¡Juntos, podemos con todo! (Together, we can do anything!)
Second Grade Classroom Teacher
Hello everyone! My name is Sandra Narvaez. I am beyond excited to begin this journey with you all. I look forward to learning and growing with the amazing team at PS. 398. As an educator, I achieve to instill a lifelong love for learning in all of my students. I am so eager to give back to the community that gave me so much.
I also want to tell you a little bit about myself. I graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a liberal arts degree majoring in sociology and minoring in deaf studies. I then went on to receive my masters degree from Mercy College in education. I love spending time with my family and reading books. I am as passionate about teaching as I am about learning, and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us.
Second Grade Classroom Teacher
Hello, my name is Ms. Xhaxhi and I am so excited to be part of the P.S. 398 team. I graduated from Adelphi University with a Master's degree in elementary education, and also have an advanced certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I was born in Albania and immigrated to the United States in 1996. Although I grew up in Astoria, I have lived in East Elmhurst for the past seven years and am delighted to serve the diverse learners of Jackson Heights! I love spending my days outdoors, and particularly enjoy hiking with my family and friends. I also love to travel and experience the beauty, food and culture of different regions. I cannot wait to impart my knowledge onto my students, and nurture their creativity this school year. I am confident that we will have a year filled with unlimited learning experiences and fun!
Meet Our Paraprofessional Team
Hello! My name is Christina Ramos. I am a Queens native and currently reside in Manhattan. On my free time, I enjoy cooking and culinary tasting. I love trying diverse cuisines in NYC! I received my Associate’s Degree in Childhood Education from Borough of Manhattan Community College and my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Queens College. Currently, I am a graduate student enrolled in a School Counseling program. I truly enjoy working as a paraprofessional and I am looking forward to continuing my career within the DOE as a School Counselor. I love children and watching them grow as learners. I believe all children can succeed and I am so happy to be a part of the P.S.398Q team!
Hello everyone, my name is Benita Holland, I am originally from Brooklyn but reside in Queens since recently getting married. I am excited to join the P.S.398Q family as a Paraprofessional in Pre-K. I have received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Borough of Manhattan Community College and my Bachelors degree in Studio Art from Brooklyn College. I have over 10 years experience in helping to educate young minds while providing a fun and safe environment. I have experience in painting, drawing, screen printing, photography, digital art and sculpture. I am very passionate about art and believe that children are able to open their imagination through creativity along with building their confidence, becoming strategic thinkers, developing patience and strengthening their fine motor skills. I look forward to creating with our young artists!
Meet Our Enrichment Team
Hello! My name is Kaitlynn Kelly and I am so grateful to be at PS 398Q another year! It is so heartwarming to watch all of our students grow and become more independent as they journey through their educational journey. I graduated from Queens College with a Master's Degree in Childhood Education and have an additional certification in Early Childhood as well as Gifted and Talented Education! When I have free time, I am always hanging out with my family and I am super close to my younger brother and sister. I also love cooking and I enjoy trying new recipes and different foods, especially when traveling to new places. I look forward to continuously creating lots of memories with a wonderful group of staff and students!
Physical Education Teacher
My name is Terry Thai. I am the physical education teacher at PS 398Q. I was born in Vietnam and came here in 1993. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball competitively and going on many fun-filled adventures with my doggy (pitbull/husky), Arty. I'm looking forward to building a foundation for physical and mental wellness in early childhood. Let's us learn together via playing and social interactions.
Hello! I am very excited to join the PS 398 community teaching music. As someone who grew up in Canada, went to school in Saudi Arabia, and worked in Poland and Senegal, I take joy in teaching and playing music from around the world. It is inspiring to join such a diverse learning environment, and I look forward to highlighting the rich musical traditions that are already present in our community. I live down the road in Astoria, and have performed and taught music in Queens for the past 8 years. I have a Master’s in Piano Performance from Rice University, and an Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College.