School Staff

Meet Our School Based Support Team

Cheryl Hametz

 Cheryl Hametz 

Assistant Principal

CHametz@schools.nyc.gov

 My name is Ms. Hametz and I am thrilled to be working once again with our children, families, and community. I have been working for the Department of Education for the past twenty-seven years. I started out as a Fifth-grade teacher in District 24. Over the years I have worn many hats as a Reading teacher, Science Cluster, and IOESEL Fellow for the district training teachers in the use of SCIS and the Science Curriculum. I was a Teachers College Reading/Writing Coach before becoming an Assistant Principal in District 30. I had the pleasure of working with our wonderful staff and families last year. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren. I look forward to a productive year, watching our students continue to grow and learn both academically, emotionally, and socially.

Gloria Piliero

Gloria Piliero

School Secretary

gpiliero@schools.nyc.gov

My name is Gloria Piliero, I am the school Secretary.  I am so excited to be working with an amazing team.  I have been with the Department of Education for 20 years plus in different capacities.  I will use my years of experience to serve our school community to best of my ability.  I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to our school at registration.  

Jennifer Rodriguez

 jennifer rodriguez 

Parent Coordinator

jrodriguez201@schools.nyc.gov

Hello and welcome back to P.S.398Q! I look forward to greeting familiar faces and welcoming new faces. As the parent coordinator, I will be here to support you and address any questions/concerns/comments you may have. I look forward to collaborating with you all in maintaining a warm and welcoming school environment. I wish you and your children an excellent learning year, and I look forward to speaking with you.

 

Yakaira Ramirez

 Yakaira Ramirez  

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

Christina Ramos

 Christina Ramos

Bilingual Guidance Counselor

cramos33@schools.nyc.gov

Hello! My name is Christina Ramos. I am a Queens native and currently reside in Manhattan. As a child, I was also a student in District 30, and I am thrilled to now be serving the same community as a School Counselor! I discovered my passion for assisting students academically, socially, and emotionally when I began working with the Department of Education as a paraprofessional. While gaining experience in an educational setting, I received my associate degree in Childhood Education, bachelor's degree in Psychology, and master's degree in School Counseling. I am of the opinion that social-emotional learning is the foundation of success. When our social and emotional needs are met, we are EMPOWERED in our academic learning process. All students can succeed with the proper support and guidance. As your School Counselor, I will lead with love and compassion to cultivate an environment that promotes achievement. As Aristotle stated, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” I am truly honored to be a founding member of the P.S.398Q family, and I look forward to collaborating with all members of our community to ensure that all students L.E.A.R.N!

Meet Our Teacher Team

Laura Barahona

 laura barahona 

Third Grade Teacher
Specialty: Dual Language

lbarahona@schools.nyc.gov 

¡Hola a todos! My name is Laura Barahona and I am so excited to start this new journey as a third grade Dual Language teacher at PS 398Q. I graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and Masters Degree in Education with a Bilingual (Spanish) extension from Queens College. I love taking long walks and enjoy nature and find beauty in everything that surrounds me. In my free time, I like to meditate, do yoga and read spiritual and self-improvement books. I moved to New York when I was 18 years old. Learning a new language as I was immersed into the college experience was quite challenging. I always wonder how the bilingual brain worked and how prior knowledge from your first language could be transferred to the new language in a more effective way. This is why, when I chose my career path, I knew that I wanted to become a Dual Language teacher. My priority as an educator is to find different pedagogical ways to support my students to learn in both languages. Being bilingual is a gift, and I want to instill in my students not only to be proud but excited to become long lasting bilingual learners.

Heidy Castro

 heidy castro  

First Grade Teacher
Specialty: ENL

HCastro3@schools.nyc.gov

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.  

Mariah Chaudry

 Mariah Chaudry 

Pre- K Classroom Teacher
mchaudry2@schools.nyc.gov

Twitter @Ms_chaudry398

Hello everyone! My name is Ms. Chaudry and I am excited to be teaching Pre-K at PS 398Q! I feel grateful to be a founding teacher in our beautiful school with our amazing students and families. I graduated from Queens College with my Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. I acquired my certifications in Grades 1-6 as well as Birth-2. Currently, I am also in the process of receiving my Masters degree and acquiring certification in TESOL. I enjoy traveling, shopping (with a cup of iced coffee in hand!), and spending time with my friends and family. I look forward to having a wonderful year at PS 398Q filled with learning, laughter, and memories to last a lifetime!

Siu Cheng

 siu cheng  

Third Grade Teacher
Specialty: ENL

SCheng11@schools.nyc.gov

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. 

Yuri Choi

 Yuri Choi 

Pre-K Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

YChoi4@schools.nyc.gov

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!

Jaclynn Defina

 jaclynn defina 

K/1st Grade Bridge Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

JDefina@schools.nyc.gov

Hello! My name is Jaclynn DeFina. I am a Queens resident, in Bayside and I am excited to be welcomed into the PS 398Q family to continue to help grow this school community. I graduated from Marist College in 2014 with a dual certification in Elementary Ed/Special Education 1-6 as well as a Psychology degree. I am currently working towards my Masters in Educational Technology from SUNY Oneonta. This is currently my 8th year teaching and my 5th year within the NYC DOE. Outside of school, I am a dog momma to a playful Border collie named Henry. I enjoy traveling and sharing the world with my students. As an educator, I believe in assisting students to discover who they are, so they can express their own beliefs and nurture their own ideas. I have a vision of a world where we learn to respect, accept, and embrace the differences between each other. 

Christy Gomez

 Christy Gomez

Second Grade Teacher
Specialty: Dual Language

CGomez37@schools.nyc.gov

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 am delighted to be a founding teacher and foster a learning environment that is nurturing and empowering for all of our children.

Manpreet Kaur

 Manpreet Kaur  

Second Grade Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

I am glad to be a part of P.S.398Q's growing family as a founding 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.

Yi Jin Kim

Yi Jin Kim

3K Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

YKim22@schools.nyc.gov

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!

Denisse Rivera-Lee

Denisse Rivera-Lee

Second Grade Teacher
Specialty: Childhood Education

drivera64@schools.nyc.gov 

Hello! My name is Denisse Rivera-Lee and I am very excited to be part of the P.S.398Q community! 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 grew up in Queens and when I'm not teaching, I like to read, sing, paint! My motivation is to help students on their academic, social-emotional and language learning journey. We are going to have a great time learning and growing together! ¡Juntos, podemos con todo! (Together, we can do anything!)

 

Johanna McNeal

 Johanna McNeal

Pre-K Teacher
Specialty: Dual Language
jmcneal4@schools.nyc.gov

Twitter @MrsMcNeal_prek

Instagram @mrs.mcneal_prek

My name is Mrs. McNeal, proud Founding Staff member at P.S.398Q.  I have been teaching for over 10 years.  I received my bachelors degree from Queens College, and a masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Touro College.  My classroom is my second home and it is important for me to create an environment that promotes diversity, creativity, kindness, and independence.  I believe that young children should be encouraged to be themselves and to explore their interests and talents.  In addition to being a teacher, I am also a wife and mother of three children.  I enjoy going out to eat, watching movies, and being home with my family.  My guilty pleasures include iced coffee and target runs!  Looking forward to having a great school year and making awesome memories.

Cristina Muevecela

 Cristina Muevecela 

Kindergarten Teacher
Specialty: ENL

cmuevecela@schools.nyc.gov 

Hello my name is Cristina Muevecela. I am very excited to be a part of the P.S.398Q family! I am a patient, passionate and caring educator who believes all students are one of a kind, bringing something different and special to their own education. I encourage all students to express and accept themselves as individuals, as well embrace differences in others. I previously worked as a third grade teacher for two years. I graduated Cum Laude from Queens College with a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education with a minor in Spanish. In addition, I hold a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Queens College.

Sandra Narvaez

 Sandra Narvaez  

Third Grade Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

SNarvaez4@schools.nyc.gov

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.

 

 

Sophia Natsis

 Sophia Natsis 

Kindergarten/First Grade Special Education Teacher
Specialty: Special Education & Literacy
snatsis@schools.nyc.gov

Twitter @MrsNatsis398
Instagram @mrsnatsis

Hello! My name is Mrs. Natsis. 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!

Jamie Pachucho

 Jamie Pachucho  

Kindergarten Teacher
Specialty: Dual Language

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.

 

 

Crystal Persaud

Crystal Persuad

First Grade Teacher
Specialty: Special Education

Hello everyone, my name is Crystal Persaud.  Last school year I worked as a Pre-K teacher with a great set of students. This year I am extremely excited to be working as a first-grade special education teacher at PS 398Q. I was born and raised in Queens and attended St. John’s University for my bachelors and master’s degree. I graduated with my bachelor’s in childhood education 1-6 and received my master’s in special education. I believe that every child is unique and has something special to offer. My goal as a teacher is to inspire and motivate students to be the best they can! When I am not teaching some of my favorite activities include being outdoors, hiking, swimming, and traveling.  I look forward to meeting everyone and having a great school year. 

Yally Shih

Ya-Wei Shih 

Kindergarten Teacher
Specialty: ENL

 yshih3@schools.nyc.gov 

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!  

 

Veronica Sosa

Veronica Sosa

First Grade Teacher
Specialty: Dual Language
vsosa3@schools.nyc.gov

Twitter @MsSosa_398Q

¡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!

Danja Xhaxhi

 Danja Xhaxhi 

Second Grade Teacher
Specialty: ENL

DXhaxhi@schools.nyc.gov

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 Enrichment Team

Meet Our Paraprofessional Team