Meet Our Team

TWR Team

Judith C. Hochman, Ed.D.
Founder

Dr. Judith C. Hochman is the creator of the Hochman Method and founder of The Writing Revolution. Dr. Hochman served as the Head of The Windward School in White Plains, New York, a nationally renowned independent school focused on teaching students with learning disabilities. She is the founder of the Windward Teacher Training Institute and a former Superintendent of the Greenburgh Graham Union Free School District in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. In addition, Dr. Hochman lectures, presents workshops, and gives courses for educational organizations, colleges, and universities, as well as public and independent schools throughout the United States. Read More

She is on the Advisory Board of Everyone Reads, a national advocacy organization for dyslexia and related learning disabilities. She received the New York Branch Award from the International Dyslexia Association. The Reading Reform Foundation presented Dr. Hochman with the Leona D. and Phillip J. Spector Leadership Award. Dr. Hochman is the author of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing In All Subjects and Grades (along with co-author Natalie Wexler), Teaching Basic Writing Skills, a chapter entitled “Composition: Expressive Language and Writing” in the publication Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, and numerous articles.

Phil Weinberg
Chief Executive Officer

Before joining TWR as Chief Executive Officer, Phil served as Deputy Chief Academic Officer and Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the New York City Department of Education. In that role, Phil led the work to strengthen instruction and improve student learning for the City’s 1.1 million students. Prior to his appointment in January 2014, he worked in New York City public schools for 30 years, 27 of which were at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology (HSTAT) in Brooklyn, where he was an English teacher, assistant principal, and the school’s principal for 13 years. Read More

During his tenure as principal, HSTAT’s four-year graduation rate rose from sixty-one percent in 2005 to eighty-six percent in 2012, and its college readiness rate rose to fifty-two percent (compared to the citywide average of twenty-eight percent). In 2012, Phil received the Sloan Public Service Award from the Fund for the City of New York. Phil holds a B.A. in English from Swarthmore College and a M.A. in Teaching English from Columbia University Teachers College.

 

 

Jessica Azani
Faculty

Jessica was previously the Associate Director of Middle School Literacy at Success Academy Charter Schools. Prior to that, she was a founding 6th grade writing teacher, a K-4 English Language Learner Coordinator and Teacher, and a 4th grade bilingual teacher in New York City. As the Associate Director of Middle School Literacy, Jessica oversaw the development and publication of Success Academy’s middle school literature curriculum. Read More

She also coached leaders and teachers on literacy instruction and school management, leading 90% of Success Academy middle schoolers to pass the New York State ELA Exam in 2018. While teaching, Jessica received her M.S. in Special Education from Hunter College and her M.Ed. in Public School Building Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College.

 

Ravali Ceyyur
Director of Development & Communications

Ravali has dedicated her career to ensuring the success of youth in education through development and communications. Prior to joining TWR, Ravali was the Senior Development Manager at the GO Project, and before that she was the Development Assistant at DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI). Read More

At both organizations Ravali played a pivotal role in all development functions. Ravali holds a B.A. in Anthropology from The College of William & Mary.

Alexandria Chalonec
Faculty

Alexandria taught middle school language arts and social studies for six years at The Windward School in White Plains, NY, a nationally renowned school for students with language-based learning disabilities. In addition to receiving training in research-based, multisensory instructional methods (notably, The Hochman Method), she received certification by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Read More

Prior to teaching at Windward, Alexandria was a special education teacher and department leader at the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (UASBYW), an all-girls public high school in New York City. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, she received her Master’s in Education with honors in special education from the City College of New York and received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Before beginning a career in education, Alexandria worked in the marketing & communications industry engaged in brand strategy development and corporate public relations.

Adrienne Dammacco
Executive Assistant

Adrienne was previously a Business Education teacher at Rye Neck High School for 27 years and was responsible for implementing and overseeing the Rye Neck Senior Intern Program, in which the entire senior class was placed in internships, as well as the Rye Neck Community Service Program. Read More

Along with these duties, she has taught a multitude of business classes at Rye Neck High School including a SUNY 4 credit accounting class and Managing Your Future in which she worked with eleventh grade students helping them with career/college searches and resumes. Adrienne has served on many boards including the SUNY Purchase Teacher’s Center Board and the NYS School-to-Career Board.

Devon DeSimone
Operations Associate

Devon was previously an Associate at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Young Adult Literacy Program. Her responsibilities included coordinating outreach and social media efforts, administrative support, and occasionally teaching students. Read More

Devon holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Barnard College. She also has experience as a freelance writer creating content for companies, as an animal shelter volunteer, and as a coordinator for multiple educational summer camps.

Kelly Downing
Faculty

Kelly is a dynamic educator with over twelve years of experience teaching in the New York City Department of Education. During his tenure, he served as TWR Coordinator at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School where he oversaw the program’s successful school-wide implementation. Read More

Kelly’s previous experience as the Coordinator of Student Activities at Harlem Children’s Zone-Promise Academy High School included developing school culture and implementing several male mentoring initiatives. His understanding of the challenges faced by socio-economically disadvantaged students in grades 7-12 and adult learners was shaped by his experience as the Co-Director of the Letters Department at The College of New Rochelle, School of New Resources. Kelly graduated from New York University. He holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music and a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University. Additionally, Kelly has earned a Master of Education degree from the College of Saint Rose and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Literacy at St. John’s University.

Tania Haselwander
Faculty

Tania held a variety of roles in public, charter, and private schools throughout New York City. She spent many years teaching students with disabilities at the middle school level and has served as a special education coordinator, which involved advocating for students and families and managing Individualized Education Plans. Read More

During her teaching career she served as a lead teacher and developed curriculum in math, science, and English language arts. She continues to teach English to low-income students through the Liberty LEADS program at Bank Street College. Tania completed a double major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology at Stony Brook University, became a New York City Teaching Fellow, and holds a Master’s in Education from The City College of New York.

Leo Johansson-Lebrón
Program Manager

Leo first became interested in education and writing instruction while working as an English Consultant to foreign graduate students. Leo is a graduate of Brown University, where he majored in Literature and Creative Writing. He spent a year after graduation teaching at a bilingual primary school in Madrid, Spain.

Sherry Lewkowicz
Director of Certification / Faculty

Sherry previously taught eleventh grade English and Advanced Placement Literature to low-income students at an international school where English Language Learners and mainstream students learned side by side in integrated classrooms. Additionally, she taught playwriting and coordinated her school’s arts programming. Read More

During her teaching career, she was a lead teacher, co-led professional development for faculty, mentored new teachers, and worked in partnership with teachers and administration at other schools to improve school quality. Sherry first discovered her passion for helping students improve their writing as an undergraduate Writing Fellow at Brown University, where she later studied again for a Masters in Teaching. She has a background in journalism, having written for the education website Chalkbeat.org and The Star-Ledger.

Jamie Bellomy Maher
Curriculum & Data Associate

Jamie has been a writing coach, an editor, and the lead instructor at a tutoring center in her hometown of Seattle. Most recently, she developed a writing and leadership curriculum for Grasshopper Enrichment Education, an innovative after-school program based in Washington State. Read More

Previously, she served as Head Consultant at the Vassar College Writing Center. She attended Vassar College, where she earned a B.A. in Media Studies with honors.

Kathleen Maloney
Curriculum & Data Coordinator

Kathleen was previously a Literacy Assessment Specialist at the New York City Department of Education. Prior to that, she was the founding Literacy Coach, Title I Coordinator, and 6th grade ELA teacher at New World Preparatory Charter School. Read More

While there, Kathleen supported all teachers to be literacy instructors by leading the school-wide implementation of The Hochman Method and developing a school-wide literacy program, for which she received the 2014 Outstanding Teacher of Literacy Award from the Staten Island Reading Association. Kathleen holds an M.A. in Literacy from New York University and a B.A. in Childhood Education from the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island.

Scott VandeVoort
Director of Operations / Faculty

Scott held a variety of roles in accounting and finance during his early career. He spent thirteen years with American Express, reaching the position of Senior Vice President and Lead Financial Officer, before returning to St. John’s University to earn his Master’s in Adolescent Education. Read More

Most recently, Scott spent five years as a classroom teacher where he supported the implementation of The Hochman Method at his school. He also continues to teach undergraduate cost accounting at Baruch College in New York. He holds a Master’s in Accountancy from the University of Iowa and his CPA license.

Toni-Ann Vroom
Co-Director of Academics

Toni-Ann was previously a lead social studies teacher and school-wide writing coordinator at New Dorp High School in Staten Island, New York. At New Dorp, she was responsible for supporting the implementation of the Hochman Method across multiple content areas. Read More

She has developed content for textbooks and materials for The Writing Revolution and she has presented at The Aspen Institute, South by Southwest and The College Board Foundation, as well as many other venues, on the topic of writing. Toni-Ann is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Literacy at St. John’s University.

Dina Zoleo
Co-Director of Academics

Dina was previously the Assistant Principal of Social Studies at New Dorp High School in Staten Island, NY where she co-led the effort to bring the Hochman Writing Method to New Dorp by seeding and developing it in her department, and then supporting its adoption school-wide. Read More

She has developed content for textbooks and materials for The Writing Revolution and she has presented at The Aspen Institute, South by Southwest and The College Board Foundation, as well as many other venues, on the topic of writing. Dina is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Literacy at St. John’s University.