Kristina Baiamonte, Principal
Ms. Kristina has worked for almost twenty years in various aspects of education in Louisiana. She has taught Pre-K through high school, written curriculum, and worked with new teachers through TNTP. She brings a wealth of experience from her time as a Director of Assessment and Accountability with the Louisiana Department of Education, where she took on a variety of roles including supporting schools with over-age populations and working with school districts on data analysis and instructional support.
Dana Atkins, Lab Instructor
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm X
Ms. Dana Atkins is a graduate of Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, N.C. with a BS in Science. She got into teaching shortly after, teaching Biology I&II and Human Anatomy for 6 years along with coaching a variety of sports at St. Mary’s Academy. Dana is currently over lab courses at The Net Gentilly which include Probabilities and Statistics, Algebra II, Earth Science, Physical Science, Health, Spanish I and II. She has been with The Net for a little more than a year and a half. She enjoys watching students journey through school and come out with different perspectives on life.
Earnestine Bennett-Johnson, Special Education Teacher
Ms. Earnestine holds a number of degrees, including a Doctorate in Education, Masters of Science, and Bachelor of Arts. She enjoys working with the students at The NET and helping them achieve their goals for the future.
Colleen Cameron, Yoga Teacher
Ms. Colleen attended the Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied Printmaking and minored in Book Arts. In 2015, she completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and started working with young adults. Ms. Colleen is a Knoxville, Tennessee native who has lived in New Orleans for the past six years. She really likes how The NET supports students in many different ways, including offering Yoga classes!
Judy Gilbert, US History Teacher
Ms. Judy brings over 30 years of experience to The NET. After graduating from Southern University with a bachelor's degree in Education and a minor in Life Sciences, she has spent her career teaching almost every subject to middle and high school students across Louisiana. She is motivated by seeing firsthand how her students develop and progress toward their goals.
Charmaine Harris, Internship Coordinator
Ms. Charmaine has committed her career to education equity, building inclusive spaces, and combating systemic oppression. After earning a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Lakeland University, she worked in her native Milwaukee with Urban Underground, a group that focuses on social justice community organizing with young people. She then transitioned to Public Allies Milwaukee, where she continued to mentor young professionals in nonprofit organizations. Charmaine earned her Master's of Science in School Counseling from Mount Mary University and is a licensed school counselor. Charmaine is the mother to a beautiful yorkie/cairn dog, Totoe. Charmaine enjoys the small school environment of The NET - it feels like home away from her Milwaukee home!
Denise Hoffman, Reading Interventionist
“Every student deserves the right to become the best reader possible in this highly sophisticated world of information in which we live today."
Ms. Denise is a proud native New Orleanian. She graduated with a Bachelor's of Education from UNO. She also earned a Master's in Reading Education from Columbus University. Her passions include gardening/landscaping, home renovating, decorating, dancing, traveling & spending time with her son, many siblings, family & friends.
Sandra S. Johnson, Special Education Coordinator
“I have a great love for learning, a need to help others, and a passion for children, so I wanted to pass on
my knowledge and love for learning on to others.”
Sandra is from New Orleans. She is a mother of one son and a dog. She consults in several schools regarding Special Education and Section 504 procedures. She is never too tired to provide current information to others who provide services to children with disabilities. Sandra loved high school. She says high school was wonderful and it helped her mature and decide what it was she wanted to do in life. She enjoys reading, spending time with family/friends and catching up on TV shows.
Biography by NET student Jenea
Ruben La Valle Johnson, Assistant Dean of Students
Mr. Ruben brings over twenty years of experience to The NET in his role as Assistant Dean of Students. He is a fierce advocate for the students he serves and is passionate about working with young people who may fall through the cracks of traditional school systems. He is excited to work with a staff who inspire and motivate our students to be successful.
Kina Lee, Dean of Students
Ms. Kina has spent the past twelve years working in education and holds a BA in Science and an MA in Education. She enjoys the close relationships between the staff and students at The NET.
Kim Legaux, Counselor
"Always keep trying. Stop making excuses."
Ms.Kim Legaux is a founding staff member of The NET: Central City and will be bringing her insight and experience to the Gentilly campus for the Fall 2018 semester. She worked for an adolescent drug rehab facility as a supervisor and at Bridge City as a therapeutic dorm leader. She has been working in education for over 20 years. She made the decision to become an educator while volunteering in her daughter's Pre-K class, after she was asked to sub for the teacher. Ms. Kim was also a Girl Scout troop leader and a cheerleading coach. She originally wanted to be a nurse but fell in love with working with kids and cites her daughter as her motivation to keep going. Ms. Kim runs the food pantry and the Period Poverty project for both campuses. Her door is always open to students, families, and staff who need a listening ear, a motherly lecture, a connection to a resource, or a funny story to cheer up their day.
Biography by NET student Troyneisha
Jennifer O'Dell, Academic Dean
Ms. Jennifer holds a BS in Geology from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Education from University of Phoenix. She started working with at risk youth in 2003 after working in a chemistry lab at The University of Arizona and since then has held a variety of roles in schools. In her spare time, she runs her own small business called Lost & Found Friends that is focused on breeding and showing fancy chickens, sustainable backyard agriculture, and animal rescue. She just moved to New Orleans after living in Tucson, AZ for 25 years and is excited to be a part of this amazing school, city, and culture.
Stephanie Oliver, Assistant Dean of Students
Ms. Stephanie has over fifteen years experience working with youth in various settings and capacities, including a Program Coordinator at a center for youth transitioning out of the dependent care system, a Resident Director at a boarding school for talented students of color, and a Mentor at a weekend enrichment program. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and has spent time working in rural Trinidad and Vietnam. Her life mission is to serve and help others discover how they can become their personal best. Stephanie enjoys cooking, crafting, gardening, meditating, visiting zoos, and traveling with her husband. She enjoys the opportunity to serve, guide, and foster meaningful relationships with students at The NET.
Seth Paddock, Seminar Teacher
“Two of my high school teachers that had a tremendous impact on me and inspired me to be a teacher."
Mr. Seth comes to The NET: Gentilly all the way from Ithaca, New York. He attended Cornell University and immediately began working in education after graduation. Before joining the NET staff, Seth was the director of J. Austin White Cultural Center in Eudora, Arkansas, which offers after-school and summer programs for children. He has been working in education now for over seven years. In his free time, Seth enjoys reading, woodworking, traveling, and camping. Mr. Seth’s parents still reside in Ithaca, and he has an older brother who lives in Alabama.
Biography by NET alum Renni
Brigid Pfenninger, Special Education Teacher
Ms. Brigid earned a Master's degree in Education in 2004 and has been teaching in one capacity or another since then. She moved to Louisiana from her home state of New Jersey in 2014 and looks forward to contributing to positive change in her new community, both personally and professionally. She loves working at the NET because we have the best students and believes we can all grow together.
Mary Phillips, Science Teacher
Ms. Mary earned a BS in Science from Xavier University and has spent the past seven years teaching science both abroad and in New Orleans. She really I really enjoys the smaller class sizes at The NET, which allow her to get to know the students and learn how they learn best.
Shea Toups, Seminar Teacher
Ms. Shea graduated from Nicholls State University with degrees in both English and Education. She cherishes the power of words and hopes to inspire young people to use language to both explore and refine what they're experiencing. Ms. Shea appreciates that The NET cares about connecting with and nurturing the whole person; each individual gets the opportunity to reflect on themselves and to experience who they are capable of being.
Linda Tobias, Seminar Teacher
"I knew in my heart I was destined to serve young people and being an educator was the perfect fit."
Linda Tobias is a Secondary English Education graduate of Dillard University. She works as an Advisor at The NET: Gentilly. She lives in New Orleans, where you can get the best crawfish. Sometimes she takes her husband and two sons to eat Cajun seafood. But when she has some time to herself, she likes writing poetry and going shopping at the thrift stores to create new things. She graduated from a well known local high-school that is still popular and strong. Her high-school years made her realize she loved working with students and teaching others.
Biography by NET student Cierra
Rose Velez, Internship Advisor
Ms. Rose hails from Puerto Rico and has spent her life living and working in many different communities. She holds a BA in History and studied Psychology at Nova Southeastern University. She has worked with young people in various roles, including College Counselor, Assistant Director of a K-8 after school program, and an Americorps mentor. She enjoys supporting her students as they explore careers, find creative ways to connect with their communities, and develop high expectations for themselves. She loves her students and sees “the light” in all of them.
Sean Winoski, Math Teacher
Mr. Sean recently moved to New Orleans from Washington, DC, where he attended George Washington University. He is excited to work with a dynamic and amazing group of students.
Amber Zu-Johnson, Data & Enrollment Coordinator
“Both my parents were educators, it’s in my blood.”
Ms. Amber joined The NET after working in operations and administration at New Orleans College Prep, Cafe Reconcile and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. She is proud to be a New Orleanian and a Howard University Bison! Ms. Amber welcomes families to The NET, helps them navigate the city-wide enrollment system, and get settled comfortably. During her free time she enjoys watching TV (1960s is her favorite), reading historical texts, visiting archives, going to concerts, and hanging out with her mom. She also keeps everyone at the school on track with her amazing organizational skills. Ms. Amber lives for the summer Olympics. Her favorite Olympic sports are gymnastics, swimming, and track and field. Ms. Amber will be joining the staff at the Gentilly campus for the Fall 2018 semester.
Biography by NET student Gerrick