Anna Hall joined the Letters team in 2003, before the school had lockers, computers, books, or students. During her first three years at BAL, she taught writing, served as grade leader, UFT chair, and hiring coordinator, and advised the inimitable DGX. In 2007, when Letters was ready to grow again, Anna led the planning team for the middle school expansion and became the school’s first assistant principal. In 2010, when our founding principal Joan Sullivan became LA’s Deputy Mayor of Education, Anna became the principal. If pressed, she will confess that in a long-ago, pre-Letters life, she had a series of interesting but unrelated jobs - speechwriter, product manager, research analyst – but that none were as satisfying as teaching. About a thousand years ago, she studied literature at the University of South Carolina Honors College and the University of Kent at Canterbury, where she was awarded the 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. Some time later, she earned a masters degree in teaching from Fordham University as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program and administrative certification from the New York City Leadership Academy.
Advisory Board Chair
Mike Jackson, a graduate of Yale University, is a director in the Investment Management Group at Hyperion Brookfield Asset Management in New York. Prior to joining Hyperion, Mr. Jackson held positions at West LB, JP Morgan Chase, and Prudential Securities. Mr. Jackson, a co-founder of Bronx Letters, is also a member of the board of trustees for the Williston-Northampton School, and has served on boards for several non-profit organizations, including the Harlem Youth Development Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance, emotional support, and career-building employment opportunities to college-bound students from the Harlem community. Mr. Jackson is Chair of the Letters advisory board's executive and development committees.
Assistant Principal of Operations
Hailing from Portland, Jamaica, Kadion Phillips comes from a long line of teachers and yet was sure he would never become one. After receiving his B.A. in physics from Middlebury College, he moved to NYC with his wife (also a teacher) and joined the technology support staff at Bluefly, Inc. After his brief stint in the private sector, his passion for both physics and technology compelled him to join the NYC Teaching Fellows program through which he has received his masters in science education. He joined Letters in the fall of 2007 as a technology coordinator, and has since completely redesigned how we organize data, measure progress, communicate with each other and families, and generally organize ourselves. When he's not troubleshooting or searching Craigslist, you can find him wrestling with his two young sons or on the golf course.
Assistant Principal of Instruction
Matthew earned his B.A. in English at the University of Michigan in 2001. After a brief time working at the Institute for Social Research, Matthew joined the New York City Teaching Fellows, accepting a seventh grade Language Arts position in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. After earning an M.A. in Secondary English Education at New York University in 2004, Matthew joined the staff at the Bronx Academy of Letters as a ninth grade Literature teacher and academic advisor. At the end of his first year at Bronx Letters, Matthew was appointed English Department Chair, overseeing the rewriting of the English curriculum. Beyond his work in the public school classroom, Matthew has served as an adjunct professor at Pace University and as a Selector and Lead Selector for the New York City Teaching Fellows, helping ensure the hiring of highly qualified teachers. After finishing his M. Ed. at Columbia University Teachers College in the summer of 2010 Matthew took on the role of AP of Instruction at Bronx Letters, with a specific focus on making teachers better at the craft of teaching.
Assistant Principal of Culture and Climate
Born and raised in California, Mitra began her teaching career in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, after earning teaching degrees from California State and UC Berkeley. A summer sublet in NYC and a visit to BAL quickly led to a permanent move east when she became the ninth grade writing teacher. Her work at BAL led to an administrative degree from Columbia University, and then, in 2009, she fulfilled a life-long dream and spent a year traveling the world. Returning to BAL in 2010 as an assistant principal, Mitra now works to ensure that BAL graduates receive the academic, social, and emotional education, which will prepare them to realize their own dreams.
Director of Student Support Services
Raquel was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it is frightfully cold. After earning a bachelors degree in social work from New York University, a masters in social work from Fordham University, and a second masters in school administration from the College of New Rochelle, she embarked on a long career in social work and school administration. For the past thirteen years, she has been a school social worker in high schools in Westchester County, Albany, and NYC. During that time, she also served as the grants director for the Greenburgh-Graham School, overseeing the administration of a million-dollar grant. Since she joined the Letters team in 2007, Raquel has supervised all counseling and intervention services, the attendance team, and middle school articulation. In June 2010, she successfully planned and executed our first ever eighth grade graduation.
Founder & CEO
Richard Kahan has spent 35 years solving urban problems by fostering partnerships between the public and private sectors. In addition to founding the Urban Assembly, he co-founded in 2000 Take the Field, a nonprofit organization that in four years rebuilt 43 public school outdoor athletic facilities in all five boroughs at a cost of more than $132 million. As President and CEO of the New York State Urban Development Corporation, Richard initiated a $3 billion statewide economic development program that preserved and created more than 100,000 jobs. As Chairman and CEO of Battery Park City Authority, he was responsible for the planning, design, and development of Battery Park City, the largest urban development in the United States at the time. During this period he was also President and CEO of the New York Convention Center Development Corporation, creating the authorizing legislation and directing the design, financing, and construction of the $375 million Javits Center.
Richard has been honored with many awards, including the Mayor's Doris C. Freedman Award, the Rockefeller Foundation's Jane Jacobs Medal, the American Society of Landscape Architects' Education Award, the American Institute of Architects' Thomas Jefferson Award, the Robert Moses Achievement Award, the Minority Business Development Award, and the Citizens Union's Robert F. Wagner Award.