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Our Team

At Gotham Scholars, we work as one team to support our scholars. From our advisory board to our teachers & mentor staff, every individual believes in bringing their individual energy and experience to supporting our scholars.

Our Directors


Sheila Patel

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Founder, Executive Director

Leadership Teacher

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Jenna Patel

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Math Teaching Assistant


Our Teachers


Sara Boeck Batista

Our ELA Teacher, Sara Boeck Batista, is a veteran NY high school humanities teacher. She has over 13 years experience in developing interdisciplinary learning expeditions focused on literacy, cultural competency, and analysis. She has passion for modeling classroom strategies to create a culturally competent learning environment and creates space for her students to think critically through reading, writing and class discussion. She won the Klingenstein National Teacher of the Year award in 2019 and has the special super power of finding the perfect book for any student. Sara has inspired our students through books by Octavia Butler and non-fiction by Jon Ronson and has coached our first scholar to complete a Model UN Simulation.


Sheila Sarkar

Our Math/STEM Teacher, Sheila Sarkar, has traversed various media, tech, and entrepreneurial roles in Silicon Valley and NYC. Her love for math and science inspired her to further her education over the last decade to teach the next generation of scientists and innovators. Having worked in the NYC Department of Education and CUNY in the capacities of teaching and research, Sheila works with students of all ages to develop their critical thinking and foundation skills for furthering their education in the sciences. She has developed a cutting edge Culinary Math curriculum for our scholars to learn fundamentals, business math, and the art and science of cooking.


Margaret Kearney

Our ELA Teacher, Margaret Kearney, grew up in Baltimore, MD and studied English Literature at Yale University. She joined the New York City Teaching Fellows, earned her Masters in education at Brooklyn College, and taught ELA at public middle and high schools in Brooklyn, NY for twelve years. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Religion and Literature at Yale Divinity School. She likes to read, write, swim, bike, and travel, and she has spent several summers teaching in Wuhan, China. 

Our Mentors

Laura Kai Chen


Gabriela Demaggio

Kimberly Harbin

Laura Kai Chen’s extensive acting work ranges from starring on stage  at Lincoln Center Theater, The Public, and Manhattan Theater Club to being featured in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning film Her. She recently appeared in Evil (CBS), Madam Secretary (CBS), and What/If (Netflix), as well as myriad other film and television projects. She also originated the groundbreaking role of Melinda Trask on NBC’s Days of Our Lives. An in-demand voiceover artist in addition to a veteran commercial presence, Laura has worked consistently in both NY and LA since graduating from the prestigious Graduate Acting Program at NYU. Laura is a recipient of the Weston Acting Award at Brown University, where she received her BA in Comparative Literature with honors. In addition to her work as a performer, she is a passionate teacher, currently on faculty at NYU Steinhardt.

Gabby is a Long Island native now residing in Manhattan. She has worked in Financial Services for the last 6 years. Gabby graduated from Providence College where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing, with a minor concentration in Finance. She enjoys trying new restaurants, walks around Central Park and spending time with family and friends.


Kimberly Harbin is an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, where she works for a non-profit law firm representing children who came into the United States without their parents. Kim obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Prior to moving to LA, she spent 10 years in Brooklyn, where she tutored high school students after work. She enjoys running, learning new languages and spending time with her two boys. 

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Deepti Gupta

Born and raised in New Delhi, India

Deepti earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University, MA and a Master of Business Administration from New York University, NY. She has completed Executive Leadership Training from University of Virginia, VA (through NAMIC: National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) Deepti has held various Finance and Operations roles in the Media & Entertainment Industry and has also founded a small consulting business for Corporate Management Consulting. She is the first and currently only person in the family to have Immigrated to America.


Preston Garnes

Preston Garnes is a statistician with over a decade of research experience. He received his Bachelor of Science from Howard University in 2008. Mr. Garnes began his professional career in New York City (NYC) where he worked for several NIH-funded research studies. These studies focused on explaining and solving the problem of disparities in access to prevention and treatment services among marginalized communities. An advocate for health risk prevention and education, Preston decided to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH). He earned his MPH in Biostatistics from Rutgers University School of Public Health in 2014.  Shortly thereafter, Preston worked at NYC Department of Health (DOH) as a data analyst to identify children due for immunizations in high-risk communities, and to assess immunization coverage at the facility and geographical level.  Before leaving NYC DOH Preston also worked in the bureau of HIV/AIDS where he led the dissemination of online surveys to HIV clinics and analyzed the findings. Most recently, Preston conducted inferential data analysis for several vaccine efficacy studies at The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease.


Tara Giblin

Tara Giblin is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner.  After graduating from Northwestern University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and gender studies, she received a Masters of Public Health from Emory University in 2003.  She began her healthcare career at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she focused on health education and behavioral research in the fields of infectious disease and reproductive health.  Her passion for health promotion and disease prevention prompted her to return to school for nursing, and she received a Masters of Science from Columbia University in 2008.  While studying to become a nurse practitioner, Tara worked as a registered nurse at a NYC-based reproductive endocrinology clinic where she navigated patients through in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies.  Since becoming a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, she has worked extensively with chronically ill and immunosuppressed patients first at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY-Presbyterian and now at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of Westchester Medical Center.  She has worked in oncology since 2015, building a Wellness & Survivorship program for survivors of childhood cancers and spearheading the creation of an Adolescent & Young Adult consult service with a focus on onco-fertility for newly diagnosed cancer patients aged 15-39.  She is the clinical coordinator for the pediatric neuro-oncology program, caring for patients with pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors from diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship.  Outside of the hospital, Tara volunteers as a reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Nursing; serves as vice chair of the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Darien/Norwalk; is an active member of her church’s women’s ministry; and a mother of two school aged children.  She is very excited to join Gotham Scholars as a mentor!  

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Elizabeth Jois

Libby is a Supervising Attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, a non-profit legal services organization that serves New Yorkers experiencing poverty.  Libby's practice focuses on impact cases, including litigating class actions in state and federal courts, involving public benefits, disability rights, and immigration policies.  She obtained her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.  


Ashley Pinchinat

I grew up in Brooklyn and am so glad to be back in New York City now. After 2 years at Brooklyn Tech, my family moved outside of NYC and I graduated from high school "upstate." I then went to college at MIT where I majored in biology. I took the first step towards my lifelong dream of becoming a pediatrician when I went to medical school at Dartmouth. I did my training in pediatrics at Baystate Children's Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts and fellowship at Westchester/Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. I've been back in NYC for a little over a year and work at NYU as an attending physician in pediatric hematology/oncology. I take care of patients from babies to young adults who have different blood disorders and cancers. Outside of work, I like working out, re-acquainting myself with NYC, and discovering new places to eat.

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Rose Chapman-Rodriguez

Nurse Practitioner Program Director

Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital/ Sloane Hospital for Women

Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program 2018-2019


She has oversight of the Nurse Practitioners with the vision of professional development, evidence-based practice and delivery of quality health care for patients and families.  

  • Extensive experience in Pediatric Cardiology as the chief nurse practitioner. 

  • Oversight of APRN professional practice and provision of quality and safe health care through the lifespan 

  • Promote APRN’s clinical practice and their professional growth and development 

  • Executive sponsor for Nursing Practice Council, Evidence-based Research committee and APRN committee.


Amy Zuckerman

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As a mentor you will have the honor and privilege to work with a scholar on their academic journey. 

Mentors work with scholars on current events, extracurricular activities and organizational skills. They serve as the rock always looking to their future supporting them on their way.

Advisory Board

Our advisory board consists a diverse group of professionals that believe education can unlock new opportunities. Their guidance and support has been critical to the success of our organization. More details  coming soon.

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