Say Hello to Stuyvesant’s New Teachers!

Showcasing three new educators that are determined to make a difference in the Stuyvesant community.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

I'm sure you remember entering Stuyvesant on the first day of school and being intimidated by the sea of strangers and foreign classrooms. What many don't think about is that new teachers also take a great leap of bravery when they first come to Stuyvesant. Because these teachers are busy accustoming themselves to the Stuyvesant environment, it may be hard to find information about them. Fear not—The Spectator has you covered with all the need-to-know information about Stuyvesant’s newest educators!

Jessica Novillo, AP Computer Science

AP Computer Science teacher Jessica Novillo joined the Stuyvesant community just last semester, but she already cares deeply about her students and plans to continue doing so.

Computer science has always fascinated Novillo, who finds exhilaration in seeing the instantaneous effects of coding. “You can see your work when you create your programs, and then you see it right away on your screen, and I think that is pretty exciting,” Novillo explained.

Despite having no prior teaching experience, Novillo’s vast knowledge in computer programming through her past careers, as well as her love for adolescents, made teaching at Stuyvesant a perfect opportunity for her to combine both her passions. “I have 14 years of experience in the computer science field, but I have never [taught]. This is my first teaching experience, and I can tell you, I love it,” Novillo said. “I was so excited to be in this wonderful high school with the wonderful gifts that we have here, and I think I made the right decision in changing my career.”

Even outside of school, Novillo spends a lot of time with children—she is a mother of young kids. “You would always see me with my kids. My kids are my priority so when I’m not at school, when I’m not teaching my lessons or reading books, I am with them [...] they are still little kids, and they need me, so you would see me in the playground [often],” Novillo said.

In her scarce free time,  Novillo enjoys indulging in literature: “I love to read books. But I don’t have much time to do that now.”

In the classroom, Novillo prioritizes the comfort of her students, making sure that they know it is okay to make mistakes during the learning process: “I want my students to feel comfortable in my class. Because when you feel that you’re good in the classroom, you’re able to have fun together. I want them to feel confident and comfortable to learn how to code.” 

Novillo’s ultimate goal in teaching at Stuyvesant is to help kids understand the core concepts of computer science at a time when technology is inherent to many aspects of their daily lives. “I want students to understand the computer. I want to encourage them to give it a try, because many times, some students are scared. But the limit in life is nothing. [...] If you work hard, you will get it, so nothing will be hard.”

Moving forward, Novillo is determined to help the future generation grow as computer programmers and young adults. “I really want to do a great job here at Stuyvesant because I know that all [my] years of experience can do something good,” Novillo reflected. “I learned codes and tactics you don’t learn in the classroom. […] [My] work experience is something that is not taught here in the classroom and I hope that with my experience, I can give the students a little bit of information and share my knowledge so they can know what to expect when they are at school and working.”

Overall, Novillo is a teacher that cares about the well-being of students above all, and she is excited to start a new chapter educating the next generation.

Ryan Pavano, Freshman Composition and Writing in the World

Also joining the list of new Stuyvesant teachers is English teacher Ryan Pavano, who teaches Freshman Composition and Writing in the World.

 Pavano’s passion for teaching stems from “a love of reading and writing. Something I’ve always enjoyed is just talking about books,” Pavano said. 

Pavano has years of experience teaching high school English under his belt. “I’ve been teaching English in New York public high schools for a few years now. I was teaching at Brooklyn Tech for two years before I came to Stuy.” 

Pavano comes from a long line of teachers, to which he attributes some of his passion. “All four of my grandparents were teachers. My maternal grandmother was an English teacher for 35 years, and so she was my mentor growing up,” Pavano remarked.

Outside of school, Pavano enjoys a multitude of hobbies, particularly cooking. “I just like the busy work of it [… ] [and] the mindless pleasure.” Besides cooking, Pavano enjoys hanging out with his cat and friends.

As a teacher of both freshmen and seniors, Pavano finds beauty in teaching at both ends of the highschool journey. “For ninth graders, there’s a little bit of nerves and butterflies looking at all of these older kids [who] are already farther along than you […] And then, of course, for seniors there’s this extra element of one foot [being] in the future.”

Even as a teacher, Pavano states that he is constantly learning from his students. “I get the benefit [...] [of all these] twelfth graders coming in having had the benefit of all these awesome English teachers throughout the years. So, they are kind of teaching me how it’s done.”

Pavano’s ultimate goal for his students is to explore their identities and further discover who they are as people. “I do want them to get a better sense of who they are because I think that the best kind of writing comes from looking within and consulting with who you really are.”

Allison Kleiman, College Counselor

Allison Kleiman is a new member of the college department. Her job consists of talking to students about their potential majors, helping them choose a school based on their interests, and assisting them in navigating the college process in general.

Unlike some teachers, Kleiman always knew that wanted to pursue a career in education. “This is my 15th year working in New York City Public Schools,” Kleiman explained. “I'm a rare example of someone who is actually working in the field they thought they would be in, because I’ve wanted to be a school counselor since I was in middle school.” 

Kleiman had a diverse college experience. “I attended Tufts University and majored in Child Development with a minor in Art History. I went on to attend Teachers College, Columbia University to earn my counseling degree.”

Kleiman noted that her remarkable experiences with her middle school counselor had a big effect on her decision of becoming a college counselor. “I had a great relationship with my school counselor in middle school and felt that working in a school would be a dynamic place to have a career.” 

Kleiman has previously worked as a college admissions officer, an experience that helps her serve Stuyvesant students trying to get accepted to their dream schools. “The job I held prior to being a college counselor was working in undergraduate admissions at Fordham University. [...] It was a great way to combine my interest in working in a public school with my experience in an admissions office,” Kleiman said.        

Kleiman worked as a college counselor for three other schools before coming to Stuyvesant. Kleiman says coming to Stuyvesant was a positive change because she gets to work with other college counselors. “In all three of my prior schools, I was the only college counselor, and here for the first time I got to be part of a team. I'm so excited to have colleagues in the same building and have had an excellent start to the school year. I'm so excited to be working to support our students.”

Kleiman also credits her fellow college counselors for helping her transition and adapt to the new environment: “Ms. DeMasi and the other college counselors have been generous with their time and energy, showing me around and making sure that my questions get answered [...] So far the transition has been wonderful.”

Kleiman wants to break the Stuyvesant stereotype that only high ranking colleges are worthwhile to apply to. “A common challenge with bright students is that most of them pursue the same group of highly selective colleges. We understand why this happens, because the colleges are great, but I have the goal of helping to spread the word about a wider group of schools beyond the most popular 10 or 12.” 

She also wants to guide students through the complicated financial aspects of college applications. “I also always have the goal of centering college affordability, so I'm eager to help students understand how they can maximize their financial aid package and attend school with the least amount of debt.”

Kleiman is extremely experienced in the field of college admissions and hopes to help Stuyvesant students guide their way through the intimidating process. “My goal is to help the students here recognize just how outstanding they are and discover how many fabulous schools would be eager to admit them.” 

Novillo, Pavano, and Kleiman all come from different careers and backgrounds. What unites them is a passion for teaching and learning. Their shared optimism about Stuyvesant students’ potential helps shape a cooperative and welcoming learning environment.