Meet Our Staff
Mr. Damián Romero, Principal
Mr. Damián Romero is the Principal at Roberto Clemente Charter School (RCCS). Mr. Romero has over 19 years of experience as an educator in different settings including Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York, and Pennsylvania. He began his journey with RCCS in August, 2005. He started as a high school English teacher teaching literature, composition, SAT prep, and health. He also worked as a middle school teacher teaching English Language Arts to 8th and 7th grade students. Mr. Romero eventually added to his responsibilities the position of Assistant Principal, position he held for three years before a promotion to Principal of the school.Mr. Romero has two master degrees including a Master of Educational Leadership and a Master of Curriculum and Instruction. He holds various Pennsylvania Department of Education certifications including, Principal K-12, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor, and Instructional II English 7-12. Mr. Romero is also an active member of the community.
Mrs. Lara Ashworth, Administrative Coordinator
Mrs. Lara Ashworth is the Administrative Coordinator at RCCS responsible for a variety of duties including state and local reporting, student recognition, attendance, report cards and advisor to the 8th grade class. She is also a member of the RCCS SAP team and is on the Advisory Board for the 21st Century program. Mrs. Ashworth graduated from Messiah College in 2000 with a B.A. in Family Studies and then obtained a Masters Degree in Elementary School Counseling from Kutztown University in 2010. Mrs. Ashworth previously worked for a local non-profit mentoring program for 12 years. She has been at RCCS since August 2012 and was previously the 21st Century Program Coordinator.
Mr. Charles Cantave, IT Technician
Mr. Cantave Charles is a PC Network Support Technician at Roberto Clemente Charter School. He has been employed at the school since 2007. Mr. Charles obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science from Hunter College of the City University of New York. He then received his Information Technology training at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. Mr. Charles has been active in Information Technology for more than 10 years and is CompTIA A+, Network+ certified and holds a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in Windows Operating System.
Mr. Mario Escobar, General Maintenance
Mr. Mario Escobar graduated from high school in 1984 in Santiago, Chile. Following high school, Mr. Escobar enrolled in the army of Chile and served for a year and a half. He then served in the institution of Carabineros de Chile (the prolice force of Chile) for 17 years. In 2001, Mr. Escobar worked for a construction company in Philadelphia and Allentown where can gained some valuable experience for more than 8 years in construction projects. After leaving the construction company, Mr. Escobar joined our staff at Roberto Clemente Charter School in 2008 as a general maintenance worker.
Ms. Joyce Flack, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Joyce Flack joined the RCCS staff five years ago as a Teaching Assistant in the E.L.L. program, and provides reading support to E.L.L. and Special Education students. She holds an Associate Degree as a Paraprofessional T.A., as well as Montessori Certification, and an A.A. from Parsons School of Design. She brings a variety of professional experiences to her current position, including teaching E.S.L in Osaka, Japan, managing a hotel housekeeping staff in Cancun, Mexico, and teaching in Early Childhood classrooms. During the summers, she assists in the RCCS Summer School program, and works together with the school administrative staff to complete the process of student enrollment.
Mrs. Erin Gallagher, H.S. Social Studies Teacher
Mrs. Erin Gallagher is a high school Social Studies teacher. The main subjects she teaches are U.S. History II and World History in 9th and 10th grades. She has been employed at RCCS since 2007. She graduated magna cum laude from Kutztown University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Education/Citizenship and History Education. She also posses a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology from Wilkes University.
Mrs. Wanda Gonzalez, Secretary
For four years, Ms. Wanda Gonzalez was in charge of the safety and security of RCCS. She currently serves as the receptionist and enjoys working with staff, students, and parents in this role. Not only is Mrs. Gonzalez a part of the RCCS team as an employee, she is also the mother of two former RCCS students.
Ms. Bethann Hankin, Guidance Counselor
Ms. Bethann Hankin received her B.A. in Psychology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She has a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Hankin received further training in systems theory and received a Post Masters in Family Therapy and School Consultation from The Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic. Ms. Hankin has been employed at both Muhlenberg College and Kutztown University. She has counseled individuals and families for several years; she is the proud owner and independent contractor of Family Harmony, Inc., a counseling firm. Ms. Hankin has been a Guidance Counselor at RCCS since 2009.
Mrs. Katherine Hewitt, Dean of Students
Mrs. Katherine Hewitt is a graduate of Wagner College in Staten Island, NY. She has a B.A. in History and worked for several years in the field of mental health in both New York and the Lehigh Valley. She earned credits towards a Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University as well as a Master’s Degree in History from East Stroudsburg University. Mrs. Hewitt received her Secondary teaching Certification through graduate courses at Alvernia University. Mrs. Hewitt has taught History at both DeSales University and Alvernia University. She has also taught for the Diocese of Allentown and Muhlenberg School District in Laureldale, PA. Mrs. Hewitt has taught 11th and 12th grade Social Studies courses at RCCS since August 2008.
Mrs. Jamie Karol, Art Teacher
Mrs. Jamie Karol has been our dynamic art educator for several years. Prior to joining the RCCS team, she spent four years developing the arts department at Brownsville Academy High School in Brooklyn, NY where she received the “Teacher Of The Year Award” and the “New York State Assembly Award For Teacher Excellence.” She also taught art at Nazareth Area High School in Pennsylvania and in a preschool classroom in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her Bachelors degree in art education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and completed a master’s degree in art education from Brooklyn College in 2009. Mrs. Karol is experienced in multiple art mediums and is currently developing her own artwork. Mrs. Karol has high expectations for her students; as she fosters creativity, skill development, and confidence. She encourages students to imagine numerous possibilities with art making and exposes students to possible art and design career paths.
Mrs. Heather Harstine, Computer Teacher
Mrs. Heather Harstine is a certified teacher in the area(s) of Business and Computer Information Technology for grades K-12 and ESL. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Bloomsburg University, she worked in the business world for 5 years before deciding on a career change. Mrs. Harstine then attended Delaware Valley College and received her teaching certificate. She has been a teacher at RCCS for seven years.
Mrs. Leidy Pérez, Security Coordinator
Mrs. Leidy Pérez is the safety and security coordinator at Roberto Clemente Charter School. Mrs. Perez graduated as a Medical Assistant from the Bank and Commerce Institute in PR. Her previous experiences include working as a store manager of the McDonald Corporation in Florida for 4 years. She completed her certification of Emergency Management System by completing NIMS, ICS trainings and School Security Officer Institute. Mrs. Pérez joined the RCCS family in 2011 and enjoys being part of the team. Mrs. Pérez is also the editor of the Roberto Clemente Charter School monthly newsletter.
Mrs. Margie Romero, RCCS Libray
Mrs. Margie Romero graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting from the University of P.R. After working as an accountant for more than 10 years, Mrs. Romero started working at RCCS as a teacher aide. As a teacher aide she worked with the Math Department, Special Education Dept. and ESL Program. Subsequent to this Mrs. Romero became RCCS' librarian where she enjoys helping students discover the love for reading.
Mrs. Ramona Suriel, Food Service Provider
Mrs. Ramona Suriel was born and raised in the Dominican Republic where she attended school. She has worked at RCCS for eight years as a food service provider. She has been married for 23 years and has three children.
Mrs. Elizabeth Taglioli, M.S. Math Teacher
Mrs. Elizabeth Taglioli joined Roberto Clemente from her hometown of West Philadelphia. She attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, where she obtained BA in psychology and sociology, minor in studio art. She was Assistant Dean of Admission at her alma mater for three years. She attended Penn State, main campus, for her Masters in Education Administration and obtained a second masters in Special Education from Chesnut Hill College. Mrs. Taglioli joined Teach For America and entered classroom as math teacher in high-risk, urban schools. She has taught grades 7-12 in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh before moving to Allentown.
Mrs. Ruth B. Velez, Food Service Director
Mrs. Ruth B. Velez is the Food Service Director at the Roberto Clemente Charter School. She has worked for the school for thirteen years. She attended New York Business School for executive secretary and American Business Institute for business administration. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and has been married for 25 years.
Ms. Haley Guth, H.S. Math teacher
Miss Guth is one of our high school math teachers. She has been with us since January of 2015. Miss Guth graduated from Kutztown University in the fall of 2014, where she earned her bachelors of education in secondary mathematics. While attending Kutztown University, Miss Guth was involved in several tutoring programs, working with students ranging from middle school to the collegiate level. She currently teaches Algebra 2, Trigonometry, Discrete Mathematics, Algebra Remediation and SAT math prep.
Ms. Lykia Brown, School Nurse
Northampton Community College: General Studies
Lincoln Technical Institute: Licensed Practical nursing
Mr. Burgermeister, HS Social Studies teacher & T A
Mr. Burgermeister began his studies in Bethlehem. He graduated from Liberty High School in 2010 and went to Kutztown University to study Social Studies Education. In 2015, he began his teaching career at RCCS, where he serves as a Social Studies teacher in the high school, as well as providing assistance as a teacher’s aid. He spends his time playing drums and reading.
Ms. Lisa Frederick, M.S. Math Teacher
Ms. Frederick is a middle school mathematics teacher at Roberto Clemente Charter School. She has been working in the educational field for 5 years and enjoys the challenges, diversity and fulfillment that her career offers. Ms. Frederick earned her Bachelor’s degree at Bloomsburg University and went on to earn her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Kutztown University. She is dual certified to teach Social Studies and Mathematics and strives to initiate cross-curricular dialogue in her classroom when the opportunity arises. She looks forward to having a successful school year and a wonderful summer!
Mrs. Mariela Guzman, Spanish Teacher
Mrs. Mariela Guzmán is the high school Spanish teacher at Roberto Clemente Charter School. Mrs. Guzmán graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey in 2010. She has a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a major in Spanish. She joined the RCCS family in 2014.
Ms. Marybeth Kish, 6th Grade Teacher
Miss Marybeth Kish is one of the 6th grade teachers at RCCS. She graduated from Bloomsburg University in December of 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Education. She is certified to teach grades 4-6 all subjects and 7-8 mathematics. Prior to teaching at RCCS, Miss Kish was a long-term substitute in the Parkland School District and the Bethlehem Area School District. She also taught summer school and is an after school tutor at RCCS.
Mrs. Susanne McMenamy, H.S. Science Teacher
Mrs. McMenamy teaches high school science at RCCS. She began teaching at RCCS in 2014. She graduated from Lafayette College and has Masters Degrees from Rutgers and Lehigh Universities. Mrs. McMenamy received her teaching certification from Moravian College in Biology and General Science and also has her English Language Specialist certification. She has prior experience teaching at Lafayette College as well as environmental consulting and ecological research.
Ms. Sarah Peterson, M.S. English teacher
Miss Sarah Peterson is one of the middle school English teachers at RCCS. Miss Peterson graduated from Eastern University in 2015 with a Bachelor's of Arts in English Literature and Secondary Education, and joined the RCCS team in the fall of 2015. She is certified to teach English for grades 7-12 and has a passion for students across all grade levels. While studying at Eastern University, she student taught at Indian Valley Middle School in a Language Arts classroom teaching 8th grade ELA and 8th grade Honors English. Miss Peterson is also currently working towards her Masters of Library Science and Instructional Technology at Kutztown University to further her professional development and extend her certification.
Mrs. Christine Waite, H.S. Support Learning Teacher
Mrs. Christine Waite is the high school learning support teacher at Roberto Clemente Charter School. She earned her bachelor's degree at Temple University where she became certified in both elementary (K-6) and early childhood education (birth-2nd grade). She then moved on to DeSales University in which she earned a master's degree in special education as well as her special education certification (K-12). Mrs. Waite always enjoyed working with children. She volunteered as a nursery school helper, a Sunday school teacher, and vacation bible school teacher at her childhood church. Then, she taught preschool at her high school as part of her course load. Following that, she co-taught preschool for three years at West Point Child Learning Center for Merck Pharmaceuticals. The six years prior to working at RCCS, Mrs. Waite substitute taught grades K-12. Through her substitute teaching experiences, she noticed a true connection to teaching in the field of special education. That is when she went back to school to add on her special education teaching certification. Mrs. Waite believes that every student is capable of learning and that discovering ways in which individual student's learn is truly an amazing experience!
Mrs. Marianela Perez, Food Service Provider
Mr. Justin Hill, High School Math Teacher
Mr. Justin is one of the high school Math teachers at RCCS. Mr. Hill received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Maryland. He moved overseas following graduation and worked as a teacher for two years in South Korea. Upon his return to the United States, he enrolled in Lehigh University’s Master of Education program and graduated in the spring of 2016. Mr. Hill teaches Algebra I, Geometry, and AP Statistics.
Ms. Kayla Hope, Teaching Assistant
Ms. Kayla Hope is the English Language Arts teacher assistant for grades 7-12. In addition to contributing in English middle school classes, she also teaches Creative Writing as an elective to high school students. Ms. Hope has also taught English for grades 6-8 during summer school at RCCS. She graduated magna cum laude from Kutztown University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Education English.
Mr. Daniel Gotthard, Middle School Social Studies teacher
Mr. Daniel Gotthard teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies and 7th grade science. He has over 14 years of experience working with children as a counselor and teaching assistant in Minnesota, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Gotthard has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Educational Leadership, as well as certifications in Social Studies and Teaching. Mr. Gotthard is a veteran of the United States Military having served as seamen in the United States Navy.
Mrs. Roba Bozakis, School Nutritionist
Roba Bozakis is the Registered Dietitian for RCCS. Mrs. Bozakis has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Cedar Crest College. Mrs. Bozakis worked at RCCS as a physical education and computer teacher in 2006-2009. She is passionate about promoting healthy eating to the community. She works with the food service department at RCCS and creates breakfast and lunch menus as well as promotes nutrition education. Mrs. Bozakis also works at St. Luke’s Allentown Hospital as a clinical dietitian.
Mrs. Julie Casto, Guidance Counselor
Julie Casto is the Transition Counselor at Roberto Clemente Charter School. Julie graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with her masters in School Counseling. Julie has a lot of experience in the education field, whether it is in a school working or volunteering out in the community. Since graduating with her masters, she has been working at Moravian Academy as a Substitute teacher, mainly elementary and middle school. She has also organized all of their after school programs during the year.