Fifth Grade

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Middle School Next Steps (Updated 9/17)

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5th Grade Committee Newsletter Vol. 1

5th Grade Committee Newsletter Vol. 2

Meet the 5th Grade Team

Laura Burns and Catherine Pacilio

5 409 ICT Catherine Pacilio and Laura Burns 

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Catherine began her teaching career as a 6th grade ICT Humanities and Math teacher in East Harlem at Isaac Newton Middle School. She is excited to be returning to the PS261 community, teaching 5th grade for the past five years. Prior to teaching she earned her bachelors degree in Marketing and Psychology at the College of William and Mary and studied Advanced Psychology for a year at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She also earned her Masters Degree in Childhood and Special Education at New York University. Catherine worked as Marketing Director for Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association prior to becoming a teacher. Soccer is a life-long passion of hers, from playing in college to coaching all ages at recreational and advanced levels. When she is not on the soccer field she enjoys knitting with her cat Lola by her side. She hopes to use her experience working in middle school to guide 5th graders in transitioning from elementary school to the years beyond.

Ms. Laura was born in New York City and spent her formative years in Greenwich Village where she lives now.  After graduating with a degree in English from Smith College, she worked for several years in the arts then became a foster care caseworker for the city.  It was here that she discovered that she enjoyed working with children and decided to become a teacher.  Laura received a degree from Bank Street and spent the last twenty years in Ocean Hill-Brownsville at (the recently closed) PS/IS 73 where she taught grades 1,2,4,5 and 6 (both ICT and General Ed). In her off hours, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, making things (cooking, baking, knitting, photography), reading, riding her bike and cheering for the Mets, Knicks and the Cleveland Browns.  


Marietta Hewitt and Judy Salaz

5 411  ICT Marietta Hewitt and Judy Salazar   

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Mrs. Hewitt is a born-and-raised New Yorker and a product of NYC public schools. She has a degree in Journalism from NYU and worked for over 10 years as a Reporter, Fashion Editor, and Fashion Stylist at both People en Español and Teen People magazines. She also holds a Masters in Childhood Education. She is the proud daughter of immigrants who taught her to work hard and dream big. Her passions include a love of travel and the arts. This will be her 9th year teaching. She has taught grades 1-3 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Chinatown, and this will be her 4th year teaching 5th grade at PS261. She credits her success as a teacher to her smile and her love of learning.

Tara McHugh

5 412  Tara Mchugh

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Tara McHugh has been an NYC public educator for 12 years.  She has taught every grade from kindergarten to fifth, though she has a special place in her heart for fifth grade.  Following graduation from Susquehanna University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Tara taught at PS 272 in Canarsie, Brooklyn for four years. That experience guided her in pursuing a master’s degree in TESOL at Teachers College, Colombia University. During her field study in graduate school she worked at Hamilton Heights School; where she then taught second and third grade for two years before teaching oversees in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Tara continues to grow and learn with the PS261 community and feels overjoyed to work with such a passionate and smart group of educators. Her free time is filled with family/friend love, outdoor activities, and soaking in the abundant culture and art throughout the city. In a world without tennis hour regulations and annual fees, one would catch her playing tennis most days after school. Instead, you might see her bopping around town or playing with her nieces in Prospect Park.


Dana Levy

5 415 Dana Levy 

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Dana Levy is super excited to return to PS261 after teaching in Guatemala for the past two years!  While living outside of the United States Dana reinforced her love of learning by traveling all over Central and South America to find out about different cultures, communities and languages.  Dana began her teaching career at PS 261 in 2007, after student teaching while attending New York University where she received her masters degree in special education and childhood education.  Dana loves helping her students have amazing mathematical discussions and when the class is engrossed in a great read aloud together.  One of the things Dana likes best about PS 261 is the ability of families and school staff to come together to advocate for the students.  When not working, Dana loves cooking, traveling, and spending time with her  baby Joaquin, her husband and their Guatemalan dog, Mona.


Nan O’Shea

5 424 Nan O’Shea

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