First Grade

Meet the 1st Grade Team

1st Grade Supply List

1 208  Marisa DeChiara

 Marisa has taught in the early grades for 15+ years, half of them at our school. She received her Bachelor’s in Special Education from SUNY Geneseo and her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. She brings her love of music to her classroom. She says the children are the best thing about her job, and she encourages them “just to be themselves.”


1 210 ICT – Jamie Gifkins

Jamie has been working at PS 261 for 15 years. She has taught 4th grade, Kindergarten and now 1st grade! She has a bachelors degree in English from UMass Amherst and a dual Masters in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from NYU.  She loves living and working in the same neighborhood.  You can often find her at the local playgrounds with her 6 year old son.  She loves cooking, reading, and going to the beach.  

1 210 ICT – Rebecca Austern

Rebecca comes to PS261After some time in Private and D75 schools, this is Rebecca’s 4th year at PS261- where she went to elementary school too! She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from UMass, Amherst, and her Master’s degree in Childhood General and Special Education from Hunter College. When she is not working, Rebecca’s hobbies include watching and playing sports, spending time with friends and family, and hanging out with the adorable dogs from her husband’s dog walking company.

1 211  Danielle Taylor Brocco

Ms. Danielle, who came to PS261 in 2002, has taught Kindergarten, Fourth Grade and Library. Ms. Danielle has a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of Delaware and a Master’s in Elementary Education from C.W. Post. Originally from Long Island, she now lives in Bay Ridge with her husband, son Liam.  She enjoys traveling, yoga, reading a great book and spending time in Vermont.

1 221  Alexandra Catanzaro-Bisogno


Alexandra is one of PS261’s Special Education teachers. This is her 18th year at the school and her second year teaching with Aryn in 1st grade. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and has a Master’s in School Counseling.  Alexandra values her students’ unique talents and the strengths each child brings to the classroom community. She appreciates parent involvement and welcomes them in the classroom.  Alexandra lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her preschooler and energetic toddler.