PS 261 Phillip Livingston

314 Pacific Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Tel: 718 330 9275

Fax: 718 875-9503

Administrative Team

Jackie Allen, Principal   [email protected]

Sara Apfel, Assistant Principal  [email protected]

Alex Messer, Assistant Principal, I.A.  [email protected]

Heather Weston, Parent Coordinator  [email protected]

Osdilia Caban, Pupil Personel Secretary  [email protected]

Barbara Steike, Payroll / Purchasing  [email protected]

Susan Machover, Bus Coordinator [email protected]


Our mission is to create a school community that promotes cross-cultural relationships that value diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice across staff, families, and students. We believe that relationships are central to nurturing a sense of agency and intellectual engagement and are committed to building a school community that values all of its members and their ever-changing needs. We know the vision must be collectively owned so that all voices are heard and perspective is developed.  Every aspect of our school building should reflect equitable spaces that are socially, emotionally, and academically responsive to the community.

A Message from our Principal

Dear Families,

Welcome! PS 261 is a community that works towards having our school reflect our democratic values of diversity, equity, and social justice. Through this process our goal is to have children, parents and staff engage in positive relationships that promote a high level of engagement within our building. We are a school that welcomes parents and values their presence and input. Whether it is volunteering in a classroom or chairing an event, your efforts have a direct impact on daily life in our school. We have a strong community that believes when we work regularly and persistently together we build trusting relationships.  Our community grows stronger through small and big actions that we make happen every day. At PS261, staff, families, and students work in each other’s company, navigating through today’s complex and shifting educational landscape by careful observation and thoughtful conversation. We invite you to find your own unique way to contribute to this effort.

Jackie Allen


Jackie Allen

 Jackie Allen, Principal   [email protected]

Ms. Allen first came to PS261 as a parent of Sasha & Julian during the late 80’s. Both her children graduated from PS261 and are now performing artists.  During that time she served as a Steering Committee co-chair and class parent to many PS261 classrooms. She later joined the staff as a classroom teacher. She has taught grades K-5 but her passion was the 4th grade. She taught at PS261 from 1992-2004. Ms. Allen then spent 4 years as a Literacy Coach at PS230 and the Hamilton Heights School, where she was responsible for implementing the school-wide literacy program along with providing instructional support to classroom teachers.  She returned to PS 261 in 2009 as Assistant Principal and is excited to take on the role as Principal of the school she considers home. Jackie has a BFA in Dance Performance from City College and an MS in Early Childhood from Bank Street College. She obtained her School Building Leader Certificate in Administration from The College of Saint Rose. She is a strong believer in building a community of lifelong learners where school is a place to stretch and become excited about each other’s growth as educators. She is a lover of the arts! She spends most of her spare time listening to live music or attending the Joyce Theater!

Sara Apfel

Sara Apfel, Assistant Principal   [email protected]

This is Sara’s 12th year at PS261. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Mount St. Mary’s College, and her Masters in Literacy from NYU, as well as a Masters in Educational Administration from Brooklyn College. At PS261, she has been a student teacher, teacher, and now enjoys her role as Assistant Principal. As a former Special Education teacher, she is passionate about the rights and needs of all students. Sara enjoys visiting her childhood home in upstate New York with her husband Karl and two young children.

Alex Messer

Alex Messer, Assistant Principal, I.A.  [email protected]

Alex entered teaching via the NYC Teaching Fellows in 2004. He spent his first five years teaching for a Title I Elementary school, and from there moved to PS 321. At 321, Alex worked as a classroom teacher and also partnered with Metamorphosis, the Reading & Writing Project and the Math Collective to spearhead Professional Development work surrounding conferring, curricular development, and technology. Alex then moved into the role of Math Coach, where he has worked for the past 2 years to help expand the school’s adoption of the ENGAGE curriculum, differentiated games and centers, and use of technology in math instruction – which included the creation of the math community website, www.ps321math.com. As Math Coach, Alex also taught in both upper and lower grade classrooms, collaborating with teachers to try to tease out those “aha” moments of joy in learning for students. Alex received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU, his Masters in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College, and his School Building Leadership Certificate in Administration from Baruch College. He is a lover of great movies and great food. And above all – in his work inside and outside the classroom – an advocate for those “aha” moments of inquiry and discovery… and championing the ideas, the systems, and the practice that help them happen as much and as often as possible.

Heather Weston, Parent Coordinator  [email protected]

This is Heather’s 3rd year as Parent Coordinator at PS 261. Her daughter was a student at PS 261 for 7 years. During that time she became a part of the 261 community as an active member of the PTA, SLT and Learning Leaders.  Heather was brought up in a Military family and spent most of her time growing up in California. She attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California as a photography major. Before deciding to try something new as a city employee she was a professional photographer. Currently, in addition to working for the DOE, she works on special projects and is currently photographing and writing a book about Dogs living in New York City.

Katia Mezer, Barbara Steike, and Osdilia Caban

Pupil Personel Secretary, Osdilia Caban [email protected]

Osdilia became a part of PS261 in 2007 as a Family Worker for the school’s Assessment Team. Born in Brooklyn, she moved to Puerto Rico with her family at the early age of seven. After graduating from high school, she went on to study at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico where she majored in Biology. After briefly attending college she moved back to New York in 2000 and has been here ever since. She is fluent in both English and Spanish which makes her a major asset to our community. Osdilia enjoys writing, spending time with her daughter Layla and her Pomeranian dog Precious.

Accounting & Payroll Secretary, Barbara Steike [email protected]

Family Assistant, Ketia Mezer