Meet Admin

Erica Davis, Principal, I.A.  [email protected]

Sara Apfel, Assistant Principal  [email protected]

Alex Messer, Assistant Principal  [email protected]

Heather Weston, Parent Coordinator  [email protected]

Osdilia Caban, Pupil Personnel Secretary  [email protected]

Barbara Steike, Payroll / Purchasing  [email protected]

Susan Machover, Bus Coordinator [email protected]


Erica Davis

Being a part of the 261 community is a full-circle moment for Erica. One of her first relatives to migrate North from the South made her home on Pacific Street, beginning a family legacy of public school teachers. More than 21 years ago, Erica joined this legacy as a teacher in District 17. She has taught both lower and upper grades, served as an instructional coach in schools across Brooklyn and Manhattan, and worked as a school-based and centrally-based administrator. In 2014, after teaching for 15 years at PS 234 in Manhattan, she became the school’s Assistant Principal, leading the development of their social studies curriculum, math instruction, and social-emotional program. More recently, during her tenure as an Instructional Lead at Brooklyn North Borough Office, Erica supported instruction across multiple schools and districts, working alongside superintendents and principals, and working directly in classrooms. Erica has spent much of her career supporting academic instruction, instructing teachers on ways to bring inquiry into their classrooms, and leading workshops to help parents learn how to better support children at home. 

Erica has also worked with Marilyn Burns as a math consultant for Math Solutions, which gave her the opportunity to support school districts across the U.S. A highlight from her undergraduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis is spending time abroad in Germany where she studied art history. She holds an M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College and an Ed. M. in Leadership from the Bank Street College Principals Institute where her research involved looking closely at how to better support boys in the early childhood classroom. Her passion for the arts comes from growing up in a noisy house in Michigan (three pianos, a drum set, a flute, a trombone, a clarinet, a violin, and a beloved stereo). She spent many nights steeped in the world of musicals, operas, symphonies, and jazz performances. Her days were spent digging up clay from the earth and gathering leaves to sculpt little creations and make paper. Aside from baking cookies with her many nieces, nephews, and cousins, she finds sitting in art galleries unbelievably relaxing.

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 PS 261, 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, Assistant Principal  [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.