Staff & Faculty
Melissa LewisSchool's Principal
Jessie FuentesDean of Student Affairs
Marie SnyderDean of Restorative Justice
Ivelisse ColonAttendance Counselor
Michelle OquendoOperations Manager
Elias CarmonaFacilities Manager
Michael CarrizalesYES & Junior Mentor
Crystal MoralesFamily Learning Center Mentor
Rafael QuiñonesHead of Security
Monica RomanDay Care Provider
Lisa RothembergDiverse Learning Team Member
Ivan VelanzuelaAmericorp Intern
GinaDay Care Provider
Ellen FlorenDiverse Learning Team Lead
Edwin CastilloStudy Hall Instructor
Cynthia Van RoeyanDiverse Learning Team Member
Armando LorenzanaAmericorp Intern
Samuel QuinonesSecurity Officer
Kevin AyalaSecurity Officer
Virginia BoyleEnglish Teacher
Hugo MunozMath Teacher
Gustavo Colon-BrañaEnglish Black Literature Teacher
Sandra SumlinTruancy Officer
Aaron ClarkeLatinx and Latin American Studies Teacher
David GalvanMath Teacher
Joshua CohenUS History Teacher
Rachel GeethaScience Teacher
Zoraida Rivera-TañónSpanish Teacher
Jes ConnollyEnglish Teacher
As a mother and a lifelong member of Humboldt Park, I am incredibly proud to be your principal. I attended DePaul University and earned my Bachelor’s in Education and later National Louis University for a Double Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership. I am currently pursuing a Doctorate of Educational Leadership. With 10 years of experience as a teacher leader, I have three priorities: Safety and Security of all staff and students, developing an educational experience built on a strong curriculum and engaging instruction and upholding the mission of PACHS through a community-focused curriculum.
Jessie Fuentes is an activist in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL. Jessie is a graduate of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School – the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s very own educational institution. Jessie quickly after went to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies and Latino and Latin American Studies and is currently in Graduate School pursuing her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Jessie has done work around empowering young people in the community, the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and work around the independence of Puerto Rico. Jessie began her political work as the Director of a youth organization in Humboldt Park called the Batey Urbano. She is now the Dean of Student Affairs at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School. Jessie is a firm believer that a more just world is possible through culturally relevant and meaningful curriculum. Through her social justice work, Jessie strives to be a Principal that will fight against all injustices that impact the lives of young people.
Marie Snyder grew up all over the country, with New Mexico being her favorite place to play outside. She is formally trained by the Community Justice for Youth Institute in Peacemaking Circle Keeping, and she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Minnesota, though her favorite place to learn is in Peace Circles. As the Dean of Restorative Justice, she interrelates her foundation of Trauma Informed Care and passion for anti-oppressive practices to lead the Youth Development Team. She has an uncommon enthusiasm for data — the pioneer of data crunching and Abayarde Report production — and can often be found nerding out over numbers. During the 2018-19 year, she looks forward to working with the PANA Student Leadership Council to serve up fruits and tajin during lunch, decking out the Peace Room with self-care essentials, and challenging students to practice kindness on the daily.
Ivelisse Colon was born and raised in Chicago, IL in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. Ivelisse graduated from Wilbur Wright College and received an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. Becoming a teen mom helped her realize she wanted to work with the youth and help them become successful. Ivelisse has been the Attendance Counselor for two years and this gives her the opportunity to work around youth and family on a daily basis and help them improve their attendance as well as family involvement. Ivelisse hopes to build and grow various relationships with the students and family.
Angie Velez was born and raised on the Northwest side of Chicago. After marrying her elementary school sweetheart from seventh grade she then had four amazing children. Angie enjoys working with people and giving service with a smile, which is why she became the Registrar at Albizu Campos High School. She assists students and parents on a daily basis so students have the necessary requirements to graduate and move on to the next big chapter in their life.
Michelle was born and raised in Chicago. She is the proud mother of four wonderful children, one of which is an Alumni of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. While her daughter attended PACHS, Michelle volunteered her time at the school. Through her dedication and understanding of the social and economic challenges that families face; she was given the opportunity to work at PACHS. Michelle has held several positions, she began as a Clerk, promoted to Attendance Counselor, then moved to Registrar for Student Records and today, she serves as the Operations Manager and a member of the Mission and Vision team of the school. Her love and dedication to PACHS is evident in her practice.
Elias Carmona is one of the most active photographers in Chicago’s Latin community. He has carved a niche in the city’s cultural and artistic circles. Elías became well-known in Puerto Rico for his famous picture of “Los Hijos de Borinquen”, a tribute to the classic site in Old San Juan. Elias has been with Albizu Campos High School 2007 when he moved to Chicago alone and today he functions as the Facilities Manager. Born and raised in Puerto Rico and a product of the public education system. With his passion for photography, Elias documents the PACHS school life and also works as a photography instructor for our after school program.
Michael is the YES and Junior mentor here at PACHS. Michael is of Mexican descent and grew up in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago where he had to overcome all the obstacles of the streets just like the youth we serve. He has worked for 10 years doing Youth Development here in Humboldt Park neighborhood. Michael developed a passion for youth development at the age of 16 while doing a internship at Mujeres Latinas En Accion working with the afterschool program while in High School. He realized that he could really make a difference by being a role model and mentor to the youth of our beautiful city and the rest is history. With all of the skills he has attained over the last 10 years doing this work, Michael has lots of positive perspectives and insight to pass on to our young people to help better prepare them for the rest of their life.
Crystal Morales has 19 years experience working with at-risk teens in Chicago. Crystal has a unique ability to mentor and counsel teens with intense barriers, as well as linking them to much needed services. A first generation US born Puerto Rican, Crystal had first-hand experience of the racial inequities and institutionalized racism that people of color face in this country. She uses this experience to hone her skills in relating with and empowering young people. Crystals career spans assisting in a community daycare, mentoring alternative high school students, implementing administrative duties as a school registrar and recently mentoring parenting high school students. These past positions have positioned Crystal to understand the various issues that impact teens in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, as well as the different skills and positions (from administrative to direct services) that play a role in servicing young people.
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Cynthia Van Roeyan
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Samuel Quinones has worked for Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School as a Security Officer for three great years. Sammy has worked for American Airlines for 23 years and retired. He is a musician and loves to play the guitar. He is also involved in martial arts and one of his sons is a gold medalist in martial arts. He like sports, playing basketball and he is a proud Puerto Rican. It makes him proud to see his people win awards and do great things. PACHS staff touch his heart with how hard they work to make sure our students graduate and care for their well being, even after school hours. They are amazing and that’s why he is here, they inspire him to take even more care of his own kids.
Kevin Ayala grew up in the Bucktown and Wicker Park communities; however, he attended high school at Roberto Clemente Community Academy which is in the Humboldt Park. Immediately out of high school Kevin got right into the security industry and takes pride in safety and protection. Kevin also has a passion when it comes to bodybuilding and fitness. Kevin feels exercising is great way to get rid of stress. This passed year Kevin worked for a non profit organization and develop more skills with working young people. Kevin is excited and ready to insure the safety and protection of the students we serve here at Albizu Campos High school.
Dedicated to the cause of Puerto Rico, Virginia has lived and worked in this community for years. She is completing her 5th year as an English Instructor at our school, where she has conducted after-school programs in Journalism, Poetry, Theatre, Louder Than a Bomb (Coach), and co-facilitated publication of the student newspaper. Virginia’s degrees include: Ph.D. in Communications; Master of Education; Master of Fine Arts; Master of Arts; and BA. She is also a qualified Special Education teacher, endorsed Learning Behavior Specialist I. She has toured the world as an actress, directed plays, ran the Chicago Youth Community Film Festival (15 years), taught college courses, and worked as Program Director (10 years) with Community TV Network, empowering youth to broadcast quality first-voice films. She has published articles, poetry, plays, and books. In 1975, she taught Theatre at our school and co-directed our student production of Nuestra Verdad, presented at NEIU and UIC. As an Irish citizen, Virginia is forever grateful to Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos for his contribution to Irish independence.
Hugo was born in a small, country town in San Juan, Jalisco, Mexico but Hugo has lived in Chicago most of his life. He has two brothers and three sisters. His parents worked long hours in restaurants and factories to provide for the family and taught them the true meaning of hard work, love, and family. He is currently a math teacher because he wants to empower young adults. He wants to help strengthen the skills they need to accomplish their goals and inspire them to uplift communities that have been hurt by any type of oppression.
Gustavo Colon-Braña graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in May of 2009 with a Masters Degree in Language Arts Education along with a teaching certificate in secondary education, and a middle-school endorsement. Gustavo was brought on board as a member of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School’s instructional staff in July of 2009 and has taught Black and Latino Literature in room 114 of the Haddon Building ever since.
Sandra is determined to make a difference in the lives of the youth and families we serve. The days are sometimes long and challenging but they are also immensely rewarding. She loves the work she does because of the opportunity to learn something new. Each time she works with youth and their families, she learns about their culture or learns a new way to look at things. She’s open to learning new things. It gives her a chance to demonstrate or expose youth and their families to alternatives to seeing some negative things in a different light. Hopefully turning those negative things into strengths that help the youth and families accomplish the goals they set for themselves, and possibly exceeding those goals with success.
Aaron Clarke teaches history. He is grateful to be surrounded by incredible people that make up Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. As an educator, he is committed to a pedagogical practice informing the mission and legacy of Campos. This means that he approaches teaching as a critical and communal act. As a student, he is interested in a philosophy of freedom. He enjoys the music of Kanye West, the poetry of Fred Moten, and the writing of Toni Morrison. He grew up in Evanston and is one of the best freestyle rappers. He owes everything to his family and friends.
David Galvan is a first year math teacher at Pedro Albizu Campos High School. He has been teaching math for over 20 years at various middle schools and high schools in the Chicago area, including Cristo Rey High School in Chicago and Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines. He has his bachelor’s degree in Teaching High School Mathematics from the University of Illinois in Chicago and his master’s degree in Administration and Leadership from National Louis University in Wheeling. He has been married to his lovely wife, Helen, for 30 years and has 3 sons, David (30), Vincent (26), and Joseph (20). He looks forward to using his skills and experiences here and helping the students develop into the next phase of their lives.
Josh has been involved in history education for 18 years. Initially through his work at the Chicago Metro History Education Center, Josh introduced students to inquiry-based historical study, and the value of one’s local environment as a source for comprehensive research and exploration. A lifelong Chicagoan, Josh is familiar with the city’s many diverse communities and their significance in immigration, industrialization, and urbanization. Josh has a BA in History from Roosevelt University, and a MAT in Secondary Education from National-Louis University. Josh finds the study of history to be a most effective way for students learn of past struggles in order to become agents of empowerment and change for the future. Josh lives with his wife, Lisa, and sons, Eli and Asher. In addition to teaching history, Josh is passionate about jazz, soul, and the Chicago White Sox.
Rachel is a caring, dedicated, social, dynamic human being who had leadership qualities and loved working with young people and believed in sharing knowledge, and to see them mature into well fit individuals to cope up with the present society. She had a passion to pursue health and medical sciences, unfortunately could not, due to financial circumstances. After attaining Bachelors of Pre-med sciences degree, she created passion towards teaching and completed her Bachelors of Education with a Gold medal from the University. In addition, succeeded in doing Masters program in Sociology in the year 1982, when she got married. Rachel was blessed with two kids and was hired as a Principal of a High school in India for 10 yrs. Later came to US. Rachel taught Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Sciences at Chicago Public Schools for 17 yrs in day school, evening school and summer schools. She played different roles as a IDS Lead, Head of the Department, Science Fair Coordinator, ILT member. During that period of time she went back to school and earned Masters in Educational Administration, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. Rachel could accomplish her goals in educating her kids to be bright , intelligent, hardworking individuals. She feels fortunate to work for Pedro Albizu Campos school, as she found a great family who are dedicated, passionate to excel students to higher academic standards, with a right meaningful authentic learning, relating to everyday life experiences and bright citizens of our country.
Zoraida Rivera-Tañón is a Puerto Rican woman born and raised in the city of Caguas, who moved to Chicago with her husband in August of 1987. In 1988 they became owners of La Bruquena Restaurant on Division Street. Zoraida has been an educator for 23 years at the Humboldt Park community, eleven of those years at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. Zoraida graduated in 1991 from DePaul University with a Major in Spanish and a minor in Business, in 1993 from University of Illinois at Chicago with a Masters Degree in Hispanic Studies, in 1996 from Northern Illinois University Master’s Program of Educational Leadership as an Education Specialist, and in 2013 she finished her extended education with a certification from Illinois College, Type 9 & 10, concentrated in Social Justice in Education. At Campos, Zoraida runs the Spanish Program & English Language Learners Program. She is also the facilitator of the Civic Engagement Program guiding our students as the top competitors, for the last two years, at the YCCS Civic Engagement Students Fair. She is also the tutor of the Instituto Abayarde (After School), Seniors Advisor and creator of Albizu Campos Women Group
Jes Connolly is a recent addition to PACHS, joining the English Department. Jes is a graduate of Governors State University, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with a minor in Secondary Education. Recognizing the inequities of the current social and government structures, she works to inspire students from underserved communities to use their education to create change through agency, empowerment, and understanding. In previous positions, Jes has helped students explore self-expression through poetry and spoken word, developing public speaking skills in teens so that their voices may be heard. She has also collaborated with students to produce publications so that their talents can be shared within the community. When she’s not teaching, you can find Jes engaging in a plethora of creative activities, such as painting, writing, and macrame. Or just hanging out with her dogs.