Leadership and Faculty

The New York Academy Faculty is comprised of highly qualified and talented educators who are passionate about teaching and compassionate with children. Our teachers share our mission to help our students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life. They are deeply committed to help each child achieve his/her personal best. Our teachers inspire students to excel academically and socially, pursue their interests and develop their talents. We recognize that the social and emotional development of our students is just as important as academic achievement. Our teachers promote independent learning, critical thinking, and self-reflection in a caring and stimulating environment.

 Our teachers have training and experience with current, research evidence best practice.  Our faculty is diverse and from many countries around the world.

Brian Kissman, Head of School
B.A. Sociology/Psychology – Grand Valley State University
M.Ed. Educational Leadership – Western Michigan University

Mr. Kissman has 40 years of experience as an educator. He has been a teacher and administrator in independent international schools around the world and public schools in the U.S. In addition to being a native Michigan educator, he has lived and worked in Bali, Qatar, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Japan, and Liberia. His professional interests are curriculum and instruction, professional learning communities, and purposed designed learning environments. Mr. Kissman is the author of Phonics Things, Literacy Mats, and Multiplication Mats. He is a noted public speaker.

Umme Salma, Principal
M.Ed. Educational Leadership – Santa Clara University, California
Director Certification/Training – Foothill College & Stanford, California

Umme has over ten years of teaching and administrative experience from the Bay Area in California. She is a dynamic instructional leader who has served in various administrative roles: Director of Programs, Executive Director of Preschool, Curriculum Specialist, Student Activities Coordinator, Accreditation Team Leader, and Teacher Trainer/Mentor. A lifelong learner at heart, she is always encouraged to stay current with the best practices in education in areas like brain compatible learning, project-based learning, differentiated instruction, emotional intelligence, and constructivism. Umme is a bibliophile of sorts with a passion for travelling.

Shahana Ahmed  – Admissions Director
B.A. in Early Childhood Education – Colorado University Boulder
Montessori Certified Teacher – Montessori Education Center of the Rockies

Mrs. Shahana joined New York Academy in 2016 bringing with her more than 11 years of experience in the education industry. She started her teaching career in 2004 as a Montessori lead teacher and an administrator at Montessori School of Cherry Creek, Colorado USA. Mrs. Shahana’s passion to travel and explore brought her to Dubai, UAE where she continued her teaching career at Raffles International School. Mrs. Shahana brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as innovative ideas. Mrs. Shahana is a dedicated educator, passionate about contributing to the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of young children.

Above all she is a people person. Mrs. Shahana strives to advocate for the whole family within her practice and is looking forward to building a strong partnership with the families here at New York Academy.

Dorcas Geddam, Manager of Human Resources
B.A. Hotel Management Academic & HR – Osmania University
M.B.A. Human Resource Management & Information Technology – ISBM University

Ms. Geddam serves as the Human Resource Manager at the New York Academy. She brings to the table her vast repertoire of running and managing highly successful Corporate Companies and has experience of more than 7 years in the Human Resource Management & Administration. She is responsible for coordinating the hiring of our our faculty and staff, as well as the performance of staff.  She oversees all management operations.

Her passions are music (keyboards and composing), drawing, crafts, and writing blogs about her experience to share her ideas to inspire women. She believes that “creativity requires an idea to be realistic, possible, and yet still different.”


Farzana, Executive Assistant to Head of School
B.S. Mathematics – Osmania University 

Ms. Fara has over 6 years of experience in various financial organizations such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC in critical roles like Credit card fraud detection department, technical operations and banking services. Later she moved into retail business and worked in Himatsingka Wovens Pvt. Ltd. as an Assistant Manager. She is passionate towards her work, friendly and sensitive to the needs of other people. Her personal interests are listening to music, adventure travel, hiking and swimming. 

Rinku Mercy Paul Bandhugula, Office Administrator
B.Com (General)

Mercy has been working from past 15 years. She has been a teacher, medical transcriptionist, editor, financial executive, administrator and a counsellor for USA universities. She worked as Transcriptionist and Editor in Medical Transcription field for almost nine years at Mano InfowaysPvt. Ltd. She worked as a USA counsellor/administrator/financial executive for past four years in Madison Review, Hyderabad. Being a counsellor she has experience in visa filing for different countries like USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland. In her experience as an administrator she has helped organizations in hiring candidates at the first level, managing financial issues, and accounts. She believes in taking challenges, working hard, and prove ability to develop and implement effective new systems and procedures. Her personal interest are singing, painting, travelling, and reading books.

Natalie Lindsey
B.S. Elementary Education – Linfield College

Ms. Lindsey comes to New York Academy from an experiential education background. Since graduating, she has taught math, science, and social studies in her home state of Oregon and on the east coast in Rhode Island. Natalie is passionate about building learning communities where students can do their best work, while engaging students to learn through project-based learning and authentic experiences.

Ms. Gwen Bryant – Grade 1/2 Lead Teacher
B.G.S. Elementary Generalist and Curriculum and Instruction – Simon Fraser University

Mrs. Bryant has 9 years teaching experience in a variety of grade levels as well as 3 years in Learning Assistance and as a Resource Teacher. Prior to working for New York Academy, Gwen taught in the public school system in British Columbia, Canada. Her professional interest include early literacy and numeracy. One of the aspects of teaching she enjoys most is the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues about inquiry-based learning projects. Outside of work, Gwen interests include sports and travel. She is already a fan of Kabaddi, and is looking forward to exploring Hyderabad and India with her husband Brad.

With her enthusiastic personality, exuberant sense of humour and an ability to enhance student’s perfomance, she is dedicated to guiding students to shape a better world and empower them with knowledge.

Indira Mahendarkar (Indu), Pre-K and Kindergarten Teacher
B.S., B.Ed. & M.S. – Osmania University
B.A. Education and Management – College of Birmingham

Ms. Indu has 13 years of experience teaching in the U.S. and in independent international schools.  She has worked with students ranging from elementary through the university level.  Her experience and training includes Montessori and progressive education. Her passion towards education is to bring the best and most innovative practices to the classroom environment. She loves to watch children learn, develop, and progress holistically, while applying their knowledge and skills to real world challenges.

Sakina Razvi, Coworker Kindergarten
B.A. English Literature, History and Politic Science – Osmania University
B.A. Education Diploma Program – Sheridan College, Canada

Sakina Razvi has 15 years of teaching experience. She has served students with special needs and has extensive experience as a kindergarten teacher, which includes working in Canada. Her professional background with kids of all age groups and special needs, and different learning disabilities has given her the skills and insights to effectively differentiate and individualize instruction. Her passions include reading and writing poetry, and “Story Time” is one of her favorite part of the day with students! She takes pride in her ability to support the social, emotional, and academic growth of each child, and inspiring children to explore, discover, and learn.  

Ms. Nupur Joshi: Lead Teacher, 3s
BA English Literature: Hindu College, Delhi University
PG Diploma Mass Communication: Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune

Ms. Nupur has five years of teaching experience in international schools of Hyderabad. Her passion, and enthusiasm have enabled her to create innovative learning environments that have supported, challenged and inspired her students. She goes beyond the curriculum to encourage students to foster creativity, develop character, build self-confidence and hone interpersonal skills to last a lifetime.

Her professional interest includes innovative learning techniques, researching about curriculum and developing literacy skills especially reading. In her free time, she enjoys reading, travelling and watching movies.

Ms. Kalpana Duvvuri : Co Teacher, Pre K 3
B.A. Fashion Design – National Institute of Fashion Technology

Ms. Kalpana Duvvuri has five years of teaching experience with international schools in Hyderabad.
Her professional interest includes lesson planning and curriculum development. 

Her passions include researching and teaching Biblical spiritual discourse and engaging in church activities.

Anita, Nursery Teacher
B.A. Engineering in Electronics and Communication – U.B.D.T.College of Engineering, Davanagere, Karnataka

Ms. Anita has 7 years of teaching at several prestigious schools in Hyderabad. Teaching is her absolute passion. She has taught kids from pre-kindergarten to grade 7. Her loves to teach children and support their social and emotional growth to build the right attitude and character for their future.  She arrives to school every day ready to make learning fun.  

Anjum Zia, Nursery teacher
B.A. Education – Osmania University
Early Childhood Educator Certification – Setwin 

Ms.Anjum has 10 years of experience as an early childhood educator. She has taught at several international schools in Hyderabad and Qatar.

Her passion for painting, art, and craft enhances her creative skills. She has exceptional rapport with students, which is greatly valued by the New York Academy School Community.

Anjum Fatima –Nursery Teacher
B.S., B.Ed.  Mathematics/Physical Science – Osmania University
M.A. Early Childhood Education – Bharti Vidyalaya College of Education and Training
Advance Diploma in Montessori Infant/Toddler – American Montessori Society 

Mrs. Anjum is an charismatic Nursery lead teacher. She has a special way with this great age group that balances the learning and fun. She has been in the child development field for more than 10 years. Her artistic side remains an integral part of her teaching. She strongly believes in “learning through play,” which makes her class child centered, creative and fun. She is thrilled to be able to live out her passion at New York Academy.   In her free time, her passions are dance, travel, and spending time with her family and friends.

Tahoora Ahsan (Sofie), Nursery Teacher
Montessori Certification – American Montessori Society 

Ms. Sofie brings 5 years experience with of early childhood education.  She served as a lead teacher at Vivero International School, Hyderabad before joining New York Academy. 

Miss. Sofie is a dedicated, ambitious and goal educator she believes in incorporating and encouraging intellectual, social development along with effective communication.

With her enthusiastic personality, exuberant sense of humor, and an ability to enhance student’s performance, she is passionate to guide students to shape a better world by empowering them with knowledge. Her personal passion is art.

Farheen Zaffer
B.A. Communications – St. Anns College, Hyderabad

Ms. Farheen brings 5 years of early childhood learning experience and knowledge to New York Academy. She started her teaching career as a playgroup teacher at Kangaroo Kids, Banjara Hills. Farheen is most known for the outstanding mother/toddler program she has developed for New York Academy. Her enthusiasm, energy, and genuine interest in children and the families have made appreciated by our parents.

Farheen is passionate about laying the foundations for children’s social, emotional, and academic growth. Her programming is child centered, fun filled and creative.

Misba Farheen, Co Teacher Mother/Toddler
B.S. Math and Science – Osmania University

Ms. Misba has 4 years of experience as a teacher in well-known international schools across Hyderabad. This will be her second year in New York academy as a co teacher; last year she utilized her math and science skills to enhance the learners critical thinking and social development for our kindergarten and grade 1. Now working in the Mother-Toddler Program, her caring and enthusiastic energy compliments her the students exceptionally well. Her passion is serving others.

Betsy K. Lee Verb, Maker Space & Technology Coordinator
B.S. Biology/Psychology/Pre Med – University of Findlay
M. Ed. – Educational Media Design and Technology – Full Sail University

Miss Verb has 15 years teaching experience ranging from Kindergarten to the College level. She has taught in the United States specializing in Technology Integration. She has extensive experience working with teachers to incorporate technology into the classroom and integrating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) with project based learning. She has exceptional skills with Digital Multimedia Design and is currently getting her Ed. D. degree from the University of West Florida in Distance Learning with an emphasis in Project-Based Learning with Flipped Classroom Learning. She is accompanied in Hyderabad with her daughter, Mikayla, who enjoys doing a variety of things ranging from art, photography, traveling and yoga with her mother in their free time.

Cristina Izaguirre Dominguez
Licenciatein Music Education | University of Carabobo, Venezuela

Cristina has experience as an Elementary and Early Childhood Music Teacher, Grade1 Teacher Associate, and as the Director of Music at the Secondary Drama Club, Colegio Internacional de Carabobo. She has studied Music at the Conservatory of Music of Carabobo (CMC), earning Certificates in Music Theory, Harmony, Counterpoint, Music History and Universal Development. She has performed in different cities of Venezuela as Choirsinger and Cellist as a member of the CMC Youth Symphony Orchestra, CMC Symphony Choir, Symphony Choir of Valencia, System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, and Choir of the Symphony Orchestra of Carabobo.  Her passion is music!

Kaitlyn Reyes-James, Lead Gymnastics Teacher
200HR Yoga Teacher Certified

Ms. Reyes-James started gymnastics at the young age of 3, and she has trained competitively for 10 years in gymnastics and trampoline. She has had incredible opportunities to work with various prominent institutions, which has enhance her knowledge and skills and has gained her experience in training yoga and gymnastics to various age groups. In her second year at New York Academy, she hopes to help students learn and understand gymnastics skills with the best care and training, as well as providing students with a fun learning environment in which students feel successful and confident in their practice. Her passion is gymnastics and travel.

Mariana Fernández Hinojosa
B.A. Business Administration – Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla

After 7+ years in Healthcare, focused Market Research, Mariana came to India. She decided she needed a new challenge and turning point in her professional life. As a trilingual person, she understands and relates to various methods of teaching and learning a new language. As the strength of the Spanish language is gaining worldwide, she knows that learning it from a young age will be an exceptional benefit to the New York Academy students. Her passion is sharing her mother tongue with our students.

Céline Ganier, French Teacher
B.A. – Business Management, Chamber of Commerce Institute, Nantes, France
Certification in Childbirth Education

Ms. Céline was born in France and moved to India in 2010. She uses a variety of progressive language learning strategies to engage students in language emersion. She has wide experience teaching CBSE, IGCSE, IB, and American curriculum’s in Hyderabad. As for her passions, you will find Psychology and European history books by Ms. Céline’s bedside table.