(845) 563-3400     124 Grand Street, Newburgh, NY 12550

Welcome Letter and Introductions from your NFA Administration Team

Dear Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus students, families, faculty, and staff,

The NFA Main Team is excited to start a brand new school year with you and a brand new team. Collectively, our team of administrators has 195 years of experience as educators. More information about each administrator can be found below. There have been some changes to best serve all of our students that we would like to share with you. This information will live on our school page, under the “Our School” section, so you can easily refer back to the information as needed throughout the school year. 

The organization of our administration and school counseling (guidance) teams have been revamped. All adjustments were made with our students at the forefront of our decisions. These adjustments were made in collaboration with our administration team, senior staff, and school counselors. 

As always, teams are organized by cohort. The year listed as your student’s cohort is the year that your student started 9th grade. Students will be assigned a specific assistant principal and school counselor, however, everyone is here to serve each student as needed. Some students may be assigned a new school counselor this year. We recognize that changes can take time to adjust to. We hope our students and families recognize this change as an opportunity to have more than one person who is familiar with the needs of our students and can better support them as they learn and grow. 

I want to provide you with two examples that prompted some of these changes. When school counselors and administrators were previously assigned to a single cohort, a smaller number of professionals were working with students during critical times in their high school career. There were two school counselors working with seniors as they prepared to graduate and two school counselors working with 9th graders as they adjusted to a new school. With this model, there will be four professionals to support our students throughout the year, but especially during times when they need a higher level of focus and care.



Cohorts 2019 & 2021 Cohorts 2020 & 2022
Vice Principal: Mr. Roderick Phoenix Vice Principal: Mr. Matthew Spellman
Asst Principal: Ms. Carolyne Monereau-St. Louis (A-F) Asst Principal: Ms. Rachel Schuyler (A-F)
Asst Principal: Mr. Michael Ragusa (G-O) Asst Principal: Mr. Patrick Kavanagh (G-O)
Asst Principal: Mr. Andrew Cameron (P-Z) Asst Principal: Mr. Roberto Cruz (P-Z)


The title of Vice Principal may be new to some families and familiar to families that have been with our district for some time. Vice Principals will be specifically focused on overseeing all instructional programming in the building. Assistant Principals will be in direct contact with the day to day support of our scholars. 


School Counselors (Guidance)

Cohorts 2019 & 2021 Cohorts 2020 & 2022
Dr. Melanie Roman (A-E) Ms. Bertha Hurtado-Kuhn (A-D)
Ms. Tara Jones (F-L) Ms. Juana Stamo (E-L)
Mr. Eric Katz (M-Re) Ms. Pamela Bonsu (M-Ra)
Ms. Julissa Wilson (Ri-Z) Mr. Tom Hill (Re-Z)

Cohort: The year listed as your student’s cohort is the year that your student started 9th grade. 

Letters assigned: The letters assigned to each administrator/school counselor indicates the first letter(s) of the last name of students in their group.




Ms. Susan Valentino, Co-Principal
Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus
Newburgh Enlarged City School District



Admins from NFA

Pictured from left to right:
Mr. Andrew Cameron, Mr. Mike Ragusa, Mrs. Carolyne Monéreau-St.Louis, Ms. Susan Valentino, 
Mr. Matthew Spellman, Mrs. Rachel Schuyler, Mr. Patrick Kavanagh, Mr. Roberto Cruz


Ms. Susan Valentino, Co-Principal, NFA Main Campus
svalentino@necsd.net | 845-563-5406
Newburgh Free Academy alumni, Class of 1980

Ms. Valentino has 27 years of professional experience in the Newburgh school district.  She was an elementary teacher at The Primary School and Broadway School.  After completing her administrative certification,  she was a program specialist.  Once Broadway closed, she became Assistant Principal at South Jr. High School for 6 ½ years.  In 2009, Ms. Valentino came to Newburgh Free Academy as an Assistant Principal (AP)  and also served as Acting Vice Principal for 2 years.   She became an AP at Heritage Middle School for the 2021-2022 school year and has been newly appointed as the Co-Principal at NFA, Main Campus.

Outside of the school day, Ms. Valentino is known as GiGi.  She has three grown daughters and two granddaughters.

Ms. Valentino’s goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where all students can engage in meaningful instruction while also caring for their social and emotional needs.

Mr. Roderick Phoenix, Vice Principal - Cohorts 2019 & 2021 (not pictured)
rphoenix@necsd.net | 845-563-5542

Mr. Phoenix is pleased to join the Newburgh Enlarged City Schools District. He is looking forward to learning from and with you all this year. Mr. Phoenix strives to cultivate and create lifelong educational opportunities that our scholars can apply to life. Throughout his 18 years as an educator, he has served in various capacities including teacher assistant, teacher coach, and assistant principal. Mr. Phoenix has served as an assistant principal in New York City and Yonkers Public Schools for the past eleven years. He is committed to improving the quality of teaching, learning, and leading our scholars!

In his free time, Mr. Phoenix loves spending time with his family and exercising, enjoys staying active, and loves to travel and cook.

Mrs. Carolyne Monéreau-St.Louis, Assistant Principal - Cohorts 2019 & 2021 (A-F) 
cmonereaustlouis@necsd.net | 845-563-5535
Main Focus areas at NFA Main Campus: Mercy College Liaison, NYSESLAT Administrator, SLO Determination, Student Teachers Supervisor
Assists: Social Studies Department and Student Activities 

Mrs. Monéreau-St.Louis has 24 years experience as an educator.  She is about to begin her 5th year as an assistant principal with Newburgh Enlarged City School District.  Prior to joining NECSD she served as an educator within the NYC Department of Education for 19 years.  She worked as a Special Education/Gifted and Talented teacher in Districts 27 and 75 teaching middle and high school students. She also worked as a Unit Coordinator and as an IEP teacher in a High School. She worked as a secondary Assistant Principal in Brooklyn, NY for 10 years prior to relocating to the Hudson Valley region.

Mrs. St. Louis enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children ages 9 and 7 during her leisure time.  

Mrs. St. Louis’ hopes for her students this year are for them to have a positive, productive and a memorable school year.  She looks forward to supporting her seniors in helping them progress towards graduation in 2023 and in crafting their post-secondary goals. For her underclassmen students she also hopes to help them in taking steps towards obtaining their credits towards graduation in a few years. Every day is a step closer to Academy Field!

Mr. Mike Ragusa, Assistant Principal-Cohorts 2019 & 2021 (G-O)
mragusa@necsd.net | 845-563-5511
Main focus area: Club and Activities Advisor

Mr. Mike Ragusa is entering his 24th year as an educator and his 16th year in the NECSD. His journey in the district has included a four year tenure as the building principal at South Middle School, and assistant principalships at South Middle School, Temple Hill Academy, and NFA Main Campus. Building relationships and making connections is at the core of his educational philosophy. Mr. Ragusa embraces and cherishes the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our students.

On a personal level, Mr. Ragusa is a husband and father of four children. His hobbies include exercising, cooking and coaching soccer and boxing. He is also a masters-division competitive boxer and the king of push-ups!

Mr. Ragusa is super excited about returning to NFA Main and reuniting with the faculty and staff!
This will be a great school year!

Mr. Andrew Cameron, Assistant Principal-Cohorts 2019 & 2021 (P-Z)
acameron@necsd.net | 845-563-5414
Main focus areas: SAVE/SAC/ Restorative Practices

Mr. Cameron started his educational career back in 1998 student teaching at Horizons-On-Hudson. The following year, Mr. Cameron began his first year teaching 5th grade at Horizons and coaching boys basketball at South Jr. High in 1999. Mr. Cameron returned to Newburgh in January 2022 as one of the 9th grade Assistant Principals. During his 24 years in education, Mr. Cameron has been blessed coaching varsity girls basketball, student council advisor, as well as the chairperson of the HOH 5K race here in Newburgh. Mr. Cameron has held many positions in education such as both an elementary and middle school principal, as well as a Director of Program Operations K-12.

Mr. Cameron has two children Ryan (16 a junior) and Kiley (12 middle schooler) who are both active in travel basketball.

Mr. Cameron is looking forward to a great start of the 2022-2023 school year. He is hoping students will bring their unique talents everyday to NFA and be respected by all learners. If you ever need anything please feel free to reach out.

Mr. Matthew Spellman, Vice Principal - Cohorts 2020 & 2022
mspellman@necsd.net | 845-563-5518
Newburgh Free Academy alumni, Class of 2008

Mr. Spellman is an experienced educator beginning his career in the Newburgh School District as both a substitute teacher and summer college custodian. In 2012 Mr. Spellman began teaching Science and Math in the South Bronx where he found his passion for student centered and project based learning. Mr. Spellman came back home in 2018 to Newburgh Free Academy where he has been an Assistant Principal for the past four years.

In his free time Mr. Spellman enjoys staying active. You can often find him hiking around the Hudson Valley with his rescue pup Harvey.

This year Mr. Spellman is excited to continue his collaboration with the NFA family as a Vice Principal. His hope is for all students to feel welcomed, accepted, and successful. An open line of communication is extremely important to him, if you ever need anything please do not hesitate to reach out to him.

Mrs. Rachel Schuyler, Assistant Principal Cohort 2020 & 2022 (A-F)
rschuyler@necsd.net | 845-563-5409
Main Focus at NFA Main: BEDS, Student Government, SUNY OCCC and Testing Room
Assists: Art/Music, Attendance, CTE, Performing Arts and Student Activities

Mrs. Schuyler is entering her 23rd year as an experienced educator and this is her 19th year in the NECSD.  She was a classroom teacher at Broadway School and GAMS. As an administrator, she has been an Assistant Principal at South Middle School and NFA North Campus.  She was also an Assistant Principal at Poughkeepsie Middle School.  

Mrs. Schuyler enjoys spending time with her husband and large family.  

Mrs. Schuyler hopes for our students to feel empowered and learn to love something they do in school every year.  Also, for each of our students to be proud of all their accomplishments and to be friendly, supportive and respectful to everyone they cross paths with each day.

Mr. Patrick Kavanagh, Assistant Principal Cohort 2020 & 2022 (G-O)
pkavanagh@necsd.net | 845-563-5417
Newburgh Free Academy alumni, Class of 2000

Mr. Kavanagh is beginning his 16th year at NFA Main campus - this year being his first year as Assistant Principal.

Mr. Kavanagh began his career in Rhode Island as an elementary school teacher for students with behavioral and emotional disorders before moving back to Newburgh as a teacher of Exceptional Learners. Mr. Kavanagh has taught in various educational settings throughout his career and has extensive knowledge and experience in the Co-Taught setting. He served as the Lead Teacher for the Exceptional Learners department at NFA Main Campus for 10 years.

As well as being an educator in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Mr. Kavanagh takes great pride in Newburgh Athletics and the benefits it has on our students. He has been heavily involved in Newburgh Swimming and Diving Varsity Programs where he served as the NFA Boys Varsity Head Coach for 6 years and the NFA Girls Varsity Head Coach for 14 years. Mr. Kavanagh is currently the Program Director for the Newburgh Sharks - a competitive swim club affiliated with USA swimming; a position he has held the past 10 years.

Outside NFA, Mr. Kavanagh is a husband and father of three children who will be future Goldbacks. He is excited to start the 2022-2023 school year in his new role as Assistant Principal!

Mr. Roberto Cruz, Assistant Principal - Cohorts 2020 & 2022 (P-Z)
rcruz@necsd.net | 845-563-5441
Main focus areas at NFA Main Campus: Crisis Team, Emergency Management Plan, Fire Drills, Health and Safety, Nurses/Health Clinic, Security, Transportation
Assist with: ENL/World Language, Science

Mr. Cruz has been an educator for over 28 years. Mr. Cruz has 12 years of experience as an assistant principal and 3 years experience as a principal within NECSD. Previously, he was a Special Education teacher, Bilingual/ESL Coach, Title III Grant Supervisor, Related Services Coordinator, and science director.

He and his wife just celebrated 27 years of marriage. They have three children.

This year, Mr. Cruz hopes to uplift students to and beyond their academic potential, provide a caring and edifying environment to support their emotional well-being and strengthen relationships with faculty/staff.

ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Team at communications@necsd.net. We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!

Date: 2022-09-01 08:09:00 AM


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