melMelissa Melkonian, Founder & Principal
Melissa Melkonian has been an educator for over 16 years in New York City. She began her career as a bilingual special education teacher in Inwood working for the New York City Department of Education. While with the NYCDOE, Melissa taught students in grades 5-8 in both English and Spanish. Melissa then moved to a charter school in the Bronx where she continued to be an educator for a few years before becoming the middle school assistant principal. Melissa is the Founder and Head of School. Melissa has earned a B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy from Trinity College, an M.A. in Bilingual and Special Education from Mercy College and an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership at Columbia University's Teachers College. 

nickNick Gallagher, Director of Operations
Nick Gallagher joined The American Dream School in January of 2014. He is responsible for supporting Principal Melkonian in the role of Startup Coordinator making sure The American Dream School runs smoothly behind-the-scenes.  Nick has previously worked in education research, taught and worked with children and young adults in the public library setting as a librarian.  Nick has earned his Master of Library and Information Science from UCLA and studied public health at Columbia University.

Beatriz Beatriz Bañuelos, Assistant Principal 
Beatriz is originally from Los Angeles, CA. She began her teaching career in Texas, through Teach for America, as a 2006 Rio Grande Valley corps member. She received a B.A. in Social Science with an emphasis in Multi-cultural Studies and a B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine in 2004. She also received a M.A. in Sociology from CUNY Brooklyn College and an Ed.M in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Beatriz enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.


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