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Faculty & Staff

H.D. Cooke is a neighborhood school in the heart of Adams-Morgan, serving approximately 400 students.  As a community eligibility school, all students receive free meals and may qualify for after school program voucher, regardless of income. As a Title 1 school, we receive funding to provide additional services to all students. Approximately half of our students are also English Language Learners. 


We partner with a number of local and national organizations to provide enrichment services for our students including literacy support, developing healthy habits, athletic excellence, and community building. If your organization would like to become a Cooke partner, please contact Jacqueline Alvarado, Director of Strategy and Logistics, at

Our staff works hard to provide a well-rounded education to all of our students. Every year we set goals for our school and are continuously reviewing our practices to help our students meet academic standards and to prepare them as productive citizens in our community.

Our Leadership

Ryan Lam, Principal


Ryan Lam began his career teaching 4th grade math at Seaton Elementary School in 2010. From there, he moved into the role of a data coach and in 2015, Mr. Lam transitioned to the assistant principal role at Savoy Elementary School. During his time at Savoy, PARCC scores rose an average of 7% and student satisfaction rose over 25% . Two years later he became the Resident Principal at Whittier Education Campus through the Mary Jane Patterson Fellowship where he designed and implemented a school entry plan, increased the level of family engagement and worked closely with teachers to monitor student level data. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater College, and a master’s degree from Liberty University.


Ashley Price, Assistant Principal - Special Education

Ms. Price's educational career began as a Special Education teacher in North Carolina. While in DCPS, she has served as a middle and high school Special Education teacher. She has spent time as the Special Education Coordinator at Amidon Bowen Elementary School. She is passionate about advocating for students with disabilities and cultivating long term relationships with parents to support their child throughout their educational journey. 


As Assistant Principal, she will support students, teachers, and families to build upon HD Cooke's successes, while also working to overcome the challenges faced every day. 


Ms. Price is excited to get to know each of you and to work alongside you. It is truly a privilege to be part of this amazing community.

Keely Fitzgerald, Assistant Principal - Literacy

Keely Fitzgerald is entering her 11th year in education and 9th year at H.D. Cooke Elementary.


At H.D. Cooke, she has taught 2nd through 5th grade, served on several committees, and was an ELA instructional coach.


Ms. Fitzgerald holds a bachelor's degree in English and Elementary Education from the College of William and Mary and a master's in Reading Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. She is passionate about cultivating a love for reading and ensuring students have the skills needed to be fluent and confident readers. One of her favorite things about H.D. Cooke is the relationships she has built with families and students over the years.


She is very excited to continue to work with the community she has grown to love as the Assistant Principal of Literacy.


Jackie Alvarado, Director of Strategy and Logistics


Prior to coming to DCPS in July, she was the Permits and Customer Service Manager with DC Parks and 

Recreation and before that she worked for 12 years at The Washington Post in the newsroom. Ms. Jackie is a graduate of Wilson High School and the University of Maryland, College Park. Ms. Jackie was born in El Salvador. She lives in DC with her husband, 2 sons.


Yolanda Valderrama, Dean of Parent Engagement

Ms. Yolanda Valderrama-Reyes is originally from Lima-Peru, and a first-generation immigrant. She is a straightforward individual who loves a good sense of humor, often making jokes, and empathetic to other people’s needs. 


She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Social Work.  She has been with the District of Columbia Public Schools for over 10 years.  First, as a Family Specialist with the Office of Early Childhood Education, then as an Administrative Officer, and now as a Dean of Students.


She is a parent of two kids, and as many other parents would say  “seeing our children happy is one of the best feelings in the world”.  She is very passionate about empowering parents and making them understand the importance of education in their student's life. Parents in different communities have one common goal and is to provide better opportunities for their children, although sometimes language or lack of knowledge proves to be a barrier.


Faculty and Staff

Early Childhood Education
Courtney Daignault | Teacher | PK3
Selethia Cain | Educational Aide | PK3
Carolina de la Luna | Teacher | PK3
Libby Mahoney | Educational Aide | PK3
Brittany Ell | Teacher | PK4
Mariann Gallo | Educational Aide | PK4
Keara Artis | Teacher | PK4
Toni Terrell| Educational Aide | PK4
Lauren Moore | Teacher | PK4
Annelou Saez
 | Educational Aide | PK4
Althea Scott 
| Educational aide

Tanesha Burress | Teacher
Treneita Taylor | Educational Aide
Annie Holt | Teacher
Chyna Burnett | Educational Aide
Lyndon Wrighten | Teacher
Shaunta' Savage | Educational Aide
Grace Miranda| ELL Teacher

First Grade
Maggie Peale | Teacher
TBA | Teacher
Grace Dickinson | Teacher
Ausra Scopino | ELL Teacher

Second Grade
Jasmine Childress | Teacher 
Aviva Nemeth | Teacher
Joselyn Flores | ELL Teacher
Matthew Krummert | ELL Teacher

Third Grade
Katie Bell | Literacy Teacher

Avalon McOmber | Math Teacher
Kelly White
| Literacy Teacher
Bethany Dhanaraj | Math Teacher
Matthew Krummert | ELL Teacher
Fourth Grade

Candace Lai-Fang | Math Teacher
Kate Cable-Murphy | Math Teacher
Lauren McAuliffe | ELA Teacher
Limia Mohamed
 | ELL Teacher

Fifth Grade
Brittany Barros-Soares | ELA Teacher
Liana Ponce | Math & Science Teacher
Tyrell Garner | ELA Teacher
Jaquana Bell | Math Teacher
Hannah Minkoff | ELL Teacher

Special Education
Gabriel Green | Teacher | PK3-PK4
Antionique Murray | Educational Aide | PK3-PK4

Ayat Mesilhy | Educational Aide | PK3-PK4

Claire Eckles | Teacher | K-2
Deana Spinner | Educational aide | K-2
LeNita Roberts | Educational aide | K-2
Selena Price | Educational aide | K-2

Andrea Flood | Teacher | 3rd-5th
Shireka Davis | Educational Aide | 3rd-5th

Kaitlyn Frandoni 
Brittany Pinnock
Tracey Conley

Julius Evans | Occupational Therapist
Leslie Abdelgani | Speech Therapist

Jennifer Irvin | Music
Nora Mueller | Art
Sara Usuga | World Language | Spanish

Giuseppe Villari | World Language | Italian
Jonathan McSwain | Physical Education and Health
Nikkita Black-Marshall | Physical Education and Health
Amber Anglada | Librarian

Instructional Support
Marissa Werner | Math Instructional Coach
Rachel Yeager | Literacy Interventionist (K-2nd)
Brittany Skipper | Literacy Interventionist (3rd - 5th)

Angeles Barrera-Cervantes | ELL Teacher

Student Support
Mina Sharifi | Bilingual Counselor
Elizabeth Fife | Social Worker
Ramona De Jong | Social Worker
Johnathan McRae | Psychologist
Anna Lane | Mary Center Therapist

LaTasha Jones | ISS Coordinator
Darren Nelson | Behavior Tech

Front Office
Olga Cruz | Registrar

School Nurse
Chantal Achu | Children's Hospital Nurse
Facilities Maintenance
Vincent Thornton | Custodial Foreman
Marvin Brenes | Custodian
John "Wes" Agnew | Custodian
James Hammett | Custodian

Nutrition and Wellness


H.D. Cooke's meal programs are free for all students and are prepared on site by Sodexo Magic!  You can find the current menu at the DCPS Nutrition and Meals site.

Children in our Early Childhood program (PK3 and PK4) eat breakfast and lunch in the classroom. All students eat breakfast in the classroom as part of their morning Strong Start readiness routine.  

DCPS Nutrition Standards


  • Tree nuts are not served in any meals

  • Vegetarian meals are offered to all students daily

  • Pizza will only be served a maximum of once per week in elementary and middle schools and twice per week in high schools.


  • Milk must be skim or no more than one percent fat;

  • Milk cannot contain added sweeteners or artificial flavorings; and

  • Cheeses and yogurts must be low-fat.


  • All grains must be 100 percent whole-grain rich

Meat & Protein

  • Meat may not contain hormones, antibiotics, Genetically Modified Organism(s), unnatural feeds or have been subjected to irradiation or ammonia in the processing phase;

  • All meat and meat products must be sound, sanitary and free of objectionable odors or signs of deterioration;

  • Meats and proteins must not be fried at any point during their processing;

  • Processed fish must not contact more than five hundred milligrams of sodium per serving;

  • Eggs must be USDA Grade A; and

  • Pork will not be served in any form in elementary schools and education campuses;

  • Fish must be offered at least three times per month; and

  • Beef will not be served more than once per week.


  • Fresh fruits and vegetables shall be offered daily;

  • On average throughout the year, 20 percent of all food ingredients and products used in the making of the meals must be either locally-grown and/or locally-processed*

  • Fruits and vegetables must be naturally-grown, or otherwise grown under sustainable practices as defined by the USDA;

  • Dark green leafy and orange vegetables must be used weekly;

  • Fruits and vegetables are preferably fresh or frozen and must not be contained in anything other than water or natural fruit juice; and

  • Only 100 percent fruit juice may be served. 


*Locally-grown, as defined by the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act of 2010, means from a grower in: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia. Locally-processed, as defined by the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act of 2010, means processed at a facility in: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia. 


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