Cara Tait-Fanor took over as the principal of NYC iSchool in the summer of 2022 after having worked in the NYC Department of Education for the last 17 years. Cara was a founding teacher at the Green School in Brooklyn, which later became the Williamsburg High School of Arts and Technology (WHSAT). In 2012, Cara became the principal of WHSAT where she focused on prioritizing student voice, equity and innovative problem solving. In 2015, Cara was selected to be a Cahn Fellow, as a part of Columbia University’s Distinguished Principal Fellowship Program. During that time, Cara also served as a host principal through the NYC Department of Education’s Learning Partners Program where she shared her work around collaborative professional development with other principals. From 2019-2021 Cara served with nine other NYC principals on the Chancellor’s Principal's Advisory Cabinet where she worked to develop a citywide instructional and racial equity vision. Cara is a proud parent of an NYC iSchool alum and believes strongly in the iSchool’s vision to be constantly rethinking what education should be in order to best prepare our students for their futures.
Michelle Leimsider is a founding staff member at the NYC iSchool and served as the school’s Guidance Counselor from 2008-2011, prior to becoming an Assistant Principal in 2012 through the NYC LEAP Program. After graduating from Union College in 2001, Michelle joined Teach for America and worked as an elementary school teacher in Houston, TX. From there, Michelle lived in San Diego, CA and Boston, MA before moving back to her hometown of New York City to pursue a degree in School Counseling. As the product of a New York City public school education, Michelle believes strongly in the power of public schools and their work. She worked as a middle school Guidance Counselor at Mott Hall II middle school on the Upper West Side prior to joining the iSchool’s founding staff. In addition to her leadership role, Michelle developed and oversees the Advisory program, student services, college readiness, admissions process, and challenge-based module courses. A strong believer in the iSchool mission and vision, Michelle has also presented at national conferences in Philadelphia and Denver. With all that she does Michelle ensures that the iSchool’s original vision and mission continue to be at the core of all pedagogical and policy decisions. She believes that teaching students critical thinking and self-advocacy skills are extremely important and that sometimes the “real” learning happens when students leave with more questions than answers.