About Us

We are journalists, former teachers, parents and public school advocates dedicated to improving schools for every child in the city. We believe that engaged, informed parents can promote racially and economically integrated schools of the highest quality. We work towards that goal by providing independent reviews of schools based on visits and school data, publishing research and guides about the NYC school system, and encouraging parent dialogue on InsideSchools+, and and helping families navigate the NYC public school system.

Our team is small, so we welcome your support. Contact us if you would like to volunteer or make a tax deductible donation.

InsideSchools is a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and is supported by grants from the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Heckscher Foundation, the Leo Model Foundation and The New School. We are also supported by reader donations and advertising revenue. Former grantors include the New York Community Trust and the Walton Family Foundation.

Who we are

Natasha Quiroga, Director of Education Policy and InsideSchools

Natasha Quiroga is Director of Education Policy and InsideSchools at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. She brings almost 20 years of experience advocating for children, youth, and families to these roles. Most recently, she was Director of the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) and Senior Counsel in the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she developed and successfully expanded national initiatives fostering parental leadership in education. Over the course of more than 10 years’ leadership at the Lawyers’ Committee, she provided extensive and expert analysis for parents, educators, and legislators on issues impacting the education of students of color, immigrant children, multilingual learners, and students with disabilities. Natasha also served as the first full-time Executive Director of Escuela Bolivia (now Educación Para Nuestro Futuro) in Arlington, Virginia, and advised state and local education agencies on compliance with federal education laws at an education law firm.

Natasha received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law and her Master's in International Politics with a concentration in Children and Youth Development from American University’s School of International Service. She received her B.B.A. in Marketing and B.A. in Plan II Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar.

Lydie Raschka, Writer | Editor | Content Manager

Lydie writes, edits and moderates content for InsideSchools and its various social media platforms. She contributes to policy research for InsideSchools and the Center for New York City Affairs. She holds a master's degree from Bank Street College of Education. With InsideSchools' founder, Clara Hemphill, and other staff she co-authored "New York City's Best Public Pre-K and Elementary Schools: A Parents' Guide," a two-part article in NY Metro Parents titled, "Is Your Child Getting a Good Education in Math and Science?," and a 2015 report called "Conquering Teachers' Math Anxiety." Lydie is a former public school teacher (grades 1–3) and is Montessori-trained. Her child attended public school in Manhattan. As a teacher, parent, writer and consultant she has been inside hundreds of New York City schools.

Laura Zingmond, Senior Editor

Laura plans, writes, and edits content for Insideschools, advises parents, journalists, and policymakers on public school choice and education, and contributes to policy research for Insideschools and the Center for New York City Affairs. She has visited and profiled hundreds of schools across the city and led the research on middle and high schools for a multi-year project evaluating science and math instruction. Previously, Laura worked as a litigation attorney and administrative law judge. From 2014 to 2016, she served as the Manhattan Borough President's appointee to the New York City Panel for Educational Policy, the governing board for the city's public schools. Laura is a lifelong New Yorker and her two children are the fourth generation in her family to attend the city's public schools. She holds a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Gigi Hernandez, Partnerships and Spanish Project Lead at InsideSchools

A public school parent and alumna of New York City's public schools, Gigi Hernandez is the Partnerships and Spanish Project Lead at InsideSchools, where she conducts outreach and helps Spanish-speaking parents navigate public schools, college access and beyond through offering classes, workshops and online community forums. Before joining InsideSchools, Gigi worked with parents at Make the Road New York in Queens as a Parent Leader, supplying educational material and policy information. Gigi is a graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School and CUNY Hunter College, where she completed her BA in Sociology and is currently pursuing another BA in English with a focus on Linguistics and Rhetoric.

Melanie Quiroz, Data Analyst

Melanie is an Education Policy Data Analyst, assisting with data management for InsideSchools. She earned her MS in Public and Urban Policy at The New School. She has worked at the educational non-profit Prep for Prep as a student advisor, helping high-achieving, disadvantaged, minority NYC middle school students transition to independent day and boarding schools, both socially and academically, and is an alumna of the program herself. Melanie has also worked as a Respite Service Coordinator at the non-profit Human First, providing in-home support services to adult individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Anisha Mukherjee, Research Assistant

Anisha is a part-time research assistant supporting the education team at the Centre for New York City Affairs. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design and Technology at the New School and aspires to become an interaction designer. She previously worked as a UI/UX and a graphic designer at an EdTech startup in India to improve the quality of education for students from low-income families.

Paul Rochford, Research Assistant

Paul writes and edits content for InsideSchools part time. He has worked as an Education policy reporter in Cleveland, Ohio and as a freelance reporter in New York City. He is is passionate about writing solutions-based stories and articles that break down the often confusing processes within public school systems. Paul has a degree in history from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism at The New School.

Anh LaRusso, Software Engineer

Anh is a full stack software engineer responsible for designing, building and maintaining the web application at InsideSchools. Anh previously worked as a founding engineer at Uncubed, a tech-focused startup in talent marketing and recruitment. At Uncubed, she created job seeker and employer tools including automated resume matching, candidate delivery system, video job board, and an online skills courses platform. Uncubed's job board technology was acquired by Recruiter.com, where she also worked as a senior software engineer.

Anh is a native New Yorker, she has a B.A. from CUNY Hunter College and a M.S. from Long Island University. She was a former NYC Department of Education teacher and career counselor at CUNY Brooklyn College prior to becoming a software engineer. She is passionate about education and hopes to use her technical skills to continue developing software that makes education accessible to everyone.

Janay Joseph, Video Production Assistant

Janay is a videographer and video editor for InsideSchools. She grew up in South Florida and attended public school in Broward County. Prior to joining InsideSchools, she directed two award-winning documentary short films and volunteered for Broward County Public Schools. Janay was also a videographer for the Broward Center for Performing Arts and an editor for MakoTV News at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She has an undergraduate degree in history with a minor in digital video productions and film studies at NSU. Janay is currently working on her Master of Arts in Media Studies at The New School.

Maricruz Badia, Coordinator at InsideSchools

Maricruz coordinates InsideSchools program offerings tailored to aid migrant families in navigating the complexities of public schools and accessing various services in New York City. Prior to her role at InsideSchools, Maricruz served as a school counselor at a middle school in the South Bronx. In this capacity, she assisted her students and families in the application process to some of NYC best public high schools, while also providing crucial counseling and crisis intervention services. Maricruz holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master's in Education from Lehman College of the City University of New York. Currently, she is furthering her expertise by pursuing an advanced graduate certificate in mental health counseling at Alfred University.

Dashiell Allen, Resource Specialist

Dashiell grew up in New York City, attended public schools, and holds a master’s in bilingual journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Prior to joining InsideSchools, he reported on immigration and local news for various publications, including Gay City News, Documented NY, City Limits, and Patch. In his free time he enjoys crocheting and going on long bike rides.