ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF
Dr. Vespia serves as Executive Director. She has a passion for community-led innovation and design thinking. She has created community living options for children, pioneered a local arts center, and designed educational programs aboard one of RI’s premiere tall ships. As Chair of the Education program at Salve Regina University, Dr. Vespia spearheaded the introduction of technology and induction coaching to promote teaching and learning. As a former psychologist at the MET high school, she witnessed the power of self-directed, personalized experiential learning. Leveraging this experience, she designed a new successful alternative secondary program in Attleboro, MA. Born and educated in Providence, she is committed to the future of our city and, especially, to the youth of Charette, who will shape it for generations to come. She has a special place in her heart for Providence and it was a natural choice for the home of the first Urban Planning and Historic Preservation high school in the United States. Born in Providence, she attended high school a short walk from Charette spending many an afternoon exploring the sights and sounds of this design city. When she is not land locked you might find her at the helm of a tall ship for sail training. She sailed on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to Cuba in 2017 and wants all of her students to follow their passions and become life-long learners.
Organization and Planning
Mrs. Martin earned her bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island and her master's degree in Secondary Administration at Providence College. As a life-long educator, she has experience as a high school math teacher, middle school principal, high school principal, district administrator and adjunct professor preparing college students for a career in teaching. Here at Charette, she works closely with Dr. Vespia and the entire team; building a strong school community that focuses on our students' academic and personal growth. Outside of school, Mrs. Martin lives with her husband and her thirteen year old rescue lab mix Waverly. She has many interests, but enjoys most spending time with family and friends.
Jill is the School Counselor and wears a lot of hats! On top of working on College & Career Planning with Ms. Claribel, she coordinates the school lunches, the ACN courses (college and community classes for credit), transcript analysis, data reporting to RIDE and supporting many other projects. She moved to Providence to help start the Met School 26 years ago, and went on to also start-up Year Up Providence, the RI Adult Education PD Center and Charette. She loves solving problems with this great team of Charette staff and supporting students in finding opportunities. She also has 3 grandchildren and a 98-year-old mother to keep her from getting too set in her ways.
Director of Student Support Services
Joharlen has been at Charette since it’s grand opening in the fall of 2018. She strives to build an inclusive and culturally responsive school culture and is responsible for the delivery of social an emotional support. Joharlen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rhode Island College before beginning her career working with families and children. Being a first generation college graduate she understands the importance of an education in breaking the generational cycle of poverty. “My parents told me I was capable, and I was.” It is her hope to help her students break barriers and become beacons of hope in their families and communities. In addition to her many duties at Charette, she volunteers as a RI Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in state foster care. She has made it her life’s mission to help children gain equal opportunities to succeed. Joharlen is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in School Counseling at Providence College and hopes to continue inspiring student’s to believe that “yes you can!” ¡Si se puede!
Career and College Planning
Claribel Crews is the Career and College Planning Counselor for Charette High School. Claribel is a first-generation student who graduated from RIC with a Bachelors in K-12 Special Education and from Providence College with a Masters in Education, M.Ed. As an Afro-Latina woman, she became an educator because she believes representation matters, especially in the classroom! She is passionate about working with her students and their families to ensure success. As well as continuing to be an amazing wife, mom/stepmom to her four children and makes sure they have a positive relationship with their academics. During her free time, she is reading, crafting, and spending time with her family!
Carolyn Taylor holds her master's degree in Multicultural Urban Special Education Administration and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educating Students with Autism. She comes to us with experience as a Special Educator, MLL Administrator and a Special Education Director. She also has extensive experience in writing Federal grants, Title IA Administration and overseeing IDEA requirements. She has two grown daughters who are both artists. She enjoys traveling to visit with them and reading the classics.
Technology Support Specialist
Sue Grundy is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration and a minor in German Studies. She has held a technology support role since 2004 in Higher Education and Adult Education settings before arriving at Charette in the summer of 2021. She holds a Google Apps for Education Administrator Certification, managing the one-to-one Google Chromebooks inventory for our students, among many other tech responsibilities at Charette. She has also taken on the role of Athletics Coordinator, handling eligibility for student athletes. During her free time, she enjoys traveling, photography and a blend of sports.
Our beloved Adelaida is the receptionist at Charette. She is the first person you see when you enter the building and the last person you see on your way out. She provides excellent administrative support while tending to her front desk duties. Anyone who encounters her would describe her as warm and welcoming and truly a kind soul. Adelaida is always ready to assist when needed! When she is not in school she enjoys spending time with her twin daughters Selenia, Oceana, and son Ahriahs.
Special Projects Assistant
Santa Espinosa has worked in education for over 14 years. Prior to that she worked in finances for 17 years. At Charette High School, Santa is the Special Projects Assistant. You can find her helping with recruitment, enrollment, credit recovery, afterschool support and helping with students and families in any areas of need. If you are ever in need feel free to reach out to Santa and she will answer any questions you have with a smile! She has lived in Providence her whole life! At home she spends time with her husband of 25 years and her two children; Ruby and Ruben. She is in love with the city of Providence and knows so much of the rich history in our small state.
Suzie is our devoted School Nurse who first earned her Associates degree in Nursing from New England Institute of Technology March of 2016 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Rhode Island May 2019. Suzie is a first-generation college graduate who pursued her college education as an adult all while juggling life as a mom and wife. She believes in the importance of education, lifetime learning and success in young adults and hopes her story can be an inspiration to her students. Her nursing career has been primarily in community health serving the population of Providence, RI before taking on a new role in School Nursing December 2021. Her passion is to foster an inclusive, safe environment, where students can feel comfortable to discuss any issues or concerns they may have. As a mom of a high school student, she and understands firsthand the issues many teens face during their high school years. She is also a devoted wife and truly enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
John Blunnie holds a Bachelor's in Chemistry from Rhode Island College and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. He started teaching in the state of Mississippi and has been teaching Chemistry and Physics for over 7 years now. He is passionate about hands on learning of physical sciences. He currently lives in Warwick with his wife Nini and his son Luke.
Mr. Brown is in his third year at Charette High School. He holds Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Secondary Education and Mathematics from the University of Rhode Island. He has taught everything from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus. He holds a firm belief that everyone has the ability to learn and use math and enjoys bringing that ability out in people. He lives in Cumberland with his wife Jessie and son Henry.
Jessica Bragan has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Rhode Island and a master's degree in secondary English education from Rhode Island College. She currently teaches ninth and tenth grade English at Charette. Her favorite projects to teach (so far!) are "Power of Persuasion," "Poetry and the People," and the "Passion Project," all of which champion student voice and power in the classroom and beyond. In her time outside the classroom, she enjoys reading, weightlifting, hiking nature trails with her dog Remi, and writing poems.
Finnlee Burge has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island. He has been working in education since his sophomore year of college and has experience with students from 4 years old to 25 years old. His favorite field of science is molecular biology and has a passion for genetics and immunology. His favorite class activities include having students design their own experiments to try and find the source for some unknown phenomena. He is an avid juggler and plays video games, reads, and creates 3d art in his spare time.
Financial Literacy/Classroom Support
Joe Hanson received degrees in German and Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan and began a successful seventeen-year career in college textbook and professional publishing that included assignments in all aspects of the business; he also holds an MBA from Adelphi University. He recently joined Charette and has been working tirelessly to help students reach their full potential! When he is not in the classroom he enjoys gardening, playing video games, cooking delicious meals, and doing work for his MAT at Johnson & Wales.
Ayesha has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from Brown University. She has always loved mathematics and wants to share this love with her students. She currently teaches Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 to the freshmen and sophomores.
Julie Latessa has been in education for many years and has worked with students of all ages. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees and one Master of Education degree. Ms. Latessa can be found assisting Ms. Briggs in English classes and Ms. Joharlen in Wellness classes. Also, she oversees a tenth grade SDL class. Besides working with students, she works with the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub - a nonprofit organization with a mission to take veterans to see their memorials in Washington, D.C. at no cost to the veterans. When she is not working with students or veterans, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and working out. She lives by these words. “I believe that when you give, you never go without and get more in return.”
Samantha Miller attended the University of Rhode Island and received a degree in History and a minor in Education. She currently works with students from all grade levels at Charette Charter High School. She teaches Urban Planning and Historic Preservation, which is a program that focuses on community development, appreciation and preservation of historic urban infrastructure, as well as communication and collaboration with community leaders throughout the City of Providence and beyond. She also teaches 11th and 12th grade English. Her favorite projects are “The American Dream”, “Creative Nonfiction” and “The Poetry Professor.” Outside of the classroom, she also enjoys photography, traveling and reading poetry!
Taylor O’Neill has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English from Rhode Island College. She also holds a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies, as well. Born and raised in North Providence, Taylor has always found a passion for teaching, from mentoring in her high school Writing Center to working with students in the Special Olympics. Mix all of that in with a passion for literature and pop culture and becoming an English teacher was the logical next step. In her free time, she loves to read, play video games, and watch the latest Netflix phenomenon. This is her first year teaching and she couldn’t be more excited to begin her adventure at Charette Charter High School and be a part of the Charette family!
Proud father and husband, teacher by passion, catholic by conviction, sensitive to problems. Live a constant process of learning, innovation and research. Jose holds a business administration, Master's degree in Finance, and Master's degree in Management Science and Research from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic, where he worked for 20 years as a teacher. Postgraduate degree in teaching qualification, virtual education and instructional design from the Open University for Adults. He graduated from the Teacher Assistant Certification Program by the RI Department of Education (RIDE) at ILSR and English as Second Language at Rhode Island College. He is dedicated to helping others and providing a fun, innovative, and informative learning environment for students in each course, skilled in technology development and implementation of a classroom curriculum. Jose recently joined Charette as a teacher's assistant in math.
Allie Roderick teaches U.S. History and Government to our Juniors and Seniors here at Charette! Ms. Roderick graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in History and Secondary Education. She is passionate about political participation and social justice, and hope to encourage students to create the world they'd like to live in. She grew up in Providence, but has recently moved to Woonsocket with her fiancé, Eric, and her dog, Red. She enjoys drawing, writing, and cooking in her free time!
Julie Alden began teaching Multilingual Learners (MLLs) in Florida after being certified by Cambridge University, U.K. She taught adults among all levels of proficiency and domains, as well as instruction for American Citizenship and TOEFL examinations. Julie changed her focus from adults to public school students when she moved to North Carolina in 2020. She taught ESL in two different schools - with Kindergarteners and First Graders in a primary school; and, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders in a middle school. She received her Graduate Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and will finish in December 2022 at UNCC with a Master of Arts in Teaching in TESOL. Having recently moved to Rhode Island from North Carolina, she returned to her roots in New England.
Mathematics ILA/Classroom Support
English ILA/Classroom Support
Rosetta Stone/MLL Support
History ILA/Classroom Support
History ILA/Classroom Support