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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


It is with much excitement that I introduce myself to you. I am honored to be the newly named Assistant Principal at HD Cooke. Having the opportunity to hold this position has always been a dream.


My educational career began as a Special Education teacher in North Carolina. While in DCPS, I have served as a middle and high school Special Education teacher. I have spent the past four years as the Special Education Coordinator at Amidon Bowen Elementary School. I am 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, I will support students, teachers, and families to build upon HD Cooke's successes, while also working to overcome the challenges faced every day. 


I am 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.


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

My name is Yolanda Valderrama-Reyes. I am mostly known as Ms. Yolanda.  I am originally from Lima-Peru, and a first-generation immigrant. I am a straightforward individual who loves a good sense of humor, often making joes, and empathetic to other people’s needs. 


I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Social Work.  I have been with the District of Columbia Public Schools for 9 years.  First, as a Family Specialist with the Office of Early Childhood Education, then as an Administrative Officer, and followed by my current position as a Dean of Students.


I am a parent of two toddlers, and as many other parents would say  “seeing our children happy is one of the best feelings in the world”.  I am very passionate about empowering parents and making them understand the importance of education in their kid’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 prevails as a barrier.


Faculty and Staff

Early Childhood Education
Courtney Daignault | Teacher | PK3
Carolina de Luna | Educational Aide | PK3
Julia Moore | Teacher | PK3
Chyna Burnett | Educational Aide | PK3
Brittany Ell | Teacher | PK4
Mariann Fuentes Gallo | Educational Aide | PK4
Betsy Lavender | Teacher | PK4
Selena Price | Educational Aide | PK4
Lauren Moore | Teacher | PK4
Selethia Cain | Educational Aide | PK4
Althea Scott 
| Educational aide

Tanesha Burress | Teacher
Treneita Taylor | Educational Aide
Annie Holt | Teacher
TBA | Educational Aide
Lyndon Wrighten | Teacher
Maranda Estwick | Educational Aide
Austra Scopino| ELL Teacher

First Grade
Maggie Peale | Teacher
Nicole Birman | Teacher
Kieyrra Lucas | Teacher
Joselyn Flores | ELL Teacher
Juan Hernandez | ELL Teacher

Second Grade
Grace Dickinson | Teacher
Jasmine Childress | Teacher 
Peter Jones  | ELL Teacher
Hayley Gewolb | ELL Teacher
Matthew Krummert | ELL Teacher
Angeles Barrera-Cervantes | ELL Teacher

Third Grade
Kelly White | Teacher
Aviva Nemeth | Teacher
Bethany Dhanaraj | Teacher
Amie Hernandez | ELL Teacher
Fourth Grade
Katie Bell | Teacher
Avalon McOmber
| Teacher
Kate Cable-Murphy | ELA Teacher
Lauren McAuliffe | Math Teacher

Fifth Grade
Candace Lai-Fang 
| Math & Science Teacher
Brittany Barros-Soares | ELA Teacher
Hannah Minkoff | ELA Teacher
Izzy Negrin | Teacher
Sophie Neumann | ELL Teacher

Special Education
Alexis Gillespie | Teacher | PK3-PK4
Antionique Murray | Educational Aide | PK3-PK4

Whitley Murray | Educational Aide | PK3-PK4

Ann-Terrel Pratt | Teacher | K-2
Leslie Ayala | Educational aide | K-2

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

Kaitlyn Frandoni 
Brittany Pinnock

Isabella Freedman

Julius Evans | Occupational Therapist
Danielle Paternoster | Speech Therapist

Jennifer Irvin | Music
Nora Mueller | Art
Marta Rivera | World Language | Spanish
Jonathan McSwain | Physical Education and Health
Kevin Castro | Physical Education and Health
Amber Anglada | Librarian
Liana Ponce | Science

Instructional Support
Marissa Werner | Math Instructional Coach
Keely Fitzgerald | Literacy Instructional Coach
Brittany Skipper | Instructional Coach

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

LaTasha Jones | Behavior Tech
Darren Nelson | Behavior Tech

Front Office
Olga Cruz | Registrar
Facilities Maintenance
Vincent Thornton | Custodial Foreman
Marvin Brenes | Custodian
John Westly | Custodian

Nutrition and Wellness


H.D. Cooke's meal programs are free for all students and are prepared on site by Sodexo Magic! and Revolution Foods. 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. Breakfast and lunch are available for free in the cafeteria for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. 

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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