Brooklyn South BFSC Leadership

Cheryl Watson-Harris Director

Cheryl began her career in education in the New York Public School System, working in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where she was featured as a “lab site” teacher for the Lucy Calkins Writing Project.  After being appointed assistant principal of an elementary school in Boston for one year, her leadership skills as a reading/writing specialist, grant writer, supervisor, and motivator resulted in her being appointed the youngest principal in the history of the city of Boston.  While a principal, Cheryl served as one of district’s senior leadership mentors and participated in the development and support of aspiring and new principals. She has also been noted for her work with the national Full Service Schools movement, building strong school partnerships, aligning resources with student achievement, and developing Family and Community Engagement programs. She served as principal of an elementary and K-8 School, both with over 80% English Language Learners, for 15 years before moving to the central office as a Network Superintendent, supervising and evaluating school leaders, and supporting an urban district restructuring.  Cheryl’s work developing engaging strategies for Black and Latino boys, and the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) have been noted by Harvard University, leading to a formal partnership between HUGSE and Cheryl’s network of schools.

Cheryl holds a B.S. from Marymount College and a M. Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in addition to certificates of attendance from the American University of Cairo and Columbia University Teacher's College Writing and Reading Institute. Cheryl is a Lynch School of Education Leadership Fellow and a Chinese Bridge Delegate Alum.

Laura Kaiser
Deputy Director for Teaching and Learning

Laura Kaiser is the Deputy Director for Teaching and Learning at Brooklyn South. She has worked in the Department of Education for 21 years and has a strong instructional and administrative background. Laura Kaiser’s extensive experiences as an educator include: classroom teacher, staff developer, certified reading teacher, Regional Instructional Supervisor, Assistant Principal, Principal, Deputy Network Leader and Network Leader. Her expertise and successful background in implementing data driven instruction, Danielson's Framework, Balanced Literacy methodologies and Teacher College Writing Process will provide our schools exemplary support in literacy instructional practices. Laura Kaiser is dedicated to assisting our schools in building capacity, utilizing assessment to drive instruction and strengthening teacher practice in order to increase student achievement.   Laura Kaiser brings a passion and wealth of instructional knowledge to the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Will Ramirez
Deputy Director for Specialized Instruction and Student Support

Will began his career in the Department of Education as a School Social Worker for the Committee on Special Education (CSE) in District 32.  It was there where he developed an extensive knowledge base of the special education processes and its multifaceted components that range from creating and implementing quality IEP’s to a thorough understanding of local, State and Federal law.  Will has served in various administrative capacities that have ranged from supporting schools as one of the first Administrators of Special Education (ASE) for one of the first four pilot Children First Networks—CFN 3, to the Executive Director of Special Education in Cluster 4 overseeing special education compliance and operations, while building capacity to 11 Network ASE’s and ultimately serving as a Central Deputy Director supervising Supervisors of Psychologists prior to coming to the BFSC—Brooklyn South.  Throughout his professional journey, Will has always had the child centered approach and continues to allow that professional value to guide the work and practice with ensuring that all students with disabilities and their families receive the necessary support in order to facilitate student achievement.

Jean Mingot
Deputy Director of Finance and Human Resources

Jean Mingot is a business professional with extensive experience in School Business Administration, Grants and Contracts Administration, Budgeting and Accounting. He joined the DOE 11 years ago as a Budget Officer at the Manhattan ROC, occupying several positions in budget and finance at the ROC and ISC, including that of a Senior Grants Officer.  Most recently Jean served as the Deputy Director of Operations for Cluster 4 overseeing the network Budget and HR staff. Mingot’s educational background includes a BA in economics and Finance from the University of Stony Brook, and an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from Iona College. He currently pursuing an Advanced Certificate in School Leadership in order to obtain his SDBL with the New York State.

Dr. Jo Ann Benoit
Deputy Director for English Language Learners Jo Ann Benoit has been in education for over two decades and with the NYCDOE for 18 years having started in the classroom as a Social studies and English teacher. Jo Ann currently serves as the Deputy Director for English language learners for the South Brooklyn Field Support Center (FSC). Before joining the South Brooklyn FSC, she served as the Director of English Language Learner Instruction (DELLI) for Cluster 1.  During that time, she led the work of the Cluster in the areas of English Language Learner Instruction and compliance as well as conducted quality reviews throughout the City. Jo Ann also served as a Senior Instructional Coach at the Central Office where she led the design and facilitation of the Achievement and Citywide Institutes for the City’s coaches, network and cluster leads as well as superintendents. Prior to that, she supported schools at the network level from 2004-2013 as an ELL Instructional Specialist in Region 9, a Special Services Manager with the Empowerment structure, and an Achievement Coach and eventually as Deputy Network Leader for Instruction with the Children First Network structure. 

Charles Koonce
Deputy Director of Operations

Mr. Charles Koonce has served the children of NYC within the Department of Education for 16 years. He served as a college advisor at Boys and Girls High School and Crotona Academy High School, a safety administrator in District 79 Alternative Schools and Programs, Senior Program Manager for Students in Temporary Housing, and Director of Youth Development and Safety for the Children First Network.  In addition, he co-owned an online magazine publication. Charles believes that all children can learn and be successful.

Gregory Bowen
Deputy Director for Student Services

Gregory Bowen is the Deputy Director for Student Services at the Brooklyn South Field Support Center. He has worked in the Department of Education for 19 years and has a strong operational and administration background. Gregory Bowen’s extensive experiences as an educator include: classroom teacher, Dean, Assistant Principal, Safety Administrator, Deputy Network Leader and Network Leader. His expertise and successful background in implementing School wide Protocols and Procedures, Restorative Approaches, Capacity Building and School Culture/Climate enhancement will provide our schools exemplary support in Student Services initiatives. Gregory Bowen is dedicated to assisting our schools in building capacity, utilizing citywide best practices and strengthening school community engagement in order to increase student achievement.   Gregory Bowen brings a passion and wealth of operational knowledge to the Department of Student Services.

Annemarie D. Vardy
Administrative Assistant to the Director and Deputies

Annemarie D. Vardy is the Administrative Assistant to the Director, Cheryl Watson-Harris and the Deputies here at the Brooklyn South Borough Field Resources Center.  She has worked in the Department of Education for 9 years and has worked in operations.  Annemarie D. Vardy started as a temp at the Staten Island ROC entering data into the No Child Left Behind database,  became an Applications Support Liaison at the Staten Island ROC and Staten Island ISC. She was the Health Liaison and Attendance Manager at CFN 205 at Linden Place, Queens as well as the Cluster Two Point Person for Health and Back up Cluster Two Point Person for Attendance.  She was the Data/It and Technology, Health Services, Food Services at CFN 409 in Brooklyn.

Kevin "Rhodie" Edwards
Brooklyn South BFSC Data Manager

Kevin "Rhodie" Edwards is an experienced educator and data aficionado with experience in the public, non-profit, and private education sectors. He began his career as a 5th grade teacher at P.S. 46x in the Bronx, before being recruited by American Ballet Theatre as Manager of School Programs. In both positions, Rhodie championed a systems-based approach, creating dynamic data systems to streamline such processes as finding an award-winning book for one's students, managing student records, and on-boarding interns.  He has consulted with Amplify Education as a Project Manager in charge of facilitating teacher adoption of Amplify’s ProjectEd (, and co-directed the Critical Educators Network for peer-to-peer professional development. Edwards is a proud Education Pioneers Fellow alumni (NYC 2014) and Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt, certified in process improvement. He holds an MSEd from Mercy College and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, where he attended as a Kenneth R. Meyer fellow, with a focused on Data Analytics and Business Leadership.

Brandon Slaughter,
Support Service Liaison / Chief of Staff

Brandon Slaughter obtained his M.Ed from Boston College’s Donovan Urban Scholars Program. He began his educational career as a high school history teacher and later transitioned into central office roles serving as the director of Advanced Placement & International Baccalaureate Programs and as a Director of Network Academics for Boston Public Schools. Currently Brandon service as the Support Service Liaison for Brooklyn South's Borough Field Support Center.