The Canarsie Ascend Team

Message from the School Director


Dear Families,


I look forward to working with you to fulfill our vision of educational excellence for every scholar. Your support is crucial to our success. Research has revealed a clear link between family involvement and academic performance, and we seek to leverage that power to realize each child's full potential.


Thank you again for choosing Canarsie Ascend. We have an exciting and productive year ahead of us!



Anastasia Michals

School Director


School Leadership Team


                            Anastasia Michals


School Director Anastasia Michals was formerly the founding dean of students responsible for shaping and sustaining the school’s distinctive culture and ensuring that scholars internalize Canarsie Ascend’s values and aspirations for academic excellence. Previously, Michals taught math in the middle grades and third-grade guided reading at Belmar Elementary, while serving as a youth program manager, fitness coach, and personal trainer at the Atlantic Club in Manasquan, NJ. Previously, Michals taught 7th-grade mathematics for several years at KIPP AMP Academy in Brooklyn, and also taught math at Manasquan Elementary School, one of the highest performing K-12 schools in New Jersey. Michals began her career as a Teach For America corps member at Benjamin S. Carson Honors Preparatory Middle School in Atlanta, GA, where she was recruited to be a founding member of The B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science, Technology) Academy, a single-gender academy within the school. Michals holds two master’s degrees in education from Columbia University and Mercer University, a post-master’s certification endorsement as a supervisor from Monmouth University, and a bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr.


                        Assistant Principal of Operations

                           Ann Desir


Ann Desir is an Assistant Principal of Operations who joined CALS in 2019. She has a breadth of operational experience within the youth development field and has served families and students across grades Pre-K to college. She is passionate about ensuring scholars, particularly in communities of color, are equipped with the tools and resources they need to succeed in college and beyond. She leads the CALS’ Operations team in all non-instructional elements of the school so that staff can focus on providing excellent instruction to our scholars. Prior to her career in school operations, she worked for the non-profit Summer Search where she provided summer-experiential scholarships and 1:1 mentoring to high school students across NYC. She has also worked in the clinical research neurodevelopment field with a focus on child and adolescent mental health in underserved communities. She holds her B.A. in Child Development and Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies from Tufts University. Mrs. Desir is firmly committed to serving the CALS community and strongly values the family-school partnership.




                        Assistant Principal/Principal in Residence

                           Justin Moorman




Justin Moorman joined the CALS team in 2019, serving as the Dean of Instruction and Culture, a Resident Director, and currently, as the Principal in Residence. Prior, he has worked in international education reform in the United Arab Emirates as a teacher, an instructional leader, and a district-level consultant. Additionally, he was a contributing author to OECD's "Teaching for the Future." Prior, Mr. Moorman was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year for Charlotte-Mechkenburg School District. He previously taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. He obtained his B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his M.A. in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. He holds a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from Harvard GSE. Mr. Moorman is committed to scholar excellence and empowerment through transformative equitable and inclusive practices.




                          Assistant Principal

                              Lawrence Wuorio




Lawrence Wuorio is an Assistant Principal who has dedicated his educational craft towards equity and access for all.  Before joining the Canarsie Ascend Lower School team, he served scholars here in Brooklyn at Bushwick Ascend Lower School, Brooklyn Ascend Lower School, and Brooklyn Ascend Middle School. His experience serving the Las Vegas, Nevada community as a teacher, department chair, leadership team member, and equity and diversity liaison brought strong advocacy to scholars who needed extra support and improved culturally responsive teaching practices.  Throughout his work, Mr. Wuorio received recognition from colleagues and district leaders for student achievement, family engagement, teacher development, equity, and access in addition to service on select committees with the state board of education, and district steering committees.  Mr. Wuorio strives to ensure that every scholar in every classroom without exception and without excuses is afforded the highest quality education regardless of disability or circumstance.            




                        Assistant Principal

                           Brittany Harper


Brittany Harper joined the CALS team in 2019, serving as a Dean of Instruction and Culture and is currently serving the CALS community as an Assistant Principal. Ms. Harper has her Bachelor of Arts in Adolescence Social Studies Education and her Master of Science in Special Education. Before joining the Canarsie Ascend Lower School team, Ms. Harper served scholars here in Brooklyn at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School and Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary School as a teacher, department chair, and instructional leader. Additionally, she served as a school liaison between district and charter schools in the NYC area. Ms. Harper is committed to ensuring all scholars receive the education they deserve.

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Culture at Ascend