Upper Elementary


Serving students in grades 4-5

The Upper Elementary School serves 360 children in grades 4-6 and builds on the foundational skills learned in K-3. The school focuses on providing every student with a strong academic foundation in math and language arts using integrated approaches that incorporate science, social studies and world languages.

Instructional Programs

Developing Communication Skills & Nurturing Values

  • An academic program delivered through content specialized departments to ensure that students are taught Mathematics and Language Arts by content certified teachers.
  • Strong focus on English/Language Arts skills development to ensure that students become strategic readers, writers, and oral communicators.
  • Varied opportunities for students to expand thinking skills (including metacognitive and critical-thinking skills), and to develop the necessary habits of mind, motivation to learn and independence as a learner.
  • Structured opportunities for students to develop life skills such as articulating a vision, decision making, building self-confidence and self-discipline, and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.
  • A commitment to nurturing important values, including team-building skills, respecting alternative viewpoints, and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions.

Principal's Message

Welcome to the Upper Elementary School

I’m extremely happy to join the staff of LEAP University Academy as the new 4 to 8 Instructional Principal. I’m very passionate about education and I look forward to partnering with you to provide our students with a rigorous, engaging, and high-quality middle school experience.

I believe that great schools are the results of great teachers, so my primary objective will be to ensure that every student is receiving high-quality instruction from every teacher at LEAP. In order to do this, I will be providing teachers with feedback on their instruction, access to professional development, and reaching out to parents for support with academic and behavioral concerns to ensure our students are prepared for college and 21st century careers.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in this role! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas you would like to share.



  • Building Administration


  • Fourth Grade
  • Fifth Grade
  • Special Services
  • Special Area Teachers (Arts, Dance, Music,Theater, GYM & ESL, Spanish)


  • Support Staff

Building Administration

Crystle Walker

Instructional Principal 4-8


Nancy Torres

Vice Principal


Rafael Miranda

Director of PRAC/VAPA

856-614-3292 | ext. 7124rmiranda@leap.rutgers.edu

Fourth Grade

Elizabeth Alper

Math/Science Teacher

Kim Cursick-Plagge

Fourth Grade


Darren Hagerman

Fourth Grade


Cherese Evans

Fourth Grade


Debra Long

Math/Science Teacher


Kierson Perks

LAL/ Social Studies Teacher


Nicole Maenner

LAL/Social Studies Teacher


Deanna Quidachay

4th Grade CCR Teacher


Courtney Lavin

4th Grade Math/Science Teacher


Fifth Grade

Summer Coles

LAL/Social Studies Teacher


Lorraine Wallace-Ross

5th Grade Teacher


Cristin McCreesh

5th Grade Teacher


Andrey Deren

5th Grade Teacher


Victoria DeFrance

LAL/Social Studies Teacher


Joanne Orio

5th Grade Teacher


Johanna Pereira-Abrego

5th Grade Teacher


Lauren McKeown

5th Grade LAL/Social Studies Teacher


Special Services

Jonathan Hess



Rachael Haines

Special Education Teacher


Brigitte Ore

Spanish Teacher


Susan Stoneback

Special Education Teacher


Alexis Cotton

ESL Teacher


Special Area Teachers (Arts, Dance, Music,Theater, GYM & ESL, Spanish)

Michael DiNuova

Health/P.E. Teacher


Carol Tan

Health/P.E. Teacher


Kathleen Dunkley

Health/P.E. Teacher


Richard Marino

Health/P.E. Teacher


Jazmin Rivera

Art Teacher

Rafael Miranda

Director of Fabrucation LabA

856-614-3292 Ext. 7124rmiranda@leap.rutgers.edu

Support Staff

Nellybel Nunez

Office Manager 4-8


Amanda Beltran

College Access Coordinator



View & Download Menus for Upper Elementary Students

Food is cooked daily in each school. The staff works diligently to provide balanced and nutritious meals. Menus are available each week.

ESL & Special Service

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program and Special Services

LEAP Academy’s ESL Program aims to provide culturally and linguistically responsive education for all English language learners to ensure equitable access to opportunities that promote language acquisition, life long learning, and global citizenship.

The office of Special Services supports families, students, and their teachers by providing the necessary tools and resources to ensure that all eligible diverse learners; students with disabilities, students with a 504 plan, and multilingual learners. Under special services, LEAP Academy students receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) through the provision of special education and/or related services to meet the unique needs of all qualified diverse learners. Rigorous, high-quality instruction is essential to our practice and our teachers and staff are committed to prepare our students for success.