meet our teachers

Ms.Ashley Bartela

I chose Persistence Prep because...I truly believe in our school and our mission.  I believe that our scholars need to be given the best possible opportunity to learn, grow and succeed and I know that Persistence Prep can give them that opportunity.  Our team is dedicated to instilling in our scholars our core values: community, respect, grit, enthusiasm, justice and persistence.  With these values driving our learning community, I truly believe that our scholars are destined for greatness.  I am so honored to be able to work with a team full  such passionate educators, as well as our hard-working scholars and dedicated families. 


Mrs. Tracey Thomas

I chose Persistence Prep because... I want to empower our scholars with strategies and help them develop a desire to learn. I have taught and watched children in our inner city schools grow and transform into educated young adults. I believe in Persistence Prep core values. Our school is helping our scholars build self-awareness in Kindergarten so they will be successful in life. As an educator at PPA, I am honored to help shape our scholars, and see their abilities and believe in them. I strive to see the whole child in his or her learning process.

Ms. Kimberly Bing

I chose Persistence Prep because...of the culture I was being introduced to. I have lived in Buffalo my whole life and I want to see it grow as a whole. Persistence Prep is giving our scholars the chance to get a quality education that sets them up to go to a four-year college and have great careers someday. I chose Persistence Prep so I can grow with our scholars, and become a bigger part of the community. As a first year teacher, I feel supported and inspired through Persistence Prep which is how I want our scholars to feel as well."

Ms. Bernadette Giangreco

I chose Persistence Prep because...I believe Persistence Prep to be a school where all children have the ability to learn and create positive change within their communities. The emphasis Persistence Prep places on teacher support and parent partnership promotes an environment of positivity ensuring the best education for scholars. Persistence Prep supports my view that education is a priceless opportunity to help all of us open doors of opportunity to a brighter future. 

Ms. Rachel Vadnais

I chose Persistence Prep is evident that the leaders of the school truly value and appreciate each and every individual involved in making the mission a reality. As a new resident of Buffalo, I am grateful for and inspired by the incredible community surrounding Persistence Prep. The educators at this school firmly believe that ALL children are capable and deserving of success in achieving their goals. I am honored to be on a team that is dedicated to ensuring the growth of it’s scholars, teachers and community as a whole. I strive to make each scholar feel as welcomed and valued as I do at persistence prep.

Ms. Ariel Pryce

I chose Persistence Prep because...while researching the school, I was entirely moved by the school’s core beliefs. What resonated most within me was the first core belief, “An excellent education is a civil right.” After witnessing many scholars across the United States being denied their civil right to a high-quality education, I realized Persistence Prep is a school that I absolutely needed to be a part of. I was excited at the prospect to provide scholars with the civil right to a high-quality education. I then made a decision that I could not pass up such an opportunity of being a part of such a positive change, right here in the heart of Buffalo.”

Ms.Sonya Johnson

I chose Persistence Prep because...coming to Buffalo and working in the inner-city for over 8 years has reminded me of my city upbringing down state. I knew Persistence Prep was the platform for me because so many of our core values attribute to the reasons why I was a successful student in the inner-city. Persistence Prep isn’t just focused on high-quality academic education; we are a movement; a place of advocacy for the ‘whole child’.


Mrs. Andrea Cox

I chose Persistence Prep because...I believe in the model and mission. To find a school that focuses on strong family and community connections, high quality instruction and strong, well trained teachers is rare. For that school to be solely dedicated to inner city children is unheard of! I am honored to work at Persistence Prep because of the dedication to the children of the East side of Buffalo. I was born and raised on the East side and to be able to give back to my community is a dream come true.

Ms.Carrie Godwin

I chose Persistence Prep because...after reading the mission of Persistence Prep and meeting with Ms. Formato, there was no doubt in my mind that this is the school where I am meant to be. I knew that I would be held to high standards and have tremendous opportunities for growth as an educator. I knew that the community of educators and scholars at PPA would help me to become a better version of myself every day which would lead to greater success of my students. I am so lucky to be part of the team that is positively impacting the community of Buffalo.


Ms. Erin White

I chose Persistence Prep stated in our core beliefs, “education is a civil right”, but that hasn’t been realized for most of our city’s youth. I chose to be a part of the Founding Team at Persistence Preparatory Academy because I believe that all of our children deserve to have the opportunity to succeed- no matter the odds. It is our job as educators to barrel through those obstacles. Persistence Prep has been established on these same values and I am excited to be a part of this movement.

Mr. Nick DiPalma

I chose Persistence Prep because...of the strong culture that the school has instilled and seeks to distribute throughout the community at large.  Every child should have access to quality education regardless of circumstance.  It is a privilege to be able to work with like-minded individuals on a day to day basis who truly have the scholar’s best interest at heart.  I am grateful to be apart of this educational and community building mission.

Mrs. Patty Tirone

I chose Persistence Prep because...I believe in the Mission and Belief that the school is founded on. All children are deserving an education that is equitable and puts them on the path for college. Persistence Prep is a school where that happens.  It is a place where the whole child is valued.  The staff here supports each other and we work collaboratively ensure the success of all Scholars. 

Mrs. Alexis Wright

I chose Persistence Prep because...I believe that we will truly make a difference in the education field.  All of the teachers have a strong will to ensure that all students deserve the right to a holistic education.  We, as Persistence Prep educators, are invested in our scholars and will find any resource necessary to ensure our scholars are supported and can reach their highest potential.   I am excited to be apart of this team of strong educators and look forward building relationships with all scholars.

Ms. Amanda Kellner

I chose Persistence Prep because...I want to be part of school that values enrichment through movement and dance as much as I do. I believe the freedom to express through movement, as a form of art, a way to relief stress, a coping strategy and for social engagement enhances learning at a young age. More importantly, it’s so fun! When I read the mission statement, learned the core values and met the team, I knew our school was embracing the way I want to live and lead. As an educator and humbled role model, I know I can make a difference in the lives of Persistence Prep students. I am honored to be part of this amazing journey with the students and the Persistence Prep team. 


Ms. Heather Riedy

I chose Persistence Prep because...opportunity begins with education. In an inequitable world, working with a team of like-minded people who share a common mission is the only way to create real and lasting change. Persistence Prep is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our students and families by working alongside them to face the challenges and the realities together. The trajectory of a student’s life begins with their first experiences in the classroom, and Persistence believes in following through every step of the way, not only setting high expectations but also creating a joyful environment where students can become lifelong learners.

Ms. Danita Harris

I chose Persistence Prep because...this school has a mission that is extremely refreshing in a society where inner-city youth are subject to systems that have set them up to fail. As a school counselor, I value PPA’s emphasis on college preparation. It is our goal to ensure that scholars are aware of the endless opportunities that await them. Persistence Prep has a strong set of core values that are deeply rooted in the school’s foundation. Persistence Prep scholars and educators uphold these values with tremendous honor and passion. I truly believe that in order to help a child reach his/her fullest potential it takes a community of dedicated supporters. Persistence Preparatory is a place where students are nurtured by a community of people who want to see them soar.

Ms. Taylor Miller

I chose Persistence Prep because...I whole-heartedly believe in the school’s mission and desire to create a positive change within our community founded upon the academic success and development and acquisition of leadership skills of our young scholars. Student success is directly linked to the expectations set forth before them by their teachers. As teachers, as students, as administrators, as professionals, we all work together to maintain and achieve that one common goal: student success. Persistence Prep is my team, my army, and my family as we, together, continue to triumph in our common goal.


833 Michigan Ave, Buffalo N.Y 14203

Phone: 716-235-1520

Fax: 716-768-1187



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