About Us

We are journalists, former teachers, parents and public school advocates dedicated to improving schools for every child in the city. We believe that engaged, informed parents can promote racially and economically integrated schools of the highest quality. We work towards that goal by providing independent reviews of schools based on visits and school data, publishing research and guides about the NYC school system, and encouraging parent dialogue on InsideSchools+, and and helping families navigate the NYC public school system.

Our team is small, so we welcome your support. Contact us if you would like to volunteer or make a tax deductible donation.

InsideSchools is a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and is supported by grants from the Booth Ferris Foundation, Heckscher Foundation, the Leo Model Foundation and The New School. We are also supported by reader donations and advertising revenue. Former grantors include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Community Trust, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Who we are

Natasha Quiroga, Director of Education Policy and InsideSchools

Natasha Quiroga is Director of Education Policy and InsideSchools at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. She brings almost 20 years of experience advocating for children, youth, and families to these roles. Most recently, she was Director of the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) and Senior Counsel in the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she developed and successfully expanded national initiatives fostering parental leadership in education. Over the course of more than 10 years’ leadership at the Lawyers’ Committee, she provided extensive and expert analysis for parents, educators, and legislators on issues impacting the education of students of color, immigrant children, multilingual learners, and students with disabilities. Natasha also served as the first full-time Executive Director of Escuela Bolivia (now Educación Para Nuestro Futuro) in Arlington, Virginia, and advised state and local education agencies on compliance with federal education laws at an education law firm.

Natasha received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law and her Master's in International Politics with a concentration in Children and Youth Development from American University’s School of International Service. She received her B.B.A. in Marketing and B.A. in Plan II Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar.

Lydie Raschka, Writer | Editor | Content Manager

Lydie writes, edits and moderates content for InsideSchools and its various social media platforms. She contributes to policy research for InsideSchools and the Center for New York City Affairs. She holds a master's degree from Bank Street College of Education. With InsideSchools' founder, Clara Hemphill, and other staff she co-authored "New York City's Best Public Pre-K and Elementary Schools: A Parents' Guide," a two-part article in NY Metro Parents titled, "Is Your Child Getting a Good Education in Math and Science?," and a 2015 report called "Conquering Teachers' Math Anxiety." Lydie is a former public school teacher (grades 1–3) and is Montessori-trained. Her child attended public school in Manhattan. As a teacher, parent, writer and consultant she has been inside hundreds of New York City schools.

Laura Zingmond, Senior Editor

Laura plans, writes, and edits content for Insideschools, advises parents, journalists, and policymakers on public school choice and education, and contributes to policy research for Insideschools and the Center for New York City Affairs. She has visited and profiled hundreds of schools across the city and led the research on middle and high schools for a multi-year project evaluating science and math instruction. Previously, Laura worked as a litigation attorney and administrative law judge. From 2014 to 2016, she served as the Manhattan Borough President's appointee to the New York City Panel for Educational Policy, the governing board for the city's public schools. Laura is a lifelong New Yorker and her two children are the fourth generation in her family to attend the city's public schools. She holds a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Gigi Hernandez, Partnerships and Spanish Project Lead at InsideSchools

A public school parent and alumna of New York City's public schools, Gigi Hernandez is the Partnerships and Spanish Project Lead at InsideSchools, where she conducts outreach and helps Spanish-speaking parents navigate public schools, college access and beyond through offering classes, workshops and online community forums. Before joining InsideSchools, Gigi worked with parents at Make the Road New York in Queens as a Parent Leader, supplying educational material and policy information. Gigi is a graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School and CUNY Hunter College, where she completed her BA in Sociology and is currently pursuing another BA in English with a focus on Linguistics and Rhetoric.

Melanie Quiroz, Data Analyst

Melanie is an Education Policy Data Analyst, assisting with data management for InsideSchools. She earned her MS in Public and Urban Policy at The New School. She has worked at the educational non-profit Prep for Prep as a student advisor, helping high-achieving, disadvantaged, minority NYC middle school students transition to independent day and boarding schools, both socially and academically, and is an alumna of the program herself. Melanie has also worked as a Respite Service Coordinator at the non-profit Human First, providing in-home support services to adult individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Astha Sethi, Research Assistant

Astha is a part-time research assistant contributing to the UI/UX design of InsideSchools at the Center for New York City Affairs. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design and brings six years of experience as a UX Designer. Previously, she worked at Newfold Digital, focusing on improving the user experience of products, namely Bluehost and ResellerClub, to enhance web presence solutions for small-to-medium businesses globally. Outside work, she loves mentoring students, organizing workshops, and facilitating design sprints.

Anisha Mukherjee, Research Assistant

Anisha is a part-time research assistant supporting the education team at the Centre for New York City Affairs. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design and Technology at the New School and aspires to become an interaction designer. She previously worked as a UI/UX and a graphic designer at an EdTech startup in India to improve the quality of education for students from low-income families.