School Leaders

Andrea d'Amato

Andrea d'Amato, Executive Director

Andrea d’Amato has been working in education for over 14 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Boston College, a Master’s in Business Administration from New York University and a School Administration and Supervision degree from Hunter College. 

Ms. d’Amato started as a math teacher on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After several years in the classroom, she became a School Support Manager with the City University of New York. In this role she had the opportunity to collaborate with teachers and principals in dozens of schools across the city.

As the Principal of University Prep Charter High School, Ms. d’Amato relies heavily on an effective system of distributed leadership where each member of the staff participates in school decision-making and takes responsibility for the harmonious accomplishment of school-wide goals. Core to her philosophy is the belief that every child can learn and achieve at high academic levels. This is her second year as the Principal of UPCHS and she is eager to continue and build upon UPCHS's tradition of outstanding student results.

Andrew AyersAndrew Ayers, High School Principal

Mr. Ayers, a proud denizen of the Bronx for over 25 years, began his career in the classroom as an English Language Arts instructor.  He attended Fordham University where attained both a bachelor's and master's degree.  For over 15 years he enjoyed sharing the love of literature with all students.  Teaching a humanities course, he focused heavily on multicultural and topical issues to facilitate the students' ability to establish a sense of self and develop a moral code.  He firmly believes that the themes of both modern and classical literature apply universally and can reveal much about the world around us.  In his career teaching all levels of high school English, he endeavored to have students read, write, and think each day.  Almost all academic content comes to the learner through reading.  Therefore, finding ways to improve student literacy has always been paramount to his approach.  

In addition to his many academic pursuits, Mr. Ayers is a fervent fan of athletics and music.  Athletics and music, Mr. Ayers believes, can be a wonderful outlet and means of catharsis.  He is happy to assist in the moderation of the music club and coached basketball for 12 seasons.  These opportunities for release and alternative expression are vital for student person growth and development.  His commitment to athletics, music, and dance contribute to his belief that the body, mind, and soul require daily attention.

In the 2017 - 2018 school year, Mr. Ayers was honored to join the administration team at University Prep.  A faculty member for the previous six years, the mission and its execution particularly resonated.  While happy as an instructor, Mr. Ayers wanted to make a larger impact on the school community as a whole and help ensure that the cornerstones of what makes UPCHS great are supported and maintained.  In his new role, he will continue to make literacy a priority, hold students accountable for being their best selves, and support the staff to deliver the high-quality, rigorous instruction that is the hallmark of University Prep Charter High School.

Miguel Suarez Miguel Suarez, High School Assistant Principal of Instruction

Mr. Suarez grew up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx.  He is first-generation Puerto Rican from a family of educators and has been teaching in the South Bronx for the past seventeen years. Mr. Suarez received his Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Rochester and his Master's in Math Education from Lehman College.  He began his career teaching Global History and Algebra.  He has since taught all levels of High School Mathematics, served as Student Dean, Head of the Math Department, and Union Chapter Delegate. 

Mr. Suarez is one of the founding teachers of University Prep and in 2015 he became the Assistant Principal of Instruction.  He takes pride in working alongside the dedicated teachers at the school to further develop the curriculum and teaching practices. Mr. Suarez looks forward to continuing to work with staff and families to empower the students and maintain a school culture of success and community.


David Patterson, Middle School Principal
Prior to joining University Prep in 2019 as the founding principal of the middle school, David was an assistant principal at Gramercy Arts High School in Manhattan for three years. Before that he taught middle school English and ESL and high school English at Middle School 256-Manhattan and Quest to Learn in Manhattan, two NYC DOE schools. He was also a leadership coach for the CUNY Children’s First Network, working closely with six DOE high schools on reading and writing curriculum and instruction.

For four summers, he served as the director of curriculum and instruction for the GO Project, an academic and enrichment program for K-8 NYC school children. Since 2011, he has taught in the English as a Second Language MA program at Hunter College. Before becoming an educator, he spent many years in the restaurant hospitality industry, working most recently for Union Square Hospitality Group in New York. He attended GW University and holds graduate degrees in TESOL and school leadership from Hunter College.

Donial Rodriguez, Middle School Assistant Principal

Prior to becoming the Assistant Principal at University Prep Charter Middle School, Mr. Rodriguez was a teacher of 19 years at Samuel Gompers Career and Technical High School (9 years) and University Prep Charter High School (10 years). At Gompers, he served as the 12th grade Lead Instructor for the Pre-Engineering program and coordinator of the IBM Summer Internship Program. At University Prep, he also served as a member of the board of directors and coordinator of the summer school and summer bridge programs. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester and MS in Technology Education from Mercy College.