Our Team

Strong Roots NYC is a three-person team based in New York State and works closely with a board of directors as well as the Strong Roots Foundation based in Nepal

Strong Roots NYC

Kelly Case

Director of Education Programming

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Kelly is a recent graduate of Columbia Teachers College where she earned her Masters in International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace and Human Right Education, an alum of the Fulbright Program, and graduate of SUNY New Paltz where she majored in Secondary Education and English.

In addition to her position at Strong Roots NYC, Kelly teaches high school English in the Bronx, she is the Malaysia Program Director for Kids Lacrosse the World, and she works closely with our partner organizations on various projects.

With a passion for education and development across the world Kelly is incredibly excited to support and learn from the teachers at Strong Roots in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Zachary Gioia

Director of Operations

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Zachary graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a degree in journalism and public relations in 2013.

Following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Zachary worked as the head of operations for a startup company based in New York State focusing on corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, and human rights in supply chain.

Zachary currently works for the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program assisting with health service programs internationally.

Zachary is excited to be combining his passions and collective experiences to help serve the Balku community through the Strong Roots preschool.

Josh Angehr

Strategy & Technology

Strong Roots Foundation

Tejendra Lama

Founder of Strong Roots Foundation

Poonam Maharjarn

Head Teacher & Class C Teacher

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“My journey here has been memorable, and it will always remind me of how we started and where we are now. I started teaching in this school for quite less income but I am deeply passionate about the future of the children and this kept me moving on.

I always used to think what if I could do a social work and help needy community to change their future, at the same be able earn something to fulfill my basic needs.

I am really thankful to my chairperson who gave me an opportunity to join here. And most important part is that they not only gave me this chance to be a teacher, but they also appointed me as head teacher and educational coordinator.

I am also in learning process, my teachers and all my board members are really nice and helpful. Today, I am really happy and satisfied working for Strong Roots school. This school has encouraged and improved my teaching methodology I have been able to learn a lot.”

Jyoti Rajbanshi

Class B Teacher

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“One of the best part of teaching in Strong roots foundation is interacting with the parents of the students. Though it’s one of the challenges of this job but I enjoy it because I get to interact with different peoples from different background and get to know more about their lifestyle and culture.

As a freshman in the School of Education, I am so excited to get plugged into real classrooms soon and get even more training and insight on what it is really like to be a teacher.

Though elementary education is not what I am majoring in, this teaching experience gave me a view of what it is that I could potentially be doing a few years from now, and I am more than excited to explore this amazing field of education.”

Lhashang Lama

Class A Teacher

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“I am grateful that I joined strong roots because after joining it, I have seen changes in myself and it has also developed my personality. In strong roots, I get plenty of opportunities to participate in different training session and workshop like developing yearly curriculum/ activities, ways of teaching effectively in classrooms and etc.

The workshop and training provided by Strong roots have helped me to learn more about teaching and activities with kids. Now I know more about how to divert the mind of kids towards educations with excitement.

I feel that every child have their own capacity of learning that’s why we have to explore them differently in different ways such as: activities like drawing, playing can help kids memorize and learn things better.”

Sarita B.K.

School Assistant

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“I appreciate Strong Roots Foundation for providing an opportunity to adopt new experiences, where I can communicate with people, children, as well as, foreigners. In the beginning, I really hesitated to share my feelings with teachers but now I feel comfortable with all of them.

They are really helpful and provide timely guidance in my work. They are really supportive and helpful due to which I feel this school is like my second home.”

Sunita Rana

Teacher & Librarian

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“Being a teacher I feel very glad, fortunate and satisfied that I got an opportunity to work with Strong Roots, which has helped me to improve my teaching skill, communication skill and also helped to analyze my potential in teaching sector.

For instance, The different training sessions that we were provided through strong roots helped us to analyze our strength and weakness in teaching field.

It also encouraged and improvised our teaching methodology by minimizing our weakness. It also helped us in rapport building with teachers from other schools and share and exchange their ideas, views, knowledge etc.”


Social Worker

Kalpana Kaucha

Finance Director

Strong Roots NYC Advisory Board Members

Ricky Bernstein

Laura Hunt

Laura Gladding

Mary McKenna