Leadership Team

Ms. Fatima Smith, Principal

As a native of Brooklyn, New York by way of the DC, MD, VA Metro Region, Principal Smith is proud to call Philadelphia her new home. Ms. Smith began her career in education as a full-time substitute teacher in Norfolk, VA. Her past experience includes serving as a Turnaround Network Assistant Principal for the School District of Philadelphia. Prior to this, Ms. Smith taught middle grades and high school English Language Arts, Technical Writing & Art History in Washington, DC and in Brooklyn, NY. She is a New York City Teaching Fellows alum, as well as a former District of Columbia Public Schools Capital Commitment Fellow; a prestigious program for the “50 Best Teacher Recruits of the Year.” In those roles Ms. Smith served her school communities in various capacities including; as a School Leadership Team member, a Middle Grades Team Lead, a Cheerleading Coach, the Girls Mentoring Chairperson, a Teacher Selection Ambassador and as a New York City Regents & Common Core State Exam scorer to name a few. Currently, Ms. Smith is working on an Educational Doctorate in Administration and Leadership with a focus in Urban Education at Howard University.  Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism and Communication from Old Dominion University, a Master’s of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction from St. John’s University and a Pre-K-12 Principal Certification from Philadelphia Pathways to Leadership in Urban Schools. Her passion for leading schools in the Greater Philadelphia area stems from the belief that every single child – irrespective of zip code or socioeconomic status – deserves a premiere educational experience. Ms. Smith is committed to building the capacity of both teachers and students as we move into a challenging 21st century. Education truly is a team effort. Ms. Smith recognizes that it takes a village to properly educate a child. Parents, teachers, support staff, community stakeholders and administration all play a part in helping our students meet and exceed established expectations. Ms. Smith looks forward to continuing her work with all Andrew Hamilton stakeholders as she strives to take The Andrew Hamilton School to new heights.

Mr. Eros Uthman-Olukokun, Assistant Principal

Mr. Eros Uthman-Olukokun is the proud, newly appointed Assistant Principal of the Andrew Hamilton School. Mr. Uthman-Olukokun began his career with the School District of Philadelphia in 2009 as a mathematic’s educator. During his nine year tenure in education, he has served as a secondary educator, a High School Math Department Chair, a Mathematics Instructional Coach, a Varsity Football Coach, an Adjunct College Professor and now as an Assistant Principal. In addition to this, Mr. Uthman is a four time Lindback Award Nominee for Exemplary Teaching. His passion for supporting the youth has been a constant throughout his career. He is eager to continue supporting Principal Smith and the Andrew Hamilton School community in creating a dynamic learning community full of inquiry and a joy for learning. Mr. Uthman-Olukokun holds a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education & Mathematics. His School Leadership credentials were awarded from the University of Pennsylvania.




Ms. Joyce Abbott, Dean of Students

Joyce Marie Abbott was born and raised in Philadelphia where she was educated within the School District of Philadelphia. She is a devoted educator who has enthusiastically served the district since 1996. Prior to her employment with the district Joyce served in the military for ten years as a soldier in the United States Army, where she successfully earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. While there, she completed a ten-month tour in the Persian Gulf War. After being honorably discharged with several awards, she was selected to be a candidate in one of the first cohorts of the nationally regarded Troops to Teachers program. Joyce attributes her effective disciplinary practices to her military experience. Ms. Abbott has been nominated for several teaching awards due to her exemplary instructional practices and classroom management. In 2004, 2005 and 2007 Ms. Abbott was included in the “Who’s Who Among America’s Finest Teachers.” Additionally, she has been featured in the Philadelphia Daily News as “An Everyday Hero” and her classrooms have been featured on channels six (ABC) and ten (CBS). In addition to mentoring teachers, Ms. Abbott has served in many leadership capacities. She currently operates as Dean of Students at Andrew Hamilton School. During this, her first year in the role, the school was awarded by the School District of Philadelphia for Outstanding Strides in School Climate & Culture. Ms. Abbott enjoys being part of positive and productive change; particularly as it relates to the students she serves. Ms. Abbott has a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a Master’s of Education from Cheney University.

Mr. Brian Rogers
Data & Curriculum Coordinator

Brian Marc Rogers joined the School District of Philadelphia in 2001 after serving several years in the corporate world in the capacity of operations manager and focusing in the areas of human resources and staff training and development. Throughout his tenure with the district, Mr. Rogers has had the opportunity to serve Philadelphia students as a teacher servicing each grade from kindergarten through grade eight in the areas of Math, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Mr. Rogers has also contributed to school academic and cultural success for the past ten years functioning in the school leadership roles of Dean of Students, Dean of Climate and Culture, School Based Teacher Leader for Math and English Language Arts, Math Academic Lead Coach and School Based Data Coordinator. Mr. Rogers has a passion for mentorship and is driven by high academic performance expectation and his desire to help create the best school learning environment for students, families and staff members. Mr. Rogers holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Temple University and a Master’s of Science in Education from Saint Joseph University. He lives by the educational philosophy that, “as educators we must reach our children before we can effectively teach our children.”





Mrs. Fayne Paley
Special Education Liaison

Fayne Paley has served as the Special Education Liaison for the Andrew Hamilton School for the past seven years. Mrs. Paley graduated from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science with an undergraduate degree in Textile Design. It became apparent to her that she needed to change her career choice shortly before graduation. After graduation, she went into retail (clothing, shoes, and even co-owning a supermarket.) She began working at the School District of Philadelphia as a per diem substitute in 1996. She enjoyed working with children so much that for the next seven years, she became a long term substitute. Finally, she went to Saint Joseph’s University for her Master’s Degree. While there, Mrs. Paley earned a dual certification in Elementary Education  grades K-6 and Special Education grades K-12. She has been a proud member of the Andrew Hamilton School community since 2007. Her favorite quotes are “Every student can learn, just not the same day or in the same way” and “Every child is gifted… they just unwrap their packages at different times.”






Mrs. Deborah Zolot

Deborah Zolot was born and raised in Philadelphia. She received her undergraduate degree from Arcadia University with a major in Elementary Education. While raising three children, she earned her Masters Degree in Elementary School counseling also from Arcadia University. She began her career in 1993 working at Cora Services, an agency that provides counseling services to the private and parochial schools in Philadelphia. After five years with Cora Services, Mrs. Zolot was looking for a more challenging and diverse experience. She joined the School District of Philadelphia at the Edward Heston Elementary School, where she served as the school counselor for fifteen years. In 2014, Mrs. Zolot moved to the Andrew Hamilton School where she is happily serving as the school counselor. Mrs. Zolot’s vision is to provide a comprehensive educational counseling program that addresses the academic, career, and personal/social needs of all students. Mrs. Zolot is committed to advocate for students and collaborate with parents, staff, and community partners to ensure that all students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will allow them to excel in a diverse society.


Teacher Leaders

Mrs. Antonia Nelson
6th-8th PLC Lead
Gifted & Talented IEP Coordinator

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York Mrs. Antonia Nelson has been a resident of Philadelphia since attending Temple University to obtain her Bachelors in Education. Throughout Mrs. Nelson’s career she has served the West Philadelphia community for the past 7 years as a mathematics educator. During this time, she has served as a Lead Teacher, a Math Curriculum Coordinator, and a Mathematics Instructional Coach. Currently, she is working to complete her Masters in Curriculum Instruction.

In her new role as the 6th-8th Professional Learning Community (PLC) Lead and as a member of the Math Content Team, she is proud to uphold the vision of Andrew Hamilton’s renewed AIMS program. In addition to supporting new teachers as a Teacher Mentor, Mrs. Nelson serves as the Gifted and Talented IEP Coordinator to facilitate the identification of Hamilton’s mentally gifted scholars.

Mrs. Nelson’s values and beliefs are rooted in her desire for an equitable education for every scholar. She believes every student can and will learn when given the opportunity. Mrs. Nelson is committed to the Andrew Hamilton mission to provide instruction at the highest level, and is honored to be apart of a team that strives to empower all students to become life learners and productive members of society.



Mrs. Jackson 3rd-5th PLC Lead

Michelle Jackson is a Third Grade Teacher at Andrew Hamilton Elementary School. Mrs. Jackson has been with the School District of Philadelphia since 2015 when she started as the school’s writing teacher. Mrs. Jackson now serves as the PLC Lead of the intermediate grades. Mrs. Jackson loves the city of Philadelphia. Mrs. Jackson was born and raised in the city of Philadelphia. She also went to grade school and high school in the city of Philadelphia. As an undergraduate college student, Mrs. Jackson went to and graduated college from the Millersville University, with a degree in English and Social Studies. Mrs. Jackson went on to go to the University of Phoenix, Center City of Philadelphia campus, and graduated with a Masters’ Degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE MA) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Mrs. Jackson has also acquired a Master’s in Special Education (SPED MA), from Saint Joseph’s University. Mrs. Jackson also possesses collegiate endorsements to teach reading, writing and Autistic children as well. Mrs. Jackson started working with children part-time in 2004, but has been working as a Lead Teacher since 2008. Before teaching at the  Andrew Hamilton school, Mrs. Jackson worked for the Independence Mission Schools, and the Archdiocesan of Philadelphia. For several years, Mrs. Jackson has taught reading and writing fundamentals. She also loves teaching math to young children. Mrs. Jackson’s philosophy as a teacher and as a leader is to have an engaging environment that is hands-on and incorporates differentiated learning styles. As an ELA teacher, she wants her students to make connections to their writing and to the world they live in. Mrs. Jackson wants the students writing products to be well developed, articulate and organized in a clear and coherent manner. As a teacher, Mrs. Jackson aims to perpetuate knowledge and inspire learning. She wants the learning environment of her classroom to inspire within her students a lifelong love for learning.

Mrs. Roxanne Ayoung: Interim Early Literacy Lead

Roxanne Ayoung was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has Caribbean roots. As a “military brat” she has traveled and lived in many countries and states. Experiencing and living in diverse populations throughout her life has groomed her to be a well-rounded individual. She left a 15-year career in Corporate America to pursue her passion as an educator. She received her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Chestnut Hill College. After receiving her degree, she provided early intervention services for Head Start children, taught at a Universal Institute Charter School, and joined the School District of Philadelphia in 2015. Mrs. Ayoung is currently working on her Masters in Educational Leadership from Holy Family University, and anticipates graduating in May 2019. She is fully committed to the school as she serves on multiple committees within the Andrew Hamilton community, such as: teacher mentor, Class Dojo mentor, PBIS committee, and Site Selection team. Mrs. Ayoung further supports the learning environment by working for the Netter After-school Tutoring program at Andrew Hamilton. She also facilitated various professional development topics to the Andrew Hamilton staff and training to the Learning Network 2 with Access to Grade Level Instruction course. She believes that each child is unique and needs a safe and loving atmosphere in which to grow and mature academically, socially, and emotionally. She is elated to be a part of the Andrew Hamilton community and looks forward to developing highly educated students who are excited about learning.