Anna Maria Demonte, Manager of School Partnerships, New York City
The most syllabically-blessed of all Catalyst team members, An-na Ma-ri-a De-mon-te was born in Florida and raised on Staten Island, setting of two of the greatest '80s flicks in cinematic history: Rodney Dangerfield's Easy Money and Melanie Griffith's Working Girl. (If you haven't seen these movies, you need to stop whatever you're doing and watch them on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or whatever streaming device houses these underappreciated gems.) As a child, Anna Maria was bright, highly articulate, and theatrical (we know — totally hard to picture), traits that led her to graduate as Salutatorian from Staten Island's prestigious St. Joseph Hill Academy and star as Sandy in her school's production of Grease. These days, Anna Maria channels her outgoing nature and intelligence into speaking with parents, counselors, and students about test prep and college admissions, a role that requires a wealth of patience, knowledge, and empathy. (When Staten Island students ask about the odds of getting into Stanford, Anna Maria offers a very sympathetic-sounding fuggedaboutit.) When she isn't braving traffic on the Verrazano Bridge to meet with one of Catalyst's partner schools in Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Queens, Anna Maria loves spending time with friends and family, especially her two beautiful nieces, godson and goddaughter, and staying fit. (Unlike most of her Catalyst colleagues, whose heart rates only become elevated after consuming their daily Starbucks triple espressos, Anna Maria is an avid kickboxer, runner, and whatever the word is for people who do pilates.)
Why She Works for Catalyst
According to Anna Maria, "my passion has always been to pursue a career in educational sales, helping high school faculty choose the right programs for their students." Really, AnnaMaria? I mean, we're flattered and all, but you never wanted to be an astronaut or something? A dancer, maybe?
How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
"I grew up with identical twin big brothers."
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Dirty Dancing (Anna Maria's love for this film cannot possibly be overstated) / Oscar Arias Sánchez (Nobel Peace Prize, 1987)