Dr. Pennisi holds an Ed. D. in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University, with Masters degrees in both art education and curriculum and teaching, specializing in early adolescence. She has been a middle school teacher (art/arts integration, social studies, language arts) and a high school arts integration coordinator in the New York City Public Schools, as well as co-founder of New Design High School, located on the Lower East Side of NYC. Dr. Pennisi's professional interests include curriculum design, specifically concept-centered, inter-disciplinary models, and co-creation of curriculum as a process for re-engagement of adolescents. Other interests include how teacher research can be a vigorous form of professional development, particularly in terms of dilemmas in urban education, incorporating democratic practices in the classroom, and understanding the classroom as a studio site. Along with her colleague Candace Masters, Dr. Pennisi co-founded the Asarese Matters Community Center After School Art Program, now located at the Buffalo State Community Academic Center (CAC) on the city’s West Side. Dr. Pennisi is a regular presenter at the national and local level. Dr. Pennisi is currently the coordinator of the Caucus on Social Theory & Art Education, an NAEA Issues Group.