An Independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, D.C.

Intermediate School Faculty

Jennifer Ashley

Jennifer Ashley

Titles: Grades 6-12 Technology & Innovation Coach
Biography:

“All of our students are designers and creators.”

When given engaging problems to solve, our students generate ideas, expressions, and noise that energize us all. In my role as a technology and innovation coach, I am lucky to work with both teachers and students to develop and carry out exciting projects and activities. Just stop by one of our makerspaces to see what I mean!

I started at Potomac in 2002 after teaching middle school English and algebra in Baltimore City Public Schools and then trying the corporate environment as a software trainer. From very early in my career at Potomac, it became clear that I was amongst lifelong learners and innovative thinkers, especially in pursuits of curriculum development and technology integration. I have been a part of the technology development of Potomac both as a specialist and a teacher and appreciate the courage and creativity of Potomac’s administrators, teachers, and students. While the devices and applications have changed over the years, our commitment to students and their families remains steadfast. In addition to teaching, I enjoy YA fiction, DIY projects, and road trips with my family as we explore parks and landmarks in the surrounding area, and especially enjoy finding Virginia’s LOVE signs and Civil War trails.

Beth Bailey

Beth Bailey

Titles: Intermediate School Learning Specialist
Biography:

"We IS teachers know we have the best job: we rarely sit at a desk, we laugh often, and we’re never bored!"

When I tell people I teach seventh and eighth graders, their initial reply includes either the word "patience" or "challenge." But we IS teachers know we have the best job: we rarely sit at a desk, we laugh often, and we’re never bored!

I came to the DC metro area from rural New York to attend George Washington University, laying the foundation for my determination that learning can occur for all students. After several years as a resource teacher, graduate school beckoned, and at the University of Virginia my emphasis was on the emotional needs of kids and teacher training. During my career with Fairfax County Public Schools, I discovered my passion for teaching middle school students to read, as well as guiding new teachers into this rewarding profession. Now I'm excited to be part of the Potomac community of educators and learners.

When I’m not wearing my “teacher hat,” I enjoy reading, practicing yoga, and heading to the natural beauty of Cape Cod whenever possible.

Gay Brock

Gay Brock

Titles: K - 12 Health Coordinator
Biography:

“It is my belief that people make healthier decisions when they have accurate, developmentally appropriate information and have been encouraged to think about what they believe and desire for themselves and their lives.”

My interest in health education began one evening after dinner when I was a young girl growing up in the 60s in Decatur, GA. (I was a girl who loved fried bologna and Velveeta cheese.) On that evening, I rode my bicycle alongside my mother and Mrs. Greathouse as they walked through the neighborhood. As I listened, I grew curious about Mrs. Greathouse, who canoed, rode a bike and taught slimnastics.

The Kenworthys were another family that intrigued me; they had moved to Decatur from San Francisco and had introduced the neighborhood to California cuisine. I vividly remember the night that we had dinner at their house. Mrs. Kenworthy served London broil, thinly sliced on the diagonal, accompanied by brown rice and steamed green beans. My father marveled that the green beans were “delicious, and they’re hardly cooked at all.” I was only 10, yet these two neighbors inspired me to be active and to consider healthy alternatives to traditional southern cooking.

Mrs. Condry, my sixth grade teacher, also made a huge impression on me, which later led me to pursue a career as a health educator. When it was time to teach us about puberty, she did much more than show “the movie”; rather, she created a safe environment within the classroom where we could ask questions. Moreover, she facilitated information-rich discussions and helped us understand that growing up and our changing bodies were perfectly normal. As the health teacher at Potomac, one of my goals is to provide a similarly safe learning environment for my students, who are growing physically and emotionally in an ever more complex world.

After teaching middle school science in Athens, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in health education at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My thesis focused on why some parents talk with their adolescents about sexuality, while others steer clear of these topics. This experience led me to see a real need for compassionate and accurate teaching about sexuality, relationships and risky behavior. Whether I am teaching kindergarten students how to wash their hands or older students how to avoid drugs and alcohol, it is my belief that people make healthier decisions when they have accurate, developmentally appropriate information and have been encouraged to think about what they believe and desire for themselves and their lives.

Mary Cahill

Mary Cahill

Titles: Intermediate School Academic Dean & Middle and Intermediate School Science Teacher
Biography:

"Field work dominates my sixth and seventh grade science classes, whether right here in McLean or traveling with my students to Galapagos, Costa Rica, and throughout the United States and Europe."

I have a passion for science, and the field of education has enabled me to pass that passion along to tomorrow’s leaders. Since 1980 when I began teaching science at Potomac, I have guided students as they learn the process of scientific inquiry. Field work dominates my sixth and seventh grade science classes, whether right here in McLean or traveling with my students to Galapagos, Costa Rica, and throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to teaching and serving as Potomac's Middle School Science Coordinator, I work as a consultant for the National Geographic Society. Since 1994 I have trained teachers in Canada, Japan and throughout the United States to effectively use a number of National Geographic’s curriculae including the JASON Project, Crittercam, Giant Traveling maps, and Geography Action.

National Geographic has filmed my inquiry science lessons at Potomac as examples of best practices for teacher professional development programs, and I taught a master class “Exploring your world with National Geographic” at the Chautauqua Institute in 2009.. Since 2006 I have worked with the National Science Resource Center’s Biodiversity Academy.

In addition to being a National Board Certified teacher, I have received a Woodrow Wilson teaching fellowship (1994), a Grosvenor fellowship for travel to the Arctic Ocean (2009), and a Fulbright fellowship to Japan (1997). I have a master's degree in science education and biology from Boston University and an undergraduate biology degree from Regis College.

Lucia Campisano Krul

Lucia Campisano Krul

Titles: Intermediate School Teacher and Dean of Student Life
Biography:

"I find it incredibly rewarding to watch the look on a student's face when through their own discovery they 'get it.'"

As a first generation Italian-American, I have experienced firsthand the challenges and rewards that many students who are non-native language speakers and non-traditional learners face. These experiences have driven me to seek progressive ways to help students of all cultures and learning styles seek to understand through intrinsic curiosity. I find it incredibly rewarding to watch the look on a student's face when through their own discovery they "get it." This type of confidence is what allows students to experience lasting success in the classroom and throughout their life.

I have taught and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, and my experiences have allowed me to gain insight on how culture plays a role in learning and motivation. My goal is to enable students to understand history from various perspectives; it would not be unusual to see students researching, debating, arguing, role-playing, drawing, and even cooking in my classroom!

My position as IS Dean of Student Life is rewarding, humbling, and exciting in that I'm afforded the opportunity to serve as a resource to foster various opportunities for students which will challenge and stretch them in becoming independent, diverse- thinking, prepared leaders.


Scott Clark

Scott Clark

Titles: Intermediate School Mathematics Teacher
Biography:

"I have been teaching for 30 years at schools in New York, Japan, and California, where I’ve worked with students from the third grade up through junior college."

Prior to Potomac, I spent 11 years at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, most recently as the Tan Distinguished Chair in science, mathematics, and technology. At Head-Royce, I enjoyed working in range of different capacities, including as a MS/US mathematics teacher, MS jazz ensemble and beginning band director, US photography teacher, fine arts department chair, and MS technology coordinator. I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oberlin College. Outside of school, I enjoy freelance trumpet playing, recording engineering, bird watching, photography, biking, and most importantly, spending time with my wife, two children, cat Mystic, and extended family.

Nicole Cunningham

Nicole Cunningham

Titles: Intermediate School Mathematics Teacher
Biography:

"I am a big college basketball fan and enjoy watching my Pitt Panthers whenever possible!"

For my entire teaching career (20+ years), I have been lucky enough to work with seventh and eighth graders; teaching this age group fulfills me. It is an amazing opportunity to influence students as they journey through adolescence, to help them to discover who they are, and who they can be. It is a unique time in their life and each day with them is full of surprises!

I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and attended the University of Pittsburgh. After completing my bachelor's degree in math at Pitt, I went on to receive my master's degree in education from the University of Bridgeport. I am a big college basketball fan and enjoy watching my Pitt Panthers whenever possible!

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy traveling in the US and abroad. My travels abroad have taken me to six of the seven continents, and allowed me to enjoy time in Ecuador, Thailand, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Ireland, and Ukraine. Besides travel, I have also enjoyed a good amount of time training for and competing in road races, marathons, and triathlons.

My husband and I live in Arlington with our son and daughter. We enjoy spending time outdoors with them and cheering them on at their various activities.

Mike DiCuirci

Mike DiCuirci

Titles: Middle, Intermediate and Upper School Band Teacher
Biography:

"Potomac enables me to continue exploring my own interests in innovative programming and pedagogy with the concert band and jazz band and to awaken in students a life-long commitment to music appreciation."

My passion for music began when I was young, and my career as a tuba player began somewhat by accident. My junior high band program needed a tuba player and I volunteered on a whim, not knowing that it would begin a lifelong journey in music. With a band director and musician as a father, I grew up always going to concerts and appreciating music with my family. In high school, my father even allowed me to sit in with his collegiate band at Cedarville University, where I later decided to pursue my Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance.

As an undergraduate, I was active in a series of diverse ensembles from the Brass Choir to the Jazz Ensemble to an alternative rock cover band; I was completely immersed in all things music, both as a bassist and a tuba player. From there I went on to The Ohio State University for my master’s degree in tuba and low brass pedagogy, under the mentorship of James Akins, principal tubist of the Columbus Symphony. As a lifelong Michigan football fan, the transition to OSU was certainly a challenge, but I used my time as a master's student to hone my performance and conducting skills, paving the way for a series of collegiate teaching positions.

For more than five years, I was fortunate to work as a college professor of low brass and music education at Otterbein College, Kenyon College, and Heidelberg University, all in Ohio. In addition to teaching I maintained a busy performance schedule with groups like the award-winning Brass Band of Columbus and several jazz combos.

When my wife's job brought us to the DC area in 2011, I was fortunate to find a position tailor-made to my interests and training at The Potomac School. As the beneficiary of an excellent music education myself, I know how important it is to foster a love of music in students at a young age, and I am thrilled to be a part of this process at Potomac. The environment at Potomac enables me to continue exploring my own interests in innovative programming and pedagogy with the concert band and jazz band and to awaken in students a lifelong commitment to music appreciation.

Patricia Doss

Patricia Doss

Titles: Intermediate School English Teacher
Biography:

"I feel I have found a gem in discovering The Potomac School."

While teaching in a school abroad, I overheard a conversation about course selection for secondary school students—about de-selections—regarding an end-date for the study of literature. “But literature is good for the soul,” argued a colleague. From my position on the fringes of the conversation, I agreed.

I grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of a teacher and an author, and I was set free to find myself. At the time I thought I was working hard, but my life of study and travel—and supporting myself in humble circumstances—was richly satisfying. I studied philosophy, religion, literature, writing pedagogy, and teaching theory in Pennsylvania, Chicago, England, and India before arriving in Washington, DC, and falling in love with the climate, great running paths, and teaching. I left for over a decade to pursue teaching opportunities in England, and—though a favorite poet portends that “way leads on to way”—I returned to Northern Virginia and feel I have found a gem in discovering The Potomac School.

I live in Falls Church with my husband and daughters. I enjoy running, cooking spicy vegetarian food, reading, and traveling.

Charlotte Gaw

Charlotte Gaw

Titles: Intermediate School History Teacher
Biography:

“Outside of teaching, you can find me hiking, biking, playing soccer, or tending to plants at Common Good City Farm in DC.”

In my classroom, I strive to blend intellectual challenge with the energy and joy young people bring to the study of history. As a tutor and a teaching assistant at Match Charter High School in Boston, and then as a teaching fellow at the Barrie School in Silver Spring, I've focused on helping my students develop their own interpretations of critical issues and, more broadly, their own intellectual passions. In this process, I've found that my students have a lot to teach me.

When I started at Swarthmore College, my plan was to go to medical school. All that changed after a few amazing courses in history -- these courses changed how I viewed the world in powerful ways. My graduate work at the University of Chicago allowed me to focus more deeply on the history of the abolitionist movement in the United States. I wrote my master's thesis about a group of nineteenth-century abolitionists who attempted to reverse the growth of slavery in the South by creating an alternative market in free-labor cotton. I won the Fogelson Prize from the University of Chicago for my master's thesis.

Blake Green

Blake Green

Titles: Intermediate School English Teacher
Biography:

"Besides teaching Latin, I have directed Summer@Potomac's Fine Arts Dance Camp, assisted Jerry Rich with the Intermediate School Chorus and directed the annual IS musical."

This is my sixth year teaching at Potomac. Besides teaching Latin, I have directed Summer@Potomac's Fine Arts Dance Camp, assisted Jerry Rich with the IS Chorus, and directed the annual IS musical.

I earned two degrees in classics: a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston and an Master of Arts from Vanderbilt University. Prior to coming to Potomac I taught at the College of Charleston, Vanderbilt University, and the Porter-Gaud School.

Growing up in Columbia, SC, I began performing at an early age, taking lessons in drama, voice, ballet, tap and jazz. In my free time I enjoy reading, writing, and performing in local community theater productions. A little known fact about which I am proud is that in college I helped to design, construct and test a reduced gravity water droplet collision experiment. I flew on and operated this experiment on NASA’s aptly named Vomit Comet.

Katherine Hagerty

Katherine Hagerty

Titles: Middle, Intermediate and Upper School Band Teacher
Biography:

“There is music wherever there is rhythm, as there is life wherever there beats a pulse."– Igor Stravinsky

When I am asked why I chose this profession I almost always answer that teaching is the best way for me to give back to the world that has given me so much. Why music? Because it is something I could never live without. Music has made me a stronger, better, more joyful person, and I am forever its apostle. I am glad to return to my Northern Virginia roots after having worked in North Carolina and the District of Columbia teaching various aspects of music in public and charter schools. Outside of the school day, I have been privately teaching students ages eight through 80 and performing in local community ensembles. I am a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where I received a Bachelor of Music and minored in classical Greek. I am forever a Tar Heel and enjoy yoga, espresso, and frolicking both at home and abroad.

Nick Hanson

Nick Hanson

Titles: Handbells Teacher and Intermediate School Advisor
Biography:

"Handbells have been a part of Potomac for over 40 years, and I am truly privileged to be a part of this history, sharing and teaching this unique musical experience to others."

After picking up my first handbell at the age of 9, I knew it was the beginning of something truly unique. The next 20 years did not prove me wrong as I performed and taught this amazing instrument in over half the United States as well as ten other countries across Europe and Asia. Strong friendships have been created throughout the world from these travels, just from the shared appreciation and commitment to the growth of this art. Handbells have been a part of Potomac for over 40 years, and I am truly privileged to be a part of this history, sharing and teaching this unique musical experience to others.

Hannah Hastings

Hannah Hastings

Titles: Intermediate School Science Teacher
Biography:

"I find much joy in leading students on a quest to question and understand the natural world around them."

I am a Connecticut native who is lucky to have lived and worked all over the country since finishing my bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University. I recently moved to Washington, DC, from Los Angeles, CA, where I had been teaching middle school science, coaching high school cross-country, and leading outdoor service learning trips.

Growing up in Connecticut, I spent summers exploring the woods and oceans of New England. I chose the earth and environmental science major at Wesleyan because studying the forests, streams, and wetlands in which I played brought a heightened sense of wonder and awe to my wilderness adventures. I find much joy in leading students on a quest to question and understand the natural world around them. Outside of teaching and adventuring, I love spending time with my fiancé and our pets. I am excited to be beginning a new chapter at The Potomac School this fall!

Jen Hellman

Jen Hellman

Titles: Intermediate School Humanities Teacher
Biography:

"Both the faculty and the students welcomed me from the moment I first came to interview, and I have continued to experience the school's openness and generosity of spirit ever since."

As I was growing up, my family moved to a new town every four or five years, preventing me from putting down deep roots in any one location. However, I began teaching history and English in the Potomac Intermediate School in 2003, and now I feel like I have found a permanent home. Both the faculty and the students welcomed me from the moment I first came to interview, and I have continued to experience the school's openness and generosity of spirit ever since.

Before arriving at Potomac, I studied history and medieval studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Then I earned a Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School and a master’s degree in education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. After several years teaching in the Boston area, I moved to DC with my husband, and we have since expanded our family to include our son and daughter, both DC natives who will be able to create their own roots here.

Carol Hilderbrand

Carol Hilderbrand

Titles: K- 12 Chair Physical Education Dept. and LS/,MS/IS PE Teacher & Coach
Biography:

"The physical, social and emotional aspects of play keep us alive and connected to ourselves and our community."

Benjamin Franklin once said, "We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." The physical, social and emotional aspects of play keep us alive and connected to ourselves and our community. I knew early in my life that I wanted to be a teacher, but combining that desire with my love of play was a brainstorm. Growing up in New York City, I learned to think on my feet and create opportunities for play on the concrete playgrounds. After completing my master’s degree in teaching and curriculum design in physical education from Teachers College, Columbia University, I knew I was following my passion. And later in my career, earning National Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Physical Education reinforced it. After years of teaching, I still get excited when I see a child's eyes light up when he or she has learned a new skill. Creating lessons that instill in youngsters this love of movement and play for a lifetime of fun and good health continues to be my passion.

Sarah Hollingsworth

Sarah Hollingsworth

Titles: Intermediate School Science Teacher
Biography:

"There is something about teaching that is unlike any other job."

I grew up in South Jersey and studied marine biology at Stockton University. After graduating, I moved to California and taught marine science at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. I quickly became involved with animal husbandry as an aquarist and collection diver in addition to teaching. During my stint on Catalina, I met the eighth grade class and teachers of Blue Oak School. Having gone to public school all my life, this progressive, independent school in Napa made a lasting impression on me. After moving back to the mainland, I continued my career in marine biology as an aquarist and collection diver at the California Science Center. But in no time at all, Blue Oak School had an opening for a sixth grade math and science teacher, and I was thrilled to change my career path and fall in love with teaching full time.

There is something about teaching that is unlike any other job. The challenges and rewards change every day and with every child. Everyone asks the question, “Why?” and there are so many answers. I believe experiential learning is the key to answering the “whys” of our world. Students learn to seek and value knowledge when they realize that it has a tangible application to their lives. With a hands on, inquiry approach to learning, I hope to inspire understanding that leads to stewardship of the resources around us.

I am passionate about how things work, from the biological to the chemical and even the sociological. The more we learn about how the mind and body work, the better equipped we are to access pathways to our own learning styles, communication habits, and relationships. When we seek to understand others, we understand ourselves better, and vice versa. If we value our role on earth, whether it is social, ecological, political, or otherwise, we can be prepared to make better choices as purposeful, global citizens who embrace diversity and strive for a more equitable future.

Joleen Hyde

Joleen Hyde

Titles: Administrative Assistant to the Head of the Middle and Intermediate School
Biography:

"I believe we are all presented daily with opportunities to teach, encourage, guide, and support our students to being instrumental in making a difference in this world."

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

I was born and raised in South Africa during the apartheid regime. My life was dictated by the color of my skin and for being a woman. I truly believe in Nelson Mandela's quote. I believe we are all presented daily with opportunities to teach, encourage, guide, and support our students to being instrumental in making a difference in this world.

Prior to immigrating to the USA in 1999, I worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, which ignited my hunger in playing my part in bridging the gap between the "haves and have nots."

Prior to Potomac, I was fortunate to work at a boarding school in Delaware that awarded me many opportunities to coordinate service trips to South Africa. I believe these practical experiences have shaped many of these scholars into making the world a better place.

I am grateful to be part of such a wonderful school community.

Kabahita Kabahita

Kabahita Kabahita

Titles: Intermediate School French Teacher
Biography:

"I am originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo where I finished my undergraduate studies with a major in French and a minor in linguistics in 1975."

I am originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo where I finished my undergraduate studies with a major in French and a minor in linguistics in 1975. While I was writing my dissertation at Vanderbilt in 1984, I began teaching French at Ensworth School and discovered that my true passions was teaching the 12-to 14-year-old age group. Their excitement, spirit, and curiosity makes teaching a joy.

My background includes teaching at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique, a Teachers’ College and my alma mater in the picturesque city of Bukavu, Eastern Congo. I also taught French at Tennessee State University and Belmont University in Nashville.

I came to the United States in 1981 with an assistantship to teach French at Vanderbilt University and pursued a Ph.D. program in French and linguistics. Concurrently, I contracted with the U.S. Peace Corps as project director for education programs in Africa (Congo, Central Africa Republic, and Tanzania).

Qing Luo

Qing Luo

Titles: Intermediate/Upper School Chinese Teacher
Biography:

"I have taught Chinese to students of various age groups and feel fortunate that I am doing what I truly enjoy!"

I grew up in China and stayed there for college, where I received my B.A in English. After coming to the States, I went to graduate school at George Mason University and received my M.Ed in foreign language (Chinese) curriculum and instruction. I have taught Chinese to students of various age groups and feel fortunate that I am doing what I truly enjoy! I am excited to join the Potomac community, and will be dedicated to helping students successfully learn a unique language while obtaining an understanding of the colorful culture. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, sightseeing, visiting museums, seeing a good movie, listening to music, and cooking.

Sara Matey

Sara Matey

Titles: Intermediate School Latin Teacher
Biography:

"By drawing upon the history and culture of the great Roman Empire, I give the Latin language a stimulating and meaningful context."

I believe that learning the Latin language is an invaluable skill for any student, and it is my goal as an educator to make acquiring this skill fun and engaging. Latin presents unique and valuable challenges to its students during every stage of the learning process. The skills that students gain from overcoming these obstacles make them stronger pupils in any discipline and fit to solve problems outside of the classroom. I strive to inspire my students to recognize this and believe it for themselves. By drawing upon the history and culture of the great Roman Empire, I give the Latin language a stimulating and meaningful context.

I grew up outside Philadelphia and attended a small Quaker school for middle and upper school. It was in this tight-knit community that my teachers first encouraged me to seek the answers to difficult questions, engage with teachers as equals, and always aspire to learn more. I feel very fortunate to have landed at Potomac, where the same ideals and principles are valued.

I attended Franklin & Marshall College, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin and a minor in classical archaeology and ancient history. I love to travel and explore the world. I spent a semester living in Edinburgh, a summer in Tuscany on an Etruscan archeological dig, and I have led two trips to Rome with my eighth grade students. My teaching career actually began at Potomac, filling in for the Upper School Latin teacher during his paternity leave. Since then I have worked at the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, NJ. I feel both very fortunate and excited to have landed at Potomac full-time.

John Mathews

John Mathews

Titles: Head of Middle and Intermediate Schools
Biography:

"It's a true dream and a privilege to supervise these two incredible divisions."

I've been at Potomac for eight years, but I can still remember the excitement I felt at my interview. At the end of the first of the two days, I called my wife and gushed, "Oh man, I hope I can work at Potomac. Today I visited a dozen classes, and in each of them the students were fully engaged in projects. The only time I saw a teacher stop the activity was to clearly and succinctly introduce a new project." Over the past eight years, and through the last two managing two of our four divisions, this active learning is what I've seen consistently throughout our classrooms, and it's a large part of what makes me love working at Potomac.

After graduating from college and feeling a bit undecided about what I would "do" now that I was "grown up," I traveled to Kansas City to teach in a summer program for educationally at-risk public school adolescents. I was immediately bitten by the teaching bug--I taught biology, algebra, literature, ultimate frisbee, and improvisational acting to rising 7th graders. It was surely the toughest thing I'd ever done, but also by far the most fulfilling. After a year of misery in the business world, I was lucky enough to return to a school environment,serving as an assistant teacher at Grace Church School in New York City. That was over 20 years ago, and I've been an educator ever since, spending the first 10 years as a classroom teacher and the last decade-plus as an administrator.

I knew when I started at Potomac as head of Middle School that I had the best role in the place--fourth, fifth, and sixth grades are really the "golden years" of education, and our teachers help to facilitate an optimal learning situation in the classrooms, on the fields, and on the stage. Little did I know then that things would soon come full circle, and that in 2015, I would be back working with adolescents like those I had taught in Kansas City, and that I would potentially adore the seventh and eighth grades as much or even more. I certainly have learned over the past few years that if there's any better job than head of Middle School, it's head of Intermediate School, and while doing both jobs certainly keeps me on my toes, it's a true dream and a privilege to supervise these two incredible divisions.

Cort Morgan

Cort Morgan

Titles: K-12 Chair of Art Dept. & IS and US Art Teacher
Biography:

"When I am not teaching, and sometimes when I am, I climb trees, crawl into caves, trek through mountains, learn languages, carve, draw, design, read, and write as I see fit."

I spent one half of my childhood in Philadelphia and the other half in my imagination. I was the product of benign neglect by my parents, who trustingly let me explore, climb trees, crawl into caves, carve, draw, design, read, write, and just fool around as I saw fit.

In addition to two tolerant parents, I had a number of remarkable teachers who understood me better than I did myself. All were fascinating examples of curiosity in action, each following intense personal interests, while masterfully guiding students. The great teachers never ordered students around; instead they made subtle suggestions and allowed us to grow at our own pace.

Miss Crawford gave us an art studio to experiment in and explained Jungian archetypes. Mr. Walker took us leaf collecting in the autumn and inspired us to memorize poetry. Mr. Boyhan served us strong tea, taught us portraiture, and talked about medieval frescoes. Professor Hay led us through the quiet storm of Chinese ink painting. Professor Sekler made us at home in the palace of Knossos. While I cannot claim to equal the insight and sensitivity of my teachers, they continue to whisper advice to my inner ear.

I attended Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia for 10 years, St, Mark's School in Southborough, MA, for three years, and Harvard University for four years. My studies were varied, but they always included studio arts and art history. Uncles, aunts, two siblings, and a variety of friends serve as examples and mentors. I began teaching at Potomac in 1984.

I now live half in Arlington and half in my imagination. Over the last 30 years, I have traveled on five continents to see for myself what beautiful things we have inherited from our ancestors. When I am not teaching, and sometimes when I am, I climb trees, crawl into caves, trek through mountains, learn languages, carve, draw, design, read, and write as I see fit.

Greg Mueller

Greg Mueller

Titles: Intermediate School Science Teacher
Biography:

"I always had a passion for both the outdoors and disassembling things to discover how they worked."

At an early age I knew that a career in science was my desired path. I always had a passion for both the outdoors and disassembling things to discover how they worked. I am originally from New Jersey but moved away to Clemson University in South Carolina and earned my degree in secondary science teaching in biological sciences. I spent the next four years teaching 7th and 8th grade science in both North Carolina and Virginia public schools, and then I was an environmental educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a year. I was the 4th and 5th grade science teacher at Potomac before relocating to the Intermediate School, where I teach life science and advise a group of 7th graders. In the summer I change roles and direct the day-to-day operations of Summer Programs. I enjoy teaching children in the outdoors using inquiry-based and hands-on techniques. I live in Burke, VA, with my wife, Erin, and two children, Jake and Siena. In my spare time I like to build (when I am not taking things apart), and my home improvement project skills have increased exponentially. My favorite time is spent in the outdoors with my family.

Henry Mulzac

Henry Mulzac

Titles: Middle & Intermediate School Teaching Fellow
Biography:

No matter what I'm doing, I continue to learn and grow, welcoming every challenge as another step on the path to progress.

If there were words of inspiration that have guided me through my life, they would have to be these, from social reformer and orator Frederick Douglass: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

From my accent, one is sure to suspect that I am a native New Yorker; that assumption would be correct, as I was raised in Westchester County, NY. As a young man, I had the opportunity to go backpacking through countries along the Dalmatian Coast with my father, a retired NYPD detective. As we traveled through the previously war-torn countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I had an epiphany of sorts: I saw the importance of educating every generation about how tolerance, respect, and an understanding of history can help bring peace to our planet. That experience planted the seed for my future career in education.

I moved to the DC area in 2006 and earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2012, the University of Maryland's Education Abroad Program selected me to travel to Sicily to gain an international perspective on domestic violence and assault. I led group discussions with Sicilian high school students, participated in daily lectures with professors from the University of Catania, and met with the local chief of police and other high-ranking law enforcement officials. Upon my return, I presented my research to board members and professors of law and criminal justice at the University of Maryland.Today, I am expanding my horizons by working toward a graduate degree in an entirely different field of interest: sports industry management at Georgetown University.

At Potomac, I am privileged to serve as an assistant teacher and advisor in the Intermediate School. I also work with the Office of Admission and the athletic department. In my spare time, I am an avid traveler and enthusiastic sports fan. No matter what I'm doing, I continue to learn and grow, welcoming every challenge as another step on the path to progress.

Diana Page

Diana Page

Titles: K-12 Chair World Languages Dept. and MS/IS/US School Spanish Teacher
Biography:

"Although I was raised in Wisconsin, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombian and Spanish parents."

I have extensive teaching experience, most recently in an Arlington County immersion program, but also at independent schools such as St. Stephens/St. Agnes and Washington International School. Although I was raised in Wisconsin, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombian and Spanish parents. I received my bachelor's degree in bilingual and elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later my master’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Middlebury College. I enjoy cooking and yoga and being a mother of two wonderful children.

Ginny Ramos

Ginny Ramos

Titles: Arundel Library Teacher
Biography:

"Whether a scholar, an athlete, a dramatist or all of the above, every student is given the opportunity to excel on our campus."

Potomac has been my home in many ways for the past 16 years. I was a fourth grade teacher for five years, field hockey and lacrosse coach for many seasons, and a one-day-a-week teacher, job sharing in both fourth and fifth grades. I am fortunate to return to Potomac as an assistant in the Arundel Family Library. For me Potomac has always been a welcoming place where all aspects of each child are celebrated. Whether a scholar, an athlete, a dramatist or all of the above, every student is given the opportunity to excel on our campus. I graduated form Harvard College, where I majored in American history and played both field hockey and ice hockey. When not at Potomac, I still play hockey and watch with pride as my two children grow to love learning both in and out of the classroom.

Jessica Reynolds

Jessica Reynolds

Titles: Intermediate & Upper School Mathematics Teacher
Biography:

Outside of school and coaching, you will find that I am traveling the world, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, heading out for a long run, or finding time to play around with ceramics, knitting, or weaving.

I grew up outside of Philadelphia with my two sisters (one of whom is my twin!). I graduated from Skidmore College, where I majored in mathematics and minored in studio art. Immediately after college, I traveled around Europe with two friends for two months before ending up in California as a nanny. The following year, I was accepted into a five-year fellowship in Washington, DC, with Math for America. Through the program, I earned my master's in teaching from American University and met my husband, who also teaches mathematics. For the next four years, I taught middle school math, algebra, and geometry in DC public schools and enjoyed attending the monthly professional development programs through Math for America.

After completing the fellowship, my husband and I decided it was time for a change in location so we spent the last two years teaching in the Cayman Islands. In the Caymans, I had fun finding ways to adapt the curriculum to my students' interests, building on their prior knowledge. While the beaches are breathtaking and I found scuba diving, snorkeling, and paddle boarding enthralling, being away from the DC area made us realize what a wonderful place it is to live and work. I am excited to join the amazing faculty and staff at Potomac and look forward to working with the students.

Outside of school and coaching, you will find that I am traveling the world, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, heading out for a long run, or finding time to play around with ceramics, knitting, or weaving.

Matthew Rheinstein

Matthew Rheinstein

Titles: Assistant Robotics Coach
Biography:

"Growing up in the DC area gave me many opportunities to explore robotics, both military and consumer-grade."

Growing up in the DC area gave me many opportunities to explore robotics, both military and consumer-grade. I was brought into the competitive scene at an early age and have loved it ever since. For nearly a decade, the teams I’ve lead have won several international awards. I am excited to bring my experience and expertise to The Potomac School’s teams.

When not in the work room, I enjoy hiking in Great Falls, kayaking on the Potomac River and the Shenandoah River, and traveling around DC and Richmond enjoying the culture.

Jerry Rich

Jerry Rich

Titles: K-12 Chair of Music Dept. & IS/US Music Teacher
Biography:

"My hobbies include everything I do for a living; I love music in all its forms."

After teaching for 30 years at The Potomac School, I am just as impressed with the students today as I was that first year in 1987. The kids here are so broadly talented that the same student can impress in the science lab, sing in the musical, and thrill on the soccer team. Potomac is a real Renaissance community. Many Potomac alumni have gone on to become professional (even award-winning) musicians, including: Chris Ayer (SONY singer-guitarist and laureate of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition), Rostam Batmanglij (producer and multi-instrumentalist for the celebrated indie rock group Vampire Weekend), Grace Browning (Principal Harpist with Dallas and Santa Fe Operas; participant in Aspen, Tanglewood, and Spoleto Music Festivals), Alyson Cambridge(operatic soprano and recording artist who has sung leading roles with Dallas Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Metropolitan Opera, San Diego Opera, and Washington National Opera), Peter Lerman (an award-winning composer whose most musical Brooklynite enjoyed a successful off-Broadway run last year and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick), Alex Ross (prize winning author, MacArthur Fellowship recipient and music critic for The New Yorker), and Theodore Shapiro (composer for 65 films and winner of 12 BMI Film Music Awards).

Although I am currently leading Potomac’s Intermediate and Upper School choruses and teaching AP music theory, music history, and jazz arranging, over the years I’ve taught composition, counterpoint, handbells, history of jazz, orchestration, and vocal performance. My musical background includes studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory of Music and Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. I have been music director for 70 musicals, conducted at the White House and the Kennedy Center, and directed 24 chamber choir tours in Atlanta, Austria, Barcelona, Bermuda, Boston, Charleston (twice), Chicago, England (twice), Florida, Germany, Italy, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans (twice), New Jersey, New York (five times), Philadelphia, and Provence. I am also director of music at McLean’s Trinity United Methodist Church, where I direct several choirs and get to play an 1850 pipe organ. Each summer I work with our summer programs’ discovery and theatre camps, and then I travel to Great Britain to take master classes with noted choral conductors such as Ralph Allwood, Timothy Brown, Robin Gritton, Robert Hollingworth, James MacMillan, Christopher Robinson, John Rutter, and Jeffrey Skidmore.

My hobbies include everything I do for a living; I love music in all its forms.

Ashby Rushing

Ashby Rushing

Titles: Intermediate School English Teacher
Biography:

"I am excited about teaching at Potomac and having the opportunity to share and create stories with new people."

Teaching is a story. There are six characters that interact on the stage in my classroom: daughter, wife, mother, teacher, writer, and researcher. These six characters were the basis for a one-act play that I wrote as part of my dissertation. Understanding myself has allowed me to understand my work with students. I believe students need to understand themselves and tell their stories as well. After attending The College of William and Mary, I went for more school at The George Washington University where I earned my master’s degree in secondary education as well as my doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction. I achieved National Board Certification and am a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project. I will always be both student and teacher, learning each moment. I have been teaching over 20 years. I started out teaching in Arlington County Public Schools. I came to Potomac several years ago. I believe each new adventure is an opportunity to grow and expand my story.

Outside the classroom, I am involved with Encore Stage and Studio, a children’s theater in Arlington that has been around for 50 years and supports theater by children and for children. I have a special connection to Hawaii and enjoy spending time there and on the mainland with my husband, Colin, and my daughter, Rachel. I live in a Sears kit home from the 1930s in Arlington. I enjoy traveling, cooking, practicing yoga and sharing time with family and friends. I carry a journal everywhere I go and write in it whenever I get the opportunity so I can continue my story. I am excited to teach at Potomac, to share and create stories with new people.

Matthew Scharf

Matthew Scharf

Titles: Intermediate School Science Teacher
Biography:

"I always wanted to teach but other things kept getting in the way."

Right out of college, I joined the Navy as a submarine officer where I served for over six years, mainly with the Pacific Fleet. After graduate school, I had a stint as a management consultant, and, most recently, was an executive for a material science company.

As I made my recent transition to education and tested myself as a classroom teacher, I quickly and happily found that working with the energy of 7th and 8th grade students was my sweet spot. I feel excited and lucky to become part of the IS team here at Potomac. 

I am a Maryland native and currently live in Bethesda with my wife, Rebecca, and two children, Olivia and Ben.

In my spare time I enjoy cooking, chess, and training for and recovering from the occasional triathlon.

Hillary Steel

Hillary Steel

Titles: Intermediate School Art Teacher
Biography:

"Art is a deep well from which one can draw appreciation, skills and self-knowledge. In my experience, this well never runs dry."

I have been working with children since I was in high school. In the late 1980s, my experiences as an artist-in-residence in Pennsylvania and Maryland allowed me to become familiar with students of all ages and skill levels in very diverse academic settings. My first official teaching job was as an instructor of textile art at the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts. That school’s mission was to employ professional artists to train and mentor students. It was fulfilling work, and I became hooked on teaching. Eventually I earned a master’s in teaching from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. I began my career at Potomac in 1999 in the Middle School and later moved to the Intermediate School where I enjoy the company of our seventh and eighth graders.

During the academic year, I am excited to share my knowledge and great love of the arts with pupils, colleagues and friends. When I am not at school I can typically be found in my DC studio working on floor looms, reading, or designing new work. When I am not there, I am probably at a museum or gallery, traveling, researching and studying with other artists. Art is a deep well from which one can draw appreciation, skills, and self-knowledge. In my experience, this well never runs dry.

Sharyn Stein

Sharyn Stein

Titles: Intermediate School Mathematics Teacher
Biography:

"As Nationally Board Certified Teacher in early adolescent math, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that I have made two holes-in-one."

I truly believe that I have the best job in the world. What other career would allow and encourage me to surround myself with people, both young and old, who stand firm in their belief of seeing the world the way it SHOULD be and not the way it is? Additionally, "Generosity of Spirit" has all sorts of opportunities to run rampant in the IS and often appears in the most unexpected ways. And finally, being surrounded by these amazing people allows me to tell others that I get paid to laugh every single day of my career. Not a bad gig, is it?

My first teaching job, in 1986, took me to Vero Beach, FL, for four years and provided me with the wonderful opportunity of teaching physical education to pre-K through sixth grade students and Introduction to Sociology and Psychology to juniors and seniors, as well as coaching a variety of middle school sports.

Working with children between the ages of 5 and 18 on a daily basis instilled in me the sense of joyful exhaustion at the end of each day, as well as just how cool it was to gain insight into their lives. It also gave me a genuinely sincere and deep appreciation of middle school children and just how complex their world is; how deeply they wanted to be successful; how their enthusiasm could carry them oh so far; and just how clever, witty and funny they can be. I felt that on most days I learned just as much from them, if not more, than they did from me.

I came to Potomac in 1982 after earning a master’s degree in math education. At Potomac I teach Intermediate School math and advise eighth grade students as well as coach soccer and softball. Additionally, I have had the vast pleasure of providing community service opportunities for our students so they can gain a sense of the larger world and discover that by giving just a little bit of themselves they can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Working with children from diverse backgrounds and interests has helped me grow as an educator and as a person. I would not trade these experiences for anything.

As Nationally Board Certified Teacher in early adolescent math, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that I have made two holes-in-one. The first I shot in September 1995, with my dad watching, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and my second hole-in-one was drained in West Virginia in August of 2010. I also had the opportunity to play ball at Camden Yards with Jim Palmer in September 2001, winning an autographed Palmer ball for making the best play of the day among the 50 participants. And finally, my two mini-poodles, Fred and Wilma, actually own my house, and they are generous enough to rent it back to me.

Victor Taylor

Victor Taylor

Titles: Intermediate School History Teacher
Biography:

I used the following in a speech in college many years ago, and the sentiments still ring true for me:

"Each day I learn more than I teach; I learn that half knowledge of Another's life Leads to false judgment; I learn that there is surprising kinship In human nature; ... (I learn) That youth is the best of life No matter how numerous the years; I learn how much there is to learn." Virginia Church

I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. In addition to having a passion for teaching, I love music (I play some guitar and bass), travel, exploration, and good coffee. I enjoy learning new things and sharing ideas. I have taught history for grades 6 through 12 at three different independent schools, and I was an adjunct professor at the college level. Over the past six years I worked as a school administrator, but my passions are in teaching and curriculum development. In my classroom you will see varied approaches and an emphasis on working with students to develop essential skills and traits and to foster character. Skills and traits I emphasize include collaboration, critical analysis, information literacy, effective communication, a global perspective, empathy, mindfulness and a growth mindset. My approach is student-centered – we are all in this together.

I am excited to join this community and look forward to the opportunity to teach and learn at Potomac.

Christine Varoutsos

Christine Varoutsos

Class of 2001
Titles: Intermediate School Spanish Teacher
Biography:

"I earned an Master of Science in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University, participating in fascinating research that focused on the cognitive benefits of bilingualism and the continual improvement of Spanish teaching methodology."

It’s wonderful to be back at my alma mater teaching Spanish in the Intermediate and Upper Schools. I credit my love for the Spanish language as well as my career choice to my days as a student in Potomac’s excellent foreign language department. At the University of Richmond, I earned bachelor's degrees in Spanish and English and studied abroad in Spain and Argentina. I returned to the DC area in 2005 to direct the office of a foreign language teaching center, where I also taught Spanish and English as a Second Language to students of all ages.

Later, I earned an Master of Science in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University, participating in fascinating research that focused on the cognitive benefits of bilingualism and the continual improvement of Spanish teaching methodology. Now as part of the Potomac faculty, I feel fortunate to spend my days surrounded by the great energy and warmth of my exceptional colleagues and enthusiastic students. I hope that these young learners will develop a love for the language that will foster participation in the local and global Spanish-speaking community.

Adela Wynn

Adela Wynn

Titles: Strings Teacher, Private Music Lesson Program Coordinator
Biography:

“My high-school choir teacher was so inspiring that after one semester of college I changed my major from the social sciences to music education.”

I have been a musician most of my life, since reluctantly starting piano at age seven and enthusiastically beginning the violin at nine. I have had the privilege of studying with excellent teachers and playing and singing in outstanding ensembles. My high-school choir teacher was so inspiring that after one semester at the University of Kansas I changed my major from the social sciences to music education. I wanted to help students experience the joy that music had brought me. Upon hearing my plans, my high-school counselor dolefully announced that I was wasting my potential. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Every day, I get to share the joy of playing music with students of many ages and abilities. Through my teaching, I strive to help students improve their technical and expressive skills so they can better convey emotions without words. Making music makes us part of a human endeavor that started with the earliest man and will continue as long as there are people. Waste my potential? Hardly! Helping my fantastic students reach their potential is a wonderful career.