Intermediate School Faculty
“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.
"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.
“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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
“I enthusiastically return to The Potomac School after having begun my teaching career here in Summer Programs over 20 years ago.”
I enthusiastically return to The Potomac School after having begun my teaching career here in Summer Programs over 20 years ago. I never imagined then that I would become a parent to two Potomac “lifers,” or that I would have the opportunity to join the world language department teaching French in both the IS and US!
Beyond the language classroom, I have a passion for helping students develop effective strategies for conquering learning, organizational, executive function, and content challenges in all academic areas. Having grown up transatlantically, I have balanced my DC-native status as an alumna of the Washington International School with studies at Oxford University and the University of Toronto. I am fortunate to spend summers in our family home in Brittany, France and look forward to bringing authentic source materials to Potomac learners.
“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand. Step back and I will act.” –Chinese Proverb
My journey into education began 25 years ago, quite serendipitously, as I made the move from Dallas, Texas, to Washington, DC. As a liberal arts graduate, I knew I wanted to work with children in some capacity, but had no idea that my journey would lead me to American University’s master’s program in learning disabilities, headed by the legendary special education pioneer Sally L. Smith. After spending 18 months taking classes in the evenings and filling my days with an internship at the Lab School of Washington, I was hooked! I learned what theory looks like in practice, I learned to make learning visible, I learned to appreciate teaching from a strengths-based approach, and most importantly, I learned to understand that all children have the ability to learn – and that it is our job as educators to find those openings for them, to discover the things that catch their interest and engage them in the learning process.
After spending a number of years at Fairfax County Public Schools, I left the classroom to raise a family and began an Arlington business tutoring, assessing, and advocating for families of students with learning differences. Once I completed my Ph.D. in education at George Mason University with a focus on special education and arts integration, I began teaching at American University’s Masters of Arts program in learning disabilities, as well as working full-time as the curriculum and technology coordinator at The Lab School of Washington and then as academic dean in the high school. Through the intersection of these roles, I have had the opportunity to supervise and train dozens of educators at all levels of experience. I’ve also had the privilege of engaging in multiple research projects and authoring a textbook, Creative Materials for the Early Childhood Classroom.
I am thrilled to be joining the Potomac School community. My favorite part of my work is the opportunity to engage with students, parents, and colleagues.
“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 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. Now entering my fourth year at Potomac, I remain inspired by the process of teaching young people history.
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.
Outside of teaching, I spend lots of time outside, usually with my dog. I recently completed the John Muir Trail, a 200 mile backpacking trip through the southern part of the Sierra Nevada range, which ended with a midnight climb to the top of Mount Whitney. My picture (above) is from the top of Mount Whitney just after sunrise!
"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.
“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.
"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.
"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!
"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.
“I believe that reading and writing are the most important skills that one can learn. Using my platform as a history teacher to convey those values to a new generation is a priceless opportunity.”
I am very pleased to be joining the history department as a fellow here at Potomac. I believe that reading and writing are the most important skills that one can learn. Using my platform as a history teacher to convey those values to a new generation is a priceless opportunity.
I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and fell in love with both books and sports at a very young age. Having grown up in such a small area, I began striving to expand my horizons from childhood onward. Before coming to Potomac, I attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. There, I studied medieval history and literature and developed a desire to pass along my love for reading and historical evidence to others.
I also played on Kenyon’s football team, and I plan to be very involved with athletics at The Potomac School.
"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.
“Seventh and eighth grades have been the best 30 years of my life.”
I am honored to return “home” to Potomac and rejoin the Intermediate School Science Department. My first days at Potomac were as a pre-K student in 1968. In the years since, I have been a Potomac student, a summer camper, an undergrad intern, a camp counselor, a bus driver, a teaching intern, a faculty member, and an Alumni Council member. I have also wandered out into the world, teaching across the water in such far away places as São Paulo, Brazil; Cairo, Egypt; Mumbai and Chennai, India; Singapore; and Bethesda, Maryland.
I have always taught intermediate-level students – seventh and eighth grades have been the best 30 years of my life. I love the energy that IS students carry with them, and I love knowing that the young people I meet on the first day of school will be much different from the ones who walk out the door on the last day. Helping them learn and grow into their best selves is an honor and a privilege. I try to follow educator Paul Andersen's advice about not killing young people’s wonder, and I have learned that the best answer to any question is usually another question.
Outside the classroom, I like to keep active, play bluegrass music, travel, cook, eat, ski, play indoor soccer, and laugh.
"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.
“I strive to be the type of educator I want my son to have as he grows up.”
I first joined The Potomac School in 2016, when I taught Chinese at the Intermediate and Upper Schools. I grew up in Xi’an, China, and received my B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park. I am currently pursuing my M.Ed. from George Mason University. I have a variety of teaching experience – since 2014, I have taught students ranging in age from elementary school to high school. I have also interned at the Library of Congress, where I studied Chinese character reform and aided international researchers. This past summer, I joined a STARTALK Chinese program in DC and taught high school students Chinese for five weeks.
After my son was born in 2017, I began to further appreciate the effect that positive role models have on students. I strive to be the type of educator I want my son to have as he grows up. I love working with children and cultivating their interest in Chinese culture and language through challenging them in a fun, creative, and engaging environment.
Besides teaching, I love trying new things with my family and friends. I love food, traveling, working out, and spending time with family. I am very excited about sharing my passion for Chinese language and culture with the Potomac School family.
"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.
"It's a true dream and a privilege to supervise these two incredible divisions."
I've been at Potomac for twn 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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"My hobbies include everything I do for a living; I love music in all its forms."
After teaching for over 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 (internationally-known SONY singer-guitarist and laureate of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition), Rostam Batmanglij (co-founder of the celebrated indie rock group Vampire Weekend; recent solo concerts in Barcelona, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, London, and Paris), Grace Browning (Principal Harpist with Dallas and Santa Fe Operas; Principal Harpist, Rochester Philharmonic), 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, Spoleto Festival, and Washington National Opera), Peter Lerman (an award-winning composer whose most musical Brooklynite enjoyed a successful off-Broadway run and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick), Johannes Löhner (adjunct professor at Nuremberg’s Hochschule für Musik), Alex Ross (prize winning author, MacArthur Fellowship recipient and music critic for The New Yorker), and Theodore Shapiro (composer for over 70 films; winner of 12 BMI Film Music Awards and 2 IFMCA 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 take time off for master classes with noted choral conductors such as Ralph Allwood, Timothy Brown, Robin Gritton, Robert Hollingworth, James MacMillan, Christopher Robinson, Harold Rosenbaum, John Rutter, and Jeffrey Skidmore.
“Choosing a career path was an easy decision. I can’t imagine myself working anywhere but a school.”
Growing up on both the East and West Coasts, I attended wonderful schools full of passionate teachers, admirable leaders, and strong senses of community and spirit. Therefore, choosing a career path was an easy decision. I can’t imagine myself working anywhere but a school.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with degrees in secondary education, English, and United States history, my first teaching job was at The Windward School in White Plains, New York. Windward is an independent day school for children with language-based learning disabilities, and was the best school at which to start my career because of its opportunities for mentorship, professional development, sports coaching, and student activity leadership.
I worked at Windward for two years until I returned to California in 2012. There, I taught English to fifth through seventh graders at the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California. In addition to teaching, I advised Middle School students, served on faculty committees for service learning and school safety, emceed and co-auctioneered the school’s Annual Benefit Celebration, and held other responsibilities. I am grateful for my five years at Catalina. This past June, the school invited me back to be the commencement speaker at eighth grade graduation. Delivering the commencement address to former students, parents, and colleagues was an incredible honor and a humbling experience.
During the 2017-2018 school year, I studied at The Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, and earned an M.A. in private school leadership. Along with my courses, I helped an independent school in Westchester County with their “Portrait of a Graduate” project and completed a capstone analysis on a head of school in New Jersey. My time at The Klingenstein Center was filled with reflection, inspiration, and joy.
My journey now brings me to Potomac, where I am elated to share my passion for English with students, grow as an educator and school leader, and be part of this wonderful community. When not teaching, you can find me checking out and reading books from my local library, following sports and pop culture, practicing the piano, and exploring the DMV region with friends and family. I look forward to meeting Potomac families, faculty and staff, and other community members. Go Panthers!
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"I earned a 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 School. 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 a 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.
“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.