An independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, DC

Middle School Faculty

Glenn Adamec

Glenn Adamec

Titles: Lower and Middle School Physical Education Teacher and Coach
Biography:

"The connection between healthy body and healthy mind has never been as important as it is today. The world is an ever-changing and stressful place, and what better way to counter that than through exercise, sport and play."

I have a true calling for kids and sports. The combination of teaching K-6 physical education and coaching grades 7-12 allows me to begin at the most fundamental stage of instruction and continue through a student’s US athletic career.

My undergraduate degree is from James Madison University, and I have completed graduate-level coursework at both George Mason University and the University of Virginia. Professional memberships include the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) and the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD).

The connection between healthy body and healthy mind has never been as important as it is today. The world is an ever-changing and stressful place, and what better way to counter that than through exercise, sport and play. The importance of teaching “life lessons” such as focus, perseverance, sportsmanship and teamwork through physical activity cannot be underestimated, as those skills can be applied in all aspects of life.

Meredith Brooks

Meredith Brooks

Titles: Grade 6 Teacher
Biography:

"I believe we are all enhanced by deepening our understanding of ourselves and each other, and I enjoy exploring topics of cultural competence and Social and Emotional Learning with my students."

Our world is a fascinating place, and I find joy in exploring our global classroom. I have traveled extensively, and I have spent time as both a tourist and a resident in countries throughout four continents. My experiences abroad have shaped me personally and influenced my teaching. I believe we are all enhanced by deepening our understanding of ourselves and each other, and I enjoy exploring topics of cultural competence and Social and Emotional Learning with my students.

After receiving my Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, I piloted a health education project as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zanzibar, Tanzania. From there, my curiosity about the world brought me to teaching positions at international schools in Bucharest, Romania and Bali, Indonesia. After returning to the United States, I received a Master of Education from The George Washington University. I joined Potomac’s sixth grade team in 2011. When I am not in the classroom, you might find me engaged in a creative pursuit such as painting or woodworking, experimenting in my kitchen, or making music.

Ben Buursma

Ben Buursma

Titles: Middle School Science Teacher
Biography:

"I remain passionate about creating opportunities for students to engage their interests in and through the world around them."

My parents were educators, and the rhythms, joys and challenges of a teacher’s life formed the landscape of my childhood. Best of all, my family’s school-oriented schedule meant we could spend summers on a small inland lake in Michigan. I spent countless hours swimming, fishing and getting as dirty as possible. Those experiences exploring the nature around me proved just as much an education as my lessons in a classroom. Years later, when I was a college freshman picking my major, a career spent questioning, exploring and learning with children seemed the most natural and familiar way to capture the spirit of those long summer days.

I remain passionate about creating opportunities for students to engage their interests in and through the world around them. I seek to create a safe place for students to indulge their curiosity and test their assumptions. The Potomac School has proved to be the ideal environment for such a philosophy. Whenever someone asks, I'm quick to share that I have the best job on campus!

Nonie Cameron

Nonie Cameron

Titles: Grades 4-5 Language Arts Specialist, K-6 English/Language Arts Department Chair
Biography:

"I always appreciate the opportunity to discuss literature and how to become a stronger writer with my students."

Reading, writing, and language have always been of great interest to me, and I feel fortunate to be able to specialize in this area of the elementary school curriculum. I graduated from Duke University with a degree in art history and Spanish and then turned my focus to education a few years after graduating from college. After receiving a master's degree in education from Harvard, I was an upper elementary classroom teacher both at Potomac and at two independent schools in New York City. I then took time off to be at home with my two sons, and during this period, I embarked upon a graduate degree in reading education at the University of Virginia. I worked as a specialist in the Lower School for a year and am currently working in the Middle School. A few of my favorite titles that we read include Bud, not Buddy, Blood Red Horse, Number the Stars, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I always appreciate the opportunity to discuss literature and how to become a stronger writer with my students.

Beth Dunkelberger

Beth Dunkelberger

Titles: Middle School Art Teacher
Biography:

"A graduate school research project afforded me the opportunity to observe and analyze art classes in Japan for grades K through 5. I completed a research project on the developmental stages of Japanese children’s art according to media."

Ever since my childhood, I have been drawn to making art and exploring the outdoors. With little time in the school day devoted to my favorite pursuits, the day in the classroom felt long. Third grade, however, was different. That was the year I attended an experimental school.The school believed that children are innately aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and that they are best equipped to self-select a curriculum that meets their learning style. Rotating between art, science and physical education, third grade was a dream. Upon reflection I now see how the experimental system would have failed me in the long run, and my parents were finally forgiven for pulling me out.

Yet it was not until undergraduate and graduate school that my education was once again geared toward my life passions: art-making and outdoor recreation. I had enthusiastic support for: sharing ideas about art and artists, discussing one’s own and other’s art-making experiences, talking about the nature of art and artists, and examining the work of artists both past and present. A Semester at Sea program my sophomore year gave me insight into arts and cultures from many countries around the world as well as the itch for more travel. Junior year I attended art school in Rome, Italy, where my art history books came to life with so many of the painters, sculptors and architects I had studied. A graduate school research project afforded me the opportunity to observe and analyze art classes in Japan for grades K through 5. I completed a research project on the developmental stages of Japanese children’s art according to media. I still use some of the fresh and inventive techniques learned from this research in my classroom today.

Although I continue to use many strategies taught in my own college art education courses, I have also changed my ways of thinking over the years. In my fourth year of teaching, I became a parent. Observing my children make art gave me new insight and heavily influenced my teaching. Whether arranging stones, sticks and sand in unusual ways or bringing invented worlds to life with Play-Doh, I realized there was no shortage of imaginative ideas. The ongoing narrative dialog that took place during creative play showed that they naturally discussed the creative process. It was the most honest art I had witnessed. I no longer wanted to impose my adult ideas for art-making on the purest form of art: children’s art. Instead my place in the process was to provide enthusiastic support for their exploration while setting up artistic situations that inspire them.

As my students search, discover and invent, they never cease to provide fresh observations and inspire me with their creative ideas and art. A circular relationship exists where we are learning from each other. Sharing ideas, discussing works in progress, providing feedback and working on methods to refine works with a supportive and interested audience are vital to the growth of all artists. As an artist/teacher, the more immersed I am with my own art, the greater understanding my students gain from the art processes of others. Being an artist/teacher at The Potomac School, I am where I have always wanted to be: working with a community of artists and often enjoying the beautiful outdoor campus.

Catherine Fields

Catherine Fields

Titles: Grade 6 Teacher
Biography:

"It is refreshing every day to come to work with a group of students who want to learn."

Learning about the past has always intrigued me, and I think sharing that curiosity with my students is the most rewarding part of my job. With the help of Potomac, I have had many opportunities to travel and hone my craft. Most recently, last summer I spent a week in England exploring the mystery surrounding the death of King Richard III. He was one of the most hated kings in English history, and he had a dramatic death, but the discovery of his body 450 years gave his story new life. This trip, like many others, gave me a newfound focus and passion that I was able to share with my students.

Over the past 13 years, Potomac has certainly helped foster my love of teaching and learning. I have loved every moment. From the children, to the parents, to my fellow teachers, I have found a real home. It is refreshing every day to come to work with a group of students who want to learn.

My education background has always been English language arts/history. After receiving my bachelor's degree in English/creative writing from San Diego State University, I decided to pursue my graduate degree in British literature/history. Upon graduating from SDSU, I immediately found a love for teaching 6th graders, and this is the age group I have been working with ever since. Sixth graders are fun, energetic, and always keep me on my toes. There is never a dull moment in my classroom, and not one day has ever felt like the one before. I consider myself lucky to have such a profession and love of learning.

Deirdre Furr

Deirdre Furr

Titles: Grade 4 Teacher
Biography:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~William Butler Yeats

I am local to the area, having grown up in Fairfax County and graduated from Stone Ridge in Bethesda. I attended Boston College, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and my Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. After graduating, I worked at a parochial school in Rockville, MD, where I taught fifth grade, before moving to Oxford, MS. While in Mississippi, I received my M.B.A. from the University of Mississippi. Upon returning to the area, I worked at a school in Tenleytown, where I taught science labs to kindergarten through fifth graders and also taught science to sixth through eighth graders. When that school’s door closed, it opened one for me at Potomac.

Potomac is family. I am beginning my fourth year at Potomac teaching the fourth grade. Potomac has encouraged my growth as a teacher and as a member of the greater school community. Not only am I a faculty member, but a parent as well. I look forward to watching my sons grow and learn in such a wonderful and caring learning environment.

When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two sons, and our two dogs, Murdock and Merlin. We love old cars and spending time outdoors.

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.

Sarah Heist

Sarah Heist

Titles: Middle School Mathematics Coordinator
Biography:

"Teaching was always something I felt called to do from the time I was a child."

Teaching was always something I felt called to do from the time I was a child. It began with games of school, turned into tutoring friends and peers, and resulted in attending UConn, where I received my bachelor's in elementary education and my master's in curriculum and instruction. I began my career in Connecticut and quickly realized it was time to move away from home and chose Washington, DC, as the place to begin my next chapter. I have taught in DC Public Schools for the past three years, with two of those years spent teaching fourth grade math.

My love of elementary mathematics has led me to Johns Hopkins University, where I am completing a degree in math leadership and technology integration for grades K through 8. My hope is to help teachers and students alike see how exciting math can be when presented in a way that makes it feel like a discovery instead of a chore. I feel very grateful to be joining the Potomac community to fulfill these dreams!

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.

Evelyn Hill

Evelyn Hill

Titles: Middle School Costumer
Biography:

"I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and worked in New York for 13 years as a graphic artist before moving to Virginia."

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and worked in New York for 13 years as a graphic artist before moving to Virginia. I also worked as an interior decorator and had my own business, Evelyn Hill Interiors, for six years. Presently I work at The Alden in the McLean Community Center as the Patron Services Manager, which includes box office management and marketing. I started costuming for Alden productions 10 years ago and have been costuming at The Potomac School for five years. I have three children, Michael, Lauren (who passed away a year ago), and Kelly Verdon, who works at Potomac in the extended day program. I love animals and have two dogs and a cat.

Jenna Hoogstra

Jenna Hoogstra

Titles: Grade 4 Teacher
Biography:

"I have been on my journey in education since high school, when I realized I loved working with children."

I am so excited to be a part of the Potomac community. I attended Calvin College, where I received my bachelor’s degree in education, and then I went on to Michigan State University for my master's degree. I have taught in the DC metro area for the past six years, working with students from 2nd through 5th grades.

I grew up as the middle child of three sisters in Wyoming, Michigan. Lake Michigan and the Provincial Parks of Ontario were places for exploring, camping, and hiking for me and my family. All of these experiences with the outdoors became my inspiration to teach children how to explore the world around them. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, running, and learning everything I can with my husband and dog.

Mike Hutton

Mike Hutton

Titles: Lower and Middle School Physical Education Teacher and Coach
Biography:

"A good day is helping a kindergartner have success jumping rope for the first time or watching the girls varsity basketball team execute the offense with precision against Episcopal.

My favorite title is being called “Dad” by my daughters, Emily and Molly. Running a close second is teacher/coach to the students at Potomac. A good day is helping a kindergartner have success jumping rope for the first time or watching the girls varsity basketball team execute the offense with precision against Episcopal. In my spare time I torment myself by being a loyal Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and 76ers fan.

Kim Mackay

Kim Mackay

Titles: Executive Assistant to the Middle School
Biography:

"I have the unique experience of working closely with a dedicated team of teachers, an enthusiastic parent body, many staff members who also quietly support our mission, and most importantly - our young, eager students."

My days are never dull. As there is always something requiring my attention, I have ample opportunity to hone the skill of multi-tasking in order to best support our Middle School. I strive to do this each day with a smile, energy, dedicated effort, humility, and a sense of humor.

I love the traditions at Potomac, particularly those in the Middle School: May Day, Class Plays, Greek Olympics, Medieval Bazaar, Field Day, Tuesday morning gatherings and more. Through these events, our students have the opportunity to showcase and share their learning by practicing the critical skill of speaking comfortably to groups of both peers and adults.

My husband and I have two grown daughters who fortunately both live nearby. We spent many years living overseas for my husband’s job with the US government. We thoroughly enjoyed the years we spent in Korea, Germany, Finland, and Poland; however, we are happy now to keep our roots planted firmly in the Northern Virginia area.

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.

Douglas Mogle

Douglas Mogle

Titles: Grade 4 Teacher
Biography:

“I am passionate about educating the whole child!”

A native of the Chicago suburbs, I have a bachelor's degree in special education from Ball State University and a Master of Education in elementary education from the University of Notre Dame.

As I enter my 13th year of teaching, I’ve had the great fortune to teach at schools across the United States, big and small. I am passionate about educating the whole child and I am honored to be a part of the Potomac School faculty and coaching staff.

Kathleen Morgan

Kathleen Morgan

Titles: Grade 6 Teacher
Biography:

"I am an avid drummer and an enthusiastic member of an all-woman Brazilian percussion band based in Washington DC."

I have enjoyed teaching sixth grade at Potomac since 2006, and I have been a classroom teacher for the past 13 years. I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and now raise my two children in Great Falls, VA. I am an avid drummer and an enthusiastic member of an all-woman Brazilian percussion band based in Washington, DC.

I have a master’s degree from Virginia Tech in curriculum and instruction, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. John Fisher College.

Russell Nadel

Russell Nadel

Titles: Middle School Music Teacher
Biography:

"I feel enormously privileged to teach here, in a school where music has a long and distinguished history, is highly valued, and is an integral part of the Middle School calendar year."

I started playing piano in third grade, but it wasn’t until eighth grade, when my piano teacher challenged me to compose an original piece for a local Philadelphia-area arts competition, that I discovered how exciting creating my own music could be. After more intensive study during my final two years at Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, PA, I earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music composition and a bachelor's degree in music education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD.

I have completed my certification and post-certification coursework in Orff-Schulwerk, an way of approaching and thinking about music education that emphasizes students learning music through making it and creating it themselves rather than passively "consuming" it. I remain constantly amazed and inspired by our students' overall creativity and musicianship, as shown through games, speech, singing, instrument playing, movement, improvisation, and composition activities and projects! (For more about Orff-Schulwerk, I encourage you to visit http://aosa.org/about/more-on-orff-schulwerk.)

I taught K through 6 general music and chorus for five years in Fairfax County Public Schools before coming to The Potomac School. I feel enormously privileged to teach here, in a school where music has a long and distinguished history, is highly valued, and is an integral part of the Middle School calendar year. Potomac students are artistic, creative, expressive, and willing to take risks in their performing--to commit--in a way that continues to inspire me every day. It has also been a joy to immerse myself in the Potomac Middle School traditions of May Day, Halloween, and so much more.

I enjoy teaching private lessons in piano, music theory, composition, and more, and I love to read fiction and play video and board games when I’m not playing musical instruments or singing. For more information about my compositions, including a listing of works available on commercial CDs, I invite you to visit www.russellnadel.com.

Michelle Oplinger

Michelle Oplinger

Titles: Grade 5 Teacher
Biography:

"After a few years in New York, working on stage and television (including walk-ons for Saturday Night Live!), I returned to school and received my master's in Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University."

I received my undergraduate degree in theater and psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After a few years in New York, working on stage and television (including walk-ons for Saturday Night Live!), I returned to school and received my master's in childhood education from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have taught in New York City for the past six years at PS/IS 49 Dorothy B. Kole School. In my spare time, I enjoy theater, traveling, and sports of any kind.

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.

Camille Paredes

Camille Paredes

Titles: Grade 5 Teacher
Biography:

"Outside of teaching, I enjoy traveling, reading, sports and speaking conversational Tagalog with friends and colleagues."

A native of Northern Virginia, my affinity for teaching began in high school as a tutor for young elementary students. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from Bryn Mawr College, and, after graduating, supervised Fairfax County’s K-6 before-and-after-school programs. After obtaining a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and certification from The College of William and Mary, I taught fifth grade at Greenwood Elementary in Newport News, Virginia. Most recently, I taught third grade and kindergarten at The School at Columbia University in New York City, where I also coached middle school track and field and basketball. Outside of teaching, I enjoy traveling, reading, sports and speaking conversational Tagalog with friends and colleagues.

Brian Parry

Brian Parry

Titles: Arundel Librarian
Biography:

"Coming from a literary family—my father wrote espionage novels and my mother wrote poetry—I cherish the opportunity to encourage students to read and to investigate the world through research."

When I came to Potomac in 1989 as an intern in the Middle School, I was guided by teachers of an extraordinary caliber—Barbara Barksdale, Angela Bullock, Liz Whisnant, John Hebeler, Madeline Hancock, and Sarah Corson. These remarkable teachers showed me the many paths to superior teaching and allowed me to borrow their ideas and incorporate them into my own teaching style.

Born approximately six blocks from the White House at GWU Hospital, I have not strayed far from my roots. I have lived most of my life in the DC area but for a brief seven-year anomaly when I attended high school and college in Connecticut.

My wife and I met as fifth grade teachers here at Potomac and continue to work together in the Middle School, though now in different roles. She is presently a counselor for the fourth and fifth grades. Coming from a literary family—my father wrote espionage novels and my mother wrote poetry—I cherish the opportunity to encourage students to read and to investigate the world through research.

Weezie Parry

Weezie Parry

Titles: Grades 5-8 Counselor
Biography:

"A lifelong learner, I attend workshops in child development and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology, as well as seek opportunities for collaboration, supervision and self-reflection to hone my craft and deepen my own sense of self."

As a child, I looked up to my teachers not just as educators but as coaches and mentors who nurtured the "whole child.” Coming from a family of special educators, I had a hunch that the field of education would also be the right professional fit for me. With a deep interest in the social-emotional development of children and the power of the family as a support system, I wanted to be where I could have a positive impact on the social-emotional development of children.

After graduating from Brown University with a degree in psychology, I immersed myself in a teacher training program at The Shady Hill School and Lesley University. With my master's in education and state certification, I arrived at The Potomac School as a fifth grade homeroom teacher. I was struck by the warmth and creativity in the hallways and celebrated the traditions of Friday assemblies, The Greek Olympics and May Day. Now as a Middle School counselor, my goal is to empower kids to deepen their understanding of themselves, teach them tools to manage hurdles that come their way, support teachers as they connect with a range of thinkers, and serve as a resource to parents as they navigate these Middle School years. Seventeen years later, Potomac remains an important part of my extended family as my husband, Brian, and I raise our three children in Washington, DC.

In addition to teaching and serving as Potomac's fourth and fifth Grade counselor, I work as a child and family psychotherapist and serve as an adjunct faculty member in Catholic University’s School of Social Service. A lifelong learner, I attend workshops in child development and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology, as well as seek opportunities for collaboration, supervision, and self-reflection to hone my craft and deepen my own sense of self.

Jordan Rucker

Jordan Rucker

Titles: Middle School Mathematics Coordinator, K-6 Math Dept. Chair
Biography:

"I love teaching in the Middle School, working with both the students and the families."

I am native to the DC area and an avid sports fan. I love cheering on both the Caps and the Nats. I moved back to the area in 2004, and besides a few years at home when my kids were young, I have been working at Potomac in a number of roles since then. I love teaching in the Middle School, working with both the students and the families. The challenge and excitement brought forth from Thinking Through Mathematics makes my job the best.

Shefali Sardar

Shefali Sardar

Titles: MS Academic Dean & Grade 6 Language Arts/Humanities Coordinator & Support Coordinator
Biography:

"My relationship with Potomac began 19 years ago, when I decided to make a career shift from the management consulting world to teaching." 

I knew I would be a teacher since I was five years old. I remember vividly "playing school" with my friends and sisters in my home in New York City. After graduating from Middlebury College, however, I did not immediately pursue teaching. My relationship with Potomac began 19 years ago, when I decided to make a career shift from the management consulting world to teaching. Since beginning at Potomac, I have worn many different hats, having served as a middle school teaching intern, sixth grade classroom teacher, and currently as language arts resource teacher, support coordinator, and middle school academic dean. In addition to teaching at Potomac, I have worked with eighth grade students at the National Cathedral School, undergraduate students at the University of Maryland, College Park, and with seventh and eighth grade students as a private tutor. Beyond my role as a faculty member, I am also a Potomac parent of two children in the Intermediate and Middle Schools. I have enjoyed watching students develop intellectually and socially/emotionally over the years and look forward to my future years at Potomac.

Leigh Anne Scanzera

Leigh Anne Scanzera

Titles: Grade 4 Teacher
Biography:

"Working with children is so incredibly rewarding."

This will be my second year at Potomac but my 11th year of teaching, and I couldn’t be more excited! Working with children is so incredibly rewarding. There is nothing better than watching an ah-ha moment, helping a student discovering her own gifts, or empowering young people to take control of their own learning.

I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. My first teaching position was as a fourth grade teacher at a public elementary school outside of Harrisburg, PA. After that, I taught fifth grade at Hancock Day School in Savannah, GA, and most recently I taught fourth grade at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, MD. My husband and I moved to McLean, VA, prior to the arrival of our son in March of 2015. I am thrilled to be a part of the talented Middle School team at Potomac.

Lisa Scott

Lisa Scott

Titles: Grade 6 Teacher
Biography:

"I love teaching 'tweens' because of their enthusiasm, creativity and strong sense of fair play."

I am a fifth generation Floridian and taught upper elementary grades there for 10 years in before moving to the DC area. A National Board Certified teacher, I received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Warner University and my master’s degree in gifted education from the University of South Florida. In 2011, I completed a graduate certificate program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. I love teaching “tweens” because of their enthusiasm, creativity, and strong sense of fair play. When out of the classroom, I enjoy strategy gaming, knitting, and playing the piano.

Joy Webster

Joy Webster

Titles: Grade 5 Teacher
Biography:

"Teaching truly is my joy and passion, and I have found a home alongside many other passionate educators at Potomac."

Teaching truly is my joy and passion, and I have found a home alongside many other passionate educators at Potomac. My journey as a teacher began in Cedarville, Ohio, where I graduated from Cedarville University in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Upon completion, I moved home to St. Petersburg, FL, where I taught third grade in the independent school where I had grown up. In 2003, my journey led me to an independent school in Maryland where I once again taught third grade while also beginning work on my master's degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Maryland. It has been a privilege to serve as grade five teacher at Potomac since 2008. When not in the classroom, I enjoy traveling to far-off places, reading a good book, heading home to the beaches of Florida, or golfing.

Christina Westermann

Titles: Grade 5 Teacher
Biography:

My class motto is “try everything!” Challenge yourself, make new friends, try a new hobby, join a club, taste new foods, listen to different types of music, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and find joy in every day.

I grew up just down the road from Potomac in Arlington and McLean. I am a graduate of Bishop O’Connell High School and then attended James Madison University where I received a bachelor of arts in early childhood education. I began my teaching career within Arlington County Public Schools at Page Traditional School (now Arlington Traditional School). My next stop was in New York City where I taught at The Dalton School, a progressive independent school on the Upper East Side. From there, a move to Hermosa Beach in Southern California took me to Chadwick School on the Palos Verdes Peninsula where I taught fourth grade for a number of years both before and after I had my children. In between teaching and raising children, I worked in admissions at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica. Since returning to the East Coast, I’ve also taught fourth grade and was a parent at Norwood School in Bethesda.

Outside of teaching I love spending time with my two wonderful children, extended family, and friends. I enjoy running, hiking, golf, paddle boarding, cooking, traveling, and photography. I am happiest when I’m with kids or at the beach!

Esther Yu

Esther Yu

Titles: Middle School Spanish Teacher
Biography:

"Outside of teaching, I enjoy traveling, being in nature, and participating in my children's sports and activities."

I'm excited to be part of the Potomac School community. I have previously taught French and Spanish at an independent school for boys in Canada, in Fairfax County Public Schools, and at The Langley School, where I also served as the world languages department chair. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor's degree in international relations and also received bachelor's and master's degrees in education. In addition, I obtained my Magistere in French Language at the Centre Experimental de Civilisation Francaise associe a La Sorbonne in Paris. Outside of teaching, I enjoy traveling, being in nature, and participating in my children's sports and activities.