Upper School Faculty
"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.
"I enjoy the challenge of shaping a student’s mindset toward math."
Potomac’s practice of building solid relationships with students enables me to reach students, whether they’re in my advanced calculus classes or express fear or anxiety regarding math. I enjoy the challenge of shaping a student’s mindset toward math. Often times, when I ask students why they like math, their response is, “Because there is a right answer.” To me, the creativity and problem-solving skills that go into learning the processes to ultimately reach the right answer are more important than the answer itself. Helping students recognize that they can understand more concepts at a deeper level than they believed before entering my class is just part of that reward. While I continue to grow professionally through conferences and workshops, my university experiences include earning a bachelor’s degree in an interdisciplinary math and economics program at the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Arts in educational leadership for private schools at Teachers College, Columbia University.
“The intellectual energy, inclusivity and culture of kindness at Potomac have challenged and nurtured me as both a teacher and a learner over the past several years.”
The Potomac students I met when I interviewed in the spring of 2009 for an English position convinced me there was no other place I wanted to teach. While most independent schools have a mission similar to ours, these students were testament to the authenticity of Potomac’s philosophy. Indeed, the intellectual energy, inclusivity and culture of kindness at Potomac have challenged and nurtured me as both a teacher and a learner over the past several years. While I’m entering my ninth year at Potomac, my roots in the DC area and independent schools run even deeper.
After graduating from Holton-Arms in 1987, I headed to Brown University, where I played soccer and lacrosse with the same passion that I studied literature. I earned my bachelor’s in American civilization, with a focus on studying history through literature. In soccer, my teammates and I captured four Ivy League titles. New England became my second home, and I remained there for nearly 20 years, 17 of which I spent at Providence Country Day School teaching English, advising, coaching soccer and lacrosse, and finally serving as PCD's director of admission. Through coursework over several summers I earned my master’s degree from Georgetown University. With the encouragement of an inspiring professor, I wrote my thesis on athletics, learning and spirituality.
Surgical records confirm the adage that as an athlete I “left everything on the field;"thus, my physical pursuits today are low impact. I enjoy spinning, practicing Bikram yoga, and spending as much time as possible on my paddleboard or in my kayak. In fact, kayaking has helped me find Savasana—“stillness between the postures”—which can be the most elusive pose for me both on and off the yoga mat. Being on the water slows life down and provides the opportunity for reflection. I’m also energized by spending time with friends and family (four-legged members included!) and traveling whenever possible.
"My favorite moments at Potomac involve either a) appreciating students’ performances, or b) working one-on-one with students to help put their ideas onto the page."
I am delighted to be returning to Potomac following a four-year absence as a full-time parent.
Between 2012 and 2017, I was a History teacher, English teacher, student advisor, and faculty advisor to the Student Government Association and the Model UN club.
My favorite moments at Potomac involve either a) appreciating students’ performances, or b) working one-on-one with students to help put their ideas onto the page.
In my time away from Potomac, I had a second son and joined activism related to climate, human rights, and anti-supremacism.
I graduated from Dartmouth College and have a Masters in Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
“Learning how to become your own health advocate is one of the most powerful life skills a young athlete can learn.”
Managing health and wellness through sports and activities is an important aspect of a young person’s life. It takes time to understand your own health needs, and I love being able to assist students in that process. My goal is to not only diagnose and treat injuries but help students understand the importance of prevention and maintenance through diet, strength training, and conditioning. I too was a competitive athlete in volleyball, basketball, and track & field. I have also competed in fitness competitions. I spend most of my time strength training for fun now.
I am currently pursuing my Doctorate of Athletic Training degree from Indiana State University. I completed my Master of Applied Nutrition at Northeastern University, and my Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from George Mason University. I hold the ITAT (ImPACT Trained Athletic Trainer) certification, and the Performance Enhancement Specialist certification.
"When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy hiking and backpacking, skills I honed and put to good use while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia a few years ago."
After a teaching career that has taken me to western Massachusetts, southwestern Virginia, and central New Jersey, I am thrilled to be joining The Potomac School faculty and working just outside my hometown of Washington, DC. I have not lived or worked here for many years, but it’s wonderful to be back.
My resume says I have studied and taught English, history, and religion, but my work with teenaged students over the years has made me realize that what we are really studying together is imagination--our uniquely human capacity to wonder, to explore, to dream of things that do not exist and then to create them. Imagination is the foundation of empathy, cooperation, and innovation; Albert Einstein said it was more important than knowledge. It makes us human in the deepest sense of the word, and directly or indirectly I have tried to make it a major theme of my classes in the humanities.
When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy hiking and backpacking, skills I honed and put to good use while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia a few years ago, as well as some shorter treks on the John Muir Trail in the Sierras and the Long Trail in the Green Mountains. During some future summer vacation, I can “imagine” myself walking the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in northern Spain, but first I look forward to this newest phase in my teaching career at Potomac, and to re-exploring the metro area while helping my wife and two sons (as well as our dog) settle into our new hometown.
"My favorite thing about Potomac is the relationships that I get to build with students, both in the classroom and through athletics."
A native of northern Virginia, I attended the Holton-Arms School, where I thrived as a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. I went on to play lacrosse at the University of Virginia, where my team captured three ACC championships and appeared in two NCAA Tournament championship games. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in government, I stayed in Charlottesville for a fifth year and earned an Master of Science in commerce through UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce. In college, I developed a passion for traveling while studying abroad in Australia and China.
I began my professional career at a commercial real estate development firm in Arlington, where I worked for three years as a financial analyst. I stayed active by coaching club lacrosse in my free time. When the opportunity to come to Potomac presented itself, it was too good to pass up. Working in a variety of different capacities as a teacher, coach, and admission officer has been extremely rewarding. My favorite thing about Potomac is the relationships that I get to build with students, both in the classroom and through athletics.
“I am regularly humbled by the capacity, dedication, and generosity of spirit displayed by colleagues, students, and families.”
My college studies in psychology and education inspired me to work in the classroom. In the summer of 2000, I began my career at Potomac as a sixth grade teacher. My students taught me the importance of tapping into each individual’s innate curiosity and their genuine desire to grow and make sense of the world. The more freedom students have to explore, and the more room they are given to take risks and fail, the more they grow to be independent and confident in their ability to wrestle with new ideas and rise to challenge.
After earning a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration, I had the good fortune to return to Potomac to teach math – first in the Middle and Intermediate Schools, and most recently in the Upper School. I have also served as chair of the math department. With each new age group and course of study, I have found that the lessons my sixth graders taught me are fundamental to all learners. Potomac is a wonderful place to be, and I am regularly humbled by the capacity, dedication, and generosity of spirit displayed by colleagues, students, and families.
"My journey to Potomac traversed mountains and rivers, literally, as I studied geography and love to be in nature."
While I’ve spent almost 20 years in the DC area, it hasn’t all been in schools. My journey to Potomac traversed mountains and rivers, literally, as I studied geography and love to be in nature. I love Thoreau’s notion from Walden: “we can never have too much nature.” Eventually I realized my calling as an educator and my joy in helping others research their passions. I love looking for answers and cannot wait to help our students find what they need in the Engelhard Family Library.
“Outside the classroom, I enjoy traveling, hiking, and spending time with my dog.”
While working on my master’s degree in medieval studies at the Catholic University of America, I took a summer job teaching reading enrichment classes. Three months later, I was a different person: more exhausted and more inspired than I’d ever felt before. Teaching provides the combination of intellectual challenge and personal engagement that I believe make for a meaningful life.
My master’s thesis examined the influence of the Black Death on depictions of death in late medieval art and poetry. This training may seem wildly irrelevant to my subsequent career moves, which included teaching English in a high-poverty public school in eastern Kentucky, earning master’s degrees in teaching and in writing, and editing an online literary magazine. However, I wouldn’t be a decent English teacher if I couldn’t see a common motif in these endeavors: my belief in the power of writing to develop self-knowledge, clarify vague thinking, and facilitate the pursuit of truth. Outside the classroom, I enjoy traveling and hiking. I also devote much of my free time to writing fiction. My work has been published in The Georgia Review and One Story, and I’m currently working on a novel.
"I received my BSE in Biochemical Engineering from Duke University and have extensive experience with technology, and I especially enjoy working closely with colleagues to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom."
I received my bachelor's degree in biochemical engineering from Duke University and have extensive experience with technology, and I especially enjoy working closely with colleagues to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom. In addition to my IT interests, I also enjoy a broad spectrum of activities, from drama to debate. I recently relocated from Houston, where I taught a wide range of IB and AP math courses at Lamar High School since 1997.
"I thrive on getting to spend time with all of the students and faculty and love every minute spent on campus!"
I was born and raised in Charleston, SC. After receiving my BA in Architectural History and Anthropology from UVA, I completed an MS in International Relations from Georgia Tech and an Education Specialist Degree from UGA. I taught Social Studies to many different grade levels in Charlotte, NC until our move to Arlington, VA in 2012. After a few years away from teaching, I missed it so much that I started substitute teaching at Potomac while running my stained glass business, Handwrought. Through my adventures in subbing, I have found my ideal position in the Upper School as the Administrative Assistant to the Head of the Upper School. I thrive on getting to spend time with all of the students and faculty and love every minute spent on campus!
"My teaching is inspired by nature, current events, artists whom I admire, found materials, my family, my students, and my colleagues."
I love being a teacher. I love inspiring students through art. I love painting and drawing in the summers, when I have more time. I love spending time with my family. I love nature, working in the garden, taking long walks, and bird-watching. My teaching is inspired by nature, current events, artists whom I admire, found materials, my family, my students, and my colleagues.
"The only way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics." - Paul Halmos
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to teach, but I haven’t always wanted to teach math. In my first two years of college, I pursued a degree in elementary education with the hopes of one day working in a kindergarten or first-grade classroom. Then, during the spring of my sophomore year, I spent a week interning in a seventh-grade math classroom, and my dreams changed. The engagement, energy, and excitement these students brought to class with them each day, coupled with my inherent love for mathematics, led me to change my major as soon as the internship was over. Now I get to spend my days supporting secondary students as they solve complex problems and make connections across the various strands of mathematics content.
I am a Northern Virginia native who graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Tech with a BS in mathematics. I also hold a Master’s Degree from Tech’s School of Education, where I was the Mathematics Education Student of the Year. Before coming to Potomac, I taught pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra 2, and precalculus in various middle and high schools in Virginia, Illinois, and New Jersey. When not at work, I enjoy hiking, baking, and spending time with my family and friends.
"The greatest present I ever received was a chemistry set from my sister for my ninth birthday, and I have been actively engaged in science since that day."
The greatest present I ever received was a chemistry set from my sister for my ninth birthday, and I have been actively engaged in science since that day. While I loved scientific research, I quickly found that sharing this passion and knowledge with others through teaching was the life I wanted. I have been at Potomac for 21 years, teaching physics, chemistry, astronomy and serving as the science department chair. Prior to Potomac, I taught in several exotic locales such as Europe, Africa, and Bethesda, MD. I am thrilled that my two sons are on campus with me every day as students. Potomac is an extraordinary school, and I could not ask for better students and colleagues.
"My goal as a Spanish teacher is for my students to love the language and culture as much as I do. By exposing them to other cultures, students achieve a better understanding of the wider world and learn to recognize and accept others’ beliefs."
I was born in Chile and my family moved to the U.S. when I was a teenager. Although both my parents encouraged me to follow their footsteps and become an educator, I followed my own path. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Colgate University in Political Science and my Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University. I worked in this field for several years, but when I became a mother, I decided to get my teacher certification and I’ve loved working with adolescents.
Teenagers are full of energy and are a wealth of information. They keep me up to date with the latest news, pop culture, and school happenings. But what I appreciate the most about them is that if you give them the opportunity, they love connecting with their teachers. Thus, I provide a safe and nurturing environment to make them feel like they can be themselves and share their opinions freely. My goal as a Spanish teacher is for my students to love the language and culture as much as I do. By exposing them to other cultures, students achieve a better understanding of the wider world and learn to recognize and accept others’ beliefs.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking, exploring, traveling, and spending time with my kids when they visit. I am very excited to start the school year and to get to know the community at Potomac.
"I’ve worked on both sides of the proverbial desk - college admission and college counseling."
As college counselors, we have a unique opportunity to help students on their journey of self-discovery. Being able to help demystify the college admission process and to form close relationships with students and parents is what keeps me doing this after 25 years. I’ve worked on both sides of the proverbial desk - college admission and college counseling. Most recently, I’ve completed the college admission hat trick, having successfully navigated the college process as a parent. (This role may have been the toughest!)
For the past nine years, I worked at St. Paul’s School, an independent boarding school in Concord, NH, where I served as associate director of college advising, head varsity softball coach, and head of a 30-girl dormitory. Over my time there, I also served as a club advisor and led several student service trips to destinations in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to that, I spent 10 years in college admission, working for both Dickinson and Gettysburg Colleges.
I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a Bachelor of Arts in American studies and earned a Master of Science in counseling from the University of Vermont.
"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.
"In addition to working with Upper School students, I also coach Intermediate School Field Hockey."
I have a bachelor's degree in economics from Randolph-Macon Woman's College and a master's in applied behavioral science from The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to Potomac, I worked in the human resources/organizational development field for a Fortune 500 company managing their leadership and development training programs.
“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.
"The classical ideal of sound body and sound mind has always appealed to me, and it is one I seek to instill in my students and athletes here at Potomac."
The classical ideal of sound body and sound mind has always appealed to me, and it is one I seek to instill in my students and athletes here at Potomac. Teaching Latin and coaching cross-country and track have given me a unique opportunity to work with students over the span of several years. Remembering the challenges of balancing academics and athletics in both high school and college enables me to identify with the typical Potomac student experience. Furthermore, teaching and coaching is a wonderful way to honor the tremendous support and dedication that my own teachers and coaches provided me. Having grown up in the area and attended a Jesuit high school and Quaker college, I feel at home here at Potomac both in terms of locality and ideology.
"I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and my Master of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill."
Prior to coming to Potomac, I taught beginning and advanced painting, as well as digital art, at the Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County. I also served as their yearbook adviser. I earned my bachelor's degree in Spanish and education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and my Master of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition, I have had my work exhibited in half a dozen shows.
"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.
“I want students to love learning, to take pride in their accomplishments, to persevere when met with challenges, and to know I will always support them.”
Potomac is a special community. Every day I appreciate the students and the excitement they bring to the classroom. My colleagues feed my professional energy with their creative ideas and support of one another. And, of course, we’re surrounded by beauty on campus.
Growing up in Ohio and attending a small all-girls middle and high school, the teachers I loved and remember to this day were the ones who connected with me and pushed me beyond my comfort zone to do my personal best. More than that, however, they shared their passion and inspired me. I hope to do the same for my students.
At the University of Mary Washington, I majored in both in English and American studies, which led me to The College of William and Mary for my master’s in education. Since then, I’ve enjoyed 25+ years working in all aspects of education. My teaching career afforded me the opportunity to work with students of all ages - from preschool and high school and all grades in between, the common thread is the awe of wonder found in all my students. I want students to love learning, to take pride in their accomplishments, to persevere when met with challenges, and to know I will always support them.
In my free time, I love reading, walking our dog, and traveling with my family. From Kenya and Machu Picchu to America’s National Parks and North Carolina’s Outer Banks, being outdoors fuels my spirit.
"Commitment behind desire breeds success. This is the foundation of my teaching and my coaching."
I'm a local guy who grew up in Prince George’s County, MD, where I attended Central High School in Seat Pleasant. After graduating, I enrolled at Bentley College in Waltham, MA, where I played NCAA Division II basketball and majored in computer science. After my freshman year, I decided to transfer closer to home and attend the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. At UMBC, I redshirted my sophomore year before joining the university’s Division I basketball program for three years. During that time, I changed my major to sociology but continued to take computer science and information-systems classes. Upon graduation, I worked as a developer and database administrator at AT&T in Herndon and as head JV boys basketball coach and assistant varsity coach at Oxon Hill High School. The next year, I was hired as the varsity boys basketball coach at Crossland High School in Temple Hills, MD. This was a time when I found my true passion for working with young adults. After six years in the computer world, I changed careers and became a full-time teacher, which was a perfect match with my coaching aspirations. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Currently, I reside in Clinton, Maryland with my wife Paulette. We have four grown children - one daughter Leah, and three sons Levi Myles, Darryl and Steven, plus three grandchildren - DJ, Aniyah and Mackenzie.
“I look forward to sharing my passion for intellectual inquiry, global perspectives, analytical writing, and athletics with the Potomac community.”
Education was a surprising and exciting new journey that I discovered after college. I graduated from Brown University with a double major in political science and history and promptly moved to New York City for what I thought would be a quick two-year teaching experience with the Teach for America program. Yet, I quickly realized that when I spoke with my fellow Teach for America teachers about my plans after the program, I was not planning to follow a new career. Rather, I was planning my next steps in education.
While I was in Teach for America I earned my master’s in teaching and following the program, I earned a master’s degree in history at Boston College. After receiving my master’s in history, I joined the history department at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT, where I had the opportunity to teach, coach, advise, and serve as department chair. As a graduate of a small independent school in Maine, I was excited to become part of a community where teachers were involved with the student experience beyond the classroom. As a student, I loved having teachers who also supported my extracurricular interests and understood my high school experience beyond the classroom. As a teacher in independent schools, I find serving as a teacher, coach, advisor, and club mentor a critical element in building student confidence and willingness to take risks inside and outside of the classroom.
As I relocate to Virginia with my new husband, Michael, and our yellow labrador retriever, Rowdy, I am very excited to continue to work with students in the classroom and on the athletic fields at Potomac. I look forward to sharing my passion for intellectual inquiry, global perspectives, analytical writing, and athletics with the Potomac community.
"My students introduced me to robotics 12 years ago, and it has been my passion since."
I have had a love for computer science since I was a junior in high school and have taught it now for 15 years. My students introduced me to robotics 12 years ago, and it has been my passion since. I have led robotics and computer science programs that have traversed land, water, and space. When I am not working with students, I enjoy spending time with my wife and children, playing video games and board games, and painting miniatures.
"I love being in the classroom—the place where meanings only half apprehended in solitary reading step out into the light of a shared understanding”
I came to be an English teacher after some twists and turns. I studied computer science as an undergraduate at Harvard, and after graduation I worked on research in speech and language processing. But after a few years I decided that my interest in language and communication really centered on literary expression, and I went back to Harvard to earn a Ph.D. in English. My dissertation concerned the imagery of motion in nineteenth-century British poetry, and I have a particular interest in teaching poetry. I’ve been both a college professor and a high school teacher, and I’m very happy to have the chance now to teach at Potomac.
I love being in the classroom—the place where meanings only half apprehended in solitary reading step out into the light of a shared understanding. In that meaning-making, I hope my students both hear literary texts speaking to them in terms to which they can relate and stretch their capacities for listening to hear ideas or perspectives that they had not expected to find.
"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 am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Potomac’s juniors and seniors to create academically rigorous and nurturing learning environments.”
I worked as an architect and community organizer in Pittsburgh, PA, before I started my career as an educator in the DC area. I also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, where I learned to value cultural diversity and began to seriously examine the histories of peoples in the U.S. and abroad.
As a doctoral student and lecturer at The George Washington University, I taught classes on race, gender, and identity formations as well as social and political movements in urban America. As the program coordinator of the GWU Center for the Study of Public History, I helped to plan research trips and lectures for teachers and students at D.C.’s School Without Walls. Enriched by my experiences at this high school, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Potomac’s juniors and seniors to create academically rigorous and nurturing learning environments.
Since my years as an architecture student at Mississippi State University, I have been fascinated with the objects, symbols, buildings, spaces, and people in cities. I studied the significance of the shotgun house and ironwork in New Orleans while working on a master of theology at Xavier University. I investigated African-American consumer culture while completing a Ph.D. in American studies. I currently live in Washington, DC, with my partner and daughter, and we enjoy exploring all that the nation’s capital has to offer.
“I developed a passion for music early on, and I realized I wanted to teach when I reached high school. My parents are lifelong musicians and teachers, and always supported me throughout my musical career wherever it led, encouraging me to share the music I loved with others."
A native of North Carolina, I attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC where I studied trumpet with James Stokes, piano with Bair Shagdaron (Moscow Conservatory), and conducting with John Ross (Interlochen). I was active in the Marching Mountaineers as both performer and arranger, and played trumpet and piano in the Appalachian Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, and Trumpet Choir. I received my Bachelors of Music in Instrumental Music Education in 2017.
After graduating, I moved to Northern Virginia and began working as a substitute teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. I spent 2 years working with many band programs in the Fairfax and Loudoun areas, including the Northern Virginia Youth Winds, before joining the Potomac family.
At Potomac, I am privileged and thrilled to work with students of all ages through our strong instrumental music program. In addition to working with the Intermediate School Symphonic Band, I assist with the Upper School Wind Ensemble and the 6th Grade Concert Band. I also teach 5th Grade beginning woodwinds and private lessons on trumpet and piano. Being part of the Potomac School community is a truly incredible experience, and I strive to cultivate a welcoming, challenging learning environment for my students. Every child learns differently, and I love helping to create the 'aha!' moments that show genuine learning is taking place. Most days, the students teach me just as much as I teach them!
Outside of my teaching duties at Potomac, I arrange music for band programs around the country, and work with the Langley High School Marching Band down the road. When I’m not teaching or arranging band music, I perform regularly with the Main Street Community Band and the City of Fairfax Swing Band. I live in Fairfax with my wife Erin and our bunny (Bun-Bun), and we enjoy hiking and adventuring in nature.”
“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.
"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.
"A Mid-Atlantic native, I graduated from Williams College with a bachelor's degree in history. Afterward, I earned a master's degree from Georgetown University. I have taught history for over 20 years in both Delaware and New Jersey. I have enjoyed coaching high school athletics at various levels and hope to be involved in the Potomac athletic program."
A Mid-Atlantic native, I graduated from Williams College with a bachelor's degree in history. Afterward, I earned a master's degree from Georgetown University. I have taught history for over 20 years in both Delaware and New Jersey. I have enjoyed coaching high school athletics at various levels and hope to be involved in the Potomac athletic program.
Married to a South African, I have enjoyed coordinating and chaperoning numerous high school community service trips to South Africa. I love to travel and have been lucky to visit all 50 states. I enjoy the outdoors, especially fishing in Ontario every summer.
I am excited to be working at such a remarkable school like Potomac. It is an honor to be part of the Potomac community.
“I have been fortunate to serve in a variety of capacities in my twenty years with the school.”
After graduating from Trinity College with degrees in Spanish and psychology, I accepted a one-year position at the Middlesex School in Massachusetts to teach Spanish, coach field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse, and to work in admissions.
I had not planned on a career in education, but my short-term goal turned into a life-changing experience. Working, playing, and living with highly motivated and inspirational students and colleagues, while still immersed in all things Spanish and athletic was magical. (And to get paid a small stipend to do what I loved was remarkable!) Eight years in a New England boarding school and at Middlebury College, where I earned my master’s degree in Spanish, readied me to move to a new school and region of the country.
In 1991, I was warmly welcomed into the Potomac School community and into a new Upper School, where the team and its leaders created curriculum, programs, expectations, and traditions for its first high school graduates, while still preserving the unique culture and values so important to the Potomac community. I have been fortunate to serve in a variety of capacities in my 20 years with the school. Whether exploring new historical periods and cultures in Spanish class or honing athletic skills and strategy in preparation for the next intense athletic contest, each group of students creates a special identity and leaves an enduring mark for future generations to build upon.
"The more Chinese language speakers and those familiar with Chinese culture we educate and train, the better the outcome will be for the United States."
I find that one good thing leads to another. As an undergraduate student, I entered a linguistics program with a non-European language requirement. I wanted to study Arabic, but it didn’t fit in my schedule––Chinese did. In my first Chinese class at George Washington University, the professor took us to the Freer Gallery Art to view the Chinese collection. I was immediately captivated by the art. After graduation, I wrote to the director of the Freer Gallery and asked for advice about how to pursue a graduate degree in Chinese art history. He emphasized the importance of language and recommended that I go study Chinese in Taiwan and also try to get a job at the National Palace Museum. While studying Chinese and working part-time at the Palace Museum in Taipei, I met several graduate students from the University of Michigan who persuaded me of the strengths of that program. After two years of graduate training at Michigan, I was awarded a scholarship to study art history at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Later I received a Fulbright to conduct field work in China. Throughout this training, fluency in Chinese was an essential tool.
Speaking of good things leading to others, I met my husband, David Shambaugh, in that Chinese language class at GW. He also attended graduate school at the University of Michigan and studied at Peking University the years I was in Beijing. From China, we moved to England where David taught for nearly a decade at the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies, while I raised our two sons. We finally returned to Washington in 1996 when David accepted a faculty position at GW. Soon after I began to work in the Chinese painting department at the Freer Gallery of Art. Subsequently, I have published articles about the history of the Chinese painting collection in the Freer, as well as on modern Chinese painting and calligraphy. Since 2010, I have led multiple Smithsonian tours to China and Tibet as an independent scholar.
We have traveled to China countless times and lived in Beijing a total of five years––most recently with our son, Alex, during my husband’s sabbatical in 2009-2010. Over the decades there have been many profound changes in China. In the early 1980s, the people all wore navy blue Mao suits, there were no privately owned cars, everyone rode bicycles, and a refrigerator was a luxury item. Now there are more luxury cars and designer boutiques in Beijing than any other capital in the world. With increased wealth and prosperity, China has experienced many problems of developing societies: overpopulation, pollution, economic downturns, corruption, income disparity, and political turmoil. As America’s most important global partner and competitor, China’s destiny is tied to our’s. The more Chinese language speakers and those familiar with Chinese culture we educate and train, the better the outcome will be for the United States.
When our first son, Christopher, entered The Potomac School in the fourth grade, there was no Chinese language program. We were among the parents who urged Potomac to add Chinese to the curriculum. By the time our son, Alex, entered the ninth grade, he was able to continue his Chinese language training at Potomac. I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to join Potomac’s language department. I hope to demonstrate that learning Chinese is at once practical, attainable, and fun.
“My time at Potomac has given me many opportunities to connect with students, families, and alumni, and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces in my new role.”
I have had a wonderful 32 + years at The Potomac School. Serving as the boys athletic director has been a true labor of love; it has been great to work with our students, faculty, and coaching staff. Now, I am beginning my next chapter at the school: working in the advancement office and focusing on our stewardship program. My time as athletic director has given me many opportunities to connect with students, families, and alumni, and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces in my new role. I will continue to coach in the Intermediate and Upper School athletic program in the fall, winter, and spring.
I received my B.A. at Hampden-Sydney College and later attended George Mason University, where I earned a degree in education leadership.I have been happily married to my wife, Kelly, for 20 years, and we have four children: Elizabeth, Robbie, Annie, and George. When I am not coaching at Potomac, I love to play tennis and golf.
“I am always more impressed by what knowledge students can discover through collaboration and their own reasoning than by what can be imparted directly."
Having come to teaching through several academic pursuits and even a brief legal career, I can say with certainty that no endeavour incites my passion to the degree that engaging others in the learning process does. Helping students to think critically, to think accurately, to think imaginatively, and to build worlds out of a few basic ideas is the most challenging and fulfilling work I’ve ever done. My hope is to provide the tools and to facilitate the confidence necessary for students to construct their own understanding. I’m always inspired by the engagement that Potomac students bring to the classroom, and I’m so looking forward to another year of uncovering math concepts together with them.
When I’m not teaching, I’m usually either on the soccer pitch or bleeding red for Manchester United.
I hold a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Xavier University, a master's degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a J.D. from Georgetown University.
"I want my students to be successful at Latin. I want them to feel enriched by the grammar, linguistics, history, and literature they've met in class. I want them to be pleased with their achievement, and to know that studying Latin was well worth their efforts."
I've taught Latin across all grade levels--from the fifth grade (a conversational Latin course!) through the twelfth, and a few semesters of college. I've also taught Attic Greek, Homeric Greek, and occasionally ancient and medieval Mediterranean history. The years have sped by, and I'm finding even greater meaning, satisfaction, and delight in teaching as the years pass.
I want my students to be successful at Latin. I want them to feel enriched by the grammar, linguistics, history, and literature they've met in class. I want them to be pleased with their achievement, and to know that studying Latin was well worth their efforts. By the end of third year Latin, I want them to be able to scan a passage of "unseen Latin" and think to themselves, Let me use a dictionary just a bit, and I can get this translation done.
I try to swim six miles per week, usually early in the morning and out-of-doors. I also try to read a bit of Homer several times a week. My wife and I have two daughters, one a working artist in D.C., the other a graduate student in Boston. We live in Potomac with a senescent, tuxedo cat--whose picture I wanted to display here, but didn't, to avoid the inevitable confusion.
"My passion for teaching grew out of a passion for learning."
My passion for teaching grew out of a passion for learning. The son of a physics professor, I grew up in a physics and astronomy department. As a young child, I found the corridors of academia every bit as fascinating as the wooded trails around my house in the Appalachian mountains. If I wasn't making lean-to stick forts in my backyard, I was hanging out at the university experimenting with liquid nitrogen and tinkering with telescopes in the halls outside my father's office. If one of his graduate students was game, I would ride down the hall with them on fire-extinguisher-propelled rocket carts. Occasionally, I would find a dusty apparatus from one of the prep rooms and hide under my father’s desk as he taught, trying to puzzle out the design of the mysterious piece of equipment. The chemistry professors on the floor above taught me how to make a colored liquid from two clear ones and, if I was brave enough that day to wander to the top floor of the science building, I could eat my snack while gazing at cabinets filled with fossils of creatures that had vanished from the earth millions of years ago.
Years later, having earned an undergraduate degree in physics and a master's degree in mechanical engineering and applied physics, I found myself at a crossroads. Weeks away from entering a Ph.D. program, I decided instead to explore a "two-year hiatus" and accept a teaching position at an independent school just outside of DC. That school was, you guessed it, The Potomac School. I’m currently two decades into that two-year plan.
To this day, I have a very difficult time separating play from education. I still get to play and learn each day, but here at Potomac I have the chance to invite others to join me in the adventure. I am honored and blessed to help guide young minds in their own journey of constructive play and to encourage them to gaze in wonder at the world in which they live. I can often be found on the first floor of the Upper School building teaching our AP Physics, General Physics, Engineering Design, and Astronomy courses, or meeting one-on-one with students. Occasionally you will find us taking something apart, and even less frequently, putting something back together. My other full-time job and passion is as a parent and husband.
“I spent the summer traveling; I got halfway across my backyard.” - Louis Agassiz
My sisters would tell you I have always been a teacher; it just took me longer to figure it out. After graduating from Reed College in biology, I began working as an informal science educator in museums, a nature center, and community centers before realizing that I could bring that level of engagement I had never experienced in school into my own classroom. As I earned my teaching certificate and began teaching, I have had the opportunity to teach every grade but kindergarten.
Ultimately, I found my niche teaching high school physics. My passion is in supporting students to ask a question and find the answer- and physics has a large amount of toys to facilitate this. In the classroom, you are likely to find me on the floor studying an experiment in progress with students, or seated in a small group listening to their discourse as they reconcile previous ideas with the evidence that they now see in front of them.
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy hiking with my dogs, beekeeping and exploring backyard wildlife with my wife.
"I fell in love with math in 11th grade, when, in a small classroom in Osaka, Japan, I was asked to determine the slope of a parabola."
Throughout that course, we were asked engage with the mathematics, question it, and discover its secrets. Today, I try to give my students the same kinds of opportunities to explore mathematics, both as a lens to understand the world around us, and as an art for its own sake. I enjoy looking for mathematics in life's nooks and crannies, and exploring the rich history of mathematics.
My other passion is Theatre. I was a double major in Theatre and Mathematics at Grinnell College, and have pursued both professionally. I have been involved in over 100 theatrical productions as an actor, director, and fight choreographer. When I am not at school or in the theatre, I enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters, genealogy, and traveling.
"Apart from history, I am an avid fly fisherman in search of the next “tug” from a rainbow or brown trout or, if lucky, an Atlantic salmon."
I have always had an interest in history. And, although I enjoy all areas of history, I am mostly committed to fulfilling my passion to study the history and historiography of Ancient Rome and Greece. I find that history teaches students skills--writing and analysis, among others--that will commute to other classes and undoubtedly aid the student in their futures endeavors.
Apart from history, I am an avid fly fisherman in search of the next “tug” from a rainbow or brown trout or, if lucky, an Atlantic salmon. I find fly fishing to be relaxing and meditative. It provides a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and affords me the opportunity to interact with our natural environment.
I was drawn to Potomac immediately after meeting a few Upper School administers and feeling the enthusiasm and zeal they emitted while explaining the school. Then, after my initial visit to McLean to see the campus and meet the faculty and students, I was completely sold on Potomac because everyone seemed happy. I cannot wait to meet the students and be a part of the Potomac School this fall.
"I love the challenge of planning lessons that engage my students and teach them life-long skills, and I find working with teenagers extremely energizing."
After majoring in history at the University of Pennsylvania--and surfing the Internet “dot com” wave with a company called Trilogy in Austin, Texas--I found myself in New York City working in school development at Edison Schools. One my favorite courses in college led me to explore the history of charter schools in America, and work at Edison allowed me to explore current public school reform efforts. Soon enough I found myself wanting to be in a school, not a corporate office, so I returned to Penn to pursue a masters in teaching. That is when I found my home in the classroom. I loved the challenge of planning lessons that engaged my students and taught them life-long skills, and I find working with teenagers extremely energizing.
Before landing at Potomac in 2007, I taught at two other independent schools; Hopkins School in New Haven, CT, and Westridge School in Pasadena, CA. Born and raised in Washington, DC, I’m happy to be settled here once again with my husband and two children.
"There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you” - Derek Jeter
As a teaching fellow, I am passionate, hardworking, and dedicated to teaching and coaching the craft of athleticism. This year, I will be teaching Lower and Middle Schoolers P.E. and coaching Intermediate and Upper Schoolers.
My love for sports began at a young age, when I played AAU basketbalI and had the opportunity to travel to various cities for games. I also played baseball and football growing up. My passion for sports crossed over to my adult life when I decided to major in sports management at Bowie State University. I believe that if you have the passion, the competitive spirit, and the athleticism, the sky is the limit of where a fulfilling career in sports can take you, and mine has brought me here.
It is a joy to teach and coach at The Potomac School, and I look forward to inspiring my students, being inspired by them, and helping them reach their full potentials at this pivotal stage in their lives.
"My favorite aspect of the Potomac community is the strength of relationships I am able to develop with the students I coach."
A native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, I attended boarding school at Saint James School in Hagerstown, Maryland before earning my Bachelor of Arts in History from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. I developed a love of teamwork and competition during my scholastic and collegiate career both in the classroom and on the playing fields and I am grateful for the life lessons l learned through academics and athletics.
After beginning my professional career as a wealth advisory representative for RBC Wealth Management, I began coaching youth, high school, and club lacrosse in 2010. At Potomac, I am an Assistant Director of Admission, the Head Boys Lacrosse Coach, and an Assistant Coach with the football team.
I live in Washington, DC with my wife, Alison, and our cat, Pippa. We enjoy cooking, hiking, traveling, and celebrating the joys of life together. In my free time, you will find me on the golf course, playing with my nieces, or reading in our hammock.
"I love teaching and coaching and Potomac allows me to do both. I can be teaching first graders how to throw overhand in the morning, coaching an eighth grader on the finer points of how to shoot a layup in the afternoon and spending the evening explaining how our JV basketball team is going to execute a full court press. I love all of it!"
I am still an avid athlete and enjoy running, weight lifting and golf. I graduated from George Mason University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. My greatest accomplishments are rising triplets and pitching in three college world series while playing softball at George Mason.
“From the moment I started robotics, I knew it would change my life forever. Robotics has given me the opportunity to grow not only as an individual, but as a leader, mentor, confidant, engineer, and so much more.”
What I enjoy most about robotics is the process of working through problems to find the best solution. This process is the same mental skill set and attitude necessary to become successful in all aspects of life from academics to sports. I hope to share my ardent passion for robotics and STEM with the students at Potomac.
Outside of robotics, I love my job as a Software Engineer at Microsoft, as well as running my non-profit Enginotic 6 Robotics which provides STEM education opportunities. You might also find me watching and playing sports, finding new recipes to cook, or practicing my birthplace language of Italian.
"Teaching children in Lower School is a dream come true. I never wanted to stop being a kid, and now I'm fortunate enough to immerse myself within energetic and creative personalities on a daily basis. I wouldn't have it any other way."
I grew up in Littleton, CO and eventually went to school on the east coast. I attended Westminster Prep School during high school, and then later played soccer and hockey at Colby College. My mom was an educator and my dad a coach, so it's no surprise to me that I ended up teaching and coaching here at Potomac. I began my journey as a Panther in 2004 as in intern, eventually getting my masters degree in 2006. I have been teaching in Lower School and coaching the Girls Varsity Soccer team ever since! My wife and I have 2 daughters, both of whom attend Potomac, so the "daddy bus" is often busy from September till June. In my mind, Potomac is the perfect place for me and my family!
"I am an IS Teaching Fellow in the history department, and this year (2020-21) will be my first year at Potomac. I’ll also be coaching US and IS football, US and IS lacrosse, and IS basketball."
I grew up in New Jersey, where I graduated from Delbarton School in 2013. Then, I spent four years at Middlebury College in Vermont, where I majored in history and played football and lacrosse (big NESCAC fan over here!) I’ve spent the past three years working at the Advisory Board in Washington, DC, where I learned quite a bit about the U.S. healthcare system and met a handful of close friends. After a couple of years there, I realized the corporate environment was not where I wanted to be long-term, and I began entertaining a thought I’d had for a long time – becoming an educator.
I couldn’t be more excited to join the Potomac community. Potomac’s commitment to the “whole student” is an educational philosophy I experienced as a high school student myself and has been a value I’ve carried with me ever since. I believe that history is a subject uniquely positioned to help students find clarity and a sense of purpose in a world that, especially recently, seems to change by the day. I’m looking forward to creating meaningful relationships with Potomac students on and off the field as they explore the world around them. I can’t wait to get started!
When I’m not teaching, you can find me reading both fiction and nonfiction on my back porch, running and biking near my house in Columbia Heights.
“I wake up each day keenly aware that there is always something new to unearth and seek to understand.”
Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated by the natural world. As a kid, I loved exploring the woods, catching fireflies, watching the clouds, and learning to identify all kinds of living things. As an adult, I wake up each day keenly aware that there is always something new to unearth and seek to understand, and I feel incredibly lucky to spend my days with students who are eager to do the same. I found my love of ornithology during a college semester abroad in Panama, and I discovered my passion for teaching in Okayama, Japan, where I taught English (and stared wistfully into the science labs during my free periods!). In graduate school, I studied the behavior patterns of the notorious brown-headed cowbird in the high plains of New Mexico and was a teaching assistant for several courses in ecology.
Before coming to Potomac, I was a lifer at Tower Hill School in Delaware, taught science at Princeton Day School in New Jersey, was a stay-at-home mom for several years, and worked for a nonprofit that provides scholarships and mentoring to lower-income students who plan to attend college. The Potomac community has welcomed my family so warmly, and I can't wait to get more involved with all aspects of life here.
Outside of school, I enjoy outdoor activities with my family, reveling in my kids' boundless curiosity, knitting, birdwatching, travel, spicy food, and learning about Japanese and Japanese-American culture and history.
"Whether I’m clipping a wireless microphone onto a nervous kindergartner, or a former president, all guests of the Engelhard Performing Arts Center will get the same commitment to courtesy and respect."
Born and raised in Arlington County I am the youngest of 6 boys. I have a BFA in Acting from George Mason University and an MFA in directing from The Granada Artists-in-Residence Program at The University of California, Davis. I have experience in many aspects of production in film, television, and theatre.
As a Potomac faculty member for over 20 years and a parent of two Potomac Lifers I have a rich appreciation for the value of a Potomac education.
"I am privileged to share my passion for literature and writing with my students."
Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what you want to do—and where you want to do it. Not with mountain biking and skiing—I discovered my love of the mountains early while growing up in Seattle. But it took many years and several detours to find my way to Potomac, where I am privileged to share my passion for literature and writing with my students. About the detours: After Harvard and a fellowship year at the École Normale Supérieure, followed by another degree, I built the American operation of a French (then Swedish, then English) tech company. Along the way, I ran our group’s manufacturing operations and opened and managed our office in Singapore—in short, lots of time up in the air. When finally, we were acquired by an American company, I could pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. I had embarked on a master’s degree in English at the University of Maryland when an influential professor convinced me to pursue a doctorate in comparative literature instead; and I spent six happy years teaching first- and second-year undergrads and engaging in research. I wrote my dissertation on Caribbean trauma literature, for which I interviewed prominent authors in Haiti on their experience writing the 2010 earthquake. My subjects included Yanick Lahens, Haiti’s leading woman writer, whose entry I wrote in the The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, published in 2016 by The Oxford University Press. I feel truly fortunate to take my place in the remarkable learning community at The Potomac School, and look forward greatly not only to my classes, but also to my role as the assistant coach of our debate team.
"My goal as a teacher is to introduce students to the richness and joy of making photographs, and help them discover their own creative voice."
After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in American and French literature, I worked as an editor at various publications until I found my way to a photography class. After two semesters, I quit my job and worked as a photo assistant until going out on my own as a freelance photographer. I’ve been a freelancer now for 30 years. I’ve worked on a lot of different types of jobs, but most of my work has been shooting magazine portraits and advertising assignments. I got my MFA from the University of Delaware while I was building my freelance career.
My personal photo work went through a dramatic change about eight years ago, when my interest in food and food systems led me to photograph a woman farmer in Maryland (who coincidentally rented land from the Langstaff family of Potomac fame). My work with her has become an ongoing documentary project about women farmers called Grounded Women.
In addition to leading photography workshops on farms, I have taught photography at George Mason University, Holton Arms School, and Potomac, and I am happy to be returning to Potomac. My goal as a teacher is to introduce students to the richness and joy of making photographs, and help them discover their own creative voice.
“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 16th year of teaching, I am passionate about educating the whole child and I am honored to be a part of the Potomac School faculty and coaching staff.
"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.
“It is so exciting to help students develop skills they will use now and for the rest of their lives.”
I developed a love for teaching while teaching the “six and under” swimmers on my hometown swim team in Charleston, SC. My initial major in college was elementary education, but my love for sports led me to study athletic training in the School of Education at the University of South Carolina. After earning my undergraduate degree in athletic training I continued teaching young swimmers here in DC while pursuing my masters at George Washington University. Upon graduation, I accepted an athletic training position working with football and women's lacrosse at Georgetown University. I am thrilled to be able to combine my passions for children, sports, education, and medicine at the Potomac school. It is so exciting to help kids develop skills they will use now and for the rest of their lives. When I am not teaching PE classes I am either in the athletic training room or on the field. In my spare time I enjoy cooking and spin classes as well as trying out different restaurants.
"English teachers are in love with words—passionately in love with them—and we desire to pass a little of our enthusiasm on to our students."
We want to expose our students to myriad voices and invite them to savor the beauty and power of the authors' language as they read, and we try to help them find their own voice so they can enjoy writing as well. I feel most fortunate to be able to help facilitate the students' exploration of stories from the past and present so that they will feel empowered to write the stories of the future. What is most exciting about teaching at Potomac is that most of our students enjoy sharing their ideas and learning from others, and that enables growth to occur at an exponential rate.
"I love to introduce students to the physical world around them, but most importantly, I serve as a mentor and guide as students learn to lead lives of principle and character in the world beyond Potomac."
Through a chance meeting – a “right place, right time” kind of thing – I was offered a teaching position by my high school headmaster when I first graduated from college, where I majored in geology. In this first teaching job, I coached and taught science to seventh grade boys. I had a wonderful experience introducing my students to the science I loved and guiding them along the path that would grow them into young men of principle. After two years in this role, I returned to graduate school, specializing in hydrogeology, and then spent a 10-year period working throughout the Rocky Mountains and North Carolina. There, I conducted groundwater resource investigations and studies that documented soil and groundwater contamination by mining and petroleum wastes. In 1997, standing in a Utah parking lot after a long day at the office, I decided to change paths and return to teaching. My family and I moved east to be closer to my roots, and my daughter and I came to Potomac.<
My daughter, who graduated as a lifer from Potomac, benefitted in immeasurable ways from the nurture and support she received from her teachers and coaches. My family has been blessed throughout this experience. I have spent the years since my arrival teaching physical science in the Intermediate School and presently teach sophomore chemistry in the Upper School. I love to introduce students to the physical world around them, but most importantly, I love serving as a mentor and guide as students learn to lead lives of principle and character in the world beyond Potomac.
In my free time, I like reading, traveling, and fly-fishing.
"The discrete study of the sciences alone will not aid us as we move forward in our lives; we must learn to apply, sometimes in a cross-curricular manner, the knowledge we have acquired along the way in a most creative way."
My interest in the sciences actually began toward the end of my high school career, after participating in a classroom assignment to teach another student about DNA transcription. I was amazed by the intricacies of the process and captivated by my anatomy and physiology teacher. After high school I pursued my bachelor's and master's degrees in biochemistry with a minor in theology from the University of Scranton, conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease. The interest I developed in the hands-on world of research led me to pursue further studies in environmental carcinogens at Penn State University Medical Center. From then on, my love of chemistry would combine forces with my love of teaching, taking me to places I never thought possible, including teaching organic chemistry for 5 years at my alma mater. All these experiences have presented me with challenges, both as a teacher and as a person, shaping the way I approach education and fueling my desire to become better.
What I enjoy most about teaching at Potomac is the quality of the relationships that are formed on every level.
When I’m not in the chemistry lab, you can usually find me in the weight room, baking in my kitchen, or enjoying local restaurants with my husband, Ian.
"I'm excited to be joining Potomac's world languages department."
In addition to teaching three sections of French (levels III, IV and V), I will serve as registrar, in charge of scheduling classes, students, and faculty, maintaining schedules during the year (e.g., drop/add and level changes), and overseeing student transcripts.
I received my bachelor's degree in French from St. John’s University and my master's degree in French literature from the University of Michigan. I have taught all levels of French during my more than two-decade career at the Ashley Hall School in Charleston, SC and locally at the Connelly School of the Holy Child.
"For an adventurous kid with diverse interests, it meant the world to have professors during my formative years who not only took sincere interest in my curiosity and growth, but also took pride in guiding my bright-eyed aspirations."
I graduated from Loyola (the Baltimore one) with dual degrees in Biology and the Classics around the turn of the millenium. Sounds like a long time ago, but my time there still resonates with me. It was there that I had two hugely impactful capstone projects: (1) undertaking independent research on a gene that affects cancer, and (2) joining an archaeological team to reconstruct a newly unearthed ancient temple in southern Greece. My adventures continued at Penn and WashU, where I had the opportunity to intensify my language studies, intern at art and archaeology museums, develop research on epic poetry, theatre, and the history of medicine, and grow my passion for teaching through increasingly involved TAships and ongoing work with a volunteer group whose mission was "to promote literacy through the arts."
I’m excited to join Potomac's Upper School as an advisor and science teacher. For an adventurous kid with diverse interests, it meant the world to have professors during my formative years who not only took sincere interest in my curiosity and growth, but also took pride in guiding my bright-eyed aspirations. Their attentiveness and encouragement has influenced much of how I view my role as an advisor and mentor, and why I gravitated to teaching here. I credit a constellation of teachers for helping orient me on a path whereon I could define my own research questions, make discoveries in the lab and in the field, recognize the vital importance of service learning and community engagement, and ultimately encounter the joy of teaching.
"I was raised as a faculty child in independent schools, and the most invaluable aspect of my experience were the relationships I created with the amazing educators who guided me along the way."
While working on my undergraduate degree at College of Charleston, my first teaching experience was as a teaching intern for two summers at Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Massachusetts, where I instantly knew I had made the right career choice. After graduation, I joined the faculty at Saint James School where I taught mathematics, coached volleyball and tennis, and was the dorm head of the youngest girls dorm. This past summer I began my M.Ed at Vanderbilt University in Independent School Leadership, a cohort based program where I collaborate with other independent school educators from around the country and even the world. My hobbies include reading fiction novels, staying active, spending time with my friends and family, and getting outside as much as possible. I am extremely excited to be a part of the wonderful community here at Potomac while trying to make the same life long impact on my students that my high school teachers made on me.
"Among many important lessons learned in competition, I hope our scholar-athletes learn the courage and perseverance it takes to succeed and the grace to do so with integrity, humility and respect."
Growing up in the small town of Buchanan Michigan, high school sports were a pretty big deal. From a very young age, I fell in love with sports and the lessons learned through competition and teamwork. But my father always insisted that I focus on academics with even more vigor. As the seventh child out of eight in our family, I was determined to make achievement in academics my calling card. When I had the opportunity to play football at Central Michigan University, I put my scholar-athlete identity to a true test. Out of all my accomplishments in college, I'm most proud of the opportunity it created for me to continue my education. After earning my undergraduate and Master's degrees at Central Michigan University, I went on to complete my Ph.D. at the University of Denver.
Not to be outdone, and determined to demonstrate the importance of lifelong learning, my father earned his Ph.D. nine months before I completed mine. Nearly 10 years after his death, I only hope I can be half as inspiring to my children as my dad was to me. And I carry his lessons with me in everything I do.
For over 20 years, I've been a teacher on the field and in the classroom. I'm so thrilled to be a part of this incredible community. Nothing in this life is more important than relationships. I truly value my role as an educator. Among many important lessons learned in competition, I hope our scholar-athletes learn the courage and perseverance it takes to succeed and the grace to do so with integrity, humility and respect. Together, may we forever strive Onward for Potomac!
"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.
“One of the ideas I stress every year to my students is that English is an enormous subject that they should explore widely until they find areas that excite them.”
I grew up in a Navy family and have lived all over the Eastern Seaboard and Europe. I majored in English at Bates College, where I studied poetry and co-captained the sailing team. I try to bring my own interests in literature to the classroom every day. Sometimes that means designing new senior seminars on dystopian novels and ethics, and other times it means showing teenagers that 19th-century writers actually lay out some truths that apply to our modern world. One of the ideas I stress every year to my students is that English is an enormous subject that they should explore widely until they find areas that excite them.
Potomac is a special place because students have such a desire to work hard and trust that their teachers are leading them in the right direction. As a teacher, that is a lot of responsibility to manage, but it is inspiring to teach here.
This summer I went on a four-week road trip, when I visited national parks, hiked in the Canadian Rockies, and avoided bears.
I wanted to be "that" educator who could motivate, encourage, and inspire others as my teacher had done for me years before.
Being passionate about foreign language learning started at an early age. My mother is from France, and my father speaks five languages. As a result, I have always been keenly aware of the innumerable advantages that knowing more than one language has.
My love affair with the Spanish language began in the sixth grade. In addition to my family, my middle school Spanish teacher served as an inspiration and guiding force for me to take my foreign language studies to the next level. Despite working for a large accounting firm in New York City after college, the field of education beckoned; becoming a teacher was a natural and easy choice for me. I wanted to be "that" educator who could motivate, encourage, and inspire others as my teacher had done for me years before.
Having lived immersed in the Spanish language and culture first as an undergraduate student in Seville, Spain, then as a graduate student Madrid, and now spending my summers in the province of Valladolid with my children and my husband's family, has made me even more sure of my career choice: to share my interest and love of the Spanish language and culture with others. Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher in 2010 afforded me the opportunity to reflect upon my teaching practices, and it was an excellent exercise in being mindful of how I impart my knowledge and expertise with students and advisees.
After teaching at both public and private institutions in southern Connecticut and northern Virginia, I have found the most wonderful of schools in which to hone my craft. Potomac is a special place to learn as well as to instruct, and I admire how much the faculty truly cares about the students’ social and emotional well-being; I am proud of the efforts we put into helping them grow to be successful and happy young individuals. Their enthusiasm and curiosity for learning is insatiable, and it is so gratifying to hear them give a resounding “gracias” after each class! I strive to make language-learning fun and meaningful for my students, as well as to show them a glimpse of how indispensable knowing a second language is in today’s global world. Through my interests in reading, music, cooking, and traveling, I endeavor to instill in them the ability to appreciate not only other world cultures, but also their own.
“English classes demand that we notice and question everything instead of sliding towards a far less exhausting mode of being: passive absorption, quiet acceptance.”
I feel tremendously lucky to be an English teacher because English classrooms have the potential to be sites of deep transformation. My years as a student and teacher of English have convinced me that stories can not only entertain, but can also humanize, liberate, and galvanize; that composition gives shape, depth, and clout to our thoughts; that discussion throws light on the complexity of characters and people alike. And, vitally, I have found that the study of literature allows us to gain critical distance (i.e., the act of stepping back so that we can see and analyze what we’re steeped in). English classes demand that we notice and question everything instead of sliding towards a far less exhausting mode of being: passive absorption, quiet acceptance.
I grew up in Maryland and then studied English and history at Amherst College, where I met my husband. I ran cross-country and track for Amherst and especially loved racing through the woods as New England’s fall came alive, turning green into gold and red. After college, I taught English and coached soccer at a small co-ed school on Cape Cod called Falmouth Academy.
For graduate school, I returned home and attended Georgetown University. While pursuing a master’s degree in English, I focused on Charles Dickens, Toni Morrison, and, unexpectedly, the American prison system. Instead of producing a formal thesis, I wandered far from the walls of academia and worked with community partners to found two adult education programs: Book Club Bridge and Returning Writers. Both programs aim to help returning citizens (people released from prison) reintegrate into society by forming community through narrative. This experience profoundly shaped my pedagogy and my sense of educational stakes.
After graduate school and two wonderful years teaching AP English and American literature at Laurel School in Cleveland, Ohio, I am again returning home. I am honored to be joining Potomac’s community as both a teacher and a cross-country coach.
When I am not teaching, I am drawn to lakes and mountains. I grew up devoted to drums, but now mostly play guitar and sing.
“I started teaching at Michigan and fell in love right away – there is nothing quite as exciting as nudging students toward questions and discovery.”
I was born and raised in Milan, Italy. I discovered economics in college and wrote a senior thesis on China, which had just started the reforms that would later turn it into an economic powerhouse. After studying abroad in Upstate New York, I decided to return to the US for graduate school, and earned a Master’s and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. I started teaching at Michigan and fell in love right away – there is nothing quite as exciting as nudging students toward questions and discovery.
After brief stints teaching at American University and Wellesley College, I moved to Los Angeles and taught at Occidental College for ten years. There, I was granted tenure and served as Chair of the Department of Economics. Looking for new challenges, I moved to New Hampshire and taught ten years at Phillips Exeter Academy, before returning to the DC area.
At Potomac I have enjoyed teaching a variety of economics classes, coaching an economics competition team, and advising student groups interested in investment and financial markets. I'm always looking forward to new adventures in learning!
“At Potomac you are constantly challenged to improve as a professional, and constantly rewarded with cooperative students who make every effort worthwhile … and fun!”
There is something truly amazing about teaching: you can do it for more than three decades and still keep learning wonderful new things about your students, your teaching and yourself. But best of all, almost every day makes you feel vital, relevant and excited to challenge yourself.
Growing up in Argentina, I assumed I’d be a writer, musician, artist or something related. Art and music were my great passions. Though my parents and a long list of aunts and uncles were educators, I never really considered teaching. Once I was in the classroom, though, it didn’t take long to realize that this was IT for me. In my first decade of teaching I was driven to learn all I could about alternative teaching goals, methods and philosophies. I met fascinating educators who worked in very different settings, all of whom shared a deep commitment to the fundamental importance of this work.
When I became principal of the Columbia High School in Buenos Aires, though, I began to realize I wanted to develop my knowledge and skills in a systematic way. After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, my wife and I moved with our two children to the United States, where I became chair of the language department at the Maret School, and also enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland (go Terps!). This second decade of professional growth was devoted to developing a stronger repertoire of tried and true practices. This was also when I discovered the power of direct experiences. I led a number of student trips to Argentina and Spain and witnessed the incredible growth and learning impact of such immersion experiences.
I discovered Potomac in 1999. I had traveled with Alex Thomas, then chair of the language department, on an immersion trip to Spain with students from schools around the United States, including five from Potomac. I was totally wowed by the Potomac students, so when I was asked if I’d be interested in joining the faculty here, I jumped at the chance. The decade-plus at the School has been a wonderful succession of growth challenges and rewarding teaching experiences. At Potomac you are constantly challenged to improve as a professional, and constantly rewarded with cooperative students who make every effort worthwhile … and fun!
"What I enjoy most about the work I do is that I’m able to provide academic, social-emotional, and behavioral counseling for students, all while making sure students are heard, seen, and feel as if they belong."
Through my work as a counselor educator, I developed a fondness for using research to guide instruction. I saw the benefit of gaining exposure to research findings and ideas that might help shape my own conceptual understanding of school counseling. My interactions with other counselors and educators reinforced my belief that a greater understanding of the importance of counseling and mental health will make stakeholders more aware of mental and emotional health’s impact on student outcomes. I believe this foundational knowledge is crucial when supporting the holistic development of a student.
Additionally, I am a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in the Counselor Education at the University of Connecticut. My degree focuses on educational equity and social justice. Moreover, I’m a certified school counselor and Crandall-Cordero Fellow at the University of Connecticut. My research interests surround African American male academic achievement, social and emotional wellbeing, and college & career readiness. I have various educational experiences in low-income, culturally diverse communities (Hartford, CT, Philadelphia, PA, Orangeburg, SC, Abington, PA) and schools with students and families identified as being at high levels of risk or underserved.
What I enjoy most about the work I do is that I’m able to provide academic, social-emotional, and behavioral counseling for students, all while making sure students are heard, seen, and feel as if they belong. I'm looking forward to working, supporting , and building with all of our Potomac community!
Food for thought
"In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers”. - King T’Challa
"I am so excited to join the Potomac community and to learn together, exploring our potential to build a better world one step at a time."
After relocating to Virginia from California and a brief hiatus from teaching, I am thrilled to be back in the classroom doing what I truly love. I am so excited to join the Potomac community and to learn together, exploring our potential to build a better world one step at a time. Having taught various ages, I am excited to be with the youngest learners. Kindergarteners are full of surprises-- they give so much joy and insight to the world, our relationships to each other, and ourselves. I know I’ll be learning so much from them and I hope to share their joy in return.
"We have all benefited from the people, the core values, and the day to day collegiality found here at Potomac."
After 25 years working in other local independent schools, I joined the Potomac community as a faculty member in 2009. But with three children who graduated from Potomac as “lifers”, I have been a member of Potomac’s broader community since 2000. We have all benefited from the people, the core values, and the day to day collegiality found here at Potomac.
I have a BS in Physical Education from St. Lawrence University and a Masters in Counseling from George Mason University. While at St. Lawrence, I played field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse and was inducted into SLU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. While at Potomac, I have coached varsity field hockey and JV lacrosse, and I continue to play ice hockey in a local women’s league - often late at night!
“There is no greater reward than being present when a student’s light bulb glows because they suddenly figured something out which they had previously struggled to understand.”
My coaching career is all about helping students understand they can accomplish so much more than they ever realized. The concept of competing in speech and debate is scary for most students. But like any sport, coaching is about teaching the skillsets and the knowledge needed to be successful. I don’t believe in a lot of rules for students with one big exception: Having fun!
As a coach, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve coached state and national champions, All-Americans, and students who went on to successfully compete in college. But not everyone is going to be a champion. But they can be on a team that always aspires to be the best!
My approach to teaching is my approach to coaching. Thus, Speech That Matters and the entrepreneurial classes are all about changing the way we think to accomplish things we never thought possible.
"For me, studying politics and history is like watching a great movie epic."
Born and raised in south Los Angeles, both my high school and college (Harvard-Westlake School and Davidson College) emphasized the idea of ‘disproportionate impact.’ Armed with over a year of experience abroad and a B.A. in political science & Arabic, I graduated hoping to make that impact in Washington, DC, by working in positions related to Middle East policy. After several months working in government relations, I planned a yearlong deferral to prepare for the intensity of a master’s degree in international relations. Instead, I discovered a passion for teaching, coaching, mentorship, and college advising, first at St. Mark’s School of Texas, and then at Pacific Ridge School in San Diego.
For me, studying politics and history is like watching a great movie epic. The dramatic suspense of Hannibal crossing the Alps or the evacuation at Dunkirk provide for plots better than any Hollywood script. The study of history and the social sciences facilitates civil discourse, the unpacking of complexity, the examination of ethics and morality, and allows students and me to make personal connections between our lives and the complicated world we live in. In doing so, I witness the ‘disproportionate impact’ that teachers have in helping develop young adults capable of and willing to engage responsibly in their diverse communities, democratic society, and an increasingly globalized world.
When away from the classroom, you can find me playing volleyball, spending too much money going to the movies, refreshing POLITICO, hoping the Laker slump doesn’t last forever, and bleeding black and red for Davidson Wildcat basketball.
“I believe that the salient features of math – its aura of abstract purity, its requirement of discipline, its worlds of thought to explore, and its offer of opportunities to find truth – make it not only good for the mind, but ennobling.”
I have a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Middlebury College and have taught most high school levels, from beginner’s algebra to multivariable calculus and linear algebra. I believe that the salient features of math – its aura of abstract purity, its requirement of discipline, its worlds of thought to explore, and its offer of opportunities to find truth – make it not only good for the mind, but ennobling.
Outside of math, I completed a graduate degree in music composition and have played the piano for more than 20 years. I am pleased to be teaching a few piano students at Potomac.
"In my classroom each day, I seek to create an environment that simultaneously engages my students and also encourages them to take risks."
Ever since my 10th grade English teacher brought Macbeth to life in the classroom, I've had a passion for learning about literature in an interactive, engaging environment. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College, I studied and taught both English and theater before pursuing an Master of Arts in English from New York University. Since then, I've been teaching English in the classroom while continuing to pursue my love of theater in my free time. In my classroom each day, I seek to create an environment that simultaneously engages my students and also encourages them to take risks; when they feel passionate about the material, they are able to absorb so much more. As a result, in my role as Upper School director of curriculum and academics, it's my privilege to support our talented faculty and diverse student body as they make new discoveries about themselves and the material daily.
“I still remember my jazz band instructor explaining how improvisation is ‘just like swimming underwater."
Teaching and learning can happen anywhere. This may sound sappy and clichéd, but for me, it continues to be a guiding mantra. As a student at Holland Hall in Tulsa, OK, Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and Teachers College in New York City, I was lucky to have dedicated and engaging teachers and professors. They brought the material to life and challenged me to think critically and creatively.
However, some of my most formative learning experiences came from outside the classroom. I still remember my jazz band instructor explaining how improvisation is “just like swimming underwater,” and my football coach reliving the moment when his coach screamed, “block or get out of the way!” at him. These lessons were about the problem at hand, but came to mean something more – something that I still carry with me some 20 years later.
It is the appreciation of these lessons that has brought me to teaching, coaching, and my duties as a dean. Whether I’m finding new ways to stretch my students’ understanding and appreciation for history, challenging student leaders to think about an adaptive problem differently, or working with the ice hockey team to learn how to read a play and support each other as a unit, I find deep satisfaction in working and collaborating with students to solve problems and squeeze lessons out of our experiences. I am fortunate to be working at Potomac, a place that encourages these rewarding opportunities.
"I received my master's degree in English from NC State University and my undergraduate degree in English education from UNC Chapel Hill."
I received my master's degree in English from NC State University and my undergraduate degree in English education from UNC Chapel Hill. I am joining Potomac from the Connelly School of the Holy Child where I have taught all levels of upper school English over the course of my 12‐year tenure and also served as the department chair and as a college counselor.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Potomac community as the Director of Student Life.”
My teaching career began at a small urban charter school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and it was there that I found my passion for working with young people. In the years since, I have taught a variety of subjects and grade levels – namely history and English – to high school seniors. Before coming to Potomac, I lived and worked at St. George’s, a boarding school in Newport, RI. My primary responsibilities included directing our Teaching Fellows Program and leading an annual international trip with students in my Global Studies Senior Seminar. I also coached varsity basketball and lacrosse.
As an undergraduate at Brown University, I studied modern American history and education and played on the lacrosse team. More importantly, I met my wife, Susie Keller, and together we developed a shared love for the city of Providence. Throughout the early part of my teaching career, I attended Dartmouth College and earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.
In my free time, I enjoy playing with my son, Otto, cooking for my family, reading, and collecting records. I live in Washington, DC, with Susie, Otto, and our two black labs, Boston and Bea. I’m thrilled to be joining the Potomac community as the Director of Student Life.
Every day I am inspired by the passionate, reverent, talented young people I teach. I feel quite fortunate.
"I am thrilled to enter my new role at Potomac as a Humanities Teaching Fellow."
In this role, I have the opportunity to teach in the English and History departments. I originally came to education as a Speech and Debate Coach. Inside and out of the activity, I love to help students find their footing as communicators by building strong arguments and speaking with confidence.
Before coming to Potomac, I studied Sociology and Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, I developed a specific interest in education policy. I had the opportunity to work with a grant-writing firm as well as a few policy making entities before joining the Potomac community as a debate coach, and subsequently, a teaching fellow.
In history classrooms, I am motivated by a desire to help students think of history as layered and relevant stories meant to be understood from multiple perspectives. In English, I want to help students shorten the distance between their most creative ideas and their ability to articulate those ideas. In my experience at the Potomac School so far, I have formed connections with invested and supportive colleagues. I am excited to expand on helping students develop skills, and developing the creativity it takes to meet each student where they are.
“Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character. “
I first fell in love with science while studying Biology as part of the International Baccalaureate Programme in my hometown of Yonkers, NY. Designing labs and analyzing data provided me with moments of joy, frustration, and unending curiosity. What I enjoyed most was the collaboration science required to carry out experiments. Leading study groups and sharing resources with my classmates helped me realize that I wanted to become a teacher.
I went on to major in Adolescent Education and Biology at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Shortly after, I began a teaching fellowship at Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY that allowed me to teach full-time and attend graduate school at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, NY.
Working at RCDS helped me realize my role as a teacher extended beyond the classroom. It didn’t matter how much I knew about science if my students weren’t able to connect with and trust me. I found purpose in participating in committees, affinity groups, and even co-founded a mentoring group for girls of color called Uplift. Each year, my vision as a teacher changes based on the students I am fortunate to spend time with and get to know. I believe that for students to learn best, they need to feel affirmed and supported.
Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm”, the warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.”
I started playing soccer at the age of four and ended my official career at the age of 22 as the volunteer assistant soccer coach at my alma mater, Columbia University. Even though I had great personal and team accomplishments throughout my playing days it is the lessons I learned through sports that I hold most dear. The great wins and the devastating defeats are eventually just lost memories, but the friendships we make, the coaches who become mentors and the lessons we learn stay with us forever. My mission as Athletic Director is to ensure that our student-athletes are meeting their potential on and off the field, court, mat and pool so they can lead happy and choice filled lives. I am thrilled to continue this rewarding work with the staff, coaches and players at Potomac.
I was lucky to play Division I soccer at Columbia University. I was ALL-IVY Second team and ALL-IVY Academic team twice during my four years of play and I was named the captain and MVP my senior year. After graduating, I was accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. I taught second grade, first grade and Kindergarten in the South Bronx, NYC before going back to school at NYU Wagner to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration. During graduate school I founded a sports based mentoring program called Level The Field (LTF); operating in New York City and Boston. In addition to launching LTF in 2009 I helped to found the KIPP NYC College Prep high school; a member of the Knowledge is Power Program operating all across the country. I spent 11 years at KIPP NYC and for the past two years served as the KIPP NYC Regional athletic director serving 6,000 students in 17 different schools.
I am thrilled to join the Potomac family and be the number one fan and advocate. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the sidelines. GO PANTHERS.
"I am extremely proud and excited to become a member of the faculty of The Potomac School."
I look forward to working with and getting to know all of the teachers, staff, students and families of the School.
Prior to coming to The Potomac School, I taught special education in the emotional disabilities program at Walt Whitman High School from 2008-14. I was the defensive coordinator for the football program for over five years and was also an assistant coach for the wrestling program for three years. I also coached baseball for eight years for the KOA sports program, based out of Bethesda.
I am a 2001 graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. After Whitman, I attended a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine. (A quick fact about Bridgton: it is the oldest and only one year post-graduate program in the country.
I graduated from High Point University in North Carolina in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. Following High Point, I enrolled in Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where I received my master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in mild to moderate disabilities.
In addition, it is fun to note that I am first cousins with another excellent faculty member at The Potomac School, Claire Berg.
“In 2007, I spent a year in Istanbul on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Scholarship and taught high school math in a Turkish private school.”
I hail from Boston and have earned two degrees in secondary mathematics education--a bachelor’s from Boston University and a master’s from Framingham State College. After graduation, I worked for several years in a Massachusetts public school where I taught all levels of math, from Algebra 1 through AP Calculus. In 2007, I spent a year in Istanbul on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Scholarship and taught high school math in a Turkish private school. I loved my time abroad, contracted the travel bug and, after a few years back in Massachusetts, took off for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I spent three years teaching integrated and IB math at an international private school in Malaysia while exploring Southeast Asia.
I feel so fortunate to have had caring, inspiring and motivating teachers when I was growing up – from my third-grade teacher, who believed in my abilities; to my only female high school math teacher, who was proof that women could be both caring and smart; to my adventurous French teacher who taught me how to discover the world. I bring everything that I’ve learned from them to my students with the hope of challenging, inspiring and motivating the next generation.
“After 11 years, Potomac feels like home, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
I came to Potomac in 2008 with a wide range of counseling experience including in-home behavioral counseling, foster/adoption casework and school-based counseling. Over the last 11 years in our caring and kind community, and I have developed relationships that have helped me grow as a counselor and person. It is incredibly rewarding to work with such talented students and an engaged group of colleagues.
Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and change fraught with unique and diverse challenges, both developmentally and personally. In my role as Upper School Counselor, I seek to provide guidance that will allow each student to reach their full potential. It is also my hope that students will come to understand that asking for help and support are signs of strength.
I reside in Alexandria with my husband, Ryan, and two daughters, Cecilia and Sophia. I am looking forward to the entire family joining the Potomac community as Ryan will be the Intermediate School Head and our two daughters will become Panthers this fall.
“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.
"I am looking forward to sharing my insight on the college admission process with the Potomac community while being an integrated member of our school community."
Early on in my admissions career, I realized the importance of putting the person above the process by personalizing and humanizing the admissions process and having honest conversations with parents and students. I am pleased to be able to create meaningful and lasting relationships in my new role in Potomac’s College Counseling Office.
As a high school student at Northfield Mount Hermon School, I worked closely with my teachers and mentors and always appreciated the time, care, and interest they took in my activities. I am looking forward to sharing my insight on the college admission process with the Potomac community while being an integrated member of our school community.
Originally from the Boston area, I attended and graduated from The University of New Hampshire with a bachelor's degree in history in 2005. Upon completion of my undergraduate program, I worked in college admissions in the Boston area, first at Boston University and then at Emerson College. In 2011, I received my Master of Education in higher education administration from Northeastern University. After one too many New England winters I decided to move to Washington, DC, and began working in the undergraduate admission office at American University, where I worked for nearly four years, recruiting and guiding parents and students from around the world through the admission process. My professional affiliations include The Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC), The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC).
On a more personal note, despite living in DC for the past five years, I am still a devoted and die-hard Boston sports fan; go Pats! I also enjoy visiting Nantucket and the White Mountains whenever I am back in the New England. Closer to my new home, I try to take advantage of all that DC has to offer and am looking forward to attending many events here on campus at Potomac.