The Potomac School is a K-12 learning community with an ambitious mission: to help make the world a better place by preparing young people for lives of purpose, achievement, and generosity of spirit. It’s work that we believe in and a purpose that unites us.
Each year, we seek to enroll students who will thrive in a challenging, rewarding, and supportive community that emphasizes intellectual development, a love of learning, and strength of character. We admire the engaged student who displays a desire to stretch their interests, expand their experiences, and get involved in all that our community offers.
We look forward to showing you around our beautiful 90-acre campus which is located just three miles from the nation’s capital. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore our website which provides information about our curriculum, athletics programs, arts opportunities, commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiatives, as well as service learning, and much more.
On behalf of the Admission team, welcome to Potomac.
Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid
The Potomac School Experience, K–12
At Potomac, intellectual growth and character development go hand-in-hand. Our extraordinary teachers, talented students, and supportive community work together to ensure that each student has enriching opportunities for learning and personal growth. Watch the video above to see more about who we are.
Potomac's Lower and Middle Schools
Among the unifying principles that connect one Potomac division to the next is the conviction that students learn best when they learn together. Our classrooms are filled with the joy of learning, a spirit of academic challenge, and a strong sense of community. Click on the video above to learn more about Potomac's Lower and Middle Schools.
Potomac's Intermediate and Upper Schools
At Potomac, engaged learners work closely with inspiring teachers, coaches, and advisors. A rigorous academic program and a learning environment infused with joy and camaraderie empower our students to define their goals and achieve their potential. Check out the video above to learn more about Potomac's Intermediate and Upper Schools.
Learn What Makes Potomac Distinct
Potomac is distinguished by 100+ years of excellence in teaching and learning. A Potomac education is grounded in our mission to prepare students for lives of purpose, achievement, and generosity of spirit.
We invite you to learn more about Potomac by exploring our website. You will see why our entire community thinks The Potomac School is such a special place to be.
Commitment to Diversity
The Potomac School strives for diversity in the conviction that a learning community with rigorous academic goals is intellectually and morally strengthened when many different voices, viewpoints, and backgrounds are engaged. As individuals and as a community, we are committed to ensuring a welcoming, inclusive environment and continuing to develop cultural competence. This commitment is articulated in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement.
Non-Discrimination PolicyThe Potomac School administers its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid program, athletics program, and other school programs (including the hiring of faculty and staff) without discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other category to the extent protected by applicable laws.
Meet our Faculty - Individuals of talent, achievement, and passion comprise the Potomac School faculty, a group intensely committed to educating young people. Potomac teachers take pride in providing uncommon support for every student.
Ask any student what they love the most about their Potomac education and they will tell you the teachers – even before they say the food. Potomac faculty members are dedicated to the growth and success of each student. It's why our students often come back to visit. Our educators nurture lifelong learning habits and foster long-lasting relationships.
Gladys Alfaro Moisa
"I am passionate about infusing math with art and thinking routines. I also love all kinds of making and design thinking. However, my greatest passion and joy as an educator is building strong connections with my students and their families!"
My 27-year teaching career began in El Salvador where I taught at private Catholic schools, and the American and British Schools. I have taught PK, Kindergarten, first, third, fifth, and sixth grade, and a brief stint as a College professor at Universidad Tecnológica de El Salvador.
In 2001, I took a year off from teaching to work as an Academic Consultant for Cambridge University Press. As an academic consultant, I got to live in Guatemala and traveled to Mexico and throughout Central America and Panama providing professional development to ESL/EFL teachers. It was a wonderful experience, but I missed being in the classroom!
I first came to the USA in 2002 as a member of VIF (Visiting International Faculty Program). In 2006, I was honored as Wake County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Wake County is one of the largest counties in North Carolina. I moved to the DC area to work at Sidwell Friends School where I spent 10 years as a Third Grade Teacher.
This year, I am embarking on a new adventure as the K-1st Grade Math Coordinator at The Potomac School. I am passionate about infusing math with art and thinking routines. I also love all kinds of making and design thinking. However, my greatest passion and joy as an educator is building strong connections with my students and their families!
I am a self-taught artist. I create paintings that proudly show my Latino traditions and culture. I was a featured artist for Hispanic Heritage Month at the Office of Multicultural Affairs at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and served as a Latino Community Advisory Board for the North Carolina Museum of History.
I live in Rockville, Maryland with my daughter Isabel, and our two cats Lola and Gabi. Isabel and I love traveling! One of our goals is to visit all major archaeological sites in Latin America.
Ms. Suzanne Bailey
“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.
Ms. Charlotte Berlin
“Outside of teaching, you can find me hiking, biking, playing soccer, or tending to plants at Common Good City Farm in DC.”
In my classroom, I strive to blend intellectual challenge with the energy and joy young people bring to the study of history. As a tutor and a teaching assistant at Match Charter High School in Boston, and then as a teaching fellow at the Barrie School in Silver Spring, I focused on helping my students develop their own interpretations of critical issues and, more broadly, their own intellectual passions. In this process, I've found that my students have a lot to teach me. Now entering my fourth year at Potomac, I remain inspired by the process of teaching young people history.
When I started at Swarthmore College, my plan was to go to medical school. All that changed after a few amazing courses in history -- these courses changed how I viewed the world in powerful ways. My graduate work at the University of Chicago allowed me to focus more deeply on the history of the abolitionist movement in the United States. I wrote my master's thesis about a group of nineteenth-century abolitionists who attempted to reverse the growth of slavery in the South by creating an alternative market in free-labor cotton. I won the Fogelson Prize from the University of Chicago for my master's thesis.
Outside of teaching, I spend lots of time outside, usually with my dog. I recently completed the John Muir Trail, a 200 mile backpacking trip through the southern part of the Sierra Nevada range, which ended with a midnight climb to the top of Mount Whitney. My picture (above) is from the top of Mount Whitney just after sunrise!
Ms. Yuching Chung
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
Growth Mindset, Student Agency, Inclusion and Social Emotional Learning have always been the most important pillars of my classroom culture. I was born in Taiwan, raised in Japan and have spent most of my adult life in the US which led me to become fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and English. Because of these experiences, I strive to show my students that struggles and mistakes are so crucial for our brain growth yet learning is a lifelong joy and journey.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Japan and taught in Florida and California. After moving to Virginia and starting at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, I served as a 4th and 5th grade homeroom teacher, where I taught Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies and as a Resource Teacher at, where I helped with curriculum building as well as coaching other teachers. I continued to help build the curriculum as well as being a 5th grade homeroom teacher at Whittle School and Studios. All of my students really enjoyed our interdisciplinary projects that integrated all the subjects, service projects and solutions to achieve United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.
When not teaching, you can find me giving presentations about unique teaching strategies and techniques. In the past three years, I have participated in seven different local and national conferences. I also enjoy reading, swimming, yoga and hiking with my two teenage children.
Mr. Scott Clark
"I have been teaching for 30 years at schools in New York, Japan, and California, where I’ve worked with students from the third grade up through junior college."
Prior to Potomac, I spent 11 years at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, most recently as the Tan Distinguished Chair in science, mathematics, and technology. At Head-Royce, I enjoyed working in range of different capacities, including as a MS/US mathematics teacher, MS jazz ensemble and beginning band director, US photography teacher, fine arts department chair, and MS technology coordinator. I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oberlin College. Outside of school, I enjoy freelance trumpet playing, recording engineering, bird watching, photography, biking, and most importantly, spending time with my wife, two children, cat Mystic, and extended family.
Mr. Mike DiCuirci
"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.
Mr. Levi Franklin
"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.
Ms. Bridget Gagne
“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.
“The middle is messy, but it’s also where all the magic happens”
My current teaching environment is an inclusive and community-centered education setting. I pride myself on having a personalized and student-centered classroom with a variety of learning models in order to reach every learner where they are, through authentic and innovative projects (which can get messy!) . I enjoy incorporating real-life connections to jobs and career fields through STEAM and digital projects where students discover endless possibilities through exploration.
I went to college to earn my B.S. in Elementary Education (k-6) from Delaware State University while playing division 1 volleyball. Shortly after graduating and accepting my first teaching position in Loudoun County Public Schools over 6 years ago, I then went on to complete my M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with Digital Design from George Mason University.
When I am not in the classroom, you can find me on the volleyball court! I am the Varsity Volleyball coach here at Potomac as well as a competitive travel coach in the area. My greatest joy has been starting my own youth volleyball training academy, Virginia Rise Volleyball Academy.
Mr. Matt Lijoi
“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.
Mr. Carl Long
"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.
Mrs. Diana Page
"Although I was raised in Wisconsin, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombian and Spanish parents."
I have extensive teaching experience, most recently in an Arlington County immersion program, but also at independent schools such as St. Stephens/St. Agnes and Washington International School. Although I was raised in Wisconsin, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombian and Spanish parents. I received my bachelor's degree in bilingual and elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later my master’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Middlebury College. I enjoy cooking and yoga and being a mother of two wonderful children.
Ms. Cristina Salamone
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.
Ms. Kristin Smith
"That moment a child finally puts all the pieces together to make sense of a book in his or her hands is a powerful one, and one that I am lucky enough to see on a regular basis."
I think I always knew I wanted to “grow up” to be a teacher. Whether that was because of the example many family members who were teachers set (my mother, my grandmother, an aunt, and an older cousin) or the fact that I had wonderful teachers who worked hard to understand who I was as student, I cannot say. However, I went off to college knowing that I wanted to leave with a teaching degree. After receiving an undergrad degree in elementary education with a specialization in early childhood and reading from Baylor University, I decided to go right back to school, but a little closer to home. I completed my master's in curriculum and instruction at the Curry School at The University of Virginia. While completing the last few hours of my master’s program, I moved back home to Fairfax County and worked at The Potomac School as a Lower School intern. It was an amazing experience for me, and teaching alongside such a caring, creative, and dedicated faculty made it hard to leave at the end of the year. After teaching first grade at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School for three years, I was thrilled to be able to return to Potomac, where I have been teaching first grade since 2003. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Potomac community and to spend my days watching my young students learn to read, write, and problem solve. That moment a child finally puts all the pieces together to make sense of a book in his or her hands is a powerful one, and one that I am lucky enough to see on a regular basis. I can’t think of anything else that I would rather do.
When I’m not at school, I’m busy reading, spending time with friends, visiting my sister and her two adorable boys in Georgia, visiting my parents in Charlottesville where I often have the opportunity to catch a football or basketball game, and spending time on or near the water. I also enjoy skiing – both water skiing and snow skiing – and having been doing both since I was a first grader!
Ms. Sharyn Stein
"As Nationally Board Certified Teacher in early adolescent math, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that I have made two holes-in-one."
I truly believe that I have the best job in the world. What other career would allow and encourage me to surround myself with people, both young and old, who stand firm in their belief of seeing the world the way it SHOULD be and not the way it is? Additionally, "Generosity of Spirit" has all sorts of opportunities to run rampant in the IS and often appears in the most unexpected ways. And finally, being surrounded by these amazing people allows me to tell others that I get paid to laugh every single day of my career. Not a bad gig, is it?
My first teaching job, in 1986, took me to Vero Beach, FL, for four years and provided me with the wonderful opportunity of teaching physical education to pre-K through sixth grade students and Introduction to Sociology and Psychology to juniors and seniors, as well as coaching a variety of middle school sports.
Working with children between the ages of 5 and 18 on a daily basis instilled in me the sense of joyful exhaustion at the end of each day, as well as just how cool it was to gain insight into their lives. It also gave me a genuinely sincere and deep appreciation of middle school children and just how complex their world is; how deeply they wanted to be successful; how their enthusiasm could carry them oh so far; and just how clever, witty and funny they can be. I felt that on most days I learned just as much from them, if not more, than they did from me.
I came to Potomac in 1982 after earning a master’s degree in math education. At Potomac I teach Intermediate School math and advise eighth grade students as well as coach soccer and softball. Additionally, I have had the vast pleasure of providing community service opportunities for our students so they can gain a sense of the larger world and discover that by giving just a little bit of themselves they can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Working with children from diverse backgrounds and interests has helped me grow as an educator and as a person. I would not trade these experiences for anything.
As Nationally Board Certified Teacher in early adolescent math, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that I have made two holes-in-one. The first I shot in September 1995, with my dad watching, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and my second hole-in-one was drained in West Virginia in August of 2010. I also had the opportunity to play ball at Camden Yards with Jim Palmer in September 2001, winning an autographed Palmer ball for making the best play of the day among the 50 participants. And finally, my two mini-poodles, Fred and Wilma, actually own my house, and they are generous enough to rent it back to me.
Mr. Steve Wicker
Every day I am inspired by the passionate, reverent, talented young people I teach. I feel quite fortunate.
Mr. Steve Wolfe
"As a science teacher, I work hard to create an environment that is fun, engaging, and provides a safe place for children to explore their natural imagination, curiosity and creativity. "
I am dedicated to incorporating visual and performing arts into the lessons I teach, making challenging content more meaningful and leaving a strong, lasting impression. My passion for science, the arts, and the natural world have helped me develop as a professional and connect with my students. After teaching science at The Lab School of Washington for 17 years, I am very excited to join the community at Potomac School.
I grew up in Mclean, VA, and as a child I loved riding my bike to the local creek, hopping rock to rock, catching crayfish, and exploring the woods. That creek happens to be the same one that runs through our campus--Pimmit Run. My summers were spent living abroad in Cairo, Egypt where I would enjoy two months of exploring the city, the ancient sites, and the Red Sea. That experience led to a deep love of culture, history, and the beauty of our planet.
Outside of teaching science, I enjoy spending time with my family (my wife, four teenager and a rescue dog), gardening, playing and composing music, soccer, and adventuring in the outdoors.
Ms. Shuping Zhang
"Growing up in China's remote Xinjiang province, my childhood memory is filled with communities of different cultures and languages. I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher one day, helping people of diverse backgrounds to interact, connect, and become friends with each other."
I graduated from Beijing Normal University with a BA in English, before coming to America to study at the University of Delaware for a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. With the career goal of language teaching, I became certified in both ESOL and Chinese language after graduation. In past years, I have taught at both public and private schools in Maryland and Virginia. In March 2019, I was brought to Potomac as a long-term substitute, and in August 2022 as a faculty member. When I first taught at Potomac, I was constantly inspired by the creativity of the students and the professional ethics of colleagues and administrators here.
When teaching in classrooms, I strive to create a warm, comfortable and positive environment to motivate my students. To develop students’ language proficiency, global awareness, cultural curiosity, and interest in learning Chinese, I place a strong emphasis on creating rich language learning experiences in my classroom where students engage in group discussions, hands-on activities, contests, short film clips, blogs, and games. Language learning is meant to be fun.
With the splendid Chinese civilization of 5000 years, and an open, dynamic and cooperative academic environment here at Potomac, I am thrilled to welcome each student to the Chinese classes, and we will have some productive yet fun years ahead together!