Liss Couch-Edwards ‘07 graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Art History and Film Studies. Her interest in photography began after winning a local art contest in second grade, and she has maintained a passion for it ever since. During her six years at Ethel Walker, Liss was heavily involved in the Visual and Performing Arts department, especially as a four-year member of the yearbook staff, including two years as Senior Editor. She was also introduced to various aspects of theatre production at Walker’s, and continued this interest at Mount Holyoke through work in stage management, set and prop design, and scenic preparation.
Grace Epstein began teaching art at The Ethel Walker School in the fall of 2005. Her art curriculum includes a full range of experiences for Middle and Upper Schoolers, from weaving to abstract painting and drawing in her airy art studio with a beautiful view of the Farmington Valley. Prior to Walker's, Grace worked in special education for the Simsbury school system, owned a calligraphy business, taught pottery and raised 3 daughters. In the spring of 2006, Grace created an Ethel Walker student organic garden which, in April 2007, expanded to a 700 square foot garden near the gym. The garden produces herbs and vegetables, flowers for birds and butterflies and catnip to please all of our cats!
Laurie MacAlpine came to Walker's in 1998 and has expanded the music program to address the needs of a growing student body. She earned her bachelor's degree in Science with a minor in vocal music from Ladycliff College and went on to receive her master's in Music Composition from The Hartt School, University of Hartford. An accomplished musician, she studied composition and theory with Arnold Franchetti, classical guitar with Janet Marlowe, and piano with Bridget de Moura Castro. Before coming to Walker's, Laurie owned her own piano and classical guitar studio for 10 years and started four independent music programs for home school associations in Connecticut. She has conducted several children's choirs in churches throughout Hartford and is currently the cantor at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. At Walker's, she has expanded the music program to include a gospel choir and a chamber choir (Voce Felice), Upper and Middle School Orchestra, a handbell choir, and chamber ensembles. In October 2006, she was awarded The Natalie Galbraith Mitchell Chair in the Humanities for her work at the school. She is currently a member of Simsbury Town Band in the clarinet section.
Cheri Soule is the Director of the Dance Program at Walker's. She teaches modern, jazz, ballet, choreography, and improvisation, in both the Upper and Middle School programs. She received an MFA degree in Dance from Smith College, a BS in Dance from SUNY Brockport, and a BA in Fine Arts from Eastern CT State University. Soule has danced professionally with The New England Dance Theatre and The Judy Dworin Performance Project. She also enjoys designing sets for JDPP's Moving Matters! program in Hartford. Cheri has also served on the faculty at Springfield College, and as visiting artist at Trinity College. Her favorite part about being at Walker's is the chance to teach, rehearse, and collaborate with such enthusiastic young dancers.
Most recently, Jenn taught history and social studies at both Simsbury High School and Henry James Middle School and at Ridgefield High School. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and Columbia University's Teachers College. In addition to teaching history, Jenn participates in the field hockey program.
Lee-Ann Harris is the Director of the Middle School and a math teacher. She also coordinates the Middle School community service and student government. Lee-Ann started her career here when the EWS Middle School opened in 1990 and stayed for five years. After a break to raise her children, Lee-Ann returned to EWS in 2008. Lee-Ann has also worked in Development overseeing the Centennial celebration. Lee-Ann lives in Avon with her husband and two children. Her daughter Allie was in the class of 2013.
Julie began teaching at The Ethel Walker School in the Spring of 2005. She is a member of both the Science department, teaching Ecology and Earth Science in the Middle School, and the Math Department, teaching Math Fundamentals to the 6th grade. Julie coordinates all extra-curricular, non-athletic activities in the Middle School; she is the head of the Math Olympiads club, and she is a student adviser. She began her teaching career at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, CT.
Julie came to work here after taking a 15-year hiatus from teaching to raise her three children. She lives in Simsbury with her husband, Jeremy, their three children and their dog, Tobey. Julie loves the outdoors, and enjoys mountain biking and swimming with Tobey, water and snow skiing and traveling just about anywhere. She also loves to taste and learn about fine wines.
Qi Yang began teaching Chinese at The Ethel Walker School in 2008. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi'an, China, and went on to receive a Master of Arts in International Studies at Central Connecticut State University. Prior to Walker's, Qi worked in China as a Chinese Language Teacher, Lecturer of English, and Local Tour Guide in Xi'an. He has also worked as an interpreter for the State of Connecticut Judiciary Branch.
Qi is proud of his Chinese background and bicultural experiences, especially now at Walker's: "Ever since I started teaching here, I have felt that this is where I belong, where my career lies and where I can demonstrate my passion for the Chinese language and culture by 'diving them away'. The students' motivation for Chinese and their dedication to learning give me limitless strength, while the friendly and respectful teachers and staff make me feel at home here every minute."
In his free time, Qi enjoys ping-pong, Chinese calligraphy, bamboo flute playing, cooking, travel, and folk music.