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Faculty & Staff Directory

Meet the passionate people who inspire our students.

Every day, our talented faculty and staff arrive ready to engage with students who inspire them. Students are at the center of everything we do.

Michelle Ades

Director of Dining Services

Corina Alvarezdelugo

Art Teacher and Gallery Director

Corina Alvarezdelugo

 860-408-4261

B.F.A., Albertus Magnus College

Venezuelan-American artist and educator Corina S. Alvarezdelugo was born in Valencia, Venezuela. She studied at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, had formal art training with Venezuelan painter and sculptor Luis Alvarez de Lugo, and earned a BFA in studio art with Honors and Distinction from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, while raising her three children. She is currently a Lesley Art + Design MFA in Visual Arts candidate at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a Strauch-Mosse Merit Scholarship.

Ms. Corina, as her students call her, has years of experience working in different media and techniques that her students benefit from, including drawing, painting, mixed media, fiber art, printmaking, and 3D design sculpture and installation. Her artwork has been shown in galleries and museums in South America, the Caribbean, and in the USA, including the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York City. Ms. Corina’s work has been published in numerous publications and has been featured on Spotlight on the Arts on Connecticut Public Television (Piece nominated for an Emmy award). She has won awards from major organizations in Connecticut and New York, as well as an artist-in residency at the Vermont Studio Center with a Merit-based Grant. She was also a 2019 artist-in residency at RUC (Residency for Contemporary Artists) in the Italian Alps, EU.

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Andrea Bacon

Nurse

Kathryn Bacon

Receptionist

Kathy joined Walker’s in October 2017 after retiring from the University of Connecticut Medical and Dental School in Farmington where she worked as an executive legal assistant for 25 years in the chancellor’s office and the office of the attorney general. Throughout her career at UConn, Kathy participated in many facets of healthcare law from joint ventures to cases heard before the CT Supreme Court.

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Je Banach

Advancement Research Manager

Je Banach

 860-408-4255

B.A., Manhattanville College

Je Banach joined The Ethel Walker School in 2013 with experience in the fields of education and development, law, and arts and culture. She received her BA from Manhattanville College, majoring in English (with a concentration in writing), philosophy, and religion. In addition to her work as Campaign & Prospect Research Manager, she is also a practicing writer. A recipient of the New Boston Fund Fellowship in Fiction, Je has written for many academic and popular venues, including The Paris ReviewGranta, Bookforum, Oxford University Press, Publishers Weekly, and PEN. She is the author of teaching and reading guides to works of fiction and non-fiction for Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster. Most recently, she wrote guides to Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life, and the Dalai Lama’s Beyond Religion. She was also a longtime contributor to Harold Bloom’s literary series. In 2013, Je was awarded the state’s Artist Fellowship for Prose by the CT Office of the Arts. She is currently a member of the Residential Faculty in Fiction at the Yale Writers’ Conference.

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Ben Barker

Chair, Visual and Performing Arts and Arts Faculty

Ben Barker

 860-408-4263

B.Sc., University of East Anglia, England

Ben Barker earned a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia in England and is a graduate of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Ben spent over 20 years in the environmental industry conducting laboratory analysis, site investigations and indoor air quality studies. His specialty was the creation and operation of mobile laboratory businesses and he became a State of CT Department of Health Services Environmental Laboratory Director operating labs throughout New England and mid-Atlantic states. After leaving the scientific arena, Ben pursued his life-long love of photography and film by working in locations management for film and television productions in New York City and Connecticut. He is also a seasoned and qualified soccer coach, having coached the game to all youth ages from two to 18 year olds.

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Clarissa Basch P'15

Director of College Counseling, Co-Director of Community Partnerships

Clarissa Basch P'15

 860-408-4215

B.A., Bates College
M.Ed, Harvard University

Clarissa Basch has served as Walker’s director of college counseling since February 2004, where she guides students through the process of investigating, applying to, and selecting colleges.

Before joining Walker’s, Clarissa spent seventeen years as a college admissions officer at Drexel University, Endicott College and Hampshire College. She was lured to “the other side of the desk” because of the opportunity to work directly with students on their post-Walker’s plans, and to be part of this vibrant boarding school community. With professional colleagues at colleges and universities all over the country, she loves to welcome them to Walker’s when they come to meet with her students in the fall.

Clarissa is an avid exerciser who swims and helps guard at the Walker’s pool on weekday mornings. She is an active volunteer for numerous organizations in the greater Hartford area and at Walker’s serves as one of the faculty advisors to the Community Partnerships Program. Clarissa put her college counseling know-how to use with her daughter (EWS ’15), and both survived the experience intact. Following graduation, her daughter enjoyed a wonderful gap year in England as an English-Speaking Union Scholar, before enrolling at Susquehanna University from which she graduated in 2020. Clarissa lives on campus with her family which also includes her husband and son, currently a junior at University of Connecticut.

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Dr. Melissa Bernardo

Science Faculty

Dr. Melissa Bernardo

 860-408-4328

B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
Ph.D., Wesleyan University

Melissa joined Walker’s in 2017 after completing her Ph.D. in Biology from Wesleyan University. Her dissertation dealt with nutrient-mediated manipulation of host-feeding behavior by a parasitoid. Melissa has taught a range of topics at the university level and brings her knowledge and enthusiasm to Walker’s chemistry, biology and environmental science classes. She also coaches volleyball and softball.

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Carole Bernocco

Accounts Receivable & Billing Bookkeeper

Carole Bernocco joined Walker’s Business Office in 2021. She has over 40 years of accounting experience. Born and raised in New York, Carole enjoys walking, movies, and going to the gym.

Kristen Blatt

Kristen Blatt

Barn Manager

Kristen Blatt

 860-408-4357

B.S., Centenary University

Kristen is a 2011 graduate of Centenary University where she earned a B.S. in Equine Studies with a concentration in Equine Business Management. While at Centenary, she competed on the IHSA team. During her tenure at Centenary, the team won two National championships. Upon graduating from Centenary, Kristen worked as barn manager at Coole Park Farm in Millbrook, NY, where she had been for eight years.

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Randi Booth

Randi Booth

Assistant Director of Riding/Riding Instructor

Randi Booth

 860-408-4360

B.S., West Chester University

Randi grew up on a large horse farm and was raised by horse professionals. She has been showing since she was a small child, and for the past 25 years she has been a manager and trainer of children and adults at all levels in the hunter, jumper, equitation and eventing disciplines. She has worked and ridden for nationally known judge and trainer, Carol Malony, for hunter rider/trainer Maryann Steiert Charles, and for Olympic 3 Day Event Gold Medalist, J. Michael Plumb.

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Molly Bouffard

Advancement Services Manager

Molly Bouffard is a Smith College graduate and certified fundraising executive who has served the nonprofit sector for nearly 15 years. Her experiences include fundraising and volunteer management positions in environmental, higher education, healthcare, and arts-based organizations. Prior to Walker’s, Molly was the assistant director for volunteer services in the Smith Fund. A self-described “database geek,” she enjoys helping people and organizations reach their goals by leveraging technology. She is a UCONN certified master gardener, a certified MBTI administrator, and a graduate of the Institute of Coaching and Positive Psychology. Molly is an active volunteer and advocate for local agriculture and environmental education. She enjoys exploring the outdoors from coast to coast, but her heart will always be in New England with her loved ones and her trusty dog, Zeus.

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Kathryn Bratslavsky

Kathryn Bratslavsky

Advancement Associate

Kathryn Bratslavsky

 860-408-4251

B.A., University of Connecticut, English
B.A., University of Connecticut, Psychological Sciences

Kathryn Bratslavsky joined Walker’s Advancement Office in 2020. She is also known at Walker’s for her role as yogini, a role which facilitated her appreciation toward the Walker’s community. Kathryn earned a B.A. in English from UConn Storrs where she was a New England scholar, graduating cum laude. She earned a second B.A. from UConn Storrs in Psychological Sciences. Most recently, Kathryn served as executive assistant, office manager, project manager and analyst at the Leadership Research Institute in Middletown, CT.

In addition to her yoga instruction, Kathryn is also involved locally in CT Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy where she serves as program director for communications. She has traveled extensively and worked two years as a preschool teacher and program coordinator in Moscow. Kathryn speaks fluent Russian.

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Dan Bruetsch

Dan Bruetsch

Physical Plant Manager

Heather Bucknam

Heather Bucknam

Chief of Staff / Liaison to the Board

Heather Bucknam joined Walker’s in 2018. She previously served as director of faculty affairs and executive assistant to the dean, associate dean of faculty, associate head of school and CFO at The Loomis Chaffee School. In addition to working at the independent school, Heather’s experience includes legal representation work as a corporate associate with Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. and as a legal staff assistant with CIGNA. She is a graduate of Hopkins School, Bucknell University and University of Connecticut School of Law.

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Suzanne Buenaventura

Suzanne Buenaventura

Director of International Enrollment

Leila Cancellieri

Leila Cancellieri

Library Assistant

Leila Cancellieri

 860-408-4326

B.S., University of Connecticut
M.L.S., Southern Connecticut State University

Leila joined Walker’s in 2018 on a part-time basis from Manchester Public Library where she works in reference services and was formerly a librarian in the children’s area. Leila holds a Master in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut.

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Darrell Carrington

Darrell Carrington P'02

Chair, Math Department and Math Faculty

Darrell Carrington P'02

 860-408-4268

B.A., Washington College
M.A., Wesleyan University

Isabel Ceballos

Head of the Middle School

Isabel Ceballos

 860-408-4309

B.A., Central Connecticut State University
M.A., Central Connecticut State University

Isabel Ceballos was born in Medellin, Colombia, and raised in Connecticut. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Modern Languages with a concentration in Spanish Language, Literature & Culture from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently working on her Ed.D. in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Peabody College Vanderbilt University. Isabel Ceballos has been a member of Walker’s Language Department since 2013, and is the founding executive director of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, the first all-girls Horizons program in the country.

Named one of Hartford Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016, and a recipient of The Thelma Ellis Dickerson Community Bridge Builder Award, Isabel is an active member in the community. She serves on the Board of The Aurora Women & Girls Foundation, and is a member of the United Way Community Engagement Committee.

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Arthur Champeau

Grounds

Alice Chrystal

Alice Chrystal

Events Coordinator

Carol Clark-Flanagan

Carol Clark-Flanagan P'93, '97

History/English Faculty

Carol Clark-Flanagan P'93, '97

 860-408-4301

B.A., Cornell University

Growing up within sight and sound of the ocean on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Carol spent many hours racing sailboats where she learned to read and respond to wind shifts and current – capabilities she has relied on as equivalent experience teaching and advising students. She has taught and designed many courses in her 30+ years at Walker’s. Most of her time has been spent in the History Department, where she has taught every grade except seventh. Curriculum design and collaboration in the classroom stand out as the most rewarding parts of Carol’s job. She was part of a team of teachers from across four disciplines who envisioned and taught the innovative Environmental Studies course. She led the team that designed 9th Grade Seminar, the flagship of the seminar program that grew to encompass grades 9-12, and has recently been retooled for the Capabilities Approach curriculum. She is helping to break new ground in this endeavor with the design of the newest of these courses, Sustenance and Sustainability. After teaching 10th grade English for a decade, Carol is now taking on senior electives in that department. Increasingly, she believes in the power of student choice within as well as among courses. Carol has been a member of many task forces and is a recipient of the Natalie Galbraith Chair in the Humanities. She has served in a variety of administrative roles that include Chair of the History Department and Dean of Faculty. She was also a class advisor for twelve years.

Carol and her husband live off-campus. Two of their four children are Walker’s alumnae: Nan ’93 and Kate ’97. Carol is also active in town politics where she is a member of the SPIRIT Council formed to promote diversity and inclusion in Simsbury.

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Mary Beth Conley

Psychology Faculty, Academic Support Coordinator

Mary Beth Conley

 860-408-4283

B.A., Holy Cross College
M.A., Pepperdine University

Mary Beth joined The Ethel Walker School in the fall of 2007. During this time she has taught Psychology, AP Psychology, and Advanced Psychology and has also partnered with the school counselor to teach the Wellness section of the 9th Grade Seminar. Since the fall of 2011, Mary Beth has served as the academic support coordinator which has enabled her to combine her background in counseling psychology with her understanding of brain-based learning strategies.

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Shauna Corley

Shauna Corley

Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer

Shauna is an experienced executive assistant and sales support professional with several years experience supporting key leadership in a large organization within the life insurance industry.
Todd DAlessandro

Todd D'Alessandro P'19

Spanish Faculty, Director of Summer Programs

Todd D'Alessandro P'19

 860-408-4312

B.A., University of Connecticut
M.A. Mount Holyoke College

Todd graduated from The University of Connecticut and entered the business world. While working for name brands such as Hertz, Banfield, and Pfizer, he found that speaking two languages gave him a strong connection with the teams he managed and clients he called on. Todd has always had a strong desire to teach and guide tomorrow’s leaders, so he jumped at the chance to be a part of the Walker’s community. Todd also serves as a soccer coach. He was an All New England player at Farmington High, All Big East selection at UConn, was drafted by the Boston Bolts of The ASL, and played semi professionally for The Lowell Red Devils of the LASA League.

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Bethany Davis

College Counseling Administrative Assistant

Bethany joins Walker’s College Counseling team as an administrative assistant. While earning her B.S. in Aviation Business Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Bethany helped manage top private golf course pro-shops, golf tournaments and women’s leagues and later transitioned back to Embry-Riddle to work in the registrar’s office as an academic evaluator. Upon her return to Connecticut, she joined the College Counseling Office at The Master’s School where she worked as the college counseling assistant/student data coordinator. Bethany’s love for horses began right here at Walker’s at the age of 5 when she attended the Summer Riding Experience, which led to getting her first horse and she has been riding ever since.

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Brian Davis

Mechanic

Rob Dawson P'25

Support Specialist and Systems Integrator, Robotics Coach

Elisa Del Valle

Assistant Head of School for Student Life/Director of Social Justice and Inclusion

Elisa Del Valle

 860-408-4287

B.A., Smith College
M.A., University of Massachusetts

Elisa Del Valle, a native of Brooklyn, NY, has lived in Connecticut for over a decade. Prior to joining Walker’s in fall 2016, she worked as the director of student activities and leadership development/new student orientation at Wesleyan University. While at Wesleyan, Elisa served on the Presidential Task Force for Equity and Inclusion and was an active voice on issues of Equity and Inclusion amongst her student affairs professionals. Elisa’s deep-rooted interest in women’s education is what brings her to Walker’s. Elisa attended an all-girls high school in New York City before attending Smith College in Northampton, MA where she majored in Government and minored in Spanish. While working at Mount Holyoke College, Elisa attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Justice Education. Elisa is an active Commissioner of the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools, an educators network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity practitioners at CAIS member schools.

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Jade Dennett

Assistant Director of College Counseling

Jade Dennett

 860-408-4217

B.A., Colgate University

Jade joined Walker’s in 2018. She previously served as the assistant director of admissions at Skidmore College for three years. In addition to representing Skidmore at school visits and college fairs in the southwest and mid-Atlantic, Jade served on several admission committees, including the Filene music scholarship, the London experience program, diversity, and athletics. Her assigned application reading load included The Ethel Walker School and she was drawn to Walker’s, in part, because of the academic strength and personal qualities she saw in its applicants.

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Ludie Dixon

Environmental Services

Ludie Dixon

Mimi Duran

Mimi Duran P'18

Associate Athletic Director, Varsity Field Hockey Coach

Mimi Duran P'18

 860-408-4294

A.S., Naugatuck Valley Community College
B.A., B.S., University of Maine

Mimi Duran has over thirty years of coaching experience, both in independent and public schools, and began her tenure at Walker’s in Fall 2007 leading an aggressive field hockey effort, winning seven CISAC League Titles, six CISAC Tournament Titles, and the Class C WNEPSAC Championship Title in 2010, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Her teams have appeared in the NEPSCA Field Hockey Tournament in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

She holds a Connecticut Coaching Certification, Level 2 United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) coaching certification, and is a member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (USFHA), the Connecticut Field Hockey Coaches Association, and a USFHA “future’s coach.” Duran has taken nine teams to the national field Hockey Festival and three teams to play in Europe. Several of her former players have earned All-State recognition, Regional All-American recognition, and have played Division I, II and III field hockey at the collegiate level. Several alumnae have pursued coaching and currently coach at the high school level.

In addition to her coaching duties, Mimi Duran is Associate Athletic Director. She is currently working on an MPS in sports industry management at Georgetown University.

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Anne Dzialo

Groom Staff

Sarah Edson

Dean of Faculty and Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation

Sarah Edson

 860-408-4233

B.A., Middlebury College
M.E., Harvard University

Sarah joined the Walker’s community in 2009 after more than a decade of working in the fields of education and academic technology. After graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Middlebury College with a B.A. in history, Sarah attended Harvard University where she completed her master’s degree in education with a focus on technology and innovation in education. Since joining Walker’s, Sarah has held the role of Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation. In this position, Sarah has supported faculty in integrating technology meaningfully into their classes. She also educates students on topics related to digital citizenship through a seminar she designed and has developed through the years. In July of 2020, Sarah stepped into the role of Dean of Faculty, just as schools everywhere were planning for an uncertain year of teaching and learning. The 2020-2021 school year challenged every educator at Walker’s to innovate and leverage technology creatively more than ever before. We now have the opportunity to move forward, applying the many lessons learned from that challenging and transformational year.

Beyond the classroom, Sarah coaches Walker’s cross country team, advises Upper School students, and serves on the School’s Administrative Leadership Team. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and currently serves on the CAIS Commission on School Growth and Collaboration. Each year she also organizes Edcamp CT, a summer professional development event at Walker’s for educators from throughout the region. Additionally, Sarah co-chairs the School’s Strategic Planning Committee and appreciates the schoolwide collaborative effort to fulfill Walker’s mission and achieve its vision for the future.

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Dr. Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

Director of Capabilities Approach Program

Dr. Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

Kati Eggert

Athletic Director

Kati Eggert

 860-408-4290

B.A., Drew University, Art and Secondary Education
M.S., Southern New Hampshire University, Sports Management

Kati joined Walker’s in 2018 as the aquatics director, sports information director, and head swim coach before transitioning to athletic director in 2019. Kati also has served as the assistant varsity softball coach and coached in the field hockey program. Prior to working at Walker’s, she was the assistant athletic director at Westover School where she served as the head swim coach, varsity field hockey coach, and softball coach and lived in the dorm during her seven years at the school. Kati was a three-sport varsity athlete at Drew University in field hockey, swimming, and softball. While at Drew, she earned All Academic Conference recognition, served as captain to the ECAC qualifying field hockey and swim teams. She was a Landmark Offensive Player of the week for three consecutive weeks her senior year and medaled in all four Landmark Conference Championship swim meets.

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Lisa Fichandler

Nurse (PT)

Patricia Fisher

Custodian

Marissa Forde

Ceramics Faculty

Marissa Forde

 860-408-4262

B.A., Jacksonville University
M.Ed., University of Hartford

Scott Frey

English Faculty

Scott Frey

 860-408-4308

B.A., Gordon College
M.S., Simmons College

Scott joined The Ethel Walker School community in 2012 after more than a decade of teaching English at the Landmark School in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching English, he coached basketball, worked as a dorm parent, designed new courses in creative writing and film studies, and taught in the school’s summer outreach program. While working at Landmark, Scott also earned a Master of Science in Education from Simmons College. Most importantly, he was truly amazed at the kindness and support of the Landmark community during his tenure there.

At Walker’s, Scott feels he has found another such community. Like so many of his colleagues, he is quite simply thrilled to learn and to teach. Scott is currently working on a second graduate degree in English at Trinity College, yet his greatest lessons come from the students and colleagues he works with each day. Their energy and brilliance continually energize him and renew his love for teaching.

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Mark Fuller

Director of Technology

Mark Fuller

 860-408-4230

B.A., University of Rhode Island

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Mark studied at Richmond College in London where he met his wife. Settling in Houston, Texas, Mark worked at The Emery/Weiner School as a teacher, network administrator and then finally as a director of technology. Throughout his career at The Emery/Weiner School, Mark transformed it from one that used little technology to one where every member of the staff and student body now leverage technology to work and learn.

Mark also spent two years teaching adults technical skills ranging from Word and Excel to web development and programming. He has worked with special needs children in first and second grade, taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade digital literacy, and taught video editing to high school students.

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Mike Galvin P’14

Facilities/Grounds

Clive Gardner

Environmental Services

Melicia Gardner

Environmental Services

Margaret Gooch

Margaret Gooch P'24

Stewardship & Donor Relations Manager

Prior to joining the Advancement Office in November 2015, Margaret was program manager at The Women’s Advancement Initiative, a distinctive program at the University of Hartford that uniquely positions women for success through education and leadership training. Before returning to her home state of Connecticut, Margaret and her family resided in Wilmington, North Carolina for 10 years where she was proprietor of a small art business. For almost 13 years, Margaret worked in various positions at Fidelity Investments in Boston and attended Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Margaret, her husband, Jon, and daughter, Lilia, who is currently attending Walker’s, reside in West Simsbury.

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Julie Greshin P'12

Middle School Math/Science Faculty

Julie Greshin P'12

 860-408-4339

B.S., Tufts University
M.S., Duke University

Julie began teaching at Walker’s in the spring of 2005. She is a member of both the science department, teaching sixth grade science and eighth grade earth science, and the math department, teaching sixth and seventh grade math. Julie coordinates the School’s Wednesday morning assembly program, she is the head of the Middle School Math Olympiads club, assistant director of the Middle School winter play, and she is a student adviser. She began her teaching career at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, CT.

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Alexandra Noël Grisanti

Latin Faculty

Alexandra Noël Grisanti

 860-408-4313

B.A., Amherst College

Noël joined Walker’s in 2018 from Phillips Exeter Academy where she was a Latin teaching intern. At Walker’s, Noël has taught Latin in both the Middle and Upper School, advised middle schoolers, coached JV and MS basketball, and lived in Smith Dorm. This year, she is the Assistant Director of Social Justice and Inclusion, and is excited to work with Elisa Del Valle in order to make Walker’s a safer, more equitable learning and living environment for all students. Noël is actively involved with several organizing groups, including Resource Generation, a multiracial membership community of young people with wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power, and the Nonprofit Accountability Group in Hartford. Noël currently lives in Hartford with her partner, Max.

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Elizabeth Hall

Groom Staff

Allie Harris '13

Advancement Services Associate

Allie Harris '13

 860-408-4249

B.A., College of the Holy Cross

Allie Harris ’13 assists the Advancement office by supporting and growing technology and donor recognition programs. She graduated cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester in 2017 where she majored in English Literature and wrote for print magazines and social media. She won awards for her work including team MPVP in 2018 for managing business deals at Prolific 1. At Walker’s, Allie was head of day students and head of Cicerones as well as a member of the Varsity Equestrian Team.

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Lee-Ann Harris P'13

Math Faculty

Lee-Ann Harris P'13

 860-408-4297

B.A., Trinity College
M.Ed, University of Hartford

Lee-Ann Harris taught at Walker’s from 1990-1995 as the first math teacher in the Middle School. After an extended leave to raise her children, she returned to Walker’s in 2008. Lee-Ann majored in computers coordinated with economics at Trinity College and graduated with honors and Phi Beta Kappa. Lee-Ann earned her Master’s in Education from the University of Hartford. Since 2008, Lee-Ann has taught all levels of math from sixth-grade Foundations to Trigonometry in the Upper School. She also enjoys coaching the Middle School Debate Team.

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Michelle Helmin P'19

Director of External Affairs

Michelle Helmin P'19

 860-408-4393

B.S., University of Hartford
M.B.A., University of Hartford
Advanced Business Certificate (Marketing Intelligence), UConn School of Business
Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management, UConn School of Public Policy

Michelle has served as the director of external affairs at Walker’s since July of 2016 where she manages the school’s communications, marketing, media relations and community affairs. She also teaches Personal Finance to juniors and manages the School’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Community Partnership Program. Previously, Michelle was the director of the Annual Fund for Walker’s for the 2015-2016 school year. Prior to joining Walker’s, she was the director of communications and marketing at the UConn School of Law where she managed the strategic communications program for the school, including as editor for the school’s alumni magazine, media relations, website development, event management, media relations and other outreach activities. Michelle has worked in the area of institutional advancement for several years including serving as special assistant to both UConn’s provost and president of the UConn Foundation/vice president for institutional advancement.

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Tavia Henry

Environmental Services

Laurie Hine P’16

Administrative Assistant/Reception

Shannen Hofheimer

Shannen Hofheimer

Director of Theatre, Music Faculty

Shannen Hofheimer

 860-408-4296

B.M., University of Hartford

Shannen, a classical artist and musician, holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from The Hartt School of Music. She provides musical and theatrical instruction for students from beginner to the conservatory level. Throughout her work, Shannen seeks to share with her students the excitement and joy of making music. Her experience includes musical theatre, opera, jazz, rock, and more. She works with her students to equip them with versatility in vocal styles and a colorful repertoire. As a child, Shannen had the privilege of performing with NETworks Productions on the international tour of “The Sound of Music” starring Marie Osmond, which taught her professionalism and responsibility at a young age. She also toured nationally with Chamber Theatre Productions where she performed classic works of literature adapted for the stage for school groups. Her performance endeavors have instilled in her a deep passion and love of the performing arts, which she hopes to pass on to her students.

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Anne Hunt

Anne Carofino Hunt P’22

Director of Financial Aid/Associate Director of Admission

Anne Carofino Hunt P’22

 860-408-4204

B.S., Muhlenberg College

Anne moved back to Connecticut from Guatemala City with her two children to start her job at Walker’s. Anne has extensive years of experience in everything from teaching and college counseling, to directing admissions offices and multi-cultural recruitment. She has worked at schools in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, China, Guatemala and Mexico. Anne has a degree in psychology from Muhlenberg College.

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Princess Hyatt

Executive Director of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School

Princess Hyatt

 860-408-4236

B.A., Pine Manor College
Professional Fundraising Certificate, Boston University

Princess is a Hartford native. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA, as well as a Professional Fundraising Certificate from Boston University. Her development experience started at her alma mater for three years in their Institutional Advancement/Alumnae Relations department, following another three years at the Unitarian Universalist Association in their Stewardship and Development department. Princess will be completing her master’s degree in nonprofit management and philanthropy this fall. Princess enjoys being a classroom mentor at Jumoke Academy through the Starbase CT program. She is an active member of the Urban League of Greater Hartford – Young Professionals and The African American Development Officers (AADO) Network.

Princess also volunteers for The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, District I on their annual conference planning committee. Having graduated from an all-women’s college, Princess is very excited to be working for Horizons at The Ethel Walker School as assistant director.

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Nishette Isaac

Dean of Digital and Library Services

Nishette Isaac

 860-408-4324

B.A., Hofstra University
M.S., Fordham University
M.L.S., Pratt Institute

Nishette joined Walker’s in 2016 from the Collegiate School in New York where she served as the school’s librarian for three years. She earned her B.A. in anthropology from Hofstra University, her M.S. in teaching from Fordham University, and her M.L.S. from Pratt Institute. Nishette began her career as a librarian for the New York City Department of Education where she served for four years at PS 305 and PS 256. There, she ran the library while being frequently called upon to perform classroom teaching duties. In 2011, she joined Dalton School as a volunteer librarian and spent the 2012-2013 year as a maternity leave replacement librarian at both Chapin School and Brearley School. Nishette was born in Saint Lucia and moved to the United States when she was 10. She is an active member of the Shelflives Book Club and has served as vice president of the Hudson Valley Librarian Association for the past three years.

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Melissa Jarvis

Groom Staff

Grace Kraus

2020-21 Americorps VISTA Associate

Grace Kraus

B.A., Franklin & Marshall College


What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?

As a feminist, I am ever passionate about inspiring and empowering young women. The mission of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School to provide resources and a community of support to girls from low-income communities resonates deeply with me as they can be one of the most vulnerable populations and will benefit greatly from the resources at The Ethel Walker School.

Who is your biggest female role model?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. More than even her incredible accomplishments in advocating for women’s rights, I am inspired by her relentless drive and passion evident in her work ethic.

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?

Art History! Art is an evocative means of communicating social values, and a unique way of studying history.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Painting, gardening, spending time outside.

What is the most reqarding part about working at Walker’s?

[In my short time] at The Ethel Walker School, even working remotely, I have been warmly welcomed by the staff and faculty. It reveals a wonderful supportive community here.

Linda Langmeier

Linda Langmeier

Director of Riding/Head Trainer

Linda Langmeier is an accomplished horsewoman who has been riding since she was five years old. As a Junior rider, she won the 1983 ASPCA Maclay Equitation Finals. Linda’s daughter, McKayla, also won the Maclay; the first mother-daughter team to earn this distinction. Linda was the winner of the 1988 Sugarbush Grand Prix, competed in the 1989 World Cup Finals (Tampa FL) and the 2013 Fidelity Grand Prix. Linda trained Emma Fletcher who won the 2019 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final Champion.

Linda earned numerous championships in the hunter and jumper divisions at competitions such as The Winter Equestrian Festival, The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Lake Placid Horse Shows, Vermont Summer Festival, The American Gold Cup, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show and The National Horse Show.

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Karim Mabrouk

French Faculty

Karim Mabrouk joins The Ethel Walker School as a part time French teacher. A Tunisian native, Karim is a native speaker of French and Arabic. Karim received a dual B.A. and a dual M.A. in French studies and international studies with a focus on the study of human rights as well as peace and conflict resolution. Karim served as a teaching assistant of French and Arabic at University of Connecticut, a teaching fellow and adjunct at Trinity College, a summer instructor at Yale University and is currently serving as the team manager and head coach for the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford Swim Team. Karim has volunteered and worked alongside several youth-focused organizations and is thrilled to be a part of the Walker’s family. 

Laurie MacAlpine P'08

Chair, Music Department

Laurie MacAlpine P'08

 860-408-4295

B.S., Ladycliff College
M.M., The Hartt School

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.

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Helen Malave

Accounts Payable Manager, Payroll

Sophia Martin

Environmental Services

Regina Martin

Senior Accountant

Katelyn Martinez

Katelyn Martinez

Middle School Administrative Assistant and Activities Coordinator

Katelyn Martinez

B.F.A., University of Hartford

Ms. Martinez is the Middle School administrative coordinator and activities coordinator and she joins Walker’s from her previous role as an assistant teacher for Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, and as our school’s art intern in past summers. She also joins as Walker’s newest dorm faculty member. Ms. Martinez is a recent graduate from the University of Hartford; she holds a B.F.A.

Ms. Martinez has an impressive portfolio of original artwork that has been accepted and shown in key exhibits including ARIE Magazine and the Goldfarb exhibition.

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Joyce McIntyre

Joyce McIntyre

Director of Health Services

Joyce McIntyre

 860-408-4289

B.S., University of Massachusetts

Lucy McLaughlin

Human Resources/Benefits

Lucy McLaughlin

 860-408-4244

B.S.B.A., University of Hartford

Robert McLoughlin P'26

Network Administrator

Beth McWilliams

Beth McWilliams

CFO/COO

Beth McWilliams

 860-408-4241

B.S., Gannon University
M.B.A., Robert Morris University

Beth McWilliams joined Walker’s in 2020 as chief financial officer and chief operations officer. Beth is the former chief financial officer at Shattuck St. Mary’s Educational Services in Bath, ME. Prior she worked at independent schools in the northeast in financial operations. Beth holds an MBA from Robert Morris University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Gannon University. She is a former board member for the Massachusetts Association for Non-Profit School and Colleges, a member of the Independent School Association of Northern New England and the National Business Officers Association.

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Richard Meier

Director of Facilities and Operations

Rich joined Walker’s in 2017. He previously worked as part of Walker’s Sodexo Management team and has served in the facilities management role for many years at both public and private schools. A licensed mechanical contractor, Rich has experience in health and safety management, HVAC, plumbing, fire suppression, energy management and is an OSHA instructor. As a Vietnam veteran, Rich has shared his military stories with history classes at some of his prior schools.

Kathleen Minahan

History Faculty & Department Chair

Kathleen Minahan

B.A., Indiana University
M.A., Yale University

Kathleen Minahan joined Walker’s in 2019 after teaching history at Cheshire Academy for six years. During her time at Cheshire, she designed a new school-wide advising program and served as advising program coordinator. Previously, she taught English at the Storm King School in New York and the Academy of New York in Warsaw, Poland. Kathleen earned a B.A. in History and Slavic Languages and Literatures with a minor in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University and an M.A. from Yale University in European and Russian Studies. She is currently working on an Ed.M. in Private School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her teaching duties, Kathleen also chairs Walker’s history department.

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Dr. Emma Mitchell

Physics Faculty

Dr. Emma Mitchell

 860-408-4334

B.A., Vassar College
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Emma received her Bachelor’s degree in physics from Vassar College in 2009, where she also was senior editor of the college newspaper. She taught physics and chemistry at her alma mater, Emma Willard School, before earning a Ph.D. in applied physics at the University of Virginia in 2016. Her Ph.D. research was in laboratory astrophysics and astrochemistry, focusing on thermal and radiation processing of frozen water in astronomical environments. As a graduate student, she was awarded fellowships by both the NASA Earth and Space Science Program and the NASA Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Emma lives with her rescue border collie, Davy.

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John Monagan

John Monagan

History Faculty

John Monagan

 860-408-4221

B.A., Johns Hopkins University
M.S., Drexel University

John Monagan grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he attended Chase Collegiate School from 6th-12th grade. From Waterbury, John headed south to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in history. After four enjoyable years in Baltimore, John’s years in private school led him to The Ethel Walker School, where he taught history and English. John spent his first four years at Walker’s teaching 6th-9th grade history, and 6th-7th grade English. He has also spent time running student activities. John earned his Master of Science degree from Drexel University in Sports Management while working at Walker’s. He served as Walker’s athletic director for nine years and he also teaches Advanced Human Geography. John also is the head coach of the varsity basketball and softball teams.

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Jonathan Morales

Jonathan Morales

Assistant Director of Admission for Database and Office Management

Jonathan Morales

 860-408-4206

B.A., Trinity College

Jonathan came to Walker’s from Vassar College, where he was the assistant director of alumni engagement. Prior to his time at Vassar, he was an advancement staff specialist at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Previously, he worked as an administrative assistant to the director of development at Trinity College (Hartford), his alma mater, where he studied Sociology. Jonathan’s experience in development and alumni relations make him well-suited to admissions where strong interpersonal, technological and institutional skills are critical.

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Megan Mulhern

Chair, English Department and English Faculty

Megan Mulhern

B.A., Brown University
M.A., Middlebury College

Prior to joining Walker’s, Megan (Danyliw) Mulhern taught several English courses at Westminster School and the YK Pao Secondary School in Shanghai, China. While at the YK Pao Secondary School she developed a school wide reading program. She also taught at The Lawrenceville School, The Emma Willard School and worked for the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. Megan earned her B.A. in English from Brown University and her M.A. in Literature from Middlebury College.

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Dara Joy Neiman

Dara Joy Neiman

Nurse

Daniele Ness

Math Faculty

Daniele Ness

 860-408-4265

B.S., The University of Texas

Daniele moved to Simsbury with her husband and three daughters from Maryland where she was teaching middle and upper school math. Daniele has a passion for math and has eight years of teaching experience in Texas and Maryland. She earned her B.S. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas and worked as an engineer prior to becoming a math teacher. As a civil engineer, she was a consultant for a structural engineering firm designing foundations and rectifying foundation failures in commercial businesses and residences. She was also an engineer for the city of Houston, where she was responsible for coordinating utility relocations for highway expansions. Daniele combines her love of math and her interest in engineering here at Walker’s. She coordinates the robotics program as well as teaches math.

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Kristin Nicolle

Head Athletic Trainer

Kristin Nicolle

 860-408-4293

B.S., Keene State College
M.E., Springfield College

Kristin Nicolle has 21 years of experience as a Head Athletic Trainer in private schools. She began her career at the Madeira School in McLean, VA, where she started the athletic training program. Kristin started at Walker’s in fall 2004.

While working at Walker’s, Kristin was house faculty for two years and Dorm Director of Smith dorm for one year, a Middle School advisor, Middle School physical education teacher, assistant Middle School basketball and softball coach, Middle School Wellness teacher, and Assistant Athletic Director. Kristin continues as the Head Athletic Trainer.

Kristin has a Master of Education degree from Springfield College in Sports Injury, Prevention and Management and is a Certified Athletic Trainer through the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification. Kristin is also a licensed Athletic Trainer in the state of Connecticut.

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Courtney O'Connor

Courtney O'Connor

Assistant Trainer

Courtney O'Connor

 860-408-4356

B.S., University of Findlay (Marketing)
B.S., University of Findlay (English Equestrian Studies - Hunter/Jumper Emphasis)
M.B.A., University of Findlay

Courtney joined Walker’s upon completing her graduate degree from The University of Findlay while working with their Hunt Seat IHSA Team. She has worked in many facets of the equestrian industry and brings this expertise to the assistant trainer position at Walker’s. Along with working with The University of Findlay’s nationally-ranked IHSA Team, Courtney has been involved in IEA since high school and also has experience at the A and AA level. She has worked for US Animo where she traveled extensively to the biggest show venues in the country, working closely with top riders and trainers. Helping young people gain confidence and excel in the sport is a huge motivator for Courtney and with the value she places on education she will excel here at Walker’s.

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Brendan O'Dwyer

History Faculty

Brendan O'Dwyer

 860-408-4300

B.A., SUNY Purchase
M.A., Wesleyan University

Brendan earned his B.A. from SUNY Purchase and his M.A. from Wesleyan University. After receiving his master’s degree, Brendan joined the Walker’s community as a full time faculty member in 2015. In addition to teaching in the History Department at Walker’s, Brendan has coached soccer, basketball, skiing and tennis. He lives with his wife and three children in Litchfield.

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Gretchen Orschiedt

Gretchen Orschiedt

Assistant Head for Advancement

Gretchen was appointed as Walker’s director of advancement in October 2016. Coming from Trinity College, she initially served as director of development, and, more recently, as director of principal gifts and international development. Prior to Trinity, Gretchen’s career in education includes over a decade of fundraising at Cornell University and over a decade of work in admissions at Cornell University, Ithaca College and her alma mater, Wells College.

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Mallory Pasquariello

Administrative Assistant to the Dean's Office

Mallory Pasquariello

 860-408-4237

B.A., Roger Williams University
M.A., University of Leicester

Mallory is a graduate of Roger Williams University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and a triple minor in architecture, business management and English literature. She also has an M.A. in Museum Studies through the distance learning program at the University of Leicester. Previously, Mallory served as teller supervisor and customer service representative for Northwest Community Bank in New Hartford where she has gained a wealth of experience in customer service and organization. Here at Walker’s, Mallory serves as the assistant to the Dean’s Office and is the coordinator of student permissions and attendance in the Upper School. She is also a house faculty member in the New Dorm.

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Marion Paterson P'17, '19

Director of Alumnae Relations

Marion Paterson P'17, '19

 860-408-4257

B.A., Middlebury College
M.Litt, University of St. Andrews

Marion joined the Development Office in 2014 as Campaign Manager. A 12-year student of the all-girls’ Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, she then graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and then a master’s degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She was then the personal assistant to a conservation architect in Edinburgh, where she met her husband, Guy. Marion lived and worked at the St. Denis and Cranley School, and all-girls’ boarding school in Edinburgh for four years before returning with Guy to the United States. While raising her two daughters here in Simsbury, she managed two businesses from home. Marion held numerous board positions and was then president of the Simsbury Newcomers Club. With both daughters attending Walker’s, she fell in love with the community here and is thrilled to be on campus with them and working for the advancement of the School.

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Amy Paul

Amy Paul P'16, '18

Assistant Director of Admission

Amy Paul P'16, '18

 860-408-4207

B.A., Syracuse University
J.D., Boston University

Amy received her Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University and her Juris Doctor from Boston University. She worked as an attorney in a general practice in Hartford for several years before taking a position as a full-time parent caring for her three children. She is committed to volunteering in her community, served as co-board chair of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, is involved in local politics, and serves on a mental health board. Amy was the president of The Ethel Walker School Parent Association and served on the School’s board of trustees when her daughters Georgia ’16, and Holly ’18 were students at Walker’s. Her work in the Admission Office has been a seamless transition due to her deep affection for Walker’s and her involvement over the years. Amy lives in Avon with her family.

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Dr. Suzanne Piela P’22

Chair, Science Department and Science Faculty

Dr. Suzanne Piela P’22

 860-408-4336

B.S., University of Notre Dame
D.V.M., University of Minnesota

Suzanne joined The Ethel Walker School in the fall of 2007 and since then has taught AP Biology, Advanced Biology, Honors Biology, General Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Honors Biochemistry, Equine Science, and an independent study in Microbiology. Suzanne earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Notre Dame and her D.V.M. at the University of Minnesota. She also did a small animal internship in medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital in Springfield, MA.

Suzanne practiced as a small animal veterinarian for 10 years before transitioning to teaching. Prior to her role at Walker’s, she worked as a park naturalist and taught ecology at the elementary level, and worked as a middle and high school science and math tutor.

Suzanne is currently the Science Department Chair, coaches JV Tennis, and loves to ride at Walker’s barn when she has time.

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Sandra Quinlan P'16

Chemistry Faculty

Sandra Quinlan P'16

 860-408-4338

B.A., SUNY
M.A., Syracuse University

Lisa Rathbun P'23

Campus Store Operations Associate

Bryan Rathbun P’23

Facilities/Grounds

Susan Riggles P'18

Registrar

Susan Riggles P'18

 860-408-4235

B.A., Bridgewater State University

Susan has been with Walker’s since 2006, where she has held multiple roles, including in the Admissions and Development offices. Prior to Walker’s, Susan was a Training Officer in Learning & Development for JP Morgan/Chase, BankBoston and Boston EquiServe. Susan has extensive experience in project management, customer service and operations. A graduate of Bridgewater State University, she holds a B.A. in Communication Arts & Sciences. Susan enjoys her interaction with the wonderful students, parents and faculty and feels that Walker’s is more than just an ordinary school. It has New England charm, a rich history and traditions mixed with quiet sense of empowerment, verve and determination. The school offers a curriculum and social consciousness that is relevant in today’s society. She is proud to be a parent of a Walker’s girl.

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Matthew Risley

Facilities

Matthew Risley

Abi Robinson

Abi Robinson

Admission Associate

Abi Robinson

 860-408-4203

B.A., University of Connecticut

Abi joined the Admission Team in October of 2020 after working in External Affairs as a Web Migration Specialist on the renovation of Walker’s newest website. Abi graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2018, where she studied Communication and was able to spend a semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Prior to coming to Walker’s, Abi worked at UConn in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences planning and promoting events, curating social media pages, and editing departmental web pages.

Abi was born with a “travel bug” and loves having the experience of trying new things and meeting new people, which is proving to be helpful in her role in Admission! In everything from taking families on tours, meeting alumnae, and getting to work with current students, faculty, and parents for the many events the Admission Office gets to put on, Abi is able to get to know the entirety of the Walker’s community, and is loving it. In her free time, Abi loves to exercise (outside, if possible), discover new places, bake excessively over-the-top desserts, and make (failing, mostly) DIY Pinterest crafts. Keep an eye out for her on the Simsbury bike path where you may see her running in preparation for the 2021 Hartford Marathon!

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Rebecca Rojano

Spanish Faculty

Rebecca Rojano

 860-408-4311

B.A., Keene State College

Rebecca join Walker’s from The Master’s School just up the road in West Simsbury, where she was a middle and high school Spanish teacher. While at The Master’s School, Rebecca designed curriculum, taught a wide range of classes, was the faculty leader for student government and coordinated the Human Trafficking Awareness Club. Previously, Rebecca taught Spanish at the Enrico Fermi High School in Enfield, CT. A magna cum laude graduate of Keene State College with a dual degree in Secondary Education and Spanish, Rebecca studied abroad in Spain; Managua, Nicaragua; and Atenas, Costa Rica.

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Krystyna Rosa

Environmental Services

Krystyna Rosa

Aline Rossiter

Director of Enrollment Management

Aline Rossiter

 860-408-4202

B.S., University of Hartford

Aline is a seasoned enrollment professional who comes to Walker’s with 28 years of admissions and marketing experience in independent schools, both boarding and day, and higher education in Connecticut. Most recently she was the director of admission at the Forman School and previously the director of enrollment management and marketing at Chase Collegiate School. Aline has been a faculty member of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) annual institute where she presented on strategic enrollment management and marketing. She has been a presenter for the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) national meeting and for the Small Boarding Schools Association. Aline has been an accreditation committee member for admissions for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from the University of Hartford. When not at Walker’s, she enjoys swimming, cooking and reading.

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Michelle Sawyer P’13

Groom Staff

Karl Schwoerke

Advisor and Academic Assistant

Karl continues at Walker’s as an advisor, academic assistant, and coach. Karl is a seasoned math teacher and spent the three years before Walker’s at Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut where he taught Geometry, Algebra II, and high level statistics in addition to coaching. Prior to that, he taught every level of math and economics at the Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, CT. Karl is also a dedicated coach of soccer, squash, and ultimate frisbee. His teams have won many championships. A real school person, Karl loves to be fully involved in the many facets of school life.

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Jo Seaver

Joanna Seaver

Senior Trainer

Joanna Seaver

B.S., University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Joanna “Jo” is a 1999 graduate of Walker’s. She worked for several years at Kelianda Farm for Linda and Kenny Langmeier as an assistant trainer. In this role, she assisted with coaching students including McKayla Langmeier and Jordyn Rose Freedman through to the national level including the ASPCA Maclay Finals, Dover Saddlery/USEF Medal Finals, WIHS Equitation Finals and the USET Talent Search Finals.

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Dr. Chris Semk

Chair, World Languages Department and French Faculty

Dr. Chris Semk

 860-408-4302

B.A., University of Pittsburgh
M.A., Indiana University
Ph.D., Indiana University

Chris is the chair of the Language Department and teaches both French and Latin. He earned his Ph.D. in French literature from Indiana University and taught at Yale before joining Walker’s. Chris coaches cross country and advises the Middle School Garden Club, the French Club, and Wings (Gender and Sexuality Alliance). He is actively involved in the community and serves on the board of directors of A Place to Nourish your Health (APNH), a community health organization in New Haven, and the Hartford Karma Thegsum Chöling, a Buddhist meditation and study center in the city’s West End. Chris lives in Hartford with his partner Jonathan.

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Erin Shea

Administrative Manager

Erin joined Walker’s with an extensive background in management, finance and banking. Her interpersonal skills have made her successful in many facets of her career. In her role as administrative manager, Erin assists the riding program with communicating with families about important riding program information and activities, as well as supporting horse show administration, onsite events and billing. Erin is excited to be working with the Riding faculty and staff in organizing and implementing new ideas to enhance the success of the Equestrian Program in the area of administration.

Dr. Julia Sheldon P'20, '23

Science Faculty

Dr. Julia Sheldon P'20, '23

 860-408-4335

B.S., University of California at San Diego
M.S., Yale University
Ph.D., Yale University

Dr. Julia Sheldon P’20, ’23 began teaching science at Walker’s in 1998. Her childhood fascination with the natural world led her to love science and eventually to pursue a degree in chemistry at the University of California at San Diego. During her time at UCSD, Julia became a certified SCUBA diver and worked in a research lab studying fish physiology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Julia also discovered a passion for teaching through serving as a teaching assistant and mentoring low income, first-generation college students in the Ronald McNair program at UCSD. After college, Julia continued her research and teaching at Yale University, where she earned a Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry while studying the interactions between DNA and the proteins that begin the cellular process of transcription.

At Walker’s, Julia is passionate about engaging girls in science by encouraging them to observe the environment around them and to explore how science can help them understand and improve their world. A highlight of her career was being named a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, which allowed her to travel on an expedition to the Arctic and develop and teach an interdisciplinary elective course in Arctic Studies at Walker’s. Julia also co-developed and now co-teaches Honors Biochemistry, Walker’s research-based science course that allows girls to search for new antibiotics in response to the worldwide antibiotic resistance crisis. Julia has also held several administrative roles at Walker’s including science department chair and co-dean of faculty, and she currently serves as dean of studies.

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Harrison Shure

Harrison Shure

Assistant Head of School/Dean of Academics

Harrison Shure

 860-408-4212

B.A. - University of Virginia

Harrison Shure joined Walker’s in 2021. Having grown up in both London, U.K. and Charlottesville, Virginia, Harrison moved to Connecticut in 2014, where he began teaching history at The Loomis Chaffee School. In addition to teaching a wide range of yearlong and elective courses in history, Harrison served as the History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Department Chair and as the Associate Director of the Kravis Center for Teaching and Learning. As a competitive show jumper through his time at the University of Virginia, Harrison was also able to continue spending time around the barn and the ring by coaching Loomis’ IEA team. Harrison can often be seen walking or playing with his golden retriever and jack russell, Nala and Bruiser. In his free time, Harrison enjoys reading, riding, traveling, and being a passionate yet often frustrated fan of Arsenal Football Club.

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Joan Skelley

Director of Counseling and Wellness

Joan Skelley

 860-408-4284

B.A., Wesleyan University
M.A., Saint Joseph College
M.S., Smith College

Joan received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University, and a Master of Science in exercise and sports studies from Smith College. She later earned a second master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Saint Joseph, graduating in 1998. Joan has been a CT-licensed professional counselor as well as a nationally-certified counselor since 2000, and has worked both as the clinical director for a non-profit agency in West Hartford, CT, and in private practice. After consulting with Walker’s Middle School in 2006-2007, Joan was excited to join the Walker’s staff full-time as director of counseling and wellness in September 2007. She has a passion for building programs that help adolescent girls develop emotional resilience and works within the framework of Positive Psychology. In addition to providing and directing counseling services for all the School’s students, Joan chairs the Wellness Team, teaches 7th Grade Wellness, and co-teaches the Wellness portion of the 9th Grade Seminar. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Connecticut Counseling Association, and the National Board of Certified Counselors. She lives in Avon with her husband Mel and they enjoy a wide variety of outdoor adventures together.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Assistant Director of Athletic Enhancement

Michael Smith joined Walker’s in 2019 after serving as head coach of the women’s soccer team at Trinity College for the last 21 years. Smith led the team to two NCAA tournament appearances in 2013 and 2016 and the NESCAC Tournament Championship game 12 times. Smith worked closely with staff in the admissions office on the recruitment and retention of student-athletes. For the past eight years, Smith has directed tryouts and coached for the FSA soccer club in Farmington, CT.

At Walker’s, Smith coaches varsity soccer and squash and works within the athletic and admissions offices to develop recruitment plans to attract prospective students for each team. He also uses his background at the collegiate level to work with student-athletes on the early stages of the college recruiting process.

Cheri Soule

Director of Dance

Cheri Soule

 860-408-4291

B.S., SUNY Brockport
B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
M.F.A., Smith College

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. Cheri 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.

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John Sway

Environmental Services

Dr. David Thacker P'24, '27

English Faculty

Dr. David Thacker P'24, '27

 860-408-4307

B.S., Weber State University
M.F.A., The University of Idaho
Ph.D., Florida State University

Dave joined Walker’s in 2018 from Florida State University where he was completing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and teaching English. He has enjoyed teaching for the past 11 years at the university level but was thrilled to join Walker’s where he spends more time focused on teaching and getting to know his students. A published poet, Dave earned a B.S. in English, summa cum laude, from Weber State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The University of Idaho. Dave is passionate about community partnerships and is the director of Walker’s Community Partnerships program.

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Kim Thacker

Kimberly Thacker P'24, '27

English Faculty

Kimberly Thacker P'24, '27

 208-874-3615

Kim Harris Thacker teaches 6th and 7th grade English at The Ethel Walker School and is the school’s archivist. She is a well-published magazine writer and essayist with a keen interest in history and community, and in connecting the past and the present through the medium of story. Born and raised in Wyoming, Kim has retained a love of the outdoors, which she shares with her husband, Walker’s Upper School English teacher Dr. David Thacker, and their two daughters, Molly and Liesel, who attend Walker’s as students.

Justin Treado

Environmental Services Manager

Tyler Varsell

Digital Marketing and Communications Manager

Tyler Varsell

 860-408-4234

B.A., University of Hartford

Tyler joined the Walker’s community in 2011, shortly after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Web Design and Development. In her role in the External Affairs Department, Tyler manages the School’s web and social media presence, designs print marketing materials and electronic communications, produces content for Walker’s weekly newsletter, photographs campus events and maintains the School’s digital photo archive. In her free time, Tyler is a collage artist and illustrator who has worked with clients including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and UC Berkeley.

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

Head of School

Dr. Meera Viswanathan

 860-408-4210

B.A., Stanford University
M.A., Stanford University
Ph.D., Stanford University

Meera joined Walker’s from Brown University, where she was an associate professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies. A lifelong educator and scholar, Meera holds her undergraduate degree, her M.A. and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Meera was born in Madras, India and emigrated at age five to Los Angeles.

At Brown, she earned the Barrett Hazeltine Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the John Rowe Workman Medal in the Humanities. She delivered Brown University’s Convocation Address, has received several National Endowment for the Humanities grants and awards, and has been both a visiting scholar and professor abroad. Meera has served as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, on the review board of the journal, College Literature, and on the board of the Community Preparatory School in Providence. She is a Trustee of the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. She has frequently led seminars locally and nationally about developing curriculum and resources on Asian literature. Meera has studied and speaks a number of languages including Japanese, French, German, Latin, Classical Greek, Old English and Old Norse.

Meera and her husband, Dr. Eric Widmer, resided at Deerfield Academy during his 12-year tenure as Headmaster. While there, she taught English for a year while on sabbatical from Brown. At the behest of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Meera and Eric co-founded King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, the Middle East’s first co-educational preparatory boarding school with financial aid. There, she taught and served as the curriculum’s principal architect and dean of faculty. King Abdullah II personally awarded Meera the King Hussein Medal, Jordan’s highest honor, for her endeavors.

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Viviene Walker

Supervisor - Environmental Services

Jennifer Wall P'22, '24

Math Faculty

Jennifer Wall P'22, '24

 860-408-4267

B.A., The College of New Jersey
M.A., New York Institute of Technology

Jennifer Wall, a private math tutor for middle, high and college students, joined Walker’s in 2016 as a member of the math faculty. Jennifer is a graduate of the College of New Jersey and the New York Institute of Technology where she earned her master’s degree in instructional technology. Previously, Jennifer was a math teacher at Northern Valley Regional High School in New Jersey. She served as a long-term substitute at Walker’s during the 2011–2012 academic year where she taught AP calculus, AP statistics, honors calculus and trigonometry.

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Leila Wetmore

Leila Wetmore '82, P'18

Director of Development and Annual Giving

Leila Wetmore '82, P'18

 860-408-4250

B.A., St. Lawrence University

Leila Wetmore ’82, P’18 was born and raised in New York City and came as a freshman to Walker’s in 1978. After graduating with degrees in political science, art history and French from St. Lawrence University, Leila returned to New York City and began her career in not-for-profit fundraising and management. Leila worked and provided consulting services to organizations including Planned Parenthood of New York City, Lenox Hill Hospital, The American Field Service, and the National Academy of Design, among others. In 2001, Leila moved with her husband and two young daughters to Darien, CT and continued her not-for-profit career, most recently as the Executive Director of the Darien Nature Center.

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Sean Yucha

Facilities/Grounds