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Ethel Walker English faculty

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.

Andrea Bacon

Nurse

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

Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair, Visual 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, mobile laboratory site investigations and indoor air quality studies. He is a State of Connecticut Department of Health Services-certified Environmental Laboratory Director. 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 for 15 years. Over that period he has coached all youth ages from two to 18 years old.

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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 senior 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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Ashley Bonet

Ashley Bonet

Middle School Science Faculty

Ashley Bonet

 860-408-4339

B.S., University of Connecticut
B.A., University of Connecticut
M.P.H., University of Connecticut
M.S., Central Connecticut State University

After receiving her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Connecticut, Ashley joined Teach for America and taught in Hartford Public Schools for the last eight years as a science and STEM teacher. Ashley also served as science coach for new science teachers and taught science education courses through Teach For America and the John Hopkins Master’s program during this time. She was Teacher of the Year at Kennelly School and served on the Union Board in Hartford for two years. She is very passionate about partnering with the community and organizations to promote STEM education. She participates and encourages students to also be involved in service learning with Knox Community Gardens and the Aloha Foundation as well as works with CCSU, UCONN, TFA, CT Center for Advanced Technology and Manufacturing, LEGO, and Talcott Mountain. She additionally assisted with elementary and middle school running club, girls basketball and softball, after-school science programming, and has helped to organize and run middle school trips to Washington, DC and Vermont. Ashley has also been the STEAM Specialist and Lead Teacher for the Horizons summer program at The Ethel Walker School for the past two summers.

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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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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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Paul D. Breault

Controller

Paul D. Breault

 860-408-4248

B.S., Westfield State University
M.B.A., Bay Path University

Paul joined Walker’s in November 2022 as the School’s Controller. Previously, he served as the Director of Finance and Operations at The Greenwood School (Putney, VT) and the Chief Financial Officer at The Academy at Charlemont (Charlemont, MA). He holds an M.B.A. from Bay Path University and a B.S. in Business Management from Westfield State University.

Dan Bruetsch

Dan Bruetsch

Physical Plant Manager

Heather Bucknam

Heather Bucknam

Chief of Staff, Liaison to the Board

Heather Bucknam

 860-408-4219

B.A., Bucknell University
J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law

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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Leila Cancellieri

Leila Cancellieri

Registrar, Librarian

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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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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Carol Clark-Flanagan

Carol Clark-Flanagan P'93, '97

History Faculty, 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.

Liss Couch-Edwards '07

Graphic Designer and Digital Media Manager

Liss Couch-Edwards '07

 860-408-4234

B.A., Mount Holyoke College
M.F.A., University of Hartford

Liss graduated from Walker’s in 2007, and after earning her B.A. in Art History and Film Studies from Mount Holyoke College, she joined Walker’s Visual and Performing Arts faculty. She holds an M.F.A. in Illustration from The University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School. Liss later worked as the graphic designer at Hartford Stage, a Tony Award-winning theatre company, and has been a freelance graphic designer for many schools, non-profits, and small businesses in New England. She returned to Walker’s in 2022 as a member of the Communications and Marketing department. Liss lives on campus with her husband, John Monagan, Walker’s Interim Athletic Director and History faculty, and their daughter.

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Carolyn Jean Cunningham

Admission Office Manager

Carolyn Jean Cunningham

 860-408-4206

B.A., Keene State College

Carolyn joined the Walker’s community in the fall of 2022, and she now holds the position of Admission Office Manager. Prior to Walker’s, Carolyn lived in Jordan, where she taught instrumental music at King’s Academy and performed as a professional violist. After living abroad for five years, Carolyn is grateful to be back in her home region of New England and to share her return with her husband, Chris.

Jerome Davenport

Grounds

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

Elisa Del Valle Headshot

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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Kelly DeVivo

Kelly DeVivo

Special Events Manager

Kelly DeVivo

 860-408-4253

B.A., Saint Anselm College

Kelly, a Connecticut native, started her 25-year event management career in Boston where she executed events for emerging tech companies. From Boston, she moved to Los Angeles as an account director for an event marketing and promotions agency. After enjoying several years in the California sunshine, she and her husband moved back to the East Coast to start a family, and have lived in Simsbury for 18 years. For the past decade, Kelly has worked as a freelance event planner working with a variety of organizations including The Necker Cup, an annual Pro-Am tennis event hosted by Richard Branson on his private island, Necker. She is a graduate of Saint Anselm College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Kelly enjoys volunteering in her community and has done so for Simsbury Junior Woman’s Club, Gifts of Love, Dog Star Rescue, and for her children’s schools. She has two teenage boys, two dogs, and loves yoga, reading, and travel.

Tom DiMartino

Director of Facilities Operations

Lara Dotson-Renta

Dr. Lara Dotson-Renta P'27

Spanish Faculty

Dr. Lara Dotson-Renta P'27

 860-408-4311

B.A., Dartmouth College
M.A., New York University in Paris
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Lara joins Walker’s World Languages faculty as a Spanish teacher. She presently teaches Spanish 4, Honors Spanish 5 and Advanced Spanish: Literature and Cultural Studies. Prior to joining Walker’s, Lara held academic, pedagogical and administrative positions, including roles as a visiting scholar at Brown University in their Middle Eastern Studies Department, an Assistant Professor of Modern Languages/Assistant Dean at Quinnipiac University and an adjunct professor at Drexel University. Lara is a published author, having published work in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Her academic book, Immigration, Popular Culture, and the Re-Routing of European Muslim Identity, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2012. Dr. Dotson-Renta is a Mellon Mays Fellow, and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Romance Languages and Literature and a certificate in African Studies. Lara also holds an MA in French Language and Literature from New York University in Paris, and a BA in Spanish and French from Dartmouth College. Lara’s daughter, Catalina, is a seventh-grader at Walker’s.

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Mimi Duran

Mimi Duran P'18

Associate Athletic Director

Mimi Duran P'18

 860-408-4294

B.S., Recreation and Park Administration, University of Maine
B.S., Natural Resource Management, University of Maine
M.S., Georgetown University

Mimi Duran has over 30 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 Futures 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 holds a Master’s degree in Professional Sports Management from Georgetown University.

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Patrick Durning

Dr. Patrick Durning

History Faculty

Dr. Patrick Durning

 860-408-4315

B.A., Duke University
M.A., Brown University
Ph.D., Brown University

Patrick joins Walker’s history faculty from The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas where he taught World History, Philosophy, and Psychology, among others. At Walker’s, Patrick will teach Advanced Economics, American Identity, and Supreme Court Landmarks. He has an extensive teaching career including teaching in China and Korea as well as at other independent schools including St. George’s and Hotchkiss School. Patrick has also taught at the college level including at Tufts University, Brown University, and Suffolk University, among others. Patrick holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Brown University and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University. He is a member of the Cluett dorm faculty, a coach for Middle School soccer, and an assistant coach for varsity basketball.

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Anne Dzialo

Groom Staff

Dr. Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

Dean of Faculty, Director of Capabilities Approach Program

Dr. Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

 860-408-4213

B.A., The College of Wooster
M.Div, Yale University
D.Min, Hartford Seminary

Dr. Ned Edwards P’07, ’10 earned his B.A. from the College of Wooster in psychology and religion, an M.Div. from Yale University with a focus on philosophical theology, and a D.Min. from Hartford Seminary in sociology and the history of American Protestantism. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Ned has served four churches as senior minister, and has considerable experience in various capacities in secondary independent education including two other girls’ schools as chaplain, director of social services, teacher, dean of faculty, and assistant head. He has taught Hebrew scriptures, Christian scriptures, world religions, ethics, philosophy, advanced placement psychology, and school of rock: the history of American politics and rock and roll from 1950-2000. His commitment to girls’ schools and girls’ education was born out of his daughters’ experience at Walker’s, and is seen not only in his career choices but in his engagement with the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and his co-authored, peer-reviewed article on adolescent girls’ brain development and spirituality which speaks to the unique ways adolescent girls process information, extrapolating to subjects far beyond spirituality. Ned lives in Simsbury with his wife, Gwen, and enjoys woodworking, learning luthier skills, building guitars, and boating.

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Lisa Fichandler

Nurse (PT)

Patricia Fisher

Custodian

Elizabeth Wilde Foody

Associate Director of Admission

Elizabeth Wilde Foody

 860-408-4203

B.A., Skidmore College
M.Mus.Ed., The Hartt School, University of Hartford

Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance and a Master’s of Music Education from the Hartt School. Previously, she was the Admissions Coordinator at The University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts. Elizabeth has also been employed as Associate Director of Admission and Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Westminster School, Director of Operations at Westminster School, and Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Trinity College. Elizabeth began her career as an elementary music educator, currently sings in two local choirs, and is a certified fitness instructor. Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have five children and reside in Simsbury.

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Marissa Forde

Visual Arts Faculty

Marissa Forde

 860-408-4264

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

Marissa, a Simsbury native, joined the Walker’s community in the winter of 2011 after beginning her teaching career in the local public school system. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art with a focus on Illustration from Jacksonville University, and her master’s degree in education from the University of Hartford. She holds certifications in both art education and elementary education. Marissa teaches middle school visual arts. She also teaches ceramics with students ranging from beginner through advanced level three. Marissa is passionate about engaging girls in art by encouraging her students to explore how artistic creations are born through the solving of problems.

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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

Beatriz Gonzalez

Beatriz Gonzalez

Spanish Faculty

Beatriz Gonzalez

 860-408-4312

B.A., University of Manizales (Colombia)

Betty joins Walker’s World Languages faculty where she will teach Spanish 1, 2 and 3. She has served as a bilingual tutor for several years for the Bristol (CT) Board of Education; she previously was a Spanish teacher in grades PreK-8 in Torrington (CT) and Bristol (CT) private schools and served as an English as a Second Language instructor. Betty holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Manizales (Colombia).

Colin R. Griggs

Assistant Director of Admission

Colin R. Griggs

 860-408-4204

B.A., Franklin & Marshall College
M.A., Ohio University

Colin R. Griggs joined the Walker’s community during the summer of 2022, and he comes to Simsbury with more than 15 years of experience working in the New England boarding school community. After spending the first four years of his professional life in Connecticut at Indian Mountain School and Marianapolis, Colin moved to Maine where he spent nine years at Hebron Academy. While at Hebron, Colin coached over 400 athletic contests in soccer, basketball, and tennis and earned more than 200 victories as a head varsity coach. Colin also spent time in the Alumni and Development Office, Dean of Students Office, and as an Assistant Athletic Director among many other positions. During 2019, Colin moved again with his family to High Mowing School where was was both the Director of Athletics and Residential Life and the head coach of the girls’ team for the Black Rock FC Residential Academy. Colin lives in Granby with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons, Raleigh and Henry.

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Chris Hague

Chris Hague

Math Faculty

Chris Hague

 860-408-4265

B.A., Sewanee: The University of the South
M.Sc., Queen's University

Chris Hague graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a B.A. in Psychology and received his Master’s in Sports Psychology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Chris’s research and thesis centered around coaching dynamics and athlete development, and he co-authored two peer-reviewed papers. Chris has taught mathematics for almost 10 years. For the past three years, he lived in Madaba, Jordan while on the faculty of King’s Academy. He and his wife, Carolyn, are excited to join the Walker’s community.

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Elizabeth Hall

Groom Staff

Allie Harris '13

Advancement Communications Coordinator

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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Tavia Henry

Environmental Services

Kenzie Hine '16

Kenzie Hine '16

Program and Development Manager for Horizons at The Ethel Walker School

Laurie Hine P’16

Administrative Assistant/Reception

Shannen Hofheimer

Shannen Hofheimer

Director of Theater, 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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Nishette Isaac

Nishette Isaac

Dean of Students, Dean of Middle School Digital 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

Chris Johnson

Chris M. Johnson

Database and IT Specialist

Chris M. Johnson

 860-408-4228

B.S., Alliance University
M.Th., Bethel Seminary

Chris comes to The Ethel Walker School with over 25 years of professional and volunteer experience working with students in a diversity of settings. Outside of his role fixing all things that plug in and power on, Chris has been a teacher, a pastor, a Little League coach, a web designer, an actor, a radio DJ, a camp director, and most importantly a husband and a father to four kids. Chris spent 11 years at The Raymond Hill School in New Britain, CT as their Technology Teacher and Tech Coordinator and recently comes from the business world in IT working in the transportation industry. Chris has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Alliance University and a Master’s of Theology from Bethel Seminary.

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Kathryn Jordan

Kathryn Jordan

Counseling and Wellness Educator

Kathryn Jordan

 860-408-4286

B.A., Temple University
M.A., Saint Joseph College

Kathryn is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with specialized training as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner, and Certified Integrative Energy Medicine & Psychotherapist. Originally from New Jersey, Kathryn attended Temple University in Philadelphia to study psychology and cognitive neuroscience. After graduation, she moved to Hartford, where she was a clinical research assistant at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living. Here, Kathryn dedicated six years to child and adolescent Neuropsychiatric Research leading to four publications for her work. During this time, Kathryn also completed a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford. Before opening her private practice in the fall of 2016, she worked at The Village for Families and Children as an in-home clinician at Wheeler Clinic as a child and adolescent outpatient therapist, which led to her induction into residential life at Newport Academy in Bethlehem as a family therapist. Kathryn has facilitated groups and programs presenting mental health wellness psychoeducation in each role. In the fall of 2019, Kathryn embarked on creating a podcast, recently surpassing 13,000 plays, geared toward destigmatizing mental health by interviewing people from all walks of life. The stories shared are raw, honest, authentic, and enlightening.

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Kyle Joseph

Assistant Barn Manager, Show Groom

Kyle Joseph

B.S. - Centenary University

Kathy Kleis

Kathy Kleis

Math Faculty

Kathy Kleis

B.A., B.S., University of Rhode Island

Ms. Kleis went to URI where she double majored in Secondary Education/Mathematics and minored in Leadership. Having specialized in high-need programs, she has experience teaching in Providence, Bridgeport, and Hartford. A fun fact is she has now taught at every type of school: metropolitan, charter, public, and now private. She has a twin sister and absolutely loves fashion, travel, and sports — especially basketball and lacrosse.

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Maureen Lamb

Maureen Lamb

Latin Faculty, Dean of Educational Technology and Innovative Pedagogy

Maureen Lamb

 860-408-4313

B.A., College of the Holy Cross
M.Ed., University of North Carolina Greensboro

Maureen loves teaching Latin and is thrilled to be the Dean of Academic Technology and Innovative Pedagogy. Previously, she served as the Language Department Chair, Academic Technology Coordinator, and Latin and Ancient Greek Teacher at the Kingswood Oxford School and the Language Department Chair and Latin Teacher at the Westminster School. She also works as a Google Certified Trainer and educational consultant with districts across the country, and she teaches graduate courses in Language and Latin pedagogy and instructional technology with Idioma Education and Consulting. She teaches courses for the National Humanities Center and served on the Teacher Advisory Council from 2020-2021. She has been recognized for her work as the CT Council of Language Teachers Language Teacher of the Year 2017, the New England Council of Foreign Languages Mead Fellow, the Classical Association of New England Weincke Award, the American Classical League Elizabeth Watkins Award, and received a Fulbright to study for a summer at the American Academy in Rome. She is dedicated to creating an inclusive classroom environment, to using technology to enhance the student experience, and to making Classics comprehensible. She lives in Avon with her husband, Patrick, and their two children.

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Linda Langmeier

Linda Langmeier

Director of Riding and 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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Tavia Lee-Goldstein

Tavia Lee-Goldstein

Director of Communications and Marketing

Tavia Lee-Goldstein

 860-408-4393

B.A., University of New Hampshire
M.B.A., University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics

Tavia, a New England native, joined Walker’s in 2022 after serving many years as Director of Communications for an independent middle and high school in Houston, TX. In addition to her time in school communications and marketing, she has taught communications, film, theatre, and business & economics at the high school and college levels. She also spent five years directing an academic summer program for high school students. Tavia has an extensive film portfolio which focuses on short-form documentaries and also includes nationally distributed feature-length documentaries and television commercials. She and her family live on campus.

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Karim Mabrouk

Karim Mabrouk

French Faculty

Karim Mabrouk

 860-408-4314

B.A., Iona College
M.A., UConn

Karim joins Walker’s faculty on a full-time basis this year as a member of the World Languages faculty specializing in French; previously he served on the faculty on a part-time basis. Karim will teach French 1B, 2, and 4 this academic year. He is fluent in French and Arabic and has focused some of his work on teaching French for diplomacy and international affairs. Previously, Karim was a Graduate Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), an instructor at Yale University, and he held various teaching and administrative roles at the University of Connecticut. He is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) at the University of Connecticut in French Language & Literature. He holds Master of Arts degrees from UConn in both International Studies and French Culture Language & Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Studies. Karim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both International and French Studies from Iona College. Karim is a JV soccer coach and will coach swimming in the winter.

Laurie MacAlpine P'08

Music Department Chair

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

Katelyn Martinez

Katelyn Martinez

Middle School Administrative Assistant and Activities Coordinator

Katelyn Martinez

 860-408-4297

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 P'92

Director of Health Services

Joyce McIntyre P'92

 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

Beth McWilliams

Beth McWilliams P'28

Chief Financial and Operations Officer (CFOO)

Beth McWilliams P'28

 860-408-4241

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

Beth joined Walker’s in November 2020 as the School’s Chief Financial and Operations Officer (CFOO). She is the former chief financial officer at Shattuck St. Mary’s Educational Services in Bath, ME. Prior Beth worked at independent schools in the northeast in financial operations. She 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. Beth’s daughter, Gabby, is a sixth grader at Walker’s.

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Dr. Emma Mitchell

Science Department Chair, 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

Interim Athletic Director, History Faculty

John Monagan

 860-408-4290

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 previously served as Walker’s Athletic Director for nine years and continues to teach in the history department. John is the head coach of the varsity basketball and softball teams and lives on campus with his wife and daughter.

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Megan Mulhern

English Department Chair, 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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Kristen Myshrall

Kristen Myshrall

Director of Counseling and Wellness

Kristen Myshrall

B.S., Eckerd College
M.S., University of Kansas
Ph.D., University of Connecticut
M.S., Central Connecticut State University

Kristen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in working with adolescents and their families. She obtained her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Central Connecticut State University and has advanced training in TFCBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), IFS (Internal Family Systems), and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Before joining Walker’s, Kristen worked in as a clinician in an outpatient clinic, as well as in a middle and high school. She transitioned to residential life as a therapist, and then a clinical director, of a therapeutic group home for adolescent females. Additionally, she has experience working with people experiencing homelessness and young adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Kristen is passionate about working with adolescents who have experienced trauma, are experiencing school related stress, LGBTQIA+ related issues/concerns, family difficulties, anxiety, depression, complex mental illness, suicidal ideation, those involved in DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking), and those engaging in injurious behaviors. Prior to becoming a therapist, Kristen received a B.S. in Marine Science from Eckerd College, M.S. in Geology from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Geoscience from UConn. She was a professor of Geoscience at UConn and conducted research across the global, which led to multiple publications and presentations. A desire to work more in depth with students led to a change in careers. Kristen is thrilled to return to an academic setting to provide mental health support to students.

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Dara Joy Neiman

Dara Joy Neiman

Nurse

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 Orschiedt

 +1-860-408-4260

B.A., Wells College

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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Erin Ott

Erin Ott

English Faculty

Erin Ott

 860-408-4305

B.A., Hofstra University
M.A., Hofstra University

Erin joins Walker’s English Department as a fall semester substitute teacher for English faculty department chair Megan Mulhern. She is an adjunct professor of English at Hartford’s Capital Community College and a writing instructor at Goodwin University. Erin has worked extensively with students on composition and literature, and she has assisted students with honing their skills to write at the college level. Erin holds a Master of Arts in English Literature and Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hofstra University.

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Mallory Pasquariello

Mallory Pasquariello

Director of Residential Life and Student Activities

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 Director of Residential Life and Student Activities. She is also a housefaculty member in 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

Associate 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, '28

Science Faculty

Dr. Suzanne Piela P’22, '28

 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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Ravi Pillalamarri

Ravi Pillalamarri

Math Faculty, Assistant Director of Social Justice and Inclusion

Ravi Pillalamarri

 860-408-4266

B.A., Goucher College

Two weeks after Ravi finished student teaching, he started in a sixth grade classroom midyear and has been teaching math ever since. Ravi has taught everything from regular grade six math to IB Analysis and Approaches HL, in public and private schools. If you have a math question, even if you aren’t in his classes, chances are he will be happy to help you. When he’s not working, Ravi likes making Indian food and playing Overwatch.

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Sandra Quinlan P'16

Chemistry Faculty

Sandra Quinlan P'16

 860-408-4338

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

Morgan Ramos

Morgan Ramos

FLIK Executive Chef

Francisco Ramos

Grounds Supervisor

Francisco Ramos

Lisa Rathbun

Lisa Rathbun P'23

Campus Store Operations Associate

Lisa is responsible for managing the operations of Diddle’s, Walker’s school store, including the retail operations of the store as well as ordering supplies for departments, disbursement of allowances to students, and other administrative functions. Lisa has an extensive background in retail operations and comes to Walker’s with a thorough understanding and experience in managing both the retail and back-office operations.

Julie Relyea

Assistant Director of College Counseling

Julie Relyea

Matthew Risley

Facilities

Matthew Risley

Krystyna Rosa

Environmental Services

Krystyna Rosa

Isabelle Russell

Isabelle Russell

Stewardship and Donor Relations Manager

Ethel Walker

Pamela Safford '81

Assistant Head for Admission and Enrollment

Pamela Safford '81

B.A., Carleton College
M.S., University of Pennsylvania

Pamela holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College and an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she was the Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid at The Country School in New Canaan. Pamela has also been employed as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Deerfield Academy; Associate Head for Communications, Enrollment and Planning at Concord Academy; and Director of Admission at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Pamela is a founding trustee and former chair of the board for the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) and she currently serves on the board of the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Committed to supporting professional development among her peers, Pamela regularly presents at various national conferences including IECA, NAIS, SSATB, and TABS.

Michelle Sawyer P’13

Groom Staff

Jo Seaver

Joanna Seaver

Senior Trainer

Joanna Seaver

 860-408-4355

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

World Languages Department Chair, 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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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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Randall Sho Northrop

History Department Chair, History Faculty

Randall Sho Northrop

 860-408-4304

B.A., Saint Michael’s College
M.A., Oxford University

Randall joins Walker’s from Beaver Country Day School in Brookline, MA, where he taught Global History and Social Sciences. At Beaver, Randall also served as the grade dean for 9th and 10th grades, facilitated students of color and affinity groups, and coached the BVR Model UN team. Raised in Okinawa, Japan, he is passionate that students see themselves as a part of an interconnected local and global community, full of rich and complex narratives.

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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
M.A., Pace University

Harrison comes to Walker’s from The Loomis Chaffee School where he served as the History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Department Chair and Associate Director of the Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to these administrative duties, Harrison was a history teacher and the coach of Loomis’ IEA Equestrian Team. As Walker’s Assistant Head of School/Dean of Academics, Harrison will be the academic visionary voice on campus and will lead the continued development of curricula and innovative pedagogies that carry forward our strong academic vision for the School. He will oversee program evaluation and ensure alignment of a curriculum that reflects the School’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. Harrison will partner with other administrators including Sarah Edson, Dean of the Faculty, and Isabel Ceballos, Head of the Middle School, on hiring a diverse and dynamic faculty and guide a teacher performance evaluation system which promotes professional growth. Harrison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts degree in American History from Pace University.

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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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Liana Sowa

Liana Sowa

Advancement Database Assistant

John Sway

Environmental Services

Tanya Szuluk

Tanya Szuluk

Administrative Manager

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 P'24, '27

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

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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Jennifer Wall P'22, '24

Math Department Chair, 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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Toby Way (Wei)

Toby Way

Math Faculty

Toby Way

 860-408-4269

B.A., University of Connecticut
M.A., University of Connecticut

Graduating from UConn Neag School of Education, Mr. Way is thrilled to be part of the Walker’s community. To him, math is a lens to see the world, a language that connects disciplines, and a critical tool to our democratic participation. He is aspired to not only teach the students content, but also how to see the world through math!

 

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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 was born and raised in New York City and came to Walker’s as a freshwoman 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 for 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. Leila’s daughter, Eliza, is a 2018 graduate of Walker’s.

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Sean Yucha

Facilities/Grounds

Maria Zarillo

Maria Zarrillo

FLIK Food Service Director