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Tennis

Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Suzanne Piela P’22

Head Coach

Suzanne Piela P’22

 860-408-4336

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

Suzanne Piela is coaching the JV tennis team for the 11th year at Walker’s. Outside of tennis, Coach Piela chairs the science department, is an upper school advisor and a dorm affiliate for the New Dorm and lives on campus with her family.

Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

Assistant Coach

Ned Edwards P’07, ’10

Ned Joins the coaching staff for the spring 2021 season as the assistant in the varsity tennis program. Coach Edwards joins the Walker’s Community as the Director of the Capabilities Approach Program, Walker’s unique program dedicated to disrupting gendered mindsets and empowering girls to achieve their personal and professional goals. He has previously coached Varsity and JV Tennis and general fitness. Coach Edwards also teaches Ethics and is an upper school advisor.

Brendan O'Dwyer

Head Coach

Brendan O'Dwyer

 860-408-4300

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

Brendan O’Dwyer is in his 6th year as head of the tennis program. Coach O’Dwyer helped to coach the team to the NEPSAC tournament in the 2017-2018 season. In addition to coaching Varsity Tennis, Coach O’Dwyer is also the assistant ski coach, where he has helped lead Walker’s to three NEPSAC Titles from 2017-2019. Coach O’Dwyer teaches in the History Department and serves as an Upper School advisor.

Julia Sheldon

Assistant Coach

Julia Sheldon

 860-408-4335

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

Dr. Julia Sheldon has been teaching at Walker’s for 22 years.  This spring, she is excited to join the tennis program for the first time. Coach Sheldon also coaches varsity swimming and is a member of the science department.

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Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.


Due to the cancellation of the spring 2020 season, both the JV and Varsity team members are listed as one group on the Varsity Tennis page. Please visit the 2019 JV Tennis team page to view their season's records, results, and roster.

Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.


Due to the cancellation of the spring 2020 season, both the JV and Varsity team members are listed as one group below. Please visit the 2019 Varsity Tennis team page to view their season's records and results.

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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Our tennis program is focused on individual growth and resilience. We aim to instill in our players a willingness to learn from mistakes and to accept challenges. We see tennis as a way to learn the dedication, mental strength, focus, and confidence that are essential for success both on and off the court.

Our League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

Junior varsity players are given the opportunity to develop their skill level in a structured learning environment that constantly challenges them whilst providing both encouragement and support. Coach Piela believes in creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Playing with integrity, making the right choices during and after each point, and playing with heart determine a successful tennis player.

Our Varsity League Affiliations:

Walker’s tennis program competes in Division 3 of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Walker’s is also a member school in the prestigious Founders League. League competitors include Choate, Taft, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Westminster, Kent, Kingswood Oxford, and Miss Porter’s.

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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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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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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