Randy Hollister joined LCDS in September 1988, following the completion of a doctorate of philosophy in foundations of education from the University at Buffalo. He taught seventh and eighth grade English and writing lab, coached soccer and basketball and served as student council adviser. In 1993, he became headmaster and continued to teach eighth grade English until 2006. Dr. Hollister is a National Endowment of the Humanities fellowship recipient and a Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award winner. He has chaired numerous accreditation teams for the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). A Shakespeare enthusiast, Dr. Hollister offers a “Shakespeare on Saturdays” program for fifth through eighth graders each January through April. His other interests include coaching basketball and leading skill-development clinics, aviation, and tinkering with mechanical projects. He is always thrilled to hear from former LCDS students. His own two children, Laura and Will, attended LCDS from prekindergarten through eighth grade and graduated in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Assistant Headmaster, Eighth Grade Civics Teacher
Tim Beauchemin has been with LCDS since 1997. After graduating from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area. He started as an intern at a national association of state legislators and eventually become its policy director. After working in the political arena for several years, he recognized that solving the world’s problems was too big a job for him alone and decided that he could have a greater impact by empowering children to help him do it. He earned a Master’s degree in Teaching from the University of South Carolina, returned to the D.C. area and was hired to teach middle school Math, Civics, and History at LCDS. In 2011, he became the Assistant Headmaster, though he still teaches eighth-grade Civics and also serves as the Secondary School Counselor. A history buff, Tim enjoys strolling through the area’s many Civil War battlefields. His greatest accomplishments are his three daughters: Esther (’12), Rebecca (’14), and Sarah (’22).
Sixth Grade French Teacher
Jenifer Bluhm became an LCDS teacher in 2004. She has a deep interest in world languages and cultures, which led her to the joy of teaching French language and culture. She is passionate about teaching kids about the world beyond our region and the amazing opportunities that come from being able to communicate in a foreign language. Jenifer earned her B.A. and M.A. in French from Middlebury College in Vermont, and lived in Paris for two periods during her studies. In order to stay current on World Language teaching methods and the French language, Jenifer has attended professional development courses, and coordinates a French conversation group in Leesburg. Jenifer enjoys learning languages for personal enrichment, and has studied Spanish as well as a bit of German and Russian. In addition to travel, Jenifer enjoys fitness, reading, tennis, singing, attending concerts, hiking, skiing and oil painting. She recently added surfing to her list of interests and hopes to improve her skills (and not wipe out). She and her husband have two children and live in Hamilton.
First Grade Teacher
Diane Bolavage began teaching at LCDS in 2002. She was born and raised in Northern New Jersey and has fond memories of spending many summers at the Jersey Shore. Diane graduated from the University of Maryland and received her M.Ed in Special Education: Learning Disabilities from the American University. While at AU, Diane worked at the Lab School of Washington, where she spent an invaluable year learning a multi-sensory approach to teaching diverse learners. Diane began her teaching career with the Arlington Public School system as a resource teacher and fourth-grade classroom teacher. An avid reader herself, Diane enjoys watching the excitement of a child learning to read and hopes to instill a lifetime love of reading in all of her students. In her spare time, Diane enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, taking long walks with her dogs and reading the latest mystery novel.
Lower School Spanish Teacher
Karinna Bordas (“Señora Bordas,” as her students call her) began teaching Spanish at LCDS in 2015. She was born in Venezuela, and she and her family moved to the U.S. in 2010. She has a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism from the Catholic University, and an M.A. in Education from the Metropolitan University, both of them in Caracas, Venezuela. She has completed numerous child education courses, and has more than 20 years of experience as a preschool director, teacher, and tutor, working with students from three to twelve years old. One of her earlier teaching memories is when she was the lead teacher in a 1984 bilingual Spanish-English Summer camp that was directed by the American embassy in Caracas. Teaching has been her life-long passion. She enjoys it so much that she teaches piano to young children in her free time.
First Grade Teacher
Quela Carlson came to LCDS in 2014. She has two Bachelor of Science degrees (Mathematics and Psychology) from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She also attended Loyola University Maryland, where she earned her Master’s degree in Education, as well as her AMI Montessori elementary diploma through the Washington Montessori Institute. Quela loves teaching first grade through hands-on experiences, craft projects and any other activity that shows the students’ uniqueness and creativity. She enjoys creating a nurturing environment where children thrive and become astronauts in her space-themed classroom. Quela truly loves creating a special bond with each and every one of her students. She can’t seem to walk down the hallway without getting at least one hug! She loves clever puns, the color blue and her two cats, Tiramisu and Spresso. She likes to say blue things make her happy because they are blue-tiful!
Joanne Cooper joined the LCDS team in 2018. Born in Banbury, England, she spent her early life moving all over the world as the daughter of an Air Force Security Policeman and PME instructor. She lived in seven states and countries and attended nine schools by the time she returned to England in 8th grade. Joanne completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida. She then worked as a Case Manager with Community Care for the Elderly, where she took great pride in making a difference in the lives of those she served. During this time, she completed her Master’s Degree in Public Administration and later went on to work for Consultec, Inc. as a Field Representative for Florida State Medicaid. Joanne is a problem solver by nature and enjoyed assisting medical providers with policy and billing issues. After taking several years off to raise her family, Joanne has enjoyed returning to work as LCDS’s Registrar. She loves to travel with her husband and two children every chance she gets!
Sixth Grade Math and Science Teacher
Adrienne Corso has been a teacher since 2002 and at LCDS since 2006. She has taught several different grades and subjects, but has a passion for teaching math and science and igniting that same passion in young people. Her background is in Earth science. Adrienne earned a B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Texas. It was at UT that she met her husband Bill, whose background is also in the Earth sciences. Together they have created two more scientists - their sons Jack, an undergraduate at Princeton studying Biology, and Andrew, a graduate student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Adrienne also has a love of travel and new experiences. She has lived in London and North Africa and traveled to many countries, including many places in Africa, the Far East and Europe. Her hobbies are cooking, cycling and watching her son play football for Princeton. Go Tigers!
Third Grade Teacher
Angie Cross began working at Loudoun Country Day School in 2002. She is a native of the area and was born and raised on a beef cattle farm in Lovettsville. She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and MaED in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction from Virginia Tech. During her study there, she was a member of the University Honors Program and wrote the first undergraduate “In-Honors” thesis for the College of Human Resources and Education. She also studied abroad in Italy twice, learning about their approach to early childhood education. Angie still has close contact with the Education Department at VT and assists with research projects each year. On a personal note, she now lives in Leesburg with her husband, Josh, and her two daughters. When there is time (and there really is very little of it), she enjoys attending concerts, photography and rooting for the Hokies during football season!
Victoria Cunningham has been with LCDS since 2016. She graduated from James Madison University with both a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching. Prior to moving to Northern Virginia, Victoria lived in rural southern Virginia, where most of her family still resides. Since becoming a NoVa resident, she has taught fourth grade for Manassas City Public Schools and third and fifth grades for Fairfax County Public Schools. She joined LCDS as the lower school enrichment teacher before transitioning into the role of librarian. Her love of reading and project-based learning is well-utilized within the LCDS library program, with a heavy emphasis on student interest and real-life experiences. Victoria is an avid Washington Capitals fan (Go Caps!), reader and runner. Some of her favorite books include the Harry Potter series and Wonder. In her free time, she loves to take her four-legged friend, Maddie, on long walks to explore new places!
First Grade Assistant Teacher
Cara Cursi has been with LCDS since 2014. She graduated from Radford University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. After college, Cara worked for Montgomery County Virginia Schools in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she enjoyed working with many different grade levels as a substitute teacher. Cara was also pleased to be able to cheer on her favorite college team, the Virginia Tech Hokies, at home games. Once moving back to the Northern Virginia area, Cara taught prekindergarten. She enjoyed creating strong bonds with students and their families. When Cara started at LCDS, she knew the school valued creating a community within the classroom and school through strong character building. She loves teaching students through many hands-on experiences and encourages curiosity in the classroom. Cara continues to strive to create a positive classroom environment and a community feel in the school (and continues to cheer on the Hokies!).
Coach Dennis joined LCDS in the fall of 2012, after graduating from Shenandoah University with a degree in Kinesiology and a Coaching Certificate. She has a love of any sport that involves a team, high energy and a ball. She grew up playing on many travel soccer and volleyball teams and was involved with the Olympic Development Program for soccer. Her primary sport was volleyball, which she played both at the varsity level in high school and college. She was awarded the MVP of her high school volleyball team as well as a number of all-tournament teams. She has been involved in coaching volleyball teams as well as boys' soccer, girls' basketball, coed tennis, swimming, and girls' lacrosse at LCDS. She established the very popular Girls' Adventure Camp works for the LCDS Summer Camp program, as well as the after-school Helping Hands for Heroes Club. Her coaching philosophy revolves around creating a positive environment where young athletes learn and develop on and off the playing field.
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Brenda Eck has been with LCDS since 2013. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer College. In her first career, she worked as a government contractor responsible for financial work on the V-22 Osprey program. It was during that time that she met her husband. When the first of her three children was born, Brenda continued working, but soon realized her place was at home. When the youngest went to first grade, she started working as a part-time preschool teacher. She loves working with young children and says she learns something new every day! She feels every child has a different way of learning, and her goal is to figure out what works best for each individual. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her son play college baseball, her daughter participate in college gymnastics and her youngest daughter run high
school cross country and track.
Fourth - Eighth Grade Art Teacher
Renee’ Edmonston joined LCDS in 2008. She wears many hats, from visual arts teacher to business system analyst to graphic designer. Renee’ earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Visual Communications and an Associates in Business. Renee’s approach in the art room is primarily choice based. She regards each of her students as skillful artists and as such, puts their own ideas and interests at the forefront of their creativity. Her favorite artist is Picasso simply because his form of expression was like no other. In 2013, Renee’s hand-painted cookies won First Place in the Great American Cake Show. For her winning submission, she recreated Vince Lombardi’s office for the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. Renee’s technology background stems from her early careers as a Director of the Group Insurance Benefits Division for Meltzer Group, and an HR Business System Analyst for Universal Studios. In her free time, Renee’ enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, working on her miniatures, baking, golfing and quiet time at the beach.
Cathy Fernandez has been with LCDS since 2003, when she started as the middle school boys’ soccer coach. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communication Studies. While in college, her love of sports had her playing on intramural teams, for the women’s JV basketball team and attending John Wooden practices. Throughout high school, Cathy also played softball, ran track, played volleyball and loved Powder Puff Football. She began her coaching career 27 years ago while coaching her children in soccer. At the youth, middle school and high school level, she has coached basketball, t-ball, soccer, lacrosse, cross country and roller hockey. She previously taught prekindergarten PE, and just saw her last class for that age level graduate. Cathy currently teaches fourth and fifth grade PE, coaches middle school soccer, basketball, cross country and girls' lacrosse and serves as the director for PE and athletics. In her free time, she loves to cook, play golf, be a mom and watch the NBA.
Fifth Grade Assistant Teacher
Betsy Foster has been with LCDS since 2007. Her enthusiasm for teaching began at a young age: whoever owned a chalkboard in the neighborhood was the designated house for her to play teacher. Not surprisingly, Betsy decided to dedicate her life to teaching. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a B.S. degree in Special Education. She began as a Montessori teacher in a private school until her husband’s job transferred their family to Kansas. In Kansas, Betsy became a paraprofessional, assisting in the elementary school. After nine years in Kansas, her family moved to Virginia. Betsy began teaching preschool and kindergarten in various private schools before coming to LCDS. Currently, she assists the fifth-grade teachers in instruction and planning. Betsy enjoys traveling, reading, cooking and gardening. She has three children and three grandchildren, and relishes her role as mom and grandmother!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Catherine Fox joined the staff of LCDS in 2010. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina, obtained her teaching credentials from Virginia Wesleyan College and earned an M.S. in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University. Her teaching career began in Maine, where she taught third grade and served as a grade-level facilitator for her school district. She truly believes that one of the keys to successful learning is a love of school. Therefore, she makes it a priority to create a safe, positive learning environment for her students. She enjoys connecting with students through their interests outside the classroom and working with families to help children have a successful fourth-grade experience. When Catherine is not teaching, she enjoys reading, cooking and cheering for the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Catherine’s proudest accomplishments are being a Navy (retired) wife and a mother.
Lower School Enrichment Teacher
Amy Franzer joined LCDS in 2015. She is originally from the Pittsburgh, PA area, and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from The Pennsylvania State University. Amy was inspired to teach since she was in first grade, and has been fortunate to have incredible mentors along the way. She strives to instill a love for learning in young students, and to encourage them to love coming to school each day. Amy moved to the D.C. area after graduating college, and has been teaching elementary level grades since. When she first came to LCDS, she worked with prekindergarteners, substituted and assisted with administrative needs. She is now excited to be the Lower School Enrichment Teacher. Amy enjoys traveling, watching her daughter Ava’s crew events and attending Steelers, Penn State and Villanova games with her family. Amy has served on the Board of Directors for LAWS and The Child Advocacy Center of Loudoun County, and has been a volunteer for eight years.
Fifth Grade Teacher
Jennifer Fusselle began teaching at LCDS in 2013. She originally developed her interest in teaching while in high school, after taking a Teacher Cadet course that gave her the opportunity to create fun lessons for elementary school classes. Jennifer then went on to graduate from Lynchburg College with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (K-6). Science and Math are two of her favorite subjects to teach, though she also loves all things athletic. Jennifer is active throughout the school year, playing in multiple adult-league sports teams, as well as occasionally attending PE with her class. Jennifer has served on various committees such as Relay for Life and Garden Lab for LCDS, and during the summer is a counselor for multiple summer camps through the school. Outside of LCDS, she enjoys participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, yoga and paddleboarding.
Director of Extended Care/Health Coordinator
Pam began working at Loudoun Country Day School in 2000. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and earned a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology at the University of Missouri. After college, she moved to San Diego, California and worked as a regional loan supervisor in the mortgage lending industry. Later, she relocated to the Northern Virginia area and began volunteering at the Montessori school that her children attended. Her love of helping children learn to read lead to a job at that school. When her children transitioned to LCDS, she also joined the school as a first-grade assistant. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, she began her current role at the school. Pam enjoys the many different responsibilities her job offers: assisting in the library, providing support to the health suite, helping coordinate buses for field trips and sporting events, managing school calendars, and working with Extended Day. Every day at work is a little bit different and always interesting!
Fifth Grade Teacher
Teena Hahn joined the LCDS community in August 2017. She is a certified teacher with a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts in Educational Technology Degree from Michigan State University and 12 years of teaching experience. After teaching for three years at a small, private school in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Teena felt compelled to travel overseas to teach at Seoul Foreign School (SFS) in South Korea. She spent the next seven years teaching second and fourth grade at SFS. Teena then moved to Hong Kong for two years, where she taught fourth grade at Hong Kong International School. Outside of school, Teena’s interests range from cooking Korean food to playing the drums to hanging out with her husband. Teena considers it a privilege to work with young people and to help them achieve their full potential. It is her goal to provide an enriching and meaningful learning environment for her students where they will be inspired to become lifelong learners.
First Grade Assistant Teacher
Julie Hall joined the LCDS faculty in 2018. She grew up in Vienna, Virginia, and graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. After graduating, Julie spent a few years teaching for Fairfax County Public Schools. In 2001, Julie married into the Air Force and was fortunate to teach in Alaska, New Mexico and Ohio. Julie earned a Master’s of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction while stationed in New Mexico. When her son was born in 2009, she decided to step away from teaching and be a stay-at-home mom. Julie is over-the-moon excited to join the staff at LCDS. She feels back at home in first grade and thrilled to be teaching with Mrs. Bolavage! On the weekends, Julie loves spending time on the boat with her family, watching her son Cormick play lacrosse, cheering on the the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia Eagles and spoiling her Golden Retriever.
Middle School Director/Director of Advancement
Aileen Hawkins joined LCDS first as a parent in 2014. In 2016, she became the Director of Advancement, and in 2018, Middle School Director. Before moving to Virginia, she taught math, history and English at several independent schools, including Lake Forest Academy, La Jolla Country Day School and Sage Hill School. At Sage Hill, Aileen also served as the Dean of Academic Technology, worked on digital and print marketing, and chaired the Faculty Annual Giving campaign. After her move in 2014, she served as the Upper School Innovation Coach at The Potomac School, where she designed and taught Potomac’s first entrepreneurship course. Aileen holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton and a Master’s degree from Brown, both in Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is currently a doctoral student at George Washington University, and her dissertation focuses on independent school leadership. Aileen has presented at several digital learning and classics conferences and recently published scholarship about mythology in children’s literature. She enjoys traveling, singing and cooking with her husband, Erik, and daughters, Grace (’19) and Eve (’21).
Third Grade Teacher
Mary Ann Hinko has been teaching at LCDS since 2016. She graduated from Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Certificate in Elementary Education. She taught in a Catholic school before deciding to try her hand at the business world, where she worked as a small business representative at Guard Insurance. After moving to Northern Virginia in 2001, she decided to return to her first love, teaching. Since then, she has worked at St. Theresa Catholic School and St. Mark Catholic School. She was very fortunate when she was asked to join LCDS and feels this to be her second home! Mary Ann maintains her Virginia teaching license in elementary education. Being a teacher brings such joy to her heart, and she cherishes the moments when she sees the “light bulb” go off for a student. She enjoys traveling across the United States with her husband, Bill, and her Newfoundland, Baldur.
Lower School Director
Darren Holgate joined LCDS in 2013 and loves every day as if it was his first. Originally from the North of England, Darren emigrated to America in 2005. He’d been visiting the US since 1997 to participate, and eventually lead, an outdoor department at Camp Airy in the Catoctin Mountains using skills from years of being a scout. It was similar to the movies he watched as a child. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 2000, he taught all subjects to elementary grades in England and in a special educational needs school in New Zealand. Some special memories of this time include the Haka (prior to NZ), biscuits, SMARTboards, and working with nonverbal students. Upon arriving in Baltimore, he taught fourth grade at St. Paul’s and also completed his Master’s in Education at John’s Hopkins University. His wife and daughters give him the greatest joy in life, but you can often find him tinkering with technology, reading a book or embarking on a home improvement adventure.
Middle School Resource Teacher
Marty Hope has been with LCDS since 1982. After graduating from Hollins College with a Bachelor’s degree in Divisional Social Studies, she worked with autistic children at Grafton School. She earned a Master’s degree in Education at the University of Virginia, and returned to Grafton School, teaching learning disabled and emotionally disturbed children. After two intense years, she left Grafton and started the resource program at LCDS, eventually becoming the Middle School Director. In addition to that role, Marty teaches the middle school resource classes and a pre-algebra class. Helping adolescent children become confident, successful learners and kind, cooperative citizens is her lifelong passion, and the one that has been most gratifying. In addition to teaching, horses have always been and continue to be a big part of her life. Marty enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, and being an auntie to five awesome nephews and one very cool niece.
Cristina Horvath joined LCDS in 2012. She attended the University of Washington, where she studied English Literature. While in Seattle, she worked on graphic design projects for the Seattle Seahawks and became a lifelong fan. Go HAWKS! Moving to NoVa in 2004, Cristina continued her career in graphic design and as a mixed media artist. She is a nationally published author and artist with work featured in numerous magazines and websites. Cristina discovered her passion for teaching in 2012 when she became an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher at LCDS. She was promoted to Lead Teacher in Prekindergarten in 2015. Cristina has been nominated as Teacher of the Year by the Loudoun Times-Mirror and has lead Art Camps at LCDS, along with designing several LCDS publications such as the annual report and yearbook. Cristina describes herself as a possibilitarian, believing that every child has unlimited possibility to be or do whatever they dream. Cristina and her husband Greg stay busy with their five children; Corbin, Greyson (’15), Ashley, Sophia and Adrienne.
Director of Admissions
Susan Hower joined us in 1990 as an experienced early childhood educator and became an LCDS prekindergarten lead teacher for over twenty years. She was instrumental in developing the current program for our young learners and drew inspiration from graduate study at the University of Virginia to establish the prekindergarten art curriculum. An award-winning faculty member, Susan has earned recognition for her contributions in education from The Town of Leesburg, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the Wolf Trap Foundation, and as a recipient of the Thomas Jewell Reading Chair. She also served the LCDS Board of Trustees as the faculty representative. Concluding a nine-year term as a member of the Alumni Admissions Committee at her alma mater, Susan switched gears in 2012 to join the administrative team in the newly-created role of Director of Admissions. She treasures her relationships with the many LCDS children and families with whom she has worked for nearly three decades. An avid traveler and perennial adventure seeker, Susan often finds simple pleasures provide her with the broadest smiles: searching for the ultimate ice cream, discovering the perfect beach and daydreaming about being a mermaid.
Second Grade Assistant Teacher
Jenny Huerbin joined the LCDS faculty in 2017. After six years of working for Loudoun County Public Schools as a Teacher Assistant and Substitute Teacher, Jenny was excited to expand her role in a small classroom environment where she could work closely with each student. Jenny’s kind, positive spirit is contagious and valued by her second graders, who often say they’re encouraged and inspired by her warmth and wonder. Jenny has lived in Loudoun County for 18 years with her husband Greg. They have three wonderful sons: Josh, who attends UVA, Jake who attends the University of Tampa, and Owen, who attends Loudoun Valley High School. When she’s not working with her students on their biographer presentations and other interesting projects, Jenny loves practicing yoga. Her family enjoys skiing, sailing and travel when they are not cheering in the stands watching their boys play lacrosse and football!
Alyssa Jaffe began teaching at LCDS in 2017. She was born and raised in North Potomac, Maryland, but eventually moved to Virginia to study Sociology. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She then went to work with developmentally disabled children and adults in the Washington D.C. area. Although this was a very rewarding experience, she began to expand her career and started working with four- and five-year-olds at The Goddard School. Alyssa temporarily moved to New Jersey to work with children as well. She then decided she would move back to Virginia to continue her career in education as well as be surrounded by her family. She has one sister, Krista, with whom she is very close. Alyssa enjoys boating and traveling with her sister as well as spending time with her dog, Brody. She loves working with children because they are innocent, fun and everything that is good!
Sixth Grade Teacher
Dwight Jesmer has been teaching at LCDS since 2013. He grew up an army brat in a life of perpetual motion, attending eight different schools in seven different locations before finishing high school at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. During his youth he was hit by lightning, struck by a Mercedes and survived a collision covering home plate in a baseball game that stopped his heart (the run scored). Dwight graduated from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and an English Minor before working on his Master’s at the University of San Francisco. He worked in the film and television industry, wrote six screenplays that didn’t sell, and took a play to New York where he got chewed up and spit out, all of which prepared him for a life in education. He believes each child has gifts, and his mission is to help cultivate their academic and emotional foundation so they reach their full potential. He loves teaching and brings passion and humor to his classroom.
Lower School Music Teacher, Middle School Music, Band and Orchestra Teacher
Sonja Jewell started teaching at LCDS in 1997, and has since developed a string orchestra program, a band program and expanded the vocal music program. Born and raised near Youngstown, Ohio, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Youngstown State University, with a double major in trumpet and voice. She also earned a Master’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in Music Education with a Major in Instrumental Conducting and a Specialization Area in Trumpet. She completed post-graduate courses in voice with past Indiana University voice chair Dr. Roger Hvronek. Prior to coming to LCDS, Sonja taught public school music in Ohio, music education courses at Indiana University and middle and high school choir and orchestra in Indiana. Sonja believes that learning a musical instrument should be part of every child’s well-rounded education. In her free time, Sonja enjoys hiking, playing tennis, reading, and spending time with her family and numerous pets.
Development and Events Coordinator
Milisa Johnson joined the LCDS team in 2015. She grew up in Illinois and graduated from Elgin Community College. Milisa spent 15 years in the corporate world, specializing in Human Resources and holding positions that ranged from generalist to director. Milisa and her husband moved to Virginia in 2002, where they started a family in 2010 with the birth of their daughter. Becoming a mom inspired Milisa to take a break from the corporate world, and when she became a stay-at-home mom, she was also able to realize her dream of launching her DYI company, Henigan Manor. Once her daughter started school, she decided to return to the workforce and use her degree in Art Education to work within a school. Milisa first came to LCDS as a substitute teacher, but accepted her current position of Development and Events Coordinator in 2016. She enjoys spending time with her family, entertaining and the DYI projects she creates through Henigan Manor. Her family loves traveling and being with their pets.
Lower School Resource Teacher
Janet Jones has been with LCDS since 2013. She is a WVU alumnus and graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education in 1993. She continued her education at JMU and graduated with an M.A. in Special Education in 1995. She worked in Fairfax County Public Schools for five years as a Special Education Teacher until the birth of her daughter in 2000. Her son was born in 2003, and she continued to stay at home to raise her wonderful children. After 13 years at home, she decided it was time to “get back out there” and was hired as a substitute teacher for LCDS. For the next two years, she was a classroom assistant and then took on the role of the resource teacher in 2016. She is excited to continue working with students in a variety of grades as well as many of the wonderful teachers. In her free time, Janet likes to read historical fiction and create delicious meals for her family while listening to Dave Matthews Band.
Director of Maintenance and Transportation
Joe Kaylor joined LCDS in 2016. He has 42 years of experience in working with mechanical equipment in a variety of industries, ranging from heavy-duty vehicles to commercial print operations to HVAC units. He is an ASE-certified Master Mechanic, the highest certification available in the industry. One of his career highlights was driving NASCAR great Jeff Gordon's motor coach cross-country. His skills have also taken him as far away as Russia (technically the USSR when he went) to install specialized printing equipment for a company in the 1980s. Family is very important to Joe, who has two sons, both of whom live in NoVa. In his spare time, Joe enjoys working on his lime green 1974 Dodge Challenger (nicknamed "The Grinch"), which is currently tuned to 900 horsepower. At LCDS, Joe enjoys using the skills he has refined over the years and interact with students on a daily basis to ensure their learning facilities are running at top-notch levels so they can succeed.
Middle School Orchestra Teacher
Dr. Kim joined the LCDS Music Department in 2014. A native of Daejeon, South Korea, she began studying violin at the age of 8. Her Master’s was completed at Queens College, CUNY where she studied with Daniel Phillips of the Orion Quartet. She then went on to receive her D.M.A. from Catholic University. Dr. Kim is an active concert violinist and orchestra player. She currently serves as the principal second violin of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, she has been invited to play with many orchestras in the New York and Virginia area. Dr. Kim is an expert teacher with over a decade of experience teaching violin and viola to all ages and all levels, from beginner to advanced. A large number of her students have been chosen for the greater D.C. area’s top youth orchestras, and successfully auditioned for Virginia’s District, Regional and All-State orchestras. She believes that is it through music that she can best serve people with truth, faith and love.
Middle School Science Teacher
Laura Kitselman began her career at LCDS in 1987 after graduating from the University of Virginia. At UVA, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology. At the same time, she pursued her desire to teach and completed coursework in Science Education at the Curry School of Education, leading to state certification. She teaches seventh and eighth-grade science and coordinates the Lower School science curriculum. Laura is passionate about science, teaching and learning. A strong believer in the value of hands-on, experiential learning, she strives to create an environment in which her students can explore a variety of topics and methods of experimentation. Some of her favorite activities of the year include hydroponics, mousetrap cars, DNA extraction, and using microscopes. In addition to learning in the classroom, Laura is an advocate of educational travel and has led student trips to the Amazon, Costa Rica, and Key Largo. In her free time, she experiments with cooking and coral reef organisms, knits socks and completes the daily crossword puzzle.
Third Grade Assistant Teacher
Jenna Knickerbocker joined LCDS as an assistant teacher in 2018 after regularly working as a substitute teacher since the Spring of 2017. She has also led numerous LCDS summer camps and worked as a counselor for many years. As an LCDS alum, Jenna has the unique perspective of experiencing the school as both a student and teacher, which benefits her interaction with her students. She has a passion for helping children grow both academically and emotionally and believes that LCDS provides the perfect environment for children to do both. While assisting the 3rd-grade team, Jenna is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of Maryland University College and is planning on taking the necessary steps to become a teacher. Outside of school, Jenna’s interests include singing, volunteering with various animal rescue organizations and exploring nature with a camera in hand.
Middle School STEM Teacher, Director of Instructional Technology
Vicki Knickerbocker joined LCDS in 2004. She currently teaches Middle School STEM and serves as the Director of Instructional Technology. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Radio/Television/Film from the University of Maryland and holds a graduate certificate in Technology Management from the UVA/VaTech Graduate Center. Prior to joining LCDS, Vicki worked in the video industry around the D.C. metro area and as Communications Director for a local public school system. Vicki’s passion for teaching technology-related skills grew out of the video production classes and camps she taught while working in the video and communications industry. Her goal is to help guide students to not only be responsible users of technology but the next generation of innovators and life-long learners. When Vicki is not teaching, she is exploring new STEM curriculum resources, creating websites, gaming, volunteering with the Feline Foundation of Greater Washington and spending time with her family.
Middle School History Teacher
John Krebs joined the LCDS faculty in 2015. He graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio, earning a B.A. and a B.S. in History and Education. Ever since he was a child, John knew he wanted to be a history teacher. He loved movies that portrayed teachers in a fun and inspiring manner, especially School of Rock. Both of his maternal grandparents fought in WWII. His grandmother was a WWII nurse who was forced to help NAZIs in a POW camp and his grandfather was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne. John grew up listening to his grandmother’s stories and immediately fell in love with history. John’s passion and enthusiasm are contagious; his students enjoy his lessons and learning about World History from such an animated teacher. After school, he enjoys spending time with his very lovely wife, Abigail Krebs, who is a professional baker and cake decorator. They are avid concert- and movie-goers.
Lunch Program Coordinator
Shannon Krise joined LCDS in 2017. She was born in Indiana and grew up in Hong Kong, where her parents helped administer a seminary serving students all across Southeast Asia. After studying English Education at Cedarville University, Shannon worked as a program supervisor for Toward Independence, Inc., providing residential services for adults with developmental disabilities. She then moved to Loudoun County, where she worked as a conference-center billing clerk. For the next 15 years, Shannon worked as a stay-at-home mom raising three children: Gareth, 18, William, 16 and Freyja, 7. During that time, Shannon also volunteered on the boards of various school and youth organizations including Cub Scouts, Harmony Band Boosters, Woodgrove Music & Arts Association and as an Odyssey of the Mind Coach and School Coordinator. Working at LCDS provides Shannon the opportunity to combine her interest in organization, bookkeeping experience and passion for working with youth.
Kim Martino began her position as Business Manager at LCDS in 1996. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College, graduating cum laude with a double major in Accounting and Spanish. She started her career with Price Waterhouse in Philadelphia and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). After she took some time off to start a family, Kim began a position as Business Manager at a private school in Connecticut. She worked there for five years before her family moved to Virginia, where she joined LCDS. She has always loved the family environment at LCDS and the opportunity for her three boys to attend school here. Of the many varied aspects of her job, she most enjoys budgeting. Her personal passion has been following her sons through their athletic careers, all three wrestling from youth through college. Academics, though, have always come first to her, and she appreciates working in a school.
Jane McCarter joined LCDS as a middle-school substitute teacher and bus driver in 2014, but she has been a part of the school community for many years. In 1996, she chose LCDS for her daughter's education and participated as an Odyssey of the Mind Coach for LCDS teams at that time. Jane received both her B.S. in science and engineering from Iowa State University, later licensing in Urban Planning (AICP) and LEED-AP design. Jane has recently retired from Loudoun County service with 25 years experience as a project manager in land development engineering and urban planning. She has experience teaching adults in continuing education for engineers and planners. Jane flunked retirement and was delighted to have the opportunity to support the LCDS community once again. She has lived immediately adjacent to the Appalachian Trail for more than 30 years with a variety of visiting and resident dogs. In her free time, she enjoys hosting Appalachian Trail hikers, writing and sustainable design work.
Mary McIntosh joined the LCDS team in 2007. After graduating from high school, she dove straight into the corporate world, where she worked as an executive assistant for over 20 years. During her career, she enjoyed setting up sales meetings, attending trade shows and event planning. But after having children, she decided a change was needed so that she and her family could enjoy more of a work-life balance. Having always enjoyed being around children, she transitioned into the teaching field. Mary taught preschool at Purcellville Baptist Church for four years and was a substitute teacher for LCPS. She finally found her home at LCDS as a teacher’s assistant. She loves working with children and watching them learn and become successful in life. She is married and has two children, John and Madison. Her hobbies include reading and spending time with her three beautiful grandchildren.
Fifth Grade Teacher
Samantha Newbold began teaching at LCDS in 2018. She received her B.A. in Art from the University of Mary Washington, later getting licensed in Elementary Education, Middle School Mathematics and Algebra I. More recently, she received her M.T. in Special Education from the University of Virginia. Samantha has experience teaching a spectrum of ability levels and comes from working as a public school special education teacher at the middle school level. She loves inspiring young learners to find their own answers through self-discovery and using a hands-on approach with teacher guidance. She believes in encouraging independence and giving choice as a means to promote ownership over the student’s own learning and environment. On a personal note, she now lives in Round Hill with her husband, Mike, her two children, Spencer and Clara, and her dog, Mario. During her free time, she enjoys painting, reading (and lots of it!), heading to the beach and hiking the Appalachian Trail!
Jodi Nordby has been teaching at LCDS since 2014. She was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Political Science at the University of New York at Albany. She worked in Geographic Information Systems and market research in Albany, New York and Spokane, Washington before moving to Northern Virginia with her husband and son, Jonathan, in 2001. While volunteering at her son’s preschool, she realized a passion for early childhood education and joined the staff the following year. She has been teaching preschool ever since, and has never looked back. She taught at the Rosie Uran Jewish Education Center in Leesburg for five years before being a Prekindergarten Assistant Teacher at LCDS. She was excited to have the opportunity to teach the first preschool class at LCDS and welcome many new families to our community. When not in school, Jodi enjoys her Pinterest addiction, cuddling her golden retriever Katie and vacationing in Maine with her family each summer.
Lower School STEM Teacher
Robin Peacemaker joined the LCDS faculty in 2014. She has earned multiple degrees including a B.S. in Agronomy with a minor in Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland and a CTE teaching certification from VCCS. She has enjoyed leading STEM camps and looks forward to more of them. Robin loves all things STEM and especially science! She has a passion for protecting the environment and strives to share that with her students. She also wants all of her students to know that making a mistake is not something to be feared, but rather how we learn the most. One of her favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Robin has a daughter studying forensic psychology in college, a husband who is her best friend, four dogs and a cat. She loves to cook and feed lots of people, to garden and to read all types of books.
Lower School Art Teacher
Anne Peterson joined the LCDS faculty in 2015. She graduated with a degree in education from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Michigan continues to feel like home and she returns twice a year to enjoy snow drifts and the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. Before coming to LCDS, Anne taught a variety of grades in Texas, Maryland and Northern Virginia. She also worked for a member of Congress on Capitol Hill. She originally became a teacher because of her desire to make a difference in the lives of children and the opportunity to exercise her creativity. LCDS is a perfect fit for Anne because she strongly believes in a Liberal Arts education and the need to expose children to a variety of disciplines early in life. She has lived in Leesburg with her husband and three sons for almost 20 years. Anne enjoys painting watercolors, reading and binge-watching House Hunters International.
Sixth Grade Teacher
Suzanne Porreca has been an LCDS teacher since 1994. She grew up in the beautiful rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Educational Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Suzanne and her then five-year-old daughter, Megan, relocated to Maryland in order to accept a job at the National Institute of Health’s Retrovirus Exposure Surveillance Program. Suzanne’s first teaching position was in third grade in Prince George’s County Public Schools. When she first joined LCDS, she taught fifth grade before eventually moving into her current position. Suzanne’s 27-year teaching career has been quite fulfilling. Watching her students develop socially, emotionally and academically has been one of her life’s greatest pleasures. Suzanne enjoys spending time with her family: Wayne (husband), Megan and Ricky White (daughter and son-in-law), Matthew (son) and Bella and Casper (dogs). She also enjoys going to the movies, gardening and visiting her family in Pennsylvania.
Middle School Spanish Teacher, Service Learning Coordinator
Senora Quiles joined LCDS in 2018. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary, her Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech, and a certificate in gifted education from the University of Virginia. She is passionate about teaching Spanish and nurturing her students’ personal and academic growth. Prior to teaching, Kim lived abroad in Costa Rica and Spain. She taught Spanish for more than a decade, first with Williamsburg Public Schools and later with Loudoun County Public Schools. In addition to teaching every level of high school Spanish, including Advanced Placement, Kim was a gifted resource teacher with LCPS. She loves to travel the world, but Barcelona is her favorite city, as it is the first Spanish city she ever visited and where she met her Catalan husband. She lives in Ashburn with her husband, two daughters (ages 13 and 10) and their golden retriever, Neula (which is a type of Spanish cookie).
Coach Rayson joined LCDS in 2014. He grew up in the UK playing the “big 3 sports”-- rugby, soccer and cricket--as well as swimming competitively. After moving to Hong Kong with the Royal Air Force, Ian continued his sporting career as a triathlete and coach. After receiving his M.A. in Recreation and Sports Management and attending Reading University in the UK to obtain his Post Graduate Teaching Certificate, he embarked on his teaching career. He spent two years teaching PE in the UK and 11 years as a PE and classroom teacher at a private International school in Hong Kong. He loved running the sports days, camps, swim meets and extracurricular activities. He most enjoyed the annual overnight outward-bound camps, sharing his excitement for the great outdoors with students. A keen swimmer, he coaches and manages the LCDS Swim Team. He teaches PK, K and 1st grade PE, middle school girls’ hockey, the co-ed intramural program and tennis. His free time is spent “coaching” his wife and three young boys.
Julie Roberts joined the LCDS community in 2007 as a Kindergarten Assistant Teacher, before advancing into her current role. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1994. Julie began her career working in administration and human resources with an airline association in Washington D.C., and enjoyed traveling in her position. After spreading her wings, she settled down to work as a teacher at a special needs preschool in Maryland and her children’s preschool in Virginia. At LCDS, she found a program that supported her educational philosophy of nurturing the whole child, providing enriching experiences in all content areas and guiding children to become successful learners. In 2011, Julie became a Lead Kindergarten Teacher at LCDS. She is also a seasoned LCDS parent—she has a son, alumni Jake (‘14) and daughter Carly (‘18). In her free time, Julie stays busy at home with her family and four dogs. She enjoys cooking, planting and is an avid fan of HGTV and the Food Network.
Coach Robinson joined LCDS in the fall of 2018. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from Eastern Illinois University, which he attended on a full track scholarship. He helped EIU win three Ohio Valley Conference Championships, and earned seven individual titles as a sprinter. Prior to EIU, he attended Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, where he was a state champion in track. It was there that he was inspired to work with children. For three years, he volunteered at TASK camp, which works with special needs children. He currently teaches prekindergarten and kindergarten PE and coaches middle school soccer, basketball, track and lacrosse. Jamal has a background in coaching multiple sports and was a lead camp counselor at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex, where he coached track and other sports. Jamal is an alumni of the independent school system, having completed middle school at The College School in Webster Groves, Missouri. In his free time, he loves to travel, run and watch basketball.
Lower School Music Teacher
Amie Roos began her teaching career at LCDS in 2001. She received a Bachelor’s degree of Music Education from Youngstown State University. Throughout the years, she has taught grades PK through Eighth, General Music, Show Choir, and Orchestra. Amie shares her love of music through passionate teaching and truly involves herself in all of her lessons. Students can’t help but get excited because her fun spirit and enthusiasm is contagious. Through her high expectations of performance etiquette, the students engage and perform to the best of their ability in the numerous LCDS school programs and performances. A singer herself, she has performed throughout Northern Virginia and D.C. venues including the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, and the Supreme Court. Her greatest accomplishments are her three children: Liam, Andrew and Lauren. When not at school, you will find her on the baseball and football fields cheering her kiddos on!
Main Office Receptionist
Grace Ross joined the LCDS community in 1995. She received her BS in psychology at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. After graduating, she worked at The Watergate as the Leasing Director for the next eight years, until she became a mom to two beautiful girls. When her daughters began attending LCDS in prekindergarten and 1st grade, Grace joined the LCDS staff. Grace then accepted a position as 2nd-grade teacher assistant and stayed in that position for 13 years. She then moved to the office to become the receptionist, where she still works today. When she is not at LCDS, she enjoys visiting her daughters, running and yoga classes. Grace believes that LCDS provided an exceptional and challenging educational experience, one that inspired her daughters and gave them the tools they needed to become the successful women they are today.
Middle School French Teacher
Maria Sawaya joined the LCDS faculty in 2018. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, she received her Bachelor of Arts in French from Transylvania University in 2016 and has recently completed her Masters in French from the University of Kentucky in 2018. She has worked with children of various ages and particularly loves working with middle school-age students. Maria’s love of travel and passion for languages inspired her to become a French teacher. In fact, it has been her lifelong dream, and took her to Normandy, France, where she interned at a school, working with elementary and middle school students. She very much enjoys French culture and makes that a large focus in her teaching curriculum. Maria also has a passion for music. She has a minor in music with a focus on vocal performance. She loves going to the theater and opera.
Fifth Grade Orchestra Teacher
Marjory Serrano began teaching at LCDS in 2013. An accomplished orchestral and chamber musician, she began violin studies at the Aragua Symphony Foundation in Venezuela. At Shenandoah University, she earned a Masters Degree in Violin and an Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies. She also received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from Catholic University. Marjory served as principal second violin at the Idyllwild Arts Music Festival under the baton of Larry Livingston, and also performed at the Castleton Festival under the baton of then-New York Philharmonic conductor Lorin Maazel. She has performed at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Dr. Serrano holds an adjunct faculty position in violin at Frederick (Maryland) Community College. She is Concertmaster of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Greater Washington (PACO), and she also performs with the Apollo Orchestra and the American Festival Pops Orchestra in the Washington, D.C. area.
Middle School Math Teacher
Josie Sheatsley joined the LCDS faculty in 2007. An honors graduate of the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Josie has over 20 years of experience teaching in private and public schools. She has taught every level of mathematics from Math 6 to Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, in both middle and high schools. She considers her position at LCDS to be “teacher heaven” because she gets to teach high school math to middle school students! Josie believes that the best way to help her students learn is to develop a personal relationship with each child and to provide a safe environment for them to express concerns and questions. She is passionate about her subject matter and works hard to provide meaningful and engaging lessons for her students. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, reading and binge-watching British TV shows.
Second Grade Teacher
Kate Shields has known she wanted to teach since she was in Mrs. Marshall's (aka Ms. Frizzle's) second-grade class, and wants to follow in her footsteps to create a classroom of compassionate, creative and adventurous lifelong learners. After graduating with a B.A. in History and B.S. in Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago, Kate taught seventh grade Social Studies in Charlotte, North Carolina before working for the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. Still trying to figure out her path, Kate moved to NYC and completed an MLIS in Museum Studies while working for One To World, a non-profit in Manhattan. Through One To World’s Global Classroom program, which brings international students into underserved classrooms, Kate realized she still had a passion for teaching. Kate graduated with a MAT in Elementary Education in 2018 from American University. On weekends, Kate can be found in Arlington with her fiancé and rescue dog, Marley, practicing yoga, learning to cook, traveling and attending any musical theater event she can find.
Communications and Alumni Coordinator
Torie Skinner joined the LCDS team in 2018. A native of Leesburg, Torie attended Arizona State University for a brief period of time before finishing her Bachelor's degree in Business Management at George Mason University. She also holds a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Certification, which she utilized for a few years before settling down to have a family. While her children were toddlers, she spent six years driving a school bus for LCPS. Torie began her role as a Marketing and Office Manager for her family's autobody shop in 2015 and quickly discovered her passion for all things social media and marketing. She worked in the LCDS Admissions and Advancement office before transitioning into the role of Communications and Alumni Coordinator. Torie enjoys spending time on her family farm with her husband, two children, and their 17 animals! When they are not doing farm chores, she enjoys traveling and running.
Rob Smith began working at LCDS in 2013. He grew up in Loudoun County and attended Art Institute of Washington, where he studied graphic design. He was a Loudoun County Public School substitute teacher for four years, as well as a special education teacher’s assistant for two years. Recognizing his love of sports and passion for working with kids, Rob coached high school basketball and middle school basketball for five years. He currently coaches LCDS afterschool flag football, where he promotes enthusiasm, good sportsmanship and aims to improve kids’ skills and knowledge after every practice and game. Rob loves coaching LCDS students and being a positive role model for them. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of his favorite sports, and his excitement is contagious. During his free time, he loves being with his daughter, going fishing as often as he can and playing basketball and football.
Middle School English and Math Teacher
Kate Stavish began teaching at LCDS in 2018. She brings with her over 10 years of teaching and education leadership experience. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Kate worked as the Director of Marketing for a technology company. Inspired to give back to rising generations, Kate left the corporate world and entered the University of Virginia in 2004, graduating with a Master’s degree in English Education in 2007. She taught in Virginia for four years before relocating to Philadelphia, PA where she was an Assistant Athletic Director and teacher at the William Penn Charter School. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Leesburg and she began teaching at Herndon High School and recently (2013-2018) worked as an Administrator at McLean High School. Along with teaching in the Middle School, Kate will be coaching field hockey and has over 20 years of playing and coaching experience. Kate has two wonderful daughters, Harper and Eliza.
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Christa Stillman joined LCDS in 2012. After graduating from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Communication, she moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. She married her college boyfriend in 1993 and began a corporate job in government contracting with the IT Department at TRW, which transitioned to the Bechtel SAIC Corporation, working on the Yucca Mountain Project. She and her husband were blessed to welcome triplets in 2000: Austin, Brandon and Carson. With her husband’s corporate relocation to the Washington, D.C. area in 2008, she found herself with her kids in school and missing the days of reading and teaching letters and numbers. She began her career at LCDS working as a substitute and in the aftercare program. In the fall of 2012, she found her passion working with students as an assistant. After two years in first grade, she made the transition to kindergarten, where she absolutely loves teaching young children. Outside of work, she truly enjoys watching her boys play lacrosse and swim competitively.
Business Office Assistant
Dawn Sullivan joined LCDS in 2016. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Management from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. A few years later she completed her MBA in Finance from Wright State University in Ohio. Dawn has held several positions in the Accounting and Finance arena, from auditing with the Air Force Audit Agency to Staff Accountant for a tech startup. She greatly enjoys using the skills she’s gained over the years to support LCDS' mission of inspiring students to become lifelong learners. Dawn’s approach to her Business Office duties is that families and faculty are the number-one priority. She does whatever she can to help both be successful. Dawn lives in Purcellville with her husband and has three adult children. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys volunteering with her church, reading, running and watching football.
Director of Auxiliary Programs
Susan Tucker has been a part of the LCDS staff since 1999. Her early career was in the Federal government and hospital administration, which she pursued while simultaneously studying philosophy and graphic art at NOVA and GWU. After a time, she settled down in quality control administrative management with an environmental consulting firm that brought her to Loudoun County. After the birth of her second child, she managed her family contracting business part-time in order to have more time with her children. Having been an LCDS parent since 1992, she happily stepped into the role of kindergarten assistant in 1999. She found the saying “Everything I needed to know about life I learned in kindergarten” to be true. In 2010, Susan began her role as Director of the newly created Auxiliary Programs to develop Summer Programs and After School Activities and manage Private Lessons, Tutoring and Rentals. Susan enjoys time at home with her pet farm (two dogs and two cats), gardening, cooking, reading, hiking, writing and spending time with family and friends.
Sylvia Valchar joined the LCDS community in 2012. Born in Warsaw, Poland, she grew up in State College, Pennsylvania. She knew her heart belonged to teaching after volunteering at an elementary school during high school and spending several summers at Camp Laurel in Maine as a camp counselor. Sylvia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Youth and Family Education from Penn State. Go Nittany Lions! She has taught in Aurora, Colorado (first and fourth grades), Houston, Texas (fourth grade for Teach for America) and for LCPS (kindergarten and first grade). She began her LCDS career as a fifth-grade teacher, and made the big move to kindergarten in 2016. Sylvia loves sharing her love for learning and helping students reach their potential through hands-on and experiential learning. She has three kids whose childhoods she relishes: Benjamin, Olivia and Noah. She loves watching them play sports, spending time with her husband Zach and their two dogs, Foster and Charlie, traveling and shopping.
Middle School English Teacher
Abby Weiss joined LCDS in 2011. A proud Pennsylvanian, she graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.Ed dual degree in Secondary Education and English. She then moved to Germany to work for the United Nations University Institute of Environmental and Human Security as a press, media and publications officer. After returning stateside, Abby taught middle school English, journalism and yearbook in South Carolina before coming to LCDS. She received her communication M.A. from George Mason University with her culminating research on media reporting of federal education policy. In addition to her time in LCDS’s Room 220, Abby has served as faculty trustee to the board, is an adjunct communication professor at George Mason, swim coach and communication associate with an education policy group. Away from LCDS, Abby can be found reading, cooking, spending time with her family and friends, visiting vineyards, supporting her favorite sports teams (D.C. United and the New York Giants) and dreaming of her next travel adventures.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Megan White has taught at LCDS since 2013. After spending her childhood playing school with her nametag-adorned stuffed animals and watching her mother make a difference in the lives of children, Megan attended Radford University to become a school teacher. She earned her teaching degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with minors in English and History. After graduation, she returned to her hometown and began teaching for Loudoun County Public Schools, where she stayed for five years before joining the private sector. Growing up around LCDS, she understood the differences between public and private schools: smaller class sizes, experiential learning, special programs and a beautiful campus. It felt like the perfect fit. Megan believes that strong relationships foster trust and an eagerness to learn. She adores her students and makes a point to relate to each of them on a personal level. Any of her previous students would tell you that she loves good humor, bright colors, puppies, being outdoors, live music and the beach.
Prekindergarten Assistant Teacher
Erin Zalzuney joined the LCDS faculty in 2017, after moving to Loudoun County from Fredericksburg, Virginia. For 17 years, she worked as a Teachers Assistant at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church Preschool, working (and playing!) with four-year-olds for all of those years. She earned an Associates Degree from Germanna Community College in 2015. Each day, Erin’s students are greeted with her warmth and loving, mama-bear spirit. She is supremely passionate about her own three children: Lucas (28), Nicholas (24) and Emily (23). A huge Crimson Tide fan, she became hooked on the football team while Lucas attended the University of Alabama. Most recently, she became a mom to her new fur baby, a 2 ½-year-old female boxer named Avery whom she adopted through Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue. In her free time, Erin loves spoiling her new pup, continuing to baby her children, cooking, visiting local wineries, exploring antique stores and hiking.