New Faculty and Staff 2018-19
Ariel, who goes by Ari, joined the Penn Charter team as the Theater Manager of the Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts in early June. Prior to taking this position, she served as the Production Manager of the Hedgerow Theatre Company in Media and as an Administrator at the Society Hill Playhouse here in Philadelphia. A native of King of Prussia, Ari earned her bachelor's in History and Theatre Arts as well as her master's degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
We are happy to welcome Sarah back to Penn Charter after a one-year hiatus. Sarah will once again join the fifth grade team and will teach fifth grade reading. In addition, she will coach Girls on the Run. Sarah possesses Elementary Education certification in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania and has experience teaching all lower school grades except first. Sarah graduated from Brown University and earned her master's degree from Columbia University's Teachers College.
Ashleigh Brown, OPC’ 13, is coming to PC as an Urban Teaching Fellow. Ashleigh graduated in 2017 from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and Geography and Urban Studies. While matriculating at Temple, Ashleigh served as an ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and was an active member of the Sustainability Club. A founding member of the Black Diamonds in the Rough at Temple, Ashleigh coordinated tutorial programs to support young people in the Philadelphia area. Last year, Ashleigh worked in the After School Program and as a substitute teacher in the Lower School at Penn Charter. As a Fellow, Ashleigh will work with Jeff Humble in seventh and eighth grade science classes at Penn Charter. At the Community Partnership School, she will work with Emma Bechill in fifth grade in addition to observing and supporting a small second grade reading group with Madgine Elie.
Indira will be teaching fifth grade and Upper School Spanish. In addition, her activity for this year is service. Indira is originally from Chile, but moved to the United States to study music performance at Carnegie Mellon University. Indira also holds a bachelor's degree from Duquesne University, where she majored in Spanish. For the last twenty years, she resided in Pittsburgh and dedicated herself to performing Latin-American music and teaching Spanish. Indira is certified to teach in Pennsylvania and has taught all levels of Spanish, primarily in urban schools. Last year, she returned to school and earned a master's in teaching foreign language from the University of Pittsburgh.
Doug is excited to join the upper school math faculty teaching two sections of algebra and two sections of geometry. Additionally, Doug will be a ninth grade advisor and support community service at Wissahickon Charter School. Doug brings with him 24 years of experience teaching students from grades 5 through 12. Most recently, he taught at the Congressional School in Falls Church, VA and also served as department chair at Oldfields School in Glencoe, MD. He holds a graduate degree from Penn State.
Oscar will be teaching Upper School Spanish here at Penn Charter and will asupport our upper school service program. Oscar will also be an adjunct professor at LaSalle University where he will teach courses for Spanish Heritage Speakers. Prior to coming to Penn Charter, he taught Spanish at Stanford University, the City Colleges of Chicago and at the Instituto Health Sciences Academy, also in Chicago. He received his bachelor's with a major in Spanish and double minor in Latin American Studies and Educational Studies from Swarthmore College. He also holds two master's degrees: one from Stanford University in Spanish Literatures and Cultures, and a second in teaching Spanish from National Louis University in Chicago.
Karen will be serving as Acting Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions, having "retired" from George School, after 39 years of service. Not entirely new to Penn Charter, Karen has served for the last 11 years as a member of the Penn Charter Board of Overseers, from which she has resigned to take on her new role. While at George School, Karen wore many hats including Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, and director of the George School orchestra. Karen holds a BA in Music from Lycoming College and a master's degree in Independent School Leadership from Penn.
Joy is our new Visual Arts and Design Department Chair. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she immigrated to the United States at age ten and was raised mainly in the Hudson Valley. She earned her first bachelor's degree from Bard College and subsequently served as a New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching at Middle School 45 in the Bronx. While there, she earned a master's in Education from Mercy College. After a three-month stint as a volunteer organic farmer in various locations throughout Italy, she returned to school for Art Education at S.U.N.Y. New Paltz. In 2011, she spent a summer in South Africa and Lesotho through the Fulbright Hays Program where she developed curriculum that integrated art and social sciences. In 2012, she became the Visual Arts Department Chair at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, New York where she has spent the last six years.
Millie will join our Pre-K program and serve as an Assistant Teacher in Megan Kafer's classroom. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Temple University and holds Pennsylvania Teaching Certificates in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Prior to coming to Penn Charter, Millie worked for over ten years as a Pre-K Counts teacher at Special People in Northeast, a non-profit organization for individuals with special needs.
Katie is our new Middle School Counselor and will teach 8th Grade Choices. Prior to joining Penn Charter, Katie worked as a School Counselor and the Counseling Department Co-Chair in Elwyn's Non-Public School Program. During her time with Elwyn, she provided school counseling services to Friends Select, Green Street Friends and at schools within the Independence Mission Schools Network. Katie has also coached middle and upper school soccer, basketball, and lacrosse at Germantown Academy, her alma mater. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Elementary and Secondary Education from Ursinus College and her Master of Education in Counselor Education from West Chester University.
John will be teaching three sections of Algebra 2 as well as one section of AP Statistics. He will also conduct data analysis for Penn Charter and coach the Upper School JV girls soccer team. John graduated from Skidmore College where he majored in Mathematics before receiving his Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley. After working in concussion research following his time at Berkeley, he backpacked around Asia before taking a teaching job in Manila, Philippines. This experience brought him back to Pennsylvania to complete his Master of Education degree and to continue a career in teaching.
Brad will be our new M/S Band Teacher. In addition, he will assist Margaret Lea in our lower school music program. He will also instruct our jazz band and percussion ensembles. Brad graduated from West Chester University where he double-majored in Music Education and Percussion Performance. After graduation, he taught Pre-K through 8th grade music in the Bayonne School District. Over the past 9 years, Brad has gained invaluable experience teaching various marching bands, drum corps and world class indoor drum lines such as United Percussion.
Caroline Yang is coming to PC as an Urban Teaching Fellow. Caroline graduated this May from Columbia University with a double major in Anthropology and Latin-American Studies. While at Columbia, she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and worked as the Program Coordinator for Community Impact’s ESOL Program, which served 400 adult students in the New York City area. Previously, Caroline taught rising third graders math, social studies and science at the North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey as a summer teaching fellow. She will work with Jim Pilkington in sixth grade social studies and English classes at Penn Charter. At the Community Partnership School, Caroline will work with Emma Bechill in fifth grade, in addition to working with Madgine Elie in second grade.
Linh will join our Pre-K program and serve as an Assistant Teacher in Caroline Studdy's classroom. Linh first became familiar with our Pre-K program back in 2010 when her daughter was enrolled. Since then she has served as a volunteer. Prior to being a soccer mom and Pre-K volunteer, Linh worked as an architect, designing and planning university buildings and campuses. She earned her Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and her Bachelor of Arts and Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dianna Thomas-Palmer, OPC '12, is joining PC as a teaching intern. Dianna attended college at Hofstra University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minored in Sociology and continued her basketball career. She graduated from Hofstra in 2016 but continued to work there for two years as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations. In winter 2018, Dianna returned home to Philadelphia to focus on a career in coaching and youth development. She currently is the Director of Operations for Philly Triple Threat AAU Organization, a youth development coach for Up2Us Sports, and the Girls Empowerment Program Coordinator and an academic mentor with Philadelphia Youth Basketball. Dianna has a particular interest in 9th grade and the transition to high school and hopes to spend her time at PC learning more about admissions as well as 9th grade curriculum and learning support. We hope, too, that Dianna will be part of the varsity basketball coaching staff this year.
Crystal will serve as an assistant teacher in our Lower School. She is a native of Philadelphia and was educated in the Philadelphia Catholic school system. She has over 25 years of experience in childcare and early childhood education. This includes the positions of assistant director and director in childcare centers, as well as lead teacher for the Philadelphia School District's comprehensive daycare, Head Start, and Pre K-Counts programs. She holds a bachelor's degree from Chestnut Hill College in Early Childhood Education and Childcare Management and a Master of Education from West Chester University.
When we discover the secret of being inwardly at worship while outwardly at work, we find that the soul's silence brings us to God and God to us. Silence takes us beyond the limits of consciousness and into the heart and mind and will of God.
—J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality