New Faculty & Staff 2023-24

Welcome to our new faculty and staff!


Scott Bissett:  Scott has joined the Athletics Department where he is the Assistant Director of Athletics and will coach soccer. Scott has a BS from the University of Abertay, Dundee, and earned an MA at Shorter University. Prior to Westtown, he was the Director of Coaching at Penn Fusion and was Head Soccer Coach there as well. Scott shares, “I’m originally from Dundee, Scotland, which is very close to St. Andrews (sadly I’m an average golfer). Soccer is my obsession. I love all games, quizzes, and anything that is competitive. In my first visit to America in 2011, I worked for Camp America, in Brewster, NY. I was placed in a group where I ended up meeting Cassie, who at that point was my co-counselor and is now my wife. We live in King of Prussia, with our three-year-old son, Finlay, and dog, Cookie. Fun fact about me: I am a big fan of Broadway shows and Disney!”

Ryan Black:  Ryan has joined the Upper School faculty. He will be teaching biology and environmental science, and coaching JV basketball. Ryan earned a BS from the College of Charleston, and a MSEd from Saint Joseph’s University. Before coming to Westtown, he taught at Haddonfield Memorial High School.  Ryan shares, “I previously taught bio and environmental and marine science at Haddonfield Memorial High School in New Jersey (where I grew up), and at the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia. I will be living in Main Hall with my family this year and we are all looking forward to joining the Westtown Community! My wife, MacKenzie, and I have been married for almost three years and we just recently had our daughter, Maisie, in May. We love going for hikes with our dog, Ripley, and doing anything in the great outdoors. I have always been athletically inclined and I am looking forward to running the trails and enjoying the nature around campus. In the summers, I spend my time in Avalon, New Jersey, where I have worked as an ocean lifeguard since I was 16, and now work as the captain of the beach patrol. I am also a big Philadelphia sports fan…Go birds!”

Maura Blanchard: Maura is the instrumental music teacher for Lower and Middle Schools. Maura holds a Bachelor of Music from Temple University, and previously worked as a piano and cello teacher with A&G Music and Meridee Winters School of Music.  She shares, “I love taking walks outside with my son, Leo, and introducing him to new instruments like guitar, bongos, and piano. Fun fact: My husband, Tyler, and I started a recording studio and production company aimed at helping emerging artists record their music. He was the recording engineer and I arranged vocal harmonies and strings for interested artists. We had fun exploring that side of creativity for a time. Now I’m back to teaching after having Leo in November 2021 and Tyler is a piano technician. We have two cats named Olive and Oscar. I am so excited to be joining the Westtown community!”

Charis Fisher: Charis will be teaching third grade in the Lower School. Charis holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and, for the last four years, she has worked at Westtown as a Moosetracks Assistant Teacher, Lower School Assistant Teacher, and a long -term Lower School substitute. She shares, “Our family of four is thrilled to step into a new season at Westtown! My husband, Clint, and I are parents to Callum (age 6) and Florence (age 2). Outside of school. you’ll catch us camping, fly-fishing, hiking, and hosting. I love art and design, reading, and travel. I’m beyond grateful to be here learning alongside all of you. Fun fact: In college, I spent some time studying language and culture in the Amazon rainforest.”

Dawn Fowlkes: Dawn has joined our Food Services team. Prior to coming to Westtown, Dawn worked as a housekeeper at Wellington. She shares, “My interests are cooking and—fun fact about me—I love Marvel Movies!”

Fernando Gomes: Fernando is Assistant Director of College Counseling. He holds a BA from McDaniel College. Prior to Westtown, he served at Saint Mary’s Hall as the Assistant Director of College Counseling and before that worked as a Program Manager for the EMERGE Fellowship and as an admissions reader for Northeastern University. Fernando shares, “I am a native Marylander, first-generation American with Salvadoran and Portuguese parents, as well as first-generation college grad. I enjoy brunch, baseball games, breweries, karaoke, traveling, languages and cultures, and cars. I finally updated my passport this year and traveled to El Salvador last month for the first time in 14 years. I live in downtown West Chester and am enjoying exploring the area and finding new places to eat and drink!”

Susan Hart: Susan is a registered nurse who has joined the Wellness Center team. She obtained her SRN from Middlesex University, and RN from Nene University.  Previously she worked as an RN at Rosewood Gardens and at Westtown in 2021. Susan shares, “I was born in London but brought up in Northern Ireland. I have lived in a few countries: Cypress, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and many places in the UK. I have lived in the USA for the past 24 years, the first five of which were spent in Arkansas. I have worked as a nurse for 47 years. Prior to this, I served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. My main hobbies are reading, writing, photography, knitting, sewing, and gardening. I have three cats and two dogs.”

Stephan Holbaum: Stephan is a Pyschology Extern who will be working with the Wellness Center team. Stephan holds a certificate in Anthroposophic Curative Education from the Camphill Academy, earned a BA in Psychology and Human Development at Prescott College, and an MA in Clinical Psychology at Immaculata University. He is currently a fifth-year student working towards a PsyD in Clinical Psychology at Immaculata University. Stephan has worked at The Camphill School since 2011 where he was a pre-vocational instructor, daily living skills instructor, and class teacher working with teenagers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Stephan shares, “Outside of working at The Camphill School, I have worked in community mental health treating children and adults with severe emotion dysregulation and various psychological disorders, a private neuropsychological practice conducting neuropsychological evaluations for children and adults, as well as worked for a local district conducting psychoeducational evaluations for teenagers. Besides being a practicum student at Westtown School, I am a full-time faculty member at the Camphill Academy, where I teach courses related to education and psychology. I am passionate about helping to inspire growth and learning in children and adolescents with learning differences and psychological difficulties.” 

Navarun (Nav) Jagatpal: Nav has joined the Upper School faculty and will be teaching computer science and physics. Nav has a BS from Columbia University and an MS in Electrical and Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Before coming to Westtown, he was a Research Assistant in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Delaware, and prior to that worked at Delaware Technical Community College as a physics instructor. He shares, “I have about 10 years of experience teaching at Delaware Technical Community College. I play guitar and keyboard, and I also like cooking and singing karaoke. I like classic computer games from the 80s and 90s.”

Tyler Kochel: Tyler will be teaching science in the Upper School. He holds a BS from Juniata College and earned a PhD at the University of Maryland. Prior to Westtown, Tyler worked at Carlmont High School as a biology/biotechnology teacher. He shares, “I’m originally from Lancaster, PA, but have spent the last seven years in the Bay Area of California where I obtained my teaching training and taught for five years. I am happy to move back to the East Coast with my wife and five-year-old. Prior to teaching, I earned my PhD in Cancer Research from the University of Maryland Baltimore. I enjoy playing tabletop games, cooking, and many categories of music. I’m excited to reconnect with my Quaker roots and contribute to the Westtown community!”

Jill Loeffler: Jill has joined the Lower School faculty and will be an Assistant Teacher in Primary Circle. Jill has a BA from Neumann College. For the past ten years, she was a Preschool Lead Teacher at The School in Rose Valley. Jill shares, “When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending my time sewing, quilting, or baking. My family and I enjoy traveling. I spend most weekends on the field or court watching my son play soccer or basketball.”

Roxana Mancini:  Roxana is a Registered Nurse who has joined our Wellness Center team. She holds a BS from Immaculata University. Previously, she worked at Tower Health as a Rehabilitation Hospital Staff Nurse. Roxana shares, “I am a nurse originally from Argentina, who enjoys working with kids. I have been married for 10 years, live in West Chester, and have a wonderful eight-year-old son, Thiago, who makes me so proud. I love to spend time with my husband (Bill), siblings, friends, and two dogs (Yeti and Mia). As a family, we love to travel, mostly to warm climates. I have been lucky enough to have taken my son back to my home country on two occasions. I have a passion for cooking, baking, dancing, and listening to Latin music. We stay active and I strive to exercise three times per week. Our favorite night is “movie night” with my little boy and husband. Lastly, I feel fortunate to have chosen such a fulfilling career that has allowed me to meet amazing people and brought joy to my life.”

Dwayne Morris:  Dwayne will be teaching music in the Middle and Upper Schools. He holds a BA from Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and a Masters in Music from Five Towns College. Prior to Westtown, he worked as an Arts Director at Growing Up Green Charter School and as a Community Development Coordinator. Dwayne shares, “I will be working with Middle and Upper School in chorus, music tech/composition, and music history. I am Jamaican; being irie and having “no problem” is genuinely a thing in my culture. Fun fact: I had the pleasure of working with Jay Z and also have travelled to over 75 countries as a music director. I enjoy playing soccer, sometimes more than music. I was just not good enough to make it professionally, so I am now a professional watcher of the game. I enjoy a good book and spending time with my family.”

Sarah Peritz: Sarah has joined the Wellness Center team as a psychology extern. Sarah is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at La Salle University, with a concentration in Child Psychology. She completed her undergraduate degree in 2021 from Temple University. Sarah shares, “My research and clinical interests lie in understanding the presentations of trauma and depressive and anxiety disorders for marginalized identities in a holistic and osteopathic approach. I also enjoy using ACT and mindfulness-based treatments for adolescents. I have previous clinical experience working at nonprofits and local elementary schools providing support on identity development along with academic and mental health difficulties. In my free time, I enjoy working on my 1989 Honda motorcycle as I was an automotive mechanic, and love to add to my plant collection!”

Erin Presant: Erin has joined the Lower School faculty as a Primary Circle Assistant Teacher. Erin holds a BS from Millersville University. Previously, she was Lead Second Grade Teacher at West Chester Friends School and she has worked at Westtown as Lower School Classroom Support and a Lower School Substitute. Erin shares, “I live in Downingtown with my husband and Golden Retriever, Chief! I am a mother to two children ages 21 and 18. I enjoy taking long walks, gardening, reading, hiking, and cooking new recipes. Fun fact: I worked on a dude ranch in Wyoming for several summers wrangling horses!”

Lily Rodriguez: Lily is a member of the Food Services team. Prior to Westtown, she worked as a baker/server for Sage Dining Services. Lily shares, “I am from the Dominican Republic. I have been here for four years and I have enjoyed taking English classes. I enjoy movies and walking my two dogs, Lolo and Sky. A fun fact is that I used to be the manager of a restaurant in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Juan and I have moved here to be closer to family.”

Juan Rodriguez: Juan has joined the Upper School Faculty and will be teaching Spanish. He earned a BA from the University of Texas. Prior to Westtown, he worked at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School as a Middle School teacher, advisor, dorm parent, and coach.” Juan shares, “I’m so very excited to be back in the northeast where the four seasons take place. I raised my children in Vermont and so I’m familiar with the seasons and really missed them for the past five years. I’m also happy to be returning to language instruction and helping students get started with their Spanish speaking and exposure to a different and intriguing world. Lily and I have two dogs that we enjoy taking on walks. We have four kids, two of which live very nearby, and we will have them visit as often as they get the urge to get out of their respective cities (NYC and Philly) and decompress. We also enjoy live music and getting together with extended family for celebrations. We always enjoy visiting the Dominican Republic and exploring new beaches every time we go.”

Janiel Samuels: Janiel is the new Administrative Assistant in the Upper School Office. She has a BA and an MBA from Monroe College. Prior to Westtown, Janiel was an Operations Manager for the  Emergency Department at Northwell Health. She shares, “My family and I took the plunge and moved to Westtown from New York, though we’re originally from Jamaica. I hold a master’s degree in business administration, specializing in finance. When I’m not crunching numbers, I enjoy spending quality time with my daughters, Destinee and Deena. Exploring new recipes in the kitchen is a passion of mine, and while I’m selective about socializing, I’m always eager to connect. Whether it’s a community project or a home endeavor, I’m constantly engrossed in some kind of project. In my downtime, I unwind by delving into the world of crime-solving with Olivia in “Law and Order,” or by taking leisurely strolls in nature. Feel free to drop by and say hello anytime!” 

Fola Shokunbi: Fola has joined the Wellness Center team as a psychology extern. He earned a BA in Psychology and a Master’s in Teaching at the University of Virginia. He is currently enrolled as a PsyD candidate at West Chester University. Fola shares, “Hey, Westtown! I’m a lifelong Washington sports fan. Try not to hold it against me!”

TJ Skulstad-Brown: TJ has joined the Upper School faculty and will be teaching in the Religion Department. He holds a BA from Macalester College, a Master of Divinity and Program in Religious Studies and Education from Harvard Divinity School, an MA from the Institute for Christian Studies, and is a PhD candidate in Philosophy.  Since 2021, TJ has been a substitute teacher here at Westtown and previously worked as an instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy. He shares, “Lara Freeman is my partner and Dania and Joshua are our kids. I enjoy running and reading poetry (not always at the same time). I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy. My mother’s side of the family is Norwegian, and my father’s Japanese. Maybe it is no surprise, then: I love saunas, ice baths, mountain hikes, and the ocean. Fun fact: I attended eight schools by the eighth grade and six more after that.”

Jessica Taylor: Jessica joins the Wellness Center team where she will serve as an Upper School counselor. Jessica holds a BS from Millersville University and an MS from Chestnut Hill College. Prior to Westtown, she worked as a School Clinician at The Hill School. Jessica shares, “I am thrilled to join the Westtown School community. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I am passionate about supporting high school students in all aspects of their lives. Having grown up in West Chester, I have heard so many wonderful things about the school, and I am very excited to be part of it. For the past four years, I have been a counselor at The Hill School in Pottstown. Before that, I worked for a non-profit providing multiple levels of support to inner-city children and their caregivers. Outside work, I live in Downingtown with my husband, Cory, our two daughters, Grace and Evie, and two cats, Baskin and Robbins. In my free time, I love to crochet. I taught myself during the pandemic and have found that it is a great way to relax and mindfully meditate. I am also always on the search for another geocache!”

Laurel Weijer:  Laurel is the Associate Director of College Counseling. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Previously, Laurel worked as an Educational Consultant for Educational Advocates College Consulting Corporation, and prior to that was the Assistant Director of Admission for Communications at the University of Florida. Laurel shares, “My name is Laurel Weijer (pronounced WAY-er), and I am delighted to be joining the Westtown community. I look forward to working with you all! I am a graduate of Saint James School in Hagerstown, MD. My experience attending a boarding school really shaped me, and I treasured the relationships I developed with teachers, several of whom I still keep in touch with today. I got my start in college counseling by working in two independent schools in Baltimore before moving into college admissions at the University of Florida. However, I really missed working with students, which is what brought me back. I have seen the college admissions process from all sides (high school counselor, independent counselor, and admissions officer) and I can truly say that there is no job I’d rather have than helping students and families navigate this journey. My goals are to help students find a college that fits them on all levels—academically, culturally, emotionally, socially—and to help them feel validated, affirmed, and empowered through the process of telling their unique story. I am especially excited that my children will also be joining Westtown in the Lower School. Caius (4) will be in Primary Circle and Cordelia (7) will be entering second grade. We live on campus on Johnny’s Way and look forward to hosting friends in our home. My kids are eager to explore the campus, especially the woods, and to meet new friends of all ages. When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy drinking great local coffee, bicycling, hiking, and reading non-fiction. I am also working on a second master’s degree from the University of Florida in Epidemiology and hope to finish in 2024.”

Eason Weinmann: Eason has joined the Wellness Center team as a psychology extern. Eason shares, “I am a third-year student in the PsyD program at La Salle University. I love studying psychology and learning about how and why people think and feel the way they do. I also enjoy reading, traveling, running, watching television and movies, cooking with my husband, and playing/snuggling with my two black cats. A fun fact about me is that I lived with my family in Paris for a year when I was seven, however I don’t know any French anymore! I am currently trying to become fluent in Spanish through practicing on Duolingo.”

Eliza Wilkins: Eliza has joined the Wellness Center team as a psychology extern. Eliza is a third year PsyD student at Widener University. She shares, “In my free time, I enjoy listening to podcasts (Normal Gossip is a new favorite), walking, reading, writing, and spending time in Ocean City, NJ, with my family and friends. A fun and possibly controversial fact for Phillies fans is that I recently began enjoying following the Reds with my Cincinnatian partner.”

Kari Wolff: Kari has joined our Lower School Faculty where she will be an assistant teacher in Primary Circle. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MEd from George Mason University. Before coming to Westtown, Kari was a preschool teacher at Fairville Friends School. She shares, “I enjoy traveling of all kinds, close by and far away. I like to do yoga, spend time outdoors—especially hiking and skiing—draw, read, and bake. Fun Fact: I spent a Semester at Sea during my junior year of college.”

Author Sam Amadio