Welcome to the newest members of our faculty and staff! Earlier this week, our new employees participated in a two-day orientation. The orientation process included programs such as an introduction to Quaker education, as well as some team building activities. New faculty members will participate in the National Association of Independent Schools’ Cheryl Irving Cultural Competency Institute on Thursday. Our new hires are:
New Faculty & Staff 2022-23
Jennifer (Jen) Anthony, Middle and Upper School Science Department Chair – Jennifer earned a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the last eight years, Jennifer was the Science Department Chair and a teacher at Salesianum High School. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is a huge UW Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks fan. She moved to this area 16 years ago and has taught both at the collegiate and high school level. Jen shares, “My husband and I are blessed with a son who is heading off to Penn State this year and a daughter who is a Junior at Archmere. I love to travel and have been able to see Ecuador/Galapagos, Iceland, Italy, and Japan with students. For my next trip, I will be heading to Ecuador with my family over Christmas. An interesting fact about myself is that I know how to play the flute, bassoon, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and I love music!”
Christian Bielizna, Upper School Dean of Students – Christian earned a B.A. form Bard College in Creative Writing/Languages and went on to earn a Master’s in Liberal Studies with a focus on Comparative Politics from Wesleyan University. He comes to Westtown from St. John’s Northwestern Academies where he was Dean of Students and Head of Innovation and Design for the past two years. His eclectic twenty-year career in independent education as a: teacher, dean, coach, advisor, division head, consultant, leader, and mentor has been rewarding and formative. Christian has a deep appreciation for the kind of learning that takes place outside (and inside) the classroom and strives to create and implement programming for students to develop themselves. He is pleased and excited to be joining the Westtown team. Keep an eye out for his classic cars on campus in the warm weather months!
Rosa Catania, Lower School Primary Circle Assistant Teacher – Rosa holds a B.A. from Dickinson College, a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law, and is pursuing a degree from Drexel University School of Education. She worked as an attorney for ten years and then decided to change to a career in education. Rosa has worked in the Lower School for the past several years as a substitute teacher, a fourth grade assistant teacher and, this past spring, was the long-term substitute Spanish teacher. This year she will serve in a new role as Assistant Teacher in Primary Circle. Rosa shares, “My son Charlie (2nd Grade) and daughter Ruby (Pre-K) attend Westtown School. When I’m not busy playing with my kids, I enjoy reading, traveling, running and practicing my Italian!”
Ferlin Charles, Upper School Wellness Counselor – Ferlin holds a B.A. from Vassar College, an M.S.W. from Boston College, and an M.S. from West Chester University. She has a private practice as a Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. Ferlin says,”My new hobby is trying to find time to engage in former hobbies! I used to engage in memorializing activities such as photography, journaling, and making videos. I also enjoy watching mystery shows and documentaries.”
Jane Chesson, Lower School Visual Arts Teacher – Jane earned a BFA from University of Delaware and an MFA from Texas A&M University. She comes to Westtown from Tower Hill School where she worked the last seven years as the Lower School Art Teacher. Jane is mom to two daughters, Helen (7) and Hazel (5), who will also be joining Westtown this year. A few of her hobbies include reading, indoor cycling, and making art. A fun fact about Jane: she “very naively” hiked Mt. Katahdin in 50+ mph winds and (barely) lived to tell the tale!
Lindsay Cleary, Psychology Extern – Lindsay has a passion for working with children, providing comprehensive assessments and therapy. Lindsay currently lives in Philadelphia and enjoys taking care of her cats, working out, painting, and spending time with friends and family. Fun fact: Halloween is her favorite holiday!
Ami Crowe, Lower School Primary Circle Assistant Teacher – Ami holds a B.S. from Colorado State University and a B.A. from Colorado Christian University. Last year she was a Lower School substitute teacher here at Westtown, and was a long-term sub in first grade. Prior to that, Ami subbed for York City School District. She shares, “I was born in Colorado and grew up in Nebraska and Colorado on a Simmental cattle ranch. My husband, James, our three children, and I moved to Pennsylvania in 2017. We moved one year ago to the West Chester area for our kids to attend Westtown School. Our son, Julien ’25, our son Maxwell ’26, and our daughter Zoe ’28 are entering their second year [here]. I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, eating great food, and find a good sense of humor valuable. I am overjoyed to be part of the Primary Circle team as an Assistant Teacher where I will be working with pre-K and Kindergarten students. Fun Fact: Back in the day, when I wasn’t at Colorado State University, I was working most summers as a lifeguard/swimming instructor or a whitewater raft guide on the Arkansas River, Colorado River, and Clear Creek.”
Lisa D’Ortone, Upper School Learning Specialist – Lisa holds a B.A. and an M.A.T. from James Madison University, and has a wide range of professional experience in education. She comes to Westtown from Immaculata University where she worked last year. Prior to that, she was a Career and Technical Education teacher in Maryland. Lisa is a native of upstate New York, and spent the last 13 years in Maryland. She recently moved to the area with her husband and two sons. She enjoys travel, live music, reading, and animal rescue.
Sarah Duda, Director of Advancement Operations – Sarah earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Last year she was at AIM Academy where she served as Manager of Advancement Services. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement at Sidwell Friend School. Sarah enjoys running and hiking and spends some time most weeks doing either with friends. She used to be a big fan of long-distance running and previously ran five marathons, but now she takes it a lot easier! She adds, “One fun fact about me is that I share the same hometown as Mr. Rogers and Arnold Palmer (Latrobe, PA). Another is that I will be getting married this October!”
Louisa Egan Brad, Dean of Equity, Justice, and Belonging – Louisa holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, and an M.S. a M.Phil. in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology from Yale University. Louisa comes to Westtown from the University of Portland where she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences for the last seven years. She shares, “I am delighted to be joining Westtown. I enjoy hiking, chocolate, hot springs, New Haven pizza, gibbons, and dim sum. I am looking for new climbing partners. My husband, Daniel, and I are parents to Raymond (class of ’32) and Susanna (age 3), and you may see any combination of us with Shiumai, our giant puppy. Fun fact: I have spent a lot of time feeding M&Ms to capuchin monkeys. For science.”
Sean Galczynski, Middle School Counselor. Sean earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Dickinson College and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Delaware Valley University. He comes to Westtown after serving as the school counselor at 21st Century Cyber Charter School. In addition to serving as the Middle School Counselor, Sean will serve on the Middle School administrative team and coach track. Sean says, “I am excited to be the new Middle School Counselor at Westtown. There is not much free time to be had with two sons under 2 years old, but I’m not complaining because I love spending time with my family. We particularly enjoy going on walks outdoors and discovering new wildlife in the creek near their house. My wife and I were collegiate runners, so if given the opportunity, we get out for a run. A few fun facts about me: I used to play rugby and rock climb, my brother owns a gymnastics and ninja warrior gym. I enjoy writing and listening to spoken word. I own a private practice. In college I was a member of a comedy improv group. Can’t wait to meet everyone!”
Nicholas (Nich) Graham, Middle School Science Teacher – Nich earned a B.A. in Biological Science from Vassar and a M.S. in Science Education with an emphasis on Middle School from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. For the last three years, Nich was a 7th grade life science teacher at Savannah Country Day School and was a lead 6th grade teacher at the Santa Monica Bilingual School in Honduras. Nich will teach 6th grade science, 7th grade math, coach, serve as a 6th grade advisor, and live on campus. Nich shares, “I’m a dedicated fan of the outdoors, whether it’s soccer or mountain biking or frisbee golf, just give me a chance to go outside! As a science teacher, I love learning about nature, especially things that grow. My favorite trees include sequoias, firs, and magnolias. If I’m inside, you’ll find me in the kitchen, prepping a veggie stir fry. Pass the garlic!”
Amy Grebe, Upper School Dance Director – Amy earned a B.A. from Slippery Rock University and an M.A. from Eastern University. She has developed and executed workshops and lessons in classical ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz for all age groups and abilities. She says, “I have been involved in the arts, particularly dance, since I could walk. I am keenly interested in working at the intersection of the arts, social-emotional well-being, and neuro sequencing. When not in the studio, I enjoy going on adventures with my daughter, spending time with my dogs and gardens, and dreaming of buying a farm and caring for rescued goats and cows.”
Geoff Hillman, Assistant Kitchen Manager. Geof comes to Westtown having worked at Trader Joe’s the last year and, prior to that, served as the General Manager at Azie restaurant in Media for six years. He goes by either Geoff or Geoffrey and says he doesn’t have a preference. He shares, “I’m Quaker and went to Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland as a boarding student. I’m married and have two sons, Solomon (6) and Vincent (2). My wife and I met while I was working near Busan in Korea. I love learning about different cultures and anything related to the arts!”
DeVon Jackson, Upper School Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging. DeVon earned a B.A. and an M.S. from Villanova University. For the last five years, DeVon has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Salesianum School. Joining him in our community is his wife, Max, and their children Ethan (13), Xavier (7), and Averie (5), who is starting kindergarten at Westtown. DeVon’s hobbies include basketball, comic books, dance, watching stars, and being with family. He also shares, “I produce the live stream Bible study for my church. Fun Facts: I sang the national anthem at arenas a couple of times and recorded two albums with a group. Will Smith and I grew up in the same neighborhood.”
Josh Jackson, Sous Chef, Food Services. Josh holds a B.S. from Wilmington University, and he studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University. Josh comes to Westtown from White Clay Kitchen, where he has been the Executive Chef for the last six years. He adds, “I live in Landenberg near White Clay Creek with Leslie, my wife of 22 years, my three kids Isaac, Charlotte, and Chloe, and my dog, Lucy. I love spending time outside and seeing live music; I’ve seen over 200 live shows!”
Sarah Kaplan, Psychology Extern – Sara is one of the clinicians in training in the Wellness Center this year who will be working with Maria Alonso. Sarah shares, “I have two goldendoodle puppies named Aspen and Luca, and I love going on adventures with them! I also love cooking. A fun fact about me is that I have been to 26 National Parks, and have a lifelong goal of going to all of them! Can’t wait to work with you!”
Jessica Lacey, Lower School Counselor – Jessica holds a B.A. from Immaculata University and a M.Ed. from West Chester University. She has school counseling experience with multiple age groups, most recently working as a counselor at Reedy Creek Elementary in Florida for the last six years. Jessica is originally from Chester County but has been living in Orlando for the past six years – and is happy to be back in the area. In her spare time she loves being outdoors and active. Another passion of hers is animal-assisted therapy. She and her dog, Buster, are a certified therapy team and volunteer at local children’s hospitals to help their experience be a little less scary. Jessica adds, “Two fun facts about me are that I am one of six kids and I’ve gone skydiving six times! Looking forward to working alongside an incredible community.”
Kyle Layne-Allen, Upper School English Teacher – Kyle holds a B.A. from Colby College and a M.S. Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania. Kyle spent the last three years at Worcester Academy teaching English Language Arts. When he’s not teaching, Kyle enjoys reading, creative writing, and hip-hop culture. He shares, “I’ve been working on a handful of hip-hop related projects over the last decade. My most recent endeavors include the first steps to creating an online ‘merch’ shop and organizing performances through my hip-hop collective, Grand Choice Records. Fun Fact 1: Over the last three years, I’ve created three hip-hop projects. My most recent project has a credit track dedicated to my former students, family, and friends. Fun Fact 2: Last year, I created and taught an elective called Hip-Hop Expressions. In the course, we explored hip-hop’s founding pillars, cultural appropriation, and created graffiti and lyrics. Fun Fact 3: I’m a big Shonen Anime fan. My favorite anime are Cowboy Bebop, Naruto, and Samurai Champloo.”
Gaby Macera, Psychology Extern – Gaby is a PsyD School Psychology student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She shares, “I was a student at Westtown for a few years and absolutely loved it! I am so excited to come back! My hobbies include being with my family, friends, and husband, competing in triathlons, hiking, listening to music, reading, and, of course, spending time with my dog. A fun fact about me is that I have gone caging with sharks.”
Tyler Martin, Upper School Dorm Parent/Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach – Tyler earned a B.S. at Saint Peter’s University and for the last year was the Athletic Director/Health Education Instructor at Saint George Academy. Tyler shares, “I’m from Brooklyn, NY. and my favorite activity is to play basketball. Also, for fun, I play billiards and bowl. Two things you need to know about me is I’m a huge J Cole fan and I love cinnamon rolls!”
Kyle McCormick, Psychology Extern – Kyle McCormick is in his third-year pursuing doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University. He comes to Westtown for his first practicum opportunity after a career as a private investigator. During his academic turn, has been working one-to-one in various special education programs in the West Chester area.
Courtney McKinley, Middle School Science Teacher/Outdoor Ed – Courtney has a B.S. from the University of Delaware in Wildlife Conservation and Biology and a M.S. in Secondary Education from St. Joseph’s University. Courtney has taught Upper and Middle School Science at Wilmington Friends School, was Program Coordinator at the Delaware Nature Society, and the Education and Special Events Coordinator at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. She shares, “In addition to teaching science, I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, gardening (native plants are my thing; my vegetable garden needs work), hiking, biking, rock-hopping in streams with my two kids (8 and 5, starting at Westtown in 4th and K this year), and the occasional paddle down the Brandywine. I also love reading, traveling, and hanging at our neighborhood pool with friends and family in the summer. Fun Fact: My husband and I once rode our bicycles loaded with all our camping gear 500 miles from Oregon to California.”
Jack McManus, Middle and Upper School Theater Production and Design Teacher – Jack recently earned a B.A from Swarthmore College, where they double majored in theater and political science and led the Drama Board. For the last year, they worked as an Assistant Stage Manager for Team Sunshine Performance Corporation and Associate Set Designer for Swarthmore College. Jack says, “I enjoy playing games of both the electronic and tabletop variety; my family and I are having a Catan renaissance recently! I also love to explore new cities and destinations, especially when it comes to unique attractions, the arts, and thrifting. A fun fact about me is that hot sauces are my snowglobes — I buy a bottle whenever I go somewhere new. I am very excited to be a part of this community!”
Sara Mullen, Archives Assistant – Sara holds a B.A. from Hofstra University and an M.S. from Simmons College. For the last six years, Sara has worked at Barnes and Noble while interning at the University of Pennsylvania with the University Archives. She says, “I love the beach, browsing thrift and antique stores, and spending time outdoors. I’m also a huge baseball fan (go Phils!). In my spare time I like to visit museums, research my family history, read, try new recipes, and hang out with my tortie cat, Pippa. A fun fact: when I was in fifth grade, I was an extra in an independent movie that was partially filmed at my elementary school!”
O’Shayne Rankine, Upper School Math Teacher – O’Shayne holds a B.S. from Northern Caribbean University and M.S. from Pennsylvania Western University. He comes to Westtown from Pine Forge Academy, where he taught and was Math Department Chair for the last seven years. O’Shayne shares, “I was born in Jamaica. I love sports and board games—my favorites are chess and dominoes. My favorite sports are soccer, basketball, badminton, basketball, volleyball and cricket. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, watching comedy, going to the gym, spending time in nature or playing any of my favorite games. My favorite Comedy is The Office and my favorite TV Show is The Mentalist.”
Scott Sheridan, Lower and Middle School Educational Technology Coordinator – Scott holds a B.S. from Bates College, an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut, and is studying for his PhD in Education from the University of Delaware. He was the EdTech Manager at Marianapolis Preparatory School and has also been a research assistant, computer science teaching assistant, and the co-instructor of Integrating Technology Education at the University of Delaware. Scott joins us at the end of his doctoral program at the University of Delaware, where he has been studying Learning Sciences while working on research projects regarding best practices for teacher professional development, research-based decision making in schools, and technology integration to support student learning outcomes. Scott says he is looking forward to completing his dissertation this fall. In addition to working at Westtown, he also serves on the board of a charter school in Delaware. Scott is an avid hockey fan — Go Bruins!
Jie Song, Middle School Chinese Teacher – Jie has a B.S. from Beijing Sport University and a B.A. from the University of Southern California. Most recently, Jie taught at Presidio Knolls School in San Francisco; she had previously taught at the Yuming Charter School. She recently moved to Philly from San Francisco, where she had worked in a Mandarin immersion school for the past six years. She says that three things that she enjoys doing in her free time are: playing tennis, dancing tango, and eating spicy food!
Giemaly Soto, Dorm Parent – Giemaly is a doctoral student in the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program at West Chester University. She shares, “Last year, I joined the Westtown community as a psychology extern. This year, I will be staying at Westtown as a dorm parent on W3, and I’m really excited to continue to support students as they navigate the upcoming school year! Some activities I like to do include hiking, baking, reading, and spending time with my friends and family. A fun fact about myself: I’ve been to Disney World 23 times.”
Heather Stufflet – Kitchen Staff – Worked the last 12 years as a dietary aide/Cook/Nightime Supervisor at Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. Heather shares, “I started off as a dietary aide when I was in high school and worked up to cook/ supervisor. I was [at Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi] for almost 12 years, so I have a bit of experience with food, but I am eager to learn more! My husband Patrick and I live in our hometown, Prospect Park. Our daughter, Jordan, is 5 years old and will be starting kindergarten this year. What we love to do in our free time is see our family and friends and visit lots of different parks, lakes etc. My husband and father-in-law are big with our youth club in town so we are always down the field supporting all the teams, especially this year since our daughter has joined cheerleading! I’m very excited for my new journey here at Westtown and look forward to working in the kitchen prepping and helping the staff with meals and service!”
Dallas Vallar – Psychology Extern – Dallas says, “I love playing tennis, painting, and hiking. I also enjoy playing both competitive and cozy video games. You will always find me with one of my favorite coffee mugs filled with caffeine. I look forward to being a part of the Westtown community! Fun Fact: I have lived in 5 different cities over the past 8 years.”
Ken Wells, MooseKids Lead Instructor, Dorm Head – Ken holds a B.S. from Millersville University. For the last three years, he has worked in MooseKids, Auxiliary programs, as a substitute teacher, and as a dorm parent. Ken says, “I graduated from Millersville University in 2013 and have worked in and around education ever since. At Westtown, I’m known as the ‘Frisbee guy’ — I love playing and teaching ultimate and disc golf. Please reach out to me if you want to learn or find a place to play! I also love history, TV, and — of course — the Philadelphia 76ers. Fun Fact: I saw the U.S. Women’s Soccer team beat Thailand 13-0 live in France at the 2019 World Cup.”
Debbie Wills, Front Desk Afternoon Receptionist – Debbie holds a B.S. from Winthrop University. She returns to Westtown after having worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Upper School Office. She also has experience as an interior designer and realtor. She says, “I will return to Westtown as a part-time Front Receptionist in the Central Office. During the month of August, I have filled in for Susan [Smith] and have already met so many members of our community that I did not know! On weekends, my husband and I will continue to hike, bike, garden and enjoy the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I am excited to be back in a new role at Westtown!”
Judene Wint-Martin, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Judene earned a B.S. in Nursing from City College, an M.S. in Nursing from Hunter College, and a Doctor of Nursing (Pediatric) from the University of South Alabama. For the last six years, Judene was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children in Alabama . She shares, “I recently moved with my family from Huntsville Alabama (Huntsville was voted in 2022 the best place in the US to live). I currently live in Hockessin, DE, with my husband, my twin daughters, and my chocolate Boykin Spaniel named Hershey. My twin girls are excited to be joining the Westtown community as well. They are incoming 11th graders. I am originally from Jamaica, WI, and love to visit beautiful beaches with my family. Fun Fact: I grew up near the ocean but I do not know how to swim.”
Deb Wood ’86, Middle School Administrative Assistant – Deb holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, a B.A. with teacher certification from Michigan State University, and an M.Ed. from Lesley University. Deb was formerly a history teacher at Westtown for many years and recently has substituted in the Upper School, our Food Services Department, and the library. Deb says, “I’m known to some as the jam and pickle maker, the baby quilt maker, Megan’s morning walk buddy, soccer fan, history teacher, summer lunch lady, the faculty member least likely to have a cell phone, and will now add retirement failure to the list. I ended up doing so much in retirement, I’ve come back to work! It’s great to see so many former colleagues again and getting to know the new ones. I’m still active with Friends Peace Teams but now the work is virtual rather than overseas. I’m looking forward to the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and hoping my sister and I can take in the games in the Pacific Northwest and do some hiking as well.”
Our girls and boys varsity basketball teams are the 2022 PAISAA State and Friends School League (FSL) Basketball Champions! The boys’ team won their 8th consecutive title and have won 9 out of the last 10 FSL championships. The girls’ team won their 4th FSL title (1996, 1997, 2020, 2022). This is the second time both teams have won the FSL title in the same season (2020 and 2022). And the girls’ basketball won their first-ever state title in program history. This is also the first time that both boys and girls basketball teams won a state title in the same year.