Welcome to New Faculty and Staff!
We are pleased to welcome all new faculty and staff to Sidwell Friends! You may have read about them in last week's principals' letters, but here are some of the new faces from each division:
Kristen Campbell joins us as our Lower School Art Teacher. A native Washingtonian, Kristen is a visual artist and a visual art educator. She has an MFA from Pratt Institute and spent the beginning of her career in NYC as a graphic designer. She transitioned to teaching (while also continuing with her own artwork) and in 2012 was recognized by President Obama as a Champion of Change for her collaborative project, Color is Life, a community-oriented painting program that uses color to energize community spaces. Kristen has taught for over a decade in elementary schools, and her most recent stint was at Takoma Park Elementary School. We are delighted to have her join our Lower School community.
Lindsay Hall joins us as our Lower School Librarian. As you all know, Angela Smith is taking a one-year leave of absence to take care of her family and continue her work with the Jamaica Library Project. Lindsay is a skilled and joyful librarian. She has a master’s in library and information science from USC and comes to us most recently from DCPS where she was a Library Media Specialist. Lindsay loves the process of guiding students through the learning process, opening the world through reading, and connecting children with the world beyond school walls. We are lucky to have her!
Jessie Crystal joins Clare Beeny as part of the 2X classroom, and she is already an integral member of the 2nd grade team! This summer she joined her colleagues in a weeklong project examining and strengthening our K-2 literacy program, and we are so excited by her energy and expertise. A graduate of Bank Street College of Education and Emory University, Jessie has been teaching at The School at Columbia University for the past five years and before that was at the Dalton School. We are thrilled to welcome her to DC and to the 2nd grade team.
Alexandra (Alex) Landau joins the 2nd grade team to cover not one but two maternity leaves this fall. She will teach alongside Leca in 2Z this fall and then join Jessie in 2X this spring, as Joyce and Clare both welcome new little ones to the world! Alex holds a master’s in education from University of Mary Washington with an endorsement in gifted education from UVA, and she has a background in education technology (an incredibly useful skill set these days!). She taught second grade in Prince William County Schools, worked on personalized learning plans for students in non-traditional school settings, and most recently was a member of the National Zoo’s education team. She not only designed in-person camps and curriculum but was the technology master behind the Zoo’s online courses, as well as a Zoom master for all their synchronous sessions. We are delighted to welcome Alex to the 2nd grade team. Alex is taking the place of Ian Sylvester who unexpectedly had to withdraw from the School earlier this month due to complications with moving back to the US during this time. We wish Ian all the best and look forward to welcoming him and his family to DC in future years!
Neil Fagan is staying on for another year at Sidwell Friends! Many of you know Neil from his amazing work on the 2X team this past year. In the upcoming year, he is spending the fall teaching 3Y with Shana Silverman (Franni is welcoming baby number two any day now!) and the spring teaching 4Z with Kathryn Bauman Hill (Tere will be on a well-deserved sabbatical). Neil came to us last year from Bridges Public Charter school in DC, where he was a beloved 3rd and 4th grade teacher. Before that he taught at Spence School in NY. We have really enjoyed having him on staff this past year and are delighted to have him back for year two!
Brytnee Grogan is not new to the community, but her role was interim last year, and we are excited that she is continuing at SFS as a 6th grade homeroom teacher. She came to SFS after six years as a 5th grade lead teacher at St. Raphael School in Medford, MA. At St. Raphael, Brytnee also taught multiple after-school enrichment programs, including Elementary Math League, Math Numeracy, and STEM Club. Brytnee’s BA is in elementary education and human development, and her MEd is in curriculum and instruction. Both are from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.
Malcolm Johnson is also joining the 6th grade teaching team. He was the history teacher and department lead at Friendship Public Charter School for the last three years, where he taught 6th through 8th grades. He is also an advisor to Growing Young Men, which provides 60-80 students with leadership, mentorship, and support and focuses on first generation and marginalized students who matriculate to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Malcolm earned his BA at the same university, where he majored in political science.
Holly Kinnamont Holly had been in an interim role last year, and now we are thrilled that she is continuing as our Academic Technology Coordinator. Holly came to us from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, where she was the Lower School Librarian and Academic Technology Integration Specialist. She is looking forward to partnering with colleagues in the Middle School and has already started those conversations. Holly has a BA in film/media studies and English from Swarthmore College, and her EdM, in arts in education, is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Lauren Lamb is rejoining the SFS Middle School faculty as a 7th and 8th grade math teacher! Some of you with older children who came through the MS program may know Lauren, who was a 6th grade teacher and 5/6 math coordinator at SFS before leaving to focus on math instruction at St. Patrick’s for the last few years. In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade math at St. Patrick’s, Lauren is a certified facilitator and professional development content developer for Illustrative Mathematics. She is also on the Mount Holyoke faculty, where she is an instructor for the Developing Mathematical Ideas Course. Lauren has a BA from Emory University, where she majored in psychology and had a concentration in mathematics, as well as two Master’s degrees: one in education from Lesley University and one in math education and leadership from Mount Holyoke.
Amanda Phillips was most recently at Washington Episcopal School and is excited to start her time as a 6th grade teacher at SFS. She began her time at WES as a 4th grade teacher and has served for the last two years as a designer of math curricula and instructional coach, including teaching 5th and 6th grade math courses. Before WES, Amanda taught middle school language arts and social studies in Fairfax County. Amanda’s BS is in elementary education, with a history minor, from Mount St. Mary’s University. Her master’s is in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in teacher effectiveness, from the University of Nebraska.
Rachel Prottas joins us as a 5th grade homeroom teacher after teaching at the Chapin School for six years. She has focused on anti-bias pedagogy and practice in the preparation and delivery of her lessons in math, literacy, social studies, and social-emotional health, and has facilitated workshops on effective practices for white anti-racist affinity groups. Rachel has a BA from Wellesley College in psychology and an MAT from Manhattanville College in childhood education, grades 1-6.
Maddy Zimmerman is our new 7th and 8th grade science teacher. She taught middle school science at the Pingry School after graduating from Yale University with her BS in environmental studies. She then returned to Yale to pursue her master’s degree this past year, where she studied environmental management at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Maddy is passionate about science and excited to return to teaching middle school science.
Matthew Cunningham joins us with significant experience in college admissions. Mr. Cunningham was the Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Vassar College, and prior to that worked as a senior assistant director in the admissions office at Lehigh University. While at Lehigh, Mr. Cunningham was Sidwell Friends School’s regional admissions representative, and as a result he arrives with a terrific appreciation for our program and for our students. Mr. Cunningham has a BA from Bucknell University.
Lauren Fields arrives from the Cranbrook Kingswood School, where she was the Associate Dean of College Counseling. She has extensive experience in college counseling as well as college admissions, having also worked at the University of Michigan’s admissions office. Ms. Fields has a master of arts in higher education and student affairs from Eastern Michigan University.
Danita Salone, who has been working in college admissions for nearly 15 years, is joining us most recently from the University of Richmond, where she held the title of Associate Director of Admissions. A member of multiple national college admission counseling associations, Ms. Salone has expertise in a range of college admissions areas important to our students, from financial aid to multicultural initiatives. She holds a BA from Westmar University.
Samantha Goodwin, our newest English teacher, is coming to us after over a decade teaching at the Millbrook School in New York, where she also served as English Department Chair. Ms. Goodwin will be teaching English 9 and Literature of the United States this upcoming year. She has an MA in English literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
Silvana Niazi will be teaching Latin American Studies and American Studies this upcoming year. In addition to having spent a significant part of her professional life working in Latin America, Ms. Niazi has taught high school history and is currently pursuing a PhD in Government at Georgetown University, where her research and teaching have centered on Latin American Studies and comparative politics. She holds a masters degree from Georgetown University.
Raphael Peacock, our new theatre arts instructor, is joining us amid a long career teaching and working in theater in New York City. Mr. Peacock, himself an award-winning trained classical actor, has taught for the Juilliard K-12 Programs and Initiatives and for the Professional Performing Arts High School. He is a graduate of the American Conservatory Theater’s MFA/Advanced Training Program, where he was the Ira T. Rock Fellow and taught acting in the young conservatory.
Donald Davis is our new head football coach. Donald comes to us from Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, where he built the football program to be one of the best in the state of Maryland. Donald has achieved great success in his career, winning 127 games, including 97 at Calvert Hall and 21 in just the last two years. His 10 Turkey Bowl wins are the most in the school’s history and he has garnered several awards throughout his career, including the Maryland Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2010 and the MIAA Coach of the Year in 2018. Five of his players have played in the NFL and over 100 players have continued their football careers at the collegiate level. Donald came highly recommended by some of the premier football coaches in the country. He is a certified Football Master Trainer for USA Football, which covers several football safety initiatives our community cares deeply about, including heat acclimatization, hydration, concussion education, as well as proper tackling and blocking techniques. He was a standout player at Johns Hopkins University where he earned a BS in sociology. Donald also taught English, African American literature, and physical education at Calvert Hall. Donald succeeds our legendary coach, John Simon. John will continue to play an instrumental role by remaining on staff with our football program and continuing his duties as an Assistant Athletic Director. We are incredibly grateful for John's service and we look forward to our future with Donald Davis at the helm of the football program.
Andrea Keklak returns to our staff, now as our head coach for girls' cross country. She will also lead our girls' indoor and outdoor track and field teams and brings a wealth of running knowledge to our program. Andrea made a big impact in her first year at Sidwell Friends and I am excited to see her in a bigger role. Before Sidwell, she starred at Georgetown University where she won an NCAA championship in the distance medley relay. She still holds two all-time Georgetown records in the mile (4:33.2) and the 1000 meters (2:42.76), and she earned NCAA All-American honors in both the 800 meters and the mile (Top 8 in NCAA). She is also a former professional runner for Under Armour as member of District Track Club, a Washington, DC track team. Andrea graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown, majoring in sociology and also earned her master’s degree from Georgetown in public relations & communications.
Praise Hall joined the Auxiliary Programs team at the start of the summer. She is a recent graduate of Bowdoin College majoring in education and sociology. While at Bowdoin she was a Diversity Outreach Intern and Admissions Fellow, co-leader of the College Students for College, a college readiness program for local high school students, and a mentor for Bowdoin Advising to Support Academic Excellence (BASE), a program in which peers support students from under-resourced schools and marginalized backgrounds. She was an inaugural member of the Bowdoin Public Service Program as well as a proctor for Residential Life. She is the 2019 Minnesota Truman Scholar, a competitive grant for those who aspire to work in public service. In addition to Auxiliary Programs, she will be assisting with college counseling; Equity, Justice and Community; and US service learning.
The Upper School elective "Metropolitan Policy and the DMV" leads Upper Schoolers to find the problems in their own town—and inspires them to find equitable, ethical solutions.
In a Conversation with Friends, Adama Konteh Hamadi ’04 and Helen Li ‘04 discuss how to put away the cape, live intentionally, and find clarity and purpose in chaotic times.
A new approach to minimester meant that the 5th grade got immersed in the study of water.
Together let us hold in the Light the victims of last night’s Atlanta area murders. Their families and communities have our deepest sympathies. Sidwell Friends School wholly condemns this violence and deplores the ongoing racism committed against Asian Americans.
Sidwell Friends has an obligation to confront and teach this history and unequivocally condemns the ongoing presence of anti-Asian racism. As a Quaker school, we must eliminate hate, deepen understanding, and promote unity in diversity.