The Saint Andrew's Faculty and Staff
Mark Wagner, Head of School
Bachelor of Science, Biology , Towson University
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Years of Teaching: 36
I love the complex challenges of teaching. I enjoy working with young people and their parents. I value our school's commitment to helping our students grow into good human beings.
Elaine Greene, Assistant Head of School
Sara Breckenridge, Administrative Assistant
BS in Psychology, Wilmington University
Candidate, MA in Teaching, American College of Education
Professional Experience: 5 years
I love the Saint Andrew's community and getting to know the families that are a part of it! I also love that we are a Green School and students are given opportunities to garden and take care of the chickens and goats! Our teachers are encouraged to be creative with curriculum instruction. The administration is supportive and genuinely cares about the well-being of all staff and students.
Sue Meyer, Director of Admissions
Jennifer cernak, Director of Special Programs
Jennifer Navabi, Director of Communications and Annual Giving
Erin Rice, Director of Finance and OPerations
BS, Accounting and Business. Shepherd University
Professional experience: 28 years
“Having been a part of Saint Andrew’s since 2004, first as a parent, then a school board member from 2006 – 2010, and now as the Director of Finance & Operations for the last 6 years, I am fully vested in this great school. I love the confidence it built in my two children who graduated in 2011 and 2014. All the wonderful things they were taught, both in the traditional educational setting and in the character building it instilled in them. To this day they will both give Saint Andrew’s it’s due credit for their educational successes. I look forward to seeing great things happening here and for the next group of young people see their own success.”
Kelly Donoway and Ursula York, Prek 4
Kelly Donoway, Lead Teacher, PreK 4s
BA, English and Religion, College of Notre Dame, Maryland
Years of teaching: 24
I chose to become a teacher because I love being around children. I have such fond memories of the wonderful teachers in my life. They truly made a difference, and I hope to have the same impact on some of the children in my class. I have enjoyed teaching at St. Andrew's because it feels like a small community. Families are very involved and present, it makes a big difference. I love the small class size because I can spend quality time with each child. This allows me to really get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses and how to address them.
Ursula York, Preschool Assistant, PreK 4s
Mary Philip and Mary Beth Pilalas, PreK 4
Mary Philip, Lead Teacher, PreK 4s
BA, Psychology and Early Childhood Education, University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus
MEd., Towson State University
Years of Teaching: 30
It is a privilege to work with children at the very start of their school career, to help them build a good foundation for learning and life. They are eager to learn and ready for new experiences. I love being able to differentiate, and challenge each child at their unique level of development. I want them to learn that school is a safe place to be, and that they are cared for. I hope they carry love and kindness with them as they leave, as well as good memories from their first school experience.
Mary Beth Pilalas, Assistant Teacher, PreK 4s
BA, Fashion Merchandising, Campbell University
Years of teaching: 25
I enjoy watching the children learning something new, which is just about everyday , and I enjoy learning "new" things from them! Saint Andrew's is a wonderful school, full of love for the children and a great place to learn. I also like the class sizes, which are small enough to really get to know your children.
Judy Garrett and Monica Araiza, Prek 3
Judy Garrett, Lead Teacher, PreK 3
BS, Early Childhood Education, Towson University
MA, Reading, University of Maryland, University College
Years of Teaching: 37
I always wanted to be a teacher. Even as a little girl, I pretended to be the teacher with my friends and cousins. Teaching is my passion. I LOVE learning from and teaching young children.
I have been coming to St. Andrew's UM Church for 27 years. It was my dream for many years to teach at Saint Andrew's Day School after retiring from Anne Arundel Co. Public Schools. I feel truly blessed to be teaching here at Saint Andrew's Day School.
Monica Araiza, Assistant Teacher, PreK 3
Leah Humphries and Michael Betsch, PreK 3
Leah Humphries, PreK 3s Lead Teacher
BS, Business and Finance, Mount Saint Mary's College
MBA, Marketing, Mount Saint Mary's College
Years of Teaching: 6
Firstly, I just find kids fascinating, funny, and wonderfully honest. There are not many places in life that offer those things all the time. I teach because I think it is one of the things I was meant to do. I get an energy boost when I can present an idea and listen to the kids as they banter, share and explore the concepts. I find myself learning right along with them. That interaction and collaborative energy is something on which I thrive in the classroom and in my personal life.
I enjoy teaching at Saint Andrew's because I feel part of a family. I enjoy being able to discuss God's presence in the world with the kids.
Michael Betsch, PreK 3s Assistant Teacher
BA, Political Science, Villanova University
MEd., Curriculum and Instruction (in progress), Regent University
Years of Teaching: 1
I am following a longtime calling to serve as an elementary school educator. The teachers I remember most and strive to emulate are those who made learning fun, interesting, and relevant inside and outside of the classroom. I enjoy making personal connections with St. Andrew's students, discovering their interests, tapping into their passions, and helping them recognize their unique talents and abilities.
Kindergarten: Eunice Rijos and Kavitha Shanker
Eunice Rijos, Kindergarten Lead Teacher
BA, Sociology and Spanish, Frostburg State University
MA, Teaching, Notre Dame University of Maryland
Years of Teaching: 2
I chose to teach because I love working with children. I've always loved to learn and share my knowledge with others. Teaching allows me to be myself and make learning fun for everyone. I never have the same day which I love. Saint Andrews Day School creates the best environment for children to feel comfortable challenging themselves and to think outside the box. We are encouraged to teach beyond the curriculum. We make teaching fun and exciting.
I am dual certified in elementary and special education. I enjoy traveling and crocheting.
Kavitha Shanker, Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
BS, Psychology, Stella Maris College, India
Associate Degree, Hospitality and Restaurant Management, Vel's University, India.
My love for teaching grew when I experienced in successfully working with International students at the British International School of Washington in D.C. I was given an opportunity to establish a learning environment which met physical, emotional, intellectual and creative needs of children and I Instantly knew that being around children was what I wanted to do.
"When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts" -Dalai Lama. This is what comes to my mind when I have to say about why I enjoy teaching here at Saint Andrew's. I have experienced this being a parent and teacher at this school and it is amazing what the school has to offer and the hands on learning experience the students and teachers get every single day not just academically but also to be a good human being. It is one beautiful school community.
My hobbies include cooking ,travelling , hiking ,art and being around family and friends.
First Grade: Meredith Conlon and Eric Danowski
Meredith Conlon, First Grade
BA, Elementary Education, Clemson University
MA, Educational Technology, Grand Canyon University
National Board Certification (2012)
Orton Gillingham Training (2017)
Years Teaching: 17
Teaching is in my blood as so many family members are teachers, it seemed like the only path I was meant to take. When I first toured Saint Andrew's, I saw how special it was right away. The collaboration among staff members, the sense of community from families, and the extensive amount of programs and activities provided for the students gives an opportunity for success. The teachers are creative and they can really provide the students with authentic, hands-on learning experiences. All students here can find something they enjoy doing and are excited about. The families are extremely involved and supportive of the school. There is a sense of pride in all that we do here at Saint Andrew's.
Eric Danowski, First Grade
BA, Media Studies/Communications, University of San Francisco
MA, Educational Technology, Michigan State University
Years Teaching: 7
Orton Gillingham Training (2017)
Former first grader: "I like that Mr. D doesn't take things so serious all the time!"
Walt Disney: "When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do."
Teaching is an opportunity to explore and be curious. Each day, I learn just as much as my students as we explore and ask questions together. At Saint Andrew's, teachers have flexibility in their approach to planning and instruction, and inspiring curiosity through hands-on learning always leads my class to many interesting new things.
Summer Camp Co-Director; Apple Teacher certification; Makerspace
Second Grade: Kristin Calvert and Amanda Mulder
Kristin Calvert, Second Grade
BA, Psychology and Sociology, Randolph-Macon College
MAT, Early Childhood Education, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Orton-Gillingham Certification 2017
Years Teaching: 13
I started teaching because I love working with kids and I continue to teach because of the impact I can make every day. The small-knit community at Saint Andrew's is what makes it a special place. I enjoy seeing my students year after year around school and seeing them grow into mature individuals.
Tots to Teens yoga training, Middle School cross country coach
Amanda Mulder, Second Grade
BA, Elementary Education and Special Education, Mercyhurst University
MS, Special Education with Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis, Mercyhurst University
I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to touch the lives of the future and make a lasting impact in the world. I enjoy teaching at Saint Andrew's because of the small class sizes, friendly and welcoming school environment and the ability for teachers to customize learning by integrating movement and creative arts into our classrooms.
I have completed 36 credits toward my doctorate in educational leadership. I also have my Zumba Kids instructor license, two art awards in renaissance dance, and one art award in commedia dell'arte theater from The Society for Creative Anachronism.
Third Grade: Becky Fuerst and Olivia Marzano
Becky Fuerst, Third Grade
BA, Elementary Education, Central University
MA, Literacy and Reading, City University - Washington
Orton-Gillingham Certification (2017)
Years of Teaching: 5
I knew I wanted to be a teacher in elementary school. These teachers left an ever lasting, positive impression on me. Saint Andrew's has provided a nurturing and open-minded environment that has given me the freedom to explore flexible seating in my classroom and has provided special professional development opportunities of my interest.
I enjoy the challenge of teaching students with different learning styles and making learning fun through hands-on activities.
I enjoy reading, especially historical fiction or inspirational stories. During the summer, I enjoy boating with my family and friends. We also enjoy swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking.
I love Starbucks.
Olivia Marzano, Third Grade
BA, Biology, St. Mary's College of Maryland
MAT, Johns Hopkins University
Years of Teaching: 3
I chose to teach while I was in college. I joined a club that traveled to a local elementary school once per week to teach a fifth grade class about the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. It was an incredible experience, and I knew that it was something that I wanted to keep doing. I enjoy teaching at Saint Andrew's because it is a wonderful community of teachers, students, and families that support each other.
I enjoy reading, sewing, and playing with my dog
Fourth Grade: Darien Hudak and Becky Meyer
Darien Hudak, Fourth Grade
BA, Psychology, Salisbury University
MA, Early Childhood Education, Towson University
Years of Teaching: 5
I chose to teach because I've always enjoyed being around children. It is rewarding to watch children grow, knowing that I had an impact on their development. I love how each year and each day is something different yet challenging. Saint Andrew's is the perfect school for me as it is welcoming, has a close-knit community, allows flexibility for students and teachers, and has an amazingly supportive administration. Lastly, I love how involved Saint Andrew's is with holidays, traditions within school, events with family, and sports; it's a wonderful experience for all.
Hobbies include running, cooking, golfing, being at the beach, volunteering with dogs, and being with my family and friends.
Becky Meyer, Fourth Grade
BA, Elementary Education, Coastal Carolina University
Years of Teaching: 5
My main reason for becoming a teacher is because I truly enjoy working with children. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child's growth throughout the school year, not just as a student, but as a person. What I enjoy most about working at Saint Andrew's is the small community feel. It gives me the opportunity to truly understand my students and provides me with support from the faculty and staff.
Fifth Grade: Kristin LEach and Sean Lowman
Kristin Leach, 5th Grade Homeroom, 5/6 Language Arts
BA, Elementary Education, Edinboro State University
MA, Elementary Education and Curriculum Development, University of Maryland College Park
Years Teaching: 35
I can't imagine not teaching and working with and learning from students. I have enjoyed the unequaled opportunity of being a part of the growth of Saint Andrew's from the 100-student PreK through 4th grade school when I arrived to the intellectually challenging and creative school of today; a school where both teachers and students are encouraged to self-express as they learn. What a dream for an educator!
I love books and reading. I love reading to my grandson and two granddaughters. I love swimming. I was fortunate to have Mr. Wagner select me for Teacher of the Year. It was an honor and great fun.
Sean Lowman, 5th Grade Homeroom, 5/6 Social Studies
BA, History, University of Maryland
BA, Education, University of Maryland
Years of Teaching: 12
I decided to be a teacher because I loved history and I wanted to share that love with kids and inspire kids to love history too. I enjoy teaching at Saint Andrew's because I like working in a positive environment where I have the freedom to teach in a way that will encourage interest and enthusiasm. I also enjoy the small class sizes that allow teachers to get to know their students better and provide more individual attention throughout the day.
In my free time I am involved in living history and can sometimes be found at historic sites in the region portraying individuals from the medieval period and early America.
Sixth Grade: Terrance Pounds and Kristin Werner
Terrance Pounds, 6th Grade Homeroom and 5/6 Math
Kristin Werner, 6th Grade Homeroom and 5/6 Math
BS, Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise, Virginia Tech
MS, Education, Brooklyn College
Years Teaching: 7
I enjoy teaching at Saint Andrew's because there is a lot of freedom and flexibility in working with the kids in what we teach and how we approach teaching it. We also have a collaborative staff environment where everyone is willing to lend a helping hand. The students are eager and willing to learn and excited to be here.
I have hiked the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage of 560 miles across northern Spain. I love to travel, read, crochet, and spend time outdoors.
Seventh Grade: Kiley Gilbert and Shannon Kyle
Kiley Gilbert, 7th Grade Homeroom and 7/8 Science
BA, Environmental Science and Biology
Years Teaching: 2
I love working with kids of all ages, igniting their curiosity into the world around them, and helping them to develop the skills they need to pursue their personal and academic goals. The supportive, creative, and resourceful environment of Saint Andrew's is nothing short of outstanding. The faculty and staff are always will to collaborate and brainstorm content/curriculum development. Every teacher truly loves what they do, cares deeply about each student, and bring background experiences in their content area into each lesson. From the farm to buddy activities, there are no shortages of opportunities for students to learn, grow, and make discoveries. This availability of teaching resources at Saint Andrew's makes the teaching experience more meaningful and fun.
Shannon Kyle, 7th Grade Homeroom and 7/8 Math
BA, Anthropology, University of Virginia
JD, Emory University School of Law
Years Teaching: 6
I love teaching because it is an immensely creative endeavor: your lessons can take on so many forms from day to day and from year to year.
In addition, what you put into your lesson, you get back in spades as students interpret, learn, reflect, and grow in different ways. I learn as much from my students as they do from me!
Each day I laugh, I learn, I grow to care about each of "my kids" even more, and I go home with a sense of fulfillment that I have made a difference each day.
The kids at St. Andrews are thoughtful, creative, willing to share their ideas and themselves, and they almost always give their best work.
I love camping, hiking, yoga, paddle boarding, and most anything that gets me outdoors and under the sun. I also love to travel, although these days most of my travels are to my son's various baseball tournaments.
Eighth Grade: Phil Buckingham and Liz Nash
Phil Buckingham, 8th Grade Homeroom and 7/8 Social Studies
BA, American Studies, University of Notre Dame
MAT, Secondary English, Trinity University, DC
MS, Administration and Supervision, Johns Hopkins University
Years of Teaching: 29
The opportunity to coach is what originally drew me to education. Once in the classroom, I have truly enjoy being a part of young people's lives as they mature into young adults. I came to Saint Andrew's because of the atmosphere of the school. The children I encountered were nicer to each other than any group I had ever been around. I wanted to be a part of that kind of school atmosphere.
Liz Nash, 8th Grade Homeroom and 7/8 Language Arts
BA, English, Minor in Secondary Education, James Madison University
Years of Teaching: 16
As a child, I always loved going to school. My younger sister, also a teacher now, and I would even pretend to be teachers when we played. As I became older, I recognized that becoming a teacher offered me the incredible opportunity to help other children love school and learning too. One of the things I most enjoy about teaching at Saint Andrew's is the small class sizes which enable me to really get to know my students inside and outside of the classroom. By making personal connections to them, I have more of an opportunity to ignite a love of learning in them.
My special interests include family, sports, and reading.
ARt, computer, Garden, Library/Media, Music, PE, Science, Spanish, and Religion
Lori Dixon, Elementary School Science
BS, Chemistry, North Carolina A&T State University
MA, Teaching, Secondary Education, Trinity University
Years of Teaching: 6
I chose to teach because I love science and I wanted to inspire the generation to be critical thinkers and scientists.
Saint Andrews is a welcoming and peaceful school. The small classes allow you to really get to know the students personally. Parents work well with teachers to achieve educational goals for each individual student.
Kevin Easton, Computer and Systems Administration
Jenna Kearns, PreK Spanish and Movement
Silvia Minarro, Elementary and Middle School Spanish
Garrett Neiman, Music
Kandy Quint, Library and Media
BS, Science, Concentration in Interdisciplinary Studies and Reading, Southwest Texas State University
Years of Teaching: 16
Working in the Saint Andrew's library is my dream job because I'm surrounded by books and children who love to read!
“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid
Debra Soreff, Middle School Art
BFA, Sculpture, Massachusetts College of Art
Years Teaching: 22
I chose to teach because I love working with people of all ages and love being a lifelong learner. Working in the classroom, I learn from my students everyday. As a teacher I love introducing students to looking at things in new and different ways, and watching how this changes their perspective. It is my goal to help affect their ability to creatively problem solve, which is critical for success in our rapidly changing world. I feel lucky to work at a school which embraces children using out of the box thinking, and encourages and supports students and teachers to think outside of the curriculum.
When not teaching you can often find me spending time with my husband, David, my kids, Jacob, Andy, and Rebekah or playing with our Weimaraner, Delilah. I love to make art, cook, read, hike in the mountains, and spend time on the water.
I have a special interest in diversity education, and helping to further the process here at the school. I have attended several professional development classes on the topic.
Miles Ripley, PE
BA, English Language and Literature, Stevenson University
Years of Teaching: 2
I spent my last two years of high school at a small private school in the area. I loved the small school atmosphere and felt Saint Andrew's provided that. I enjoy helping young athletes develop their skills and watching them compete at a high level.
Revered Pastor David Thayer, Middle School Religion
Jon Vars, Elementary School Religion and Garden
Anne Wells, Elementary School Art
Health Room STaff, School Counselor and Extended Care
Jennifer Fonfara, RN. School Nurse
Holly Hankins, Extended Care
Suzannah Long, RN. School Nurse.
Julie Stetter, School Counselor
BA, Political Science and Women's Studies, Syracuse University
MA, Counseling, University of Vermont
Professional Experience: 6
I love being a school counselor and helping students and families. Sometimes kids just need a break and a different person to speak with and I'm happy to be that person here at Saint Andrew's.
I love to bake and spend time with my two kids.