We are very excited to welcome new faculty and staff members to the GFS community! Below are brief bios of many of our new employees. We will continue to add additional bios over the next two weeks, so check back in!
Wesley Blades received a B.S. in social work from Skidmore College. A yoga enthusiast and children's yoga instructor, she is the new administrative assistant in our Early Childhood program.
Angela Campbell, Ph.D., joins the GFS community as its new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. A leader in the field of social justice education and equity work, she previously held the position of executive director at the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to that, she spent six years at Cabrini University as assistant dean in the School of Education, and assistant professor of education and inaugural co-director of the Center for Urban Education, Equity, and Improvement. Campbell holds a Doctor of Philosophy in urban education from Temple University, a Master of Arts in speech rhetoric from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelor of Arts in human communication from La Salle University.
We are happy to welcome artist and educator Sara Charme-Zame to the art department. Sara works in multiple mediums, including linocut prints, illustration and design, mosaic, and polymer clay jewelry, and was recently a teaching artist at Mural Arts Philadelphia, where she ran workshops, classes, and various projects for both children and adults. She received a B.A. from Oberlin College in studio art and comparative American studies, and a master's in special education from Hunter College's School of Education in New York.
Sarah Clothier joins the Lower School as an assistant Kindergarten teacher. A recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, she has completed several internships in the area of child psychology. Sarah was also a collegiate squash player, and will bring her skills and experience to the court as an assistant Varsity squash coach.
After completing a counseling internship at GFS during the 2017-18 school year, Brittany Copeland returns this fall as a Lower School counselor. She earned a B.A. in psychology from North Carolina State University and a master's in counseling psychology from Temple. Brittany has done research in the areas of parent behaviors and beliefs about emotion and their effect on children's beliefs about emotion, and the benefits of early literacy.
Jackie Dawson brings a strong interest in social justice education to the history department. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, with an M.S. in education from the University of Pennsylvania, she has spent the past several years mentoring young women of color on issues of gender identity and justice, racism, and sexism through the Workshop School, an after-school program for girls in Philadelphia. Jackie is involved with the Urban Teacher Apprenticeship Program and the Humanizing Stories Project at Penn. She also taught Middle School English and history at The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, MD.
Nick Dillman joins the college counseling office as an associate director. He spent the past year counseling students at New Jersey's Verona High School, where he assisted them with their academic and college planning and social and emotional wellness, and the seven years prior to that as a school counselor at New Jersey's Livingston High School. Nick holds a B.A. in film and television from Boston University and an M.A. in counseling psychology from Boston College.
Dan DiPasquale joins the math department after teaching AP Calculus, Honors Precalculus, and Algebra I at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School for the past four years. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Fordham University and an M.S. in counseling and an M.A. in theology from Villanova University. Dan has also held positions at Villanova's Center for Multicultural Affairs and Mission and Ministry.
Rachel Greene joins the teaching staff of our Early Childhood program. She received a B.A. from Bloomsburg University in elementary education, with a concentration in mathematics, and earned a master's in early childhood education from California University of Pennsylvania. Rachel has worked as a Kindergarten and first grade teacher at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Harrisburg, PA, and as a lead teacher, social worker, and mentor at Head Start in Harrisburg. She describes her classroom environment as fun, happy, child-centered, active, and inclusive.
Alexander Guevarez brings nine years of teaching experience to the English department. He most recently taught ninth and twelfth grade English at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA, and tenth and twelfth grade English at the Windward School in Los Angeles. Alexander received his B.A. in English and philosophy from Amherst College and his master's in English from Johns Hopkins University. He is a jazz and poetry enthusiast.
Troy Hudson and Jonathan Stiles are the newest members of our maintenance and grounds crew. Troy, who holds a degree in turf management from Rutgers University, will support Jason Bolivar in the care of the GFS Playing Fields, and Jonathan joins our team on main campus.
We are delighted to welcome Tim Jones as our new fourth grade lead teacher. Tim comes to GFS from The Philadelphia School, where he taught fourth and fifth grades for the past three years. Prior to that, he taught at the Calhoun School and George Jackson Academy, both in Manhattan, and Saint Gregory's School for Boys in Londonville, NY. Tim received his B.A. in Classics from Middlebury College and his M.S. in education from the Bank Street College of Education in New York.
Gregor Kelsey joins the science department as a Middle School teacher. He previously taught fifth grade math and was a grade level chair at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in New York; prior to that, he taught Middle School science at DC Prep's Benning Middle Campus in Washington, D.C. Gregor holds a B.S. in kinesiology, a master's in elementary education, and an M.A. in organizational leadership and policy studies.
David Kern returns to GFS as the interim director of Middle School for the 2019-20 school year. The inaugural head of our Middle School when it opened in 1994, he left GFS to found the Friends School of Charlotte, NC, then returned to Philadelphia to serve as the head of the Lower School at Penn Charter. Most recently, David has served as interim head of school at Plymouth Meeting Friends. In addition to his impressive experience in the field of education, he brings a wealth of knowledge as a counseling psychologist, a school administrator, and a global educator. David draws upon his educational background at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in his work with faculty, students, and parents.
Helen Kim joined the advancement office six months ago as a major gifts officer. She previously worked at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, where she managed their recent capital campaign and annual giving and planned giving programs. Prior to that, Helen's professional endeavors included managing annual giving and membership at the Tucson Audubon Society, serving as a financial counselor to high net worth individuals, and working with classical artists and events in partnership with a range of businesses, from Columbia Artists Management to Lincoln Center to Carnegie Hall. Helen is a cellist and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music.
We are excited to welcome Heather Lisle to the math department. She was the founding fifth-grade math teacher at Science Leadership Academy at Beeber, where she created a rigorous, inquiry-based math curriculum, and taught geometry and Algebra I at SLA's center city campus. She earned a B.A. in earth sciences from Dartmouth College and a master's in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Heather's STEM background is bolstered by nine years of experience as an engineer in the field of energy consulting.
Jenny Mehrotra joined the GFS business office last year as assistant controller. A certified accountant, she spent five years at NBC Sports Group in Stamford, CT, most recently as the director of financial planning and accounting. Prior to that, she worked as an audit manager at Deloitte & Touche, LLP, in New York for eight years. Jenny holds a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the Boston University School of Management.
Lauren O'Garro-Moore joins GFS as the new director of Upper School admissions. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, she worked most recently as the director of college counseling at the Spence School in New York. Previously, she was an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and the regional director of undergraduate admissions at Penn.
We welcome Michael Roach to the teaching staff of our Early Childhood program. He received a B.A. in early education and social justice and an M.E. in early childhood from Arcadia University. Michael was a lead teacher at the Parent-Infant Center in University City, and previously worked as an early childhood and Lower School collaborating teacher at Abington Friends School. He has presented in the Philadelphia area on topics ranging from racial and gender diversity to the value and implementation of high quality early childhood education strategies.
Last spring, Manolo Sanchez (GFS '10) joined the admissions office as inquiry and application coordinator and admissions athletics liaison. Sanchez, who played soccer at Clemson University and four years of professional soccer post-college, is also the new head coach for the girls varsity soccer program.
Caroline Santa brings a strong background in painting and printmaking to the art department. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of Delaware and an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Caroline has taught K-8 art classes at Philadelphia's City School for the past three years, and was a visiting artist at The Haverford School in spring 2015. She has given many art lectures and curated various projects; her work has appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions.
Matt Shapiro joins the Upper School science department after spending the past six years teaching biology and chemistry at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA. He has also taught science at the American School of Madrid, Concord Academy in Concord, MA, and at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn. Matthew earned his B.S. in engineering from Tufts University and his master's in education from Harvard.
Duane Michelle Sims will serve as the school's Special Events Manager, supporting admissions, student, family, and fundraising events. Duane has been a part of the GFS family for over five years, working in various roles across campus from teaching to strategic planning. She will bring all of her experiences and passions together as she plans memorable programs, receptions, and gatherings that promote the school and bring our community together.
Dianna Thomas-Palmer comes to the GFS athletics department in the new role of assistant director of athletics and athletic camps coordinator. Since 2018, she has been the program director of the girls empowerment Philadelphia Youth Basketball's HoopHers initiative, as well as director of operations for the Philly Triple Threat youth basketball organization. Dianna received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Hofstra University, where she played Division I basketball for four years, and spent her first year after graduation as the director of operations for Hofstra's women's basketball program.
Mesale Toggia joined the GFS college counseling 0ffice last April as an administrative assistant. A graduate of Kutztown University, she previously worked at St. Martin de Porres Catholic School in North Philadelphia, where she served as the assistant director of the after-school program.
Lise Twiford joined the advancement office last spring as director of development. She brings more than 28 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising with demonstrated accomplishments in the management and implementation of comprehensive programs, including capital campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, annual giving, special events, and foundation and corporate solicitation. She has also worked on board development, staff development, donor relations, strategic planning, and marketing. Most recently, Lise was the vice president of advancement at the American College of Financial Services, where she helped lead their Invest in the Future campaign. She has also held leadership roles in development at a range of healthcare institutions, including the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Montgomery Hospital Foundation, and Wills Eye Hospital.
We are thrilled to welcome Hayley Varhol to the music department, where she will lead our jazz program. Hayley holds a B.A. in music education, K-12, from Temple University, and a master's in music education from Chicago's VanderCook College of Music. She was the Upper School director of instrumental music at Penn Charter for eight years, and is currently the artistic director of the Philadelphia Freedom Band. She plays in numerous music ensembles, including the West Philadelphia Orchestra's Balkan Brass Band.
Ceora Wearing-Moore joins the English Department in the Middle School. Since 2016, she has taught seventh grade literature at Mastery Charter School, Thomas Campus. Prior to that, she spent five years developing a literacy and career development curriculum for low-income youth and adults. She has also worked as a literacy instructor at Temple University's Center for Social Policy and Community Development. Ceora received a B.A. in English from Bennett College and a master's in secondary English from Temple's College of Education.
Bob Wein brings decades of experience to his role as Upper School science teacher. He was previously science department chair at St. George's School in Rhode Island, where he taught physics and developed two new courses, Principles of Engineering and Energy and Ethics. He has also been an assistant professor of physics at Southern Connecticut State University. Bob holds a B.S., an M.S., and a Ph.D. in physics, all from the University of Connecticut. He has had numerous articles published in various science trade publications, and has lectured on topics ranging from lasers to teaching physics.
Morgan Wambold first came to GFS as a Temple graduate student athletic trainer in 2017-18, and returns this fall as a full-time trainer in the athletics department. Morgan's clinical experience includes working as a student trainer at Carnegie Mellon University and with the baseball and swimming/diving teams at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was also a kinesiology and biomechanics teaching assistant. Morgan earned a B.A. in athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's from Temple University.