We are excited to welcome our new faculty and staff to GFS. Learn about some of the new members of our community this year.
We are excited to welcome our new faculty and staff to GFS. Learn about some of the new members of our community below. We will continue to add bios over the next few weeks, so check back in!
Christine Bancroft joins GFS this year as Assistant to the Director of Middle School. Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University and is in the process of obtaining a M.S. in counseling and school counseling from Gwynedd Mercy University. She brings with her an extensive background in administrative work, having most recently been the Executive Assistant to the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and managed her own photography business for almost four years. We are excited to welcome Christine to our administrative team!
Rebecca Bixby returns to GFS as our School Nurse. An alumna of the GFS Class of ’99, Rebecca has had an impressive career since graduating. She holds a B.A. in sociology and Spanish from Cornell University, and a B.S.N and M.S.N from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She has worked for and moved up in the Family Practice and Counseling Network since 2015. Most recently, she held the titles of Executive Clinician and Director of Primary Care. Rebecca was indispensable to GFS during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are so excited to continue to have her expertise with us this year.
We are thrilled to welcome Natalie Bodian, who comes to GFS as a full-time assistant teacher in the Lower School this year. Natalie has over three years of experience in grassroots organizing, social outreach, and educational initiatives. She graduated with a B.A. from Guilford College in 2019, where she majored in visual arts and minored in women, gender, and sexuality studies. Nat recently wrapped her third summer as a counselor at Sanborn Western Camps. With experience coordinating kids both on and off the saddle, Nat is a welcome addition to our Lower School teaching staff.
Megan Boon Siegl joins GFS as the new Lower School Woodshop teacher. A graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in architecture with a concentration in design, Megan completed the IRYS School of Technology and Trades’ two-year boat building and restoration program. She comes to GFS from Tiny WPA, where she served as the manager of the Building Hero Project. Megan’s impressive career in woodworking, in conjunction with her experience in youth education, is one of the many reasons we are thrilled to have her at our table saws this year.
Michelle Bovill is a floater in the Early Childhood program this fall. Michelle has impressive credentials as an ESL Teacher, and received a Level 5 Certificate in teaching English as a foreign language from the TEFL Academy. She has worked at numerous educational institutions in the Philadelphia area, including the Philadelphia School of Languages, Mural Arts, Kinder Academy, and the Chelten Child Development Center. She holds a B.A. in cross-cultural studies from Bethany College and has a Penn Literacy Network Child Development Associate Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kate Bowman-Johnston brings over 15 years of library experience to the Lower School this fall. She holds a B.A. in mass communication: journalism from Taylor University and a M.S. in library science from Clarion. Before coming to GFS, she worked for Wissahickon Charter School as a library media specialist.
Stewart Calloway comes to GFS as the new Director of After School Programs. Stewart worked at The School in Rose Valley where he served as Director of Auxiliary Programs. He holds a bachelor of business administration in management from Howard University and a M.Ed in educational administration from Temple. With more than two decades of experience in the management and development of educational programming, we are thrilled to have our after-school care under Stewart’s guidance.
We are delighted to welcome Jameson Cooper as a part-time assistant teacher in the Lower School. Jamey graduated from Ursinus College with a B.S. degree, majoring in communication studies and minoring in creative writing. Jamey has obtained his M.S. in sports management from Drexel and has eight years of experience as a youth sports coach, most recently coaching baseball at La Salle College High School and the Philadelphia Youth Organization. Jamey also managed the Greater Philadelphia Men’s Adult Baseball League. Knowing there are numerous parallels between work on the field and in the classroom, we are thrilled to have Jamey with us at GFS.
Bridget Curtin returns to GFS as a full-time assistant teacher in the Lower School. Bridget is an alumna of the Class of 2014 and a graduate of Temple University. Bridget holds a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration. Last October, Bridget joined GFS as a substitute teacher and runner, one of many alumni who stepped up to help the school during the peak of the pandemic. We are excited that Bridget is continuing to work with our school, joining her mother, father, and sister amongst our faculty and staff.
Carly DeCock joins GFS this year as a Lower School music teacher. Carly is a recent graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace University, and holds a B.M.Ed with licenses for multi-age education (grades K-12) and music education for general music, band, orchestra, and choir. She has student teaching experience from Westlake High School, has interned and counseled for the Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School. She has also been a camp instructor, stage manager, and actor for Little Lake Theatre. Please join us in welcoming Carly to our music rooms this fall.
Jedi Dudurich is one of GFS' new Spanish teachers in the Upper School. She graduated with a B.A. in communication studies from Robert Morris University and holds a M.A. in Spanish literature and culture from Syracuse. Jedi worked at Devon Preparatory School, where she taught Spanish at all levels to students in grades 8-12. She has also worked as a Spanish adjunct for Saint Joseph’s University and West Chester University, and as a teaching assistant of Spanish at Syracuse. We are excited to have Jedi working with our students this year!
Lindsay Dussing begins as the Director of Lower School Admissions at GFS this year. She holds a B.A. in English language, media, and communications, as well as a Certificate of Management Studies in personnel management from the University of Rochester and a M.A. in higher and postsecondary education in the Department of Organization and Leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University. Alongside her impressive academic credentials, Lindsay has over a decade of experience working in higher education, including work in admissions at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. We are happy to have Lindsay’s guidance and leadership for Lower School Admissions.
A warm welcome to David Forbes, who joins GFS as one of our new part-time Lower School assistant teachers. David is a graduate of Muhlenberg College, where he obtained a B.A. in theater with a performance concentration. David has a diverse background of experience, from electrical work for Muhlenberg College Theater to service and gametending at the boardgame café Thirsty Dice. We are excited to have David working with our students this fall.
Gianluca Foschi Walko joins GFS Crew as one of the new coaches this year. Luca is currently pursuing a degree in health sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and competes as a member of Penn’s heavyweight rowing team. Luca has four years of experience as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the Wianno Club in Osterville, MA, and is certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED.
Tara Gabriel comes to the GFS Center City campus as one of the new preschool teachers for Early Childhood. Tara holds a B.A. in music from Vassar College and a M.S. in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College of Education. Prior to joining GFS, Tara worked as a private tutor for students in grades 2-6, and focused on providing support to students in remote and hybrid learning environments. She has more than two decades of education experience, teaching fourth grade at the William M. Meredith School in Philadelphia, and kindergarten, third, and fifth grade at New York City Public School 89 and Village Preschool in Northport, NY. We are happy to welcome Tara to GFS Early Childhood!
Nathan Gismot is the newest member of our Advancement team, joining the department as the Principal Gifts Officer for GFS. Nate is a graduate of Binghamton University where he obtained a B.A. in theater and a master’s of social work. Nate comes to GFS from Franklin and Marshall College, where he served as a Major Gifts Officer, and has worked in the field of development for the University of Northern Colorado. We are grateful to have Nate helping us manage the generous support of the GFS community.
Reed Gnecchi joins the GFS Center City Campus as one of the new Early Childhood preschool teachers. Reed worked at Independence Charter School West as a Kindergarten and intervention teacher. Reed attended the College of New Jersey for psychology and early childhood education, as well as Emerson College for communication sciences and disorders. Additionally, they hold a PA Instructional I Teaching License for grades PreK – 4 and are a licensed Provisional Speech Language Pathologist.
Rob Goodman is a physical education teacher and a coach for Middle School Boys Soccer and Tennis. Prior to GFS, Rob worked at City Heights Academy as the assistant principal for three years and was responsible for all physical education and athletics programs. He holds a B.S. in sports development with coaching from Sheffield Hallam University in England, and is anticipated to obtain a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Chester in December 2021. We are excited to have Rob working with our student athletes in the gyms and on the fields this year!
Lilliana Greene coaches for both Middle and Upper School soccer at GFS. She is a recent graduate of Davidson College, where she obtained a B.A. in global literary theory. Lilliana served as a GFS Explorer’s Day Camp instructor in 2017. We are happy to work with Lilliana once again and look forward to an excellent Soccer season.
We are excited to welcome Jared Haverdink as a full-time assistant teacher in the Lower School. Jared is a graduate of Calvin College, where he majored in secondary English education and minored in classical studies. His teaching experience includes work as a self-employed private tutor, a substitute teacher for Ames Community Schools in Iowa, and as a teacher and brand advocate abroad in Kidville and Shanghai, China. Please join us in welcoming Jared to GFS.
Katie Hulihan starts this year as a full-time Lower School assistant teacher. Katie has a B.A. in film and media production from Bryn Mawr College, and over a decade of work experience, including time spent as a fellow of the Quaker Voluntary Service. She spent nine years working at Camp Onas in Ottsville, PA, where she served as a director’s assistant, a staff liaison, and as a member of their board of directors.
Ginger Hutchinson joins GFS as an assistant teacher for the Lower School. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2020 with a B.A. in film studies and a minor in creative writing. During her time in school, Ginger served as a documentary film course assistant and an after-school program coordinator in the Office of Community Service. She went on to work as a writing fellow at Wesleyan and spent several months with Flood Plain Pictures as a research and development intern on several documentary projects. Ginger’s background of research, creativity, and collaboration with faculty and students will serve her classes well at GFS.
Sarah Jackson is welcomed into the GFS family as the new manager of the Open Door, which is proud to reopen this fall after a hiatus during the pandemic last year. Sarah has a background in administrative and managerial work. She previously served as an event manager for Cairnwood Estate, a wedding curator at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, and the manager of Café Ole in Huntingdon Valley. She graduated from Bryn Athyn College with a bachelor’s degree in human society and a minor in public history.
After joining GFS as a learning guide and a camp counselor, Abigail Kastenberg returns as a Middle School assistant, working with the sixth grade. Abby is a GFS alumna from the Class of 2015, and has worked at the school as a learning guide and a Jr. Explorer camp counselor. Since graduating from Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, Abby has worked for two theater companies in administrative roles and has served as the head counselor of Camp Galil in Ottsville, PA. We are excited to welcome Abby back to GFS.
Steven Kennedy joins GFS as a part-time Lower School assistant teacher this fall. He received his M.F.A in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a M.A. in English. Steven has worked as a substitute teacher, classroom aide, and an after-school program leader for students in grades K-12. Take a sneak peek at the impressive skills Steven will be employing in our Lower School classrooms by reading Steven’s novel, Birds of Massachusetts, which was published by Fourteen Hills Press in 2020.
We are happy to welcome back Nigel Law, who returns to GFS as a part-time assistant teacher for the Lower School after serving as a Learning Guide during the pandemic, and later as a runner and Jr. Explorer Camp counselor. Nigel is a GFS lifer, who enrolled in Kindergarten and graduated with the Class of 2016. He attended Oberlin college, majoring in creative writing and French. He spent a semester abroad in France as well as a semester as a creative writing teachers’ assistant. We are delighted to welcome Nigel back to GFS!
Edwin Lopez is one of GFS’ new Upper School Spanish teachers. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social communication from the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga in Bogotá, Columbia, and is currently enrolled in a master’s Spanish program at Middlebury College. Edwin has worked as a substitute teacher in several charter schools around the Philadelphia area, and most recently was the technology teacher at Memphis Street Academy Charter School. He also has an impressive background in journalism, and served as a staff reporter for Capital Noticias and a scriptwriter and researcher for Contravía TV in Bogotá. Recently he worked as a multimedia producer and Spanish copy editor for Al Día News Media in Philadelphia. We are excited to welcome Edwin to our community and our classrooms this fall.
Colin Lucius coaches Middle School Girls Tennis this year. He is a recent graduate of La Salle University Honors College where he obtained a B.A. in English and minors in political science and economics. Colin has worked as a tennis instructor and a professional at multiple institutions around the country, most recently at Germantown Cricket Club.
Rachel Marcus, Class of 2016, continues her work for GFS after helping as a Learning Guide and an Early Childhood floater teacher last year. She moves from Early Childhood to the Lower School this fall as a full-time assistant teacher, and we could not be more excited to have her back. Rachel graduated from Oberlin College with high honors and a degree in comparative American studies and history. Rachel’s academic and colloquial knowledge of communities and how they function is the perfect fit for our school’s mission and values.
Gabrielle Marlow is another GFS Class of 2016 alumna, who returns to GFS this fall. After joining ths school as a learning guide and floater teacher, Gabby continues as an Early Childhood floater on our main campus. She graduated from the College of Wooster with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in education. Gabby has three years of experience teaching in various elementary schools across Wooster, Ohio and has interned at Nemours duPont Pediatrics in Philadelphia.
Welcome to Hannah Mermelstein, one of GFS’ new Lower School librarians. Hannah comes to GFS from Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY, where she worked as a librarian since 2011. Hannah holds multiple B.A. degrees from Goucher College: international and intercultural studies, Latin American studies, and peace studies. She also has a master’s in library and information science from Queens College, and has worked as a librarian and teacher at various institutions throughout New York. We know that Hannah will be an excellent addition to the Friends Free Library.
Nasreen Naidoo joins GFS as an interim counselor this year. Nasreen recently earned a master’s in social work with a clinical concentration from Temple University, and holds two B.S. degrees—one in liberal studies and one in professional studies—as well as minors in elementary, special, and professional education from West Chester University. She also received an associate of early education from Delaware County Community College. Nasreen’s impressive academic credentials come with work experience at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Carson Valley Children’s Aid in Philadelphia, where she was a master’s level social work intern. We are excited to have Nasreen with us this fall.
Colin Pigeon starts as a new computer science teacher in the Upper School. A recent graduate of West Chester University, Colin earned his B.S. in computer science with a certificate in computer security. He comes to us from Saddle River Day School in New Jersey, where he taught Middle and Upper School computer science classes, led multiple student clubs, and tutored students in math. Please join us in welcoming Colin to our school’s computer labs.
Corinne Robkin joins our Center City location as a floater for Early Childhood. She holds a B.A. of individualized study from New York University, where she concentrated in psychology and the use of movement and dance in healing. Corrine has also taken multiple courses in early childhood development and human behavior at Hunter College, and has first year and advanced program certificates from the Clown Conservatory. With almost a decade of experience as a children’s event entertainer and five years as an assistant teacher at the Helen Diller Preschool, Corinne brings a unique and exciting energy to our Early Childhood program.
Gabrielle Rodriguez comes to GFS as the new Database Manager in the Advancement Department. She graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in anthropology (environmental history concentration), and has a variety of software proficiencies in the creative and analytical fields. Prior to GFS, Gabby worked at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, where she served as a membership and development associate and Athenaeum’s database manager. We are excited to have her diverse array of scholastic, digital, and administrative knowledge and experience at the helm of our database.
Helene Schlitt is a full-time assistant teacher in the Lower School. She holds a B.A. in sociology with a minor in gender studies from Washington College, and is currently working towards a M.Ed in elementary education at Grand Canyon University. She most recently worked as an infant caregiver, and served as a paraprofessional at Philadelphia Academy Charter School and a pediatric medical scribe at Advocare Haddon Pediatrics.
Rachel Steinman begins as the new Head Coach of GFS Field Hockey and a PE teacher this fall. Rachel comes to GFS after two highly successful seasons as an assistant coach at Upper Perkiomen High School, helping their field hockey team win the PAC Championship, among other notable state and district appearances. Rachel majored in kinesiology at Temple University, and was a starter and squad captain for their field hockey program. Since graduating, she has done work in exercise and nutrition routine development and has kept up with the latest field hockey equipment technology. We look forward to a great season with Rachel at the helm.
Emma Tierney joins GFS Crew as one of several new coaches this season. Emma holds two B.S. degrees from Pennsylvania State University, in Spanish and civil engineering. She recently obtained an M.S. in Hispanic linguistics from Georgetown University. Please join us in welcoming Emma to the team!
Brooke Wolford is one of several new coaches joining the GFS Crew team this season. Brooke is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma where she obtained a B.A. in psychology and a minor in sociology. Brooke is a professional athlete and trains with the US Women’s National Rowing Team with hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. Her recent coaching experience includes rowing at Radnor High School and swimming and water polo at Friends Central. We are thrilled to have Brooke as a part of our Crew team this year!
Ivy Zhao joins GFS as a part-time Mandarin teacher. She brings with her a strong background in teaching language; she is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and has seven years of experience teaching a second language, three of which included Mandarin. Ivy holds a bachelor’s degree in information engineering from Xihua University in Chengdu, China, and has a TCSOL (Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate from the Teachers College at Columbia University. She comes to GFS from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA, where she developed and taught her own Middle School Mandarin Chinese curriculum.