GDS Welcomes New Faculty & Staff
As GDS gets ready to kick off a new school year, we are pleased to welcome several new faculty and staff to the Hopper community. Meet the newest members of the GDS team and learn about their unique talents.
Kendra Brown (Director of Institutional Advancement): Kendra joins GDS after several years at Carnegie Mellon University, where she served most recently as Associate Director of Major Gifts. Along with her husband and two children, Kendra is returning to Washington, where she worked previously at the Human Rights Campaign, the University of Maryland, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund. Trained as a ceramics artist, Kendra holds a BFA from The Columbus College of Art and Design. In what little spare time she has, Kendra also serves on the Board of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children.
Lauren Brownlee (HS History): Lauren comes to GDS from Sidwell Friends, where she taught history and developed curricula for courses in Latin American History and The West and the World. She has regularly attended the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference, and has served as a conference presenter. She has an MA in Global, International, and Comparative History from Georgetown University and a BA from Wellesley in Classical Civilization and Greek.
Alcides (Tico) Cummins (HS Physical Education Chair): Tico comes to us from the University of Delaware, where he worked as a Director of Club Sports and an Assistant Director of Admissions. He previously served as an athletic director and coach at Blue Valley School in Delaware. He has an MA in School Leadership and a BA in Physical Education, both from the University of Delaware.
Jennifer Ann Desimone (Data Manager and Research Associate): Jennifer brings to GDS ample experience in data analysis, community relations, and development. Most recently, she served as an assistant manager in development services at the National Science Teachers Association. In addition to her development work, Jennifer is an accomplished skating coach. Currently she is both the director and coach of the DC Edge Synchronized Skating Team. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Jennifer has a BBA in Marketing.
Danielle DuCré (Advancement Assistant): Danielle has traded the West Coast for the East Coast, coming to us from Seattle, where she served as a board member on the Seattle Art Museum Young Adult Advisory Board. She has worked as a talent coordinator for the Sisters Against Lupus Benefit Fashion Show and as a staff field organizer for President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. She holds a BA in American Ethnic Studies: African American History from the University of Washington.
Matthew Eddy (HS Science): Matthew joins us from the Bay School of San Francisco, where he taught upper school science and served as academic dean. In addition to his stint at the Bay School, Matthew has taught science at the Menlo School in California, the Potomac School in Virginia, and the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation in Connecticut. He has a BA in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, as well as an MS in Conservation Forestry from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. While at Yale, Matthew served as a forester and Assistant Manager of School Forests.
Debra Felix (HS Science): Debra has had a twin career as a teacher and an educational consultant. She most recently worked for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she managed preK-12 science education initiatives nationwide. In addition to a BA in Biology from Swarthmore College, Debra holds an MA in education and an MBA, both from Columbia University, and serves as a National Advisory Board Member at the National Science Resources Center.
Kevin Hart (Director of Communications): Kevin joins us from the National Education Association, where he specialized in social media, political e-mail and communications training for a 3.2 million member organization. He has served as vice president for the health publishing division of Agora, Inc. in Baltimore and as group publisher for NTP Media, a national multimedia publisher based in Upstate New York. Kevin holds a BA in Russian Studies from Colgate University, an MS in English from Utah State and an MBA from Northcentral University.
Gregory Henderson (After-School Program Director): Gregory has more than nine years of experience in education, and most recently served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Kid Power Inc. He spent five years teaching middle school in the Washington, DC public school system. Gregory has an avid interest in athletics and has coached tennis, basketball and football. He holds a BA from Hampton University and is taking graduate courses in special education at Bowie State.
Anna Goldstein Howe (HS English): Anna joins GDS from Burgundy Farm Country Day School in Alexandria, VA, where she taught English and language arts classes for grades 6-8. She has taught as well at the French-American International School in San Francisco and the Lycee Moliere in Paris. Anna has her MAT from the University of Maryland–College Park and her BA in Philosophy and French Language and Literature from The George Washington University. In addition to her teaching, she has served as a mentor for at-risk students in the Washington, DC, area.
Ayoka Jack (Benefits Manager): We are pleased to welcome Ayoka Jack home – she is a 1986 graduate of GDS and maintains a deep connection with the school. An experienced human resources professional, Ayoka has worked as an HR consultant at Amari Consulting and in human resources management at General Dynamics IT, the Corporate Executive Board, Deloitte and Touche, and Omni Shoreham Hotels. Ayoka received her BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland–College Park.
Fiona James (LS Learning Specialist): Fiona rejoins the GDS Lower School, where she previously worked as a learning and reading specialist from 2003–2006. She most recently served as a special education team leader and department head for school-based special education services in North Chevy Chase, MD, as part of the Montgomery County Public Schools system. She has her BA in Geography from The University of British Columbia and her MA in Special Education from San Francisco State University; in addition to her extensive work in the DC public schools, Fiona has served as an adjunct professor at American University in the School of Education, Health, and Teaching.
Deborah Koto Katz (HS English): Deborah has worked as an instructor at Brown University, The City College of New York, and, most recently, The Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. She is proficient in Japanese, and participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme in Kumamoto, Japan. Deborah received her BA with a double major in English and Jewish Studies from Wellesley College, as well as her MA and PhD in English from Brown University. She enjoys singing, theater, travel and yoga.
Belinda Lartey (HS French Language): Belinda spent the past 15 years teaching French at The Annie Wright School in Tacoma, WA where she developed curricula and taught five different courses in French language, literature and culture. Belinda holds a BA in French from Smith College, as well as an MA in French Studies and a PhD in Francophone Studies from Tulane University. Belinda is a Master Teacher in Intel's Teach to the Future program.
Michael Madnick (Director of External Affairs & Strategic Planning): Michael brings to GDS a wealth of valuable experience from his work at Community Counseling Service Co. (CCS), an international fundraising consultant firm, where he served as an international fundraising consultant and Executive Director; the UN Foundation, where he was Senior Vice President; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he served as Deputy Director for External Relations; and most recently the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, where he worked as Deputy Executive Director. Michael is a proud parent of a GDS Lower School student. Michael holds a BA in Political Science from SUNY Albany and a JD from Pace University School of Law.
Gemma Suñé Minguella (HS French and Spanish): Gemma comes to us from the United Nations International School in NYC where she taught for the past six years. Fluent in Spanish, French, and English, she also speaks Italian and Portuguese. Gemma holds a BA and a PhD in Spanish Literature from the University of Barcelona, as well as an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Jaén, Spain. A frequent contributor to scholarly journals, Jemma has a particular interest in the life and work of the Andalusian writer Emilio Prados.
Lauren Mossman (Director of Major Gifts & Donor Services): Lauren comes to GDS from Sidwell Friends, where she worked for the past nine years and brings with her experience in alumni and donor relations, strategic giving, grant writing, and countless related philanthropic endeavors. A graduate of The College of William and Mary, Lauren has been an active volunteer academic tutor.
Nguyen Khoi Nguyen (HS Studio Art): Nguyen returns to us after a hiatus of three years in which he earned an MM in Jazz Performance from the University of Maryland. A filmmaker and painter, as well as a musician, Nguyen brings a wealth of talents and interests to his teaching. A Thomas J. Watson fellow, Nguyen holds a BA from Bard College with a double major in Music and Integrated Arts.
Diana Rehfeldt (LS Learning Specialist): Diana comes to us from John Eaton School where she served as a special education teacher. A Teach for America alumna, Diana has her MA in Special Education from George Mason University, as well as an MA from The University of Chicago in the Social Sciences. She graduated with a BA from UCLA in Sociology, with a minor in Educational Studies. In addition to her academic work, Diana has led professional development seminars on topics such as differentiated instruction and Common Core Standards.
Antika Singh (MS History): Antika spent the past two years working as a teacher for the New York City public school system. She has her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in South Asian Studies from Rutgers University. She recently completed a MS degree in Middle School General Education from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, and is accomplished in Indian Dance. She enjoys choreographing and teaching Indian folk and film dances, and is fluent in Hindi.
Ed Stern (HS Math): Ed has a decade and a half experience teaching math at both the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC and the Fieldston School in New York City. He has taught math courses at both the middle school and high school levels. He holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University where he majored in both Economics and Mathematics. In the summers you can find Ed in New England, where, with family in tow, he spends his summers as a head counselor at Camp Greylock for Boys in Becket, MA.
Vicky (AnDi) Wang (HS Chinese Language): AnDi comes to us from the Academy of Excellence at College Gardens Elementary School in Rockville, MD, where she served as a Chinese Language Instructor. She has also taught private Chinese lessons in Hawaii and Maryland and worked as a youth activities supervisor. She has her BA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University, as well as an MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducted research on minority education in urban and rural areas of China.
Michael Wenthe (HS English): Michael has worked as an assistant professor and instructor, respectively, at American University and Yale University where he taught everything from modern American literature to The Canterbury Tales. A Rhodes Scholar, Michael earned his BA in English from Duke University, an MPhil in English Studies from Oxford University, and a PhD in English from Yale University, and. He has numerous academic publications and presentations to his credit and has a particular interest in Arthurian literature and graphic novels.
Charaun Wills (LS Science): Charaun joins us from Rye Country Day School in New York, where she taught biology and chemistry. At Rye, she served as faculty advisor to the Students of Color Mentoring Program and helped retool the school's introductory biology curriculum. Charaun graduated from St. John’s University with a BS in Education. She has an MA in Science Education from Columbia University and is a member of the National Science Teacher Association and the New York Biology Teachers Association.
Stephen Wright (HS Learning Specialist): Stephen comes to us from Richmond, VA where he most recently served as an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University and as a special education teacher at Varina High School. Stephen earned his BA in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and his MS in Special Education from Old Dominion University.
Currently he is working toward a PhD in Special Education and Disability Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.