Faculty and staff updates, September 2023
AJ Aaron they/them
After moving from Philadelphia last year and meeting a Gordon family in the community, Mx. Aaron arrived on campus last February as a long-term substitute in Nursery and quickly became a familiar and consistent presence in Early Childhood. After an open search, they were the clear choice for the permanent position on the Nursery team. AJ comes to Gordon having helped children, adults, and families access safe, joyful learning in settings ranging from local mental health agencies to community gardens. They have a B.A. in Liberal Arts, Psychology and Sociology from DePaul University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan. AJ looks forward to using their love for the creative arts and the outdoors to support Gordon’s youngest learners in trusting and pursuing their fullest self-expression.
Abby Berkelhammer she/her
Long-term leave replacement
Ms. Berkelhammer has been teaching elementary-aged students in New York and Rhode Island for a span of fourteen years, working in public and independent schools and in educational organizations focused on social and emotional learning and teacher development. She holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Anthropology and Classics, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and is in the process of obtaining her Orton-Gillingham Associate Level certification. A parent of a third grade student and an incoming Gordon Kindergartener, Abby is thrilled to join the Gordon community in a new capacity as Jeanne Cannarella's parental leave replacement in the second grade.
Matthew Boyd he/him
Middle School Director
Mr. Boyd comes to Gordon from Wheeler School where he had been the Upper School Dean of Students for the past five years. Over his ten years at Wheeler, Matthew took on a range of roles, overseeing advisory and co-curricular programs, teaching history and serving as the history department chair. As dean of students, he led the efforts to incorporate restorative practices into life at the school, using research and professional development to craft a system that focused on repairing community harm in ways that reflected and amplified the school's standards and values. Matthew holds a B.A. in English from Bowdoin College and a Master’s degree in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University.
Hayley Canal she/her
After school programs
Ms. Canal comes to Gordon with professional experience in photojournalism, sustainability activism and theater production work with young people. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in both Journalism and Sustainable Development. After spending time working in Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana, Hayley is eager to put down roots in Rhode Island and participate in the inclusive, playful, creative work of the after school team. Summer at Gordon campers will remember Hayley from her time on the summer staff this August, and she is excited to continue building relationships with students and colleagues this fall.
Kristen Jones she/her
After school programs
Ms. Jones is already a familiar face to many at Gordon, after working last year as a Summer at Gordon staff member, school-year substitute, after school athletics coach, and Field Day helping hand. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Utica College, and she has rich experience in the classroom and in athletics administration, including` three years as the women’s basketball head coach at Keystone College in Pennsylvania.
Ashley Lima she/her
Ms. Lima joined the Advancement Team last January and immediately became a critical point of contact for faculty, staff, parents and students, as well as all visitors to 45 Maxfield. She has brought her extensive customer service experience to bear on her work, exhibiting warmth, care, and an immediate understanding of Gordon’s mission. A Rhode Island native, Ashley earned her B.S. in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management from Johnson and Wales University. She lives in East Providence with her husband Joe and her sons, a seven-year-old who will join Gordon’s second grade this fall, and a four-year-old.
Lizzy Lunardi she/her
After School Theater Director
Ms. Lunardi comes to Gordon with deep experience in theater education and production earned in educational and theatrical institutions up and down the East Coast. She has taught drama and casted and directed shows with young people (ranging in age from five to eighteen) in Florida, Philadelphia and Rhode Island, including time this July serving as a performing arts instructor at Summer at Gordon. Lizzie studied Drama and Television Writing and Production at Hofstra University, and earned a B.A. in Theatre and Film with a Directing concentration at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Anna McAree she/her
Long-term leave replacement
Anna McAree is a dedicated early childhood professional with over twenty years of experience. Ms. McAree comes to us from the Lincoln School where she led a Reggio-inspired preschool class for six years. She recently completed a Nature-Based Teacher certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools, and she is committed to blending her love for nature with play-based, inquiry-driven learning experiences for her students. We are delighted to have such a nurturing, dedicated, and experienced teacher working in partnership with Kerri Monteiro in Preschool this fall to cover Kim Trant’s parental leave.
Chip Riegel he/him
Visual Content Creator
This year, Mr. Riegel will become part of the Advancement Team as Visual Content Creator, working part-time to help shape the visual identity of the school. Chip has been working with Gordon on a freelance basis for nearly a decade now, doing formal photo shoots and, more recently, the athletics department’s “media day” portraits this past winter. Through this work, he has helped shape the visual brand of the school, and Gordon is delighted to formalize his role as an official member of the communications team. Chip graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in English and is the proud parent of an eighth grader and of recent graduate Peyton Riegel ’22.
Chad Sebroski he/him
Middle School Music
With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Slippery Rock University and a Master of Music in Music Performance from West Virginia University, Mr. Sebroski has spent the last eight years in Kindergarten to eighth grade schools sharing his love of the musical arts. Most recently, he founded the music program at Achievement First in Providence, serving as a middle school advisor while teaching music literacy classes that integrated composition as well as the social, economic and political themes that run throughout music history. We are thrilled to welcome Chad to Gordon where, in addition to his classroom teaching, he will serve as a seventh grade advisor and lead the G-Notes, the seventh and eighth grade a cappella group.
Rich Silvia he/him
Dining Service Manager
Born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, Chef Silvia's thirty-year career in dining has led him to this new role. After earning a B.S. in Culinary Arts and a Masters in Education for Food Service from Johnson & Wales University, he went on to work as Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef at the White Horse Tavern, Executive Chef at both the Vanderbilt Hall Hotel and the Carnegie Abbey Club, Executive Sous Chef at Johnson & Wales, and Events Chef at Newport Vineyards. Beginning this September, he will be working on-site at Gordon full time, guiding the school's food strategy and managing the day-to-day work of serving fresh, delicious food to Gordon students, faculty and staff.
Bette Soto she/her
Third to Fifth Grade Reading Specialist and Learning Support Coordinator
Known as a committed advocate for students and families, Mrs. Soto has spent the last seventeen years at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, NY where she taught first and third grade and, for the past two years, served as a lower school learning specialist. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Trinity College and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. She has relocated to Rhode Island with her spouse, Peter (who will also be joining Gordon's staff), and their two children, who are entering Gordon's first grade and Gordon’s fourth grade.
Peter Soto he/him
Health and Wellness Coordinator
For the past five years, Mr. Soto has served as the Middle School Dean at Poly Prep Country Day School in New York, where he partnered with faculty and students to design an identity-conscious advisory program and foster an environment of safety and belonging in the middle school. He has a B.S. in Human Services with a concentration in family counseling and child development from Northeastern University, an M.S. in Sports Management from Brooklyn College, and is currently completing a certificate program at Harvard University in Advanced Educational Leadership. He has relocated to Rhode Island with his spouse, Bette (who will also be joining Gordon's staff), and their two children, who are entering Gordon's first grade and Gordon’s fourth grade. In addition to his classroom teaching, Peter will serve as a seventh grade advisor.
Annie White ’87 she/her
Sixth to Eighth Grade Learning Specialist and Learning Support Coordinator
Ms. White attended Gordon from Kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 1987. A lifelong learner, she holds a B.A. in music from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. Currently, she is pursuing an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. With over two decades of experience in academic support and student counseling, Annie brings a wealth of knowledge to our community. She spent ten years as Wheeler School's Director of Upper School Academic Support and, more recently, she was the founding director of the Wolf Academy at St. Andrew's School. Apart from her teaching responsibilities, Annie will serve as a high school placement counselor and a sixth grade advisor.
Denise Williams she/her
Second grade, interim
Ms. Williams comes to Gordon with an associate degree in social sciences, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and an M.Ed in early childhood earned through a partnership with Lesley University and Belmont Day School. Before serving as an associate teacher at Belmont Day, she spent seven years as a trauma-informed community advocacy specialist. Her work included advocating for all program participants and coordinating services with their families and with involved service providers including schools, the state Department of Children and Families, and the juvenile justice system. Denise was an amazing addition to Summer at Gordon staff this August and we are looking forward to the expertise in social and emotional learning that Denise will bring to our Lower School.
This fall, Nurse Mary Straub is leaving Gordon to serve on Lifepan’s new Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner team, a group focused on improving the experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault victims in hospital emergency rooms. They have been looking for a health care practitioner for this team who could serve as an advocate for patients in crisis while also providing training to doctors and staff, and they have invited Mary to fill that role.
This work is Mary's passion; she has a deep commitment to equity in healthcare and a gift for working with people in crisis. Since arriving in Rhode Island, she has been spending nights and weekends engaged in this work, first in Butler Hospital’s emergency department and then as part of the emerging Lifespan SAFE team.
Gordon is in the process of hiring a new nurse, and Mary has generously offered to make herself available this fall to help with the onboarding and training. Stay tuned for more about the gifted professional who will be stepping into this vital role at Gordon.
As she continues her visual arts work with students in the classroom, Keri King's job title will change to Director of Visual and Performing Arts to better reflect the new responsibilities she took on so skillfully last winter and to ensure the continuation of Gordon’s renowned arts program.
After a successful year leading Gordon's after school theater program, Meg Sullivan will remain on the visual and performing arts team, teaching seventh and eighth grade electives for both semesters of the coming year.
As announced last spring, Marlon Henry will have a new role at Gordon: instead of serving on the school's Leadership Team as Technology Director, he will serve as a consultant, maintaining the school's technology infrastructure while ceding his classroom responsibilities to new Health and Wellness Coordinator Peter Soto.
After two years of working at Gordon as an outside contractor, Sara McEntee has now been brought on board as Gordon’s full time security officer.
After open searches, several professionals who served in interim roles last year now have permanent positions: Megan Ali in first grade, Mateal Lovaas Ishihara in third grade, and Amelie Tartaglione as Admissions Associate.
After several years as a teaching assistant in Early Childhood and Lower School, Jeremy Garcia ‘08 will be supporting the Lower School as part of a team of in-house subs.
Last year, Alison Lewkowitz split her time between the sixth grade and the Advancement Team, teaching one section of humanities and serving as an advisor while also working as Admissions Associate. This year, she will be on the sixth grade humanities team full time, in an interim role.
Afiya Samuel will no longer be sharing seventh grade math duties with Irene Horton and Eric Kravitz; instead, she will teach both sections of seventh grade math, as well as both sixth grade sections.
In addition to his work teaching fifth and sixth grade science, Cush Gillen will be taking on the newly created position of Green Dean, coordinating sustainability work schoolwide. After several years as sixth grade advisor, Cush will be moving to fifth grade to become a homeroom teacher alongside Mimi Roterman and Rebecca Garfield.
After several years of shifting responsibilities as Gordon restructured its learning support program, Andrea Del Sesto is now the dedicated Kindergarten to Second Grade Reading Specialist and Learning Support Coordinator, working alongside Bette Soto and Annie White '87.