RCDS Welcomes New Faculty and Staff to Campus


RCDS kicked off the official start to the 2018-19 school year by welcoming new faculty and staff members to campus for meetings and training sessions. We are excited and honored to have such an impressive cohort joining the RCDS community. Please read their bios below, and when you see them on campus be sure to give them a warm welcome to RCDS!

Baptiste A. Bataille, Upper School French: Baptiste comes to RCDS from teaching French, serving as a housemaster, and coaching basketball and soccer at the Lawrenceville School. He has also taught at the Taft School and Le Rosey School in Switzerland. A native of France, Baptiste played basketball professionally for Entendard de Brest. He is a cum laude graduate of Northeastern University, where he captained the mens' varsity basketball team, and he earned a M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lauren Behar, Lower School Art: Lauren holds a M.S.Ed. in Education with certification in Visual Arts and Literacy from Bank Street College of Education and a B.A. in Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis. A CHOICE Art educator and member of the National Art Education Association, Lauren comes to RCDS from Parkside School, a K-5 school for students with language-based learning differences.

Sydney Berkman, Lower School Assistant Teacher: Sydney is a graduate of the School of Education at Syracuse University, where she earned a B.S. in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education.

Liam Cahill, Assistant in the College Counseling Office: Liam worked as a senior fellow in the Fairfield University Admissions Office and graduated from Fairfield with a B.S. in Accounting and a minor in Theatre in May 2018.

Andrea E. Catalano, Lower School Assistant Teacher: Andrea received a B.S. in Elementary Education in May 2018 from the University of Scranton. She has been a third-grade student teacher in Mayfield Elementary School in Mayfield, Penn.

William Richard Colombo, Middle School Humanities: Will earned a B.A. in Government from Franklin and Marshall College and a M.S. in Education with a concentration in Middle Childhood and Adolescent Social Studies from Long Island University. Will has been teaching and coaching at his alma mater, the Stanwich School, since 2013.

Julia E. Giordano, Extended Day Assistant: Julia is a 2017 graduate of Elon University, where she earned her B.S. in Exercise Science. She spent the last year as an English Language teacher (PreK-2) in Thailand and has begun graduate work in speech pathology. Julia has been a teacher's aide at Milton School, as well as a speech pathology intern at Eagle Hill School.

Jessica Hauben, Third Grade Lead Teacher: Jessica is returning this year to RCDS, where she taught fourth grade for one year and art for six from 2001-2008. Jessica most recently served as an art and language arts faculty member at The Windward School in White Plains. Jessica earned a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Vermont and a M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

Kate Henerey, Middle School Drama: Kate has been teaching drama in the Chicago Public Schools since 2010 and received a B.A. in Theatre and Communications from the University of Missouri and a M.A. in Theatre Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Kate also earned teaching certification through National-Louis University and the Chicago Teaching Fellows. Kate has worked in Theatre Management at the Jacob's Pillow Festival, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Paz Hidalgo, Lower School Assistant Teacher: Rebecca is a 2014 graduate of Iona College, where she earned a B.A. in Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. She has been a co-teacher in the Toddler Group at the Children's Corner Learning Center in White Plains, following her experiences at TutorTime in Pleasantville and at the Children's Playhouse in Yonkers.

Kristin Kassay, First Grade Lead Teacher: Kristin comes to RCDS from the Marymount School in New York, where she has taught second grade since 2011. Last summer she was a co-head teacher in their coeducational STEAM Camp. Kristin earned a B.S. in Economics-Finance from Bentley College, graduating magna cum laude, and received her M.S.Ed. in Teaching/Childhood Education from Fordham University.

Deborah Koto Katz, Upper School English: Following her graduation from Wellesley College with a B.S. double major in English and Jewish Studies, magna cum laude, Debby was an English teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) and began her graduate studies at Brown University teaching and eventually earning both a M.A. and a Ph.D. in English. Debby comes to RCDS from Georgetown Day School, where she has been faculty advisor to the yearbook and developed curriculum for both English 9 and 11 and been interim chair of English. She also has taught as an adjunct professor at City College of New York.

Alexandra F. Kerker, Lower School Learning Specialist: Alexandra earned a M.S. in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education and a B.S. from Skidmore College, where she studied both Education and Psychology. She comes to RCDS from the Stephen Gaynor School, where she has been teaching since 2008.

Juliana Kennedy Killip, Middle School Fellow in Mathematics: Juliana graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from Fairfield University and has been the assistant to the director of the RCDS Extended Day Program this past year while beginning her graduate work in Education at Manhattanville.

Jonathan D. Leef, Interim Principal of the Upper School: Jon is returning to RCDS, where he had served as assistant principal and dean of students, as well as head coach of the varsity football and softball teams. A graduate of Bucknell University with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy, Jon received a M.A. in Mathematics Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Most recently Jon has been the assistant headmaster at the Pingry School, following four years as upper school director there. Prior to his tenure at RCDS, Jon was chair of the Math Department at Hackley School.

Heather Hopwood Lentini, Kindergarten Lead Teacher: Heather received a B.S. in Education Theatre from New York University (Honors Scholar) and a M.A.T. from Manhattanville College. She has been a lead teacher at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School since 2008.

Diana Liso, Second Grade Assistant Teacher: Diana graduated from Iona College with a degree in Mass Communication in 2013, and for the past five years she has been working in the financial world. Diana has now chosen to enter the field of education and pursue her graduate degree in elementary education/special education.

Sebastian Mineo, Upper School Mathematics: Sebastian comes to RCDS having served as department chair and teacher of mathematics at The Stanwich School. He earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hobart College and a M.S. in Mathematics from Fairfield University. Sebastian has taught calculus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has prepared students for calculus (IB and AP) as well as multi-variable calculus.

Vanessa Odenbach, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager: Vanessa joins RCDS officially after having worked on a freelance basis for both the development and communications offices over the last several months. Vanessa previously worked in marketing/communications at King School and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. At RCDS, she will be helping primarily with online communications and marketing, including social media management, e-communications, graphic design, and website updates.

Maegen Rose, Middle School Librarian: Maegen comes to RCDS having served as a librarian at the Collegiate School in New York and at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. from Pitzer College in Gender and Feminist Studies and Black Studies, a M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a M.A. in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in Illinois.

Katie Sandling '10, Upper School Science: Katie graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Management and Engineering. She has been a teaching fellow in science in both the Middle and Upper Schools for the last two years, following one year assistant-teaching engineering and coaching at RCDS. She is in the process of completing a M.S.Ed. at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Barbara Sarullo, Associate Director of College Counseling: Barbara will be in the College Counseling Office this fall filling a temporary position as associate director of College Counseling while Susan Davidson is out on leave. She joins the college counseling team with a wealth of experience working with college-bound students and their families. A former director of guidance at Scarsdale High School and director of college counseling at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, Barbara has advised and supported thousands of students over the course of her career. Since her retirement from Solomon Schechter, she has worked independently as a counselor for students and families. Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Hofstra University.

Gail Sestito, Makerspace Coordinator: Gail earned a B.S. in Biology from Iona College and a M.A.T. in Science Education, cum laude, from Manhattanville College. Since 2002, she has been a middle-school science teacher at Greenwich Academy, where she has also been co-director of Robotics, the Geological Education Experience coordinator, and the site director for the School's Summer STEAM Camp. Prior to her work at Greenwich Academy, Gail taught upper school science at Sacred Heart Academy.

Victoria Simmonds, Coach; Marketing & Communications Assistant: Returning to RCDS for her third year, Victoria joined Rye Country Day as Head Coach to the Girls Varsity Squash team. She grew up in Bournemouth, England and is an accomplished, world ranked professional squash player who relocated to Rye, New York while playing on the Women's Professional Squash tour. In 2017, Victoria expanded her coaching to Varsity Field Hockey and JV Tennis. With over 10 years of work experience in media and marketing, this year, Victoria now joins the Marketing and Communications department, while continuing her existing coaching roles.

Lewis Rucker, Purchasing Agent: Lewis earned a B. S. in Business Administration from SUNY Cobleskill, graduating magna cum laude. After almost five years in the purchasing department at Barnard College, he brings the knowledge and customer service needed to assist the RCDS community. He is also a Certified Purchasing Professional, certified by the American Purchasing Society.