Welcome New Faculty & Staff!

RCDS is excited to ring in the 2019-20 school year by welcoming an accomplished and impressive cohort of new faculty and staff to campus. Please take a moment to learn a little bit about our newest community members, and when you see them on campus, be sure to give them a warm welcome to Rye Country Day!



ADMINISTRATION

Priya Singhvi
Director of Health and Wellness

Priya joins Rye Country Day as the School's first Director of Health and Wellness. She is a counselor and educator with 13 years of teaching experience in public and private schools, nonprofit organizations, and community agencies. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Austin College and an M.S. in Counseling from Southern Methodist University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in neuroscience at California Southern University. Priya previously served as the Upper School Counselor and a member of the Leadership Team at Greenhill School in Dallas, TX. At Greenhill, she reconfigured the scope and sequence of the Upper School Wellness curriculum, designed and taught the Upper School Wellness course, created school-wide professional development for faculty and staff, and offered numerous presentations to families. She also serves as a lead facilitator for the Global Online Academy, where she has taught both students and faculty on topics related to social/emotional learning and positive psychology.

LOWER SCHOOL

Francesca Shin Davia
Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Francesca joins RCDS after serving as a kindergarten and second grade teacher at the Fay School in Southborough, MA since 2014. She attended Brandeis University as an undergraduate, and she holds an M.S.Ed from Bank Street College of Education. Francesca was also a first and fourth grade Associate Teacher at Greenwich Academy.

Jourdan Layne '15
Lower School Assistant Teacher

After graduating from RCDS in 2015, Jourdan majored in sociology with a concentration in education at Muhlenberg College. She has also been a Counselor in Rye Country Day's Action Summer Enrichment Program from 2014 through 2018.

Alexandra Levy
Lower School Assistant Teacher

Alexandra holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K – Gr. 4) and a B.A. in Italian from Bucknell University. She has served as a Teacher Resident in the Bronxville Elementary School while pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Childhood and Special Education at Manhattanville College.

Marlana Moysak '13
Lower School Assistant Teacher

A Class of 2013 RCDS alumna and graduate of Lafayette College, Marlana is currently completing a Masters degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education at Manhattanville College. She has also worked as an Assistant Teacher at Mohawk Country Day School in White Plains, where she has been a Head Counselor and General Counselor in their summer program since 2010.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Julie Nuñez
Humanities

Julie brings to RCDS 10 years of teaching experience, most recently teaching sixth grade Humanities at Bank Street School for Children in New York City. She also has served as a sixth grade lead teacher at Cornelia Connelly Center and as a lead teacher at Girls Preparatory Charter School. At Bank Street, in addition to serving as an advisor, Julie taught a world religions curriculum that incorporated geography, world history, research, and expository writing. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton and an M.S.Ed. in Education from Lehman College.

Don Fitz-Roy
Computer Science

Don joins RCDS from his most recent position as a member of the technology faculty at the Bush School in Seattle, WA, where he taught technology and computer programming in a makerspace room for middle school students. Since 2004, Don also has taught mathematics, computer science, and science to lower and middle school students at the Westside Neighborhood School in California (Los Angeles), Legacy Academy in Colorado, the Sage School in Massachusetts, and the Greenwood School in Vermont. Don brings a wealth of experience in programming, robotics, and innovation. He holds a B.A. in Education Studies from Brown University.

UPPER SCHOOL

Tatum Bell
English

Tatum holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and an M.A. in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. Tatum taught English for five years at Virginia Episcopal School, where she also helped lead initiatives in diversity and inclusion, coached, and worked within the dormitory program.

José Benítez Meléndez
Spanish

Prior to joining RCDS, José taught Spanish, worked in the boarding program, and led international trips at Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He earned his B.A. in Spanish Education from the University of Puerto Rico with minors in French and Italian and his M.A. from Middlebury College. José is currently working on his doctorate at the University of Puerto Rico.

Craig Burt
Science

Craig joins RCDS from Cushing Academy in Massachusetts where he taught several chemistry courses including AP Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and General Chemistry. He also served as a dormitory head and coach. Craig earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Williams College and an M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine.

Katy Everett
English

Katy brings to RCDS 25 years of independent school teaching experience. She was previously the English Department Chair at The Stanwich School in Connecticut, where she taught in both the Middle and Upper Schools and developed the curriculum for the AP Literature and Composition program. She also worked with Stanwich seniors through the college application process. Katy earned her B.A. in English from Connecticut College and an Ed.M. in English Education from Rutgers University.

Nicole Zazzarino
Part-Time Science Lab Assistant

Nicole joins RCDS after having worked in the biopharmaceutical industry since 2012, where she supported molecular biology research with a focus on cloning technologies. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Marist College.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION & ATHLETICS

Amanda Popoli
Physical Education Teacher; Head Coach of Girls' Varsity Soccer; Middle School Coach; Assistant Girls' Lacrosse Coach

Amanda holds a B.S. in Physical Education and Sports Management from Adelphi University and an M.S. in Recreation and Sport Administration from Western Kentucky University. She previously taught physical education and coached soccer in Rockland County, at the Bronx Lab School, and at Lehman College. Having the rare opportunity to play and train at every level, Amanda played soccer for Adelphi University and spent her college summers competing in a semi-professional league. After college, she trained with an Italian professional soccer team and NY Sky Blue out of New Jersey. Amanda is also a Crossfit coach and competitor.

STAFF

Dania Abu- Shaheen
Director of Publications and Lead Storyteller

Dania joins RCDS from Sarah Lawrence College where she was the Director of Alumni Relations and a former editor of Sarah Lawrence magazine. She brings experience in communications, leadership and project management, and content generation across various web and social media platforms. Dania holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence with a concentration in creative writing and literature. In her free time, Dania tells stories through writing songs and poems.

Gayle Regan and Rebecca Tenney
Nurses

Gayle and Rebecca were long-term substitute Nurses from the Rye school district for most of the 2018-19 academic year. They will continue to share the second Nurse position in 2019-20.

Melissa Mahoney Wirth '97
Manager of Alumni Relations

Melissa began her career as Dean of Students in the Upper School at Holy Child in Rye. She has worked at the School since 2006, first as Assistant Director of Admissions for the Upper School and then as an Admissions Interviewer. Over the course of the last 13 years at RCDS, she has coached JV soccer, Middle School soccer, and Middle School lacrosse. A dedicated RCDS alumna, Melissa has served three terms on the Alumni Executive Board. Last year, she worked as an Assistant in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, moving most recently into the role of Manager of Alumni Relations. Melissa received a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.A. and Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College. Her three children are currently enrolled at RCDS, Class of 2027, 2029, and 2031.

Julie McCrory '03
Manager of Stewardship and Engagement

Julie arrives from Sacred Heart Greenwich, where she worked in the Advancement Department managing gift processing and donor stewardship. Julie is a proud RCDS alumna from the Class of 2003, and she graduated with honors from New York University earning a B.A. in European and Mediterranean Studies.


Isabel Gonzales
Admissions Interviewer

Isabel is serving as an Admissions Interviewer this year following her previous position as the Admissions Office Assistant. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and is heavily involved in her alma mater's Alumni Relations efforts. Isabel has been a parent at RCDS for the last 12 years and has served on the Parents Association volunteering and chairing different committees.


We are also pleased to announce the following changes in the roles and responsibilities of returning faculty and staff:

Lower School

  • Amy Haff joins Laura Festo as Co-Lead Teacher of the newly expanded full-day Pre-Kindergarten program.
  • Heather Lentini, Lower School Teacher, will move from Kindergarten to Grade 1.

Upper School

  • Cathie Bischoff is stepping down as Science Department Chair (grades K-12) to focus on her growing role as Coordinator of the school-wide STEAM initiative.
  • Donald Kyle '81, Dean of Students, will join Ted Heintz as Co-Dean of Grade 10.
  • Iain Pollock is the new English Department Chair (grades 5-12).
  • Charaun Wills is the new Science Department Chair (K-12) but will no longer serve as Co-Dean of Grade 10.

Administration and Staff

  • Isabel Gonzalez will move into the Interviewer position in Admissions.
  • Jon Leef has been appointed Upper School Principal after one year as Interim Principal.
  • Eliza McLaren adds responsibility for several school-wide initiatives to her roles as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Marketing and Director of the RCDS Institute for Innovating Teaching and Learning.
  • Melissa Wirth '97, formerly an Interviewer in Admissions, is the new Manager of Alumni Relations.