New Faculty and Staff Starting at EMS

Meet our new faculty and staff for the 2020-21 school year!

The Elisabeth Morrow School continues to combine the best of the old, and the best of the new. This academic year, we welcome the following new faculty and staff members to our community.

Patricia Barry
Associate Director of Admissions
Patricia (Pat) Barry joins the Admissions Office with more than 30 years of education and enrollment experience. She has been an elementary classroom teacher, a technology instructor, and has held various administrative positions at nursery and elementary schools. She served as the Director of the Montessori Children’s Academy in Chatham, the Head of School at Hoboken Montessori School in Hoboken, and the Director of Lower School Admissions & Director of Financial Aid at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit. Prior to joining EMS, she was the Director of Enrollment Management at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville, N.Y. She holds a certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from Thomas Edison State College, an M.A. in Business Education from NYU, and a B.S. in Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Marketing from Manhattan College. 

Clara Boudrot
First-Grade Associate Teacher

Clara Boudrot, whom many know from her role in our music program, will complete her last year of teaching credentials with us.

Chris Duff
Third-Grade and Fourth-Grade Associate Teacher
Chris Duff has international work experiences and a strong desire to support children’s growth and independence. 

Molly Finch
2s Head Teacher

Molly Finch is from Chicago and graduated from the Latin School of Chicago, a pre-K through 12th-grade independent school. She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Education, Chinese Studies, and Religious Studies. She worked abroad for four years at Wuxi International School (WIS) in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China. At WIS, she was the lead teacher for the 3-year-old class and worked with the toddler program in the afternoon; as well as the director of the Kindergarten Department. In 2018, she returned to the Latin School of Chicago as an assistant in their Junior Kindergarten classroom while completing a master's in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University Chicago. 

Devon Flood
First-Grade Associate Teacher

Devon Flood is a recent graduate of Marist College, where she studied education and psychology. She will be working with our young students in reading and math. 

Paul Foelding
Maintenance Staff

Paul Foelding comes to EMS with 30 years of experience in the construction industry. He has worked primarily as a carpenter but is also experienced in plumbing and electrical work.

Joanna Hayes
3s Associate Teacher

Joanna Hayes is a native Staten Islander, and spent the last four years finishing up her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Education and Performance at Emerson College in Boston. Through her participation in a multitude of school-based dance and drama programs, as well as enrollment in a variety of STEM courses at Staten Island Technical High School, she was able to experience first-hand the benefits of a well-rounded education. In the past, she has worked as a teaching artist, director, and choreographer with various children's performing arts programs. She has also served as the education director and sensory-friendly coordinator of the Theatre for Young Audiences organization at Emerson College. While studying abroad in the Netherlands, she was fortunate enough to become a preschool volunteer, where she found herself using the arts to navigate a Dutch/English language barrier. This experience opened her mind and heart to the world of early childhood education. Her ultimate goal in teaching is to cultivate a safe space for all of the students to explore their identities and creative passions.

Andrea Hughes
Registrar and Database Manager

Andrea Hughes has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration within multicultural independent schools and nonprofit organizations. Her passion for education and technology have only been reinforced. Having worked in technology for many years, her philosophy revolves around expanding the use of technology in the classroom to prepare students for the future. She is currently enrolled in Union County College and is a certified Zumba instructor. 

Yeeun Kim 
Second-Grade Teacher

A recent graduate of Columbia University Teacher’s College Graduate Program, Yeeun Kim joins EMS, after having spent a year in the New York City Public Schools system. Having graduated from San Diego State University with a Liberal Studies in Science and Music Performance, we cannot wait to see her play as a guest artist violinist in Ms. Gold’s faculty performances. She is described as a person who seeks continuous improvement, and is thoughtful, intelligent, and works extremely hard at meeting the needs of the students in her care.  

Puja Kothari
Fourth-Grade Teacher

Puja Kothari joined the EMS community last spring as the maternity leave teacher for Amy Goodwin. She embraced the students right away with her warmth, dynamic approach to teaching and learning, and her love of challenge and choice. She previously worked in India in an IB program and spent time reacclimating herself to teaching in the Norwood Public School District. Kothari says, “I am so excited to be at EMS because of the close relationship between teachers and families and the enthusiasm and warmth of the students. I value the mutual respect teachers and students share classroom conversations that encourage individual thinking, and creative problem-solving. I really feel it’s important for students to look forward to returning to class each day, that ‘can't wait’ feeling!” 

Christina Levy
Third-Grade and Fourth-Grade Associate Teacher

Christina Levy served with the Americorp, taught in various capacities, and founded an afterschool enrichment program. 

Jaime Mezon
First-Grade Teacher

Jaime Mezon worked at Avenues in New York City, and he has spent the past few years as a private tutor, meeting the academic needs of a variety of students. He is looking forward to being back in a school, particularly EMS, where values, learning, self-improvement, and students’ needs and goals are above all else. As a teacher, Mezon prioritizes making his classroom an inclusive and welcoming environment. He says, “I want my students to be excited to come to school every single day!” Fun fact: He enjoys riding his electric skateboard around in New York City.

Kate Nagle
Second-Grade Associate Teacher

Kate Nagle brings a calm and patient demeanor and she specializes in small group instruction.

Seth Odei-Danso 
Little School Receptionist and Admissions Liaison

Seth Odei-Danso relocated to the US from Accra, Ghana, in August 2016. In Ghana, he worked at the Lincoln Community School for close to 20 years (from 1997-2016) in a range of classroom and administrative capacities. He holds a certificate in Administration and Management, and B.S. in Finance from Greenhill College – GIMPA - Ghana. In the United States, he initially worked with Holland Manufacturing Company as a customer service representative and quality assurance technician. Prior to joining EMS, he worked as a teacher aid in the Special Needs Department at the Mount Olive Township Middle School.

Alexandra Portillo
4s Co-Teacher

Alexandra Portillo was born in Mexico City, and lived there until she moved to Brooklyn when she was 8 years old. She studied Early Childhood Education and Psychology at Brooklyn College obtaining a B.A. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is studying Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood. She has taught in various institutions, such as The American Museum of Natural History as a science instructor, and at Brooklyn Friends School as a preschool 3s teacher. In addition, she has led various professional development and coaching initiatives to support current and future educators implement best practices in their program. 

Sarah Smith
Middle School Art Teacher

Sarah Smith graduated from the University of Hartford in 2018 and has been working with and for art-based not-for-profits in New Jersey for the last six years. She began working for EMS part-time last year through an outreach program from The Art School at the Old Church in Demarest. This year, she will be working full-time as the middle school art teacher. “I am excited to combine the humanities and fine art,” she says. “I plan to create an educational art experience that won't be hindered or slowed down by the challenges that face schools and children during this pandemic. I'm excited to return to such an incredible community.”

Briana Then
Second-Grade Associate Teacher

An Englewood local, Briana Then was described as a local treasure with experience in language arts instruction and facilitating small groups.

Liza Tonetti
Sixth-Grade and Eighth-Grade Middle School History Teacher

Liza Tonetti comes with a wealth of experience, including 16 years at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School (CGPS) in New York City. At CGPS, she worked her way up the steps in a child's development. She started as a kindergarten teacher, became a third-grade head teacher, and she spent her last five years at CGPS as a seventh-, eighth-, and nine-grade history teacher. In addition to her work in the classroom, she authored several action plans for the school: Teaching for Equity and Excellence; a teacher growth/professional development protocol; a peer coaching plan; and a senior capstone project plan. She was also the Model UN advisor and a middle school girls basketball. Liza has also honed her skills through a variety of professional development that includes a certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from Harvard University, Orton-Gillingham training, Learning and the Brain conferences, Executive Functions in the Classroom, Responsive Classroom, Everyday Math, Math in the City, People of Color Conference (where she was also an SDLC Chaperone, and Border Crossers. Liza earned an MS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street and a BA in International Relations with a minor in Italian Studies from Boston University. At BU, she spent a year aboard studying Italian and Political Science at Universitå di Padova, in Italy. Fun fact: She has a passion for the New York Times crossword.

Cristina Varriale
Middle School Counselor

Cristina Varriale brings more than 20 years of experience in education as a counselor and teacher. She is joining us from Seisen International School in Tokyo, where she has served as both middle school and high school counselor. Cristina has a deep understanding of the arc of adolescent development. This is among the reasons she stood out so well in the pool of applicants, but there were other key areas where she was truly outstanding. She is a specialist in Positive Discipline, a program developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott based on the theories of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs. Cristina has run Positive Discipline workshops for teachers, and this framework will be a focus of her work at EMS. In addition, Cristina has developed and taught a course called PSHE (Personal, Social, and Health Education), which will give us a valuable core to build an SEL curriculum for Morrow House. Cristina holds an M.Ed. from Fordham University in Administration and Supervision, an M.Ed. from St. John's University in School Counseling, and a BA from Siena College. 

DeYana Walker
Fourth-Grade Teacher

DeYana Walker joins EMS after having recently moved to New Jersey from South Carolina, where she taught at Pleasant Knoll Elementary School in Fort Mill. She is excited to be at EMS because of the sense of community throughout the school. Walker says, “With the current situation, I can truly tell how much EMS cares about our students with the protocols put into place.” As an educator, she values building positive relationships with her students. “In my classroom, I place an emphasis on teaching my students that being a good human is just as important as learning content.” Fun facts: She played Division 1 college soccer at Western Carolina University, and she is currently working on a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She enjoys hiking, and she plays the violin.