Mary Shaffner, Executive Director
I was the Founding Executive Director of Washington Yu Ying PCS and led the effort to open and lead the school from 2005-2012. I have more than 15 years experience in management and marketing in not-for-profit organizations and the private sector. I have an MBA and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University. I’m passionate about education and entrepreneurial ventures. I love travel, being in the wilderness and in the water. I’m an advanced diver. I have two children and a husband who is a DC Native. We love spending time outside in nature. I speak Chinese and keep trying to improve it. I also speak German. I’m excited about DCI because this is an incredible educational opportunity for students and our graduates will have so many options! I want to see this education available for more students around the world.
Simon Rodberg, Principal
Before DCI, I was an assistant principal at Alice Deal Middle School and an English teacher at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School. I’ve also worked on education policy and as a fourth grade teacher. My degrees are from Harvard Graduate School of Education, University College Dublin, and Yale University. I’m passionate about making school a place where young people are happy and excited to learn. Outside of school, I love traveling, cooking, reading, and going on adventures with my 7-year-old son, Abe. I speak Spanish and try to be polite in Chinese and French. I’m excited to lead a wonderful team of adults to create a truly 21st-century, global school for our students.
Deidra Bailey, Assistant Principal
I hold a B.A. in Government and International Politics as well as a M.Ed in Special Education from George Mason University. I am also a 2009 Teach For America corps member in the DC Region. For the past five years, I have taught special education at Anacostia Senior High School in Southeast Washington, DC. During my time at Anacostia I taught in both an inclusion algebra 1 classroom as well as humanities for students with emotional disabilities in a self-contained setting. I want to see growth in my student both in and outside of the classroom. I am extremely passionate about social justice and service. In my spare time I volunteer by serving as a member of the regional organizing strategy team for Leadership for Education Equity (LEE). The work I do with LEE focuses on ensuring education equality throughout the various wards of the city.
While I am only fluent in English, I studied both Spanish and French in high school and college, respectively.
I cannot express enough my excitement to be apart of the DCI team. The mission and values of DCI are in line with my own values and views on the world. I am so excited to be a part of the innovation and cultural immersion that is DC International School.
Marcus Johnson, Assistant Principal
My name is Marcus Johnson and I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I am a product of Jackson Public Schools, where I received a IB Diploma from Jim Hill World IB High School. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in History from Mississippi College in 2006, and my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2016. I have been working in education for 12 years in several capacities including classroom teacher, coordinator for Talented and Gifted Services, Interventionist, and Regional Academic Coach. I come with a wealth of experience in working with IB students in the MYP program and will be serving as the Assistant Principal for 6th grade for the 2017-2018 school year.
Rachel Sussman, Assistant Principal
This will be my third year as Assistant Principal at DCI. I came to DCI after directing the Higher Achievement program at Kelly Miller Middle School, in Ward 7. I have a BA in history from Barnard College (Columbia University) and an MA in history from Yale University. I began my career teaching 7th and 8th grade history and activism at the Manhattan Country School (in NYC), during which time I was named “Rising Star Independent Middle School Teacher” by the Blackboard Awards. I moved to DC in 2010 to work as the Assistant Director of B’Tselem USA, an Israeli human rights organization. I also served as the board chair of The Next Step PCS, a GED charter school.
I am committed to issues of social justice and educational equity. I am thrilled to be a part of the DCI community, where these issues are prioritized. I am also a lifelong language learner – Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic and a little French. I love to travel, especially if I can put some of my language learning to use! In my free time, I love to run with my trusty doggie sidekick, Otis.
Gregg Albright, Athletic Director
I have a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a B.S. degree and teaching credential in Physical Education from CSUN. I have been a Teacher, Coach, Research Faculty and Administrator for over 25 years serving in K-12 schools and Universities in California, Virginia, Georgia and most recently in Lima, Peru. For the last 10 years I have been teaching, coaching and an Athletic Director at IB World Schools (Atlanta International and Colegio Roosevelt). In addition to Physical Education I have taught Computer and Lego Robotics. I have coached baseball, basketball and field events in track; however, the majority of my coaching career has been focused on volleyball. I started out as a player competing in amateur and professional volleyball tournaments throughout the United States and then transitioned to the sidelines coaching at the Club and High School level. From there I moved on to coach collegiately at The University of Mary Washington and also served as a scout for the USA Men’s Olympic Team at the London 2012 Olympics.
While working at the IB World Schools I received extensive training and experience in the PYP and MYP and also supervised personal projects, CAS groups, class trips and coached in international tournaments. I love being part of an IB school filled with energy and enthusiasm about learning and teaching through inquiry and discovery. There is a unique feeling in the hallways and out on the playing fields that demonstrates itself through students and staff who are knowledgeable, caring, multilingual, and aware both culturally and environmentally.
I am fluent in English and conversational in Spanish. I want to continue improving my Spanish proficiency and also begin to study Chinese.
I am excited to be part of a community of learning where I strongly identify with the mission, vision and values coupled with the potential for the school to be a leading model of International excellence.
Alison Auerbach, Director of Language Learning
After spending the last part of my career leading elementary Spanish immersion schools, I am excited to be a member of the DCI community as we extend such valuable learning experiences to middle and high school students. I am passionate about contributing to a school with such a bold mission and high standards for our wonderfully diverse student body. I began my teaching career working in international schools in Madrid, Spain. I have also taught in New York, Northern Virginia and DC and directed youth programs for several community organizations. Through New Leaders for New Schools, I served as resident principal at one of DCI’s feeder schools, Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS. From there I served for six years at another DCI feeder, DC Bilingual PCS, as Founding Principal and in other leadership capacities. Most recently, I was the Principal of Bancroft Elementary School. I am fluent in Spanish, can sometimes get by in French, and am determined to learn some Chinese. I have an M.S.A. in Educational Administration from Trinity University, an M.A. in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in History from Yale University. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children –a DCI and a Mundo Verde student– who have thrived in bilingual learning environments their entire lives.
Dean Harris, IB MYP Coordinator
Prior to DC International Public Charter School I have been a sixth-grade teacher at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School and a pedagogy and curriculum advisor for DCI. Before this I worked at other international schools including the Washington International School, the Western Academy of Beijing, the American Community School in Egham, Surrey, UK and Sandford International School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I have also taught at UK state schools in Devon and Cornwall, UK.
I am an International Baccalaureate workshop leader and site visitor who has presented to, led workshops for, and consulted with, schools and educators in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. I have taught in IB programmes since 1997 and have been a workshop leader, consultant and site visitor since 2003. I am also an Apple Distinguished Educator, a member of the ‘Class of 2008’, and have been an adjunct professor for George Mason University’s FAST TRAIN IB teacher training programme. I am extremely excited to be working with such an amazing team, in such a great community, constructing not only the school I always wanted to work at, but one that I also want my children to go to!
Cody Long, Director of Student Life
After developing our art and theatre programs at DCI for the first two years, I am honored to lead our after school and lunch activities, as well as our international trips and community partnerships. I am passionate about providing opportunities for all students to engage in enrichment activities. After taking students to Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, the Textile Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, the Italian Embassy and the Newseum (just to name a few), I am excited about helping other teachers plan meaningful field trips and partnerships.
I graduated from Temple University with a BA in Religion, with minors in Spanish and LGBT Studies. I grew up in a Spanish immersion program and can speak first-hand to the benefits of a bilingual and multicultural education. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as an associate with Leadership Now at Lancaster Theological Seminary, leading international trips to Mexico, South Africa and Lesotho, Thailand and India.
While my Spanish remains decent, I am proud of the few phrases I’ve mastered in Chinese and French over the last two years! When not teaching, I love to cook, eat and entertain. I also enjoy sewing and seeing theatre in DC.
Melody Maitland, Director of Student Support Services
Prior to DCI, I served as a special education teacher in D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) at Ballou High School. I have an MSW from University of Denver and an MEd from George Mason University. My educational passions are: teaching students how to advocate for themselves, teaching the power of literacy and reading, researching and applying the latest evidence-based practices for reading, writing, and math instruction as well as behavioral interventions in the classroom, data collection, and data-based decision making for academic and behavioral intervention implementation.
My life’s passion is to bridge the gap between educational practice and implementation at the school and district levels and educational policy and discourse at the political and university levels. I am excited to be part of the founding education team at a school that values multiculturalism and helps develop students that are able to compete in an ever changing global economy. I hope to aid in the creation of a model that is replicated worldwide, and proves that every child, regardless of his/her background, can learn and thrive!
Allison Sandusky, Director of Student Culture
Hello DCI Community! This will be my 9th year working full-time in education. I have spent the past 8 years working as a middle school math and science teacher at three different schools: DCI, KIPP DC: WILL Academy, and Camden’s Promise Charter School in Camden, NJ. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008 and have a dual degree in Spanish and Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science–Go Blue!
This year, I will be transitioning into a new role: Director of Student Culture. I have loved teaching because of the relationships I’ve formed with my students; I love getting to know them as individuals. However, I’m really excited to be able to focus on making our DCI community amazing and look forward to having a positive impact on students in a different way.
Despite studying Spanish all through high school and college, my speaking skills need more work. I’m very excited to improve them, while learning some Mandarin and French along the way.
Outside of school, I am a huge sports fanatic. No matter the time of year, you can find me rooting for Michigan and Detroit sports teams. There is nowhere I’d rather be than a Michigan football game!
Maya Stewart, Director of Teacher Support
Greetings DCI community!
After earning a degree in Communications from Arcadia University in 2009, I began working as an English teacher in the DC area.
One of my greatest passions as an educator is to watch students chart their own growth while advocating for themselves. When I’m not in the classroom, you might find me cuddled with my dog Dallas, reading or cooking. French is the language that is closest to my heart but I’m open to learning as many as I possibly can! I’m thrilled that DCI is committed to student growth in a way that is unique and genuine. Amazing things in store!
Nicole Welsh, Director of Educational Technology
I am thrilled to be entering my third year working at DCI and my eighth year working in education in the Washington, DC region. This year, I will be serving as DCI’s Director of Educational Technology. I am excited to transition into this new role while still teaching sixth grade English classes and supporting other DCI teachers. My previous teaching experience is with KIPP DC and Prince George’s County Public Schools. My passions in education include pushing students to become better readers and better writers and using technology to improve student outcomes. I hold a BA in English from the George Washington University and an M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. I was a 2009 Teach For America Corps Member and a 2015 Education Innovation Fellow with the CityBridge Foundation. Outside of school, I love exercising, rooting for the New York Jets, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. I am looking forward to another amazing year at DCI!
Zachary Diamond, Music
I graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 with a major in Music History and Theory, and I received a Fulbright to study music and music education in Lima, Peru, at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. After the grant period, I stayed in Lima for another five years teaching music and eventually English as a Second Language, and I completed a Master’s degree in Music Education online through Boston University. As an educator, I am most passionate about helping students discover and articulate just what they love about music in order to deepen their playing and listening. Outside of school, I keep active in the local music scene, working as a drummer in musical theater productions, playing mandolin and fiddle bluegrass bands, and teaching private lessons. In addition to English, I speak fluent Spanish, and I am very excited to work with students in DCI’s Spanish Language track. I am also looking forward to working with DCI’s eminently diverse body of music-loving students, who I am sure will enrich my musical life just as much as I hope to enrich theirs!
Sam Dodson, Visual Arts
Who Is Baba Sam?
I am a father, educational leader, and life-long advocate and educator of young people. I have committed my life to working daily to engage and uplift our young people and mold them into the scholars that will soon lead the next generation.
After completing my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy at Denison University, I had an amazing opportunity to be a founding teacher at Hyde Leadership Public Charter School. Hyde “Starts with Character, Grows with You, and Inspires Leadership.” My experience there was transformative. Hyde was always more than a job for me. It made me better each day and forged me into a person of strong convictions and a creative thinker guided by compassion, and a strong desire to bring people together. After 9 years at Hyde, I was fortunate enough to continue, and expand upon this work at Higher Achievement. I served as the Ward 6 Center Director for 5 years before launching one of our newest centers: the Kramer Achievement Center in 2014. If it wasn’t apparent to me before, I know now that uplifting communities and working to improve the lives of young people is my calling. Now, as am member of the DCI team, I look forward to many new experiences.
Rebecca Ferrer, Counselor
I have worked in DC Charter schools for the past few years and am very excited about joining the DCI Team! I have a B.A. in Psychology and Human Development from the University of Maryland and a M. Ed. in School Counseling from the University of Maryland (Terp for life!). I am a nationally certified counselor (NCC) and utilize both cognitive-behavioral therapy and solutions-focused counseling in my work with students. In my time outside of DCI, I enjoy yoga, travelling with my husband, and taking naps with my dog!
Hannah Gold, Social Worker
My name is Hannah Gold, LGSW and I am a school social worker at DCI. I work with 7th, 8th and 9th grade students. I moved to DC from NYC last September and am really enjoying the change of pace. I am passionate about health, wellness, mindfulness and meditation. I am looking forward to continuing to incorporate these practices in my work with the students.
Shannon Jeffries, Counselor
Hello! This year, I will serve the DCI community as a School Counselor, with a focus on college advising and preparation. I recently earned a Master’s in Education from University of Maryland, with a specialization in Counselor Education. I have a background in college admissions, after serving as a Graduate Admissions Representative for two years at a flagship university. Through this experience, I have developed a growing passion for college access and retention for all populations! In my counseling with students this year, I hope to be student-focused and strengths-based, as we work together to prepare for fulfilling futures beyond DCI!
Michele Onwochei, Speech and Language Pathologist
I am excited to be joining the DCI team this year! I graduated from the George Washington University in 2016 with my Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. This past year I completed my clinical fellowship at St. Coletta of Greater Washington. I attended the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree and dual majored in Linguistics and Brain Behavior & Cognitive Science. I am looking forward to continuing to grow in this field at DCI and to bring my knowledge of the field to a diverse student body.
In my free time, I enjoy reading and exploring DC! I have been a team member of the DC Furies Women’s Rugby Football club for the past 4 years. Additionally, I do lighting design for theater productions.
Paige Zorniger, Counselor
A native Ohioan, I graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Anthropology in 2012. Immediately following college, I worked at a K-12 school in Dayton, Ohio, creating and directing a community and service-learning program primarily geared toward helping students understand issues of social justice and ways to take action. During this time, I discovered my passion for working with young people and helping to support their positive social-emotional development. After teaching in Ohio for three years, I attended graduate school at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, earning my Ed.M. in Prevention Science and Practice: Counseling in 2016 and my Certificate of Advanced Studies: School Counseling in 2017. I come to this work with a love of yoga, mindfulness, activism, people, and being outside!
I grew up in the DC area and this is my 9th year teaching. I got a BA in Social Studies from Harvard in 2009 and a M.Ed in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. I have taught physics, biology, chemistry, robotics, engineering, and computer science, and I love helping kids turn their creative ideas into reality!
Danielle A. Boudreaux, English Teacher
I hold a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. Prior to DCI, I taught Literature and Composition at the college level. Over my fourteen-year collegiate teaching career, I taught at Howard University, Prince George’s Community College and the Catholic University of America. I also have a strong background in desktop publishing and electronic media, due to having advised various student publications and a short (and ill-advised) stint in public relations and marketing.
Outside of school, I enjoy watching my kids morph into awesome little people and seeing my husband be a total goofball throughout the process. I also enjoy making wire jewelry and homemade cosmetics.
A poet at heart, I believe passionately that all forms of artistic expression are critical to a fully realized world. That said, what I am most looking forward to at DCI is impacting my students’ impressions of reading and writing in a big way. Using various literary forms, I hope to help them see that English and the written word are not scary at all but essential elements to being a responsible, proactive global citizen.
Christina Cancelli, English Teacher
Jenae Carter, English Teacher
Toni Deanon, English Teacher
Growing up in different parts of the world, I developed an appreciation for all cultures. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and finally moved to South Georgia when I was 8 years old. Adjusting to American ways, my teachers provided a safe environment for me to flourish. I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher, an MS English teacher, to be exact.
English was my second language (after Filipino), and I grew to love teaching others the English language as well. With that being said, I love grammar, I love reading, and I love sharing my knowledge/experiences with my students.
I received my B.S. in MS Education from University of Georgia and my M.Ed in TESOL/Reading Education from Georgia State University. I have taught in Atlanta, Baltimore City, and DC. This upcoming year will be my 8th year in the classroom.
When I’m not geeking out about education, I am cuddling with my schnoodle LaTi, running/lifting with my spouse, spending all of my money on travel plans, pretending I can dance, fangirling after my favorite authors, and eating lots and lots of ice cream.
Livia Matteucci, English Teacher
I am very excited to join the DCI team as a 6th grade English teacher for the 2017-2018 school year. Previously, I taught for a year at KIPP DC in 6th grade English after graduating from Georgetown University. The values of DCI are very close to my heart, since I grew up with an international upbringing. I grew up in Houston, Texas, and then moved to London, England with my family and spent my high school years there at an international school. I thoroughly enjoyed taking classes in the IB Diploma, and traveling across Europe to compete against other international schools in sports. My international experiences continued in college, when I studied abroad in Valparaíso, Chile. I’m proficient in Spanish through my 10 years of studying it and also speak Italian with my father, who immigrated from Italy. I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful, diverse mix of students and getting involved in leading clubs and sport activities!
Cortnie Miller, English Teacher
Karolina Terrazas, English Teacher
I am thrilled to have joined the DCI community of people passionate about helping students thrive in the global world. I was born in Poland where I graduated from the University of Silesia with a B.A. in Education and an M.A. in English, with a concentration in American Literature and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. For over eight years I have been teaching English, English as a Second Language, and Social Studies in Poland and in the U.S. I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. My passion and mission in life has been to help young people feel confident and empowered to take risks, feel comfortable if they stumble, and have all the tools necessary to succeed. I believe education must be relevant and applicable in the “real world”; therefore, I always design my lessons with my students’ needs at the center. Both my career in Poland and the experience as an educator in the United States focused mostly on designing and implementing rigorous, accelerated programs in middle school and high school environment, but I have also lectured English as a Second Language at a college level. Last two years I had a pleasure of teaching 5th through 8th grade English and providing ESL support at Global Scholars Academy in Durham, NC. In my leisure time, I love reading, travelling, and staying active. I am an avid volleyball player, and I am happy to be given a chance to coach it at DCI this year. The great adventure of the new school year has started, and I am excited to embark on it with our amazing students and in such an excellent company!
Dejon Tucker, English Teacher
I am a vibrant educator with a zeal for the reinvention of traditional schooling. I hold a Masters of Science in Education from St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and a Bachelors of Arts in English with a minor in education from The University of Belize where I grew up. I speak English, Spanish at an advanced high proficiency level and Kriol, the language I grew up with, the rich buttery soft Belizean dialect just rolls off the tongue.
Thus far, I have taught English, the language, and the accompanying literature, with which is intertwined, in elementary schools, high schools, junior colleges and university. Communication is the story of my life. Meaningful communication is of paramount importance to most, if not all, individuals in the world today, and I am eager, quite fueled and ready to help to unleash and showcase the amazing global communication skills that the DCI students possess in literacy.
Katia Raina, English Teacher
I come to DCI from Camden, New Jersey, where I first fell in love with urban education teaching High School English and Creative Writing. I am also a writer. I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Through this program I got to read and analyze hundreds of children’s novels and write hundreds of pages of my own, honing my writing craft under the mentorship of amazing authors. Before teaching, I tried my hand at a publishing career, supporting aspiring and already published authors by helping polish their own manuscripts until they sparkled. I had also worked as a journalist for newspapers and news sites, writing about local politics, environment, crime, schools and more. All these jobs were incredibly exciting. But they didn’t come close to teaching, which is the true work of my heart.
Before all that, I immigrated here from Russia, right around the time the Soviet Union fell apart.
I am a passionate believer in social justice. I also believe in love. And in magic.
I am thrilled to be here, working with this incredible community of thinkers and doers, to make great things happen!
Health and Physical Education
Alex Clark-Youngblood, Health and PE Teacher
I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in International Affairs and Spanish. I also hold a Master’s in education from Arizona State University. I have taught children of all ages and ability levels both in the United States and Latin America. Much of my time in education has focused on working with children with severe behavioral challenges. I have also worked in the nonprofit sector, as a journalist, personal trainer, and yoga teacher both at home and abroad.
Ely Fall, Health and PE Teacher
I was born in Senegal and raised in Maryland. I attended Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. I taught at Washington Yu Ying PCS for 5 years before moving to Philadelphia. I am married and we have a 2 year son named Calel. Getting to reconnect with the DCI community is a dream come true!
I am a very active person, who loves watching local pro teams and playing most sports and games. I also enjoy spending time with my family and trying to keep up with my son.
Sebastian Kreindel, Health and PE Teacher
I am originally from Newton, MA. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in history from The College of William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The College of William and Mary School of Education.
After graduating from the university, I moved to Washington, D.C., where I have taught for the last four years.
I am passionate about helping students achieve an understanding of global citizenship and pushing students to participate in and lead movements for a cause in which they believe. I aim to show each student the capacity he or she has to change the world.
Outside of school I enjoy traveling, reading, playing and watching sports, and yoga.
I am very excited for the DCI school year to begin and to meet all my future students. This year will be excellent!
Nicholas Curwen, History Teacher
I am extremely excited this year to be working at DCI this year as the 9th grade US History and Government teacher. I am originally from New Hampshire. I attended Kalamazoo College for my undergraduate degree. I completed a dual major in Political Science and Spanish and a minor in East Asian Religions. I moved to D.C. following my undergraduate studies and have worked in a parochial school, DC Public Schools and most recently spent five years at a charter school. I completed my Masters in Education at American University with a specialty in curriculum design and administrative leadership. In the classroom, I love to focus on conversational learning, implementing technology and novel based studies of historical topics. I am really looking forward to an to being a part of DCI as it continues to grow into a high school. Outside of the classroom, I love to cook and explore the outdoors. Travel abroad has been a very meaningful part of my life and spent almost two years living in Spain. My Spanish maybe a little rusty, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to practice at DCI.
Tori Sparks, History Teacher
I am excited to be joining the faculty and staff at DCI this year. I grew up in Norfolk, VA before moving to Charlottesville, VA to complete a BA in History and African American Studies at the University of Virginia. After graduating from UVA, I moved to Miami to teach high school history as part of the 2013 Miami-Dade County Teach for America corps. While teaching, I also completed a MS in Education from Johns Hopkins University. I moved to the DC area in 2015 and am entering my 5th year of teaching. In my spare time, I love to read and travel. I can not wait to join the community here dedicated to the development of future global scholars and leaders.
Yuanyuan Gao, Chinese Teacher
I’m from Shanghai, China. I got my Master’s degree at the University of Georgia in Teaching Additional Language and my Bachelor’s degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at Shanghai University.
I was a Chinese teacher at Washington Yu Ying PCS, a Chinese immersion IB school, for 4 years. I have had a great interest in Chinese literature, history and culture since I was a child. As a Chinese major student in college, I gained a better and deeper understanding about Chinese classic language and literature as well. So I hope I can pass on my passion to my students. As a language teacher I think the importance is not only teaching students about the language itself but also teaching them how to learn the language through the content and culture.
I love traveling to different places and trying different kinds of food. I also enjoy reading and writing. I can speak Chinese and English and I want to learn to speak French and Korean.
I’m really excited to be a part of DCI’s founding education team because it will be a fun and wonderful journey to teach Chinese in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural IB world school!
Xiaomin Sun, Chinese Teacher
My name is Xiaomin Sun. This is my second year at DCI. I received my M.Ed in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Sun Yat-sen University and also has an MBA degree in finance from the Walton Business College at the University of Arkansas. Before joining DCI, I have worked in private and public schools as well as investment companies.
Miao Zhang, Chinese Teacher
Hi, Da Jia Hao! My name is Miao. I am very proud of coming from the capital of China and living in the capital of the United States!
I came to the U.S. in 2009 and had a Master’s Degree in Teaching Additional Languages at the University of Georgia. Before DCI, I have been working at Washington YuYing, an IB Chinese immersion school, for four years. I love working with kids, and I found life is meaningful to pass the knowledge to the young generation and all of us can make a better world. I believe learning should not be limited in classroom. A powerful educational documentary teaches students social justice; an oversea traveling experience allows students to see the diversity of the world; an exhibition in art gallery may help students think differently. We are all constantly learning and I encourage students to think on their own and to think critically.
During my graduate school, I did a research about how and where did the Burmese refugees relocate in the United States and how well they did at school. We went on a road trip with four refugee kids from Georgia, through Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa and up to the Wisconsin. We talked about the cowboy culture when we were in Tennessee, and showed the kids where Lincoln was from and talked about the civil war when we were in Illinois. We took the kids to the University of Iowa and we also stopped at the Mississippi river and talked about Mark Twain’s life. It tells my passion outside work is traveling and I believe traveling is the best way to learn and teach.
Outside work, I also love music, especially jazz and classic rock from the 60s. I look forward to working at DCI and to learn from the wonderful DCI families! If I can pick up some Spanish and French from my DCI students, that would be awesome!
Shichang Wu, Chinese Teacher
Greetings! I come from Yunnan Province, China. I have a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Yunnan University, China, and a Master’s degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from International Education College, Minzu University of China. After that I came to the U.S and got M.Ed in World Language Teaching(Mandarin) from University of Maryland. Teaching in DCI is so exciting! I teach students, and I also learn from my students. I love learning different languages, culture and arts. I speak Chinese, English, and a little bit French. I’m so excited to be part of DCI family!
Grace Hu, Chinese and Art in Chinese Teacher
Graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and NYU Performing Arts Administration MA Program, I have many working experiences in the arts field, especially international projects such as musical The Lion King Shanghai. Originally from Shanghai, I have a passion for Chinese culture preservation and development. I integrate arts and cultural aesthetics into daily language learning experience. It is my belief that arts education empowers students to think creatively with a global citizen mindset.
Michael Thomas, Chinese and English Teacher
I hold a B.A. in History from Ursinus College as well as a M.Ed in General and Special Education from Lesley University. I am a 2012 Urban Teacher alum from the D.C. Region. For the past 5 years I have taught 8th grade English in Southeast Washington, D.C. Prior to teaching in D.C. I served as a History T.A. and spent a year abroad teaching conversational English in Shenzhen, China. I am passionate about making learning accessible to students of all abilities and helping students reach their individual academic and social goals.
I am excited to be a part of the DCI community where learning, culture, and language are celebrated. I hope to inspire students to become lifelong learners.
Mounia Elmezrichi, French Teacher
I am so excited to be in the new building with new colleagues and new students. This is my second year at DCI but I feel like I still have a lot to learn which keeps me more excited.
Amber Herisson, French Teacher
I am so excited to be here at DCI and to join the excellent team of educators committed to the International Baccalaureate and a student-centered approach to education! After earning a B.A. in French literature and education at Colby College, I spent a year in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship and then continued on to earn an M.A. from Boston College in French literature. For the past ten years, I have enjoyed teaching French at the International School of Paris where I was involved in language learning, teaching and IB curriculum development in the classroom and as Head of Languages and Head of French. I presented at two IB conferences in the region, one focusing on creating and implementing a language policy and one exploring how to integrate the teaching and learning of approaches to learning skills in the classroom. I feel so lucky to be a part of a school community that is dedicated to the ideals of the IB and so fully devoted to language learning. Outside school, I am busy raising my two bilingual children and enjoy reading, travelling, sports and cooking. I am looking forward to bringing my experience and my passion for the French language and culture to the DCI community!
Chris Merriman, Individuals and Societies in French Teacher
Bonjour! I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University, where I received two departmental prizes for my senior thesis on the Algerian National Soccer team’s role in the Algerian War of Independence. I then joined the Peace Corps, where I taught 5th grade for two years at Tiguibery Elementary School in the West African nation of Guinea-Conakry. After a six-week road trip through West Africa, I moved to Washington D.C. in 2014.
I love learning and teaching history, especially that which pertains to lesser-studied parts of the world. I studied journalism in college and am also passionate about teaching creative writing and journalism.
I spent much of my childhood attending public schools in southern France, where I learned French from an early age. I also studied Spanish in high school and college and, most recently, led teenagers on soccer service trips to Costa Rica. The next language I hope to learn is Arabic
I am an avid soccer player and fan. I also play the drums and enjoy listening to various types of music. I enjoy traveling, speaking foreign languages and learning about different cultures.
I am thrilled to join the DCI staff. I look forward to joining an internationally-minded community that prizes different cultures and languages. I hope to instill in my students a life-long curiosity in the outside world and guide them on the path to becoming global citizens.
Tanya Thomson, French Arts Teacher
I began my career as a ninth grade French teacher in Toronto. Having studied Fine Art and French in university, as well as French in a K-12 immersion program, I spent several years in Toronto teaching visual arts and French before moving to Quito, Ecuador. There I taught MYP art for three years, and learned conversational Spanish. My husband and I moved to Atlanta in 2008 where I taught French again, and in 2010 we landed in DC and decided to put down some roots. I taught visual arts and credit recovery French, as well as served in school leadership roles in DCPS for five years and, most recently, rented a small art studio in the Takoma, DC neighbourhood. In addition to painting, I love being outside, traveling, reading, spending time with my family, and looking at art. I have degrees from Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa, and the George Washington University. I am really excited to join DCI and to be part of a community that places social justice, multilingualism, and above all, its students’ potential, as integral to its mission.
Nhora Boero, Individuals and Societies in Spanish Teacher
My name is Nhora Boero. I was born in Colombia and my first language is Spanish. I am a second child of seven children in my family and I am a proud mother of four children and eleven grandchildren.
My passion for teaching started when I was in 10th grade thanks to my Social Studies teacher who was my model and inspiration. In 1977, I earned a degree as “MAESTRA” the equivalent to Elementary School Teacher. In 1983, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in education, with major in Social Science, from Universidad Santiago de Cali. In 1999, after teaching in the United States for several years, I earned a Masters in Bilingual Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University.
My teaching experience started as an elementary and secondary teacher in Colombia and has continued in the US teaching students from primary, middle, and secondary public and charter schools, specifically within urban settings.
My teaching passion lies in Spanish language immersion and I believe wholeheartedly in Bilingual immersion education. I hope that my education, experience and enthusiasm for education, as well as my eagerness to see every child reach his full potential are qualities that would make me a great fit for DC International School.
I’m very passionate about everything I do, especially helping others. I’m extremely excited for the new school year and I can’t wait to meet my students every day in class ready to learn.
Carmen Garcia, Spanish Teacher
My name is Carmen I. García Rodríguez and I was born in Puerto Rico. I came from a family of teachers: my grandparents, parents and most of my aunts used to be teachers in Puerto Rico. I grew up in the town of Loíza and did most of my primary studies in the town. I attended the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Spanish. I first worked in the Puerto Rico Public School system as a Spanish teacher for middle school students and high school students. I then worked for five years in Centros Sor Isolina Ferré in where I was a constructivist teacher and began studies as a Montessori teacher. I now am the Spanish Teacher of Level four in DC International School. I came with the purpose to learn from the International Education Program and want to share my knowledge in Constructivist and Montessori education with my colleagues and students.
Henry Garcia, Spanish Teacher
Hello! My name is Henry Garcia and I am so excited to be a part of the World Languages team. I speak Spanish and am passionate about my students using their target language knowledge across the curriculum. Most importantly, I am thrilled to be teaching Spanish in what will be a productive, challenging, and exciting year! I have high expectations and several big goals for each student. I was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and raised in Germantown, Maryland. I have experience teaching Spanish 1 and Spanish 3 in the District of Columbia to 10th and 12th graders. This year I am looking forward to teaching Spanish 2! I love teaching Spanish because I get to know exactly where students are coming from and where they need to go by the end of the year! Having experience in a range of language acquisition levels will allow me to challenge and assist each student in reaching their fullest potential.
Daniel Liano-Garcia, Spanish Teacher
Greetings! My educational background consists of a master’s degree in Translation and Interpretation, as well as a post-graduate master in International Relations and Law. For many years I have dedicated myself to finding my true vocation; I worked in the Canary Islands as a French teacher. This was part of my educational training and so I specialized in the teaching of modern languages.
My passion is to impart knowledge in an engaging and appealing setting. My educational objective is to find a dynamic method to link with the younger generation by promoting a technological and interactive learning environment.
Life is a short moment that needs to be lived intensely. I enjoy the simple challenges of every day, I love traveling so I can experience the excitement of meeting new people and getting to know new places.
Born and raised in Spain, just as a high school teenage graduate, I had the opportunity to live in London and then Brussels, where I learned English and French. In addition, I am fluent in Italian and Portuguese and a novice in Catalan and Romanian. As you can appreciate, Latin languages are my strength but learning Arabic has become a major struggle that I need to overcome.
It is very exciting to be part of the pioneering team of DCI and be an active part of its growing process.
Muchas gracias por la oportunidad de formar parte de este equipo.
Merci bien pour l’opportunité de faire partie de cette équipe!
Nina Rafaele, Individuals and Societies in Spanish Teacher
I am very energized to be a part of the DCI Community! I have a Montessori background and believe in experiential education, global citizenship and cultivating diversity. In addition to my AMS Certification I have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Latin American Women’s Studies. I am passionate about Pan-Africanism and have been involved for many years in the growing afro-latino movement. Outside of school, I love cooking international cuisine, creative expression, singing, West African dance, collecting international music and watching cheesy Bollywood movies. Before coming into teaching, I managed an art gallery in Loiza, Puerto Rico and designed jewelry out of seeds and other natural materials.
Jose Reyes, Spanish Arts Teacher
I am excited to return to DCI for a second year! This year I will teach Arts and Identity as part of the Bilingual Arts curriculum. My experience lies in marketing, film production and film studies. After interning in three feature films, I went on to write, direct and produce over 10 short films; my senior thesis film in undergrad, Boy Parts was chosen for the Cannes Film Festival short-film corner in 2013. I also worked in the tourism industry for two years, as a marketing assistant, developing digital content and marketing campaigns. I received a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies from NYU, and a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media from the University of Tampa. My academic areas of interest are minority representation in film and television, popular culture, the war film and melodramas, film theory and criticism, and Lady Gaga.
Leticia Rodriguez, Spanish Teacher
Hola! My name is Leticia Rodriguez and I am a native of the Republic of Panama. I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Panama in 2002 and have eleven years of teaching middle school in my native country. I came to the U.S. in 2007 and in 2013 I received two Master’s degrees in teaching Spanish as a second language from University Interamericana in Puerto Rico and Spanish linguistics from the University of Jaen in Spain. In the metropolitan DC area, I taught Spanish AP at DCPS and for the last three years I taught Spanish I, II and IB Spanish at WMST-PCHS.
For me, my passion is teaching and in sharing my culture with my students. I believe that every child deserves to live the experience of new cultures and it’s that challenge that motivates me as I begin my adventure at DCI.
When I’m not teaching, I love to cook for friends and family, listen to music, dance, attend Spanish cultural events and exercise.
I’m very excited to be part of the DCI family and to teach my language to students.
Mariana Torres, Spanish Teacher
I started my path as a teacher while I was still a student in college and I haven’t stopped, I love it! I have taught English in elementary school grade 2nd and 4th in Mexico and Spanish and French at West Virginia University.
I studied Literature at Universidad de las Americas, Puebla in Mexico, while in college I studied French and I did a year abroad studying French literature at Université de Grenoble in France.
I have a Master’s degree from WVU in Linguistics and TESOL and I just moved to D.C. I love languages and cultures, especially different cuisines. When I am not at school, I like to exercise, climb and do paddle surfing with my husband. I am excited to join DCI and get to know everyone.
Christine Contreras-Slaughter, Mathematics Teacher
My parents are Chilean and I was the first in my family to be born in the United States. As the child of immigrants, I had to rely on the knowledge and support of my teachers and school counselors to navigate the educational system in this country. I became a teacher because I want to enable all children to have access to a quality education, and to have the skills necessary to accomplish their goals. After graduating from Duke University, I remained in North Carolina, which is where I began my career as a math teacher. After moving back to the DMV area (where I was born and raised), I worked in charter schools in southeast DC for three years before joining the DCI family. In addition to English, I speak Spanish and German. I am excited to improve my French conversational skills and learn some Mandarin from the students at DCI.
Kristin Douglas, Mathematics Teacher
I love math! And, if I do say so myself, my obsession with math is a bit contagious! How many digits of pi do you have memorized? I am so excited to join DCI this year. I have taught 6th grade math in DC public schools for 11 years. I have also worked in education policy. I strongly believe that as much as I’m a math teacher, I’m also a teacher of manners, perseverance, and kindness.
I grew up in small town America in Massachusetts. I earned my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and majored in Urban Studies and minored in Anthropology. After joining Teach for America from 2001-2003, I then earned my Master of Arts in Teaching from American University. I am proficient in Spanish and can’t wait to learn more!
In addition to math, I also love: reading, yoga, knitting, baking, the great outdoors, all fruit, my cat Isosceles (Saucy), and travel. Some of my most memorable trips were to: Turkey, Peru, South Africa, and Poland. A goal I have is to learn to play the violin!
Jerry Dudley, Mathematics Teacher
Mr. Dudley has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Shaw University. He holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University Mankato. Mr. Dudley started his teaching journey at Hart Middle School in Southeast Washington D.C. teaching mathematics to grade 7. He then transitioned into the non profit sector working for National Society of Black Engineers as well as Envision EMI LLC where he lead students through the world of STEM educational programs, as well as students looking to go into politics respectively. Mr. Dudley returned back into teaching in Prince George’s County Public Schools where he taught 6th and 8th grade math as well as Algebra 1. He returned to Washington D.C. where he was the 7th grade lead teacher and taught 7th grade math at Friendship Public Charter Schools. He is eager, and excited to bring his knowledge, and experience, and energy to the DCI Family! Mr. Dudley is also a competitive powerlifter, and enjoys watching sports, plays, different cultural events and bowling.
Aude Newton, Ph.D., Mathematics Teacher
Three years ago, I came to DCI from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS after an eight year stint as a 6th grade teacher. Prior to this, I spent several years with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, a non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty. I also tutored inmates, and high schoolers in impoverished neighborhoods in France.
In 2011, I attained a Master of Professional Studies in Middle-Grade Mathematics from the George Washington University. I also have a Master’s degree in Optical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering.
Teaching has always been a big part of my heritage. Many of my relatives were teachers and have instilled in me a desire to learn and share knowledge. My experience fighting poverty has also inspired me to teach. I am excited about teaching a subject often viewed as difficult. I feel I have a challenge and an opportunity to change this view, so that students can start develop an appreciation for the subject and excel in it.
I grew up in France with French as my native tongue. I speak fluent English, proficient Spanish, and some Dutch. I am married with one daughter. In my free time I enjoy gardening and spending time with my family.
Krishna Rampersaud, Mathematics Teacher
Rajni Rao, Mathematics Teacher
Rajni Rao is looking forward to her second year with the DCI community. Prior to teaching 7th and 8th grade math at DCI, she taught in Sacramento California. She loves DCI’s rigorous IB curriculum, extra curricular activities, language program, and of course–the students and staff!
Laura Ryan, Mathematics Teacher
Hi! I am so excited to join the team at DCI because I value the school’s commitment to developing well-rounded students who think critically about the world around them. I graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Public Policy. I joined Teach for America in 2012 and spent three years as a seventh grade math teacher in Charlotte, NC. While in Charlotte, I received my Masters in the Arts of Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I moved to DC last summer and spent a year working for an education non-profit. I can’t wait to get back into the classroom because I love helping students grow as problem-solvers. I am currently re-learning Spanish after taking a pretty long hiatus. When I’m not teaching, I love to run, cook, practice yoga, read, and explore DC.
Mariam Soumahoro, Mathematics Teacher
My name is Mariam Soumahoro and I will be teaching Mathematics
at DCI. I am originally from Cote d’Ivoire. My first language is French and I also speak several African Languages. I enjoyed playing sports and traveling.
Ray Wang, Mathematics Teacher
Mr. Wang has lived in countries such as Taiwan, Australia, and the United States in his life. After graduating from high school in Los Angeles, he obtained a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering at Purdue University. He worked in the global technology industry for several years before accepting a MBA fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. During his time there, he teamed up with other graduate students to help elementary school kids learn math after school. Prior to obtaining his MBA degree, he decided to enter the realm of education by obtaining a master of science degree in education and social policy at Northwestern University. After leaving Northwestern, he taught and became the lead teacher for AP Calculus and Pre-AP Pre-Calculus in Fort Worth, Texas. He believes that inspiring students to learn math and helping them fulfill their full potential while becoming responsible global citizens at DCI is his mission.
Charlene Cummings, Science Teacher
I am very excited to be teaching at DCI this year! I am from Connecticut where I attended the University of Connecticut (UConn) for my BS in Biological Sciences and Evolutionary and Ecology Biology. After working in a research and development pharmaceutical lab outside of Boston, MA, I went back to UConn and received my MA in Science Education and Curriculum. I have been teaching science in Washington, D.C. for the past few years and recently started working with LEGO robotics, a club I hope DCI students will love!
DCI’s mission and ideals, especially the emphasis of scientific inquiry and discovery, are the reasons why I was drawn to this school. I believe if students are able to investigate, explore, and discuss science and its applications, they can become active learners and critical thinkers in charge of their own learning.
In my spare time I like to travel, walk my dog, read, and try new restaurants. In high school I only took Latin, an unspoken language, so I would love to learn to speak French here at DCI!
Caitlyn Homol, Science Teacher
I hold a B.A. in International Relations and Psychology from The Ohio State University, as well as a M.S.Ed in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins School of Education. My undergraduate research in climate change policy and negotiations encouraged me to join Teach for America, and I taught middle school science in Baltimore for two years. I am committed to not only teaching science through a social justice lens, but also making science exciting and accessible for all students. I strongly believe that these two shifts in science education will bring us closer to the sustainable and equitable solutions we need. In addition, I am eager to begin coaching Model United Nations, which was a life-changing program for me in college when I competed on Ohio State’s travel team. I am so incredibly excited to join DCI to help students develop and grow into proactive global citizens.
I am only fluent in English, though I have a few years of formal Spanish and Turkish instruction under my belt. I look forward to practicing conversation with students this year, and would love to pick up Mandarin as well!
Brian Lounsbury, Science Teacher
Doreen Smith, Science Teacher
I’m happy to be teaching science at DCI. I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Hawaii for college then stayed for 14 years. I have a BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education, and a Master of Education in Curriculum Studies. After college, I taught several Science subjects for 8 years at Aiea High School (near Pearl Harbor), worked on an oceanographic research ship, and ran an outrigger canoe paddling club with my husband. He is from DC and we moved here, with our cat, in 2016 where I developed curriculum for The Urban Alliance. I also enjoy skiing, cooking, watching sports (Caps!) and traveling to places like Japan, Korea, France, England, Scotland, Tahiti, Mexico, Canada, and many great places in the USA.
Montenique Woodard, Science Teacher
I recently graduated from the University of South Florida with my bachelors in Science education. I am super excited to begin my career at DCI. I am a native of Florida, however, I am working on making DC my new home. I am passionate about many things including science, teaching and making the world a better place. I have no pets but I do have a niece who I adore above all.
Natalie Barbieri, Special Education Teacher and English Language Learner Specialist
Ciao! I am a DC native and graduated from Wilson High School. I have been working in education for over nine years. My first experience was in Detroit public schools teaching reading and writing, then in DC public charter schools teaching Special Education and ESL students. Following my time in the USA, I taught an IB curriculum in Japan for ESL and EFL students in high school. I earned a BA in Psychology from University of Michigan, a Masters of Education from George Mason University, and a Masters in TESOL from Temple University. As a former Special Education student, I am very passionate about helping students become successful.
I believe that with teacher dedication any student can succeed. I love the DCI educational model and am excited about teaching students from various language backgrounds. I speak Japanese, English, and some Italian. I am now learning Spanish and Chinese.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy painting, gardening, fixing electronics, and cleaning.
Kim Colley, Special Education Teacher
Cody Duncan, Special Education Teacher
I am excited to be joining the DCI team this year! I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010 with my Master’s degree in Education. I’m currently working on my second Master’s Degree in Special Education and Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Learners from George Washington University. The past five years I have taught at The Newton School in Sterling, VA, which is an independent school for Special Education. I am looking forward to using my experiences, and continue to grow and learn from the amazing faculty and staff at DCI!
Susan Espinoza, Special Education Teacher
Sabre Goldman, Special Education Teacher
I have been a Social Studies and Special Education teacher for over 10 years. I am enthusiastic about my content material and love to learn along with my students.
Justin LaRocque, Special Education Teacher
I hold a B.A. in Art Education Pre K-12 and an M.S.in Special Education; Cross Endorsement K -12 from Central Connecticut State University. I taught for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) for 10 years at three campuses; each provided specific services for students grades K-12.
I relocated from CT to Houston, TX where I taught grades 5-8; ELA, Reading, and Integrated Art at The Harris School with my behavior support specialist, Benson Laoshi, who has also joined the DCI Family.
I have taught a variety of subjects over the course of 15+ years, and through those experiences I discovered an opportunity to become more engaged with my student’s learning, social, emotional and behavioral strengths and needs.
My passions in education are deeply rooted in positive behavior intervention strategies, evidence based practices, multi-sensory learning, social skills, and building on specific learning styles and strategies that promote and facilitate student learning and growth.
I am excited to continue to be a part of a team of professionals that is dedicated to our students and families, that embraces the IB mindset.
Fatoumata Magassa, Special Education Teacher and English Language Learner Coordiantor
Recognizing my love for education and the desire to acquire and share knowledge with others, I attended George Washington University and attained a M.A. in Education and Human Development with a specialization in Special Education. Since obtaining my M.A., I have worked at various schools in DC and Maryland as a special education teacher. After some time, I made the decision to pursue my dreams of working abroad as an educator. My first stop was Ghana, where I was enveloped in Ghanaian culture and traditions while working as a director at the Youth Institute for Science and Technology, a nonprofit Ghanaian school. This service learning experience inspired me to explore other international opportunities and I landed in East Africa — Iringa, Tanzania, where I worked as a learning support teacher at Iringa International School. More recently I traveled to Panama as a Panama Teacher Match participant and worked with Panamanian English teachers to create engaging lessons and implement best practices in their classrooms. During my travels, I have delved into the wonderful world of photography and digital storytelling. The opportunity to document unique adventures and the rich culture of each region has transformed my outlook on life. Even still, I am invested in learning multiple languages including Spanish and French!
Lauren Smith, Special Education Teacher
I am so thrilled to be at DCI this year! After working as a learning support teacher during DCI’s inaugural year, I left to complete a year long west coast adventure as a Special Education director at a school in Oakland, California. Before that, I was born and raised on the east coast in Massachusetts, where I completed a BA in Education and in Psychology. While working in Boston, I visited my sister in DC where I went to the National Zoo and fell in love with the pandas (and the rest of the city), so I decided to come teach here! I completed my Master’s degree in Special Education and made a switch from elementary to secondary education, which I have grown to really love. My passions in the field of education revolve around building self-advocacy skills in students from every background, and empowering students to know and embrace their strengths, challenges, and unique learning styles. I think all of these goals are best accomplished by developing meaningful relationships with students and families. In my free time I love to cook, travel, and hang out with family and friends. I am incredibly excited to be back at DCI for another school year and beyond!
Aaron Stone, Special Education Teacher
Currently, I am going into my eighth year of working in education (sixth year of teaching). I’m a certified Special Educator with my masters from Johns Hopkins. Before DCI, I worked as a high school special ed English teacher. This past summer, I taught underprivileged kids English in Israel as a part of TALMA.
I’m passionate about teaching kids from a variety of backgrounds and helping them expand their critical thinking skills.
I only speak English, but I’m picking up some Hebrew day by day.
I’m looking forward to bringing back my positive energy and working with our amazing students and staff! I like going to the beach, exploring DC and rooting for the Redskins!
CT Taylor, Special Education Teacher
I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky and moved to Maryland in 2013. My teaching career began when I was chosen for Teach for America’s DC Corps in 2013 and through TFA and George Mason University, I received my master’s degree and certification in special education. Prior to teaching, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Kentucky and my Master of Science in Criminal Justice and worked in a detention center as a Mental Health Case Manager and Clinician.
This is my fifth year teaching and my third year at DCI! I have experience teaching math, reading, and writing, but I am passionate about teaching math as I struggled with that subject in school. I learned through my own struggles that if I looked at a problem in a different way, I could solve anything in my path (and I hope to teach that to our students, as well!).
Outside of teaching, I enjoy relaxing in my hammock, gardening, playing with my three dogs, traveling with my partner, hiking, cycling, coaching sports (for DCI), and visiting my family in Kentucky. I am very excited for the 2017-2018 school year and all the new and old faces I’ll see!
Carsten Binsner, Technology Teacher
My name is Carsten Binsner, I was born and grow up in Berlin, Germany. After I finished high school, I started my apprenticeship as a pipe fitter. Once I became a Pipe Fitter Journeyman, I spent five years working for the Gas and Water Company in Berlin. I went back to school and became a Master Pipe Fitter (equivalent of bachelor’s degree in engineering). While working as a Journeyman and Master Pipe fitter I also worked at a government recreation center teaching youth hands-on projects and chaperoning youth exchange trips. In 1998 I moved to the USA. I was an IT Instructor for seven years at a nonprofit organization supporting homeless individuals and families. In 2006, I started to work as a Technology Teacher at WMST PCHS and received my Praxis II Certification in Technology and German. I believe that teaching technology including some German engineering brings great advantage to my students. I look forward to being part of the team that will create the best CTE Progam (Career Technology Education Programs) in the DC Area with DCI. Having experienced the whole spectrum of the dual education system, I am uniquely positioned to create this exciting program at DCI. I truly believe that “if you never try, you never will reach the sky.”
Tosharo Dickson, Discipline Specialist
Khalihia Evans, Educational Fellow
Jorge Granados-de la Rosa, Educational Aide
I am a DC native who grew up in the Columbia Heights Neighborhood and returned home to teach after attending college in Fort Worth, TX. I received my Bachelor of Science Degree from Texas Wesleyan University, where my studies focused on advanced mathematics, physics, and philosophy. I have worked as afterschool program coordinator as well as math and reading interventionist at the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School. While living in Fort Worth I had the opportunity to work with youth at the Polytechnic United Community Center as an afterschool program teacher while also working as a teaching assistant for both the math and physics departments of Texas Wesleyan University. I enjoy cycling, reading, playing the drums, speaking Spanglish and consider myself half Mexican, half Salvadoran, and entirely Washingtonian.
Melissa Leiva, Educational Fellow
Cassandra Martinez, Discipline Specialist
Saludos! I am thrilled to be part of the DC International School team! I am an El Salvadoran, first generation born, D.C. Native! I attended and graduated from DC Public Schools, so working for a DC school is close to heart. As an urban child of immigrant parents, it is my passion to provide students and families with assurance of cultural understanding and academic success regardless of socio-economic backgrounds.
I received my education from St. Mary’s College of Maryland where I first experienced working with middle school students. During my time at Lexington Park Middle School, I supported students in their reading and reading comprehension. I learned that students in middle school require someone to listen to them and validate their sentiments. I enjoy being able to provide students with motivational conversations to help thrive their academic potential and expand their cultural competency.
Most of my educational experience comes from working with school-aged children in an out-of-school time non profit program at CentroNia in Washington, D.C. During my 6 years at CentroNia, I worked as an assistant and lead teacher with students from kindergarten to sixth grade. I led a large number of after-school classes ranging from creative arts, such as Latin dance to academic enrichment classes which integrated what students learned in the classroom with real-life engaging activities. Later, I became a third grade coach for the program.
While working as a coach, I also interned with DC Bilingual’s Special Education director where I worked one-on-one as a reading intervention teacher. I was also a first and second grade small reading group Spanish instructor. Outside of school, I enjoy attending comedy and sporting events and cheering on all D.C. teams!
I come to DCI with a huge smile as I am still able to service some of the very same students I’ve watched grow since kindergarten! I am ecstatic to be able to continue watch all students master their world languages and am eager to improve my conversational French and begin to learn Chinese!
Brandon Mills, Discipline Specialist
I’ve been called the gentle giant but some may disagree. I am from a small town that some people may know about and some don’t. I graduated from Bowie State University with a B.S. in psychology and now am pursuing my Masters. I can be the biggest & silliest adult but I know how to crack the whip when needed. Just key things to know I have some COLORFUL VIEWS and can give the word random a new definition.
Poyee Pang, Data and Assessment Manager
I am so excited to be joining the DCI team as a data manager. I am a former DC Teaching fellow, and have spent the last 4 years teaching math at a local charter school.
I was born in Hong Kong, but my family moved to Columbus, Ohio when I was two years old. I received my Bachelors in Business Administration from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!), and received my Masters in Public Administration and Policy from American University where I focused on education policy – specifically secondary education equity and access. My passion is within the world of education and in putting all opportunities within reach for our students.
In my free time I can be found paddleboarding/kayaking, hiking, cooking, and looking for new food to try in the city. I am looking forward to supporting DCI through data and math, and for what’s in store for this upcoming year!
Doug White, Educational Aide
Robert Wright, Educational Fellow
Hello, my name is Robert Wright. I grew up in a military family which gave me the opportunity to live and attended a number of schools in Europe then Asia and lastly coming to Bolling AFB in Washington, DC. I am currently finishing my schooling to receive my degree in Social Work. I came to DCI from Pittsburgh, PA where I ran various after school extracurricular activities, athletics, and STEM academics. My passion is for students to believe that they can complete and achieve anything that they put their minds to with hard work and confidence. Outside of school I like to stay active by playing soccer, traveling to new places, and taking pictures. I am not completely fluent in Spanish but I would say my comprehension is muy bueno. I am excited to experience DCI’s Chinese immersion program and learn the Chinese language.
Kathleen Schroeder, Librarian
Roxy Majera, Educational Assistant
Howdy y’all! I’m Roxy, and I’m originally from Texas. I studied primary bilingual education. During my undergrad, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain which inspired my wanderlust. This led to teaching English for three years in a quaint little town called Hirosaki, Aomori, located in northern Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program(JET). Meanwhile, making incredible experiences with amazing people from all walks of life. After Japan, I spent time traveling, re-connecting with my family, friends, and community in San Antonio, TX. In the midst of all that, I found love in DC. Hence, here I am embracing the DMV life and enjoying my time in DCI. Go Dragons!
Aurelia Akpan, Human Resources Manager
I am a graduate of Saint John’s University and I have been working in human resources for three years now. I love traveling, meeting new people and exploring all that DC has to offer! I am thrilled to see DCI grow and watch students become global citizens!
Andrea Contreras, Reception
Nora Escobar, Food Service
Lauren Games, Communications and Business Associate
I earned my BA in International Affairs and Spanish from West Virginia University and my Masters of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. At DCI, I handle communications, marketing, public relations, and student recruitment. I am also working hard to make DCI’s vision for international travel a reality for all of our students. In my free time, I love kayaking, baking, and volunteering. I’m excited to watch our students grow this year and am proud to be part of such an amazing team!
Melody Garcia, Reception
Brian Huynh, IT
Luisa Juarez, Office Admin
I was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended DC Public Schools including the language immersion program at Oyster Bilingual Elementary school. I earned my BA in History from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. I have worked with the DCI business team since its inaugural year and have lead a variety of ACE cooking and baking clubs. I love traveling, baking, reading thrillers, drinking tea, and leading the amazing DCI Doctor Who lunch club! I love interacting with our students everyday and I’m excited to continue watching them grow in our new space at Delano Hall!
Denise Lyons, Business and Compliance Manager
I earned my BA in English from the University of Maryland, College Park.
My experience in Education started in April 2008, when I joined the founding team of Washington Yu Ying PCS in the Business Department. An internationally-minded, multi-lingual education is an attainable goal and should be available to public school students in the District.
In my personal life, I love spending time with family, cooking, hiking, swimming in the warm ocean, cycling and traveling.
I am conversationally proficient in Mandarin and possess a rudimentary level of French, which I hope to enhance by working at DCI.
DC International School will be a great school for DC students, and I am thrilled to be a part of the adventure.
Carlos Navas, Facilities
I was born in Washington, D.C., but my parents are from El Salvador. I have lived in this area for most of my life. I attended Montgomery College and the University of Maryland. Even though I was a Psychology major, I went into Landscape construction and contracting. I was the Facilities Grounds Manager for Gallaudet University for over 12 years and worked at the Audubon as their property manager prior to joining DCI. I am married to a school teacher, and have two kids, and two dogs.