New Faces for the 2022-23 School Year
Please join us in welcoming new employees for the upcoming school year!
Ryann Williams Berry - Middle School Director
Ryann is thrilled to be returning to her all girls’ school roots as the Middle School Director. Prior to Holton-Arms, Mrs. Berry was the director of curriculum and instruction at the Norwood School and, for over a decade, she worked at the National Cathedral School as a homeroom and English teacher in both fifth and sixth grades in addition to serving in the admissions office. She also taught ninth- and tenth-grade English at St. John’s College High School and has been a writing instructor at Montgomery College. Mrs. Berry has a strong interest in fueling intellectual risk taking among young girls and has engaged in research inquiries around this work. She examined best practices for developing skills that build a student’s ability to handle failure and engage in adaptive behaviors important to learning. Mrs. Berry is a native Washingtonian who loves to cheer on her beloved hometown sports teams, traveling to the beach, reading for enjoyment, and spending time with those dear. Mrs. Berry’s husband is also in education and she has a five-year old daughter, Alexandra, and a thirteen-year-old stepson, Isaiah. She and her husband are looking forward to welcoming another addition to the family in mid-October.
Kristen Brock - Upper School Math
Ms. Brock is thrilled to be joining the Holton-Arms community after having taught in the U.S. and internationally for the past 18 years. Originally from New Hampshire, she is a graduate of Bates College and has master's degrees in education from Antioch University of New England and from SUNY Buffalo. She has taught in international schools on five continents, including the countries of Poland, Taiwan, China, Bolivia, and Guatemala, and has just returned from living in the Republic of Congo. She is passionate about problem-based learning, service-learning, and helping students see themselves as global citizens. She is a wife, and a mother of two boys, Oliver (11) and Julius (8), and loves to read, cook, play tennis, and downhill ski.
Jeff Bryant - Upper School Chemistry
Mr. Bryant moved to Maryland from Nashville this summer and is excited to join the Holton-Arms community. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hanover College and a master’s in education from Vanderbilt University. Mr. Bryant brings over 20 years of experience in independent school teaching and administration and loves to help students explore scientific ideas and practice laboratory skills. Outside the classroom, he enjoys cycling, hiking, cooking, and trying new restaurants with his wife. They have two young adult daughters, one a senior at Loyola University Chicago and one a recent Georgetown University graduate.
Mary Cohen - Communications Assistant
Mary is delighted to return to Holton as the part-time Communications Assistant. She first joined the Holton community in 1999 as a parent and Mary has stayed in touch with the Holton community since then. Her two daughters graduated from Holton in ’08 and ’10. Over the years, Mary was active in the Parents Association, served as the administrative assistant for the Fine and Performing Arts Department, and has subbed in the LS. She enjoys most any outdoor activity, walking and biking along the C&O Canal, and spending time with family and friends.
Julia Cronin - Teaching Fellow and Social Studies Teacher
Ms. Cronin graduated from American University where she majored in history and secondary education. She is excited to be returning to Holton as a Teaching Fellow following her time here as a caring adult and student teacher. Ms. Cronin will be teaching 7th grade World Studies. In college she was a member of the executive board for American’s chapter of She’s the First, a nationwide organization dedicated to helping girls access education globally. Ms. Cronin is from Plymouth, Massachusetts but enjoys exploring the DC area over the past few years by visiting new bakeries and adventuring on hiking trails!
Vi Deane-Polyak - Teaching Fellow
Mr. Deane-Polyak is thrilled to be one of the three people making up Holton-Arms' inaugural class of Teaching Fellows! A recent graduate of George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, he is a Baltimore native with experience in tutoring through the program Reading Partners and as a teaching assistant for Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth summer camps. In his free time, he enjoys cross-stitching, singing, and criticizing video games as literary and artistic works just as much as he enjoys actually playing them.
Rachel Fuentes - Fourth Grade Homeroom Teacher
Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern University, a master’s degree in elementary reading and literacy from Walden University, and completed two certifications in educational leadership and STEM education. She believes a positive learning environment is essential in creating lifelong learners such as herself. She is skilled in adapting to her students’ diverse learning styles to promote risk takers and agents of change. She enjoys reading by the beach and crafting with her Cricut machine.
Elizabeth Garbee - MS Math Teacher
Dr. Garbee (she/her) is thrilled to be the newest member of the Holton middle school math faculty. She earned her undergraduate degree in astrophysics and the classics at Oberlin College and her PhD in science education policy at Arizona State University. Before discovering her passion for teaching, Dr. Garbee worked as a policy analyst at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She focuses on developing her students' math intuitions and igniting their curiosity about where math comes from and how it shapes our world. She especially loves project-based learning and mathematical art assignments. When she's not teaching, Dr. Garbee is a regular reviewer for the journal Issues in Science and Technology and spends her weekends gardening, working on DIY projects for her house, and exploring DC.
Troy Gordon - Lower School Academic Technology Coordinator
Troy is a career educator and educational technologist with over 30 years of experience. A Baltimore native, Troy has worked as a technology coach and leader in the U.S. and internationally. He founded the international ISSEA STEM competition held annually in Africa. He has also facilitated schools to craft school-wide technology visions in Zimbabwe and the Netherlands. He holds a doctorate in technology integration from Johns Hopkins University, where he researched ways to help teachers increase their self-efficacy in using technology in the classroom. He believes and promotes that when used purposefully and effectively, technology tools enrich teaching and learning and can empower learners to be lifelong creative problem solvers who contribute to bettering the world. In addition to exploring innovative ways for technology to enhance teaching and learning, he enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and videography.
Kaylah Grant, Panther Pantry Coordinator
Kaylah is a former Creative Summer counselor and joins us to lead the student employee-led after-school snack bar in the pool lounge. She is a dynamic, passionate, and focused public health professional and entrepreneur who has been a part of the Holton community since 2019. With old roots in the American South and newer ones abroad, she uses her global experience and educational expertise to help Holton girls succeed personally, professionally, and academically. By taking a hands-on approach to igniting changes in organizational culture and leadership at Holton and beyond, Kaylah hopes to inspire and motivate others.
Jessica Grow - Upper School Learning Specialist
Ms. Grow is looking forward to joining the Holton team in Upper School. She believes in a collaborative approach to student support and is looking forward to connect with students, their families, and faculty across the community. Ms. Grow has experience as a special educator and learning specialist in both public and independent school settings. She earned her B.S. in psychology at Frostburg State University. She is currently working on her EdD in special education leadership at the University of Maryland, where she earned her MEd in special education. Ms. Grow enjoys spending time with her two children, ages 2 and six months, trying new restaurants, and exploring new places.
Kate Harris - Lower School Learning Specialist
Kate has spent nearly twenty years working in independent schools in both New York City and Washington DC. She spent the majority of her career as a lower school teacher and learning specialist at The Buckley School and The Chapin School in Manhattan. Most recently, Kate was the lower school learning specialist at The Langley School in Virginia. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Kenyon College, and two master's degrees from New York University, the first in elementary education and the second in educational psychology and learning theories. In her spare time, Kate enjoys trying out new recipes, running, and hiking along with her husband and two daughters.
Tameka Jameson - Manager of School Store and Purchasing Services
Tameka joins Holton full-time after spending 2020-21 as a caring adult hired to help us conduct manage the many new responsibilities created by “doing School” in the pandemic. During that time she also coached track and has since been a counselor for our Speed & Agility summer camps. A Maryland native, she graduated from The University of Miami and holds a bachelor's degree in sports administration. She is a mom of one and a former professional 400 meter hurdler who has experience as a general manager and teacher. She has traveled the world competing and representing Nigeria’s national track team. She took her talents to coaching in 2015 and never looked back. After spending six years coaching at the high school level, in 2021, she became the assistant track coach to Olympians and world class athletes at ALTIS. After realizing her passion for youth sports, she returns to the high school scene at Holton-Arms to rejoin the Track team, as well, to take on a full-time position as the manager of school store and purchasing services. She is excited to call Holton home and looks forward to how she can add to the growth and development of the school store and the track program.
Kate Healy Johnson ’05 - Alumnae Director
Mrs. Johnson attended Holton for ten years and graduated in 2005. Following her time at Holton, Mrs. Johnson attended the University of Virginia and graduated in 2009 with a degree in political science. With 8 years of experience in customer service, including client acquisition, client retention and account management, she is the newest addition to Holton’s advancement team. She is looking forward to coming back to Holton to increase the connection between Holton alumnae and their alma mater. Mrs. Johnson lives in Maryland with her husband and two young children and enjoys horseback riding, cooking, gardening, and reading.
Tracy Kroloff - Middle School History and Upper School English
Ms. Kroloff was a substitute teacher at Holton last year and loved every minute of it. She is excited to be teaching history and creative writing this year. Ms. Kroloff graduated premed from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in history, and has a master's degree in education administration from Arizona State University. She got her start teaching in New York City as a Teach for America corps member and taught in schools in New York and Phoenix before becoming an assistant principal at Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center, a K-8 school in Scottsdale. Ms. Kroloff left teaching for a time to raise her children Max (16) and Nina (Holton ’29). She is thrilled to be back this year working with the thoughtful and vibrant students of Holton-Arms. An avid reader, Ms. Kroloff also enjoys swimming, yoga, hiking, opera, cooking, spending time with her family, and traveling back to the desert Southwest.
Pat McCullough - Middle and Upper School History
Dr. McCullough grew up in New England and spent 16 years living in California before moving to Rockville last year. With over a decade working in education, Dr. McCullough is excited to join the Holton history team. He has two master’s degrees (MDiv, MA) and earned his history PhD from UCLA, where he taught history, comparative literature, and the academic study of religion for seven years. He went on to teach social studies at Harvard-Westlake School and then at Green Acres School. Dr. McCullough is passionate about student-centered education, LGBTQ+ rights, and antiracism. He loves nature, podcasts, family games, stand-up comedy, and deep conversations. He’s a dad to an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter. His wife, Christina, is a lactation consultant who grew up in the Rockville area.
Ms. Silvia Monardo - Teaching Fellow
Silvia is excited to be joining the Holton community as an inaugural member of the Holton-Arms Teaching Fellowship Program. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and is a recent graduate of Denison University where she obtained her BA in educational studies. Silvia is looking forward to participating in the many facets of the Holton community and is eager to make connections with students and families. In her spare time, Silvia is an avid reader and an aunt to a one-year-old girl whom she loves to shower with books of every variety.
Heather Offen - Sixth Grade Science
Heather has been teaching science across grades K-7 for 25 years. She has worked in outdoor education centers and in private schools in New York, Georgia, and Massachusetts. For the past 14 years, she has been teaching science at The Park School, outside of Boston, to grades 4-7, with the past seven years mostly focused on 7th-grade science. She has also been the head of Park's Health & Wellness department for grades 6-8, and a soccer, basketball, and lacrosse coach to middle school girls' teams at Park. She continues to enjoy the excitement that students experience when understanding or seeing phenomena in a different way for the first time. The look of comprehension and the “Ah-ha!” moments continue to enthrall her. She loves pointing out how integrated science is in daily life, and enjoys empowering students to recognize their place in the world and be active members of their communities. Her family is from the DC area, and she is happy to be back near the beaches of Delaware, which is one of her favorite places to be.
Dustin Praylow - Dance
Dustin Praylow is a South Carolina native who began his dance training under the instruction of Karl Singletary at Dancin’ on Main Studios in Lake City, South Carolina. He furthered his dance training as a dance minor at the University of South Carolina, earning a degree in 2016. After graduation, Dustin began his professional career with Norwegian Creative Studios performing aboard the Norwegian Pride of America, The Regent Seven Seas Mariner, and performing in the Broadway Show After Midnight aboard the Norwegian Escape. Notable credits also include Trustus Theater’s production of Dreamgirls and the American Music Theater’s production of The First Noel. Dustin worked as a Performing Artist with Step Afrika! based in Washington D.C. for three consecutive years, and is now excited to join the dance program at Holton.
Tara Whitney Rison - Drama
Tara Whitney Rison is an actor, a certified functional nutrition coach, and a global educator. Her artistic and holistic philosophy continue to be her foundation and the lens in which she sees and interacts with the world. Tara Whitney’s belief in whole-person and anti-racism wellness and teaching inspires how she leads, performs and how she shows up. Tara Whitney is excited about her first year at Holton and her manifesting acting and educator career. She feels blessed to have Holton, the students, and the community in her path and believes it will serve and enhance all of us towards our individual and collective liberation.
Joseph Rivera - Upper School Computer Science
Mr. Rivera is excited to be joining the Computer Science Department at Holton. Born and raised in Miami, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Florida International University. During his time there he joined several research groups working on projects funded by the US Navy, Florida Department of Transportation, and National Science Foundation. Previously, he taught at an independent school in Miami working with students from 7th to 12th grade and advised the “Palmer Trinibots,” a middle school VEX Robotics team, for five years. In his free time Mr. Rivera loves to read, take walks, watch the Florida Panthers play hockey, and play video games.
Mary St. John - Upper School Science
Ms. St. John joins the Holton-Arms community as she applies to start medical school Fall 2023. She is a Bethesda native and attended Norwood School and Sidwell Friends School. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in mathematics, she worked as a data scientist at Clark Construction. Wanting a career with a greater impact, she enrolled in the Tufts University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program which she finished in May 2022. She tutored Biology at Tufts and is excited to connect with future scientists at Holton. Mary likes to stay active and is on a local cycling team. She swam at Carnegie Mellon and is excited to coach swimming at Holton!
Jean-Pierre Tazanu - P/T Webmaster
Jean-Pierre is excited to be working as the part-time webmaster this year at Holton. He started working at Holton-Arms through the creative summer program at 15 years old and worked as the head counselor of web design since 2019. Last year, he also began working during the school year as a teacher’s aide for the 3rd grade class and was also an extended day counselor for homework zone in Lower School and Middle School. He is very excited to be taking on the role of part-time webmaster and looks forward to continuing his help with Lower School and Extended Day.
Chalis Waizenegger - Grade 7-9 Learning Specialist
A D.C. native, Chalis is passionate about ensuring the success of students with diverse learning and emotional needs, and is thrilled to join the faculty at Holton. Chalis was the Learning Support Department Chair and High School Learning Specialist at Edmund Burke School, and most recently helped manage a graduate program in the School of Education at The George Washington University for educators who wanted to develop expertise in teaching students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds who also have learning and emotional disabilities. Chalis holds a BA in English and African-American studies from Earlham College, and an MA in special education and disability studies from The George Washington University. Chalis spends her free time traveling, practicing yoga, and reading! She and her husband live in the District and have two teenage sons.
Carrie Zulanas - Lower School Literacy Specialist
Ms. Zulanas is completing her 27th year in education. She has served as an upper elementary classroom teacher, academic dean, and assistant principal in various independent schools throughout the United States. Carrie earned a bachelor’s degree in English education from Indiana University and a master's degree in curriculum and instructional leadership from Vanderbilt University. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher. Carrie believes in the importance of creating a classroom community that inspires wonder. We are all natural inquirers, and it is our responsibility to nurture this quality in our students – encouraging them to seek answers to the questions they have about their world. When she is not teaching, Carrie loves to travel – she visited her 42nd country this summer – read, hike and play golf!