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New Faculty and Staff Join Dana Hall

New Faculty and Staff Join Dana Hall
As the 2020-21 school year commences, 21 new faculty and staff members join the Dana Hall community. The new additions bring diverse backgrounds and talents that will benefit all aspects of the School.


Classroom Teachers

Alla Baranovsky rejoins the Math Department this fall as an Upper School math teacher. She will teach a full course load in the Math Department and advise Dana Hall’s Model UN Club. Baranovsky holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Government and Statistical Methodology, and Bachelor’s Degrees from St. Petersburg State University for Engineering and Economics and from Drew University.

Kaitlin Brandt was hired in December 2020 to cover Fred Lindstrom’s courses while he was on sabbatical. She will continue her work in the English Department this year, and she will also serve as a Class Dean. Prior to Dana Hall, Brandt worked as a Reading and Writing Specialist at MassBay Community College and as an English teacher at Belmont High School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Williams College and a Master’s of Education in Teaching and Curriculum from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Lauren Funk joins the Social Studies Department, and this year she will teach two sections of Western Civilization. Funk is working to complete her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction for Social Studies Education at Boston University. Previously, she was a social studies teacher and team leader at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord, Massachusetts. Funk earned a B.A. in Justice and Law from American University and an MAT in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.

John (Jake) McShane joins our Upper School Science Department this year, where he will teach physics and chemistry. Most recently, McShane taught physics and chemistry at Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody, Massachusetts. He is also currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology through the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. McShane earned a B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Communications, from Fordham University. He then completed a Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Post Baccalaureate Program at Fordham. He will join the coaching staff for the squash program this winter.

Serena Smith joins the World Languages Department as our Upper School Mandarin teacher. She is an experienced Mandarin teacher who has worked in many different settings, most recently at Thacher Montessori School and Pingree School. A graduate of Hamilton College (with a major in Chinese and a minor in Public Policy), Smith has lived and worked in Beijing and in the U.S. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Chinese Pedagogy at Middlebury College. 

Deb Sullivan joins the Performing Arts Department as the Technical Theater Director. Sullivan has worked in theater for more than 20 years. Her jobs have ranged from Theater Manager for Boston Center for the Arts; Production Manager for Actors Shakespeare Project, The Public Theater in New York, and the Festival Ballet Providence; and a freelance lighting designer for off-broadway, regional, professional, collegiate and high school theatres. Sullivan holds an undergraduate degree in Speech, Communication, and Theatre from Duquesne University.

Administrative Staff

Amy Abair will join the Middle School leadership team as the Middle School Counselor. Since 2013, she has been the School Counselor at Boston Prep, where she worked directly with students, faculty, and families. She also served as a member of the faculty at the Wheelock Graduate School of Social Work and as a counselor in youth-oriented programs in New Jersey, New York City, and Boston. Abair graduated from Pine Manor College with a B.A. in Psychology and earned a Master of Social Work degree from Boston College. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. 

Alexander Adames joined the Admission team this summer as Assistant Director of Admission. Formerly, Adames served as the Assistant Director of Graduate Support and High School Placement Coordinator at Nativity Preparatory School, a tuition-free Jesuit institution for boys from low-income families in Boston. Additionally, Alex has taught 8th grade writing and 6th grade social studies. Alex earned a B.A. in Political Science from Quinnipiac University and an M.Ed. in Education, Leadership and Policy from Lynch School of Education at Boston College.

Jacquelyne Anderson joins the Upper School Student Affairs team as the Student Activities Coordinator. Anderson earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans, where she also played basketball. She earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. Most recently, she worked as a team clinician at Vinfen Corp. and as a clinical case manager at a residential treatment facility in Natick. Anderson will also be a coach for the basketball program.

Michelle Davis joined the Advancement team in late March as the Major Gifts Officer and is now the Major & Planned Gifts Officer. Davis has had leadership and fundraising roles at St. Mark's School, Phillips Exeter Academy, The Rivers School, Nashoba Brooks School, and Dartmouth College. She has a degree in Government from Dartmouth and her J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

Liz Gray returns to campus this fall to serve as Interim Library Director. She knows Dana Hall and our library well, having served as Library Director from 1992-2014.  Since leaving that role, Gray has served as a consultant to over a dozen schools and worked in interim roles at other independent schools, including Newton Country Day and Belmont Hill. She earned a B.A. from Reed College, an M.A. from Tufts University, and an M.L.S. from Simmons College.

Emma Johnson is the new Upper School Librarian. Previously, Johnson served as a librarian at the Commonwealth School. Prior to that role, she worked as a Library Assistant at Milton Academy. Johnson will also serve as the Upper School Educational Technologist, leading the Educational Technology Facilitators and contributing as a member of our Technology Working Group. She earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.

Rachel Nagler is the new Director of Community, Equity and Inclusion. Most recently the Director of Equity and Inclusion at the Village School in Pacific Palisades, California, Nagler has 12 years of experience leading DEI initiatives at the school leadership level and 16 years of work experience in academic institutions as a teacher, advisor, dorm parent and administrator. Prior to her time at the Village School, she was Director of Equity and Inclusion at Head-Royce School in Oakland, California and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Illinois. She started her teaching career at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Nagler earned a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.

Lydia Van Hoven Stoye is the new Upper School Dean of Students. Previously, she served as the Director of Community Life at Cushing Academy in Massachusetts and the Assistant Dean of Students at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. In addition to her work at the aforementioned independent day/boarding schools, Stoye has also worked as a director of a girls’ camp and an assistant supervisor and care provider in a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls. Her academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and Institutional Research from Pennsylvania State University.

Joani Whalen joins our College Counseling team with extensive experience in administrative roles in schools and colleges. Most recently, she was the Executive Assistant to the Head of School at Chestnut Hill School, and she has also worked at Mount Ida College, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Babson College. Whalen earned her undergraduate degree in education at the Johannesburg College of Education, her master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and her doctorate in education leadership from Regis College.

Natalie Zervas brings wide-ranging professional experience to her role as Director of Counseling. She has served in a variety of clinical and academic settings, including appointments at Bradley Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island. Additionally, she taught as an Assistant Professor at Brown University and Adjunct Professor at Rhode Island College. Since 2017, Zervas has worked as a counselor and administrator at Phillips Academy Andover, where she most recently served as Interim Director of Psychological Services. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University.

Residential House Assistants

A. Foley graduated from Wellesley College in 2020 with a major in Middle Eastern Studies and a minor in Russian. She is currently studying International Politics through the World Campus at Pennsylvania State University.  While at Wellesley, Foley spent a semester abroad at St. Petersburg State University and studied Arabic in Morocco. Foley played field hockey and rowed crew at Wellesley; she will help to coach field hockey at Dana Hall as well. 

Ayla Han graduated from Wellesley College in 2021 with a degree in Education Studies and a minor in English. While at Wellesley, she served on the executive board of the Chinese Students Association and worked at Harvard’s Chinatown Afterschool Program. She was also the Global Tea Coordinator at the Slater International Student Center at Wellesley College.

Mary Ollen graduated from Wellesley College in 2018 with a degree in Political Science. A native of Martha’s Vineyard, she has worked on multiple political campaigns in and out of Massachusetts. After working as a long-term substitute at her high school and as the kitchen manager at a camp in Maine, Ollen has decided to focus her career on working with and supporting young people. She will help to coach field hockey at Dana Hall as well. 

Athletic Coaching Staff

Kelvin Rivera is Dana Hall’s new Varsity Volleyball head coach. His impressive volleyball experience at the club and high school levels, in addition to his knowledge of the game, will be instrumental in the program’s future success. Rivera founded the Owls Volleyball Club in 2019 and has dedicated his time and energy to teaching girls ages 5-18 how to advance their skills and develop a passion for the sport. For the past three seasons, Rivera served as the head volleyball coach at Weston High School and the boys 16’s coach for SMASH volleyball. From 2016-18, Rivera served as the head volleyball coach at the MGA Volleyball Club in Weston, Mass.

Taya Latham is Dana Hall’s new Varsity Ice Hockey coach. She has more than 13 years of ice hockey experience at the high school level. Latham grew up playing hockey in Edina, Minn. She has been coaching high school hockey since graduating from Williams College in 2007, where she was a four-year varsity hockey player and majored in history. Latham spent three years with the Minneapolis Novas program before moving to The Blake School.