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Check out the latest episode of our PDS podcast!
#2. 1984 alum, Sam Solovey, interviews current pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten, first and second graders to find out what they love about school and their beloved mascot, Beako! Click here to listen. #1. 1984 Primary Day School alum, Sam Solovey interviews 5 members of the faculty. Hear what Merren Booth (Art Teacher), Ryan Manalo (Director of Diversity and Campus Programs), Kristina Muldoon (2nd Grade Teacher and PDS Alum), Kirsten House (2nd Grade Teacher and PDS Alum) and Lynn Najaka (Phonovisual Specialist) have to say about what drew them to teach at Primary Day, what makes the school so special and where they see PDS in the next 25 years. Click here to listen.
Jamie started at Primary Day in 2020. For the last five years she worked at St. Jane de Chantal School as a Pre-K and Kindergarten Teacher. Jamie graduated from High Point University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in STEM. She grew up in Bethesda where she attended The Academy of the Holy Cross. Jamie is thrilled be part of PDS where she will foster a love and joy for learning with her students. In her free time, Jamie enjoys running, Pure Barre, cooking and spending time with her twin sister Maria.
Merren joined Primary Day in 2018. Merren has taught visual arts to elementary and middle school students for more than 20 years, from assemblages to zoetropes. She is a painter and illustrator and began working in fused glass in 2010. Merren enjoys working with young artists because they are open-minded, curious, and enthusiastic. She believes everyone should feel the joy of making something with their own two hands.
Milly joined Primary Day as the Chinese teacher in 2019 and is a native speaker of both Mandarin and Taiwanese. Since emigrating to the U.S. in 2015, Milly has completed a program for teaching Mandarin as a second language through Taiwan's National Open University, three educational training programs for teaching Mandarin through the Overseas Community Affairs Council of the Republic of China and received Teacher Merit Awards from the Association of Chinese Schools in both 2017 and 2019. She teaches Mandarin at several schools in the area. Milly is committed to helping young students build language skills and cultural awareness that can serve them well throughout their lives.
Alison joined the Primary Day staff in 2014. Prior to Primary Day, she worked as the Admissions Coordinator and taught Pre-K at St. Bartholomew Catholic School in Bethesda. In her free time, Alison enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, and going to the beach.
Maureen’s association with Primary Day began in 2003 when her daughter became a student in Pre-Kindergarten. She served as an active parent volunteer on various committees and as co-chair of the 60th anniversary gala. Maureen joined Primary Day as the Business Manager in 2008 after working as the Director of Marketing for many years in the commercial architecture and interior design industry in Washington, D.C. Maureen has a B.A. in Art History.
Susanna began her work at Primary Day in 2013. She was well acquainted with the philosophy and traditions of Primary Day since her son and daughter graduated from Primary Day in 2016 and 2010. Previously, Susanna taught at Horace Mann Elementary School, where she used the Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Program as well as Responsive Classroom. Prior to teaching, she was employed by a non-profit association devoted to the education of children around the world through museum programming. Much of her volunteer work has involved activities for children. Susanna enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, traveling, and reading.
Dannette joined Primary Day as a staff member in 2005. She is currently the Executive Assistant to the Head of School and also a member of the Next School Placement Team. Dannette spent eight years in the Admission Office and three years in the Advancement Office. Both of her children attended Primary Day before she began her tenure. As a parent in the Primary Day community, she enjoyed volunteering for many different roles and events over the years. Dannette enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, being outdoors and traveling.
Mary has been involved with Primary Day since 1992. She began as a parent of two graduates, and then, for the past eighteen years, has been the Office Manager. Mary was also the creator and director of GRASP (Golden Rule After School Program). She has a Child Development and Curriculum Certification from the State of Maryland and is a graduate of Furman University and Holton-Arms School. Mary and her family enjoy visiting Top Chef and Food Network restaurants throughout the country.
Jeanne joined the Primary Day community in 2015. Previously, she supported upper level administration at Sidwell Friends School. Jeanne taught for twenty-six years in independent and public schools, worked six years in admissions at the collegiate level and for five years providing administrative support for upper level managers at independent schools.
Rina joined Primary Day School in 2019 as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Prior to her work here, Rina served as an elementary teacher at independent schools in New York City. She’s excited to work with PDS’s youngest children and to create an environment that fosters a love for learning while exploring the world around them. Rina loves traveling and spending time with her husband and two boys who both attend Primary Day.
Diane began working at Primary Day in 2000. In STEM, she enjoys exploring science, nature and technology with hands-on projects to explore how things work. Along with the students, Diane curates Primary Day's outdoor garden and greenhouse. Prior to teaching STEM, she taught Pre-K. When her daughter attended Primary Day, Diane was a Girl Scout leader. Before coming to Primary Day, Diane was Projects Coordinator of the New Horizons Arts and Cultural Program at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC. In her free time, she works as a wildlife rescue volunteer. Diane enjoys gardening, singing, and making miniatures.
Lois began working at Primary Day in 2014. She has worked as a School Nurse for ten years in both public and private schools. She has taught every course in Nursing education except psychiatry at the college level. Lois holds a Vermont State certification in School Nursing. Lois spends her summers and long weekends in Londonderry, VT where she golfs with her husband as much as possible. Also she relishes the time she plays with all her grandchildren.
Kirsten joined the Primary Day team in 2016. A Primary Day alum, she is delighted to return to the cornerstone of her education and a source of many happy memories. Kirsten has been a classroom teacher for over twenty years. She taught Second Grade and Kindergarten at Grace Episcopal Day School, and Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten at Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School. Kirsten graduated from Holton-Arms School, where her daughter is currently a student.
Jaclyn began working at Primary Day in 2014. Before teaching here, Jaclyn taught First, Second and Third grades at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD and also Primary Multiage at Independent Day School in Tampa, FL. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida.
Paula started at Primary Day in 2020. For the last eight years she has worked as a teacher in Japan, through the JET teaching fellows program, and the Palestinian city of Nablus. She also taught children in West Virginia and Maine. For her M.A., she was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in the Netherlands. Paula grew up in Charleston, West Virginia. Her hobbies include writing and making art. She enjoys infusing creativity into her classes. Paula is currently training for a long-course distance Iron Man race in 2021, and plans to bike to school for transportation. Watch out for cyclists; you may see her on the road!
Michal Levitas joined the Pre-Kindergarten team at Primary Day in 2015. She taught at Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Center for the previous three years. Michal has particular talents in opera, music, art and theater.
Scott Lawrence became the Head of Primary Day School in 2016. From 2011 until 2016, he served as the Head of the Lower School at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. He has been an educator of young children for over thirty years. Prior to his tenure at Stone Ridge, Scott worked as Principal at the Seymour Elementary School, Head at St. Thomas School, and Head of the Lower School at Chase Collegiate School, all in Connecticut. A former Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher, elementary librarian and reading consultant, Scott also served on the faculty of both Northwestern Connecticut College and, for nearly 20 years, at the University of St. Joseph, where he taught graduate level courses in Educational Leadership, Curriculum Development and Educational Research. Scott is the proud father of a daughter, Emily, who is married and lives in Boston, and a son, Zachary, who lives with his wife and three dogs in Connecticut. In his time away from school, Scott enjoys traveling, deserted beaches and cooking great meals with friends.
Ryan began working at Primary Day in 2016. He joined Primary Day as a P.E. teacher and Director of Extended Day. He has worked in a variety of educational non-profit organizations serving middle and school age students in schools across Baltimore City and the Washington, D.C. region. He has held positions directing extended day and summer programs, managing staff, and working closely with families. Currently, Ryan is the Director of Diversity and Campus Programs at Primary Day. He is charged with advancing the school's mission to respect diversity, value equity, and foster inclusion among all who come to Primary Day. Ryan is passionate about this work.
Michael joined Primary Day in 2014. He earned his Accounting degree from the University of Maryland and is a proud Terp. Michael has worked in both the private and non-profit sectors; however, his most rewarding experience is being in an independent school environment. "The positive energy from the children motivates me and makes for a pleasant work day."
Kimberly began at Primary Day as a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher in 1995 and continued in this position until 1998, when her twin daughters were born. She returned to Primary Day as an Admission Associate in 2004 and remained in that position until 2012 when she returned to the classroom; teaching is her true passion. She began her teaching career working at Cashell Elementary School in Olney, MD as a Kindergarten Enrichment Teacher and the Director of the Before and After School Program. Kimberly is a native of Maryland, growing up in Darnestown and later attending Connelly School of the Holy Child, and University of Maryland. In her free time, Kimberly is a volunteer on the pediatric unit at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and a Member of Kappa Delta Pi. She enjoys spending time with her family, taking long walks with her dog, cooking and traveling.
Lisa joined the Primary Day staff in 2013. Before coming to Primary Day, she taught Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten at The Haverford School for Boys in Haverford, PA. Lisa has completed her Wilson Reading System Level I Certification. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing in various vocal groups, and spending time with friends and family. She loves to encourage a love of learning, creativity and independence in her students.
Arianna joined the Primary Day faculty in 2004. She received her B.A. in Music from The College of William and Mary, a Master’s Degree in Clarinet Performance from The University of Michigan, and her Music Teaching Certification from The Catholic University of America. Prior to working at Primary Day, Arianna taught music at Rolling Terrace Elementary School, The Pinecrest School in Virginia, The Levine School of Music. She currently maintains a private clarinet studio with students accepted into Montgomery County Honors Bands, Maryland All-State Bands, Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra, and Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra. Arianna has performed with the Capitol Wind Symphony, Capital City Symphony, Washington Symphony, and Maryland Chamber Orchestra. Arianna is married to fellow music teacher and concert saxophonist, Jason McFeaters, and enjoys fishing, skiing, golfing, and spending time with her three boys, Sebastian, August, and Dash!
Lori began teaching at Primary Day in 2009. She has been a Pre-K Teacher, an Assistant Teacher, and a Librarian. Lori taught Kindergarten and Second Grade in Pennsylvania and First Grade in Florida before coming to Primary Day. She graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kutztown University with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She has completed numerous graduate courses at Lehigh University and Drexel University. Lori’s professional affiliations include Kappa Delta Pi and membership in the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In her free time, Lori enjoys spending time with her children and reading.
Kristina joined the faculty of Primary Day in 2008. After a year of teaching Pre-K, Kristina moved to Second Grade where she has been teaching since. Kristina was the Co-Chair of the AIMS Accreditation Steering Committee from 2013-2016. A graduate of Primary Day, Kristina went on to attend Holton-Arms School for ten years before attending Bowdoin College where she majored in Art and Education. She combined her love of art and children by working as a children’s tour guide at the Peary-Macmillan Arctic Museum in Brunswick, Maine. Following college, Kristina completed her Masters Degree in Education from Marymount University, while teaching at The Harbor School in Bethesda. She also spent three years teaching at The Bethesda Community School. Kristina feels lucky to have had rewarding and varied experiences teaching Art, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Second Grade before returning to teach at her alma mater. Perhaps her proudest accomplishment has been watching her three children follow in her footsteps and attend Primary Day. In her free time, Kristina enjoys running, coaching lacrosse, and most importantly, spending time with her family.
Lynn has taught at Primary Day since 1989. She taught Pre-K for two years and then moved into the Phonovisual Specialist position, teaching Phonovisual to Kindergarten and First Grade. She conducts Phonovisual workshops for parents and for teachers at other independent schools in the area. Lynn is also the yearbook coordinator for Primary Day, working with parents to develop a yearbook for Second Grade students. She started her teaching career in Frederick County, VA as a First Grade teacher upon graduating from Shepherd University. While at Primary Day she completed her graduate degree from Hood College in Early Childhood Education. Both of her children graduated from Primary Day. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in the Family Ministry at her church, traveling, reading and spending time with her family.
Paz began working at Primary Day in 2018. She is both a native of Uruguay and a native Spanish speaker. Paz has a master’s degree in teaching Spanish as a foreign language as well as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and graduate certifications in learning disabilities in Uruguay. For the past 15 years she has been teaching Spanish to students of all ages. Paz understands that teaching a language is also teaching the culture of the Spanish speaking world. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband and three children spending time outdoors, camping, sailing and visiting museums.
Karen joined The Primary Day School community as a PE teacher in 2017, bringing with her years of experience in health and fitness. Prior to teaching at PDS, Karen managed several gyms and worked as a Pre-K teacher in southern California, where she also developed the physical education curriculum for students enrolled in the extended day program. With a passion for helping others live healthier and happier lives, Karen also works as an independent Health and Fitness Coach, and in her spare time enjoys spending time with family, continuing education courses, trail running and yoga.
Adam Roach joined Primary Day as Librarian in 2017. The son of a teacher, Adam has worked in schools since he was a student, himself. After teaching Middle School Language Arts for six years, he made the transition to School Library Media in 2013 and has worked in public, private, and charter schools throughout Washington, DC and Virginia. In his free time, Adam works to raise money for hospitals in DC with the Extra Life charity organization. Adam is the father of one son and a daughter, and lives with them and his wife, Margaret, in DC.
Ashley began working at Primary Day in 2013. Prior to coming to Primary Day, Ashley worked at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia as a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant, Substitute Teacher, and Staff Member in the Extended Day Program. She has spent the last 15 Summers working as a Teacher and Counselor at Holton-Arms Creative Summer Camp. She enjoys the variety of classes she has taught at Creative Summer and currently teaches a jewelry making class. Ashley grew up in Bethesda. She is a graduate of Norwood School and St. Andrews Episcopal Day School. She holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English from Principia College and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Marymount University.
Cameron joined Primary Day in 2016 as a member of the GRASP staff. After graduating college with a degree in Theatre, she spent a year workshopping a new musical based on the children's book series Petalwink the Fairy. During this experience, she had the opportunity to tour the Midwest performing the musical and educating children in theatre. During the summer, Cameron also works as a camp counselor at Holton-Arms Creative Summer. In addition to working at Primary Day, she owns a pet care business called "Crazy4Pooches". She is thrilled to continue working at Primary Day as a teacher in the GRASP program.
Lori's connection to Primary Day began in 2014 when her oldest son entered Pre-K. Her younger two sons followed and Lori's husband is a proud PDS alum. Prior to joining the staff at PDS Lori held several leadership volunteer positions. She earned her B.S. degree in elementary education at the University of Maryland and taught in Montgomery County public schools for many years before launching a tutoring firm that continues to operate in the DC Metro area. Lori enjoys reading, cooking, exercise classes and spending time with her family.
Cindy joined Primary Day as a consultant in 2016 and as a permanent member of the administrative team in 2017. With a proven approach of establishing focused, measurable goals and priorities to meet objectives, Cindy has served both non-profits and schools on the east coast for over twenty-five years. In the DC Metro area, Cindy has worked in advancement and mission development at The Barnesville School, Browne Academy, Georgetown Visitation, Maret School, and Stone Ridge. She is passionate about her role at PDS and the opportunity to engage the community in the strategic planning, execution and messaging necessary to sustain a healthy, mission appropriate enrollment.