Chelsea Cameron – College Office Assistant (fall)
Chelsea, who has served as an assistant and then head coach of our girls’ varsity lacrosse team, will be serving this fall as an assistant in the College Office, ensuring that our College Guidance team has the human resources it needs to support our senior class through the early round of the college process this year. In addition to coaching lacrosse, Chelsea will be taking on the head coaching position of the Field Hockey team this fall. Chelsea is a graduate of Penn State University, with a B.S. in Secondary Education and an M.A. in Educational Psychology. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Education also at Penn State. At Penn State, she has worked in the Office of Compliance and Reporting for Outreach and Online education. She is excited to have a broader role this fall at the Academy.
Brandi Lawrence – Grade 5 Teacher
Brandi comes to Sewickley Academy from Friends Central School in Philadelphia, where she served as a Grade 5 humanities teacher. Prior to her time at Friends Central, Brandi was the Grade 3 lead teacher at the Latin School of Chicago and a Grade 1 Teacher at Georgetown Day School. A graduate of King & Low-Heywood Thomas School, an independent school in Stamford, Connecticut, Brandi went on to earn her B.A. in Communications at Howard University and her M.A.T. in Childhood Education at Manhattanville College. She began her teaching career at the Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, NY. In addition to engaging in her own professional development, Brandi has also served as a consultant to independent schools across the country, particularly in the area of equity and inclusion work in the Lower School classroom.
Karen McAvoy – Director of Finance & Operations
A native of Massachusetts, Karen has spent her entire career working in the public and nonprofit sectors, beginning her career working with the State of Massachusetts Highway Department and Port Authority as an auditor. She served for 17 years as the Director of Administration and Finance for Caravan for Commuters, Inc., a nonprofit committed to providing for the transportation needs of thousands of commuters in and around Boston. Later she served as the Finance Director of a national children’s healthcare advocacy group before becoming the Director of Finance and Accounting at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA.
During her nine years at Maimonides, Karen oversaw the business operations of the school, which enrolls 550 students and has 125 employees, strengthening its business operations while serving the mission of the school. More recently, Karen served as the Director of Finance and Operations at The New School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At The New School she oversaw the business office operations and also completed a $22.5 million facilities project that expanded the school’s academic space by 65,000 square feet, coming in on time and under budget.
Karen is a graduate of Salem State College (MA), with a B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance. References highlight her business acumen while also noting her excellent interpersonal skills. During her time working in schools, she has developed a reputation among her colleagues as a sharp-eyed financial leader who possesses warmth and empathy. Karen is looking forward to coming to Sewickley Academy to continue her career at a school that reflects her commitment to mission, teaching, and learning: in short to supporting individuals to be their best at what they do.
Jessica Nelson – Kindergarten Teacher
Jessica Nelson is pleased to be joining the Early Childhood Team teaching Kindergarten. She comes to us from her recent work at the West Street School in Geneva, NY, where she did her student teaching in Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Special Education. A graduate of Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, MA, an independent school similar to Sewickley Academy, Jessica went on to earn her B.A. in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude, and her M.A.T. at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is described by her references as a smart, responsible, child-centered leader and educator, who is possessed of good judgement. Jessica is excited to be launching her teaching career at Sewickley Academy and is looking forward to meeting our families this fall.
Kristen Rowe – Hansen Library Librarian
Having completed several years as a Library Media Specialist in the Plum Borough School District, Kristen Rowe joins the Hansen Library team as a librarian. Prior to her work at Plum, Kristen also had engagements with the Hopewell and Leechburg Area School Districts, as well as the Mars Area Public Library. She earned her B.A. in journalism at Penn State, University Park, and went on to complete the Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh, one of the premier programs of its kind in the country. Kristen enjoys working in libraries because she loves to learn and is eager to help students become savvy consumers of information and media. She is also looking forward to partnering with the faculty to enrich student learning across the curriculum.
Jill Small – Senior School English Teacher
Jill Small is pleased to be joining the Senior School English Department full-time this year after having provided superior contributions as a long-term substitute last year. In fact, Jill was such an excellent teacher that we extended her engagement through the remainder of last year on a part-time basis. A graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in Journalism, Jill went on to earn her M.A.T. in English at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to her arrival at Sewickley Academy, she taught high school English in both New York and California, first at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School and later at Berkley High School. Jill has taught courses from Grade 9 through AP and advised a school newspaper. Already a proven asset in our classrooms, Jill is glad to become a permanent member of our community.
Stacy Tallent – Hansen Library Assistant
A proud Hansen Library volunteer this last year; Stacy is happy to be coming on board in a more formal way as a part-time Library Assistant. Given her familiarity with the workings of the Hansen Library and her extensive experience providing administrative support in a variety of professional settings, Stacy will ensure that Hansen Library patrons, including students, faculty, and Director of Libraries Ruthie Neely, will be fully supported in the mornings. In addition to her previous experience as a receptionist in two different law firms, Stacy has a B.A. in Art History from the College of Charleston.
Gail Wolfe – Senior School History Teacher
Gail joins the Senior School History Department from St. Edmund’s Academy, where she taught French and World Cultures. Prior to her introduction to the independent school world, Gail taught at the University level at Chatham, the University of Pittsburgh, and Washington University in St. Louis, where she taught a variety of courses in Women and Gender Studies, the Politics of Education, and French. Gail earned her B.A. in French from the University of Missouri and completed the M.A. in French at Penn State, University Park. She earned her Ph.D. in Education at Washington University in St. Louis, concentrating on Urban Schooling; History; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A published author of a number of scholarly articles, Gail was recognized for her outstanding work with a University Fellowship at Washington University, as well as the Claude A. Eggerston Dissertation Prize. She is eager to join the History Department and leverage her talents to support learning opportunities of our students.