Gina Bossola – Kindergarten
Gina arrives at Sewickley Academy after five years at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, by way of St. Edmund’s Academy here in Pittsburgh where she spent the last school year. A seasoned elementary school teacher, with an MAT in Elementary Education form the University of Pittsburgh, Gina is a certified Early Childhood and Elementary School teacher in both Pennsylvania and Florida. She is committed to her professional growth as an educator and looks forward to joining the Early Childhood team and to contributing to the outstanding success of the program.
Marie Forst – Kindergarten
A 20-year veteran Early Childhood teacher, Marie comes to us from Winchester Thurston where she served for 14 years as the lead Pre-K teacher at their North Campus. Experienced in Reggio Emilia, a signature approach of our program, Marie earned her B.S., with honors, in Elementary Education and Early Childhood at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She subsequently earned an M.A. in Education with a focus on Instructional Technology from California State University, San Bernardino. Marie is described by her former supervisor as “igniting and fanning the flame of wonder and joy in each child that she comes in contact with, all the while expertly caring for each child’s intellectual, social-emotional, and physical growth and wellness.”
Geoff Hilsabeck – Senior School English
Geoff is excited to be returning to his roots, teaching at the high school level. He began his independent school career at the Middlesex School, teaching a variety of classes at all grade levels. Most recently he was an Assistant Visiting Professor of English at West Virginia University, where he taught undergraduates composition, poetry, and literary analysis. With a B.A. in English from Vassar, Geoff also holds an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in Poetry from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. A published poet and essayist, Geoff was also the recipient of a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship.
Molly Kraybill – Lower School Art
Molly is an experienced Elementary School art educator. She comes to us from the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she taught Kindergarten through Grade 5 students at Roosevelt Elementary School. With over six years of experience in a variety of school settings, as well as the Carnegie Museum of Art, Molly earned her B.A. in Photography and Digital Communications, Summa Cum Laude, from Easter Mennonite University. She began her career teaching in the Washington, D.C., Public Schools, where she also collaborated with the Hirshornn Museum of Art on the development of a digital media curriculum.
Douglas Leek, Ed.D. – Director of Admissions
Douglas began his independent school career at the prestigious Lakeside School in Seattle, where he served as Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for six years before being appointed Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at The Northwest School in Seattle.
During his six years at The Northwest School, Douglas instituted significant department and institutional changes, which stabilized enrollment and increased the population of students of color by 9% to bring the total to 33%. He also worked closely with the Head of School and CFO to develop annual and multi-year predictive models to ensure congruence with budgets, net tuition goals, and financial aid.
Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Western Washington University, where he also earned a Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration. He subsequently went on to earn his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. Among his former colleagues, Douglas is known for his integrity, his good judgement, and his listening skills. Douglas is “a doer” who is able both to develop a strategic enrollment plan and to execute that plan. A “gifted
facilitator,” Douglas supports a process of “collaborative decision-making” driven by a thoughtful and sensitive consideration of all relevant issues.
Ben Scoville – Director of Teaching and Learning
Ben comes to us from the Cheongna Dalton School (CDS) in Incheon, South Korea, where he served as CDS’s Director of Middle School, having previously held the post of Dean of Students.
Ben’s career has been characterized by a profound commitment to children and to supporting classroom practices that promote student voice. A gifted English teacher himself, Ben was a model for his colleagues long before he assumed increasingly important leadership positions. Ben believes in the importance of culture in schools and has made a centerpiece of his leadership the development of a culture that supports teaching and learning, and student and faculty engagement. He understands that change only happens when we appeal to hearts and not just minds. In his educational philosophy, Ben shared, "I believe one of the most important functions of my job is to foster teacher leadership. One of the ways I do this is by presenting evidence highlighting the gap between our stated vision and current reality. If we truly believe A...then why are we doing B? Doing so generates a sense of urgency around positive change. I then take a collective inquiry approach to problem-solving. How can we address this problem? What might be possible? By providing a space in which teachers can explore the full range of possibilities, I provide them with voice and opportunity to take ownership of school improvement initiatives. I'm consistently amazed and humbled by the creativity and initiative shown by teachers once empowered."
Ben earned his B.A. in English from the University of Utah, returning some years later to Salt Lake City to complete his M.A. in Teaching at Westminster College. With his solid grounding in the best practices of 21st century education, a leadership style that recognizes and supports the amazing accomplishments of teachers even as it seeks to promote growth, and a worldview that has been nurtured over a decade overseas, Ben is excited to continue his own personal and professional journey at Sewickley Academy.
Rodney Slappy – Senior School History and Social Science
Rodney joins the Senior School History Department this year after having served for nine years as a History and Social Studies Teacher and Chair of the Department at Lincoln Learning Solutions, a national provider of online education for high school students. With a B.A. in History and an M.A.T. in Social Studies from Howard University, Rodney brings a deep commitment to the study of history with an extraordinary set of skills to support students in the online environment. Having begun his career in a traditional classroom at The Academy for Learning Through the Arts in Washington, D.C., Rodney is eager to bring his wide range of teaching skills and passion for history to support his newest students here in Sewickley Academy’s classrooms.
Brittani Spencer – Annual Giving Officer
Brittani has joined the Advancement Office, where she serves as our Annual Giving Officer, in charge of coordinating and leading the support for our annual philanthropic efforts. Brittani comes to us from Nashville, Tennessee, where she served as the Director of Development at St. Bernard Academy. Previously, she held several positions with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), rising through the ranks from being a Development Associate, to a Senior Development Associate, to a Major Gifts Officer. A graduate of Slippery Rock University with a B.S. in Communications and Public Relations, Brittani also has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Pittsburgh. She is pleased to be continuing her career supporting education here at Sewickley Academy.