Colley Bell / Head of School & History Teacher

Colley Bell considers himself first and foremost a teacher. His thirty year career in independent schools has covered a wide range of roles and responsibilities (most recently and notably as new Head of School at Middleburg Academy) and he has been a classroom instructor for many of those years. His very first position, with the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York, was as teacher, dorm parent, and coach. He then went on to teach and coach at the Worcester Academy (MA), where he was named Teacher of the Year; Louisville Collegiate (KY); Lake Forest Academy (IL); and Tower Hill School (DE). He has a known passion for Civil War, Russian and English history (and even studied the history of the Anglican Church in Oxford), as well as the Shakers and American communitarian experiments. Conversations with Colley Bell often lead to historical topics, whether it is a curiosity about “Homeland” – the original farm property upon which our campus is situated — or his own family’s fascinating past. Visitors to the Head of School office will note the maps, pen and ink drawings, and similar treasures that attest to a mind that gathers and assimilates all matters historical.

Contact: cbell@middleburgacademy.org

Carla Adgate / Dean of Students & athletic director

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Carla Adgate grew up in Leesburg, Virginia.  After graduating from college, she spent the next 10 years as a tennis pro before deciding that she wanted to be in the world of education. She first came to Middleburg Academy in August of  2005 as the Assistant Athletic Director and Girls’ and Boys’ Varsity Tennis Coach. She became the Athletic Director in 2007, and is now thoroughly enjoying her role as the Dean of Students.

Carla lives in Fauquier, Virginia with her husband, Steve, and daughters, Carleigh and Jennifer. In her spare time, Carla enjoys travelling, hiking, and wildlife photography.

Contact: cadgate@middleburgacademy.org

Jonathan Cook / English Teacher

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“It is very fulfilling to see our students get into good colleges. Several of our graduates each  year go to UVA, William & Mary, and other top-tier schools . . . . I also really enjoy seeing books they’ve read in high school change their thinking.”

Amazing senior year English” is UVA graduate Carol Yacoub’s immediate response when asked which subject she felt most prepared to tackle in college.  “If you’ve had Dr. Cook,” the 2011 Middleburg Academy graduate goes on to explain, “you can handle anything.  He’s incredible . . . and has taught me so much about writing.”

Carol’s professors are no doubt impressed with her verbal clarity since Dr. Jonathan Cook is known to be relentless about vocabulary acquisition, grammatical correctness, and expressive concision.  He encourages the use of mnemonic devices for new vocabulary, but nothing beats a round of “Stump the Teacher” to get students fully engaged in learning new words.  It is rare for students to come up with one that isn’t already familiar to Jonathan, but he does admit to being caught out by a few sesquipedalian examples.

Jonathan’s students study a variety of literary classics that continue to enrich young people’s minds, as well as some notable contemporary works.  Jonathan is a nationally recognized scholar of the writings of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe, with many publications on these and other authors.  He has served on a number of panels at literary conferences and as a consultant for various publications.  His book on Moby-Dick and the Bible, Inscrutable Malice, was  published in December 2012 by Northern Illinois University Press.

Jonathan was born in Washington, D.C., grew up with four siblings in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and lives with his better half in Sterling, Virginia in a house full of books.

Contact: jcook@middleburgacademy.org

janet dewey / Dean of studies & English Teacher

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Reading has always been Janet's passion, and it naturally followed that she became an English major in college. After graduating from Furman University and working briefly in the banking industry, she returned to graduate school, earning a PhD from the University of South Carolina. Janet wrote her dissertation on six Victorian novels, focusing on gender issues in "sensation fiction" - a form of mystery novel popular in the 1860s.

After teaching English and Women Studies at the college level, Janet decided to relocate closer to family on the East Coast and try a new educational arena. Since then she's taught 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade English at The Potomac School, coached JV and varsity cross-country, and chaired the English Department. She's also led school tours for Great Country Farms and coordinated weddings for Bluemont Vineyard.

Here at Middleburg academy, Janet teaches 11th and 12th grade English and gender studies. She says that working with high school students is "never predictable, always exciting, and immensely rewarding."

Contact: jdewey@middleburgacademy.org

Patrick Dix / ANCIENT HISTORY

Patrick Dix graduated from Pennsylvania State University with bachelor degrees in history as well as classical and ancient Mediterranean studies. Patrick then completed his education by attaining a masters degree in Classics from the University of Georgia. He specializes in Ancient history, specifically Augustan era propaganda and historiography. In addition to history, Patrick is proficient in Ancient Greek and Latin.

Contact: pdix@middleburgacademy.org

 

Brenda fowler / Business Manager

Brenda Fowler is the Business Manager at Middleburg Academy.

Contact: bfowler@middleburgacademy.org

Harrison Gates / Math & Computer Science

Harrison Gates enjoys the natural character of Middleburg with its wildlife.  He grew up in rural northern New England graduating magna cum laude from the University of Vermont with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and minors in math, chemistry, and economics.  Both active in Tau Beta Pi and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Harrison studied fluid mechanics related to Chemical Engineering at the University of Maine where he was awarded the graduate award from Phi Kappa Phi and obtained his doctorate.  Later, he furthered his graduate education at the University of Virginia, where he was a teaching assistant for multivariable calculus and served as a student liaison for ASME’s turbomachinery symposium.  

Outside work, as an Eagle Scout, Harrison enjoys nature and the outdoors, from climbing icy mountains to cycling along rolling hills.   

Contact: hgates@middleburgacademy.org

kelly hart / Latin & Music teacher

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Kelly Hart has lived in Western Loudoun for majority of her life, having attended Waterford Elementary all the way up through Woodgrove. Seeking a change of pace and environment, she called the University of Virginia her home for five years. During that time she earned her B.A. in Classics as well as Linguistics, and Master of Teaching in Foreign Language Education after student teaching Latin in Albemarle County Public Schools.

While at UVA, she busied herself with not only her academics, but also extracurricular activities. An avid singer and cellist, Kelly helped lay the foundation for UVA’s Broadway a cappella group as music director, and Cavalier Symphony Orchestra as conductor. She also enjoyed serving the international community by promoting intercultural events for residents of the International Residential College as Prime Minister.

However, “home sweet home” called her back to Waterford. Outside of the classroom, Kelly takes advantage of her new-found hobby of hiking, hopes to perform once more in the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, and plays Dungeons & Dragons with friends on the weekend. Most of all, she is stoked to be a part of and begin her career with the Middleburg Academy family.

Contact: khart@middleburgacademy.org

 

Erik Hennigar / Physics Teacher

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“I live in the Leesburg area with my wonderful partner, Alice. My love of science and logic drives me to teaching and encourages me to inspire others to ask questions and to answer the questions of the future. I hope to inspire my students to enjoy learning and find strategies that work for them.”

A graduate of the University of Mary Washington with a Physics major and Biology minor, Erik also brings personal independent school experience as a graduate of Christchurch School in Tappahannock, VA.  At Mary Washington he was employed as a physics department lab aide, and he was personally responsible for the very popular Physics Game Nights in the lab.  Erik spent four summers on the Chesapeake Bay as an ecology teacher for Summer Camps on the River as well as working as an intern and librarian for the Deltaville Maritime Museum.  Erik brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to our labs.  In addition to teaching physics, AP Physics, and AP Environmental Science, Erik sponsors the Green Club and coaches fencing.

Contact: ehennigar@middleburgacademy.org

Mary Kruck / English teacher

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“I enjoy the beautiful campus, the intellectually engaged students, the dedicated faculty, and the small classes.”

Nothing is more fulfilling for teacher Mary Kruck than “when a student finally connects with a concept that has been difficult up to that point, or when I witness a student helping another student with a problem.”  She sometimes wishes more people knew how intellectually challenging Middleburg Academy is for its students.  Yet when she bumps into her former scholars, what they often recollect is not so much the academic rigors – though there is that memory, too – but the pleasure of Mary’s classes held under the tree outside Mary House.  Sitting in the warm sun, soaking up knowledge and understanding, discussing alternate interpretations of a passage in a novel . . . it is a fitting image for the Middleburg Academy goal to stretch students’ critical thinking skills within a small and supportive learning environment.

Mary is married with two grown children as well as “Kate,” the German Shepherd she enjoys taking on long walks.  She also loves reading, traveling, and visiting her four granddaughters.

Contact: mkruck@middleburgacademy.org

Isabella Lash / Drama

Isabella Lash’s love for performing first began after stepping onstage at the age of 8, and she is passionate about creating the same opportunity for students of all ages. She is a graduate of The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and is a DC-based actress. A trained soprano, she has played roles in over 40 productions in Virginia, DC, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New York City. Isabella began teaching acting privately for all ages in 2011, and has worked as an instructor with Drama Kids International. She is heavily involved with multiple community theaters in the NOVA area as a director and acting coach. Isabella currently teaches for Allegro Community School of the Arts as well as maintaining her own private acting studio.

Contact: ilash@middleburgacademy.org

Mary Lay / Chemistry & Math

Mary Lay is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee and a recent transplant to Virginia. She majored in ecology and evolutionary biology with an emphasis in botany at UT Knoxville and minored in chemistry. She also holds a masters degree in secondary education.

Mary taught math, chemistry, and German for nearly ten years in Chattanooga before moving to Virginia. During that time, she took high schoolers on international trips through the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica, to the urban streets of Berlin, and to the countryside of North Rhine Westphalia. She believes that students learn best by doing, and that international travel is an important part of the education experience.

During the summer, Mary enjoys long-distance open water swimming, kayaking, and hiking, and may be found on or in any open body of water. When she is not outside or grading homework, Mary spends her time reading or studying Python programming and data science. 

Contact: mlay@middleburgacademy.org

brett morris / History teacher

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Brett Morris has had an interest in history, government, and politics since high school, where he participated in the International Baccalaureate program and Model United Nations. He was also captain of the high school swim team.

After high school, Brett went on to graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis in History and Religious Studies. Brett developed an interest in teaching at this time, and served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for a career exploration course at Virginia Tech's Smith Career Center.

Brett moved abroad to teach English for several years after college, and traveled widely during this time, especially throughout East Asia.

While not teaching, Brett can be found reading and hanging out in coffee shops.

Contact: bmorris@middleburgacademy.org

Kasey Morris / Director of Admissions

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Kasey Morris enters her third year with the Middleburg Academy family, now serving as our Director of Admissions. She also oversees much of the school’s communications, including sending out our weekly newsletters, The Dragon (general news) and The Dungeon (athletic news) and developing our social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Kasey graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Classics; her undergraduate research focused on Julio-Claudian island exile and won the departmental prize for best senior thesis. After Princeton, she moved abroad and completed her masters degree in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Kasey also has extensive experience in the art and antiques world; she runs her own art management business for private collectors and has catalogued ancient coins for Princeton’s Rare Books & Special Collections department as well as for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. But, perhaps one of the most interesting things Kasey has done is spending a summer in the Transylvania region of Romania, where she excavated human remains in a medieval cemetery.

Outside of work, Kasey is a passionate equestrian; she foxhunts and enjoys polo, having played in tournaments in China, England, Italy, and the United States. She also loves reading, playing sports, and traveling, having been to over 25 countries.

Contact: kmorris@middleburgacademy.org

Wayne Paige / Chair of the Art Department

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“As an artist and teacher, I believe that each student is inherently creative.  One of my goals is to nurture students' creativity and develop their artistic skills.  I have a passion for the arts, and a willingness and desire to share this passion with my students along with my knowledge, experience and resources.  Ultimately, I would like to see each student develop an appreciation of the arts and to live life creatively.”

Wayne Paige has attained a remarkable record of teaching.  For forty-plus years, he has helped high school students explore their interests and talents in a variety of visual arts media.  Under his direction and encouragement, an impressive number have gone on to study at such preeminent institutions as the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Royal Academy of Art (London), the Pratt Institute, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Architectural drawing classes he established fifteen years ago – then unique in a college preparatory school setting – introduce students to the skills and techniques involved in this exacting profession.  Mr. Paige’s former students have recently completed their studies and received degrees in architecture at Cornell, the University of Virginia, Syracuse University and Virginia Tech.

An active professional artist, Wayne's work has been shown in New York and at galleries and museums throughout the country.  Wayne is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.F.A. Painting) and The George Washington University (M.F.A. Painting).  He also attended the Corcoran School of Art and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Contact: wpaige@middleburgacademy.org

Zachary Rogers / College Counseling & Humanities

Zachary Rogers leads our college counseling in addition to teaching. Zachary graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he earned a degree in history with a minor in philosophy. He published a paper on Machiavelli and the natural law in the undergraduate research journal and wrote his senior thesis on Richard III’s usurpation of the throne. After UCCS, he moved to Michigan to complete his masters degree. He studied political theory and practice at Hillsdale College.

Outside of work, Zachary enjoys reading (primarily history, philosophy, and English literature), hiking, shooting sporting clays, drinking coffee, and watching John Wayne movies with friends. 

Contact: zrogers@middleburgacademy.org

Stephen Rueckert / Art Teacher

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For Stephen Rueckert, drawing lines had always come easier than finding words. By the time he graduated from high school he had become an expert in day-dreaming and a pretty good artist! His calling to art school, studies in Europe, travels abroad, and twenty years as a working artist and teacher in New York City, helped make many of those earlier dreams become a reality.

Stephen's work can be found in the permanent collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and The Brooklyn Museum and has been featured in publications such as Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post and The New Scientist.  His sculptural installation, The Standard Model (abandoned), which explores the crossroads of science and art, linking current scientific models of the universe with his own deeply personal artistic vision, gained international recognition both in the art world and the scientific community. It was followed by a commission from the Public Art Fund to create On-On-On, an installation exploring the surface and "gadgetry" of science, at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn, New York.

A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design (BFA) and Brooklyn College (MS), his teaching journey brought him from New York City Public schools to Washington D.C. in 2001 where he taught figure drawing and sculpture in a Washington D.C. private school for fifteen years. His passion for S.T.E.A.M., teaching, art, and love of nature lead him to Middleburg Academy.

Simply said, his mission states, “I want to share with my students how well the world is made.”

Contact: srueckert@middleburgacademy.org

 

Marangely sandvik / Spanish

It is my commitment to share my passion for Hispanic culture, colors and flavors through Spanish language class.

From “The Enchanted Island” of Puerto Rico, Mrs. Marangely Sandvik is pleased to join the Dragon Family at Middleburg Academy as your child’s Spanish teacher. 

For almost two decades, Mrs. Sandvik worked as an editor for Spanish media in the United States. She has been a columnist for important Spanish newspapers such as El Tiempo Latino, DC and La Prensa and La Opinión, CA, among others. For the past five years, she has worked as a health editor for The New York Times Spanish publication.

Mrs. Sandvik holds a masters degree in Investigative Journalism in Spanish from Florida International University. She also has dual bachelors in arts and science, with a major in Theater and Public Communication and a minor in Spanish Literature and Education from the University of Puerto Rico.

Mrs. Sandvik is passionate about nature, hiking, travel, and photography.

Contact: msandvik@middleburgacademy.org

Eduardo Sevilla / Math Teacher

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“The best thing about Middleburg Academy is its student body, and its tremendous willingness to learn.”

Though he may have graduated from UVA and MIT, ask anyone on campus and they will confirm that Eduardo Sevilla is a Dragon at heart, and Middleburg Academy cannot boast of a better booster. Ever-present at school events and activities, with his camera always at-the-ready, Eduardo’s combined love for the school and for photography is a useful and treasured asset.

Eduardo is never hesitant to share with students, parents, and colleagues the inner workings of his mathematical mind and, more broadly, the immense rewards of mathematical pursuits.  “Many students, and their parents, see math in isolation and not something that can or will be used unless you are an engineer or accountant or something in those lines. But math is more than that. It is a language that tells stories. It is a philosophy of how to think and develop. It is an art in picking the right starting point because of a gut feeling. It is a history of the struggles and strivings of innumerable individuals. It is the realization that one misplaced point has often changed the world.  Math is not just adding 1 and 1, any more than reading is the combination of letters or music the stringing together of tones. Math is big. Math is fun. But math is what you make of it.”

He finds teaching extremely fulfilling, too, and speaks warmly of those students who have discovered abilities they didn’t even know they possessed.  He recounts one, for example, “who realized she could, indeed, do math through positive reinforcement.  She went on to take AP Calculus, when people doubted her abilities to survive Algebra One!”

Self-described as “the quiet one growing up in an Army family,” Eduardo enjoys, in addition to photography, comic books, history, traveling, and cataloging.

Contact: esevilla@middleburgacademy.org

Clarissa Staggs / Biology & environmental Science

Clarissa Staggs is a New Jersey native who moved around quite a bit after college before finally ending up in Virginia. Clarissa has a B.S. in Secondary Education, Biology from the University of Vermont. After some time in law school at the University of San Diego and a year working on a Master’s in Marine Science, Clarissa found her niche and obtained her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in environmental health from San Diego State University.

After school, Clarissa worked as an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist in the biotech industry before becoming a Hazardous Materials Inspector for the County of San Diego. Upon moving to Maryland, Clarissa went back to the career that she had always been interested in and began her teaching career. She has taught biology, earth science, and environmental science at the community college level, both in Maryland and Virginia. She also taught biology, environmental science, and various electives at an independent high school in Maryland. 

In her free time, Clarissa enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and their pets. She loves to run, read, travel, watch movies, craft, cook, and otherwise be outside and be active. 

Contact: cstaggs@middleburgacademy.org