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); and Lake Forest Academy (IL). 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

Jan Healy / Assistant Head of School, College Counselor

“I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of the faculty, staff, and students in the intimate atmosphere that Middleburg Academy provides."

Jan Healy, Assistant Head of School and Director of College Counseling, is a seasoned veteran in the independent school world. What drew Ms. Healy to our campus? “The fact that Middleburg Academy engages the WHOLE child – academically, artistically, athletically, and ethically. Together,” she says, “we can explore and develop our minds and our souls.”

She is always conscious of the impact her work has on maturing young adults, both in exploring moral issues through the Junior Seminar course and in directing students through the college research, application, and placement process. “Shortly after September 11, 2001, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar where Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein, one of my personal heroes, was speaking. At a time when we were all feeling vulnerable and questioning our own mortality, she said, ‘Your immortality is the investment you make in other people.’ I’ve never forgotten this and I keep it as a mandate that guides me professionally and personally.”

Contact: jhealy@middleburgacademy.org

Carla Adgate / Dean of Students and Athletic Director

Carla Adgate grew up in Leesburg, Virginia when it was a small, sleepy town and Loudoun County only had four public high schools. She graduated from Loudoun County High School in 1989 and then went on to receive her B.B.A. in Marketing in 1993. At that time, she decided that she was not ready for the world of cubicles, and received her USPTR certification as a Professional Tennis Instructor. In 2005, she came to what was then known as Notre Dame Academy as the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Boys & Girls Varsity Tennis Coach. In 2007, she was promoted to the Director of Athletics.

Mrs. Adgate lives in Marshall, Virginia where she enjoys spending time with her family, her husband, Steve and daughters, Carleigh and Jennifer. She enjoys traveling, wildlife photography (www.adgateadventures.com), cooking, and cheering on her daughter's at their volleyball and soccer games.

Contact: cadgate@middleburgacademy.org

Edwina Bell / Director of Admissions and Advancement

Before arriving at Middleburg Academy, Edwina was the Director of Development/Communications at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA, a position she held for five years. During her time at the Chrysler, Edwina spearheaded a $45 million capital campaign which involved a complete renovation and expansion of the building, endowment growth and the creation of a fully functioning Glass Studio.  She was credited for the museum receiving accolades with the nationally ranking service, Charity Navigator, designating the museum with 5 stars for its efficiency in raising money. She was also part of the executive team that was instrumental in having the Chrysler designated as a "Magnetic Museum."

Before her work at the Chrysler Museum of Art Mrs. Bell was the Director of Development and Communications at the Tower Hill School and guided a $12 million campaign to completion in three years.  Her independent school experience included Associate Director of Development at Lake Forest Academy that was part of a career in development that has spanned over 25 years. She has served in independent schools from New England to the Midwest and is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy in Worcester, MA.

Edwina graduated from Clark University in Massachusetts with a B.A. in Psychology.  Edwina resides on campus with her husband, Colley W. Bell III, the Head of School at Middleburg Academy and their son Colley W. Bell IV who is an 8th grader at Middleburg Academy.

Contact: ebell@middleburgacademy.org

Jonathan Cook / English Teacher

“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 sophomore Carol Yacoub’s immediate response when asked which subject she feels 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. 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 Dr. Cook, but he does admit to being caught out by a few sesquipedalian examples.

Dr. Cook’s students study a variety of literary classics that continue to enrich young people’s minds, as well as some notable contemporary works.  Dr. Cook 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.

Dr. Cook 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.

To contact:  jcook@middleburgacademy.org

Theresa Dames / Chemistry Teacher

Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Theresa Dames grew up as the youngest of four siblings. She has always felt compelled to go beyond her older siblings' accomplishments, and that propelled her through many successes in high school. But the sibling rivalry dwindled by the time college rolled around, so Theresa had to find personal interests to pursue, instead of competitive interests.

Theresa spent her college freshman year at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, studying history. It was there that she came across an archaeology course that peaked her interest. This prompted her to want to learn more about the science behind the techniques and she switched her focus to forensic chemistry. She eventually transferred to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Theresa has a huge passion for chemistry, and is always looking for ways to interest others in the topic. She is excited to teach at Middleburg Academy and is ready to take on the challenges and successes that this school year will bring.

Theresa spends most of her time reading, as well as playing sports, board games, and musical instruments. She loves being outdoors, and especially enjoys hiking, gardening, and running cross country

Janet Dewey / English teacher

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 will be teaching 10th and 11th grade English. She says that working with high school students is "never predictable, always exciting and immensely rewarding."

Contact: jdewey@middleburgacademy.org

Jennifer Grubb / Director of Learning Services

Jennifer Grubb majored in both Psychology and Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and holds a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University. She played soccer for the Washington Freedom, where she became known as "Ironwoman" after having played every minute of every game during the league's duration. Following her career as a professional soccer player, Jennifer spent three years at Flint Hill School as a learning specialist, advisor, and coach. In 2006, Jennifer moved to New Jersey, and while there, she held various positions which include: academic support, counseling, teaching, advising, and coaching at the Peddie School; coaching soccer at Seton Hall University; teaching Psychology as an adjunct professor at Brookdale Community College; and counseling and consulting in private practice.  
 
After nearly ten years away from Virginia, Jennifer Grubb is looking forward to her return. In her spare time, she enjoys the sun, animals, kids, reading, sports, music, and travelling - in no particular order! She looks forward to adventures ranging from hiking in the Shenandoah to swimming with stingrays in Antigua.   
 
As she continues her career at Middleburg Academy, Jennifer is looking forward to becoming integrated into the community and meeting new challenges. As the Director of Learning Services and Counseling, she is excited to encourage growth in individuals and small groups, and she looks forward to supporting students in developing their unique strengths. 

Contact: jgrubb@middleburgacademy.org

Dave Gillis / Director of Computer Science and Technology

Dave Gillis is a firm believer that learning is about taking risks and discovering things. He has been an educator for 13 years: at public and private high schools, and community colleges. Dave has taught Math, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, AP-Calculus, Statistics; Science, Physics, AP-Physics, Mechanics; as well as Engineering and Computer Science. Before that he was an Engineer for 20 years at places like IBM, Thomson & Thomson, and Derwent.

A father of four and a grandfather of five, Dave is an avid outdoor person. He loves coaching soccer, cross country, and lacrosse. He also loves to mountain bike, ski, hike, and do all things outdoors. In 2008 he climbed Denali in Alaska with his oldest son who was 19 at the time.

At Middleburg Academy, Dave will be teaching Engineering and Computer Science. This week he is tinkering with AutoDesk Inventor and a 3D printer. Dave believes his role as an educator is to create a safe and supportive environment that encourages and facilitates curiosity.

Contact: dgillis@middleburgacademy.org

 Jaye Haggler / Assistant Athletic Director

Coach Joseph “Jaye” Haggler - Head Boys Varsity Coach at Middleburg Academy has spent more than fifteen (15) years as the key contributor and owner of a technology firm specializing in Information Security and Telecommunications solutions for federal and corporate clients. In addition to his technology firm, Jaye spent the past 5 years managing a successful sports marketing enterprise. Coach Haggler is passionate when it comes to working with young people and has dedicated his personal time, talents, and resources to working with and assisting student-athletes in developing their love of the game and honing basketball skills.

Coach Haggler has coached at every level of school basketball and has been an integral part of two AAU championship teams. Recently, Coach Haggler Was named the 2015 CISAA coach of the year and in addition his 2014 -2015 Varsity Team won the CISAA State Championship. In the 2015 – 2016 season Coach Haggler was named the CBAA Coach of the year runner up and took his team to the conference finals in their first year in the league. In addition to his coaching duties, Coach Haggler's sport management firm, the Phoenix Sports Marketing Group (PSMG), trains more than 100 athletes each week in fundamental and advanced basketball skills in partnership with the Capital City Skills Academy. Coach Haggler has an outstanding sense of the game of basketball and his unique talent of interfacing with young players has consistently been an asset to the players and to the teams with which he has been involved.

Erik Hennigar / Physics Teacher

“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 comes to us with 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 and AP Physics, Erik has developed a conceptual physics class for our younger students and he will be working closely with Bill Crum and Ellen Hughes on developing our STEAM program.

Contact: ehennigar@middleburgacademy.org

Mary Looney

Mary Looney grew up just 30 minutes west of Middleburg Academy. She attended Powhatan then attended Notre Dame Academy in her freshmen year.

She has worked in admissions for over 13 years. She spent 11 years at Foxcroft school as an Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Admissions.

Between her and her husband, Greg, they have four children, all of whom attended The Hill School. Their son, Andrew class of 2017, is currently a senior at Middleburg Academy. She enjoys exercising, horseback riding, bike rides, and spending time with friends and family.


Mary believes in Middleburg Academy and that the area needs an independent co-ed high school. We are the only one in the area!

Mary Kruck / English teacher

“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 Mrs. Kruck’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.

Mrs. Kruck 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

Matt LaMotte / History teacher

A native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, Matt grew up in Baltimore and attended St. Paul's School for Boys. He then attended Washington & Lee University, where he majored in History and played Lacrosse. Matt continues to follow his passion for lacrosse by coaching and playing on a high level. He is also an avid bird watcher and hunter (especially waterfowl), and fly fisherman. Matt is very proud of his two sons, Matt Jr., a media producer for Interscope/Universal Records, and Peter, a Navy veteran who served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Matt has taught at college preparatory schools in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. Here at Middleburg Academy, Matt will teach a variety of History and Social Studies courses - Western Civilization, US History, AP European History, and International Relations - as well as being an advisor to the new Model UN Club.

Contact: mlamotte@middleburgacademy.org

Jan-Piet Knijff  (Latin & Music)

Beyond his vast knowledge and experience in both music and languages, Dr. Jan-Piet Knijff considers himself a teacher first and foremost. After a high school education with two classical and three modern foreign languages in his hometown Haarlem, The Netherlands, he studied music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, majoring in various keyboard instruments. He then wrote about music for the world’s oldest extant newspaper, Haarlems Dagblad, while performing at home and abroad, including with the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

After winning the International Bach Competition in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jan-Piet moved to New York, taking the doctorate with a dissertation on the German poet-composer Peter Cornelius. He taught music at all levels, including at Fairfield University, Hofstra University, Queens College/CUNY, and Purchase College/SUNY. In his spare time, he studied singing and performed on stage as Major Murgatroyd in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience and as the male lead in Iolanthe. He also was the Music Director for a community production of The Music Man and for some years played tuba in a Dixieland jazz band.

After a period teaching music and Classical languages and performing extensively in regional Australia, Jan-Piet returned to the US to complete an MA in Classics; he recently also earned the Goethe Institute’s highest level of certification in German. The last few years, he has taught music and languages in Louisville, KY and in Vermont, where he directed the Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra.

Jan-Piet is excited to teach all levels of Latin as well as music at Middleburg Academy and is proud to be Faculty Advisor to the brand new International Language Club. In addition, he continues to teach Latin and French privately. Jan-Piet believes his classes are hands-on and down-to-earth, yet with a high level of sophistication. He can only hope his students are having as much fun as he is.

 

Maurice Rapp / History teacher

Maurice Rapp grew up in Bangor, Pennsylvania, a small town near the Delaware River. He received Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Political Science at Elizabethtown College (PA) and his Master’s Degree in Political Science at Villanova University (PA). Before joining the faculty at Middleburg, he was teaching Government and Political Science courses at community colleges in Pennsylvania and working on a Ph.D. in Political Science & International Relations at the University of Delaware. He plans to continue working on his Ph.D. on a part-time basis while teaching at Middleburg.

Maurice chose teaching as his profession because of his passion for the subject matter and to have a positive impact on young adults. He hopes that his teaching of history, politics, and government will inspire his students to become more informed and understanding participants in a greater world. At Middleburg, he will be teaching US History, European History, Middle East Politics, AP Government and Politics, and independent studies in Political Science & Comparative Politics.

Maurice resides in Middleburg and enjoys golfing, baseball, basketball, hiking, and traveling. He will also be coaching Middleburg’s golf team.

Monika Martin / Math teacher

Monika Martin was born in Washington DC and has resided in northern Virginia her entire life. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and education in 3 years, she began her career in Fairfax County.  She taught all levels of secondary math in Fairfax County for 26 years, but primarily Pre-calculus and Calculus for the final 6 years. She has studied math in some form her entire life and has continued graduate studies at UVA, George Mason, Mary Washington and many other universities.  Her love of teaching mathematics and her fondness for her students has kept her returning to the class room.

Monika has traveled extensively with her family and has made many transcontinental driving trips, visiting all 50 of the United States in addition to most of Canada. The family has also traveled extensively in Europe and have cruised the Baltic, the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. A tour of Australia is in the planning stages.

Monika and her husband, Paul, have operated a private hobby and limited breeding kennel, Briardachs Longhaired Dachshunds, for over 30 years. The sport of pure bred dogs has been a second passion for them and resulted in world renowned recognition of their quality longhaired standard dachshunds, outstanding in bench and field.

The Martins have one son, Alex. He is a graduate of Penn State University with a BS in Meteorology and has recently completed his Masters at UMBC.

In 2003, Monika and her family relocated to Orlean, Va. and in 2007 she joined Culpeper County Schools. There, she developed the AP Calculus program at the new Eastern View High School. Her students achieved consistently high AP test scores and an outstanding pass rate percentage.

In 2013 Monika retired from Culpeper and with her husband undertook the renovation of the Beavers’ cottage on St Louis Road. They became full time residents there in early 2014. With Middleburg Academy nearby, Monika inquired about possible teaching or tutoring opportunities. When a teaching position became available she joined the faculty, excited by smaller class sizes and the school philosophy of teaching the whole child. This concept enhances her lifetime goal of providing her students with a quality education.

Contact: mmartin@middleburgacademy.org

Brittany Harrison Myers
Chair of the Foreign Language Department, Spanish Teacher

“I have never come across a more able and engaged group of students in one location, ever.”

Brittany Myers, Middleburg Academy’s Spanish teacher, looks forward to taking part once again in the school’s annual Couchfest, held each October during Spirit Week. Though she willingly jumps out of airplanes as an avid skydiver, she had never before been given the chance to ride a wheel-enhanced couch down a long and winding driveway. “What a unique opportunity to bond with students and faculty colleagues,” she says with her trademark enthusiasm.  In fact, she sees Couchfest as both a fun and fitting celebration of the energy and camaraderie witnessed on campus daily. “Every time I visited here as an Admissions Counselor [having served as International Admissions Counselor at Radford University],” she says, “I was always so surprised to see the students were smiling. Imagine that—students happy to be at school and happy to be learning. Having seen many schools around the nation, both public and private, independent and inner city, I had never come across a more able and engaged group of students in one location, ever. That is always something that has made Middleburg someplace special for me, and I am more than thrilled to be a part of this exciting community.”

An active outdoors person with an impressive music background, Ms. Myers has a passion and a gift for encouraging in others the love and understanding of Spanish language, literature, and culture. Of her classroom philosophy, she explains, “Many people think that the only way to learn a foreign language is by speaking constantly or being “immersed” in one way, shape, or form. This is actually only a piece of the puzzle: the most important part of learning anything, including a language, is listening. That is how we learned to speak with fluidity: by listening to our parents with practice, correction, and patience. The first step is to listen and this is an important component that I always interject back into the classroom. Not just listening to me, but to their peers and to themselves as part of the learning process.”

Raised in a small river town in Virginia, “growing up to see the world was the farthest thing from my mind,” and students may want to ask how she found herself, at age fifteen, “boarding a plane for Curitiba, Brazil. I knew,” Myers explains, “that once I returned home, I would never be the same.”

In addition to Spanish, music, and skydiving, Ms. Harrison’s interests include cooking and canoeing with her husband Christian Myers, backpacking, rock climbing, yoga-ing, traveling, enjoying her cats Jezebel and Sofia . . . and staying as active as she can. All this has created the perfect resume for both a language instructor and a vibrant force who seeks more travel and adventure opportunities for our students.

Contact: bmyers@middleburgacademy.org

Deriba Olana / Math Department Chair

“I was born in rural Ethiopia before our family moved to the capital city, Addis Ababa. When I reached seventh grade, I was privileged to get the opportunity to study at a British international school. After high school, I attended Pacific Union College in California. There I enjoyed majoring in chemistry and taking many wonderful courses in the humanities. For graduate studies, I was at Harvard where I focused on history of science and applied physics.

Besides academics, I enjoy following world affairs with an eye for issues related to justice. I also appreciate music, and especially enjoy sacred classical music. Most importantly, I’m interested in the creative welfare of fellow human beings. Friendships grown profound with time have better influenced my life more than anything else. And this makes me look forward to being a part of the Middleburg Family”

Deriba will be teaching Precalculus Honors, Calculus, AP Calculus, and Advanced Topics in Math. He and his wife are expecting their first child this fall

Contact: dolana@middleburgacademy.org

Wayne Paige / Chair of the Art Department

“As an artist and teacher, I believe that each student is inherently creative.  One of my goals is to nurture their 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, his 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

Stephen Rueckert / Art Teacher

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.

His 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 has taught figure drawing and sculpture in a Washington D.C.private school for the past fifteen years. His passion for S.T.E.A.M., teaching, art and love of nature lead him to Middleburg Academy, his new campus home.

 

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

 

Bala Selvakumar / Biology Teacher    

Balakrishnan Selvakumar, or Bala, grew up in Chennai (formerly Madras), a coastal city in southeastern India, before coming to the US to pursue doctoral studies. He received his PhD in Cell Biology from Duke University, and then completed a research fellowship in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University where he worked as a Research Associate until his recent decision to teach Biology at Middleburg Academy.

Bala chose biology as his profession because he is fascinated by how living things function. Much of his research work has focused on the cell-signaling role of the reactive molecule nitric oxide. Specifically, he identified mechanisms by which this molecule influences the physiological function of the vascular system and the brain. His research has been published in journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; it has been selected as Editors Choice by the journal Science Signaling; and, it has been cited as being "of special significance in its field" by an academic for the directory, Faculty of 1000 prime.

Bala enjoys being a home cook as much as being intrigued by the relationship between food and people. With the help of a scholarship from the Culinary Trust USA, he recently graduated from a gastronomy program in France organized by Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, writing a thesis on food and human interaction. He writes about his interests through his blog, www.madrasbala.com

Bala lives with his lovely wife, Pavithra and adorable baby girl, Ileya in Fairfax, Virginia. He hopes to continue research and teach a course on gastronomy at Middleburg Academy.

Contact: bselvakumar@middleburgacademy.org

Eduardo Sevilla / Math Teacher

“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, Mr. Sevilla’s combined love for the school and for photography is a useful and treasured asset.

Eduardo Sevilla 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, anymore 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,” Mr. Sevilla enjoys, in addition to photography, comic books, history, traveling, and cataloging.

Contact: esevilla@middleburgacademy.org

Sandy Tanloet / Science Teacher & Trainer

I started my college education in Kinesiology at George Mason University in 2010 studying human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. During one of my courses, I was introduced to athletic training by fellow classmates. Like many people, I had no idea what athletic training really was.  I took an introductory class which sealed the deal for me, so halfway into finishing my first degree I switched and never looked back!

Since I was very young, I have been involved in martial arts and I still am to this day. In college, I played for the George Mason University Women’s Rugby Club as a flanker. Contact sports and sports medicine are two peas in a pod! You can’t have one without the other, so falling into this field of medicine has felt so natural to me. I firmly believe in injury prevention and movement as medicine. I enjoy working with athletes because I find they are so driven, which makes my job easy.  

As the athletic trainer, my goal at Middleburg Academy is to provide the best care I can to our athletes whether that is through designing injury prevention programs for teams, athlete education, or working alongside coaches. When our athletes move onto the collegiate setting, I want them to be well educated about how to take care of and maintain their bodies through the rigors of training.

Tom Valandra / Communications

Middleburg Academy is proud to announce the newest addition to our staff, Tom Valandra, as the school's new Director of Communications.  He is currently going into his third year as the boys’ varsity lacrosse coach and is very excited to bring his skill sets to the Communications Director position. Tom graduated high school from Minneapolis Southwest in Minnesota. He received his Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and History from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, where he was part of it’s Division I lacrosse team. Tom then continued his post graduate studies at Pfeiffer University, working towards his Master in Science of Leadership (M.S.L) in Misenheimer, NC.

Tom hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota - arguably he is an incredibly talented Ice Hockey player too. Before coming to Middleburg, Tom traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. Tom oversees Nova West Lacrosse, an extraordinary lacrosse program based here in the Northern Virginia area. Some of his favorite things to do are traveling, playing all sports, watching movies, and being among friends.

“I am excited to be even more involved in the growth and development of Middleburg Academy.  The students I have come to know in lacrosse are so special to what we value in the sport and spirit of the game - and the very mission of our school. I am excited to reveal the Arts, Music and STEAM efforts at this remarkable school.  I am eager to work with the great team that is ambitious for our students, and to continue to make Middleburg a school and community everyone wants to call their own!”

David Sturdevant / Drama teacher

David Sturdevant is a professionally trained actor, director and acting teacher. As an actor, he has performed and directed locally with numerous theatres, including Loudoun Centre Theatre, the Pickwick Players, and Not Just Shakespeare. He performed in Louisville, KY with the Creation Theatre Group and in Washington DC at the Source Theatre Festival, appearing at the Kennedy Center. He has taught acting to students ranging from middle school to the university level. David is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Loudoun Center Theatre and was formerly the Chairman of the Board of the Not Just Shakespeare Theatre Company in Leesburg, VA.

David is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Louisville, KY. He has studied Shakespearean performance in Cambridge, England and is a graduate of the Classical Acting Workshop at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Most recently, he studied Shakespeare's Language at Everyman Theatre with Gary Logan (author of The Eloquent Shakespeare). He is trained in the Linklater voice system and in the Leqoc movement technique. The foundation of his approach is the Stanisklavski System, including modern variants such as the Practical Aesthetics approach. He is a proponent of theatre games and the use of improvisation techniques to stimulate creativity and discovery when working on a role. In his development of actors, he strives for clarity, truth and dynamism.

David's love of all things Shakespeare has become a family affair - he met his wife at a workshop at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC and has been involved in two local Shakespeare productions with his wife and children. Sometimes he wonders if he should have drawn the line at playing opposite his wife as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Contact: dsturdevant@middleburgacademy.org