It’s been an especially busy summer this year as we continue our work to visually transform the campuses from St. Francis School to our inaugural year as Francis Parker School of Louisville. Across both campuses, new signs have been installed, new athletic uniforms are ordered, new spirit wear has been designed, and countless other changes have been made to showcase the new Francis Parker name and brand. We’ve also been busy recruiting talented new teachers and staff members, and we are thrilled to introduce each of them to you!
Laura Wilmes is joining us as our new Preschool 4s Teacher and will be partnering with Paul Harshaw. Laura is coming to us all the way from Singapore where she and her family have been living and working since 2006. Throughout their time in Singapore, Laura has spent the majority of that time at the Canadian International School as a Senior Kindergarten teacher, a Junior Kindergarten teacher, and most recently as a Preschool teacher. She holds a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations from Western Carolina University and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Kentucky.
In Lower School, Katie Jordan will be joining the team as our new Lower School Math Teacher. She has over 15 years of experience teaching in Louisville Catholic schools. Katie is excited about the Origo curriculum and eager to focus on Lower School. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and Human Development from Boston College, an M.A. in Education from Spalding University, and a Rank 1 certificate in Mild to Moderate Learning and Behavior Disorders from Bellarmine University.
With the additional sections of 1st and 2nd grades added this year, we have hired Laura Fox to teach Lower School math and science. She began her career in mental health as a case manager in Minnesota, but enjoyed her mental health work in schools so much that she chose to pursue a career in teaching. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in 1st grade, first at Prince William County Schools in Virginia and for the last seven years at the Stamford American International School in Singapore. Laura has a B.S. in Psychology from Oregon State and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from University of South Carolina – Aiken.
Marilyn Rincon will be joining us as our new 1st and 2nd Grade LA/SS Teacher. She has spent her 15-year teaching career to date in the Bronx (NYC) public schools. She has been a bilingual teacher, an English as a Second Language teacher, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher, as well as a dance teacher. Marilyn holds a B.A. in English from Barnard College and an M.S. in Education from Lehman College.
Ernesto Casanas Perez, a native of Cuba, will also be joining us in the Lower School as our new part-time Spanish Teacher. Ernesto has over 15 years of teaching experience in physical education, Spanish, and English as a Second Language both in Cuba and the US. He is also an experienced volleyball coach and travels nationally as a volleyball official. He holds a B.A. in Physical Education from the Institute Piti Fajardo Santa Clara, Cuba.
Caitlin Sollee will be joining us as our new Middle School Art Teacher. She is a fiber artist and also has experience in film and photography, dance, graphic design, and storytelling. Throughout her career and life, she has been involved with the arts and in making art. She served as Director of Fine Arts and Special Events at the Carver Arts Center in Lexington; she was the Foundation Coordinator and Art Instructor at the Little Loomhouse; she taught primary art and was a sub at Louisville Classical Academy; and she has led summer programs for children in music and weaving. Caitlin has a B.F.A. from the University of Kentucky.
Tristan Krebs, a graduate of both campuses, will be joining us as the new High School Artist-in-Residence for Video and Photography. Since graduating from Wofford College summa cum laude in Theater and Directing in 2018, she has been engaged in a number of entrepreneurial ventures related to the arts, theater, and film. She is excited to re-create our new photography/video hybrid, and is also eager to lend her time and support to Francis Parker Theater Arts.
Katie Li is our new High School College Counselor. She comes to us from Georgetown University, where she worked with admissions, academic advising, and fellowships. Before Georgetown, she was at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center and the Forte International Exchange Center, working with Chinese student exchanges in particular. She has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in International Studies and Chinese and an M.A. from George Washington University in Education and Human Development.
Tianling Li will be joining us as our new High School Chinese Teacher. (Chris Hutchins is moving to our Middle School; more on that below.) Tianling will also serve as the Coordinator of our Chinese-related international programs, in which she will work to secure and manage a sister-school partnership for us in China and reinvigorate our recruiting of Chinese students to attend Francis Parker, once the COVID-19 situation permits. Tianling has taught French in Middle School in Shanghai; served as an assistant English teacher to elementary students in China; and served as a Graduate Assistant in Chinese I and II and an Advanced English Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Tinaling is a native of Shanghai, China and she received her B.A. from Shanghai International Studies University in French Language and Literature, spending a semester abroad in Paris. She also has an M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Pennsylvania.
Calla Suffridge joins us as our new part-time Spanish Teacher. She has two BAs from Indiana University Southeast, in International Studies and in Spanish, and has lived in Spain for several years, teaching English and tutoring. She will be teaching two sections of Spanish I.
We are also pleased to welcome Candace Schaller, who will be covering Rebecca Jones’ math classes while Rebecca is on maternity leave. Candace has taught various levels of math and science at a number of private schools in Louisville. Prior to deciding she wanted to teach, she had a business career with positions at companies such as Deloitte & Touche, Hilliard Lyons, and several banks. She has a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University. Candace will be teaching Rebecca’s classes through the end of September and also may be doing some math tutoring through the TLC.
The Learning Center
Jason Cooper will be joining The Learning Center as our new High School Academic Support Specialist. Jason began his career in acting and theater administration, and he continues to run his own theater company to this day: Chicken Coop Theater Company, founded in 2019. He began teaching eight years ago as an English teacher, first at Southern High School and most recently at Mercy Academy. In addition to his role as an Academic Support Specialist, Jason will also be teaching the Playwriting course at the High School and working with Reed Gabhart on the drama productions. Jason also hopes to re-create an Improv Troupe at the High School. Jason holds a B.F.A. in Theater Performance from the University of Louisville, an M.A.T. in HS/MS ELA, and an M.A. in Creative and Professional Writing from Spalding University.
Chastity Hawkins joins us as the Lower School Reading Specialist, a new role within The Learning Center. She spent four years as a 2nd grade teacher at Eminence Elementary School, and is thrilled to join us to make full use of her M.A. and academic training. Chastity has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Education from the University of Louisville and an M.A. as Education Literacy Specialist from the University of the Cumberlands.
Elizabeth Knutkowski (pronounced “kunnatowski”) is joining The Learning Center as a Middle School Academic Support Specialist, and she will also teach one section of Lower School Math and may do Academic Support in the Lower School. After receiving her M.A. in Music from the University of Louisville, where she specialized in the viola and also served as a TA, Elizabeth moved to South Korea to explore her own Korean roots. While she was there, she taught 1st through 6th grade English for about four years. Elizabeth holds two degrees – in Economics and in Music – from Lawrence University, as well as her M.A. from the University of Louisville.
George Dant joins us as our new IT Support Specialist, and will serve as our onsite IT support for the faculty and staff. He is a former Hanover varsity baseball player and plans to join the baseball coaching staff next spring. George graduated from Hanover College with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in English.
We are thrilled to bring these gifted educators and staff members on board, and we look forward to being part of the continued growth and development of their incredible talent and expertise. We hope you will join us in giving them a warm Wyvern welcome!
While we are thrilled to bring new talent and expertise into our community, we also have some bittersweet goodbyes to share as well as a few shifts in roles here at the School. Over the summer we extended fond farewells to some of our faculty and staff: Christine Brinkmann (Middle School science and Outdoor Learning and Gardening), Salema Jenkins (Lower School math), Pattie Koth (Middle School math), Dave Mattingly (Information Technology), Mandy Radigan (Middle School math), Nicole Woods (Alumni Relations and Events Coordinator), and Daniel Woodley (Facilities Team and varsity soccer coach). Additionally, as a result of these departures as well as our ever evolving instructional needs, some of our faculty members are taking on new and/or additional responsibilities.
Dean of Faculty/History Teacher Ralph Marshall will be taking over the reins as Head Coach of our varsity soccer program. This will be Ralph’s second stint in the role. Luke Johnson, HS Chemistry Teacher, will also be returning to his former role as Assistant Coach. Laura Hall will be moving from The Learning Center to join the Middle School faculty as a Math Teacher, and she will continue coaching the varsity girls’ tennis team. Lauren Graham, with support from Shelly Jones, will now be leading our Outdoor Learning and Garden Coordinator role. Shelly and Lauren will both be working to achieve greater integration of outdoor learning into the science curriculum. High School Chinese teacher Christine Hutchins will be switching campuses to teach and oversee the Chinese language program on the Goshen Campus. Valerie Andres will be moving from Kindergarten to the Preschool as a 3’s co-teacher with Holly Whitaker and will be assisting Renee Hennessy in the Preschool Office a few afternoons a week. There have also been some staffing changes in our athletic department. Tony Butler will be joining Rosanne Conlan as our second full-time PE Teacher on the Goshen Campus, and will continue as our varsity baseball coach and Middle School boys’ basketball coach.
As the school year begins with a new name, new faces, and new opportunities, we invite you to join us in celebrating the strength of our School and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Back-to-School Picnic Saturday in Goshen!