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New Faces on the Hilltop: Meet St. Luke’s New Faculty and Staff

V. Odenbach
St. Luke’s would like to welcome our new 2022-2023 faculty and staff to the Hilltop. During the back-to-school faculty and staff meeting, Head of School Mary Halpin Carter introduced each new colleague and shared the following remarks. Please join us in welcoming them to our community!

Jennifer Branstrom

Development Data Manager
Jen joins the Development Office and comes to us from Canterbury School, where she was the database manager for the past six years in their development office. She has over 20 years of experience working in Raiser's Edge (a fundraising and donor management software platform) in private schools and nonprofits. Jen grew up along the shoreline of Connecticut and currently lives in New Fairfield with her husband and cat, Puddin. In her free time, she likes reading, crafting, playing word games, and exploring New England.

Kai Burton ‘14
Middle School History Teacher
Kai Burton (‘14) returns to St. Luke’s as a Middle School history teacher. After graduating from Providence College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education, minoring in philosophy and obtaining a concentration in French, she spent time working at Apple and teaching preschool in Westport. Kai takes on new hobbies and talents at least once every year, discovering a love for baking, fashion design, long-boarding, snowboarding, detailing cars, taking on DIY projects, crafting and making music. With her remaining free time, Kai also enjoys working out, reading, spending time on the tennis court with her family, trying out new restaurants, drawing/painting, and binge-watching movies and TV shows with her dog Chaka.

Emily Dyckman
Upper School Math Teaching Fellow
Emily joins St. Luke’s as the Upper School Math Teaching Fellow. She previously worked as a teaching assistant and tutor in the economics department at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with a master’s degree in economics. As an undergraduate, Emily  studied applied mathematics at Syracuse University.  Emily has previously worked in finance and enjoys theater, piano, and traveling.

Jason Giffen 
Director of Enrollment Management
Jason, our new Director of Enrollment Management, is a 20-year veteran of independent day and boarding schools, focusing on admissions and enrollment throughout his career. He joined St. Luke's in 2022 from North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Illinois, where he was the director of admission and financial aid. In addition to North Shore Country Day, Jason has had positions at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. As the son of two educators, Jason grew up on a boarding school campus. He enjoys the rhythms of school life and is a frequent spectator at school sporting events and productions. Jason and his wife, Lizzy, also an educator, have two boys, Wyatt '27 and Tucker, and a yellow lab, Lex. When not at school, Jason can usually be found cooking (ask him about his famous shrimp recipe), enjoying a good movie, or playing golf.

Elizabeth Guillen ‘15
Middle School and Upper School Spanish Teacher
Elizabeth, a St. Luke’s alum, is happy to return to the Hilltop as a Middle and Upper School Spanish teacher. She studied sociology and secondary education at American University and taught history in D.C. Public Schools for three years. During her free time, Elizabeth loves to explore local trails, shop at farmer’s markets, and plan her next adventure. 
Christine Hruska
Middle School English Teacher
Christine is delighted to join St. Luke’s as the sixth grade English teacher. According to Christine, “Middle school is my jam.” Her extensive career has included working in independent boarding and day schools as a teacher, administrator, and coach, as well as in the public school systems in Connecticut and New York City. In addition to her love of literature and writing, Christine has recently completed her 200-hour yoga teaching certification and SEL*F certification for adults and children. In her free time, Christine can be found connecting with her grown children, hiking (ask her about national parks), practicing yoga, journaling, and performing stand-up comedy. 

Hannah King
Upper School Librarian
Hannah joins St. Luke's faculty as the Upper School librarian. She comes to us from Fort Worth, Texas, where she taught English and coached volleyball at Great Hearts Lakeside Academy. Prior to teaching, Hannah earned a Master's degree in Library and Information Science at the University of North Texas, and did her undergraduate work in English literature and linguistics at Baylor University. Hannah looks forward to exploring Connecticut with her husband, Will, and her cat, Leif Erikson. 

Mary Kay Kosnik
Long-Term Sub
Mary Kay joins St. Luke’s Math Department this fall as a long-term substitute in grade six. Prior to working at St. Luke’s, Mary Kay was a middle school math teacher at The Hamlin School in San Francisco. In addition to teaching, Mary Kay serves on the board of trustees at Miss Hall's School and the LSA Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of Michigan. She and her husband, Steve, have three grown children and share a love of philanthropy, golf, skiing, and travel. 

David Levin
Head Debate Coach
David Levin brings nine years of debate experience as a competitor, judge, and coach. In his prior coaching roles, David has led debaters to award-winning finishes at multiple national circuit tournaments, including the Lakeland Westchester Classic, the UPenn Liberty Bell Invitational, and the Harvard-Binghamton Invitational. David's other academic interests include human geography, film, and new media studies. Outside of school, David enjoys umpiring youth baseball, cooking, and woodworking.
Marta Napiorkowska 
English Department Chair
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Marta has lived all over the U.S., including New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Dallas, where she began her teaching career at St. Mark's School of Texas. After moving to the East Coast, she continued her teaching career at the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Her partner lured her to Connecticut, where she worked for a year at Sacred Heart Greenwich. before coming to St. Luke’s as the English Department chair. She earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Chicago. She has a son, Elias, who is a U.S. Marine and a student at Ohio State University. For fun, she plays tennis, sails, and skis, as well as enjoys art, theater, and literature.

Michael Pappa
Upper School English Teacher
Michael joins the Upper School English Department and brings a variety of experiences in adolescent development and education to St. Luke's. He has worked in both churches and jails as a mentor, lived in an intentional community for a year, and taught for five years at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, where he held various administrative positions. He graduated from Middlebury College and Vermont's Bread Loaf School of English. He enjoys thinking and teaching at the intersection of philosophy, religious studies, and literature. In his free time, Michael enjoys camping, rugby, weightlifting, and playing guitar and drums. 
Linsey Peterson
Communications and Stewardship Manager
Linsey Peterson joined the St. Luke's Development Office in January 2022 as the development stewardship & communications manager. She recently moved to Norwalk from her home state of Texas, where she served as the development officer at Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. In her free time, you can find Linsey on the beach volleyball court, at a concert, or on a patio spending time with friends. 
Sarah Phipps
Executive Assistant to the Head of School
Sarah comes to St. Luke's from The Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where she was the executive assistant to the head of school, dean of faculty, and the dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Prior to Williston, she was an associate director of annual giving at the College of the Holy Cross, where she graduated in 2015. Sarah started her career at Rye Country Day School, working in the college counseling department as an administrative assistant while obtaining her master's degree in education at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. Sarah and her fiance, Dan, live in Greenwich with their two-year-old chocolate Lab, Roxie.

Stephanie Rein
Learning Specialist
Stephanie joins St. Luke's as a learning specialist. She has spent the past 17 years working in education as a teacher, consultant, learning specialist, and adjunct associate professor in New York City, Calgary, Chicago, and Connecticut. In 2021, she graduated with a doctorate in educational leadership with a dissertation focused on the impact of parenting practices on academic outcomes. Outside of the classroom, Stephanie enjoys playing tennis and golf and traveling with her husband and eight-year-old twins.

Cali Touloumes
Upper School Math Department Chair
Cali joins St. Luke’s as the Upper School Math Department Chair after nine years of teaching and designing various math courses in public and charter high schools, from New York City to Boston. She earned a master’s in special education from CUNY Queens College and a bachelor’s in math education from New York University. Cali is a proud Greek-American who loves sharing her culture with friends, colleagues, and students. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, getting lost in a new book, or relaxing with her favorite TV shows.
Tyjee Williams
School Counselor
Tyjee joins St. Luke’s as our new school counselor. Raised in New Jersey, Tyjee moved to New Haven, where he attended the University of New Haven and received a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology. During his time at the  University of New Haven, he played football and ran track and field. Following college, he worked for The Children’s Community Programs of Connecticut, as a life skills educator/case manager, before pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling. Tyjee brings experience in elementary, middle, and high school settings, where he assisted students with their day-to-day needs and provided long-term mentoring. Aside from his role as a counselor, Tyjee will be mentoring St. Luke’s students as part of the football coaching staff. Outside of school, Tyjee lives in Norwalk with his girlfriend, Jaya, and two-year-old Shih Tzu puppy, Blue. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, listening to music, and watching football, especially the New York Jets.

Jessica Zamek
Choir/Vocal Music Teacher
Jessica joins St. Luke’s as choir/vocal music teacher. A native of Maine, Jessica earned her Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from Western Connecticut State University and attended graduate school at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Jessica is a veteran private voice teacher, an experienced high school and middle school choir director, and an early childhood music specialist. She is a dedicated church musician, serving as section leader, children’s music director, and soloist.  Jessica frequently performs at patriotic and community events, such as parades, homecomings, and occasions calling for the national anthem. She is an accomplished recitalist artist and regularly concertizes throughout New England and Colorado. Most recently, she has been heard in a lecture recital at Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, New York, a concert of opera arias at St. Michael’s Chapel in Kent, Connecticut, and A Candlelight Vigil for Our Girls, a special event held in Smithtown, New York. She has appeared as Madame Lidoine in The Dialogues of the Carmelites with the Midwest Opera Institute, the soprano soloist in Messiah with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble in Kent, Connecticut, the title role in Manon, Despina in Così fan tutte, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, and Carolina in Il matrimonio segreto.

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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 35 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.