St. Luke's would like to welcome our new 2023-2024 faculty and staff and celebrate returning faculty and staff in their new/additional roles. New Faculty and Staff
Back Row: Mike Evans, Michael Horvath, Billy Bludgus, Kinsey Ferguson, Jennifer Rhodes, Jake Hughes, Matt Giannettino; Front Row: Jiaxuan "Mikki" Zong, Beth Woelflein, Sammi Janower, and Mya Berretta; Not pictured: Fahmida Ahmed and Rodney Vining
Human Resources Coordinator
Fahmida Ahmed is a proud 2022 graduate of UConn with a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS). While she’s had previous experience in HR roles, she is thrilled that this is her first venture into a full-time position. Fahmida joined St. Luke’s in March and shares that she has been incredibly happy and pleasantly taken aback by the warmth, support, and friendliness she has experienced since starting. It's a true testament to the wonderful environment here.
Upper School Science Teaching Fellow
Mya joins St. Luke’s as the Upper School Science Teaching Fellow, teaching two sections in chemistry. She recently graduated from Hamilton College, where she also played Varsity Women’s Ice Hockey. While at Hamilton, she majored in Neuroscience and minored in Jurisprudence, Law, and Justice Studies. Mya is excited to take on the role of Head Coach for the up-and-coming girls ice hockey program at St. Luke’s. Outside the classroom and the rink, Mya enjoys spending time with her jack russell terrier, Charlie, and going to the beach.
Head of Upper School
Before coming to St. Luke's, Billy served as the Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools at Brilla Schools, a charter school network in the Bronx. While Billy is well-versed in middle school, his career prior to 2021 focused on grades 9-12. Before Brilla, Billy worked at Cristo Rey High Schools in California and Florida, moving from Dean of Students to Assistant Principal and finally President. He started his career at The Loyola School on the Upper East Side, where he developed and ran a comprehensive service-learning program for the Upper School. A math teacher by training, he has taught throughout his time in schools. With a passion for service, Billy founded the House of Blue Hope Foundation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and served as its president for ten years. Billy lives in Stamford with his wife, Kelsey, a general surgery physician assistant at White Plains Hospital. Outside work, he enjoys running, hiking, traveling, the theater, and baking.
Middle School Spanish Teacher
Mike, who started at St. Luke’s in January, returns this year as an eighth and fifth grade Spanish teacher. Mike's entering his 11th year teaching foreign language. He also has an extensive background in service learning in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico through his own nonprofit, Full Court Peace which increases access to basketball by getting communities to work together..
Front Desk Supervisor
Kinsey assumed her role as St. Luke’s Front Desk Supervisor in October. Kinsey comes to us from Vineyard Vines, where she served many years as a store manager in Greenwich and New Canaan. In this role, Kinsey’s responsibilities included safety and security training for store employees. Kinsey is a warm, welcoming face for community members and visitors arriving on campus.
School Counselor & Head Football Coach
Matt is St. Luke’s new 5th and 11th grade counselor and head varsity football coach. He is coming to us from Long Island, New York, and recently moved to West Harrison. Matt is a former college athlete who graduated with his bachelor’s degreein Leadership Studies from Marist College and master’s degree in Education/School Counseling from St. John’s University. Matt aspires to be an upper school administrator in the future and is excited to grow within the SLS community.
Upper School English Teacher
Jake is originally from New Canaan, where he grew up and attended K–12 alongside his 4 sisters, playing basketball and running cross country. After graduating New Canaan High School, he attended the University of Connecticut where he majored in English Literature, continuing onto an MA & PhD in English Literature with a focus on 19th-century British Romanticism at Penn State University—Jake is still a member of the Lord Byron Society of America. After Penn State, Jake moved on to teach at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY, where he has taught Upper School English and American Studies for the past 8 years, including courses on Shakespeare, Romanticism, James Baldwin & Richard Wright, Novels of India, and Satan in Literature. His wife Caroline (also a New Canaan High School graduate) is senior minister of Wilton Congregational Church and they live in the church parsonage in Wilton with their two sons, Henry (3 years) and Julian (3 months).
Director of Athletics & PE
Michael is a deeply experienced Athletic Director with a Master's in Teaching from Columbia and a lifetime of first-hand experience in top independent schools. Michael spent several years working in sports marketing, where he honed his leadership and team-building skills. Before coming to St. Luke's, Michael served as the Director of Athletics at Dwight School in New York. He started at Dwight in 2011 and served in many capacities, including as a teacher, member of Dwight’s DEI team, and 10th Grade Dean before being named AD in 2016. Michael and his family live in Fairfield, CT. His children, Alana and Aiden, keep him quite busy with all of their weekend activities. He loves to hike, cook, travel, and play hockey with a local men’s league as much as he can.
Upper School History Teaching Fellow
Sammi joins St. Luke’s as the Upper School History Teaching Fellow, teaching two sections of Foundations of World History. As an undergraduate, Sammi majored in Sociology and minored in English and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In high school and college, Sammi participated in musical theater and served as a varsity coxswain on both men’s and women’s rowing teams. Sammi has previously worked in project management and loves dogs, coffee, and traveling.
Director of Development
Jen has worked in development for more than thirty years at highly respected independent schools, including The Chapin School and her alma mater, Loomis Chaffee School. Most recently, Jennifer served as the Director of Institutional Advancement at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School and The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. These schools thrived thanks to Jennifer’s long track record of achieving strategic goals. Her secret weapons are collaboration, a highly creative spirit, big idea generation, and a passion for forging deep connections. Jen lives in Rowayton and enjoys her time with family and friends, travel, skiing, theater, live music, and hikes with her dog Beatrice.
Campus Supervision Officer
Rodney started at St. Luke’s in November. Rodney has twenty-plus years of experience in public safety. As a former firefighter, Emergency Response Technician, and United States Marine, Rodney offers deep experience in emergency and medical response, rescue skills, conflict resolution, and security compliance. Prior to St. Luke’s, Rodney worked for the Town of New Canaan Board of Education, overseeing safety and security for more than 1,300 students, faculty, and staff. Before that, he served as the Public Lead Officer for St. Vincent's Behavioral Health, managing 25 security officers and coordinating emergency response drills with local emergency services.
Upper School Music Teacher
Beth comes to St. Luke's from Greens Farms Academy, where she led all middle school choirs and helped with musical productions for eight years. Prior to that, Beth lived and worked at Suffield Academy for six years, growing and invigorating their upper school choral program. Beth started her teaching career here at St. Luke's 21 years ago - working as the middle school choir teacher from 2002 - 2006. She studied voice and music education at the Hartt School of Music and is an active soprano in the area. Beth lives in Danbury with her three children, two of whom will attend SLS this fall. When she is not teaching, Beth can be found in the woods listening to birds, watching a scary movie, or cooking for loved ones to relax. She is so grateful to be back in this warm community and looks forward to bringing her passion for choral music to the students!
Jiaxuan (Mikki) ZongUpper School World Language Teaching Fellow
Jiaxuan obtained her bachelor's degree and first master's degree in landscape architecture, and a second master's degree in TESOL. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a doctorate in applied linguistics and language education in June 2023. Her dissertation is a qualitative study examining FL teachers' and students' language practices and attitudes through the lens of translanguaging and humanizing pedagogy. Her current research interests include understanding the intercultural awareness and competency of Mandarin instructors as well as the pedagogical implications of such constructs. She is also interested in investigating and integrating meaningful language theories into practices in Mandarin classrooms. She can't wait to start her career as a language educator at this excellent institution and within this amazing world language department.
Familiar Faces in New Roles
Abby Abbott, Assistant Head of Upper School
Katie Boorse, Head of Middle School
Zach Brusko, Middle and Upper School Department Chair for Computer Science and Engineering
Phil Cox, interim Upper School History Department Chair (remaining Middle School History Department Chair)
Mary Kate DeRienzo, Class of 2027 Co-Dean
Dawn Fuller, Director of Performing Arts
Hannah Galos, Textbook Coordinator
Kimberly Gerardi, designLab Director
Elizabeth Guillen, Equity & Inclusion Integrator
Jean Myles, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator
Liz Perry, Assistant Head of School for Academics
Stephanie Rein, Equity & Inclusion Integrator
Mike Rupp, Class of 2025 Co-Dean
Sarah Westerberg-Egan, Middle School Student Life Coordinator
Sally Rose Zuckert, Service Leader