Faculty and Staff
A well-trained faculty, characterized by their individual commitment to the Mission of the School, is key to our success. Our faculty is vested in the development of the School through participation in School Leadership and key decision-making. Our teachers are trained in their content areas as well as in teaching strategies for serving diverse learning needs. Half of our faculty and staff hold graduate degrees. There are currently two special educators on the faculty. Five teachers and staff are trained in Orton Gillingham Reading Instruction. Every member of the faculty has been trained in the EmPower Writing Methodology and Mental Health First Aid.
Faculty and staff members may be reached by e-mail by clicking on their names.
Chrissy Aull, Founding Executive Director
Chrissy Aull was motivated to found the school having realized the need while a parent of a middle school-aged son and a special education teacher at Radcliffe Creek School. Chrissy and another mother set about organizing a small group of interested educators, parents and community members in January 2002. After nine months of preparation, the founding Board successfully opened the doors of Wye River in September 2002. Chrissy received a B.A./B.S.W. from Western Maryland College, and Masters in Special Education from Loyola College. She is trained to teach Orton Gillingham reading instruction, and previously taught reading and math. Chrissy has served as Chair of an AIMS reaccreditation committee and as member of two other committees. Mrs. Aull regularly speaks to local and regional organizations and has presented at national levels to further awareness of the need for appropriate education for students with unique learning styles. She is a member of the Shore Leadership Class of 2005, who honored the school with their Leadership in Education Award and has been honored by the Easton chapter of the American Association of University Women. She is a past Senior Warden of St. Paul's Parish in Centreville where she remains active and serves on the Centreville Economic Development Authority.
Khadijah Berkley, Advancement & Marketing Communications Associate
Khadijah holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Shaw University and M.S. in Communications Management from Morgan State University. She manages the WRUS social media activity and special events and supports both the Development, Marketing and Admissions activities.
Matthew Cowan, Teacher - Social Studies
Matthew Cowan received his B.A. in Art History and Archeology from University of Maryland and his Masters in the Art of Teaching program at Marygrove College. Matt leads the Social Studies department for WRUS and teaches courses in Government, U.S. History, Middle Eastern Studies. Matt taught for the Horizons program at Radcliffe Creek School in Chestertown where he was a practitioner of the Whole Brain teaching method. Matt has also worked at the High Road School in Cambridge, MD. He completed training in Orton Gillingham reading instruction - a multi-sensory, phonics-based approach to teaching reading.
Lawrie Dudley, Director of Business
Lawrie Dudley brings over 30 years of accounting and business management experience. She received her B.A. from Washington College. Lawrie also brings experience in sales and marketing from her real estate career with Coldwell Banker. She is delighted to support students, parents and staff through her skills in business and finance.
Kara Frison, Administrative Assistant
Kara Frison received her B.A. in sociology from Hood College. Her previous employment experience includes serving as a Crew Leader for a team of teenagers through the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board and working in the Health Center at Hood College. Kara is responsible for supporting both the academic and administrative programs at Wye River.
James Martinez, Director of Art and Technology, Teacher- Arts, Technology
James Martinez received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and an M.F.A. from the University of Delaware. James works with students in both fine arts and digital arts. His Photography/ Movie Making course is a favorite among students who enjoy using technology to create original art. James leads students in portfolio development for college applications and has organized multiple student exhibits. James is a founding teacher of Wye River.
Jennifer McPeake, Director of Education
Jennifer McPeake received her B.S. in education from the State University of New York at Oswego with an additional 24 post graduate credits from The George Washington University. In the 2016-17 year, Jennifer teaches Reading to those students who require direct reading instruction and leads the Professional Development process for the faculty. She has served as a Senior Instructional Specialist for the Reading Engagement for Adolescent Learning (REAL) research grant, and has extensive experience creating and guiding implementation of teacher’s guides. Jennifer brings a wealth of experience in professional development leadership, and works to improve and increase literacy and learning for all students.
Lydia Meeks, Teacher- Math
Lydia Meeks received her B.A. in history from the College of Wooster with a multitude of post-graduate courses in mathematics and calculus. Lydia began her career with the School serving for several years as a substitute and teaching assistant. She has a great talent for reaching all kinds of learners and for motivating students who need extra support in math.
Marissa Muro, Teacher - Music
Ms. Muro is employed part time as a teacher in Music, with a focus in Voice. She received a B.A. from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Johns Hopkins University. Upon graduation, she appeared in the singing role of the “French Opera Singer” in the Disney film “Washington Square.” Marissa studied at the Hochschule fur Musik Detmold in Germany. She spent many years touring and teaching vocal workshops in Europe and South America.
Dimitra Neonakis, Teacher-Science
Dimitra Neonakis holds a B.S. from Skidmore College and an M.A. from American University. In 2013, she completed a Certificate of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Dimitra has taught science to a wide range of students from Pre-K through college. She has been an instructor at Anne Arundel Community College, Manor Discovery Center, Adkins Arboretum and The Gunston School. For several years, Dimitra wrote and implemented science curriculum for Partnering for Youth in six of Queen Anne County’s Public Schools. She is passionate about science and has participated in local research projects on horseshoe crabs, water quality and sea grasses. She is also enthusiastic about sharing her talents in microphotography and dance with students.
Kimberleigh Nichols, Teacher- English, Spanish
Kimberleigh Nichols holds a B.A. in music and English from McDaniel College where she concentrated in voice, composition, creative writing and art. Her master's’ equivalent is in education and writing. Kim spent three years in the Dominican Republic in a bilingual school teaching English and music. She supports the School’s Wye River music program, lending her strength in vocals and music composition. Prior to teaching in the Dominican Republic, Kim taught courses in Spanish and English and was a high school choral director. She completed training in Orton Gillingham reading instruction - a multi-sensory, phonics-based approach to teaching reading.
Paula Pavon, Dean of Students
Paula Pavon holds a B.A. and M.A. in psychology from Washington College and completed 2 years of study in education. She is certified in special education. Paula has supported the emotional and social well-being of teenagers in a variety of roles with experience working in Child Protective Services, private juvenile services, and child and family therapy. Paula believes in fostering student independence by finding the right balance of secure boundaries and self expression. She is enthusiastic about helping students feel accepted and appreciated.
Patricia Ray, Teacher - Language Arts
Patty Ray holds a B.S. in English Education from Southeast Missouri State University. She is employed part time and teaches or co-teaches three WRUS Language Arts classes and is venturing together with her students in Coding during 21C coursework. Ms. Ray has taught English at the high school level in the public school system.
Samantha Reed, Teacher - Math and Science
Samantha Reed teaches Algebra I, Biology and Physics. She holds a B.S. in Education with a minor in Mathematics from Salisbury University. Sam has several years experience teaching mathematics and science for local public schools. Samantha is certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and Fire Fighter.
Nicole Sophocles, College Counselor and Academic Administrator
Nicole Sophocles holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and Masters in education from the University of Maryland. She has also received the Independent School Leadership Certificate from Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Nicole is a founding teacher, and over the years she spearheaded a unique relationship with Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center which provided students with a variety of hands-on learning experiences. Currently, Nicole coordinates academic scheduling and provides guidance to students and families through college and career counseling.
Jessica Stehle, Teacher - English
Jessica Stehle received her BA in English Literature and art history from Washington College. Jessica was a substitute teacher for the school before joining the permanent faculty. She has taught in Caroline County and also worked in youth ministry for 6 years. Jessica is is passionate about guiding students through the creative writing process. She enjoys sharing her love of language, art, and observation to inspire students in becoming explorers of the world and creating their own personal narratives. She completed training in Orton Gillingham reading instruction - a multi-sensory, phonics-based approach to teaching reading.
Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions & Communications
Katie Theeke holds a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.S.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University specializing in educational technology. Katie has a strong background in independent schools through her experience teaching technology and training faculty. With a background in marketing, sales and fine arts, Katie enjoys collaborating with new families who join the Wye River community. She is enthusiastic about sharing the ongoing successes of Wye River with the larger community.
Ron Vener, Athletic Director, Teacher - Health, Finance Math
Ron Vener holds a Bachelor of Science in health and physical education and a Masters of Science in instruction and curriculum. Ron has over 16 years teaching and coaching experience in private and public schools. He has also completed a Maryland State Administration Certificate. Ron has developed strong Athletic programs over the years in his role as Athletic Director at two prior schools. In addition to his teaching duties, Ron has been instrumental in mentoring a number of our students in their potential career choices.