Faculty and Staff
The key to our success is offering Wye River students with faculty members that are vested in the development of the school. They are constantly participating in School Leadership and making key decisions to make our students feel comfortable with the curriculum, and all of our offerings. Our teachers undergo training in their content areas as well as in teaching strategies to serve students with diverse learning needs.
Did you know that half of our faculty and staff hold graduate degrees? We also have two special educators and five teachers and staff that 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.
You can reach out to our Faculty and staff members right here. All you have to do is click on the name of the faculty member you would like to speak with below and you will be directed to their email address.
Stephanie Folarin, Head of School
Stephanie Borges Folarin (joined Wye River in 2021) received her B.A. in Africana Studies from Bates College and her M.S. in Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently completing her Certificate in School Management and Leadership at Harvard University. Stephanie has worked extensively with students, teachers, administrators, parents, and clinicians on various educational matters, including differentiated and inclusive education; equity and justice work; curriculum design and implementation; psycho-educational evaluations; teacher evaluations and professional growth; education policy; and education reform in both the public and private sectors of academia. Stephanie is extremely excited to bring her 15 years of educational leadership to the Wye River Upper School community.
Jon Baker, Teacher - Language Arts
Jon Baker (joined Wye River in 2018) has an impressive work history and two Master's Degrees; one in English and one in Library & Information Science. In addition to teaching English Literature here in the US, he has also taught conversational English in South Korea. Jon has led many outdoor programs for students including biking, hiking, skiing, and paddling. He also prepares students for a healthy lifestyle by providing them with insights on nutrition, consciousness, and stress/anxiety reduction. Overall, he loves the challenge/reward balance of teaching in such a creative, agile, and research-informed learning community.
Cynthia Bayne, Teacher - Humanities
Cynthia Bayne (joined Wye River in 2019) earned a B.A. in Secondary Education from West Virginia Weslyan College, and specializes in Social Studies and Dramatic Arts. She also holds a Maryland Educator Certificate. Bayne brings experience from public and private settings as well as abroad as she has taught in Hong Kong and Korea. She has also led learning expeditions to Thailand, New Zealand, and Italy. Cynthia has been instrumental in developing an engaging curriculum across content areas, structuring systems for mentorship, and providing specific support for students with Executive Function needs. Cynthia is dedicated to connecting with students and helping them become compassionate global citizens.
Zara Cowan, Administrative Assistant
Zara Cowan (joined Wye River in 2018) comes with over 25 years of administrative assistance experience. She previously worked as a secretary for the Queen Anne’s County Department of Health and prior to that was an executive administrative assistant at Victor O. Schinnerer. She is thrilled to be supporting both academic and administrative programs at Wye River Upper School.
Lawrie Dudley, Director of Business
Lawrie Dudley (joined Wye River in 2016) 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.
Tom Fleagle, Teacher - Mathematics
Tom Fleagle (joined Wye River in 2020) earned his degree in Secondary Education for Mathematics at Penn State. His focus is on Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and Probability/Statistics. Tom comes to Wye River with a rich background in sales. Wye River’s unique size and the mission statement grabbed his attention to want to return to the classroom. He hopes his students gain a better understanding of the big picture in the field of math, and will appreciate the intricacies and beauty. A little unknown fact about Tom is that he is originally from a small town in Pennsylvania and has lived at Lake Tahoe, Reno, Honolulu, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, and other unique places.
Katie Lillard, Teacher - Fine Art, Digital Art
Katie Lillard (joined Wye River in 2018) received a four-year Certificate in Figurative Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is currently working toward her MFA there. She has taught art at St. Andrew’s high school in Middletown, Delaware. She is an active artist, showing and selling her artwork throughout the eastern Delaware and Pennsylvania regions. Katie works in several mediums including painting, etching, and digital arts. She enjoys using her talents and guiding her students toward discovering more about themselves and the world around them through creative expression.
James Martinez, Director of Makerspace and Project Based Learning (PBL)
James Martinez (joined Wye River in 2002) received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and an M.F.A. from the University of Delaware. He has taught fine arts at both University of Delaware and Delaware College of Art and Design. James teaches Makerspace and Project-Based Design at Wye River. He has led the school in the development of a new Makerspace which is a place for students and faculty to collaborate in the creation of hands-on projects utilizing high tech and low tech tools. James is the faculty advisor for PBL. He also supports students in portfolio development for graduation and college applications. James is a founding teacher at Wye River.
Lydia Meeks, Teacher- Social Studies
Lydia Meeks (joined Wye River in 2006) received her B.A. in History from College of Wooster. Afterwards, Lydia completed several post-graduate credits in teaching. She has been teaching, substituting, and tutoring for over 14 years at Wye River. Lydia is dedicated to bringing history to life and helping students to build connections between themselves and the past. She wants students to leave social studies classes with the ability to have an opinion, fact check that opinion, and then support it. Today's world needs citizens who make independent decisions and Lydia teaches students with that goal in mind.
Patrick Miles, Teacher- Science
Patrick Miles (joined Wye River in 2021) received an M.S. in Environmental Science from Towson University. His focus is on environmental policy and watershed science. Patrick has worked with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to update the Genuine Progress Indicator, a metric of statewide well-being that includes environmental and societal factors. He hopes to make science accessible for all students, and to provide them an opportunity to see how in class topics apply to the real world. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, video games, and playing with his dog, Snoopy.
Kirsten Mosher, Teacher- Mathematics
Kirsten Mosher (joined Wye River in 2018) brings over 30 years of experience that she gained by teaching middle and high school students in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of South Carolina. Kirsten later earned her Teaching License in Mathematics and Certification for Highly Qualified Teaching in Middle/Secondary Mathematics. Before moving to the Eastern Shore in 2018, she taught high school math for 27 years. She was also the coordinator for the Teacher Education Program at Sewanee for two years. Kirsten aims to help students reach their fullest potential through participation in engaging learning experiences at Wye River.
Emma Rose Mumma, Director of Development and Philanthropy
Emma Rose Mumma (joined Wye River in 2019) holds a B.S. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. Previously, Emma worked as the Director of Fundraising, Special Events, and Development for a professional ballet company in Indianapolis. Emma started working at Wye River Upper School in the winter of 2019 as the Development and Communications Associate. The next fall she moved to the role of Director of Development and Philanthropy. She is enthusiastic about sharing the many student success stories and all that Wye River has to offer with the broader community, as well as stewarding the gifts that support Wye River's important mission.
Marissa Muro, Teacher - Music and Theater Arts
Marissa Muro (joined Wye River in 2015) received her B.M. 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 continued her studies at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in Dortmund, Germany, and spent many years performing and teaching vocal workshops in Europe and South America. Marissa wanted to give her students another creative learning outlet that would focus on strengthening socials skills, self-expression abilities, and improve self-confidence. In 2017, Marissa launched the Theatre Performance and Theatre Production Departments. Students were afforded new opportunities to learn real-life skills such as hands-on sound engineer training, set design, creating costumes, stage management, directing, playwriting, and performing. She hopes that students will continue to gain confidence, learn new skills, and enjoy being involved in the arts as much as she has.
Paula Pavon, Dean of Students
Paula Pavon (joined Wye River in 2014) holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Washington College, and has completed two years of study in education. She is also 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. She believes in fostering student independence by finding the right balance of secure boundaries and self expression. Paula is enthusiastic about helping students feel accepted and appreciated.
Nicole Sophocles, Assistant Head of School
Nicole Sophocles (joined Wye River in 2002) holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and a Masters in Education from the University of Maryland. She holds an Independent School Leadership Certificate from Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Nicole is a founding teacher, with a teaching certificate in biology. She enjoys traveling, fitness, the beach, and spending active time with her family in Annapolis where she resides.
Tracie Spence, Director of Enrollment Management & Communications
Tracie Spence (joined Wye River in 2020) earned her B.A. in Business from Cabrini University and a certificate in Marketing from Franklin and Marshall College. Previously, she has worked with the American Red Cross and United Way, as well as a private Catholic school. Her background in fundraising, communications, and marketing has provided her with a solid background to be the Director of Enrollment Management and Communications at WRUS. In her spare time, she loves to be outside biking, gardening, traveling (pre-and post-COVID-19), and reading.
Ron Vener, Athletic Director, Teacher - Health, Finance Math
Ron Vener (joined Wye River in 2012) holds a B.S. in Health and Physical Education, and a M.S in Instruction and Curriculum. He has also completed a Maryland State Administration Certificate. Ron has over 16 years of teaching and coaching experience in private and public schools. During his career, he has developed strong athletic programs over the years in his role as Athletic Director at two prior schools. Additionally, Ron has been instrumental in mentoring a number of our students in their potential career choices. He currently leads the very popular Personal Finance course, a year-long credit course that supports students in mastering basic finance skills.
Colleen Williams, Director of Events / Advancement and Communications Associate
Colleen Williams (joined Wye River in 2020) received a B.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism with a concentration in Recreation Therapy, Outdoor Recreation, and Tourism Management from Radford University. She also has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. Colleen is currently the volunteer Mid-Atlantic Regional past Chair for the Association for Experiential Education, in which she has a huge passion for sharing the vision of hands-on educational learning. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of educational and recreational settings. Colleen hopes her knowledge and past experiences to Wye River can be built upon with creative opportunities that the school is continuously providing.