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.

Dave Mullen, Interim Head of School

Dave Mullen is serving as the Interim Head of School for the 2020-2021 school year, after more than 40 years in education, with 29 of those as Head of School at The Nora School in Silver Spring. He has taught music, art, photography, math, and world religions during his career. A native of Boston, he holds a B.Mus. degree from New England Conservatory of Music and an M.Ed. from the University of Maryland. He and his wife, Beverly are the parents to three adult children. He and Beverly, are currently living in Chester, and constantly exploring what the Eastern Shore has to offer. When he is not exploring, he is an avid photographer, a trumpet player, and a member of the Chesapeake Brass Authority quintet.

Jon Baker, Teacher - Language Arts

Jon Baker joins the WRUS family in his third year with 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. Baker 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 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. Bayne has been instrumental in developing engaging curriculum across content areas, structuring systems for mentorship, and providing specific support for students with Executive Function needs. Cindy is dedicated to connecting with students and helping them become compassionate global citizens. Read more about Cindy on her welcome page.

Matthew Cowan, Assistant Head of School

Matt Cowan holds a M.A. in Teaching from Marygrove College and a B.A. in Art History and Archeology from the University of Maryland. A veteran Wye River teacher, Cowan is returning after holding a position with Chesapeake Science Point Charter School in Hanover. In addition to his advisory and teaching responsibilities at CSP, he served as the Equity Leader for the school where he designed and executed professional development for his peers. He also strengthened the delivery of innovative, equitable and data-driven classroom instruction. Matt led his students of all levels to earn the highest scores in the district on the Maryland High School Assessment. Cowan is passionate about leading educational programming, curricular design, teacher professional development, and classroom instruction.

Zara Cowan, Administrative Assistant

Zara Cowan 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 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 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, Math Teacher

Tom Fleagle earned his degree is in Secondary Education for Mathematics at Penn State. This will be his first year teaching at Wye River, and he will focus on Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry and Probability/Statistics. Fleagle comes to Wye River with a rich background in sales and technology. Wye River’s unique size and the mission statement grabbed his attention to be a math teacher. 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 known fact about Fleagle is that he is originally from Schuylkill Haven, PA and has lived at Lake Tahoe, Reno, Honolulu, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, and other unique places.

Karen Gilbert, Teacher - Language Arts

Karen Gilbert earned her BA in Education, and holds Certificates of Teaching and Special Education from the University of Delaware. She gained a unique teaching background by working with students in Pennsylvania, California, Central America, and Maryland. Gilbert enjoys a myriad of outdoor activities including kayaking, sailing, and cycling. She enjoys helping students to grow in their ability to problem solve, and to become critical thinkers.

Katie Lillard, Teacher - Fine Art, Digital Art

Katie Lillard 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 region. Lillard 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 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. Martinez is a founding teacher at Wye River.

Lydia Meeks, Teacher- Social Studies

Lydia Meeks received her B.A. in History from College of Wooster. Afterwards, Meeks completed several post-graduate credits in teaching. She has been teaching, substituting, and tutoring for over 14 years at Wye River. Meeks 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. She firmly believes that a student who makes an independent decision is incredibly important in today's world.

Kirsten Mosher, Math Coach and Teacher

Kirsten Mosher joins WRUS with 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. Mosher 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. Mosher aims to help students reach their fullest potential through participation in engaging learning experiences during her third year at Wye River.

Emma Rose Mumma, Director of Development and Philanthropy

Emma Rose Mumma holds a B.S. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. Previously, Beigel worked as the Director of Fundraising, Special Events and Development for a professional ballet company in Indianapolis. After working as a Development and Communications Associate at Wye River, she has moved to the role of Director of Development and Philanthropy. She is enthusiastic about sharing all that Wye River has to offer with the broader community.

Marissa Muro, Teacher - Music and Theater Arts

Marissa Muro 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.” Muro studied at the Hochschule Für Musik Detmold in Germany. She spent many years touring and teaching vocal workshops in Europe and South America. Muro has allowed students to participate in a Music and Art Expo series and she has directed students in productions such as “Wizard of Oz,” and “Cinderella.” During these productions, it gave her the opportunity to connect with the community. As she enters her fourth year at Wye River, she hopes that the students will gain confidence, learn a new skill, and to enjoy being involved in the arts as much as she has.

Paula Pavon, Dean of Students

Paula Pavon 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. Pavon 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. Pavon is enthusiastic about helping students feel accepted and appreciated. This will be the sixth year Pavon has been a member of the Wye River family.

Nicole Sophocles, College and Career Counselor, Academic Administrator

Nicole Sophocles holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and Masters in Education from the University of Maryland. She holds an Independent School Leadership Certificate from Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Sophocles 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. Nicole coordinates academic scheduling and provides guidance to students and families through college, career, and internship counseling.

Tracie Spence, Director of Enrollment Management & Communications

Tracie Spence 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 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. Vener has over 16 years' 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, Vener 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.

Lisa Walton, Teacher-Science

Lisa Walton holds a B.A. in Science from Sweet Briar College and an M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Walton has taught high school students for several years in biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physical science. Prior to WRUS, she taught for five years in public schools in Tennessee and Texas. She holds her teaching certificate in science and has over 100 hours of professional development in project-based learning, modeling instruction, and other inquiry-based techniques. Walton also worked in medical and higher education fields. She is passionate about providing real world relevance within a student-centered classroom.

Colleen Williams, Advancement and Communications Associate

Colleen Williams 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 an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, and Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. Williams is currently the volunteer Mid-Atlantic Regional 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. Williams hopes her knowledge and past experiences to Wye River can be built upon with creative opportunities that the school is continuously providing.