Faculty and Staff
One of the keys to Wye River Upper School's success is the hiring of faculty members who are not only invested in the mission of the school but also have the education and experience 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 also been trained in the EmPower Writing Methodology and Mental Health First Aid.
You can email our faculty and staff members right here by clicking on their name.
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 recently completed 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, English, Theatre, Interpersonal Communications
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. Cynthia brings experience from public and private settings as well as abroad as she has taught in Hong Kong and South 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, Executive 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.
Bill Drazga, Music
Bill Drazga (joined Wye River in 2021) brings more than 45 years of music experience to Wye River Upper School. He received his B.A. in Music/Composition from Sonoma State University, pursued postgraduate course work towards a master's degree in music at Northridge State University and completed programs in composition, arranging and keyboard at Dick Grove School of Music in California. He most recently received a master's degree in Theology from Holy Trinity Seminary. BIll has worked as a music teacher privately and in school settings and has served in a number of roles as music and choir director in several churches along the Easterrn Shore and Delaware.
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, Physics
Tom Fleagle (joined Wye River in 2020) earned his degree in Secondary Education for Mathematics at Penn State. He currently teaches Algebra, Geometry, and Physics. Tom comes to Wye River with a background in sales and property management. Wye River’s unique size and the mission statement grabbed his attention and prompted him to return to the classroom. He hopes his students gain a better understanding of the big picture and appreciate the intricacies and beauty of math. Tom is originally from a small town in eastern Pennsylvania and has lived at Lake Tahoe, Reno, Honolulu, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, and other unique places.
Emily Fryer, Advancement Associate
Emily Fryer (joined Wye River in 2021) holds a B.S.B.A. in Marketing and General Management from the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration. Previously, Emily has worked with a number of national non-profits including Wounded Warrior Project, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fund for Animals, and Christian Appalachian Project. She believes children should have the opportunity to learn in a more unique classroom setting that serves the interests of each student's future - aligned with Wye River Upper School's mission! In addition to her passion for non-profit work, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors with her two daughters, travelling, writing, and interior design.
Katie Lillard, Teacher - Fine Art, Digital Art
Katie Lillard (joined Wye River in 2018) received her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She is an active artist, showing and selling her artwork throughout the eastern Delaware and Pennsylvania regions. Katie works in several mediums including oil painting 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 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, Theatre
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 15 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 with the opportunity to see how in-class topics apply to the real world. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, video games, and playing with his dog, Snoopy.
Philip Swann, Teacher - Spanish
Philip Swann (joined Wye River in 2021) grew up in Easton and attended Chesapeake College and Salisbury University, where he received his B.A. in Spanish. He is currently finishing his master's degree in Latin American Studies and an M.Ed. in Language, Culture, and Literacy Education through Indiana University. Philip previously taught undergraduate students at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. His interests include traveling, languages, soccer and pre-Columbian art and culture.
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.
Paula Schoon, Dean of Students
Paula Schoon (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/College & Career Counseling
Nicole Sophocles (joined Wye River in 2002) brings more 20 years of experience in formal teaching, outdoor education and school leadership. Sheholds a B.S. from the University of Miami, a Masters in Education from the University of Maryland and 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 assume the role of 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, Director of Operations/Teacher - Health and 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 26 years of teaching and coaching experience in private and public schools. During his career, he 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.