Meet Our Board Members
The Wye River Upper School Board of Trustees members are vital to our school's development and the future of the students we serve. We are thankful for their dedication to expanding our network of communities that now know how Wye River helps students with learning differences across Maryland and Delaware.
Chair of the Board
Nikki Williams is the Director and Owner of Chesapeake Speech Therapy Services and provides care in many settings within Queen Anne's and surrounding counties including schools, hospitals, private practice, and other educational and clinical settings. Nikki received her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and holds a Master of Science in Communication Disorders from Northern Arizona University. She lives in Queenstown with her husband Jason, and their three children.
Treasurer of the Board
Lori is a native of San Diego, CA, and has lived in Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, Durham, NC, and St. Michaels, MD. She earned an MBA from Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management and worked in business development and as a management consultant for over 25 years. Lori enjoys working in start-up operations where creating new products/programs and revenue streams are encouraged and mentoring non-profit organizations. She served on Wye River Upper Schools’ Strategic Planning Committee in 2018/2019 and on the recent WRUS Head of School Search Committee. She is most proud of founding The Shared Table, a partnership of churches where people of all colors would join together to break bread and discuss community issues. Lori is currently on the advisory board of the Talbot County Senior Centers and a trustee and EMT for the St. Michaels Volunteer Fire Department. She has also served on the board of Talbot Village Connections and the MRYC Foundation. She is the Executive Director of Temple B’nai Israel in Easton, MD where she recently produced a Contemporary Art Series featuring curators from the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Jewish Museum of New York. Lori, her wife, Kristen, and son Andrew are avid sailors and reside in St. Michaels, MD.
Trustee of the Board
Robyn received a B.A. from Howard University, a Masters of Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University, and a Masters of Secondary Education from Ball State University. She is currently employed as the Director of the Naval Academy Primary School, where she also previously worked as a Special Education Lead Teacher. She has served as the Assistant Principal at a public middle school in North Carolina and in various teaching roles. Robyn currently resides in Annapolis with her husband and children.
Trustee Emeritus to the Board
Patricia McGlannan is a Co-Founder of Wye River Upper School and the former Director of Business and Development. Her son was in the second graduating class in 2006. She is an active member of local Chambers of Commerce and women's networks and serves actively on the Queen Anne's County Chamber of Commerce Business Education Partnership.
Trustee of the Board
Katie Theeke is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at For All Seasons Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center. Through her work, she works to raise the profile of the organization across the Eastern Shore and establish the agency as the top resource for mental health and victim services. Katie came to For All Seasons from Wye River Upper School, where she served as Director of Admissions and Communications for over 9 years, working closely with students, staff, and families to support the educational journey of bright students with learning differences. Katie holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Masters of Education from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Easton with her two teenage children, Finnegan and Ember, and her husband, Adam. She is grateful for the vital work and the supportive individuals she has found in this community.
Trustee of the Board
Michele DeFreece has an impressive background in education advocacy and leadership. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Special Education/Elementary Education from Fitchburg State College and a Masters of Education in Student Development in Higher Education from Howard University. Her career has been marked by a commitment to promoting inclusivity and equity in education. Michele has over thirty years of progressively responsible academic and student affairs leadership experience in higher education. She also has expertise in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic, assessment, and retention plans.
Trustee of the Board
Harry J. Duffey III
Mr. Harry “Stoney” Duffey, III, and his wife Jij have been closely involved in supporting many schools and organizations throughout Queen Anne’s County. Stoney previously served on the board for Kent School. He serves on the Gunston board and was a past board chair. Stoney has close ties to the local 4H chapter with service and involvement for 40 years. Stoney assists Queen Anne’s County Park and is a past board chair. He gives back to his church as a volunteer for St. Paul’s vestry. Stony also is a member of Wye River’s Resource Development Committee.
Secretary of the Board
After a career focused on corporate finance and general management, Tom is semi-retired carrying on with consulting assignments where he can add value on a flexible short-term basis in strategic planning, managing projects and solving problems. Previously from 2009 to 2016 he served as Director of School Advancement and Finance at Wye River Upper School. His responsibilities included overseeing the acquisition, renovation, relocation, financing and capital campaign to move the school to its own campus in the restored Centreville National Guard Armory. Tom holds a Masters degree in Management from the Alfred P. Sloan School at MIT, and a BS from Drexel University, where he later served on the Visiting Committee of the College of Business and Administration. During 2011 and 2012 he obtained the Certificate in Fundraising Management and the Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. In 2017 he received the Certificate in Special Education Advocacy at the College
of William and Mary Law School. Tom is married with four children and nine grandchildren. He enjoys fly fishing, reading and writing.
Dear Wye River Upper School Families,
Welcome to the dawning of a new school year, where we embark on a journey of intellectual exploration and discovery together. As the Head of School and the Board Chair, we stand united in the spirit of Jean Piaget, the visionary psychologist who paved the way for a profound understanding of cognitive development in young people.
Jean Piaget, a beacon of inspiration, emphasized young people's innate curiosity and active role in constructing their own knowledge. He believed that education should be a collaborative process where teachers and students engage in meaningful interactions, fostering a deep understanding of the world around us. As we commence this academic year, we remain committed to Piaget's enduring principles, creating an environment that nurtures curiosity, critical thinking, and the joy of learning.
Our dedicated faculty, carefully selected for their passion and expertise, are eager to guide your children on their educational journey. They embrace the belief that learning is not a passive absorption of information but an active process of assimilation and accommodation. Our classrooms are vibrant spaces where students are encouraged to question, explore, and make connections, stimulating their cognitive growth and intellectual development.
At the heart of our educational philosophy lies the recognition that young people progress through distinct stages of cognitive development, each with unique characteristics and needs. We tailor our teaching approaches to meet students where they are, providing challenges that stretch their thinking and scaffolding support to ensure mastery. We aim to cultivate independent thinkers equipped with the skills and confidence to navigate the world's complexities.
In addition to academic growth, we recognize the importance of fostering social and emotional intelligence in our students. We emphasize the interconnectedness of cognitive and affective development, understanding that learning is most effective in a supportive and nurturing environment. Our school community is a tapestry of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, encouraging empathy, collaboration, and respect for others. Through these experiences, we aim to nurture well-rounded individuals who are intellectually adept and socially responsible.
As we embark on this new chapter, we embrace the advancements of the modern age, integrating technology as a tool to enhance learning experiences and facilitate collaboration. However, we remain mindful of Piaget's admonition that technology should serve as a means to an end, supporting and enhancing cognitive growth rather than overshadowing it. We strive for a balanced integration that fosters critical thinking, creativity, and responsible digital citizenship.
Furthermore, education is a collaborative endeavor, requiring the partnership of parents, teachers, and the wider community. We invite you, dear parents and guardians, to actively engage in your child's educational journey, for it is through collaboration that we can provide the most meaningful support and guidance. Your insights, experiences, and involvement are invaluable as we work together to nurture the potential of each student.
Let us embrace the new school year with enthusiasm and a sense of wonder, echoing the spirit of Jean Piaget. Together, we will embark on a journey of intellectual growth, fostering a love for learning and empowering our students to become active participants in their education. We are confident that we will inspire our students to reach new heights, challenge conventional wisdom, and become lifelong learners.
Stephanie Borges Folarin. Nikki Juarez Williams
Head of School Board Chair