Meet Our Faculty and Staff
One of the keys to Wye River Upper School's success has been the hiring of faculty and staff 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 50% of our faculty and staff hold graduate degrees? We also have two special educators, and five teachers, and numerous 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.
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 16 years of educational leadership to the Wye River Upper School community.
Faculty - Music
Amy Morgan (joined Wye River in 2022) is an accomplished musician whose education includes a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from Salisbury University and Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Messiah University. Amy is the founder and Artistic Director at Allegro Academy in Easton, MD where she is the conductor of the Allegra Women’s Chorus, Children’s Chorus, as well as piano and voice instructor. Amy has served as the Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral since 2014 and has also served as music director of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Heart and Music Theatre Review, and accompanied many stage productions and concerts. Amy is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, American Guild of Organists, and is an active musician on the Easton community.
Faculty - Spanish
Elizabeth Greenwell (joined Wye River in 2022) holds a BS with a concentration in Education and MS in Community Counseling from Wilmington University and is a doctoral candidate in Special Education. Elizabeth has over 20 years of teaching experience in the United States and Costa Rica at the middle, high school, and college levels. She recently received a certificate in the Science of Learning from The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrew's. Elizabeth is a member of the Eastern Shore Writer’s Association and the author of 4 children’s books about adoption and diversity. She enjoys civic involvement with the town of Betterton, where she lives with her husband and four children.
Director of MakerSpace
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 the 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 Project Based Learning (PBL). He also supports students in portfolio development for graduation and college applications. James is a founding teacher at Wye River.
Front Desk Manager
Julie Connaire (joined Wye River in 2023) brings with her 18 years of experience working in administration for Queen Anne's County public schools. Julie raised her children on the eastern shore, where she still lives with her husband. On her time off, Julie enjoys gardening, cooking, and boating.
Kay Brown (joined Wye River in 2018) attended Morgan State University where she studied Information Systems. She worked for the State of Maryland for 15 years where she last held the position of Accounts Clerk II. Before teaching driver’s education for eight years, Kay worked at Wye River from 2018-2019 and then returned again in 2021. Kay loves the atmosphere and learning environment at WRUS.
Laura Beth LeBlanc (joined Wye River in 2022) became a Humanities (Art, Literature, Music) teacher in 2018 after completing the Master's in the Art of Teaching program from the University of Maryland (UMD). Laura previously earned her B.A. in English from UMD while working full-time in the field of entertainment and live concert production at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Proudly, motherhood and working as the Art Camp director at Howard County Center for the Arts also helped her to segue her entertainment career into Arts Education. Encouraged by drama and stage production, she also earned a Citation in Renaissance and Baroque Studies to familiarize herself with formal stage produciuton and to encourage a multicultural view and understanding of humanities. Laura is passionate about changing the lives of high school students.
Faculty - Social Studies, Theatre
Lydia Meeks (joined Wye River in 2006) received her B.A. in History from the College of Wooster. Afterward, 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 checks that opinion, and then support it. Today's world needs citizens who make independent decisions and Lydia teaches students with that goal in mind.
Melissa Lewis (joined Wye River in 2023) received a B.S. in Business Management and a Minor in Human Resource Management from York College of Pennsylvania. She brings over 20 years of business experience in account management, sales and marketing. Melissa is excited to be a part of Wye River Upper School as the Development Associate and assisting the business office. Melissa resides in Easton and enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.
Director of Operations and Athletics
Ron Vener (joined Wye River in 2012) holds a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Lock Haven University and an M.S in Instruction and Curriculum from Western Maryland College (McDaniel). He has also completed the Maryland State Administration Certificate. Ron has over 28 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.
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.
Assistant Head of School/College & Career Counseling
Nicole Sophocles (joined Wye River in 2002) brings more than 20 years of experience in formal teaching, outdoor education, and school leadership. She holds 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.
Faculty - Humanities, English, Theater
Cynthia Bayne (joined Wye River in 2019) earned a B.A. in Secondary Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and specializes in Social Studies and Dramatic Arts. She also holds a Maryland Educator Certificate. Cynthia brings experience from public and private school settings, as well as abroad, having taught in Hong Kong and South Korea. She has also led learning expeditions to Thailand, New Zealand, China, 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.
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.
Faculty - English
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.
Director of Admissions
Katie Lillard (joined Wye River in 2018) received her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Katie previously served as Art teacher at Wye River before transitioning into her current marketing role. Katie continues to offer Graphic design classes to current students at Wye River and assists in the school's social media and digital marketing initiative. Katie loves creativity, spending time outside with her son and practicing yoga. She will be offering yoga/mindfulness as part of Wye River's morning sports and activities program this fall!
Faculty - Math
Kirsten Mosher (joined Wye River in 2018) brings over 30 years of experience that she gained by teaching 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.
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.
Faculty - Science
Martha Sullivan (joined Wye River in 2022) has taught science at the high school and middle school levels at boarding and day schools in the UK, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, and the USA. She has also served as head of science at two schools, the interim head of project-based school in Ireland, the director of operations of a forest school in Maine, and a K-5 science curriculum developer for Chicago Science. Martha has a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland and an MA in Education from the University of Bath with a dissertation on Education for Sustainable Development. She is passionate about native plants and the environment and has authored several children’s books that promote biodiversity. Martha lives in Easton and spends her summers in the West of Ireland.
Director of Student Services
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.
Faculty - Math
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 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, São Paulo, and other unique places.