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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 60% of our staff hold advanced degrees or doctoral degrees? We are trained in Orton Gillingham Reading Instruction, and every member of the staff has also been trained in the EmPower Writing Methodology and Mental Health First Aid.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Nicole

Sophocles

Interim Head of School/College & Career Counseling

Nicole Sophocles (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Dr. Amy

Littlefield

Faculty - Learning Specialist

Dr. Amy Littlefield (joined WRUS in 2023) brings with her over 20 years of teaching neurodiverse students in all levels of education including post-secondary. She received her PhD in 2011 with a focus in Educational Psychology from The Catholic University of America. Amy also holds an MA in Learning Instruction from CUA, an MA in International Affairs from American University, and a BA in Psychology from Baylor University. Amy enjoys her newly established home on the Eastern Shore with her husband near her children.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Jamie

Caron

Faculty - Teacher

Jamie Caron (joined WRUS in 2023) joins the WRUS faculty as a graduate University of Virginia with a Master of Education with a focus in Literacy (Chair’s Fellow) and a B.A. in English from Skidmore College. Jamie brings experience teaching at Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s County, Kent School, and Gunston School. Raised on our very own Eastern Shore, Jamie is thrilled to work and serve his local community.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Julie

Connaire

Front Desk Manager

Julie Connaire (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Kirsten

Mosher

Faculty - Math

Kirsten Mosher (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Lydia

Meeks

Faculty - Social Studies, Theatre

Lydia Meeks (joined WRUS 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.

443-262-8259

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Michele

Cheyne

Science Teacher and Curriculum Specialist

Michele Cheyne (joined WRUS in 2023) comes to Wye River with over 30 years in science teaching and science teacher education. Michele taught biology, chemistry, environmental science, genetics, and in summer school enrichment and remediation programs in Wisconsin. She then taught in the graduate science teacher education program at the University of Pittsburgh, preparing science teachers in grades 7-12. While at the University of Pittsburgh Michele worked with Pittsburgh Public schools to open two new schools: Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy and Milliones 6-12. Following her work at the University of Pittsburgh, Michele worked for the Knowles Teacher Initiative, a not-for-profit supporting early career math and science teachers. In her work there, Michele developed curriculum for these teachers as well as for school districts on fee-for-service agreements. Michele most recently has supervised and mentored pre-service teachers for Salisbury University. Michele is passionate about developing a science curriculum that provides opportunities for students to explain real-world phenomena.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Ron

Vener

Director of Operations and Athletics

Ron Vener (joined WRUS 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.

443-262-8282

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Tom

Fleagle

Faculty - Math

Tom Fleagle (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Charles

Guerriero

Bus Driver

Charles Guerriero (joined WRUS in 2020) provides transportation on one of our bus routes. Charles is local to the Eastern Shore and enjoys fishing in his time off.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Roxanne

Mitchell

Bus Driver

Roxanne Mitchell (joined WRUS in 2023) provides transportation on one of our bus routes. She moved with her husband to the Eastern Shore four years ago from the Annapolis area, where she worked as a dental hygienist. Roxanne brings with her driving experience from the Gunston School.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Cynthia

Bayne

Faculty - Humanities, English, Theater

Cynthia Bayne (joined WRUS 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.

443-262-8258

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

James

Martinez

Director of MakerSpace

James Martinez (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Jon

Baker

Faculty - English

Jon Baker (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Katie

Lillard

Director of Enrollment and Communications

Katie Lillard (joined WRUS in 2018) first served Wye River as an Art Teacher and Communications Associate before taking her current position as Director of Enrollment and Communication. She received both her undergraduate Certificate in Painting and Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Katie received her 200 YTT in 2022, and offers yoga and mindfulness as part of Wye River's Physical Education curriculum to students in grades 9-12. Outside of school, Katie is an independent artist specializing in figurative oil painting, digital illustration, and graphic design. She loves spending time with her son and exploring new places.

443-262-8267

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Lawrie

Dudley


Director of Business

Lawrie Dudley (joined WRUS 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.

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Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Melissa

Lewis

Associate Director of Business

Melissa Lewis (joined WRUS 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 Business Associate. Melissa resides in Easton and enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

443-262-8297

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Paula

Schoon

Director of Student Services

Paula Schoon (joined WRUS 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.

443-262-8292

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Shawna

Buckley

School Counselor

Shawna Buckley (joined WRUS in 2023) serves as our School Counselor. An experienced educator teaching Spanish to all grade levels for seven years at an independent school on the Eastern Shore, Shawna received her Masters in Social Work from Howard University in 1993 and served as a social worker in the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and on the Eastern Shore before transitioning to education. Her focus in social work entailed working with children and families in community and clinical settings marshaling appropriate therapeutic and academic services to meet the needs of clients to help them maximize their potential. She is excited to bring this experience to WRUS. Shawna lives in Chestertown with her husband and four children.

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Zara

Cowan

Executive Assistant

Zara Cowan (joined WRUS 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.

443-262-8257

Wye River Upper School Faculty & Staff

Ernie

Smith

Bus Driver

Ernie Smith (joined WRUS in 2010) provides transportation on one of our bus routes. Ernie became acquainted to Wye River through his wife, Ellen, who previously served Wye River’s Business Office. Ernie was one of the first drivers to provide transportation to our students!

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