Ross School Welcomes New Faculty and Staff


The 2016–2017 academic year is starting off with a number of new faces on campus. Ross News is excited to introduce you to the most recent additions to the Ross School family:

Jennifer Ackerman (Associate Director of College and University Placement)Jennifer Ackerman (Associate Director of College and University Placement) is excited to be starting at Ross School this year. After graduating magna cum laude from Cornell University, Jennifer entered into a master’s program at New York University (NYU) in order to fulfill her long-term goal of becoming a counselor and working with students. After graduating from NYU, Jennifer worked as the counselor at a Michigan International Baccalaureate high school that is ranked as one of the most challenging high schools in the country. While there, she handled all aspects of the guidance and college counseling programs. As a native New Yorker, Jennifer is looking forward to applying her personal and professional experience in college admissions to working with the students at Ross School.

Dr. Robert Baum (English Teacher) Dr. Robert Baum (English Teacher) brings to Ross two decades of interdisciplinary achievement in the humanities, liberal arts, social sciences, fine arts, and media as a curriculum developer, literary critic, master teacher, researcher, and author of two books. He received his doctorate from the European Graduate School, his master’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English from The Catholic University of America. He is the co-founder of the Oxford Monastic Institute and founder of Wisdom1096, two education projects. A native of Long Island from Islip, Robert lives on the East End with his wife and four sons after 23 years writing, teaching, and working on sustainable economic projects across New England.

Novelette BrownNovelette Brown (Director of Public Relations) joined Ross School in July 2016. Most recently, Novelette was the Public Relations Manager of Marist School, an independent Catholic school in Atlanta, where she led the school’s publications efforts, secured media coverage, and served on the College Relations Committee for the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Novelette holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University, and she completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Mississippi. She is a registered yoga teacher and, in her free time, a freelance editor for Yoga International.

Richard Connor (ESOL Teacher)Richard Connor (ESOL Teacher) received a BA in history and political science from Iona College in 2010 and a master’s degree in secondary education with a middle childhood extension from Dowling College in 2013. Richard spent last year teaching 8th grade social studies and civics in Arizona. Before going to Arizona, he spent time substitute teaching in Southampton and working as a permanent substitute in Syosset. He believes that no student should be overlooked.

Hameer DeoHameer Deo (Science Teacher) graduated from Xavier University with a master’s degree in business administration (with a business intelligence concentration) this May. He completed his undergraduate studies at Xavier University in physics. Hameer is originally from India, and he has been in the United States for seven years. He is a sports enthusiast who enjoys soccer and track and field. He looks forward to working as a science teacher and soccer coach.

Tom Fogarty (Director of Institutional Advancement)Tom Fogarty (Director of Institutional Advancement) has been a resource development and marketing executive for 20 years, having served at several of the finest independent boarding schools in the nation and two of the leading health care systems in Maine. Throughout his career, Tom has led institutional advancement programs to new heights in the building of a new hospital on the Fore River in Portland, Maine; the Campaign for the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute; and the successful completion of a $100 million independent school capital campaign. Tom is a graduate of Fordham University and Mercersburg Academy. Before coming to Ross, he resided in Maine with his wife, Patricia, and their five children, two dogs, and a flock of chickens and ducks.

(Not pictured) Aaron Kanige (Spanish Teacher) began his teaching career in education as an English teacher in 2014 in Santander, Spain, and taught English and science in several bilingual schools there. Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education from Buffalo State College. While at Buffalo State, Aaron published a lesson plan called “Comparisons/Differences Between NYC Bus Map and Santander, Spain, Bus Map.” He was also the recipient of an academic-year scholarship to study and student-teach in Santander. After spending two years in Spain, Aaron returned to the United States to begin his career as a Spanish teacher. Aaron managed and coached two baseball teams from 2009–2014, and hopes to get involved with Ross’s baseball team as soon as possible. A certified New York State teacher, Aaron is looking to pursue a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language.

Jessica LawrenceJessica Lawrence (ESOL Teacher) taught ESOL in France and at the Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire before joining the faculty at Ross. She attended Smith College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English language and literature. At Smith, Jessica won the Mrs. Montague and Emogene Mahoney memorial prizes for her writing. She also spent two terms as a visiting student at the University of Oxford. In addition to ESOL, Jessica has taught English literature, tutored statistics, and coached canoeing and kayaking. In her free time, she enjoys travel, canoeing, hiking, cooking, and swing dancing.

Eugene Lee (Athletic Trainer)Eugene Lee (Athletic Trainer) is a Certified Athletic Trainer in the state of New York who obtained his BS in athletic training from Stony Brook University. During his clinical rotations, he worked with the Stony Brook men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Stony Brook football team, as part of their athletic training staff. He has also worked with St. Joseph’s College Athletic Training department and William Floyd High School athletics. Previously, Eugene lived in South Korea where he taught English for five years in the Gyeonggi Province. Eugene has also worked as a basketball coach and individual trainer, and he holds certifications in Performance Enhancement and Corrective Exercises from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Jessica NguyenAshley Nguyen (ESOL Teacher) was raised in southeast Texas and received her BA in child development and Spanish from Houston Baptist University. During that time, she volunteered in an orphanage in Leon, Nicaragua, and taught English in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She began her education career working with Burmese refugees in Houston, TX. While living in Houston, she and her husband hosted Vietnamese students in their home. She has spent her summers teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Before coming to Ross, she was an ESOL teacher in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has a great passion for anything creative—art, writing, cooking, travel, and sewing.

Lisa SahulkaLisa Sahulka (Chief Operating Officer) served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, AL, the nation’s premier civil rights organization, prior to joining Ross School. Lisa’s career in service began with roles at CARE, Covenant House, and the Jacob Riis Settlement House. She then spent more than 16 years as the Chief Financial Officer of Florida’s Juvenile Welfare Board—the state’s first Children’s Services Council and a model for subsequent agencies. As an adjunct professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Lisa taught leadership and administrative dynamics. She also worked internationally at Casa Alianza, Covenant House’s Latin American counterpart; and at International English Schools in London. Lisa holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Jessica StocktonJessica Stockton (Science Teacher) grew up in northern Virginia in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. From a young age, she was interested in learning about the outdoors, first aid, and how the human body works. As she grew older, Jessica developed a passion for helping others to learn. She attended Bryan College in Dayton, TN, where she studied biology education, minored in chemistry, and ran cross country and track. Jessica came to Ross in May 2016, and she looks forward to a great year of science and cross country!

Julia ThalenJulia Thalen (English Teacher) is a Long Islander of English and German descent. She graduated from Rocky Point High School in 2005, then studied classics, anthropology, poetry, and literature at the University of Mary Washington. In 2013, she earned her master’s degree and began teaching in Eastern Long Island. In summer, she sails on the Great South Bay and kayaks on rivers and in the Sound. Her nautical poetry is published annually in The Bards Initiative. She is currently finishing the manuscript of her compilation, Adrift. This will be her first year teaching literature at Ross.

Eric WarnerEric Warner (Chief Technology Officer) is a true Renaissance man of the digital age, with hands-on experience in many exotic web and multimedia technologies. Attending Lawrence Conservatory for cello performance, Eric went on to graduate with an Inter-Arts degree in film and music from the University of Wisconsin, and subsequently earned a Master of Arts in electronic arts from Australia National University. Eric recently moved to the United States from Australia, where he was the director at an interactive design firm providing web, e-learning, and multimedia consultation services to businesses and nongovernmental and and government organizations. He considers himself a chronic problem solver with technical skills, and claims to have a 100 percent success rate in solving problems since 1996. When he is not architecting the perfect technical solution, Eric enjoys composing ambient music and exploring nature.

Greg WilsonDr. Greg Wilson (Director of Innovation Lab @Ross) is a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and University Innovation Fellow. He received a PhD from the University of Georgia in learning, design, and technology. His research interests involve studying and developing learning environments that bring together students from business and STEAM-related (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) fields for challenge-based learning, entrepreneurship, and design thinking. Gregory received his BS and MS in computer science from Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, respectively. His mission is to empower people to develop solutions that positively impact the world.

Hazel Wodehouse (Innovation Lab @Ross Teacher) Hazel Wodehouse (Teacher at Innovation Lab @Ross) studied marine biology and anthropology at Stony Brook University and received an MA in marine conservation and policy in 2011. During her studies, she explored shark senses at Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, MA; chased lemurs through Madagascar’s shrinking rain forest; poked around in Jamaican sea anemones looking for symbiotic critters; and held 13-foot sharks still while collecting tissue samples in the coral reefs of Belize. For five years, Hazel taught biology, oceanography, and environmental issues at Suffolk County Community College. She is also a competitive ballroom dancer and teacher.

Also joining us on campus are Mike Abney, facilities assistant; Jenna Esposito, administrative assistant to the Upper School; Frank Groffman, facilities assistant; Michelle Guo, administrative assistant to admissions and advancement; Catrina Heimann, Spanish and French teacher; Samual Moody, Spanish teacher; Karen Olsen, assistant to the executive director; Jason Warnick, director of admissions; Colleen Warnick,  admissions specialist; several associates, and our esteemed returning faculty and staff. We look forward to a bright new academic year!