“The opportunity to work in a small boarding school environment like Besant Hill allows for adults to be more than just teachers. We can truly support and help guide students as they navigate the whole school experience, develop a firm understanding of themselves, and become their own advocates in and out of the classroom.”

Peter Asaro

Director of Instructional Support
Residential Faculty

Credentials
The College of William & Mary

“The opportunity to work in a small boarding school environment like Besant Hill allows for adults to be more than just teachers. We can truly support and help guide students as they navigate the whole school experience, develop a firm understanding of themselves, and become their own advocates in and out of the classroom.”

Peter Asaro

Director of Instructional Support
Residential Faculty

Credentials
The College of William & Mary

pasaro@besanthill.org

Chris Cairns

Mathematics Teacher
Science Teacher
Boys Volleyball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cornell University, B.A.

ccairns@besanthill.org

“There is something remarkable that happens when we learn in small groups; classmates become colleagues, desire for knowledge drives curiosity, and learning becomes a lifelong habit.”

“There is something remarkable that happens when we learn in small groups; classmates become colleagues, desire for knowledge drives curiosity, and learning becomes a lifelong habit.”

Chris Cairns

Mathematics Teacher
Science Teacher
Boys Volleyball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cornell University, B.A.

ccairns@besanthill.org

“I love the fact that we actually live our motto; Aún Aprendo is in everything we do with our entire community. We encourage each other to try new things, and mistakes are never failures, because we are all still learning.”

Dan Call

Arts Chair
Performing Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cleveland State University, M.M.
Lake Erie College, B.F.A.

“I love the fact that we actually live our motto; Aún Aprendo is in everything we do with our entire community. We encourage each other to try new things, and mistakes are never failures, because we are all still learning.”

Dan Call

Arts Chair
Performing Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cleveland State University, M.M.
Lake Erie College, B.F.A.

dcall@besanthill.org

Sally Chung

Studio Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.

schung@besanthill.org

“Every one of us is a creative being and cultivating that discovery is at the heart of what I teach.”

“Every one of us is a creative being and cultivating that discovery is at the heart of what I teach.”

Sally Chung

Studio Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.

schung@besanthill.org

“In other schools students often have to pick what interest will be the focus of their energies, but through our inclusive environment, creative scheduling, and offerings inside and outside of class, students can truly explore multiple passions deeply here at Besant Hill School.”

Dave Cosby

Music Chair
Musical Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Rutgers University, B.M.
University of Virginia, M.M.

“In other schools students often have to pick what interest will be the focus of their energies, but through our inclusive environment, creative scheduling, and offerings inside and outside of class, students can truly explore multiple passions deeply here at Besant Hill School.”

Dave Cosby

Music Chair
Musical Arts Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Rutgers University, B.M.
University of Virginia, M.M.

dcosby@besanthill.org

Néstor Gerónimo Morales

Humanities Chair
Spanish Teacher
Weight Lifting Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Universidad de Michoacán, B.A.

ngeronimo@besanthill.org

“Learning a new language opens the door to opportunity. This opportunity includes cultural relativism, and with that comes a new perspective for seeing the world.”

“Learning a new language opens the door to opportunity. This opportunity includes cultural relativism, and with that comes a new perspective for seeing the world.”

Néstor Gerónimo Morales

Humanities Chair
Spanish Teacher
Weight Lifting Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Universidad de Michoacán, B.A.

ngeronimo@besanthill.org

“The heart and soul of the Besant Hill experience is the immeasurable quality and depth of interpersonal connectedness that is fostered and forged between and amongst students, faculty, and staff.”

Doug Jessup

Director of College Counseling
ISP Teacher
Soccer Coach
Residential Administrator on Duty

Credentials
Harvard University, Ed.M.
Amherst College, B.A.

“The heart and soul of the Besant Hill experience is the immeasurable quality and depth of interpersonal connectedness that is fostered and forged between and amongst students, faculty, and staff.”

Doug Jessup

Director of College Counseling
ISP Teacher
Soccer Coach
Residential Administrator on Duty

Credentials
Harvard University, Ed.M.
Amherst College, B.A.

djessup@besanthill.org

Portia Johnson

Head of School
Director of Teaching and Learning
English Teacher
Residential Administrator on Duty

Credentials
University of New England, M.S.Ed.
West Virginia University, B.A.
Besant Hill School (Happy Valley School), 2000

pjohnson@besanthill.org

“My favorite part of teaching English is exposing students to different ways of thinking and living around the world and throughout time. It allows us to live the Portrait of a Graduate everyday in class.”

“My favorite part of teaching English is exposing students to different ways of thinking and living around the world and throughout time. It allows us to live the Portrait of a Graduate everyday in class.”

Portia Johnson

Head of School
Director of Teaching and Learning
English Teacher
Residential Administrator on Duty

Credentials
University of New England, M.S.Ed.
West Virginia University, B.A.
Besant Hill School (Happy Valley School), 2000

pjohnson@besanthill.org

“History is centered around critical thinking, synthesizing knowledge, and understanding perspective. In the history classroom we get to become detectives and discover how and why others lived the way they did in the past. We are constantly living out Aún Aprendo.”

Julianna Lamb

Social Sciences Teacher
Aquatics Coach
Swim Team Coach
Residential Swim Faculty

Credentials
California State University, Fullerton, B.A.
California State University, Fullerton, M.A.

“History is centered around critical thinking, synthesizing knowledge, and understanding perspective. In the history classroom we get to become detectives and discover how and why others lived the way they did in the past. We are constantly living out Aún Aprendo.”

Julianna Lamb

Social Sciences Teacher
Aquatics Coach
Swim Team Coach
Residential Swim Faculty

Credentials
California State University, Fullerton, B.A.
California State University, Fullerton, M.A.

jlamb@besanthill.org

Tina Leslie

International Alumni Liaison
ESL Instructor
Instructional Support Teacher

Credentials
University of California, Santa Barbara, TESOL Cert
Teaching Cred
California State University, Northridge, M.A.
California State University, Chico, B.S.

tleslie@besanthill.org

“Students exploring and developing their passions in a community that values and respects the individual has made my thirty years at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley a truly remarkable journey.”

“Students exploring and developing their passions in a community that values and respects the individual has made my thirty years at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley a truly remarkable journey.”

Tina Leslie

International Alumni Liaison
ESL Instructor
Instructional Support Teacher

Credentials
University of California, Santa Barbara, TESOL Cert
Teaching Cred
California State University, Northridge, M.A.
California State University, Chico, B.S.

tleslie@besanthill.org

“The Besant Hill School community provides a collaborative, inspiring environment for students to embrace their passions and unlock unimaginable potential.”

Claire Lowndes

Director of Academics
Studio Arts Teacher
Yoga Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Staffordshire University, B.A.
Birmingham City University, PGCE

“The Besant Hill School community provides a collaborative, inspiring environment for students to embrace their passions and unlock unimaginable potential.”

Claire Lowndes

Director of Academics
Studio Arts Teacher
Yoga Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Staffordshire University, B.A.
Birmingham City University, PGCE

clowndes@besanthill.org

Brian McColgan

Director of Sustainability
Math Teacher
Instructional Support Teacher
Aquatics Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
California Polytechnic State University, B.S.
College of Santa Fe, Training

bmccolgan@besanthill.org

“I really appreciate that Besant Hill is a safe and supporting environment to follow one’s passions, as well as discover new ones.”

“I really appreciate that Besant Hill is a safe and supporting environment to follow one’s passions, as well as discover new ones.”

Brian McColgan

Director of Sustainability
Math Teacher
Instructional Support Teacher
Aquatics Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
California Polytechnic State University, B.S.
College of Santa Fe, Training

bmccolgan@besanthill.org

“Besant Hill School is like a thriving ecosystem, rich in diversity and talent. It’s a pleasure to work and contribute to a unique school where a sense of belonging and support permeate and a love of learning is nurtured.”

Shannon Rowan

Director of International Student Programs
ESL Teacher
Yoga Instructor
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of California, Santa Barbara, TESOL
Humbolt State University, B.A.

“Besant Hill School is like a thriving ecosystem, rich in diversity and talent. It’s a pleasure to work and contribute to a unique school where a sense of belonging and support permeate and a love of learning is nurtured.”

Shannon Rowan

Director of International Student Programs
ESL Teacher
Yoga Instructor
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of California, Santa Barbara, TESOL
Humbolt State University, B.A.

srowan@besanthill.org

Leah Sellers

Dance Instructor
Residential Faculty

lsellers@besanthill.org

“Besant Hill School offers a unique opportunity to introduce dance to students from around the world and offer an all inclusive, judgment free environment for all to dance freely.”

“Besant Hill School offers a unique opportunity to introduce dance to students from around the world and offer an all inclusive, judgment free environment for all to dance freely.”

Leah Sellers

Dance Instructor
Residential Faculty

lsellers@besanthill.org

“My favorite aspect of Besant Hill is the diversity of our students. They truly bring a global perspective and curiosity to our classrooms, and our discussions about literature are full of questions and exploration. There’s no ‘right’ answer when it becomes clear that there are so many different ways to examine a text.”

Mary Spence

English Teacher
Cross Country Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
California Institute of Arts, BFA
Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, MA

“My favorite aspect of Besant Hill is the diversity of our students. They truly bring a global perspective and curiosity to our classrooms, and our discussions about literature are full of questions and exploration. There’s no ‘right’ answer when it becomes clear that there are so many different ways to examine a text.”

Mary Spence

English Teacher
Cross Country Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
California Institute of Arts, BFA
Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, MA

mspence@besanthill.org

Betsy Stix

Human Development Coordinator
French Teacher
ESL Teacher
Yoga Instructor
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Stanford School of Education, M.A.
Williams College, B.A.

bstix@besanthill.org

“The word ‘educate’ means to draw out rather than to fill up, and at Besant Hill we experience true education everyday as we recognize and celebrate the strengths, challenges, and passions of each individual.”

“The word ‘educate’ means to draw out rather than to fill up, and at Besant Hill we experience true education everyday as we recognize and celebrate the strengths, challenges, and passions of each individual.”

Betsy Stix

Human Development Coordinator
French Teacher
ESL Teacher
Yoga Instructor
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Stanford School of Education, M.A.
Williams College, B.A.

bstix@besanthill.org

“What I love the most about Besant is the ability of the community to welcome, embrace, and support people no matter where they are coming from.”

Francois Tchoyi

French Teacher
Social Science Teacher
Boys Basketball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cal Poly Pomona, BA
Besant Hill School, 2011

“What I love the most about Besant is the ability of the community to welcome, embrace, and support people no matter where they are coming from.”

Francois Tchoyi

French Teacher
Social Science Teacher
Boys Basketball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Cal Poly Pomona, BA
Besant Hill School, 2011

ftchoyi@besanthill.org

Brian Thornhill

Digital Media Teacher
Cross Country Coach
Surfing Coach

Credentials
San Jose State University, BFA

bthornhill@besanthill.org

“My teaching philosophy is grounded in the idea that school should not only teach the basics and core skills, but also cultivate the entire person. ”

“My teaching philosophy is grounded in the idea that school should not only teach the basics and core skills, but also cultivate the entire person. ”

Brian Thornhill

Digital Media Teacher
Cross Country Coach
Surfing Coach

Credentials
San Jose State University, BFA

bthornhill@besanthill.org

“The Besant School community truly embraces the diversity of learning and encourages students to immerse themselves into new adventures inside and outside of the classroom.”

Anh-Dao Tran

Athletics Director
Mathematics Teacher
Boys Basketball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Adelphi University, B.S.
Adelphi University, M.PH

“The Besant School community truly embraces the diversity of learning and encourages students to immerse themselves into new adventures inside and outside of the classroom.”

Anh-Dao Tran

Athletics Director
Mathematics Teacher
Boys Basketball Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Adelphi University, B.S.
Adelphi University, M.PH

atran@besanthill.org

Megan Walton

Assistant Head of School
Dean of Students
Residential Administrator on Duty
Social Science Teacher

Credentials
Concordia University, MA Ed.
John Carroll University, BA

mwalton@besanthill.org

“The strength and the uniqueness of Besant Hill school come from the community. Everyone who lives and works here plays a vital role in the wellbeing and the growth of the community. What I love the most about Besant is the ability of the community to welcome, embrace, and support people no matter where they are coming from.”

“The strength and the uniqueness of Besant Hill school come from the community. Everyone who lives and works here plays a vital role in the wellbeing and the growth of the community. What I love the most about Besant is the ability of the community to welcome, embrace, and support people no matter where they are coming from.”

Megan Walton

Assistant Head of School
Dean of Students
Residential Administrator on Duty
Social Science Teacher

Credentials
Concordia University, MA Ed.
John Carroll University, BA

mwalton@besanthill.org

“Mathematics offers a corner of beautifully ordered structure within a world of wonder, awe, and imagination. I am thrilled to share the wonder and keep learning with the Besant Hill community.”

Melinda Wilder

Mathematics Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of British Columbia, M.A.
Southwest Baptist University, B.A.

“Mathematics offers a corner of beautifully ordered structure within a world of wonder, awe, and imagination. I am thrilled to share the wonder and keep learning with the Besant Hill community.”

Melinda Wilder

Mathematics Teacher
Residential Faculty

Credentials
University of British Columbia, M.A.
Southwest Baptist University, B.A.

mwilder@besanthill.org

Sam Yarabek

English Teacher
Soccer Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Colorado College, BA
Columbia University, M.Ed.

syarabek@besanthill.org

“Class sizes at Besant Hill empower each and every student to be an integral part of each and every day in our community. This is the power of small. And I get to keep learning because each and every day I am awakened to the wonder of the hearts and minds of my students.”

“Class sizes at Besant Hill empower each and every student to be an integral part of each and every day in our community. This is the power of small. And I get to keep learning because each and every day I am awakened to the wonder of the hearts and minds of my students.”

Sam Yarabek

English Teacher
Soccer Coach
Residential Faculty

Credentials
Colorado College, BA
Columbia University, M.Ed.

syarabek@besanthill.org

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