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The Woods Academy

Where curiosity and confidence thrive.

Lower School Faculty

Martin Bednar

Martin Bednar

Titles: Lower School Religion Teacher, Gr. 5 Advisor
Biography:

Mr. Martin Bednar joined The Woods Academy in 2017 as an associate teacher. He recently graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University in 2015 where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, he worked at the Landon School for two years. He taught 3rd grade homeroom, 6th grade math, and two sections of Lower School reading courses. In addition to teaching, Mr. Bednar coached four different sports. His favorite being Varsity baseball where he helped guide the team to a championship win in the 2016 season.

Lori Camalier

Lori Camalier

Titles: Gr. 2 Teacher
Biography:
Ms. Lori Camalier was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. She received a B.A. from Gettysburg College where she majored in Spanish and minored in French and Education. She then went on to teach Kindergarten and fourth grade at Holy Cross Elementary School for several years.

Ms. Camalier returned to teaching in 2010 after raising her four children. During that time she has enjoyed long-term substitute positions in the private and public school sectors. In the fall of 2015, she taught second grade, as a long-term sub, at The Woods Academy. In 2016, she joined the faculty full time as a second grade teacher.

Stephanie Chapman

Titles: Gr. 3 Teacher
Biography:

Ms. Stephanie Chapman joined The Woods Academy faculty in 2020 as a third grade teacher. Ms. Chapman attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for undergrad and graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education in 2012. In between her college years, Ms. Chapman worked as a camp counselor for a summer camp program serving children with special needs through the PLEA Agency. Upon graduating, she served as a substitute teacher at a local school district before landing a full-time position as an Instructional Support Aide (ISA) in September of 2013 at the PLEA Agency. She also worked as a Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) for the wraparound portion of the program. After two years as an ISA, Ms. Chapman was promoted to the Mental Health Therapist position where she was responsible for writing behavioral treatment plans, implementing interventions, and monitoring the behavioral progress of each student in her classroom. In 2017, Ms. Chapman enrolled in a Master’s of Education program for Special Education PreK-8 certification through Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed the program in the spring of 2020.

Stephanie Clark

Stephanie Clark

Titles: Gr. 4 Teacher
Biography:

Ms. Stephanie Clark is a former Woods Academy student who attended from kindergarten through the eighth grade. After Woods, she graduated from Georgetown Visitation and then went on to receive her B.A. in English and French at Georgetown University. She is currently working toward her Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration at George Washington University. Prior to joining The Woods in 2018, Ms. Clark taught ESL in South Korea, The Czech Republic, and Spain.

Debbie Dosh

Debbie Dosh

Titles: Gr. 3 Teacher
Biography:
Ms. Debbie Dosh has over 30 years experience teaching and tutoring in the Montgomery County area. She has 40 hours of master’s work in the field of education, has a BS in elementary/special education and is certified in Special Education through the state of Maryland. Ms. Dosh began her career as a learning specialist at Holy Redeemer in Kensington, MD where she taught enrichment as well as remedial education. She then taught at The McLean School of Maryland for twenty-one years where she was trained extensively in various specialized learning techniques including Rich Alan’s brain research. She came to The Woods Academy in 2006 where she has served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist and coordinator of Lower School. Her concentrated area of practice and study is with learning differences and differentiation for all levels of learners. Ms. Dosh has tutored children for the length of her career. She bases her philosophy on the works of Howard Gardner and Daniel Goldman; tapping into multiple intelligences and addressing emotional intelligence. She has specialized training in Phono-Graphix, Orton Gillingham, Phono-Visuals, Read Naturally, Kurzweil, Lindamood-Bell phonics, Visualization and Verbalization, Six Plus One Traits of Writing, Write Track, Guided Reading, LETRS, Everyday Math and Touch Math. Ms. Dosh has led workshops for teachers on the Comprehension techniques of Stephen Harvey, Kylene Beers and Valerie Ellery. Her main goal is developing independence in children through metacognition using a repertoire of strategies.
Kathryn Fogarty

Kathryn Fogarty

Titles: Gr. 1 Teacher
Biography:
Mrs. Kate Fogarty joined The Woods Academy after moving to the area from New York. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, Mrs. Fogarty earned her M.A. in Teaching from Trinity University. As an Americorp scholar she earned a second Masters in Curriculum Development, Administration, and Supervision from the University of Oklahoma and most recently her Post-masters in Literacy from St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York.

Mrs. Fogarty has advanced certification in grades Pre-K through sixth, Middle School, and Literacy from the State of Maryland. She also holds professional certification in Literacy, Early Childhood Education, and Childhood Education grades 1-6 in the State of New York.

She enjoys continuing her professional development and teaching reading. In her many years of teaching experience Mrs. Fogarty has taught in a variety of schools to include Catholic, public, and private in Washington DC, Maryland, New York, and overseas.
Claire O'Keeffe

Claire O'Keeffe

Titles: Gr. 4 Teacher
Biography:

Ms. Claire O’Keeffe joined The Woods Academy in 2017 as an associate teacher. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in May of 2017 with a BA degree in Psychology and Spanish. Ms. O’Keeffe spent a semester aboard in Salamanca, Spain in an immersive Spanish learning program where she was able to gain first-hand experience with the language and culture. During her collegiate years, she worked with an after school mentoring program for at risk youth. She also worked at her school’s on-campus preschool, the Early Childhood Center, as a teacher’s aid.

Christina Phelps

Christina Phelps

Titles: Gr. 2 Teacher
Biography:
Mrs. Christina Phelps has been at The Woods Academy since September 2010, first as Director of Extended Care and now as a second grade teacher. Prior to The Woods Academy she taught Kindergarten at Potomac Glen Day School for three years. Mrs. Phelps is a naturalized U.S citizen and immigrated to the United States at the age of one from Iran. In addition to English, she is fluent in Russian, Greek, and Farsi. Mrs. Phelps holds a double Bachelors degree in Special and Elementary Education from Towson University and a Masters in Education with a focus on Curriculum Design.
Katya Pilong

Katya Pilong

Titles: Media and Curriculum Specialist, Lower School Coordinator
Biography:

Mrs. Katya Cunnane Pilong (1998) joined The Woods Academy faculty in 2007. She came to The Woods after teaching the fifth grade bilingual program and teaching ESL students ranging from PK-8th grade at Sacred Heart School in Washington DC. She holds a B.S. in French from the Catholic University of America and a M.Ed. from Marymount University in Elementary Education and is also certified as an elementary school teacher. Mrs. Pilong is a certified catechist in the Archdiocese of Washington, Hearts Aflame: Faith and Ministries Program. She is also certified in Phono- Graphix. Mrs. Pilong began her career at The Woods as a second grade teacher and now serves as the school's Media and Curriculum Specialist and the Distance Learning Coordinator. She also has her daughter in Montessori.

Danielle Shegerian

Danielle Shegerian

Titles: Gr. 1 Teacher
Biography:

Ms. Danielle Shegerian joined The Woods Academy in 2012. She earned her B.S. in Business from Maryland University and a M.Ed. from Marymount University. Ms. Shegerian is certified in Elementary Education, STEM, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, and NASA Solar Systems & Sun-Earth-Moon Relationships.

After having worked in the financial services industry for twelve years, Ms. Shegerian came to The Woods to pursue her lifelong passion for helping children develop academically and socially. In her years at The Woods, she has held various positions – Extended Care Teacher, Director of Extended Care, Librarian where she has incorporated Diversity and STEAM into the library curriculum, and an Arts Team Director of Makeup. She enjoys continuing her professional development continuously looking for ways to foster curiosity and a love of learning in our students regardless of ability.
Nancy Talbot

Nancy Talbot

Titles: Gr. 4 Teacher
Biography:
Ms. Nancy Talbot joined The Woods Academy to teach fourth grade in 2006. She worked for one year in a pre-kindergarten classroom at The Capitol Hill Day School just prior to teaching at The Woods. Before becoming a classroom teacher, Ms. Talbot worked in several non-profits as an educator and events manager, including The Denver Art Museum, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the American Running Association. Ms. Talbot holds a B.A. in Art History from Drew University in Madison, NJ and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. She regularly pursues professional development opportunities to enhance her teaching knowledge and skills.
Erica Vassos

Erica Vassos

Titles: Gr. 3 Teacher
Biography:
Ms. Erica Vassos joined The Woods Academy in fall of 2015 as a Third Grade teacher. She graduated from American University with a Bachelor's of Arts in Elementary Education. Just before coming to The Woods, Ms. Vassos spent nine months working in special education as a para-educator at Holy Redeemer School and at the Diener School as a teacher in their summer program. While in college, Ms. Vassos volunteered at an early headstart program at The Christopher House. In addition, she has spent many hours volunteering at Children's National Medical Center as a Child Life Volunteer. Ms. Vassos is also part of the "Homework Helpers" at the National Center for Children and Families. In the spring, Ms. Vassos coaches the girls lacrosse team at The Woods.