Faculty and staff at Lake Washington Girls Middle School embody the goals of an LWGMS education, instilling in our students a lifelong love of learning and a commitment to social responsibility and strength of mind, body, and voice. Seventy five percent of our faculty have advanced degrees in their fields. Just as importantly, they have a passion for sharing their knowledge. LWGMS's faculty foster a stimulating and respectful educational environment, not only through lively discussions and personal attention in the classroom, but also through the way they interact with students, with each other, and with all members of the school staff.

All of LWGMS's faculty and staff take on the dual role of Respect and Responsibility Advisors, meeting weekly with students to provide insight and support. Our faculty also serve as moderators for LWGMS's clubs, oversee extracurricular activities, and participate in the school’s numerous service activities.

Patricia Hearn
Head of School

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M.A., Education, Antioch University
B.A., English, Rutgers University

In the spring of 1998 the board of Lake Washington Girls Middle School hired Ms. Hearn as its first Head Teacher. She worked with the parent board to plan the opening of the school and wrote and taught the humanities, math, and enrichment curricula for all three grades.

As the school grew and changed, so did its administrative structure. In 2005, the LWGMS Board appointed Ms. Hearn Head of School.

Before joining LWGMS, Ms. Hearn developed all academic curricula and taught girls in grades five to ten at Chabad School. She started a drama program in 1994 and greatly enjoyed working with the students to grow the program from its first year, a small one-act play, to its fifth, a full-length musical production. She continues this theater experience at LWGMS, where she directs the eighth grade play each year.

What I love most about working at LWGMS is working with our girls and seeing them grow and change from kids to young women.

Jenny Zavatsky
Humanities, Mock Trial, Drama

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M.A., Seattle University
J.D., University of Washington School of Law
B.A., University of Washington

Ms. Jenny joined the L-Dub faculty in 2006, and over the years, she has taught Humanities, Math, Drama, Social Studies, Outdoor Education, and Mock Trial. Prior to coming to L-Dub, Ms. Jenny taught writing at the Seattle University’s School of Law and taught middle school and upper school English and history at Seattle Academy. In addition to bringing her passion for rigorous academics and lively theatrical productions, Ms. Jenny began the outdoor program at L-Dub and over the years has led over 200 girls on expeditions from trekking in the North Cascades to kayaking through the San Juan Islands. Ms. Jenny raised two sons who attended both public and private schools in Seattle, and she now lives in South Seattle with her husband and two dogs.

In middle school, I was always trying new things and taking risks; it was how I figured out who I was. As a teacher, I love being part of the safety net for my students to take a risk and discover something about herself whether it’s in the theater, in the outdoors, in the classroom, or in the lunchroom.

Lindsey Mutschler
Dean of Teaching and Learning, Humanities

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M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington
B.A., P-12 Art Education, Western Washington University

Ms. Mutschler joined the L-Dub faculty in 2006, and throughout the years she has taught both Art and Humanities. Currently, she teaches seventh grade Humanities and is the Dean of Teaching and Learning. Throughout the years, Ms. Mutschler became interested in curriculum design, working as the Curriculum Lead to streamline curriculum with faculty and guide the school in its transition to standards-based assessment practices. Following a desire to learn more about best practices in teaching and learning, in 2016 Ms. Mutschler returned to graduate school at the University of Washington to complete her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (Language, Literacy, and Culture). Ms. Mutschler now serves as the Dean of Teaching and Learning, where she works with faculty to oversee curriculum design and implementation; leads faculty in defining and achieving educational outcomes; and oversees the school’s professional development process. Invested in social justice education, Ms. Mutschler has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships; the first brought her to Birmingham, AL to study the Civil Rights Movement, and the most recent allowed her study non-violent revolutions in Berlin and Prague for six weeks. When not in the classroom, Ms. Mutschler can be found racing her bike in cyclocross, painting real and imagined scientific illustrations, and baking pie.

In middle school I learned how to choose friendships that mattered,
that it’s okay to be weird, and to embrace my inner nerd.

Colleen West
Office Manager, Director of Programs, Athletics Director

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Ms. Colleen is a northwest native with over thirty years experience in Office Administration and Project Management. After a fifteen year stint with Premera Blue Cross, she managed her own businesses – one in horticulture and one in administration – and spent nine years with the Seattle Public Schools. Enjoying the roles she fills at our school, Ms. Colleen appreciates the opportunity to ‘never be bored’. An avid participant in outdoor activities and volunteer work, Ms. Colleen sits on the board for Row for the Cure Seattle.

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Shannon Blaisdell
Director of Communications

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Culinary Arts Degree, Institute of Culinary Education
B.A., Art History, William Smith College

A proud product and supporter of all girls' education, having attended Albany Academy for Girls, Emma Willard School, and William Smith College, Ms. Blaisdell was thrilled to join the LWGMS community in September, 2009. Before beginning at L-Dub, Ms. Blaisdell served as Assistant Head for Admissions and Communications at the Perkins School in North Seattle, and prior to moving to Seattle, she worked for seven years in admissions at her alma mater, Emma Willard, in Troy, New York. Ms. Blaisdell left Emma Willard as the Director of Admissions Operations. Ms. Blaisdell began her career in New York as an advertising account executive, but quickly realized that she wished to pursue more creative endeavors, so enrolled in culinary school, mastered all the mother sauces (and then some), and moved to Boston to develop recipes and write for Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. But her true love was working in schools, and specifically, with girls. Her career aspirations and choices have been directly fueled by the confidence she gained in girls schools, and she’s thoroughly enjoyed every risk she’s taken.

In middle school I learned that failing is sometimes the best way to learn something.
Never give up!

Eva McGough
Language Arts

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Master in Teaching, Seattle University
B.A., East Asian Studies, Yale College

Ms. McGough served as a classroom teacher in the Seattle Public Schools for six years before becoming a Staff Developer for Powerful Writers, a program of the local nonprofit organization, Powerful Schools. As a staff developer, she coached kindergarten through sixth grade teachers in their writing instruction, specifically in their implementation of writing workshop. As a methodology, writing workshop focuses on structures, routines and strategies that build independence in writing. The workshop challenges students to identify meaningful topics across genres and take their pieces through the writing process from idea-generation through editing in a rigorous fashion, learning how to apprentice themselves to texts and authors. Ms. McGough has conducted demonstration lessons, professional development workshops, and study groups in six different Seattle schools and trained with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York. She is a graduate of Garfield High School, Yale College, and Seattle University.

If I had attended LWGMS, I would have loved having a bunch of good girlfriends and performing in plays.

Nisha Nathani
Dean of Students and Inclusion & STEAM

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M.A., Culture and Values in Education, McGill University
B.Ed., Math and English Language Arts, McGill University

Ms. Nisha attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. At McGill, she completed her Bachelor in Education, with a dual focus in Mathematics and English Language Arts and a Masters of Arts from the Department of Culture and Values Education.

Ms. Nisha's academic research focus was on the value of empathy in the development of self-awareness and social responsibility. The most significant of her teaching experiences were six years of teaching Mathematics and English at MIND High School in Montreal, and nine years as adjunct faculty at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, BC. At MIND, Ms. Nisha taught Mathematics to middle and high school students. She also taught humanities at MIND, and she developed and taught a course on North American Literature (NAL). At UBC, Ms. Nisha changed trajectories entirely; she began to teach a social and emotional curriculum within the Medical school. Ms. Nisha continues to supervise medical students (at a distance) on issues related to the universities core competencies in social, emotional and cultural determinants of health.

At LWGMS, Ms. Nisha leads the faculty/staff Equity and Social Justice Committee; the student Explorations of Race Club; mindfulness work for students and faculty; and the Restorative Justice work done by students and adults.

In her spare time, Ms. Nisha enjoys hiking and biking with her family. She also loves to do yoga. Ms. Nisha is enjoying living in Seattle and the many opportunities to combine her interests at L-Dub.

Becky O'Boyle
Director of Institutional Advancement

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B.A., International Political Economy, Jackson School of International Studies University of Washington

Ms. Becky joined the staff of LWGMS in 2013, after learning all-things-L-Dub as parent to Anna, a member of the Class of 2012, and as our intrepid track and field coach for the prior four years. Ms. Becky brings her enthusiasm for girls education, community building, and background in fundraising to the Director of Institutional Advancement position. In her spare time, Ms. Becky enjoys time spent exploring the San Juan Islands on her little boat, biking and hiking east of the mountains with friends and family, and cooking for a crowd.

I know that a single gender option for some girls can be the difference between a middle school experience that erodes confidence and one that builds it.

Jacquie Tilden Calderón
Spanish

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M.Ed, Instructional Leadership, University of Washington
B.A., Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature, Colorado College

Señora Jacquie joined our faculty in 2013 and has taught both Spanish and Humanities at L-Dub. Currently, she teaches Spanish and works as an instructional coach. Jacquie was raised outside of Seattle and attended college in Colorado, studying Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies. A lover of the Spanish language, she has also lived and completed coursework in Mendoza, Argentina and Salamanca, Spain. Prior to coming to L-Dub, she taught bilingual fifth grade in Denver Public Schools. Jacquie began learning Spanish in middle school herself, and she has been passionate about studying language since. She is a firm believer in the importance of multilingualism in our society and grounds her teaching in the social, cultural, and historical context of Spanish in the United States. After completing a graduate degree in Instructional Leadership at the University of Washington, Jacquie began working as an instructional coach and mentor for new teachers at L-Dub.

In addition to teaching and coaching, Jacquie loves leading backpacking and kayaking trips around the Pacific Northwest with L-Dub students. Outside of the classroom, she is an avid hiker and skier, enjoys trying out new adventures (her latest is mountain biking), and spends time with her husband, family, and friends.

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Chelsea Giacolino
STEAM

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B.A. Art, Theatre, Education, Seattle Pacific University

Ms. Chelsea received her Bachelor of Arts in Art, Theatre, and Education from Seattle Pacific University. She is certified K-12 in Washington State, with endorsements in both Art and Theatre.

Prior to arriving at LW in the spring of 2013, Ms. Chelsea spent three years living in New York City working for a national education reform nonprofit organization that aids urban school districts in filling vacancies in high needs subject areas in low income schools. In her tenure with that organization, Ms. Chelsea aided in the selection, training, and placement of over two thousand New York City public school teachers. In addition to her time with the NYCDOE, Ms. Chelsea has held positions with Seattle Public Schools, as well as the Monroe School District.

In addition to her experience as an urban educator, Ms. Chelsea brings a love of the arts to her classroom as well. She has worked full time as a display and installation artist, and has significant experience in scenic construction and home restoration.

Ms. Chelsea is overjoyed to be able to combine her love of the arts and her passion for urban education while at Lake Washington Girls Middle School.

Christine Zarker Primomo
STEAM

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M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington
B.A. in Science Technology and Society, Pitzer College

Ms. Christine (or Ms. Momo) joins the L-Dub community after four years of experience in education around Seattle, including work at John Stanford International School, Seattle Academy, the Brightwater Education and Community Center, and IslandWood. As a resident educator at IslandWood, an award-winning environmental learning center on Bainbridge Island, Ms. Christine led inquiry-based, week-long programs for fourth through seventh grade students, integrating the humanities, science, and art in hands-on field studies. Ms. Christine believes in designing interdisciplinary, place-based curriculum and instruction that reflects the abilities and interests of her students and the community. Her passion for learning is rooted in the sciences, which is clear from her extensive science background including chemistry, geology, biotechnology, natural history, and graduate-level coursework in forestry and restoration ecology. Ms. Christine recently completed her Masters of Education focused on Science Education at the University of Washington. For her undergraduate work, Ms. Christine studied Science, Technology, and Society (STS) and Environmental Studies at Pitzer College. (And before that, she was a student of Ms. Jenny’s at SAAS!)

Working at a girls school is important to me because we can create a learning environment that encourages girls to be themselves and to push themselves outside of their comfort zones in a safe and positive way.

Ali Alhadeff
Assistant DEAn of Student Services

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M.S.W. University of Washington
B.S.W. University of Washington

Ms. Ali comes to L-Dub after obtaining her master’s in social work with an emphasis on mental health from the University of Washington. She has spent her adult career working both in schools and in the nonprofit sector. Upon graduation from the University of Washington, with a bachelors in social work, she began work as a behavioral health care provider and residential counselor at Ryther. There Ms. Ali honed her clinical skills working with youth in times of crisis and stabilization. Upon leaving her position there she began as a teacher’s assistant at Northwest Montessori School, where she enjoyed continuing to be a part of a youth and self-determination centered environment. Next, Ms. Ali took a gap year to travel through South East Asia and the states before starting her graduate program. While there, she spent a year at Roosevelt High School as a mental health therapist intern. She is honored and thrilled to be supporting students and families at L-Dub. Fun facts: Ms. Ali went to middle school with Ms. Christine and had Ms. Jenny as a teacher in high school at Seattle Academy!

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Keiko Kawasaki
STEAM

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M.Ed., Educational Psychology, Human Cognition and Development, University of Washington
B.A, Education, The Evergreen State College

A Seattle native, Ms. Keiko grew up attending many of the Seattle Public Schools that are within walking distance of LWGMS. She began her professional career at John Muir Elementary teaching 2nd through 4th grades. Over time she experienced a variety of models, programs, and settings: the Spectrum program, general education, mixed age, and special education inclusion classrooms, as well as open-concept and team-teaching settings.

Her Master’s Degree thesis examined her own classwork around developing and maintaining discipline-rich student to student discussions in science classes with an emphasis on creating audience discussion roles that support active and peripheral participation.

After stepping away from education to raise a family, including a Helen, LWGMS Class of 2014, Ms. Keiko has been thrilled to be back in the classroom teaching her first love, math.

Outside of school, Ms. Keiko loves to read, walk, eat food that others have cooked, spend time with her huge extended family, and play all kinds of board and card games.


B Ervin
Student Life Coordinator

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B.A., Comparative American Studies, Oberlin College

B moved to Seattle in 2014 after graduating from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Comparative American Studies.

B believes in the power of close-knit learning communities to provide empowering, personalized, and relevant education to their students. Through her experience working for several summers as a counselor at Farm and Wilderness Summer Camps, she learned how to ask questions that encouraged youth to critically examine themselves, their community, and the program materials they were presented with.

B also served as a programming intern for the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas, where she got to provide extracurricular writing support to students from all over Seattle in many forms, from collaborative storytelling field trips to one-on-one tutoring. B is excited to have joined LWGMS this past year, and feels honored to be working alongside and learning from all of the compassionate and powerful students and educators who make the L-Dub community what it is.

JULIE LaLuna
Director of finance & operations

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B.A, Sustainable Business, Antioch University

Mother of a girl who’s an active junior derby skater, Julie LaLuna has been a resident of the Seattle area for over 25 years and loves the city and its beautiful outlying areas. She graduated with a degree in Sustainable Business from Antioch Seattle and has been working for over 20 years in the finance and administration offices of local nonprofits such as University of Washington Faculty Club, Seattle Hebrew Academy, and L-Dub’s neighbor, Centerstone. An active community volunteer, she’s been on the board of the Community Day School Association and a Program for Early Parenthood Support (PEPS) group leader for Central and South-end neighborhoods. In her spare time, she’s a self-professed city mouse who loves living on the edge of downtown with a view of the space needle just out her window, and she regularly enjoys all of the arts and entertainment that Seattle has to offer.

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SHATERRA OVERTON
STEAM & ARC

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B.A., Economics & Mathematics, Barnard College
M.A., Nonprofit Leadership, Seattle University

Ms. Shaterra is a math enthusiast who joined the L-Dub team in 2017. She graduated from Barnard College in New York with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics & Math. In New York, Ms. Shaterra worked at the National Museum of Mathematics before helping to pilot a kindergarten math curriculum in Brooklyn public schools. Before coming to L-Dub, she was a resident teacher at the University Child Development School in Seattle.

Ms. Shaterra is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University. She is passionate about the ways that nonprofit organizations have pioneered positive change in the lives of women and girls, specifically through policy advocacy and increased access to education. Ms. Shaterra believes that everyone is a mathematician and that there is beauty in numbers.

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MELANIE FORBES
SCIENCE

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Ms. Melanie recently finished her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Science Education at UW after completing the first year as a graduate instructor at IslandWood, an outdoor learning centre on Bainbridge Island. She believes that scientific inquiry and evidence-based reasoning are skills that are essential for the success of students as they continue in their education and through their daily personal interactions.

With undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science and Spanish coupled with years of living internationally, conducting research and running service learning programs, Ms. Melanie is most passionate about creating a culturally responsive learning environment that empowers students to explore their interests, foster a desire to learn, and help them reach their potential as scientists. In addition to being passionate about nature and education, Ms. Melanie is an animal-lover, avid Seattle Seahawks supporter, and an un-official chocolate cake taste tester.

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Sarah Campbell-Harris
Associate Director of Admissions and Advancement

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B.A., Philosophy, Education, Religion, Wheaton College
Certification in Admission & Enrollment Management, Association of Independent School Admission Professionals

Sarah is beyond thrilled to be joining the L-Dub community after eight years of admission and administrative work at the Open Window School in Bellevue and The Evergreen School in Shoreline. Before moving to the PNW from the east coast in 2011, Sarah attended The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and then went on to major in Philosophy and minor in both Education and Religion at Wheaton College, a four-year liberal arts college that originally was an all-women institution in Norton MA.

After attending Wheaton, Sarah spent a couple years in the classroom as a teaching assistant at The Learning Project Elementary School in Boston and then, when she moved to Seattle, at The Open Window School. Realizing that being a classroom teacher was not her calling, Sarah began taking on various administrative roles before finding her passion for Admission and Enrollment Management. In the spring of 2018, Sarah completed the Certified Admission & Enrollment Management Program (CAEP)©, the industry's first and only certification program for private school PK-12 admission and enrollment management professionals and continues to be involved in the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) as well as the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Further, she serves as the co-chair of the Events Committee for the Puget Sound Independent School consortium. Coming with this experience and knowledge of independent school culture, Sarah is super eager to continue her work at L-Dub and help cultivate this amazing community!

Photos by Brian Smale P'18.