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.

Charito (Rosario) Sotero de Menezes
Director of Student Services, Spanish

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M.A. Special Education, Fairfield University
M.Ed., Counseling/Psychology, Cambridge College
B.A. Rehabilitation Services, University of Connecticut

As a first generation Cuban-American, Señora Charito was brought up speaking Spanish, eating wonderful Cuban food, and dancing to Latin music. Living in South America for six years as a youth gave her an even greater appreciation for her Latin roots and further solidified her love of the many diverse cultures in the Spanish-speaking world.  

After returning to the United States and completing her B.A. at the University of Connecticut and her M.A. in Special Education at Fairfield University, Señora Charito taught adults and children with both developmental and social/emotional disabilities in both Connecticut and Illinois. After moving back to the east coast, Señora Charito earned her M.Ed. in counseling/Psychology and had the opportunity to employ both her interest in student support and love of the Latino culture as an instructor and Director of a counseling and substance abuse prevention program for Latina middle school girls in Boston, MA. She moved to Seattle in 1996 and has been teaching Spanish in the Seattle area since 1999, focusing on children in grades K-8.

Charito is excited to be supporting students, families and staff as Director of Student Services and sharing the Spanish language and Latino culture with the girls at LWGMS in her role as Spanish teacher.

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

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

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.

Molly Klema
DIRECTOR OF Admissions & ADVANCEMENT Associate

 

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M.F.A., Arts Leadership, Seattle University
B.F.A., Art Education, Pratt Institute

Ms. Klema is Seattle transplant, having moved here from the east coast in August 2010. She graduated from Pratt Institute in New York City with a B.F.A. in Art Education, and a minor in Art History. Upon graduation, Ms. Klema spent two years as an Americorps member, working in a New York City public school to do, among many other things, teach seventh and eighth grade classes, head the campus Civic Engagement department, and develop curriculum.

When her two years of service were completed, Ms. Klema moved from Brooklyn to Seattle to pursue an M.F.A. in Arts Leadership at Seattle University. Now in her fifth year at LWGMS, Ms. Klema continues to be thrilled to be a part of the LWGMS community, where she can combine her passion for urban education with her interest non-profit management.

Nisha Nathani P'16
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.

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
Spanish

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B.A., Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature, Colorado College

Jacquie has a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature from Colorado College, and is working toward a Master’s degree in Pedagogy in Urban Education with a concentration in linguistically diverse education. A lover of the Spanish language, Jacquie has also completed coursework at the Colegio de España in Salamanca, Spain, and the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina.

Before joining LWGMS, Jacquie taught a classroom of fifth grade native Spanish-speaking and immigrant students in a Denver public school. In this role, she focused on strategies to develop social and academic English, and was thrilled by the enormous growth in reading-level and improvement on district exams that her students achieved. Jacquie also has experience teaching seventh grade students in the Phoenix Public School District, and working in the English Language Learning program in a Colorado Springs high school.

Jacquie is particularly excited about her role at LWGMS as middle school was where she first fell in love with the Spanish language—she is living proof that non-native speakers can master a second language and even incorporate it into their lives and careers!

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Chelsea McCollum
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 Director 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!

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.

LAURA ZAUGG
HUMANITIES

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M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, Southern New Hampshire University
B.A, Psychology, University of Washington

Ms. Laura is a Pacific Northwest native and has been teaching history, geography, and Civics for 17 years in Seattle independent schools. She believes independent schools offer the incredible opportunity for teachers to create purposeful curriculum that allows our students to find their voice, better understand the world, and learn new ways to think. She looking forward to teaching Humanities and the opportunity to work with the prodigious students, staff, families, curriculum, and mission at L-Dub.

Outside the classroom, Ms. Laura has coached girls soccer since high school and has a passion for helping teams thrive. In 2006, she spent seven weeks with her best friend driving to each of the lower 48 states and interviewing girls coaches to learn how they developed strong athletic programs. Lessons from that trip have helped her be a better coach, teacher, and mother. In her free time, she likes to cook and bake, play and watch soccer, hike, camp, ski, and hang out with family.

Ethan Schoonover
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY

 

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Mr. E spent twelve years abroad as an expat in the technology end of marketing communications with various multinational agencies. A dedicated proponent of open source and free software, he developed Solarized which has been called “the Most Important Color Scheme in Computer History” and helped develop the popular Mac software OmniFocus. Mr. E now uses his skills and experience to facilitate technology in education at L-Dub. When not hacking on open source projects, hiking and fishing, making electronics, teaching programming, or launching rockets, he might be found playing RPGs or board games with his wife and two children.

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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TRISHA FRAZIER
ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR

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SHATERRA OVERTON
STEAM & ARC

 

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MELANIE FORBES
SCIENCE

Photos by Brian Smale P'18.