News Detail

Welcome, EMployees!

By Sandra Santana
As our community grows with the addition of our new students, Emma Willard School welcomes a fresh class of EMployees to Mount Ida for the '22-'23 academic year!
Guangyu Hao, Chinese Instructor and faculty advisor to Asian Students Union, holds a BA in English and Japanese from Dalian University of Foreign Languages in Dalian, China, an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from University of Southern California, and a Certificate in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from Teachers College at Columbia University. Guangyu has worked as a Chinese language lecturer at Columbia University and New York University, and an instructor for immersion school and other language institutes. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing table-top games, handcrafting, and hosting her online reading salon. As a native to China, Guangyu has been learning, living, and working in the United States as a bilingual educator, and she is passionate about bringing the Chinese language and culture to life for her students. 
 
Dr. Charles LeBel, Spanish Instructor, joins Emma Willard School from the University of Connecticut where he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and taught courses including Women’s Studies in Spanish, Latinx Literature, Culture, and Society, and Introduction to Literary Study in Spanish. Dr. LeBel holds a Bachelors of Arts in Francophone Studies and Spanish Studies from the University of Connecticut, and a Masters of Arts and PhD in Spanish Studies from the University of Connecticut. When he isn't teaching, Charlie enjoys reading, playing guitar, and spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and riding his bike. He is an amateur mycologist, a proud fan of Chelsea Football Club, and devoted dad to two cats named Genny and Snuggles. 

AM Manon Sabatier, French Instructor, is a native of Southwest France who has been teaching French for over two decades in the United States, Taiwan, and Ireland. Mme. Sabatier has a BA in English Literature and Civilizations and a Masters of Education in Teaching French as a Foreign Language from the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. Outside the classroom, Manon can be found in nature, hiking, long-distance swimming in lakes and oceans, kayaking, snowshoeing, or simply enjoying nature. She is passionate about traveling and Lindy Hop. 

James McCombs, Math Instructor, joins Emma Willard School most recently from The Harvey School where he served as a high school math teacher. Prior to the Harvey School, he worked for the Culinary Institute of America as an adjunct math instructor, where he ate his weight in freshly baked bread as well as taught the institute’s inaugural calculus course. Mr. McCombs has a Bachelors of Mathematics from Mount St. Mary College, and a Masters of Educational Psychology from Marist College. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking, camping, and, above all else, spending time with his dog Kuiper. 

Samantha Evans '13, Science Instructor and Assistant Crew Coach, received her BS in Neuroscience from Lafayette College where she was a Marquis Scholar, Science Horizons Scholar, and Excel Research Scholar. She earned her MAT from Clarkson University.  Sam was the mathematics fellow at Emma from the 2019-2020 school year through 2020-2021. She was a science instructor, assistant crew coach, and dorm parent at Suffield Academy prior to returning to Emma in 2022. In addition to teaching science, Sam serves as the assistant crew coach at Emma and lives in Cluett House with her dog Fletcher. 

Elizabeth Mae Burris-Wells '18, Residential Faculty, received her BA in Comparative Literature from Williams College and also attended a year-long program at the University of Oxford in England. Mae is an Emma Willard alumna from the class of 2018 and returns as houseparent to Sage 2 Long, where she lived her first year as an Emma student. Mae has experience as a nanny, a soccer coach, and a writer, publishing a blog about the relationships between food, land, and personal history. 

Emily Carton,
Director of Student & Community Life, holds a BA in Religion from Haverford College, an MA in Independent School Leadership from Columbia University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Before coming to Emma, she served as the Assistant Head of School for Student Life at Hebron Academy in Maine. Emily has an eclectic teaching background, having taught in math, science, history/social science, and English departments. She looks forward to adding health and wellness—in the form of a 9th grade READY class—to that list. Emily is passionate about building community and empowering young people to know the strength of their own voices, and she is thrilled to engage in that work with the Emma community. She lives on campus with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat. 

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Kate Jarrett '17, Resident Faculty, received her BA in Philosophy from Brigham Young University. Lizzie is an Emma Willard alumna from the class of 2017, and is thrilled to rejoin the Emma community. Lizzie worked at the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, a diversity, equity, and inclusion nonprofit which works to “facilitate professional advancement for students and attorneys with diverse backgrounds, assist in eliminating bias in Utah’s justice system, and track the progress of legal inclusion efforts throughout the state.” At BYU, Lizzie was an associate editor for Aporia, the university’s undergraduate philosophy journal. She is the resident faculty in Alumnae House. 

Saskia Wong-Smith, Residential Faculty and Assistant Swimming & Diving Coach, received her BA in Chinese and Psychology from Bates College. Saskia is also a graduate of the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, CA. Saskia has worked as a research assistant at UCLA focusing on access to autism resources for families in under-served communities. At Bates, Saskia was a varsity swimmer and facilitator of the annual student orientation program. Saskia will live on Kellas 2 T. 

Christopher “Chris” Ouellette, Director of Learning Support, has a Bachelors of Psychology from Western New England University, a Masters of Special Education from New England College, and is working toward a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from New England College. Mr. Ouellette has twenty years of experience working in learning support, with the last eight years spent working and living in boarding schools. Mr. Ouellette’s passion for learning support has led him to serve on the board of the Northeast Association of Learning Specialists as regional coordinator, and currently as the organization’s vice president. Mr. Ouellette believes first and foremost in a philosophy of unconditional positive regard in developing supportive relationships, a philosophy he lives out from his joyful greetings to his love of colorful shirts. 

Rachael Robison, Technical Theatre Director and Audio Visual Coordinator, joins Emma Willard School most recently from the Indian River Central School District where they served as the Theatre Production Technician for several years. Originally from the northern border of New York State, they received their BA in Theater from the State University of New York at Oswego and have since worked as an electronic music composer, sound & lighting designer, sound engineer, and production manager for a variety of theatres including the Naples Players in Naples Florida, Audible Difference Incorporated in New York City, The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown New York, and the State Theatre in State College Pennsylvania, to name a few. Rachael is passionate about doing challenging theater that stimulates both the mind and soul of everyone involved. They believe it is important to have every story told and that everyone should have a voice; utilizing the stage is just one of the many ways to do that. 

Jing Zhang Benavot, Director of International Recruitment & Retention, grew up in Xi'an, China, eastern gateway to the Silk Road and home of the 2000-year-old Terracotta Warriors. Jing holds a BS in Business from Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, an MS in Higher Education Administration, and a graduate certificate in International Education Management, both from the University at Albany. After working at a hi-tech firm for more than five years, Jing transitioned to the field of international education, where she has accumulated nearly 10 years of experience. She loves meeting with prospective students and their families from all over the world. Jing currently lives in Albany with her husband, daughter, and their beloved dog. 

Xavier McKinzie, Associate Director of College Counseling, joins Emma Willard School with seven years of experience in college admissions at Skidmore College and Union College. Mr. McKinzie received his BS in an interdisciplinary program in psychology and studio fine arts from Union College. He is also an alum of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Union. He has a passion for college placement and postsecondary success. Originally a “dual-citizen” of the Bronx and Manhattan boroughs in NYC, he now lives in Colonie, NY. Outside his work in college placement, Mr. McKinzie can be found roaming the Capital Region taking photographs, trying new restaurants, or at any Stewart’s Shop during their half-gallon ice cream sales. 

Stephanie Ross, Assistant Director of Research and Archivist, is passionate about libraries and archives and is excited to help share the school's rich history with students, families, and alumnae. She joins Emma Willard from Hudson Valley Community College where she was serving as reference and instructional services coordinator librarian as well as an instructor in the English, Foreign Language, and ESL Department. Ms. Ross has a BA in English from the College of Saint Rose, and an MS in Information Science with a concentration in Archives and Records Management from the University at Albany. 

Mariah Sanford-White '97, Student Activities Coordinator, was deeply involved in the dance and theatre programs during her time at Emma Willard School, starting a student-run dance/theatre company on campus, and leading JSG, Campus Players, and other groups. In partnership with Emma Willard, she went on to study abroad with the English Speaking Union at Wycombe Abbey. Mariah received a BS in Theatre along with a Music Theatre Certificate from Northwestern University, and a Masters in Voice Studies from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She then settled in NYC where she taught theatre, spoken voice, and yoga for 18 years, 14 of those at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. Mariah is now living in Albany with her partner Remy, and she is thrilled to be part of the Emma Willard on-campus community once again. 
 
Dr. John Riley, History Instructor, rejoined the Emma community in the fall of 2022 after serving as a leave replacement in the History Department in the fall of 2020. Dr. Riley has a BA in Adolescent Education and History from Elmira College, a Masters of Science in Literacy Education from Elmira College, an MA in History from University of Buffalo, and a PhD in History from Binghamton University. Dr. Riley has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History for Lycoming College and Binghamton University, as well as an Instructor of History for Siena College. In his spare time, Dr. Riley hosts a YouTube show called “The Civil War on Paper” where he reads and analyzes weekly editions of the Schenectady Democrat and Reflector as a local history passion project. Dr. Riley believes strongly in the value of teaching the past through game-based and experiential learning, where students combine access to primary documents with interactive simulations that allow them to develop their creativity, problem-solving skills, and historical empathy. He enjoys running and cycling along the Hudson-Mohawk Bike-Hike Trail, and is always up for a board game. 

Amanda Kralovic, Visual Arts Instructor, received her BA in Studio Art from Central Connecticut State University and her MFA in Printmaking from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Ms. Kralovic served as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Adirondack, a Lecturer at Central Michigan University, a part-time lecturer at University of Albany, and Visiting Instructor at Middlebury College. Ms. Kralovic is the founder and master printer for Calico Vine Printshop, and has exhibited her work at galleries and museums across the country. In her free time enjoys kayaking, skiing and going for long walks with her dog. Many of us already know Ms. Kralovic well, as she served as a leave replacement in our arts department last year. 
    • Some of the new faces on campus with Head of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Christine Gilmore and Head of School Jenny Rao at Academic Convocation!


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Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
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