Meet Our Upper School Faculty
2019-2020 New Appointments Grades 9 - 12
Dr. Christopher Winters, Head of Upper School, Grades 9 - 12
From 2009 to 2018, Chris was the Headmaster of Greenwich High School, where his exemplary leadership has been held in high regard both within our local community and among national educational experts. Chris graduated with a B.A. in political science from Middlebury College. He received his M.A. and M.Ed. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from UConn. Since early fall 2019, Chris has been dedicating his full energy, experience, and expertise to the development of our new high school.
Stephanie Rogen, Chief Learning Officer
Stephanie joined our team at GCDS as a consultant in 2017 as we began our journey toward a N-12 school. As the founder and principal of Greenwich Leadership Partners, she works with schools and educational thought leaders around the world. Stephanie earned a B.A. in economics from Brown University and M.Ed. in administration and policy from Harvard. As Chief Learning Officer, Stephanie provides leadership on teaching, learning, and program design at GCDS.
Richard Columbo, Assistant Head of Upper School, Grades 9 - 12
Rick moves to the Upper School after 20 years on Old Church Road where he has been a teacher, coach, and Head of Middle School (grades 4-6). Rick has chaired the Math Department and helped to shape culture and program across disciplines and divisions as a member of the administration. Rick received his B.A. in psychology from SUNY Binghamton and M.Ed. from Wagner College. Since the announcement of our new division, Rick has been an active and engaged leader in the work to build the high school program, structure, and community. As Assistant Head of Upper School, Rick will work closely with faculty, staff, and students to promote an outstanding student experience and school culture.
Andy Ramirez, Director of College Counseling
Andy joined us this summer from the Dalton School in New York City, where he served as Director of College Counseling. He spent the first half of his career as an Assistant Dean of Admission at Princeton University and Associate Dean of Admission at Bowdoin College. Andy then became Associate Director of College Counseling at Princeton Day School before moving to Dalton. He has been active at GCDS this school year, counseling current Stanwich upperclassmen, playing a lead role in the Upper School design team, and traveling around the country to share the story of our school with colleges and universities. Andy graduated with a B.A. in English from Williams College.
Dr. Jeffrey DeTeso, School Psychologist
Jeff returns to Country Day after serving as School Psychologist for Greenwich High School and building a significant private practice. Jeff began his teaching career in our Lower School before attending Columbia for his doctorate. He received his undergraduate degree from Williams, where he played on the hockey and baseball teams. Jeff is a trusted and nationally recognized expert in adolescent development and executive functioning and will be an invaluable member of the team as we attend to the well-being and success of every student.
Tim Helstein, Director of Athletics
Currently serving as Director of Physical Education at GCDS, Tim brings a wealth of experience to the role of Athletic Director. This year he has been a leader in the design of our Upper School program. He received his B.A. from Eastern University, where he played lacrosse, and M.A. in biobehavioral sciences from Teachers College, Columbia University. During his time as head coach for girls varsity soccer at St. Luke's School, he led the team to both a NEPSAC Championship and FAA Tournament Championship.
Christina Colón Bradt, Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Since her arrival at GCDS in the fall of 2017, Chrissy has led our school’s work around diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has partnered with faculty, staff, students, and families to strengthen our important and impactful learning within identity, advocacy, and action. She has played a central role in our Upper School design process, and she will continue to lead these conversations in our new division. Chrissy received her B.A. in comparative ethnic studies from Barnard College and M.Ed. in special education from Hunter College.
Tara Allen, World Languages, Cross Country
Tara has taught Spanish of all levels at Darien High School over the last twelve years. In her role at DHS, she also coached cross country and track and field, as well as helped to coordinate the school’s successful accreditation process. Prior to her time at Darien, Tara taught and coached at high schools in Connecticut and Rhode Island. She also spent two years in Guatemala serving in the Peace Corps. Tara earned her M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury and her B.S. in dietetics from University of Rhode Island.
Jordan Alper, Math, Softball
Jordan comes to us from New Canaan Country School where she is a head math teacher and life skills teacher. Jordan is also head varsity softball coach at NCCS. Before her current role, Jordan served as Dean of Students, head math teacher for grades 7 - 11, and varsity softball coach for ten years at the Stanwich School. Jordan received her M.A. in teaching from Manhattanville and her B.A. in geology and environmental science from Bowdoin.
Sarina Bachleitner, Arts
Sarina is the band director at the Stanwich School, and she will continue that role in the GCDS Upper School. Prior to her time at Stanwich, Sarina taught, conducted, arranged, and composed at the university and high school levels. She is the founding director of the Jazz Apprenticeship Program at Lincoln Center and the founder of the King Street Music School and the Discover Jazz Festival, both in Burlington, Vermont. Sarina, a recipient of the 2017 Music Entrepreneurship Award for her work as a composer and arranger, has collaborated with many of the greats, including Quincy Jones, the Stan Rubin Big Band, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. She received her B.M. in jazz composition from Manhattan School of Music and M.M. in jazz studies from the University of North Texas.
Gordon Campbell, Computer Science
Gordon comes to us from the Dalton School in New York City and will help GCDS build a future-focused, highly engaging computer science program. In his fifteen years leading the department at Dalton, participation increased sevenfold, and he oversaw the design and construction of a two-story STEM center on campus. Prior to his time at Dalton, Gordon served as a software engineer and instructor at Columbia University. Gordon earned his M.S. from Columbia and his B.S. from the University of New Hampshire.
Douglas Carr, Science
Doug joins our Upper School science faculty, bringing 20 years of experience teaching physics at independent K-12 schools. For the past five years, Doug has taught, coached, and advised at the Brunswick School, and for the prior 15 years he taught physics at all levels, including AP, at the St. John's School in Houston. Doug received his B.S. in mechanical engineering technology from Texas Tech University and M.Ed. from the University of Houston. Throughout his career, Doug has led work around gender equity in science, building female participation in the highest levels of science study.
Shannon Doyle, Girls Hockey
We welcome Shannon back to GCDS as a Middle School English teacher and Upper School varsity girls hockey coach. After three years teaching and coaching here on Old Church Road, Shannon has taught English and coached Upper School soccer and hockey at the Trinity Pawling School. While teaching, Shannon has had a successful professional hockey career with the NWHL, captaining her team and earning the title of Connecticut’s top scoring defender. Shannon received her B.A. and M.A. from Boston University.
Steve Feder, Math, Tennis
Steve teaches Upper School math and coaches tennis and basketball at the Stanwich School. He began his teaching and coaching career in urban Philadelphia as part of Teach for America and earned his master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania during that time. Steve graduated from Haverford College, where he captained the men’s tennis team.
Andy Fernandez, World Languages
Andy moves to our new Upper School after 17 years teaching French and Spanish at GCDS. A Country Day alum, Andy coaches soccer and basketball, serves as a faculty peer evaluator, and has been a grade-level coordinator. Andy earned his M.A. in French language and literature from Middlebury and his B.A. from Harvard.
David Flower, Girls Soccer
Since 2005, David has been the head girls soccer coach at Westhill High School, where he won a state championship and cultivated a tradition of excellence. He has experience building an elite-level program from the ground up as the founding soccer director at Chelsea Piers, where he also serves as coaching director and head coach of two girls premier teams. Through his work at Westhill and the CPCT, David has developed players who have found success in collegiate and national development programs.
Idara Foster, English
Idara joins us from the Dwight Englewood School in New Jersey, where she teaches English, coaches varsity volleyball and track, and plays a lead role in the diversity, equity, and inclusion work of the school. Idara has also taught and coached at Choate and Taft, her alma mater. She graduated from Wesleyan University, where she was captain of the track and field team, and received her M.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jane Graham, Arts
Jane is the Chair for Visual Arts at the Stanwich School. In 20 years teaching at Stanwich, Jane designed and cultivated the visual arts program from its inception and has inspired countless artists in 2D, 3D, and digital art. Jane also serves as the Service Learning Coordinator for Stanwich, developing and leading domestic and international projects. In this role, she has assisted in the creation of Project Blessing in Rwanda and two projects in Ghana. Jane earned her M.A. from Manhattanville and her B.A. from Harvard.
Joe Helpern, Science, Cross Country
Joe comes to us from the Brunswick School, where he teaches science and coaches cross country and fencing. Prior to his time at Brunswick, Joe taught environmental science, biology, and chemistry at Friends Academy in New York. In addition to teaching and coaching in public and independent schools, Joe served as a STEM consultant for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, designing program, building partnerships, and training faculty. He received his B.A. in biology from Case Western Reserve University and M.S. in middle and high school education from Lehman College.
Shannon Hubertus, Science
Shannon is a science teacher and the Upper School Science Department Chair at the Stanwich School. Over the past seven years, Shannon has led development of the science curriculum and served as grade-level dean for the eleventh and twelfth grades. Prior to her time at Stanwich, she served as the Science Department Chair at the Rockland Country Day School in New York. She holds a B.S. in biology education from Daemen College and M.S.Ed. in curriculum design and teaching from Fordham University.
Annette Iversen, Math
Annette has taught math, developed program, and cultivated positive mindsets around mathematics in independent and public education for ten years. Currently an Upper School teacher at the Stanwich School, Annette taught and helped to lead the math program at the Whitby School, including programmatic reform. Prior to her time in the classroom, Annette worked in international finance. She has a master’s degree in secondary school mathematics teaching from Columbia and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Julie Kast, English
Julie moves to our new high school program following 19 years teaching English on Old Church Road. Julie has served as Department Chair, coach, and student advisor, and she was faculty advisor to our literary magazine. She twice co-chaired the Five-Year Curricular Review team for English/Language Arts. Julie earned her B.A. from Wesleyan and her M.A. T. from Manhattanville; she is now a candidate for a master's in biblical literature. Before teaching, she worked in the worlds of publishing and finance.
Peter Katona, History
Peter has taught Upper School history and journalism at the Stanwich School for eight years. He has served as History Department Chair and varsity boys basketball coach. Peter is a lecturer at City College of New York. Prior to his time at Stanwich, he taught in the Brooklyn public schools and worked internationally and domestically as a journalist, writer, and communication director. Peter received his M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, M.S.Ed. from College of Staten Island, and B.A. in philosophy and film/video studies from the University of Michigan.
David Kucher, Student Support
David is a teacher, counselor, coach, program developer, and thought leader in the world of Student Support and Learning. For the last decade, David has led programs in independent schools, including the last two years at Country Day. David partners with faculty, students, and families to design learning habits that blend research and experience to make the most of every available strategy and tool.
Anais Latimore, World Languages, Seminar
Anais is a French teacher and Co-Chair of the World Languages Department at the Stanwich School. During her six years at Stanwich, Anais, a native French speaker, has developed the French program, built partnerships with the outside world, and served as a grade-level advisor. Prior to her years at Stanwich, Anais taught French at the secondary and university level. In addition to teaching French, Anais will be a team leader for the Seminar class design and curriculum. Anais holds an M.A. in comparative literature from Arizona State University and maîtrise in English and American studies from Université Catholique de Lille, France.
Austin Lehn, Science, Baseball
Austin is in his seventeenth year at GCDS, where he is currently chair of the Science Department. He has taught biology in the Upper School, advised each ninth grade class, and coached baseball, basketball, and soccer. Austin has also led service work in our Upper School, helping students develop habits of lifelong advocacy and caring. He graduated from Williams College, where he captained the baseball team and served as assistant coach of the team during the 2004 season.
Stephanie McDonald, Assistant Athletic Director, Field Hockey
Stephanie is the Assistant Athletic Director and head field hockey coach at Hopkins School in New Haven. Stephanie also serves as an academic advisor and formed a Captain’s Leadership group to help team leaders build their understanding of and role in program culture. Stephanie served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for field hockey at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) prior to her time at Hopkins. Stephanie earned her M.A. in American studies from Trinity and her B.A. in anthropology from Franklin and Marshall, where she captained the field hockey team and was selected as a Second-Team All-American.
Jason Reynolds, World Languages
Jason has been a teacher, coach, teacher leader, and program developer at Country Day for 18 years. Jason has taught Middle and Upper School Latin and Greek, instructed in music, coached wrestling, served as a grade-level coordinator, and helped to design and implement the Middle School Capstone program. Jason earned his M.A. in classics from Columbia University and a B.A. from University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Andrew Ruoss, History
Andrew joins GCDS from Hotchkiss, where he teaches history and economics. Andrew is also the coordinator of the school’s humanities pilot, in which faculty and students work across disciplines to build curricular common threads and connections in their learning. Prior to Hotchkiss, Andrew taught interdisciplinary research and seminar courses at Duke University's Franklin Humanities Institute, focusing on the intersection of technology, economics, and global politics. Andrew has served as a Fulbright Fellow in Economics, and he earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from Duke University and completed his undergraduate studies at Middlebury.
Hillary Schranze, Arts
Hillary is the orchestra director for strings at the Stanwich School. A certified Suzuki teacher, she continues to perform professionally, playing violin and viola with the Memphis String Quartet and the Ceruti String Quartet. Hillary earned her M.A. from Manhattan School of Music and her B.A. from Westminster Choir College.
Lauren Waller, English
Lauren has taught English at GCDS for eleven years. She has made a lasting impact as an advisor and coach, and she is one of our team leaders for the inaugural ninth grade Seminar program this year. Lauren previously taught at the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College and Fox River Country Day School. She earned her B.A. from Kenyon College and M.A. from Columbia University.
Jaclyn Wood, History
Jaclyn is currently Dean of Students and Chair of the History Department at the Stanwich School. In her eight years at Stanwich, Jaclyn has taught, coached, advised, and led faculty and students. Prior to her time at Stanwich, she taught in the Stamford public schools, worked in finance, and earned a B.S. in economics from Northeastern University and M.S. in history and social studies from University of Bridgeport.
Nina Basinet, Dean of Faculty
Nina has more than twenty years of experience working with children of all ages. She currently teaches sixth grade history, English, and technology and is the Instructional Coach here at GCDS. She earned a B.A. in education and psychology from Skidmore College and an Ed.M. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Nina hosts a variety of professional learning workshops, which focus on teaching and learning strategies that promote engagement, student agency, curiosity, and creativity.
Johnna Yeskey, Dean of Studies
Johnna has been a teacher, mentor, designer, and advocate for the program and the people of GCDS for over four decades, including 30 years as Head of Lower School. She received her B.S. and M.S. in elementary education and curriculum design from University of Pittsburgh and an Ed.M. in administration from Teacher's College, Columbia University. As the architect of our current curriculum coordination and review, grades nursery through nine, Johnna is poised to lead our discussion and learning across our new divisional structure. Building on her current work, Johnna empowers teachers to be thoughtful and bold in their program as we move into our school’s next chapter.