Each year in May, the Laurel Springs School community participates in the Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA) Teacher Appreciation Week, a global initiative dedicated to celebrating the passion and talents of educators. This year’s event is centered around the theme of “Out of This World,” which is fitting since Laurel Springs’ teachers and students are located in countries around the world, bringing unique perspectives to our virtual classrooms.
“Laurel Springs teachers inspire all of us,” said Alex Schroeder, Dean of Faculty. “Their personal and professional stories and experiences continuously push us to do more and to be better. I am so lucky to work with such a talented group of educators.”
To introduce you to some of the remarkable teachers of Laurel Springs, our Academic Department Chairs highlight those who’ve demonstrated leadership in their areas of expertise or are finding unique ways to engage with their students.
Lisa Bechtold | Electives Department Chair
Dean Feldman – Theatre and Multimedia
Although new to Laurel Springs, Mr. Feldman is a veteran educator with many accolades to his name. He makes learning multimedia engaging and accessible. His classes highlight hands-on and step-by-step live practice in diverse areas as in video production and stage makeup. He utilizes technology to engage, and his warm and enthusiastic approach creates an atmosphere that allows students to question and practice right along with him.
Michael Pappas – Health/Physical Education
Mr. Pappas is another master teacher in the Electives Department that teaches and mentors new instructors. His iClasses get students up and moving through interactive games and challenges as well as Mr. Feldman’s enthusiasm for personal health and fitness – there is no “staring at the screen” if you attend one of his iClasses! Mr. Pappas is warm and supportive with his students and his peers and is always willing to share information and resources.
Shelbie Lynn Goodnow | World Languages Department Chair
Ms. Athey has been such an asset to our Laurel Springs Community. She is always willing to assist within the department and work as a team player. Shannon mentors many of the new World Language Teachers and is an amazing instructor.
Ms. Wiemann is an all-star! Nicole is very communicative with parents and students and always sends thoughtful responses. It is clear that Nicole’s students are engaged and supported.
Patti McClimans, M.Ed. | Mathematics Department Chair
Ms. Meadows is new to Laurel Springs this year and has already demonstrated she is willing to go above and beyond to help students who struggle with course content. She meets outside in regular office hours and personalizes lessons to help students better grasp the material.
Ms. Harris is a rockstar teacher who works countless hours helping students succeed in Algebra I and lays the foundation for success in advanced courses they’ll take in Upper School.
Emily Mulvihill | English Department Chair
Mr. Talevich is not only a veteran teacher in our English Department, but also a Laurel Springs graduate! In addition to his Laurel Springs students, he served as an inspiring teacher in our blended learning program. He teaches mostly juniors and seniors and also provides a personal touch in AP English courses and college preparation. Mr. Talevich is warm, knowledgeable, and has a great sense of humor.
Ms. Nolan is quickly becoming a veteran Laurel Springs teacher and is always willing to take on more to support the department. She has grown in her role this year, supporting her students daily and even offering to mentor SAT/ACT teachers. Her iClasses are engaging and fun as well as packed with important and useful information. Sharon is always professional and has a smile on her face. We are so fortunate to have her as part of the English Department!
Cory Plough, M.Ed | Social Studies Department Chair
Ms. Kubala joined Laurel Springs earlier this year and is a National Board-Certified Teacher in Social Studies. She specializes in Anthropology and has traveled to 50 countries and 6 continents, giving her a varied and unique perspective on culture and history from all over the world.
Dr. Joanna Cavan – Social Studies/French
Dr. Cavan’s love of language and helping students guides her every day at Laurel Springs. She is a staple in LSS Live and devotes a lot of time working with students at all grade levels. Dr. Cavan also specializes in academic writing and brings a wealth of knowledge to teaching students about the writing process.
Bridget Schleifer | K-8 Department Chair
Mrs. Smith goes above and beyond for her students; her virtual office hours and iClasses are always well-attended because she is very engaging and truly connects with her students. Her iClasses have fun themes, such as Harry Potter (she even dressed in costume), The Bee Movie, or Transformers. Recently, Mrs. Smith was able to meet with a student for ice cream who happened to be visiting his grandparents in her town.
Dr. Barnes is new to Laurel Springs this year, but already made a very positive impact on her students. She finds creative ways to help her students succeed, whether it’s by composing a song to help students understand an English concept or sending virtual stickers of her dog, Winchester. Dr. Barnes inspires her students to do their best every day.
Jennifer Taylor | Science Academic Department Chair
Ms. Hicks is new to Laurel Springs this year and is definitely making an impact. Her excitement for teaching and learning is evident in her interactions with students, parents, and fellow teachers.
Ms. Owens has taught with Laurel Springs since 2011. She is patient and kind in her interactions with students, inspiring their love for science while empowering them to put forth their best effort every day.