Staff Directory | Directorio

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School  STAFF and COMMUNITY SY 2012-2013

Mayra Canizales, Principal
, Assistant Principal, Primary Campus
Rosa Berrocal, Assistant Principal, Intermediate Campus
Christina Morado, Assistant Principal, Intermediate Campus

Instructional Support
Rick Quiñones, Instructional Coach
Kenneth Wilcots, Technology Coordinator

Student Support
Fran Arch, Counselor, Primary Campus
Claudia Ayllón, Social Worker, Primary Campus
Susan Gonzalez, Counselor (Intermediate Campus)
Melissa Shaw, Social Worker (Adams)
Andrés Nuñez, School Psychologist

After-School Programming
Connie Artiga, OCA Director
Silvia Segovia, OCA Assistant Director
Sally Hunsberger, Athletics Director

Office Personnel
Susana Oviedo, Administrative Assistant (Intermediate Campus)
Kiery Viera, Administrative Assistant (Intermediate Campus)
Edith Shorts, Business Manager
Myrna Irizarry, Administrative Aide (Primary Campus)

School Nurse
Mary Cain, Primary Campus
Danielle Chapman, Intermediate Campus

Cafeteria Staff
Lisa Cabell
Shirley Barno
Ms. Bell

Custodial Staff
Gary Moore, Foreman (Primary Campus)
Enriqueta Baez
Paul Jordan
Countereno Huntley, Forewoman (Intermediate Campus)
Anthony Scott and Mr. Tucker

Instructional Staff (Primary Campus)
Early Childhood Center (ECC ): Veronica McKillop
Pre-K A:  Magdalena Saavedra, Spanish/ Roxane Kovin, English
Pre-K B:  Gina Medina, Spanish/ Melissa Grant, English
KA: Carolina Clarens, English/ Mawilcri Santos, Spanish
KB: Melissa DaCosta, English/ , Spanish
KC: Kaitlyn McKechnie, English/ , Spanish
1A/B: Elisa Landa, Spanish/ Rosalie Courtnell, English
1C: Rafael de las Heras, Spanish/ Alexis Leonesio, English
2A/B: Mike Benson, English/ Sonia Canales, Spanish
2C: Nilda Ramos, English/ , Spanish
3A/B: Ana López, Spanish/ , English
3C:  Vanesa Gracia, Spanish/ Caroline Finn, English

Targeted Academic Goal Teachers (TAG)
Roxana Bustios, 2nd/3rd grade
Evelyn Manzano, 1st grade
, 2nd/3rd grade

Special Education:
Hayleigh Allingham
Madeleine Kleinmann
Ann Wilson

Art: Johanna Janssens, Karen Morales
Library:  Laura Kleinman
Music:  Sylvia Zwi
PE: Cosme Lantigua
Instructional Aides:
Sandra Fridley, Maria Fuentes, Jimmie Gibson, Maritza Hernandez, Ofir Hurtado, Laquoshea Jackson, Juan Larios, Karen Morales, Lindsay Pohlman

Instructional Staff (Intermediate Campus)
4A/B: Missy Alden, English/ Crystal Taveras, Spanish
4C/D:  Giovanni Peña, English/ Lavina Carrillo, Spanish
5A/B:  Maribel Jimeno, Spanish/ Anne Brainard, English
5C/D:  Pablo Girón, Spanish/ Carrie Roling, English

Middle School
English Humanities:  Katie Bunger, Paul Gerber
Spanish Humanities:  Robert Ames, Alba Hidlago
Math:  Kristin Douglas, Greg Newbold, Arlene Pérez,
Science: Laura Dronda, Sarah Riggen

Chinese Language: Hanru Li
English as a Second Language:  Ed Dixon
Spanish Language:  Paula Alcazar Neseth
Special Education/ Read 180: Alexandria Lemus, Greg Newbold, Juan Ucles, Ann Wilson

Art: Yanitza Tavarez
Library:  Brian Muldoon
Music: Michael Bowie
PE: Ricardo Zeno-López
Instructional Aides:
Paula Pettigrew, Celia Villalobos


Staff Bios

Nancy “Missy” Alden is a fourth grade teacher who came to Oyster-Adams in 1998. She earned in her BA in 1976 from Winthrop University and her MAT from Trinity University in 1998. Mrs. Alden’s mother is very proud that her daughter was confirmed in the Episcopal Church-in Hyde Park, New York-in the presence of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.


Hayleigh Allingham, I completed my undergraduate studies at George Mason University in film and media studies where I wanted to document the social issues occurring in Title I schools in the District of Columbia. I completed a fellowship providing literacy interventions to students in under served neighborhoods such as Anacostia. I fell in love with special education here and started to teach in DCPS under the field of applied behavior analysis with students with autism. I had great success with my students that were bilingual which brought me to Oyster where I can gain experience in global and special education! In addition, I am near completion of a Masters in Special Education from George Mason University.

Sr. Robert Ames attended schools in the Panama Canal Zone. Sr. Ames matriculated to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his BA and JD there. He worked in law for five years before earning his MAT at American University. Sr. Ames has been teaching 11 years, and is licensed and Highly Qualified in Spanish (K-12), ESL (K-12) and Elementary Education (1-6). Sr. Ames lives with his wife, Noemí Rodríguez, and two daughters, both of whom are enrolled at Oyster-Adams Bilingual. Sr. Ames enjoys SCUBA diving, cooking, traveling, reading, photography, Latin dancing, biking, and above all, spending time with his family.

Fran Arch has been the school counselor at Oyster-AdamsBilingual School since 2008. A native Washingtonian, she was raised in Maryland and comes to us from Montgomery County Public Schools. She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Maryland in College Park. She lives in Maryland with her husband Larry Arch, a Rockville attorney, and her daughter, Nicole, who is 20 and a senior at University ofMaryland, College Park. She also has two dogs, Cuppy and Duffy.

Claudia Ayllón, se incorporo a la familia de Oyster –Adamsen el 2010. Este año está sirviendo como trabajadora social en Oyster. Previamente Claudia trabajo en las escuelas publicas de Prince Georges por dosaños y también trabajo en la escuela secundaria Bell por 6 años. Claudiaatendió a la Universidad Católica donde obtuvo su Maestría en Trabajo Social. Claudia pasa su tiempo libre muy ocupada con su niño de 5 años, y su esposo.


Michael Benson has taught 2nd grade English at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School since 2010. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Philosophy and earned his teaching credential at the University of San Francisco. He taught for nine years in public school near San Francisco, CA. Before moving to Washington, he and his wife, Hilary, traveled for 17 months in Latin America visiting 15 countries.


Anne Brainard has taught 5th grade English at Oyster-Adams since 2008-2009. She has a BA in US and American Studies from Trinity College and a master’s degree in teaching from American University. Mrs. Brainard loves seeing sports flourish, especially girls’ sports. She says that as a Title IX veteran, it is great to see legacy!


Katie Bunger began teaching seventh and eighth grade English Humanities at Oyster-Adams in the fall of 2008. Before joining the O-A community, she attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Public Relations. She also attended American University where she received a Master’s Degree in teaching. When Katie is not in the classroom, she enjoys running, trying new recipes, practicing Spanish with Sr. Gamarra and cheering on the Oyster-Adams sports team.  Here is a link to her website.

Roxana Bustios has taught at Oyster-Adams since 2008-2009. This year she is serving as one of the TAG teachers at the Oyster Campus.  She has a BA from the Catholic University of Lima, Peru and a master’s degree George Washington University. Sra. Bustios was born and raised in Peru in a bilingual home. Her mother was American and her father Peruvian.


Sonia Canales is a 2nd grade Spanish teacher. This is her fourth year at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School. Canales worked as an assistant teacher at Oyster, from 1990-1995. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Elementary Education in 1995 at UDC, and then Masters Degree in Business Administration at Strayer University 2007. She also obtained a second Masters Degree in Teaching/Learning the “Spanish Language and Its Culture” in the University of Granada, Spain 2010. She likes to travel around the world in nice cruises. She is originally from El Salvador, CA. Canales believes that every child should have the opportunity to attend college; therefore, she always calls her students “Mis univesitarios.”

Oscar De La Puente has taught at Oyster-Adams since 2009. This year he is working as one of the TAG teachers at the Adams campus.  He has a BA in Political Science and is working on a master’s degree in ESL. Sr. De La Puente says that when he came to the United States, he was a second language learner. Since he grew up in a bilingual community after moving to the US, he wants to highlight the importance of being fully bilingual.


“Ed” Dixon has taught at Oyster-Adams since 2006-2007. This year he is working in Middle School as an ESL and reading support teacher.  He has a BA in US and African History from Earlham College and two master’s degrees-one from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in South Asian Studies and one in Bilingual Special Education from George Washington University. Mr. Dixon recently starting diving and sailing and he is looking forward to retiring to the Caribbean.


Kristin Douglas has been at Oyster Adams for 4 years. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned a BA in Urban Studies. She then earned her MA in Teaching at American University. In addition to her love for math, Ms. Douglas also enjoys yoga, hiking, summer travel, and her book club. She is passionate about architecture, other big feats of engineering, and foreign currencies and enjoys connecting these to the middle school math curriculum.


Caroline Finn is a 3rd grade teacher in her fourth year at Oyster-Adams. She attended schools in Europe and in South, Central, and North America. She has taught Special Education, elementary, and adult learners in New Mexico, Florida, Spain, and Maryland. Carol has undergraduate and graduate degrees in elementary, special, and multicultural education, and Healing Arts from the University of Denver, the University of Florida, and Tai Sophia Institute. With her two children, she loves to travel, hike, climb, read, and laugh.

This is Rosalie Courtnell’s (formerly Ms. Garrett) third year teaching first grade at Oyster. She moved here from San Francisco, California where she taught 5th grade. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California Berkeley and then her bilingual teaching credential from San Diego State. She completed a summer program in Querétaro, Mexico where she studied at a University and then taught 5th grade in Atlacamulco, Mexico. She has been working every summer to learn Spanish, studying in Cuenca, Ecuador, Oaxaca, Mexico, and Cuzco, Peru.

Mr. Gerber has taught English Humanities in the middle school since 2009.  He was born to a family of teachers in a small Connecticut town. Between then and now, he has studied and worked in New York, London, Colombia, Mexico, and Haiti. Still, he counts Echo Hill among his favorite places.  Mr. Gerber is a winner of the 2012 Rubenstein Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Vanesa Gracia first came to Oyster in 2007. She left and returned to Oyster-Adams in 2009 to be a third grade Spanish teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Languages. Sra. Gracia has taught in several countries, mostly in Europe. She says that knowing how things work in different countries has been a great experience.


Melissa Grant is the Pre-Kindergarten English and Special Education Teacher in PreKB. 2012-2013 is her fifth year at Oyster and in Washington DC! Prior to moving to DC, she taught early childhood special education and early intervention in New York City. She earned an undergraduate degree in Theatre at the University of Michigan and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education and Child Life at Bank Street College of Education. Ms.Grant loves discussing and debating education issues, New York City, and her family.

Richard Golland taught third grade at Oyster-Adams for four years and this year is serving as a TAG teacher at the Adams campus. Mr.Golland has a M.A. in elementary education from American University, a M.A. ininternational relations and economics from Johns Hopkins S.A.I.S., and a history with a minor in Spanish from Brandeis University. Mr. Golland has lived in Spain, Germany, Bosnia, Italy, Japan, and China. He is married to Lei Zhang and his son, Sean, was born in October of 2008.


Maribel Jimeno was born in Spain but has lived in the UK, Australia and the US. She was a busy advertising executive in London but changed careers after she moved to Australia and little Elena arrived. Just before that, she traveled around the world with her husband and her windsurf equipment for 8 months. She completed a graduate degree in Education in Perth, Australia and worked as a Spanish teacher over there for 4 years. She has lived in DC since 2007 and has worked at Oyster Adams since 2009. She absolutely loves 5th graders!!!!!!!!!! and soccer.


Madeleine Kleinman joined Oyster-Adams in 2011.  She teaches Special Education to students at the Primary Campus. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Special Education from the University of Maryland. Ms. Kleinman works to help those students who need additional support in school to do their very best. As a student of Spanish herself, she has traveled throughout Latin and South America in order to better understand and advocate for bilingual students.

Laura Kleinmann has been the librarian at the Oyster campus for 18 years. She finds her job to fit perfectly because she loves children and books (don’t ask her in which order) and is bilingual. Ms. Kleinmann attended Smith College, the University of Mexico and the University of Maryland. She has a Masters in Library Science but considers her 6 years in Mexico to have provided her with the best part of her education.


Roxane Kovin has taught at Oyster for 36 years! This was her first teaching job after graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She also has a Masters of Education in Educational Computing from University College. Mrs. Kovin initially got hired as a substitute teacher for a 2nd/3rd grade Spanish teacher who was out on maternity leave. She just happened to hang her coat in the principal’s office a month before graduating from college, and the principal, Mr. Frank Miele, hired her on the spot. He offered her no future guarantees, yet 36 years later she still teaches Pre-K!!

Elisa Landa is a First Grade Spanish teacher. This is her 10th year at Oyster-Adams. She has taught Kindergarten and First Grade. She was born and grew up in Veracruz, Mexico. She graduated from Universidad Veracruzana and received her master’s degree from George Mason University. She worked for the“Secretaria de Educacion Publica” and she was a founder of a public school in her country.

Alexis Leonesio is a First Grade English teacher at Oyster. She transitioned into teaching as a Kindergarten Teacher from a nearby Charter school in the fall of 2009. She received a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland College Park and M.A.T. from American University. After college, “Ms. L” worked as a grant writer for a small non-profit called the Student Support Center. This job offered her many opportunities to visit different schools in the D.C. area to help students get the resources they need. After being inspired by so many “superhero” teachers in their classrooms, Ms. L got the calling to teach early childhood and has loved it ever since.

Alexandria Lemus has taught at Oyster-Adams since the Fall of 2007. She has worked with every grade in the school, from Pre-k to 8th. She graduated from Duke University in 2007, earning a BA in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations, and in Literature (GO BLUE DEVILS!!!). She later earned a Masters in Education from George Washington University. She is passionate about animal welfare and finding forever homes for homeless animals, like she did with her own Maya Pup.


In 1991, Ms. Li got her bachelor’s degree in Chongqing Normal University, China, with the major of Foreign Language Education (English). She had 16 years’ strong experience as a foreign language teacher in secondary and elementary schools in China. Ms. Li got her Master’s Degree in the University of Maryland in 2011 with the major of Foreign Language Education (Chinese). Since 2009, she has been teaching in O-A, and now she has more than 80 students who are in three different learning levels.

Ana López grew up in New Jersey speaking Spanish and Gallego with her family from Galicia, Spain. She completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I. , receiving a B.A. in Human Development (Education Studies) and a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education. She has a passion for languages and also knows French and American Sign Language (ASL). Ms. López joined Oyster-Adams in 2011 and she’s very excited to be a part of this bilingual community.

Evelyn Manzano is an ELL/Special Education teacher at Oyster-Adams.

Kaitlyn McKechnie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese from Bates College in Maine. In 2007, she joined Teach For America and taught Pre-K and Kindergarten at a charter school in Northeast DC. While in the corps, Mrs. McKechnie received her Masters Degree in the field of Early Childhood Education from George Mason University. Today, Mrs. McKechnie is going on her third year as an English teacher at Oyster-Adams. This year she is part of the new recycling team at Oyster. She is excited to work to help make Oyster a greener school!

Veronica McKillop has been the Early Childhood Center teacher and the girls middle school volleyball coach since 2010 (go Tigers!). Prior to moving to DC, Ms. McKillop earned her degree in Childhood Special Education fron NYU and taught in a middle school for four years in Massachusetts. During her free time, Ms. McKillop enjoys running, spending time with family, and eating delicious food.


Christina Morado joined the Oyster Adams faculty as an Instructional Coach in 2008 and was appointed Assistant Principal in August 2012. Prior to becoming a part of the the OA community, Ms. Morado taught in New York City and Los Angeles for 9 years, as both a middle school and high school English and social studies teacher. Ms. Morado has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia University. Morado’s spare time includes crafty pastimes, looking for and consuming good reads, and biking around the capital.

Brian Muldoon joined Oyster Adams in January 2011 as an ESL teacher in the middle school and this year is serving as the librarian for the Adams Campus. Brian graduated from American University’s School of International Service. He has a master’s degree in International Development from George Washington University. Brian has taught in Washington, DC for 12 years. Before moving to Washington, Brian was a Peace Corps Volunteer. When he is not teaching English, Brian enjoys improving his Spanish, German, Filipino, Japanese and American Sign Language.

Mr. Greg Newbold was the Math Specialist and worked with grades Pre-k through sixth grade. He now works in the middle school with grades 4 through 8th with an emphasis on mathematics. Mr. Newbold earned Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and enjoys working in Mathematics with individuals of varied backgrounds. Mr. Newbold has worked in DCPS for nearly two decades and is most excited by the idea of a delicious meal in a warm environment.

Giovanni Pena, Mr. Peña is a fourth grade English teacher. He joined Oyster-Adams in 2008 and has also taught both second and third grade. After having received his Masters in Teaching as a Second Language, Mr. Peña decided to put his skills to work last year in Barcelona, Spain. After a year of teaching English to students from pre-school to sixth grade and not to mention some fun in the sun, Mr. Peña has returned to Oyster-Adams excited to share what he has learned about living and teaching in another country. When Mr. Peña is not in the classroom, he enjoys working out, attempting to cook Dominican food, reading and hanging out with friends and Oyster families. Here is a link to his website: Please donate to my classroom project!

Arlene Péréz has served as the 7th/8th grade Spanish math teacher since 2011.


Prior to taking the position as an instructional coach in 2010, Rick Quinones was a classroom teacher at Oyster for nine years, teaching grades 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Rick has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a Masters of Teaching Elementary from the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. During his free time, Rick likes to take classes at his gym, try new cooking recipes, and watch documentaries.


Carrie Roling loves teaching 5th graders because they understand so much about their world and yet are able to envision change. Roling grew up in Missouri and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Truman State University and a master’s degree in TESOL from American University. She taught ESL for DCPS since 2001 and joined Oyster Adams in 2007, the same year her son, Solomon, was born. Carrie’s family grew from two to five when she married Juan, last summer. Writing is a personal hobby and one of her favorite subjects to teach.

Pam Ross has taught since 1989 and has taught at Oyster-Adams for twelve years. This year she is serving as the Lead TAG teacher.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College with a major in Russian Language (1984) and Masters of Science in Education with a specialty in early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education (1991). She has also completed course work at George Washington University in the area of Bilingual/Special Education. In 2005 she was a recipient of the ING Unsung Heroes Award and in 2009, she became a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). She loves gardening, science and hiking.

Magdalena Saaverdra Nació en Puerto Rico donde estudió su Bachillerato en Educación Elemental de la UPR. Su familia, iglesia y Tuna Universitaria apoyaron su talento y pasatiempo: el canto y guitarra. Es miembro fundador de Coral Cantigas. Casada, madre de 3 ex-alumnos de DCPS, suegra y abuela . Vivió en Bogotá, Puerto Rico, Maryland y Washington, DC. Obtiene su maestría en Trinity College. En 1989 llegó a Oyster. Ahí publicó su proyecto Canta Conmigo, 2 CD’s para niños.

Mawilcri Santos has worked as a Spanish teacher for four years and has taught kindergarten for two of these. She has an MAT from Regent University. Señora Santos is a passionate believer in bilingual education who says she is a “life-long learner” and “always trying to find ways to enhance her profession.”

Yanitza Tavarez has taught Art (in Spanish), 4th-8th Grade at Oyster Adams since August 2009. A native New Yorker (with parents from the Dominican Republic), she attended New York’s renowned Pratt Institute (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theory, Criticism, and History of Art, Architecture and Design; Masters of Industrial Design) and is currently completing a Masters in Secondary Education at George Washington University. Bringing an exciting variety of professional work experiences to Oyster Adams, find out more about Sra. Tavarez at

Crystal Taveras a 4th grade Spanish teacher. She has been at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School since 2010. She graduated from American University with a bachelors in Health Promotion/Health Fitness and received a Masters degree in Education from the George Washington University. She has taught for five years in public schools in Virginia and Washington DC. She is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and speaks Spanish and Portuguese also.


Juan Ucles was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He attended College at  the University of Clarion in Pennsylvania then  attended the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania where he received his masters. He has been working with D.C. Public Schools since 1988. He worked at Ross Elementary School for 21 years and has been at Oyster Adams since 2009. He believes every child can learn and will learn if we tap into their interests and abilities.

Kenneth Wilcots has worked for DCPS for 12 years. He attended Towson University and graduated with a B.S. in Electronic Media. He has traveled throughout the U.S.A., Mexico, western Canada, Hawaii and the Carribean. He likes curried foods, film, radio and music.


Ann Wilson has taught at Oyster Adams Bilingual School since 2009,  including one year where she served as Special Education Coordinator before returning to the classroom because she really missed the students! Previously, she taught in Virginia and at The Lab School of Washington. Ms. Wilson has a Master’s Degree in Special Education with a focus on Learning Disabilities from American University and a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from George Washington University. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Hamilton College. Ms. Wilson spent 13 years of her childhood in Guatemala.