2016-2017 Middle School Faculty
The Waverly middle school teachers are a welcoming cohort of experienced instructors who work together to create an interconnected program specifically geared to the changing, sometimes challenging needs of middle school students. Under their teachers’ guidance, middle school students participate actively in learning. See the biographies below for specific information about education and credentials.
Adriana Duarte teaches Spanish in the elementary and middle schools. She received her B.A. in International Relations and Political Science at the El Salvador University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a B.A in Spanish Language and Culture from California State University, Northridge. __________________
Leo Glazé teaches middle school history and humanities. Leo has a B.A. in History from University of California, Los Angeles and is working on a Masters in History from Arizona State University. Over the last eleven years, he has taught geography and U.S., ancient, and world history to students in fifth through eighth grades. Leo has extensive coaching experience, has organized and led student trips, and created a student council program focused on community service. Leo encourages collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and project-based learning in his classroom. __________________
Lisa Groening teaches English and humanities in the middle school. Lisa has a B.A. in English Literature from Lewis & Clark College and has taught high school and middle school English and creative writing and has also worked in administration at Waverly. Her daughter, Katie, graduated with the Waverly class of 2010.
Grace Hess-Quimbita is the middle school math teacher. Grace has a B.A. in Chemistry from Occidental College, an M.S. in Chemistry from University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Adult Development from University of California, Los Angeles. Grace is an experienced classroom teacher; she has taught mathematics, science, and Spanish and worked with students in upper elementary through high school. Grace taught for many years at Oakwood School; most recently, she has taught math and science as an associate teacher in one of our fifth/sixth grade classrooms. Grace has also worked as an educational coach and academic support specialist and has been active in the progressive educational community for many years.
Toby McDonald Chou teaches science and Japanese in the middle school. She holds a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies with a minor in Japanese Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Toby taught English as a foreign language and American History and Culture for four years in Japan’s public schools on the Japan Exchange Teaching Program.
Josie Olson teaches instrumental and vocal music at the elementary and middle schools. Josie was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. in 1961 with her family. During her middle and high school years, she studied violin. After studying languages at El Camino College, Josie sang professionally for ten years. She took time off to be a stay-at-home mother and in 1996, Josie returned to music as a vocal music teacher at Waverly with her husband, Michael. In 2010, Josie started the pop/rock instrumental music program for the elementary and middle schools. She is the proud mother of three children who all attended Waverly. Michelle and Dan, class of 2016, just started college and Allie is a music teacher. When not at school, Josie enjoys following politics and
watching cheesy sci-fi movies.
Alpheus Prime has taught physical education at Waverly’s elementary and middle schools since 1999. He has coached sports for the last ten years, working mostly with the girls’ teams. Alphe enjoys coaching everything from basketball to volleyball but loves girls flag football best of all. All the students at Waverly know that Alphe loves purple but they probably don’t know why. Alphe received the book Harold and the Purple Crayon from his grandmother when he was four years old and has loved the color ever since. When he’s not at work, Alphe likes to dabble with computers.
Ken Riddle is the art teacher for young kindergarten through high school. Ken has a B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design and an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts. In addition to being an exhibiting sculptor for the last 20 years, Ken curated and directed exhibitions for Bliss, a not for profit gallery in Pasadena from 1987 to 2006. Ken has taught for 12 years in a variety of settings, including Center for Early Education and Crossroads School, and has worked with students at the elementary though college level. Ken has two daughters at Waverly; Iris in 7th grade and Remi in 2nd.
Nick Simmons teaches math in the middle and high school. Nick holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, both in Economics. He has taught undergraduate courses and has been involved in a great deal of fascinating research, including with professors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors of Freakonomics. Further, he attended a progressive school and believes deeply in building strong relationships with students and creating learning opportunities that allow students to connect deeply with the material.
Sydney Walsh teaches drama at the middle and high schools. Syd graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Theatre and English. She has acted in theatre, television, and film, amassing a long list of credits over the years, and has directed plays at various Los Angeles venues. Syd has taught acting for more than ten years, celebrating the playful nature of acting while encouraging her students to develop a greater understanding of themselves and others, the satisfaction that comes from hard work, and the means for clearly communicating complex ideas and thoughts. Syd’s son Harry is a Waverly high school student.