Waverly’s 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.
Lydia is Waverly’s school counselor. Lydia holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from Binghamton University as well as an M.S. in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Lydia is a native of New York City and a recent transplant to the area, moving from northeast Ohio where she served in multiple roles, including school liaison, school based therapist, and associate teacher counselor. In her roles, she has counseled children and adolescents with mild to severe behavioral, mood, and trauma-stressor related disorders. She has provided individual and group sessions to K‑12 students, supported families with community resources, mental health techniques, and collaborated with teachers and parents on developing behavioral interventions and emotional support for students. She is excited to join the Waverly community where she will be working collaboratively to bring advisory programming to the high school. Lydia loves to serve in her church community, travel the world, and play sports in her free time. (Email)
Joseph teaches middle school math and is the athletic director for the middle and high schools. He has a B.S. in integrated mathematics and a minor in mathematics. Joseph has been an experiential learning coordinator and is trained in Responsive Classroom. His approach to teaching math focuses on a growth mindset where students are encouraged to see “failure” as a key learning opportunity. Previously, at Westside Neighborhood school, he was a member of the DEI committee, on the subcommittee of Culture & Belonging, and was an affinity group facilitator. He has been an advisor and chaperoned multiple outdoor education trips. He was a middle school flag football coach and a D‑1 wrestler and coach.
Adriana teaches Spanish in the middle school. She received her B.A. in international relations and political science at El Salvador University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a B.A. in Spanish language and culture from California State University, Northridge. Adriana chose to become an educator because, as she explains, “It is the most enjoyable job that I know. I teach Spanish and I see the evolution of the students and their enthusiasm in learning and I feel useful helping them.” (Email)
Lisa teaches English and creative writing in the middle school. Lisa has a B.A. in English literature from Lewis & Clark College. She has taught high school and middle school English and creative writing and has also worked in administration at Waverly. When it comes to supporting her students, Lisa says, “I get to know my students well, and I pay attention to the things that light them up and the things that bog them down. I try to keep a balance between those points so the student feels capable and nudged.” Lisa’s daughter, Katie, graduated with the Waverly class of 2010. (Email)
Grace teaches math and the farm elective and provides academic support to middle school students. Grace has a B.A. in chemistry from Occidental College, an M.S. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in higher education and adult development from the University of California, Los Angeles. Grace says, “I am very happy that Waverly is a small school, which helps me to genuinely and personally provide the right level of challenge balanced with tons of scaffolding and support uniquely suited for each student.” Grace’s two children graduated from Waverly – Nicholas ’20 and Sophia ’17. (Email)
Jennifer is the learning specialist for kindergarten through 12th grade. Jennifer has a California Teaching Credential, a Master’s in teaching, and certification as an educational therapist. Led to a career in education by a lifelong fascination with the many different ways people think and learn, Jennifer is happiest when around children and teens and believes that most kids are naturally curious and seek challenges to stretch themselves. To support them, she explains,“Often, you just need to give them the time and space to follow their curiosity. For children who may find themselves facing tasks which are too challenging, what is often needed is support in building the skills to feel capable of meeting a challenge.” (Email)
Toby McDonald Chou
Toby 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. Prior to coming to Waverly, Toby taught English and American history and culture in Japan’s public schools on the Japan Exchange Teaching Program. Toby supports her students by letting them know, “It’s okay to fail, but never okay to give up…Persevering through challenges is one of the most important skills students can develop.” Follow Toby’s science blog at sciencewithtoby.net. (Email)
Maronke teaches social studies in the middle school. She holds a B.A. from California State University, Northridge and has completed graduate level coursework in education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Maronke was previously a lead teacher at Children’s Community School and founding member, rotating chair of the IDEA Group (Inclusive, Diversity, Equity Alliance), which was created to support faculty and staff in DEIJ pedagogy and best practices that align with anti-bias and anti-racist curriculum. She has extensive teaching experience in both private and public schools as well as experience as a DEIJ practitioner. Maronke says, “As an educator and practitioner, I am a fierce advocate for equity and inclusion and consider it my duty to empower our youngest generation to think critically about the world around them so they may grow into future changemakers.”