The Gunston School is delighted to announce the addition of several new staff and faculty members for the upcoming academic year. “With several retirements last year and our enrollment of 235 students, we’ve expanded our staffing this year, and we’re delighted to welcome an extraordinarily talented group of educators to campus,” said Head of School John Lewis.
Melissa Haber is the new Chief Financial Officer. She earned a degree in business management from the University of South Carolina and a master’s in education from Johns Hopkins with a focus on educational leadership. She previously served for five years as the Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations at Kent School in Chestertown. Haber also held significant leadership roles in the Admissions and Finance departments of Indian Creek School in Crownsville, Md.
Anthony D’Antonio and Emily Coffey have joined the team as Co-directors of College Guidance. Coffey joins Gunston from Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas where she served as their college counselor. She recently received a national award as a 2021 “Counselor that Changes Lives” by the highly regarded Colleges that Change Lives consortium. She graduated magna cum laude with distinction from Hendrix College with a degree in sociology and English, and received her master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to becoming a college counselor, she worked in undergraduate admissions at Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a former Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) board member, serving as the co-chair of the admission practices committee.
D’Antonio worked for 17 years as the Director of College Counseling at Worcester Prep School in Berlin, Md., where he also served four years as Assistant Headmaster and girls’ head soccer coach—a coaching role he’ll be assuming at Gunston. Before Worcester, he was the associate Dean of Admissions at Salisbury University where he was also an Assistant Men’s Soccer coach. He earned his bachelor of science degree and two master’s degrees from Salisbury University and from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in counseling and education psychology. This past year, he served as a college guidance counselor at Sussex Academy in Delaware.
Jen Matthews ’05 is the new Advancement & Alumni Coordinator. In addition to being a Gunston alumna, she brings more than a decade of experience in fundraising, alumni relations, database management, grant writing, event planning, and donor stewardship. Previously, she served as the director of Development & Alumni relations at Kent School. Matthews has worked as development manager at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Taleya Zinnea joins the math department, having recently graduated from George Mason University, where she earned a bachelor of science in applied mathematics, and where she worked extensively as a learning assistant and peer mentor. She’s a talented mathematician and programmer, with experience in several programming languages such as Python, MATLAB, and LaTeX. Additionally, Zinnea is fluent in two languages, speaking English and Urdu fluently, and she has working proficiency in Arabic and Spanish as well.
Valerie Birkeland also joins the math department, receiving her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Salisbury University. Eager both to teach and coach, she has experience designing curriculum lesson plans for all levels of mathematics classes, and is formerly the mathematics, science and digital literacy teacher at the Lucy School in Middletown, Md. She also taught briefly in the Wicomico County Public Schools.
Adele Showalter returns to Gunston (she was a maternity substitute nearly a decade ago) and will teach biology and chemistry. Showalter has extensive experience teaching AP biology and implementing science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum. Her independent school experience includes tenure at Metairie Park Country School in New Orleans, as well as at The Country School in Easton. Having taught in public schools, she was named the Caroline County Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005. Showalter graduated from Cook College, Rutgers (now known as the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) with a bachelor of science in environmental studies.
Also joining the science department is Sara Grantham, who will be teaching chemistry. Grantham possesses a deep knowledge of science, having earned a double major in biology and marine/environmental science from Salisbury University as well as a master’s degree in chemistry/life sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has a wide range of interests, having worked with youth as a Park Ranger, a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, and a member of the Caroline County Arts Council—all the while serving as a full-time lab scientist at Eurofins.
Katelyn Larrimore ’16 is another Gunston alumna, and she joins us as a humanities teacher and sailing coach. She recently graduated from Washington College with a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education and spent extensive time interning at Kent County High School. During her student career at Gunston, Katelyn was an honors student and captain of the sailing team, and she looks forward to engaging with students both in the classroom and on the water.
Victoria Windmiller has been appointed as Gunston’s Art Department Chair, having served in a part-time role this year. She earned her bachelor’s in fine arts from Shepherd University and a master’s in education from Loyola University. She has extensive teaching experience both in the United States and New Zealand, as well as a strong background in athletics, especially swimming and triathlon. She also has training in ocean rescue, so she will continue to coach as well as teach.
Dr. Ryan Asprion is the new Performing Arts Chair. A native of Louisiana, Dr. Asprion joins Gunston after successful tenures at two strong New Orleans independent schools, first as the Band Director at St. Martin’s Episcopal School and then as Music Director at Stuart Hall School for Boys. He earned both bachelors and masters degrees in music from the University of Mississippi (where he played for their famed marching band) before recently earning a doctorate in educational leadership from Xavier University in New Orleans. His experience includes leading choirs, bands, theater productions, guitar groups, world music drummers, and handbell ensembles.
Earlier this summer, Gunston’s new Athletic Director, Josh Breto joined the team. Breto served as the Assistant Athletic Director at Garrison Forest School in Baltimore, and before his tenure at Garrison, he was the Technical Trainer and a Head Coach at the Soccer Association of Columbia, Maryland. He played Division I soccer at The Ohio State University, where he was a Big Ten All-Freshman selection, a member of the 2009-2010 regular season and tournament champion team, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference awardee, and the winner of the Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship Award in 2012. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in city and regional planning, and played professional soccer briefly in Germany’s “Regionaliga” for FSV Optik Rathenow in Berlin.
Founded in 1911, The Gunston School is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian, coeducational, college preparatory high school located in Centreville, Maryland. Visit gunston.org for more information.