Front Office Staff

Principal

Assistant Principal

Assistant Principal

Administrative Assistant
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Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Classroom Teachers

Pre-K Teachers

Yellow Base
About

Laura Pajor is aPK4 teacher, a children’s book aficionado, and former “bad speller.” Although she moved to several states during her childhood, she thinks of North Carolina as home. Last summer she climbed to the top of a mountain in Maine and enjoyed the beautiful scenery: trees, lakes, and the Canadian border. An avid biker, Laura often spends her weekends biking with her sons.

Rainbow Base
About

Robert “Bobby” Johnson started teaching at Lafayette in 1983! He teaches Pre-K in Rainbow Base. Mr. Johnson was the first black male early childhood teacher to teach Pre-K! He has coached the boys and girls basketball teams and considered the Lafayette Bears one of his favorite teams. Outside of school, he enjoys detailing exotic cars (have you seen the car he drives to school!?), cooking out with friends and family, reading, biking and playing basketball. He attended St. Augustine’s University and Howard University. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

Lime Base
About

Did you know Cassidy Martinez can still do a cartwheel?! She is originally from Eden, NC, but now lives in Silver Spring where she enjoys spending time with her girls, walking her dog, Nora, and going to the movies. In her spare time she loves using power tools and cheering on Elisa’s soccer team, The Royal Blue Pug Tornados.

Silver Base
About

Dina Shapiro has spent most of her live in DC, and currently lives in Brightwood. Her DC roots go so far back that her grandmother’s principal was Alice Deal! She recently finally cut the cord and got rid of cable. Instead of watching TV, Ms. Shapiro enjoys spending time with her son Shane, cheering on the Nats, and dreaming of one day having long blue hair.

Blue Base
About

Irene Taguian is originally from the Philippines, but now lives in Capitol Riverfront in South East DC. She studied at the University of the Philippines (where she performed with one of the top Filipino choirs) and later George Mason University. When she’s not at Lafayette, Ms. Taguian enjoys traveling, eating exotic food and cheering on the Nats.

Pre-K Aides

Evelin Cruz Bercian

Blue Base

 

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Janet Carr

Lime Base
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Fatoumata Goodwin

Yellow Base

Shirley Speight

Silver Base

Inga Warbington

Rainbow Base

Kindergarten Teachers

Gold Base
About

T Asha Elizabeth Abraham (yes, there is a “T” before her name, it’s a family thing) is originally from southern California and currently lives in the Kalorama neighborhood of D.C. Asha is a graduate of the University of California. She recently traveled to New Orleans, Dubai, Nepal, and seven states in India. When not teaching, Asha enjoys planning parties, planning trips, and visiting new restaurants. She has been to 6 of the 7 continents and has co-piloted a plane twice! She is also very crafty and can make anything out of paper.

Purple Base
About

Lakeisha Brown was born in Monterey, CA but grew up in the very small town of Oxford, PA where there were only three traffic lights. She currently lives in Hyattsville, MD. Lakeisha went to Albright College in Reading, PA. She loves her favorite music group, TLC and got to see them in concert. She even went backstage to meet them and almost lost her mind, she was so excited! Lakeisha’s favorite sports team is any team LeBron James is playing for. She does not like to wear white below the waist or anything that is all white, so much so that she wore a black dress to an all white party. Lakeisha has not seen a scary movie since she was a child. She has lived and taught in Durban, South Africa, China, Malaysia, and Seoul, South 

Green Base
About

Joe Martin is a Kindergarten teacher and guinea pig enthusiast. He is originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia but currently resides in Adams Morgan. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, Joe is also a proud alum of the school’s a cappella group, the Symphonics. During his time with the group, the Symphonics won Nationals again the Barden Bellas. Last year, he enjoyed several weeks in Spain as a tourist and occasional busker. In his spare time, Joe enjoys yoga, napping, and hanging with his feline friends Roscoe and Miles.

Orange Base
About

Rani Haigler is originally from Washington, DC but currently resides in Laurel, MD. Rani married her high school sweetheart who grew up across the street from her and they have two fabulous sons. She went to Syracuse University for undergrad when she was 16 years old, majoring in social work. Rani got her Masters Degree from Howard University. Last summer, she took her oldest son off to college. When she is not teaching, Rani enjoys photography. She is also a big sports fan and can be found rooting for the Redskins, Wizards, Nationals, Capitols, and the Hoyas (a true DC native at heart!)

Polka Dot Base
About

Connie Harn teaches kindergarten. Prior to living and teaching in D.C., she lived in Guam, Florida, Arkansas and Illinois. She’s a graduate of Mundelein College, Chicago. She’s a sports fan and cheers for the Fighting Irish, the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Chicago Bears, and the Washington Nationals. Outside of school, you’ll find Connie playing in the dirt gardening or casually reading Dr. Zhivago. One day she might put her wit and sarcasm to good use as a stand-up comedienne.

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Red Base
About

Shelitia Gowie is a Kindergarten teacher in Red Base with Ms. Holmes. She is originally from Spanish Town, Jamaica. Shelitia went to Spelman College. Last summer she traveled to Jaco, Costa Rica. When not teaching, Shelitia enjoys painting, reading, and listening to music. She is a fan of the Miami Hurricanes, and an undercover sci-fi nerd. Shelitia is obsessed with dark chocolate – yum! Her favorite thing is her passport – traveling is a good thing.

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Keisha Harris

Pink Base

Kindergarten Aides

Betty Dixon

Green Base
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Tanya Covington

Gold Base
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Lorinia Burgess

Purple Base

Marquita Holmes

Red Base
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Lynda Henderson

Orange Base
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Kiyaira Rush

Polka Dot Base
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Kristin Dandridge

Pink Base

First Grade Teachers

About

Erin de Jonckheere is a First Grade Teacher, Girls on the Run coach, and sommelier in training. She is a proud Michigander (Go Blue!); however, grew up in Brazil and Venezuela. Her first language was Portuguese! Erin is a graduate of Indiana University. When she is not teaching, Erin enjoys running, wine tasting, and yoga.

About

Alycia Hallock is a First Grade teacher and Girls on the Run Coach. She is from College Park, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. Alycia can best anyone in Harry Potter trivia (watch out Ms. Ritchie!). In her free time, she enjoys listening to 90’s pop music and going to concerts. A former kickboxer, Alycia still enjoys time in the gym. 

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Megan Tribble

About

Megan Tribble, a first grade teacher, graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a master’s in Elementary Education. She is currently working on a master’s in reading from UVA and has earned certificates from the reading and writing project at Columbia University. She just moved back to the area from Brooklyn, New York. She previously taught in Fairfax County Public Schools for six years and New York City Schools for one year. Ms. Tribble enjoys yoga and hiking. She got married this past summer in Hawaii and is so excited join the first grade at Lafayette!

About

Kelly Paton, a new 1st Grade teacher, graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Elementary Education. She previously taught two years of Kindergarten in DCPS and will receive her Master’s in Early Childhood Education this May. She is originally from San Francisco, California, but made the move to DC 2 years ago. Outside of teaching, Ms. Paton loves spending time with her 3 sisters, 1 brother, and 4 nieces and nephews. She also loves traveling the world, trying new coffee shops, and exploring new places to hike! ​

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About

Liz Ritchie is First Grade teacher. She has lived in several states including Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr University. This summer Liz visited Copenhagen the Faroe Islands where she impressed locals with her ability to name all 50 U.S. states in alphabetical order. She can best anyone in Harry Potter trivia (watch out Mrs. Hallock!). When not teaching, Liz enjoys cheering for the Nationals, hiking with her dog, and cooking.

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About

This will be my third year teaching, but my first year at Lafayette and in 1st grade. Prior to coming to Lafayette, I taught Kindergarten for two years in DC. I am originally from a small town in North Carolina. I graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. in elementary education. I enjoy trying new food, traveling and shopping.

Second Grade Teachers

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About

LaToya Davis is from Wilmington, North Carolina. She graduated from the same high school as Michael Jordan and was crowned Ms. Congeniality at the Ms. Pre-Teen North Carolina pageant. She tries to spend as much time as possible with her family and with her first love, the beach. She often travels in the summers to different Caribbean islands. Last summer she basked on the beaches of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Her love of the Caribbean isles does not extend to the food—she much prefers a margarita and fajitas.  When not chasing after for young son, she teaches graduate courses for the Washington Teachers Union.

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About

Stephanie Moore is originally from Washington D.C. and currently lives in Prince Georges County with her two children. Stephanie loves shopping; she maintains a part-time job in order to support her love. She began her teacher career teaching high school Social Studies. A budding musician, Stephanie has aspirations of recording music professionally. On the weekends, when not working her part time job, Stephanie enjoys watching old films and tackles home renovation projects. Stephanie is a graduate of Frostburg State and Grand Canyon Universities.

About

Steven King is a second grade teacher and the Drama Club Coordinator. Steven is from Michigan where he grew up with his seven sisters and three brothers. Recently, he drove over 3,000 miles to explore the U.S. and visit family. He currently lives in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of D.C. – you can often see him going for a run along Connecticut Avenue. Our resident car mechanic, Steven once worked at a GM factory building Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs. He is a music aficionado, which is evident during drama club performances.

About

Nancy Nickel is second grade teacher. She is originally from the rust belt in Warren, Ohio but has lived in the Lafayette neighborhood as long as she’s been teaching at our school – nearly 20 years. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and the Washington Montessori Institute. Prior to working at Lafayette, Nancy ran her own Montessori School for 18 years. This summer she paddled down the Missouri River and explored Glacier National Park. Adventures on the Lewis and Clark Trail, however, ended when Nancy slipped on a patch of grass and broke her ankle. When she’s not teaching, Nancy enjoys gardening, travel, cooking and eating. Nancy is planning to retire next June  at the conclusion of her 42nd year of teaching.

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About

Sheena Styles is a second grade teacher and certified urban gardener. She is a D.C. native and currently lives in Brookland where she has high hopes that her vegetable garden will yield a crop. She is a graduate of Messiah College (go Falcons!) where she originally majored in Theater. She even auditioned for Teen Summit, a talk show for youth that aired on BET. Sheena keeps her performance skills ready in hopes that one day she’ll join a Spice Girls (or Backstreet Boy) reunion tour as a backup singer and dancer. When she is not practicing her dance moves or wowing audiences at karaoke, Sheena is on a quest to find for the best ramen and pho in the DMV (suggestions are welcome.)

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About

Abby Daley is originally from Cleveland, OH and currently lives in the NoMa area of D.C. Abby attended the University of Mount Union. Outside of teaching, Abby enjoys hiking, wine tasting, shopping, riding her bike, and rooting for the Cleveland Cavaliers. She loves to bake and is addicted to The Great British Baking Show. Though she habitually loses things, she will never misplace her pet bunny, Mr. P.

Third Grade Teachers

About

Cara Skubel is originally from the D.C. area and also attended Lafayette as a student! Ms. Skubel graduated from Wake Forest University. In her spare time she’s been known to tackle jigsaw puzzles and anyone that speaks ill of the Nationals. 

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About

Donna Cobb is a departmentalized 3rd grade teacher of Math & Science. Donna is a native of Louisiana and graduate of Louisiana Tech University. In fact, she was crowned Little Miss Dubach at her home town’s famed Chicken Festival. Despite growing up in rural Louisiana, Donna has never been camping and is happy to never attempt it. She loves spicy foods and is known to eat jalapenos with every meal (even breakfast). On the weekends, Donna enjoys eating out, wine tasting, swimming with dolphins, and perusing the racks for good deals.  

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About

Stefanie White is originally from North Carolina, although born a Hoosier, she recently relocated to DC from Hawaii where she fell in love with the Aloha Way of Life and rich culture of the islands. Stefanie is a graduate of East Carolina University and will always bleed Purple and Gold – ARG! In her spare time she enjoys exploring new places to find good food and drink with her husband. Although Stefanie dreams of living at the beach with a light routine of sleeping in, working out and soaking in the sun with a good book in hand until the sun goes down (oh sweet summer break), finding local entertainment around the DMV will work for now!

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About

Dona Culver is a self-described Washingtonian: born at Howard University Hospital, a graduate of Howard University, and a life-time resident of the District. She has taught nearly every grade at Lafayette in her 20+ year tenure here. On the weekends, she’s sleeping late and eating out–relaxation is the name of the game. Despite her calm demeanor, Dona is always up for an adventure. She’s swam with the sharks, harpooned her own fish dinner, and braved the Las Vegas heat in the dead of summer.
 

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About

Keely Wells is a 3rd grade teacher. Originally from Seattle, Washington and a graduate of Washington State University, she moved the DC’s U street area in 2017 after exploring Croatia, Slovenia, and Greece. Keely is a fitness enthusiast that enjoys squatting with kettle bells, rolling tracker tires, and an early tee time. She also loves to try new foods and new recipes

Fourth Grade Teachers

About

Jared moved to the DC area 7 years ago to attend graduate school at Trinity University, though he is a New Jersey native. Jared spends much of his free time writing; several of his poems are published in Trillium and Trinity Review, literary magazines produced by his alma maters. Known by students for the song of the day, his love of music developed while attending and performing in a world music festival in Japan. 

About

Jon Coor grew up in the neighborhood and even attended Lafayette as a student. In between being a student at Lafayette and teaching here, Jon attended St. Bonaventure University in New York and lived in South Korea where he perfected his prize-winning kimchi recipe. On the weekends, Jon loves to cook and play sports (usually not at the same time).

About

Jessica Campbell lives in the Rockville area but calls many places home. Half of her family lives overseas so she’s always on the move visiting family and friends across the globe. This year alone she’s been to Thailand, Germany, Austria, and Bermuda. The focus of her bachelor’s degree was Environmental Science; this year she’s taking part in a fellowship to infuse more environmental science lessons into the curriculum. Jess is a sports enthusiast. She shares her passion with students when coaching Cross-Country, Track, and Flag-Football. Most weekends you’ll find her in Anacostia Park where she plays on her alma-mater’s flag football team.

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About

Meg Ratliff is a 4th grade teacher and one of the cross country coaches. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. A former resident of the garden state, Meg spends her summers at the shore. This summer she took a break from basking in the sun to stalk visit Chip and Joanna Gaines at their Waco, Texas shop called Magnolia Market. She currently lives in the Van Ness neighborhood of D.C. and can be spotted on her walk to Lafayette. On the weekends, Meg enjoys running and brunching, preferably with friends and/or her beagle Lana. At exactly 5 ft tall, was hoping to not be mistaken for a leprechaun while exploring the Emerald Isle during last spring break.

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About

Ann Lamers is is originally from Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (Go Badgers!). On the weekends she enjoys walking or running the monuments. This summer she was able to hike Mount Rogers, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Ann enjoys volunteering at the National Center for Children and Families; she does so at least once per month. Fun fact: Ann doesn’t know her real age or birth date, but it doesn’t stop her from celebrating.

Fifth Grade Teachers

About

Annie Campbell teaches 5th Grade English Language Arts. She is originally from the D.C. area. She attended Elon University and is currently in graduate school. Outside of school she enjoys baking, rooting for the Nationals, and playing with her tiny dog. She knows how to rock a Christmas sweater at a presidential meet and greet.

About

David Gregal teaches 5th grade Math. He is from the D.C. area, but has recently moved to Silver Spring. He attended Penn State University and worked as National Geographic cartographer prior to becoming a teacher. Outside of school, David draws illustrations for a children’s art magazine, Root and Star. He can also be reading Dune to one (or all three) of his boys.

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About

Kerry Cassidy is a 5th grade teacher and HSA teacher representative. A former tax analyst, Kerry is a master of record keeping. She enjoys crocheting, singing, and goofing around with her two daughters. Kerry is originally from Elmira, New York; she now lives in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. with her family. Kerry is a graduate of Union College, American University, and George Washington University.

About

Lauren DiRenzo teaches 5th grade. She is a graduate of Millersville University in Pennsylvania. She has been teaching for 16 years and is an avid tennis player and fan. She even met Michelle Obama at a Washington Kastles tennis match and has high-fived Andre Agassi. When she is not teaching, she spends as much time as possible with her young daughter. These, and The Sound of Music, are a few of her favorite things.

Special Education

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Kenneth Brown

Manager of Special Education
About

Dr. Kenneth Brown, the new manager of specialized instruction, received his bachelor’s in special education and master’s in educational administration. He also received his Ph.D. in curriculum studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He previously served as a special education coordinator for two years. Prior to that, he worked as a special education teacher for several years, instructing students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Dr. Brown enjoys working out. He is a huge NBA fan with the Chicago Bulls being his favorite team.

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Christine Popadich

SLS (4th-5th)
About

Christine Popadich, a new SLS grades 4-5 teacher, graduated from Grove City College in 2006 with a degree in psychology.  She worked as a special education teacher in Massachusetts as she earned a Masters in Education from Simmons College in Boston in 2009. Ms. Popadich moved to the DMV in 2009 to work at Alice Deal Middle school as a 6th grade inclusion teacher for 4 years before going to Murch Elementary School to teach and lead in the autism classrooms. In 2015 she earned a certificate in behavioral intervention and then in 2016 she earned her board certification as a behavior analyst. Mrs. Popadich enjoys spending time with her family, husband, 3 kids and a dog. She loves being out doors hiking and swimming–and especially a good cup of coffee.

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Resource/Inclusion
About

Ashley Swartz is a special education teacher, semi-professional party planner, and only child of two teachers. She is a southern New Jersey native and current resident of Annapolis, Maryland. She is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Ashley’s weekends include relaxing and/or traveling to the nearest shore. She loves road trips and country music because her motto is “Life is a Highway.” She is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan and supports everything NAVY–Beat Army! Recently, she was able to attend the VSA Accessibility Conference in Austin, Texas with the Kennedy Center.

Resource/Inclusion
About

Holly Nantais is a Special Education Teacher and Girls on the Run coach. She lives in Rockville, Maryland and can often be seen biking to school. Holly regularly participates in adventure races clad in self-designed costumes. She’s a skilled home-renovator and can frame and dry-wall entire rooms. In her youth, she was in all the bands (The German Marching Band, jazz ensemble, and concert band) because she can play all the saxophones (alto, soprano, baritone, and tenor). Holly worked as a Disney World cast member for many years.

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Resource/Inclusion
about

Jasmine Rogers is a Special Education Teacher and part-time dog sitter. She is originally from Pittsburg, PA but lives in the nearby Brightwood neighborhood of D.C. She is a graduate of Delaware State and Lesley Universities. When not at school, Jasmine builds slip-n’-slides, refs youth sports, sings karaoke, and relives her glory days as a professional tackle football player for the D.C. Divas.

Rosemary Peters

Resource/Inclusion
About

Rosemary Peters, a special education teacher, graduated from Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii with a bachelors of science and dual certification in elementary and special education. She just relocated from Hawaii this summer! She taught for five years as a full-time teacher but has worked for Hawaii’s department of education for 16 years. She has experience as a special education teacher in a therapeutic medical setting for grades K-6, as a 6th grade resource special education teacher, and as a general education teacher in an inclusion setting in both 5th and 6th grades. She enjoys spending time with her husband of 13 years and her five kids. She loves watching her children participate In extracurricular activities.

ELS (K-1st)
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MLS (2nd-3rd)
About

Sequins Gooding, an eighth year teacher in her seventh year with DCPS and sixth year in the early learning support classroom, joins the Lafayette family this year. She hails from Newark, NJ and has an undergraduate degree in secondary education with a concentration in earth science. In her junior year of college she fell in love with her “intro to the exceptional child” course and swiftly changed direction in graduate school to earn a master’s degree in students with severe and multiple disabilities including deafblindness. Mrs. Gooding is an avid reader, enjoys cooking, baking and having friends over to watch the big screen. She is excited to join the team and ready for an adventure.

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Sham Jordan

SPED Paraprofessional
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Jerrett Wright

SPED Paraprofessional
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Dominique McKee

SPED Paraprofessional
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Paula Pluck

SPED Paraprofessional
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Danielle Salter

SPED Paraprofessional

Special Subjects

World Language
About

Carmen Rincon, the Spanish teacher working with grades 1st-5th, is a graduate of Salamanca University and a native of Spain. On the weekends Carmen dabbles in acrylic painting and likes testing out new recipes. She also loves going to the movies and getting crafty with three sons. During fútbol season, Carmen cheers for Real Madrid with a pitcher (or two) of sangria, which all her friends agree is the best. This summer she went on a whirlwind tour of her home country, visiting four different cities in just three days.

World Language
About

Richard Foley, one of our maravilloso Spanish teachers, grew up in southern Spain. He is number six in a family of nine brothers and sisters. He lived in Florida while he was going to school, graduating from the University of West Florida in Pensacola. He went on to get his Master’s Degree at American University in Washington, DC. He enjoys reading whenever his kids let him, and watching his favorite sports teams on TV- Real Madrid and the Dallas Cowboys. He is the proud dad of Maria and Mario.

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Music
About

Tianna Jackson, the new music teacher, is a native of New York City and moved to Washington, DC in 2014 to pursue higher education. Ms. Jackson received her bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in classical voice in May 2018 from Howard University. Ms. Jackson completed her student teaching at John Eaton Elementary School in DC teaching grades Pre-K-5th grade general music and choir. Ms. Jackson loves singing with the International Howard Gospel Choir in her spare time. She enjoys traveling, exploring the world of photography and cooking her favorite Caribbean dishes. She looks forward to working at Lafayette and instilling the love of music in DC’s children

P.E.
About

Maddie Howes is one of our uh-mazing PE teachers working with grades 1-5. She and Margie McClure are teaching kids how to kayak, draw a bow, ride a bike, and develop lifetime fitness goals. She is also one of the Cross Country coaches; she ran her first half-marathon this fall. A native of Long Island, NY and graduate of SUNY Cortland, Maddie currently resides in Alexandria, VA and braves I-495 each day. In her spare time Maddie sings Broadway tunes for koala bears (they find it soothing). 

P.E.
About

Margie McClure is Physical Education teacher working with grades 1-5. She has been working at Lafayette for decades and is even an alumna of the school. A longtime resident of the D.C. area, Margie was born in Southern California. She and her family live outside of Baltimore. When not teaching (or commuting) Margie plays tennis and golf, and sometimes hustles hipsters who think they can best her in a match of cornhole. Recently, Margie was honored by the USA Rugby Association — she played in the first US Women’s International Match. She also traveled to Ireland to wish the current US Women’s Olympic Rugby team luck as they headed off to the Word Cup.

Art, Grades 1-5
About

Laurie McLaughlin Ward sparks creativity in students in grades 1-5 each day during Art. She is from the area and lives only a stone’s throw from where she grew up. She is a graduate of George Mason University’s Initiatives in Educational Transformation program (with Andrea Perll). When not teaching or mounting artwork, she enjoys good food, good wine, and good company. She grew up in a house of musicians and artists in the Vietnam War protest hippy generation. She’s been living with and loving her husband for almost 43 years. She can often be found dancing, gardening, and creating pottery in the Glen Echo pottery yurts.

Librarian
About

Rachel Leese, Lafayette’s Librarian, manages the library and teaches students in grades PK-5th how to access the school’s vast collection. Rachel is a native of Pennsylvania and alumna of Pennsylvania State University and University of Pittsburgh. Her visits home include spending time with her family’s sheep. When she is not at Lafayette, she is a reader, hiker, biker, and singer. Rachel is our resident craftsman; she has built several houses, hiking structures, and worked on multiple renovations. Last summer, she experimented with fermentation when brewing kombucha (fermented tea) for her sister.

Art, Music & P.E. (Pre-K/K)
About

Andrea Perll, our peppy Pre-K and Kindergarten Art, Music, and P.E. teacher, grew up in New Jersey and Connecticut. She is a graduate of UCONN (go Huskies!) and George Mason University. Andrea has lived in Israel and Boston, and now resides in Silver Spring, MD. When not entertaining the little ones in our school she enjoys hiking, checking out interesting exhibits at museums, creating photo scrapbooks, and shopping. Andrea is also a huge fan of traveling and taking photographs of her travels. Some of her favorite places she’s visited include Costa Rica, Switzerland, Petra, and Greece. 

Peace of Mind*
About

Linda Ryden guides students in grades 1st-5th towards greater self-awareness during Peace class each week. She is a Washington D.C. native and current Chevy Chase resident; although, she called Connecticut home while earning her degree from Wesleyan University. When not teaching, Linda sings in a choir and a band. This summer she wrote a book, Henry is Kind, which was recently picked up by a publisher.

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Technology
About

Jose Asisclo Soriano is ecstatic to be a part of Lafayette’s team as the technology coordinator-teacher. He has coached students for over 30 years in multidisciplinary ambits and at different capacities spanning from early childhood education to higher education (including DCPS and Montgomery College). He enjoys teaching computer science, from the basic use of the mouse, to setting up a computer and troubleshooting a peripheral, to complex online base projects over Office 365, code.org or kano.me coding. Mr. Soriano is fluent in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese, and has a background teaching English as a second language (ESL), English as a foreign language (EFL), and English for specific purposes (ESP). In addition to teaching, Mr. Soriano has developed curricula and published a series of textbooks for 7th—12th grade and one for college level. Currently, he is working on a series of computer science technology books for elementary school. In his free time, Mr. Soriano is passionate about contributing to his community, living his faith, helping others and volunteering to manage web-based infrastructures for charitable organizations as well as spending time with his family and taking long walks with his wife.

*supported in part or full by parent contributions to Lafayette Home & School Association

Content Specialists

Math Specialist
About

Erin Duchinsky is a math specialist working with grades 1-5 and mathletes of all ages. She is originally from Pennsylvania and attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut before moving to the DC area. She lives in Petworth with her family, one member of which is a great dane named Maude. She enjoys puzzles of all kinds: logic, jigsaw, and crossword. Erin enjoys listening to and talking about music; she hosted a radio show in college and can often be found strumming a guitar.

Reading Specialist
About

Kathy Echave is a Reading Specialist and proud mother of two cool sons in their early 30s who both attended Lafayette. She is originally from Indiana; however, she lived in Englewood, New Jersey for ten years where she taught high school English and Journalism. She has lived in the Chevy Chase, DC neighborhood for many years. She is a graduate of Indiana State University and Wroxton College in England When she is not at school, Kathy often spends time playing with her one-year-old grandson, gardening, and cooking. She’s always up for finding new paths in Rock Creek Park with her dog, Jack. During her travels she has been to many ‘off-the-beaten-path’ places like Newfoundland and Labrador.​

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Reading Specialist
About

Candie Copeland is originally from Maryland and currently lives in Chevy Chase, MD with her family. Candie is a proud graduate of Howard University. She wanted to pursue a career as a nurse; however, her stomach had other plans – eating! Candie is currently making her way through the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. This summer she took her oldest child to college then basked on the beaches (and ate in the Michelin starred restaurants) of México. Candie also enjoys attending concerts; has seen Prince up close and personal multiple times (front row seats!!).

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Math Instructional Coach

Math Specialist
About

Edie Stanton is a Math Specialist that works with grades 1-5. Her favorite part of the week is math team on Friday mornings where students discuss challenging math problems. She is from the Chevy Chase, MD area and currently resides there with her family. Edie attended Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. When not at school, Edie enjoys hanging out at the beach with her wife and daughters. She also loves playing games and puzzles.

ELL
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Instructional Coach

Resource Staff

Counselor
About

Jillian Diesner is our school counselor and PK-Kindergarten Peace teacher. She is originally from Florida and is a graduate of the University of Florida. After leaving Florida, Jillian lived in Italy and still loves everything Italian. In her spare time she enjoys goofing around with her family by perusing thrift stores and making sock puppets. Last summer she visited Machu Picchu in Peru with her family. Despite the event being officially cancelled, Jillian ran in the first D.C. marathon in 2002.

Counselor
About

Rashida Mosby is our School Counselor and a founding member of our Girls of Color group. She is a D.C. native: a Redskins fanatic and graduate of Howard University. She is the proud owner of many a Holiday Barbie which she arranges (still boxed) to populate a holiday village each year. Rashida loves checking out new spots in the District and frequently attends live music events. This summer she attended an Equity in Education Conference and got to spend time relaxing on the beaches of Long Beach City. A novice astronomer, Rashida loves to star gaze and learn about the awe inspiring events of our universe.

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Social Worker
About

Sophia Carré is Lafayette’s Clinical Social Worker and resident hallway dancer. She enjoys reading, traveling, and coloring books (they’re so soothing). She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Howard University. Sophia is from NYC but came to Maryland so she could be closer to Assateague Island; there is nothing better than wild horses on the beach. Her favorite song is, “I’m a survivor;” she wears her survivor ribbons proudly. Making costumes for and attending Comic-Con are the highlight of her year.

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Psychologist
About

Ashlee Adams is our school Psychologist. She is originally from Albany, NY and is a graduate of the Universities of Buffalo and Albany. She lives in Alexandria, VA so she can practice patience and understanding each morning on the 495. This summer she traveled to Canada, the Dominican Republic, and went on a Caribbean cruise. In her spare time she enjoying baking; Ashlee recently started a chocolate truffle business called Truff Love. The former captain of her alma mater’s step team, Ashlee has no need for coffee – she is naturally peppy. 

Speech

Operations Personnel

Lola Gray

Custodian

Jaime Howell

Custodian
About

Jaime Howell is in his 8th year as a custodian at Lafayette. A native of Panama and graduate of Tomas Gaviel Dukes, these days he calls Laurel, Maryland home. Jaime is our resident handy-man; on the weekends you’ll find him working on home improvement projects or fixing up cars. When he’s not knee-deep in fix-it projects, he’s enjoys watching Westerns and cheering on the LA Lakers.

Glenn White

Custodian
About

Glenn White (a.k.a best.custodian.ever) has been at Lafayette for 27 years! He is originally from D.C. and is a graduate of the University of D.C.  Glenn loves going to the movies and eating out—he has eaten at nearly every restaurant in his hometown of Bowie. Outside of work, when he is not watching the Redskins, Glenn works as a birthday party clown, specializing in balloon animals. His love of animals does not end there; his menagerie houses 17 exotic pets, some of which are banned in several states.

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Darrell Smith

Custodial Foreman
About

Darrell Smith (pronounced Da-REL) is our Custodial Foreman. He is originally from the D.C. area and attended D.C.’s Strayer University. Come football season, Darrell roots for the Buffalo Bills. When it’s not football season, he can be found watching anime and (shhhh!) romantic comedies. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family; last summer he took his grandparents on a family vacation to Florida.

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Ronnell Hooker

Custodian

Officer “V” Verdiner

Security Officer