Benchmark is delighted to welcome the following new faculty and staff to our school! Please wish them a warm welcome when you see them.
Our new Facilities Director Drew Kellner was so excited to come to Benchmark that he moved across the country for the role. Drew had been living outside of San Francisco and working at The Nueva School as their Facilities and Operations Manager, where he oversaw the final stages of construction of a new high school building, including hiring and training operations staff and preparing the move-in. Prior to that, Drew served as a Facilities Manager at Target, overseeing a full remodel of one of the highest-grossing stores in the country.
In the role of Facilities Director here at Benchmark, Drew manages the physical upkeep, repair, and maintenance of the building, systems, grounds, and cleaning programs. We are fortunate to have Drew’s talents on our team, particularly now, as we initiate our first-ever Campus Master Plan.
Some may remember Marie Rim from her time supporting Alex Templeton this past school year, while Marie completed her graduate studies at Chestnut Hill College. We are delighted to welcome Marie back to campus full-time as a Co-Teacher in the middle school, working with Alexis Caporizzo.
Marie has a Dual Masters of Education in Special Education PK-8 and Early Childhood Education from Chestnut Hill College. Marie is also an artist, with an undergraduate degree in Painting from Pratt Institute, and an MFA from Penn State, in addition to a BA in Liberal Studies from West Chester University. Marie has served as a Visiting Artist at many colleges and universities, including Temple, Brandeis, Dartmouth, and Cooper Union, and has taught English and Language Arts at a range of schools in the Philadelphia area, including The School in Rose Valley and Mastery Charter School. This past summer, Marie was a Head Teacher in our own Benchmark Camp Language Arts program.
Mikaela Yatsinko joins Benchmark as a Co-Teacher in the middle school, working with Jesse North. Mikaela is already steeped in Benchmark pedagogy, having spent the past summer as a Head Teacher in the Benchmark Camp Language Arts program.
Mikaela has a BA in Spanish Language and Literature from Villanova University, and completed the Post Baccalaureate Teaching Certificate Program at West Chester University. Before coming to Benchmark, Mikaela most recently worked as a Reading Paraprofessional in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. Prior to that, Mikaela served as a student teacher in the Radnor School District and as a long term substitute and paraprofessional in the Penn-Delco School District and the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. Mikaela kicked off her teaching career serving a year with AmeriCorps in Philadelphia.
We have a new face at the front desk! Jacquetta Owens has taken on the role of Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. Jacquetta is doubly well-versed in schools and in administrative roles; most recently, she served as a K-12 substitute teacher for Kelly Services in Springfield, PA. Prior to teaching, Jaquetta spent 18 years as Executive Administrative Assistant at the Highway Church of Christ in Chester, PA. During this time, Jaquetta also worked as an Early Child Paraprofessional Substitute for Special People in the Northeast, Inc. in Philadelphia.
Jacquetta has a BA from Temple University and a professional certificate in Accounting from Delaware County Community College.
Kirsten MacFarland has returned to Benchmark to teach health part-time in the lower school. Kirsten has a long history at Benchmark; as Kirsten Blakeman, she worked as a junior counselor at Benchmark Camp and as a library helper. After completing an undergraduate degree at Lafayette College, Kirsten served as a teaching assistant with Eric MacDonald and as a science teacher in the middle school. (Some may also remember Kirsten’s mother, Donna Blakeman, who was a teacher and supervisor.)
After her early stints at Benchmark, Kirsten taught at West Chester East High School. Since 2007, Kirsten has been a stay-at-home mom with her four children and is looking forward to getting back into the classroom.
Judi Clay is a Co-Teacher in the middle school, working with Melissa Savage as well as supporting Peter Tarnoff and Alyce Sheerer in math. No stranger to Benchmark, Judi worked here as a support teacher from 2007 to 2013. In addition to being a teacher, Judi also owns Lizelle's Bridal Boutique in Havertown. Judi earned her BA from Villanova University.
Jaime Lauth joins the Admissions team as Admissions Associate. Jaime has deep experience in the world of educational administration and teaching. Jaime comes to us from Media-Providence Friends School, where she served as a Literacy Support Teacher and a 4th/5th Grade Assistant Teacher of Vertical Classroom. Prior to Media-Providence Friends School, Jaime spent most of her career at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where she held a range of roles from 2005-2014, including 5th Grade Department Head, Middle School Admissions Representative, 5th Grade Homeroom Teacher, Director of Afterschool Enrichment Program, and many more.
Jamie holds a BA from Penn State and an MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.
What else is new?
Stefanie Frayne has left the Main Office to take on the new role of Associate Director of Annual Giving and Marketing and Communications. We are glad that Stefanie will share her many professional talents in records management, organization, and communication with our Development and Marketing and Communications departments.
Dr. Heather Warley will move from the classroom full-time into the role of Director of Institutional Research. In this newly established position, Heather will help Benchmark enhance its reputation as a national leader in practitioner research and use of data to inform continuous learning and improvement within the classrooms. Heather holds a Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Virginia and has supported research efforts at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. Heather will work closely with our Director of Innovation Emma Mattesky and Head of School Chris Hancock.