Great schools start and thrive with visionary people, and the founders of The Episcopal School of Los Angeles have established a school “for students and families who embrace the opportunity to shape a culture and lead the way forward.”
Generosity, integrity, curiosity, and courage inform everything we do here, both inside and outside the classroom. Teaching combines tradition with innovation and reflects high academic standards. Classrooms are highly active. We look for motivated students from all backgrounds who will engage enthusiastically with the learning process and be prepared to grapple with difficult questions that affect our world both locally and globally. And we expect not just thought and discussion, but action too, as we learn to contribute through community involvement and service projects, and in how we treat and influence those around us.
When ESLA graduates go on to college and life beyond, we intend them to be equipped not just with academic skills, knowledge, and a thirst for learning, but also with the soul necessary to lead and inspire in the twenty-first century. Everything we do is with this mission in mind.
The moment I first stepped through ESLA’s door myself, I sensed the school’s unique niche among Los Angeles independent schools. ESLA walks the walk of intellectual pursuit and character development within a diverse community that is more representative of our city’s vibrant population than any other.
ESLA exudes rigor and soul, and I suspect you will sense that exciting educational combination when you come visit too. I look forward to meeting you.
Interim Head of School
Interim head of school
Peter McCormack is Interim Head of School. He comes to ESLA from Rolling Hills Preparatory School in San Pedro, where he served as Head of School for 25 years. In addition to leading RHP (and teaching physics, robotics, theater, and coaching soccer as needed from time-to-time), Peter led the Renaissance School, a unique “school within a school” serving bright students with learning differences. Prior to RHP, Peter served Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hills, Massachusetts, as Director of Admissions, Dean of Students, and Science Department Chair. Previously, Peter taught physics at the American School of Paris, and served as Science Department Chair at the Town School in New York City. He holds a Master in Educational Leadership from Oxford University, and a BS in physics from York University.
Peter’s passion in education is for classrooms that engage students through outreach to all learning styles. He loves lessons that include plenty of student interaction, collaboration, and physical movement, and a variety of methods to develop and assess understanding.
A former soccer and rugby player, Peter also enjoys music, the theater, and travel, especially to France. He lives in Palos Verdes with his wife Mary Todd, a retired English teacher, and Beau, the world’s calmest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Head, Religion and Ethics Department
The Rev. Megan Hollaway is Chaplain and Head of the Religion and Ethics Department. She has over fifteen years of experience working directly with young people in a variety of settings. Ordained in 2007, she served as Associate Rector for three years at Grace Church, Kilmarnock, Virginia. While there, she also served on the board of the local Boys and Girls Club, started a monthly community dinner at an apartment complex for elderly and low-income residents, and organized urban immersion trips for young people to learn about revitalizing American cities and empowering people in need.
Megan received her Master of Divinity from Yale University in 2007. Before divinity school, she worked as a clinical social worker for three years in public mental health and private practice, specializing in trauma and family therapy. Megan received her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000 and did her clinical internship in hospice. For four years, she lived and worked at Richmond Hill, an ecumenical and interracial religious community committed to healing the city of Richmond around issues of race, jurisdiction, and economics. In 2005, she studied at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University, a graduate-level program in conflict transformation.
Megan was raised on a military base outside of Washington, DC. She currently lives in Atwater Village with her husband, James Ponsoldt, who is a filmmaker; their son, John; their daughter, Alice; and their two cats.
Chief operations Officer
Kristen Johnson is Chief Operations Officer. She received her BA in Political Science and Legal Studies from Northwestern University and her JD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. While at Northwestern University, Kristen’s academic focus was alternative retribution and the juvenile justice system. Her studies culminated in a thesis examining the accessibility of the process of sealing and expungement of criminal records in Cook County, Illinois.
Following her undergraduate studies, Kristen worked at a Chicago-based immigration law firm where she primarily managed employment-based immigration petitions and asylum applications. She then moved to Los Angeles with her husband Jay. At UCLA School of Law, she was a member of the mock trial competition team, participated in moot court, and was a staff member of Women’s Law Journal.
Head of upper school
Jason Brooks is Head of Upper School and a member of the Languages Department. Prior to ESLA, Jason led the World Languages Department at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in New York. In addition to his administrative duties, he taught Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish. Before his time in Brooklyn, Jason worked at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he designed comprehensive language curricula.
He is a 2003 graduate of Trinity University, where he played lacrosse and ran track. He holds a master degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Zhejiang University, China, and a Master of Education in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
In addition to a passion for learning anything new, Jason is an avid CrossFitter, podcast listener, and fan of gospel music.
Upper School Coordinator
head, languages department
Amanda Valenzuela is Upper School Coordinator and Head of the Languages Department. A native of Southern California, she completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Fullerton in Spanish Linguistics and Literature, and her graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned an MA in Spanish and advanced to PhD candidacy in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. She speaks Spanish, English, and some Portuguese.
Amanda has been teaching since 2003, and has taught multiple subjects to students in the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels, including all levels of Spanish. In 2006, she taught Spanish in Granada, Spain with UCLA’s International Education Office. This year, she is teaching AP Spanish Language and Culture, Advanced Spanish, Spanish I, and will continue to serve as the faculty sponsor for ESLA’s chapter of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, “Los Coyotitos Salvajes.”
When she is not teaching, Amanda is surfing with her family, riding motorcycles, or hiking.
Head of middle school
chair, Cais / wasc self study
Jay Johnson is Head of Middle School and Chair of the CAIS / WASC Self Study, which recently led to ESLA being awarded a seven-year term of accreditation from both boards of standards. He is also a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, where he teaches music in the program that he created at ESLA. Jay has been a part of the ESLA administrative team since the founding of the school. He holds a Master of Music Education and a Bachelors of Vocal Performance from Northwestern University. His graduate studies focused on implementing new comprehensive curricula in schools as well as an emphasis in secondary general music. He has experience teaching music at the elementary, middle, and upper school levels.
In addition to his duties at ESLA, Jay is Assistant Director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale. Jay and his wife, Kristen, enjoy adopting senior dogs and exploring Los Angeles' culinary offerings.
Middle School Coordinator
Laura Spencer is Middle School Coordinator and a member of the English Department. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, she received her MS in Childhood Education with a focus in Middle Childhood Education from Canisius College, a Jesuit university, where she also completed her undergraduate work in political science, urban studies, and English.
Laura has spent her professional career studying and teaching in public, Catholic, charter, and independent schools. Passionate about middle-level education, Laura works with our teachers to meet the developmental needs of young adolescents. Trained in using resources from organizations such as Teaching Tolerance and Facing History and Ourselves, Laura embraces the school’s social justice-oriented mission, seeking ways to incorporate anti-bias education and social-emotional wellness in standards-aligned curriculum across subject areas, as well as in everyday social interactions. Laura works to plan and facilitate hands-on and experiential learning experiences for our middle school students through programming like ESLA’s Lab Days, and finds great joy in exploring coming-of-age literature in her eighth grade English classes.
Outside of school, Laura can be found enjoying time at Disneyland with her husband, or watching Turner Classic Movies with her two dogs.
director of student life
Shelby Bartlett is our Director of Student Life. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sewanee: the University of the South with a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies. In 2017, Bartlett completed a Masters in Independent Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Before joining the team at ESLA, Ms. Bartlett spent four years at the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey serving as an Upper School Dean, psychology teacher, and basketball and lacrosse coach. Bartlett has brought her extensive athletic coaching experience to Los Angeles, serving as our Head Varsity Girls Basketball and Girls Lacrosse Coach. Having played four years of NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse (with Ms. Janie Hannon), Ms. Bartlett knows how to put the competitive spirit into our young coyotes, raising some fierce varsity athletes.
When not in our hallways or out on our athletic fields, Ms. Bartlett enjoys exploring L.A.’s dynamic music and food spots. She also stays active by playing tennis and basketball, rock climbing, and summiting the region’s many peaks.
Janie Hannon is Registrar and a member of the History Department.
Janie was born in Florence, Italy on May 12, 1820. During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds. Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform.
In 1860 she established St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. She died August 13, 1910, in London. Also, she flat-out loves to run.
Director of admissions, outreach, and communications
Will Litton is Director of Admissions, Outreach, and Communications. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine, where he received the Strauss Fellowship. He also holds a BA with Honors in Literary Arts from Brown University, where he received the Weston Prize for Fiction.
Before joining ESLA, he served as Head Writer and Communications Strategist in the Office of Enrollment and Student Advancement at the University of Chicago.
In 2007 Will received a grant to study the effects of development interventions on public health in Haiti; in 2008 he conducted field research in the jungle of Chitwan National Park, Nepal, focused on informal financial institutions and development discourse; and in 2009 he cofounded the literary magazine Wag’s Revue, where he served as Fiction Editor and Marketing and Publicity Manager for several years. From 2009 to 2012 he studied and performed on a house team at the iO Theater in Chicago, Illinois.
He taught rhetoric and creative writing for several years at UC Irvine, and has experience teaching English literature at the Governor’s School of North Carolina.
Emily Nuckols is Development and Community Engagement Officer. She is a born-and-raised Angeleno and holds a BA in History from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied the effects of cultural institutions on the creation of a Los Angeles identity during the 1960s.
Prior to ESLA, she worked in sales for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
She currently resides in Santa Monica (yes, the West Side) and enjoys spending her time going to local museums, the opera, and of course, Dodger games.
director of facilities
Walter Thorne is Director of Facilities, Associate Chaplain, and a member of the Religion and Ethics Department. He also teaches a course in economics.
Walter holds a BA in economics and religious studies from the University of Virginia and received a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2014. He is currently discerning a call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.
His academic interests include behavioral economics, biblical studies, Christian history, and eastern orthodox theology. Walter grew up in Washington, DC where he graduated from St. Albans School in 2007.
director of athletics and physical education
director of safety and security
Mark Zalin is Director of Athletics and Physical Education and Director of Safety and Security. He received his BA from The University of California, Santa Barbara and his MA from California State University. He added lifetime teaching credentials in Health and Physical Education from UCSB.
Mark brings a wealth of instructional, coaching and athletic administrative experience at the primary, secondary, collegiate, and national-team level. During his 11-year tenure at Harvard Westlake, he was a California Interscholastic Federation Championship coach. He moved on to the The University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Collegiate National Championship coach. He was asked by Stanford Head coach and 1992 and 1996 Head Olympic Coach, Fred Sturm, to join the USA Volleyball Elite Development staff, working at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as well as USA Team Headquarters in Southern California. He enjoyed national and international travel and was part of an Olympic medal-winning staff at The Games of the XXV Olympiad. When his time and schedule permits, he still works at camps and clinics for the national team. When the World Cup Soccer Games came to the USA in 1994, Mark served in an administrative capacity with the USA, Bulgarian, and Swiss teams.
Mark has served the California Interscholastic Federation as a league president, member of the Board of Managers, Athletic Directors Advisory committee, and Site Director for CIF Championship playoffs. For his efforts, he was awarded the Inaugural CIF Steve Stearns Sportsmanship Award.
Mark and his wife Steph Steele have two children, Mack and Anjelica.
Steph Zalin is Administrative Coordinator. No stranger to Hollywood, Steph grew up as a child actress in a variety of commercial, television, and film roles. When she married Mark Zalin, she began a new career—while raising their two children, Mack and Anjelica—working in independent schools. She has served as a director of summer programs, a class advisor, and has run a residential dorm and taught drama.
Steph has also had a wonderful career as a designer for both residential and landscape projects and is a certified master gardener.
She is delighted to be at ESLA and work daily with the faculty, staff, and student body.
Amanda Rusher Foushee
Head, English department
Amanda Rusher Foushee is Head of the English Department. She received a Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine, where she began working on a novel that explores questions of genealogy and human experiences of space. She also read way too much Virginia Woolf. Amanda taught composition and rhetoric and beginning and intermediate fiction to undergraduates at UC Irvine.
Prior to graduate school, Amanda taught study skills and English at St. Albans School Summer Program and interned for two years at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco dedicated to engaging students ages six through eighteen in the literary arts. Amanda graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 with a BA in English and Queer Theory.
She grew up in Washington, DC, where she attended the National Cathedral School for Girls. She is thrilled to be back in an Episcopal school setting.
head, visual and performing arts department
Jane McCarron is Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. She holds a BA in Dramatic Literature and Studio Art from Wheaton College. Jane’s undergraduate career culminated in an interdisciplinary art thesis exploring the impact of childhood trauma on the art-making process.
Jane is a professional actress and vocalist as well as a working artist. She has been directing Youth Theatre since 2007, and has written, directed, and produced over thirty-five plays with various student groups.
Jane focusses on utilizing theatre as a means for social change and is interested in how technology impacts the definition of art and performance.
head, history department
Jess McIntosh is Head of the History Department. This is his third year at ESLA and his ninth year as a professional educator. Prior to ESLA he taught history in a variety of institutions, including the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University; Bard High School Early College; New Orleans’ Isidore Newman School; and San Quentin Prison.
His current dedication to working with adolescents stems not only from the joys of introducing teenagers to the complexities of historical thinking, but also from a desire to work with the “whole student.” Ideally, he hopes to prepare ESLA students both for success with future, more specialized historical study and for a lifetime of ethical and compassionate engagement with others.
Jesse earned his BA with High Honors in Art History from Wesleyan University in 2005, received an MA in History from UC Berkeley in 2009, and advanced to candidacy at UC Berkeley in 2010, with a specialization in intellectual history and the history of political philosophy.
Head, Mathematics Department
Bill Thill is Head of the Mathematics Department. Bill has worked extensively on the national level to support top-quality mathematics education for all students. Before coming to ESLA, Bill was part of the Mathematics Department at Harvard-Westlake for eighteen years. During his tenure, he created and taught courses in Mathematics, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science, mathematical problem-solving, and sports analytics. Bill also conducts professional development for Math for America-Los Angeles and the Park City Mathematics Institute.
Bill earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Trinity University in 1994, and a Masters’ Degree With Distinction in Secondary Mathematics Education from CSUN in 2008. He is a National Board Certified teacher, and was named a finalist for the Presidential Award in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2011.
Bill is thrilled to be joining the ESLA community, and lives in West Hollywood, California with his husband. When Bill is not working, he enjoys hosting get-togethers, playing games with friends, art, comedy, and the gym.
Director of internships and career services
visual and performing arts Department
Karla Aguíñiga is Director of Internships and Career Services and a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Karla received her BA with an emphasis in Painting from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011. For the past several years she has been a practicing visual artist, educator, and arts administrator, living and working between Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Tijuana/San Diego.
She is the former Chief Coordinator at Material Art Fair, Mexico City, and a public programs coordinator at the Hammer Museum, where she helped produce over eight hundred public events in four years. She has been an active art educator in the greater Los Angeles area since 2011 and has worked as a teaching artist at Heart of Los Angeles, Side Street Projects, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, LA United School District, and the UCLA Summer Institute. She was a founding member of the arts pedagogy collective Art and Nature.
She currently sits on the board of Relaciones Inesperadas in Tijuana and continues to engage in art projects on both sides of the border.
visual and performing arts department
Erin Bagley is a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Erin received her BA in Art History from Bard College in 2008. A Los Angeles native, Erin spent many years living in New York City, working in arts administration and studio management for a painter and sculptor.
Since returning to Los Angeles in 2011, Erin has worked as a freelance product designer, production manager, and fabricator for artists and designers. She has volunteered her time at the Natural History Museum and the Velaslavasay Panorama, an exhibition hall, theatre, and garden in Los Angeles dedicated to unique visual experiences.
Prior to joining ESLA, Erin spent the last three years designing and leading workshops for Crafting Community, a company devoted to cultivating creativity as a tool for people of all ages through immersive, interactive art projects. She would often oversee fifteen to twenty workshops at a time, which required fluency in a variety of skills including leather working, fabric dyeing, macramé and weaving.
Erin is excited to bring her breadth of art-making and problem-solving skills to develop and support young artists at ESLA. When she is not teaching, Erin is working on her own textile-based work and visiting galleries around Los Angeles.
Libby Boden is a member of the Mathematics Department. She received her BA in Family and Consumer Sciences Education from California State University, Northridge, and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential also from CSUN. Libby also attended Moorpark College prior to attending CSUN, receiving her AA.
Libby has a background in math, tutoring while in high school and college, and as a long-term substitute in math. Last year she taught third grade at a fully inclusive charter school, and her goal is for all children to accept one another and appreciate their uniquenesses. Libby has also been the after-school math specialist at the Boys and Girls Club, and enjoys working with children of all ages.
Libby is excited to teach math at ESLA, joining both her sister and mother as math teachers. When not teaching she enjoys sewing clothing, weight training, and relaxing with her two dachshunds at home.
Frances Cameron is a member of the Science Department. Her teaching background spans both the sciences and humanities, including computer literacy and English Language Development. She also worked as an Instructional Coach, specializing in classroom structures, classroom management, and curriculum development.
Frances graduated from Biola University, where she studied English and Religion as part of the Torrey Honors Program. She went on to earn a Masters in Teaching at The University of Southern California.
Frances lives in Hollywood with her screenwriter husband Peter, and their dog Shona. Outside of school, Frances can be found teaching environmental science at Taking the Reins in Atwater. Her other interests include native California plants, baking, reading, and knitting. She is also on the hunt for the best scone in LA.
Brian Collins is a member of the Science Department. He received a BA in Environmental Studies and Environmental Science from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Brian also attended North Carolina Central University after completing his undergraduate degree as part of the NC TEACH program, which served to train and place teachers in underserved schools in and around Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Brian has a background in several educational disciplines, including classroom teaching, outdoor education, training and development, and curriculum design. In his time as an educator, Brian has worked with a broad range of students with diverse backgrounds. Beginning in 2008, Brian worked for the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School. This was an experiential educational program where all lessons were taught outside in the mountains and on the beaches of Southern California. Additionally, Brian has taught at a private boarding school and a private parochial school.
Brian is excited to be part of ESLA. He is excited to be part of a place that puts equal value on all things, academically, socially, and formatively as that pertains to the larger community. In his spare time, he enjoys music and visual art as well as traveling, cooking, and outdoor activities.
Ilyana Contreras is a member of the English Department. Prior to joining ESLA, Ilyana spent her time teaching in New York City public schools where she worked as the English team leader, instructional coach, and AP coordinator at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women. There she worked diligently to promote equity and to empower her students.
She received her BS in English Education from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Most recently, she completed a two-year fellowship at Stanford University working on issues OF cultural relevancy in the classroom. In 2015 she received a separate fellowship through Fund For Teachers to travel through South Africa and Malawi in order to study gender and socioeconomic issues in both countries.
Arielle Gereboff is a member of the Mathematics Department. She holds a Clear California multiple subjects’ teaching credential with CLAD certification, a Jewish Day School teaching certificate, two BA degrees from UCSB, and an MA form IU. She has had seventeen years of teaching experiences, including formal and informal education in grades K–12, and she taught French at the university level while pursuing a PhD in French Linguistics. She most recently taught math and Judaic Studies at the Middle School and High School levels at an independent school in San Diego.
Arielle is a graduate of a performing arts High School where she majored in music and minored in drama, and was a competitive gymnast. She has lived and studied abroad for extended periods of time, and dabbles in the fine arts. She is also passionate about integrating technology into the classroom and has not only taught using blended, flipped, and virtual teaching approaches, but has also presented at conferences about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Arielle is very involved in her synagogue, serving as the social action committee chair and the director of children’s prayer services. She is especially excited about ESLA’s emphasis on diversity. She believes that diversity is very important to a school because it creates empathy, understanding, and allows for a variety of opinions that resemble the world at large.
Polly Grant is the Learning Specialist. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational and Child Psychology from University College London. She has been working in the field of education since 2008, first as a teacher and then as an educational psychologist at public schools in London.
Prior to this Polly had a career in international development where she had the opportunity to live and work in various places including India, Cambodia, and Kosovo. She managed grant programs which focused on a range of issues such as combatting human trafficking and strengthening democratic institutions.
At sunrise everyday, Polly can be found on her yoga mat, practicing ashtanga yoga. After 15 years of this she’s still not sure where it's going but continues to be inspired by the questions (and sometimes, answers) that the practice brings.
Caitlin Halasz is a member of the Languages Department. Before coming to ESLA, she was a PhD student in the Department of Classics at UCLA, where she earned an MA in 2012 with a focus on Greek tragedy. While she was a graduate student at UCLA, she taught courses in Latin and ancient Greek, and was a teaching assistant for large lecture courses in Greek and Roman history, literature, and mythology. She also taught a class on pedagogy and teaching methods to incoming graduate students in the department. Throughout her time in graduate school, she worked as a private Latin tutor throughout the Los Angeles area, helping students of all ages to improve their understanding of Latin, Roman history, and related subjects.
Caitlin grew up in Santa Cruz, California, where she attended Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School. She earned a BA in Classics from Vassar College in 2010, with general and departmental honors.
Caitlin lives in Hollywood with her husband, Rob, and their son, Amos. When she’s not teaching, studying, or learning new things, Caitlin loves reading—particularly science fiction and fantasy—and knitting.
Clayton Houck is a member of the Science Department. He received a BS in Biology from Syracuse University, an MS in Biology from the University of California, Riverside, and an MBA from the University of Portland. For his MS in Biology, he conducted research on insects to study the relationship between animal behavior and cell development.
He has seven years of science teaching experience and has taught in Japan, China, and California. Besides teaching, he has also worked for start-up companies and has given entrepreneurship investor pitches at events such as Santa Monica New Tech.
When Clayton is not teaching, he is likely investigating animals in tidepools, camping, or trying (unsuccessfully) to surf.
Nathan Kendler is a member of the History Department. He was one of the first fellows hired at ESLA back in 2012. After three years at ESLA, Nathan left to pursue an MA in World History from NYU, where he had also earned a BA in history in 2012.
Armed with his new mastery of history, Nathan returns to ESLA to continue where he left off. As an expert in world history, Nathan teaches our 10th grade class as well as electives from around the globe, most notably an introduction to East Asian history.
In addition to a lifelong love of history, Nathan is an avid cooker and eater of foods, reader of fantasy and sci-fi series, and player of board and card games. Just be careful, if you get him started talking about history he may never stop!
Physical education, health, and nutrition department
Martha Mauricio is a member of the Physical Education, Health, and Nutrition Department. She received a BS in Physical Education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. After graduating she followed her passion for cycling and the outdoors and moved to Los Angeles. She began her teaching career at The Country School, a Pre-K through eighth-grade private school in Valley Village. She taught physical education and coached after-school sports for three years.
After the Country School, she worked for a grant-funded program through Providence Hospital, training LAUSD classroom teachers to improve physical education and nutrition for grades K through five.
In her spare time, Martha loves exploring LA’s beaches, mountains, and valleys on her bicycle.
Gabe Yoon-Milner is a member of the History Department. He received a BA in History from Vassar College in 2004 and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013, where his research focused on historical memory and popular culture in the turn-of-the-century United States. Since graduating, he has taught courses in US History, African American History, US Urban History, and US popular culture at colleges around the Bay Area.
When not teaching, writing, and reading about the “old, weird America,” he likes seeking it out—in wax museums, public art, miniature golf courses, and state capitol buildings.
Jamie Neilson is Capstone Coordinator and a member of the English Department. He has over thirty years of experience in education, primarily in independent schools. After earning his BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, he found his way to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature in 1987. Returning to the Philadelphia area, he taught English at Delaware County Community College and Drexel University.
In 1990, Jamie was hired to teach English at the Shipley School, where he would make his professional home for the next fifteen years. During that time, in addition to working as an English instructor, Jamie taught US history, developed an interdisciplinary course in American studies, served as a grade-level dean and dean of students, and ultimately filled the role of Assistant Head of Upper School.
In 2005, Jamie completed an EdD in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. That same year, he was appointed Director of Upper School at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. He served in this capacity at Poly for eight years, deciding in the spring of 2014 to return to teaching.
Associate Facilities Coordinator
William Pearson is Associate Facilities Coordinator and a member of the English Department. He graduated with a BA in English and a minor in Philosophy from Sewanee: The University of the South. His senior honors thesis focused on hope in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
He enjoys studying poetry, English and Irish literature, and the philosophy of Wittgenstein. William fully indulged his inner Anglophile by studying abroad at St. John’s College at Oxford, and hopes he can return some day for graduate work.
Outside of academics, William plays rugby, loves the outdoors, and is an avid sports fan.
Visual and Performing Arts Department
Hunter Perrin is a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000 and went on to the Yale School of Music in 2002, where he was awarded the Eliot Fisk Award for Outstanding Guitarist. He then went to work as a studio musician, film composer, and educator in New York. He taught at several conservatories and composed music for films that won awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival, and Avignon Film Festival.
After he moved to Los Angeles in 2006, he became a founding member of the experimental Episcopalian mission community known as Thad’s, where he continues to serve as Music Director.
From 2007 to 2011 he was a member of John Fogerty’s band. He toured the world and played on several of Fogerty’s records, including the Grammy-nominated Revival. Since 2012, he has enjoyed touring Scandinavia with the Swedish band Karavan and focusing on work with his Texas band Thunderado. When not playing guitar, he enjoys cooking spicy food, playing cards with his wife Minnow, and hiking with their dog Wolfy.
Jenn Quinly is a member of the English and History Departments. She completed her BA in Liberal Studies at California State University, Los Angeles with a focus in gender studies and modern literature. When she saw the landscape of schools shifting toward technology and information access, she began studies at San Jose State University, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Science. Most recently, Jenn has earned her Master of Education at Loyola Marymount University as a member of the CAST program in LMU’s School of Education.
A native of the San Gabriel Valley, Jenn has spent most of her career teaching middle school in and around the city of Los Angeles. Outside of teaching and her own educational pursuits, Jenn enjoys comic books, hunting for old 45s in overstuffed record bins, and exploring Los Angeles with her husband and their two pups.
director of technology
Stephen Smith is Director of Technology. He received his BA from James Madison University. After graduating, he moved to Shenzhen, China, where he taught English at the Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology while pursuing a career as a professional soccer player.
Stephen left China to become a member of the Oakland Teaching Fellowship program, which ultimately led to him working as a resource specialist in the Oakland Unified School District for the following nine years. During that time, he earned his Multiple Subject and permanent Education Specialist teaching credentials, doubled the size of the resource program at Roots International Academy, worked part-time as a executive functioning coach for students with mild learning differences, played soccer semi-professionally, had two solo art shows, and freelanced his graphic, website, and furniture design skills.
In his spare time, Stephen enjoys making traditional and digital art, playing soccer, and going on adventures with his French bulldog.
Nicole Stanton is a member of the English Department and faculty advisor to the ESLA literary publication, The Lillian.
She received her BA from Wesleyan University in the College of Letters and Hispanic Literature and Cultures in 2015, where she completed an honors thesis that explores the role of performance in subverting cultural and historical narratives. She is working towards her Masters in English at the Bread Loaf School of English. She reads novels without abandon and is working on a collection of poetry.
Amy Stout is a member of the Mathematics Department. She received her PhD in mathematics from UC San Diego in 2012 and earned a bachelor's in mathematics from SUNY, Stony Brook and a bachelor's in politics, with a minor in women's studies from NYU. Prior to coming to ESLA, Amy taught grades ten through twelve at Polytechnic School where she was the math club faculty advisor and organized various math competitions. She also spent three years teaching math at the University of San Diego before moving back to the Los Angeles area, where she grew up. Amy is always looking for ways to get kids excited about math. She loves talking about math, so she is particularly happy when students feel comfortable using her office hours to either get help or discuss a problem they have been thinking about on their own. Watching students gain confidence in their math abilities is the most exciting part of teaching, and Amy fosters a classroom environment in which students build courage and feel comfortable taking risks.
Ryan Villaverde is a member of the Languages Department. Ryan earned a BA from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, an MA in Education from the University of Houston, and holds a California Teaching Credential in K–12 Spanish and Music. Before joining ESLA, he taught Spanish and Choir in the Houston public schools and continued teaching all levels of Spanish for Pacific Hills School and Turning Point School.
Among his many interests, he is dedicated to forming partnerships to provide special opportunities for students, including with the Grammy Museum and the Environmental School of the Dominican Republic.
As a singer, he developed a specialty for performing Spanish Zarzuela, sang five seasons with the LA Master Chorale, performed numerous concerts with the LA Philharmonic, and participated in a world tour with the LA Philharmonic.
He is thrilled to be part of such an extraordinary faculty at a truly unique school.
The Episcopal School of Los Angeles officially launched a search for the next Head of School in April 2018, when our consultants from Independent Thinking engaged the community—parents, students, faculty, and staff—in active conversations regarding our aspirations for the school’s future, and what qualities we seek in our next leader. This is an exciting and vital moment for our institution—one in which we are called to reflect on the substantial growth we’ve achieved during our first six years, our current trajectory, and our goals for the many years to come. We are thrilled to move forward with this important process and to continually involve members of our community at every level and stage.
ESLA’s next Head of School—slated to begin July 2019—will have a tremendous opportunity to join a strong, vibrant school community with an uncommon dedication to equity, inclusion, academic achievement, and ethical inquiry. For further details on the search process, the role of our consultants and search committee, and the opportunity itself, please consult the links below: