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A Message from the Founder


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A Message from the Founder


From the Founding Head of School

The Episcopal School of Los Angeles is a school for innovators and pioneers. It is for students and families who embrace the opportunity to shape a culture and create a community that will lead the way forward. At ESLA, we are looking for students who are bright, motivated, creative, and curious. We are looking for families who want to leave a positive mark on this city and this school.

We built ESLA to engage a young person in a life of civic engagement. We are a community defined by a common conversation on local and global politics, the environment, the arts, innovation, and the economy. We are a school that will ask our graduates to take their skills, their privileges, their lives, and to offer those gifts to their community and to the world. For all we offer our students, we expect even more of them.

Finally, ESLA is made possible by the expansive generosity of many. That spirit of generosity shapes our intellectual, spiritual, and communal life. This is what defines our school: our commitment to raising young people with the heart, mind, and soul necessary to lead the world in the twenty-first century.

Warmly and faithfully,
The Rev. Maryetta M. Anschutz

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Administrators and Deans


Administrators and Deans


The Rev. Maryetta M. Anschutz is Founder and Head of the Episcopal School of Los Angeles. Before moving to California, she served as Associate Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, where she launched the Educational Leadership Project designed to recruit, train, and place graduate students in secondary schools as teachers, chaplains, and administrators. The program was designed to refocus Yale graduates and secondary schools on the opportunities for service within an academic community, as well as expose young people to opportunities for service in their communities of faith, the nation, and the world. 

Maryetta has been an ordained priest for over ten years and has worked in schools and parishes. Before ordination, Maryetta worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a political/military think tank in Washington, DC. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to work on the staff of All Saints’ in Beverly Hills where she serves as a priest associate several times each month.

Maryetta served on the board of Children’s Mission of New Haven, is a published writer, and continues to preach in parishes around the city of Los Angeles and nationwide. She is a trustee of Madeira School in McLean, Virginia. Maryetta is a graduate of Madeira School, Sewanee: The University of the South, and Yale University. She lives in Bronson Canyon above Hollywood with her very bad dogs, Huck and Finn.


Jason Brooks is Dean of Students 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.


The Rev. Megan Hollaway is Dean of Chapel 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.


Jay Johnson is Dean of Curriculum and Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. He holds a Master of Music Education in Choral and General Music from Northwestern University. His graduate studies focused on implementing new comprehensive curricula in schools as well as an emphasis in secondary general music. He studied choral conducting and has led several choral-conducting clinics. He has experience teaching music at the elementary, middle, and upper school levels in the greater Chicago area. Jay also spent time teaching composition and improvisation in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center as a part of the Jail Arts Initiative in Chicago. He worked as a coordinator of the Summer Music Institute at Northwestern University and also worked in the admissions office of the School of Music.

In addition to his duties at ESLA, Jay is Assistant Director of Music and Director of Children’s Music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale. Outside of school, he enjoys the many outdoor activities that Southern California allows with his wife, Kristen, and their three dogs, Winston, Puccini, and Branson.


Kristen Johnson is Director of Operations and Business Manager. 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.


William Litton is Director of Admissions and Outreach. 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 William 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.


Rachael Lydeard is School Psychologist. She is a Southern California native and holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach. In order to pursue her passion and change careers, she continued her education at Loyola Marymount University, where she received an MA in Educational Psychology and an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology. She has previously worked for St. Monica Catholic Elementary School, as well as schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and Palos Verdes Unified School District.

Rachael’s favorite part about working with students is witnessing their “ah-ha” moments. She is dedicated to building social-emotional competencies in students. Her educational belief is that students do not have learning deficits, but rather learning differences, and it takes compassion and creativity to tap into students’ unique learning styles. When not working at school, Rachael enjoys painting, cooking Korean food, and playing the ukulele.


Jamie Neilson is Dean of Faculty 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 a PhD 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 that he was ready for a new challenge.


Emily Nuckols is Lead Development Officer. She is a born-and-raised Angeleno and holds a BA in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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 the newest taco spots in town. 

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Department Heads


Department Heads


Jamie Douglass is Head of the Mathematics Department. He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, graduating with Distinction in Music and English. In 1999, Jamie graduated from the Honors Division at Indiana University, Bloomington, earning a BS in Psychology with concentrations in Chemistry and Music. While still an undergraduate, Jamie participated in leading-edge lab work at IU’s Department of Psychology, including neurobiology of memory investigations with Dr. Joseph Farley, and research in infant cognition with Dr. Kelly Mix. He also had his first experiences as a tutor during this period, coaching fellow students in biology, music theory, and other subjects.

Jamie has been teaching and tutoring professionally in Los Angeles since his arrival here in April, 2000. Prior to joining the ESLA faculty, Jamie served for over twelve years as Adjunct Professor at La Sierra University in Ontario, California, where he taught undergraduate courses in mathematics, percussion, music pedagogy, and the history of contemporary and popular music.

Jamie gives a shout-out to his beautiful wife, Rachael, and his wonderful kids, London and Axel. For information about Jamie’s musical adventures, visit: www.drumsetartist.com.


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 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. 


Philip Lydeard is Head of the Physical Education and Health Department, Athletic Director, and Head Chef. Born in Reading, England, Philip received his BA in Political Science at the University of Southampton before following his passion for food into London’s thriving restaurant scene. Trained at the two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus restaurant at the heart of Mayfair, Philip then moved on to work at numerous restaurants and events across London until moving to the United States in the summer of 2013.

Outside of the kitchen Philip is a seasoned rugby player. He can often be found honing his skills with the Santa Monica Dolphins and helping coach the youth program.


Jesse McIntosh is Head of the History Department. This is his second year at ESLA and his eighth year as a professional educator. Prior to ESLA he taught history in a variety of institutions, including UC 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.


Erin Perez is Head of the Science Department and a member of the Mathematics Department. She received a BS in Physics from Trinity University in 2005 and a Master in Education from Vanderbilt University in 2009. Erin began teaching as an undergraduate teaching assistant in Trinity’s Computer Science Department in 2002 and continued teaching undergraduate labs while pursuing a PhD in Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt.

Her years teaching in the college classroom inspired her to pursue an education degree and teach full time. She has since taught middle and upper school physics and math across the greater Los Angeles area. Erin strives to create a classroom environment that functions at the intersection of tradition, rigor, creativity, and humor. Everything that goes on in her classroom is “for science!” In addition to her love of science and math, Erin also has a passion for music, computer games, and “nerdy” pursuits—and she shares those passions with her students whenever possible.

She plays the French horn, trumpet, and flugelhorn at a variety of ESLA events. She was a member of the orchestra for ESLA’s 2016 production of The Sound of Music, and also recited 217 digits of pi (in song) at the 2016 Pi Day celebration.


Amanda Valenzuela is Head of the Languages Department. She is a Southern California native and holds a BA in Spanish Linguistics and Literature from California State University, Fullerton. She completed her graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned an MA in Spanish and entered 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 college levels. Most recently, Amanda taught at The Webb Schools, where she reinvented her teaching style through experiential learning. As a language educator, she sees the classroom as an essential site for imparting twenty-first century skills, including media literacy, leadership, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Promoting an environment that not only values the creativity of her colleagues and students, but also engages directly with the community to solve problems, tops her list of goals at ESLA. Amanda’s training in Project-Based Language Learning will be instrumental to creating a distinctive tradition of teaching language and culture at ESLA.

When she is not teaching, Amanda is surfing with her family in Orange County, working out, or riding her vintage Japanese trail bike.

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Faculty


Faculty


Karla Aguíñiga is 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.


Seyi Akinwale is a member of the Mathematics Department and teaches robotics. He earned his BS in Electrical Engineering in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles. After college he taught earth, life, and physical sciences at Frederick Price III Middle School. Seyi then taught engineering and robotics to elementary school students at STAR Education. He also mentored the Price Elementary robotics team while head coaching the Pacific Elementary robotics team.

Most recently he taught geometry at Westridge School for Girls, which was transformative. It was a concentrated experience of fully appreciating the difference in genders and the amazing contribution and perspective that girls and women bring to the table.

In his spare time Seyi mentors teenagers at Crenshaw Christian Center, helping them to develop as productive, empowered contributors to society. He also is an avid learner of tennis, who would like to one day serve the ball at one hundred miles per hour. (He’s at about sixty right now.)


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.


Kendall Beeman is a member of the History Department and the Math Department. Last year she taught ninth- and tenth-grade history at Phillips Academy, Andover, as a teaching fellow.

She received her BA in History, Legal Studies, and Theatre from Northwestern University. She is passionate about constitutional law and the study of justice throughout history. Her thesis examined the injustices of special education litigation in Chicago Public Schools. She also assistant taught a course on law and politics in US history at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

In addition to legal history, she loves teaching world history and examining the themes and patterns in global issues. She has also always loved math and has been tutoring math since she was in high school. While she has many academic interests, she is most passionate teaching and is looking forward to teaching at ESLA. Outside of the classroom, she loves dance, theatre, and the outdoors. 


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, and is thrilled to be working within walking distance of home. When she’s not teaching, studying, or learning new things, Caitlin loves reading—particularly science fiction and fantasy—and knitting.


Román Luján is a member of the Languages Department. He is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Languages and Literatures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned an MA in Spanish from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Florida State University. In a previous life, he earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the Autonomous University of Querétaro, México, where he also worked as an attorney. For fifteen years he has taught courses, seminars, and workshops on Spanish, Latin American literature, creative writing, and literary translation. He has been awarded three national poetry prizes in Mexico, and has published five books of poetry in Spanish. His literary work and translations have appeared in journals in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Chile, among other countries. As a language educator, his aim is to debunk stereotypes in order to promote cultural diversity and social sensitivity among his students, as well as to promote an understanding of the linguistic and historical complexities of the Spanish-speaking world, including the city of Los Angeles. Born in Mexico, Román has lived in Hollywood for over a decade and considers himself an Angelino.


Jane McCarron is Director of Student Life and a member 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 twenty-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. She will debut her most recent visual work, a series of oil paintings based on her relationship with the city, for the first time in Los Angeles in 2016.


Dr. Marina Oster, PhD is a Climate Scientist and Lead Biology Faculty. Marina’s area of expertise lies in climate change and conservation, and she has studied climate change on both land and sea. Whether diving for sea urchins to examine the effect of ocean acidification on their calcium skeleton or translating climate research for the IPCC, Marina is passionate about shifting the human relationship to the planet.

Her Doctoral research looks at the effect of climate change on chemical communication of invasive weeds and plant-insect interactions. She has taught at Stanford University for six years in the departments of Biology, Earth Systems, and Psychiatry, and at the Hopkins Marine Station.

She received her PhD in Biology from Stanford University and her BS in Biology from UCLA.


Ben Pace is a member of the Math Department. He has worked in test prep and private tutoring for over ten years, teaching for the SAT, ACT, GRE, and ISEE (to name a few), and specializing in math and writing. Ben graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a duel degree in English and history. One of his first teaching gigs was working as a snowboard instructor in Vail, Colorado.

Ben has performed Shakespeare at the Kennedy Center and comedy at the Hollywood Improv. He is excited to be a part of the ESLA faculty and is invigorated by the culture and philosophy of the school.

Ben enjoys painting, calculating mileage on road trips, and short walks on the beach. 


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.


Laura Spencer is a member of the English Department. She received an MS in Childhood Education from Canisius College, a Jesuit institution in Buffalo, New York, where she also completed her undergraduate work in political science, urban studies, and English.

Laura has spent the past three years teaching humanities and science in the middle school setting of Catholic elementary schools in Buffalo and Los Angeles. She is passionate about helping students make meaningful connections between their studies and the world in which they live, in order to prepare them to become compassionate and active citizens. She has moderated service organizations in the past, giving students the opportunity to help their communities in places like Skid Row. Her educational philosophy lies in the belief that we are called to serve, and that a quality education is to be utilized to improve our society.

Outside of work, Laura can be found spending her time with her husband at Disneyland, or enjoying local cinema culture. 


Walter Thorne is Assistant 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.

He began playing rugby in college and served as president of the UVA Men’s Rugby Club. He continued playing rugby for a men’s team in Chicago and is now is a member of the Santa Monica Rugby Club.