Laurel School's New Faculty & Staff for 2018-2019
Julie Webster Allen • Outdoor Pre-Primary
A longtime exercise physiologist at University Hospitals, Mrs. Allen has been responsible for prescribing and supervising exercise programs for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients and involved in all aspects of a multi-disciplinary rehab program. An avid outdoorswoman, she is a volunteer for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and an assistant with the Adventure Girls program at Laurel. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health education from Slippery Rock University and a master’s degree in physical education/exercise physiology from Kent State University.
Robert Baker III • Assistant Director of Facilities
Mr. Baker, who joined Laurel in the spring of 2018, has two decades worth of experience in construction management, architecture and systems controls and ongoing operations—as director of facilities and securities for the Breakthrough Charter Schools, as director of operations and project manager at Judson South Franklin Circle and in various roles with a local builder, a flooring company and at National City Bank Corporation and at Keycorp. He graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design.
Martha C. Z. Bayliss • Middle School English, Long-term Substitute
A graduate of Western Reserve Academy, The University of Michigan and Montana State University, Ms. Bayliss’ experience includes teaching visual and performing arts as well as design technology to primary and middle school-aged students. She was an online learning coordinator and visual arts and drama teacher at the Canadian International School in Singapore and spent four years in the United Kingdom at the Wellingborough School. After returning to the States a year ago, she has coached for Western Reserve Academy and worked as a substitute teacher at Hudson Montessori.
Ciara Bush • Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls and Strategic Partnerships, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Bush joins Laurel after three years as the academic support specialist and coordinator at Newbridge Cleveland where she was responsible for maintaining its database of applicants and enrollees, building relationships with other organizations and coordinating volunteers. Previously, she was an executive administrative assistant for the Zaremba Group. She holds an associate’s degree from Bryant and Stratton and has volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sister program as well as with Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
Lauren Calig • Director of Multi-Cultural Education
Mrs. Calig returns to Laurel, where she served as Middle School Dean from 2000-04, after 14 years as the coordinator for equity and inclusion and primary learning specialist at University School’s Shaker campus, where she received the William F. Seelbach Faculty Fellowship Award in 2017. Before moving to Ohio, she was a middle school learning specialist at The Ellis School and at Shady Side Academy, both in Pittsburgh. She received her undergraduate degree in art history as well as a master’s in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh and she obtained a graduate certificate in diversity, social justice and inclusion from the University of Colorado.
Tamar Cloyd • Advancement Associate
Most recently at Johns Hopkins University, where she served as grants coordinator, Ms. Cloyd joined Laurel’s Development Office in late spring. At Johns Hopkins, she assisted with identifying projects and programs that had the potential for obtaining funding from federal, state and local grant-making institutions. Previously, she implemented annual fundraising plans and the first national fundraiser for Education Voters of America, was a grants’ officer for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a development specialist for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, all in DC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with honors, from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in community social psychology from the University of Massachusetts.
Joseph M. Corsaro • Upper School History
Mr. Corsaro graduated from John Carroll University, majoring in history, and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. A licensed attorney, he realized after volunteering as an instructor at John Marshall High School and as a team coach through the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Mock Trial that his calling was in the classroom. He comes to Laurel from Benedictine High School where he taught classes in US history, criminal and consumer law, sports medicine, current affairs and mock trial. He is an advisory board member of the Saint Ignatius High School Entrepreneurship Club and served on St. Ignatius’ Alumni Executive Council.
Andrew Cruse • College Guidance, Associate Director
Mr. Cruse comes to Laurel’s College Guidance Office after eight years in undergraduate admissions at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He began his tenure there as an admissions counselor and was promoted twice, to assistant and then associate director. At Case, he oversaw and managed recruitment territories in large competitive markets; participated in admissions panels, essay workshops and case studies programs; served as the liaison to the athletic department; developed, coordinated and produced “CWRU Live!”, a one-hour showcase of student life; managed the highly selective Pre-Professional Scholars program and evaluated applications for admission review. Mr. Cruse has a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater from Boston University and a master’s of fine arts in theater from Kent State University.
William DePalma • Upper School Visual Arts
An award-winning photographer and videographer, Mr. DePalma has a BFA in photography from Washington University and an MFA in photography and a master’s in applied photography and photojournalism from Ohio University. He has taught at the University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio University and the Maine Photographic Workshops. Most recently a freelance photographer and video producer, he previously worked for American Greetings where he served as developmental media director for Those Characters from Cleveland, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Washington University Medical School. His work is in private and educational collections as well as the Library of Congress.
Marisa Gindi • Special Events Coordinator
For close to a decade, Ms. Gindi worked in the hospitality industry, first as the assistant club manager at The Country Club of Hudson and then as senior event manager at Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. As the co-chair of the Board of Trustees for the Rita Matteo Memorial Scholarship Foundation, she is responsible for all aspects of the annual golf outing which raises funds to provide scholarships to high school students to further their education. Ms. Gindi graduated from Kent State University with a degree in hospitality and management.
Kristin Hicks • Middle School Math, Long-term Substitute
Ms. Hicks most recently taught mathematics and science at Saint Stanislaus in Cleveland. There, she designed lessons to engage various learning styles and to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. She incorporated a variety of technology into the classroom to engage students. She has been an ACT Prep Workshop Presenter for Greater Cleveland Now and taught honors algebra, algebra and geometry at Warrensville Heights High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cleveland State University.
Rachel Lawton • Upper School World Languages, Hebrew
Over the last 20 years, Ms. Lawton has taught Hebrew and Judaic subjects at Gross Schechter Day School, the Cleveland Hebrew Schools and Akiva High School’s evening classes. She has taught Hebrew to adults with little or no Hebrew language experience through Case Western Reserve University’s Siegal Lifelong Learning program. Before moving to Cleveland she was a teacher in the Israel Public School System. Ms. Lawton, who speaks four languages, double majored in English language/literature and Hebrew and comparative literature at Haifa University in Israel. She holds a master’s degree in Judaic Studies from Siegal College.
Kathryn Massien • Accounting Manager
As the business manager for the Julie Billiart Schools in Lyndhurst and Akron, Mrs. Massien was responsible for accounts payable, payroll and employee benefits, budgeting and reporting and income processing. Her corporate background includes serving as the controller for Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company, Inc.; as group controller and senior financial analyst at Steris Corporation; and senior external auditor at Arthur Andersen, LLP. She graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and finance.
Taylor Molten • Primary, Kindergarten
An undergraduate of Colgate University, Ms. Molten received her master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College. She was an apprentice at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut and student-taught in gifted, talented, integrated and self-contained classes in elementary public schools in New York City and Queens. For the last three years, she has taught second grade at Valley Elementary School in Beavercreek, OH.
Jill Mueller • Middle School, Eighth Grade Dean and Eighth Grade Social Studies
After graduating from Clemson University with a bachelor’s in English and history, Ms. Mueller spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer at a boys’ orphanage in a village in northern Bangladesh. There she built an early childhood school and constructed a teacher training program at the orphanage. It is also where she attributes falling in love with using stories to bridge cultures. She returned to the States, obtained her master’s in English literature at Middlebury College and spent 11 years as an award-winning English instructor at Western Reserve Academy (WRA). At WRA she coached, advised ModelUN, led international travel and pioneered the Class Dean program, acting as the first Class Dean for the Ninth Grade.
Denisse Noriega • Pre-Primary and Primary Spanish
Ms. Noriega employed her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in her first career as an investment strategies advisor in Mexico. She transitioned from finance into education and served as an assistant teacher for two years in a Jean Piaget Kindergarten in Mexico before moving to Ohio.
Tina Ohmart • After School at Laurel Coordinator
At Boys Hope Girls Hope Northeast Ohio, first through AmeriCorps and then as a residential counselor and subsequently the Middle School Academy manager, Ms. Ohmart created out-of-school curriculum, managed summer programming for middle school-aged students, supervised staff, implemented programming to teach transitional living skills as well as academic enrichment for rising ninth graders and built individual learning plans for students. Ms. Ohmart has a bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry with an emphasis on psychology and counseling from Ozark Christian College.
Kiara Pierce • Senior Accountant
Ms. Pierce came to Laurel in the spring of 2018 from the Greater Cleveland RTA where she had served first as a business analyst and then as the manager of support services. At RTA, she led multiple large-scale projects including process improvements and automation. Before joining the RTA, she worked as an accountant at the Centers for Dialysis Care and Swagelok. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Akron, where she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society.
Faina Polt • Upper School English
Dr. Polt, who specializes in American and multicultural literature, women writers and Holocaust studies, as well as composition and writing, received her bachelor’s degree in English with honors from Alma College and her master’s degree and doctorate in literary studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fluent in Russian, she also speaks Spanish and is an experienced copy editor. She was the recipient of several fellowships and travel grants and was an instructor and a teaching assistant in several English courses at Wisconsin.
Marcie Qua • Pre-Primary, Early Learners
Mrs. Qua returned to Laurel last school year, after a brief retirement, as a long-term substitute in one of the Early Learners classrooms. She will remain in the Early Learners classroom for this coming year. Before joining Laurel’s Pre-Primary in 2007, she had been a substitute teacher at both Laurel and Hathaway Brown. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in history.
Kristi Radolovic • Upper School Administrative Assistant
Ms. Radolovic graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. In her clerical position with the Willoughby Eastlake City Schools she was responsible for the daily operations of the school office, handled Kindergarten registration, managed student enrollment and student accounts and facilitated parent and student requests. Prior experience includes serving as the catering coordinator for the Intercontinental Hotels Cleveland and as an administrative assistant for the Cleveland Clinic Guesthouse.
Brian Rafferty • Butler Campus Manager
Mr. Rafferty has almost two decades of experience in golf course operations, first at Beechmont Country Club and then for many years at Firestone Country Club, a 600-acre private club in Akron. At Firestone, he was responsible for the hiring and management of the course’s employees, supervised the maintenance of the west course and ensured club safety and adhering to state and federal guidelines for safe working conditions. He has extensive experience providing support in the operations of the Bridgestone Invitational and the Ohio Senior Open. Mr. Rafferty graduated from The Ohio State University and received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, majoring in turf grass science.
Cynthia Meyer Sabik • Upper School English, Department Chair
Dr. Sabik returns to Cleveland from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, MD. In her capacity as head of the Upper School at Stone Ridge, she worked closely with school leadership to implement the school’s strategic initiatives and oversaw curriculum development and faculty evaluation in her division. Prior to Stone Ridge, she served as the dean of faculty at Worcester Academy and had a long career at Gilmour Academy. In addition to chairing the Middle and Upper School English department at Gilmour for 11 years, she was the associate director of the Upper School, associate dean of curriculum, and associate dean of academic programs and planning. She was a visiting professor in American Studies at Kenyon College and has been on the adjunct faculty of Ursuline College and John Carroll and Cleveland State Universities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Seton Hill College and a master’s in English and a doctorate in urban education, both from Cleveland State University