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Williston Welcomes 12 New Faculty Members for 2021-22 Year

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Williston Northampton School added 12 new faculty members this academic year. Below you’ll learn more about each one, plus two school counselors who started at Williston last year, when the pandemic kept us from being present on campus for a group photo. New registrar Vita Thiel also posed during new employee orientation. We wish a warm, Wildcat welcome to all!

Pictured in the photo, above, are, from top left, Jayson Leigh, Cassandra LePouttre, Corinne Fogg, and Josh Rilla; second row, Tyla Taylor, Nikki Chambers, Jorge Rodriguez, and Vita Thiel; third row, Nina Dodge, Jessica Tabb Wood, Deb Potee, and Allison Tucker; bottom row, Joseph Katz and Noel St. Jean.

Nikki Chambers, Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
In this new role at Williston, Nikki Chambers will manage and coordinate collaborative DEIB strategic initiatives across campus, partnering with students, faculty, administrative leaders, and trustees to shape and guide the school’s sustained efforts to build a culture of inclusion and belonging on campus. Chambers comes to Williston with more than a decade of experience in higher education and enrollment management, serving most recently as the associate director of admission and coordinator of multicultural recruitment at Smith College, where she led all admission equity and inclusion initiatives. Before joining Smith, Chambers worked in the Office of Admissions at Barnard College of Columbia University for six years. While there, she served as the admission liaison for the Higher Education Opportunity Program, Barnard Opportunity Program, and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. She also served as the admissions representative for more than two dozen states across the country, as well as British Columbia. She has been the sister co-chair of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy-League and Sister Schools, a nationally recognized organization of more than 300 higher education professionals committed to access, equity, and inclusion for students at the undergraduate level and beyond. Chambers earned a Master of Arts in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in History with a minor in African-American studies.

Nina Dodge, Science Teacher
Nina Dodge taught Biology and Marine Biology at The Pacific Ridge School (Carlsbad, CA), and before that at The Montclair Kimberley Academy (Montclair, NJ), where she also taught Environmental Science. Prior to teaching, Dodge was a marine biologist and earned an M.S. at San Diego State University (San Diego, CA). Most of her research there was done sub-tidally as part of a lab that focused specifically on the ecology of the giant kelp forests (Macrocystis pyrifera) that grow off the coast of California. Dodge also holds a B.A. in Neuroscience from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY).

Corinne Fogg ’99, Dean of Faculty
Corie Fogg comes to Williston having served as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development since 2015 at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, a school for girls in Bethesda, Maryland. In that role, she had oversight of 120 faculty across pre-K through grade 12. Focusing on the curricular and pedagogical unification across three divisions, leading orientation and mentoring programs for new employees, and coordinating professional development and parent education programming, Fogg sought to elevate Stone Ridge to national attention. She built and improved hiring processes for faculty, created a diversity recruitment plan for the school, and shared in the recruitment of over 100 employees. Fogg earned both her B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Boston College, and she began her professional career teaching English at Hudson High School in Hudson, Massachusetts, followed by working at the Fay School, serving as Site Director in Seattle, Washington for Johns Hopkins’ CTY program, and teaching at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, California. Fogg has presented at a range of regional and national conferences on education. In 2018, she co-authored Enough As She Is: The Educator’s Guide with New York Times best-selling author Rachel Simmons.

Joseph Katz, School Counselor
Joseph Katz began working as School Counselor at the school last academic year. As part of the Health & Wellness team, Katz supports students’ emotional wellness in his role as a school counselor. He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work.

Jayson Leigh, Assistant Director of Admission
Jayson Leigh joins Williston as a new member of the Admissions and Enrollment Management Team. Most recently, he worked at Archbishop Stepinac High School (White Plains, NY) where he taught Anatomy, Exercise Science, and Business Leadership while also coaching with the Football Team. Prior to Stepinac, Leigh coached football at Amherst College (Amherst, MA) and St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY). He holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from St. Lawrence University and a B.A. in Communication Arts. While at St. Lawrence, Leigh served as the President of Men In Color, a group of men of different racial and social economic backgrounds working to create a safe space to talk about living in a world where race matters.

Cassandra LePouttre, Math Teacher
Cassandra LePouttre earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Smith College (Northampton, MA) and holds an A.S. in Mathematics from Holyoke Community College (Holyoke, MA). Most recently, she worked in the Office of Disability Services and served as Assistive Technology Advisor and Discrete Mathematics Teacher’s Assistant in the Mathematics Department of Smith College. 

Deborah Potee, Head School Counselor
Deb Potee
joined Williston in 2019. Before joining us, she worked most recently as a School Adjustment Counselor at Greenfield High School (Greenfield, MA), where she led psych-social groups, restorative justice circles, and taught sexuality health classes. Prior to that, she was the Clinical Case Manager and Therapist at Amherst College (Amherst, MA), a K-12th grade School Counselor at the Meadows School at the Brattleboro Retreat (Brattleboro, VT), and Therapist in the family medicine department at Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA). Potee is a certified sexuality health teacher, state certified sexual assault volunteer advocate, trained restorative justice leader and mediator, and was a Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis Postgraduate Fellow (Amherst, MA). She holds a Master’s in Library Science from Simmons University (Boston, MA) and a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA). She earned her B.A. in history from Beloit College, (Beloit, WI).  

Josh Rilla, English Teacher
Josh Rilla spent the last 10 years at Beaver Country Day School (Chestnut Hill, MA) where he served as an English Teacher, Grade Dean, and Tennis/Squash Coach. He earned his M.A. in English Literature at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School (Ripton, VT) and holds a BA in English and Spanish Languages from Amherst College (Amherst, MA). Rilla has also coached tennis at the professional level, both abroad in Beijing, China, and locally, in Boston, MA. 

Dr. Jorge J. Rodríguez, Theater Director
Dr. Jorge Rodríguez is an acting teacher, theater-maker, and dramatic critic. Previously, his stage work as a director, producer, and dramaturg has been seen at Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven, CT), Yale Cabaret (New Haven, CT), Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), the New York International Fringe Festival, and across western Massachusetts. He served as the Executive Director of the Dwight/Edgewood Project at Yale School of Drama (New Haven, CT), a playwriting after-school program for New Haven Middle school students. Additionally, Dr. Rodríguez has taught theater in the Pioneer Valley for nearly a decade, at PVPA Charter Public School (South Hadley, MA), where he was the Theater Department Leader; and at High School of Commerce (Springfield, MA), where he helped launch a drama program. Jorge holds a B.A. in English and Theater Arts from Haverford College (Delaware County, PA), and an M.F.A and D.F.A. in Dramaturgy & Dramatic Criticism from Yale School of Drama (New Haven, CT).

Noel St. Jean, Dance Teacher
For the past 16 years, Noel St. Jean has been instructing dance classes of all styles at schools across western Massachusetts. Throughout her career, she has been a sought-after guest artist and has offered classes and choreography at the Loomis Chaffee School (Windsor, CT), Connections After School Program (Holyoke, MA), and at Williston, prior to coming on board as the Dance Ensemble Artistic Director. Previously, St. Jean served as Adjunct Faculty in dance and the Coach of the Elms College Dance Team (Chicopee, MA), and she is now the Director of Art In Motion Dance Studio and of The Legible Bodies, a professional touring contemporary dance company based in Easthampton. St. Jean holds a B.A. in Dance and Biology from Goucher College (Towson, MD). 

Jessica Tabb Wood, Academic Support Teacher
Jessica Tabb Wood earned her M.Ed. From Springfield College and holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Providence College (Providence, RI). Previously, she taught fifth grade in an inclusion setting at Kensington Ave School (Springfield, MA) for 5 years and then was trained as a Behavior Specialist working with students on the Autism Spectrum in the classroom and home setting. Most recently, Tabb Wood has been home raising her four children. In addition to her experience as a teacher, she also served as the Girls Varsity Head Coach at Northfield Mount Hermon (Gill, MA) and is now beginning her second season as the Girls’ Junior Varsity Hockey Coach at Williston.  

Tyla Taylor, Psychology Teacher
Tyla Taylor is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) where she majored in Psychology, Education Studies, and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. She graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors, Psi Chi psychology honors, and was awarded Wesleyan’s Butterfield Prize for outstanding character and academic excellence. Throughout college, Taylor was a teaching assistant for various courses in the Psychology and Spanish departments, served as a Residential Advisor for first and second-year students, and facilitated weekly mindfulness sessions for the campus community. She also co-created the first student of color meditation space on Wesleyan’s campus. For the past 10 years, Taylor has taught piano lessons to children.