Faculty & Staff

Guy Bauer, B.A., M.S.

Mathematics Teacher and Coach

A native of New York, Mr. Bauer has nearly twenty years of teaching and coaching experience at the middle and upper school levels, three of them at a private boarding school where he lived with his charges. He has also worked on curriculum development throughout his career. Before coming to Chelsea Academy, he taught and coached in the Winchester and Fauquier County, Virginia, school systems. Mr. Bauer holds a Bachelor’s degree in math from State University of New York and a Master’s in education from George Mason University. Mr. Bauer is an avid outdoorsman. He and his wife have four children.

Jonathan Brand, B.A., M.A.


Prior to founding Chelsea Academy, Jonathan Brand served as Chairman of the History Department at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and as Academic Dean at The American School in Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland. During his ten years of teaching in Europe, he also led students in cultural excursions to significant sites all over the continent, but particularly France and Italy, where his knowledge of and love for the language, landscape, and culture go deep. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in history from The College of William and Mary. He and his family live in Front Royal.

Bernardine Clark, B.A, M.F.A.

Head of School

With a B.A. from Yale and an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia, Mrs. Clark has worked as a writer, editor, teacher, and administrator at a variety of educational institutions for over two decades. Her work at independent schools has included stints at St. Albans School, Portsmouth Abbey School, and Oakcrest School. She has written short stories, essays, screenplays, and children’s stories, including the award-winning Follow the Drinking Gourd. Most recently, she served as Director of Communications at BASIS Independent Schools McLean. She and her husband have four children.

Danuta Coble, A.A.

Art Teacher

Holding a degree in Fine Arts, Mrs. Coble is an artist and graphic designer with considerable experience in a broad range of media. Her artistic interests and talents include drawing, painting, set design, print making, calligraphy, crafting, and sculpting. As a teacher, she has worked with students from pre-school through middle school. Mrs. Coble and her husband reside with their youngest daughter in Marshall.

John Devanny, A.B., Ph.D.

History and English Teacher and Academic Dean

Mr. Devanny earned his undergraduate degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University and his doctorate in United States History from the University of South Carolina. Over the course of his nearly thirty-year career, he has taught history, literature, economics, and government, and he has received numerous fellowships and teaching awards. He has also coached rugby. Most recently, Mr. Devanny served as Dean of Faculty at Forsyth Country Day School and Academic Dean at Saint Joseph’s Catholic School. A regular contributor to various journals and publications, Mr. Devanny writes about Southern history and culture. He and his family live in Front Royal.

Robert Farris, B.A.

French and Religion Teacher, and Coach

Mr. Farris holds a degree in Philosophy from the Ateneo Pontifico Regina Apostolorum in Rome. A native of Connecticut, Mr. Farris studied French in Quebec and Paris during his high school years, and he later worked at an all-boys’ boarding school outside of Paris. Most recently, he has taught middle school at Summit Academy in Idaho. He and his family live in Front Royal.

Christopher Foeckler, B.A.

Mathematics, and Religion Teacher, Drama Director, and Coach

Mr. Foeckler graduated summa cum laude from Christendom College, majoring in Theology with a minor in Math and Science. Growing up in Manassas with five brothers, Mr. Foeckler developed a wide range of interests that he pursued in college. He played on the varsity soccer team for four years. He acted in several college plays, and he participated in Christendom’s choir and debate society. Mr. Foeckler joined the Chelsea faculty after teaching for a year at Holy Family Academy in Manassas. He and his wife have two children.

Elizabeth Foeckler, B.A.

Choir Director

Mrs. Foeckler graduated from Christendom College with a B.A. in Theology and a Liturgical Music minor. She has taught music and directed choral groups at All Saints Catholic School, Seton School in Manassas, and Christendom College. A classically trained pianist and mezzo soprano, Mrs. Foeckler has been a member of Chorus Sine Nomine in northern Virginia since 2013. She lives with her husband and two children in Front Royal.

Stephen Foster, B.S.

Mathematics and Science Teacher and Coach

Mr. Foster grew up in northern Virginia and earned his B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from Radford University, where he was a Department of Physics Dean’s Scholar. He holds certification in the National Association of Rocketry and, as a high school student, worked with NASA engineers to design, build, and launch a rocket at a flight center in Alabama. In college, Mr. Foster worked as a teaching assistant, mentor for young people, and tutor at Radford’s Learning Resource Center. He also participated actively in the Catholic Campus Ministry and participated in two mission trips to Central America. Mr. Foster lives in Front Royal.

Albert Gunn, B.A., M.A., M.A.

Latin and Religion Teacher, Dean of Students, and Activities Director

After obtaining a B.A. in Medieval Studies from Rice University, Mr. Gunn earned M.A. degrees in Humanities and Medieval Studies in addition to doing Ph.D. coursework in Philosophy at Catholic University and coursework in Latin teaching methodology at the University of Virginia. For ten years, he taught Latin at James Madison High School, where he has also sponsored the Latin Club and Scholastic Bowl. He served as the president of the Fairfax County Latin Teachers Association and has helped to organize “Roman Days,” a Roman army encampment at George Mason University. He and his wife have a son.

Ashley Maciag, B.A., M.A.

ESL Teacher and Yearbook Advisor

A native of New York, Mrs. Maciag earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Union Graduate School after attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she graduated with a B.A. in English. For two years Mrs. Maciag taught English and served as yearbook coordinator at John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries, Virginia. She and her husband have two children.

Holly McShurley, B.A.

Fourth Grade Teacher

A Christendom College graduate with a degree in Philosophy, Mrs. McShurley is a mother of ten children, whom she has homeschooled, and she has worked as a part-time science, math, and Latin teacher. She has also taught CCD at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. For twelve years she directed a Shakespeare drama group in Front Royal. She and her husband have ten children and live in Linden.

Mary Mueller

Administrative Assistant

Originally from New York, Mrs. Mueller handled the scheduling, transcripts, student registration, report cards, and attendance at a large high school in Marietta, Georgia, for almost ten years. As the Administrative Assistant at Chelsea Academy, she manages all aspects of running the school office. She and her husband have five sons.

Sally Nicholson, B.S., M.S., Ed.D.

Director of Marketing and Admissions

A graduate of the University of Kansas, Dr. Nicholson holds degrees in Elementary Education, and Educational Policy and Leadership and brings a wealth of experience to Chelsea, including work as an educational consultant, college professor, program director, and school administrator. She has worked in both private and public institutions ranging from K-12 schools to four-year colleges, and her career has included stints in Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, and Missouri.  Dr. Nicholson and her family live in Front Royal.

Julie Olsen, B.A., M.A.

Religion and English Teacher, Dean of Students, and Activities Director

Mrs. Olsen graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in English and earned an M.A. in Theological Studies from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. Her teaching career has included four years at Bishop O’Connell High School and five years at an all-girls school in Oxford, England. In addition, she has taught her four sons and developed and directed a catechetical program for young people. Mrs. Olsen and her family live in Front Royal.

Joan Philbin, B.A.

French Teacher

Mrs. Philbin served in the United States Marine Corps for nearly twenty years. A graduate of Christendom College, she speaks French and Russian and has completed graduate work in linguistics at Georgetown University and George Mason University. Mrs. Philbin has worked as a translator in addition to teaching French at the high school and college levels. She and her husband have two sons and live in Winchester.

Shari Schäffer, B.A., M.A.

English Teacher

With degrees in English from Wake Forest University and The College of William and Mary, Mrs. Schäffer has considerable teaching experience, including two years at a private school in Virginia and twelve years with her children as a homeschool educator. She and her husband live with their family in Front Royal.

Joseph Selner, B.A., J.D.

History, Science, and Math Teacher, College Counselor, and Coach

Holding degrees from The College of William and Mary and The Catholic University of America, Mr. Selner worked in law and finance before deciding to become an educator. For four years he homeschooled his two children and taught religion to seventh and eighth graders at St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Woodstock, VA. Outside the classroom, Mr. Selner serves as a scout leader, soccer coach, and chief counselor of his parish’s Columbian Squires circle. His interests include canoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter camping. Mr. Selner and his family live in Strasburg.

Gregory Shedd, B.S.

Science Teacher and Athletic Director

A native of Maryland, Mr. Shedd graduated from the honors program at Frostburg State University, where he majored in Biology and played as the #1 singles/doubles player on the varsity tennis team. For six years, he taught science and coached volleyball, tennis, and basketball at Chopticon High School in southern Maryland. For two years, he served as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Mr. Shedd also has experience as a director and instructor for a summer tennis program for younger children. He and his family live in Front Royal.

Harold Siegel, A.B., M.A., M.M.S.

English, History, and Latin Teacher, and Coach

Mr. Siegel graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before earning master’s degrees at The Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame and completing the coursework for a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at Notre Dame. In addition to teaching English, Latin, and history at Catholic middle and high schools in North Carolina and Texas, he served as an assistant professor at Hillsdale College for eight years. A soccer enthusiast, Mr. Siegel has great experience coaching and directing youth soccer programs. He and his wife have five children and live in Front Royal.

Nikki Siegel, B.A.

Fifth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Siegel graduated with honors earning a B.A. in Elementary Education/Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her teaching experience spans preschool through eighth grade and includes stints at Catholic schools in North Carolina, Maryland, Indiana, and Texas. Mrs. Siegel has deep knowledge and love for children’s literature and has pursued graduate studies in reading instruction. She and her husband have five children and enjoy hiking in the Blue Ridge and the Rocky Mountains.

Joseph Sladky, B.A., Ph.D.

History and Mathematics Teacher

After graduating from Thomas Aquinas College, Dr. Sladky studied biology, chemistry, and physics in a pre-med program before deciding to change course and pursue graduate studies in history. He earned his Ph.D. in European history at The Catholic University of America. His professional experience includes several years teaching middle school math and science at Northridge Preparatory School as well as working with inner-city youth in Chicago. Dr. Sladky also worked as an editor of The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation. He and his wife have eight children.

Matthew Speer, B.A.

History, Religion, and P.E. Teacher, and Coach

Mr. Speer grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Christendom College. While majoring in Philosophy, he played on the Varsity Baseball team, participated in the theater program, served on the Presidential Advisory Committee, and tutored students in Latin and other subjects. Mr. Speer has directed summer programs for high school students and worked as the Residence Coordinator for his college’s study abroad program in Rome. He is currently completing a Master’s degree in Theology and lives in Strasburg.

Joseph Strickland, B.A.

Mathematics and ESL Teacher

Mr. Strickland holds a major in Philosophy and a minor in Mathematics from Christendom College. After graduating from college in 2013, he worked in the development department at Human Life International. Mr. Strickland and his wife live in Front Royal.

Catherine Waters, B.A., M.A.

ESL Teacher and ESL Curriculum Coordinator

Mrs. Waters earned her undergraduate degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York before going on to receive a Master of Curriculum and Instruction at Hood College. For ten years she taught English at St. John’s College Preparatory High School, where she also served as English Department Chair and directed an annual Shakespeare festival. Mrs. Waters and her family live in Winchester.

Rachel Wilk, B.S.

Science and P.E. Teacher

Ms. Wilk earned her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She gained significant lab experience working as an undergraduate researcher and team coordinator in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. An active member of her home parish St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, where she has served as a religion education assistant teacher, Ms. Wilk volunteered and held leadership positions in the Catholic Women’s Service Group in Blacksburg as a college student. She also participated in a winter break service trip to Haiti, teaching English and working with children in an orphanage. Ms. Wilk resides in Purcellville.

Henry Wingate, B.A.

Art Teacher

After graduating from the Naval Academy and serving as a pilot for six years in the Navy, Mr. Wingate studied traditional representational painting in ateliers in Boston, Massachusetts, and Florence, Italy. An accomplished painter of portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, and larger figurative works, he has won several prestigious awards and commissions, and his work has been featured in Portrait Highlights and American Artist. In addition, Mr. Wingate’s portrait of St. Edmund Campion is hung in the Chapel at Marquette University Law School. He and his wife have five children.

Therese Zepeda, B.A.

ESL Teacher

Mrs. Zepeda graduated from Christendom College as valedictorian with a degree in Political Science. During her nearly ten-year career in education, she has served as an academic counselor for Seton Home Study, creating customized curricula, tests, and course manuals in addition to mentoring students and grading assignments. She has also served as an English counselor and worked extensively with English curriculum development, and she has worked as a volunteer ESL teacher. She and her husband have five children and live in Front Royal.