Faculty & Staff

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.

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, Assistant Dean of Students, 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.

Jacob Guttierrez, B.A.

Religion Teacher and Dean of Students

A graduate of Thomas Aquinas College, Mr. Guttierrez taught Latin and religion, coached soccer, and served as Dean of Students at Chelsea from 2009-2015. Before that, Mr. Guttierrez taught at Villanova Prep in Ojai, CA, and served in the admissions office at Thomas Aquinas College. Mr. Guttierrez and his wife, Annie, have five children.

Alex Klassen, B.A.

Development Coordinator

A graduate of Christendom College, Alex has been a talented and tireless volunteer for Chelsea and numerous other worthy causes. Alex and her husband Ron have five children.

Robert Klaus, B.S., M.S., M.A.

Mathematics and Science Teacher

Mr. Klaus received his undergraduate degree in Oceanography from the Naval Academy, and served on several submarines through command of USS George Washington Carver, as well as several shore assignments, until his retirement from active duty in 1994.  He worked for a Federal Lab, The Aerospace Corporation, as an analyst and engineering manager supporting several National Security Space programs, before retiring again in 2016.  He also holds M.S. degrees in Engineering Acoustics, Nuclear Engineering (w/o diploma), and Management, and an M.A. in National Security.  He lives in Amissville with his wife and son, and is a member of St. Peter’s Parish.

Page Lagarde, B.A.

History, Religion, and Latin Teacher, and Development Associate

After graduating from Chelsea, Page was a Stamps Leadership Scholar at the University of Mississippi, where she received a B.A. in English and French, with an emphasis in creative writing, summa cum laude and where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Ms. Lagarde studied in France and Ireland and has worked at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). For an essay about her adventures dogsledding, Ms. Lagarde won first place in the nonfiction category at the Southern Literary Festival as a college junior. She also received the 2018 Taylor Medal, the University of Mississippi’s highest academic award, and was active in multiple community service activities. Most recently, Ms. Lagarde was teaching at Lycee de La Sauque in Bordeaux, France.

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.

Kieran O’Donnell, B.A.

Mathematics and P.E. Teacher

Mr. O’Donnell grew up in Stephens City, Virginia and earned his B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Theology from Christendom College, where he was part of the first graduating class of math Majors. He left his management position at Mathnasium in McLean, VA to join the faculty at Chelsea, which he graduated from in 2014. While at Chelsea he served as the president of Mu Alpha Theta, had lead roles in the plays, and was captain of the soccer team. In college, Mr. O’Donnell worked as a tutor for the math department, and for his thesis he designed an amphitheater for the school. He also participated actively in the Mission Trip Program, traveling on 5 international missions. Mr. O’Donnell lives in Stephens City and is very excited to be a part of Chelsea once more.

Brenda O’Reilly, B.A.

Administrative Assistant

Brenda graduated from Christendom College and is the mother of six including Chelsea alumni Liam ’13, Tobias ’14 and Joan, a rising twelfth-grader.

Joan Philbin, B.A.

French Teacher and Administrative Assistant

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.

Anna Schäffer, B.A.

French, History, and ESL Teacher

Miss Schäffer graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, where she concentrated in French and the Program of Liberal Studies. Most recently, Miss Schäffer was teaching at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France. Whether in the classroom, on stage, or on the basketball court, Ms. Schäffer  embodied the Chelsea spirit of adventure in her student days, and we are thrilled that she is taking on the grand adventure of being our first alumni faculty member.

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 and Science 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.

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

English, History, and Latin Teacher, Athletic Director, 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 Science 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.

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.

Kathleen Sullivan, B.A., Ph.D.

English Teacher and Academic Dean

Dr. Sullivan received her Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America, her M.A. from the University of Dallas, and her undergraduate degree from Thomas Aquinas College. Dr. Sullivan’s dissertation focused on epistolary elements in Jane Austen’s works. A dedicated teacher and scholar, Dr. Sullivan delivered a paper entitled, “Playing Socrates: A Teacher’s Role in Leading Fruitful Class Discussions” at the 2017 conference of the Association of Literary Critics, Scholars, and Writers. Most recently, Dr. Sullivan taught English at Oakcrest School in Vienna, VA.

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.

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