Letter from the Headmaster

Dear Chelsea Family,

I am delighted and humbled by the opportunity to serve as headmaster of Chelsea Academy. Ever since my wife, Chryss, and I first heard about this fledgling private Catholic school in 2007, we have taken great pleasure in seeing Chelsea prosper and in supporting its mission in whatever way we could. Whether serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors or planning the annual Chelsea Gala, I have been impressed by the Chelsea parents’ commitment to their children’s formation and equally impressed by the Chelsea faculty’s dedication to providing an education that honors that commitment. 

Among my fondest Chelsea memories are the annual college essay-writing days that Chryss and I hosted at our home near Marshall, VA. Working with Chelsea seniors on their college essays and career plans, I always came away encouraged by the strength of their preparation, by their appreciation of their Chelsea education, and by their desire to use that education to serve others.  I also came away impressed by the amount of food they could consume in one afternoon!

My path from a small farming community in Central California, where I was born, to Front Royal is hardly a straight one, but we all know God writes in crooked lines. In my case, those lines include a stop at the United States Naval Academy; Navy tours in Japan, San Diego, and Norfolk; a year of theology studies in Rome; a brief stint in Silicon Valley; a commission as a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State, followed by German language training, where I met Chryss, and tours in West Berlin (where our son Nico was born), Vienna (where our son Alex was born), Bonn, unified Berlin, and Washington, DC; studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA; making a home in Marshall and at our wonderful parish of St. Peter’s in Washington, VA; a year as a U.S. Senate staffer; a decade of teaching at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA; and most recently, managing corporate training at CACI in Chantilly, VA.

Chelsea is its people, and these people — our families, students, teachers, staff, donors, board members — are extraordinary. They believe in Chelsea’s mission and are working to realize it with faith, sweat, and a spirit of adventure. In that spirit, I would like to introduce you to the newest members of our exceptional Chelsea team:

Mr. Samuel Adamson

Mr. Adamson is a graduate of Hillsdale College and the University of Virginia, a tennis player, pianist, and P.G. Wodehouse fan. Originally from Charlottesville and graduate of the Covenant School, Mr. Adamson will be teaching, coaching, and assisting in operations at Chelsea.

Ms. Maria Lee
A member of Chelsea’s first graduating Class of 2012 and the University of Virginia, Ms. Lee returns to Chelsea after three years of teaching at the Beijing Royal School, where, in addition to teaching, Ms. Lee worked with students as a coach, musician, and theater director. At Chelsea, Ms. Lee will serve as a teacher, coach, and admissions director. 

Ms.Nora Mulhern
Ms. Mulhern returns to her childhood roots in Northern Virginia after teaching and helping  diocesan students appreciate God’s creation in the backcountry of Colorado. Ms. Mulhern is a graduate of Seton School and Ave Maria University, where she was a Mother Teresa Scholar and ran for the cross-country team. Ms. Mulhern will teach science and coach cross-country at Chelsea.

Dr. Alka Shanahan
Dr. Shanahan comes to Chelsea with a wide range of experience as a scientist and teacher. Most recently, Dr. Shanahan taught chemistry at Susquehanna College and with the Mother of Divine Grace Academy. Dr. Shanahan will teach science at Chelsea.

Mrs. Shelly Stockton
Mrs. Stockton is a trained music educator with more than twenty years’ experience as a teacher and musician. In addition to teaching music classes, Mrs. Stockton will be available after school for private piano and vocal lessons. Please see attached letter for more information.

Mr.Ted Watkins
As those of you who have crossed paths with him in the last few weeks know, Mr. Watkins has jumped into his role as assistant head of school with both feet. Most recently a major gifts officer with the Augustine Institute, Mr. Watkins brings experience from both the profit and non-profit worlds to his work at Chelsea. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, where he played football.  He also served as a logistics officer with the Marine Reserves. He is completing his masters in theology from the Augustine Institute. In addition to helping run the school’s day-to-day operations, Mr. Watkins will step in as interim athletic director. 

Mrs. Mary Wingate
A familiar face to many in the Chelsea community, Mrs. Wingate is a graduate of Christendom College and will carry on teaching art in the tradition of her husband Henry Wingate, Paul Ingbretson, and Charles Cecil. 

Yours in Christ,

Felix Hernandez

Headmaster

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