Welcome to Our New Faculty and Staff
Welcome to Our New Faculty and Staff

Princeton Day School faculty and staff were back on campus this week for orientation and opening meetings, and we are delighted to welcome the following new members of the Princeton Day School team.

In the Upper School:

Thatcher Cook will teach photography to Upper School students this year. A professional photographer and published author, Thatcher has a portfolio in documentary and commercial photography, and experience as a teacher and mentor. He has studied at the University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin, and NYU.

Alison Distefano will teach chemistry in the Upper School. She earned her BS at Gettysburg College and a PhD in chemistry at Rutgers University. Most recently, Alison taught chemistry and biology to upper school students at the Ranney School, and has served as an adjunct professor at Kean University.

Lauren Gleeson is the new Upper School Spanish teacher. Lauren received her BA and MA from the University of Delaware and most recently taught Spanish to students in the Millburn Township public schools and at the Delbarton School.

Edgar Mariano will teach choral music to Middle and Upper School students at PDS. He received his Bachelor's degree in music from Westminster Choir College and his MA in teaching from Rider University. Prior to coming to PDS, Edgar taught vocal music at Fisher Middle School and Ewing High School.

Amy Matlack is the new Upper School Librarian at PDS. She earned her BS from Rutgers and her MS in Library and Information Science from Drexel University. She was most recently a librarian at the Hamilton Township Library and, prior to that, Library Assistant at the Mercer County Library System.

Sam McVane will teach Latin and Greek in the Upper School this year. Sam has received his BA from the College of William and Mary, and his MA and MPhil from Columbia University. He is currently completing his PhD in Classical Studies at Columbia and has taught classes at the University.

Thomas Pettengill joins the Upper School Science Department this fall as the School's first "Teaching Fellow." This position emerged from Princeton Day School's partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and 10 of the nation's finest independent school schools, who have collectively established a program for aspiring educators known as the "Independent School Teaching Residency Program." As a Teaching Fellow, Thomas will teach two sections of 9th grade biology (including the new 9th Grade STEAMinar) and genetics. Thomas is a recent graduate of Brown University, where he received a degree in Biology and Ecology.

Eric Rempe will teach ceramics in the Upper School. Eric received his BFA and BS from Penn State, and his MFA in ceramics from San Diego State University. He has previously taught at Coronado High School in San Diego and at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

Jonathan Tatkon-Coker is the School's first Upper School STEAM Coordinator. He earned his BA in German and Art History and BFA in Painting and Photography from Rutgers University, and his M.I.D. in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute. Prior to PDS, Jonathan worked on multi-disciplinary teams at Cornell University, Nike, Beats by Dre, and Apple, where he developed expertise in industrial design, product development, and mechanical engineering. Most recently, he was a consultant at the Gruss Innovation Center at the Lawrenceville School.

In the Middle School:

Marjorie Barlet will teach French and Latin in the Middle and Upper Schools. A native of France, Marjorie arrived in the U.S. seven years ago and has taught French at a number of area schools, including the Cranbury School. She earned her English degree at La Sorbonne.

Corey Dempsey will teach Middle School science, and serve as the 7th grade dean. Corey received his BS from Lafayette College and previously taught at the Rodeph Sholom School in New York.

Christine Sheil will teach Spanish in the Middle School. She earned her BA from SUNY, Brockport, her MA from St. John's University, and her MA and EdS from Rider University. Christine most recently taught at Stuart Country Day School, as well as teaching for more than fifteen years in New York City public schools.

Cloey Talotta is the Middle School Learning Specialist. She earned her BA, PsyM and PsyD from Rutgers, and has spent many years as a school psychologist in a number of public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In the Lower School:

Beth Hatem is the new Second Grade teacher. Beth earned her BA from Middlebury College and most recently taught at the San Francisco Day School and at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School.

In addition, we welcome the following new staff members:

Stephanie Balazsi is the new Upper School Administrative Assistant. Prior to joining PDS, Stephanie served as an executive assistant in the banking industry. She earned her BA from Bryant University.

Peter Boyer joined the Advancement office in May as the Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer. He is a graduate of Dwight-Englewood School and Drew University with a BA in Political Science and a two-sport athlete in soccer and basketball. Most recently, Peter was the Director of Annual Giving and Scholarship Giving at AIM Academy in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Christina DeCesare joins PDS as Associate Director of College Counseling. She has worked in a variety of college admissions offices and was most recently Associate Director of Admissions at Stevens Institute of Technology. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Ithaca College and a Master's Degree from New York University.

Michael (Mike) Johnson is the new Grounds/Landscape Foreman at the School. He holds two BAs from Cabrini College (History and Political Science), as well as both Associates and Bachelor's degrees in Ornamental Horticulture-Environmental Design from Delaware Valley College. Mike's most recent experience was as Gardener and Interpreter at Pennsbury.

Jason Keeley is the new Grounds Keeper at PDS. He was most recently at the Middletown, Pennsylvania Public Works department, and operated his own lawn services business for more than 15 years.

Kevin Lysick is the new Director of Facilities Operations at PDS. He was most recently at the Lawrenceville School, where he served as Senior Project Manager for Capital Projects. Prior to that, Kevin worked for the Stone House Group, a facilities consulting firm, where he filled various roles over the course of ten years including Project Manager and Operations Manager. He holds a BS from West Virginia University.

Rob Toole began at PDS on May 1 as Director of Safety & Security, upon his retirement from the Princeton Police Department, where he served for more than 30 years. For the final six years of his law enforcement career, Rob was a Lieutenant, overseeing the work of more than 20 officers. Rob holds an Associate's degree from Mercer County Community College and a Bachelor's from Rider University, as well as a Master's from Fairleigh Dickinson

Spencer Vining is the new Senior Network & Systems Administrator in the IT Department. He earned his BS from the University of Virginia and his MS from Columbia University. Before joining PDS, Spencer worked at the Hewitt School and the Chapin School in New York.

Welcome to our new faculty and staff!

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