Seamus launched his career as a mathematics teacher in the Palm Springs Unified School District in California, serving as a Grade 7 math teacher and spurring his students on to earn the highest scores in the district on California’s Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Returning east, Seamus spent a year with the Quaker Valley School District as a long-term substitute, teaching high school geometry, and then a year at Propel Hazelwood teaching mathematics to students in Grades 7 and 8. His goal as a teacher is to inspire students to be curious about math in an environment that is collaborative and in which it is safe to take risks.
Sewickley Academy: Resource Blog for Parents
We are pleased to welcome Joel to Sewickley Academy. Joel comes to us from the Ellis School, where he taught both Spanish and Latin having previously taught these languages at Winchester Thurston School. A polyglot who speaks Swedish in addition to Spanish and English, Joel revels in the study of language and the entrée such study provides into culture.
Joel holds the equivalent of a B.A. in Education in History and Spanish, from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Additional study includes coursework on the issues of Latin American masculinity at the Centro Bartolomé de las Casas in San Salvador, El Salvador; and Spanish Language and Literature, Ethnology, Philology, and History of Latin American Culture at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (Spain). When not engaged in language study, Joel enjoys playing ice hockey and guitar.
Chelsea is happy to return to the region after spending the last several years teaching middle school English at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville in Florida. In addition to her school-year teaching, Chelsea also taught for two summers with Rustic Pathways as a program leader in Thailand and Cambodia, building on her Rustic Pathways experiences as a volunteer in Costa Rica, Peru, and Cambodia.
A graduate of Shady Side Academy, Chelsea has a B.A. in Writing & Rhetoric and English, magna cum laude, from William Smith College in Geneva, New York. She also attended the Exeter Humanities Institute at Phillips Exeter where she was introduced to the Harkness method of instruction, which seeks to empower students to lead class discussions and take greater responsibility for their learning. Chelsea is a great believer that it is important for students to understand that their voices matter.
We are very pleased to welcome home Mary (Harbist) Brayer, Sewickley Academy Class of 2006! Mary went on from Sewickley Academy , where she was a star athlete and member of the Cum Laude Society, to the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After serving as a Summer Science Teaching Fellow at Phillips Andover, Mary was awarded a Science Teaching Fellowship at St. Paul’s School (New Hampshire), where she taught biology. Subsequently, Mary was a member of the science faculty for seven years at the Pingree School in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where she taught biology, chemistry, and AP environmental science.
In addition, Mary coached varsity field hockey and was the head coach of junior varsity lacrosse. She was also regularly recognized by her colleagues, who routinely nominated her to mentor faculty new to Pingree. Mary is delighted to be returning to Pittsburgh and her alma mater!
Heidi Murr joins the Performing Arts Department as our new dance teacher. Heidi has spent the last several years as a dance instructor and coordinator at Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School in Pittsburgh, where she developed their dance program from scratch. Skilled in modern, ballet, and jazz, Heidi has also been a guest artist at Shady Side Academy’s Junior School, working with students in their after school program. She is also the founder of her own Modern dance troupe, MURRdance, and has performed locally in the Kelly Strayhorn NewMoves Festival. Heidi holds a BFA in Dance, magna cum laude, from The Ohio State University.
Christy arrives at Sewickley Academy after nine years of teaching boys at St. Paul’s School for Boys in Brooklandville, Maryland. Earlier in her career, she taught girls at the St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virgina, teaching science as well as math. She is pleased to teach boys and girls together here as she joins the Senior School Math Department.
Robert "Bob" Allison arrived on Sewickley Academy's campus on May 13, 2019, from Washington & Jefferson College where he served as the Director of Human Resources. He started that role in 2013 and served as a Human Resources Specialist for seven years prior to that. As a complement to his extensive experience working at the college level, Bob also has corporate experience from his time at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., where he served in the local Pittsburgh office as a Human Resources Clerk and Recruiter.
Kate Mason joins Sewickley Academy from St. Edmund’s Academy, where she has served for the last eight years as a Lower and Middle School art teacher. Prior to that, Kate taught Middle and Senior School art in the Connellsville Area School District. She began her teaching career in the Avonworth School District. In addition to her school-based teaching experiences, Kate has also taught at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and the Braddock Creative Arts program, where she taught ceramics.
A graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, with a B.A. in Art Education, Kate went on to earn her Ed.M. in Art Education from Carlow University. She also holds the Pennsylvania Level II Teaching Certification in Art Education K-12. In her work with students in the art studios, Kate seeks to help students make connections with their learning from their academic courses. For her, learning in all subjects is connected. We are very glad to welcome Kate to the art studios of Sewickley Academy.
Sewickley Academy Head of School Kolia O'Connor read the following remarks to faculty and staff during the 2019-2020 Opening of School Meeting in August.
Topics: Head of School