Mount Vernon Staff

  • Main Office Staff 


    Regina Benavides
    Treasure and Principal's Administrative Assistant


    Mrs. Alfaro

    Gabriela Alfaro
    Registrar/Support Specialist



    Kiara Jenkins
    Dual Language English 

    Mrs. Jenkins, formerly known as Ms. Horton, graduated from Old Dominion University. She holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Education and is a certified EL teacher! She is a former student of MVCS! This is her eighth year teaching at MVCS. She is excited to be back in kindergarten, and is looking forward to working with her students and their families. When not working, Mrs. Jenkins enjoys spending time with her husband and family, traveling, going to church, and learning new ways to teach all of her students.


    Mary Huber

    Ms. Huber has been a kindergarten paraprofessional at MVCS since 2010. Her three children (21, 7, and 13 years old) all attended MVCS in the Dual Language Program. Before she became a parent, she and her husband spent many years teaching English overseas in countries such as Kenya, China and Japan. She loves to travel.


    Marta Garrido

    Ms. Garrido has been working at Mount Vernon for the past 23 years. For the last 11 years, she has been on the Spanish side of the Dual Language program.


    Laura Tompkins
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms.Tompkins thrilled to be teaching at MVCS as a kindergarten teacher!  From the ages of kindergarten to third grade she was a student at Mount Vernon and  graduated from TC Williams. She recently graduated from George Mason with a degree in Art History (focus in Northern Renaissance). In her spare time she enjoys hiking, cooking and visiting museums. 

    Jessica Windsor


    Yanira Guardado

    Ms. Guardado is from El Salvador. She has been working in kindergarten at MVCS for 14 years.



    Ms. Buten is from El Salvador and she graduated from Universidad Tecnológica. She has been teaching for twelve years. Her favorite part of teaching kindergarten is helping students to have a successful academic beginning.


    Cynthia Romero
    Dual Language Spanish

    Ms. Romero is excited to begin her sixth year at MVCS. Her family is originally from El Salvador and she has lived in Northern Virginia her whole life. Ms. Romero received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Hollins University. She looks forward to using her knowledge, strategies, and experiences to create successful, fun, and meaningful learning opportunities for each of her students. In her free time, Ms. Romero enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching Disney movies.


    Catherine Gajardo

    Almost everybody knows Ms. G, probably because she has been at MVCS for 22 years! Originally from Chile, Ms. G is a T.C. Williams graduate. She has a degree is Graphic Arts. Ms. G enjoys drawing, playing soccer, running and making her famous Chilean empanadas. Whenever she can, Ms. G travels to the beach and to Chile to visit her family

    Ms. Morciglio

    Wendy Morciglio
    Dual Language Spanish

    Ms. Wendy Morciglio was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has three wonderful children, her oldest daughter Natasha is 22, her second daughter Zuly is 13 and her son Adriel is 11. Ms. Morciglio has a bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood. She has 16 years of teaching experience, 13 of those were in New Jersey. Ms. Morciglio moved to Virginia 3 years ago and taught in Fairfax county in a Kindergarten Spanish immersion program. She looks forward to working in MVCS!

    Catherine Mora Roca

    Maria T. Mendez
    Dual Language English

    Ms.Méndez  has more than 22 years of experience, teaching in all grade levels. She has 16 years in Bilingual programs. She taught in Mexico, Spain, China and USA (Texas and Virginia). She loves culture and languages around the world.

    Mrs. Castro Garcia

    Lilianie Castro Garcia
    Dual Language Spanish

    Mrs. Castro is from Ceiba, Puerto Rico. She has two children 11yrs/6yrs, who are also part of the ACPS students.
    She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education K-3, Minor: Special Education and a master's degree in Education Teaching in Primary Level.

    She has 12 years of teaching experience in the Department of Education of Puerto Rico.

    She moved to Alexandria, VA 2 years ago with her family after Hurricane Maria hit the island. After 2 years of helping her husband and their children in the transition, she resumed her career again in the city that has been her home since they arrived from PR.

    Mrs. Castro is beginning her first year with the MVCS community as kindergarten teacher.


     Lauren Hollowell
    Kindergarten Teacher


    Grade 1 Teachers


    Romina Aspron
    Dual Language English and Spanish

    Ms. Aspron is ecstatic to be returning to her sixth year at MVCS! She graduated from Salisbury University, located in Maryland, with two bachelor's degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education as well as a master's degree in English-TESOL with K-12 certification. Prior to coming to MVCS, Ms. Aspron worked as a research assistant at Salisbury University in the Teacher Education Department. Her ethnic roots descend from Spain and Bolivia and she loves visiting both places during the summer. In her free time, Ms. Aspron loves traveling, going to the beach, being outdoors and spending time with her dog.


    Susan Medina
    Dual Language English

    Mrs. Medina (formerly Ms. Barnett) is entering her eighth year at MVCS, and 13th year of teaching.  She was born and raised in Alexandria! She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh, received her Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania and has her English as a Second Language certification from George Mason University.  Mrs. Medina loves to travel and spend time with family and friends, and trying new restaurants.  She loves being part of the MVCS community.


    Sylvette Domenech
    Dual Language Spanish

    Ms. Domenech is from Ponce, Puerto Rico. She earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education (K-3rd) from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She has more than 13 years of experience teaching lower elementary grades in the Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico school systems. While in D.C., she taught in dual language programs in both charter and public schools. She relishes in the chance to help students develop literacy skills and reading comprehension in her native tongue, Spanish. She especially enjoys helping low-achieving students reach new levels of reading. In her free time, she loves to spend time with son & two daughters.

    Karin Rentas-Colon
    Dual Language Spanish

    Mrs. Rentas is from Ponce, Puerto Rico. She earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and a master's degree in Elementary Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She has been teaching for more than 15 years in elementary grades in Washington D.C., West Virginia and Puerto Rico. She taught in dual language programs in both charter and public schools. Mrs. Rentas loves and enjoys teaching another language. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

    Jordan Moynihan
    Dual Language English

    Ms. Moynihan loves teaching at Mount Vernon and is thrilled to be starting her ninth year here as a second grade teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Elementary Education with a specialization in Art from the University of Mary Washington. She is currently continuing her education through a master's program at George Mason focusing on meeting the needs of English Language Learners. This year, she is excited to focus on literacy and language arts instruction to promote enthusiastic lifelong readers and writers. She is looking forward to another year continuing to collaborate with her dual language partner, Sr. Alfonso to encourage well-rounded, emerging bilingual learners.

    Ms. Cordorva Cordero

    Carolina Córdova
    Dual Language First Grade Teacher

    Ms. Córdova graduated from the University of Virginia in 2019, with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's in Elementary Education. Originally from Ecuador, she came to the U.S. for college and is now excited to join the Mount Vernon Community as a first grade teacher. Ms. Córdova is the eldest of three sisters, and loves her family and her two dogs: Timón and Sam. In her free time, she likes to work out, explore Virginia, read mysteries and volunteer in the community!


    Ms. Johnson

    Sarah Johnson
    First Grade Teacher

    My name is Sarah Johnson and this is my first year teaching first grade.  I graduated from UVA with my Master’s in Elementary Education and attending William and Mary for my undergraduate degree.  I’m originally from Richmond, VA.  When I’m not in the classroom, you can find me thrifting for children’s books, trying out a new restaurant, or spending time with family and friends. 



    Grade 2 Teachers 



    Jeryl Payne
    Dual Language English

    Ms. Payne has been teaching for 19 years in primary and middle schools in the United States and South Korea. She has taught second through seventh grades and has also been a science and social studies specialist at various schools. Ms. Payne is a highly qualified teacher with a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Reading from Virginia Tech and a certification in International Studies from George Mason University.


    Suzane Pfaff
    Dual Language English

    Hailing from Long Island, New York, Mrs. Pfaff is excited to be embarking on her 14th year of teaching with the 2nd grade this year! Mrs. Pfaff is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo and holds a master's degree in Education. An experienced "edu-tainer", Mrs. Pfaff is passionate about sparking student interest and promoting learning through memorable, meaningful, and inquiry based lessons. In her free time, she enjoys training service dogs for an organization that helps veterans. Her current service dog in training is an adorable Labrador Retriever named Boomer who goes everywhere with her outside of school. You may see Boomer around town and dressed in his working vest! He may be carrying a small basket in Target, retrieving a yoga mat at the gym, pressing elevator and street signal changing buttons, or accompanying Mrs. Pfaff out to dinner at any one of her favorite Shirlington restaurants.


    Olga Anderson
    Dual Language Spanish 

    Ms. Anderson has been teaching at Mount Vernon for the last 12 years. She is looking forward to exploring math, science, and literacy with her students this year.

    Debra Alleyne
    Dual Language English

     Ms. Alleyne-Jones has over 20 years of teaching experience. This is her third year in MVCS. She is currently working on my second masters in education. Her area of concentration is leadership and educational Policy. 

    Ms. Rodriguez

    Jessyka Rodriguez
    Dual Language Spanish

    Born in Puerto Rico, Ms. Rodriguez has 11 years of experience as a teacher. She has experience working with the Motessori method, also in Immersion in Spanish and has taught all grades. Her bachelor's degree is in K-3 and she has a master's degree in Special Education. Ms. Rodriguez likes theater and spending time with her family. 

    Ms. Needels

    Melanie Needels
    Dual Language English

    This is Mrs. Needels 23rd year at Mount Vernon and her 32nd year teaching. She has her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from The Catholic University of America. She enjoys reading, watching TV, going to concerts and sporting events (Go Nats!)and traveling with her husband, son and daughter-in-law. Mrs. Needels takes pictures and documents her memories by creating family scrapbooks. She has a cat named "Kitty".

    Sr. Alfonso

    Hector Alfonso
    Dual Language Spanish

    Sr. Alfonso is very glad to return to MVCS family as a full time 2nd Grade DL teacher. He is an experienced international teacher who has taught in his home country of Panama and here in the United States.  Sr. Alfonso earned his Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education (k-6) from Universidad de Panama, also a degree in Special Education LD/ED (PK-12) from Southeast Missouri State University, a Masters Degree in Teaching Spanish as Second Language and Its Culture from Universidad de Granada, Andalucía, Spain, and is currently working in his PhD. in Philosophy of Education, Curriculum and Instruction from Caribbean University in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He is a proud husband of former US Congressman Jim Kolbe and loving dad of a bichon frise called Preta. His motto is: “All students deserve high-quality educational opportunities!”

    Grade 3 Teachers

    Tanya Campos
    Dual Language Spanish

    This is Mrs. Campos’ 7th year teaching third grade and 4th year at Mount Vernon.  The majority of her family is originally from El Salvador and she has lived in Northern Virginia her whole life. Mrs. Campos has an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction and loves teaching math. In her free time, Mrs. Campos enjoys movies, puzzles, and trying new foods. 

    Ms. Martin

    Taylor Martin

    Mrs. Martin (formerly Ms. Hardwick) is starting her 7th year of teaching third grade and her fifth year at Mount Vernon. She grew up in Virginia Beach and recently made the move to Alexandria. She found her love of teaching through her high school/college job of teaching young students how to cook at The Young Chef Academy. She enjoys gardening, traveling, painting, and spending time with friends. She received a Bachelors degree in Education from Radford University.

    Denisse Bello
    Dual Language Spanish 

    This is Ms.Bello’s 3rd year officially teaching at MVCS.She is Peruvian but grew up in Virginia until she moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2009. While in Argentina, she studied Elementary Education and Educational Sciences. She is teaching Math and Science in 3rd grade at MVCS. She lives in Virginia with her parents, dog, and two brothers (out of 4). She loves playing soccer, swimming and walking with her dog.

    Maria Fletcher
    Dual Language English
    Ms.Fletcher has been teaching at MVCS since 1995. This is her 26th year in ACPS. She has a Master's in Education from George Mason and absolutely loves teaching children. She lives in Maryland with her daughter, her dog and a cat. Her daughter is the love of her life and graduated high school this past year. She loves bowling. She is also part of book club and enjoys good mysteries. 

    Priscila Elizondo
    Dual Language Spanish

    Srta. Elizondo has over 14 years of teaching experience at different levels of education. She's starting her 3rd year in MVCS, and is excited to be part of this great school family! She's originally from Texas, but was raised and lived most of her life in Mexico. Virginia is her second home since she moved here, 7 years ago. Part of her experience includes working as an ESL teacher in Mexico, Preschool teaching in Texas and Virginia, and tutor for students between 5 years old to adults in Spanish. She earned a bachelor degree in Early Childhood education to 6th grade, Bilingual Generalist, back in Texas on 2011. She loves to take pictures wherever she goes, hot weather, dancing, going to beaches, traveling, and to spend time with friends and family.

    Cecille Peace
    Dual Language English

    Mrs. Peace has over 22 years of experience in education.  Her career includes administrative positions at the school site and division level in Southern California and Baltimore City.  One of her first positions was as a teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School in ACPS.  Mrs. Peace returned to ACPS as the Testing Coordinator at John Adams Elementary School where the Dual Language Program and GLAD strategies got her attention.  She is excited to be teaching the English side of Grade 3 Dual Language which includes Language Arts and Social Studies.   Mrs. Peace and her US Air Force veteran husband, Dwight, celebrated 28 years of marriage. They have two sons, Ian,  medical student and Evan a college sophomore majoring in Business and Chinese.

    Grade 4 Teachers 

    Jessica Raugitinane
    Dual Language English

    Ms. Raugitinane grew up in Alexandria and is a graduate of ACPS. She studied at the University of Connecticut, where she obtained Bachelor degrees in Elementary Education, Spanish, and English, along with her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Ms. Raugitinane conducted her master's research in London, England, studied abroad in Seville, Spain, and taught English in Quito, Ecuador. She enjoys traveling and photographing her travels. Ms. Raugitinane has been a former 5th grade teacher in DCPS and will be entering her fourth year as a fourth grade teacher at Mt. Vernon.

    Alejandra Salazar Salame
    Dual Language English and Spanish

    Ms. Salazar Salame is excited to begin her eighth year at MVCS, and twelfth year in education. She holds an M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. from Oberlin College. She has two cats named Penny and Cass, and plays competitive roller derby.

    Mr. Dougherty

    Evan Dougherty
    Dual Language Spanish

    Mr. Dougherty is excited to be starting his 6th year at Mount Vernon, and 3rd year teaching 4th grade.  Prior to that, he was a long term sub for Arlington Public Schools at both Key and Claremont Immersion programs.  He is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he studied International Affairs and Spanish.  Outside of school, Mr. Dougherty enjoys reading, playing basketball, watching movies, cheering on the Bulldogs, and loves being an uncle to his four nieces and nephew. 

    Emily Porterfield
    Dual Language English

    This is is Ms.Porterfield's third year at Mount Vernon Community School and 23rd year in Alexandria City Public Schools.  When she it not at school, she  loves to read, stay fit, and fill up her passport.


    David Stewart
     Fourth Grade Teacher

    Mr. Stewart is excited to begin his 14th year teaching and his 1st year at MVCS! He was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Mount St. Mary's University where he received a Bachelors Degree in Communications and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. Mr. Stewart has spent the last 13 years teaching 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade in both Fairfax County and Charles County public schools. Married, with 2 boys, age 5 and 9, Mr. Stewart loves roller coasters, all Philadelphia sports teams, and most importantly spending time with friends and family.


    Ms. Moreno

    Xiomara Moreno
    Dual Language Fourth Grade Teacher

    Born in the Republic of Panama and raised in New York City should have described my personal and professional background. Instead, my husband and I relocated to Panama in 1995 to introduce our children (and me) to Panamanian culture.

    For the next 25 years, I worked at the International School of Panama as a Language Arts and Math teacher. Having studied Spanish at Fordham University with a minor in Biology provided me the experience for both jobs; however, I ultimately leaned towards Math and Science as the years progressed. Later, I worked at Balboa Academy, a US Embassy sponsored school as its High School Assistant Principal for four years.

    In 2019, my husband and I relocated to NYC. The greatest learning curve was to become reacquainted with teaching in the United States and at a Public School in NYC teaching Fourth Grade Math and Language Arts alongside an ICT (Special Ed.) Teacher. The experience was wonderful as it expanded my professional knowledge base. A final relocation steered my husband, a Construction Project Manager, to Virginia and here I am.

    My professional preparation includes: Permanent Teaching Certificate for NY State; Professional Teaching Certificate for Virginia; B. A. in Spanish Literature from Fordham University; M.S. in Education from CUNY at Lehman College, and a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. I enjoy learning how to improve student engagement, touching student and parent lives to enjoy the school journey of 12 years, and being a resource for my colleagues.

    Finally,I have three adult children: Javier Andres, Technical Sergeant in the Air Force (32 yrs); Jorge Emilio—Maritime Engineer and soon to complete Civil Engineering degree ( 28 yrs); and Tatiana, a Banker (23 yrs). Our family has also been blessedwith two grandchildren: Nathan Cole (2.5 yrs) and Katherine Elise ( 4 mos) who live in South Carolina.

    Grade 5 Teacher

    Stephanie Fischbeck
    Dual Language Fifth Grade Teacher

    Originally from California, Ms. Fishbeck fell in love with learning at an early age and knew she wanted to work in education.  After graduating from the education program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, she taught preschool for two years in California.  Ms. Fishbeck then took her love of language and learning in Spain where she taught English to children and adults while practicing her Spanish.  For the next twelve years, she worked as an ESOL lead for third, fourth and fifth graders here in Virginia.  Ms. Fishbeck is truly looking forward to being a part of the Mount Vernon community in its dual language classrooms!



    Daniel Kye
    Dual Language Spanish

    Born in South Korea, Mr. Kye spent his childhood in Madrid, Spain. A transplant from Long Island, New York, Mr. Kye is a alumni of the Teach for America corps (2004 NYC) where he began his journey as a classroom leader in the Bronx. Since then he has taught in Washington D.C. , Dominican Republic and most recently in Fairfax County Public Schools. Mr. Kye brings 14 years of teaching experience and he is looking forward to working with the ever so friendly and welcoming Mount Vernon Community this year.

    Christine Rose
    Dual Language Fifth Grade Teacher

    Christy Rose is new to Mount Vernon but comes with over 9 years of teaching experience. She is originally from Arizona but has worked in Togo, El Salvador, and Vietnam. Mrs. Rose earned her BS in Elementary Ed from Grand Canyon University in 1996, an MA TESOL from Northern Arizona University in 2003 and an MBA from Strayer in 2015. She is looking forward to a wonderful year working with our 5th graders.

    Ms. Phennicie

    Jill Phennicie
     Fifth Grade Teacher


    Ms. Hall

    Melissa Hall
    Dual Language Fifth Grade Teacher

    Ms. Hall is very excited to begin the school year at Mount Vernon Community School. She grew up overseas, moving every three years as the child of Foreign Service parents. She studied Elementary and Special Education and has had the pleasure of spending the last two years teaching in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with Peace Corps. During her free time she loves biking, baking and painting.

    Zachary Foote
    Fifth Grade Teacher




    Talented and Gifted


    Irene Arevalo

    Sra. Irene Arevalo was born in Lima, Peru and came to the U. S. in 1987. She got her elementary education degree from Universidad Católica del Peru and she got her masters at UVA. Sra. Arevalo taught at Key Elementary school in Arlington County before joining MVCC. She is married and has 6 kids.  Sra Arevalo enjoys cross stitch, cooking, traveling and reading in her free time.


    Ms. Koch

    Cindy Koch

    Ms.Cindy Koch comes to MVCS from Fairfax County Public Schools where she had been teaching gifted and talented students at the Advanced Academic Placement Center at Haycock Elementary School in McLean and White Oaks in Burke. She holds a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and has over 26 years of elementary teaching experience. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her 3 children, visiting the beach, reading, and all kinds of exercise.

    Special Education

    Ms. Avelar

    Marina Avelar

    Ms. Avelar graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish. She received her Master's in Special Education from Liberty University. Ms. Avelar looks forward to her third year at MVCS. In her free time she enjoys rooting for the Virginia Tech Hokies, spending time with family, friends, and her dog Kobe.

    Rebecca King

    Mrs. King is starting her 12th year of teaching. She has degrees from Georgetown University and George Mason University. Mrs. King is a native of Arlington but now lives in Alexandria with her husband and two children. She loves reading and being outdoors.

    Christine Willoughby

    Ms. Mauro is now Mrs. Willoughby! She is happily returning to Mount Vernon for her tenth year as a special education teacher. She is originally from New York (she misses New York style pizza), where she graduated from Hunter College with two master's degrees in Education. She is an avid bike rider and hiker who enjoys the outdoors.



    Erica Karapetyan

    Erica Karapetyan is excited to join the MVCS staff as a 1st grade Special Education Teacher. She was born and raised in Miami, FL, graduating from Florida International University. Erica has experience working with children and families in the Alexandria community through various organizations. In her free time, Mrs. Karapetyan enjoys weightlifting, cycling, and outdoor activities. 

    Lindsay Durant
    City Wide Program Special Education Teacher

    Ms. Durant is beginning her second year with the MVCS community as a K-2 Special Education teacher. She comes all the way from Massachusetts, home of her favorite sports teams. Ms. Durant received her bachelor's degree from Syracuse University (go Orange!) and her Master's and SpEd licensure from American International College. When she is not trying to fit "y'all" in conversation, she can be found reading outside or exploring her new commonwealth.

    Ms. Ventresca

     Alex Ventresca

    My name is Ms. Ventresca and I am very excited to become a 5th grade special education teacher this year! Ever since I was in second grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher but it wasn't until high school I became very motivated to start working with kids who have special needs.  Throughout high school and college I was involved in Best Buddies and always had a passion for working with people who have Autism. Growing up I lived in Columbus, Ohio and just recently moved to Arlington, Virginia. I majored in Special Education and Elementary Education at Indiana University where I received my Bachelors degree.  During my free time I am usually in the kitchen trying my hand at making up a new recipe or following one of the many that I have come to love, growing up in an Italian family.  I also enjoy traveling around the world and exploring all of the things that Arlington and the DC area have to offer.

    English Learners (EL)

    Martha Curtin 

    Ms. Curtin possesses a Master's degree in English as a Second Language education, and is in her 5thth year of teaching EL. She learned to speak Spanish in school, and is therefore passionate about Dual Language Education. Ms. Curtin adores teaching kindergarten and is excited to be working with the kinder team at Mount Vernon. 


    Alexa Haynie
    Grade 1 

    Ms. Haynie is a native of Long Island, New York and graduated from James Madison University as an English Second Language teacher. She pursued her passion of traveling and her love of Spanish by teaching at a bilingual school in Madrid, Spain. Ms. Haynie returned to the United States and began her graduate degree at George Mason University in Special Education. Previously, Ms.Haynie taught in New York and Arlington, however, this is her 3rd year in ACPS and she looks forward to inspiring her students to succeed. She enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors and loves the beach. 


    Katherine Cook
    Grade 2

    This is Ms.Cook's fifth year as a 2nd grade EL teacher. She grew up in Alexandria and is an alumni of T.C. Williams High School. Ms. Cook graduated from Old Dominion University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Sports Management, she then graduated from George Mason University with a Masters in Education in 2017, and is currently working on a Masters in Reading through UVA. She loves sports and coaches girls lacrosse and field hockey at T.C. Williams. In her free time she also loves to read, travel, hike, and spend time with family and friends. Ms. Cook, or Ms. Cookie as all the kids call her, cannot wait for another fantastic year teaching!

    Sherine Hadsell
    Grade 1 and 2

    Mrs. Hadsell will be entering her 15th year of teaching at Mount Vernon. Formally, a kindergarten teacher, Ms. Hadsell is an EL teacher in 1st and 2nd grade and very excited for the new opportunity. Mrs. Hadsell spent her childhood living in the Middle East, and dreams about one day taking a trip down memory lane and visiting. In her "spare time" Mrs. Hadsell chases around her toddler and also has a 1yr old son. She loves working at Mount Vernon and looks forward to another great year!


    Andrew Joiner
    Grade 3

    As an ELL teacher, Mr. Joiner has worked in all grade levels, K-5. He is thrilled to be returning to third grade in his 11th year at Mount Vernon. He earned his bachelor's degree in Psychology from The George Washington University and his master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. During his free time, he enjoys watching movies, reading, and traveling. 


    Anna Santos
    Grade 3

    Ms. Santos has been teaching for 15 years. She has taught preschool and second grade both in the Philippines and the United States. She is excited to be the EL teacher of the third grade students this year. Ms. Santos finished her graduate degree in Bowie State University. When she is not in school, Ms. Santos enjoys travelling, reading and watching movies.


    Jasmine Dawson
    Grade 4

    Ms. Dawson, a product of the Alexandria City Public Schools, is excited for her 23rd year with ACPS and her 20th year at Mount Vernon Community School. She holds a master's degree from Saint Michael's College (Winooski, VT) in Teaching Second Language Learners and is currently completing a Master's of Reading at the UVA Curry School of Education. She looks forward to working with this cohort of students who she also supported in first grade.



    Casey Weir
    Grade 5

    Mr. Weir grew up in Alexandria, attending Maury, Lyles-Crouch, George Washington, Minnie Howard, and T.C. Williams. He went on to James Madison University, where his undergraduate studies concentrated on philosophy and religion. At JMU, he enthusiastically learned about different modes of thought and belief from across the world. During the summer of 2015, Mr. Weir completed his graduate studies and earned a master's degree in international education, with a focus on curriculum and instruction for learners of English as a second language. He joined Mount Vernon in November of the same year. Mr. Weir enjoys playing guitar, cruising on his longboard, and running on the beach.


    Ms. Brodsky

    Sarah Brodsky 
    Grade 5

    Ms. Brodsky is an ninth year teacher at Mount Vernon.. She previously taught English in Spain to first through sixth grade students. She graduated from Connecticut College, where she was a member of the women's crew team. Ms. Brodsky earned her master's degree in Multicultural Education from George Mason University. In her spare time Ms. Brodsky likes to read, hike, travel, and do craft projects.

    Ms. Hilditch

    Sheri Hilditch

    Ms. Hilditch begins this year with 27 years of teaching experience (kindergarten and first grade), a Master’s degree in the diverse learner, and an EL certificate.  She is excited to use this knowledge and experience in her new role as the K-2 Instructional Coach.


    Instructional Support Team

    Amanda Reynolds

    Mrs. Reynolds has lived in Virginia her whole life. She has 13 years of experience in immersion programs and is excited to collaborate with the amazing Mount Vernon Community School teachers to support students in her role as instructional coach. She and her husband have two young children and a dog. Mrs. Reynolds enjoys gardening, baking, and reading.


    Laura Annett
    Instructional Support

    Ms. Annett has been a school counselor for 19 years in Virginia and in Honduras.  Most of her work has focused on supporting elementary aged children and their families.  Ms. Annett earned a degree in Psychology from James Madison University and a Master's of Education in Community Counseling from The College of William and Mary.  Ms. Annett holds a license as a Professional Counselor in the State of Virginia. 

    Ms. Waters

    Christine Waters

    Mrs. Waters is so excited to start her 17th year at ACPS working with the scientists at MVCS!  She is a native of Northern Virginia and holds a BS from Longwood University and a MA from George Mason University.  She loves supporting students as they investigate and explore the world around them.  At home Mrs. Waters enjoys cooking, running, and spending time with her son and daughter.

    Lisa Bryson
    Read. Interventionist

    Ms. Bryson loves teaching and has worked at MVCS for more than 22 years. Each day is precious because it provides a new opportunity to encourage a child towards his or her endless possibilities. 

    Ms. Cabrera

    Denise Cabrera

    My name is Denise Cabrera, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, I am married and have a beautiful daughter.I love to travel, read and spend time with my family. I have a BA in K-3 Elementary Education, an M.Ed. with a concentration in Literacy Reading Specialist and I am currently continuing my education through a PhD in Philosophy in Education with a specialty in Curriculum and Teaching. I have 8 years of experience as a teacher, experience working with Spanish Immersion Programs and writing curriculum.


    Occupational Therapist

    Sheri Gilman

    Mrs. Gilman begins her twelfth year at ACPS having worked in a variety of settings in the United States and in Tokyo, Japan. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University Boston School of Occupational Therapy.  Mrs. Gilman loves to travel and spend time with her family.  She loves to read and enjoys creating “Ikebana” flower arrangements. Mrs. Gilman loves training and caring for her Golden Retriever named  “Kodo”.




    Sara Lovelace


    Ms. Lovelace is excited to be starting her 9th year teaching visual art here at MVCS! She is an Alexandria native who enjoys living, working, and being part of her community here in Del Ray. Ms. Lovelace holds a B.F.A. in Painting from Savannah College of Art & Design, and a M.A.T. in Art Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, with a focus on Multilingual & Multicultural Education, both from George Mason University. In summer 2019, Ms. Lovelace was chosen as an NEH Summer Scholar from a national pool of applicants to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute “Discovering Native Histories Along the Lewis & Clark Trail,” where she travelled for 3-weeks with a group of K-12 teachers through Montana and North Dakota, learning about Indigenous perspectives of Lewis & Clark’s journey, as well as the importance of incorporating Native voices into our teaching and our view of history. She is excited to share what she has learned on this life-changing trip with both students and teachers. When she is not teaching or learning, Ms. Lovelace enjoys creating her own mixed media artwork, listening to audiobooks & podcasts, spending time with friends and family, and exercising. Ms. Lovelace views art as an innate, healing skill in each person, and admires the artwork of her students for their honesty, confidence, and bravery. Her degrees include: Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Painting from Savannah College of Art & Design; Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Art Education from George Mason University; Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum & Instruction, with a focus on Multilingual & Multicultural Education from George Mason University.



    Sergio Sierra

    Sr. Sierra originates from Mexico. He is starting his 5th year as art teacher at Mount Vernon Community School. He previously worked for 9 years in the ESL department in Arlington County. He holds a BFA in Visual Arts from Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, Mexico. He is also an active exhibiting artist under the pseudonym “Sergio Olivos.” He currently exhibits widely nationally and internationally. Together with his wife, he has been involved in the local arts community with various projects through his private studio, varying from working with youth at risk to leading workshops for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to painting backdrops scenery for local theater and dance companies and several mural paintings in schools in the DC area. His work can be found in private and public collections across the DC are as well as places like Mexico, Chile, England Australia, Japan and others. As an Artist Educator Sr. Sierra believes that creativity is fundamental for the healthy development of children and learning to appreciate art can help create a better world.


    Nilda Rivera
    Library Media Specialist

    Mrs. Nilda Rivera was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She studied to be a teacher first, then later decided to study to become a Librarian.  Mrs. Rivera has been working in elementary education as both a teacher and librarian for 17 years. This is her sixth year teaching at Mount Vernon. She is very excited to continue enriching the Dual Language program by supporting with lessons, activities and resources in Spanish and English.

    Lorraine Rios
    Library Clerk

    Christopher Loza
    Physical Education

    Mr. Loza has been teaching health and physical education for seven years. This is his second year with ACPS. He will be at John Adams on Wednesday and Thursday. He will be at MVCS Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Mr. Loza graduated from George Mason University and grew up in Falls Church, Va. Some of his hobbies include Brazilian Jiu jitsu, cars and watching his favorite team...the Dallas Cowboys!


    Tracy Tiernan
    Physical Education

    Ms. Tiernan has been teaching physical education at Mount Vernon for 21 years. She is the mother to a beautiful little girl who keeps her busy and active. She enjoys bowling and playing softball and being at the pool or beach. She loves teaching and sharing her love of sports and activity with her students. Ms. Tiernan is a product of ACPS and is proud to have returned as an educator at the school she attended in kindergarten. 



    Denise Swanberg

    Ms. Swanberg will begin her 8th year at Mount Vernon. She has a bachelor's degree in Music Education from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is certified in Orff Schulwerk, a music teaching method that includes movement, singing, playing instruments, and improvisation. She firmly believes all students have the gift of music in them and wants to inspire them to a lifetime of enjoying and creating music. In her spare time she enjoys writing songs and performing at local venues across the DMV area. 

    Virgilio Joven
    Mr. Joven is entering his 23rd year at ACPS. He has a BM and MM degree from the Juilliard School. 

    Ms. Quesada- Saylor

    Jessica Sayler-Quesada
    Vocal Music

    Sra. Quesada has been teaching general music classes and directing the MVCS Chorus since 2016.  Before joining the MVCS team she taught both music and English as a foreign language for 19 years in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain where she was also the director and teacher-trainer of a regional language learning center. Sra. Quesada grew up in southern Pennsylvania and Minnesota and graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both K-12 vocal choral music education and Spanish language studies. She is passionate about travel and world cultures and she enjoys exploring new places in Virginia and DC with her husband and two daughters in their free time.

    Paul Bratcher

    Mr. Bratcher is entering his 4th year teaching at MVCS.  He has as B.S. in Music Education from Messiah College and a M.M. in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University.  He is an active performer touring and teaching all over the world.  He is also Associate Chair of Piano at Levine Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Georgetown University. 

    Student Support Team

    Zaida Morales
    School Counselor (K-2)

    Mrs. Morales was born in Texas and raised in Northern Virginia. She holds degrees in Psychology and a Master of Education with a concentration in School Counseling from George Mason University. She has worked at ACPS since 2012. Mrs. Morales loves reading nonfiction books, spending time with her family, and hanging out in the sun. 

    Yolanda Smith
    School Counselor (3-5)

    Andrew Intagliata
    School Psychologist
    Mr. Intagliata is bilingual and has been at MVCS since 2011. He provides academic and behavioral consultation with teachers, staff, and parents as well as assessment and counseling services for students. Mr. Intagliata obtained a Masters and Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is certified by the National Association of School Psychologists.

    Michelle Shimizu
    Social Worker

    Mrs. Shimizu earned her Masters of Social Work from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and is a Certified Trauma Specialist.  She has 18 years of experience in providing services to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs for both documented and undocumented adolescents and their families.  Mrs. Shimizu is the product of a military family; therefore, lived in Japan, Germany, Puerto Rico, and multiple states within the United States. Mrs. Shimizu is excited to support all the students and the faculty of MVCS as the school social worker



    Rosa Landeros
    Bilingual Parent Liaison
    Ms. Landeros has been delighted to be a Bilingual Parent Liaison at MVCS for the past 17 years. Originally from Mexico City, she received her social worker education there. Her personal and professional background helps her support and advocate for individuals and families. She sits on the board of the Parent Leadership Training Institute which educates parents to be active in community and government issues for the benefit of children. Ms. Landeros is the proud mother of two young adults. She enjoys spending time with her family.


    Lisa Clausen
    School Nurse
    Ms. Clausen is an alumna of ACPS and T.C. Williams, as are her husband and three of her four children. Her education includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia School of Nursing and a MS in nursing from Old Dominion University. Ms. Clausen has worked in a variety of positions as a nurse/nurse practitioner since 1980. She joined the MVCS staff in 1997 and worked full-time for the majority of time since then. She was the 2017 recipient of the Flora Krause Casey award given to recognize an individual who has made a significant impact on public health and well-being (physical, behavioral, mental, and oral health) within the City of Alexandria. 

    Ms. Cherry

    Katie Cherry
    Technology Integration Specialist

    Rebekah Farrar
    Speech Language

    Ms. Farrar is beginning her sixth year as a speech-language pathologist and her fourth year at MV. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Speech and Hearing Science and Spanish from the University of Buffalo. She also holds a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from SUNY Buffalo State and her bilingual extension from Teachers College Columbia University.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and cheering for the Buffalo Bills! 




    Nancy Avila
    Mrs. Avila served as a substitute in Alexandria City Public Schools for nine years. She has been full-time as a Targeted Adult Assistant with students for six years, with this being her second year at MVCS. She has two children in college - Michelle graduated George Mason University, and Eric is in his 2nd year at NOVA. Mrs. Avila goes on bike rides, walks with her husband and enjoys doing things with her family.

    Tara Jackson
    Mrs. Jackson is originally from North Carolina. She attended E.C.S.U and graduated with a a BA in Sociology Social Work. She has been with ACPS since 1997. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her son and husband as well as other family members and friends.


    Naomi Willis

    Hsi- Juhuang

    MS. Hsi-ju Huang, is a paraprofessional and also works as a nurse for our special education program students. She has a bachelor degree in nursing from Kaohsiung Medical university, which is located in Taiwan. This will be her third school year working at ACPS.

    Salih Amani

    Ms. Todd

    Lakeisha Todd

    Mrs. Todd is starting her third year at MVCS as a Special Education Paraprofessional. She recently graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Psychology. Go Dukes! As a newlywed, Mrs. Todd enjoys traveling to new places with her husband. She also enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, playing football and tennis, shopping, and learning as much as she can about the field of psychology.

    Fahima Belaid

    Cinnamon Baker

    Sabrina McCree