Entering Faculty 2019-2020

Monday, June 3, 2019

We are excited to introduce new faculty that will join us on campus this summer and fall. Waterford faculty is composed of passionate and dedicated educators—experts in their fields. They are exceptional individuals who deliver on the Waterford mission and embody the Waterford core values, and the new faculty and staff members are anxious and prepared to join the Waterford family. 

MATTHEW ADAMS - English Teacher

Mr. Adams joins us in the English Department from San Diego, California, where he has worked as a Humanities teacher. Mr. Adams has a BA in Linguistics and German from UC Irvine, an MA in German from Georgetown University, and an MA and PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University. 

Matthew Adams

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

I've always loved learning and self-teaching. I feel very comfortable in a classroom and enjoy the spirit of academic discourse. Teaching presents a daily opportunity to have communion with students and thinkers, and it provides for a life of the mind coupled with a social purpose: to help others grow alongside me.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I love hiking, backpacking, and tinkering with Linux-related projects (data curation, personal knowledge management, home servers). My wife and I enjoy reading, cooking Korean food, and finding beautiful spots in the American West to explore.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

I'm relocating to join the Waterford English faculty. I'm looking forward to backpacking and hiking more consistently, and the Wasatch seems so inviting! My wife wants to take me skiing, because I've never been on skis in my life. I felt welcomed by the Waterford students, faculty, and staff when I visited, and I love the mission that Waterford establishes for its community.

Best book you read this year/summer?

2666 by Roberto Bolaño​

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

Working with Paul Kiparsky, a Stanford linguist, fundamentally changed how I think about language, linguistic research, and poetics.


ANNOR BENSON - History Teacher & Reading/Writing Tutor

Ms. Benson is a long-time Waterford parent and a long-time MS/US reading tutor, who will now join us in the history department as well. She has a BA in History and Secondary Education from University of Northern Colorado, and  has over 15 years of teaching experience. 

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

I played a lot of teacher as a child and everyone told me I should be a teacher in my teen years, which meant as a teenager I ignored the advice.  I started college as a journalism and political science major with the intent to go to produce broadcast news and then maybe go to law school, but I hated the invasion of privacy of others that journalism required and as a result I came to teaching in the worst kind of educational way:  procrastination. I had a photo assignment due on a Tuesday and on the Sunday before with no digital photography and before one-hour processing, I had not started. So I went in to my advisor Monday and dropped the class and changed my major to education as my journalism advisor astutely observed, “but, they’re teachers over there,”  to which I responded “yes, that’s what I want to be.” I then had to transfer schools to find a good education program and found one that piloted social studies specific methods courses throughout the program, and I have never looked back. 

As drastic as this was and as embarrassing as it is to admit, I also believe this is why I find I am so interested in and effective with students who lack motivation, skills, and executive function processes to succeed because I lived it.  I was a smart kid but a terrible student, which is why I strive to not just teach content but also how to approach and do hard things, academically and otherwise.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I love to ski in the winter and like to grow vegetables in the summer.  I train year-round in Taekwondo and am a third degree black belt with emphasis in tactical self-defense. With the precious free time I have, I enjoy playing board games, going on road trips, and camping with my kids.

What is your favorite dessert?

Homemade pie of any kind with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Where is your hometown?

Muscatine, IA (the only place where the Mississippi River runs east and west...otherwise known as the “nostril of Iowa” even through Mark Twain loved our sunsets)

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

My first teaching mentor, Diane Rae, is amazing.  She actually went to the same small Iowa high school as my father in the 1960’s which we found out when I student taught at Capital High School.  She taught internationally, was the first woman to teach social studies at Capital, was widowed, played soccer late in life because she went to high school before Title IX, carried the torch on the way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympics, mentored me in teaching and union representation, was my roommate for awhile and taught me to play bridge.  She is a trailblazer and a constant source of unwavering support.


BETTY BIENERT - Chinese Teacher

Ms. Bienert joins us in the World Languages Department. She joins us with a BA from Changchun University in China, and over a decade of teaching experience. 

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

My father is a music professor in China and my mother is an early childhood educator, so I suppose teaching is in my blood!  My early career was in business, but once I had children, it became important for me to teach them their heritage and how to speak to their Chinese grandparents.  I had the chance to take this personal passion to my professional life when the headmaster of our children’s school asked me to take over their Chinese program, and becoming a full-time teacher was the best career decision I’ve ever made.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I love traveling with my family. Whether it’s a well-planned trip to another continent or a last minute road trip, I enjoy going to new places, meeting new people, and trying new cuisines.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

My husband took a new role at a local technology company.  He commuted to Salt Lake City for a year, while our older daughter finished her senior year of high school, and now we are excited to have the family together full-time in our new home in Utah.

Where is your hometown?

I grew up in Changchun, China, about 5,000 miles from Salt Lake City.  Although Changchun means “Long Spring,” Changchun is known for heavy snow and long, 40-below-zero winters.  Because of its location, the city has a fairly unique history, with Manchurian, Japanese, Russian, and Korean cultures influencing the town.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, we adopted “Jake” from a shelter in Phoenix last year. He is a 75 lb teenager with lots of energy, and we can’t wait to see how he reacts to his first winter with snow.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memory is spending Chinese New Year with my family in China.  It’s like Thanksgiving and Christmas combined, with days of family gatherings, hours-long banquets, and special TV programs.  As midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve, we all gather to eat dumplings and set off fireworks for good luck.


SAM SATHER BROGNA - Class I Teacher

Sam SatherMs. Sather Brogna joins us in the Lower School with a Master's of Arts in Teaching from Westminster College. She also has a BS in Communications from the University of Utah and a Communications Design degree from California College of Arts & Crafts, and has transitioned from corporate communications to teaching. 

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

How:
As a previous communications professional, my life changed considerably when I had my son and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. At the time I was living on Bainbridge Island in Washington State and it was during those years that my desire to pursue a teaching career began to germinate. My community included many different caregivers who were very interested in child development and in exploring the many paths for laying a foundation for a love of learning. That time, coupled with days spent with children exploring in the Grand Forest, picking wild berries, or playing on the beach uncovered a passion in myself to become a teacher. Over the last decade, I have dedicated myself to becoming a highly-skilled teacher. As a lifelong learner, I have immersed myself in many educational settings and have had many opportunities to serve in a variety of different schools and classrooms.

Why:

Witnessing the ah-ha moments and realizing that children are natural scientists and artists. Children constantly remind me about the joy that curiosity and discovery bring to our lives. I feel deep gratitude to be a teacher.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Outside of the classroom, I spend as much time as I can with my son Kehoe in the outdoors, in all weather, away from the city as much as possible. I savor reading a good book and enjoying the people I love by sharing dinners/going camping/traveling/tacking projects together. 

Best book you read this year/summer?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 

Do you have a favorite dessert?

Mudpie with homemade hot fudge topping 

Do you have a pet? 

YES! Suki. She is a mini Australian Shepherd (who doesn't mind me at all)


BRENDA BUTCHER - LS/MS/US Dance TeacherBrenda Butcher

Ms. Butcher has a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah. She joins us with 13 years of dance teaching experience and has recently been teaching with Waterford Dance Academy. She joins us with extensive dance and fitness experience. 

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?  

I got into teaching dance when I was 16 years old. I started a small studio in my parents basement, it was a great learning experience for me.  My favorite part of this job was creating small recitals for the students to show their dancing.  

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I love Pilates, yoga, meditation, hiking, and the day spa! 

What is your favorite dessert?

My favorite dessert is ice cream.  

Best book you read this year/summer? 

The best book I read this summer, My Stroke of Insight by Dr, Jill Bolte Taylor.

What is your favorite childhood memory? 

My favorite childhood memory is spending summers on the lake in McCall Idaho.


DEVON CALLENS - Science Teacher

Ms. Callens joins us in the Science Department with 5 years of teaching experience in Science and Math. 

Devon CallensWhy and/or how did you get into teaching?  

Seven years ago I was coaching athletics for a private school in Oklahoma while working as an engineer, and I began tutoring my athletes after practice. I quickly discovered that those 3 hours of the day were the highlight of each day, and decided to make a career change. The school hired me on full time that spring, and I've never looked back.  

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I enjoy being outside. I grew up in the mountains and love spending time playing in them. My interests range from basic hikes to water skiing and snow skiing. During many of these activities I am accompanied by my husband, Kyle, and German Shepherd, Bailey. Finally, I love spending time with friends and family. 

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah? 

I am originally from the Pacific Northwest, and my husband is from Texas. We have an enormous amount of family in the area, and we've spent many holidays out here in the past 10 years. Utah seemed to be the perfect mix of activity, family and fun for us to settle down. 

Best book you read this year/summer? 

I really enjoyed reading Lessons From a Third Grade Drop Out by Rick Rigsby. It is filled with insightful wisdom and peppered with some truly enjoyable humor. 

Do you have a pet? 

We do! We have three pets. I have had two cats for 10 years, and they, of course, rule the roost. We also got a dog four years ago. Her name is Bailey and she is a German Shepherd. She has loved the move to Utah and the opportunity for more activity and less heat. 


ERICA COOPER - English Teacher

An alum of Waterford School, Ms. Cooper returns to Waterford to the English Department. She has been teaching for the last four years locally, after graduating from Utah State University with a BA in English Teaching. 

EricaCooper

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

I went into teaching because I have always loved learning. Teaching is a profession where I get to continue to grow and learn everyday.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my dog, doing Crossfit, reading, and napping.

Best book you read this year/summer?

The best book I've read recently is called Augustown by Kei Miller.

Do you have a pet?

I have a four-year-old lab/border collie mix named Oliver.

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

I met a Catholic nun on a bus to Madrid. 


KYLIE GECI - Lower School Music Teacher

Kylie GeciWhy and/or how did you get into teaching?

Since 5th grade I knew I wanted to have a career in music! I had a very inspiring elementary music teacher that always encouraged me to perform. I started my college career focusing on music performance, but later decided that instilling music in children, like my music teacher did, was the real path that was meant for me.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

Being from a rural part of Pennsylvania, I have always wanted to relocate to explore. I visited Utah in the winter of 2019 to ski, and decide I had to come back and make it my home!

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?

I like to stay active by mountain biking, skiing and hiking. I also enjoy performing at small venues singing and playing the guitar or piano. Recently I have been trying learn new recipes and cook more often! 

What is your favorite song or album? 

Being a music teacher this is a tough question, but I would have to say I love Maggie Roger's latest album, “Heard it in a Past Life.”

Favorite childhood memory? 

I have some very fond memories of spending time with my large extended family at my Grandmother's farm. We would often sled ride, hike to the “Big Rock” (nothing compared to the mountains here!) and have Sunday dinners every week to celebrate birthdays.


KENT HERCULES - Director of Auxiliary Programs

Mr. Hercules returns to Waterford School, where he taught from 1992-2010. He joins the Administration enthusiastically ready to further implement the Strategic Plan through auxiliary programs here at Waterford. Mr. Hercules graduated from BYU and has done extensive traveling around the world. If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah? 

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom?

I love to hike, run, cycle, camp and do anything outside. I also love to study maps, write music, do anything sports related, learn languages, watch shows about Zombies, and play with grandchildren.

Best book you read this year/summer?

My favorite book of the this year has been "Where the Crawdads Sing", by Delia Owens. 

Where is your hometown?

I can't decide if my home town is Miami, Lugano (Switzerland), Sandy, Kansas City, Brussels, Strasbourg, or Dallas. But I think it is either Dallas or wherever Tracie is.

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

Two years ago, on the top of a mountain during a blustery storm, my son and I met Carol Masheter, the oldest person to climb to the top of the highest peak on each of the seven continents. I had to almost run to keep up with this woman in her seventies.

Favorite childhood memory?

A favorite memory for me is sitting up in a tree in my back yard in Kansas City with my best friend, Michael, when Mom came outside and announced that we were going to move to Texas in a few weeks. It was equal parts thrilling and horrifying. It was when I learned how change invigorates, but hurts.


ANNE INNIS - History Teacher

Ms. Innis joins us in the History Department with a Master's in Education from Utah Sate University and BA in Spanish and Communications from Lycoming College. She joins us with over a decade of experience in education. 

Anne InnisWhy/how did you get into teaching? 

I found teaching as a profession by accident. Shortly after graduating with a B.A. in Spanish I received a phone call from a middle school principal in need of a long term substitute Spanish teacher who could start immediately. I interviewed and began teaching within a week. I never looked back. A few years into my career, I moved to teaching history as I realized that being an educator allowed me to include my fascination with colonialism and secret love of European history into my everyday life. Teaching history led me to Utah in pursuit of graduate education, and I am currently in the dissertation writing phase of a Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Outside of the classroom I enjoy tending my ever expanding backyard garden, reading feminist and indigenous histories, and road tripping with my family and our adventure loving dog

Best book you read this year/summer?

Two books that my top reading list are Pipestone: My Life at an Indian Boarding School by Adam Fortunate Eagle and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Where is your hometown? 

When not enjoying the mountains of Utah, I like to return to the mountains of rural Pennsylvania, where my parents still live in the log cabin in which I grew up.


MISSY JOHNSON - MS/US Counselor

Ms. Johnson relocates back to Utah after finishing up her PhD in Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also has a BS from BYU and has extensive experience working with students. 

Missy Johnson

Why/how did you get into psychology? 

 I have always enjoyed working with kids and teenagers and wanted a job working with those ages. I also have seen the impact psychological support and help can have on people's lives and wanted to be able to provide that support for others. 

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Two of my biggest passions are Broadway shows and travel. I love musical theater and try to see as many shows as possible. Travel is another passion of mine and I try to explore new places any chance I get, both internationally and around the USA. 

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

I am relocating back to Utah after spending 7 years on the East Coast working and for graduate school. My family is from Utah and I missed the mountains! 

Favorite Dessert?

My favorite dessert is pie. Any and all kinds of pie, although I'm particularly a fan of berry pies. 

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

Zachary Levi


SHANNON LECHNER - Class III Teacher

Ms. Lechner joins our Lower School with a BS from Penn State University and a Master's in Education from the University Exeter, Exeter, England. She joins us most recently from the Landon School in Maryland. 

Shannon LechnerWhy/how did you get into teaching? 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be a teacher. After I graduated from college, I traveled abroad to England and received my Master’s degree in Education from the University of Exeter.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

I love to play lacrosse, go on adventurous hikes, and read on the beach. Since moving to Utah, I will also be spending a lot of time skiing!

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

I never had the opportunity to live out west. I love nature and being outdoors, so Utah seemed like the perfect place to live.

What is your favorite album/song?

I LOVE country music! My favorite song is Springsteen by Eric Church, and I love too many albums to just choose one.  

Do you have a pet?

I have a yellow lab and his name is Duke. He is a 90 pound rescue dog and absolutely loves going to the park to run around and play with other dogs!


JOANNE PRICE - Kindergarten Teacher

Joanna PriceMs. Price, beloved Waterford teacher, rejoins the Lower School with nearly 15 years of teaching Elementary Education at Waterford. 

Why/how did you get into teaching? 

My choice to become a teacher was likely influenced by my dad, a professor at Purdue University, and my mom, who received her BS in education from Utah State University. Although they never promoted education as a career, our home was filled with books, conversations about current events, and lots of office supplies.

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Outside of the classroom I love to read, travel and spend time with family.

Where is your hometown?

I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana and still love the sight of fireflies, rivers, and mile upon mile of corn fields.

Do you have a favorite dessert?

My favorite dessert (or snack or beverage!) is anything chocolate.

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

The most interesting person I’ve met is my mom who lived from the Model-T era into the computer age and and still maintained a clear view of her place in the world. She was witty, intelligent, kind, endlessly patient and loving.


MATTHEW ROBERTSON - LS Music Teacher

Mr. Robertson joins us as a specialist in Lower School with over 5 years of experience as Music Teacher and Choir Director.  He has a Master's of Science from Wheelock College and a Master's of Music from the University of Utah. 

Why and/or how did you get into teaching?

I received a lot of musical training as a youth, and then got a graduate degree in child development and worked in early intervention in Boston before changing careers and going into business. I worked for about 20 years as a trainer for a few different Fortune 500 companies, but during that whole time I longed to get back to teaching and more deeply into music. In 2013 an opportunity arose to get my Masters in Choral Conducting, and I've been teaching ever since. I can't even put into words how much I enjoy working with students, and I feel especially lucky to be joining the faculty at Waterford.

If you are relocating, what brings you to Utah?

I moved back to Utah with my family from the Pacific Northwest in 2013 to pursue grad school in music and to get into teaching. We still miss Washington, but Utah is wonderful.

What is your favorite album?

Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Kraus

Best book you read this year/summer?

Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson

Do you have a pet?

We have a cat named Maisy. She is sweet but frankly not very bright. But we love her. And my daughter has a pet wolf spider. I can't really explain that one.

Most interesting person (famous or not) that you've met?

Hard to say—I'll go with my Aunt Marian Robertson-Wilson. She passed away several years ago, but this woman held three PhDs (music, French, and Arabic), spoke over 20 languages fluently and was conversant in many others, lived in Egypt for several years and could read hieroglyphs, was one of the world's foremost experts on ancient Coptic music, played the cello professionally, and was a published author in several languages and countries.

Favorite childhood memory?

Going to watch my dad conduct the orchestra for musicals at Promised Valley Playhouse. I would sit on the front row and he would lift me into the orchestra pit as soon as the show was over, and then we would go out for hot dogs and root beer floats. Good times.


ANDREW SWINDLE - Director of Advancement

Andrew Swindle 2Mr. Swindle joins the Administration from the Development Office at the University of Utah, College of Engineering. He has a BA in Spanish from the University of Utah and brings years of experience. 

Why/how did you get into education? 

Although I am not a teacher, I am a firm believer in the experiences that formal education provides. Primarily the opportunity it affords to work closely with other individuals who are both further along in the journey of life as well those who are coming along the learning path behind oneself. 

What are your favorite hobbies outside the classroom? 

Love the outdoors. Fly Fishing, Golf, Biking, and Skiing rule our home and my wife and I hope to pass along our passion for sport in the outdoors to our children.

What is your favorite album/song?

Currently, the "A Star Is Born" soundtrack. All time, some Johnny Cash, Notorious B.I.G., Tom Petty, Pearl Jam - just depends on the day.  

Do you have a pet?

7-year old Black Lab named Moses

What is your favorite dessert?

Banana Cream Pie or my wife's chocolate chip cookies.


SHANNON TATMAN - Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Tatman joins us in the Lower School with five years of Elementary teaching experience and a B.S. in Elementary Education from BYU. 

Why and/or how did you get into teaching? 

In elementary school I struggled a lot with reading, and I thought it was because I wasn’t smart. That is, until I had a teacher that used different teaching methods than my past teachers and suddenly everything made sense to me and I became a confident learner. I became a teacher so I could do the same for my students. I work hard to constantly stay up to date and continue my education so that I can reach every single student in a way that makes sense for them, so that they can be successful and confident. 

What are your favorite hobbies outside of the classroom?

I love making decorations for my home and my classroom. I am currently working on some felt succulents I hope to put in my class this year.

Do you have a pet?

A big fluffy orange cat we call Boozie​​

Favorite Childhood Memory:

Once when I was in elementary school, a man who worked at a tire shop down the road gave my friends and I the innertube from the inside of a huge tire. We spent an entire week or so taking turns standing it up like a tire, sitting upright in the middle while straddling the base, and rolling head over heels inside the tire the entire way down the hill. When winter came we used it for sledding but it didn’t last nearly as long as the memories.