Upper School Newsletter - June 17, 2020

Quotes of the Week

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.”
– Unknown

“People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them.”

- Unknown


Interesting Article

Colleges are ditching required admission tests over covid-19. Will they ever go back?


Second Semester Progress Reports — Available Online

Second semester reports are now available online.

To access the report for your student:

  • Log in to Husky Hub.
  • Click on your student’s name in the top left corner.
  • Once you reach your student’s profile, in the “Progress” tab, click on the “Year End Report” in the “Performance” box.


Summer on the Hill Camp Update

As the school year closes and you plan your children’s activities for this summer, we want to provide you with an update regarding our camp schedule in the current environment.

The School has made the decision not to hold July Summer on the Hill programs on campus. Instead, we have moved many of our enrichment offerings online and developed several new ones. Basketball and flag football camps have been canceled and refunds will be processed as soon as possible. You can view our updated camp schedule here.

Thank you for your flexibility during this time.


Welcoming New Faculty and Staff for 2020-21

Please join us in welcoming the following new Upper School faculty for the 2020-21 school year. We also want to congratulate current faculty who will be moving into new roles for the next school year.

Christine Allred – Upper School English Teacher – began her career in the classroom at Harvard, where she held a joint appointment in the History and Literature and Expository Writing Departments and received the Derek C. Bok Certificate of Distinction in teaching. She is delighted to return to the classroom as a member of the English Department at Flint Hill. She holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from UCLA. In her years away from teaching, Christine has worked as a freelance writer and editor. Her clients have included the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Ballantine Books. She served on the executive committee of the board of the Learning Lab, an adult and family literacy nonprofit, and continues to volunteer for CommonSense American, a public policy non-profit that she and her husband Keith founded. Christine and Keith are the parents of three children. For the last 15 years, their primary parenting strategy has been to run cattle and ride cutting horses just outside of Boise, Idaho. Although she misses their western life, Christine has always wanted to live in the D.C. area. She manages her nostalgia for mucking stalls and bucking hay by biking the W&OD Trail and visiting the National Gallery of Art.

Elizabeth Anderson – Upper School History Teacher – has lived in the D.C. area all her life, primarily Montgomery County, Maryland, and is moving to Vienna, Virginia now. She is a graduate of Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Soviet Studies and has a Master’s in international relations from Georgetown University. She worked for the National Security Agency as a Soviet analyst and moved to teaching after her two daughters were born. She comes from a family of teachers –  her mother was an art history teacher and her father was a university professor. She has two daughters: Keegan, who is a graduate of American University and a law enforcement officer, and Tierney, a graduate of West Chester University, who is starting a Ph.D. program in physical therapy, in the fall, at Drexel University. Elizabeth previously taught at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart and for the past six years at Sandy Spring Friends School. She loves to travel. Countries she has visited include Vietnam, China, Egypt, Italy, Ireland and the Galapagos Islands, and several of those trips were with students. In her free time, she loves to read, bike, run and, the number one activity she plans to do after the pandemic is over – trapeze! She took classes for many years and would really like to get back to it.

Nicholas Bennett – Upper School Math Teacher – is thrilled to be joining Flint Hill. He grew up in West Michigan and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and psychology. He began his teaching career in Virginia and then transitioned to Washington, D.C., where he spent nine years teaching a variety of subjects including AP Calculus AB/BC, Algebra 2, and more at The School Without Walls. In 2017, he and his family returned home to West Michigan for several years, only to find out how much they missed being in Northern Virginia. His teaching philosophy: “Every classroom has its own unique community of individuals; my role as the educator will be to assist each child in becoming their very best by developing both their potential as learners and individuals. I believe, given the opportunity, all students can be successful.”

Joelle Cheng – Upper School English Teacher – is a firm believer that school is more than just a building where knowledge is disseminated. School is where young children become holistic young adults. Entering her fourth year of teaching high school English, Joelle has a passion to not only instill a (dying) love of reading in her students but also equip them with the necessary verbal and written communication skills students will need as they venture out in life. With a background in cognitive science from UC Berkeley and a master’s in education from Harvard, Joelle feels that she has a unique perspective on language and communication that she is eager to share with her students. Lastly, as a native Californian, she is excited to experience all that the East Coast has to offer.

Natalie Conrad – Upper School Counselor — has returned to her passion for working with high school students after choosing to temporarily put her career aside to help raise her family and be an active volunteer at her children’s elementary school. Natalie previously worked as a secondary school counselor at Palisades High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Daniel Boone Jr/Sr High School in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and Ossining High School in Westchester County, New York. She also spent time as an academic advisor at Monroe College in the Bronx, New York, and as a mobile therapist in New York and Pennsylvania. Along the way, Natalie coached high school field hockey. Most recently, she worked as a substitute teacher and counselor in Fairfax and Loudoun County public schools. Natalie moved to Northern Virginia in 2015 with her husband and three children. She loves spending time with her family and pets, taking bike rides and reading. Natalie has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in counselor education from Marywood University, Pennsylvania.

Greg Fuller – Upper School History Teacher – Greg’s journey to the professional studies of history was a career path he never thought of when he left high school. Interestingly, it was the theory of justice that settled on his mind. However, as it was, destiny had other plans for his professional development. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree, MAT in History, from Rutgers University. As he shared when he visited our school, “I wanted to become a teacher because I wanted to capture and nourish the young minds of our and of future generations to be better citizens of this one planet.” An experienced teacher, Greg has taught at the middle school, high school, and university levels, including Atlanta Metropolitan State College; Clark University; Georgia State University; The American School Foundation, Mexico City, Mexico; and Shipley School. Greg loves traveling and interacting with different cultures and people, and he has lived in several countries including Jamaica and Mexico and moved back to the United States in 2017. In his free time, he also enjoys running, soccer, and doing his weekly podcast on poverty and homelessness, but his biggest passion is reading, which he shares with his wife and four children: Chasina, Gabrielle, Jose and Romina.

Javanese Hailey – Upper School Math Teacher – is a New York native who graduated from Colby College, with a bachelor’s in sociology, followed by Lesley University with a master’s in education. “The 2020-2021 school year will be my 18th year teaching math – 17 years have been spent teaching middle school math, and this will be my first year teaching high school. I have an 8-year-old daughter who spreads light and glitter wherever she goes. 🙂 Some of my hobbies include gardening, baking, and race training. I’m super excited to be a part of the Flint Hill family, and I’m looking forward to having an awesome and exciting learning experience with your family.”

Miles Henderson – All School Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator – was born and raised here in Northern Virginia. At George Mason University, he studied foreign languages and education. He has previously worked as a substitute teacher and a tutor, as well as a volunteer for The Trevor Project’s advocacy team. Working with the Trevor Project encouraged him to find work related to equity and inclusion in education. He is very excited and eager to join the Flint Hill Community, and he hopes to see everybody in person this fall.

Vicki Knickerbocker – Grades 7-12 Innovation Department Chair and Middle/Upper School Computer Science/Robotics Teacher – is a D.C. area native. After graduating from the University of Maryland, she began a career in video production, working at a local PBS station and production houses in the metro area. From there, an opportunity at a local school system gave rise to a new adventure as a communications lead and an opportunity to teach adults and children. Teaching was Vicki’s “Ah-ha!” moment. She moved to a position at a local independent school and spent the next 15 years building a flagship STEM program, serving as the technology lead, supporting the marketing team, providing training and support to faculty and, most importantly, sharing her love of learning and all things STEM with her students. A tinkerer by nature and academic explorer, Vicki is excited to join Flint Hill’s family.

Kimberly Lowinger – Upper School Math Teacher  – attended the Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore, before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics at Amherst College. Since graduating in 2006, she has taught mathematics and chemistry to middle and upper school students in independent schools in Connecticut and Virginia. Most recently, Kimberly taught at Oakcrest School in Vienna, where she was department chair and taught AP Statistics and AP Calculus. Kimberly was a sponsor of Mu Alpha Theta, the school’s mathematics honor society and moderator of the chess club. Kimberly enjoys hiking and tai chi. She resides with her husband Daniel, a Chinese teacher, in Falls Church, Virginia.

Khalil Malik-Abdul – Upper School English Teacher –  has an M.S. in technology management from Columbia University and a B.A. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is very excited to join the Flint Hill School community, where he will be teaching English I Honors and English II. Before joining Flint Hill, Khalil worked as a teacher and coach at Norfolk Academy (VA), the Westminster Schools (GA), Poly Prep Country Day School (NY), Newark Academy (NJ), and, most recently, the Langley School (VA). Last summer, Khalil and his family returned to his hometown, Washington D.C., after graduating from Columbia University’s M.S. Technology Management program. While studying at Columbia University, he focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the transformative power of digital technology in schools. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School. He was a varsity wrestler at the College of William and Mary (“Go Tribe!”) and at UNC-Chapel Hill (“Go Heels!”). He and his partner, Susan, are parents to a wonderful five-year-old daughter, Ava.

Blair McVoy – Upper School Computer Science and Robotics Teacher – graduated from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education with a degree in Youth and Social Innovation. Her professional experience has largely been in out-of-school learning environments, working with middle school, high school, and college-age youth in project-based learning programs that build skills in computer science, digital arts, audio/video production, electronics, 3D modeling and more. Her work has also focused heavily on mentoring and community building, looking for ways to expand educational opportunities outside of the classroom. She believes that the most enriching educational experiences are ones that give students authentic problems to solve and opportunities to show off their skills. Blair is excited to bring her passion for interdisciplinary, project-based learning to the Innovation Department at Flint Hill.

Dr. Maia Schmidt – Upper School English Department Chair – has been teaching English at Flint Hill for 15 years. She taught core English classes in grades 9-12, AP English, Junior-Senior Seminars in Poetry, Science and Literature, Ethics, Multicultural Literature, and Shakespeare. She also has advised the literary magazine and the writing center. Dr. Schmidt majored in English at Bryn Mawr College and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Indiana University in Bloomington. Prior to coming to Flint Hill, she taught English Literature and Composition at Indiana University, Columbia College, Marymount University, and  Northern Virginia Community College. An avid reader and writer, she looks forward to leading the department and continuing to teach English in the Middle and Upper School to help each student be engaged in their learning, to grow in literacy and fluency, and to find joy in books.

Andrew Tran – Upper School Chemistry Teacher – graduated from the College of William & Mary with his B.S. in Chemistry and is currently finishing his M.Ed and M.S. from the University of Maryland University College and Montana State University, Bozeman, respectively. He began his teaching career as a long-term sub at the Congressional Schools of Virginia, teaching middle school science. His first full year of teaching was at Green Hedges School, teaching middle school math and serving as the school’s technology integration specialist. In addition, he taught summer school courses at Commonwealth Academy, specifically supporting students with the processing, executive functioning, and reading challenges. With a desire to return to the science classroom, Andrew found himself at the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland, teaching eighth grade physical science and as a robotics teacher/coach. He most recently served on the Senior Leadership Team as the science department chair, overseeing the entire K-12 science program through hiring, funding, curriculum development, teacher support, and summer STEM program coordinator.

Elizabeth Van Lie Shout – Upper School Math Teacher – joins us from Loyola Academy in Chicago, where she taught AP Statistics for the past seven years. She is relocating to the area to be closer to two of her adult children, Martha and Nick. Her third child, Emma, lives and works in Boston. Liz has been in teaching since 2003, first as a long-term substitute and then full-time for the last nine years. In her last position, Liz introduced students to Math Modeling competitions and formed the Math Modeling Club, with over 25 students of all abilities and ages competing in 3 or 4 competitions per year. Liz graduated from the University of Michigan, with an undergraduate in statistics, and the University of Chicago with a master’s in statistics. Prior to teaching, she worked for over 13 years in the telecommunications industry in business research. Liz’s passions are statistics, teaching, gardening and reading. You may find her on any weekend in a garden, working or walking.

Riki Weeks – Grades 7-12 Math Department Chair and Upper School Math Teacher – graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, from Salisbury University, in 2003. Although a pure mathematician at heart, Riki worked within the tutoring lab at Salisbury and eventually began private tutoring, which helped steer him toward the teaching profession. After taking on a position as a long-term maternity sub, he started his full-time teaching career as a middle school mathematics teacher, in 2004, at the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland. In a few years, he moved into advising and teaching mathematics in both the Middle and the Upper School (grades 6-12) and took on various coaching and administrative roles within the school, including service coordinator, grade dean, and Upper School dean of students. Following his time at Barrie, he joined Flint Hill in 2016. Since becoming a Husky, Riki has taught all levels of mathematics within the high school and maintained the role of junior class dean since 2017. In addition to this role, he has also served as Upper School service coordinator since 2019. Although he will be leaving the role of dean and his 14 years of work with student-life programming, he is excited to lend his strengths, expertise, and experience to the curricular side of the school. Riki enjoys creating music, writing poetry, fishing, and spending time with his family and his three children, all of whom attend Flint Hill and one who is a Flint Hill Class of 2020 graduate.


Resources for Family Conversations About Racism and Protests

As a follow up to John Thomas’ important message regarding the impact of national events, the following is a sample of the resources available to support your conversations with children of all ages.


How to talk to your children about protests and racism, CNN Health
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?, USA Today
The Very Best Code Switch Episodes For Kids, NPR
Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children, The Greater Good Science Center


How to talk to kids about race, privilege amid George Floyd protests, Good Morning America
How to Talk to Your Kids About Race, The Atlantic
Talking Race With Young Children, NPR


The Child Development Institute
Teaching Tolerance
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley


Textbook Buyback May 15-June 30
Families can re-sell textbooks through our e-campus portal, May 15-June 30. You can sell your textbooks by visiting and clicking the “Sell Textbooks” link.

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