New Hope Academy and Preschool Faculty and Staff

  • Joy Morrow, Principal,
high school Health & Family, Culinary Arts Teacher

    Joy Morrow, Principal
    Culinary Arts

    Joy Morrow is the school's principal and president of the NHA board of directors. Her academic background in psychology and in social work informed her practical experience with group homes for delinquent teenagers as well as her extensive work with preschools. In 1990, she co-founded NHA with a group of like-minded parents and has served as principal since. Mrs. Morrow wants to help create "a school community transcending religious, cultural, and racial barriers, where families with shared common values can support each other to raise moral children. This involves big challenges but also big opportunities." Her straightforward style, especially with teenagers, helps them stay on track or get back on track. She's good at helping people see a vision of what's possible, and helping children see what they're capable of, moving in the direction of their dreams. "When I'm working with a class of students I try to make sure no one falls through the cracks," said Mrs. Morrow. "My goal is to work with each child." Her personal approach finds especially satisfying those times when she can really connect with a student in a moment of discovery.

    Marilyn Cohen, High School
Algebra and Geometry Teacher

    Marilyn Cohen
    Educational Director and Counsellor

    Marilyn Cohen teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry, but her main roles at the school are as education director and as school counselor. This Baltimore native has her Master's degree in school counseling from the University of Maryland. She has been with NHA since 1993. She has had many years of experience counseling children of all ages, including three years in Liberia and six years in Russia, at diplomatic schools. Mrs. Cohen has published articles: "Roots of Sibling Rivalry" and "Instilling Respect in Children" in Jones, F. & Jones, B. (1997) Raising Children of Peace, a book on parenting and families. She facilitates meetings between parents and administration to deal with the student's individual needs and/or issues. She also provides academic advice and college planning for students.

    Stephanie Holloman,
High School English Teacher

    Stephanie Holloman
    9th to 12th Grade English

    "Stephanie Holloman" is a native New Yorker who possesses a love of life and literature. Some say she missed her calling to the theater, but she makes the classroom a stage as she infects her students with an enjoyment of all things English. Mrs. Holloman received a B.A. in English Language Arts/Education from Hunter College (New York), a Master’s in Education from Adelphi University (New York) and furthered her education with a Ph.D. (ABD) in Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership from Walden University (Maryland). Her career spans 25 years in public and private schools across three states - Maryland, Virginia and New York. Mrs. Holloman brings to NHA certifications in 7-12 English, Elementary Teacher, experience in Gifted Education and experience in curriculum development. Relationships are important to Mrs. Holloman and she builds them through a demonstrated commitment to exposing her students to opportunities that tap into and build their potential.

    Dolores Muhammad,
High School Science Teacher

    Dolores Muhammad
    Science, 9th Grade Homeroom

    Dolores Muhammad teaches environmental science, biology, chemistry, health, and physics. This Maryland native has been with NHA since 2001. Her experience includes handling tarantulas, scorpions, and snakes while she interned at the H.B. Owens Science Center. Mrs. Muhammad has also worked at NIH as a research assistant and with a nematologist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Medical Technology from Towson State University, she continued in her career in medical technology for eight years before branching out into teaching.

    Aisha Faison,
Saxon Math, Golf Teacher

    Aisha Faison
    Math, Health, 11th and 12th Grade Homeroom, K-8th Grade computer,

    "Ms. Aisha" teaches Saxon Algebra 1/2, as well as the Golf elective. She also teaches LEGO and VEX robotics. She has been with NHA since 2006. This San Francisco native began coursework in math at U.C. Berkeley, then applied this skill to receive her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at Tuskegee University. Her experience includes working as a project engineer for a local construction company: She managed construction for the Turkish Embassy and the U.S. Justice Data Center, as well as renovations to the Australian Embassy (among others).

    Teya Green
Civics and Government, World Histor

    Teya Green
    Civics and Government, World History, Math 8/7, Fifth Grade Social Studies, 10th Grade Homeroom


    James Hulka,
ESL, US History, Geography, 8th Grade Homeroom

    James Hulka
    ESL, US History, Geography, 8th Grade Homeroom

    James Hulka is an experienced teacher with certifications in TESOL and Social Studies. James graduated from Frostburg State University in 2003 and is almost finished with his Masters in TESOL from Notre Dame University of Maryland. In addition to teaching in Baltimore public schools for eight years, he also has diverse experiences within the private setting, most recently teaching ESOL to adults for a private company in Arlington. James has taught English to students of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels, and thinks he has probably taught students from over 50 different countries! He has also spent time in Japan where he learned about Japanese culture and school structure.

    Moussa Doumbia
Civics and Government, World Histor

    Moussa Doumbia
    Algebra 1


    Laurie Toker,
high school Trigonometry and Calculus Teacher

    Laurie Toker
    Bisiness Maneger, Trigonometry, Calculus

    Laurie Toker teaches advanced math courses (Trigonometry and Pre-calculus) as well as AP Calculus AB in addition to her primary responsibility as Business Manager for NHA since 1995. Born in Rochester, NY, she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Rochester. She is a National Merit Scholar and part of Phi Betta Kappa National Honors Society. She has always had a passion for math, taking an additional 20 credits of advanced math courses, mostly because, as she says, "math is fun." Mrs. Toker has taught every level of math from algebra 1 to AP Calculus using the Saxon math curriculum. She deeply appreciates the Saxon approach where topics are interwoven rather than being relegated to one unit and then forgotten. Students return to the same topic, each time being challenged to raise their understanding to a new level or to extend their knowledge by applying what they already know in a new way. In the end, they achieve mastery.

    Barry Cohen,
High School Algebra, Geometry Honors Teacher

    Barry Cohen
    Seventh Grade Teacher, Algebra II, 8th Grade English

    Hailing from New York City, Mr. Cohen earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maryland and a Master's degree in Mathematics from Shippensburg University. He has been teaching since 1969; grades 6-12 (including 4 years at Sandy Spring Friends School in Montgomery County), university classes (including Trinity University and Potomac College in D.C.), as well as continuing education for adults. Mr. Cohen taught overseas for eight years in Liberia and six years in the former Soviet Union. Every summer since 1995 he's been the instructor for the Johns Hopkins University gifted and talented middle school course entitled "Inductive and Deductive Reasoning."

    Beverly Berndt,
High School Algebra 1, Gambia Project

    Beverly Berndt
    Fifth and Sixth Grade Teacher, Algebra 1, Gambia Project

    Beverly Berndt teaches high school Algebra 1 as well as core subjects for the sixth grade. She was born in Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology at Northeastern University in Boston. Berndt has taught at NHA since 1990. She loves the school and had her four children also attend. "To me this is the greatest testimony to our school," she said, "that all the teachers want to have their own children here, because we know the quality of education they receive." Not only is "Mrs. Bev" a dedicated teacher, she deeply believes in helping others, a trait she instills in her students. With the support of the NHA families, staff, and principal, Mrs. Bev and her husband have developed "Side by Side in The Gambia," a service project in The Gambia, West Africa.

    Samantha Stiles,
First Grade Teacher

    Samantha Stiles
    Third and Forth Grade Teacher

    Samantha Stiles is the instructor for First Grade at New Hope Academy. Ms. Stiles is a native to the state of Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. Ms. Stiles has experience teaching Kindergarten, First, and Second grade in Baltimore County Public Schools. Also, Ms. Stiles has 14 years of personal experience working with children with Special Needs. She plans on furthering her own personal education within the field of Education in order to fulfill her own constant desire to learn. Higher level questioning and thinking are key aspects in Ms. Stiles’ teaching style. Teaching children to explain their reasoning and thinking not only help children to develop their verbal communication skills but also to develop a strong sense of self.

    Monica Watkins,
Second Grade Teacher

    Monica Watkins
    Second Grade Teacher

    As an educator, Monica realizes the gift of teaching isn’t a job but a vocation given to her to pass on and encourage young minds. This she doesn't take lightly. Educating a student isn’t just about the mastery of subjects, but educating the whole student; this includes the intellect, creativity, character, emotion and “selflessness” that is paramount to a student’s overall success. Monica's goal is to provide a safe and comfortable environment that allows students to progress, and more importantly, to make mistakes as they navigate the discovery of learning. Her academic background in management, public administration, and education has resulted in a dedicated, resourceful, and goal-driven professional, who has a solid commitment to the social, academic and emotional growth of every student.

    Leah Dancy,
Third Grade Teacher

    Tanganika L. Swann
    First Grade Teacher

    Tanganika L. Swann has taught core subjects for NHA's first grade since 2009. This local native of Maryland graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Language. Ms. Swann has 15 years of experience in education, including as an elementary school teacher, reading specialist, and assistant principal. She has conducted workshops teaching educators about effective teaching strategies and building a positive classroom community. She strongly believes that both components are crucial to student achievement, but above all, she knows that educators must genuinely care about children. Ms. Swann loves working with children, and she possesses a passion for teaching and learning.

    Karen Wilkening,
Kindergarten Teacher

    Karen Wilkening
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Karen Wilkening has taught kindergarten at NHA since 1992. She was born in Denver and spent most of her adolescent years in Kansas City, MO. Known to all as "Mrs. Karen," she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She continued her education receiving a Master's degree in Divinity with a focus on Education. Mrs. Karen is a founding member of NHA and has been on the Board of Directors since 1995. As a testament to NHA's solid academic curriculum, both her children attended NHA, and they now attend top universities. Mrs. Karen believes that Kindergarten is a foundational year and that NHA addresses the education of the whole child.

    Sung Shim Choi,
high school Korean Teacher

    Sung Shim Choi
    Korean Language


    Luz Hughes,
high school Spanish Teacher

    Luz Hughes
    Spanish Language

    Luz Hughes has been teaching Spanish to grades K-12 at NHA since 2005. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and minored in Liberal Arts from the University of the District of Columbia. She is a candidate for her Master's in Education & Language. Mrs. Hughes' experience includes teaching for eight years in PG County and six years in DC (Spanish and AP Spanish Language & Literature). She believes it is important to "connect with the students" in order for them to learn and appreciate what is being taught. She takes responsibility to mentor her students, hoping to impact their lives. Nominated by her students, Mrs. Hughes has been recognized in Who's Who for making a difference in the lives of children.

    Noriko Wright,
high school Computer Teacher

    Noriko Wright
    Computer & Information Technology

    Noriko Wright, NHA's computer/information technology teacher, is a native of Japan. She started at NHA as a volunteer using her joint accounting and computer skills to fulfill various needs at the time. Her dedication to the school and its advancement became evident in 1997, when she created NHA's information technology program, designing the program and writing most of the curriculum materials. Mrs. Wright prepares her students in various areas of technology, including web design, animation, video game design, Photoshop, video editing and robotics to name a few. "Information technology skills are a prerequisite for the majority of 21st-century jobs, and will continue to grow," she said. "Figuring out how to get the results you want on a computer is a great way to exercise your mind. My students learn by doing."

    Angela Teacher,
high school Art Teacher

    Angela Eisenbart
    Fine Art

    Angela Eisenbart has taught art at all grade levels at NHA since 1998. Originally from Italy, she studied commercial and graphic art at the Art College in Genoa, Italy, graduating with honors. She is a career artist and graphic designer with an impressive list of professional credentials from her decades of work in Milano, New York, and Washington, DC. But Mrs. Eisenbart always longed to express herself in the fine arts, and turned that passion to teaching. She exhibits a remarkable ability to draw out the talents of her students. Her basic approach to teaching is that artistic ability is not just an innate talent but can be learned or improved just like other activities.

    Emily Tevault,
high school Music and Choir Teacher

    Emily Tevault

    Emily Tevault teaches General Music to grades K-8, and a "show choir with a twist" music elective, C3 (Composers Choir Club) for grades 8-12. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Tevault also loves to sing! She has sung in her church choir for 15 years, has directed the Junior Choir at her church for four years, was the Singing Coach for New Hope Academy's production of Cinderella, and assisted her daughter's class at New Hope Academy with preparing to sing songs for their Holiday Performance. Mrs. Tevault's goal is that every child is exposed to a variety of styles of music, enjoys and appreciates music, and that they learn to express the music they feel in their hearts.

    Tarik Muhammad,
Physical Education Teacher

    Tarik Muhammad
    Physical Education, 6th Grade Math


    Judy Skarsten,
Fifth Grade Teacher

    Judy Skarsten
    Kindergarten to Secound Grade Reading Teacher

    Judy Skarsten is no stranger to NHA. She has been with the school for a total of 6 years. She is a native of the San Francisco Bay area of California. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Art, a Master's degree in Arts Therapy, and a Master's degree in Education with a Montessori certification to teach the Montessori methods for 3-12 year olds. Ms. Skarsten's early experience working in a crisis center prompted her decision to work with youth. She was given a book entitled, "The Secret Life of Childhood", written by Maria Montessori which changed her outlook on education. She started a small school and tutored and homeschooled teenagers for three years. She has taught both in public and private Montessori programs in New Hampshire, New York City, and Maryland.

    Mary Oben, Pre-school Teacher

    Mary Oben
    Pre-school Teacher

    Mary Oben has taught the preschool class for 4 and 5 year olds since 1994. She is also the preschool director. This Minnesota farm girl realized early in life that she wanted to be a teacher. She received her bachelor's degree from Iowa State University in home economics with a child development emphasis. Known as "Mrs. Mary", she believes that preschool children need to be able to play freely choosing from a wide range of materials that stimulate and teach in developmentally appropriate ways. "Over the years I've come to appreciate the special opportunity it is to work with 4 and 5 year olds. They are extremely open, and I am able to witness their tremendous growth," she said.

    Kim Dadachanji,
Pre-school Teacher

    Kim Dadachanji
    Pre-school Teacher

    Kim Dadachanji teaches the preschool class for 3 year olds. She joined NHA as a substitute before she began teaching preschool in 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont, and she attained her bachelor's degree in elementary education from APEX, an innovative teacher education program for developing experiential education. "Mrs. Kim's" experience includes working at The Vicarage School of Montessori/KinderCare in Hamden, CT. The school's founders were Montessori teacher trainers, and Mrs. Kim was exposed to a variety of Montessori materials and training. Her knowledge enables her to provide a joyful environment that stimulates her student's innate sense of wonder and develops their enthusiasm to discover, learn, and grow.

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