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.

    Alexandrea Rich,
High School English Teacher

    Alexandrea Rich
    8th to 12th Grade English

    Miss Rich is the new High School English Teacher at New Hope. Originally from Pensacola, Florida, she has taught English at the K-12 and college levels. Ms. Rich has been teaching since 2009 and when she is not in the classroom, she has to do her homework too! She is a fourth year, doctoral student at Howard University in Sociology. She lives in Hyattsville, MD with her Abyssian guinea pig, Squeak and she loves to sing and travel. She believes every student can learn and be successful!

    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).

    Jerome Holmes
Civics and Government, World History

    Jerome Holmes
    Civics and Government, World History.

    Jerome Holmes teachers World History and Civics/Government at New Hope Academy in the High School. Mr. Holmes brings a wealth of experience in teaching to New Hope having taught for the last sixteen years teaching in both the Prince George's County Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public School systems. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Nyack College, Nyack, New York and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Organizational Leadership from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. He enjoys reading, coaching emerging leaders, and traveling.

    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.

    Namsoo Kim
Korean Language

    Nam Soo Kim
    Korean Language

    Mr. Kim teaches Korean to students in 9th to 12 grade (High School students). He came to the United States in 2002 to study English and earn degrees in higher education. He received his master’s degree in education and has taught Korean to U.S. diplomats for a year and a half. Currently, he has been teaching U.S. Special Operation Forces and government workers, GS9 to GS13 for a year. He is also developing Korean online lessons with another company. Mr. Kim’s goal is specifically that every student in his class learns Korean and be able to speak the Korean that they learned.

    Chris Chandler
Business Manager

    Chris Chandler
    Business Manager

    Chris Chandler moved to Maryland from the United Kingdom in early 2016. While in England, Chris earned his Joint Honors Bachelor’s degree in Social Enterprise and International Development at the University of Northampton. This led him to pursue a career in ethical and responsible business practices which took him through an internship with Santander Banks’ Corporate Social Responsibility team and working within operations teams at several small businesses lead by inspiring social entrepreneurs. He then spent 2 years as the Membership Officer of the UK’s leading Social Enterprise Trade Body (SEUK). Chris will be coordinating areas of the Academy’s Finance Administration as well as working with Business Management functions. Having a deep interest in International Development, Chris will also be joining and learning from the many enthusiastic students and staff members working on our Gambia Project.

    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.

    Michael Helling
Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher

    Michael Helling
    Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher

    Michael Helling comes to New Hope Academy with over 25 years of experience in education, ranging from school administration to classroom teaching; special education and advanced placement; and pre-K through college-aged students. His first foray into teaching was as a Fourth grade teacher, so he is delighted to return to those roots. Prior to entering the teaching field, Mr. Helling was a Legislative Assistant for a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, and an Assistant Editor at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to those professions, Mr. Helling has been a swim coach since the 1980’s, from summer league to high school to United States Swimming programs. He was a product of local schools before getting his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University, where he lettered in swimming all four years, and he did his graduate work in Public Administration at The American University. Mr. Helling is absolutely thrilled to be joining the wonderful New Hope Academy family!

    Sabrina Bowman
Second and Third Grade Teacher

    Sabrina Bowman
    Second and Third Grade Teacher

    Sabrina Bowman will be teaching the 2/3 split grade this year at NHA. She taught in Prince George's county last year, and before that she was in Broward county Florida. She has a BA from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and an MA from University of St Mary in Kansas. She has been a nomad for several years as her husband is military. They have now retired to this area. She has a daughter that lives in Florida and teaches middle school English and a son that is a junior in high school. She loves all sports, American football being her favorite- Pittsburgh Steelers!

    Leah Dancy,
First 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.

    Elizabeth-Wede Fahnbulleh,
Literacy Specialist

    Elizabeth-Wede Fahnbulleh
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Elizabeth-Wede Fahnbulleh, M. A. is wholly excited to be joining the New Hope Academy Family as the new Kindergarten Teacher! She is a first generation Liberian-American and mother of two amazing young girls. Ms. Fahnbulleh brings close to a decade of urban education, STEM enrichment program management, and international development to the NHA team. She loves to travel, learn about new cultures, sing, and create beauty and inspiration through art. Born and raised in the Metropolitan area, Ms. Fahnbulleh received her BA in Social Psychology from Trinity Washington University (DC), a Master's in International Policy & Management from the School for International Training (DC) and is currently a doctoral candidate in Business Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology also in DC.

    Karen Wilkening,
Kindergarten Teacher

    Karen Wilkening
    Literacy Specialist

    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.

    In Ku Marshall
Korean Language K-8G

    Dr. In Ku Marshall
    Korean Language K-8G

    When I left Korea almost 50 years ago to study in Germany I had a goal to promote Korean as a globally used language. A few years after I received my Ph.D. degree from Hamburg University, I began to teach Korean at Bochum University in Germany. In 1986 I moved to the United States with my family and began to teach Korean at New Hope Academy from 1991. While teaching at New Hope Academy, I focused on adapting Montessori’s language theory for teaching Korean as a foreign language and developed many hands-on teaching materials. In 1994, I joined Georgetown University as a Korean instructor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures. In my 22 years at Georgetown, I developed the Korean program into a Minor and offered more than 12 courses including ‘Studies on North Korea,’ and ‘Korean diaspora in Northeast Asia including Russia.’ Now I am returning to New Hope Academy as head of the Korean Program. In the process of promoting the Korean language, I recognized the importance of the Heritage Korean schools. For five years, I gave workshops to the Korean teachers in the Washington area on effective Korean language teaching. In addition, I developed the Korean language program at the Korean Cultural Center of the Korean Embassy in 1995. I developed their curriculum for levels I, II, and III, and taught in the program for almost ten years. The Korean language program at the Embassy continues today, with more than one hundred adult learners per session (they offer 5 sessions a year). Education: Ph.D. Hamburg University, in Comparative Education as major, Linguistics and German literature as minor in Germany B.A. Seoul National University, in German Language and Literature in Korea.

    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.

    Jathan Wright
Computer & Information Technology

    Jathan Wright
    Computer & Information Technology

    Jathan Wright teaches Computer Science to 8th grade and high school students, and also works as a hardware and software technician at NHA. He received his bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and Web Technology in May 2015, and became the official web designer for the Georgetown-Howard Universities Translational Biomedical Science Program in August 2015. Mr. Wright also knows graphic design, computer programming, video game programming, animation, and more. He is an alumni of NHA who graduated in December 2010 and is determined to help the school become the best that it can be.

    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.

    Dion Wright-Nelson

    Dion “Heavy” Wright-Nelson

    Dion “Heavy” Wright-Nelson is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s University where he earned his BA in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Education and Music Performance. Dion is an active educator and performer in the Washington DC Metro area. He has been blessed with the opportunity to work with many schools musically from elementary to college across the nation and internationally in DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Bermuda, and St. Maarten. Outside of being a clinician and instructor Dion plays in a local band named Zodiak. Zodiak is a fresh experience native to DC. Their music blends R&B with elements of soul, rock, jazz, and go-go. They have a year of regional performances under their belt, and recently released their first studio album, Basement Brew. With all of these experiences and the excitement of what the future holds Dion continues to advance music within his community and impact the lives of youth and his peers around him.

    Tarik Muhammad,
Physical Education, 6th Grade Math Teacher

    Tarik Muhammad
    Physical Education, 6th Grade Math

    Tarik Muhammad is the Sports Director and Physical Education teacher here at New Hope Academy. He is also an alumni of New Hope having graduated from here in 2006. He went on to obtain a bachelor in Recreation and Parks Management with a concentration in Community Program Delivery from Frostburg State University. During his stay at Frostburg he did an internship at the local YMCA and he really loved the work and community building they were doing. After graduating he worked with the YMCA for 5 years partnering with many different schools in D.C. conducting their physical education classes working with ages 3 - 15. With the YMCA he also worked with an even greater range of people from young adults to the elderly while doing wellness programs all around the DMV area. Mr. Muhammad has helped run community events, trainings, and youth programs for hundreds of people and he is very excited to be working here at New Hope Academy.

    Fiona Victoria
Main Office, Reading specialist

    Fiona Victoria
    Main Office, Reading specialist

    Fiona Victoria grew up in the North-East of Scotland. She graduated in Primary Education from Aberdeen College of Education in 1973. She taught 1st grade for several years in the South of Scotland before moving to England where she was the main teacher in a small private school near London, for four years. She has taught English privately in Germany and Kenya.She joined the NHA staff in 2000 as a reading teacher for K-2nd grade and also supported in the office until 2013. After spending the last 3 years in New York with her family, she and her husband decided to move back to Maryland. Since the Fall of 2016 she has been teaching reading in the kindergarten and working in the Main office.

    Janelle Hartley,
Office Manager, Registrarr

    Janelle Hartley
    Office Manager, Registrar

    Janelle Hartley is the "hub" of New Hope Academy. A native of Guyana, raised in Brooklyn, NY, and married to a Jamaican, her multi-cultural background and family exemplify NHA's diverse school culture. She attended Pace University to pursue accounting and spent the majority of her career working for financial institutions. This allowed her to develop her strengths in management and customer service while fostering her desire to help those in need. "Mrs. Janelle" joined the school in 2006, along with her son, after transitioning her family to Maryland. "To be in a state without any relatives nearby is difficult," she said, "especially when you have a child. However, being at New Hope fills that void and has helped instilled rare qualities in my son that are hard to find in today's society: respect, unity, ambition, and compassion. Everyone here is our extended family and has treated us as such." Mrs. Janelle wears many hats at NHA. She is the office manager, registrar, medication technician, international student representative, host family contact, and more. She is always willing to answer any questions or provide assistance when needed. If she doesn't have the answer, she will find it!

    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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