Faculty And Staff Honored At Back To School Luncheon

Faculty and staff members were honored for their hard work and service during the annual Back to School luncheon on August 8. Head of School Bob Goldberg welcomed new and returning faculty and staff to the 2018-19 school year during his introductory remarks to the audience assembled in Benjamin Hall.

Division Heads Dr. Kristen Sheehan, Charles Hagy and Fletcher Carr joined Goldberg on stage in welcoming the following new members to the Benjamin community:

Brittney Sands- Grade 3 Associate
  • Attended University of North Florida where she received a Bachelors in Elementary Education
  • Has taught both second and third grade with gifted experience
  • Was a lead teacher at Franklin Academy
Julia Worster- Kindergarten Associate
  • Attended Florida Atlantic University where she received her Bachelors in Elementary Education
  • She has experience with students in preschool, 2nd and 5th grade
  • Is well known by our TBS families
Jessica Kaufman- Grade 1 Associate
  • Familiar face to the LS since we plucked her from ACE
  • She received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University
  • She has experience working with Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grades
Missy Rowley- Grade 2 Associate
  • Received her degree from the University of Florida
  • Taught in Gainesville, Orlando and Jupiter
  • Has experience in ESE, 2nd, 4th and multi-aged classrooms
Mrs. Chrissie Ferguson (English/Social Studies) -  Mrs. Ferguson holds a B.S. in Advertising, with a Specialization in French from the University of Florida and a Florida Teacher Certification in English, grades 5-9.  Chrissie is also a freelance writer, contributing to publications such as the Sun Sentinel, South Florida Parenting, and HuffPost.  She is a ten-year veteran in the classroom, most recently teaching at Rosarian Academy.

Mrs. Lori Ramirez (Dance) - Mrs. Ramirez holds a B.AS. in Dance from Point Park University.  Bringing an extensive teaching and performing experience to Benjamin, Lori performed as a Radio CityRockette for 12 years.  She was a choreographer for television and movies, such as the Today Show and Julie and Julia, and has taught at a variety of studios and schools, most recently BAK Middle School of the Arts, where she was a guest instructor.   

Mr. Frank Taylor (Math) - Mr. Taylor is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY., where he earned a B.S in Mechanical Engineering, National Security and Public Affairs.  Frank worked as a Systems Engineer for Pratt & Whitney from 1981-2006, when he retired. He has extensive teaching experience at The Benjamin School as a long-term substitute teacher in the areas of math, science, engineering and history.  

Ms. Danielle Wishka (Library/Media Specialist) - Ms. Wishka holds a B.A. from Kent State University in Visual Communication Arts and a M.A. in Library and Information Science from Florida State University.  Danielle has worked as a Library Media Specialist in independent schools since 2003, most recent at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton where she orchestrated the modernization of their Middle School Library. 

    Ms. Katie Chellemi - Ms. Chellimi joins us from recent teaching engagements at Palm Beach Maritime Academy and Bright Futures Academy. Prior to her teaching positions, she did marine biology research at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in northern Florida as well as at the University of North Florida.  Ms. Chellimi earned her B.S. in Coastal Biology from the University of North Florida; while there, she spent the summer before her senior year as a research intern at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Science. A lover of all things coastal, she was raised in Vero Beach (and played lacrosse at archrival Vero Beach High School) and is PADI certified in open water SCUBA.  Ms. Chellimi will teach Biology and AP Biology.

    Mr. Nicholas Cramer -Mr. Cramer, who will teach both World and US History, grew up on a large farm in western Ohio, earning both his B.A. (political science) and M.A. (teaching) from Miami University in Ohio. Over his career, Mr. Cramer has earned accolades for his ability to translate his own love of history and government into inventive and inspiring work in the classroom. Most recently, he served as co-chair of the Social Studies Department at West Palm Beach's G-Star School of the Arts, where he taught AP Gov, World History, US History, and Economics.  

    Mrs. Caroline Guzman -Mrs. Guzman brings to our History and Social Sciences Department a wealth of teaching and legal experience. A Massachusetts native, she earned her B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Vermont before heading to the Washington, DC area. Study abroad in eastern Europe sharpened an existing interest in both that region and in maritime law.   In Washington, she earned a JD from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus Law School, after which she served as a legal clerk on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and at the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Ultimately, she decided that she wanted to teach and to inspire young adults, and she returned to school to earn a second Master’s in Secondary Social Studies Education. Since then, she has taught in the Fairfax County, VA system and, most recently, in Martin County.  Mrs. Guzman will teach AP World History, AP European History, and the Law elective.

    Dr. Hope Myers - Dr. Myers will join the History and Social Sciences Department, teaching AP Economics and US History. A Jupiter native, she earned a B.A. in History from Michigan’s Hillsdale College and an M.A. in History from the University of Miami. Following her Master’s work, Dr. Myers stepped in as the History Department chair at Jupiter Christian before moving to Suncoast where she taught AP Economics, AP Psychology, IB History, and World History. Her next career move took her overseas to the Shanghai American School, where she continued to teach history and harness the power of educational technology, earning a second Master’s Degree from George Washington University in Educational Technology Leadership, and then, just this past year, a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Educational Leadership.  

    Administrative Staff:
    Mrs. Lisa Badolati -Mrs. Badolati will take over the role of Upper School Administrative Assistant immediately, replacing Jennifer Archer, who submitted her resignation on July 31. Mrs. Badolati worked at the Upper School front desk during the month of July, helping families and Chris Nordland with summer programs and other divisional details. During the school year, Lisa has been a lead VPK teacher at Nativity Lutheran Preschool in Palm Beach Gardens since 2010 and last year was an afternoon  ACE Instructor at the Lower School. Lisa started her career in corporate travel, working for American Express with Canon USA and Florida Power and Light. She also worked as an office manager at Gabco Remodeling Inc. in West Palm Beach from 2000-2010.  Mrs. Badolati hails from Elmont, NY (think the Belmont Stakes and Vinny Testaverde!) and has lived in Florida for the past 21 years.

    Mrs. Adria Carr -Mrs. Carr will join the Upper School staff as the Secretary to the College Counseling Office, replacing the legendary Linda Twitchell, who retired in June to spend time with her family in Austin, Texas.  Mrs. Carr will bring good college experience to the office, having worked in college offices as a College Counselor, Director of College Counseling, and Registrar at other independent schools over fifteen years. Most recently, Mrs. Carr was a Fourth Grade Associate Teacher at the Lower School.  She is a native of Maine and a graduate of Colby College, where she double-majored in American Studies and Education.

    Years of Service Awards were also presented to the following faculty and staff members:

    10 YEARS

    15 YEARS

    20 YEARS

    25 YEARS

    35 YEARS

    40 YEARS

    45 YEARS

    The Head of School additionally presented Human Resources Assistant and Payroll Administrator Dana Kittendorf with the Bank of America Distinguished Service Award. The award provides an annual stipend to a faculty or staff member to recognize and reward distinguished service to the school.
    A premier PK3 - Grade 12 independent, coeducational day school with campuses in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Since 1960, The Benjamin School has provided a challenging college preparatory education to a diverse student body in a structured, nurturing community environment.