There are at least two teachers in every Early Learning Program classroom. Each Early Learning Teacher (ELT) owns a different content area—one focuses on Literacy, and the other focuses on Math/Science. Early Learning Program classrooms also share Early Learning Teaching Fellows (ELTF). The Early Learning Teachers are the primary teachers in the classroom whereas the Teaching Fellows play supporting roles to the Early Learning Teachers and often are in training to become a full teacher. For certain courses, a Subject Expert Teacher (SET) will push into the room to deliver content, and for others, an ELT or an ELTF will accompany students to an SET’s classroom.
Before joining the BASIS Independent family, Mr. Coquelin served as a professional bike fitter and swim coach for the 8 and Under group at York Swimming. He was attracted to BASIS Independent McLean because he wanted to be a part of an emerging school and help influence the way students look at moving. One of Mr. Coquelin’s primary objectives is that students will want to continue to enjoy being active on a daily basis once they have left BASIS Independent McLean. While at Old Dominion University Mr. Coquelin played ice hockey, Swam on the club Swim team, and started the Triathlon Club. He graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Physical Education
George Mason University, B.A. in Integrative Studies, Concentration in Liberal arts for Education PreK-Grade 3
Before joining BASIS Independent McLean, Ms. Darby taught for more than 12 years in private school: “My background has taught me that each classroom embodies a community of diverse learners, which requires educators to incorporate multiple teaching methodologies.”
Her goal at BASIS Independent McLean is to leverage these methodologies to promote an environment in which students learn to be inquisitive and curious, utilizing logic and their senses as tools for navigating through life.
Ms. Darby chose BASIS Independent McLean because of the strong emphasis placed on creative thinking and problem solving, preparing students to excel and succeed across all academic areas: “Within my classroom walls every child will develop confidence, while learning to collaborate effectively with others. An engaging, fun, and supportive learning environment enables each child to grow and flourish, ultimately preparing them to be successful and caring members of society.”
Ms. Darby enjoys photography, reading, and traveling with her husband. She has a passion for the arts and believes every child is indeed an artist! “When a child’s creativity and passions are fostered, the sky is the limit!”
Centria University of Applied Sciences in Finland, Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Management
Concordia University Portland, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Mathematics
During the 2015-16 school year, Ms. Dedman taught grade 4 math and science and Mandarin at BASIS Flagstaff in Arizona.
Ms. Dedman’s goal as a teacher is to develop students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills. She is excited to share her passion for engineering with her students. Ms. Dedman enjoys dancing, travelling, and reading outside of class.
Ms. Dornan has been teaching in early childhood for over a decade. Previously, she taught at Fairfax County schools, as well as internationally in Norway, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates. She holds an M.A. in Teaching with a concentration in Early Childhood Elementary Education and Special Education and a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development, both from the University of Virginia. Ms. Dornan’s favorite children’s book is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems.
Prior to moving into education, Mrs. Echandia spent 10 years in the law field. After moving from Colombia to Virginia, she decided to make a change into education in order to spend more time with her daughter. Since she started at BASIS Independent McLean she has discovered her passion for teaching children and says she couldn’t imagine going back to law. In addition to previously teaching Late Bird and Language and Literacy, she is also a proud BASIS Independent McLean parent. Ms. Echandia holds degrees from the Universidad del Rosario and Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Colombia).
Ms. Glanzer was a founding member of BASIS Independent Manhattan in 2017. There she taught music in the lower school and was the musical director for Drama Club productions. Previously at BIM, she has taught Performing Arts to Toddlers through Kindergarten.
Prior to teaching at BASIS Independent School, she ran her own company doing musical parties for children all over New Jersey, was a music teaching artist for area preschools and camps, and has two children’s music CDs, one of which earned her a Parents Choice Award. She also started a children’s theater company called All About Acting. She holds a M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education from Montclair State University and a B.F.A. in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University.
Last year, she moved to Virginia with her husband of 27 years. Her son is the Computer Science teacher at BIM, and her daughter graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
Dylan has a passion for teaching young people and wants to inspire confidence and cooperation through the performing arts. She loves reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with her husband and family.
Virginia State University, B.S. in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Family, Child, and Community Services
Before to joining BASIS Independent McLean, Ms. Johnson taught Pre-Kindergarten for two years in a private school where she maintained a positive learning environment that promoted the academic and physical development of all students. She also worked as a teacher for the Learning is Fun Too (L.I.F.T) program where she guided students toward success by providing academic support for the upcoming school year. In this role, Ms. Johnson served as a resource to students by helping them understand the importance of educational and career choices.
In her free time, Ms. Johnson enjoys coaching her all-star cheerleading team.
Monterey Peninsula College, Music Degree
Strayer University, Business Administration with a Focus in Finance
Mr. Junsay has taught for more than 10 years in public and private schools, assisted in directing and teaching two high school bands, and was recently the head of the music department at Edlin School in Reston, VA.
Mr. Junsay grew up in Monterey, California where he first experienced music in fourth grade. His first instrument that he learned to play was the clarinet. In middle school, Mr. Junsay moved to the bass clarinet, and it became his main instrument. In high school, Mr. Junsay became the drum major in his sophomore year. He remained drum major for the marching band and pep bands for three years. Mr. Junsay was also fortunate to get to have the experience of student teaching and conducting. Mr. Junsay also ran and managed his own Christmas chamber band in which he toured all over the Monterey Peninsula with in high school.
He has worked with students from preschool through eighth grade. He has created an advanced music curriculum through which students learned to use the tools and elements of music theory and music appreciation (many of which are often not typically introduced until college) and apply them to their everyday lives.
Mr. Junsay’s interests and experience extend well beyond the classroom. In addition to directing bands at a variety of levels, he has also directed a capella ensembles and numerous children’s theatre performances. Whether as a director, choreographer, set-, light-, or costume-designer, he enjoys creating opportunities for children to use their talents and imaginations.
What particularly excites Mr. Junsay about teaching at BASIS Independent McLean is the school’s commitment to allowing students to choose the path where they are comfortable and confident. Giving children the right tools and encouraging them to use them in concert with their own imagination, opens up a world of possibilities. Mr. Junsay also appreciates that BASIS Independent McLean focuses on the whole child; the curriculum allows students to make connections and experiment with ideas that might not have otherwise been sparked. He believes this is the foundation a child needs to gain self-confidence and a desire to learn more.
Mr. Junsay moved to Virginia in 2012. Now with two step children, a black Labrador/English setter named Maya, and his partner. Mr. Junsay is very happy living on the East Coast. He loves to decorate for any event or holiday, especially Halloween!
Ms. Kim has been teaching for six years as a substitute teacher, math competition coach, and Science Olympiad coach. Originally from Seoul, Korea, she moved to the US to further her studies; she earned an Art Education degree at Korea University in South Korea and an Interior Design degree in Illinois Institute of Chicago. Prior to teaching, Ms. Kim worked as an interior designer. Then as she volunteered at her children’s school, she fell in love with teaching and transitioned careers. She says, “I am so excited to join such an amazing team. I love teaching and helping students reach their full potential.” When not at work, she enjoys playing piano, reading, decorating her house, solving math problems, and cooking for family and friends.
Previously, Ms. Selvia Soylu Kucuk was a Leopard Cubs Instructor at The Langley School, where she planned prepared, and delivered age-appropriate activities to children from infant to age 3. As a Turkish foreign language teacher for elementary school children, she taught students to not only learn the language, but promoted cross-cultural understanding. Ms. Kucuk holds a Business Administration degree from the University of Baltimore. As a Monitor, Ms. Kucuk will supervise students in Late Bird.
Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, Italy in Fine Arts
Originally from Milan, Italy, Ms. Mauri has lived in Milan and Perugia, as well as London and New York. In addition to her degree, she studied illustration at Chelsea College of Art, London, and painting and drawing at the Art Students League of New York, NY. She has exhibited her artwork in group shows in England, Italy and New York, NY.
Committed to the arts and teaching, she most recently worked as a graphic illustrator, art teacher, and special education needs teacher at The International School of Europe of Monza, Italy. She has also worked in printmaking and as a textile designer for two New York–based companies.
Ms. Mauri is enthusiastic about BASIS Independent McLean because it offers students and teachers a wonderfully stimulating environment where all students can be challenged to express their full potential. Her goal as a BASIS Independent McLean teacher is to embrace this challenge and offer her students an opportunity to develop their creativity, to express themselves, and become confident and balanced individuals able to tackle and solve a range of tasks from different perspectives.
She loves travelling and experiencing new cultures and lifestyles, as well as art, design, architecture, outdoors activities, yoga and, last but not least, spending time with her family. Among the most unusual thing Ms. Mauri has ever done was to be the bass player of a band, which she enjoyed enormously except for experiencing stage fright before each single concert.
Ms. McCall has 10 years of teaching experience teaching early childhood students. She finds working with PreK children very rewarding because it is a joy to experience young minds grow and loves supporting her students’ knowledge, questions, and understandings. She holds bachelor’s degree in English: Literature and Language and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education.
Ms. Milhorn joins BASIS Independent McLean with nearly seven years of teaching experience particularly in the PreK, Kindergarten and grade 1. Most recently, she was a PreK teacher at Nysmith School where she focused on creative activities teaching students at various learning levels. At Nysmith, Ms. Milhorn pioneered an outdoor learning experience teaching STEAM to young learners. Prior to that role, she taught at the Gardner School teaching children in PreK. She has also taught in substitute roles in Falls Church City Public Schools and other local private schools. She and her husband have two teenage boys and two dogs.
Ms. Munce attended the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota where she earned her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood. This is her second year as a Teaching Fellow at BASIS Independent McLean. She enjoys being a part of the BIM community and values the relationships which have developed and looks forward to cultivating more relationships this year. Ms. Munce is passionate about teaching STEM with an open ended, kinesthetic style which allows for students to explore and create in a fun and developmentally appropriate way. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Ms. Orth has been teaching in the Early Childhood field long enough to have the joy of seeing many of her students graduate from high school. Prior to coming to BASIS Independent McLean, she lived in Gunnison, Colorado, working with 4-year-old students to prepare them for their transition to kindergarten. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education with Early Childhood minor from Wisconsin Lutheran College. Ms. Orth is excited to a part of the BASIS Independent McLean team and to bring new experiences to those in her care. She also believes that choice and play lead to learning and problem solving. The support of a solid early learning foundation provides students solutions they can use throughout their school career.
Ms. Orth loves story time and can often be found in the children’s section of her local library. She loves singing, being on stage making people laugh, and trying her hand at painting. She and her husband also enjoy traveling, especially to see their daughter wherever she happens to be.
Ms. Sanders is a passionate and dedicated role model, who brings more than 13 years of experience, knowledge and expertise in early childhood education. Utilizing her Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from the University of Economics (Bulgaria) to dive in and use data on daily basis, she develops and foster rigorous, engaging and fun experience for the little ones. Originally from Bulgaria, she speaks, understands or reads four languages, loves spending time with family and friends, and playing volleyball.
University of South Carolina, B.A. in Sociology
Christchurch College of Education (New Zealand), M.A. in Primary Education
Ms. Setty’s first taste of teaching was as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, where she spent two years in rural Japan teaching English to elementary and middle school students. After returning to the U.S., Ms. Setty taught in a grades 3 and 4 classroom in a private school in Annandale, VA. After the birth of her first daughter, Ms. Setty made the switch to preschool. She taught in a private preschool in Ann Arbor, MI for four years before taking a couple years off to complete the adoption process and bring her second daughter home from India. She returned to the preschool classroom in 2013 and hasn’t stepped away from the sensory table since.
Ms. Setty initially attended an information session at BASIS Independent McLean as a prospective parent and left the meeting thinking, “I want to be part of that!” She is excited to be a member of a teaching staff, which not only encourages children to ask big questions, but builds an atmosphere where teachers are encouraged and expected to ask big questions of themselves and each other. She believes that learning is a lifelong pursuit.
Ms. Setty and her family are avid travelers and they regularly return to India, the motherland of her husband and daughters. Never say “you should come visit” to her unless you are prepared for company, because she will definitely take you up on it. She and her family spend most long weekends and vacations visiting family and friends and making connections all over the United States. When she is at home, Ms. Setty enjoys growing vegetables, biking, watching her daughters play basketball, reading, and walking her dog in the woods.
Ms. Sharma has previously worked at child development centers helping young children through their daily routines and activities to ensure their growth. She holds an M.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in English and Sociology, both from Tribhuvan University (Nepal). Prior to living in the US, she lived in Nepal, and she worked with older children and young people in various behavior change communication initiatives through an international non-governmental organization. She has also been a radio presenter and producer in Nepal.
Roberts Wesleyan College, B.A. in Communications
George Mason University, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction
Mrs. Smith began her career in education on staff with Teach For America in the Las Vegas Valley region in 2007 before moving to Washington, D.C., as a corps member, where she taught second grade and PreK with DCPS. Mrs. Smith was part of the founding Pre-K team at KIPP D.C.: Discover Academy in Anacostia, where she was the department chair (2013-2017) and the Teacher to Teacher award recipient (2016).
Mrs. Smith joined BASIS Independent McLean in 2017 and her deepest desire as an educator is to provide a joyful and learning-focused community for children so that they are empowered to be curious, motivated, and risk-takers. She believes that when students are held to high expectations they are able to access accelerated opportunities and develop as the change-agents of our future.
In her free time, Ms. Smith loves to travel, host events and cheer for the Washington Nationals (#natitude). She is also a fitness enthusiast, in part, to offset her husband’s gourmet cooking. Most significantly, she is mama to Elsa, a BIM Grade 1 student.
No stranger to the BASIS Curriculum Schools network, Ms. Tozzi joins BASIS Independent McLean from BASIS Scottsdale, one of the top-ranked high schools in the country, where she taught Mandarin to high school students. Ms. Tozzi holds a M.A. in Education, specializing in Elementary Education from New York University and a B.A. in English and Literature from National Taiwan University.
A native of Taiwan, Ms. Tozzi believes that language is the key that unlocks a culture, and is passionate about sharing the richness of Chinese language and culture with her students. One of the highlights of the year, which she and the students look forward to, is celebrating Chinese New Year – from sharing the traditional Lion Dance to eating Chinese dumplings, a special treat that also tastes great any time of the year!
Azad University, Science and Research Branch (Tehran, Iran), B.A. in French Language and Literature, specialty is French Translation
George Mason University, M.A. in Early Childhood Education for Diverse Learners, specialty it Curriculum and Instruction
Following her passion for working with bilingual children, she moved to the U.S. to pursue her graduate degree. At George Mason, she won the Redjali graduate scholarship from College of Education and Human Development.
Before joining BASIS Independent McLean, she was a Head Start and VPI teacher in Alexandria, VA. She still serves as the director of Yekibood, a Saturday school for Iranian-American children in Falls Church.
Ms. Zafari’s goal as a BASIS Independent McLean educator is to create a safe, approachable, nurturing, and joyful environment that keeps the integrity of each child’s creativity and curiosity. She believes when children have opportunities to make choices in an environment which is inspiring and exciting, they are more motivated and interested to learn.
Ms. Zafari enjoys cooking, traveling, dancing, listening, and making music playlists for her friends to enjoy.