Meet the Lower School Team
Christy Zawadzkas is our Lower School Director. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling Psychology. Christy also is an LPC(Licensed Professional Counselor). 2020-21 is her 20th year in education. She has worked the last 10 years in private education(Pre-K-8th gr) and before that taught in public schools. She started at DV Friends in 2016. Christy became the Head of the Lower School in 2020.
Katie MacTaggart is a Lower School Lead Teacher. She graduated from St Joseph's University with a dual Bachelors's degree in Elementary and Special Education. She holds a Master's degree in Special Education with a focus in high incidence learning disabilities. Katie is a certified Orton-Gillingham classroom educator and trained in multisensory math. She is an experienced Friends school educator having spent time at Stratford Friends, Westtown, and most recently Carolina Friends School as a first and second-grade lead teacher.
Toni Bushnell is a Lower School Lead Teacher. She has over 20 years of teaching experience, and most recently taught at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Prior to that, Toni worked at Stratford Friends School for more than a decade. Toni is certified in Orton-Gillingham and is passionate about teaching students with language-based learning differences. Toni is a member of the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting.
Barbara Bond is a Teacher's Assistant in the Lower School. She has her Associates in Criminal Justice and is currently working towards her degree in Education. She has worked as a TA in Pre-K at Greene Street Friends for 5 years after owning an arts & crafts store in Germantown for 8 years. Barbara started at DV 2018.
Elysse Stanger is a Teacher's Assistant in the Lower School. She has a B.A. in Music and Philosophy from Gettysburg College, an MBA in Media Management from Cardiff Univerity and a Post Baccalaureate Early Grades Preparation from West Chester University. Before joining DVFriends, she worked as an Assistant Teacher at Berwyn Montessori School and was a Student Teacher at Westtown Thornbury Elementary. Elysse started at DVFriends in 2020.
Ashley Reif is a Lower School Lead Teacher. Ashley received her Bachelors of Arts in Education from Centenary University. She is a certified elementary school teacher in both PA and NJ, including a K-12 certificate for teaching students with learning disabilities. She has several years of teaching experience, most recently as a third-grade teacher at Ss Colman-John Neumann School in Bryn Mawr. Prior to that she served as an assistant teacher at the Baldwin School.
Brian Stroinski is a lower school lead teacher. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies Education and History from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He has a Master's degree in Technology Integration in the Classroom from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. This is his first foray into a Friend's school. He has previously worked in public schools in West Virginia and Minnesota, and worked in a charter school in Minneapolis.
Hannah Hicks holds a BA in Communications and Theater from Saint Joseph's University. She worked at Walt Disney World as a performer before making the switch to education. Previously, she worked at the Agnes Irwin School. Hannah started at DV in 2021.
Megan Peterson is a teacher’s assistant in the Lower school. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Grades Preparation from West Chester University. Before joining DVFriends, Megan taught 3rd grade and kindergarten in Prince William County, Virginia for 8 years.