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.
Taylor Pearsall is a Lower School Lead Teacher. She graduated from Immaculata University with a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. She comes to us after teaching at The Quaker School in Horsham. Her experience at The Quaker School has provided her with a solid understanding of the academic and social-emotional needs of students who learn differently. She started at DVFriends in 2019.
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.
Isabelle Singer-Kaufold is a Teacher's Assistant in the Lower School. She comes to DV from City Year, AmeriCorps where she was an assistant teacher at Ingenuity Prep Charter School in Washington DC. Izzy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Drexel University and is a graduate of Friends Central School. In addition, Izzy served as a tutor in the Mighty Writers program and was an assistant teacher at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts.
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.