About Us

Faculty and Staff

Oxford Academy’s faculty of committed educators and its dedicated staff form a supportive and caring community with one goal: the success of each student.

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Mathematics Teacher

Adam Braverman

Degrees: B.S., Tulane University

Adam Braverman grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2015, he earned his B.S. in Mathematics from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to Oxford, he worked at a public, charter school in Baltimore City where he served as a co-teacher for both 6th grade Mathematics and U.S. History. In addition, he coached flag football and lacrosse. During his free time, Adam enjoys watching the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and college lacrosse. Otherwise, he likes to read, explore, and experience new things. He lives on campus in Davis Hall.

Mathematics Teacher

Andrew Rhoads

Degrees: B.A., Loyola University

Biography: Andrew Rhoads graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2011 with a B.A. in Economics and Writing. He then took supplemental math courses at Mount Saint Mary’s University in anticipation of eventually attending graduate school for either Math or Economics. While at Mount Saint Mary’s he worked as a Math Mentor/Tutor for several sections of students. Andrew enjoys following the Denver Broncos. He is also working on a book in his free time. His favorite television show is Parks and Recreation. He lives on campus in Lind Hall.

Director of Summer Enrollment

Beth Rainey

Biography: Known for her warm and welcoming manner, Beth has worked in boarding school admissions for over 30 years. Her career spanned schools including The Forman School, Kildonan School, and Camp Dunnabeck where she served as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Her extensive background in working with families, educational consultants and placement counselors along with her travel experience will be an asset to Oxford.

A Waterbury native, Beth is a mother and grandmother. She enjoys travel, gardening, reading, and shopping.

Mathematics Teacher, Mathematics Department Head, Assistant Dean of Students

Chris McGrath

Degrees: B.A. Mathematics, Central Connecticut State University

Biography: Chris McGrath graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2012 with a B.A. in Mathematics. Before Oxford, he was a high school math tutor, a math teacher at a middle school in Hartford, CT, and a high school coach of both baseball and basketball. In his spare time, Chris enjoys watching the New York Yankees, Denver Broncos, and UCONN basketball. He lives on campus in Lind Hall with his wife Allison.

Librarian

Christeen Gilman

Degrees: MLIS, Southern Connecticut State University
M.Ed., Sacred Heart University
B.A. English, Eastern Connecticut State University

Biography: Christeen Gilman holds a Master’s in Information and Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master’s in Education from Sacred Heart University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Connecticut State University. She has an extensive history of working with young adults in both an educational and community service setting. Her passion is reading and sharing that joy with others. She also enjoys gardening, traveling and spending time with her family. Christeen lives in Old Saybrook with her husband, Alan, and two children, Leo and Eli.

Head Chef

Dave Forrest

Biography: Dave “Cheffie” Forrest has been the Head Chef at the Oxford Academy for over twenty years. As a graduate of Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, Dave is highly experienced and has catered for a variety of functions including weddings, and of course Oxford’s graduation where his skill and creativity shine. Dave and his wife Gail live in Westbrook with their two children Cody and Jessica.

Director of Office Administration

Elizabeth Stratidis

Degrees: A.A., Taylor Business School of New York
Biography: Elizabeth has employed her experience as a successful business owner and administrator as the Director of Office Administration at Oxford Academy for the past decade. Yet, her connection to Oxford goes back much further, as her parents owned what is now Café Routier, and sold Hill House to Oxford back in the late 70’s. Elizabeth enjoys all aspects of her role at Oxford, but holds a special place in her heart for each and every young man that passes through Oxford; this is evident by the seemingly endless line of students that gather in her office on a daily basis. Elizabeth resides in Westbrook with her husband Tony, and their Portuguese water dog, Ella. They have 4 daughters and 4 grandchildren.

Director of Alumni and Development

Faith Asselin

Degrees: B.S., Bryant University As Development Director at Oxford Academy, Faith Asselin has over twenty years of professional development experience and twelve years of teaching experience. Faith earned her B.S. from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI and has taken graduate courses at UCONN. She has worked mainly in the educational arena, as a business teacher at Waterford High School and the Sawyer School, and then as Alumni and Development Director at The Williams School and as Advancement Officer at Mitchell College, both in New London. She has also been the Membership Coordinator at both Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London and the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme. Faith has two grown children, Brian and Valerie.
English Teacher, Director of College Guidance

Geoff Cartier

Degrees: B.A., Lafayette College
Biography: Geoff Cartier has been working at Oxford as an English teacher since his graduation from Lafayette College in 1998. In the beginning, he lived on campus with his dog Madison. Since then, he has become the Director of College Guidance, he has gotten married to his lovely wife Heather, and moved to Madison where he lives with his two children (Colson and Chase) and their new dog (Chappy).

History Teacher

Gregory Switaj

Degrees: B.A. History and Political Science, University of Connecticut
M.A. Secondary History Education, Quinnipiac University

Biography: Gregory was born in July 1986 in New Haven, Connecticut. He earned two degrees at the University of Connecticut in History and Political Science. While in college, Gregory joined the improv group Sacred Scriptless (then called Husky Improv), where he performed improvisational comedy for three years. After graduation, Gregory went on to earn his master’s degree in secondary history education from Quinnipiac University. Gregory taught Language Arts and Literature at St. Bernadette School for three years. He enjoys traveling, cooking, Ultimate Frisbee, indoor rock climbing, and going to the beach. Greg lives in Davis Hall with his wife, Catherine, and twin boys.

Director of Admissions, Director of Financial Aid

Helen Waldron

Degrees: B.S., M.S. Biography:Helen is a well respected educator and educational therapist with roughly 27 years of experience helping school aged children become successful learners. She has an extensive background in boarding schools, admissions, curriculum development and faculty coaching. Helen holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and Bachelors in Psychology which coincides with her longstanding passion for working with students of varying abilities and their families.
Science Teacher

Jeffery Gonzalez

Degrees: BA, Secondary Education and Athletic Training, Alderson-Broaddus College

Biography: Mr. Gonzalez is a graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College, where he received a degree in Secondary Education and a degree in Athletic Training (Sports Medicine). Mr. Gonzalez started teaching at Oxford Academy in October of 2015. He has taught in Hartford, CT as well as at Thomas Edison Middle Magnet School. He also spent a year and a half overseas in South Korea, teaching English as a Second Language. He spent the last thirteen years teaching during the summer at Wesleyan University’s Upward Bound Math and Science program. Mr. Gonzalez loves to play basketball and go rock climbing. He also loves camping and hiking from his years spent working at YMCA Great Hollow Wilderness School. He lives in Davis Hall with his wife, Chiana, and two daughters.

Art and Photography Teacher, Art Department Chair

Jill Vaughn

Degrees: B.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design
M.Ed., University of Saint Joseph

Biography: Jill Vaughn is the Department Head of Art and Photography and has taught at Oxford since 1999. She received her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design, was the former President of the Essex Art Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee at Gallery One, in Old Saybrook, CT where she is the curator of exhibitions. A small business owner of “Jill Vaughn Studio” and mother of three, Ms. Vaughn enjoys the challenges of teaching art and actively exhibits her watercolors, oil paintings and drawings in CT. Her art may be found in many private and public collections including the Westbrook Public Library, Pfizer Corporation and Quinnipiac College.

Spanish Teacher

Josephina Monroy

Degrees: B.A. Spanish, Escuela Normal España

Biography:
Mrs. Monroy comes to us from El Salvador, Central America and received her teaching degree from Escuela Normal España in San Salvador, El Salvador. She was an Elementary school teacher for ten years. Once she moved to the United States, she taught Spanish for eleven years at Adult Education Levels 1, 2 and conversational Spanish. From 2004 to 2006 she was the Spanish Teacher for St. Johns, a Catholic School in Old Saybrook, CT. Mrs. Monroy enjoys teaching Spanish and working at Oxford Academy. It allows her the opportunity to share one of the most spoken languages with the students. They are also able to expand their knowledge of the Spanish culture through readings and many projects. Some of Mrs. Monroy’s hobbies are stamping/card making, sewing, going to baseball games or shows, reading and dancing.

Science Teacher, Science Department Head

Jude Maragliano

Degrees: B.S. Childhood Education, Plymouth State College

Biography: Jude Maragaliano’s love for science and the outdoors developed from growing up close to Cockaponset State Forest in the Connecticut River Valley. He attended Plymouth State College in Plymouth, NH. During this time Jude worked at Loon Mountain Resort as a snowboard instructor. Completing his B.S. in Childhood Education at Plymouth in 2004, he moved from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to their bigger and newer cousins, the Rockies. He spent two years in Breckenridge, Colorado, living at the top of the world in Summit County (9600 feet) which fostered an appreciation for the vastness of wide open spaces and stimulated his interest in geological processes. Jude decided to move to New York City and pursue his love of teaching. He began working at the Museum of Natural History as a Moveable Museum Educator. In that capacity he drove a 37-ft. outfitted Ford Winnebago to schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City visiting over 150 schools and teaching thousands of students about Earth & Planetary sciences as well as Anthropology. Jude, his wife Elise, and their young daughter and son enjoy living along the Connecticut shoreline.

English Teacher

Justin Laudano

Degrees: B.S., Wittenberg University
M.S., Quinnipiac University

Biography: Justin Laudano is excited to begin his journey as an English teacher at Oxford Academy. Prior to joining Oxford, Justin’s passion for literature and creative writing inspired him to earn a B.S. in English from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a master’s degree from Quinnipiac University in education. As an undergraduate at Wittenberg, Justin participated in several theatre productions and improv comedy shows. Since college, he has worked as an outdoor educator, colonial times re-enactor, and a paraprofessional. Most recently, Justin had the opportunity to teach poetry to high school students in Kildare, Ireland during the summer of 2018. Some of Justin’s other adventurous destinations abroad include Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, and Brussels. In his free time, Justin enjoys playing frisbee, golf, tearing up the dance floor, and rooting for his favorite football team – The Atlanta Falcons.

Latin and English Teacher, Foreign Language Department Head

Martha Neale

Degrees: B.A., Bates College, Harvard University

Biography: After growing up outside of Philadelphia, Martha attended Bates College and Harvard University. Prior to coming to Oxford, she was a social worker and in non-profit management. She started at Oxford in 1997, first teaching Latin, instilling lively students with an appreciation for a mortua lingua, and now also teaches English. In 2007 she became Director of College Guidance. She spent many years committed to supporting students and families as they search for challenging yet nurturing communities within which they will grow, thrive and succeed until fall 2018. Currently, Martha is proud to focus her attention on her roles as a long-standing teacher and the Foreign Language Department Head.

Dean of Studies

Marti White

Degrees: B.A., University of Michigan
M.A. Education, St. Joseph’s College
Biography: Marti White began her career in education at TASIS Hellenic International School, Kifissia, Greece, where she met her husband, Doug. In 1985 when Doug joined the Oxford faculty, they moved onto campus where they raised their three sons, Alex, Ben and Nick, for the next 10 years. Mrs. White became Oxford’s Dean of Studies in the fall of 1996 after several years of teaching English and serving as department head. Since 2005 she has also served on the Westbrook Board of Education.

English Teacher

Mary Ann Clark

Degrees: B.A., LeMoyne College
M.A., Binghamton University – SUNY
Ph.D, University of Albany – SUNY

Biography: Mary Ann Clark began her career as a college teacher in the field of educational philosophy and policy. She left the workforce for a decade to focus on her children and to volunteer in their schools. Since 2012, she has worked as a private tutor, designing individualized learning frameworks for middle and high school students. She enjoys supporting young people as they explore new ideas, become more self-aware, and discover ways of learning that will help them live meaningful lives. Ms. Clark also volunteers as an advocate for immigrant families in Connecticut. She lives in Westbrook and loves spending time with her husband, John McGannon, sons Finn and Jesse, and sweet dog Sophie.

Mathematics Teacher

Mary Sorensen

Degrees: B.S. Mathematics, Hunter College

Biography: Mrs. Sorensen graduated from Hunter College in New York with a BS degree in Mathematics. She started her career teaching Math in the New York City school system. After taking a leave of absence to raise her 5 children, she reentered the educational field, working at the Westbrook School System, and then at St. John School in Old Saybrook. She joined the Oxford team in 2014 as a math instructor. Nothing brings her greater joy than seeing the improved confidence in her students as their math skills progress. She enjoys tennis, reading, cooking and visiting the local beaches. Her spare time is spent with her family, especially her grandchildren.

Dean of Students

Matthew LaSota

Degrees: B.A. History, St. Lawrence University
M.S. Education, University of New England
Biography: Mr. LaSota has been a part of the Oxford Academy community since September of 2000. Prior to serving as Dean of Students, Mr. LaSota chaired the History Department and filled the role of Assistant Dean of Students. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Mr. LaSota resides on campus with his wife Nicole, daughters Harper and Charlotte, and dog Monty. The bulk of his free time is spent saltwater fishing Connecticut’s shoreline as well as Florida’s Gulf Coast. Mr. LaSota is an avid follower of Buffalo sports teams.

History Teacher, History Department Head

Matthew Pachniuk

Degrees: B.A., Wheaton College
M.A. Secondary Social Studies Education, Fairfield University

Biography: Matthew A. Pachniuk is a 2013 graduate of Fairfield University where he earned an M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education. During his time at Fairfield, he taught Modern U.S. History to students at Hillcrest Middle School in Trumbull, CT. For the past year, Matt has been a literacy interventionist at Danbury High School providing supplemental instruction to students in History and English. Matt received his B.A. in International Relations from Wheaton College (MA) in 2007. Matt is passionate about international travel and has trekked to 27 countries including stops in Japan, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, India, the UAE, and Egypt. His academic interests lie in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, Flemish culture, competing political ideologies of the twentieth century, and the link between globalization, cultural identity, and world football. He is an avid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

History Teacher, Technology Coordinator, Director of Athletics

Michael Lindquist

Degrees: B.A. History, University of Oregon

Biography: Michael Lindquist graduated from the University of Oregon in 2010 with a B.A. in History and a Minor in Geography. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in CA, Michael coached high school boys basketball at Crystal Springs Uplands School as well as middle school baseball before moving to work full-time with Camp Weequahic, a traditional overnight camp. After two full years of camp, Mr. Lindquist pursued his passion of working with young adults, as well as offer his knowledge and passion for history and geography here at Oxford, joining in the Fall of 2014. He is now the Head Basketball Coach for the Boys in Blue and Director of Athletics. His favorite course to teach is Human Geography. Michael lives on campus in Hill House with his wife Alyssa and young daughters, Riley and Taylor.

Head of School

Philip Cocchiola

Degrees: M.Ed., University of New Haven

Departments: History, Administration
Biography: Philip B. Cocchiola was appointed the sixth Head of School at Oxford Academy in June 2010. Born in Connecticut, Mr. Cocchiola graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, he studied history and played varsity basketball. He went on to earn his Masters in Education from the University of New Haven. Mr. Cocchiola is not new to Oxford Academy, having joined the faculty in July of 1998. He has held many positions at the school, including social studies teacher, dormitory supervisor, Department Chair and Dean of Students. Mr. Cocchiola is a graduate of the NAIS Institute for New Heads, a former board member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools(CAIS) as well as a participating member of NEASC, NAIS, SBSA, TABS, IECA Foundation board member, and Westbrook Park and Recreation board member. He also serves as co-chair of the Westbrook Division of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Cocchiola resides with his wife Tracy and twin sons, Drew and Dylan at the Headmaster’s House on the school’s campus. His interests and activities center on community service, reading, and sports.

Science and Mathematics Teacher

Rick Westbrook

Degrees: B.S. Chemistry Biography: Mr. Westbrook has been teaching math and science in Connecticut for much of his professional career. He and his wife Maureen have raised their twins in the Westbrook community and continue to be very involved in local affairs. Mr. Westbrook sings in the church choir, is a member of the Westbrook Board of Finance, and enjoys using his carpentry skills to help design sets for the high school theatre productions. In his spare time he enjoys UConn sports, golf, and travel.
Business Manager

Robin Sogge

Degrees: B.S., Southern CT State University

Biography: Robin previously worked at Oxford as Assistant to the Business Manager from 2004 to 2011. She has a degree in Business Administration and has been a bookkeeper and office manager for the last twenty years for various small firms along the Connecticut shoreline. She lives in Guilford with her husband Scott; they have two grown sons Ryan and Eric. In her spare time, Robin enjoys trail running, cooking and reading.

Science and Mathematics Teacher

Ross Pelletier

Degrees: B.S. Biology, Boston College
MAT, Sacred Heart University

Biography: Ross Pelletier is a graduate of Boston College. After graduation, she was a teacher in science labs and Director of Residences at Hartford College for Women. Ross took time off from teaching while her sons were small, and returned to teaching Math and Science on the secondary level. She was a coordinator of the U.S. Junior Women’s Rowing Development Camp at the Coast Guard Academy. Ross has also served as part of the technical team for several community theaters. She lives on the Connecticut shore and enjoys walking the beaches, reading, and designing knitwear.

English and ESL Teacher

Taylor Sahl

Degrees: B.A. English, Skidmore College

Biography: Mr. Sahl is a graduate of Skidmore College, where he received his degree in English. He has been at Oxford since 2010, teaching English/ESL, coaching basketball, heading Oxford’s Literary Magazine, and running the photography club. He enjoys writing, traveling, SCUBA diving, photography, marine biology, skiing, and fly-fishing. He lives on campus in Lind Hall with his wife Sarah, their daughter Magnolia, and their cats Van and Fiona.

Director of Marketing and Communications, Associate Director of Admissions

Tora Ogueri

Degrees: B. A. Communication, Central CT State University
Biography: After achieving her B.A. in Communication, Tora attained experience in marketing and branding in the private school setting. Her leadership ability and passion for interacting with students, led her to roles as an Admission’s Advisor in post secondary education while pursuing a master’s degree in school psychology. She has excelled in her ability to assess an applicant’s needs and determine eligibility for enrollment. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and traveling.

School Nurse

Vivian Partridge

Biography: In New York City Ms Partridge was for 16 years the night charge nurse in the emergency departments at both Lenox Hill and New York Hospitals. She took that experience with her to HIP of Greater New York, an HMO, and managed emergency, quality assurance and utilization departments at the company. Ms. Partridge returned to Connecticut in 2001 to open and antique and collectibles shop and care for her elderly parents — she still cares for her 91-year-old father — in her home. She collects antique clothing (1830’s forward) and will wear it to school for Halloween and during the holidays. She comes from a large family with thirteen nieces and nephews that have spent much of their summers at “Camp Aunt Vivian;” caring for the guys at Oxford is like caring for her family, she just loves it!

Dean of Faculty

Zachary Hayden

Degrees: B.A. English, Macalester College
M.A.T., Sacred Heart University
Biography: As a middle school and high school teacher Mr. Hayden worked with at-risk students in Washington D.C. before coming to Oxford Academy in the summer of 2003. Mr. Hayden has served as a soccer coach, Davis Hall dorm master, duty administrator and advisor to recycling and movie clubs during his time at Oxford. Mr. Hayden enjoys seeing the tremendous progress students make at Oxford as they excel in the classroom and become more involved and positive members of the community. Mr. Hayden now lives nearby off campus with his wife Kate and their children Norah and Miles.

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