Our Instructors

“The Summer Institute is dedicated to providing students with unique, challenging, and engaging educational experiences. The courses students can take here will engage them in learning opportunities unlike what they will find in regular “school-year” classes. Team-taught by enthusiastic and gifted faculty with expertise in math, communications, the humanities, performing arts, earth science, biology, and space engineering, all the Summer Institute courses are immersive, collaborative, and hands-on. We are truly committed to providing a progressive vision of an integrated and interdisciplinary educational experience and, with the Summer Institute, teachers enjoy the chance to live out a utopian curriculum: students get our passions, expertise, and best ideas for classes in a fun and gradeless setting. What could be a better way to learn than that?”

Dr. Amanda Gregory

Dr. Amanda Gregory
Director, Summer Institute
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Dr. Jack Bartholomew

Dr. Jack Bartholomew was graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, where, in addition to higher-level math courses, he also studied music (including playing sackbutt in the Collegium Musicum). While at U-M, he organized an interdisciplinary honors colloquium involving professors and students from the arts, sciences, and humanities to examine commonalities among the disciplines—an enquiry he has continued to pursue.

That pursuit has taken him from a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Chicago (publications in superconductivity, particle physics, and lattice-gauge theory) to performing with the Choral Union at Drew University and from a post-doctoral fellowship in chemistry at Columbia University to dancing the rôle of Mephistopheles in Walpurgisnacht. Dr. B has also studied conducting through Juilliard’s evening division, and a few years ago participated in the Choreographer’s Lab at Jacob’s Pillow; his work has been performed at Ailey Citigroup Theatre.

When not teaching at MBS or serving as our school’s Cum Laude Society secretary, Dr. B teaches a college-level engineering course at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He has also taught physics courses at Drew.

As Dr. Bartholomew challenges his students to see connections between disciplines, he finds joy in encouraging them to take risks in their education and to discover an aesthetics of enquiry that transcends the utilitarian. He likes to keep in mind words from Merce Cunningham to his company as they addressed a particularly challenging sequence: “Clearly it’s impossible, but we’ll do it anyway.”


Dr. Owen Boynton

Dr. Owen Boynton is Director of the Center for Innovation and Design and a teacher of English at Morristown-Beard School. He attended the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, for his high school education, completing the IB diploma. He began his intensive study of languages and literature at Brown University where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Comparative Literature and Classics. Dr. Boynton went on to earn a Masters Degree (MSt.) at Oxford University and a PhD from Cornell University in English Language and Literature. Before switching to secondary education, he taught undergraduate courses at Cornell for several years and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) for a year.

Dr. Boynton’s commitment to an interdisciplinary approach is exemplified in the advanced seminar he is co-teaching this year with a member of the science faculty on the overlapping and divergent ways the Sciences and the Humanities approach critical thought and problem-solving. In his work for the Center for Innovation and Design, Dr. Boynton has helped the school articulate a vision of design thinking and creativity that underlies and orients the fundamental objectives of all disciplines of study. Dr. Boynton will bring his passion for imaginative world-building, literature, language, and design thinking to the MBS Summer Institute. He believes that conceiving of worlds that are not our own, and that are in fact quite different from it, can provide a powerful vantage point for better understanding and living in our own, and he believes the rigor of world-making is consistent with the rigor of creativity more generally. He looks forwards to helping students discover the depth, possibilities, and challenges of their own imaginative visions.


Peter Donahue

Mr. Peter Donahue joined the English department in 2014, after seven years of rabble-rousing, Socratic mischief and general pedagogical subversion in a large public school. He was drawn to MBS for its environment of academic risk taking and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Ever since his graduate work in composition and rhetoric at Seton Hall University (BA '05, MA '06), Peter's not happy unless he's exploding a paradigm. Recently, this has meant teaching writing as a design problem, advising an independent study in internet memes, and writing a book on why the “paragraph” is pedagogically bankrupt. Peter also blogs about teaching and writing, publishes a webcomic, and is currently working on a novel. When he’s not writing, Peter can be found painting in oils or acrylics, creating digital art, or recording music. As a freelance graphic designer, Peter has worked with a diverse array of clients including musicians, start-ups, a state university, and a German web design agency. He’s excited to bring his range of creative interests to the Summer Institute.


Paul Fisher

Mr. Paul Fisher is the Director of Academic Systems at Morristown-Beard School and teaches physics, environmental science and policy, computer science, and space flight engineering. He graduated from Dartmouth with a double major in Physics and Earth Sciences, and a double minor in Environmental Studies and Music; he went on to earn a Masters Degree in Planetary Science from Brown University. He spent the years from graduation until 2005 as a research scientist and systems engineer in NASA's planetary research program. His areas of research expertise are systems science, planetary volcanism, climate modeling, 3d graphics, multi-spectral imaging and data visualization. He is fluent in numerous computer programming languages with an emphasis on machine learning and 3d animation.

He brings his research expertise into the classroom with NASA programs like the Goldstone-Apple Valley Radio Telescope, the Mars Student Imaging Project and the Mars Exploration Student Data Team. Through these programs, MBS students have controlled a 43-meter radio telescope in the California desert and have used the Mars Odyssey spacecraft to take images of the surface of Mars and to perform award-winning advanced multi-spectral data research of water on Mars.

Mr. Fisher looks forward to bringing his systems thinking approach to the Summer Institute, encouraging students to relish the complexities and ambiguities that emerge in genuine scientific research.

 

Dr. John Girvin has been a Music Education Specialist for Yamaha Corporation of America since 1998. He has served as Music Director for the Yamaha National Junior Original Concert series as well as working as a teaching consultant for students in the Yamaha International Junior Original Concert program. As such, Dr. Girvin has had several US prizewinners be selected for the IJOC held in Tokyo, Japan, each year.

Dr. Girvin also is associated with Yamaha as a music arranger and as an adjudicator in Yamaha-sponsored music composition competitions. Projects have included student recordings and videos for broadcast both in the US and Japan. As a recording artist, Dr. Girvin released in 2012 a CD “Dances and Dialogs”, that features his performance of classical repertoire on the pipe organ. Dr. Girvin’s most recent commission has been from the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, with his newest compositions being performed at the re-opening of the Cathedral Basilica in Paterson, NJ. Professional work has included soundtracks for industrial videos for AT&T, Kawaii, and CBS.

At Morristown-Beard School, John teaches Middle School Band, Upper School Percussion Ensemble, and leads the MBS Jazz Ensemble. His degrees are from Montclair University, New York University, and University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music.

 

Ms. Renee Kenny was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Notre Dame in Economics and earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. She spent her early career trading bonds for Harris Bank and Lloyds Bank and managing investment portfolios for the City of New York. When she moved to New Jersey, she studied to become a certified teacher and joined the MBS library in 2012. Ms. Kenny oversees independent studies in the areas of economics and finance, some of which have included Economics, Entrepreneurship, Investment Analysis and Trading. She finds interacting one-on-one with students inspiring as, without any barriers, students freely ask all of the questions they may hesitate to in a classroom. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Global Affairs Club and Chess Club. Her fantasy novel, The Tales of Northborough, was published in August 2018. It is the first book in a trilogy. Ms. Kenny has been teaching English as a Second Language for six years in the summer. She also enjoys teaching Arts and Crafts at the MBS day camp and is looking forward to two new ventures, Hogwarts Summer Camp and the Escape Room at the Summer Institute!

 

Mr. Ben Krauss is the choral director at Morristown-Beard School. In addition to leading the school’s various singing groups, he also serves as the music director to the Upper School and Middle School musicals each year. He received his BA in music at Vassar College and his MA in Composition at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

Prior to working at MBS, Mr. Krauss was an active conductor, pianist, and arranger in the greater New York City area. He served on the music team for two Broadway musicals: The Addams Family (2010) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) as well as having music directed at regional theaters across the country, including North Shore Music Theatre, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and Florida Studio Theatre. As an orchestrator, his work has been performed at venues including Carnegie Hall and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), and has accompanied singers including Tituss Burgess, Kristen Chenoweth, and Andrew Rannells. Mr. Krauss is an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and has had his songs performed at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, and the Duke at 42nd street.

Mr. Krauss is pleased to take the skills he’s developed in the professional theater and music world and use them to help MBS students, be it developing original musical theater pieces, assisting in the creation of band arrangements for the school’s Contemporary Music Workshop, or coaching a singer for a public performance.


Jennifer Larson

Ms. Jennifer Larson joined the MBS faculty in 2014 with over fifteen years experience teaching Math to students in elementary and middle schools, with additional experience in the fields of early education. She has taught at The Peck School in Morristown, NJ, Grace Wilday Junior High School in Roselle, NJ, and Far Hills Country Day School, in Far Hills, NJ. In 2010 she was named Teacher of the Year at Grace Wilday, and in 2015 she was a New Jersey finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Ms. Larson brings a wealth of background in curriculum design, with expertise in Universal Design for Learning, a cutting-edge, scientifically-grounded approach to educational inclusivity and flexibility. She has a special interest in the integration of technology in the classroom, and has spoken on related topics regionally and nationally.

Ms. Larson earned a Masters degree in Instruction and Curriculum from the Nathan Weiss Graduate College at Kean University and, before that, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama from New York University. As an undergraduate student, Ms. Larson earned a B.F.A. in Drama from the Tisch School of the Arts. After graduation, she worked as a professional actress, performing in film, tv, and theater productions in NY as well as nationally. She continues to be a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA, the recognized performers' unions. While living in NY, she directed several off-off-broadway productions and produced a morning segment for a radio station. Ms. Larson was also asked to work with the Drew University Theater Educational Outreach Program. Currently, Ms. Larson writes and performs her own work at a variety of performing venues in NJ.


Jenifer Laviola

Mrs. Jenifer Laviola has been a language teacher for eighteen years, and joined the MBS faculty in 2016. Her interest in language learning began as a young child, as she grew up in a multi-lingual family. Mrs. Laviola studied political science, Spanish, Russian, and Italian as an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, where she participated in study abroad programs in Salamanca, Spain and Urbino, Italy. She subsequently earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Fairleigh Dickenson University. Mrs. Laviola has taught students of all ages and walks of life, ranging from middle school to college, and adult education. She worked extensively with the local immigrant community as an ESL teacher for ten years, and taught writing and public speaking at Essex County College. She owned and operated her own food culture company for a number of years, and currently teaches Italian cooking classes in local continuing education programs. Mrs. Laviola enjoys the strong sense of community she has found at MBS, as well as the opportunity to exercise her creative side. She enjoys working with Middle School students in the Watercolor Painting Club. In her free time, Mrs. Laviola loves to travel, cook, read, and spend time with her family.


Dan Lombardi

Mr. Dan Lombardi was graduated from Morristown-Beard School in 2016 and is currently a student at Syracuse University where he is studying animation and graphic design. While at MBS, Dan learned as much about art and design as he could, taking AP Art and courses in digital art, character design, and comic books. He has immersed himself in his studies in college and has taken his knowledge of and appreciation for artistic composition to the next level; he is looking forward to supporting a variety of different Summer Institute program by sharing what he has learned with the faculty and students.

In his limited free time, Dan enjoys playing the guitar and reading fantasy novels.


Kate Mutick

Ms. Kate Muttick

After several years managing public relations and communications for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Central Park Conservancy, Kate found herself ghostwriting for executives and uncovering a surprising secret – from oncologists to landscape architects, so many professionals lacked confidence in their writing style and skills. The realization sent Kate back to the classroom, with the goal of demystifying the writing process while building confidence and competence in each of her young students.

As a graduate of Morristown-Beard School, it was a smooth transition back “home”. Kate collaborated with Dr. John Mascaro to launch Writing Across the Curriculum and its support service, the Center for Academic Writing. At the same time, she offered workshops and mentoring for both students and faculty, with the recognition that MBS is a community of writers and that writing is simply a way of expressing both critical and creative thinking.

Though still a faculty volunteer in the Center, Kate currently teaches 10th grade English Humanities and two senior electives: Elements of Style and Creative Writing. Other interests at school have included leading Habitat for Humanity trips and launching The GLOW Project for girls’ leadership.

Recently, Kate taught Academic Writing and Research Methods at the college level, focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. Moreover, she acts as a consultant to small business leaders, helping draft business plans and proposals and writing marketing copy for product launches and sales materials.


Caitlin Skobo-Trought

Mrs. Caitlin Skobo-Trought has been a member of the Morristown-Beard School technology team since 2005. She has a Masters Degree from Drexel University in Learning Technologies, and her Bachelors in Psychology, from The George Washington University. Prior to MBS, she worked at the Apple Store behind the Genius Bar.

Mrs. Skobo-Trought is the Learning Systems Manager at Morristown-Beard School, where she works closely with teachers and students to assist with their technology needs. She designs and runs the technology training program for all teachers, as well as the Digital Citizenship curriculum for 9th grade health classes.

Mrs. Skobo-Trought is also an entrepreneur, running three businesses. She has a technology consulting business, where she specializes in one-on-one technology help, teaching classes at libraries across the state, and supporting private clients. Mrs. Skobo-Trought also has a small baking business where she makes anything from cookies to cupcakes. Her third business is a co-owned fitness apparel line, which sells motivational shirts and leggings.

Mrs. Skobo-Trought will bring her passion for learning and wide array of interests, to the Summer Institute. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly learning, and you need to be open to failure and learning from mistakes.


Christopher Teasdale

Mr. Christopher Teasdale joined the MBS faculty in 2005, after serving as a substitute teacher at MBS for a couple of years. Mr. Teasdale graduated (Phi Beta Kappa) from Skidmore College with a teaching certificate, but he put that passion on hold for two decades while he filled a number of positions at Bell Laboratories, the research arm of the Bell Telephone System. After teaching 8th grade history – at first ancient history, then later American history – for about a decade, Mr. Teasdale took a sabbatical, during which he built a seminar for Juniors and Seniors on the importance of forests to both ancient and modern cultures. Mr. Teasdale now teaches 9th grade humanities history as well as the seminar on forests, both of which call upon his expertise in ancient cultures. Mr. Teasdale is active in his township, serving as chair of Tewksbury Township’s Environmental Commission and secretary of the Tewksbury Land Trust. Over a two-year period, he wrote a column for The New York Times called “The Beekeeper’s Journal”. During his spare time, he can be found doing stewardship activities on the 20 acres of woodland he owns, including managing his beehives and building deer exclosures.


Deanna Whelan

Ms. Deanna Whelan joined the Academic Systems Group at Morristown-Beard in 2015. She was interested in joining Morristown-Beard because it was one of the first schools in the country to have a 1:1 iPad program and the ability to grow as a teacher in a field she is passionate about.

Before joining MBS, Deanna taught bilingual classes in a school in the south of Spain for one year. During her time there she tutored English and worked as a freelance Illustrator. She has been in independent schools for the past 6 years mixing her love for technology with Illustration and teaching.

Deanna teaches Digital Art and Graphic Design in the Middle and Upper school. Her classes incorporate professional drawing tools like Wacom tablets and the Adobe Suite as well as emerging cutting edge technologies using the iPads and Apple Pencils. She believes in teaching art fundamentals and incorporating them into the success that professionals find using social media and networks. When she is not teaching, Deanna is involved in the daily workings of the technology at the school which includes training for students and faculty and finding innovating ways to use the tools found on campus.

She is very excited to be teaching Tech Design Studio and Imagineering Ed Tech in the Summer Institute debuting this year with Peter Donahue.


Jeffrey Yuhas

Mr. Jeffrey Yuhas joined the MBS science department in the fall of 2013, just in time to be in New Jersey to watch the Red Sox win the World Series. He had spent the previous 16 years teaching public high school science in Massachusetts. His son Stephen (’20) started his MBS career at the same time.

At MBS Mr. Yuhas teaches Environmental Science and Freshman Physics, as well as the Advanced Seminar “Science and the Culture of the 60s”. He has advised several Independent Studies, from “Aviation Forecasting” and “Erosion Processes of the Jersey Shore” to “Sports Journalism”. He is the advisor for Morristown-Beard Weather Services (MBWS). This club runs the MBWS Instagram page and works on a wide range of projects, including building and programming a weather station, producing graphics for the media wall, and snowflake photography.

January 2019 will mark the 10th consecutive year that Mr. Yuhas will bring students to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting. MBS is one of only two high schools that attend this international scientific conference. Students present posters and give talks to the university, industry, and agency members in attendance.

Mr. Yuhas is an active member of the AMS, currently co-chairing the Symposium on Education. He is also the chair of the Batten Book Award Committee and a past member of the Board of Outreach and Pre-College Education, and the Local Chapter Affairs Committee.

Mr. Yuhas has a Masters of Science in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Brown University.


Carolann Zavorskas

Ms. Carolann Zavorskas joined the MBS Upper School Math Faculty in 2016, two years after earning a Bachelor of Science and Environmental Studies degree from Rowan University. In the Math Department at MBS, Ms. Zavorskas has been involved in developing an integrated math curriculum, in addition to teaching students throughout their high school educations. Beyond her work in the Math Department, Ms. Zavorskas has brought her passion for environmental stewardship to MBS. Notably, she serves as an advisor on the MBS Green Team, where she has overseen initiatives to make sustainability a more central part of daily life on the MBS campus. Close to her heart are projects to bring a NJ-native perennial garden to the School and a campaign to raise student awareness of recycling procedures. Ms. Zavorskas is looking forward to helping Summer Institute students see the global consequences of local practices, and to work with them as they undertake projects to foster awareness and change in habits and choices of day-to-day life.

Courses for Middle Years

(rising 6th-8th grade)

Hands-on courses in creative writing, mathematics, and design.

Read Course Descriptions

Courses for Upper Years

(rising 9th-12th grade)

Interactive and challenging courses in music, scientific research, entrepreneurship, and design.

Read Course Descriptions

Have Questions?

Please write to us at summerinstitute@mbs.net.