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Amazing School Year This Way — Welcome New Pingry Employees!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year here at The Pingry School! Students have returned, extracurricular activities are taking place, lots of learning is happening, and relationships are being developed. In addition to all of these exciting happenings across our campuses, Pingry is delighted to introduce you to the newest members of our talented team for the 2021-22 school year.

Read the brief employee profiles below to learn more about the varied backgrounds of our new team members, and help us welcome them all to the Pingry community!

Lower School

Erik Hove, Grade 5 Social Studies Teacher, previously worked as a Grade 2 and Grade 4 teacher at Yangon International School in Yangon, Myanmar. Prior to his experience in Myanmar, Mr. Hove taught third and fourth grade at Princeton Day School from 2014-2019, serving as Chair of Global Studies for Pre-K through grade 12 for the 2018-19 school year. He is very excited to work with Pingry students and families to make their final year at the Lower School a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Mr. Hove holds a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations from Carleton College, an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Lesley University, and a Master’s degree in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also completed Arabic and Hebrew language studies in Jerusalem and Yemen, as well as Vermont.

Yan Davydov, Grade 2 Teacher, comes to Pingry with extensive experience in elementary education, including his most recent eight-year tenure at the Ethical Culture School in Manhattan, where he taught second and third grade. Mr. Davydov holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York (CUNY) at Baruch and an M.S.Ed. from Hunter College.

Jocelyn Shengjie Chen, Lower School Associate Teacher, previously worked in public and private schools in Beijing and co-taught in schools throughout New York City. In her new role, Ms. Chen is eager to explore inclusive subject teachings and interact with students and the larger Pingry community, as she continues her professional journey. Ms. Chen holds a Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as an undergraduate degree from Beijing Normal University.

Sara Borden, Lower School Associate Teacher, has been Head Camp Counselor at Oak Crest Day Camp, a science teacher at science camp, and a substitute teacher. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education and History from The College of New Jersey.

Milloni Shah, Grade 5 Language Arts Teacher, comes to Pingry with years of experience in elementary education. Before Pingry, Mrs. Shah served as a fifth-grade teacher at the Patrick M. Villano School in Emerson, New Jersey, for six years, as well as a teacher at The Sundance School in North Plainfield, New Jersey, for nine years. As a Language Arts teacher, she is excited to dive into great books and have deep discussions with Pingry students. Mrs. Shah earned her undergraduate degree and Master’s in Education from Rutgers University.

Walker Smith, Lower School Associate Teacher, has worked as a Behavior Therapist and Outdoor Education Teacher. He attended Springfield College and Rutgers New Brunswick for graduate school.

Jared Slaymaker, K-3 Music Teacher, has been the Head of Elementary Music at the Stamford American International School, Singapore; Middle School Instrumental Coordinator at Christina Seix Academy; and leader of the K-12 Music Choir and Orchestra for the Bridgewater and Franklin Township Public Schools. Mr. Slaymaker has a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy as well as a Master’s degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College.

Middle School

Nadezhda Mims, Middle School English Teacher, comes to Pingry with more than 10 years of experience teaching English at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. At Pingry, Mrs. Mims is most looking forward to developing relationships with students, colleagues, and families, as she sees a “strong sense of community” as vital to success for students and schools. Mrs. Mims earned her undergraduate and first Master’s degree from Rutgers University. She earned a second Master’s degree from Saint Elizabeth University.

Jill Howard, Middle School History Teacher, joined the Pingry community after teaching high school history and English for four years at Franklin Academy in Connecticut. A 2019 “History Teacher of the Year” nominee through The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Ms. Howard most looks forward to engaging with students and faculty in her new role and sharing her passion for history with the Pingry community. Ms. Howard earned a B.A. in History and Education from Framingham State University and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching from Fitchburg State University.

Joe Karpman, Middle School History Teacher, served as an apprentice teacher at New Canaan Country School and taught Grade 6 Social Studies at Saint Mary’s Hall, where he received a Master Teacher Award. He received a B.A. in History from Vassar College and an M.Ed. from Lesley University (specializing in K-8 literacy).

Upper School

Dan Fried, Upper School Science Teacher, joined the Pingry community after serving as a member of Kean University and Saint Peter’s University’s Chemistry faculty. Dr. Fried, who, prior to Pingry, developed a program to make college biochemistry more accessible to elementary school kids across the globe, looks forward to working with Pingry’s “amazing” student body and teaching a new subject (biology). Dr. Fried holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Binghamton University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University.

Bryanna Gallagher, Upper School Math Teacher, has served as Dean of Students and STEM Department Chair at Purnell School. She received a B.A. in Mathematics (minor in Chemistry) from Central Connecticut State University and an M.S. in Environmental and Biological Sciences (concentration in Environmental Policy) from Troy University. Mrs. Gallagher is working toward an M.Ed. in Learning & Technology from Western Governors University.

Dr. Jennifer Pousont, Upper School Science Teacher who is teaching Biology and Methods in Molecular Biology Research, has worked at Deerfield Academy as a biology, chemistry, and research teacher and a robotics coach. She also worked at the National Institutes of Health as an IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award) postdoctoral fellow. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Keene State College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Chester Chu, Upper School Science Teacher, has taught Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry in central New Jersey prior to Pingry. He also has over 10 years of experience teaching physics at both the high school and college levels. He enjoys helping students understand chemistry through humor and connections with their daily lives. Dr. Chu earned a B.S. in Chemistry, B.A. in Physics, and B.A. in Applied Mathematics at UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Physics at MIT, where he received the Buechner Student Teaching Award.

Middle and Upper School

David Gonzalez, Middle and Upper School Computer Science Teacher, previously worked in IT (Information Technology) and HCC (Health Care Compliance) for Johnson & Johnson, and more recently, he was the Forensics Data Analytics Technology Ops Leader at EY. He has also been an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and is happy to return to teaching. Mr. Gonzalez received a B.S. in Information Management from TCNJ, an M.S. in Information Systems from Stevens Institute of Technology, a Healthcare Compliance Certification from Seton Hall University Law School, and a CCEP (Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional) from The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Chao Wang, Middle School and Upper School Mandarin Teacher, joined the Pingry community after serving as a Senior Instructor and Curriculum Designer for the Chinese Language Academy in New York for three years. Prior to that experience, Mrs. Wang served as Global Career Consultant at Mandarin Consulting — a role that led to her being named “Consultant of the Year.” Mrs. Wang holds an undergraduate degree in business as well as a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, New Literacies, and Global Learning from North Carolina State University.

Leah Charles, Middle and Upper School Counselor, completed her internship as a school counselor in Clinton Township, working on social-emotional learning, and individual and group counseling. She received undergraduate and master’s degrees at Centenary University.

Michael Taylor, Middle School/Upper School Visual Arts Teacher, brings more than 25 years of exhibition and performance history to Pingry. Mr. Taylor holds an MFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a BFA from the University of Houston.


Alex Steinberg, Educational Technology and Innovation Coordinator, previously served as Education Technology Coordinator at The Churchill School in New York City. Mr. Steinberg, who also developed a K–12 Digital Wellness Program in the past, looks forward to meeting everyone and fully immersing himself in the Pingry community. Mr. Steinberg received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his Master’s degree from the University of Scranton.

Nadine Gano, Lead Permanent Sub Coordinator/AP Coordinator, previously worked at Princeton Day School as AP Coordinator and a substitute teacher, as well as assisting Admissions, the library, and the front reception. She received a B.A. in Geography (minor in Marketing) from California State University Long Beach.

Emmett Kresge, Facilities Supervisor on the Pottersville Campus, has worked as Facilities Director at The Willow School and Purnell School.

Lora Morgan, Archives Intern, joins the Pingry community after multiple archives-related roles with Solix, Inc., North Jersey History and Genealogy Center, and York County History Center. Ms. Morgan holds a Masters of Information in Archives and Preservation from Rutgers University.

Julia Murphy, Athletic Training Intern, is a Seton Hall University graduate student with a passion for sports medicine and athletics. Ms. Murphy holds a Bachelor's degree from McDaniel College.

Juan Arguello, Associate Director of Admission and Director of Tuition Assistance, brings years of expertise in tuition assistance, student financial services, and other enrollment-related areas to his role at Pingry. Prior to Pingry, Mr. Arguello worked at Fordham University, Fairfield University, and State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College. In his role, Mr. Arguello is excited to recruit and eventually graduate incredible students from diverse regions and backgrounds and help all families make a Pingry education a reality. Mr. Arguello earned both his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Fordham University.

Harlen Shangold '11, Counseling Intern and Permanent Substitute, received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Colgate University and a Master's degree in Prevention Science & Practice (Adjustment Counseling; otherwise known as School Counseling) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has been a teaching assistant at St. Justine's Preschool and a lead teacher at Foundations Preschool. Mr. Shangold was also a volunteer assistant coach for Pingry’s Boys' and Girls' Basketball Teams while preparing to enter graduate school. He served as a K-3 Guidance Intern at William H. Lincoln School. He also obtained certification for School Counseling in Florida Public Schools K-12.

Maria S. Penna, Interim Spanish Teacher, comes to Pingry after years in the corporate world at PricewaterhouseCoopers Argentina as well as multiple language schools in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio. In her role at Pingry, Mrs. Penna hopes to not only teach Spanish vocabulary and grammar but also to expose students to the incredibly rich and unique cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Mrs. Penna earned both her B.S. and M.S. in accounting from the University of Buenos Aires.

Stephen Head, a member of the Facilities/Grounds team has worked in facilities at the Purnell School.

Noelle Gray, Campus Operations Lead, served as Executive Assistant to the Head of School and Enrollment Coordinator at the Purnell School prior to joining the Pingry Community. Before Purnell, Mrs. Gray worked as the Admissions Director at Fontbonne Hall Academy in Brooklyn. At Pingry, Mrs. Gray looks forward to helping facilitate the many “exciting” programs and experiential learning opportunities that are to come. She holds a B.A. from St. Francis College.

In addition to the team members above, Pingry also welcomes back several employees who began mid-year and/or this past summer. These individuals include: Ms. Destiny Esper, Ms. Regina Hardatt, Ms. Meghan Borowick, Mr. Brad Fadem, Ms. Anne Bonnefoi, Mr. Vinod Sahani, Ms. Bailey Farrell, Ms. Lisa Longo Johnston, Mr. John Webber, Mr. Carl Frye, Ms. Tiffany Chan, Mr. Lucas Calhoun, Mr. David Vega, Mr. Bill Tharp, Mr. Kevin Sampson, Ms. Erin Boccher, Mr. Jim Hetherington, Mr. Tony Hutchins, Mr. Thomas Eichler, Ms. Emily Cooke, Ms. Margaret Metz, and Mr. Stephen Barnes.

Here’s to an incredible school year!


Contact: Destiny Esper, Communications Manager,