UCDS College for School Culture

Meet the Faculty

David Garrick, Dean of the Graduate School and Core Faculty

Thursday Night Workshops 7

David has been an educator, administrator, and consultant at UCDS for over twenty years.  His teaching experience ranges from children as young as three to adult professionals with years of experience in the teaching field. He has consulted about mathematics curriculum design, school culture, and leadership with Seattle Public Schools, Philadelphia Public Schools, Independent Schools throughout the US and with Ascend International School in Mumbai, India. 

David holds a B.A. in History from the University of Washington and a M.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Montana. He earned his Washington State teaching credentials from Western Washington University.

Ben Chickadel, Instructional Faculty


Ben Chickadel is an Instructional Faculty member in the UCDS College for School Culture and the Design and Technology Specialist for UCDS Schools. Ben joined the faculty of UCDS in 2006.

Ben earned his M.F.A. at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Deborah Chickadel, Instructional Faculty


Deb Chickadel is an Instructional Faculty member, the UCDS Resident Program Coordinator, Level Coordinator and Classroom Teacher in the UCDS Elementary School program. At UCDS she’s taught students from early-childhood through 4th grade. Active in also teaching teachers, Deb has presented and taught at the NSTA annual conferences since 2014 and facilitated mathematical workshops both nationally and internationally.

Den earned her M.Ed. at the University of Washington in 1996 and has been teaching elementary and middle school classrooms since then.

Carmine Chickadel, Instructional Faculty


Carmine “Chick” Chickadel is an Instructional Faculty member. He has been an educator for over four decades. He was an independent school administrator for The Bush School and The Evergreen School, both in Pacific Northwest. In addition, he has taught in numerous college and university graduate and undergraduate programs, most recently Seattle University and the University of Montana. His expertise is in educational cultures and philosophies, curriculum design, and teacher training and mentoring. Chick speaks and teaches frequently on the topic of qualitative evaluation and narrative assessments.

Chick was a co-founder in 2006 of Ravenna Solutions, designers of the innovative web-based platform ORCAS. ORCAS software is a sophisticated solution for student assessment, curriculum management, data storage.

Chick holds a BA in English from the University of Delaware and MIS from the University of Montana School of Fine Arts in the arts and education.

Melinda Devin Deal, Instructional Faculty


Melinda Deal is an Instructional Faculty member, and she has been an enthusiastic classroom teacher of every grade level from preschool through eighth for over 35 years. After teaching 10 years in New York State public schools, she joined the faculty at UCDS, where she has been a classroom teacher, a curricular support teacher for Arts, Science, and Technology Specialists and a presenter at local and national conferences. 

Melinda holds a B.A. in Education and Psychology from the University of Washington and a M.A. in Educational Programming from the University of Connecticut.

Sarah Donahue, Instructional Faculty


Sarah is an Instructional Faculty member and a classroom teacher at UCDS. She has been at UCDS since 2011 and has taught 1st, 2nd and 5th grades. 

Sarah holds a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Washington and a B.A. in English and History from Boston University.

Susan Foley, Instructional Faculty


Susan Foley is an Instructional Faculty member and has been a classroom teacher for 28 years. Before coming to UCDS, Foley taught Preschool-Kindergarten and was the Interim Director at HHCC Daycare in Boston, MA. In her more than 20 years at UCDS, Susan worked with students from early-childhood through 4th grade. She has advised the UCDS Schools All School Meeting since it began nearly 25 years ago. She has presented about student agency and advocacy through class meetings and all-school meetings at the NWAIS Educators Conference. 

Susan holds a B.A. in Psychology and Education from The University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Special Education from The University of Washington.

Melissa Holbert, Instructional Faculty


Melissa Holbert is an Instructional Faculty member and has been an educator for 21 years. Starting her career teaching in the public schools in the Kent School District (Kent, Washington) teaching 3rd-4th grade for five years. Melissa then began teaching at UCDS and has taught in a variety of levels for the last 16 years. She is also a consultant with UCDS and works with their consulting team educating other teachers around the country. 

Melissa holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Washington, has a current Washington State Teaching Certificate with endorsements in Special Education and Psychology, she also has a M.A. in Education from Lesley University.

Nancy F. Kiefer, Instructional Faculty


Nancy Kiefer is an Instructional Faculty member and has been working as an educator and artist for over thirty years. In her position as librarian at UCDS, Nancy works with preschool through fifth-grade students. Before joining UCDS she was an Artist in Washington Schools working in public schools throughout the state. Nancy taught in the Women’s Studies Program at Washington State University as part of her faculty position in Student Affairs. In February 2019, she joined Green River Community College as an artist-in-residence.

Nancy earned her M.F.A. from Washington State University. Nancy is a storyteller, visual artist and writer. 

Kimberly Mitchell, Instructional Faculty


Kimberly Mitchell is an Instructional Faculty member, researcher and international speaker on inquiry-based instructional methods. She teaches at the University of Washington’s College of Education and is the author of Experience Inquiry. A former Teach For America corps member, high school vice principal and elementary principal, Kimberly was also a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Director of Partner Engagement for Teach for All in Argentina.

Kimberly received her BA in History and Philosophy from Skidmore College and her MA in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University.

Katie Morrison, Instructional Faculty


Katie Morrison is an Instructional Faculty member and the Science Specialist at UCDS. A science teacher for the last 19 years, she loves doing experiments and collecting data with her students. Katie is also an active member of NSTA and presents on Science Education at local and national conferences. 

Katie received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Katharine Sjoberg, Instructional Faculty


Katharine Sjoberg is an Instructional Faculty member, Division Head and fifth grade teacher at UCDS.  In her 17 years at UCDS, she has taught all grades from preschool through fifth grade.  She has presented and instructed at conferences nationally and internationally, including the annual UCDS Institute’s Math Workshop. 

Katharine holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Mount Holyoke College and a M.A. in Teaching from Seattle Pacific University.

Jennifer Vary, Instructional Faculty


Jennifer Vary is an Instructional Faculty member, Interim Assistant Head of School and classroom teacher at UCDS. During her 17 years at UCDS, she has taught all grades from preschool through fifth grade. 

Jennifer earned her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Design from Lesley University. 

Katie Walters-Krohn, Instructional Faculty


Katie Walters-Krohn is an Instructional Faculty member and the Director of the UCDS  Infant/Toddler Education Program. Katie has been at UCDS since 2006. 

Katie holds a M.S. in Early Childhood Public Policy and Advocacy from Walden University and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies from Smith College. 

Lelia Yerxa, Instructional Faculty


Lelia Yerxa is an Instructional Faculty member and has been teaching for 10 years. She has been on the faculty at UCDS for four years, teaching in 1st grade through 4th grade classrooms. Before this, she taught at the elementary level in New York City public schools and taught English as a Foreign Language to children and adults in Moscow, Russia. She has also worked in staff development at Songadeewin of Keewaydin, a summer camp in Vermont, for 13 years. 

Lelia holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics and Russian from Middlebury College, and an M.A. in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.