UCDS College for School Culture

Meet the Faculty

College for School Culture Faculty

David Garrick, Dean of the Graduate School and Core Faculty

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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.

Katie Morrison, Ph.D., Student Services Director


Katie Morrison is a Core Faculty member and the Director of Student Services. For UCDS Schools, Katie is the Science Specialist and Resident Program Co-Coordinator. Katie has taught science for the last 19 years, and she loves doing experiments and collecting data with her students. Katie is an active committee member of the National Science Teaching Association, sitting on the Outstanding Science Trade Book Selection Committee as well as the Preschool and Elementary Science Teaching Committee. Katie is the Board Chair for the nonprofit organization Friends of Cooper Island, which supports a long term Arctic seabird study. Katie 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. 

Dr. Sylvia Bagley, Instructional Faculty

Dr. Sylvia Bagley is an Instructional Faculty member at UCDS and lecturer at the University of Washington, where she directs the instructional leadership masters specialization in the College of Education. She was the Fritz Burns Endowed Chair of Instructional Leadership at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles and was formerly an elementary school teacher and math coach in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Sylvia received her B.A. in Literature and Music from the University of California at Santa Cruz, her California Teaching Credential from California State University at San Marcos, and her Masters and Ph.D. in the Philosophy and History of Education from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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.

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.

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.

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

Diane Chickadel, Instructional Faculty


Diane Chickadel is an Instructional Faculty member, and she has been an enthusiastic teacher of grade levels pre-K through the college level for over four decades. Diane’s interest lies in social and emotional health and its relationship to learning. Diane is a fiber artist and artist’s bookmaker. Her experience includes Art Therapist at therapeutic boarding schools in England and Montana and at a children’s psychiatric center in Delaware. Diane joined the faculty of UCDS where she has been a classroom teacher, Division Head, and Resident Coordinator. 

Diane holds a BS from Neuman College in Behavioral Science and a minor in Art Education and Master of Education from City University.

Brenda Cram, Instructional Faculty

Brenda Cram is currently serving in the role of Associate Head of Giddens School. She has held Associate, Assistant, Division, and Department Head roles at The Evergreen School and Bertschi School prior to her work at Giddens. Brenda is a founding faculty member of the NWAIS Emerging Leaders Program and serves as the Head Coach of the program. She is a certified leadership coach through Elena Aguilar and Bright Morning Consulting and currently consults with a range of educational leaders in both independent and public schools. Holding a Master’s degree from Lesley University in Curriculum and Instruction, Brenda established a resident program at Giddens School with the goal of immersing aspiring educators in a program that centers social justice and equity into curriculum design and pedagogy. In her free time, she likes to run with friends and her dog, Harlan, eat any and all food that is shared with her and cross country ski or hike in the mountains. She loves a good joke and has an affinity for clever comics (Far Side and the New Yorker). Left alone for several hours, Brenda would listen to loud music, sing at the top of her lungs, make pizza, and sit down with friends to eat together and tell stories.

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.

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.

Nimisha Joshi, Instructional Faculty

Nimisha Joshi is a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Seattle Waldorf School (SWS). Her 14 years in education include teaching K-7 as a classroom teacher, as a specialist, and also serving as an administrative leader at international schools, and at independent schools in Seattle. She volunteers on various NWAIS committees, and a Parent Racial Equity Committee of a public school. Her way of self-care is to squeeze in time to do things that bring her joy such as Afro-Brazilian dancing, Capoeira, hiking, and running.

Nimisha holds a M.A. in English from University of Mumbai, M.A. in Educational Leadership from University of Northern Iowa, and an Administrative License through University of Northern Iowa. She has also participated in a year-long national SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) program, and NWAIS – Emerging Leadership Institute.

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.

Abby Sandberg, Ph.D., Instructional Faculty

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Abby Sandberg is an Instructional Faculty Member at the CSC and the Director of Learning Support at UCDS. In her 13 years at UCDS, she has worked with teachers at all grade levels to maximize the academic and social success of their students. During her tenure, she has also served as the Early Elementary Division Head for 7 years. In addition, she has spent several years designing the curriculum for the UCDS Experienced Teacher Cohort, an annual multi-day educator workshop. Before joining UCDS, Abby worked with a broad range of learners from preschoolers to university students. Abby received a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Illinois State University and a B.S. in Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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 and Assistant Head of School 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

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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.

The UCDS team is incredibly warm and personable, while also delivering professional, quality content in an organized, efficient way. Every hour with them felt purposeful and worthwhile. I left each class a better educator!
UCDS Institute Student