Introducing New Faculty Members

(PC: Bruce Jeffrey)

We are pleased to announce the following hires for the 2015-2016 school year. As more are confirmed, we will update this post. When we make our hires, we are looking for people who are passionate about our mission, exemplars of Christian character, and phenomenal teachers and scholars. God has graciously provided people who fit that profile perfectly. To fulfill the high calling God has given us to proclaim “the unity of all truth under God” (Frank Gaebelein, The Pattern of God’s Truth), we need talented people like those you see below, people who are willing to commit their hearts, souls, minds, and strength to serving God at The Stony Brook School.

Christine Loo, LMSW – Director of College Counseling, Dorm

We are delighted to introduce an accomplished College Counselor, Christine Loo to The Stony Brook School community. The very model of what we were looking for in our next Director of College Counseling, Christine joins us from Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, NY, where she built a comprehensive four-year program for graduating classes of 200 students. Christine will work to get to know our students and to build a program that shepherds students through the entire college preparation process. At Archbishop Molloy, Christine trained students, faculty, and parents to get the most out of Naviance, the same program we use for college counseling at The Stony Brook School. She partnered with a test prep company to improve standardized test scores, directed an annual college fair, financial aid workshop, Junior college night, and alumni panel, and helped students edit their essays, schedule college visits, and prepare for interviews. She also created a directory of internship and summer program opportunities. Christine looks forward to building upon our solid foundation in college counseling by strengthening what we do well and seizing opportunities to enhance the total program.

She wrote:

I’m excited about being a part of the SBS community and in particular look forward to getting to know the students. I want to bring my knowledge and experience to them during the college application process.  I’m passionate about helping students recognize their unique gifts, skills and temperament and finding the right fit college.

Christine holds a BA in American History and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a College Counseling Specialized Certificate from University of California San Diego. She is a NYS Certified Social worker, a licensed Social Worker, and a member of the UPenn Alumni Interview Program. She was also named an Outstanding Educator of the Year in 2014 by the University of Chicago for her work as a college guidance counselor.

Christine will join us on campus with her husband, Jackson, and her rising tenth grade daughter. Jackson and Christine have also raised two grown daughters.

Mark Tietjen, PhD – Chaplain, Bible Chair, Faith and Culture in the 21st Century

A gifted writer, thinker, and communicator, Mark Tietjen is leaving his post as program director of the Philosophy Department at the University of West Georgia to follow God’s call to minister at Stony Brook. Mark earned a BS in Finance from Palm Beach Atlantic prior to earning both an MDiv and a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary. After that, he studied philosophy at Baylor University, earning an MA and a PhD before taking a tenure-track position at UWG.

In thinking about his new role, Mark said:

It is not always the case that academic rigor and excellence coincide with strong Christian commitments and values, though for decades the Stony Brook School has pioneered such an approach to college preparatory education. I am enthusiastic about joining such a community and greatly look forward to the many opportunities to educate, challenge, and nurture students both through the chapel program and the senior capstone course, Faith and Culture in the 21st Century.

Mark’s primary area of research has been on the virtues and on the work of Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. His second book on Kierkegaard will be published soon, and he will have The Stony Brook School’s name on the back cover. Check outMark’s Amazon Author Page.

Jason Webster – Director of the Frank E. Gaebelein Office of Equity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Dorm, Basketball

Jason Webster (SBS ’05) will serve as our Director of the Frank E. Gaebelein Office of Equity and Inclusion and will spearhead the development of our Entrepreneurship and Global Justice Initiative. Jason will teach our innovative new course in Entrepreneurship, which will be project-based, collaborative, and involve networking with alumni entrepreneurs and local businesspeople. He will also serve in dorm leadership.

Jason has spent the bulk of his career working in education reform and community development in Boston and New York City. Prior to receiving his MBA in Consulting and Entrepreneurship from Wake Forest University (’14), he spent 3 years working on city, state, and federal initiatives focused on improving academic performance and student achievement in Boston’s lowest performing school. In addition to his work in Boston, he has also had the opportunity to work with Harlem RBI and Common Cents, founders of the ‘Penny Harvest’, an internationally recognized, student-led philanthropy program. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Jason graduated from Gordon College with a BA in Sociology (’09).

Cara Dixon – Director of Counseling Services

An experienced counselor and researcher, Cara Dixon takes the helm as our Director of Counseling Services. Cara earned her BA in Psychology and her MA in Clinical Counseling from Eastern University. She currently serves as School Counselor for Smithtown Christian School and as a private counseling consultant. Cara wrote:

Being a part of the Stony Brook community these past three years has given me insight into the strengths and needs of our student body.   I am looking forward to integrating into the existing counseling framework evidence-based systems to further enhance the scope of our care.  Adolescence is a pivotal point in development where identity, self-efficacy, agency, and relationship are among the most important indicators of growth. I do not take the responsibility of this new role lightly, and will work hard to provide tools which promote healing, preserve well-being and stimulate growth in our students.

We are blessed to have a person of Cara’s talents who already knows our students well taking on this key leadership position.

Jennie Donovan – Director of Student Support Services

An expert Special Education Administrator and Learning Specialist, Jennie Donovan joins our academic team as Director of Student Support Services. Having served as a Learning Specialist for The Stony Brook School since 2010, Jennie knows our program and our students well. She will provide both knowledge of the past a fresh vision for the future of this vital program.

Jennie graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Psychology from University of Virginia before obtaining her MEd in Community Counseling from Boston University and MEd in Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Grades 5-12 from Cambridge College. Prior to working at The Stony Brook School, she served as a Learning Specialist and as a Mathematics teacher at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY and as a Special Education Administrator, Department Chairperson, and Learning Specialist at Academy of the Pacific Rim Public Charter School in Boston.

Jennie shared, “I am excited to share my passion for “learning how to learn” with students of all learning profiles.  I value teaching students to be self-aware in order to maximize their learning potential and become independent learners both in and beyond the walls of the Stony Brook School.”

Amy Tietjen – AP Psychology, Dorm

An award-winning children’s author, trusted counselor, and engaging psychology teacher, Amy Tietjen joins us with her husband, Mark. Amy is a teen-magnet, instantly connecting with kids at a deep level. Her authenticity and care are exactly what 21st Century students need from a mentor.

Amy holds a BA in Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic and an MS in Education (School Counseling) from Baylor University. She has taught Psychology at the University of West Georgia, served as a counselor in a variety of contexts, and worked as a Residence Hall Director at Baylor University. She is the author of the delightful children’s book, Birds I’ve Met Through the Alphabet.

Amy wrote:

“It’s not everyday that a person is invited to be a part of building a legacy, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do just that at Stony Brook. The spirit of the place is one of rich history and tradition, while also being relevant and forward-thinking. The students, alumni, faculty and staff take great pride in being members of the Stony Brook family, and although the atmosphere of the campus is intimate and quaint, it does not seem to create a “bubble”. The cultural diversity alone lends a global village feel to the school, granting a distinct awareness that the impact of the teachers, the preachers, and the word of God shared will reach far corners of the world and “will not return void” (Isaiah 55:11). It seems to me that there is a sweet aroma of the way people “do life” at Stony Brook, with generation after generation gladly investing their lives, and I look forward to adding my family to the ranks. “

Amy and Mark come to Stony Brook with their two kids, Adelaide (8) and Declan (3).

Sarah Fay – AP and Regular Physics

 A sixteen year teaching veteran with an infectious love of physics and an astounding record of success in AP Physics, Sarah Fay joins us from Antioch Community High School in Illinois. Sarah wrote, “We are very excited to be joining the Stony Brook family.  I am especially looking forward to being able to explicitly teach how truths in Physics demonstrate qualities about our amazing and personal God.” During her interview, students were immediately drawn to her interactive pedagogy, her love of physics, and her clear explanations of difficult concepts. Sarah has a a Master’s of Education Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University and a BS in Physics from Calvin College.

Sarah’s husband, Ron holds a PhD in New Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He teaches seminary courses online. Together Sarah and Ron have three young children: twin eight year-old boys, James and John, and a four year-old girl, Megan.

John Thiele – AP Chemistry and Middle School Science

A multi-talented teacher and passionate Christian environmentalist, John Thiele joins us from Rock Quarry Middle School and Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. John started teaching Middle School Science in 2005 after earning a BS in Natural Resource Studies from UMass-Amherst and an MS in Biology from the University of Alabama. He has taught a wide range of science courses to a wide range of students. His wealth of experience and vision for STEM education will serve the school well as he takes on Middle School Science and AP Chemistry. John was honored for his teaching by Nick and Terry Saban (yes, that Nick Saban). Have a look at the article here.

John wrote: “Linda and I feel very humbled and grateful that the Lord has opened the door for us to join the community at Stony Brook.  I am extremely excited to meet my new students and join them in learning about the wonders of the natural world and of course to bring some Boston sports fandom to the Brook.”

John and his wife, Linda, join us from Alabama with their five boys: Jack (12), Andrew (10), Daniel (8), Joshua (4), Matthew (1).

A former Principal, Assistant Principal, and math and science teacher at North Shore Christian School, Margaret Morena brings 23 years of experience with her to The Stony Brook School. Mrs. Morena holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dowling College and a Master’s degree from Stony Brook University. She loves and understands Middle Schoolers and has a passion for meeting their individual needs. We are excited to have her join the SBS faculty. She will be teaching Pre-Algebra I, Pre-Algebra II, and Algebra I.

Mollie Jones – English Teaching Fellow, Dorm, Cross Country, and Track

Coming to us from Rollins College in Florida, our newest teaching fellow is Mollie Jones. Mollie studied English and Philosophy at Rollins while also running cross country for her Division II team. As a student, she won the William Abbot Constable Freshman Writing Award and established a permanent residence on the President’s List. Her studies also took her down under to the University of Sydney for studies in English literature, religion, and Australian culture studies. As a runner, she was named Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season, was named to the Sunshine State Conference’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll twice, and was her conference’s runner of the week as well.

While studying and training, she has served as an intern at The Geneva School in Winter Park, Florida. There she met former SBS faculty member, Inah Oak, who inspired her to apply for our teaching fellowship. Mollie also has tutoring, coaching, leadership, ministry, and missions experience. Her many and diverse talents will serve her well as she joins our faculty, assisting with English, serving as a girls dorm assistant, and as an assistant cross country and track coach.

Lydia O’Brien – Registrar, Dorm

Lydia O’Brien joins us from the Office of the Registrar at North Central University, where she served as Associate Registrar. Lydia holds a BS in Intercultural Studies from Northwestern College in Minnesota and has completed work towards a Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. With experience in academic advising, data processing systems, and event planning, Lydia will be a great asset in the Academic Office. Lydia wrote:

“I’m so excited to be part of the Stony Brook team! One of my main passions is in equipping individuals to achieve their utmost potential, and I look forward to getting to know the staff, faculty, and students and carry on the amazing mission of SBS.”

Lydia will be charged with advising students on course selections, updating our registration and transcript system, and sending out grade reports.

Katelyn Kishkunas – Learning Specialist, Dorm, Soccer and Basketball

Joining our Student Support Services team as a learning specialist is Katelyn Kishkunas, a 2012 graduate of Wheaton College. While at Wheaton, Katelyn majored in English and minored in Geology. She also helped her soccer team to two Division III Championship games, made First Team All-Conference twice, and finished fourth on Wheaton’s all-time career assists list. After graduating from Wheaton, she worked as a teacher at Caribbean Mountain Academy and Jarabacoa Christian School in the Dominican Republic, followed by a stint as a STEM Preschool Teacher Assistant at SciTech STEM Discover Academy in Aurora, Illinois. Katelyn will be participating in parts of the teaching fellows program, helping out in a girls dorm and coaching soccer and basketball.

Katelyn wrote: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to come alongside individuals and help them move closer to their potential as students, athletes, and people. There is great strength in faith-integrated learning communities and I am enthusiastic about using the passions and abilities God has given me to further The Stony Brook School’s commitment to excellence and integrity in all areas of life.”


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