School News

SAS Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

St. Andrew's-Sewanee School welcomes several new faculty and staff members, including four alumni of the school, as we begin our 2020-2021 school year. 

Haley A. Chelsvig, Biology and Chemistry 
Haley Chelsvig is an experienced science and outdoor education instructor with an interest in promoting leadership development, social justice, and environmental stewardship through experiential education. She graduated summa cum laude from Drake University with a degree in biology and psychology and, as an undergraduate, conducted research on species diversity and animal behavior. After graduation, Ms. Chelsvig moved to China to teach English at Guangxi University in Guilin. After returning from China, she taught eighth-grade science, outdoor education, and leadership at The Outdoor School in Texas and Frost Valley YMCA in New York. Most recently, Ms. Chelsvig taught environmental science and outdoor skills, such as belaying, mountain biking, backpacking, navigation, tracking, wilderness first aid, survival skills, and risk management, at Conserve School in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. A world traveler and active volunteer, Haley has studied in New Zealand, Rwanda, Kenya, and Turkey and has volunteered as an English tutor to refugees, soccer coach and referee, and science instructor. She is a Wilderness First Responder and is certified in Mental Health First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, and Wilderness Water Safety. She loves bouldering and is training to compete in a triathlon.

In addition to teaching biology and chemistry, Ms. Chelsvig will be a member of the residential faculty and coach volleyball and boys’ middle school soccer.

Ashley Close, Assistant Director of Admission
A career education administrator, Ashley Close holds a B.S. in Marketing of Higher Education and an M.S. in Education from Elmira College and a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. She was previously a member of the Admission staffs at Curry College in Milton, Mass., and Elmira College in upstate New York, where she evaluated  and interviewed applicants, coordinated office travel, supervised work-study students, evaluated students with learning differences for admission and support plans, organized and presented information at regional receptions, met with educational consultants, conducted campus tours, and helped with campus recruitment events. More recently, Ashley has volunteered with Reach High Scholars and Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire to provide college counseling and education advice to high school students. Her volunteer work included recruiting students for academic and test prep programs and traveling with students to visit colleges, college fairs, and local information nights. She is a graduate of Kimball Union Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire.

Jennifer Dillon '82, Chief Financial and Operations Officer
Jennifer Dillon '82, a seasoned accounting and operations executive with a passion for small business and educational not-for-profit organizations, joined SAS this summer as CFOO. Ms. Dillon is strategic-minded and has a proven track record of establishing necessary policies and procedures to enhance compliance and productivity. Dillon was previously CFOO at the Highlands School in Birmingham, Ala. Prior to that, she was Director of Finance and Operations of the Congressional School in Falls Church, Va., and Powhatan School in Boyce, Va. and worked in private industry as a CPA, controller, and accountant. She is also licensed as a CPA in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Lisa Garner, Mental Health Counselor 
Lisa Garner comes to SAS from Holy Trinity High School in Chicago where she was Director of Counseling, In that role, Dr. Garner oversaw and implemented a program of grade-level-appropriate classroom guidance that addressed social/emotional and character development. She provided individual counseling, group counseling, and risk assessment, and managed referrals when more intensive clinical services were needed. Dr. Garner also managed partnerships with outside providers and collaborated with families, administrators, teachers, and community-based organizations to support students. She was previously a School Counselor Intern providing personal/social counseling and support services, including meeting weekly and coordinating services for students with executive functioning, study skills, and social/emotional needs. She also co-led anxiety/stress management groups, provided classroom guidance lessons, and conducted crisis intervention, restorative justice, and individual counseling sessions.

Dr. Garner's clinical experience includes intake interviews, treatment planning, and crisis intervention for children and adolescents and conducting individual, group, and family therapy sessions. She also oversaw foster care and clinical services for a child welfare agency that cared for 600 clients. As part of her post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Garner provided individual and group short-term treatment to adolescent and adult chronic pain patients, offering stress management, cognitive restructuring, self-esteem, assertiveness training, relaxation, and biofeedback. 

Dr. Garner holds a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and DPysch degree from Illinois School of Professional Psychology (Argosy University). She is a certified School Counselor.

In addition to serving as Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Garner will be a lead house parent in Watts House.

Taylor Lee, Spanish and International Student Coordinator
Taylor Lee joins SAS as a Spanish teacher and International Student Coordinator. Mr. Lee was an English Language, Leadership, and Professional Skills Specialist with the U.S. Peace Corps in Coclé, Panama when the COVID-19 pandemic cut his expected two-year service short. During his 13 months in Panama, he taught English to students in grades K-12 and adult learners and provided sexual health education seminars for high school students. Mr. Lee also led professional development and leadership seminars for students at the Universidad Nacional de Panamá. He is a 2018 graduate of Washington & Lee University where he earned a B.A. in Global Politics with a minor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Mr. Lee grew up in New Orleans, attended Jesuit High School, and attended a Spanish immersion school in Argentina. The summer after his senior year, he volunteered to co-instruct English classes to middle schoolers in inner-city Medellín, Colombia.

In addition to teaching Spanish and serving as International Student Coordinator, Mr. Lee, who is a member of the residential faculty, will be the assistant varsity boys’ soccer coach.

Brian Mazur, Mathematics
Brian Mazur joins SAS as an experienced mathematics teacher having taught at Franklin County High School, Lakeview Centennial High School (TX), Dallas CAN! Academy, and Horizon Science Academy. He has taught calculus, geometry, algebra, and math remediation, as well as theater arts, SAT test prep, and music, and is experienced with students in grades 4-12. Mr. Mazur prides himself on his ability to explain mathematical concepts in a clear and concise manner and use technology to further student learning. In addition to his classroom teaching, Mr. Mazur has coached chess, bowling, and Academic Decathlon. He is a graduate of Oberlin College where he earned a degree in Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA).

Brian will teach algebra and Math 7.

Jasmine “Jazz” Render ’14, Admission Counselor
Jazz Render ’14 returns to SAS as an Admission Counselor. She is a graduate of the University of West Georgia University with a major in Mass Communications and a concentration in Digital Media and Telecommunications. As a student at UWG, Ms. Render was a social media intern for the university and created a communications plan for the school’s most successful student-run music events. She was a promotions director and an on-air personality for the university’s radio station and received several awards for her work. Since graduating, Ms. Render has been running her own freelance photography, graphic design, special events, and custom apparel business.  “I am motivated and determined to come back to the place I still consider my second home,” she said.

Paul Schutz, IT Support Coordinator 
Paul Schutz joined SAS as IT Support Coordinator earlier this summer. Mr. Schutz is an experienced problem-solver with extensive technical knowledge of computer systems, software platforms, and organizational workflow. He most recently served as the director of marketing for the continuing education unit of the School of Theology at the University of the South where he worked extensively with distance learning systems, configured systems for online event registration and payments; and provided extensive logistical and technical support for large events, including A/V configuration, recording, videography, and equipment troubleshooting. Mr. Schutz also handled photography, email and social media marketing, and website development and maintenance for the SOT. He has extensive knowledge of both Mac and PC systems, is self-taught in HTML, CSS, and a wide range of professional software platforms, and has experience administering GSuite and networking computers and devices. Mr. Schutz is also a self-taught recording engineer and can configure digital recording and sound playback systems. He holds a BFA in Photography from New York University and has completed significant coursework towards a Masters in Theology from Sewanee. 

Thomas Simerville ’16, Father Flye Fellow 
Thomas Simerville, a 2016 graduate of SAS and a recent graduate in history from the University of the South, joins the school as a Father Flye Fellow with special skills and responsibilities in outdoor education. At Sewanee, Mr. Simerville worked for the Office of Domain Management helping to maintain the university’s trails. He was formerly an SAS summer camp counselor, helping Outdoor Education Coordinator Michael Short plan and lead students an exploration on the Appalachian Trail and enjoy caving, climbing, hiking, swimming, and rappelling on the Cumberland Plateau. As a boarding student at SAS, Mr. Simerville was involved in the outdoor adventure after school program, climbing club, and the climbing team.

Mr. Simerville, a residential faculty member, will teach History, Art, Adventure Education, and Humanities; will help to lead Outdoor Adventure programs in Wilderness Basics, Mountain Biking, Climbing, and Adventure Cycling.

Margaret Wilson ’16, Farm Educator and Art
Margaret Wilson, who has been serving as the interim farmer at the SAS Farm, joins the school fulltime as farm educator and art teacher. A 2020 graduate of Warren Wilson College, Ms. Wilson majored in Psychology and minored in Art (Ceramics) and Expressive Arts Therapy. Her senior thesis was on “Art and Sexual Trauma”. Ms. Wilson worked on the landscaping staff at Warren Wilson helping to design landscapes. A world traveler, she managed gardens and worked at a vineyard in France, studied ceramics and art history in Tuscany and German at University of Munich, and spent the spring semester of her sophomore year in high school traveling around the world with stops in Costa Rica, Iceland, Greece, Italy, Tanzania, Dubai, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Japan, France, Spain, and Portugal.

Ms. Wilson, a member of the residential faculty, will teach functional pottery and Middle School art, and manage the school’s farm and farming afternoon program

Shomari Todd, College Counseling Intern
Shomari Todd, a senior at the University of the South, will be joining the college counseling office this year as an intern. Shomari, who is studying psychology and education, is originally from Fort Washington, Maryland and hopes to return to Maryland to be a school counselor in Maryland. Shomari’s goals are to make students’ experiences in school truly unforgettable while putting them on the right track for life beyond high school. He is involved with Bacchus and the Wick at Sewanee, helping to care for students and create community.

Other summer transitions include Interim Dean of Students Geoffrey Smith moving into the more permanent role of Dean of Students, school nurse Melissa Gilliam assuming the title of Director of Health Clinic, history teacher and residential faculty member Chris Monahan taking on additional responsibilities as Residential Life Coordinator, Director of College Counseling Dan Monahan continuing in his role as COVID Coordinator, and School Store Manager Jana Barnett moving into the position of Academic Administrative Assistant. Auxiliary Program Director Lizzie Duncan '76 will also take on the responsibility for the school store.