A DEDICATED FACULTY
The Hudson School’s educational success is rooted in our diverse and dedicated faculty made up of individuals who are expert in their ﬁelds and passionate about sharing their knowledge with children. Many of our teachers have taught at the school since it was founded in 1978 or joined us shortly after, providing our school with continuity and stability. Some of them wear multiple hats, serving as instructors and administrators. Most hold advanced degrees. Through regular professional development, teachers keep up with the newest technologies and diverse pedagogical methods. They see themselves not only as practicing experts in their respective ﬁelds but also as role models for students expanding their own horizons and discovering their own potential. The enthusiasm that each of these instructors brings to the classroom is infectious. Students are easily caught up in their excitement for learning.
The school’s innovative teaching staff includes poets and authors, actors and theater directors; dancers, singers and musicians; athletes, sports enthusiasts and ﬁtness trainers; photographers, sculptors and painters; computer technicians, video and ﬁlmmakers; former Peace Corps volunteers, guidance counselors and psychologists, anthropologists and historians; linguists and classical scholars; mathematicians, engineers and scientists, among others. Teachers come from all over the world, bringing a wide range of diverse experiences and perspectives to the school and, because of the school’s proximity to the greater metropolitan area, teachers are able to take advantage of the many nearby cultural opportunities and turn the concept of a “school without walls” into a reality.
Spanish A, Spanish D, Spanish 1, Spanish 2
Gloria Arcila-Jensen came from Colombia to improve her English so she could become a better teacher in her native country. She graduated from Universidad de Caldas and received a BA in modern languages. Her passion for teaching started in middle school, and she graduated from Escuela Normal where she received four years of training as a student teacher. When the opportunity presented itself to remain in the United States, she did not hesitate to pursue her career and obtained her teaching certificate as a middle and high school teacher in the state of New Jersey. She loves working at The Hudson School and is thrilled to be surrounded by wonderful educators who instill in children the interest and the passion to learn. This is Gloria’s twentieth year at Hudson.
Ancient Greek Honors 1, Latin B, Latin I, Latin V
Niti Bagchi is in her third year at The Hudson School as a Latin and Ancient Greek teacher. Her love for languages goes back to childhood–she grew up speaking English, Bengali, Odia, and Hindi. She later studied Sanskrit, French, German, and Italian (and had a brief but enjoyable tryst with teaching herself Dutch!). Her love for the classics stemmed from a fascination with etymological connections–Latin’s relationship with Italian and French but, more surprisingly, with Sanskrit. She has received a BA from Rutgers College in Classics and English, a Classics postbaccalaureate certificate from Columbia University, and an MA in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught introductory Latin to undergraduates. Niti loves introducing students to Latin and Greek, rhapsodizing to them about Vergilian wordplay, and having a captive audience for grammar puns.
Upper School Counselor, Counseling Dept Chair, Community Service 8 , Health 8, Health 9, Activism and Social Justice, The Hudson Workout, Upper School Boys Varsity Soccer Coach
Chris Baker is proud to serve the Hudson community as Counseling Department Chair, Upper School Counselor, and Upper School Boys Varsity Soccer Coach. Chris received his BA in psychology from the University of Washington and his MSEd in school counseling from Fordham University. The most impactful lessons Chris has learned come from global wanderings, which is why he is passionate about student travel. Taking Hudson students to Iceland in 2017 was an incredible experience, and he can’t wait to take students to South Africa in 2019! During his free time, Chris loves hiking, playing soccer, attending concerts, reading, traveling, and playing with his Australian Shepherd, Jax.
Drama 5, Drama 6, History 6, Reading/Advisory 6, Science 6, 6th Grade Co-Coordinator
Born in Dallas when Ike was president and McCarthy prosecuted “un-American” activites, Catharine Baldwin remembers the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King, the moon landing, the end of the Vietnam War, the Challenger, and the World Trade Center. As she came of age in the 60s, when a school mentor taught her to love the taste and sound of language and the intense creative bond of ensemble theater. At Middlebury College, she studied languages and cultures, then moved to NYC to become a bohemian. She founded several theater companies: Present Company Included, Radioland, and Extravaganza, for which she wrote scripts and lyrics. Children’s theater led her into the classroom, starting with a daycare in a relocation hotel for homeless families. She got her M.A. at Bank St. College and has taught history, science and drama at The Hudson School since 1989.
Director of Development and Communications
Jahna Balk has dedicated her career to supporting organizations that educate, promote tolerance and use the arts to develop critical-thinking skills and build social dialogue. A non-profit professional with over 20 years of experience in communications, development, and marketing, Jahna was director of development at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and director of development and marketing for the Creative Arts Team (an arts-in-education and teacher training program) at NYU’s Gallatin School. Jahna believes that building and maintaining relationships on behalf of The Hudson School is the essence of her multi-faceted role where, since 2005, she has acted as the school’s information hub. Jahna is responsible for The Hudson School’s development (fundraising), marketing, public relations, communications and database management.
College Counselor, Junior Seminar, Senior Interview
Nina Berler serves as college counselor and curriculum consultant at Hudson. In addition to advising prospective college applicants, she teaches essay writing and interviewing skills.
Outside of Hudson, Nina has advised elearning firms and served as an independent contractor for the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition and ETS. During her corporate career, Nina was a director with KPMG, where she developed executive education programs.
Nina has an AB with Honors from Brown University and an MBA from the Stern School of Business, New York University. She holds a Certificate with Distinction in College Counseling from UCLA Extension. Nina blogs frequently about college-related issues, and her articles have appeared in forbes.com and College Week Live. She is also a Professional Member of the Independent Education Consultants Association. Nina recently published two primers available on iBooks.
Anthony Bez began performing regularly at the age of nine. Besides maste rclasses with numerous luminary guitarists, he studied and played trombone in high school and at Berklee College. Featured with Flamenco Dance Theater and “I Giulari di Piazza” of St. John the Divine Cathedral, he’s appeared off-Broadway, in New York Opera and in original works for dance. Mr. Bez received a Medal of Merit from the Costa Rican Consulate and Rainforest Alliance and an Applause Award from New Jersey Theater Alliance. He is the music director of the Actor’s Shakespeare Company at Synder Academy, Secretary of the New York City Classical Guitar Society, and past faculty of the American Institute of Guitar, Manhattan Institute of Guitar and New York Music School. Published in Soundboard Magazine, Guitar Review and Nylon Review, he released two CDs of his own compositions after studies at Berklee College of Music, ASU and Mannes College of Music.
Art 5, Art 8
Katia Bulbenko is a multimedia artist and educator based in Weehawken, NJ, who has been drawing and making things ever since she can remember. Katia studied printmaking and painting at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, then pursued her interests in paint and pattern by working as a textile designer on silk. Since learning to make repeats and illustrations digitally, she now creates designs for home and paper goods. Katia’s passion for color and fiber extends to creating beaded jewelry and constructions made of painted silk and wood, which have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Katia’s teaching philosophy is about process over product. She has been making art with children for over a decade and is pleased to be at The Hudson School this year
Dean of Students, Geometry, Math 6
Graduating from Harvard College in 1980, Jack Coggins immersed himself in community theater, studying ballet, jazz, and modern dance. He came to Hoboken and The Hudson School in 1985 and tried to draw pictures as once he had when young. He married Jill in 1990 and embarked on a five year hiatus shared equally by stints as head brewer of all draft beer products for a micro-brewery on the Boston docks and private tutor to the four youngest children of King Hussein 1 and Queen Noor of Jordan. Returning to THS with son Stone at his heel and son Elijah in his dreams, he ran and ran and ran…43 marathons, including 22 Bostons, his fiery retort to Dylan’s, “…and you, you just sit around and ask for ashtrays…can’t you reach?”
Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Science 7, Science 8
Mr. Dellett comes to The Hudson School from the Jersey Shore, which he prefers to call it “The Beach.” As a lifelong outdoorsman, his passion for surfing, rock and ice climbing, standup paddle and sailing provide a strong basis for his deep commitment to the environment and science. He is driven to increase environmental awareness in all aspects of life. With his wife, Janet, two boys, Ridge and Lochlan, and their rescued pit bull, Luna, Brian is always trying to make simple changes to create a greener and healthier lifestyle. Brian’s love for science started through the Environmental Science and Soil and Water merit badges in Boy Scouts on his way to successfully earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Following this path, he earned his degree in Environmental Studies from Ramapo University.
Foreign Language Department Chair, Spanish C, Spanish H, Spanish 4, Spanish 5, AP Spanish Language & Culture
Margarita Dominguez is a Spanish teacher and the chair of the foreign language department. She studied law at the Universidad Estatal del Azuay in her native city, Cuenca, Ecuador. She came to the United States in 1989 to pursue a business degree and obtained a BS from Ramapo College in New Jersey. After several years in the business field, she returned her attention to her true passion: teaching. This motivated her to earn an MA in Spanish and Latin American literature from Montclair State University. She has been teaching at The Hudson School since 2000, and she considers it a privilege to be part of the lives of her students.
Math Department Chair, Algebra 1, Introduction to Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Homeroom 10
Alex graduated from The Hudson School in 2008 and returned as a math teacher in 2015 with a degree in mathematics from Shippensburg University and a teaching certificate for secondary education. He enjoys teaching mathematics because of the variety of ways he can apply what he is teaching to the multitude of experiences that students have in their everyday lives. To Alex, mathematics is a way for us to organize and represent an otherwise chaotic world. It combines art and science, creativity and rigor, and the concrete with the abstract.
Physical Education 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Spanish B, Spanish F, Spanish 3, Admissions Assistant, Homeroom 8
Chloe Estes is a Hudson alumna, having graduated in 2009. She received her BA from NYU as a member of the first graduating class of the Global Liberal Studies Program. During that time, she lived in Buenos Aires and Madrid, focusing her studies on political graffiti and the occupation of public space in Argentina. Chloe also attended NYU Graduate School in Madrid from which she received her MA in Spanish and Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies. Within this program, she completed a thesis on representations of women and their connection to figures from Gothic literature in post-independence Latin American art. She has spent extensive time in Mexico City, which she first visited 12 years ago via an exchange program with Hudson.
Social Science Department Chair, Citizenship in the U.S. and the World, Foundations of Change in American History, Model Congress, U.S. and the World
Harriet Fitzpatrick chairs the history department and teaches U.S. and the World and Model Congress. She received her BA from Goucher College and her MA in teaching from Columbia University’s Teachers College. Harriet spent nine years at New York’s Manhattan Village Academy teaching Global, American and elective history classes to 9th, 11th and 12th graders. She then spent four years at New York’s Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York, where she taught U.S. History and Government, Model Congress and Latin American History. Harriet joined The Hudson School in 2013. In addition to teaching history, Harriet serves on the Curriculum Committee, tutors students and assists the Head of School with grant writing.
Math 5, French C, Algebra 2, AP Statistics
Fred Fontaine is looking forward to his third year at The Hudson School, teaching mathematics from fifth grade to AP Statistics. Prior to making the shift to academia, he worked for over a decade as a technology and strategy consultant for the largest North American wireless and cable service providers. At the start of his career, Fred worked as a software engineer for Motorola, Qualcomm, and several Internet startups. Fred holds a Master of Science from Georgia Tech and a PhD in Electrical Engineering with minor in Mathematics from Cornell University. Fred lives in Weehawken with his wife, Soha, his two boys, Luca and Oliver, and his dog, Daisy. He enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, biking, hiking, skiing, and scuba diving.
Introduction to Literature: What Shapes Our Identity, Junior Seminar, Literature Through the Ages: Home and Exile, Poetry Writing Workshop, Newsletter and other Student publications
Katie Fowley studied English at Macalester College and received an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the chapbook Dances & Parks, and her poetry and criticism have been published in literary journals and magazines. She has held writing fellowships in Lithuania and Ithaca. Before joining the Hudson School, Katie taught English and creative writing at The University of Iowa and The City University of New York. She also taught creative writing at the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and worked as a substitute teacher at Spence, Packer Collegiate, and Friends Seminary.
Geography, Honors American History, Modern Global History 1500-Present
Jeff Gould earned a BA and MA from Montclair State University, with a concentration in both European and American history. He was an exchange student at the Universität Graz in Austria. He also taught at an international school in Vienna. As a result of spending more than three years in Austria, Jeff speaks German (and Austrian dialect) fluently. He was a Soros guest lecturer at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. Jeff has been teaching at The Hudson School since 1999 and teaches seventh grade Cultural Geography, ninth grade European History, and Honors European and American History in the Upper School. Since 2003, Jeff has also been an adjunct professor of history at MSU. During his non-academic free time, he enjoys golf, travel, hiking, photography, and reading (non-fiction, of course!).
Performing Arts Department Chair, Drama 6 , Theater 7, Theater 8, American Sign Language 1, American Sign Language 2, American Sign Language 3, American Sign Language 4, The Power of Rhetoric
A classically trained masters class teacher and director for over 20 years, Vivian has directed over 40 productions for regional and educational theater companies. This includes helping to develop a critically acclaimed acting technique called “Del-Sign,” combining Del Sartre’s movement theory and American Sign Language. She holds a BA in Movement Theater and Social Dynamics (cum laude/honors) and completed the Acting/Directing Conservatory at Towson University and the Shakespeare program with RADA notables Charles Duff and Ada Brown Mather (Globe Theater, London). Viv cast over 22 films (Sundance; Best Ensemble Cast: Songcatcher, 2000), served as co-creator for non-verbal communication advocacy courses for NYU and Hofstra Law Schools and, with her students, won a national Character in Education Award (2010) for daring drama with A Thousand Cranes.
Aesthetics, Model Congress, Senior Seminar, Women, Sex and Gender Expression, Alumni Affairs Coordinator
Sara Herrera first “officially” interviewed at The Hudson School in 1982 when she was just 10 years old. She remembers her visceral reaction after that day-long visit, electrified by the enthusiasm of students and teachers. That fall she joined the Hudson family as a fifth grader. Twenty-six years later, she returned as a teacher, advisor, and alumni acoordinator.
In true Hudson fashion, in the interim she had explored many interests – women’s studies, art, and philosophy – eventually finding her way to math and earning a B.A. in mathematics from Hunter College minoring in philosophy and women’s studies. Her goal is to create a classroom environment where students will grow to know themselves and be taken with the thrills, challenges, and beauty of learning.
Jon Himmelstein came to The Hudson School after a career as a litigating attorney and a business founder. Jon believes that nothing he accomplished in the courtroom or in business could replicate the rewarding fulfillment he derived from the several summers spent chaperoning students on tours across North America and Europe. With this in mind, it became abundantly evident that the classroom was where he belonged. Jon can’t wait to make math come alive for his students and help them to understand the real world applications of our lessons. Further, as a proud Hoboken resident, being able to have a positive influence on the local community is an added bonus.
Mandarin B, Mandarin C, Mandarin D, Mandarin 2, Mandarin 4
Peiying Ho is a caring and passionate teacher, which she inherited from a line of educators in her family. She has many years of teaching experience both in the United States and in her native country, Taiwan. Peiying received her master’s degree in Arts & Cultural Management from Pratt Institute in 2003. With her personal interest in all forms of arts, Peiying engages her students with creativity and encourages students to learn “outside the box.” To her, the best part of being a teacher is not just providing students the knowledge of learning subject but also being a part of positive influences in their life.
Athletic Department Chair, Fitness and Nutrition 5, Fitness and Nutrition 6, Health 7-B, Health 10, Physical Education 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Coach
Jeff Jacobs, a NJ/NY certified PE and Health Teacher, has taught both subjects during his seven years at The Hudson School. Prior to that, he was the athletic director at a community center in Rockland County, NY. He has organized and run a variety of sports leagues and events for kids and adults. However, his primary love is working directly with children, leading him to pursue a teaching career. Jeff currently resides in Hoboken with his wife, Jennifer, and three-year-old daughter, Avery. Parenting has given Jeff a new way to look at teaching. Just as Avery is his everything, he realizes that each child is the same to their parents and family.
Language Arts 8, 8th Grade Coordinator
Katherine has taught eighth grade English and Aesthetics at Hudson since 2013. She earned her BS in English literature at Gettysburg College. After a rewarding career in fundraising to support the arts, she left her position at Carnegie Hall to pursue an MS in Education at Bank Street College in New York City. Her career in education began at The Mustard Seed School teaching classes at the 7th and 8th grade level. When presented with the opportunity to design a new 7th-grade curriculum, Katherine moved to the Stevens Cooperative School where she remained teaching social studies, science and English literature. Katherine’s ultimate goal of teaching English literature to adolescents and supporting them in the capacity as 8th grade advisor was realized when she joined The Hudson School. In addition to being an avid reader, Katherine also enjoys writing short stories and poetry.
AP Government and Politics, Foundations in American History, Global Politics, Legislative Foundations in American Government, Politics and Diplomacy in the post-WWII U.S., Mock Trial
A lifelong New Jersey resident, John Koeppl holds B.A. degrees in history and theater from Montclair State University, where he studied under fellow Hudson School faculty member, Jeffrey Gould. After serving for a time in the U.S. Coast Guard, Mr. Koeppl started a N.Y.C. based theater company with several other Montclair alumni. He has taught in a provisional capacity at Dumont and Tenafly High Schools, as well as delivering themed lectures at Emerson High. John also works with the Leonia Youth Group, a community organization that works with high school-age students to plan activities, discussions and charitable projects. This year Mr. Koeppl will be teaching Foundations in American History, Global Politics, Legislative Foundations in American Government, Politics and Diplomacy in Post WWII U.S. and AP Government and Politics.
Computers 5, Computers 6, Science 5, AP Calculus 1 (AB), AP Calculus 2 (BC), Engineering/Robotics 1, Engineering/Robotics 2 – Honors, Software for Engineering 1 – Honors, Software for Engineering 2 – Honors
Rusty is a Hudson School Alumnus who feels fortunate to be able give back to the very same community that gave him a profound education and an enlightened world view. He fancies himself a student of everything and views mathematics as the universal key. Rusty has been the driving force behind integrating 3D printing and cutting edge technology into all parts of the curriculum. He is interested in physics, engineering and mathematics as well as music, art and poetry. Rusty has been teaching various age groups and subjects since the age of sixteen. Currently, he enjoys teaching courses for the Math, Science, and Computer Science departments.
Shirley Loor-Ordonez came to The Hudson School in 2013 as part-time school nurse and is currently the school nurse full time. She attained her bachelor of science in nursing from St. Peter’s College. She has also earned graduate credits at William Paterson University to attain her Certified School Nurse. She has been a Registered Nurse for 11 years in specialties such as hemodialysis and palliative/hospice care.
Ethics, Focus on Success, Personal Finance, Accreditation Coordinator, Community Service Coordinator
Kay Magilavy’s teaching and professional careers span 40 years and the breadth of the United States. She was a Teacher Corps intern in Southern California and taught in California’s Monterey Bay region. She joined the dot.com transformation as a programmer in Silicon Valley and operated an organic farm in the Catskills. Kay moved from greenhouse to boardroom as a senior manager at Toyota’s North American holding company, where she headed IT, Corporate Planning and Strategic Research and Planning. She is an active volunteer in Hudson County, working primarily on issues of housing and homelessness. All of these experiences and responsibilities help to inform the discussions in her Personal Finance, Ethics and Public Speaking classes.
Director of Technology and Security, Advanced Computer Repair & Networking, Business Applications, Computer Systems & Networking, Web Design and HTML, Stage Crew; Technology Department Chair
A native of central Connecticut, Justin McCormick started with The Hudson School running lights for Hudson’s production of Alice in Wonderland his fresaman year at Stevens Institute ofTechnology. Since then, he has designed lights and built sets for a multitude of shows with various theater companies and professional lighting outfits. Over the years, Justin’s job has grown into his current position as the Director of Technology and the Director of Security. He currently resides in Hoboken, is the resident lighting designer of the Hoboken Childrens’ Theater, an avid hockey player in multiple leagues, and wake and snow boards.
French D, French E, French 2, French 3, French 4
Isabelle Monaco is a native of France who holds a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She fell in love with the United States when she first came over to work as an adjunct in the French department of Stony Brook University. Living in the United States was a life-changing experience for her, and a few years later, she moved here permanently. For a few years she worked in the corporate world in the fragrance industry but eventually went back to what she loved the most: languages, writing and education. She subsequently worked at the United Nations and at the United Nations International School. She joined The Hudson School faculty in September 2000 and has been happily teaching there ever since.
Paul Ognissanti is a professional cellist, electric and string bassist, arranger and music theory educator with over 30 years of experience. Paul has worked in a very wide variety of musical genres, including cabarets, film scores, recording sessions and symphony orchestras. He has worked with the likes of Joan Rivers, Queen Latifa, Dizzy Gillespie, Cy Oliver, Ink Spots, and Billy Eckstine. Additionally, Paul has contributed to film scoring and appeared in Riding in Cars with Boys, August Rush and Julie & Julia.
Paul is highly focused on giving children the tools they really need for today’s business environment, and he stresses empowerment through discipline and focus. Paul believes that high self-worth is brought about by hard work in developing relevant skills. He teaches students that instrumental performance, social skills and business acumen lead to a successful life.
Language Arts 6, Logic, Reading/Advisory 6, 6th Grade Co-Coordinator
Michael Pauloski hails from Bloomingdale, New Jersey, and currently lives in Montclair. Before joining The Hudson School community in 2015, Michael taught at his alma mater, Seton Hall University, from which he received his Master’s Degree in English Literature in 2011. The transition from teaching college students to sixth graders has taught Michael a great deal—not least that cynicism is a mindset most often grown into rather than out of. He finds true comfort in writing his own fiction and in reading the stories of others; each day he tries to transmit the joys of these twin passions to his students, vigorously.
Creative Writing 5, History 5, Language Arts 5, Reading 5, 5th Grade Coordinator, Economics
While studying for her BA in Political Science and Legal Studies, Ms. Pazaj substitute taught in public schools and interned at the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey. In 2012, she graduated with an MA in International Political Economy. While completing her MA. she interned and was later employed at the United Nations in New York City, where her work focused on economic development and humanitarian crisis issues. This academic year, she is excited to teach economics in the Upper School. She is fluent in English, Albanian and Greek, is proficient in French and Italian, and is currently learning Turkish. Ms. Pazaj has had more than 10 years of experience instructing and tutoring students in K-12 and college, where she has taught English, writing, comparative political science, world history, and foreign languages. She studied dance and singing and loves cycling, tennis, volleyball, and playing soccer with her mini Australian Shepherd. She has always had a passion for education and considers teaching to be a privilege.
American History, Head of School
It is a privilege for Paul Perkinson to serve as Head of School at The Hudson School at this exciting time in its history. A graduate of Earlham College, Paul earned his MA at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a classroom teacher for 13 years before serving as a dean at Friends’ Central School (PA), Upper School Head at North Shore Country Day School (IL) and Head of School at Tandem Friends School (VA) and George Stevens Academy (ME). He teaches eighth grade U.S. History at Hudson. Believing he hit both the vocational and marital jackpots, Paul and his wife Kip live in Hoboken.
Bruce Prussack is currently teaching computer coding and robotics at The Hudson School. He earned a BE and MS in electrical engineering from NYU and the Degree of Engineer from Polytechnic University. After retiring as the Director – Advanced Technology for the Long Island Rail Road, Bruce started teaching mathematics and science at The Hudson School. Living in Hoboken with his wife, he has two children in college. He is a Life Senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was awarded the “Order of Merlin – Shield” by the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Business Manager, Registrar
Kathy Prussack, a longtime Hoboken resident, has been the business manager at The Hudson School since 2001. Besides handling everything in the school related to money, she is also the registrar and has taught Personal Finance to Hudson seniors. Prior to joining The Hudson School, Kathy was a VP at JP Morgan, a director at MasterCard International and a manager at Andersen Consulting, specializing in accounting and financial systems at all three institutions. She is a CPA with a BA in International Relations from Swarthmore College and an MBA with Distinction in Accounting from Cornell.
Science Department Chair, AP Chemistry – Lab, AP Physics C: Mechanics & Electromagnetism-lab, Chemistry – Lab, Physics 1 – Lab
Ari Räisä is the chair of the science department at The Hudson School, where he teaches physics and chemistry classes in the high school. Ari has been teaching high school physics and chemistry for 27 years. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Teachers in New York. After graduating from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Ari moved to New York and worked for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a NASA-funded institute. He also studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics at Hunter College. He played basketball in the Finnish National League before moving overseas. He has played in Madison Square Garden on three separate occasions. Ari coaches the girls’ varsity soccer team, and he plays for a Guyanese soccer team in a league in NYC. He is also interested in social issues, golf, swimming and dancing (Charles Moore Dance Theater).
English as a Second Language, Language Arts 7, 7th Grade Coordinator, Upper School Writing Center Director
Randi Roberts is Hoboken born and raised. She is a “lifer” and graduated twelfth grade at The Hudson School in 2005. After studying art history at Brown University, she went abroad to get her masters in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Upon returning to the States, her focus changed to food photography and blogging. However, words continued to be a passion of hers. Serendipitously, Randi began tutoring at The Hudson School and her role at the school has grown. Randi now teaches seventh grade language arts and ESL, and she is aiding in the launch of the Upper School Writing Center as its director.
Health 11, Introduction to Psychology
Shiri Rosenblat-Itzhak was born and raised in Israel. She moved to Hoboken with her family thirteen years ago and this will be her ninth year teaching psychology and health to students at The Hudson School. In her classes, Shiri focuses on wellness and exposes the student to different ways of wellness and explore methods of awareness to deal with stress while practicing self-regulation, empathy and compassion. Shiri has a BA in education and Hebrew literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a master’s in Psychology Counseling. She is also a certified executive coach and studied positive psychology. Most of her professional life, Shiri worked in different educational settings. Prior to moving to the United States, she worked at a high school for kids with behavioral and emotional problems, where she performed individual counseling and family interventions, and worked at a special program mentoring teenagers from different socioeconomic backgrounds across the entire country, fulfilling individual potential to attain excellence. Outside of school, Shiri works as an executive coach with private clients and organizations. She loves spending time with her three kids, traveling, reading and watching re-runs of Friends to boost her levels of happiness.
Art 7 , AP Biology – Lab, Biology – Lab, Health 12
Holli Schorno teaches art and science at The Hudson School. She was born in Oakland, CA, and moved to Newark, NJ, after attending UC Berkeley and the SF Art Institute. In Newark, she built her studio alongside her husband/collaborator and collected and categorized over 1,000 science and DIY home improvement books which she uses as material for her large-scale collage work. Holli has shown extensively nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of three Mid-Atlantic Foundation/ NJCA Fellowship grants, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and SPHN Artist in Residence Grant, Berlin. Her work is included in VLAK, Shifter and On Paper magazine as well as included in many notable collections.
Acting I, Acting II, Music 7, Music 8, Music History, The Film Department
Adam studied composition and Early Music at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, and has been a film and theater actor and private coach for over 25 years. Now in his 16th year at The Hudson School, he heads the Film Department, teaches acting, music history, music theory, world music, and video games. Adam directs the Upper School play or musical production each Fall. This year’s production, The House of Blue Leaves, by John Guare, marks his 14th at the school. Some of his previous productions include Metamorphoses, Goblin Market, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Once On This Island, Sweeney Todd, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and The Glorious Ones.
Movement 5, Movement 6
Monica Snavely is the 5th and 6th grade Movement Teacher. She previously taught at The Hudson School in the areas of Language Arts, Aesthetics, and Movement during the 2008-2012 school years. She has 15 years of experience as a movement and performing arts educator. Ms. Snavely currently holds a MA in Theatre & Dance Education and Outreach from the University of New Mexico as well as a certification from The American Academy of Personal Training. Her specializations are in the areas of physical theatre, creative dance, dance improvisation, and interactive performance. She received the Xavier High School Ignation Educator Award in 2013. She believes that teaching students how to improve the strength, flexibility, and stamina of the human body helps facilitate the positive growth of emotional intelligence, self-confidence, and academic success.
Classics Department Chair, Latin A, Latin II, 9th grade homeroom teacher, Trip Coordinator
Elena Soulier, Chair of the Classics Department, is in her seventeenth year of teaching Latin at The Hudson School. She received her BA in French and German from the Teacher University of Saint Petersburg, Russia. She later completed her MA in Foreign Language Teaching Methodology. She has extensive experience teaching French, Latin, German, and Russian in various Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, and at the Berlitz Center in Manhattan. Languages obviously fascinate her, especially, that “dead” one. The beauty of its magical logic and structure mesmerizes her. Its impact on world civilization and linguistics actually makes Latin one of the most vivacious in the universe.
English Department Chair, American Literature, AP English Literature and Composition, English 12: Journeys and Discoveries
Edina Szalai is Chair of the English Department and teaches tenth grade, twelfth grade and AP English. She was born and raised in Hungary, where she received her BA and MA in English and Hungarian from the University of Debrecen. She was awarded her PhD in English and American Studies summa cum laude by the same institution. She has published numerous articles and a book on American and Canadian women writers. After 20+ years of college teaching, Dr. Szalai joined the Hudson Faculty to fulfill her dream of working in a close-knit community of intellectually eager minds, an expectation fulfilled daily by her students and colleagues. Besides literature, she is also passionate about classical music. She loves opera and has been playing the cello in informal amateur ensembles.
Music 5, Music 6, Theater 7, Theater 8, Middle School Chorus, Upper School Chorus, Piano Lessons
Steven is very excited to start his fourth year here at The Hudson School to teach 5th and 6th Grade Music, Middle and High School Chorus, 7th and 8th Grade Theatre, and piano lessons! Outside of teaching, he musically directs shows, including Godspell, The Rocky Horror Show, School House Rock Live, Alice and Wonderland, Jr, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Heathers. He has done off Broadway benefits with “Theatrical Gems.” With them, he musically directed Mr. President and Wildcat (featuring Robert Cuccioli, Luba Mason, and Beth Fowler). Last year he directed Hudson’s production of Les Misérables. Other endeavors include accompanying multiple cabarets at The Duplex, The Metropolitan Room, and at 54 Below.
French A, French B, French 1
Aude, a native of France, graduated from ILERI, Paris, with a bachelor in International Relations in 1996. She has always enjoyed learning foreign languages (German, English, Japanese, Latin) and travelling around the world (Europe, Australia, Japan, North America). After moving to the USA in 2000 and working as office manager for a shoe company in New York for 10 years, she started a second career as a French teacher and never looked back. Sharing her passion for the French language, culture and gastronomy was what she was meant to do!
She holds a DAEFLE (Diplôme d’Aptitude à l’Enseignement du Français Langue Etrangère) with High Honors and has attended a number of training programs at the Alliance Française, both in New York and in Paris.
She lives in Hoboken with her husband Philippe and their three children: Arthur, Lucille and Benjamin.
Eileen Vanderheyden combines a strong passion for mathematics and its role in opening doors to motivate and inspire learners and creates a fun and challenging learning environment. With a BA and MA in mathematics , she is a dynamic, resourceful teaching professional with a genuine interest in students’ cognitive and social growth. Ms. Vanderheyden also enjoys writing, singing in Cantigas Women’s Choir, theater and world travel. Eileen is proud of having visited all 50 states and will be visiting her 7th continent, Antarctica, in 2018. Eileen has found that, by incorporating her other “loves” into her mathematics classes, she is able to lead students to understand why Pythagoras said, “There is geometry in the humming of strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”
Assistant to Head of School, Office Manager, ESL Tutor
In 2006, Holly Walker left her hometown of Huntington Beach, CA for Wagner College on Staten Island. There, she got a taste for international travel—a semester in Rome, two weeks in Kenya—and decided to keep going. After graduating with a BA in English (and a few minors in Italian and Comparative Literature), she joined the Peace Corps in Moldova, then continued to live abroad as an English teacher in Indonesia and Mexico. But the lure of the east coast was too strong, so she returned to the area in 2016 and found The Hudson School through a friend. In her spare time, she practices ju-jitsu at her dojo in Brooklyn and reads voraciously. Travel remains a passion, as well as linguistics. Spanish is her strongest language, but she can pull out Italian, Romanian, and some Russian when necessary. She believes that education is the most effective tool for bettering the world, and is thrilled to continue her work in this field as an administrator.
Middle School Counselor, ISP Coordinator, Community Service 8 , Health 7-G, Health 8
Kimberly Wolfer attended Montclair State University, where she majored in Family and Child Studies and minored in Psychology. She then entered the school counseling program at Caldwell University to obtain her MA. In graduate school, she had awesome experiences working as a counseling intern in three different schools across NJ. She then worked as a counselor at a small independent school for students with learning disabilities, and then as a counselor at a very large high school. She is excited to now become the new middle school counselor at The Hudson School. Kimberly is a member of the American School Counseling Association, is trained as a school anti-bullying specialist, has completed suicide prevention training, and is CPR certified. Kimberly also loves to read mysteries, loves to cook and bake desserts, she does Pilates, and she likes to swim and garden in her spare time.
Director of Admissions
Janet Wright first came to The Hudson School in 1985, when Hudson was a middle school. During her original tenure at Hudson, Janet established the advisor program, managed high school placement, and taught PE.
During her 20-year absence from Hoboken, Janet supported her husband Brian’s role as headmaster at private schools in Virginia and Massachusetts, traveling extensively to meet parents and alumni and actively participating in fundraising campaigns. During those years, Janet also achieved an MFA in photography. Her photographs have been used extensively in school publications and on its website.
Janet and Brian are parents of a Hudson School alumna, Rachel, MS ’92. In all of their experience as parents and lifelong educators, The Hudson School has remained a touchstone for their ideal of what a school ought to be.
AP Japanese, Japanese A, Japanese C, Japanese 1, Japanese 2, Japanese 3
Ms. Ritsuko Yokota is an experienced language teacher, having worked in middle and high schools in both Japan and the U.S. She received her MA in Japanese Studies from Kobe College and has an extensive range of experience in teaching Japanese to both children and adults. Ms. Yokota joined The Hudson School in 2001. She specializes in an immersive method of teaching in which English is not used in class and learners are exposed to the language directly. She is also actively involved in a project developing Japanese language curriculum and textbooks, using her extensive experience in editing textbooks and teaching. Ms. Yokota enjoys teaching popular Japanese culture such as anime and traditional culture and customs, including Ikebana flower arranging, calligraphy and the art of tea ceremony.
Art Department Chair (acting), Art 6 , Foundations of Art: History & Practice, Photoshop 1, Photoshop 2, After-school Coordinator
Peter Ziebel teaches art and photography and is the school’s After-School Coordinator. Since joining Hudson’s faculty in 2002, he has coached basketball, served as a high school advisor and grade-level coordinator, directed or assisted in the production of the school’s middle and high school yearbooks and literary magazines, managed email communications to parents, trained faculty in the use of new technology, and taught cooking, creative writing, computers and, for one semester, seventh grade boys health. Before to coming to The Hudson School, Peter was a freelance photographer and children’s book author. He has taught photography at the college level and in a popular adult class at the Hoboken Historical Museum. His work has been exhibited there and at a number of other venues in the metropolitan area. These days, his work can be seen on his daily photoblog: www.kingnopa.net.
For faculty/staff contact information, please visit our contacts page.