The Team - Mysa School
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The Team

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Siri Fiske, Head of School

Siri is passionate about education reform and creating learning environments that focus on the learner. A strong advocate for experiential learning, Siri has traveled the world with groups of students experiencing with them first hand the lives of others. She has taught science and math. She has designed, launched, and nourished many programs in public schools, including arts and music programs that currently reach thousands of students in the Los Angeles area. Her most recent job before moving to Washington, DC was helping to design and launch a K-12 school in South Korea.  Siri holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, a MA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a MAT (masters in teaching with a focus on technology) from the University of Southern California.


Ariel Martinez Brumbaugh, English Language Arts and Lead Teacher at MYSA Bethesda

Ariel Martinez Brumbaugh is Assistant Head of School at MYSA. Ariel has eight years of experience both teaching and leading in independent schools. She has a MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and she teaches the Connect class and Literature. To her, Mysa is an oasis for kids who need both the freedom to be an individual as well as the support of a school family. Ariel can be found kayaking on the Patuxent River with her black Lab, Tavi, in her free time.


Shaun Johnson,  Director of Teaching and Learning (K-12)

As an educator for nearly two decades, Shaun has taught in public, private and charter schools. He earned a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University in 2009 and spent four years as a tenure-track assistant professor of elementary education at Towson University in Maryland. Shaun returned to the elementary classroom in 2013, teaching Kindergarten at Malcolm X Elementary School in Washington, DC. He is primarily focused on curricular theory, the history of education, social studies methods, and social activism, and is currently working on administrative credentials through Johns Hopkins. Out of school, Shaun is an ice hockey player and boxer.

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Sarah DeSilva, Science Teacher (6-12)

Sarah is the middle and upper school science teacher at MYSA school. She has been teaching middle school science for the past six years and has a BS in Neurobiology from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). She also has an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on Arts Integration from UMCP. Her experience teaching in lower income schools and her Masters program have given her a passion for teaching learners of all abilities and backgrounds. She regularly integrates music and visual arts into her lessons and believes that all students should be given an opportunity to succeed in school. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys playing saxophone, spending time with her husband, and cooking new vegetarian meals.


Amy Barden Gualtieri, Math Teacher (6-12)

Amy Barden Gualtieri is the math teacher at MYSA School. She has been teaching for nine years and has a BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Middle School Math from Salisbury University. Additionally,  she has an MEd in Education from Clemson University.  She thinks MYSA is the perfect place for students to learn as it allows them to master skills at their own pace in a relaxed and friendly environment. When she’s not graphing linear equations, Amy enjoys running on the Capital Crescent Trail with her husband and new baby girl.

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Nina Cortina, Lower School Principal and Lead Teacher at MYSA Georgetown

Nina has been working in education for 17 years.  During this last year, she has been working as a Global Teacher teaching high school students from all around the world, virtually.  Prior to this, she served as the Principal of the Miami Children’s Museum Charter School for ten years.  There she developed a hands-on curriculum based on the Museum’s exhibits, a project-based Gifted Program and a district awarded “Gold” STEAM program. She began her teaching career as a Montessori teacher and fell in love with the Montessori approach. The Montessori ethos became a critical component of her development as an educator and continues to play a role in her teaching philosophy at MYSA.  Nina is originally from Miami, Florida and received her Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2009 from Nova Southeastern University.


Nigel Kirk, Lower School Assistant Teacher at MYSA Georgetown

Nigel is the Lower School Assistant Teacher at MYSA Georgetown school. He has taught and worked with students of all ages, from 3-year-olds to high school seniors, and everything in between. He has a BA in English from Howard University, where he also studied education (teaching) and music. Nigel’s experience working with students of all ages and backgrounds has instilled in him that there is no one-size-fits-all method to teaching kids. When not at MYSA, Nigel spends his time studying music, watching sports, and reading.

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Emily Wander, Spanish Teacher

Emily Wander is the Spanish teacher at MYSA School.  She received her BA from the University of Richmond in Spanish and Latin American Studies, her MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School and a Diploma de Estudios Hispanicos from la Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain.  After teaching assignments in Richmond and Madrid, Emily worked in Latin American banking and technology marketing and sales. Emily returned to teaching in 2009 and since then has taught enrichment classes at Stoddert Elementary School, Jonah’s Treehouse, and run a successful Spanish tutoring business. Emily lives in Washington DC with her family and divides her free time between her favorite spots in Valencia, Spain and Monhegan, Maine.


Whitney Retzer, Director of Marketing & Outreach

Whitney has worked in international education for more than a decade in Azerbaijan, Japan, Thailand, UAE,  and the USA. She has Marketing BA from the University of Minnesota and a MEd in educational leadership from the American College of Education. As a former educator, she loves the teaching and learning process and comparing best practices internationally with MYSA’s robust curricular offerings for subject-based mastery. When she is not working with prospective parents and community members of MYSA, she can be found exploring the area with her husband and daughter.

Additional Instructors

Students engage in a variety of classes within walking distance of the school.   Currently students in Bethesda are enrolled in Spanish and Mandarin classes at the International School of Languages , Cross training at Next Phase, Yoga at Pure Om Hotyoga Studio, and kickboxing at Bethesda Boxing Kickboxing Academy.