The Team - Mysa School
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The Team

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Siri Fiske

Siri is the founder and Head of MYSA 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.


Shaun Johnson

Shaun is the Director of Teaching and Learning at MYSA School.  Shaun oversees everything related to the curriculum and supports great teaching at MYSA.  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.


Whitney Retzer

Whitney is the community liaison for MYSA School in charge of admissions and 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.

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Nina Cortina

Nina is the Head and Lead Teacher at MYSA’s elementary school.  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

Nigel is an elementary school teacher at MYSA School. Nigel has worked with students of all ages for several years in many different capacities. He has a BA in English from Howard University, where he also studied education 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.


Emily Wander

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.


Ariel Martinez Brumbaugh

Ariel is the Lead and English Language Arts teacher for grades 6-12. Ariel has eight years of experience both teaching and leading in independent schools. She has an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and 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 husband Pat and black Lab, Tavi, in her free time.


Jason Biehl

Jason is the humanities teacher at MYSA School. Jason was born and raised in D.C., and has been working directly with youth since 2001. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, his recent experiences include teaching at Capital City Public Charter School, GED instruction at Latin American Youth Center and working as a Learning Specialist at Georgetown Day School. Jason is passionate about anti-racism work and has been an organizer for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ DC) since 2016. In Fall 2017 he founded Change the Narrative, facilitating workshops on race and equity for students in DC area schools. Outside of teaching, he enjoys yoga, nature, and supporting the local DC music and arts scene.

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Danielle Seamon

Danielle is the science teacher at the grade 6-12 campus. She has her MS in Forensic Science from Stevenson University, as well as a BS in Chemistry from Trinity Washington University. She has spent much of her academic career supporting her scientific knowledge with language studies, creative writing, and mathematics. She has taught both high school Chemistry and been an academic tutor for many years tutoring students in many disciplines.  Danielle currently lives in Maryland with her family and spends her free time reading, writing short stories, and studying linguistics.


Daniel Tuyisenge

Daniel is the math teacher at Bethesda and is a subject specialist for the Georgetown MYSA campus. Daniel is from a big family in Rwanda and has been in the USA for more than six years. He has experience teaching all ages and levels in mathematics and physics. He has an MA in actuarial science from Ball State University, IN, as well as a BS in mathematics and physics from Wofford College, SC. In his free time, he is exploring as a new resident to the DMV. He loves parks, gardens, hiking, and biking and spending time visiting museums.

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, and kickboxing at Bethesda Boxing Kickboxing Academy.