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News

Meet our New ODA Faculty and Staff Members

As we begin the 2021-2022 school year with a record high student body, we are excited to introduce the new faculty and staff members who have joined the Out-of-Door community.
These passionate educators come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and will have an immediate positive impact in our school community. Each new team member is committed to inspiring and supporting our students to help them achieve their full potential. Please be sure to welcome the new members of our ODA community when you see them on campus!

James Connor - Interim Head of School
Mr. James Connor earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Eckerd College and a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Connor has spent nearly five decades working as an educator in independent schools, initially teaching high school English, coaching baseball, football, basketball, and cross country, and leading community service programs. As a committed educator, Mr. Connor's primary goal always focused on helping students find success. His years of teaching, coaching, and subsequently leading as an administrator created enduring relationships with many of his students, team members, their families, and the extended school community. During the 26 years he served as Head of School at Germantown Academy, Mr. Connor's guiding principle was to put the best interests of the students at the center of every decision that was made.

Kelly Cool - Middle and Upper School Learning Specialist
Mrs. Kelly Cool is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and B.S. and M. Ed. in Special Education. Mrs. Kelly has been in the education field for 15 years and has a range of experience teaching middle school special education and supporting and coaching teachers in grades K-12. She has taught middle school special education for eight years, was a peer coach for three years, a Continuous Improvement Specialist for three years and a middle school Special Education Facilitator for one year for the Edina Public School District in Edina, Minnesota. Mrs. Cool is excited to be a part of the ODA community in her new role as the Learning Specialist on the Uihlein Campus. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, yoga sculpt, running, and doing anything outdoors. 

Caitlyn Dixon - Upper School STEM/Education Technology Coordinator
Ms. Caitlyn Dixon grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she earned a B.A. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.Ed in STEAM Curriculum and Instruction from Clemson. She worked for two years at the Carbonaceous Nanomaterials Center at Virginia Tech before returning to Clemson University to complete postgraduate coursework for her M.S. in Biological Sciences. She has nine years of teaching experience as a comprehensively certified science teacher in North Carolina, Georgia, and most recently, West Virginia, where she developed and directed a novel STEM Program. When she's not in the classroom, Ms. Dixon enjoys hiking with her dog Hubble, reading, and traveling.

Jaime Garcia - Upper School Spanish Teacher
Mr. Jaime Garcia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in Education from Lewis College and a Master of Science in Spanish Education from Indiana State University. Mr. Garcia worked in the secondary school sector for 17 years holding a variety of positions to include Spanish teacher, Director of Development, Assistant Dean of Students, and Assistant Athletic Director. In 1990 he transitioned to a position in professional baseball as a pitching coach where he coached in all of the Minor League levels and also held positions as pitching coordinator and Latin America pitching coordinator and manager. In his free time, Mr. Garcia likes to spend time with his wife and family, especially his grandchildren.

Brittany Green - Middle School English Teacher
Mrs. Brittany Green holds a Bachelor of Education for Secondary English Education from the University of North Florida, as well as a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Mrs. Green has enjoyed teaching English and Intensive Reading to middle and high school students for the past ten years, both in Florida and in Georgia. She has a passion for reading and writing that she uses to fuel excitement in her English classes. In her free time, Mrs. Green enjoys spending time in the water with her husband and their two children.

Jon Haskins - Assistant Athletic Director for College Recruitment, Head Football Coach
Mr. Jon Haskins earned a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree from Duke University. He played for three years in the NFL before serving as Director of Player Development at Stanford. Mr. Haskins utilized his experience overseeing player personnel and recruiting at University of Florida, University of South Florida, and University of Nevada. Originally from Siesta Key, Mr. Haskins is excited to return to his roots and share the experience he gained coaching at top tier universities with his student-athletes. 

Kathy Humphreys - Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Miss Kathy Humphreys grew up in Virginia where she earned a bachelor's degree in Early and Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Miss Humphreys has over 7 years teaching experience in Early Years and Elementary classrooms in Virginia, Texas, and internationally. Before relocating to Sarasota, Miss Humphreys spent three years teaching in Thailand, Vietnam, and Italy. Miss Humphreys is a passionate educator who believes in nurturing and supporting each of her students to succeed. When not teaching, she enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and practicing yoga.

BJ Ivey - Upper School Psychology, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities, Boys Head Basketball Coach
Mr. BJ Ivey holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction as well as an Educational Specialist in Administration and Supervision and Educational Leadership. In 2016 he was named Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Class 8A Coach of the Year in 2016, and the following year he was named Sarasota County Teacher of the Year. Mr. Ivey believes in the importance of the connection between academics and athletics and the positive impact that connection can have for student-athletes.

David LaVigne - Upper School History
Mr. David LaVigne was born and raised in the Upper Midwest. He holds a B.A. degree with double majors in history and mathematics from Luther College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Minnesota. His prior work experiences include two years as a high school teacher in Europe and over a decade as a college professor in the United States. Mr. LaVigne teaches courses in United States, World, and Latin American history.

Kim Louria - Lower School (4/5) Math Teacher
Mrs. Kim Louria grew up in southeast Michigan and attended Wayne State University in Detroit. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and began working as a fourth grade teacher in Southgate, Michigan. Subsequently, she earned a master’s degree in Reading Education from Eastern Michigan University. Mrs. Louria worked in the public school sector and at Montessori for more than 15 years prior to her move to Sarasota where she taught at Suncoast School for Innovative Studies. Mrs. Louria is currently training with YogEd to become a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher with a Trauma-Informed Focus to help guide students through their adolescence in a trauma-informed way. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking with her husband, reading, and spending time with her three sons.

Waleska Nieves - Lower School Director of Counseling and Academic Services
Mrs. Waleska Nieves received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Goshen College and later a master’s degree in Social Work from Aurora University. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and feels the most fulfilled when helping others. Mrs. Nieves has had experience working with a broad range of individuals, families and different levels of clinical issues for the past 20 years. She has a wealth of experience, including working in schools as a social worker and a case manager working with substance abusing mothers; providing individual and family therapy for teens at risk; and working with acutely mentally ill adolescents, adults, and the geriatric population in a psychiatric hospital. Most recently Mrs. Nieves started her own private practice in which she sees adolescents and young adults. She enjoys gardening, cooking, canning fruits and jams, going to the beach, and traveling and exploring Florida with her husband and three kids.

Lin Onimus - Third Grade Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Lin Onimus has over twenty years of experience in the classroom having taught at a private school in Jacksonville, and in public school systems in New Jersey and Sarasota. Prior to teaching, Mrs. Onimus worked in healthcare and had served as the Senior Administrator of the Diagnostic Imaging Department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She began teaching in her youngest daughter's Pre-K classroom and quickly found her joy. In her spare time, she enjoys the beach, cooking, homeopathy, crafting, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. 

Lara Roberts - Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Ms. Lara Roberts was born and raised in Argentina. In 2009 she and her family moved to Qatar, where she worked as a teacher assistant until relocating to America in 2016. In the U.S. she worked as a preschool teacher where she earned her Child Development associate’s degree and is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Roberts has also been a counselor at Out-of-Door's Summer Academy Sports Camp. During her free time, Ms. Roberts enjoys exercising, reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children. 

Sandra Romero - Upper School Art Teacher
Originally from New York, Ms. Sandra Romero earned a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art and Art History at SUNY Purchase and a Master of Science in Migrant Special Education at SUNY New Paltz. For eighteen years she has enjoyed teaching at public, private, and international schools in New York, California, Florida, Barcelona, and Medellin. Ms. Romero has a deep passion for teaching art to high school students and enjoys helping her students discover innovation, creative freedom, and the bigger life lessons learned in the art classroom. She loves spending time with her family, especially her six-year-old son Jeremy, as well as traveling, learning about other cultures, and bike riding. Ms. Romero is thrilled to be a part of the ODA family and looks forward to sharing her gifts with her students and the community. 

Greg Sheridan - Lower School (4/5) STEM Teacher
Mr. Greg Sheridan earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and master's degree in Teaching English to Second Language Learners from Salem State University. He began his career teaching K-5 science where he ran the lab and was the science coach for the school. He transitioned into teaching ESL, working with students from all over the world as they first entered the country. From these experiences, he learned how to teach the big-picture thinking it takes to be a scientist and the small step-by-step process it takes to be a language learner. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Sheridan is an avid learner, always picking up a new instrument, studying an art movement, or reflecting in his journal. Coming from the land of ice and snow with the long winter nights where the cold winds blow, he is excited to be joining us at the beautiful Siesta Key campus, and to help pass on the gift of loving to learn here at ODA. 

Es Swihart - Upper School English Teacher
Ms. Es Swihart attended the University of Florida where she earned her BA in English and BFA in Acting. She went on to earn her MA in English Education from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and is currently pursuing her EdD with a specialty in Mind, Brain, and Teaching at Johns Hopkins University. Having spent over a decade and a half in the classroom, Ms. Swihart found that teaching combines two of her great loves - stories and students. Ms. Swihart has worked in both the private and public sector and was named Sarasota County's 2018 Teacher of the Year. When not in the classroom, Ms. Swihart can be found spending time with her family, seeing theatre, listening to podcasts, out in nature, and, of course, reading.

Christina Trainor
Mrs. Christina E. Trainor began her early musical development studying classical piano under the Royal Academy of London curriculum. She furthered her performance training by attending the New World School of the Arts in Miami for Musical Theatre, and received her BFA with a minor in Mass Communication from the University of Central Florida. She attended Florida Atlantic University’s graduate educational programs as well as piano performance pedagogy and currently holds a dual Florida State Teaching Certification in Visual Arts and Music K-12. Along with teaching, she has written curriculum for SAC, a Blue Ribbon Award winning arts conservatory and developed extensive performance programs. In addition to her talent as a musical and educator, Mrs. Trainor is also a composer, loving wife, and mother of two.

Jennifer Weider - First Grade Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Jennifer Weider grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She attended Slippery Rock University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a bachelor’s degree in Health & Physical Education. Mrs. Weider has taught health and physical education for eight years for students in Pre-K-12th grade. She has enjoyed coaching cross country, swimming, and track and field throughout her teaching career as well. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys running, reading, swimming, and spending time with her family. 

Matthew Wood - Middle School Math Teacher
Mr. Matthew Wood holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point along with a master's degree in General Education from Cardinal Stritch College. He comes to ODA with 16 years of teaching experience in many different levels of math throughout grades 6-8 in Wisconsin, as well as in Manatee County. Mr. Wood loves being able to help others find multiple solutions to problems, math or otherwise, and enjoys getting to know students' interests and what they are passionate about. Mr. Wood enjoys doing anything outside with his family - even golfing poorly. His family are diehard Packer, Badger, Brewers, and Bucks fans so much time is spent cheering for them!

TJ Woolford - Middle School History Teacher
Mr. TJ Woolford holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Communications and Historical Studies, as well as a Master of Arts in History Education and Communication from the University of Central Florida. Mr. Woolford has also studied history education at the Library of Congress’s renowned summer program in Washington, D.C. He has been in the classroom since 2015 teaching a range of subjects including history, social studies, world religions, and innovative design. He has been the head coach of boys and girls varsity swim as well as varsity girls soccer. Mr. Woolford has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, boating, and baseball.

Carolyn Worrell - First Grade Teaching Assistant
Ms. Carolyn Worrell earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Clemson University. After graduation, she taught third and fourth grade in Pennsylvania while earning a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Relations from Villanova University. She has more than seven years of teaching experience and is thrilled to join the Out-of-Door as a first grade assistant teacher. Outside the classroom, Ms. Worrell loves spending time with her three daughters, going to the beach, bike riding, and playing tennis.
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The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOLS
  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
5950 Deer Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-907-1251
The Out-of-Door Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, physical ability, religion, sex, age, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
The Out-of-Door Academy is an equal opportunity employer.

© 2021 The Out-of-Door Academy