News

Welcome New ODA Team Members!

We are pleased to introduce eight new employees who have joined the ODA faculty and staff for the start of the 2018-19 academic year. Coming from a variety of educational settings, they all bring the ability to inspire students to reach their full potential and a passion for educating the whole child. At Out-of-Door we are committed to recruiting and developing the best possible talent. "The "Class of 2018" will make an immediate, positive impact on both our programs and our school community.” - Head of School, David Mahler
We are pleased to introduce the eight new employees who have joined our ODA team at the start of the 2018-19 academic year. They all demonstrate an ability to inspire students to reach their full potential and a passion for educating the whole child.

Dianne Spence, our new Director of Security, will oversee the safety and security of both campuses and will maintain an office on the Uihlein Campus. Dianne retired from the New York City Police Department as a First Grade Detective after 23 years of service. She was a 9/11 first responder and spent several months participating in the rescue/recovery efforts at Ground Zero and the Staten Island Landfill. She joins Out-of-Door after serving as the School Resource Officer at the State College of Florida Collegiate School where she oversaw the safety and security of students and faculty.

Head of Middle School Julie Bianchi, has taught English and French from Michigan to Maryland in grades 6-12. She joins ODA after nearly 20 years at Detroit Country Day, where her roles included teacher, varsity coach, Dean of Students, Director of Admissions, and School Director. Mrs. Bianchi’s vision for Middle School is to balance the rigors of tradition, the excitement of innovation, and their physical and emotional well-being to thoughtfully engage students every day.

After a year at Out-of-Door as a long-term substitute teacher, Fernando Azcona Meza will be joining the Upper School Math team, teaching part-time as he simultaneously pursues his Master’s degree in education. “I heard of Out-of-Door after moving to Sarasota. All the things I heard were positive, so it sparked my curiosity to know more about the institution. I applied to be a substitute teacher...Once inside the classrooms I realized all the things I heard were absolutely true. When the opportunity to teach math in the upper school came to me, it wasn't hard to decide to "officially" be part of the staff. The environment is fantastic and all the support everyone brings is just outstanding.”

Levi Biedermann comes to ODA by way of China and Wisconsin, before making Florida his permanent home. As an Upper School Art teacher, Mr. Biedermann will bring his experience working with a variety of mediums including ceramics, metals, woodworking, papermaking, and printmaking to his classroom. His artwork has been featured in various galleries, and he has mentored students and emerging artists throughout his career.

Gina King comes to the Middle School English and History Departments by way of Hermosa Beach, California. For the last six years she taught fourth grade at Rolling Hills Country Day School. Ms. King created a program at Rolling Hills called Girl and Boy Talk which taught students about self-worth, kindness, compassion, and empathy. She looks forward to bringing these lessons with her to ODA.

As a native of Bradenton, Third Grade Teacher Carolyn Martin is excited to return to her home state of Florida after spending the last eight years in Boston, Massachusetts. After earning her Master’s in Education from Harvard University, Ms. Martin taught for seven years as a Lower School teacher at the Meadowbrook School of Weston where she developed the school’s socio-emotional curriculum and pioneered Open Studio, an authentic display of student learning centered around growth mindset and metacognition. She has a special interest in writing and has participated in renowned workshops including the Kenyon Review and Tin House.

Kia Louis-Jones joins ODA as a Second Grade Teacher’s Assistant on the Historic Siesta Key Campus. Ms. Louis-Jones has a range of experience as both a classroom teacher and athletics coach and has been teaching in the classroom since 2016. She has also coached youth boys and girls basketball since 2013. “I love how the parents of ODA take the initiative to ask who I am, introduce themselves and welcome me to the ODA family,” Ms. Louis-Jones commented when asked about her first experiences with the ODA community.

With a background as a curriculum developer and lead teacher for gifted and talented children in Santa Barbara, CA, as well as her passion for social emotional learning, Kristin Ulrick is well suited as the new Lower School Wellness Coordinator. Her focus will include helping students develop and apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, display empathy for others, and make responsible decisions. Ms. Ulrick will also have a 4th Grade homeroom class and assist the second grade teachers.

Please be sure to welcome our newest ODA faculty and staff members when you see them!
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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  |  941-349-3224  |  Fax: 941-907-1251
The Out-of-Door Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, gender, or national origin. The Out-of-Door Academy is an equal opportunity employer.

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