By Wendy Lawrence, Inspire Contributor

This year, eight new faculty members will join our Eastside Prep community, along with a few new staff members. We’re excited to welcome so many talented and engaged individuals to EPS. More information about each is available on our website.

Cassidy Canter joined EPS as Learning Support Administrative Assistant in the 2022-23 academic year, but after publication of the fall 2022 Inspire. She helps request accommodations and schedule testing for students. Canter has a BA in Sociology from Georgia State University and a background in pharmacy merchandising and corporate event planning. She’s excited to be in a school setting! Canter’s famous “weekly question” in the Friel Learning Center has brought her the most joy and ensured a lot of interaction with students from fifth graders to seniors!

Noah Ching, once an EPS student, returns  now as a Resident Teacher. He loved his time here and is excited to begin his career as an educator in the same place that made him a lifelong learner. In high school, his EPS Ultimate team won the state championship, so inspiring the next generation of athletes is an unbelievable opportunity for him. When coaching, he loves creating a safe space to make mistakes. Ching graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Environmental Studies.

Sarahlyn Fritts joined EPS late last summer handling the Accounts Payable function in the Business Office. Prior to EPS, Fritts worked as an Accounts Payable Specialist, progressively advancing and learning in her field. She finished her accounting degree (a BS in Business with Concentration in Accounting from University of Phoenix) while continuing to work full-time. Fritts credits her success to the support and care received from the wonderful people in her life. She is excited to join our community and she feels it is the place for her to grow and become the best version of herself. She loves spending time visiting with friends and family, trying different local restaurants, cooking, and taking short trips.

Diana Gonzalez-Castillo joins EPS as a Resident Teacher. She earned a BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Williams College. In college, she learned how to sing in a choir, archive memes for her college’s library collection, and build affinity communities. She completed her studies the scenic way, with a year off in which she worked as a barista in Miami. The first in her family to graduate college, Gonzalez-Castillo is excited to join a school that focuses so strongly on mentorship and social and emotional growth. Originally from Southern California, she’s excited to get to know the other end of the West Coast. Outside of school, she loves hiking, reading, and so many sitcoms!

Yiyun Hendrix, Visual Art Faculty, joined EPS in the 2022-2023 academic year but not in time to be included in the fall 2022 Inspire. Hendrix, who has a BFA in Graphic Design from The Fine Arts College of Shanghai University and an MFA in
Illustration from Towson University, notes that while her primary focus as a teacher lies in the realm of digital art, she teaches a variety of art classes. She says, “I chose EPS for several reasons. My lifelong passion for education has led me to pursue a career as an art teacher, and EPS provides the perfect platform for fulfilling that aspiration. Secondly, one of the aspects I admire most about EPS is its culture of diversity and inclusion. This culture extends not only to the faculty but also to the students, creating an environment where everyone feels valued and accepted. I deeply appreciate EPS for fostering an atmosphere where individuals can truly be themselves. In my classes, I often witness students proudly incorporating their unique cultural backgrounds into their artwork. This cultural exchange enriches my teaching experience and serves as a continuous source of inspiration.” During her free time, Hendrix enjoys visiting art museums, practicing hot yoga, hiking with her family, reading, and cooking.

Alicia Iannucci, Math Faculty, brings years of math teaching experience after earning a BS in Mathematics and an MA in Adolescent Education. One of Iannucci’s proudest accomplishments was fostering an online community during the 2020-2021 school year. Students would hang out before and after class on Zoom and that group nominated her as teacher of the year! In addition to math, she loves art, traveling, and nature. She’s currently learning embroidery and loves being in nature with her husband and labradoodle by her side. When you see her in the hallways, please pass along all the dad jokes, although fair warning, she will give some back!

Gaylynn Lynch joins EPS as a Math Teacher and fifth-grade advisor. She recently backpacked the ninety-three-mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. Visiting EPS, Lynch was so impressed with the obvious commitment to building a culture of lifelong learning. “I especially loved hearing that EPS looks for students who are curious and kind!” Lynch loves to give students the chance to keep learning outside the classroom. She has been a coach for Science Olympiad, Girls Who Code, and Student Council. She’s organized math family nights and STEM afterschool clubs, and partnered with local businesses and higher education leaders through the STEM Leadership Network and STEM Fellows Program. She’s also currently part of the National Air and Space Museum Teachers Innovator Institute. Lynch holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Teaching. She’s from a small rural community in West Tennessee and moved to the Seattle area after college where she worked in the IT industry for ten years before pursuing teaching. She’s starting her seventeenth year in education. Lynch is married and has two sons and two fur babies.

Dr. Lane Seeley starts at EPS as an Upper School Physics Teacher. Seeley, who earned a BS in Physics at the University of Puget Sound, an MS from Montana State University, and a PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Washington, recently spent a five-month sabbatical working with science teachers in rural Uganda. He currently serves as the editor for the Energy and Equity Portal, an online teaching resource funded by the National Science Foundation. Seeley is a fast guy. Not only does he coach cross country, but he broke a record with two teammates for the fastest human-powered trip from Puget Sound to the summit of Mount Baker. And back! Lane lives in Edmonds with his wife, three children, a dog, a cat, chickens, a rabbit, and a newt. He’s excited for his next steps in innovation in the collaborative learning environment of EPS.

Dr. Maritza Tavarez-Brown joins EPS to teach Physics and Astronomy. Tavarez-Brown has a BA in Political Science from Yale but says her first love has always been astronomy. She attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for a PhD in Astronomy and finished that program as a visiting student at the University of Washington. She notes that as a first-generation college student, receiving her PHD was one of her proudest moments. Tavarez-Brown chose EPS because, “I can see that it is a truly joyful community, that folks are fulfilled and happy to be part of.” She adds, “I believe at the core of engagement is being in relationship with one another. I have found that the most impactful engagement I have had is partnering with parents, especially parents of students of color.” She notes that she works to build those relationships through various school events, which in turn encourages parents to become more in tune with the school. Tavarez-Brown loves to work with her hands and is a skilled DIYer, having tiled her kitchen backsplash and painted her kitchen cabinets. Her latest project is learning how to quilt.

Dan Wagner, Controller and HR Manager, brings years of experience at independent schools to Eastside Prep. Wagner, who holds a Master of Business Administration, worked at independent schools in the area prior to joining EPS. He says, “Working in the local independent school industry afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with EPS employees and leadership. As I learned more about Eastside Prep’s mission and observed the consistent outcomes it delivered for its students and families, I knew it was an organization I wanted to support when there was an opening.” Wagner and his wife have a thirty-year-old daughter and have enjoyed being ‘somewhat young’ empty nesters for this past decade. Their new excitement is a Labrador puppy and tackling home improvement projects. He notes, “One of my core traits is learner, so I could easily write a novel about my long lists of interests! I tend to dive deep into topics for years then move on to the next new thing. My current deep dives involve classic vehicle restoration, cooking, and music.”

Dr. Mo Zhou, Upper School Tech Teacher, teaches programming and data science. Zhou, who has been at Microsoft for the past ten years, earned a BS in Computer Science from Beijing University in China, and a PhD from Indiana University in Bloomington. Zhou grew up in a small town in China where the breakfast milk came straight from the neighbor’s cow! “I didn’t think it was cool until they called it ‘farm-to-table!’” Both of her parents were high school physics teachers, so her new career choice is not exactly a surprise. She has taught computer science at the college level while also serving as the captain of the women’s mentoring ring, helping women engineers advance in their careers. Her initiative, the One Book One World Asian Book Drive, aimed to improve cultural competence in schools. She also helped found and mentor a magazine club for young authors at her daughter’s school. In her free time, she loves photography and making soap.