Faculty and Staff

Photos provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Lucretia Anderson is over the moon about sharing her love of theatre and cultural arts  with the young leaders of  Orchard House!  Originally from Washington, DC, she holds a BFA in Theatre from West Virginia University. She has always, always wanted to be a teacher and remembers forcing her neighborhood friends to play school during summer breaks! Lucretia is a Shakespeare and Civil War enthusiast who goes wild for all things historical. Most recently she has worked as a program coordinator for both the Folger Shakespeare Library and Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre. She was also a teaching artist with several DC Metropolitan area theatre companies. While her children, Alana and Parker, keep her very busy, she also enjoys writing, cooking, running,  and reading whatever she can get her hands on. landerson@orchardhouse.org

Robin Arthur
started taking dance lessons at the age of four. She has always thought that her first performance (as a frog) set the tone for her dance career. When Robin started her formal education, she forced the younger children on her block to “play school" during the summer months. She was always the teacher! Orchard House School provides Robin the perfect place to merge her passion for the arts with her love of “bossing people around!” Robin holds a B.S. in mathematics from N.C. State University. She currently teaches Introduction to Algebra, Geometry, and Dance for Orchard House School. Outside of school, Robin works as an actor, choreographer, and director both locally and regionally. rarthur@orchardhouse.org

Jennifer Villani Brookman was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From a young age she has always imagined herself to be a teacher. Through inspiration and guidance from her very own high school chemistry teacher, Jennifer pursued her dreams and made them a reality. After graduating from Indiana University with a chemistry education degree, she moved to Richmond and has taught for Hanover County and overseas in Eastbourne, England. She also directed a comprehensive secondary home-schooling program. Jennifer creates songs, fictional characters (or “side-kicks”), experiments, and anything else that captures the attention of students to improve their learning. It’s been an honor for her to touch the lives of the younger generations and hopefully to inspire her students the way that she was inspired by her own science teacher.     jbrookman@orchardhouse.org


Nancy Davies, Founding Head of Orchard House School, was a 2010 recipient of a Klingenstein Heads Fellowship from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2010, she was also awarded the Alumni of the Year from St. Andrews Presbyterian College.  From childhood through the present, she has been fascinated by how people learn, what makes people want to learn, and the process of learning. For the last twenty years, Ms. Davies' research and work have focused on creating optimal learning environments for middle school girls, research that was initially funded by a Jessie Ball duPont grant.  The learning community at Orchard House is grounded in that research and work.  Outside of Orchard House, Ms. Davies thoroughly enjoys her family and friends, being outdoors, and reading, biking, cooking, and gardening.     ndavies@orchardhouse.org

Taylor Hollander has taught World and U.S. history at Orchard House since 2000. Unlike when he was in middle school, he is convinced that learning about the past can be fun and rewarding, and his classes are known for their lively discussions, debates, and skits. Outside the classroom, he has published journal articles, presented conference papers, and contributed to an online model curriculum called World History for Us All. As a long-term professional goal, he is also working on a manuscript about wartime labor relations. Originally from Canada, Taylor is a keen hockey fan and an outdoor lover. thollander@orchardhouse.org



Suzi Horner has taught health and physical education at Orchard House since the fall of 2001. She is also the resident bus driver, Registrar, and High School Coordinator and one of the 8th grade homeroom teachers. In a former life she worked as the director of the Bureau of Health Education for the Virginia Department of Health. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her husband, visiting her two children, playing with her rescue dogs and is an avid rower!    shorner@orchardhouse.org.


A parent of two Orchard House School graduates, Melody Imburg serves as Orchard House School Director of Admissions, Technology, and Diversity. When she’s not giving tours, working with the school’s student diversity group, or troubleshooting a network problem, you can find her in the classroom teaching girls the ins-and-outs of technology. Melody holds a B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Biology and a A.A.S. from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in legal assisting. Melody is always willing to learn and to try new things because of her strong belief in modeling the skills and attitudes that we want our students to learn. mimburg@orchardhouse.org 

Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Lauren “Señora” Jones has had a passion for the language and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries since she was in middle school herself. Thanks to a bite from the “travel bug” during a semester in Spain, she has traveled throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, and spent a year teaching English in Catalonia, Spain. At Orchard House, Lauren shares her enthusiasm for Spanish with the goal of inspiring students to use their knowledge to communicate with a wider world. Lauren conducts each class in Spanish and promotes meaningful student interaction in the target language through diverse communicative activities.  When she's not at Orchard House, Lauren enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two adorable cats.   ljones@orchardhouse.org 



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Elizabeth Lafoon
has taken on many roles at Orchard House School over the past eleven years.  Starting as a parent of a 2004 graduate, she helped out as a substitute teacher and eventually joined the OHS team as an administrative assistant and Front Desk diplomat in 2001. Over the years, she added the positions of fifth grade English, Leadership, and homeroom teacher, Director of Facilities, and Events Coordinator.   These varied perspectives help keep her in touch with the countless facets of school life.  Before coming to Orchard House School, Elizabeth worked as a corporate trainer for G.E. Lighting.  Her focus was on conflict resolution, group facilitation, and customer service. These skills now serve her well at school and home with her husband and three children – one in high school and two in college.  Music has been a lifelong passion for Elizabeth.  Over the years, she has participated in several vocal groups and passed her enthusiasm of singing and music on to her children, students, and peers.        elafoon@orchardhouse.org



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Cathy Pelnik
 co-chairs the math department and teaches fifth, seventh and eighth grade math. She has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Operations Research from the University of Rhode Island. Her work experience includes manufacturing engineering for a computer firm and financial forecasting for an insurance company. Throughout her school years, Cathy always wanted to be a teacher but got sidetracked into the engineering profession until her love of education lead her to Orchard House. She has been with Orchard House School since its founding in 1998. Her interests include yoga, hiking, running, cycling, traveling, and reading.     cpelnik@orchardhouse.org



Lynne Read
 serves as Orchard House School’s Finance Manager. She has over 20 years of accounting and management experience, with a specialty in non-profit organizations. She has thoroughly enjoyed working at Orchard House thus far, especially appreciating the atmosphere of crackling energy that the 80 girls provide. In her leisure time, Lynne enjoys playing and watching tennis, running, reading, and experiencing the great outdoors. Lynne is a member of a number of local choral groups, and she shares her passion for singing with her husband, Steve. Lynne and Steve are proud parents of two grown children, Michael, Lauren, and daughter-in-law Nami.     lread@orchardhouse.org 



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson began working in libraries at the age of twelve, first as a volunteer and in high school with a paid position in her home town of Kennewick, Washington. She attended Washington State University (while working in the university library, of course!) where she earned her BA in Humanities and then enrolled in the University of Washington’s museology certificate program to hone her archival skills. As a history researcher, Ms. R. always knew she’d go to library school to become an archivist, and in 2008 she graduated with her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ms. R. and her husband moved to Richmond in 2008 where she worked as an archivist at the Library of Virginia and then at the Valentine Richmond History Center. Fate, it would seem, in the form of a Valentine colleague who was also an Orchard House parent, thwarted her plans for archival stardom when she told Ms. R. about an irresistible opportunity to start a library program at the school. The rest is history. Ms. R lives with her husband and obligatory cat. When she’s not chasing students around with books, she is busy lifting weights, writing articles for national women’s rights organizations, and designing video games. areinhardtsimpson@orchardhouse.org

Janine. Russo.jpeg

Janine Russo has been teaching math, theatre arts, and leadership classes at Orchard House for the past 14 years. Researching and studying different curriculums has given Janine a deeper understanding, respect, and application for interdisciplinary education. Before coming to Orchard House she taught as adjunct faculty for the Department of Theatre at Virginia Commonwealth University for four years where she studied, researched, performed, and pursued her graduate studies. Upon completion of her Master of Fine Arts she traveled to Sibiu, Romania to perform and participate in the Festivalul International de Teatrude la Sibiu. It was there she first experienced an authentic collaborative learning environment among educators and students. This collaborative connection has greatly influenced her style of teaching in the classroom. Having come from a background in the arts, Janine has implemented an artist's approach to her teaching philosophy where she encourages students to connect passion and discipline for a lifelong appreciation of learning. Last school year marked a new path for Janine at Orchard House as Co-Chair of the Math Department with Cathy Pelnik. Along with teaching four math classes, she is also the Concord Studies Coordinator for the 8th grade Leadership curriculum. At any time in the day, you may find Janine reading, sketching, chatting or writing in one of her many journals. jrusso@orchardhouse.org


Photos provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Morgan Santos joined the Orchard House School family in 2010.  After working at the Front Office, Morgan transitioned to the position of Advancement Associate and Webmaster. She is also the Director of Alumnae Relations.  After attending college at Randolph Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) for four years, Morgan knew she wanted to work in single-sex education. Before coming to Orchard House School, Morgan was with the VCU Division of Community Engagement where she was the program coordinator of Lobs and Lessons, an after-school program teaching life skills lessons and tennis.  She then took the position of Recreation Director at the Weinstein JCC where she also served two years as the Assistant Director of the Richmond JCC Maccabi Games(R).  In her free time, Morgan and her husband, Peter, enjoy playing volleyball at Richmond Volleyball Club, spending time with their daughters, and taking long road trips whenever possible.      msantos@orchardhouse.org



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Marjory Saunders' passion for developing and enhancing the musicality of students and musicians has spanned over twenty years.  She enjoys the process of introducing approaches and methods which facilitate the understanding of music concepts and performance practices.  Marjory has had the opportunity to study with many notable and accomplished pianists, singers, and composers.  Additionally, she is honored to have taught girls who (now as adults) currently enjoy successful careers as teachers and performing artists.  When Marjory is not teaching at Orchard House School, she is serving as substitute rehearsal accompanist and soprano with One Voice Chorus of Richmond, VA, teaching private piano/voice lessons, providing piano/keyboard accompaniment as a church/jazz musician, landscaping, and studying all forms of traditional and modern dance. msaunders@orchardhouse.org


Jenna Stickley
works in our Business Office. Jenna has worked in the banking and hospitality industries and holds both cosmetology and realtor licenses. Jenna is married to Palmer Stickley, who just happens to be Ms. Lafoon’s brother. She has a sweet and beautiful 12 year old daughter, Kira, who has just started 7th grade at OHS! It’s a great treat to be able to go to school with your daughter! The Stickleys have 2 cats, Meko and Marley. Jenna loves the sun and the beach. She likes spending time with friends and family and just enjoying life. Traveling is a favorite pastime. You will find Florida, the OBX, Charleston, and Aruba among her favorite destinations. Going to Aruba is a yearly treat for Jenna and her family where they return each year to relax and re-charge. Jenna’s ultimate dream is to live in a little house by the sea.     jstickley@orchardhouse.org



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Doug Welch
What keeps Doug committed to teaching after twenty-three years? At the top of the list of reasons - seeing a student’s confidence soar when she overcomes a challenge and being part of a learning community with a common purpose.  Amongst the talents and passions Doug has brought to Orchard House since its inception are chess playing, guitar strumming, and soccer coaching. Doug’s students may not know that he was a philosophy major at UVA, but they know him as a teacher who thinks with them in class and as someone they can trust for guidance in academics and day-to-day life. When he’s not teaching math or serving as Director of Operations and Athletics Director, you might see Doug running trails along the James River, walking his rescue pup, or reading a good book at a local coffee shop.     dwelch@orchardhouse.org



Photo provided courtesy of Simply Arlie.

Since 2002, Rachel Sawan White has been teaching art at Orchard House School. Over the past eleven years she has added graphic design, homeroom teacher, Leadership and Director of Outreach  to her job description. This year she will also be serving as chair of faculty professional development. Rachel is a working artist, exhibiting her work around the country with representation at several galleries. Working daily with the girls is inspirational to her in her professional life and challenges her to keep that inherent creativity that all young people possess. She is also faculty at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, traveling across the state teaching workshops to artists, students, and teachers. When not in the studio or at work, she enjoys spending time in the garden or in the kitchen with her son, for who she annually creates a disastrous birthday cake. rwhite@orchardhouse.org