Faculty and Staff

Lucretia 2015.jpg
Lucretia Anderson is thrilled to begin her second year on the English Faculty and third year as the Theatre Arts instructor at Orchard House. Originally from Washington, DC, she holds a BFA from West Virginia University and was an artist educator and arts administrator for several organizations in the DC Metro area for over 10 years before moving to Richmond with her family. Her former positions included Elementary School Program coordinator at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Theater Coordinator at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater, as well as resident teaching artist for Imagination Quest’s Reading and Literacy Initiative, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Young Playwright’s Theater and more. Ms. Anderson recently contributed a book chapter on teaching Shakespeare to Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change due for release in January 2016 by Intellect Books. 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 Pre-Algebra/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 taught for Hanover County and overseas in Eastbourne, England. She also directed a comprehensive secondary home-schooling program. Currently, she has spent the last seven years teaching science at Orchard House with creative songs, fictional characters (or “side-kicks”), experiments, and anything else that captures the attention of her 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

Casey Freeman
was thrilled to join OHS in January 2015 and is honored to teach multi-disciplinary art in such a unique community. This year, she has added the 6th grade Leadership program to her responsibilities. Casey studied Art Education and Art History at VCU, then taught art in Richmond City’s IB Magnet Program for high school students, and in Henrico County Middle Schools. After a break to be a full-time mom, Casey is excited to be back in the classroom. Casey is also a working ceramic artist, whose work has been featured in a number of juried shows across VA and NC. In her spare time, Casey loves to practice yoga, spend time in the garden, and chase her two children and the family’s new puppy, Tucker. cfreeman@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


Lauren “Señora” Jones has had a passion for the language and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries since she was in middle school herself. It was a college semester in Valencia, Spain, however, that convinced her to pursue teaching languages. After earning her BA/MT in Spanish and Foreign Language Education at the University of Virginia, she returned to Spain to teach English in a primary school in Catalonia. Currently in her sixth year 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. An adventure seeker at heart, Lauren enjoys traveling the globe and exploring Richmond with her husband and one-year old daughter. ljones@orchardhouse.org


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


Cathy Pelnik is a co-coordinator of 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 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 and hiking. 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 for the past 5 years, 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 several local choral groups, and she shares her passion for singing with her husband, Steve. Lynne and Steve are proud parents of three grown children, Michael, Lauren, and daughter-in-law Nami. lread@orchardhouse.org


Janine. Russo.jpeg
Janine Russo has been teaching at Orchard House for the past 15 years. 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. This year, Janine is thrilled to be continuing her role as Math Department Co-Coordinator and Math Teacher. She also teaches Music and Chorus with Elizabeth Lafoon. At any time in the day, you may find Janine reading, sketching, singing, or writing in one of her many journals. jrusso@orchardhouse.org


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. 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 two daughters, and taking long road trips whenever possible. msantos@orchardhouse.org


Jenna Stickley‚Äč is a native Richmonder. She came to work at Orchard House in 2008 when her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Lafoon, informed her about a part-time opening at the Front Desk. Since Jenna’s daughter, Kira, was just starting elementary school at the time, it was perfect! Fast forward seven years later and Jenna’s roles have grown (as many at OHS tend to do), and she now fulfills the roles of the Front Office Coordinator and Business Office Associate. In Jenna’s “first life,” she worked for about 15 years in banking and then the hospitality industry. Jenna also holds current realtor and cosmetology licenses.


Jenna enjoys down-time with her husband, Palmer, and their daughter, Kira, who is an Orchard House alum! Kira is a freshman at Godwin High School and says there will never be teachers as awesome as those at OHS! The Stickleys are cat people whose collection keeps growing, much to Mr. Stickley’s chagrin. Presently, Meko, Marly and Suki cuddle with their people, but only tolerate each other. Jenna loves the sun and the beach. She likes spending time with friends and family and just enjoying life. Traveling and all that goes with it, is a favorite pastime. You will find Florida, the OBX, Charleston, and Aruba among her favorite destinations. A timeshare purchase in Aruba years ago has afforded travel to such paradise where Jenna and her family 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

Penn Ward
comes to Orchard House by way of a decade of Richmond nannying, peppered with substituting in a Montessori preschool classroom, opening a local music venue, and receiving his M.A. in Literature from VCU. He relishes the infectious drive for learning that comes with living by the cycles of the academic calendar and is at his happiest at schools. Penn especially enjoys the dynamic office setting of Orchard House, treating organization as a sport. When he isn't helping Thursdays and Fridays run smoothly at OHS, you can find him riding bikes with children in the Fan, playing H-O-R-S-E at the Y, or scouring Craigslist for secondhand Ikea furniture. pward@orchardhouse.org

What keeps Doug Welch committed to teaching after twenty-six years in the field of education? 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 or reading a good book at a local coffee shop. dwelch@orchardhouse.org

Since 2002, Rachel Sawan White has been at Orchard House School, and over those fifteen years she has served in many roles around the school. In fact Rachel loves Orchard House School so much that even when life called her to move to New England, she remains working long distance creating graphics and communications. Rachel is a working artist, exhibiting her work around the country with representation at several galleries. When not in the studio or at work, she enjoys spending time in the garden, exploring Rhode Island (her new home), or in the kitchen with her son, for who she annually creates a disastrous birthday cake. rwhite@orchardhouse.org