Policies & Practices
There is no established hierarchy among us. All administrative and educational policy decisions are made by consensus. No decision is acted upon until all participants are at least willing to give it a try. As a result, we communally assume responsibility for our successes and failures. Staff evaluation is a supportive peer exchange woven into the fabric of our daily life together. We all contribute to the analysis of problems and collaborate toward their solutions.
KATIE AARON, Group 1 Teacher
Katie graduated from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota in December 2017 with a BS in Elementary Education with a PrePrimary Education endorsement. She completed her student teaching at Prairie Creek Community School, a public charter progressive school K-5, in Castle Rock, Minnesota. After graduation, she moved to Prague, Czech Republic to earn her Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate. She taught English in a 2/3 year old classroom for a year at an international school. During Spring 2019, Katie became a substitute teacher in Minnesota grades K-7, with a majority in K-2. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time outside, singing and playing ukulele, reading, and going for walks. Katie is so excited to begin the journey at NCCL School!
COLIN ADAMS-TOOMEY, Group 3 Teacher
Colin Adams-Toomey is an NCCL alumnus, having attended from first grade all the way until graduating 8th grade, and is very excited to be coming back to school! He attended the University of Wales at Aberystwyth for undergrad, earning a dual degree in Theatre and Celtic Studies, with a focus on Irish history and Gaelic studies.
Colin has spent much of his career combining writing and historical research. He worked extensively with multiple historical organizations and the Delaware Humanities Forum to create an historical theatre program that examined Delaware's experience before, during and after the Civil War. The resulting program, Better Angels, was nominated in 2014 for the Schwartz Prize for Excellence in the Humanities.
Since then, Colin has worked as the Interpretive Program Manager at First State Heritage Park in Dover, Delaware. He worked closely with high schools, middle schools, and the State Parks system to create educational programs focused on history and dramatic writing.
Colin also likes to make movies! His first feature film, Lost Creek, was released in 2018 and stars a cast of all-NCCL students! It's available to watch, and NCCL itself has a cameo role in the film!
Colin is so excited to be a part of the NCCL family, and is looking forward to working with students and parents alike this coming school year.
JORDAN BAILEY, Outreach and Financial Coordinator
Jordan is an alumna of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in "everything liberal artsy." It was there as a student assistant at the University of Colorado Foundation that she discovered an energy for fundraising and stewardship in schools. She comes to us most recently from Rhode Island, where she worked in development and alumni relations at a Quaker school in Providence. A South Jersey native, Jordan is grateful to be able to spend time with her nieces, Savannah, Bo Jordan, and Lane. She can frequently be seen driving to Vermont with her boyfriend, watching the Phillies, or perusing a used book store.
CORRYN BURLEW, Group 3 Teacher
Corryn graduated from Salisbury University in spring of 2018 with a BS in Elementary Education and a minor in Earth Science. She completed her student teaching in Worcester County Public Schools in Maryland and, immediately after graduation, began a long-term substitute position as an instructional assistant working one-on-one with a student who had special needs. During her time in college she also had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala and teach mathematics in a school in Santa Avelina. In her free time, Corryn enjoys being active, spending time outdoors, reading, and meditating. Her interest in Earth Science makes her eager to travel and explore what the world has to offer.
JAMES DOOLEY, Group 4 Teacher
My name is Jim Dooley and I have had the privilege of being part of NCCL since 2015. Prior to joining our school community, I spent 27 years in the Delaware public school system as a middle school and high school mathematics teacher, a high school assistant principal, a Mathematics Specialist at the University of Delaware, and as a building and district-level mathematics specialist. I have served on various state-level task forces involving curriculum review, assessment review, and the revamping of the certification of new teachers all while providing hundreds of hours of professional development programs on a school, district, state and national level. I have also taught a Math Methods course for potential middle school mathematics teachers at Wilmington College.
I hold a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education with a middle grade mathematics concentration and a Master of Instruction degree from the University of Delaware. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent Mathematics and a three time State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Instruction. Through the process of self-reflection and analysis of my classroom work involved in my Masters and National Board certification, my work with state and national leaders in math education, and the hours spent in classrooms with teachers across the K-12 band, I have gained insight into the pedagogical strategies that connect students to the field of mathematics while preparing them to be flexible thinkers for the 21st century.
The field of Mathematics is often taught differently than how one might use math on a daily basis. I am pleased to work in a school where students do math to solve problems, whether fictional or real-world. At NCCL, we believe that students learn by doing, where they interact with each other and the world we share. By engaging kids in scenarios they learn to “mathematize” situations and flexibly use their computational, geometric, and algebraic reasoning to represent, analyze, and solve problems. Through this process they rediscover the critical themes and enduring understandings of mathematics in an interconnected and meaningful way.
LAUREN EVANS, Administrative Director
Lauren is thrilled to be part of the NCCL School community! She became the Administrative Director in 2019 and is enjoying moving the mission of the school forward. Lauren previously taught kindergarten through second grade for 14 years, joining NCCL as a Group 1 teacher in 2014. Lauren's favorite aspect of education is watching children make new discoveries. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in English/communication, fine arts concentration, magna cum laude, from Cabrini University.
AMY GUNDERSON, Reading Interventionist
LAURA KAHN, Spanish Teacher
Laura has a M.A. in Foreign Language Pedagogy with a concentration in Spanish and a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature. She has taught at Upper Moreland High School in PA and at Bishop O’Dowd High School in CA, as well as at the Kennett Area YMCA. Laura has been with NCCL since 2007.
KATE KERRANE, Group 4 Teacher, Educational Director (Grades 5-8)
Kate has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Delaware. She was a social worker for an agency called Independent Living Inc. before returning to school to get her education degree. She taught at NCCL from 1991-1997 and returned in 2006.
CLAIRE MARSHALL, Teaching Assistant, Extended Care Director
Claire attended the University of Maine and is proud of her Downeast roots and French heritage. From 1989-1998 she was an early education teacher at St. Joseph’s Child Academy. Relocating to Delaware with her husband and two children in 1998, she continued teaching and was program director at Nathalie B. Hammond Preschool. Believing in advocacy for children, she developed and instituted Personal Safety and Health and Nutrition programs. Additionally, she organized the school’s donation program to benefit local children charities. Upon closure of the school in 2015 Claire was introduced to NCCL. She fell in love with the children and supports the school’s philosophy and approach to teaching life long learners.
KELLY MARTONE, Group 1 Teacher, Educational Director (Grades K-4)
Kelly graduated with a BS in Human Resources, Early Childhood Education, from the University of Delaware in 1992. She received the honor “Student Teacher of the Year,” graduated Magna Cum Laude and successfully completed the PPST and NTE to earn her teachers’ certification the same year. Kelly taught at NCCL from 1992-1997, when she had her first child. During this hiatus she had her second child and became the Director and Head Teacher of The Eyman Children Center where both of her children attended Pre-school. Kelly felt fortunate to be able to return to NCCL in 2004 to continue her teaching career. Both of Kelly’s children are NCCL graduates and are currently attending college.
Kelly has always had a passion for local wildlife and because of this, she went on to get certified as a Delaware State Naturalist. Inspired by her love for nature and by children’s intrinsic curiosity about the world around them, Kelly strives to include as much natural science as possible into her teaching. Kelly is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Science Teachers Association and Delaware Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Kelly enjoys bird watching, traveling, spending time with family, and relaxing at the beach.
JANICE TOOMEY, Group 2 Teacher
My name is Janice Toomey. I have taught at NCCL for twenty years as a teacher in Group 2. I trained to be an artist and earned an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and then studied to be a research psychologist going to Grad School at California State University and the University of Chicago. While my educational background is broad (I could not seem to stop going to college), it has also given me many sources to help with my teaching. I would say that teaching has become a passion for me. Once I started at NCCL I never looked back. I am still interested in all that I have studied and much more. Clearly music, theater, plays, literature as well as science are ongoing interests. But for me, I am most interested when I can work in all these genres and NCCL allows me to do that. I love teaching, I love running the Drama Club and I love working with the young individuals that attend our school. My own children attended NCCL and it shaped their lives in the most positive ways. As we always say, when we head into school for one more play or activity, “Well, back home again.”
ALESSANDRA VADALA, Group 2 Teacher
Alessandra has a M.A. in Teaching, B.A. in English, and Montessori training. She has previous experience teaching English as a second language and in a Montessori program. Alessandra is an NCCL graduate. She has been with NCCL since 2014.
CAROLINE WHISNER, Art Teacher
Caroline has a M.A. in Teaching from Maryland Institute, College of Art, and a B.S. in Art from UD. She has 10 years previous teaching experience as certified K-12 art teacher. Caroline has been with NCCL 2014.