School Faculty

Dr. Marissa Kiepert Truong

Head of School

Ph.D. Educational Psychology, Temple University
M.S. Psychology, Villanova University
B.A. Psychology, Gettysburg College

Dr. Marissa Kiepert Truong joins St. David’s Episcopal Day School as Head of School with 17 years of service in the field of education. Upon graduating Gettysburg College, she began her career as an early childhood teacher while simultaneously earning her M.S. degree in psychology from Villanova University. In 2001, Read More…

Amy Van Sciver Darst

Assistant Head of School

B.S. Education, Cabrini University
PA Early Childhood N-3 Certification
PA Elementary K-6 Certification

Amy Van Sciver Darst joins St. David’s Episcopal Day School as Assistant Head of School with over 20 years experience in the education field. Amy grew up on the Main Line and attended T/E School District. After graduating from Conestoga High School, Amy pursued her Read More…

Shirlee Ashmore

Co-Teacher, Speech & Language Enrichment

Assistant Teacher, 5-day Nursery School

Shirlee Ashmore joins St. David’s Episcopal Day School’s speech and language enrichment and 5-day nursery school program this fall. Shirlee brings to SDEDS over 30 years of experience with children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 5th grade. In addition, she has worked in the field of special education for the past 17 years with children with learning differences. Most recently, Shirlee taught at The Thorne School in Bryn Mawr in the Language Enrichment Kindergarten Program. Shirlee is trained in the research-based Wilson Fundations phonics program, is an experienced teacher of art and cooking, and holds a degree in Early Childhood Education.

Margaret Biester, M.S.Ed

Lead Teacher, Kindergarten Enrichment

St. David’s Episcopal Day School welcomes Margaret Biester as the kindergarten enrichment Lead Teacher. Margaret received her B.A. in History from the College of Wooster in Ohio and went on to pursue a Master of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. She has 6 years of experience teaching children from kindergarten through 5th grade, and holds a Pennsylvania certification in Elementary Education, Middle School Social Studies and Middle School Language Arts. Previously, Margaret worked at Germantown Academy and more recently has taught kindergarten at Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia where she also served as the Project Based Learning Team Leader. In addition, she is trained in Responsive Classroom and Project Based Learning and earned a Working Professionals Business Essentials Certificate from the Wharton School of Business. In her spare time, she loves to bake, dance and spend time with her two wonderful children, Lucy and Wes.

Atiya Byrd

Lead 5-Day Nursery School Teacher

Atiya is excited to join the SDEDS teaching team as our Lead 5-Day Nursery School Teacher. She began her career in education as a director of a supplemental education center, leading to 6 years in the classroom as an elementary inclusion teacher in Newark, NJ. After starting a family “Miss Tiya” began CenterStage Preschool Presentations, a teacher/parent training program that focused on the importance of true play-based learning and encouraged developmentally appropriate practices. Encouraged by her own family’s needs she opened “The Byrd’s Nest Family Preschool”, an intimate preschool created to celebrate the individuality and curiosity of preschoolers. Atiya holds certifications in education both the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In her spare time Miss Tiya enjoys spending time with family, cruising and watching a good movie. She loves ALL things DISNEY and played Mrs. Corry in a local production of Mary Poppins.

Carla Castaneda, M.A.T

Lead Teacher, 3-Day Nursery School Program

Carla Castaneda is the Lead Teacher for our 3-Day Nursery School Program. Carla received her B.A. in English from Rowan University in New Jersey and later completed a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Montclair State University. She holds a NJ certification in early childhood education (Preschool to 3rd grade) and is currently transferring her certification to Pennsylvania. Carla joins us with eight years of teaching experience with preschool and pre-k students. For the last three years, she has spent her time caring for her two children, Theo and Wesley. She is eager and very excited to resume her teaching career at SDEDS! In her free time, Carla enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and running the occasional 5K.

Ashlee Dadd

Lead Teacher, Spanish Extracurricular

Lead Teacher, Preschool Spanish Immersion Enrichment

Ashlee Dadd joins the SDEDS team as the Spanish Teacher for our two year olds through preK, and also leads our afternoon Spanish Immersion Enrichment. As a foreign language teacher, Ashlee understands the importance and benefits of early foreign language instruction. Since 1999 she has taught pre-k to 8th grade Spanish in several schools in Delaware and New Jersey and helped create various after school and summer programs in Spanish language instruction. Ashlee is a graduate of Hollins University with a double major in Spanish and sociology and also completed education courses at Wilmington University. She spent a summer in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she studied at la Universidad Laica Vicente Rocafuerte and taught English in a local orphanage. She also spent over a year in Puebla, Mexico where she attended la Universidad de las Americas and worked as a language instructor for Berlitz. Being a travel lover, she has also visited Spain and Puerto Rico and enjoys sharing her first hand experiences with her students. Ashlee lives in Downingtown with her husband Mike, Kingston (a 200 pound Mastiff), and two cats Chiquita and Delia. They enjoy fishing trips, traveling, eating out, and exploring the woods.

Christine Dolor, M.S., CCC-SLP

Lead Teacher, Speech & Language Enrichment

Assistant Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten

Private Speech Therapy

Christine Dolor joins St. David’s Episcopal Day School as Lead Teacher for the speech and language enrichment programs, and as Assistant Teacher for Pre-Kindergarten. Christine earned her BA in Communication Sciences with a concentration in Communication Disorders from the University of Connecticut, and a M.S. in Communication Disorders from William Paterson University of New. Christine also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Over the past 15 years, Christine has worked with children with language-based learning differences at the Crossroads School in Paoli and, more recently, at the Bryn Mawr Thorne Language Enrichment Kindergarten Program where she worked for 8 years. In addition, Christine has also worked with many children with articulation and social language needs. In her free time, Christine enjoys outdoor activities with her husband Scott, and her two daughters, Sophia and Addison. She also loves to read and run. Christine has always had a special interest in working with children in the classroom and during play, so that she could support them with their speech and language needs in natural situations and contexts.

Ellen Galka

Assistant Teacher, 3-Day Nursery School Program

Lead Teacher, Meals and Manners Enrichment Program

Ellen is the Assistant Teacher in the 3-day nursery school program, and Lead Teacher for the “Meals and Manners” enrichment class held on Wednesday afternoons this fall. Ellen earned a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bucknell University. For the past year, “Miss Ellen” had the pleasure of working in the “On My Way to K” Enrichment Program through A First Foundation, LLC. After taking time off to spend with her three children, she returned as a teacher in various early childhood learning schools, primarily working with students ages three to six years old. In addition to working at SDEDS, Ellen is enrolled in the Wilson Reading System Certification Program. Within the next year, Ellen will be certified to instruct students struggling in reading or those diagnosed with language-based learning disabilities. Ellen enjoys spending time with her husband and watching her children in their various sports and activities such as karate, soccer, baseball, and theater! You may spot her with a good book in hand in her favorite vacation spot – Ocean City, New Jersey!!

Nikki Gormley, M.A.

Lead Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten

Lead Teacher, STEM, Yoga, and Author Study Enrichment Clubs

Private Literacy Tutoring

Nikki Gormley joins the SDEDS teaching team as the Lead Teacher in the pre-kindergarten classroom. She holds dual certifications in early childhood and elementary education and brings 10 years of teaching experience to the school, working with children ranging in age from two to six. Recently, Nikki completed her master’s degree in Literacy and obtained a certification as a Reading Specialist from West Chester University. In addition to teaching in the pre-kindergarten program, Nikki will lead several afternoon enrichment clubs, including Youth Yoga. As a certified preschool yoga instructor, SDEDS is grateful to have her expertise.

Lauren Maniscalco

Lead Teacher, Twos

Lauren Maniscalco is the Lead Teacher of SDEDS’ 2-year-old program and has been working in childcare for nearly 20 years. “Miss Lauren” joins the team with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has worked with children ranging from infants through 7 years of age in a variety of settings. Previously, Lauren was a teacher at The Goddard School where she also served as the school’s Assistant Director. Over the past 9 years Lauren has been a nanny and has enjoyed teaching, caring for, and watching her little ones grow. In her free time, Lauren likes spending time with her husband and two children – hiking, visiting farms, playgrounds, zoos, and bingeing on ice cream!

Jane Wilson, M.A., CCC-SLP

Formation Director & Advisory Committee President

Jane Wilson, as Formation Director, was part of the team responsible for the vision that would eventually become St. David’s Episcopal Day School. She is currently serving as the President of the school’s Advisory Committee. Jane has worked in the field of Speech & Language Pathology for over 30 years in many different settings with children from ages 2 to 17 years. She holds a BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology and an MA in Speech Pathology. In addition, she holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and is Pennsylvania licensed. Jane started her own speech and language practice, Comprehensive Speech & Language Services in 1993 and continues serving children and consulting with teachers in local preschools and private elementary schools. Jane also assists as Office Manager in her husband’s medical practice. In her free time Jane likes spending time at the beach, walking, reading, visiting her 3 grown children Hunter, Alex and Emily and volunteering at St. David’s Episcopal Church.