One of the most powerful elements of a Parkmont education is the nurturing relationships that grow between students and our team of committed, very experienced adults. These relationships last throughout a student’s stay at Parkmont — and often extend beyond graduation. Because these relationships and conversations span years, there is an increased likelihood that the sincere encouragement, earned trust and honest conversations will produce profound positive change. Strong relationships help us bring a level of personal knowledge and connection beyond standard Individual Education Programs (IEPs). We’ve found that it evokes the students’ best work, and gets them the most engaged — what they really need to succeed.
Parkmont's Head, Ron McClain, has directed the school for the past 37 years, after a decade of preparation at Edmund Burke and Somerset. A 1971 graduate of Harvard University, he has led more than 100 outdoor adventures with students at Parkmont, Somerset, and Edmund Burke and enjoys teaching history and math. He spent 16 years coaching travel and recreational youth soccer teams and he is the President of the Takoma Soccer Club. He is a founding member of the Washington Small Schools Association and has served as a trustee of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, the Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, the Edmund Burke School, the Evergreen Montessori School, and the Dance Exchange. He also served as PTSA vice-president at Montgomery Blair and President of their Athletic Booster Club. For the past two decades he's served on the Executive committee of the Northfield Conference, a family spiritual retreat gathering in Massachusetts.
Troy Burki began at Parkmont in 2015-2016. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Troy attended New Mexico State University where he was also a member of the baseball team. Prior to Parkmont, Troy taught math and science in Stuttgart, Arkansas as part of Teach for America. Outside of teaching, he enjoys spending time with his dog named Oskar, photography, and going to concerts.
Nijole Gedutis is the Dean of Students and has been with Parkmont since 1999. She is from Texas, studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain, and graduated as an English major from Pomona College in Southern California in 1998. She recently completed her Master's degree in Social Work at Catholic University of America. She likes to spend time with her friends, eat good food, read good books, see good movies, and travel the world.
Now in his 11th year teaching at Parkmont School, Sam Graul was born and raised in Takoma Park, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2006, where he majored in Computer Science with a minor in Philosophy, and is more recently pursuing his own education in the field of Engineering. He loves sports, especially soccer (go Arsenal!). Sam plays for two soccer teams, loves biking, camping, and in the past several years, has run several marathons. He also enjoys raising his cat Smokey and dog Sammy, who are both super-awesome. Fun fact: in 2017, Sam read more books than he had in the previous 10 years combined.
Alex Jennison is a DC resident born and raised. He attended the Field School. He was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the University of Wisconsin where he earned a B.S. in zoology and political science. It was there that he was able to pursue further passions of his by being a member of the Varsity sailing team, Ceramics society, and Nationally ranked Ultimate Frisbee team. He loves travel and exploring new places and culture. One of his biggest passions is taking students and campers out climbing and watching them push through their comfort zones, as well as teaching them outdoor living skills. When not on the rocks, or on the water, he can be found in the back of an ambulance, volunteering as a nationally registered paramedic. He is so happy to be back for another year at Parkmont and for all of the adventures to come.
Erin Lidz joined the Parkmont staff as a Communications Assistant in 2017. Erin received her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from the University of Tennessee. After graduation, she spent two years living, working, and traveling throughout Asia, where she first discovered her passion for education through teaching English as a second language. Upon returning to the United States, she joined Teach For America, serving for two years in Memphis, TN, and obtained a Master’s degree in Education from Christian Brothers University. She continues to enjoy traveling and exploring new places in her free time.
Matthew McClain returns this fall for his sixth year working full-time at Parkmont. Matt spent the majority of his summer working with his favorite students in summer school before heading out west to Wyoming and then Los Angeles for the month of August. He spent his summer hiking through Cascade Canyon in the Grand Tetons, taking in the awe-inspiring geothermal features of Yellowstone National Park, sunbathing in Malibu, and exploring the La Brea tar pits. This year Matt will teach Geography and Health, in addition to the Parkmont sports class. Matt graduated from Rollins College in the spring of 2012 with a degree in Sociology.
Bridget Mullins is returning for her fifth year at Parkmont. As a child of a military family, she spent a large portion of her childhood traveling the country, eventually settling in the suburbs of Maryland. After graduating from Towson University with a B.A. in Psychology and Theatre and a minor in Spanish, she spent two years teaching at a non-public school for special needs students in Baltimore County. She later continued her studies at the Community College of Baltimore County and the University of Malaga in Spain. Bridget has a passion for outdoor fitness and athletics, the performing arts, and pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. During breaks, you can often find her traveling the world; she has been to 27 countries and the list continues to grow.
Willa Reinhard is a graduate of New York University, where she received a B.A. in English Literature, and the University of Miami, where she received an M.F.A in fiction. She has been an educator for over 15 years. At Parkmont, she has worked in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities, including running the office and handling admissions. She currently teaches both middle and upper school English classes, directs the internship and college preparation programs and oversees school events. In the summer, you will find her spending as much time as possible at the beach with her husband, 4-year-old son and extended family, from Chincoteague Island to Martha's Vineyard. She has recently taken up running, checking a half-marathon off of her bucket list in Spring 2018.
Lizzie Sampson is a teaching artist with an international background. After growing up in southeast Asia, she studied painting in Virginia. Her teaching has taken her around the world, and she's excited to have been a part of Parkmont's community since 2016. She loves teaching contemporary art practices while encouraging each student to find their inner artist. When she's not teaching or painting, she's biking, exploring the outdoors, and gardening.
Kim Schraf is a long-time part-time teacher in Parkmont’s Upper School. She navigated the transition from Somerset School to Parkmont, and has a deep attachment to this big house on 16th Street where we all work. Since 2008, she has coordinated the Parkmont Poetry Festival and has helped with two successful Accreditations of the school. Kim balances her teaching with a theatre career on various DC stages, adult actor training, book narration for the Library of Congress, public speaking and interview coaching, and a passion for reading, cooking, travel, and yoga (in her copious free time). She is a graduate of the Great Books Program at St. John's College in Annapolis.
Sania Tildon is excited to be joining the Parkmont faculty this year. She received her BA in history from Yale University, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland. A former freelance writer, she loves researching new topics, and thinks any excuse to learn is a good excuse! At Parkmont, she’s excited to share her passion for learning and help students build confidence as critical, independent thinkers. In her free time, she volunteers as a community mediator with Community Mediation Maryland. If she’s not teaching or mediating, you can find her reading, taking dance classes, or volunteering with her neighborhood animal shelter.