OLIVIA SMITH | Founder + Director
Ms. Olivia had not planned on becoming a teacher. Her first job out of college was supposed to be as an assistant teacher with a HeadStart program which she planned to do for 1 year while she figured out what to do with herself not that she finished college. On the first day of teacher orientation with the Hartford HeadStart program they were short one lead teacher and she was asked to take the job because she had some experience with teaching and a bachelor’s degree. During the first three months on the job Olivia fell in love with teaching and fell hard. She fell in love with supporting learning through play, building relationships with her students and in particular working with students who have special needs. Prior to founding Bridges she taught in both general education inclusion classrooms and special education classrooms. She has a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and a Master of Arts in Education from Bank Street College of Education. Ms. Olivia loves working at Bridges because of the dedication and intelligence of the school’s teachers and staff, and because of the diversity of the students and families that the school serves.
Ms. Olivia is the proud mother of two Bridges’ alumni and loves cooking and watching movies.
Email Olivia: firstname.lastname@example.org
KRISTINE RIGLEY | Principal
Ms. Kristine believes all children deserve an excellent education every single day. She feels fortunate to be the principal of Bridges where she gets to wake up each morning and spend the day working hard to provide an outstanding education with endless opportunities and possibilities to 100% of the students at Bridges PCS.
Ms. Kristine comes to Bridges after working in education for seven years. She earned both a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science and a Master’s in the Arts of Teaching in Special Education from James Madison University. Ms. Kristine recently competed an endorsement in Educational Leadership from the New Leaders for New Schools program in Washington DC. Currently, she is finishing a degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Virginia.
Ms. Kristine loves the mission of Bridges Public Charter School – “to provide an exemplary educational program that includes all students.” Ms. Kristine believes every single child is capable of becoming a high achiever. “Bridges provides our students with structured learning opportunities that allow them to explore and create their own learning experiences, playing an active role in their learning.” Ms. Kristine is honored to be a part of a school that meets the needs of all learners.
When Ms. Kristine is not at Bridges, she loves spending time with her friends and family, reading a good book, discount shopping (her favorite stores are TJ Maxx and J. Crew Factory) and sleeping-in on the weekends.
Email Kristine: email@example.com
GARY FRIEND | Chief Operating Officer
Gary joined Bridges in the fall of 2015 after working with the school on a consulting basis for nearly six years. Much of that work involved the business aspects of the school’s expansion. During those same six years, Gary consulted to a variety of non-profits in education and housing, helping them with their business structure and growth, organizational design, and board governance and operations. His prior experience included more than three decades of officer-level roles across six organizations ranging from small, entrepreneurial to global Fortune 500 as well as working in government.
Gary holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and MBA in Applied Economics, both from the George Washington University. His love of education was imbued by his mother, a kindergarten teacher, 10 years as a part-time faculty member at George Washington University, and, above all, seeing it’s power through the experience of his two children. “It is sheer joy to see the magic Bridges creates, bringing together learners of all abilities, who expand the life-long potential of each other.”
Email Gary: firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUSETH GUZMAN | Director of Operations
Ms. Guzman is originally from Bolivia and came to Washington, DC when she was in high school. She has two high school diplomas: one from Aleman St. Maria in Bolivia and one from Cardozo High School in Washington, DC. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of the District of Columbia.
Ms. Guzman loves the diversity of the families we serve at Bridges and loves to witness the growth of the students. "It is a pleasure to work around hard-working, dedicated people." Her favorite part of the day is arrival time and she enjoys hearing the voices of little ones eager to come to school.
Ms. Guzman is known around the Bridges' corridors for the "click-clack " of her high-heels. She would even rather go shopping in heels than wear sneakers. Outside of work, Ms. Guzman has always loved to do jigsaw puzzles. She also enjoys roller-skating and watching "good" soccer games. Ms. Guzman's been married for almost 20 years and has three beautiful daughters.
Email Ms. Guzman: email@example.com
JUDITH DORVIL | Director of Student Support Services
Ms. Dorvil is originally from Queens, NY and but grew up in Miami, FL. She has been working in education since 1999. Ms. Dorvil holds a B.A. in Psychology, and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Howard University. After 5 years as a School Counselor, she fell in love with the special education field and returned to Howard to obtain her school psychology certification focusing on supporting at-risk and special needs students for 10 years.
Ms. Dorvil loves working at Bridges because of the passion of its staff to provide all students with an equitable education to achieve their highest potential and the strong sense of community.
When she's not working, Ms. Dorvil enjoys cycling, dancing, hiking, traveling to different countries and taking long walks with her dog around the city.
Email Judith: firstname.lastname@example.org
DANETTE DICKS | Assistant Principal
Ms. Dicks, AKA Ms. D believes that it is her life’s mission to ensure that all students get a very strong educational foundation that will transform them into life-long learners. She strongly believes that the quality of the teacher determines the future of the student and views her teaching and leadership as a responsibility and privilege of enormous magnitude. This responsibility to students and educators is what gets her motivated to come to the safe haven called school everyday.
Ms. Dicks is an island girl hailing from the beautiful country of Jamaica. The field of Education has been her only career for over seventeen years. She has earned two Bachelors’ degrees; one in Early Childhood Education at Shortwood Teachers College in Jamaica and one in Middle Grade Studies with a minor in Special Education at Western Carolina University. She has also earned a Masters in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University. She has completed Leadership endorsement training at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and with Leading Educators, DC.
Ms. D’s passion in education is teacher coaching; ensuring that the best individual is in front of students each day to provide the exemplary education for all students that she sincerely believes in at Bridges. Ms. D is very humbled to be a part of an organization where educators truly believe in and support students; provide learning opportunities that allow students to explore on their own, develop empathy for each other, respect diversity in peers, where staff know students names and greet them each morning as they enter the building.
When Ms. D is not at Bridges she spends her time with her family, watching movies, reminiscing on her not so recent track career as a “want to be track star” and being thankful for every moment she spends with her daughter.
Email Danette: email@example.com
KENNETH BROWN | Special Education Coordinator
Email Kenneth: firstname.lastname@example.org
JOSEPH EGAN | ELL Coordinator
Mr. Joseph comes to us from the Midwest, where he studied linguistics at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio ("Woo!! Go Vikings!") He got his masters in TESOL at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Before joining the Bridges team, Joseph taught both adult and elementary ESL.
Mr. Joseph loves to learn about his students and where they come from. He enjoys studying other languages. He takes his love of languages back home with him, where he speaks both English and Spanish at home with his wife and kids. What Joseph loves most about working with children who are learning English is see how fast they learn. He
Outside of Bridges, Mr. Joseph loves spending time reading and making a mess of the house with his two daughters.
Email Joseph: Jegan@bridgespcs.org
JENN FOX-THOMAS | Assistant Director of Student Support
Email Jenn: email@example.com
KRISTEL GUZMAN | Operations Manager
Email Kristel: firstname.lastname@example.org
ERIKA MAGANA | Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator
Ms. Erika came to us from Philadelphia and has taught Pre-K and 1st Grade for 5 years. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Erika loves seeings her students show progress and hearing the funny conversations that emerge when students are having fun and learning.
As a child, Ms. Erika loved riding her bike and taking care of her two little sisters. Today, her interests include painting, listening to music, shopping, and going on walks.
Email Erika: email@example.com
FRANCINE MARCHESE | Literacy Coordinator
Francine began her career in education as an art teacher. One day, by happenstance, she was substituting in a kindergarten class, and found she absolutely loved spending her days with five year old's. From then on, she was committed to the field. She has taught in Baltimore and New York City and has experience with preschool through high school. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute and a Master of Science in Education and Literacy from Bank Street College.
Before coming to Bridges, Francine was the Curriculum Director at the laboratory school at the University of Maryland where she also taught undergraduate education courses. Francine loves to read and write and considers being the Literacy Coordinator at Bridges her dream job.
Francine also likes to paint, travel, hike, and spend time with her family.
Email Francine: firstname.lastname@example.org
KRISTIN NAGY | Arts Integration Coordinator + Art Teacher
Ms. Kristin is originally from the great state of Michigan and has been working in education since 2004. She began her career in teaching through The New Teacher Project and has taught both general and special education in urban schools in Washington, DC and Minneapolis, MN. Ms. Kristin holds a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Special Education from Trinity University, an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University, and a graduate certificate in Curriculum & Instruction from American University. She is passionate about arts education and research and was a contributing author to the book Arts Integration and Special Education: An Inclusive Theory of Action for Student Engagement (Anderson, 2014).
Ms. Kristin loves working at Bridges because of the dynamic and creative staff and students. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing her students bring their ideas to life through their art work.
When she's not working, Ms. Kristin enjoys building things, being outdoors, road trips, and rock & roll music. She recently adopted a pup named Charley and she loves to spend time exploring the city with her.
Email Kristin: email@example.com
JENNY RICHARDSON | ABA/VB Program Manager
Ms. Jenny is a wanderer at heart. Before Bridges she spent two years living and teaching in Hungary, and has lived several different places within the United States, as well. Ms. Jenny attended Gordon College in Massachusetts where she earned her undergraduate degree in elementary special education and Spanish. Then she took graduate courses at several different places before studying Applied Behavioral Analysis at Florida Institute of Technology in order to get her BCBA certification.
She loves helping all students become independent and successful. “I love the moment when a student finally does something for themselves that they've been trying to do all year!”
When she was a kid, Ms. Jenny reports that she cared more about talking to the other team and chatting with her teammates on the bench than playing or caring who won the game. She brings the same friendliness and enthusiasm to our Bridges family.
Email Jenny: firstname.lastname@example.org
LAUREN STEINMETZ | Lead Related Service Provider + Speech-Language Pathologist
Lauren loves being a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and has a passion for helping all kids learn, especially kids with a variety of special needs. Lauren grew up in the Midwest and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Speech and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University. She then went to the University of Iowa and earned her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. After graduating, Lauren worked in Iowa City Public Schools for three years before moving to the big city of New York with her family. She worked at KIPP NYC and in a private ABA school before relocating to DC and finding Bridges.
Lauren believes Bridges is a wonderful place to work because the teaching team and administration are always looking for ways to grow and help every student learn! The Related Services Department at Bridges is one of a kind, creating a collaborative therapeutic program for children with special needs.
When not working, you can find Lauren spending time with her family relaxing at the pool, hiking through parks, going to the zoo, and exploring DC.
Email Lauren: email@example.com
COLLEEN SULLIVAN | Curriculum Coordinator
Colleen is from the mighty Midwest. She grew up outside Chicago and then went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, The Tulip Capital of the United States. She majored in Elementary Education and Language Arts. From there, she packed up all her belongings in her tiny Scion XA and moved to DC.
Colleen learned about how wonderful Bridges was through a Bridges family. She was a teacher at Bridges for three years before transitioning into the role of Curriculum Coordinator. Colleen loves Bridges because of the collaboration and growth mindset of all the teachers and staff. She loves seeing the students' progress over the years and thinking about how hard they've worked to get there!
Colleen is part of a bowling league and is teaching herself how to play the ukulele through youtube videos. Colleen lives in Annapolis, and on the weekends, she likes eating crabs and taking her dog Willa to the dog beach.
Email Colleen: firstname.lastname@example.org