MANDIE CAYTON  |  Occupational Therapist

Ms. Mandie comes to us from the wonderful city of Boston, Massachusetts.  In college she studied Recreation and Leisure studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and played field hockey.  Later, Mandie went on to earn a Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.  

Ms. Mandie loves so much about occupational therapy, and some of her favorite parts include using the sensory equipment and making obstacle courses for the children.  When the kids are doing the obstacle courses, she enjoys watching their imaginations come to life as they act out stories of outer space or haunted houses while crawling through the cloth tunnel.

When she's not at Bridges, Ms. Mandie loves taking nature walks and is grateful to live so close to Rock Creek Park.  She also loves traveling.  She is currently planning her next great adventure to Iceland to see the aurora borealis. 

Email Mandie: acayton@bridgespcs.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

KATHRYN FITZPATRICK  |   Lead Speech-Language Pathologist

Ms. Kathryn was born and raised in North Carolina.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders at North Carolina State University and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences at East Carolina University.  Before joining the Bridges team in August 2012, Ms. Kathryn provided early intervention speech therapy services in North Carolina, as well as services at an outpatient hospital clinic, school settings, and private practice in Washington, DC.  Her specialized experience and trainings include: PROMPT training, development of language routines for the natural environment and classroom, parent training, sensory-motor feeding therapy, oral placement therapy, Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol for children with apraxia, language development, development of visual schedules and supports.

Ms. Kathryn loves the team collaboration at Bridges between service providers, teachers, and parents.  She loves seeing the kids smiling faces each day.  Ms. Kathryn loves Washington, DC and the opportunities it gives students for exploration.

On a bright, sunny day, you can find Ms. Kathryn making the most of our beautiful city - running through Rock Creek Park, having a picnic on the mall, or hanging out on a rooftop.   

Email Kathryn: kmeador@bridgespcs.org

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: gfriend@bridgespcs.org

DIANA GABRIEL  |  Human Resources Specialist

Ms. Diana prefers to remain a mystery.

Email Diana: hr@bridgespcs.org

BINTA GARRETT  |  Reading Specialist


Ms. Garrett is a teacher who is living her dream!  She made a career change in 2004 from working for many years as a computer programmer.  She wanted to help the children that needed the most help, especially in reading.  Ms. Garrett believes in keeping a positive attitude about life and anyone who knows her can testify to that; she has a perpetual smile on her face.

Ms. Garrett went to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education and studied business administration. Many years later, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in special education at George Washington University. A few years later, she went back to GW to earn a reading and literacy certificate to better equip her in her work helping struggling readers.

“What I like best about Bridges is the pleasant working environment. There's a camaraderie among my colleagues that continues to grow each year. I also like the feeling that my efforts are valued and appreciated at Bridges. And, I love the kids, of course. For most of my teaching career, I have worked with older students, so it's a joy to work with younger children who still have a curiosity and thirst to learn.”

Email Binta: bgarrett@bridgespcs.org

CHRISTEL GUILLEN  |  Director of Student Support Services

Ms. Christel went to the University of Florida where she studied Communication Sciences and Disorders. She wanted to be an Audiologist until she learned about the need for great teachers in cities around the country. She moved to DC in 2006 after graduating and attended George Washington University where she earned a Master’s degree in Special Education.

“I love knowing that my work is purposeful and has meaning. Education is constantly changing and is in need of people with passion, skill, and drive to make the changes necessary for kids. I have seen how impactful a great teacher can be in child's life and that gives me a ton of hope!”

Ms. Christel values the emphasis that Bridges places on quality special education programming. “I know that kids are working with some of the best professionals in the city to get the services and individualized support they need here.”

Ms. Christel was born in New Jersey, raised in Florida, and has family from all over the Caribbean and Central America. She loves the sunshine and beach, but also love the seasons in the North.  She enjoys travel, reading, attending live music performances, and eating great food.

Email Christel: cguillen@bridgespcs.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: yguzman@bridgespcs.org

LINDSAY HART  |  Speech & Language Pathologist

Ms. Lindsay was born and raised in North Carolina, but lived in Iowa and Seattle before moving to Washington, DC in 2012. Prior to joining the Bridges team in 2015, she worked in hospitals as a pediatric speech-language pathologist. Ms. Lindsay went to UNC-Chapel Hill for her undergraduate education, where she earned degrees in both Communication Studies and Spanish. For her graduate degree program in Speech-Language Pathology, Ms. Lindsay attended the University of Iowa.

“I am proud to be part of a strong team of therapists who consistently go above and beyond for each child and their families. I enjoy partnering with teaching teams and families to make each child as independent as possible.”

Ms. Lindsay loves to dance, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She can often be seen walking her dog, Smuckers, around town.

Email Lindsay: lhart@bridgespcs.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: emagana@bridgespcs.org

KRISTIN NAGY  |  Arts Integration Coordinator + Art Teacher

Ms. Kristin is originally from the great state of Michigan and has been working in education for 13 years.  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's had her research published in 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 artwork.  

When she's not working, Ms. Kristin enjoys writing and art-making, as well as being outdoors, road trips, and rock & roll music.  She's an amateur furniture-maker, short-story writer, and urban gardener.

Email Kristin: knagy@bridgespcs.org

URSULA PETERS  |  Speech & Language Pathologist

This will be Ms. Ursula's fifth year working as a speech therapist.  Before coming to Bridges, she worked for preschool and elementary programs in New York City.  Ms. Ursula earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Loyola University in Maryland and a Master of Science degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from New York University.

Ms. Ursula loves working with kids and helping them connect to their world.  "My favorite thing is supporting the children to be able to interact and communicate with the people around them."

When she's not making pictures symbols for PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), she enjoys spending time outdoors, especially at the beach, running, watching sports, drinking coffee, and doing crossword puzzles.  

Email Ursula: uwinters@bridgespcs.org


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: jrichardson@bridgespcs.org


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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: krigley@bridgespcs.org


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: fsacchetti@bridgespcs.org

SHAYNA SARGENT  |  Social Worker

Shayna has been a Social Worker for many years, working in both school and hospital settings with children, youth, and adults. She received her Clinical License in April 2015 and joined the Bridges PCS team in September 2015.  Shayna went to Christopher Newport University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned a Masters in Social Work.

Shayna enjoys working in therapy groups and in individual sessions with students.  “School is where children learn and grow. I hope to make a positive impact on their journey of who they become.”

In her spare time she enjoys cooking, being outdoors, playing sports, spending time with friends and family, and traveling. She also coaches lacrosse for a high school in Fairfax County, VA and is a member of the Bridges Soccer Team.

Email Shayna: ssargent@bridgespcs.org

JAMES SEITZ  |  Physical Education Teacher

Coach James was injured in a tug-o-war accident and could not be reached for comment.  (Just kidding, Coach James is fine.)

Email James: jseitz@bridgespcs.org

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: osmith@bridgespcs.org

MARY TOUSSAINT  |  Administrative Assistant 

Ms. Mary's agent could not be reached for comment.

Email Mary: mtoussaint@bridgespcs.org