Welcome New Faculty!

Laurie Balderston (Grades 5/6 Teacher)
Indian Creek welcomes Laurie Balderston to the Lower School team.  Ms. Balderston brings over seven years of teaching experience, and a passion for student-centered instruction with her to ICS. Dedicated and personable, Ms. Balderston has a talent for creating motivating, hands-on lessons that provoke higher level thinking and promote success. 

She comes to ICS most recently from Bright Beginning Children's Learning Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Prior to this, she taught fourth grade at Laurel Woods Elementary School in Laurel, Maryland, fifth grade at Stratford Landing Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, and served as a substitute teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Ms. Balderston earned her Master's of Education degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a focus on curriculum and instruction. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Lock Haven University, with an Elementary Education Major.  She also holds her Maryland State Teaching Certification.

Outside of school, Ms. Balderston enjoys reading with her family.  She is thrilled to join the ICS community, along with her two sons George '30 and Grant '33.
 
Alison Broach (Upper School Spanish Teacher)
Dr. Alison Broach is an educator with over 16 years of experience teaching social sciences and language.  Her teaching career began in 2003 when she accepted a position in Seoul, South Korea, as an instructor of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). The diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of her students captivated her, and she became fascinated by languages and the ways they connect to speakers.  In 2008 she moved to Taipei, Taiwan, to study Mandarin and continue her work in EFL. Her growing interest in the patterns of human communication and the intellectual thrill of teaching drove her to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistic Anthropology.  As she shares, "The variation in ways that my students had engaged with, imagined, and acquired language raised questions that I needed to explore, while many of their stories heightened my awareness of global inequalities and hierarchies.  Those experiences have not only influenced the design of my graduate research and the approach I took in the field, but they also affect the decisions I make as a teacher even today."

Dr. Broach comes to Indian Creek from The University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she has served as an Instructor of Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology since 2011.  During this time, she also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia.  Her passion for language studies has taken her around the world, as she has taught in the United States, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea, and the Czech Republic.

She earned both her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and received her B.A. in Theater Design/Technology from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In her research, funded by the National Science Foundation, she evaluated educational strategies in linguistic revitalization and advocated for more respectful and culturally-relevant approaches to maintaining languages.

A speaker of six world languages, Dr. Broach believes that students learn best through collaborative practices and activities that engage students' senses in the process of learning.  She and her son Jacob '34 are thrilled to join the ICS community!
 
Alexis deBorja (Kindergarten Assistant)
Indian Creek is thrilled to have Alexis deBorja join the Lower School faculty as Kindergarten Assistant.  An ICS Evergreen Campus alumna, Alexis '14 earned her B.A. from Penn State University.  After graduation, she returned to ICS to serve as a substitute teacher and work with the ICS Grades 7 & 8 Aftercare program last year. 

One of the reasons why Alexis has chosen to embark on her educational career at Indian Creek is the School's focus on cultivating meaningful relationships with students and their families. This is a priority for Alexis as she pursues her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Alexis' teaching philosophy is one steeped in nurturing and caring. "All children deserve to thrive, to feel safe, loved and heard, and I want to be a part of that. I can think of no better place to do this than Indian Creek School."
 
Lynann Derrick (Kindergarten Teacher)
Indian Creek is thrilled to officially welcome Ms. Lynann Derrick to the Lower School Faculty as Kindergarten teacher.  Ms. Derrick is a familiar face to students and teachers school-wide, as she has served as a substitute teacher, ICS parent, PTO volunteer, and performing arts volunteer for many years.  She brings all of this energy and passion for the ICS philosophy with her to the Kindergarten classroom, as well as years of Early Childhood teaching and curriculum development experience.

Prior to joining ICS, Ms. Derrick served as Executive Director and Lead Pre-K Teacher at Colonial Nursery School in Annapolis, Maryland.  At Colonial, Ms. Derrick worked to further the school's mission to create a culture of community and developed a hands-on, project based curriculum deeply rooted in cultural diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. She has also taught at School Within School: A Reggio Inspired Charter at Peabody Elementary School, and served as the Museum Education Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution (SEEC.)  Through SEEC, Ms. Derrick developed the first preschool programs at the National Museum of American History and the National Postal Museum.

Ms. Derrick earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts with a major in English from the University of Texas, where she also completed additional coursework in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Child Development, Multicultural Education, Speech, Health and Physical Education.  She has also completed coursework in Early Childhood Education and Art History from Northern Virginia Community College, focusing on Math Concepts, Language Arts, and Curriculum for Early Childhood.  She holds her Early Childhood and Pre-K/K teaching licenses from the District of Columbia, and has earned certificates in the All Kinds of Minds and Responsive Classroom programs.

Ms. Derrick regularly participates in ongoing learning through professional educational societies and has presented at national conferences on Early Childhood Education.  She has also served on the Board of the Parent Cooperative Preschools International Association, and has received the National Teaching Award for Early Childhood Education from the Terri Lynne Lokoff Foundation and the Diane Homiak Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Smithsonian Institution.

Ms. Derrick is thrilled to teach Kindergarten at Indian Creek.  "My vision for a school day is one of discovery and invitation. Each day is looked upon as an adventure waiting to unfold in a setting that is surrounded by a community of friends, family, and educators.  I see the student as a capable individual, developing cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth on a timetable that is unique for each child.  My theories of best practices are ever evolving and encompass a global awareness best learned by participating in a community of learners."
 
Jenny Leasure (Upper School Math Teacher)
Indian Creek welcomes Jenny Leasure to the Upper School Mathematics faculty. Ms. Leasure comes to ICS from Hammond Middle School, in Laurel, Maryland, where she served as a seventh and eighth grade Math Teacher for five years. Prior to this, Ms. Leasure taught and served as a Math Content Specialist at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Germantown, Maryland. She has also taught math at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Millburn Middle School in Millburn, New Jersey, and coached soccer at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ms. Leasure earned her Masters Degree in Leadership, with a focus on Leadership in Mathematics, from the Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Delaware in Newark, DE where she also played soccer for three years. She has been nominated for the 2020 Maryland Council for Teachers of Mathematics Excellence in Teaching Award and the Marian Greenblatt Excellence in Education Award.

A passionate educator, committed to building positive relationships with her students and their families, Ms. Leasure is thrilled to join the ICS community, along with her son Cole '33.
 
Nadine Marks (College Counselor)
Nadine Marks officially joins the Indian Creek faculty as College Counselor this year. Since joining the ICS community as parent to Justin ’29 and Jason ’25 in 2018, Nadine has become familiar with our Pre-K through grade 12 program as a substitute teacher school-wide. Last year, Nadine served as a long-term sub in fifth and sixth grades.

A strong advocate of independent school education, Nadine’s personal beliefs align well with the ICS philosophy of meeting the unique needs of each student in a safe, nurturing, and challenging environment. This appreciation has served her well in her admissions work over the past 19 years. Nadine most recently served as Director of Admissions at St. John’s Parish Day School in Ellicott City, Maryland. Prior to this, she was Director of Admissions at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing for several years. She has served as Associate Director of Transfer Admissions at American University in Washington, DC, and as Admissions Counselor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Nadine earned her Master’s of Science degree in Higher Education Administration from Drexel University and her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
 
Jeanne McDermott (Lower School Music Teacher)
Jeanne McDermott joins our faculty as Lower School music teacher.  Ms. McDermott comes to us from St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, where she served as Director of Music for 10 years Prior to her work at St. Anne’s, Jeanne taught nursery school through second grade at East Woods School in Oyster Bay, New York. 

Ms. McDermott earned her Master of Science degree in Music Education from Long Island University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Therapy from Duquesne University.  She holds an Advanced Placement Certificate in Music Pre-K-12, a Maryland State Educator Certificate, a New York State Public School Teacher Certificate in Music N-12, a New York City Public School License in Music N-Junior High, and is a Board Certified Music Therapist. 

Ms. McDermott’s love of music extends well beyond the classroom, as she plays eight different musical instruments and has performed with several regional theatre groups. Fun fact about Jeanne:  She once toured Europe with the C.W. Post Chamber Singers, and has performed as a featured soloist with several members of the Irish Tenors.  We welcome Jeanne to ICS! 
 
Colin Murphy (Humanities teacher/Communication Associate/Digital Media Specialist)
We are thrilled to welcome Colin Murphy back to the Indian Creek faculty to teach Upper School Humanities and work with the Communications team. Mr. Murphy first joined the ICS faculty in 2007, teaching Middle School English and Literature for several years. Since then, he has stayed in close connection with our school through his work as the sports reporter, photographer and section editor for the Severna Park Voice and Pasadena Voice newspapers.

As an accomplished journalist and proud community reporter for nine years, Mr. Murphy has received multiple awards and recognitions for his writing and reporting.  A talented photographer, Mr. Murphy also owns and operates his own photography business and has become the go-to photographer for Indian Creek media over the past 10 years. He has also worked with the Baltimore County Public School system, serving as substitute teacher since 2015.

Mr. Murphy received his B.A. in English from Wake Forest University and his Masters of Liberal Arts from St. Johns College. A skilled writer, astute media specialist, and talented photographer, we are especially excited to welcome Mr. Murphy back to ICS because of his ability to forge meaningful connections with students and their families.

 “I am thrilled to rejoin the wonderful community I know so well at Indian Creek School,” shares Mr. Murphy. “I have worked in a variety of capacities with the teachers and programs at Indian Creek over the years and have always cherished my professional relationship with the school and its families. I look forward to helping Indian Creek students grow their confidence and ability as writers and thinkers, sharing my experience in journalism and photography and guiding students in their learning and development as young members of the community.”
 
Allison Venuti (First Grade Teacher)
Indian Creek is thrilled to welcome Mrs. Allison Venuti to the Lower School faculty. Mrs. Venuti comes to ICS from the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), where she taught Kindergarten through grade 5 and served as Instructional Team Leader. During her 13 years with HCPSS, she provided daily special education instruction for students and worked closely with K-5 general education teachers. Mrs. Venuti most recently taught in Kindergarten, first and second grade, and is incredibly skilled in providing differentiated instruction. She is passionate about teaching at the primary level and building a strong foundation for all future learning for her students. In Howard County, Mrs. Venuti taught for 13 years at Clemens Crossing Elementary School in Columbia, Maryland. Mrs. Venuti also spent one summer teaching at the Jin Cheng No. 1 Secondary School in Jin Cheng, China.

Mrs. Venuti was awarded the Special Education Community Advisory Committee award in 2014, and has also been a nominee for the HCPSS Crystal Flame Award and the HCPSS First Year Educator Award. Mrs. Venuti graduated Summa Cum Laude from Towson University, earning her B.S. degree in Integrated Elementary Education and Special Education. She earned her M.S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. Mrs. Venuti holds Advanced Professional Certificates in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K – 3), Elementary Education (Grades 1-6), Middle School, and Generic Special Education (Grades 1-8).
Mrs. Venuti is excited to join the ICS community, where she looks forward to helping to create lifelong learners.
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