Faculty & Staff

The key to West Sound Academy’s success in fulfilling its mission is the faculty. The West Sound criteria for selection of teachers includes far more than just educational and work credentials.

We choose teachers for their human qualities: depth of life experience, professional background, skills in the tools of communication, international exposure, and more than anything else their passion to teach young people. West Sound Academy employs eleven full-time faculty members, six administrators and three support staff.

Administration & Support Staff

Barrie Hillman

Barrie Hillman

Head of School

More from Barrie

I transform the lives of young people by leading a team of inspirational teachers and staff through the common goal of helping those students develop many skills in order to choose their own paths in life. I came into this work by having experience in many fields and through the belief held by others that I could make a difference at West Sound Academy.

Catherine Freeman

Catherine Freeman

Associate Head of School

More from Catherine

I love finding solutions to problems whether that is to a complicated math problem or to a student scheduling conflict. I strive to find answers that encourage student growth and help students attain the skills that ensure they are prepared for any academic journey.

Lisa Gsellman

Lisa Gsellman

Director of Admissions

More from Lisa

I’m thrilled to connect families to an incredible school community that will cultivate their child’s best self in a challenging and nurturing environment. I made a commitment to be a positive presence in the lives of our country’s youth and West Sound Academy has given me the privilege to do this alongside other equally invested caring adults.  

Elizabeth Butler

Elizabeth Butler

Business Manager

More from Elizabeth

I am the steward of all financial transactions and contracts, making sure all school records are accurate and well organized.  My passion is event planning, so I gladly take on the management of the auction, graduation and Fall Gathering dinner each year so that these events can be truly memorable for our entire school community. 

Lionel Pummell

Lionel Pummell

Director of Technology

More from Lionel

I impart problem-solving skills in my math and computer science classes. I also inspire artistic creativity in photography and a sense of community in the clubs I help mentor. I came to this work because of a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people and to help guide them on their journey.

Brandie Robbins

Brandie Robbins

Front Desk

More from Brandie

I fill many different roles including but not limited to  attendance, lunches, scheduling, designing promotional material and advising Yearbook Club. My love of learning, teaching and creating is what brought me to West Sound Academy. 

Susan Trower

Susan Trower

Director of Library & Information Services

More from Susan

I help students and teachers search for, find and explore information and ideas, with the goal of creating life-long learners and readers. My passion is guiding others to the “Aha!” moment of discovery – of a wonderful book or the perfect reference source.  Inspired by the dedicated and creative librarians at my children’s schools, I became a librarian myself so that I could share my love of books and reading with young people.   

Joe Adams

Joe Adams

Facilities

More from Joe

My care for this school and its students comes from a strong loyalty to its administration and the belief that they truly have the students’ and staff’s best interests at heart.  I choose to spend my days on our beautiful campus and through the daily journey to Port Townsend because I hold a high value for the safety of our students and the caretaking of our school.  My contribution to this community is that I model the adage, “Work hard to play hard.” 

Faculty

Sara Adams

Sara Adams

More from Sara

As a facilitator giving perspective and sparking creativity, I continue to find avenues to be inspired by the next generation in the classroom, on the field, and on the stage. My passion is to guide students of all ages through art, nature, and physical activities to take courageous steps in their education and their lives as they find their individual ways to shine.

Eric Bright

Eric Bright

More from Eric

As a WSA teacher, I see my primary role as empowering them by cultivating the habits and skills they need to become confident and capable self-directed learners in pursuit of their respective academic, professional, and personal goals.  My passion for the humanities is a precious gift handed down by my own teachers who inspired and challenged me to think beyond the narrow confines of my own personal experience and explore the diversity of the human experience in general. 

Paul Burback

Paul Burback

More from Paul

I strive to create an environment that fosters healthy collaboration and allows students to feel free to explore their own individual passion and curiosity for playing music. I became a music teacher because there is nothing more inspiring to me than seeing young people work together towards a common goal and find a healthy outlet for their creativity.

Georgia Chehade

Georgia Chehade

More from Georgia

With a group of creative and courageous middle school students, I explore the human experience through the study of history and literature using a project-based and student-led approach to learning. My role as an educator is to illuminate the connections that exist in our world, past and present, and to recognize the power young people have to impact their community in a positive way.

Jen David

Jen David

More from Jen

A lifelong love of learning connects me to the students and their journey in the classroom, and my passion for artistic expression helps guide students to communicate their identity as artists. My training in several disciplines offers my students a broad range of knowledge to cater to each student’s uniqueness and experience to apply in their creative masterpieces. The enthusiasm, support and encouragement are attributes I regularly apply with all my students so they are willing to experiment and take risks, and are open-minded when experiencing others’ perspectives.

Alayna Garvin

Alayna Garvin

More from Alayna

I create, curate, and facilitate learning experiences to share my passion for French and English language and literature. I came into this work through my love of working with diverse people. I am driven by curiosity and my conviction for tikkun olam – making the world a better place

Karen Mattick

Karen Mattick

More from Karen

My talent is giving science curriculum direction and meaning by creating organizing themes and then weaving together many and varied activities to teach those themes. My passion is engaging students in the fun and utter astonishment at the stories science discovers. My goal is to graduate thinkers who excel at applying the razor-sharp power of scientific inquiry while understanding the provisional nature of science. 

Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

More from Gretchen

When people ask me what I teach my response is always “I teach kids about the world around them through theatre, writing and literature.”  I teach the whole student I don’t just teach a subject.   My role as a teacher is to guide my students to inquire, to take risks, to think critically and challenge assumptions, to consider both local and global contexts when presented with issues and concerns.

Jessica Outlaw

Jessica Outlaw

More from Jessica

I believe students should get out of their comfort zones, embrace other cultures and languages and see the world with new eyes. My own path of traveling, learning and teaching around the world has led me to West Sound Academy where I am honored to work with exceptional students and faculty who bring the best out of me.   

Ben Owen

Ben Owen

More from Ben

I believe that math is the language of the universe and that it gives us the power to understand and describe the world in which we live.  I use engaging puzzles and projects to spark curiosity in my students and inspire them to become persistent, creative problem solvers.  Many years ago, one of my college students wrote that she wouldn’t have hated math for so many years if I had been her teacher in middle school; I’ve been teaching secondary school math ever since. 

Anna Solovyev

Anna Solovyev

More from Anna

I guide students through their learning by identifying and facilitating experiences that are appropriately challenging and that foster creativity, self-confidence, and problem solving. I became an educator because I want to be part of a community that supports and motivate members to stretch their abilities and to grow by overcoming obstacles.