Faculty & Staff
Ms. Daniela Abouchedid is a 2nd grade homeroom teacher. She is a graduate of the University of San Diego, has a BA in Liberal Studies, Behavioral Neuroscience and minors in Chinese and Chemistry (and a very accomplished pianist!). Daniela taught 7th grade science, 1st and 2nd grade natural history, and middle school math last year.
Mrs. Balint is starting her ninth year as the Preschool Director and Pre-K teacher. She graduated from Marymount University in 1993 with a BA in Psychology. In 1995, she earned her M.Ed from Marymount, as well. She is certified by the State of Virginia to teach Pre-K through 8th grade. She began teaching for the Diocese of Arlington in 1995 at St. Thomas More Cathedral School. In 2004 she joined the staff at Saint John’s. She is a member of National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) and Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA). She is also a member of the Preschool Director Committee for the Arlington Diocese. As a member of the Diocesan Preschool Director Committee, she, along with seven other directors, helped create the Preschool/Pre-K curriculum for the diocese. Most recently, she helped the same committee create the Diocesan Preschool and Pre-K progress reports that will be used in all the preschool programs in the diocese.
Ms. Bethencourt is the 4th grade homeroom teacher. She received her bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Pedagogy from the University of Navarre in Spain and a bachelor’s in Theology from the University of the Holy Cross in Italy.
Ms. Lisa Coyne is the 6th grade homeroom teacher. Ms. Coyne has over 32 years experience teaching History, English, Spanish and Math at the Middle School level, including many years at Oakcrest School in Vienna, VA, and recently at a liberal arts Catholic school in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Simmons College with a BA in Government and Communications Media and holds a MA in teaching from Rice University.
Mrs. Crowley is the 3rd grade teacher and the Director of After School Clubs and Summer Camps. She grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Marketing and Advertising. She worked for several years with the marketing departments of Marriott International and Hilton Hotels. In 2008, her family relocated to Northern Virginia and she began working at Saint John the Beloved Academy in 2009. She spent eight years working as a classroom aide in first grade, third grade and Kindergarten at SJBA, and she was the Director of Extended Day at Queen of Apostles Catholic School. She is Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA) certified, and she has completed the Orton-Gillingham training program.
Mrs. Carlie Dixon teaches American Civics and History to the 7th and 8th grades and religion and writing in the lower and middle school. She has a law degree from George Washington University Law School. She was credentialed in secondary school teaching after graduating from college with a major in History, and this spring began taking graduate level history courses to brush up on American History. Carlie has been a stay at home mom, homemaker and school/church/community volunteer, including initiating and leading Welcome Catholics Home at St. John the Beloved from 2013-18, teaching CCD, and advocating for mothers and children in the public square. Recently, Carlie decided to return to a life long desire to be a teacher, especially of history and civics. We are pleased and grateful to add Carlie as a member of the faculty and for her passion to bring the great American story to life (replete with its mistakes, victories, failings, foundations in freedom, and profound promise).
Ms. Margaret Fagan is a 5th grade homeroom teacher. A DC native, Margaret graduated from the University of Dallas with a BA in English Literature. She has had a wide array of professional experiences in childcare, healthcare, mediation, and education, including serving as a 4th grade room homeroom teacher at The Brookewood School for many years, and helping with drama productions. Ms. Fagan’s hobbies include travel, herbal remedies, hiking, and dance.
Ms. Gabrielle Grant is a 2nd grade homeroom teacher. Ms. Grant recently relocated to Northern Virginia from New York where she was a Seton Teaching Fellow and served as a first-grade teacher at Brilla Pax Elementary, a Public Charter School located in the Bronx. Gabrielle is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in the Program of Liberal Studies, a classical Great Books Program studying all the quintessential works of Western and Eastern Literature, philosophy, and theology. Ms. Grant is a Colorado native–and naturally enjoys skiing among other sports!
Ms. Caroline Haymans is a first grade homeroom teacher.
Mrs. Heeter is one of our first grade homeroom teachers. She has a BA in Sociology from Roanoke College and a MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education.
Mr. Joseph Hempfling is a part of Middle School humanities and religion team, and serve as PE Director. Mr. Hempfling has a BA in Political Science from the University of Mississippi and MA in Theological Studies from Southeastern University. Mr. Hempfling has served in the United States Marine Corps and comes to us from Trinity Christian School where he was a Christian Studies Teacher. An avid reader, scholar, and athlete, Joe will soon be a new father, as his wife is expecting their first in August!
Ms. Brittany Higdon has extensive experience advising schools in implementation of humanities-based instruction using proper reading techniques, and providing in-depth assessment for individual students. Additionally, she holds a BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a M.Ed in reading education from the University of Virginia.
Mrs. Elena Kilner is a lower school aide to Kindergarten this fall. Elena holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the University of Dallas. In addition to gaining professional experience in office management, customer service and leadership training, she has taught Catechism classes at her local parish and extensively volunteered as a speaker at various Catholic venues and events including Theology on Tap, GIVEN Forum, youth summer programs, area high schools and medical conferences.
Mrs. Loria is one of our Kindergarten teachers. She graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1982 with a BA in Elementary Education. She also graduated cum laude and was a member of The International Honor Society in Social Science. She and her husband Jack have ten children. She was a full-time homemaker until she accepted a position at Saint John the Beloved Academy as a preschool teacher for the last thirteen years! This is her first year joining our Kindergarten team. She obtained her Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA) endorsement in 2015. In addition to teaching, she also serves as a Chapter Coordinator in LeadersNow International and has been doing so for the past ten years. This organization was founded in 2003 with the mission to promote the dignity and integrity of young women. She loves the outdoors, exercise, and spending time with family and friends!
Mr. Tyler McGee, who is joining St. John’s to primarily teach with Mr. Murray in the 5th grade. The Louisiana native (and active sportsman) has six years experience of teaching core subjects to 4th-7th grade boys and has been teaching at Catholic schools in Mexico for the past four years, and has done a great deal in a personalized mentoring program. Prior to his position in Mexico, he worked in the business office at Western Academy, in Houston, Texas. Mr. McGee has a BS in Business from Louisiana State University and is in the process of completing his MA in Humanities from the University of Dallas and an International Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Buckingham, School of Education in London, United Kingdom.
Mr. David Murray is one of our fifth grade homeroom teachers. Mr. Murray was born into a musical family; his father was an opera singer and head of a professional opera company, and his mother was a pianist and organist. As a percussionist, he has performed in concert and in master classes around the world, including all 48 contiguous states of the U.S.A., much of Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Okinawa, Japan. David served as a member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C. for 26 years, from 1992-2018. David continues to perform and teach in the D.C. area, currently serving on the music faculty at Georgetown University. David holds a BM degree from Rice University, Shepherd School of Music, and a M.M. degree from the Eastman School of Music.
Mr. O’Neill is the 8th grade boys homeroom teacher. He is a graduate from the University of Dallas with a BA in Politics concentrating on the American Founding and the Constitution. He is an athlete and a huge sports fan-especially of all the DC teams. He is outdoorsman and naturalist and an avid reader of history.
Mrs. Perez teaches the Kindergarten class and is celebrating her 20th year teaching at Saint John’s. Her interest and focus lies in early childhood education. She has been trained in the Wilson multisensory language program, as well as the Orton-Gillingham multisensory reading program. In addition to taking multiple graduate level education courses at the University of Virginia, she has her Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA) certification. Mrs. Perez was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. Like most Canadians she learned both English and French as a child and then learned to speak Spanish when she lived in South America. She is a graduate of McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Fr. Pollard‘s formative years were spent at Westminster School and Pine Ridge Elementary, both in Annandale, VA. After Bishop Ireton High School and the University of Chicago (A.B. in philosophy) he entered the seminary and completed graduate degrees in philosophy, theology and catechetics. Ordination to the priesthood took place in 1998 but there are still Great Books to be read, good books to be taught, and more languages to learn so study continues.
Mr. Presberg has been the Headmaster of St. John the Beloved Academy since 2018. He has over twenty years of broad experience in education, ranging from teaching and coaching to a variety of administrative responsibilities. He was the founding Headmaster at Western Academy in Houston, where he served (2008-13). Prior to that, he served as the Lower School Head and teacher at The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland (1994-2009). Additionally, he is the founder and President of the Samuel & Erasmus institute, (SEi), a small institute for liberal arts education and culture. Mr. Presberg earned a B.A. in English Literature and a Masters of Humanities from the University of Dallas. Jeff and his wife Kristin live in Northern Virginia with their nine children.
Mr. Jonathan Reilly is the 7th Grade homeroom teacher, primarily teaching core 7th grade subjects and 8th grade science. A Northern Virginia native (and with many teachers in his extended family), Jonathan graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Biology and in Philosophy. He subsequently spent two years with FOCUS serving as a college campus missionary in Philadelphia and leading engaging Scripture discussions with youth. Mr. Reilly loves the natural world, Tolkien, and exploring symbolism & meaning in culture and stories.
Mr. Matthew Sawtelle will be assisting the 6th grade homeroom and primarily teach humanities in the middle school this year. Mr. Sawtelle, a native of Dallas and baseball player, is a recent graduate of the Catholic University of America, where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy with a Language Concentration and a Minor in Classical Studies. Mr. Sawtelle has enjoyed getting to know Washington, DC as a student and serving as an Undergraduate Writing Tutor at Catholic, as well as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Vermilion, the University’s official literary magazine. Additionally, Matthew has served as writing tutor at St. Jerome Institute and a Latin intern at St. Jerome Academy.
Mrs. Karen Tessier is the Assistant Headmaster and Dean of Academics at St. John the Beloved Academy. Mrs. Tessier graduated with a B.S. degree in Education from Elmira College and a MEd. from Marymount University in Administration and Supervision and has worked in the area of education her entire professional career. Her interests include the outdoors, reading, cooking and most importantly spending time with her family. She resides with her husband and five children in the Northern Virginia area.
Mrs. Ann Marie Thrasher is teaching the Preschool 3 years-old class. Mrs. Thrasher and her family moved from Memphis, TN to McLean 12 years ago. She comes to us from the Potomac School where she has served as a Kindergarten teacher for the past 11 years. Additionally, she has a BA in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and has been trained in the Orton-Gillingham Reading Program and the Responsive Classroom which links academic success with social-emotional learning.
Mr. Sutton Truluck graduated from Santa Clara University in 2014 with a business degree and worked as a staffer in the U.S. Senate, at Heritage Foundation, and in public policy generally. Over the last year he lived in the mountains of North Carolina on somewhat of a sabbatical working in food and beverage. Sutton will primarily help with PE, lower school math and reading and 6th grade Latin. An outdoorsman and avid reader, he especially enjoys kayaking, hiking, philosophy, and contemplation.
Ms. Viviana Urbano is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History. Ms. Urbano has experience in childcare and has served as a teacher’s assistant in a Montessori classroom. For the past year, she has been an English Teacher at UCEDA Institute in Falls Church. In addition, Ms. Urbano speaks Spanish, Russian and French, and is a young woman of many talents and interests–from nature studies, poetry and drama, to sports and music. She will serve in a few capacities, including with lower school music, gym, drama and poetry, and nature studies
Ms. Nubie Vazquez, is a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Sciences. She has worked as a Behavior Interventionist at Easterseals Southern California, and as a teacher’s assistant for a preschool and spent a summer as a Metro Councilor at Metro Achievement Center for Girls in Chicago, Illinois. In her free time, Nubie enjoys playing volleyball, running, going to the beach, letter writing, knitting, practicing Spanish, traveling, and playing guitar and piano. She will primarily serve as a 3rd grade teacher and work closely with Mrs. Crowley.
Mrs. Walder is the Spanish teacher for grades Kindergarten-8th grade at Saint John the Beloved Academy. She is a native Spanish speaking professional who is committed to student achievement in Spanish language acquisition. She holds a degree in Law from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello (Caracas, Venezuela), and a MA in International Legal Studies from American University, Washington College of Law. She holds a Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA) Certification and has enjoyed teaching Spanish at SJBA for the last three years. She is bilingual fluent in both Spanish and English, with working knowledge in Croatian and Italian.
Mrs. Christine White serves as the Registrar and Communications Director for St. John the Beloved Academy. Mrs. White is a graduate of the University of Dallas. She oversees school wide communications, marketing, advertising, the school website, and student registration & records. She has extensive experience assisting schools, small businesses and non-profits with their communications, database, and marketing needs.