Ellis Welcomes New Faculty

The Ellis School is pleased to announce new faculty members for the 2019–2020 school year. The School is thrilled to add these passionate intellects, scholars, and artists to our team. Please join us in welcoming these accomplished and talented educators to our community.
Lydia Gibson
Middle and Upper School Performing Arts Teacher
Lydia Gibson is joining The Ellis School as the Middle and Upper Performing Arts Teacher. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Gibson was a teaching artist, tour actor, and tour manager for Saltworks Theater Company, a teaching artist and director for Footlight Players, and an Audience Development Coordinator for 12 Peers Theater. Ms. Gibson received her Bachelors in Theater from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is also an actor and vocalist in the Pittsburgh theater community, and is excited to share and grow her love for the performing arts with the Ellis community as well.
Jayla Griggs
Lower School Music Teacher
Jayla Griggs joins the Ellis community as the Lower School Music Teacher. She graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree. Prior to accepting this position, Ms. Griggs taught within the Pittsburgh Public Schools district, Hillcrest Christian Academy, CCAC South Campus as an adjunct professor, and Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship. Additionally, she serves as a local church organist and singer in many different capacities. She is so excited to begin working with Ellis girls and to share her love of music with everyone.

Katie CILLO Jordanoff ’95
Grade 2 Teacher
Ellis alumna Katie CILLO Jordanoff ’95 is excited to return to the School as Grade 2 Teacher. For the last nine years, she has been teaching at Propel McKeesport. Prior to that, she spent nine years teaching in Massachusetts. Ms. Jordanoff received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Baldwin-Wallace College and earned her Masters in Education in Curriculum & Instruction: Literacy from Lesley University. Ms. Jordanoff personally understands the difference an Ellis education can make and cannot wait to begin teaching in the fall.

Katie Kovach
Pre-kindergarten Teacher
Katie Kovach joins the Ellis community as a Pre-kindergarten Teacher. Katie grew up outside of Pittsburgh and graduated from New York University in 2007 with a degree in Educational Theater. She taught drama and music to toddlers and preschoolers for over ten years at a Montessori school in New York City, until moving back to the Pittsburgh area. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Curriculum Studies from Penn State.

Maggie Martone
Pre-kindergarten Teacher
Maggie Martone joins the Ellis community as a Pre-kindergarten Teacher. Before joining the team at Ellis, she was Senior Program Director at the Sarah Heinz House Boys and Girls Club in the Northside of Pittsburgh for 5 years. There she served as a teacher and the Head of the Healthy Choices Department. In 2012, she earned her Master of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. This fall, Ms. Martone is completing her Master of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Brenda Martinez
Lower School Spanish Teacher
Brenda Martinez joins The Ellis School as the Lower School Spanish Teacher. Ms. Martinez is a native speaker of Spanish who was born and raised in Mexico. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Slippery Rock University with Teaching Certification in Secondary Education in Spanish PreK-12. She also holds a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from ITESM University in Mexico City, Mexico. Prior to Ellis, Mrs. Martinez was the Spanish Teacher at The Garden Montessori in Cranberry Township, PA and taught at St. Alphonsus School in Wexford.

Holly Mawn
Lower School Small Group Instructor
Holly Mawn joins Ellis as a Lower School Small Group Instructor. Ms. Mawn is a New England native who recently moved to Pittsburgh. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from Colby College and a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Lesley University. She has worked in a variety of schools, both public and independent, and has experience in grades pre-kindergarten through five. Most recently, Ms. Mawn taught third grade in the Milton Public Schools District outside of Boston. 

Benjamin Zucker
Upper School Mathematics Teacher
Originally from Connecticut, Benjamin Zucker joins Ellis after four years teaching mathematics and science at Maui Preparatory Academy in Hawaii and two years of teaching science at the Winchendon School in northern Massachusetts. He holds a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, where he spent roughly as much time in the theater as in the library. In his free time, Mr. Zucker likes to bike, walk, read science fiction, explore Wikipedia, collect maps, absorb trivia facts, and imagine absurd hypothetical scenarios