The Ellis School is pleased to announce new faculty members for the 2021–2022 school year. The School is thrilled to add these passionate intellectuals, scholars, and leaders to our team. Please join us in welcoming these talented educators, coaches, and staff members to our community.
Faculty and Staff
Middle and Upper School Clay Teacher
Peter Barbor joins Ellis as the Middle and Upper School Clay Teacher. Mr. Barbor earned his M.F.A. from the University of Washington, graduating with the de Cillia Teaching with Excellence Award. He also holds a B.F.A. with Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. Barbor’s passion for clay and other sculptural media has led him to live and work across North America. Prior to Ellis, Mr. Barbor taught as a visiting lecturer at the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, Canada, and an adjunct instructor at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia. Mr. Barbor is excited to return to Pittsburgh where he also works as a practicing artist.
Assistant Pre-kindergarten Teacher
Sarah Bohnhoff joins Ellis as an Assistant Pre-kindergarten Teacher. Ms. Bohnhoff holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico, graduating summa cum laude. A Pittsburgh transplant from the high desert of Albuquerque, NM, Ms. Bohnhoff loves spending time with her family, enjoying fall foliage, frequenting local bakeries, and crafting. Last year, Ms. Bohnhoff worked with students of the Lower School in the Extended Day Program. This year she is thrilled to focus her passion for the Ellis community on working with Ellis’ youngest students.
Assistant Director of Annual Fund
Amy Cohen joins Ellis as the Assistant Director of Annual Fund. Ms. Cohen holds a MA in Political Science from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Political Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Ellis, she was the Regional Director for the Jewish National Fund and the Volunteer Center Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Ms. Cohen is dedicated to empowering the next generation of future leaders at Ellis. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her fiancé, Brad, listening to live music, and hiking with their dog, Clementine.
Director of Extended Day Programming
Stephanie DeLucia joins Ellis as the Director of Extended Day Programming. Ms. DeLucia holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education and an MS in Child Psychology from Duquesne University. Prior to Ellis, she taught Preschool and served as Director for the YMCA Duquesne University Child Development Center for 18 years. Stephanie serves on the Board of the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library and works closely with Women for a Healthy Environment to make the community eco-healthy for our smallest citizens. She is excited to share her passion for learning through play and getting to know the Ellis students after-school.
Upper School Division Head
Amanda Finigan joins Ellis as the new Upper School Division Head. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Finigan worked at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, where she served as Dean of Student Life. During her eleven years at Berkeley Carroll, Ms. Finigan taught mathematics (Algebra I through Calculus), served as a grade-level dean and as the faculty advisor to the school’s “Girls to Women” group, and was instrumental in the school's diversity and inclusion initiatives. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she earned her BA in Economics from St. Francis College, where she was a Presidential Scholar and her MST in Secondary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from Pace University.
Middle School French and Spanish Teacher
Susan Lee joins Ellis as a Middle School French and Spanish Teacher. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Lee taught Spanish for grades 2 through 8 at Sacred Heart Elementary School. With a BS in Elementary Education from Duquesne University, Ms. Lee has also taught kindergarten and second grade. Ms. Lee studied French in Paris at the Alliance Française, and Spanish at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca in Oaxaca, Mexico. A native Pittsburgher, Ms. Lee loves spending time with her family, music, yoga, her wheaten terrier Bailey, and traveling to beaches and major cities.
Middle School Division Head
Jenn Moynihan joins Ellis as the new Middle School Division Head. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Moynihan worked at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, California, where she served as Dean of Students for grades 6 through 12. As Dean, Ms. Moynihan worked closely with students, faculty, and families to address the academic, social, and emotional needs of students and to build a spirited school culture, including leading an initiative to reinvigorate the advisory program. A native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, she earned a BS in Theatre and English from Northwestern University (graduating Magna Cum Laude) and an MA in Secondary Education from Lehigh University.
Preena Patel joins The Ellis School as a Pre-kindergarten Teacher. Her love of learning and desire for social justice reform led her to pursue a career in education. Ms. Patel studied Applied Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to Ellis, she worked as a support educator at the Carriage House Children's Center and the Cyert Center for Early Education. She also student taught in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Ms. Patel works closely with local organizations such as Girls on the Run and the City Council of Pittsburgh to create developmentally appropriate, enriching, and inclusive opportunities for all children throughout the city.
Alyssa Southerlin joins Ellis as a Pre-kindergarten Teacher. A Pittsburgh native, Alyssa graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting. After moving to New York and getting married, Ms. Southerlin returned to the 'burgh and earned her Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education from Carlow University in 2016. Ms. Southerlin taught in the city for nine years before finding her way to Ellis and could not be more honored to be teaching the community's youngest learners. She currently lives just outside the city with her husband, Kyle, and daughters Grace (Ellis Class of 2034) and Isla Claire. Ms. Southerlin loves trying new restaurants, exercising, and going to the theatre.
Upper School Mathematics Teacher
Nathan Young joins Ellis as an Upper School Mathematics Teacher. Mr. Young holds a BS in Engineering Physics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a Masters of Teaching in Secondary Mathematics from Duquesne University. Prior to Ellis, he taught at Oakland Catholic High School and worked at Kaplan as a GRE & SAT test prep teacher in Philadelphia. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Young enjoys baking as well as spending time outdoors with his wife and two children.
Varsity Soccer Coach
Amanda Banachoski will be the new Varsity Soccer Coach. A Middle and Upper School Health and Physical Education teacher at Ellis, Coach Banachoski has been an assistant coach on the soccer team for the past two years. She played for the Arsenal Football Club of Pittsburgh for six years and served as captain on her high school soccer team. Ms. Banachoski has her BS in Health and Physical Education from Slippery Rock University.
Varsity Soccer Assistant Coach
Caitlin Burns joins Ellis as the Varsity Soccer Assistant Coach. Coach Burns was a member of the United States Armed Forces International Women’s Soccer Team and has experience coaching kids’ soccer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was a United States Air Force Academy Prep School captain and a two-time high school first-team all-district awardee.
Varsity Field Hockey Coach
Abbe Dirling joins Ellis as the new Varsity Field Hockey Coach. Coach Dirling is an IBDP Biology and Exercise Sports Science teacher at Pittsburgh Public Schools. Prior to Ellis, she served as the Head Softball Coach at Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy, the Head Swim Coach at Pittsburgh Obama Academy, and the Head Field Hockey Coach at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. She has been teaching for 11 years and coaching varsity sports for the last 7 years. She played softball, basketball, and field hockey throughout high school and is thrilled to be joining the Tigers Field Hockey team.