Ellis Community Excited to Welcome New Faculty

Ellis students greeted new teachers in the classroom this fall, as ten new faces joined the faculty across the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. Each brings excitement and innovation to their classrooms, labs, stages, and athletic spaces, and they look forward to guiding and mentoring students through each subject this year.
"We are thrilled to welcome all of the new faculty to Ellis. They are experienced teachers who bring a wealth of knowledge to their courses,” said Lauren Laschon, Assistant Head of School and Director of Teaching and Learning. "Students and veteran faculty are benefitting from their fresh perspectives and excitement around joining the community, and they are eager to collaborate with them both in and out of the classroom.”

Julia Bloise, Pre-kindergarten Teacher: Ms. Bloise grew up in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. She moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University, where she earned a B.S. in early childhood education. She then earned an M.S. in early childhood education from West Chester University. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Bloise taught preschool at Shady Lane School for seven years. She is excited to get to know the Ellis students and instill ideas of lifelong learning in them. In her spare time, Ms. Bloise enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Tyler, and her shiba inu, Kai, where they live in Mt. Washington. She enjoys reading books, cooking, exercising, and going for hikes.

Helena Elko, Upper School Visual Arts Teacher: Ms. Elko earned her M.A. in art education from New York University, with a focus on contemporary art and social justice practices. She also holds a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with an emphasis on drawing and printmaking. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Elko was the Visual Art Teacher at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. She has also taught at various other institutions and non-profits on both the east and west coasts. A Pittsburgh native, Ms. Elko is returning to her hometown with her family after living in Brooklyn for the past 20 years. She is thrilled to be at Ellis and looks forward to engaging young artists in the creative process of making.

Kylie Glenn, Lower School P.E. Teacher, Middle School Soccer Coach, Varsity Softball Coach: Ms. Glenn graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a B.S. in applied developmental psychology. She was a pitcher on the club softball team for all four years in her undergraduate career and as a senior served as the organization’s president. She continued her education at Pitt and in 2020 pursued her M.Ed. in instruction and learning. She earned dual teacher certification for PK-4 and special education PK-8. Ms. Glenn moved to Charleston, South Carolina and served as an ELA Resource teacher at River Oaks Middle School from 2020-2022. Here, she also worked as a Yoga Sculpt Instructor for the CorePower community and discovered her love for unlocking inner strength through the mind/body connection and empowering others to find this in themselves. Ms. Glenn is excited to be back in Pittsburgh with her fiancé, Bryce, who is the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at Pitt, and their mini goldendoodle puppy, Maddex. She is thrilled at the opportunity to combine her passions for education and health/wellness in this new role.

Jazmine Lucas, First Grade Teacher: Ms. Lucas earned her B.A. in elementary education from the University of Kentucky and her M.A. in K-6 reading and literacy from Marygrove College. Prior to Ellis, Ms. Lucas taught for eight years in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan. Her family recently relocated to Pittsburgh and has had a wonderful summer exploring the city and everything it has to offer. Outside of the classroom, she loves spending time with her husband and two daughters, Nora (Ellis Class of 2037) and Hadley. She enjoys reading, knitting, crafting, and spending time outdoors. Ms. Lucas is thrilled for the opportunity to invest in the lives of Ellis girls this year.

Mitch Masucci, Upper School History Teacher and History Department Chair: Mr. Masucci attended the University of Delaware where he earned his bachelor's degree in history education and later his master's degree in economics education. Prior to Ellis, Mr. Masucci taught social studies and served as Department Chair at the Avon Grove High School in Chester County, Pennsylvania. For the last three years, he taught history at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, D.C. In his spare time, Mr. Masucci enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs, watching horror movies, and curating a way-too-large vinyl record collection.

Valerie Patilla, Pre-kindergarten Teacher: Ms. Patilla holds a B.S. in early childhood education from Point Park University and an M.Ed. in early childhood education from Carlow University. Before joining The Ellis School's community, Ms. Patilla was a Pre-kindergarten Teacher for 12 years at The Campus School of Carlow University. Prior to that, she was the Infant-Toddler Coordinator of The Early Learning Center of Carlow University. Ms. Patilla is excited to share a joy of learning through play and meaningful experiences with the youngest learners at Ellis. In March 2020, Ms. Patilla adopted a senior Great Dane/pitt bull mix, Henry. She enjoys going on walks with him, as well as reading and traveling.

Edith "Edie” Raphael, Ph.D., Upper School History Teacher: Prior to Ellis, Ms. Raphael taught at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore, Maryland. A native of Pittsburgh, Ms. Raphael studied international relations at Penn State University and sociology at the University of Virginia. Her doctoral dissertation examined the production of public commemorative monuments in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. In her spare time, Ms. Raphael enjoys yoga, hiking, and stand-up paddleboarding. She is the author of two books: Mussar Yoga and The Art of Being Present.

Kolby Rudd, Middle and Upper School History Teacher: Ms. Rudd joins The Ellis School to teach seventh and eighth grade history in the Middle School as well as A.P. U.S. History in the Upper School. Ms. Rudd holds a B.A. in history and a B.S. in secondary social studies education from Duquesne University. Prior to Ellis, she taught for ten years as a history teacher at a South Florida public high school. Outside the classroom, Ms. Rudd enjoys baking, hiking, watching football (go Steelers!), and rediscovering Pittsburgh with her husband and two young children. 

Erica Tryon, Theatre Teacher: For the past seven years, Ms. Tryon has served as the Theatre Director and Instructor at Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, where she also spent several years as the Coordinator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She received her M.A. from Brown University and her B.A. from Lawrence University (graduating magna cum laude), and she studied performance in London, Buenos Aires, and West Africa. As a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association, she has performed frequently in Chicago, New York’s Capital Region, and the Berkshires. Ms. Tryon is passionate about the theatre and the classroom as places for the discovery and creation of radical empathy. She lives just around the corner from Ellis with her husband, two children, and two enormous cats.

Anthony Tyburski, Interim Upper School Chemistry Teacher: Despite being a native of upstate New York, Mr. Tyburski has always had a special connection with the city of Pittsburgh. His pap and nana, both Pitt alumni, instilled a sense of Pittsburgh pride, especially surrounding the sports teams. Continuing the family legacy, Mr. Tyburski enrolled at Pitt in 2017. Upon graduating summa cum laude from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, he returned to Pitt in a new capacity. As a Visiting Professor, he instructed organic chemistry laboratories and volunteered his spare time to lead review sessions for those in the lecture course. Mr. Tyburski’s other passions include golf, bowling, traveling, and camping.

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