Our Faculty

Our faculty is listed below in alphabetical order.

Taylor Beck

Taylor Beck is a journalist and a former neuroscience researcher. He holds a BA from Princeton in neuroscience, an MS from MIT, and an MA from NYU Journalism School. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The L.A. Review of Books, and other publications. His research on memory, sleep and dreaming contributed to labs at Princeton, Washington University in St. Louis, and one in Kyoto, Japan, & appeared in the journals Science, Neuron, & Cognition. Taylor’s essays have won writing residencies at Banff Center for the Arts and the Templeton Foundation’s summer institute Diverse Intelligences, in St. Andrews, Scotland, where he collaborates with AI researchers, developmental psychologists, animal scientists, & writers interested in how minds work, from octopus to robot to child.

Mark Berger

Mark Berger received his PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University in 2015. His research focuses on the intersection of ethics and political philosophy, most especially concerning the rationality of political action and value pluralism. He has taught the history of philosophy and intellectual history at Columbia University. Most recently he taught literature, history, and philosophy at the University of Chicago. In his spare time, he mostly pets dogs and reads the same three books to a toddler.

Julio Bernard

Julio is a seasoned software developer and product manager with several years of experience training and mentoring students to become young developers. Julio manages the Apprentice 100 program in New Haven where he has trained over 200 apprentices at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. He has led teams to in developing software products and has worked to foster tech talent with Connecticut’s Tech Talent Advisory Committee. He is excited to support Pierrepont students in conceiving, developing and building computer platforms. Julio is a graduate of SCSU and will be teaching Computer Science.

Justine F. Chen

Justine has been commissioned and performed by New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, The Juilliard School, NYFOS, Long Leaf Opera, and Washington Ballet. Her early training in ballet, violin, composition, and theater, has influenced her towards artistic collaborations. On her work presented by Juilliard’s Dance Division, the New York Times wrote, “Chen… blended popular dance rhythms into the kind of propulsive, emotionally resonant score that choreographers tend to dream of.” Her first opera, The Maiden Tower, was presented at Juilliard, NYCO’s VOX 2006 Showcase, and by Chants Libres. Her opera Jeanne, featured in VOX 2008, was described as “lyrical, atmospheric… striking… Throughout, Ms. Chen balances despair and humor.” (NYTimes). As a violinist, she has performed internationally and specializes in contemporary music. She received her DMA in composition from Juilliard in 2005. She earned her BM and MM in violin and composition from Juilliard. She is presently working on a full-length opera based on the life of Alan Turing, commissioned by American Lyric Theater. Recent activities include being awarded a grant from the Jerome Fund for New Music and an appearance on WNYC’s Studio 360.

Peniel Dimberu

Peniel Dimberu is a scientist and writer who has been part of the Pierrepont community ever since he was studying for his doctorate in Immunobiology at Yale University. While at Yale, his graduate research was focused on infectious disease and the mechanisms by which cells alert the immune system when they have been infected. His work has been published in such peer-reviewed scientific journals as Journal of Virology, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Journal of Immunology, and Immunity. During his graduate education, Peniel earned several awards and fellowships including the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Anna Fuller Fellowship in Cancer Research from the Yale University Cancer Center, and an honorable mention for the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Peniel continues to pursue his scholarly interests as a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and a member of the Biotech/Medical Advisory Board of the Lifeboat Foundation. He is also a former science writer for the science news website Singularity Hub as well as a former science columnist for the Yale Daily News. As an educator, Peniel believes that making science and its discoveries accessible to non-scientists is critical for the technology-driven world we live in today. When it comes to leisurely pursuits, Peniel enjoys a wide range of hobbies including snowboarding, scuba diving, and adventurous travel.

Marya Fisher

Marya Fisher recently received her PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. Marya also holds an MA in Art and Archaeology from NYU, as well as an AB in Classics from Princeton University. She has taught at NYU and Vassar College and has tutored students at the high school and college levels. She is teaching Classics at Pierrepont. Her scholarly interests include the languages and history of the ancient world, archaeology and architecture. When she’s not teaching, Marya enjoys exploring her native New York City, baking and traveling to archaeological sites around the world.

Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford received his BFA in Painting with a minor in Art History from Boston University and his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. He has had solo exhibitions at 12.26 Gallery, Dallas, TX, Galerie Semiose, Paris, FR, Kate Werble Gallery, NY, NY, Tops Gallery, Memphis, TN, and at MARCH, NY, NY. Kevin’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at Reyes Finn, MI, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, ME, Inman Gallery, TX, Casey Kaplan Gallery, NY, The Islip Art Museum, NY, Tops Gallery, TN, and elsewhere. His work has also been featured in V Magazine, included in the book Artists II, and has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times and other publications. In addition to his role at Pierrepont, Kevin has been teaching art at various institutions including the Pratt Institute, Lehman College, and Fairfield University for the past 18 years in a variety of subjects ranging from drawing, painting, and printmaking to sculpture, two-dimensional design, and color theory. 

Sofia Gans 

After receiving a BA in Art History and French from Vassar College, Sofia completed an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Art History at Columbia University. Her dissertation centered on the production and use of brass objects in fifteenth and sixteenth century Nuremberg, Germany, revealing new perspectives on artistic identity in the Northern Renaissance. Her research interests include more broadly the intersection of science, religion, and political and economic history with art making. She looks forward to bringing close observation of objects alongside texts to the history classroom. In addition to her academic work and experience teaching undergraduates at Columbia, Sofia has been an educator for diverse audiences at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2010. In her free time, Sofia enjoys cooking, hiking, travel, and watching movies with her husband and dog.

Amelia Greene

Amelia Greene (she/her) teaches English at Pierrepont and will be taking on an administrative role as Head of the Middle School this year.  She came to Pierrepont after teaching literature and composition courses for many years at Brooklyn College while completing her doctoral studies. Amelia lives in New Haven with her partner, their dog, their new baby, and lots of books.

Jamal Jackson

Jamal Jackson was born in Brooklyn, New York and began his formal studies of movement with the Harlem based Batoto Yetu Dance Company. His pursuit of dance led him to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he received the Weston Award for his contribution to the Fusion Dance Company and New Works/ World Traditions African Dance Company from 1996-2000. Jamal studied with Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Seydou Coulibaly, and Fred Benjamin and worked under M’ba Coulibaly, Salimata Soumare from Kelete Dance Theatre, and Ba Issa Diallo, director of Troupe District du Bamako in Mali, West Africa. Jamal choreographed for the New York Arts Festival and Inaya Day in 2002, marking the beginning of his African based, modern technique. Jamal performed with Ballet International Africans for two seasons as a principal dancer and in 2004 he founded the Jamal Jackson Dance Company. Jamal Jackson Dance Company has established a strong presence in and out of New York City, performing year round in festivals, self-produced shows, community outreach programs and private events. The company’s work has been presented at venues including: Mark Morris Dance Center, Jacob’s Pillow, NYC Summerstage Concert Series, DanceNow Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, Battery Downtown Dance Festival, Brown University, The Brooklyn Museum, Equality Now’s 20th Anniversary, Big Range Festival in Austin, TX, The Yard in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, NY, GSUSA National Convention in Salt Lake City, and Abundance 2016 in Karlstad, Sweden.

Eddie Kim

Eddie Kim is a playwright, sound designer, and director who has been at Pierrepont since 2003. He is a graduate of Amherst College, and he is the founder of EK Theater, a video game puppetry troupe. The company’s mission is to re-tell classical stories through live acts of video game puppetry. The New York Times has called his work “an impressive feat of engineering, coordination, and storytelling.” He has performed at venues including the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and has participated in film festivals and given workshops in the United States, Taiwan and the U.K.. He has directed over 10 Shakespearean productions at Pierrepont, and his homeroom, 1A, houses the most coveted lockers in the school.

Bruce M. King

Bruce earned a B.A., M.A., and PhD. in Classical Languages and Literature from the University of Chicago and has been teaching ancient languages, history, and philosophy at the Pierrepont School since 2011. He also teaches at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU, and is a member of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Before coming to Pierrepont, he taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Vassar College, where he was the Blegen Research Fellow (2005-6); he has also been a Fellow of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC (2005), of the Reid Hall Institute for Scholars in Paris (2007), and of the T. S. Eliot House in Gloucester (2019, 2021). Bruce has given invited lectures in NYC, Siracusa (Sicily), Ithaka (Greece), Salzburg, the University of Chicago, Cambridge University, and Rutgers University. He has published articles on Homer, Sophocles, pre-Socratic philosophy and its reception, and ancient melancholia; his first published poem, “An Argument with Apollo,” recently appeared in the journal Late Light.  Bruce has also co-edited a collection of essays that focus on the interpretative intersections between Classics and the social sciences, entitled Thinking the Greeks (Routledge, 2019). His book on the Iliad, entitled Achilles Unheroic, is forthcoming in 2022. Future research will focus on the philosophical, religious, and political revolutions of Magna Graecia in the archaic and classical periods.

Federica La Nave

Federica holds a PhD from Harvard, an MA from Tufts, and a laurea from the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” She specializes in the history of mathematics. She loves imaginary numbers and uncertainty in mathematics and logic. Before coming to Pierrepont, she was a teacher and researcher at Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong. She is also a graduate of the mathematics teacher training program at the Shady Hill School. A passionate and experienced Kung Fu practitioner, she is also a cellist. After dragging her cello around the world, she wishes she had chosen the piccolo instead.

Joy Lu

Joy holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Sheffield, UK, and a  BFA in erhu (2-string Chinese fiddle) and music education from National Taiwan Normal University. Her research interests include music, gender, national politics, and ethnic identity in Taiwan and China. Joy was awarded several prizes in erhu performance in Taiwan. She has published a music textbook, erhu music scores, and erhu music CDs that have been distributed in Taiwan and China. Besides teaching Mandarin Chinese at Pierrepont, Joy maintains an active musical life by directing the Chinese Music Ensemble at Wesleyan University and Smith College. She is often invited by schools, communities, and institutions to perform and introduce Chinese and Taiwanese music. In her free time, Joy enjoys traveling, listening to and playing music, learning new musical instruments, coding, reading Japanese comic books, and watching Korean dramas.

Sarah Marchesi

Sarah started her career as a public defender with the Georgetown Law Center as a Prettyman Fellow, defending children accused of crime and then continued her career as a staff attorney with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and The Bronx Defenders defending adults in poverty accused of every crime imaginable. Recognizing education as life altering, she switched careers and completed a Master’s fellowship at Yale in Urban Teaching in 2007. In return for a generous fellowship grant, she agreed to teach for two years in the New Haven Public Schools system and ended up teaching history for six years at five different schools. She brings a range of experience with school operations and curriculum from both the public and private sector. She has worked with students from more than 10 local private and public schools. She has served on the Heads Advisory Board at Hopkins School and was a founding board member of a Bed Stuy Success Academy Charter school in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Yale University in 1992, with a B.A. in Political Science and African studies. She spent far too much time in high school and college playing sports but did end up on the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Squad in 1991 which made it all worth it.

Timothy Morriss

Timothy Morriss can say that he has taught K-12 while at Pierrepont, though these days he is normally teaching middle and high school students.  He leads students into the two year course in American history, European history, and recent classes in Renaissance and Enlightenment history.  He holds an M.Phil and PhD from Yale where he studied American religious history and was a teaching fellow in the history and religious studies departments.  He especially loves cultural and social history and the chance to read primary texts with students.  He aims for wit, but too often falls short.

Michael Oosterhout

Michael Oosterhout currently serves as Administrative Assistant to the CFO at Pierrepont. He holds a B.A. in Music and Greek & Roman Studies from Vassar College, with departmental honors in both areas of study. Michael’s experience in education and administration includes serving as Program Manager for award-winning educational theatre company Traveling Players Ensemble, Vice President of the nationally-touring choral ensemble Vassar College Majors, and Music Director for countless theatre performances in several venues (including composing-directing two original full-length musical theatre works). Michael is the recipient of the Vassar College Larkin Prize in Ancient Societies and an honorable mention in the competition for the Jean Slater Edson Prize in Composition. He is currently pursuing an M.F.A. at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Liam O’Rourke

Liam O’Rourke has been teaching at Pierrepont School since 2003. He received his BA from Amherst College where he was a double major in English and Theater & Dance. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Indiana Review; he was also a contributor to Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry co-published by the Poetry Foundation and McSweeney’s. Prior to teaching at Pierrepont, he has worked as a bookseller, museum intern, stage manager, wardrobe assistant for some of New York City’s greatest drag queens, costume designer, and both administrative assistant and teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY. When not at Pierrepont, Liam spends much of his time living/care-taking on Staten Island at the Alice Austen House, a museum and historic home of Alice Austen, one of America’s first and most prolific female photographers.

J Phillips

J is originally from Salt Lake City. He attended Deep Springs College, a 2-year, 26-student school on a ranch in the California desert. As part of the school’s education is a labor program in which students take on jobs related to the running of the ranch. Among J’s responsibilities were one semester as feed man for the school’s livestock and another as assistant to the mechanic. After Deep Springs, he completed his degree at Stanford University. During this time, he began working for a construction company, building high-end homes for residents of Silicon Valley. After this, J moved to Cusco, Peru to work as an English teacher.

Richard Sanchez

Richard has a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University, where he studied logical foundations of mathematics. He now teaches mathematics at Pierrepont.

Chris Schlegel

Chris Schlegel joins Pierrepont’s English and Creative Writing faculties this year––and he’s beyond thrilled! Chris earned a PhD in English from Harvard, with a dissertation on the American poet Donald Justice and his cultural context; he also received an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (where Justice once taught). His first book of poems, Honest James, was published in 2015, and his work has appeared in West Branch Wired, The Volta, Lana Turner, and The Kenyon Review Online. His most recent poetry project, a collection of talk-pieces inspired by the poet-artist David Antin, melds improvised speaking, recording, transcription, and re-vision. In addition to his assistant teaching at Harvard, Chris has led courses in creative writing for business students, at Iowa; first-year composition, at SUNY-Oneonta; and the literature of bureaucracies, at Harvard Extension School. He’s returning to his lap swimming routine, and was born and raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Schwartzberg

Daniel grew up in New Hampshire, where he developed a love for theatre and Latin, dual passions which led him to pursue and earn his BFA in Musical Theatre, with a minor in Latin, at the University of Michigan. Since graduating, Daniel has performed nationally, and has taught students of all ages in the areas of Latin; theatre; and the use of consumer technology. He’s excited to be joining the Pierrepont community this year as a new faculty member in the Classics department. In addition to teaching, Daniel enjoys cooking new recipes; listening to podcasts and audiobooks (recommendations are always welcome); and laughing with his family.

Taiwo A. Togun

Taiwo Togun stands at the convergence of education, problem-solving, and technical skill cultivation, driven by a fervent passion for marrying these critical elements. Since joining Pierrepont School in 2012, he has played a pivotal role in developing the Computer Science curriculum, infusing it with a balanced mix of theoretical grounding and practical application. Taiwo’s foundation, rooted in a Ph.D. in Computational Biology & Bioinformatics from Yale and a Master’s in Technology Leadership from Brown University, equips him to nurture educational spaces that are as enriched as they are innovative. 

In the corporate sphere, Taiwo is a co-founder of InclusionBridge, a non-profit organization in workforce development addressing the diversity gap in data science, offering specialized training and internships to underrepresented talent. Prior to that, he established SeqHub Analytics, a consultancy dedicated to aiding companies in harnessing insights from interdisciplinary research, machine learning, and AI. 

His academic and research pursuits find him at the Race, Identity, and Social Environments (RISE) Lab at Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistics and Psychological Sciences, focusing on understanding the perception of fairness in machine learning algorithms. He is also an Industry Professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Bioinformatics Master’s program.

Jesse van Buren

Jesse is a theatre artist and educator currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He has been a member of the Pierrepont community since 2012. As a performer, director, playwright, and designer, Jesse’s work has been shown at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, The Brick Theater, SIGNAL Gallery, and Cloud City, as well as other temporary and DIY spaces. Jesse has a B.A. in Medieval Literature from Reed College and he is currently pursuing a Master’s in Educational Theatre at New York University’s Steinhardt School.

Nancy Webber

Nancy M. Webber is part of the original Pierrepont team and has been at the school since 1999.  She received a B.A from Boston University and an Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University.  While she has taught all ages at Pierrepont, she primarily teaches lower and middle school students. Her work as a teacher gave rise to her 25 year interest in literacy development, reading and writing difficulties and interventions and understanding non-verbal learning differences. She is a certified Lindamood-Bell and Wilson Reading practitioner. Her personal interests include classical, English and African American literature, theater, fund-raising for the Pierrepont Travel Abroad Program.

Jon Williams

Jon has an MA, MPhil, Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and PhD from Columbia University, where he held a Marjorie Hope Nicolson Fellowship as a doctoral student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. His dissertation, Languages of Kingship in Ricardian Britain, concerned a variety of literary and textual genres, such as verse, prose, chronicles, laws, and prophecies in English, Welsh, French, and Latin; a portion of this was published in Palgrave Macmillan’s Cultural Diversity in the British Middle Ages (2008). Jon got his BA from The George Washington University in English, with a minor in history. At George Washington he was a member of the University Honors Program’s Enosinian Scholars Program. Professionally, Jon has worked for Congressman Gary A. Condit (as an intern), the Princeton Review, and Columbia University’s Core Curriculum.  His academic and intellectual interests include the history and development of the English language and its global spread, travel narratives and literatures of boundaries and borders, and written and spoken political discourse. He has taught at Pierrepont School in various capacities since 2009.

Annabelle Wilson

Annabelle Wilson began her teaching career at The Children’s School (TCS) in Stamford, CT after a short stint at a non-profit classical music organization in NYC. She taught pre-K to grade 2 and served as the Kindergartener Coordinator for seven years before transitioning to New Canaan Country School when her first daughter was born in 2008. At NCCS, Annabelle worked as a Beginners classroom teacher/math coordinator and the early childhood division diversity coordinator until she came to Pierrepont in 2015. In her rare moments of spare time, Annabelle likes to spend them with her family preferably eating something delicious and is always hoping to find time to practice enough so that one day she can play the piano like she did when she was 18 years old. She graduated from Bucknell in 2001.

Zach Yanes

Zach attended Amherst College, where he received his BA in English and Psychology, and is currently pursuing an MA at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. He has taught English at Pierrepont since 2017. He loves literature, history, philosophy, and music, especially jazz, and plays the piano and saxophone.

Nancy Zhang

Nancy Zhang holds a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature as well as French and Francophone Studies from Vassar College. She studied abroad in Beijing for one semester through the ACC Intensive Language and Culture Program at Minzu University, and returned two summers later to complete a Chinese teachers training program at the K-12 Teachers Institute. Before arriving at Pierrepont, Nancy taught Chinese at a private school in central Connecticut, where she also served as an academic advisor and coached the middle school squash team. She also worked closely with the school’s Department of Diversity and Cultural Competency to advance the social justice and equity curriculum. Nancy enjoys working with students of all ages and is passionate about developing students’ self-awareness, compassion and empathy in addition to academic pursuits. In her off time, Nancy is often on the hunt for a new restaurant to try, hiking and enjoying her time in nature or traveling whenever and wherever she can.