The word is out on learner-centered education and we couldn’t be more excited about the number of educators who are passionate about our mission here at TVS. After reviewing over 150 guide applications, 40 phone interviews, and 15 in-person (and learner-led) interviews, we are thrilled to welcome five new Guides to complete our team and help us welcome new families to our community for the 2023-2024 school year!
At the same time, some of our current team members will be taking on new roles. It is our hope and belief that these positions will strengthen our learning design, our community, and our ability to deliver on our mission.
New Team Members
Aaryn Drapiza- Lead Adventure Studio Guide
Aaryn is a lifelong learner and deeply passionate about inspiring others to follow and nurture their natural curiosities. She discovered her love of guiding learners while working with children of all ages as a swim teacher, teacher’s aide, camp gymnastics instructor, and nanny. After graduating with a degree in Humanities, a discipline that challenged her to think critically and never stop asking questions, Aaryn pursued a path in education so she could continue inspiring, equipping, and connecting young people on their journeys. Aaryn has worked as an Elementary Guide and Lead Middle School Guide and is excited to further her education experience at The Village School. She also has her Upper Elementary Diploma from the North American Montessori Center. In her free time, Aaryn enjoys listening to audiobooks, singing along to musicals, running, and exploring DC.
Madelyn Brewer- Lead Discovery Studio Guide
Whether it is discovering what makes something float or memorizing the lyrics to the latest Disney hit, Madelyn aims to guide learners with the same boundless enthusiasm and curiosity that they embody every day. Madelyn received her Bachelors in Philosophy from Connecticut College in New London, CT. However, it was her volunteer time and work outside of school that inspired her to pursue education. Since beginning her career, Madelyn has taught at a country day school, a project-based micro-school, and a parochial school. Madelyn is eager to join a school community where she can prioritize what she considers essential for young people to thrive–a multifaceted approach that nurtures curiosity, confidence, and independence. It was only natural that she found her way to The Village School!
Cara Borja- Lead Discovery Studio Guide
Cara has a strong passion for the fields of science and education. She received two undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a master’s degree in neuroscience from Brown University. During her studies, she actively pursued teaching opportunities and obtained professional teaching certification in middle school science. Her professional work experience includes being a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, working for non-profit communities in Washington, D.C., and being an educator in multiple areas in the DMV.
She loves building connections with young people, enhancing their knowledge and curiosity about the world, and having the opportunity to make a positive influence on their lives. She is thrilled to be continuing her journey at The Village School!
Lauren Coyle- Lead Spark Studio Guide
The first “classroom” Lauren experienced was the grapefruit groves her family cultivated for generations, where she dug in the dirt and helped care for trees with her dad. There, she learned that education is more than desks and tests; education is experience, learning with your hands, and cooperating with others to grow something new. Lauren loves witnessing each child’s unique sense of wonder about the world and welcomes the chance to be curious with them as they learn.
Lauren has a B.A. in psychology from The College of William and Mary and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from George Washington University. Alongside coursework in child development, Lauren interned at two different schools in D.C. She completed her residency at a community mental health center in Fairfax and then continued there as a full-time clinician, conducting individual and group therapy sessions for patients of all ages. After taking some time off to raise three toddlers, Lauren grew passionate about combining her background in psychology with early childhood education and five years ago returned to the workforce as a lead teacher at a Reggio-Emilia-inspired preschool. She is excited to join The Village School Guide team and aid in cultivating young learners’ natural ability to follow their interests and learn in community with others.
Lauryn Elliot- Visiting Guide
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Lauryn is a native of the area and has always strived to give back to her community in any way that she can. Lauryn is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and crossed at James Madison University where she earned her B.A. degree in Justice studies with a minor in Political Science and pre-Law. Lauryn is currently pursuing an M.S. in Political Science at Liberty University and has hopes to earn her doctorate degree. Lauryn has always had the enthusiasm, determination, and passion for being a guiding hand for the younger generations and has witnessed firsthand how different pedagogical approaches can improve a child’s education. Lauryn is excited to join a community of life-long learners at The Village School and support the mission of empowering young people to become architects of their own learning!
Hannah Runyon- Program Designer and Camp Director
Hannah graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Geology and Environmental Issues. She is passionate about inspiring curiosity and critical thinking in connection with natural world and has worked with children of all ages as an environmental educator, mentor, camp counselor, nanny, and wilderness trip leader. Hannah grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York and attended non-traditional schools as a child. In her free time, she likes to run, make clothing on her sewing machine, bake, and make pottery.
Hannah has spent the last two years at The Village School as an Apprentice Guide and Discovery Lead Guide. She is excited to be stepping into the role of Program Designer and Camp Director for the 2023-2024 school year, which will allow her to utilize her passions and talents for learner-centered curriculum design and outdoor education. Although Hannah will miss guiding learners each day in the studios, she is excited for the opportunity to design and lead camps at TVS throughout the school year- and as always, to continue learning!
Rebecca Blake- Assistant Guide and Extended Day Coordinator
Rebecca grew up in Northern Virginia exploring nature trails and historic sites in the area. She received a BBA in Computer Information Systems from James Madison University and worked for a technology company before moving into education. Creativity and play foster a love of learning she is passionate about sharing. She spent a year teaching a nature class, helping students explore the woods, cultivating youth leadership, and teaching technical outdoor skills in a mixed-aged learning environment. Rebecca believes learner-centered education is crucial for keeping learners engaged and responsible for their own education, acknowledging individuals’ unique interests and strengths. She loves to see a learner excited to learn more about a new topic or feel pride in understanding a tricky concept. She endeavors to empower learners to think creatively, use empathy, and solve tough problems. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading and hiking.
Rebecca has spent the last year at The Village School as a Visiting Guide and Assistant Guide. She is excited to continue on as an Assistant Guide with the goal of supporting our Wellness and Spark programs as well as taking on the additional role of coordinating and overseeing TVS’s Extended Day program for the 2023-2024 school year.
Join us in celebrating our new guides and new roles to complete our team for the 2023-2024 school year!