Administration & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Lee Thomsen
Head of School

B.A., Harvard University; M.A., Johns Hopkins University

Faculty & Staff

Maisae Affour
Head of Lower School

Maisae has 25 years’ experience as an administrator and teacher in U.S. and international Independent schools including Vision International School in Qatar, Ibn Khuldoon National School in Bahrain, American International School in Pakistan, St. Catherine of Siena School in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Caribbean School in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Maisae is an educator with a passion for early childhood and elementary education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and master’s degrees in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Aleppo and in Teaching from Marygrove College in Detroit.

Faculty & Staff

Rommel Loria
Head of Middle School

Rommel Loria

B.A., Georgetown University, M.A., Johns Hopkins University, J.D., University of Maryland School of Law 

Rommel comes to Country Day from the Park School in Baltimore, where he was the Director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning. Rommel received a bachelor of science in Finance from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in liberal arts from John Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor degree from University of Maryland. His success as both a Middle School Language Arts teacher and as an administrator of a PK-12 program makes him an ideal person for the Middle School position.

Rommel and his wife Jessica live in Sacramento with their three children, Leah, Charlie, and Max. 

Faculty & Staff

Brooke Wells
Head of High School
English

B.A., Haverford College; M.Ed Michigan State University

Faculty & Staff

Taratip (Tara) Adams
Learning Specialist

Taratip Adams serves as one of Country Day’s Learning Specialists for lower through high school. She works closely with students to help them reach their fullest potential, as well as partners with teachers and families to provide instructional strategies that work best for their learners. 

Prior to her big move to California in 2016, she worked in Illinois as a 5th grade teacher. She was a member of the IEP team and also partnered with local schools to bring in 1-to-1 technology for all middle school students. She was the head of the 5th grade science department, bringing more hands-on learning into the classroom. Before coming to Country Day in the spring of 2019, she served as a classroom teacher at Charles Armstrong School, a Bay Area school for students with learning differences. 

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University and will soon earn her Master’s in Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies. She also has endorsements in Middle School Education, Social Science, and Language Arts. 

Her mother is her biggest role model and is grateful to have experienced living in Thailand for seven years, where she learned to cook and live like the locals.

“Food is what brings people together and my mother always tells people that if you want to make someone happy, bring them some of my Pad Thai!” she says.

Tara’s current hobbies include cooking, rock climbing, or binge watching one of her favorite reality TV shows. 

Faculty & Staff

Valerie Adelsheim
Assistant to the Head of School

B.S., University of Minnesota

Faculty & Staff

Emily Allshouse
Director of Marketing and Communications

Emily Allshouse

Emily Allshouse serves as Country Day’s Director of Marketing and Communications. She is responsible for the school’s internal and external communications and marketing efforts and manages the school’s print and digital advertising, its website and social media accounts, and school-wide communications.  

Before coming to Country Day in 2018, she served as a communications specialist for the Association of California Water Agencies, where she monitored water-related regulation and legislation and developed key messages, fact sheets, presentations and other communications related to California water policy. Emily also has previous experience in city and state government, property management, media, and nonprofit program management.

She earned a bachelor of science in Humanities and Religious Studies from California State University, Sacramento, and an Associate of Arts in Art from Sacramento City College. Her favorites college experiences were learning to make puppets in theater class, studying Buddhism and meditation, and reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in Dr. Victoria Shinbrot’s Romanticism in literature course.

After college, Emily spent two years studying Inca Shamanism and Native American medicine traditions and traveled to Machu Picchu to perform prayer ceremonies with Q’ero elders. 

“Traveling to Peru was a life-changing experience,’” she says of her trip.

Emily’s current hobbies include rock painting, Bible meditation, and watching movies.

Faculty & Staff

Jane Stroup Bauman
Director of College Counseling
High School English

Jane Bauman joined the high school English faculty in fall 2005 and added Director of College Counseling to her teaching duties in the fall of 2012. 

Before coming to Country Day, she worked in undergraduate admissions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she specialized in international admissions. 

Bauman has also taught English as a Second Language in a variety of university programs at University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada Reno, International Division in Japan; Texas Wesleyan College; and Strayer College (Washington, D.C.).

Bauman has a Master’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in French literature from UC Santa Cruz. She is also a member of the Northern Nevada Writing Project. 

Having lived and studied abroad in Japan, Ecuador, and France, she considers study abroad a transformative experience that all students should consider. She is also an avid theatergoer and longtime member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

 

Faculty & Staff

Edward Bolman
Sixth Grade
Middle School Mathematics Department Chair
Middle School Dean of Student Life & Student Council Advisor

Edward Bolman is a 6th grade teacher. He teaches 6th grade Math and History, and is a 6th grade advisor. Additionally, he also serves as the Middle School Dean of students, Middle School Student Council Advisor, and the Department Chair of the Middle School Math Department.

Edward has been teaching for more than twenty three years. Two of those years were spent in the People’s Republic of China teaching in the Chinese Public School system where he was also responsible for managing 20 expatriate teachers. He has been a teacher in the Country Day Middle School for more than 15 years.

He earned his A.A. at Sierra College, and his B.A. from San Francisco State University. Edward also has earned SSAT, CSET, CBEST and Praxis certifications from SFSU as part of their teacher training program.

Faculty & Staff

Kelley Brown
Learning Specialist

Kelley Brown is a Learning Specialist at Country Day. She leads the Academic Support Team of Learning Specialists who focus on the academic support and enrichment of students PK-12th grade. She works closely with teachers to benchmark the personal growth of all students and meets with students in small group or individual settings in order to provide early intervention and extension opportunities.

Kelley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies as well as a California Multiple Subjects credential and Education Specialist (Mild to Moderate) credential from Loyola Marymount University. Through St. Mary’s College of California, she earned Montessori Elementary I and II credentials as well as a Masters of Arts in Education degree, with the focus of her thesis being the improvement of the executive functioning skills of 4th-6th grade students with ADHD.

She has taught elementary school grades across public and private settings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area before returning to her hometown of Sacramento and joining the Country Day community.

Spending time with family and friends continues to be Kelley’s favorite pastime. She especially loves cuddles from her mini golden doodle, Jefferson, and watching the development of her baby girl. Crafting, reading, yoga, and meditating are her ultimate self-care indulgences.

Faculty & Staff

Rachelle Doyle
Director of Advancement

Rachelle Doyle has served as the Director of Advancement for Sacramento Country Day School since 2018. She provides leadership for all fundraising, alumni, and board of trustees relations. With her team, she oversees planning for the school’s fundraising efforts, including annual fund, capital campaign, endowment, alumni giving, grants, special projects, and planned giving. Rachelle works on providing strategic direction for all aspects of Country Day’s Advancement. 

Before coming to Country Day in 2018, Rachelle served as a Director of Development for Sacramento Waldorf School. Prior to that, she worked for 10 years in marketing and advertising. 

Rachelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Communications from California State University, Sacramento and a Fundraising and Development Certificate from U.C. Davis. She is currently is pursuit of her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Rachelle is dedicated to making a positive impact: at Country Day, in her home, in Sacramento, and in the world. She loves philanthropy and building relationships and brings passion to her work. 

During her vacation time, she travels around the world on short term missions. During free time at home, she volunteers with several organizations focused on building and developing youth.

“To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides. People choose to make a difference.” – Maya Angelou 

Faculty & Staff

Shelley Hinson
Director of Technology

B.S., M.S., Ph.D from University of Houston

Shelley Hinson comes to Country Day from The Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in New Jersey, where she served as the assistant technology director. She also has held roles with VIVA Bahrain and University of Houston Optometry. 

She has a bachelor of science in Human Resources, a master of science in Occupational Technology, and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from University of Houston.

Faculty & Staff

Fred Jaravata
Innovation and Technology (PK-12th grades)

B.A., M.A., University of San Francisco

Fred earned his bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of San Francisco. He has 18 years’ experience working as an educational innovation coordinator at Convent & Stuart Hall Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco.

Faculty & Staff

Christina Kaufman
Garden Facilitator

Christina Kaufman serves as Sacramento Country Day School’s Garden Facilitator. She is responsible for managing the garden and teaching students about all aspects of productive gardening, including maintaining healthy soil, planting seeds, transplanting, harvesting and ultimately preparing vegetables for eating.

Christina has been part of the Country Day community since 2004 when her oldest child began as a kindergartener. Both of her children are Country Day Lifers. Prior to her involvement in the school garden, she was Parents’ Association President for two years. For the past 10 years, Christina has served as a parent volunteer in the school garden, and in July 2019 she took over as Garden Facilitator. 

Christina attended CSU, Sacramento, San Diego State University, and American River College completing courses in business, recreation management, horticulture and landscape design. She also holds a certificate from Soil Born Farms in the “Grow Your Groceries” program. 

Christina has a passion for the great outdoors, expressed in gardening, camping,  backpacking and multiple athletic adventures. She has a love of all sports (including marathons, triathlons, tennis, golf, cycling, and mountain biking), but her favorite is soccer. Over a career spanning 25 years, she played for Sacramento State, San Diego State, American River College, US national club champion Ajax FC, Buitenveldert FC in Amsterdam, and the U.S. Women’s National Team (earning two caps and a goal at a 1993 CONCACAF tournament.)

Faculty & Staff

Chris Kuipers
High School History Department Chair
Associate Director of College Counseling

Chris Kuipers is chair of the Country Day history department and serves as the Associate Director of College Counseling. He teaches 9th grade World History, AP United States History, and AP European History. In his college counseling role, he advises and supports students and their families through the college planning and application processes. He is also the proud father of a Country Day student.

Before coming to Country Day in 2010, Chris taught history and served as department head at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, an independent boarding and day school for girls in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

In addition to his teaching experience, Chris also worked for several years in the admission offices of Amherst College and Stanford University. At both institutions, Chris managed regional territories and served on the admissions selection committees, reading and evaluating over a thousand applications annually. Chris also previously worked as the Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Programs at Amherst College.

Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in history from Amherst College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He wrote a senior honors thesis on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s understanding of the American Civil War under the guidance of professor David Blight, one of the world’s leading scholars on the Civil War and historical memory. Chris also earned a Master of Education with a focus on Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Chris was named the National History Day Teacher of the Year in Sacramento County in 2018. He has also been twice selected by his students as a “Lifer Honoree” at Country Day and was awarded the “Faculty Appreciation Prize” by his students at Stoneleigh-Burnham School.

When he’s not enjoying time with his family or honing his pedagogy, Chris loves to run, read, watch sports, and dominate the Country Day fantasy football league.

Faculty & Staff

Rebecca Lau
Associate Director of Admission

Rebecca Lau is our new Associate Director of Admission. Prior to joining Country Day, Rebecca was the Director of Marketing and Admissions at SSIS, Suzhou’s International School in Suzhou, China. She also previously worked on the Marketing Strategy and Brand Analytic teams at both Interbrand and Clear Strategy. She holds a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Dayton as well as a Masters of International Business Administration from The Thunderbird School of Global Management, ASU. Rebecca is thrilled to join the Country Day team because working in schools allows her passion for marketing and research to be used in an educational setting.

Faculty & Staff

Joanne Melinson
Middle and High School Librarian
Literary Magazine Advisor

Jo Melinson has been working in libraries for over 28 years. She started working at Country Day in 1994, and since 2007 has been the 6th – 12th grade librarian. She has been the High School Literary Magazine Adviser since 2000, and the High School Scholar Inclusion Co-Coordinator since 2019.

The mission of the library is to foster lifelong learning, which the library team does through encouraging a love of reading as well as building a strong foundation for research. Jo collaborates often with teachers and students on research projects, trains students and faculty on the use of library resources, and has conducted Q & A sessions with guest speakers. She is very interested in inclusion, diversity, and equity and has served on the school’s IDEA committee since 2000 (as the founding chair from 2000-2007).

She is a member of the Association of Independent School Librarians (AISL) as well as Bay Area Independent School Librarians (BAISL), where she is on the High School eBook Committee. In October 2019, she was a panelist on the Education Week webinar, Activate Student Success with Database Access. She presented on Library Remodels at the 2015 BAISL annual meeting. She was also one of the subjects of the Lisa Peet article for Library Journal“Conspiring to Educate: Working Together for Transitioning Students”

Jo earned her B.A. in English with a writing concentration at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Before working at Country Day, Jo worked at Rutgers Law Library in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences) in Philadelphia. She also was a freelance editor and writer in Philadelphia and had a resume writing business. 

Jo loves crafting, playing ukulele, and spending time with family, especially on road trips. Her daughter attended Country Day for second through 12th grades. 

Faculty & Staff

Michelle Myers
Director of Physical Education, PK-12th grade

Michelle Myers serves as Country Day’s Director of Physical Education for PK-12th grades. She is also a physical education teacher to Lower School and High School students, as well as oversees the Independent P.E. programs for 5th through 12th grades. 

Michelle started her schooling at the University of Hawaii, then transferred to California State University, Sacramento where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education/Athletic Training (subsumption in biology), and became a P.E. Movement Education Specialist.

Michelle was then accepted into the credentialing program at CSUS, to finish her teaching degree. After that, Michelle completed course work  for a Master’s in Education from Saint Marys’ college in Moraga.

While Michelle’s path had two directions- teaching and coaching, she also became a consultant for many CAIS schools on how to develop a “Developmentally Appropriate Physical Education Program”.

While in college, Michelle also found a fondness for volleyball under the tutelage of the infamous Debby Colberg and Weidi Zhang. She then went on to coach girl’s volleyball at Country Day, American River College, and Consumes College. 

Trying to encourage the boys, Michelle started the first boys’ volleyball team at Country Day, formed a Junior Olympic Boy’s club, worked as a summer coach at Stanford Boy’s Camps, coached at Rio Americano, and finally became the Men’s Volleyball coach for both JV, and eventually Varsity, at California State University, Sacramento. 

Michelle received the Francie Tidey award in 2015 from former Country Day alumni in honor of her dedication to excellence in teaching. “It was the most humbling experience and honor, I’ve ever had!” she says.

Michelle’s hobbies include playing polo and enjoying her horses, her running club SACFIT , owned by Alum Ken Press, cooking for friends, and most importantly staying connected to former students via Facebook- that’s about 1,000 students!

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Kristi Peoro
Assistant to the Head of Lower School

Kristi Peoro is the Assistant to the Head of Lower School. Her duties include assisting parents and students, providing clerical support to faculty and the Head of Lower School, maintaining student files, providing first aid and triaging student illnesses, and maintaining records for parent drivers.

She first joined Country Day in 2008 as the Assistant to the Athletic Director and also served as Assistant to the Head of High School. After taking several years off to raise her two daughters, Kristi feels fortunate to serve the Lower School.

Kristi earned a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from San Jose State University.  Prior to San Jose State University she attended Hawaii Pacific University on a volleyball scholarship where her team won the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Faculty & Staff

William Petchauer
Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager

B.A., Albion College; MBA, San Jose State University

Faculty & Staff

Adie Renteria
Learning Specialist

Adie Renteria is one of Country Day School’s three Learning Specialists. She works with Kelley Brown and Tara Adams to support students and teachers throughout the school but works especially closely with the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. She is responsible for overseeing AimsWeb testing, writing learning profiles for students who need extra accommodations, meeting with teachers and parents to develop learning plans for students, and working with students one-on-one and in small groups. 

Before coming to Country Day School in 2019, she worked at Trevor Day School in New York City as the K-2 Learning Specialist where she helped the lower school faculty review and modify the literacy curriculum, monitored assessments, and worked with students in small groups and one-on-one as a Reading Recovery Teacher. She had a private tutoring practice for students of all ages and has previous experience as a First Grade Teacher. 

Adie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from Princeton University with a certificate in Latin American Studies. The best part of her college experience was working with the award-winning poets, C.K. Williams and Paul Muldoon, in the Creative Writing Department and the Argentinean author, Ricardo Piglia, in the Spanish Department to translate the work of the Argentinenan poet, Alejandra Pizarnik, for her senior thesis. 

Adie had always dreamed of becoming a teacher so she joined the New York City Teaching Fellows as soon as she graduated from Princeton and spent two years teaching at an inner-city school in the South Bronx. She earned a Master of Science in Childhood Education from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York and a Master of Education with a specialization in Literacy from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. 

Adie’s current hobbies include indoor cycling, yoga, baking, reading, and biking along the American River with her family. 
 

Faculty & Staff

Pat Reynolds
Social-Emotional Counselor and Educator

Pat Reynolds serves as Country Day’s Social-Emotional Counselor and is the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) teacher for 6th – 9th grades. Before coming to Country Day in 2015, Pat served as Upper School Counselor at a large independent school in Houston. Pat has been School Counselor and Head of Residential Life at an Independent School in Cleveland as well as a Middle School Science teacher at an Independent school in Virginia. Some of her past experiences include coaching a variety of sports, teaching Driver Education, and working at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Pat earned a Bachelor of Science degree at James Madison University and a Master’s degree in Counseling Education from Cleveland State University.  Her favorite college experience was playing varsity basketball at JMU. After college, Pat immediately began teaching and coaching.  One experience that stands out for Pat is that while she was in Cleveland she chaperoned an Eco-trip to the Dominican Republic. 

Pat has backpacked across the Grand Canyon, in the Grand Tetons as well as through Alaska, and kayaked around the San Juan Islands.  Most recently she has been car camping and exploring the State Parks in California. A new project is working with her dog Mocha who will become a certified therapy dog.  Her hobbies include bicycling (in 2009 she completed a Century ride in Southern Colorado), camping, reading, and dabbling in cooking.

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Sue Ryan
Lower School Librarian

B.A., Cardinal Stritch College; M.S., California State University, Fullerton

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Melissa Strong
Assistant Middle and High School Librarian

Melissa Strong is the Assistant Librarian in the Matthews Library. She creates the library’s displays, performs circulation services, creates content for the library’s social media sites, processes books, and assists however she can to help make the library a magical place.

Before coming to Country Day is 2016, she worked for the California State Library Foundation archiving special projects. Prior to that, she worked at the Sacramento Public Law Library and the library at Humboldt State University. 

Melissa graduated with high honors from Sacramento City College with an Associate in Science degree in Library and Information Technology. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Her favorite college memory is having her daughter attend her graduation.

Melissa’s hobbies include tsundoku (book hoarding), reading, crafting, and streaming the same show for the hundredth time.

Faculty & Staff

Michael Unti
Associate Director of Technology
High School STEM

Michael Unti joins us from Summit, New Jersey as our new High School STEM teacher and Associate Director of Technology. He has taught Computer Science, Robotics, and Ethics for 10 years. He holds a Master’s Degree from Boston College, as well as a Bachelor’s from Saint Bonaventure University and is working towards a Master’s in STEM Education at NC State University. He enjoys traveling and has studied abroad at Oxford University, England, as well as the Colegio de Espana in Salamanca, Spain.  He now enthusiastically joins Country Day and looks forward to working with the students, faculty, staff and parents of the community.

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Dana Vargo
Director of Admission and Enrollment Management

B.A., University of the Pacific; M.A., University of the Pacific

A native Californian, Dana earned her bachelor of arts and master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of the Pacific. Dana’s career at Country Day began in 1997 when she joined the High School English faculty. Within a few years,  she began assisting Country Day’s admissions efforts, eventually making the leap to her current role as Associate Director of Admission.

Dana lives in the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento with her husband Matt and two sons. Dana feels it’s a privilege to share the Country Day program and community with prospective families.

Faculty & Staff

Matt Vargo
Athletic Director

B.A., University of the Pacific

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Amy Nelson Wells ’98
Director of the Annual Fund
Alumni Coordinator

B.S., University of California, Berkeley; M.S., University of California, Davis