Head of School
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1120
B.A., Spanish and Secondary Education, Notre Dame of Maryland University
M.S., Educational Leadership, Columbia University
Brenda has worked in independent middle schools across the country. In Philadelphia, Brenda worked with Breakthrough Collaborative, a non-profit focused on helping low-income students move from middle school through college, which was housed at local independent school Germantown Friends School. Brenda then taught middle school Spanish and worked on diversity initiatives at The Baldwin School, an all-girls PreK-12 independent school, and The Shipley School, a co-ed PreK-12 independent school. After completing a graduate school program focused on private school leadership at Teachers College Columbia University, Brenda moved to Austin, Texas to become the Middle School Head at Trinity Episcopal School of Austin, a K-8 independent school. An opportunity to be the Middle School Head at The Overlake School, a 5-12 co-ed independent school, in Redmond brought Brenda to the Puget Sound. She is excited to now be the third Head of School at Seattle Girls’ School.
Why I love middle school: Middle school is an exciting time in a student’s life when the main constant is change. There are so many parts of oneself to discover and explore; it’s possible to end up just about anywhere. While that idea may seem daunting or a bit chaotic to some, it is the joy of middle school. Our girls are working hard to become themselves in all areas of their lives: as students, friends, activists, daughters, athletes, thinkers, artists, community members and more. And, while we don’t know exactly where they will each end up in each of the many facets of their lives, we value the journey because we get to see them learn, laugh, and courageously face and overcome obstacles. Our girls awe us daily as they grow and teach us moment to moment what possibility looks like.
Assistant Head of School
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1640
B.S., Biology, Duke University
M.S., in Science Education, U.C. Berkeley
Phelana worked in schools in California, Texas, and Saudi Arabia before joining SGS in 2014. She has a true passion for learning and supporting others in their learning and leading. Phelana taught biology, chemistry, geology, and physical science at the middle and high school levels, and she has served as a mentor for pre-service and beginning teachers at different schools. Some of her summers were spent excavating dinosaur fossils in Alaska and working with the Center for Neurotechnology at UW. Phelana values building relationships with students, families, and faculty, collaborating to support student learning. Phelana has two daughters and enjoys hiking, reading, volleyball, and good food.
Why I love middle school: In middle school, students learn so much about themselves. It is a fun, but challenging journey. I love helping students cultivate their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. It’s also very important for students to have strong allies and role models through the tougher parts of adolescence, and I love to support students through their joyous moments and their uphill climbs.
Director of Advancement
Phone: (206) 709-2228
B.A. French Studies, Wesleyan University
Certificate in Writing for Children, University of Washington – Seattle
Lexi serves as the Director of Advancement for SGS. For the past decade, Lexi has supported young people through development work at innovative community organizations. Most recently, she was the Development Director at Summer Search, and previously built the development function at Bike Works, one of SGS’s community partners. Lexi currently serves on the Board of Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC), a coalition of organizations, schools, educators, parents and caregivers, and community leaders working to improve education for all children, especially those farthest from opportunities. When she isn’t at SGS, she’s tromping around the Pacific NW with her spouse and three kids, playing volleyball, hanging out with neighbors on Seattle’s most awesome block, reading speculative fiction or making negligible progress on her first novel.
Why I love middle school: I find that middle schoolers are both silly and serious, curious and eager to contribute; they want to make a difference and are continually learning who they are and who they aspire to be – exactly the kind of people who I love to be around and aspire to be like myself.
Director of Business Operations
Phone: (206) 709-2228 ext. 1335
B.A. , Economics, State University of New York at Binghamton
M.Sc. , Accounting and Finance, London School of Economics, UK
Roberta is part of a globetrotting family. Together with her husband, two children and a cat called Barney, she has lived in London, Vancouver, Chicago and Seattle, although she was born and raised in NYC. Roberta holds a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics, and has widespread experience in the fields of accounting and finance, working predominantly in the private sector with companies such as Prudential-Bache Securities and William Mercer. Roberta comes to the world of school finance through her involvement with the Chicago Waldorf School, where she served on the Finance Committee, as Treasurer and as part of the Board Executive Committee.
Why I love middle school: My daughter Sophie has just completed her middle school career, and has lived to tell the tale. It’s fascinating to see her and girls her age broadening their understanding of the world around them. She surprises me every day.
Director of Enrollment Management
Colleen Tremaine Nelson
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1220
B.S., Fine and Applied Art, University of Oregon
Colleen serves as the Director of Enrollment Management at SGS. She has been an assistant teacher in the 5th grade classroom and worked in Development and Admissions. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fine and Applied Arts from University of Oregon.
Colleen has served on the SGS Head Search Committee, twice chaired the SGS Luncheon and she coordinated the PNAIS Accreditation for SGS. Prior to SGS, she spent 14 years working at Microsoft.
Why I love middle school: This is a time in a girl’s life where they are figuring out who they are, I love to see the journey each and every student at SGS takes in becoming that person they are meant to be.
Interim Dean of Students
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1015
Why I love middle school: I’ve always felt you have to be a middle schooler at heart to work with middle school kids. To me, that means you’re always learning and finding new ways to grow and understand the world. And, of course, having some fun while you’re at it!
Director of Academic Innovation
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1710
B.A. Literature and Writing, University of San Diego
Marcele teaches Computer Science to grades 5-8 and coordinates Seattle Girls’ School commitment to integrating STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art, and Math) across the disciplines. Marcele has 20+ years of experience teaching elementary school age children computer science and STEM (+ART) in private and public schools in New York City. Marcele most recently worked at The Spence School, a K-12 all-girls’ school in Manhattan for 14 years.
In the Lower School division, she designed integrated approaches to learning that encourage students to think more broadly about real-world problems and develop student driven projects that foster innovation and creativity.
Director of Athletics
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1910
B.S. Sports Management, Menlo College
April has been at SGS since the spring of 2010 and is the Athletics Director. She also coaches the basketball teams at SGS and helps out with the various sports offerings throughout the year. In her spare time, she loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.
Why I love middle school: I love middle school because everyday is different, and you never know what is going to happen. I love being able to be part of a community where we see the girls grow right in front of our eyes, and to be able to watch that transformation as it takes place.
B.A., Biology, Harvard University
Rosetta has been at SGS since the school’s first year of existence. She is also the Professional Outreach Specialist, in which role she designs and delivers trainings for all constituents of the school community, as well as the local and national educational and nonprofit sectors. Since 2004, Rosetta has been a diversity speaker and trainer on a variety of issues including cross cultural communication, identity development, prejudice reduction and coalition building, gender and sexuality diversity, facilitation skills, relational aggression among girls, bullying in schools, and gender bias in the classroom. Rosetta has presented at numerous conferences and nonprofit organizations such as the White Privilege Conference, Junior League, and City Year. She has also worked with over 75 K-12 public and independent schools throughout the country, as well as a number of colleges and universities. She has served several years on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Diversity Leadership Institute, as well as NAIS’ diversity think-tank cadre, Call to Action. Rosetta is the recipient of NWABR’s 2007 Outstanding Partner in Education Award and recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Teacher Award for the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. She holds a Bachelor Degree from Harvard University (Biology Concentration).
Why I love middle school: Middle school is this magical time where young people are optimistic and innocent AND ready to think about tough and abstract topics. It is a time when they are both able to follow the rules AND challenge their fairness. Middle school youth can share with you the most mind-bendingly deep thought one moment and then hang upside down on the monkey bars like a six year old the next moment. They’re like New England weather – wait five more minutes and you’ll see a whole new side to them! They’re such passionate, curious, challenging, and interesting people; it’s a mystery to me that everyone wouldn’t want to work with middle school youth!
Phone: (206) 709.2228, Ext.1755
M.S., Dual Degree, Special Education and Elementary Education, Bank Street College,
B.A., Government, Cornell University
As a Learning Specialist at SGS, Rebecca will provide academic support through individual and group work with students. She will collaborate with teachers, administrators, parents, and outside resources to help ensure a successful learning experience for all. Rebecca will also serve as a 7th Grade Advisor. Rebecca has recently moved with her family from the New York area where she has lived most of her life. She spent the last two years working at the all-girls’ Kent Place School in New Jersey as the Primary School Learning Specialist. Rebecca also has experience working with middle school students as she also served as the Middle School Learning Specialist at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY.
Why I love middle school: What I love most about teaching middle school students is that they challenge me to be a better educator. Their needs change on a daily (or even hourly) basis, and I love the task of figuring out how to empower them to become successful learners. Being a part of the ‘aha!’ moments when students realize that they are their own best advocates on their educational journey is satisfying and exhilarating. Plus, middle students are just plain fun to be around. They exude a frenetic and contagious energy – they are funny, full of drama, and yet serious and thoughtful about their world, too.
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1320
B.S., Accounting, University of Utah
Betty works in the accounting department at SGS and she is also a mom to Zora, an SGS student. She has worked and volunteered with several nonprofit organizations and in many different settings with young people. Before taking five years off to be a full-time parent, Betty worked at Solid Ground for ten years, first coordinating a homeless prevention program and later working in the accounting department. Prior to working at Solid Ground, she was the volunteer coordinator for the Pike Market Senior Center, a Vista Volunteer working with teens in an urban 4-H program, and coordinator of an after-school program at Rainier Beach Community Center. Before moving to Seattle in 1992, Betty was the Director of Purchasing for Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, where, in addition to buying hotdogs and roller coaster parts, she trained and supervised teenage staff.
Why I love middle school: I love the curiosity and energy of middle school students.
Capital Campaign Manager
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1215
B.A., Environmental Science, Colby College
Janice works closely with the Board of Trustees and Campaign Cabinet to manage donor outreach, cultivation, and strategy around the Rise Up campaign, SGS’ campaign for a new, permanent home. Prior to joining the SGS community, Janice spent six years conducting environmental research all around the world, but is very excited to be back in her native Washington! In her free time, Janice enjoys playing volleyball (she also coaches at SGS!), hiking with her friends, and taking the occasional cat nap.
What I love about middle school: The atmosphere is electric! As a middle schooler, I felt encouraged to be creative, adventurous, silly, and brave, and everyday was a learning experience, in and out of the classroom.
Administrative Assistant to Head of School
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1125
Angie supports Head of School Brenda Leaks, the Board of Trustees, and other volunteers in their efforts to build community support for our permanent home. Angie just relocated to the Seattle area with her husband and two kids.
Prior to SGS, Angie was the Executive Assistant to corporations formerly known as Bosch, Toshiba, and Behr Process. She obtained her Business Administration degree in 2006. Angieis very excited to be a part of the SGS community because SGS empowers young girls and allows them to reach their max potential.
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1240
BA, Journalism, Seattle University
Certificate in UI/Visual Design, School of Visual Concepts
Devon manages all things communication at SGS, from the website, newsletters, digital and print materials, and social media. With a background in web design and copy writing, Devon is here to make sure all of our communication reads, sounds, and looks great. She also runs the SGS Mentor Program, which matches each student with a role model in the community. Devon just completed a year-long certificate program at the School for Visual Concepts in User Interface/Visual Design. In her free time, she runs a small handmade jewelry business, Tangent Jewelry, and loves to kayak on pretty much any body of water in Washington.
Why I love middle school: I feel like I am constantly learning from SGS middle schoolers. They are inquisitive, silly, unapologetic, and just trying to figure out who they want to be. It’s amazing to witness the growth and development of the next generation.
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1000
B.A.S, Philosophy and Environmental Design, Quest University Canada
Riley serves as the SGS Receptionist/Registrar/Morning Care Enthusiast. After graduating SGS in 2007, she has lived in Canada and Mexico. Happy to call South Seattle home once again, she spends her time adventuring with her dog, working on her Spanish, and moonlighting as a wildlife tracker and certified yoga teacher.
Why I love middle school : Middle schoolers have an ability to be goofy, adventurous, and playful while still being able to engage in sophisticated discussions. I am appreciative of their inclination to test limits and investigate boundaries. As such, they bring unique perspectives to problems/issues that challenge my way of thinking.
Receptionist and Aftercare Coordinator
B.A. Psychology and Predictive Health, Emory University
Anna-Simone works as the SGS Receptionist and Aftercare extraordinaire. Anna-Simone graduated from SGS in 2009 and Holy Names Academy in 2013 and is excited to be back in Seattle after a five year break. Anna-Simone has taken her passion for sport of lacrosse from Seattle to Atlanta and then to U.K. where she lived and worked as a lacrosse coach at an all-girls boarding school. Anna-Simone is happy to be back home in Seattle’s Mt Baker neighborhood reconnecting with the ever changing community.
B.A Politics, University of California, Santa Cruz
Casey supports the work of the SGS development office, including the development and organization of all aspects of the annual fund and luncheon. He brings to the team experience in marketing, business management, and education, and he can talk your ear off about regenerative agriculture and rural revitalization. Find Casey outside the office running, reading, writing, or rustling up good eatings.