Head of School
Phone: (206) 709-2228
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. 1135
B.A., Math and Women’s Studies, Wesleyan University
M.S. Education, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Long Island University
California Teaching Credential, Muir Alternative Teacher Education, San Francisco State University
Barbara began teaching in 1997, and since then has worked in public and private schools in San Francisco and New York City. Most recently, she was Divisional Director at Greene Hill School in Brooklyn, NY, where she had the rare opportunity to create a new progressive school program spanning ages four through fourteen. At Greene Hill, she was instrumental in creating a flexible curricular framework and school culture that supported deep and purposeful learning. Barbara joined Seattle Girls’ School in 2014, and is responsible for ensuring that students (and teachers!) are engaged in meaningful work that challenges each of them intellectually and creatively. Barbara believes she has the best job in education, one that allows her to get deeply involved in the nitty-gritty of classroom life, and also to step back and see how all the pieces fit together to support the wide-ranging needs of middle school girls. She is thrilled to be at Seattle Girls’ School, and never imagined all those years ago that her Math and Women’s Studies double major would ever feel quite so practical!
Dean of Student Life
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1015
B.S., Psychology, Washington State University
M.S.W., Portland State University
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Dede grew up in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Dede has 17 years of experience working with school-aged children in a variety of settings including community mental health, foster care organizations, and non-profits. She comes to SGS from Rainier Scholars, an academic enrichment program that works with students of color to increase their college graduation rates and develop new generations of leaders. Dede served as the Director of Recruitment & Family Partnerships. Dede has experience providing counseling and social and emotional support services a to vast array of students and families.
Dede is thrilled to be a member of the SGS community because she wants to help to empower girls to be their best selves at all times so they can take the lead in creating more socially just communities. She has a love of learning and contributing to the success of others. When not working, Dede enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching movies, and traveling.
Why I love middle school: What’s not to love about middle school? It’s a time of exploration, debating issues of fairness and justice, learning new skills, and not only thinking big about problems, but also trying to come up with solutions to those problems. I see such great promise in middle school students and feel very privileged to be part of the SGS community.
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 Development
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1215
B.A., English and Music, Emory University
M.A., Arts Administration, University of Oregon
Certificate of Nonprofit Management, University of Oregon
Julia joined our community in the 2016-17 school year. She has spent over 10 years fundraising for nonprofit organizations in Seattle, including at The Bush School and United Way of King County. Her passion for education and social justice has brought her to Seattle Girls’ School.
Why I love middle school: This is the time in life when the heart, head, and body grow tremendously. We start to have the capacity to understand ourselves and others in a way that defines the self and creates identity. It’s a wonderful thing to witness this transformation.
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.
Director of Academic Innovation
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1710
B.S., Zoology, University of Florida
M.S., Science Education, City University of New York – Lehman College
Carly teaches a combination of science, engineering, and statistics in the 7th and 8th grades. Carly came to SGS via New York City public schools and Lakeside School. In addition to teaching, Carly also coordinates SGS’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) efforts and serves as co-chair of the Curriculum Council. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Florida and a Masters in Science Teaching from the City University of New York. When not teaching Carly can be found searching out adventure in its many different forms, fixing up a new-to-her sailboat, and spoiling her two furry children.
In addition to teaching science, Carly serves as our STEAM Coordinator and NWAIS Self-Study Coordinator. Additionally, she serves on the SGS Curriculum Council.
Why I love middle school: Middle schoolers are a goofy and awkward bunch — and I love them for that. I also appreciate middle school kids for their willingness to laugh, their natural curiosity, and their exuberance for all things science. I especially like teaching science to middle school girls because I can provide them with opportunities for traditionally “un-girly” experiences like (safely) setting things on fire, using power tools, and engrossing themselves in an array of slimy and stinky stuff. In a single-gender middle school science classroom, the girls have to be the ones to take all of the chances because there are no boys to defer to like they often do in mixed-gender classrooms. Not at SGS!
Director of Athletics
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1910
B.S. Sports Management, Menlo College (2009)
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. 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.
WhyI love middle school: I love the curiosity and energy of middle school students.
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1305
TJ left a war-torn Cambodia almost 40 years ago and settled in the US in the early 80s. From being an ESL (English as a Second Language) student to becoming an ESL instructor, he has had various careers and is multilingual and multicultural, having lived in and traveled to various continents. Before becoming Facilities Manager at SGS, he owned a a restaurant and a property management company, and was an IT Engineer, Case Manager, Teacher, and At-Risk Youth Counselor.
Why I love middle school : Whether I do cleaning or fixing things around SGS, I feel like I am fixing my own house, taking care of my own property. I like the school environment and working here often reminds me of the days I was a middle school teacher, seeing the students here – bright, intelligent, outgoing, and friendly.
After Care Coordinator
Phone: (206) 709-2228, Ext. 1410
B.A., Political Science, University of Washington
Le’Jayah was apart of SGS’s first class of 5th graders and graduated from SGS in 2008. She is now the After Care Coordinator and also helps with Wednesday Workshops at Coyote Central. When she is not studying for the LSAT she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, writing poetry, and baking.
Why I love middle school: I love middle school because I feel it is the time in a girl’s life when she finds her voice and becomes an independent, critical thinker.