Skip to main content

Middle School

Directory

Middle School

Cameron Barnett's picture

Cameron Barnett

Middle School Social Studies and Language Arts
412-648-5521
cameronbarnett@pitt.edu
Cameron Barnett's picture

Cameron Barnett

Middle School Social Studies and Language Arts
B.A. in English, Duquesne University
B.A. in Spanish, Duquesne University
MFA in Poetry, University of Pittsburgh
cameronbarnett@pitt.edu
Cameron Barnett began teaching at Falk in the 2016-2017 school year as Artist-in-Residence, working with grades K-8 on creative writing, reading, and special projects. However, his relationship to Falk begins in 1996 when he came as a 2nd grader, graduating from the 8th grade in 2003. His sister, Afton, graduated two years later, following in the footsteps of their mother, Charlene, a 70s Falk alumna. Cameron is a 2011 graduate of Duquesne University, and a 2016 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he received the 2011 O’Donnell Award for Excellence in Poetry and the 2013 Academy of American Poets Graduate Poetry Award, respectively. His debut collection of poems, The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water, will be published by Autumn House Press in November of 2017. Starting in the ’17-’18 school year, Cameron will move full-time to the middle school level, teaching 6th grade social studies and 7th grade language arts, and will serve on the Falk Alumni Advisory Committee, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and coach middle school cross-country. He believes deeply that people's words and stories (especially students') are artistic and valuable things, and that everyone's matters. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, running, and cheering on all Pittsburgh sports.
Rachel Campedel's picture

Rachel Campedel

Physical Education & Health
412-624-8017
rdc45@pitt.edu
Cheryl Capezutti's picture

Cheryl Capezutti

Visual Arts
412-624-8018
chc157@pitt.edu
Cheryl Capezutti's picture

Cheryl Capezutti

Visual Arts
B.A. in Integrative Arts, Penn State University
M.Ed. In Arts Education, Penn State University
chc157@pitt.edu
Cheryl Capezzuti joined the faculty at the Falk Laboratory School in 2009 after more than a decade working as an independent puppet maker and master teaching artist for many local arts organizations. Most notably she was an Artist-in-Residence, rostered through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, through which she completed more than 50 residencies in schools and communities. At Falk she runs the visual arts studio for the older grades and collaborates with teachers at all grade levels and in all disciplines integrating the visual arts into the curriculum. Outside of Falk, Capezzuti is a sculptor and puppet maker with a rich studio practice. She is best known as the master puppet maker and Creative Director for the First Night Pittsburgh Parade, which features hundreds of giant puppets she has made through workshops all over the greater Pittsburgh region. In addition to making very large-scale works, she also produces smaller, gallery-sized theatrical works using puppets and exhibits sculptural work in both galleries and non-traditional spaces. Nationally her work has been featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Good Morning America, and NBC Nightly News.
Eileen Coughlin's picture

Eileen Coughlin

Middle School Science
412-624-8016
emc981@pitt.edu
Eileen Coughlin's picture

Eileen Coughlin

Middle School Science
B.S. in Biology, University of Pittsburgh
M.Ed. In Secondary Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
emc981@pitt.edu
Eileen Marie Coughlin began her teaching career when she entered the Professional Year program in Secondary Science Education at the University of Pittsburgh.  She completed her student teaching requirement at Falk during the 1996-1997 school year.   From there, she obtained a permanent substitute position as an 8th grade science teacher at Gateway Middle School.  In August, 1997, she was hired at Falk when her mentor, Dr. Cathy O’Farrell, moved to sunny Florida.  In 1998, she decided to go back to school to obtain her M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education. In addition to teaching science in the middle school, Eileen serves as chair of the Science Curriculum Committee.  She also acts as a committee member for the Falk Woods, and admissions.  She coordinates the annual school picture day, as well as the 8th grade Cedar Point trip planning and fundraising. In her spare time, Eileen enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, taking kids to Irish dance lessons & competitions, Gaelic football, gymnastics, and baseball games.  She volunteers on Chatham University's Falk School of Sustainability's K-12 Advisory Group,  the adult team for her church youth group and the concessions committee for 14th Ward Baseball Association. 
Tim Doyle's picture

Tim Doyle

WonderLab
412-648-8459
tjd13@pitt.edu
Tim Doyle's picture

Tim Doyle

WonderLab
B.A. in English Literature, Duquesne University
MAT in Secondary English Education, University of Pittsburgh
tjd13@pitt.edu
Tim Doyle began his career at Falk School in 2005 as an intern in the middle level language arts room.  After his intern year, he was hired to be a middle level learning support instructor, substitute teacher, and assistant director of the after school program.  He gladly played this multifaceted role for three years.  This year, Tim is the director of after school, a full-time substitute, and a part-time language arts and social studies teacher in the middle school.  In his spare time, Tim enjoys reading, creative writing, playing music, and watching movies with friends.  He is also an avid basketball and football fan and an aspiring amateur chef.
Alex Dragon's picture

Alex Dragon

Middle School Science
412-624-8016
ard83@pitt.edu
Alex Dragon's picture

Alex Dragon

Middle School Science
2015, MAT in Secondary Science Teaching, University of Pittsburgh
2012, B.S. in Environmental Geology, University of Pittsburgh
ard83@pitt.edu
Alexander Dragon has always been fascinated by the natural universe, the Earth, and living things. Like many young children, he was obsessed with dinosaurs, but pursued this love of paleontology through college. He studied environmental geology and biology at and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Environmental Geology in 2012. During this time, he volunteered in the PaleoLab at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History preparing fossils, and he received a Brackenridge Fellowship in 2011-2012 to CT scan and study a Jurassic crocodile relative (Hoplosuchus kayi).  Although Alex loves science, he also enjoyed the broad exposure to the humanities and especially the history and philosophy of science during his undergraduate education.

After his undergraduate education, Mr. Dragon decided to pursue science teaching and returned to Pitt to complete their MAT program, and taught as the middle school science intern at Falk during the 2014-2015 academic year. He taught biology and physical science as a long-term substitute at Peters Township High School the following year, and was delighted to return to Falk teaching 6th and 7th grade science in 2016-2017. Alex enjoys birdwatching, drawing, reading, and playing video and table-top games in his spare time and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Lisa Giardina's picture

Lisa Giardina

Spanish Grades 5 & 6
412-648-0215
lng40@pitt.edu
Christina Graham's picture

Christina Graham

Middle School Math
412-624-2282
cag169@pitt.edu
Joanna Newlin's picture

Joanna Newlin

Learning Specialist
412-624-6739
jmn56@pitt.edu
Joanna Newlin's picture

Joanna Newlin

Learning Specialist
B.A. in Psychology, Allegheny College
M.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction, Loyola University of Maryland
jmn56@pitt.edu
Joanna Newlin spent her formative years in a suburb of Pittsburgh. After living in both Washington, DC and Maine, she returned to Pittsburgh in 2004 to raise her family.  Prior to coming to Falk, Joanna worked as an Elementary Montessori Teacher for 8 years.  The majority of that time was spent teaching all subjects in mixed-age classrooms with students in fourth-through-sixth grade.  In addition, Joanna spent two years working as a Behavioral Specialist Consultant for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorders.  In 2010, Joanna returned to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a long-time ambition of becoming a certified Special Education Teacher.  Since finishing the teaching certification programs at the University of Pittsburgh in early 2012, Joanna has enjoyed being part of the Falk Middle School team.  Joanna lives in Glenshaw where she spends the majority of her free time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.
Leah Northrop's picture

Leah Northrop

Yoga/Mindfulness
412-624-8323
lcn6@pitt.edu
Leah Northrop's picture

Leah Northrop

Yoga/Mindfulness
B.S. in Psychology, Allegheny College
M.S. in Counseling Psychology, Chatham University
lcn6@pitt.edu
Leah began teaching yoga and mindfulness at Falk School in 2011.   Her classes at Falk are centered on guiding children through the simple but powerful practice of connecting movement and breathing to create a relaxed, focused and aware student, ready to learn and play.  Ms. Northrop also teaches individual “therapeutic” yoga sessions for students with a variety of challenges, from the social and emotional to the behavioral and learning realms.  Additionally, Ms. Northrop  heads a research project at the University of Pittsburgh, Yoga for Anxious Children.  Her interest lies in the development, implementation and outcome of exercise-based treatments for children and adolescents with mood and anxiety disorders.  She has presented her work at international conferences. She enjoys almost any outdoor activity, cooking for a crowd and most of all, spending time with her husband, Ben and her three sons, Wyatt, Weston and Lucas.  Ms. Northrop currently lives in the Squirrel Hill area.
Benoni Outerbridge's picture

Benoni Outerbridge

Library
412-624-8010
benoni@pitt.edu
Benoni Outerbridge's picture

Benoni Outerbridge

Library
B.A. in Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic
M.A. in Secondary Social Studies Education, NYU
MLS, University of Pittsburgh
benoni@pitt.edu
Mr. Outerbridge has worked as a classroom teacher and mid-level administrator in both public and independent schools, and his experiences have convinced him that there are few learning experiences more powerful and engaging than discovering how something works, recognizing a pattern, or understanding a cause-and-effect relationship.  When he was a social studies teacher, Mr. Outerbridge had students examine varying accounts of Columbus’s return visit to Hispaniola, where he discovered that Fort La Navidad had been abandoned and most the men killed.  Students had to judge which account was most plausible and support their arguments with evidence and reasoning.  As a librarian, Mr. Outerbridge feels that a big part of his job is to help students use similar critical thinking skills to sort through today’s massive volume of information in order to locate and evaluate what is most reliable and pertinent to their coursework and personal interests.  The other big part of the job is to foster in students a love and appreciation for reading.
Valerie Rossi's picture

Valerie Rossi

Middle School Spanish
412-624-0480
vyr3@pitt.edu
Maria Sassani's picture

Maria Sassani

Music and Performing Arts
412-383-9617
msassani@pitt.edu
Maria Sassani's picture

Maria Sassani

Music and Performing Arts
BFA in Vocal Performance, SUNY at Purchase
M.A in Music Education, Teachers College Columbia
msassani@pitt.edu
Maria Sassani was thrilled to join the Falk School Community during the 2011 – 2012 school year, after presenting the session, “Music, Literacy, and Dance” during the NALS conference hosted by Falk in the Spring of 2011.  Prior to her arrival in Pittsburgh, Ms. Sassani shared her love of music with students from The School at Columbia University (2005 – 2011) & The Brearley School (2000 – 2005), both located in New York City, and the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada (1995 – 2000).  Favorite performances in her teaching career have been directing a 250-member chorus on PBS’s – “World’s Largest Concert” (1999), New York City’s Carnegie Hall in (2002 & 2003), the National Black Theatre of Harlem (2006 – 2011), and most recently in the lobby of Heinz Hall during the Pittsburgh Symphony/Falk School Extravaganza.  A true advocate of music programs in our schools, Ms. Sassani believes….“children would rather play than study, if we are smart, we will teach them while they play.”  (Carl Orff)  She continues her professional growth as a member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), American Orff Shulwerk Association (AOSA) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).  Ms. Sassani’s favorite genre of music is “Musical Theatre” where she has performed professionally in six states.   Some of her favorite roles have been:  “Dolly” from “Hello Dolly”, “Reno Sweeney” from “Anything Goes”, “Charity Barnum” from “Barnum”, and “Maggie” from “42nd Street.”
Joseph Scheller's picture

Joseph Scheller

Music and Performing Arts
412-383-9617
scheller@pitt.edu
Joseph Scheller's picture

Joseph Scheller

Music and Performing Arts
B.S. in Music Education, Kutztown University
M.M. in Music Education, West Chester University
scheller@pitt.edu
Joe Scheller has been teaching music since 2009. He has instructed students at the Avon Grove Charter School, Bethlehem Area School District and Allentown School District, where he has fulfilled the position of Director for band, orchestra, and vocal ensembles. Mr. Scheller has also been involved in many musical productions as both a musician and music director. Some of these productions include: “The Drowsy Chaperone”, “The Wiz”, “Zombie Prom”, “Once Upon a Mattress”, “Starmites”, and “Changing Minds”. He currently performs throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware in various genres of Jazz, Rock, Singer-Songwriter, Classical, and Blues. In October of 2014, he released an album entitled “Remembering the Atlas”, which is available on iTunes. He will be finishing his Masters in Music Education (Music Technology) at West Chester University in May 2016 and is a member of (PMEA) Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (NAfME) National Association for Music Education and (TI:ME) Technology Integration for Music Education. 
Laura Tomokiyo's picture

Laura Tomokiyo

Technology
412-648-8459
tomokiyo@pitt.edu
Laura Tomokiyo's picture

Laura Tomokiyo

Technology
MS, PhD Carnegie Mellon University
SB Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Certificate in Curriculum Design and Development, Open University of Tanzania / UNESCO
tomokiyo@pitt.edu
Laura Tomokiyo began her career in Japan, where she worked in language technologies research and development at Toshiba Corp. and the Electrotechnical Laboratory.   She returned to the United States to complete her MS and PhD degrees, where she specialized in spoken language recognition and understanding.  She spent six years at Cepstral, a tech startup providing small-footprint speech synthesis devices supporting communication in areas of geopolitical concern.  She then moved to the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, working in the CREATE (Community Robotics, Education, and Empowerment) lab.  Projects at CREATE included a the Gigapan Dialogues collaboration with UNESCO-IBE and the Documenting our Heritage project with the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska.

Laura joined the faculty at Falk School in 2012, where she initially worked to redesign the technology curriculum and now teaches in all grades K-8.  She also co-chairs the research committee with Leah Northrop.
Timothy Wagner's picture

Timothy Wagner

Technology
412-648-8459
wagnert@pitt.edu
Timothy Wagner's picture

Timothy Wagner

Technology
B.A. in Sociology, University of Arizona
M.Ed. In Educational Technology, Northern Arizona University
wagnert@pitt.edu
Timothy Wagner was born and raised in California. Upon completing high school he moved to Tucson, AZ where he went to the University of Arizona. For his undergraduate he majored in Sociology, minored in History, and received a post-baccalaureate in Teaching K-8. Tim received his M.Ed. in Educational Technology in 2006. In December of 2006, Tim moved to Pittsburgh with his wife and two children. Tim currently holds certifications in mid level science, social studies, and mathematics and also holds a certificate in elementary education. Tim has a wide range of teaching experience in all academic levels and subjects. He has taught 5th grade, middle school science and math, and k-8 technology. Tim has worked at Falk School since 2014  and enjoys the collaborative nature of his job, Falk’s students, parents, faculty, administration, and staff.


During Tim’s free time, he enjoys being outside. Some of the activities he relishes are gardening, coaching soccer, karate, camping, and anything else that involves being with his family. He looks forward to Friday movie nights with his family, for which they usually make Chinese food or homemade pizza to go with the movie.
Lori Wertz's picture

Lori Wertz

Falk Woods
412-624-8323
lwertz@pitt.edu
Lori Wertz's picture

Lori Wertz

Falk Woods
B.A. in Liberal Arts, University of Pittsburgh
MAT, University of Pittsburgh
lwertz@pitt.edu
Lori Wertz currently serves as K-8 educator and project director for Falk’s land stewardship program, FALKWOODS, aka SHERP.  Lori arrived at Falk School in 1992, as a Pitt MAT intern teacher in a third/fourth grade mixed classroom. Two years later, she was hired to teach full-time.  Lori has been at Falk ever since because she loves the dynamic and supportive educational environment the teachers, staff, and interns strive to provide for their students each and every day.
Carrie Wittig's picture

Carrie Wittig

Middle School Language Arts
412-383-9615
carriewittig@pitt.edu
Carrie Wittig's picture

Carrie Wittig

Middle School Language Arts
B.A. in English Literature and English Writing, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburgh
MAT in Secondary English and Communications Education, University of Pittsburgh
carriewittig@pitt.edu
Carrie Wittig began her teaching career at Falk as an intern in Middle School English Language Arts under Greg Wittig. She then taught first and second grade for one year in Primary at Falk before returning to Middle School to teach 6th and 7th grade. Carrie's goal as a teacher is to enable students to engage in and transform their worlds through critical and shared inquiry of texts, skills, and ideas. By immersing students in authentic literacy, she hopes to give them the tools to make meaning, construct their identities, and take part in their communities. Before becoming a teacher, Carrie worked for six years as a copy editor and communications coordinator at a local non-profit. Carrie is on the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater (PICT) Education Board and a volunteer for Girls Rock! Pittsburgh. She likes to read, go camping and hiking, and visit historical places.
Greg Wittig's picture

Greg Wittig

Middle School Social Studies
412-624-5391
gjwittig@pitt.edu
Greg Wittig's picture

Greg Wittig

Middle School Social Studies
B.A. in English Education
MAT in English Education, University of Pittsburgh
PhD Program in Social and Comparative Analysis Education, University of Pittsburgh
gjwittig@pitt.edu
I am interested in emergent curriculum and contested ideas. I think the biggest obligation we have as educators is to examine ourselves and our practice.
Michael Yalch's picture

Michael Yalch

Middle School Math
412-624-8028
myalch@pitt.edu
Michael Yalch's picture

Michael Yalch

Middle School Math
myalch@pitt.edu
When Michael is not reading, playing sports, spending time with family, or pretending he can sing, he is thinking about mathematics. He has always loved this incredible subject and has found a comfortable home at Falk School as K-5 Mathematics Specialist, middle school teacher, and co-chair of the department. As a former Falk intern, he grew to love this school’s atmosphere and philosophy. His dream came true when he was officially hired. Mr. Yalch enjoys his daily interactions with Falk’s students and colleagues, as well as furthering his own knowledge and education about this beautiful vocation of teaching at Falk School.