Emily Barth, the new Latin teacher at Valley School, is a Valley alumna who went on to study Classics at Georgetown University. She later studied Greek and Hebrew at Boston University, culminating in an archaeological tour of Greek and Roman sites in western Turkey. For the last five years, she has been pursuing graduate work in historical linguistics at Cornell, where she taught about the ‘histories and mysteries’ of English words and about deciphering the many different writing systems of world languages—including Egyptian hieroglyphics! She is currently finishing her doctoral dissertation on Sanskrit adverbs, but she’s overjoyed to be returning to middle-grade Latin at Valley, where she discovered her ardor for ancient languages in the first place.
When she’s not translating a Greek papyrus, Emily can be found pursuing her many other passions, which include sculpting, juggling, fencing, spinning flax and wool, knitting and weaving, birdwatching, wilderness canoe camping, and experimenting with the science of baking. She looks forward to sharing her boundless enthusiasm for learning new skills with anyone and everyone who wants to join in.
Likes: strong black tea, science fiction, Penguins hockey, Irish road bowling, kneading bread dough, inventing new words, sailing, meringue, foraging for berries, a roaring fire, the sound of wind in the trees, rainy weather
Dislikes: coffee, pickles, sunburn, wet socks
Tyler Brinton will be joining Valley School as the new Upper School Technology teacher. A graduate of Saint Vincent College, Tyler is thrilled to begin working with the amazing staff and students at Valley School. Through the use of emerging technologies, engaging coursework, and upbeat classes, Tyler hopes to enable students to grow in ways they never believed possible. He plans to focus on real world critical thinking and problem solving to spark creativity in each and every student.
Tyler received a degree in Business, Communication, and Information Technology and will use his passion to enlighten students with the future of technology. Whether it is 3D printing, iOS app development, or computer programming, all students will be able to find topics they would like to pursue in the classroom.
When he is not in school, Tyler can usually be found at a hockey rink. If you have a spare 2-3 hours, ask him why Crosby is better that Gretzky. He also loves music, video games, and binge-watching Netflix. On the weekends, look for him at local restaurants, as he is always looking for a new favorite food!
Likes: Hockey, Pittsburgh Penguins, the beach, Peter Pan movies, punk pop music, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sushi, exploring Pittsburgh
Dislikes: Bees, slow WiFi, cinnamon gum, breaking hockey sticks
Katelyn Bruzda comes to Valley School by way of Saint Vincent College, both her alma mater and her workplace for the last nine years. Katelyn’s time at Saint Vincent was spent in the Office of Admission, where she counseled prospective students and their families through the college search process and coordinated campus events and visits.
Katelyn is eager to begin her new role as the Director of Admissions and Events this summer. Having grown up in the Ligonier Valley, she is grateful for the opportunity to work at this exceptional school and in such a breathtakingly beautiful setting. She looks forward to getting to know the faculty, staff, students, and families at Valley School in the coming school year.
Katelyn loves sharing her free time with her husband and their infant son. In the warmer months, they spend their time taking advantage of the many things to do in the scenic Laurel Highlands. In cooler weather, you’ll find her inside reading or catching up on Fixer Upper (or the latest HGTV show).
Likes: Fresh-cut flowers, a good thunderstorm, Sunday mornings
Dislikes: Cake, washing dishes (she’ll happily cook if someone else will clean up!)
Hannah Earhart, the new Learning Specialist at Valley School, is a graduate of Saint Vincent College who holds certifications in both Middle Grades Education and Special Education. Hannah is extremely excited to be working with students in both the Upper and Lower schools and loves lending a helping hand in any subject. Not every student learns the exact same way, and sometimes it takes some “seeds” of knowledge a little longer to sprout, but Hannah believes that with the right mixture of rain, sunshine, and time, every seed can grow!
Hannah is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Special Education, but when she is not immersed in her students’ school work or her own, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and being outside with her five dogs on her family’s farm. She is always up for new adventures, whether river hikes in the woods, exploring new cities, or traveling abroad.
Likes: Rainy days, coffee, tea, tiramisu, reading, hiking, kayaking, long drives, Alaska, learning new things about new places and people, history, mythology, and math
Dislikes: Hot weather, parsnips, uncomfortable shoes, grape and cherry flavors, splinters, and sunscreen
Jennifer Fretts joins the Valley School Business Office team as a Business Office Assistant. Jennifer graduated from Ohio University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications. She brings skills with her from time spent working in the business office of her family’s insurance restoration and construction company, Inspired Restoration. Prior to taking time off to raise her three boys, she worked in retail management and in the Governor’s Press Office.
Jennifer’s favorite saying is, “Eat well, travel often.” She loves to explore new places and try new foods with her husband and kids. You can expect to see her enjoying her weekends as a cheerleader at the multiple sporting events and activities she and her husband attend in support of their children. In the cherished moments that she finds for just herself, she enjoys yoga and reading thriller/suspense novels.
Being a parent in the Valley School community has been a warm and inviting experience for Jennifer. She is looking forward to working in the picturesque environment in which her children learn. She is also excited to get know the other students better, and to sample Mrs. Snyder’s famous pepperoni rolls and Texas sheet cake!
Likes: Traveling, shopping, coffee, binge-watching shows, farmers’ markets
Dislikes: Gossip, cottage cheese, DQ ice cream, being scared, snakes
Huanchang Jin is one of our new Chinese teachers. She will be working this year with Valley School’s 3rd, 4th, and 7thgrade students. Ms. Jin studied Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at Central China Normal University. During that time, she taught Chinese Language and Culture to the students of a summer camp from the University of Memphis. She is now a postgraduate at Wuhan University, where she is enrolled in Chinese Linguistics and Education Pedagogy courses. She is very much enjoying being a part of “pretty Valley School.” She is excited to put the knowledge she’s gained into practice, exploring Chinese Language and Culture with her students. She views this year as a wonderful opportunity to “grow along with the kids!”
Likes: Table tennis (ping-pong), paper-cutting, calligraphy, music, cooking, and traveling
Dislikes: Snakes, oily foods
Yibo Li graduated from Dalian University of Foreign Languages with a major in Advanced English Translation and Interpreting. As a postgraduate at Wuhan University, she now concentrates in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. She enjoys being a teacher because of the great sense of accomplishment it gives her. At Valley School, she is a Chinese co-teacher of 2nd, 5th, and 6thgrades. She “really loves our Valley kids, who are very kind, smart, and full of passion.” Yibo knows “this will be a very precious year, in which [she] can put what [she] has learned into practice.”
Yibo enjoys Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, origami, and exercising during her spare time.
Likes: LeBron James, “Pump It Up” aerobics, swimming, skiing, strawberry, cherry, hot-pots, snow
Dislikes: Cilantro, durian (a pricklyand foul-smelling fruit), bugs, sunburn, ghost stories