Leadership of the
Beginning Teacher Workshop and
Mentor Leadership Workshop

The “Core Four” faculty of the BTW and MLW comprise the core teaching faculty of the former Teacher-Mentor Leadership Institute (before that the Beginning Teacher Institute) offered for Washington–area independent school teachers. Brief biographies follow.

David Mullen has served as Head of School at Nora School in Silver Spring, Maryland since 1991, where he also teaches World Religions and Photography. Dave began teaching high school in 1980, and served as Director of Music and Fine Arts at Bishop McNamara High School in Maryland. Dave is a founding member and president of the National Coalition of Small Schools, president of the Washington Small Schools Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington School of Photography and Washington ArtWorks. In past lives he has traveled with musical groups in the US, Canada, and Europe. In his spare time Dave currently dedicates some of his attentions to photography, music, running, religion, and “the eternal balancing act between life at home and at work.” Dave served for several years on the teaching team for Independent Education (now AISGW’s) Beginning Teacher Institute and Teacher-Mentor Leadership Institute. He earned his B.Mus. at the New England Conservatory and his M.Ed. at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Peter Braverman founded Arc Professional Development in 2014, after working for 20 years at independent schools near Chicago and Washington. Before founding Arc PD, Peter was Middle School Head at Green Acres School in Rockville, Maryland, for 11 years. Peter has worked with hundreds of teachers in the Washington, DC area. He served on the faculty for AISGW’s (Independent Education’s) Beginning Teacher Institute from 2005 to 2015, and was an inaugural faculty member of IE’s Emerging Middle School Leaders Institute. He has spoken to parents, teachers, and administrators at various conferences and schools around the country, interviewed on Washington public radio, and written for Independent School, the magazine of the National Association of Independent Schools, as well as other publications, on topics ranging from the impact of the economy on independent schools, to typography, to LGBT programs for students and parents, to music on vinyl and the Grateful Dead. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in American Studies at Wesleyan and a master’s degree in education at Harvard.

Abigail Wiebenson is a leadership coach in education, and has worked with scores of school administrators in the Washington area and worldwide. Prior to earning her certification in coaching, Abigail was Head of School at Lowell School from 1988 through 2007, during which time she led the school in moving its campus and in doubling its enrollment. She was named Director Emerita upon her departure. Since that time Abigail led AISGW’s (formerly Independent Education’s) Teacher-Mentor Leadership Institute for five years; served as a mentor for NAIS Aspiring School Heads fellows; and taught at Johns Hopkins University. A ubiquitous force on the Washington school scene, Abigail has served as a trustee at three Washington independent schools; chaired accreditation teams; and authored articles for Independent School magazine. In her coaching role, Abigail has worked with heads of schools and other administrators as they seek to identify deeply held beliefs, to hone their vision for leadership, and to plan for the many facets of their schools. At the beginning of her career, Abigail taught elementary school in Boston, California, and Washington. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her master’s degree in special education at The George Washington University.

Jennifer Swanson Voorhees is the Coordinator of Academic Technology at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where she was a classroom teacher for 24 years. Jenni's work is centered at the Lower School, where she serves as the school’s Idea Coordinator (yes, a real position!), linking technology to curriculum. Since 2011, she has helped integrate iPads into the Lower School program, with a focus on pedagogy and purpose. With her teaching team, Jenni writes the blog, “iPad Adventures at Lower School.” Jenni speaks and leads workshops on digital citizenship, learning with iPads, service learning, Library and Technology collaborations, and other topics in area schools and at national conferences. She is currently the chair of the 21st Century Curriculum/Tech Task Force, an advisory group for the National Association of Independent Schools. She has taught “Mobile Learning: Pedagogy and Practice,” an online course for educators for the Online School for Girls, and served for several years on the teaching team for Independent Education’s (now AISGW’s) Beginning Teacher Institute and Teacher-Mentor Leadership Institute.

Comments on Past Work with Beginning Teachers and Mentors

”I gained knowledge of and practice with leadership coaching tools that benefit student, colleague and parent communication. Most useful!”

“We had a significant chunk of time set aside to discuss technological integration, lesson planning, and pedagogy with people in like divisions, and that was extremely helpful.”

“I loved Dave’s presentation because he put us in the students’ shoes. He reminded us that we are human beings and we need to be nice to ourselves!”

“I was glad this technology session gave us time to ponder projects and did not just whiz by.”

“The time to work on crafting a lesson with feedback and suggestions from others was very helpful.”

“Taking time to re-imagine a lesson with my mentors/others [was one of the most valuable aspects of the program]. We were surrounded by great resources and it was nice to have substantial talking time with them.”

“…presentations were great because there were different approaches to learn about and analyze our teaching. Sharing the real cases gave me different options to react in [similar] situations at school.”

”I really loved the time devoted to working on something immediately relevant to our teaching.”

“I found that I can approach new tech tasks without fear – one new task implemented at a time.”

“Thank you again for everything – I am always refreshed after attending one of these meetings!!”