Loomis Chaffee welcomed 12 new teachers and administrators to the school community for the 2020–21 school year.
Jesus Cobo joins the Modern & Classical Languages Department, where he teaches Spanish and French. Jesus grew up in Granada, Spain, and moved to the United States after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Granada and studying in Germany at Cologne University of Applied Sciences. He earned a master’s degree from University of Connecticut, where he was a teaching assistant and ran the Spanish Resource Center. Jesus previously taught at Cheshire Academy, where he served as Language Department chair. Jesus resides with his family in Simsbury.
Griffin Cunningham teaches Algebra II Advanced and College-Level Statistics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics-statistics and economics at University of Connecticut, where he played on the lacrosse team for four years, served as team captain in his final year, and was a student coach of the women’s club ice hockey team. Griffin will serve as assistant coach for Loomis girls varsity ice hockey and boys lacrosse and as in-dorm faculty in Taylor Hall.
David Edgar teaches World History and sophomore English and serves as assistant director of this fall’s Theater & Dance Department production of Antigonick. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, David earned a bachelor’s degree in international political economy from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in secondary education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He spent a year teaching English in South Korea and seven months studying Arabic in Fez, Morocco, before making his home in Kravis Hall on the Island.
Richard Karrat comes to Loomis after teaching at Greenwich Country Day School for two years and Pingry School for six years. He also served as assistant director of global programs at Pingry. He joins Loomis’ Modern & Classical Languages faculty, teaching French, Spanish, and Arabic. Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in French and world politics from Hamilton College and a master’s degree in Arabic from Middlebury College. He has traveled to more than 25 countries, including a college junior year in France and a year studying and teaching in Jordan on a Fulbright Scholarship. A resident of West Hartford, Richard will serve as a dorm affiliate in Warham Hall.
Sang-yeop Kim teaches sophomore English and College-Level Creative Writing, a senior elective. He will assistant coach the wrestling team and serve as an affiliate in Taylor Hall. He joins Loomis by way of New York City, where he most recently taught English at Democracy Prep Endurance High School. Before teaching high school students, Sang-yeop taught English at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Berkeley, followed by the Brown University Poetry MFA Program. Sang-yeop and his family live on campus.
Mark LeBlanc is Loomis Chaffee’s inaugural director of digital and computational learning and teaches computer science. He brings to the Island a wealth of computer science engineering knowledge as well as many years of college-level teaching experience in the discipline. At Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Mark was a tenured professor who taught computer science for 25 years, served as chair of the Math and Computer Science Department, and distinguished himself in his commitment to cross-disciplinary collaboration. His research has centered on genomics, lexomics (the development and application of computational methods to study literature), and the digital humanities. Mark earned a master’s degree in computer science and a doctorate in systems design engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Jen Legendre comes to Loomis with more than 16 years of teaching experience. As a member of the Science Department, Jen teaches physics and mathematics and assists with the Community Engagement program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in secondary science education from George Washington University, and she was selected to the Knowles Teaching Fellows program. Jen grew up in Pittsburgh, where she played high school basketball. Working at Loomis remotely, she lives with her family in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Lauren Riva is head of the Math Department, teaches College-Level Calculus BC, and will coach basketball. She served as Mathematics Department chair at The Chapin School in Manhattan for the last three years after teaching at St. Mark’s School and teaching and serving as director of STEAM and the Maker Space Program at Berkshire School. Lauren earned advanced degrees from University of Tennessee, including a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in mathematics education. Lauren lives in Batchelder Hall with her family.
Petagay Rowe ’95 returns to the Island — this time as a faculty member — and is teaching English. Petagay attended Spelman College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy, taught a Spanish language tutorial class, and founded a community service mentoring program that connected minority students from neighboring urban areas with students at five historically Black colleges and universities. A talented vocalist and performer, Petagay was a finalist on “Popstars,” a reality talent program that aired on the WB network in 2000, and a top-six finalist on NBC’s popular reality competition “Fame" in 2003. She hopes to revive the Step Team that she inaugurated at Loomis when she was a student. After stints living in China and Spain, Petagay relocated to Florida, where she taught high school English for the last five years. She now lives with her family in Windsor, Conn.
Laura Stoughton, who is teaching psychology and biology, first came to the Island in 2014 as a teaching intern at the Loomis Chaffee Summer Program while still working toward her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University. She majored in cognitive science and psychology at Northwestern and received the James Alton James Award for the highest academic record in the social sciences. She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania through its Boarding School Teacher Residency program and taught psychology and biology and served as a dormitory head at Taft School before coming to the Island. In addition to teaching, Laura will coach squash and serve as an affiliate in Ammidon Hall. She lives in Carter Hall with her partner, mathematics teacher Abe Schulte.
Rick Taylor returns to the Island to teach World History and College-Level U.S. History as a member of the History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies Department. He also is an assistant coach of the boys varsity soccer team. During his previous years at Loomis, Rick taught history, English, and art history, and he spent the last three years teaching middle school at the Rivers School near Boston. Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University and a master’s degree in classical archaeology from the University of Oxford in England. Rick and his family live in Palmer Hall.
Ciara White-Mink joins the English Department faculty, teaching freshman and sophomore English, and will co-supervise The Loom, the school's student literary and creative arts magazine. Originally from Bloomfield, Connecticut, Chiara has traveled extensively, having studied in Luxembourg, South Africa, and Namibia; served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone; and visited five other countries. While in the Peace Corps, Chiara taught English to more than 300 high school students in Sierra Leone; learned the local language, Krio; and fell in love — with the food and with her fiancé, whom she’d planned to marry this summer before COVID-19 upended their wedding plans. She earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies and communication and a master's degree in teaching from Clark University and taught high school English in Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts, before returning to Bloomfield, where she resides. Chiara will serve as a dorm affiliate in Longman Hall.