Moriah Murphy

At a Glance

Moriah Murphy comes to Christ the Savior Academy from Geneva, New York, where she had been working in a K-2 elementary school. She is excited to be joining the school and the beautiful St. George community.

Experience

Miss Murphy holds degrees in Art History and Studio Art from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and will soon be receiving a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University. Over the last 4 years, she has taught at St. John’s Orthodox Christian School in Eagle River, Alaska, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Day School in Atlanta, Georgia, and West Street Elementary School in Geneva, New York. She has also served as counsellor and Arts and Crafts director at three regional Orthodox camps for the last several years. She loves traveling and getting to know a culture through its art, music, and literature, and sharing what she has learned with others, especially children.

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“The ideals of a classical education are to teach children with truth, beauty and goodness. This is something that is so special and so important. We are not only giving them a full, well rounded education, we are connecting all that they do back to the One who is the Truth, the Way and the Life. There is nothing more beautiful and more important than that. I feel extremely grateful to be joining this school and to have the opportunity of learning and growing alongside my students.”

Gaelan Gilbert

At a Glance

Dr. Gaelan Gilbert has extensive experience in teaching, curriculum design, program development, and educational administration. He intends to continue building upon the strong foundation of Orthodox Christian classical education already laid at Christ the Savior Academy, and to expand the school to Middle and Upper grade levels. He enjoys both working with and learning from children – their wonder, imagination, and timeless hunger for truth.

Education

Dr. Gaelan Gilbert’s secondary education consisted of both the Montessori method and a classical curriculum of Latin and the liberal arts. Having been granted a double-major baccalaureate in English Education and Philosophy/Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University, he went on to receive a Masters of Arts in English from San Diego State University. He and his wife then led a university study abroad program in Europe for two semesters. He earned his doctorate in English Literature, with a focus on medieval literature, religion, and culture, at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Background

Prior to assuming the role of Headmaster at CSA, Dr. Gaelan Gilbert was a founding faculty member and Dean at the University of Saint Katherine, a regionally-accredited Orthodox Christian institution of higher education in southern California. He enjoys sailing, cycling, backpacking, and taking any opportunity to explore nature with his family. He is a tonsured Reader in the Orthodox Church.

Vision

The Athenian philosopher Socrates taught that the proper education of children safeguards the integrity and durability of civilization. Why? Because the “proper” education of children – a classical education – ensures that the mind, body, and soul of each student are strengthened and refined in the activities that are natural to them: thinking, acting, and living “the examined life.” For Socrates, education should create the internal conditions – virtue, wisdom, and the love of truth – out of which a person can live “the examined life.” In this way, a person gains self-knowledge and the ability to contribute to their society.

From an Orthodox Christian perspective, “the examined life” means something far more. It evokes the “good restlessness” spoken of by the 20th-century monk, St. Paisios of Mt Athos: that abiding sense that – as rational beings made in the image of Triune God – we are not yet what we can or should be. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God,” says St. Augustine of Hippo. Rather than leave things up to fate or circumstance, each person has an essential part to play in fulfilling their God-given potential. St. Paisios says it this way: “Desire and effort must come from you; God will provide the power and the result.”

So how do we instill this desire, and strengthen this effort, in our children? The Orthodox classical education at Christ the Savior Academy accomplishes this. At CSA, in the tradition of St. Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8-9, the curriculum is designed and the teachers are dedicated to training each child in the pursuit of what is good, true, and beautiful. Such a pursuit is transformative:

it steels the mind against false premises and invalid arguments;

it strengthens us to make morally upright decisions and gives us the courage to act them out;

it equips us for a life of independent learning, articulate communication, and practical ingenuity;

it showers us with examples of emulable historical figures and failed social experiments;

it forms an enduring appetite for the most exalted art, architecture, music, and literature the world has ever known;

it asks questions whose depth exposes the pillars of God’s wisdom in upholding all things;

it reminds us that true greatness is not measured by fleeting praise, but by hard work, humility, and the joining of mind and heart.

An Orthodox Christian classical education cultivates the internal qualities within each child for “the good restlessness.” These qualities are virtue, wisdom, and the love of Truth Himself. For in Jesus Christ, all that which is true finds its place.

Nicole Boyle

At a Glance

The love and wonder children have for even the simplest of things is what Mrs. Nicole Boyle enjoys the most about teaching. Mrs. Boyle relishes the chance to help shape children to be fully human in their joy, faith, and love for one another.

 

Experience

Mrs. Boyle comes to CSA with a Master’s degree in Theology from Concordia Theology Seminary and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Spanish from University of Michigan. She has taught Spanish language classes at both the grade school and high school levels, as well as courses in English as a Second Language for the last nine years. Mrs. Boyle has also run a Mom’s Day Out program for preschoolers and kindergartners at the church, where her husband serves as a pastor, and has taught preschoolers Sunday School for many years.

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“I love the focus that CSA has on forming the mind and soul, while instilling a foundation of faith,” Mrs.Boyle says. “I love the accomplishment that the kids feel with the memorization of beautiful texts. The fact that classical education recognizes that history is essential, and still teaches us today what is important for our kids and our culture, impresses me greatly.”

Jordan Howell

At a Glance

Jordan Howell loves watching children grow and knowing that she helped them achieve their own personal goals. She brings to CSA the perfect blend of business and education experience.

Experience

Mrs. Howell holds a post-baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood Education from Rio Salado College in Phoenix, AZ, and a Liberal Arts degree from Kansas University in Business and Education with a minor in Communications. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Education. Mrs. Howell has experience teaching at the preschool level, third grade and kindergarten, and she has also managed an office at a local business.

 

Quote

“I am beyond grateful that I get the opportunity to touch the lives of students and contribute to making their future one that is bright and productive. It is one of the greatest feeling to know that I am making a difference in their lives, yet they are making a difference in mine as well. I am so lucky to be able to work with such talented and amazing teachers and am excited to be a part of the Christ The Savior Academy family!”

Lori Oller

Experience

Mrs. Oller is uniquely able to bring diverse topics together because of her educational background. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance from Washburn University and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Wichita State University.

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“I am so glad to be able to teach at a classical school where the curriculum makes it convenient to integrate multiple subjects,” Mrs. Oller said. With this synergy I hope to lead students to a love of the true, good, and beautiful.”

 

Laura Bair

At a Glance

Mrs. Bair’s classroom is joyful and filled with meaningful literature selections and toys that help build their fine motor skills and capture their imaginations.

Experience

“I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the whole world,” Mrs. Laura Bair will tell you if you walk into her classroom. Mrs. Bair comes to Christ the Savior Academy with more than 20 years experience working with children. She has spent the last 10 years at the junior kindergarten level.

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I love working with four and five-year-olds because their reactions to everything are so pure and honest.” Seeing them “get” something for the first time never gets old. I honestly believe that I get way more from them than they can ever receive from me and I am so grateful to get to be a part of their first school experiences,” Mrs. Bair said.

Vasiliki Oldziey

At a Glance

Iconographer, children’s magazine author, DOWAMA Coordinator. Those are some of the titles that Ms. Oldziey has worn for the last 25 years, but her favorite is “teacher.”

Experience

“I love to teach because children have a natural affinity to God, and I learn so much from them.” Ms. Oldziey has served for eight years as the diocesan coordinator for Orthodox Christian Education, developing curriculum, creating lesson plans and providing children the opportunity to express their faith through creative mediums.

Background

Ms. Oldziey grew up in the Orthodox Church, attended Greek School and learned the Divine Liturgy in Greek. For the past 12 years, Ms. Oldziey has studied iconography with a master iconographer. Her background allows her to bring a uniquely Orthodox understanding of teaching and art to the classroom.

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“It has always been my goal to create a classroom in which students embrace the opportunity to learn, to grow in their faith and to recognize the gifts God has given them to reach their full potential.”

Lauren Jabara

At a Glance

Lauren Jabara comes to Christ the Savior Academy from Three Hierarchs Eastern Orthodox School in Pennsylvania where she was the kindergarten teacher.

Experience

Mrs. Jabara is a trained reading specialist and has worked closely with the first grade teacher to prepare her students for the next grade level. Mrs. Jabara has also served as counselor, head counselor and administrative staff member at two regional Orthodox camps for the last several years. She loves to read and discuss classical literature, and she enjoys experiencing other cultures through travel.

Background

“Lauren knows her subjects well and conveys the information to her students in an exemplary way,” Yvonne Doncic, first grade teacher at Three Hierarchs. “She maintains an excellent relationship with parents, keeping them updated on the progress of each student, which is so important at these grade levels. She gives extra effort everyday and always has her students well-prepared.”

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Mrs. Jabara loves being able to connect with students on a spiritual level, counting prayer with her students as one of her greatest privileges.

“I feel a closeness and connection with each of my students and their families,” Mrs. Jabara says. “When I see our children cross themselves, use kind words with their friends or reverence an icon, I am filled with such joy. I love seeing the faith reflected in the daily lives of my students.”

Nyleen Lenk

At a Glance

“I love teaching children because of their sense of wonderment and delight in God’s creation,” Mrs. Lenk says. For the last fifteen years, Mrs. Lenk has worked to preserve that wonderment through her creative lesson plans.

Experience

Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Lenk has taught a wide-range of ages: Middle school math and science, Kindergarten and first grade reading, second grade and a gifted program. She also drafted the science curriculum at one of the schools.

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“I want to create a rigorous learning environment, but it should also be a joyous place,” Lenk says. “I want to instill in the children a love of God, love of learning and a love of virtue.”

Elena Somerhalder

At a Glance

A former teacher, board member and one of the original steering committee members, Mrs. Elena Somerhalder has served Christ the Savior Academy in nearly every capacity. It is this perspective that makes her perfect for her role as Director of Enrollment at the Academy.

Experience

As Director of Enrollment, Mrs. Somerhalder wants to guide you through the enrollment process – from the time you step into the school for your first tour to the point where you are ushering your children into their classroom on the first day of school. Her job is to make the process seamless and to serve you – the parent and customer – in anyway she possibly can. If you have any questions at all about the school, the process for enrollment, or you just simply lost one of the forms, call Mrs. Somerhalder.

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“It is a joy to work in a school where our students are learning the importance of faith and God in their lives, and, at the same time,  the curriculum provides enriching educational classroom experiences which create a foundation for a lifelong love of learning,” Mrs. Somerhalder says.