Teachers & Staff

Administrative Staff


Amanda Ells Ulrich (M.Ed., Bank Street College, 1994) is the Director of the Phebe Anna Thorne School.  Ms. Ulrich is a graduate of Brown University.  She received her early childhood training from Bank Street College in New York City.  Before assuming directorship, she served as head teacher in the Thorne toddler programs, taught and worked in admissions at the Spence and Chapin Schools in New York City.


Nancy Rassiga (M.S., Teachers College, Columbia University, 1975) is the director of the Language Enrichment Preschool Program at the Thorne School, as well as the Language Enrichment Kindergarten at the Thorne Kindergarten Center. Prior to her work at the Thorne School, Ms. Rassiga was coordinator of speech at Children's Seashore House and an instructor at West Chester University. She has also served as director of the Speech and Language Center of Northern Virginia Developmental Preschool, McLean, Va.


Leslie Rescorla (Ph.D., Yale University, 1976) is the director of Early Childhood Programs at Bryn Mawr College and serves as the psychological consultant to the Thorne School.  Professor of Psychology and director of the Child Study Institute, Dr. Rescorla is a licensed, school-certified, clinical child psychologist. She received her clinical training at the Yale Child Study Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic.


photo of Shivanee Raj Shivanee Raj is the Kindergarten Center Administrator.  She graduated with a BA in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University before completing her Clinical training at University College London to obtain her medical degree. She worked as a physician in a variety of clinical settings in and around London concentrating on Pediatrics as her speciality. Since moving to the USA, she has been working in the classroom, first as an assistant at Gladwyne Montessori and then at the Thorne Kindergarten. She has been the Administrator for Thorne since January of 2012.


Each classroom is supervised by a lead teacher who is certified in early childhood education and who has a strong background in child development.



Jan Linowitz (Ed.D, Harvard University, 1986) has led the Wednesday morning Toddler Time program for toddlers and their parents/caregivers since 2005.  She is also the psycho-educational consultant to the kindergarten and nursery school programs.  Prior to coming to Bryn Mawr, she was a lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development at Penn's Graduate School of Education and has worked in a variety of educational and clinical settings with children and parents.


sarah Sarah Kinsella, a teacher in the Nearly Three's Preschool classroom, is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A.) and Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A.). She taught Kindergarten and Second Grade in New York City for eight years. Having been part of the Thorne community as a parent for two years, Sarah will now be joining the Thorne faculty in 2015.
stacey Stacey Helmers, a teacher in the Nearly Three's Preschool classroom, is a graduate of Lafayette College (B.A.) and the University of Pennsylvania (MGA) and has been with the Thorne School since 2011.


Traditional Preschool:

picture Kirsten Mudd, the lead teacher of Thorne School's Older Preschool Class, is a graduate of Hampshire College and has been teaching at Thorne School since 1992.
julie carlson Julie Carlson, a teacher in Thorne School's Older Class, is a graduate of Yale University and has been teaching at Thorne School since 2011.  Julie is also the teacher/coordinator of the Summer Camp program.
Jodie Baird

Jodie Baird, the teacher of Thorne School's Younger Preschool Class, is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A.) and the University of Oregon (Ph.D.) and has been teaching at Thorne School since 2012.



Mayana Mayana Carter, a teacher in Thorne School's Younger Preschool Class, is a graduate of The University of Maryland (B.S.) and has been teaching at Thorne School since 2014. Mayana is also a teacher in Thorne School's afternoon program.




Rachel Stern, is the Kindergarten teacher.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College (B.A.) and Temple University (M.Ed.), and has been teaching at Thorne School since 2013.





Debbie Moran is the assistant teacher in the Kindergarten classroom.  She has worked at Thorne since 2010. She has over 16 years of childcare and development experience including roles as a pre-school teacher and playgroup facilitator.



Language Enrichment Preschool Program:



Bev McDonell (M.A. Speech Pathology Western Washington University; B.S.
Speech Pathology/Audiology Pennsylvania State University) has been the speech pathologist in the Language Enrichment Preschool Program at the Phebe Anna Thorne School since 1992. She has extensive experience with both preschool and school-aged children with language and learning differences, and is a certified Wilson Tutor for children with reading difficulties.


Kim Milliken (BS Elizabethtown College; PA State Teacher Certification, Delaware County Community College) joined the LEEP teaching team as lead teacher in 2008. Prior to that she worked as a trained Montessori teacher at Main Line Montessori School in both the toddler and main classrooms.


kari Kari Richards is the assistant teacher in the Language Enrichment Preschool Program.  She graduated from Georgetown University (B.A.) and the University of Pennsylvania (M.Ed).  She has been working at Thorne since 2012.


Language Enrichment Kindergarten Program:



Christine Barraza (M.S., CCC –SLP) joined the Language Enrichment Kindergarten team as the speech-language pathologist in 2010.  Prior to working with us, she was a speech therapist and Director of the Speech-Language Program at the Crossroads School, working with children with language-based learning differences and coordinating services.  She also has extensive prior experience working as a speech therapist since 2001.



Shirlee Ashmore is the Assistant Teacher for the Language Enrichment Kindergarten. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education.  She worked at the Haverford School District in special education for 12 years before joining us in 2013. Shirlee is in charge of the art, cooking and fundations in Language Enrichment Kindergarten.



Teaching Assistants

Each class also has an assistant teacher who works alongside the teacher to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for young children.  Assistants are often recent Bryn Mawr graduates who have previously worked at Thorne and who already understand our philosophy and the way that we work with young children. The assistants must demonstrate a depth of understanding and concern for young children along with some previous practical experience.

Teacher Aides

In addition to the teacher and the teaching assistant, teacher aides provide additional adult support in the classroom. The teacher aides are most often Bryn Mawr or Haverford College undergraduates who have a demonstrated interest in working with young children.