Faculty and Staff
Robert E. Graves, Head of School
BA History – University of California, Davis
MAT History – University of California, Davis
Mr. Graves has been involved with independent school education for over thirty years in locales as diverse as California, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and now, Nevada. Graduating high school in Bishop, California, he is looking forward once again to the different seasons mountain living has to offer. Mr. Graves’ hobbies include spending time with his family, golf, and reading history.
Kris Nugent, Assistant Head of School/Director of Admissions
BA Teaching – University of Newcastle, Australia
BA PDHPE – University of Newcastle, Australia
Mr. Nugent joined the Lake Tahoe School community in 2006. In addition to teaching Health, Mr. Nugent is involved in many aspects of the School’s Athletics department and is a natural coach. Born and educated in beautiful Australia, he was bitten by the travel bug and has lived and traveled throughout the world. He settled in Lake Tahoe in order to teach and to pursue his favorite hobbies, which include alpine skiing, golf, and summertime beach BBQ’s (Australian style).
Russ Bradford, Director of Technology
BS Business Administration – University of Vermont
Certification: University of Vermont
Since joining LTS in 2010, Mr. Bradford has added a number of exciting technology courses to the LTS curriculum that give students hands-on opportunities to create, design, problem-solve, and explore. Under his leadership, the School has transitioned to an Apple-centric environment that includes a 1:1 iPad program for 5th thru 8th graders. Mr. Bradford’s hobbies include backpacking, tennis, golf, skiing, woodworking and photography.
Mark Brockway, Facilities Manager
Certification: OSHA Training, Contractor Orientation
Originally from Illinois, Mr. Brockway has been with LTS for the past thirteen years, and a resident of Incline Village for nineteen years. He has experience in a variety of areas including: sales, management, construction, and coaching sports teams. He has two sons, Steven and Kyle, who live in Japan and Austin, Texas, respectively. Like most residents of Lake Tahoe, Mr. Brockway loves the outdoors, where he spends much of his free time with his wife, Evelyn, and dog, Simba.
Karen Laurie, Administrative Coordinator
Ms. Laurie joined the Lake Tahoe School administrative staff in June of 2015 but has been a parent at the school for 13 years, volunteering on many committees and fundraisers. Her three children all attended Lake Tahoe School, with one currently still enrolled. She was born and raised in New Zealand and moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. For the past 15 years she worked as a fitness instructor at the Incline Village Recreation Center. She loves hiking, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.
Eileen May, Business Manager
A longtime resident of Incline Village, Eileen was the administrator of Cornerstone Church for many years before joining Lake Tahoe School in the summer of 2017. She brings to Lake Tahoe School a deep appreciation for the community, a broad skill set, a strong work ethic, and a great sense of humor, along with extensive experience in office management and customer service.
Bill Devine, Director of Security
Mr. Devine was born and raised in Reno, NV, and attended Idaho State University on a Track and Cross-Country Scholarship. He brings a wealth of experience, having enjoyed a 30-year law enforcement career with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, holding various assignments in Patrol, Detectives, Narcotics and Search & Rescue. Mr. Devine rose to the rank of Sergeant and holds an Advanced Certificate in Nevada Peace Officer and Standards Training (P.O.S.T.). He has also worked with private enterprise consulting on security issues. His hobbies include running, biking, backpacking, golf and spending time with his family, including three grandchildren.
Suzanne Batmale, PreK Teacher & Kindergarten Spanish
BA Spanish and Cross-Cultural Studies – St. Mary’s College of CA
Teaching Degree – Chapman University
International Teaching Program – Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Ms. Batmale has been part of the Lake Tahoe School family as both parent and educator. She is the mother of four children, two at the University of Reno, one at Incline High School (LTS’s Ado Batmale, Class of 2015), and one at Lake Tahoe School. She has extensive experience in bilingual education and looks forward to speaking some Spanish with our littlest Bobcats!
Heidi Breider, Fifth Grade, Lower School Coordinator
BS Economics – University of California Davis
Credential: University of San Francisco
Ms. Breider has taught at Lake Tahoe School for seven years and is the K-2 division coordinator. She particularly enjoys the second grade as it a year of dynamic social growth for the students. Ms. Breider is the mother of three girls, two who attend Incline High School and one who is in her second year at Wellesley College. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading and hiking the local trails with her daughters and their yellow lab “Trip”.
Amory Bundy, Fourth Grade, Drama
BA Humanities/Literature – Sierra Nevada College
Certification: Sierra Nevada College
Ms. Bundy has been teaching fourth grade at Lake Tahoe School since 1998. She is knowledgeable about and adept at standardized test administration, and is a theatre buff who believes strongly in using techniques borrowed from dramaturgy in the classroom. Ms. Bundy is indoors an “experimental chef,” while outdoors she loves snowshoeing, snowboarding, camping, and kayaking. Most of all she is passionate about her family.
Jon Cooper, Physical Education & Athletic Director
BS Physical Education – University of Vermont
Certification: University of Vermont
Mr. Cooper joined the Lake Tahoe School eleven years ago and serves as the Athletic Director in addition to his teaching duties. Mr. Cooper has a passion for sharing the fun of sports and teamwork with his students. A standout athlete and the captain of his college tennis team at Vermont, Mr. Cooper has spent his summers working as a tennis pro for the past sixteen years. He enjoys being outdoors with his wife Kate, daughter Lily, son Miles and his dogs Lucy and Ruby.
Christina Edwards, First Grade
BA Psychology – Bowdoin College
MA Elementary Education – Boston College
Ms. Edwards has been teaching First Grade at Lake Tahoe School for 6 years. She discovered her passion for teaching while working as a K-2 AmeriCorps Volunteer at Incline Elementary School in 2004, and subsequently moved to her native Boston, MA to earn her Master’s degree from Boston College. She enjoys taking advantage of the many outdoor activities Tahoe has to offer, such as hiking, mountain biking and skiing.
Barbara Ellis, Music
MM Music Education – Arizona State University
BM Music Education – University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
Ms. Ellis will join the teaching staff in 2017 coming from a small private school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She has also taught in private international schools in India, Indonesia, and the Czech Republic. She brings over thirty years of music teaching experience at all levels as well as much work in musical theater for children.
Patrick Fleming, Middle School Math
MS Environmental Education – University of Montana, Missoula
BA Political Science – California State University, Long Beach
Mr. Fleming has been an educator for over fifteen years. Prior to moving to Incline Village, he instructed at both private and public schools across the globe, including Cambodia, Montana, and Virginia. After moving with his family to Lake Tahoe in 2004, he worked in the finance industry for a decade. His love of teaching kept him “moonlighting” as a private math tutor and ski instructor for many years, so he is delighted to be back in the classroom teaching his favorite subjects: math and outdoor education. Outside of school his family enjoys all that Tahoe has to offer, especially skiing, paddling, mountain biking, and music.
Eric Harssema, Spanish
BS Outdoor Education – Ohio University
Masters in Education – Sierra Nevada College
Señor Harssema returned to the LTS faculty as the Spanish teacher in 2016. Eric previously worked at LTS in 2008 as a 2nd grade aid and 4th and 5th grade math teacher. Prior to his return to LTS, Eric taught a variety of grade levels and disciplines at Incline Elementary School. Eric has also taught Spanish courses at Sierra Nevada College and the Tahoe Language Center. Outside of school you will often find Eric and his family enjoying the outdoors, skiing at Diamond Peak, biking the Flume Trail and relaxing in the summer at local beaches.
Sara Holm, Kindergarten
BA – St Lawrence University
Masters of Science in Education – University of Nevada Reno
Masters in Education – Sierra Nevada College
Ms. Sara, as she is called by the children, came to us in 2016 all the way from …Incline Village, where she and her husband, Zack, have lived for over a decade. Sara has taught grades K – 4, worked as a teacher mentor and coach, and served on various teams developing curriculum and assessments that integrate 21st century skills. Much of her work has involved STEM connections. In addition, she is passionate about health and the outdoors and has spent considerable time and energy connecting with students through Girls on the Run.
Alison Lee, Art
BFA Art – Sierra Nevada College
MAT – Sierra Nevada College
Ms. Lee has been teaching art at the Lake Tahoe School since 2004. “I love to watch children discover the possibilities of art and I feel it is very important to foster their natural creativity.” An accomplished muralist, she also has a background in mediums such as printmaking, acrylics, watercolors, and papermaking (to name just a few!). Ms. Lee is an outdoor enthusiast and gains much of her inspiration from her natural surroundings of the Lake Tahoe region.
Stephanie Mancuso, 6th Grade Humanities, Middle School Math Teacher
BS Education – University of Nevada Reno
Certification: University of Nevada, Reno
This is Ms. Mancuso’s twelfth year at Lake Tahoe School. She currently teaches Middle School Math and 6th Grade Humanities at LTS, while also overseeing and coordinating the elementary math scope and sequence. Ms. Mancuso is a coach for the LTS volleyball team and is the proud parent of a Lake Tahoe School alumna. Outside of school, she enjoys hiking and beach volleyball.
Jenna Panici, PreK Teacher/Assistant PreK Director
BA Psychology – California State University Chico
Ms. Jenna was born and raised in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe. After graduating from college with a BA in Psychology she discovered her love for Early Childhood Education and went on to work as a preschool teacher in Chico California. While working at the preschool she went on to get her Early Childhood Certification in California. Jenna has had three years of experience working in a preschool setting and is very excited to be part of the Lake Tahoe School team. In addition to her passion for Early Childhood Education, she also has a love for traveling and has lived in New Zealand and Italy and has done volunteer work in Costa Rica.
Madelyn Rios, Lower School Science
BS Wildlife, Fish, Conservation – University of California, Davis
MA Teaching – Sierra Nevada College
Madelyn Rios has taken her experience from both local and global research projects as a wildlife biologist into the classroom. Her keen interest in the natural science was cultivated at UC Davis where she earned a BS in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. To better understand the relationship between public outreach and ecological policy, Madelyn studied the effects of teaching science in an outdoor environment for her graduate thesis at Sierra Nevada College. As an Associate Adjunct in Biology and Environmental Science at Lake Tahoe Community College, Madelyn developed courses in Field Methods of Wildlife Ecology and the Belize Marine Field Program. She also teaches summer courses at Tahoe Stem Camp while continuing her work on avian monitoring projects in South Lake Tahoe.
Catherine Rogers, Third Grade
BA Communication Studies – University of California Santa Barbara
Certification: California State University Sacramento
Ms. Rogers, our third grade teacher since 2005, loves to share her excitement for learning with her students. When she’s not teaching, she spends time with her family and enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities, from snowshoeing, to alpine skiing, to swimming in the lake. On Saturdays in the fall, she can be found cheering for the Stanford football and basketball teams.
Diana Schlaff, Second Grade
BA Community Studies – University of California, Santa Cruz
Ms. Schlaff has been working with young children for over 20 years, in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Incline Village in both classrooms and homes. Diana is also a certified ski instructor, marathon runner and has hiked the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail 4 times.
Danielle Snyder, Middle School Humanities Teacher
BA Television, Film, and Media Studies – Cal State, LA
MA Education – Whittier College
Danielle comes to LTS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Television, Film, and Media studies from Cal State, L.A. where she played women’s basketball. She also has a Master’s Degree in Education from Whittier College. With several years as a short- and long-term substitute teacher in the Yuba City School District, Danielle brings to us a strong background in working with children both in the classroom and in coaching.
Rod Tayler, Middle School Science, Middle School Coordinator
BA Neuroscience – Amherst College
Mr. Tayler moved to Incline Village from Massachusetts, where he taught math and science at the Rivers School and coached cross country, headed the middle school Leadership Team, and was a member of the 21st Century Education Focus Group and the Footprint Committee. Mr. Tayler earned a B.A. in neuroscience from Amherst College and attended Tulane University School of Medicine. While in college, he did research on immunofluorescence at CalTech and on wildebeest behavior at the Serengeti Research Institute. He and his fiancée, Heidi, are avid hikers who love to travel.
Sarah Williams, PreK Teacher
BA – University of Idaho
Ms. Williams joins Lake Tahoe School in the fall of 2017. She brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm from her experience as a substitute teacher, volleyball and track coach, nanny, event planner, and parent of three boys (Tanner, 19, Tommy, 10, and Ryan, 9). She and her husband, Mike, are seven-year residents of Incline Village and 14-year residents of Lake Tahoe.
Shari Wilson, Academic Coach
BA – Chico State University
MA – San Francisco State University
Ms. Wilson brought decades of experience in education with her when she joined us in 2016. She has taught students from kindergarten through college, served as both an assistant principal and principal, and worked as a resident supervisor of student teachers. Her deep background in elementary and middle school education means that she is uniquely prepared to provide support on all levels.
Rebecca Eller, Reading Specialist
BSED – Montana State University
MSED- CI – University of Phoenix
MSED- Science & Professional Studies – Capella University
Principal License K-12 – University of Phoenix
Rebecca taught 18 years as an elementary school teacher (K-6) in Colorado and mentored numerous graduate student teachers. She specializes in differentiating curriculum and continues to enjoy working one-on-one with students to help them reach/exceed their academic goals. Rebecca brings a wealth of educational experience to Lake Tahoe School and she’s excited to continue to work with teachers and students.