We Focus on Middle School

Hyla Middle School

Meet the Faculty


Paul Carroll – Interim Head of School  After earning degrees in geology at Middlebury College and the University of Washington, Paul moved away from work in geology to take a teaching position in 1983 at The Bush School in Seattle. For ten years, he taught science in the 6th and 8th grades there. In 1991, he and his family moved to Bainbridge, and while still teaching at Bush, he became part of a group of parents and teachers who were planning to start a private, independent middle school on the island. Hyla opened in the fall of 1993, and Paul was the science teacher and the head of school. He continued as the head for 14 years, stepping down in 2007, but has also taught science and algebra classes for many of those years. In the last two years, he had stopped teaching, but was still doing the class schedule and was volunteering in the 7th and 8th grade math classes three days a week. Paul sees stepping up to be Hyla’s Interim Head of School for a year as a fascinating way to celebrate his 35th year working with middle schoolers, and perhaps a fitting bookmark to his career at Hyla. This school has meant a great deal to him, and he is pleased and honored to help in this transition.

Kris Rogers Dean of Students and School Counselor  Kris joined Hyla in the fall of 2004 as counselor for students, parents, teachers and administrators. Kris comes to Hyla with a strong background in youth counseling and program administration at numerous local schools and organizations. Kris is counselor at The Island School where she formed the counseling program in 2000. She is also a consultant for independent schools in Seattle. Kris serves on the steering committee for The Holt Webster Fund, which serves “at risk” youth on Bainbridge Island. Kris is a board member for the Bainbridge Island Chapter of  “Make Some Noise, Cure Pediatric Cancer Research”. Kris worked as a counselor for Bainbridge Youth Services where she also founded and facilitated the BYS Youth Board, a peer education program where high school students worked with middle school students to promote drug/alcohol education and prevention. At Seattle Country Day School, Kris formed the counseling program, served as interim dean of students, worked in admissions, served as counseling consultant, and served on the board of trustees. During the early part of her career, Kris worked in the King County juvenile court system, at Seattle Children’s Hospital, a runaway shelter, a Seattle youth service bureau, and a community mental health center. She also had a private practice on Bainbridge Island for over 10 years. Kris has a BA in Social Work, and an MA in Psychology. Kris lives on Bainbridge Island with her husband Brad and daughter Maxsena (Hyla ’11). Her daughter Bridget (Hyla ’03) is now working in education.


Carrington Quinn LannonCarrington Quinn Lannon – Office Manager: When you arrive at Hyla, Carrington will be the first person to greet you in the office. She is our control center at Hyla, working with students, teachers, parents and visitors to keep our daily schedule running smoothly. Wearing many different hats throughout the week – from office manager, to reception, to communications, to registrar – she keeps us informed and organized, all with a smile on her face. She also coordinates Pizza Wednesday, which any student will tell you is serious business. 



Jana Morris – Business Manager: Jana MorrisJana has been Hyla’s Business Manager for 12 years. She serves on the Finance Committee, and handles the school’s book-keeping and financials. She also manages facilities rentals for groups who use the campus for camps, family reunions, weddings and other functions. 




Katherine JohnsKatherine Johns – Communications & Development: Katherine joined Hyla in 2012, and works with parents, teachers, staff, and the board on strategic planning, communications, and fundraising campaigns. 





Vicki JenkinsVicki Jenkins – Admissions Director: As Admissions Director, Vicki welcomes all applicant families to the school for a tour and one-on-one conversations about our program, teachers, philosophy and culture. She spends time with each family to answer questions and tour the campus. 



Colleen CarrollLibrary  Colleen grew up on Bainbridge Island, enjoying the beauty of the water and the mountains. With her father, Paul Carroll, as the founding Head of School, she also grew up at Hyla, from playing under classroom tables in the original Hyla building, to spackling classroom walls on summer vacation, and ultimately enjoying three years as a student before graduating in 2004. She went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating with a BA in Geography and American Studies in 2012. Colleen’s interests are many and varied, from hiking and skiing, to art and baking, travel and Spanish. She has worked as a ski instructor, a baker, and cookie decorator, and also led student trips to Spain and Nicaragua. After college, Colleen lived and worked on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, for 15 months, as the office volunteer for the Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Islands Association. Although she misses the warmth and beauty of Ometepe, she is happy to be back in the Northwest and happy to be back at Hyla. And as a lifelong reader, she can’t imagine a better place to be than in the library, surrounded by books and all their magic.

Melissa Dempsey Humanities   Growing up in a family of educators, Melissa thought it was the last profession she would choose.  But after teaching theatre to groups of young adults who were trying to leave their gang activity behind, she was hooked.  She already had a BA in Theatre Arts and Italian from Lake Erie College in Ohio, so went on to get an additional degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and has been an educator ever since.  She began her career by teaching theatre and gifted and talented students at a middle school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where she found the vibrancy, and humor of young adolescents to be energizing. It was then she saw the promise and possibility of middle level education; these years being a crossroads where the life of an individual often makes up its mind. After Colorado, she lived and taught in East Lyme, Connecticut–a small town on Long Island Sound.  While teaching language arts there she was named Holocaust Educator of the Year and became a conference presenter for the New England League of Middle Schools.  She’s been a student of the Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University, New York since 2003 and moved to Seattle six years ago and is pursuing an MFA in fiction from Seattle Pacific University.  She currently holds professional educator certificates in Connecticut and Washington.  She chose to teach at Hyla because she saw happy children who not only had vibrant relationships with each other, but with their teachers as well.  Experiencing other cultures has always been a particular delight for her, some of the most memorable being studying abroad in Italy and helping train Russian teachers in Moscow.  She also enjoys writing, reading, anything pertaining to the ocean, hiking and swimming, but most of all she loves talking to friends over a cup of great Seattle coffee.

Mike FosmarkSpanish  Mike found his way to Hyla in 2009 after teaching Spanish at Okanogan High School for four years. There he also coached the middle school wrestling team. Previously he instructed Math and Science at Maple Valley Alternative High School. He graduated in 1997 from Washington State University with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree from the University of Salamanca in Spain. Mike first studied Spanish in junior high but fell in love with the language during a five month stay in Veracruz, Mexico as an exchange student. Mike later traveled to Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela during college which further enriched his Spanish language skills and his appreciation for the multitude of cultures in our world. Traveling, meeting new people, continually learning, and sharing what he knows are a few of the things Mike loves to do.

Jennifer Haase – History  Jennifer’s passions include American history and the outdoors.  In her college years she dove into the study of the Civil War and the far west at Gettysburg College where, in 1993, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.  While working at the “Civil War Institute,” Jennifer was inspired by the honesty and hope that middle schoolers had and realized that she wanted to teach. She went on to graduate school at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania to get her teaching certification. In 1998, after teaching in Pennsylvania for three and a half years, she moved west to follow another passion—mountains.  Outside of school, Jennifer’s hobbies include backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, ice climbing and rock climbing, but most of all she enjoys introducing the wonders of life to her daughter, Nevi and son, Swift.

Cami HoltmeierScience  An ideal day for Cami would be spent outdoors. As an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska, she spent several summers outside studying biology at a field station, as well as researching cricket genetics in a laboratory and population biology on a prairie reserve in Minnesota. Cami continued her education at Cornell University where she completed a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and did her field research in the Everglades and the Bahamas. After graduate school, she was a biology instructor for four years in Chicago at DePaul University. Before joining Hyla in 2009 she volunteered teaching science to kindergartners at St. Cecilia’s Catholic School and marine science to preschoolers at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center. In her free time Cami enjoys biking, hiking, camping, playing on the beach, gardening and observing the fascinating behaviors of her family’s large number of pets.

Laura JonesArt  Laura began college at Northwestern University in the Theater Department, concentrating on costume design. After studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, California College of Arts and Crafts, and the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles she had a brief career in fashion design. She completed her bachelor degree in Art at Cal State Northridge, followed by a Masters of Fine Arts at UCLA. She established herself as a fiber artist, exhibiting primarily in Los Angeles, Chicago, and later Seattle and Bainbridge Island. In 1987 Laura developed an art program for the Fairfield School in Los Angeles. In 1991, she began teaching art for the Bainbridge Island Parks Department, developing a preschool art course while running the youth and teen Art Workshops. These experiences led her to open her own art school in the fall of 1993, teaching after- school and Saturday classes. Laura joined the Hyla faculty during its first year. She lives on the island with her husband, Robert. Her daughter, Caitlin, who is a Hyla alum, is currently working as the school counselor at two middle schools on Whidbey Island. Whenever possible, Laura and Robert pack their bags and journey to foreign lands.

Andrew Lovejoy – Ultimate Coach, Electives  Andrew is a 1997 graduate of Hyla and a 2005 graduate of Carlton College. It was a life-changing day when former Hyla teacher, David Evans, invited Andrew to join the Hyla frisbee team. After years of playing competitive Ultimate, Andrew began coaching youth Ultimate camps and coaching the Ultimate Frisbee team at Bainbridge High School. He has also taught at the Trillium School in Indianola.  Andrew also plays the mandolin and sings, and we greatly look forward to his musical contributions to the elective program. Andrew lives in Indianola with his wife Kate and children, Oliver and Cicely.

David Maron – Human Relations  David Maron was raised on Bainbridge Island, and it was this upbringing and place that instilled in him a strong sense of community. David attended The Evergreen State College, where he focused his energies on comparative religion and historical studies. Throughout his years as an undergraduate, David led outdoor trips and worked with disadvantaged youth in the Olympia area. After graduation David moved to DC and earned a master’s degree in International Conflict Resolution from American University, with a focus on Middle East studies. For several years thereafter, he worked on internationally oriented programs for DC schools, exposing students to a more global education experience. Since earning his teaching credentials in 2008, David has taught within the history department at Skyline High School in Oakland, California, where he focused on building community through a strong focus on classroom culture and restorative justice practices. David is very excited to return to the Hyla community – he worked here as a history teacher while Jennifer was on maternity leave about eight years ago. He is eager to help guide the school’s young people through their middle school years. Back on the island after 20 years away, David is pleased to cultivate his own family (a wife and two girls) here in a place that provided him such a solid sense of community.

Cooper Rooks – PE  Cooper was raised on Bainbridge Island, where his love of boats led to a deep appreciation for the outdoor activities of the Pacific Northwest. He has kayaked from Fay Bainbridge up the inside passage to northern British Columbia and sailed from Eagle Harbor to Auckland, New Zealand. This summer, he and his brother will compete in the Race to Alaska, a non-motorized, unsupported boat race from Port Townsend to Ketchikan. His educator mother inspired a passion for education, and he enjoys sharing creativity and respect through teaching art and athletics. Cooper received his B.A. in Education from the Evergreen State College. He taught ceramics, kayaking and skateboarding at Camp Orkila, and coached youth and masters rowing on Bainbridge. He is now one of the lead coaches for the Bainbridge Water Polo Club and high school programs, and has overseen massive program growth thanks to a positive and inclusive atmosphere. When not sailing or coaching, Cooper is also an accomplished ceramic, metal, and glass artist. He is highly motivated to work with middle school aged students and athletes in part because of influential teachers and coaches that helped him thrive in this often challenging time. He believes deeply that respect between students and teachers is a powerful catalyst for growth, and is extremely excited to join the Hyla community.

Cindy Schacht Math  Cindy’s sense of adventure and exploration has taken her many places in her life thus far. She grew up in New York and Pennsylvania, went to school in Boston (with a short stint in Australia), and then moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, to San Francisco, and back to Seattle again. After experiencing life in many different places, she has settled here on Bainbridge Island with a desire to stay put and raise her family.  Her husband David and two sons Ryan and Luke keep her very busy. As a family they enjoy the outdoors, gardening, biking, and co-exploring the island. Cindy completed her BA in math and education at Boston College, then later her MA in Multicultural Education at UW. She has taught middle school for over 10 years at The Overlake School,The Hamlin School, and Lakeside School. She has experience with a variety of ages, but her true passion is teaching middle school students. She loves this age group for their sense of fun, humor, and budding intellectual maturity. She is excited to be a part of the Hyla community.

Chris Soldevilla – Drama  Chris has worked for over 25 years as an actor, both on screen and on stage, and as a teaching coach, helping others find their voice and gain control and confidence. Most recently, Chris was in SPACEBOX theater’s production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo. He has also performed with BPA in True West, The Tempest, and Twelve Angry Men. He is a member of the improv group, The Edge.


Jeff Steele 6th Grade math and science  Jeff Steele was born and raised on the shores of the Puget Sound. He earned his Undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and began his teaching career in the outdoor environmental education program at Camp Orkila in the San Juan Islands, WA. He soon became their director of the Wilderness Expedition Program where he oversaw sea kayaking, sailing, rock climbing, back packing and mountain biking expeditions for several years. In this role he fully understood that unless we ask our children to do meaningful things with their young lives, we will have a difficult time fostering the sense of citizen-leadership that we would hope for from our next generation. He was married on Orcas Island and then began his Masters in Education at Goddard College in Vermont. He was awarded a teaching certificate in secondary science education and completed an original research study of schools as living ecological systems. While living in Louisville, KY he taught high school physics and gained a deep appreciation for the meeting of math and science. In Madison, WI he took a position in the Talented and Gifted department he did extensive work managing a 7th and 8th grade biology research cohort on Stem cells. He is excited to begin a long teaching career at Hyla Middle School and develop a deep relationship with the Bainbridge Island community. Through his various roles as an educator he has developed a vision of education that fosters and focuses a strong sense of curiosity about our world and ourselves and a practice of education that is deeply connected to what it means to fully inhabit a local community. Jeff, his wife Alyssa Knickerbocker, and sons Rowan and Remy live in Indianola and enjoying being back in the Pacific Northwest among old family and friends.

Kimberley Gorman Trick  – English Born in Eastern Canada, Kimberley moved to the United States after high school to continue her education.  After graduating with a degree in English Literature, studying theatre and playwriting in London, England, Kimberley received her Masters in Social Work and her Juris Doctor from Syracuse University.  Kimberley has lived in a number of states throughout the country but she is most happy in the rainy Pacific Northwest.  Kimberley shares her passion for learning through experiential class activities.  Outside the classroom, Kimberley maintains a law practice focusing on family law issues.  She is licensed to practice in New York and Washington.  She is also a Guardian ad Litem for Kitsap County.  Kimberley loves photography and is the current art director for a local restaurant.  In her spare time, she enjoys sculling, writing, and cooking.  Of course, her favorite pastime is spending time with her husband, Mead, and two daughters, Alexa and Easson.