Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

2019 New Faces

The magic of GFA lies in its people and the partnership between our faculty, staff, and students. We are thrilled to welcome this next class of Dragons to the team. Each for all!Bob Whelan, Head of School

New Administrator

Tope Aiyegbo — Director of Technology

Tope Aiyegbo


Tope Aiyegbo steps into our administrative leadership team as Director of Technology. Tope comes to GFA most recently from Rippowam Cisqua School, where he served in the same role and as a Diversity Facilitator. At Rippowam Cisqua, Tope oversaw all aspects of technology: academic technology, infrastructure, systems, and support. His earlier career was in industry, including time at Pepsico and Verizon. Tope earned his B.S. in computer science from Saint John’s University.

Our new faculty and staff show us just how "globally minded" our community is!

New Faculty Members

Lower School

Ginger Brooker — Associate Teacher PreK

Ginger Brooker


Ginger Brooker, a graduate of Colby College with a degree in French and psychology, served most recently as an apprentice teacher at New Canaan Country School, focusing on kindergarten. At GFA, Ginger will be working as an Associate Teacher in PreK with Sarah Bayzick.

Stephen Fong — Associate Teacher Grade Two

Stephen Fong


Stephen Fong joined us last April as a new Associate Teacher in the Lower School. Stephen spent two years at Brunswick as an Assistant Teacher where he also taught at Brunswick's Horizons program. Most recently, he has worked with fifth graders at Glennville School in Greenwich. He earned his B.A. in environmental studies at Eckerd College and M.A. in education from Sacred Heart University.

Ari Fustini — Associate Teacher First Grade


Ari Fustini will be joining GFA as an Associate Teacher in the first grade with Kate Kralik. She is a graduate of Skidmore College, where she earned her B.S. in science and was a two-year captain of the women’s varsity basketball team. Before coming to GFA, Ari taught in the Groton public schools.

Dayna Vasconcelos — Associate Teacher Kindergarten

Dayne Vasconcelos


Dayna Vasconcelos recently graduated from Bates with a degree in education and psychology, where she also played field hockey and spent three years as an assistant teacher in Lewiston, Maine. Dayna will be working as an Associate Teacher with Katie Mack in kindergarten.

Middle School

Michelle Boccuzzi — Fifth Grade English

Michelle Boccuzzi


Michelle Boccuzzi will be teaching fifth grade English during Fran Denote’s maternity leave. Michelle comes to us after nine years at the Stanwich School, where Michelle taught grades 3, 4, and 6. Michelle earned her B.S. in Sociology from Northeastern and M.A.T. from Manhattanville College.

Vanessa Diaz — Languages Teaching Fellow


Vanessa Diaz joins us as our Middle School World Languages Teaching Fellow. Vanessa will be teaching Spanish at several levels. An attorney by training, she taught most recently at Middlebrook Middle School in Wilton, having had experience with Lower School students before that. She earned her bachelor's in political science from Inter American University, J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico, M.A. in comparative law from Indiana University, and M.S. in secondary Spanish education at Sacred Heart.

Mattie Dulac — Sixth Grade Science

Mattie Dulac


Mattie Dulac will be teaching science in sixth grade. Mattie is no stranger to independent schools, having attended the McDonough School in Baltimore, before earning a B.A. in geology from Bucknell University. Most recently, Mattie taught Middle School science at Calverton.

Jodi Kupersmith — Learning Specialist

Jodi Kupersmit


Jodi Kupersmith will be our dedicated Middle School Learning Specialist. She recently worked across several schools in the Stamford public school system supporting students, parents, and families around learning needs. Previously, Jodi taught in the Department of Special Education at Hunter College and served as a special education teacher in New York. She earned her B.A. in art history at Holy Cross and M.S. in special education at Hunter College.

Iman Rasti — English

Iman Rasti


Iman Rasti joins the Middle School English Department. Iman taught previously at the Unquowa School, where he served as the English Department Chair, and at Rippowam Cisqua, where he distinguished himself for his contributions around executive functioning and teacher development. In addition to his teaching role at GFA, Iman will support the writing center and collaborate with the team regarding learning support. A native of Iran and a former high-level soccer player, Iman brings a global perspective and a love for the world’s game. He earned his undergraduate and master's in education degree from Shiraz University, and his Ph.D. in English from Liverpool University.

Julia Roellke — Science Teaching Fellow


Julia Roellke joins us as our Middle School Science Teaching Fellow, teaching fifth grade. In addition, Julia will support the fifth-grade homeroom teachers and become part of the team actively engaged in school-wide on sustainability. A varsity basketball player at Vassar — who also taught part-time at Poughkeepsie Day School — Julia is excited to lend a hand in athletics as well.

Jackie Woods — Counselor

Jackie Woods


Jackie Woods comes on as the dedicated counselor in our Middle School. An L.M.F.T., she steps away from a thriving private practice in Fairfield where she worked with adolescents and families. She earned her B.A. in psychology at Penn State and M.A. in Counseling at Santa Clara University. Jackie also understands competitive athletics, having played lacrosse at Penn State and having coached lacrosse at Colgate earlier in her career.

Upper School

Michele Ames — English

Michele Ames


Michele Ames will be teaching English in the Upper School while Melanie Haas is on maternity leave. Michele has been a regular substitute teacher at GFA in the MS and US. Her first career was in publishing, where she worked as an editor for many years. She earned her B.A. in German at Wellesley College and M.A.T. at Fairfield University.

Sarah Bryant - Science

Sarah Bryant


Sarah Bryant joins us as our new Upper School Science teacher, focusing on biology. Sarah recently completed a two-year teaching fellowship at Lawrenceville School, where she also coached three seasons. She was a Division I ice hockey player at Providence College, where she majored in biology with a focus on neuroscience. Sarah also completed her M.S. in Education at UPenn last spring as part of the Penn Fellows program.

Cristin Robb — Learning Specialist

Cristin Robb


Cristin Robb joins us as the dedicated Upper School Learning Specialist. Cristin was formerly the Upper School Student Services Coordinator at Stanwich School, where she served since 2006. Before moving into learning support, she was a lower school lead teacher. She earned her B.S. in psychology from Union College and Dual M.P.S.+ degree in childhood education and special education from Manhattanville College.

New Staff 

Risa Vine — Controller, Assistant Business Manager


Risa Vine joins us in the Business Office as our new Controller. Prior to taking on this position at GFA, she served as the Director of Risk Management at Choate Rosemary Hall and Director of Finance Operations at Carmel Academy. She earned her B.S. in economics from Brandeis University.

New Admission Members

Mackenzie Kirkup — Senior Enrollment Associate

Mackenzie Kirkup


Mackenzie Kirkup joins GFA as a Senior Enrollment Associate on our admission team. She previously served as an Admission Coordinator at Episcopal School of Dallas. A Division I lacrosse player at High Point University, where she studied business administration, Mackenzie has also coached several youth lacrosse programs.

Alex Russell — Associate Director of Enrollment


Alex Russell joins the team as Associate Director of Enrollment. Alex comes to us most recently from Riverdale Country School, where he served as the Assistant Director of Admission for Middle and Upper School. Prior to that, he taught fourth grade at St. Bernard’s School in New York City. Alex earned his B.A. in history at Ohio Wesleyan University and M.S. in education from Bank Street College of Education.

Vanessa Sylvester — Assistant Director of Enrollment

Vanessa Sylvester


Vanessa Sylvester takes on the role of Assistant Director of Enrollment. After serving as a Lower School lead teacher at GFA and overseeing testing for GFA Lower School applicants last year, Vanessa now takes on a larger role in admission this year, focused on the Lower School. Vanessa earned a B.A. in political science at the University of Vermont and M.S. in teaching from Fordham University.