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Our newest faculty members have officially been welcomed into the Norfolk Academy family!

The group received orientation Monday and Tuesday, two days when they learned about our Honor System, technology, and more. They were also able to tour campus and meet many of their new colleagues, including Head of School Travis Larrabee, who began in July.

Here are the teachers and staff joining our family for 2023-24:

Adam Clifford, Director, School of the Arts; Strings and Orchestra, Lower School
Berklee College of Music

Mr. Clifford joins us full-time this year, teaching orchestra in the Lower School. He is an energetic pianist, violinist, composer, and teacher who seeks to give students a sense of the creative possibilities in music. His musical background extends beyond performance and pedagogy into composition, conducting, production and recording, and piano restoration. He has produced and recorded three albums, available on Spotify. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and in France, and in July of 2022, made his solo-orchestral debut on piano under the baton of Marius Stravinsky in Perugia, Italy. Performing frequently in Hampton Roads, he was invited by the Feldman Chamber Music Society to present a solo recital in 2022 at the Chrysler Museum of Art, returning to present a chamber music recital with violinist Emily Ondracek-Peterson, Director of Old Dominion University’s Diehn School of Music.

Sarah Jewett, 6th Grade Teacher/Latin Teacher, Lower School
B.A., Dartmouth College

Ms. Jewett was a linguistics major and classical studies minor at Dartmouth College. During her time there, she served as a learning fellow at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, where she provided language and vocabulary tutoring in Latin. A member of the Dartmouth Outing Club, she managed a team of 350 student volunteers through leader training and designed a week-long outdoors orientation program for 1,100 incoming students, and she served as an editor of Dear Dartmouth, an undergraduate publication. In addition to teaching, she will coach two seasons in our athletic program. Her hobbies and interests include reading, movies, languages, and hiking.

Mark Lynch, Math, Upper School
B.S., Millsaps College
Ph.D., Louisiana State University

Dr. Lynch earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Louisiana State University, worked at the National Security Agency for two years, and then spent the past 34 years teaching all levels of mathematics at Millsaps College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He has taught freshman and advanced courses, and he developed new courses in mathematical statistics, chaos theory, and fuzzy set theory. His hobbies and interests include kayaking, hiking, and climbing.

Anna Meadows, Music Teacher, Middle and Upper School
B.A., University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning, New Zealand Graduate School of Education
M.A., Queen’s College (New York)

Mrs. Meadows returns to the Academy this year as a Music Teacher in the Middle and Upper Schools. After earning her postgraduate diploma in education, she worked at St. Margaret's College in Christchurch, New Zealand as a music and dance teacher, before returning to her alma mater as an associate professor of music. She earned a master’s degree in jazz performance from Queen’s College. She has worked professionally as a musician in New Zealand since graduating in 2007. Highlights of her career include arranging and recording a live album with a full jazz orchestra, being choir director for outdoor televised concerts with more than 100,000 in attendance, headlining the Christchurch Big Band Festival and the New Zealand Jazz and Blues Festival, and performing for the 90th birthday celebration of jazz icon Jimmy Heath. Her hobbies and interests include sewing, hiking, and gardening.

Zach Minor ’18, Teaching Associate, Lower School
B.S., M.A.T., James Madison University

Mr. Minor attended James Madison University where he studied biology and education and worked in a biological research laboratory studying DNA replication. Upon graduation, he remained at JMU and became a Double Duke as he earned a master's degree in teaching. His dream of becoming a science teacher and is now one step closer as he rejoins the Norfolk Academy family as a Teaching Associate in the Lower School, working with the first grade team. While carrying out his instructional responsibilities, he will coach in the football, basketball, and track and field programs.

Dana Phelps, History Teacher, Middle School
B.A., American University of Rome
M.A., University of London and Stanford University
Ph.D., Stanford University

Dr. Phelps is an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist. She earned her B.A. in art history and archaeology from the American University of Rome, where she also was a Vatican City tour guide. Dana received an M.A. in cultural heritage studies from University College London, while also conducting archaeological fieldwork in Albania. After an internship at UNESCO in Paris and employment in the international development sector in Washington, DC, Dana went on to earn a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University; she also conducted more than two years of anthropological and archaeological fieldwork in Albania, Greece, and Italy. Her doctoral dissertation explored the intersection of archaeology, European Union politics, and local communities in post-Socialist Albania. She has also worked for the tech giant Meta (formerly Facebook), employing her anthropological background to study the users of their technology including virtual reality. Her love for teaching and for ancient history brought her to Norfolk Academy, where she will teach history.

Noah Sutton ’17, Teaching Associate, Lower School 
B.A. University of Oklahoma 
M.A. George Mason University 

Mr. Sutton studied psychology at the University of Oklahoma. While in school, he pursued an array of research projects; one highlight of his undergraduate experience was giving a presentation at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Conference in New Orleans about a prototype for an app to help individuals going through physical therapy. After receiving his M.A. in psychology from George Mason, Noah did teaching and tutoring in math in the Virginia Beach Public Schools. This summer, he came back for his sixth year of Summer at the Academy, where he was an integral part of the leadership team, serving as the unofficial junior director. He will work as a Teaching Associate in the Lower School with the third grade team. In addition to his instructional responsibilities, he will work with the Winter Musical and coach. 

Kaitlin (Van Buren) Tyler ’07, EDI Teacher/Teaching Associate, Lower School
B.A., College of William & Mary
M.Ed. George Mason University

After graduating from Norfolk Academy, Mrs. Tyler earned a B.A. in elementary education and art/art history from William & Mary and an M.Ed. in education leadership, K-8 math specialist, from George Mason. She taught fourth grade in Fairfax County Public Schools for three years before becoming a K-5 STEAM specialist and Singapore Math teacher at Trinity Christian School, a K-12 private school in Fairfax, Virginia. After returning to Virginia Beach, she enjoyed staying home with her young sons while tutoring math and teaching Tinkergarten, a program of outdoor learning for young children. She will teach in the Lower School EDI program and serve as a Lower School Teaching Associate.

Joan Williams, Development Assistant
B.A., George Washington University
M.A., University of Texas at Austin

Mrs. Williams returns to Norfolk Academy as Development Assistant after spending the past five years in Japan, California, and, most recently South Carolina, where she was an assistant kindergarten teacher at Charleston Day School. Steeped in independent education, she is a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall where she was on the water polo, swimming, and crew teams. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political communications from George Washington University and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Texas at Austin. Joan and her Naval Aviator husband Chris have one son, Dean ’27, who is delighted to be returning to Norfolk Academy and reuniting with old friends

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