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Meet Our Faculty

Paul Conrad
Art Instructor
Morningside Academy's art teacher Paul Conrad has provided a rich array of art skills and experiences to Morningside students for over ten years. Paul received his B.F.A from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Trained in the fine arts and theater arts with teaching and craft skills, Paul provides students the opportunity to learn hands-on, promoting independence alongside a rich imagination-based arts program. Class themes include basics in drawing and painting, ceramics, sculpture, drafting, art tools, product and toy design. Paul gives students the chance to be creative and achieve completion of an idea - always a surprise with unexpected fun! What can be more fun than starting the day listening to music and sitting with a friend creating art?
Marianne Delgado
Faculty
Marianne Delgado returned to the Northwest after living a number of years in the New York City metropolitan area, where she studied at Barnard College and received her Masters in general education from Georgian Court College in Lakewood, New Jersey. She is the mother of three. In her free time, she enjoys the indie-rock music scene, modern art, gourmet cooking, cake decorating, and costume design. She joined the faculty of Morningside Academy in 2002. Her profession specialties are creative writing, service learning, curriculum design, and developing and implementing Morningside’s Project Based Learning program. Marianne also designed a process-based science curriculum for 6th - 9th graders, including chapter labs, full lab reports and an annual science fair. She designed a best-practices vocabulary program, using context clues, connotation and usage, word forms, and meaningful sentences. Marianne designed and implemented the answering format posters for group reading tied to Robert Dixon’s Reading Success, used in Morningside classrooms and partnership schools. She wrote the REWARDS Writing Fluency Program and co-wrote the Morningside Word Problem Program. She enjoys sharing Morningside’s methods with other educators, and is an experienced presenter at our annual ABAI convention.
Restita "Sifu" DeJesus
Wushu Instructor
Sifu ("teacher") Restita DeJesus is the Instructor of Wushu Class. She is the co-founder and instructor of Yin Yang Arts Center. Sifu DeJesus has 30 years of experience in martial discliplines that include Karate, Kung Fu,Kajukenbo, Eskrima, Aikido, Kyudo,Iaido, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Wushu. Restita is a member of several national martial arts organizations, and was inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame in August 2011. In her spare time she enjoys meditation, motorcycling, target slingshot shooting, and target blowgunning. She is also a Reiki master practitioner and offers Reiki sessions when not teaching martial arts. Sifu DeJesus' goal is to share the fun and fitness benefits of Chinese Wushu with kids of all ages. Through Wushu, she hopes that kids can enhance their sense of confidence and empowerment, as well as physical fitness.
Nicole  Erickson
Faculty
Nicole grew up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho before attending Eastern Washington University. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Special Education with an additional endorsement in Secondary English Education. Nicole knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was very young, and she often practiced by teaching lessons to her parents and younger sister. When she first came to Morningside in 2008, she was instantly impressed by the specific way of teaching and the fun, supportive learning environment. In addition to enjoying her time teaching at Morningside, Nicole has presented at the Applied Behavior Analysis conferences she has attended. She enjoys taking the Morningside Model and using it in different ways to inspire her students. Nicole's classroom is always a stop for visiting families and Summer School Institute professionals. When she isn’t teaching, Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, and running. She completed her first marathon, the 2015 Seattle Rock n’ Roll marathon, and looks forward to completing more.
Shiloh Isbell
Faculty
Shiloh grew up in the greater Seattle area and showed an interest in education at an early age. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Central Washington University. She returned to CWU to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis on Precision Teaching and Instructional Design. Her master’s thesis was on developing systems of assessment to measure progress toward writing benchmarks. Shiloh has worked with both special education and general education populations. She worked through college as a one-on-one paraprofessional for a student with physical and mental disabilities. Upon graduation, she took a teaching position at a school for severely emotionally and behaviorally disabled students in Tacoma, Washington. She eventually moved back to Seattle to take a teaching position at Morningside Academy, where she works with students transitioning from the Foundations program into the Middle School program. She has been with Morningside since August, 2007. Shiloh has many professional hobbies. She’s volunteered for the Standard Celeration Society as an officer. She has done research and given many presentations at events such as the Association for Behavior Analysis International conference. She has coauthored programs such as Morningside Word Problems: An Algebraic Approach. She has also developed software to help students build organizational skills.
Vivian  Mach
Faculty
Vivian one of the newest additions to the Morningside team and is very excited to begin teaching at Morningside Academy. She moved to Seattle from Orange County in Southern California. She received her Bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Irvine and her M.A.T. with a specialization in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Southern California. While she attended USC, she co-taught first grade at a Title I school in South L.A. She also co-taught first grade at an elementary school in Irvine. She loved presenting at various CATESOL conferences on her research about increasing students’ BICS and CALPS proficiencies through utilizing technology in a low-tech classroom. After receiving her MAT-TESOL she taught international students at multiple international language schools such as Kaplan and the English Language Center. Being a Southern Californian ate heart, Vivian enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and doing yoga whenever the Seattle sun is out. When she’s not teaching at Morningside, this Registered Yoga Teacher is teaching yoga all over Seattle!
Geoffrey H. Martin
Faculty
Geoffrey Martin, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, participated in Morningside Academy's Summer School Institute (SSI) in 2000 while in Graduate School in Auburn, Alabama. He attended SSI the following year, assisting with testing and progress monitoring of summer school students. Returning in Summer 2004, he served as a classroom teacher of younger learners in Morningside's Summer School Program. In January 2005, Geoff moved to Seattle to join the faculty at Morningside Academy, teaching full-time in the Foundations Program with a focus on beginning and corrective reading, math, and writing instruction. After teaching in the classroom his first several years, he moved into the role of Lead Substitute Teacher of Morningside Academy, working with the range of curricula and students within both the Foundations and Middle School Programs at Morningside. In addition to his teaching roles, Geoff also assists with the design and production of instructional and supplementary practice materials. Geoff earned his B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and his M.S. degree from Auburn University. Originally from Northern Virginia, Geoff relocated to South Florida after middle school. He enjoys writing simple computer programs to automate common tasks, renovation projects with friends, reading, and seeing all Seattle has to offer.
Brien McGuire
Faculty
Brien holds a BA in history with an English minor and a master’s degree in teaching, both from Western Washington University. He holds a Washington State teaching certificate with endorsements in social studies and mathematics. After teaching for a number of years in public high schools, Brien started working at Morningside in the summer of 2011. Outside of teaching, Brien holds a wide range of interests. He enjoys reading both non-fiction (history, science, technology) and fiction (fantasy, science fiction, classic literature). You could find him in the evenings, after everyone else has gone to sleep, playing video games or catching up on some of his favorite TV series. He also is an avid Seattle sports fan, and enjoys (most of the time) watching games with friends and family. When the weather is nice, Brien enjoys getting outdoors with his family: hiking, running, SCUBA diving, or just getting out in the neighborhood. He also enjoys the occasional international vacation and has traveled through 19 countries in North America and Europe. Brien lives in West Seattle with his wife, Jean, his daughter, Lilliana, and his two dogs, Knox and Kyna.
Cori Ryason
Faculty
Coralynn “Cori” Ryason is a native of Seattle. Ever since she was in high school, her life has been either about books or working with children. She attended the University of Washington and earned her B.S in Speech and Language, a Master’s in Education and her special education teaching certificate. She has worked with a variety of ages from birth through elementary school-aged children. Outside of work, Cori enjoys spending time with her husband, their four cats and the collection of books she loves to read, primarily young adult & adult fiction, and history. When her nose isn’t in a book, you’ll most likely find her crafting, swimming in a pool or watching a documentary on TV. Cori loves exploring new things, and truly enjoys being a life-long learner.
Adam Skarr
Faculty
This will be Adam’s first year at Morningside. Adam grew up in Davenport, Iowa before moving to Naperville, Illinois, so he is a Midwesterner! Although, his accent makes it sound like he is from New York or Boston. He attended Gonzaga University (go Zags!) in Spokane, Washington, graduating Magna Cum Laude while earning a Bachelor's degree in Special Education with a minor in Philosophy. He likes to thank his mom for why he became a teacher because she taught 5th grade and Special Education for over 35 years. After Gonzaga, he attended the University of Portland and taught 5th grade in a private school in Portland, Oregon. From there he took his adventures out west to Ogden, Utah and taught 5th grade in another private school. In addition to teaching, Adam has been published in two journals and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Alpha Sigma Nu. When he isn’t teaching, Adam is obsessing over his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs (sorry Mariner fans), and of course watching his Gonzaga Bulldogs dominate on the court! He also enjoys the local food of Seattle, seeing movies of all genres, skiing, and hiking.
Adam Stretz
Faculty
Adam was born and raised in Olympia, WA. He attended the University of Washington where he received a double major in Communications & Political Science. He spent three years in Chicago where he got his Master's Degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Adam teaches our upper level students at Morningside Academy, including content classes in history and civics. He cherishes his time with his beautiful wife April, and his son AJ. Adam is an avid sports fan (Go Huskies! Seahawks! Mariners! Sounders! and Cubs!) and spent several seasons coaching Babe Ruth Baseball. Adam also enjoys traveling (he's been to over 20 different countries, and 30 U.S. States), reading (especially political, historical fiction and nonfiction, and fantasy/science fiction), playing basketball & softball, swing dancing, Star Wars collecting, and fly-fishing any chance he gets.
Elise Suttie
Teaching Assistant
Freshly transplanted from Napa California, Elise fell in love with Seattle while on tour with her band in 2010. After 6 years of trying to make the move up here, she is finally a proud "Seattlite" and is very excited to be joining the Morningside Academy team as a Teaching Assistant. Although it's been almost 15 years since she last worked with kids with learning disabilities (Haughton Learning Center in Napa, 2000-2002) she felt it was the most rewarding career of her life. After she heard of Morningside Academy and witnessed their loving, child-centered, progressive way of teaching, she was hooked! She graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in Psychology. In her spare time Elise enjoys hiking, running around Green Lake, karaoke, rock climbing, board games, playing guitar poorly whilst singing (busking), making new friends, and discovering what Seattle has to offer.
Jessica Turnansky
Teaching Assistant
Born and raised in Arizona, Jessica moved to Seattle just over a year ago after completing her BA in nonprofit management at Arizona State University. She is very excited to begin her first year at Morningside as a teaching assistant! Most recently, Jessica directed a preschool program at Golden Gardens and continues to work as a counselor at a nonprofit after-school program for school age children in Ballard. In her free time, Jessica enjoys reading, painting, playing soccer, and listening to live music - especially hip hop and jazz.
Brett Witzel
Faculty
Brett is originally from a San Luis Obispo, California and graduated from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) with a degree in Graphic Communication. After graduation, he moved to Alaska to teach literacy to Alaskan Natives in small villages along the Yukon. He then left Alaska for the arid climate of New Mexico. While there, he taught reading and reading comprehension strategies on the Navajo nation. He then moved to Maui to work with students on the Autism spectrum. Since then, he has taught literacy in Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Washington DC, Colorado and Tennessee. He has recently moved to Seattle from Wyoming where he coordinated and taught small reading groups in over thirty different public schools. His specialty is reading, spelling, reading comprehension, and data analysis for RTI. He is excited to join Morningside Academy and learn more educational techniques. When Brett isn’t teaching he enjoys fishing, reading, camping and listening to music.