In January of 2015, I made the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle and lost 30 pounds in 4 months. Cardio workouts were a big part of this for me and I began to enjoy running, something that I had never liked to do previously. On December 27, 2015 I ran my first 10K race and have run one per month since then and plan to continue this into the foreseeable future. I love the excitement at the start, the challenge of giving it my best at each race and the feeling of accomplishment when I cross the finish line.
Bachelors in Computer Science, State University of New York at Oswego
Masters in Software Development and Management, Rochester Institute of Technology
Susie Davis joined the admission team in April and will continue to be an invaluable member in her role as the admission assistant. Susie is no stranger to single-gender education. She graduated from the Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans as did both her mother and her grandmother. Susie received a B.A. in French and political science from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and she continued her studies at Middlebury College receiving an M.A. in French language. She worked at the Lovett School here in Atlanta teaching French in grades K-5, eventually adding Spanish to her repertoire and teaching classes in both languages. Susie has always loved school and the academic environment. With AGS celebrating its 20th academic year, she feels particularly called to be a part of this next chapter of the school. She is delighted to have the opportunity to work with teachers and students alike to further the mission of its founders. Her daughter Helen will be joining the ranks of the 6th-grade class here at AGS. Go Hurricanes!
Kelly Eastwood has worked in private school education in Atlanta for the past 20 years, both as a teacher and administrator. Prior to joining AGS, Kelly was the Associate Director of Admissions at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Sandy Springs where she experienced increased growth in the Upper School. Prior to her tenure at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, she enjoyed 10 years at Weslyan as a campaign associate in the development office and the director of the high school chorus. Kelly is a former opera singer and holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Music degree from The New England Conservatory of Music.
SaraFisher joined AGS as our new Registrar on June 1, 2017. She has served the Emory University School of Medicine, the Art Institute of Atlanta, and the University of Kentucky in the roles of Program Director, Associate Registrar and Veteran’s Affairs Certifying Official, and Undergraduate Assistant Registrar respectively over the past fourteen years.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition to her professional contributions, Sara created the first UK Minority Affairs student organization communication for prospective students and was co-founder of the UK’s minority female mentoring program.
Ayanna Hill-Gill is affectionately known as Yanni. Prior to joining AGS in 2014, Yanni worked at Purnell School, a boarding school for girls in New Jersey, where she was the Head of School since 2007.
Yanni holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Dickinson College and a master’s degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College with an emphasis on Private School Leadership. She has been a yearlong Klingenstein Fellow and an EE Ford Fellow for NAIS’ Aspiring Heads Program. Prior to her tenure at Purnell, Yanni worked at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden building their community outreach program and developing curriculum for children’s educational programs. In 1992, Yanni lived in Costa Rica while studying sustainable development and conducting independent research in water quality. It was these two experiences that led Yanni to teaching, particularly science.
Yanni currently serves on the Board of the Heads’ Network and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. She serves locally as a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Village Project, an all girls’ school for refugees in Decatur, GA. Yanni is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2017, and a Trustee on Emory University’s Board of Visitors this fall. As a graduate of an all girls’ school in Philadelphia, Yanni has committed her career to creating opportunities for girls and young women to discover their voices, achieve success and become leaders in the fields of their choice.
Masters of Education in Organization Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry, Dickinson College
Krista Parker has been an educator for over twenty (20) years in both public and independent schools. She was the recent Upper School Head of Student Life and operations and AP Biology teacher at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School here in Atlanta. During her thirteen (13) years at Mount Vernon, Krista served as dean of students, was a member of a one-year interim team for the Head of Upper School, was head of grade, department chair, and a classroom teacher. Prior to Mount Vernon, Krista was a science teacher at Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia, and a science teacher at East Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia. Her experiences and pedagogical knowledge include coaching others in developing Gold Standard PBL (Project Based Learning) units, design thinking, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education, and current neuroscience-based educational strategies.
Krista holds a B.S. in biology from Georgia State University, M.Ed. in secondary science from the University of West Georgia and is currently working on an Ed.D. in school improvement with a focus on educational leadership from the University of West Georgia. Krista shared that her main goal as an educator is to help develop students who are agile, confident problem-solvers, and self-reflective. She feels this can only be done when educators see students as individuals who need support while they are trying to determine who they will be in life.
Associate Head of School and Director of Strategic Initiatives
Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas, Ph.D. Associate Head of School and Director of Strategic Initiatives
Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas, Ph.D. is currently the Associate Head of School at Atlanta Girls’ School, where she also serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. She began serving independent schools over twenty years ago and has been a Teacher, Department Chair, Division Director, Communications and Marketing Chair, Academic Dean, Assistant Head, and Head of School. She has directed language programs in Spain and Mexico and traveled to China as the World Language Task Force Chair prior to instituting curricular changes and adding Mandarin, Chinese at a previous school. Most recently, she traveled to seven cities in China as part of international student recruitment efforts at AGS.
Active in independent school leadership, she co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference in Atlanta in 2016 and has offered several workshops throughout the years at both the NAIS and PoCC annual conferences. Dr. Rodríguez Vargas completed her doctoral research investigating the lived experience of women of color heads of schools. Her published work, Women of Color Heads of Independent Schools: A Framework of Culturally Relevant Leadership, includes the experiences of ten women and their journeys in school leadership.
In addition to her work in independent schools, Dr. Rodríguez Vargas has served as an instructor and adjunct professor at The Ohio State University and the City University of New York, completed a seminar on school leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was an NAIS E.E. Ford Fellow for Aspiring Heads. Most recently, she was invited to serve on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Principals’ Panel Standing Committee with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics. She has also served on advisory boards, was a mentor with the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus, and has published several articles on school leadership.
Little Known Fact: I made my television debut at age five and my first regional commercial when I was nine years old.
Why I Teach: I believe in the transformative life opportunities afforded through education and have enjoyed my service as an educator over the past 25 years.
Education: B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature, and Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies (double major), Binghamton University—State University of New York
M.A. in Latin American Literature and Literary Analysis, The Ohio State University
M.Ed. in Educational Administration, Private School Leadership, Columbia University
Ph.D. in Educational Administration, The Ohio State University
Suzy joined the math and science departments at AGS in 2016. Her teaching experience began as an Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, where she taught chemistry for 11 years. Suzy’s two daughters, Lucy and Molli, and her stepdaughter Audrey all currently attend AGS.
Little Known Fact About Me:
I have snorkeled on The Great Barrier Reef.
Education: Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry, Stanford University
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Davidson College
Roz Byrne World Studies Department, 9th Grade Dean
Why I Teach: I teach because I believe the purpose of education is to create a better world. I teach World Studies because I find joy in sharing my passion with others and hope, in turn, to help my students find and develop their passions. I teach girls because, as a product of an all girls’ school, I know first-hand the benefits of single-gender education. I teach at AGS because it is the best place for girls.
Little Known Fact About Me: I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Mount Holyoke College.
I performed at Carnegie Hall when I was in college and I married the same person (my husband) twice in one year.
Bachelor of Arts in History, Saint Mary’s College
James Campbell joined AGS as the new STEAM Interdisciplinary Specialist in summer 2017. He has been teaching World Studies since 2003 and has served as a design thinking consultant and coach for over four years. He was most recently with Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the College of Charleston and a Master of Arts in teaching from Morgan State University. In addition to teaching and coaching faculty, James has served as a JV and Varsity Assistant Basketball Coach and has also coached football, cross country, and baseball.
James has been a part of The Teachers Guild and has worked closely with IDEO team members designing and facilitating design thinking, brainstorming, and prototyping workshops. As part of this work, he has coached teams of teachers to develop high quality, scalable, and innovative solutions for classrooms and schools. James completed the Design Thinking K-12 Education Workshop at the Stanford University d.School and also served as Keynote Speaker for the first annual Make Monterey Conference.
Jenny has taught at AGS for 14 years and has long incorporated an interdisciplinary approach and design thinking in to her classroom. From using art and engineering to solicit thoughtful character analysis from ninth graders reading The Secret Life of Bees, to collaborating with colleagues in the World Studies Department to provide contemporary cultural movements to explore literature, no discipline is off the table to help her students understand the relevance and significance of literature in their lives. Jenny highly values the importance of inclusive collaboration among her learners and why the discussions about controversial and important texts need to happen on site and in real time. This, she says, gives students the platform to ask questions, relate characters and events to their own experiences, and have supportive and challenging teachers guide them to deeper analysis.
Little Known Fact About Me:
I secretly loved having to wear a uniform in high school because I found the task of putting an outfit together tedious.
Why I Teach:
To steal a line from John Steinbeck–I teach because it is the greatest of the arts. “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”–John Steinbeck
Master of Education in Language Arts, University of Georgia
Little Known Fact About Me:
I, on a team of 9 women, represented the United States in the 2008 Aesthetic Group Gymnastics World Championships in Toronto, Canada.
Why I Teach: In what other profession can you go to “work” and climb trees with girls on Sapelo Island? …Or find yourself barely breathing as you are so still surrounded by Coatimunidis in Belize? …Or see the spark of discovery when a girl sees a salamander embryo that she collected from our little stream move under the microscope? Pure joy and wonderment in the world is the truest currency.
Master of Arts in Teaching, Georgia State University Bachelors of Ecology Degree, University of Georgia
Little Known Fact About Me: Reality TV is my absolute favorite! Turn on Survivor reruns (or Survivor podcasts) and I’ll be the happiest person around.
Why I Teach: First of all, math is cool. Secondly, there’s nothing quite like the lightbulb moment when a concept clicks with a student. Thirdly, I graduated from an all-girls school in Tennessee, and I love being able to give back the experience that was given to me!
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Furman University
Why I Teach:
After years of working as a designer, teaching has given me an opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for the visual arts with another generation. I love watching my students discover their individual voices and artistic potential.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Illustration, Philadelphia College Art
Mayre Kile received her bachelor’s degree in learning disabilities from Universitario Monseñor de Talavera in Caracas, Venezuela, and her master’s degree from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.
Mayre has experience in developing Spanish curricula for non-native speakers and is the owner of a Spanish tutoring company that has worked with many students in the metro Atlanta area. She has a passion for teaching languages and was drawn to AGS because of our mission to support girls in their journey.
Rebecca has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with a concentration in photography. She is the owner of Bex Pottery and worked at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in the ceramics division before joining the AGS faculty in 2019.
Becki Leeds has been teaching math for about nine years and will be teaching Pre-Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and leading a 9th-grade advisory. Before teaching, Becki worked in the engineering field for about ten years. She has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering mathematics and computer science. Becki had a busy summer as she was recently married. Besides spending time with her new husband and his three daughters, she loves to do puzzles, bake, and travel. In addition to Becki, her service dog, Bear, will be joining us as well. Bear will have his own restricted space in the classroom, and an air purifier will be in the room to reduce any pet dander.
A native of Spartanburg, SC, Amber is also a published author of historical fiction (writing as Amber Brock). Her most recent novel, A Fine Imitation, was released in 2016. She is a passionate student of history, an avid traveler, and “mom” to three rescue dogs. She lives with her husband, a fellow English teacher, in Smyrna.
Little Known Fact About Me:
All of my great-grandparents were alive when I was a kid, so I got to know them all.
Why I Teach:
I teach because education is the path to a better life.
MA, University of Georgia
Director of Performing Arts, Fine Arts Department Co-Chair
Barbara Uterhardt Director of Performing Arts, Fine Arts Department Co-Chair
Barbara has worked on over 100 productions with Atlanta theaters such as Actor’s Express, ART Station, Aurora Theatre, Merely Players, OnStage Atlanta, Process Theatre, The Shakespeare Tavern, Synchronicity, and Theater Emory. Barbara graduated from Emory with a Major in Theater Studies and was lucky enough to work on the administrative side of things at Soul-stice Repertory, Horizon Theatre, Theatrical Outift, and GA Shakespeare Festival. In the media, she has been labeled as one of Atlanta’s Directing Super-stars, “always dependable” by Southern Voice, and “One of Atlanta’s most under-used actors” by Creative Loafing. She is a four-time winner of the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Award for Lead Actress in a Play.
Little Known Fact About Me:
Many may know that for 10 years I was the Artistic Company Manager and Young Performers Director at OnStage Atlanta. But what most people don’t know is that I have a passion for animals and worked as a veterinary assistant through high school and college.
Bachelors in Theater Studies, Emory University
Amoy Walker was drawn to AGS because of our mission to partner with girls on their journey to being well-rounded, lifelong learners and effective problem solvers. Amoy derives great joy in creating a learning environment that encourages students to not only think independently, deeply, and critically but also to express themselves thoughtfully, fluently, and with detail.
Amoy received a B.A. from Stony Brook University and went on to earn her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Before joining AGS, Amoy taught seventh-grade humanities and served in several leadership roles at the Girls’ Middle School (GMS) in Palo Alto, California for eleven years. Prior to her work with GMS, she taught for t
Ric White Mathematics Department Chair, 10th Grade Dean
Ric has taught math at every level from 6th to 12th grade, as well as social studies and writing. Strongly interested in technology, he has presented at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference on how to better utilize technology in the classroom. Ric has also established a strong presence in the field of project-based learning and alternative assessments, and in recognition of his work, he was chosen as an NAIS Teacher of the Future in 2014. He was also chosen as a National Geographic Educator of the Week in August 2015
Little Known Fact About Me:
My wife and I love national parks and historic sites and have visited nearly a hundred in our six years of marriage.
Why I Teach:
I love helping students make sense of the world around them.
Education: Masters in Independent School Leadership, Vanderbilt University Bachelor of Middle School Education, University of Georgia