Asya Sigelman, Ph.D
Dr. Sigelman is a founder of the school as well as a teacher of Latin and Art History.
An Associate Professor of Ancient Greek at Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Sigelman conducts scholarly research on the poetry and literature of Classical Antiquity and regularly teaches both undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on the language, literature, culture, religion, and philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome. Her book, Pindar’s Poetics of Immortality, was recently published with Cambridge University Press. Throughout her teaching, Dr. Sigelman encourages her students to explore not only the beauty of the language and literature of the ancient world but also their relevance as the origins of Western culture, politics, art, and philosophy. Much of her work has involved connecting with students with no prior background in classics.
Prior to Bryn Mawr, Dr. Sigelman served as adjunct faculty at Tufts University and as a Teaching Fellow at Brown University. In the course of her academic career, Dr. Sigelman has also accrued experience in primary and secondary education. She has taught Ancient Greek at the Wheeler School, an elite independent school in Providence, RI as well as elementary school classes in Ancient History and English literature at the Shaloh House Jewish Day School in Brighton, MA and at the Torah Academy of Brookline, MA.
Dr. Sigelman holds a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Brown University and a BA summa cum laude in Ancient Greek & Latin, with minors in Music and in German, from Boston University.
Sasha Fradkin, Ph.D
Dr. Fradkin has loved math from an early age, and seeks to share that love of math with others. She earned both her BS and PhD in Mathematics from Princeton University and thereafter spent five years working as a professional mathematician. For the three years prior to joining the Classical Academy, Dr. Fradkin taught enrichment math at the Golden Key Russian School where she introduced children of ages 4-10 to mathematical gems beyond their school curricula. Dr. Fradkin writes a blog titled Musings of a Mathematical Mom about her various mathematical adventures with kids. Most recently, Dr. Fradkin has co-authored “Funville Adventures”, a math-inspired children's fantasy adventure that introduces kids to the concept of mathematical functions, recently published by Natural Math.
Mrs. Kaplan earned her BA in English and History from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Boston University. After graduation from law school, she spent several years practicing corporate law at Reed Smith in Philadelphia and mergers and acquisitions at Skadden Arps in Delaware. Since then, Mrs. Kaplan has devoted the last dozen years to raising her children. In addition to spending time with her family, Mrs. Kaplan enjoys skiing, jogging, and gardening.
After earning his BA in Theological Studies from Eastern University, Mr. Chilbert and his wife taught for two years in Arizona at the Trivium Preparatory Academy, a Great Hearts Classical School. During his time there, he taught Ancient History, Medieval History, and Literature and Composition to Junior High students. He also helped in the school jazz band and founded and coached the Trivium Ultimate Frisbee Club. Mr. Chilbert has strong affections for the city of Oxford, where he studied Early Church History and Theology. He enjoys discussing good literature and poetry with his friends and his students.
Mrs. Butterworth grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she studied music, art and theater. She graduated from the St. Petersburg Music Training College where she focused on violin. As part of her studies, Mrs. Butterworth also learned piano, conducting, ensemble, and led a music class at a local elementary school. Mrs. Butterworth later majored in theater at the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts. She also studied art with Vycheslav Shraga at the Matisse Club Studio in St. Petersburg. Mrs. Butterworth has close to 20 years of experience in working with children. She has taught music, violin, and guitar at formal music school establishments in the Main Line area, including the Nelly Berman School of Music in Haverford.
Mrs. Dunoff leads the Gur Aryeh Judaic Studies Program at the Main Line Classical Academy as the Limudei Kodesh (Judaic Studies) teacher. A native Philadelphian, Mrs. Dunoff has taught in local Jewish Day Schools’ special education programs in Philadelphia and Lower Merion for many years. Mrs. Dunoff is a certified multisensory Hebrew reading and writing specialist. She is a graduate of Arcadia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Mrs. Dunoff is quite artistic and creative. She works for a local Judaic Artist by transforming his flat artwork into three-dimensional decoupage artwork. She enjoys enlightening her young students as they grow in their understanding and appreciation of their Jewish heritage through songs, stories, workbooks, and projects.
Ms. Harper is an artist/ photographer. She has taught at Swarthmore College, The International Center for Photography, and Haverford College. In 2017 she was invited to work with children as an Artist in Residence at Merion Elementary School in Merion, PA, where she has also taught art history as a volunteer for 3 years. Her two books of portraiture, Interior Exposure (Damiani 2008) and The Home Stage (Damiani 2014) were both first place prizewinners in the International Photography Awards. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery in London are independently exhibiting her work as some of the best portraiture of our time. Ms. Harper received her BA in the History of Art from Bryn Mawr College and her MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Mrs. Shpilman started her career in the corporate world, serving as a strategy and organization consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and for Vanguard. However, her true passion has always been teaching. Her diverse teaching experiences range from mentoring elementary school students in West Philadelphia public schools to building and running the Golden Key Russian School, a thriving Sunday enrichment program focusing on mathematics, the sciences, and Russian language & literature.
A native of Moscow, Russia, Mrs. Shpilman moved to the US with her family when she was in elementary school. She grew up in the Philadelphia area and went to Central High School. She graduated magna cum laude from the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned both a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BA in International Studies and French from Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences. Mrs. Shpilman also holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
She resides with her husband, two sons, and two cats in Wayne, PA.
Soon after his graduation from Haverford College (B.A., English) in 1984, Mr. Walter worked as a writing instructor at Delaware County Community College for two years. He then taught elementary and high school students at the American Academy in grammar and literature as well as American and English history for eight years. After leaving American Academy, Mr. Walter began working full time as director at his own classical home school academy, enrolling up to a hundred students and organizing classes in French, classical languages, classical oil painting, history and literature. Mr. Walter has written and edited seventeen books on literature (self-published) to use as curriculum for his students and has recently finished a 400-page novel for young adults, for which he is now seeking an outside publisher. In addition to reading classical literature, Mr. Walter enjoys calligraphy, reading Koine Greek, playing cello, and telling and writing stories for children; he enjoys communicating his academic interests to the children he teaches.
Ms. Bashore loves sharing her passion for knowledge and asking questions in order to seek truth with children. Prior to joining the Classical Academy, she spent four years in youth and college ministry where she regularly spoke before audiences of more than 250. In addition, Ms. Bashore accrued experience as a teaching assistant at Eastern University and in more than five years spent tutoring children with autism, Down’s Syndrome, and other special needs. She took her B.A. in Biblical Studies with a concentration in Hebrew from Eastern University, including a six-month stint at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel where she focused on Hebrew and the Tanakh (Old Testament). At the Classical Academy, Ms. Bashore sees her goal as shaping the classroom into a curious, nurturing, purposeful, engaging and collaborative environment.
Friday is the school’s very own labradoodle. A certified therapy dog, Friday was trained at a nationally-recognized academy in Indiana that specializes in training dogs as service animals (including all therapy dogs for Ronald McDonald Houses nationally) and for law enforcement K-9 units. Friday can often be found in the hallways cuddling with the students (he’s hypoallergenic) during recess and joining them for games on the playground.
Mrs. Jaskot joined the Classical Academy from the Synapse School in San Francisco, where she served as a Middle School Math and Language Arts teacher. Prior to teaching at the Synapse School, she taught fourth and fifth grade at Greens Farms Academy in Connecticut. Mrs. Jaskot graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in History and French and a concentration in Education. While at Connecticut College, she worked with students of all grade levels ranging from Kindergarten to High School. She has taught a variety of age groups in both the United States and France.
Ms. Poorman grew up in Bryn Mawr and graduated from Temple University with a BS and certification in Recreational Therapy. She worked as an Instructional Aide for children with disabilities before transitioning to the role of Lead Teacher at Lansdowne Presbyterian Preschool. She also assists with a young children's choir and leads a variety of educational programming at her church. She loves how curious, creative and enthusiastic children are about the world around them. Ms. Poorman loves working with the MLCA students and helping them find creative and engaging activities.
Mr. Darer loves learning about the natural world through direct experience and enjoys sharing those experiences with others. Mr. Darer has worked as an apprentice on organic farms, as a cook in industrial kitchens, and as a research technician in environmental science laboratories. As a member of the Outdoor Classroom at Oberlin College, Mr. Darer planned, organized, and co-led bi-weekly environmental education classes to second grade students at Eastwood Elementary. In Philadelphia, Mr. Darer has assisted with weekly lessons on sustainable agriculture and healthy cooking for elementary school students as a volunteer with Food Moxie. With a B.A. from Oberlin College in Chemistry (high honors) and Environmental Science, and years as a research technician at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Stroud Water Research Center, Mr. Darer brings a strong natural science background to his hands-on lessons at the Classical Academy. When not teaching, he can be found in Germantown tending his beehives or playing blues keyboard on the front porch.
Mr. Gormley is excited to share his fascination with the Ancient World with his students. When he is not spending time with his wonderful family, Mr. Gormley enjoys teaching college students at nearby Villanova University, hosting discussion groups at his home, and listening to Chopin.
Mr. Ruelens is a native of Antwerp, Belgium. He started studying the organ when as a small child and later added piano. After 12 years at the Royal Academy for Music in Belgium, he enrolled at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. He later received a full scholarship to study in the United States at Kutztown University where he earned his BA in Music. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Temple University.
Mr. Ruelens started teaching private music lessons when he was 16 years old. At Temple University, he worked as a graduate Teaching Assistant where his responsibilities included teaching private students, assisting in group piano classes, offering a weekly workshop piano lab, and lecturing on behalf of absent professors. He also has extensive experience leading church choirs, including most recently as Music Director at Nativity Lutheran Church in Reading, PA. Mr. Ruelens is also an active accompanist and performing musician.
Mrs. Souder grew up in West Berlin and graduated from Potsdam University (Germany) with a Master’s degree in Education for grades K - 10 in Music, French, and Physical Education. As a student, she played classical piano and performed in small ensembles, solo or as an accompanist for choirs and soloists, and was also an alto saxophonist in a Berlin jazz band. She taught private piano lessons to children, as well as music classes in Berlin preschools. In 2011, Mrs. Souder co-founded PhillyKinder, a weekly after-school German language school for bilingual students. Since then, she and her colleagues have developed and taught curricula for German language and culture, including several musical productions. Mrs. Souder is also certified to teach German as a foreign language, and taught this in several Parisian schools from 2004-2005. From 2006-2009, she was a teacher, advisor, and coach at Friends’ Central Middle School in the subjects of French and Prima Lingua, a Latin-based introduction to foreign languages. Ms. Souder is thrilled to join Main Line Classical Academy, and can’t wait to share her passions with her new pupils. Her positive nature, firm teaching structure and broad pedagogical experience with children of all ages will help them build a solid foundation in piano and appreciate its place in the broader spaces of music and culture.
Mme. d’Hervé is thrilled to share French language and culture with students and teaching has been her passion throughout her career. Having received a BS with honors in both sciences and mathematics, she earned an MA with honors in Elementary Education as well as elementary school teaching certification in her native France. She began her teaching career as a specialized aid teacher and then head of a school for children with disabilities. She later taught both first and second grade in a small village in the north of France for 5 years. When she moved to the United States with her husband and two children in 2004, she began teaching Kindergarten at the French International School of Philadelphia in February 2005. Subsequently, she taught French at Baldwin school for 6 years for Pre-K through 9th grade. Mme. d’Hervé is excited to be taking part in the adventure of The Classical Academy!
Ms. Gutman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she lived before relocating to Philadelphia two years ago. In Israel, Ms. Gutman gained experience in a variety of educational positions, teaching literature in middle school and high school, developing educational programs, working as a pedagogical advisor for NGO's, and as a lecturer and workshop instructor for gender education, working with both faculty and students. Ms. Gutman graduated from Tel Aviv University, with a B.A in Hebrew & General Literature and Women & Gender Studies and holds a teaching certificate in Hebrew Literature from Beit Berl College. She has been teaching Hebrew at the Classical Academy since spring 2016, and seeks to inspire her students to love the Hebrew language and Hebrew and Israeli culture.
Rita Shpilman biography TBD.
Mrs. Ter-Saakov grew up in a family of mathematicians in Voronezh, Russia, and was exposed to math from a very early age. She has always envisioned math as a vastly broad field, large areas of which even a young mind could explore when guided by an experienced hand. Mrs. Ter-Saakov spent her high school years in Moscow in a specialized boarding school for gifted children with a focus on Physics and Mathematics. There she was blessed to meet many teachers passionate about sharing the beauty of mathematics with young students. She then continued studying mathematics at Moscow State University where she received her BA degree.
When raising her own three kids, Mrs. Ter-Saakov became interested in early childhood education. She spent a few years working in a Montessori classroom. Currently, Mrs. Ter-Saakov also runs a math club at Voorhees Middle School, and small home groups of “recreational mathematics.” In recent years, she has been participating in interactive math experiences with Moscow’s popular teacher and author of books on mathematics, Jane Kats.