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.
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. Martindale comes to MLCA with many years of experience in the financial industry, including securities analyst positions at Deutsche Bank and Sanford Bernstein. She lived and worked in New York City and Munich before settling in the Philadelphia area. Throughout her life she has supported institutions that aim to give students from a wide range of backgrounds access to a high quality education. Prior to joining MLCA, Mrs. Martindale served for five years as Chair of the Development Committee for the French International School of Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. She was also President and Vice President of its Parents’ Association. Mrs. Martindale received her BA from Lehigh University in Economics and Asian Studies and a Master’s Degree in Medieval Literature from the University of Oxford. She embraces MLCA’s assertion that children are never too young to learn great things and is excited to be able to share her passion for literature with MLCA students in the after-school Poetry Club.
Chloë Le Pichon
Growing up, Ms. Le Pichon was lucky to attend French International Schools in different countries - being raised by a French father and Chinese mother. She came to the United States from Hong Kong, to earn a BA in Studio Art from Swarthmore College, PA. Upon graduating, she worked at Swarthmore College as an assistant teacher/technician in the Art Department. She went on to teach at and run the studio for "The Claymobile" (Clay Studio’s Outreach Program). Currently, Ms. Le Pichon works and teaches ceramics out of her private studio. She has also spent the past decade raising her three children. Ms. Le Pichon’s favorite past time is learning about the art of Classical Ballet. She also enjoys outdoor activities, cultural activities, and reconnecting with her family.
For most of the past 20 years, Emily Rice has taught at independent private schools in Philadelphia and along the Main Line. From an early focus on South Asia at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Pennsylvania, her interests have expanded to embrace Western Civilization, History, Art and Art History. It has been a natural step from sensitizing children to what is true, good and beautiful to providing administrative and development support for worthy non-profits in the areas of classical education and women’s health. Emily and her husband, Tom, have five children, ages 24 to 8. She is delighted to be joining the Main Line Classical Academy and looks forward to getting to know this dynamic community.
Anthony Barr earned his BA in English and History from Eastern University. He recently studied political theory and policy in DC as a Fellow with the Hertog Foundation. Anthony has previously worked in marketing, curriculum development, and religious education. He is also an avid writer who has published essays on classical education, moral philosophy, political theory, and religion. He enjoys exploring cities and bookstores, playing ping-pong, reading poetry, and watching indie movies.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wight Martindale Jr.
Wight Martindale,Jr.received his PhD in English Literature (18th century) from New York University in 1995. Prior to that he had been a business reporter and editor for eleven years and a senior vice president in the bond department a Lehman Brothers for 17 years. He has taught finance and great books courses at Temple, Cabrini, Villanova, and Lehigh University (11 years). His published books include Don Quixote Goes to College, a memoir about his transition from Wall Street to academia, and Inside the Cage, a book about summer playground basketball in New York City published in 2006 by Simon & Schuster.
Having started his career with studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Mr. McCormick, found that the commercial art field was not the desired direction. After 1.5 years at AIP he was accepted at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and continued with classical art studies to completion of a four year certificate program. In the following years, Mr. McCormick received several portrait commissions and many still life and landscape works, subsequently displayed in individual and group shows. Many of these are now in private and corporate collections.
Drawn towards art instruction, Mr. McCormick had the opportunity to teach at the Delaware County Community College arose. After two years there, Mr. McCormick followed his special interest to teach in the home-school community while simultaneously working with the American Academy, then in Wayne, PA.
Mr. McCormick has now been teaching art for twenty eight years. His training and approach to the study of fine arts is strongly rooted in a classical style with a bold conviction to gain a good foundation in drawing and color. He strives to equip his students to expand their acquired skills in the direction of their personal interest. Without this foundation art is often fluff and feelings with little substance. In contrast, Mr. McCormick believes that students well-grounded in a classical art foundation can rise to any challenge the visual realm can afford. Under his instruction, several of Mr. McCormick’s students have received significant art scholarships and awards.
Mme. Nselel is excited about joining The Classical Academy as an assistant and exposing the students to the French language and culture as much as possible. She was born and raised in France where she graduated from the Université of Poitiers in teaching languages, with a double major in French & Spanish. Since 1996, she has taught French and Spanish at various levels from toddlers to adults, first in France, and then in the US where she moved in 2001. After years in Oregon and Missouri, her family relocated to the Philadelphia area last summer. When she isn’t teaching, Mme. Nselel loves spending time with her husband & children (17 and 14) and her dog Maxwell! She also enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, walking, traveling, cooking, photography, live music
After earning a Masters Degree in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Mr. Portier taught French Literature and Philosophy in Parisian high schools for 9 years. In 2012 he moved to Philadelphia, where he became a founding member and teacher of PhilaFLAM, a French non-profit that supports french-speaking students with high level French language courses that in some cases specifically lead to exams like the BAC, DELF, IB. For Mr Portier, teaching French is more than providing students with new tools, as it is a way to help students take root in French culture. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with students and opening their minds to a different worldview through this second language.
Marshall Portnoy is the Cantor Emeritus of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Yale, Cantor Portnoy was invested both by the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Hebrew Union College. His two-volume work, The Art of Cantillation, now in its third edition, has for nearly twenty years brought the skill and the joy of reading Torah and Haftarah to tens of thousands throughout the globe, and regularly remains among the most popular volumes of Behrman House Publications. His musical works, published by Transcontinental Music Publications, are widely performed throughout the United States, and he is the recipient of frequent commissions.
Of his CD Songs of Renewal, Debbie Friedman wrote, “Thoughtful and gentle, mindful and kind, this loving soul takes the listener, with every note he sings, to a place of hope and calm.” This is the only CD by another composer for which Debbie Friedman wrote liner notes.
Cantor Portnoy is President of the Susan and Murray Bloom Jewish Music Foundation, which dispenses funds each year for the compostion and performance of new Jewish music. He is on the adjunct faculty of the Barnes Foundation, where he lectures on Jewish painters at the Foundation (with special emphasis on Pissarro, Soutine and Pascin). He is also widely acknowledged as a music scholar who “cracked the code” to Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Cantor Portnoy and his wife, Dr. Jane Portnoy, make their home in Penn Valley, just outside Philadelphia. Dr. Portnoy is Professor of Ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of A Jewish Calendar of Festive Foods.
Pianist, Geert Ruelens, graduated in May of 2017 from Temple University with a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. At Temple University, he was a student of Dr. Charles Abramovic. Throughout his graduate studies, Geert was a recipient of a tuition waiver and worked as a teaching assistant in the piano department. Geert graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Music from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he was under the tutelage of Dr. Maria Asteriadou.
A Native of Belgium, Ruelens started his musical journey at the Royal Academy for Music in Berchem, Flanders. At the age of seven, he started organ lessons with Marc Van Driessen and, as a teenager, added piano as a second instrument. After graduating from high school, Geert enrolled at the Royal Conservatory for Music in Antwerp, but then moved to the United States upon being offered a full scholarship to Kutztown University.
Geert is the organist and choir director of both Nativity and St. Paul’s Lutheran churches in Reading, PA. Geert’s membership lies with Nativity, where he also serves on council. Throughout his graduate studies, Geert was the director of a concert series which featured Temple University music students. Geert maintains a very active teaching schedule in the Mainline of Philadelphia as well as at home in Reading. He is also a founding member and accompanist of Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir, and is frequently featured in performances, sometimes as a soloist, but more often in the supporting role of accompanist. When he is not teaching or making music, Geert enjoys exploring the world through travel.
Rita is a classically trained pianist and accompanist, who received her education at the Far East Institute and Conservatory in Vladivostok, Russia. She has over 35 years of experience teaching in music schools in Moscow, Russia. She enjoys working with children and teaching piano at MLCA and to her two grandsons, who are also students at the school.
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.
Olga is a native of Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She graduated from Physical Technical High School #566, a science and math oriented magnet school. She received her MSc degree in Computer Science from Saint Petersburg ITMO University.
Before she moved to the U.S, Olga worked as a network administrator at the Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange. She is an owner and a lead developer of a small software development company specializing in enterprise search technology. She is currently pursuing a MicroMasters degree in Statistic and Data Science offered by MIT.
Teaching has always been a passion for Olga. She taught Russian Language, Literature and Math at the Golden Key Russian School.
Mr. Soto earned a BS in Health and Physical Education from West Chester University. Most recently Mr. Soto worked as a coordinator and coach for Soccer Shots Chester County, PA and Club Sports Coordinator and Club soccer coach at Widener University. Prior to those positions, Mr. Soto was a health and physical education teacher and coach at Friends’ Central School for 22 years. He coached the boy’s and girl’s cross country teams, the wrestling team, and track and field team to league titles. Even though he spent most of his career teaching and coaching at the middle and high school levels, Mr. Soto’s first assignment was at Lansdowne Friends School K-6. Teaching has a special place in his heart. A passion to be creative and think outside the box, Mr. Soto enjoys learning about each individual. He takes their passions and uses them to motivate them further while taking their natural love of movement and empower them to be successful, productive citizens while making healthy choices. As a father of three boys Mr. Soto stays busy supporting them in their education and extracurricular activities.
I perceive the culture at large through the focus of faithfully following God in the diverse community of others--it is within this context that my vocation as a teacher has come. Along the way of becoming a teacher, I have studied Special Education (Learning Disabilities) at an undergraduat elevel and Theological Studies at a graduate level, with a career as an Army Engineer officer laying in between. Presently I pursue my passion for theatre and theology through teaching at Immaculata University, and working with various schools and home-school groups, as well as directing the Theatre Guild at Phoenixville Area High School. In daily living with my own family presently, I practice the lessons I learned growing up, being the husband of my German wife, Christine, to whom I have been married over three decades, and the father of three growth children. My hope is that any class I teach will be characterized by a culture of grace whihc will enable us to communicate what we think about our beliefs with care and respect, letting truth dominate the direction of all discussion. This is that which defines what I do as a teacher.
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.
Mr. Wynne grew up learning Latin from 5th grade, and began dual study of Latin and Spanish in high school at Princeton Day School. He attended the University of Chicago, graduating with a BA in Classics in 2011. During this time, he travelled to UCL to do a year abroad in Greek and Latin, which would eventually be followed by two Classics Masters degrees at the University of Edinburgh in 2017 and 2019. Before returning to academic study, Mr. Wynne worked in consulting and at ETS on the RfU team, which developed a new model for the English Language Arts section of standardized tests, making it both better digitized and better attuned to scientific reading. At Edinburgh, he studied Greek writing from Hesiod to Eustathios, and Latin writing from Virgil to Sidonius Apollinaris; he wrote two theses on surviving Greek and Latin novels. Mr. Wynne also read French, and Italian, and can speak Spanish.
Mrs. Voznaya began her piano studies at the age of 4. In 1993, she completed eight years of study in Tchaikovsky Music School in St.Petersburg under Elena Trofimova. In 1997, Mrs. Voznaya graduated with honors from St.Petersburg Music Pedagogical College N 3. Where she studied under Natalia Khoreva (piano) and Olga Lusina (vocal). While studying there, she taught children (ranging from 3 to 25 years old) in private lessons and at local schools to play the piano as well as singing or vocal, and explained the theory of music. She subsequently worked as an accompanist of the ballet studio and studied at the Herzen State Pedagogical University in the Faculty of Music from 1997-1999, specializing once again in pianoforte. She went on to be admitted to the St. Petersburg State Rimsky- Korsakov Conservatory under the tutelage of Professor Tatiana Novikova and graduated in 2006. She received her Master’s degree in Vocal Studies (Master of Fine Arts in Vocal Studies). While she was studying, she went on concert tours to Germany, Italy, Switzerland and England. She worked with the Mariinsky Theater Choir as a soloist, beginning during the 5th course at the Conservatory and continued with the Choir until 2015. As a member of the Choir, she toured internationally concerts and theatrical performances, including the following countries: United States, Israel, Japan, China, England, Germany, Holland, France and Austria. All opera and performances were sung in the original languages. When she became a mother, Mrs. Voznaya taught music and singing at a private kindergarten and elementary school on a part-time basis until 2018. She was a soloist of a cappella church choir in Cathedral of Saint Catherine until 2018.
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.
Emily Woo graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Human Biology, Health, and Society and a minor in Music (vocal and piano). During college, she researched children's understanding of possibility and choice with the Early Childhood Cognition Lab at Cornell. She is a follower of Christ and is currently in her final year at Westminster Theological Seminary getting a Master of Arts in Religion, Biblical Studies. She for the past 2 years, she has been teaching MCAT preparation courses with Kaplan and has tutored at both the college and elementary levels. Her hobbies include singing, playing the piano, cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling.