At Grymes, our exceptional faculty and staff are the lifeblood of our community. Click to read more about our incredible team of professionals:
M.A., College of William & Mary
Since 2007, Jonathan Brand has served as the founding Headmaster of Chelsea Academy, an independent college-preparatory school in the northern Shenandoah Valley. Mr. Brand established the mission and curriculum, recruited faculty and students, developed traditions and extracurricular programs, and guided the school through its first decade. Along with teaching History, English, and French and coaching basketball over the years, he led Chelsea through the accreditation process and served on several accreditation teams with the Virginia Independent Schools Association and the Southern Association of Independent Schools.
Prior to founding Chelsea, Mr. Brand served as Chair of the History Department at St. Anne’s-Belfield School and as Academic Dean at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). At St. Anne’s-Belfield, he taught American and European history, led a review and revision of the Lower School history curriculum, and initiated an oral history project with World War II veterans at a local nursing home. During his ten years at TASIS, he started as a history and English teacher, basketball and track coach, and dorm parent before going on to chair the history department, head a dormitory, and ultimately oversee the academic program. He also led students in cultural excursions to significant sites all over Europe, particularly France and Italy, where his knowledge of and love for the language, landscape, and culture go deep. Most importantly, Mr. Brand met his wife, a math teacher, at TASIS.
Mr. Brand holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in history from The College of William and Mary. After an upbringing in Ohio and New Jersey, he moved to Central Virginia the summer before his senior year and graduated from Madison County High School.
Mr. Brand and his wife, Mary, have three sons and two daughters. In addition to playing and reading with his children, he enjoys hiking, running, and cycling, coaching youth sports, traveling, and watching UVA basketball.
Germanna Community College
B.A., St. Andrews University
India joined Grymes as the Director of Development and Marketing in 2018. However, coming to work at Grymes felt like coming home for India. In 2001 she graduated from Grymes after a wonderful 10 year educational career there. She came back many times to be a substitute teacher, an assistant in the development office, an alumni representative, and to assist with school plays.
India is the third generation Hill family member to work at Grymes and she is thrilled to be back in Orange continuing the tradition.
Jill is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, with a dual concentration in Management information Systems and Marketing. She has experience in web development and seven years experience as a Software Engineer with Verizon Communications. She has worked in all phases of the systems development life cycle.
After leaving Verizon in 2004, Jill shifted her career path towards Educational Technology. She holds a State of Virginia Teaching License with an endorsement in K-8 Computer Technology and has worked in the Orange County Public Schools as a Technical Support Specialist, Technology Teacher and an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher. She has been judging the SIIA CODIE Awards annually since 2005 and has been featured in eSchoolNews discussing her role in the co-creation of a successful incentive-based etcher technology training program.
Jill lives in Somerset with her husband Haywood, a Grymes teacher, and two children Sierra ‘13 and Parker ‘21.
Lower School Teachers
M.A., University of Virginia
Carolyn lives in Orange and is married to her high school sweetheart, Mark. They have a daughter, Sarah Herndon Sydnor and son-in-law, Raphael Sydnor, three grandchildren, Sophia ’23, Henry ’25 and Everette. Carolyn enjoys spending time with her family, reading, knitting and flying with Mark in their airplane.
Alexandra Gonzalez grew up in Culpeper, Virginia, and graduated from Eastern View High School in 2011. Alexandra received academic and cheerleading scholarships to attend Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Alexandra studied Special and Spanish Education. After college, Alexandra spent three years in customer service and substituting at elementary schools in the area.
In 2016, Alexandra moved back to Culpeper, where she pursued her passion for education and began working for Culpeper County Public Schools as a special education paraprofessional.
M. Ed., University of Virginia
Amy taught first grade at Madison Primary School for twelve years. She has been part of the Grymes Memorial School family since 1999, when her older son Stephen ‘08 entered Kindergarten here. In 2005, she began teaching at Grymes when her younger son Matthew ‘14 began Kindergarten here. Both of her sons are Grymes graduates and were well prepared for high school.
Amy chose Grymes for her children and herself because of the small school size, strong academic program, focus on the fine arts and public speaking, community service opportunities and emphasis on good moral character.
Amy enjoys reading, playing the piano, and baking. She serves as the organist at Beth Car Baptist Church.She and her family look forward to spending time on Virginia’s Eastern Shore each summer.
The first nine years of her career were enjoyed in Fairfax County at Canterbury Woods Elementary School where she taught kindergarten, third and fourth grade. While back in northern Virginia, she met her husband, Jonathan, and they married in April of 2014. Both Melissa and Jon love being outdoors and this area, and decided to make it their permanent home. After moving to Madison in 2014, she started working as a first grade teacher at Yowell Elementary School in Culpeper County. Most recently, she taught second grade at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Albemarle County.
On Melisa and Jon’s second wedding anniversary, they welcomed their first son, Aubrey. Exactly two years later, they welcomed their second son, George. Needless to say, April 26th is a very special day in the Slater household!
When not at school, she loves spending time with her family. She loves animals and has two sweet basset hounds, Hobart and Harriet. The Slaters enjoy the almost eight acres of land that their house sits on as
much as possible – from throwing rocks at the creek, watching their garden grow or sitting outside enjoying the beauty of this area while listening to any and all music! She also loves cooking and baking.
30 Hours towards M.A. at Radford
After receiving her Virginia Teaching License, Martina was hired by Madison Public Schools where she taught both first and third grades for a total of seven years. Martina was the last first grade teacher in Criglersville Elementary, and when the school was closed she accepted an offer to teach first grade at Grymes.
After teaching at Grymes for three and a half years, Martina left Grymes to stay at home with her new son, William ‘21. She returned to drive a bus for Grymes for several years while she homeschooled her son, and when William enrolled at Grymes in second grade, Martina continued to drive the bus. She later became both the Summer Camp Director and a First Grade Teaching Aid. When William entered third grade Martina took on the role as the Reading Specialist while continuing to be the Summer Camp Director at Grymes.
Martina loves teaching at Grymes. She values a child-centered environment where a growth mindset is encouraged and learning is allowed to be fun.
Martina lives in Madison with her husband, their son William and the family’s many pets of the two- and four-footed varieties. Together, they enjoy hiking, canoeing, and bike riding.
Tricia has been a familiar face around Grymes for well over a decade. She moved to the area 16 years ago and began work at Grymes as a substitute and eventually as second grade homeroom teacher. When Tricia and Frank were blessed with a child of their own, she made the decision to stay at home with him, and eventually two more beautiful children followed. She returned to Grymes many years later as a parent and also volunteering as a cross country and soccer coach.
Tricia is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Beginning at the age of 12, Tricia has been working with children as a counselor, lifeguard, and swim instructor. Tricia later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University.
For the past six years Tricia has been the director at St. Thomas Community Preschool. Prior to teaching at St. Thomas and Grymes, Tricia taught at Christ School in Asheville, NC and served as the Ropes Course Director at Woodberry Forest School.
Tricia lives at on campus at Woodberry Forest School where her husband, Frank, has been teaching and coaching for 15 years. Tricia and Frank have three wonderful children who are all Grymes Grizzlies, Parker (Class of 2020), Mason (Class of 2022), and Greta (Class of 2025). They also have a loveable flat-coated retriever named Mosby.
Tricia loves just about any activity outdoors; a few of her favorites are running, hiking, camping, biking, tennis, kayaking, and sailing. When time allows, she especially enjoys hitting the trails in Shenandoah National Park.
Julie feels her position as Academic Support and Enrichment program director allows her to combine all of her teaching experience with her passion for education. She enjoys Grymes’ atmosphere of small classes, encouraging teachers, and an enriching curriculum. In her spare time, Julie enjoys playing the drums, juggling, walking, and traveling with her family.
Haywood’s teaching experience began with music students and expanded when he began teaching in Orange and Greene Counties while taking classes online to earn his teaching license. While working in the public school system, Haywood had the opportunity to teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra as well as Music and Special Education in the Elementary Schools.
As husband to Grymes’ Director of Technology Jill Solek-Giles and parent to Grymes students Sierra ‘ 13 and Parker ‘21, Haywood knows the Grymes community well. Haywood and his family live in Somerset, and in his spare time he enjoys performing music and working on automobiles. Haywood currently plays saxophone and keyboard in three bands that cover most genres of music and continue sto hold private and group lessons for all ages and abilities, covering theory, improvisation, and composition.
Upper School Teachers
B.S. Syracuse University
M.Ed. University of Virginia
Polly lives in Culpeper with her children David ‘20 and Sarah ‘22, who are students at Grymes. She enjoys reading, fox hunting, traveling, and skiing.
B.A., James Madison University
Julie Yauger is from Fairfax, Virginia, and graduated from James Madison University, where she majored in English with a concentration in writing.
She began her professional career at the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, first working in the Childhood Education in the Arts Program and then continuing for five years in the Entertainment division. At that point, she moved to Manhattan and landed her dream job working for a producer on Broadway. Julie then proceeded to travel nationally and internationally for the next ten years, managing Nickelodeon shows and Broadway touring productions. She enjoyed all of these ventures but is very happy to have landed at Grymes Memorial School, where she can continue to pursue her passions in theater and writing from a permanent address.
Julie lives in Gordonsville with her husband, Bruce and two sons, Landon ’22 and Lorenzo ’25, both of whom are Grymes students. In her spare time Julie reads incessantly, thinks about how she should be exercising and brainstorms ideas for the children’s books she would like to write. She is very much looking forward to the next chapter of her life- exploring literature,writing and the dramatic arts with the Seventh Grade.
B.A., Vanderbilt University
M.S.W., University of Southern California
Melanie worked at Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, Califormia where she taught middle and upper school Spanish and math. She also coached middle school tennis, basketball, and softball. Melanie assisted with the community service program and organized and assisted with class trips to the Navajo Indian Reservation, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Before coming to Grymes, she taught lower school Spanish at St. Luke’s Lutheran School in Culpeper. Since coming to Grymes, Melanie has taught lower school Spanish and Upper School Math.
Melanie lives at Woodberry Forest with her husband, Andrew and two sons, Tommy ‘17 and Robbie ‘19, both of whom are Grymes students. Melanie enjoys traveling to Spain in the summers with her family.
B.A., James Madison University
After being a camp counselor at Camp Glenkirk, Rod graduated summa cum laude from James Madison University certified to teach History, political science, geography, economics, and psychology in Virginia’s public schools. Rod coordinated activities for the NASA/VIMS residential Governor’s School in Hampton and prepared hundreds of students for the AP U.S. History exam at Orange County High School where he was a department head and a lead teacher. As an educational consultant, Rod has assisted school systems in Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan manage change and align curriculum.
It was while teaching at the Woodberry Forest School that Rod recognized the potential inherent in the independent school experience. Rod values creating meaningful school relationships and teaching contextually. Rod feels blessed to be a part of the Grymes community.
Rod lives in Madison County with his wife Sandy, their son, Liam, and their family boxers, S’mores and Daisy. He is passionate about American history and baseball, collecting political memorabilia and enjoying baseball simulation games. He is a member of the Orange Presbyterian Church.
B.S., Mary Washington College
M.S., University of Illinois
For 15 years, Laurie worked in computer programming, systems analysis, database design, and software training. She taught six years of math at the community college level. Since coming to Grymes, Laurie has assumed the responsibilities currently carried out by a full time Director of Development (and assistant), Administrative Assistant, Registrar, technology consultant, and teacher. Laurie also serves as the Chairman of the Math Department.
Laurie lives in Fredericksburg with her daughter, Meggie ‘10, a Grymes graduate. Recently she has returned to teaching at the community college level and teaches part-time at Germanna Community College.
B.A., University of Richmond
M.A.T., Virginia Commonwealth University
Marcy joined the Grymes faculty in 2002 when she began teaching fourth grade. In 2005, as Director of Development, she organized events, managed the Annual Fund, and wrote the Grymes Times. Then, in 2009, when her daughter, Grace entered Junior Kindergarten, Marcy went back to the fourth grade classroom. In 2010 she was awarded the Weezie Chair for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2012 Marcy won the Galapagos Challenge and a chance to travel with two seventh graders to the famed land of Charles Darwin. She has been teaching fifth grade since 2013.
Marcy has been playing tennis all her life and was captain of The University of Richmond Division One tennis team and a USPTA certified teaching professional. In addition to teaching, Marcy coaches the Grymes tennis club in the spring. Marcy lives in the Green Springs Historic Landmark District near Louisa on a small farm with her husband, Brian, and her daughter Grace ‘19. Her stepson, Daniel, attends Graduate School at New York University. In her spare time, Marcy likes to garden, cook, play tennis, run, sail and play with her two Brittany Spaniels, Sadie and Skye.
“Specials” & Resource Teachers
B.F.A., Frotsburg State University
M.A., National University
Anissa enjoys painting with her two children, the outdoors, her chickens and attending WVU football games with her family. When she is not spending time with her family she enjoys cooking, checking out architecture, listening to music and working in her garden.
B.A. Shorter College
M.Div. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Teresa and her husband John moved to Madison, Virginia in November, 2012. They have four young adult-aged children.
Teresa has always loved books. She spent much of her time as a child staying up past her bedtime to read. Now she finds joy in helping students find books that they don’t want to put down until the very end. Along with interests in children’s literature and children’s literacy, Teresa enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, and organic gardening.
Germanna Community College
Laura and her husband, Chris, live in Culpeper with their daughter, Loretta ‘13, and son, Elijah ‘14, both Grymes alumni. They are active members of White Oak Run Baptist Church, where Laura serves as a deacon, teachers Sunday school, serves as a choir director, and occasionally teaches adult Bible classes.