Head of School
John Manganiello has served as Beacon's head of school since 2016. He joined us from The Masters School, where he served as the assistant head of the middle school. Prior to working at Masters, John spent 15 years at The Windward School, where he spearheaded the development of their executive function and research skills programs. At The Windward School, John worked as a master teacher, coach, team leader, and department chair. He also mentored young teachers while working closely with the Windward Teacher Training Institute. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lemoyne College in Syracuse, NY, where he double majored in history and religious studies. John completed his graduate work and earned his master's degree in education, with a focus on learning differences, from the College of New Rochelle. He also earned a master's degree in History from Iona College. John has always had a passion for helping students reach their potential by supporting their love of learning. He specializes in independent school leadership, individualized education, curriculum development, teacher training, and twice-exceptional students. John resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut with his wife Joanne and their son, Chase. Some of the things that John enjoys doing outside of the school world are cooking for his family and friends, playing sports, biking, writing, and playing with his son.
Assistant Head of School
Born and raised in Stamford, John "Coop" Coperine had a brief stint as a professional musician, performing in area clubs and concert halls and recording an album of original songs, before embarking on a 25 year career in education. Working for the Stamford Public Schools in elementary and middle school settings, John served as a classroom teacher, writing specialist, staff developer, assistant principal, and acting principal. He joined Beacon in January of 2015 and is excited to be a part this dynamic and innovative school. John and his wife, Teresa, raised four successful children and are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren...and counting! John continues to be involved in music, performing at area senior residences and nursing homes. He enjoys tennis, golf, traveling, swimming, cooking, gardening and doing crossword puzzles.
Latin, Mathematics, Visual & Performing Arts
As one of Beacon's founders, Katherine has applied her experience in individualized education and instructional pedagogy to a variety of subjects, from classics, visual arts, and art history to math, music, and theater. In addition to teaching, Katherine oversees curriculum, planning, and placement at Beacon and ensures that all of our students have the opportunity to explore their passions, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and experience genuine educational challenge. Katherine holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University in International Letters and Visual Studies and spent a year in residence at La Sorbonne in Paris. Before joining Beacon, she studied in University of Maryland’s MFA program for theatrical design. Katherine enjoys traveling, cooking, playing the violin, and most of all spending time with her family.
Lower School Director
English, History, Mathematics
Tucker earned a master's in Urban Multicultural Education from the College of Mount St. Vincent, where he graduated with academic honors, and holds a BA in Music History from Dickinson College. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. He has been working in the field of education for fifteen years, including nearly a decade in the field of one-on-one and small-group education, and he readily draws from his years of classroom experience in Darien, CT and Harlem, NY schools. Tucker believes passionately in the power of individualized education; he views every class as an opportunity to instill study skills and habits of mind that will stay with that student for the remainder of his or her academic career. When he is not at Beacon, Tucker enjoys being active, spending time with his wife and daughter, listening to music, singing, and convincing strangers that this is the year for his beloved Knicks.
Learning Specialist & Student Advisor
Julie Culver has been a learning specialist for the past sixteen years. She joined Beacon from Easton Country Day School, where she was assistant director of the high school and a learning specialist. Her prior experience came from Pear Tree Point School, St. Luke’s, and a private practice in Darien. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University with a focus on Neuroscience, and her graduate degree from Columbia University in the Applied Educational Psychology: Reading and Learning Specialist program. She is also an EdM candidate at Columbia in the Neuroscience and Education program. She has a passion for positive psychology, bridging theory and practice, designing practical instruction that is most responsive to a wide range of learning preferences, and helping students overcome gaps and work through uneven skill sets. Supporting families and helping children understand their own learning preferences and how to be strong self-advocates is a mission for Julie. She is trained in Orton Gillingham, Lindamood Bell, Wilson, Windward Writing, and various other support programs for writing and executive dysfunction. Outside of work, she loves to ski, play tennis, read, and play board games with her husband, two daughters, and two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels.
College Counselor & Student Advisor
Jacqui holds a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from University of Delaware, and dual master’s degrees in Psychology and School Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has experience working in guidance and as a college counselor at LaGuardia Arts High School in Manhattan and as a substance abuse counselor at the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in Jersey City, NJ. Jacqui was a volunteer “Big Sister” for 3 years through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and has a passion for making a difference in the lives of children throughout their development. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, baking, traveling, and playing with her pup, Louie.
Prior to joining Beacon, Sunan spent 5 years in admissions at the Presidio Hill School in San Francisco. In this role she supported their new Head of School, increased enrollment significantly in the Middle School, and successfully retained families through a period of transition. Sunan also worked at the Castilleja School enrolling and retaining students in this highly selective all girls school in grades six through twelve.
Sunan has a Bachelors of Arts in Politics from Oberlin College and after this first professional chapter on the West Coast working in admissions she and her family returned to the East Coast. They currently reside in New Canaan CT. In a non profit capacity in her New Canaan community, Sunan has served as the President of the Board of Directors of the New Canaan Community Preschool, providing educational leadership to the staff, parents and board members. Most recently Sunan has taken on the role of Admissions Consultant for our Beacon School.
Student Program Coordinator
Debby graduated from Tulane University with a BA in Communications and worked in finance and marketing before deciding to continue her studies, earning her MA in Elementary Education from Fairfield University. Through her masters program, she was able to experience several different types of schools but finds that The Beacon School provides a unique setting where students can really let their talents shine. As the Student Programs Coordinator, Debby is able to combine her organizational and planning skills with her love for teaching to develop enrichment activities for all of Beacon's students. Debby grew up in the area and currently resides in Stamford.
Jana graduated from Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Music. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Gifted Education from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. Jana joined Beacon in October 2010 as an administrative coordinator and became our registrar in 2011. She enjoys reading, visiting her friends and family in Indianapolis, and cheering for the Colts.
Program Coordinator: Summer Academy & Extended Programs
Karyn joined us in 2015 to coordinate Beacon’s Summer Academy and after-school enrichment programs, including our Technology Lab. Previously, she served as the program manager for Links Academy at Greenwich Education Group, taught middle school math in Norwalk, and taught graduate students at Quinnipiac University. Karyn holds a master's degree in Elementary Education with a cross-certification in middle school math. Her passion for education and drive to improve the school experience for all children is what motivates her every day. Outside of school, Karyn enjoys spending time with her friends and family.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Beacon Lower School
Kate spent her childhood in England before moving to Connecticut as a teenager. After receiving her BSEd from Boston University and MSEd from the University of Bridgeport she began her teaching career in independent schools. Kate believes that children learn best in an individualized, progressive environment where they are challenged to take facilitated risks by teachers who truly know each child. Kate and her husband Chris live in Norwalk with their children Torie and Alistair. When not shuttling the children to the pool or baseball field, Kate can be found digging in her garden along with her two rescue dogs, Buffett and Jillybean.
Caretaker & Chef
Mysaikone "My" Ampha joined the Beacon team in September 2015. His work ethic and professional approach have made him a vital member of our community and resulted in well-maintained buildings and grounds. Because of his extensive culinary skills, My also began providing meals for the Beacon Pathways program during the 2015-16 school year and teaches several Culinary Arts classes at Beacon. My graduated from SUNY Oswego with a BA in Business Administration and Economics. Prior to coming to Beacon, My worked as an administrator for a gold distribution company and performed cooking services at Kelly’s Sea Level for six years. He has also worked in commercial kitchens at Willow Ridge and Westchester Country Clubs. My lives with his wife and two children and enjoys traveling to Myrtle Beach each summer with his family. In his spare time, he likes going to the beach, fishing, camping, barbecuing, and playing basketball.
Department Head: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics
John holds a doctorate in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor of science from McGill University. During his graduate career, he taught undergraduate students in both classroom and laboratory physics work. Since then, he has honed his skills as a K-12 educator and led our STEM department in innovative curricular design. John focuses on meeting students at their academic level and challenging them to achieve their very best. He is a certified adjunct professor of Physics through the University of Connecticut's Early College Experience program and offers students college-level course work at Beacon each year. John enjoys frequenting flea markets and spending time with his family outside of school.
Department Head: Humanities & The Arts
English, Performing Arts
Samantha began her career as an educator in New York City with bachelor’s and master's degrees in Music Education from Manhattanville College and New York University. While teaching at The Brearley School, Samantha focused on the goal of musical literacy by working her way through her Kodaly and Orff levels. This study led Samantha to a new role as an English teacher with the thought that if every child could be taught to read and write music, every child should certainly be taught to read and write at a high level. She pursued her literacy certification studies at Manhattanville College and moved from teaching music to teaching in the classroom. Samantha joined Beacon in early 2011 and took on the mantle of department head in 2016. As head of our humanities, Samantha works with our faculty to ensure that each child is receiving the appropriate type and level of instruction, while continually reviewing and revamping curriculum to ensure it fits the climate and needs of the school and its students. Samantha lives in Old Greenwichin a busy and noisy house with her husband, Matt, two sons, Jackson and Dyer, big yellow dog, Olive the Other Reindeer, and two feral cats, Dolores and Gladys.
Mineko graduated from Atomi College, Saitama, Japan with a BA in Art History. During her studies, she travelled all over the world to visit art museums and galleries for her thesis project on contemporary art. She also received a curator certification for the Museum of Arts from the college. After graduating, Mineko taught English at AEON Amity English School in Japan for five years. She loved to work with her various students whose ages ranged from pre-school through high school. In 1999, she moved to the United States and received her MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. In her graduate program, she focused on intercultural communication, language and culture, and interpersonal and family communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Mineko was employed as a residential advisor and a school nursing administrator by a Japanese boarding high school in New York. She joined Beacon in 2010. Throughout her lifetime, she has practiced Chado (Tea Ceremony), and she earned a teaching certificate for this traditional practice from The Urasenke Foundation in Japan.
Mandarin, Business Studies
Hazel Curran, formerly Hazel Lum, was born and raised in Singapore. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Hazel joined Beacon in 2013 as a Mandarin teacher and recently obtained her certifications from the CT Board of Education. She earned her MBA from the University of New Haven and BS in Marketing from Sacred Heart University. While in the corporate world, she worked closely with Chinese counterparts in Asia. Since then, she has spent years teaching Chinese to students of all ages, from introductory courses for children to business Mandarin for adults. Prior to coming to the United States, Hazel was trained in Culinary Arts and graduated with a Hotel Management degree from César Ritz Colleges in Switzerland. She also traveled extensively in Europe while working for Singapore Airlines. She enjoys travel, golf, playing board games, and cooking. Hazel served on the board at the Chinese Language School of Fairfield County for several years. She currently lives with her husband and two children in North Stamford.
Spanish, Creative Writing, Model UN
Julie joined us in 2015 from Columbia University, where she earned an MA in Hispanic Cultural Studies as well as her TESOL certification. Previously, she earned a double BA in Spanish and International Letters & Visual Studies from Tufts and spent a year studying at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. With a passion for teaching language at all levels, Julie also has experience tutoring writing and served as curriculum coordinator for JumboRead, a literacy program for struggling readers run through Tufts University. Julie is most passionate about sharing her love of literature with Beacon students.
Over the past 25 years, Mark has worked with students of all ages and abilities, from elementary math through college-level calculus and statistics. He also has extensive experience in preparing students for all math-related standardized tests. Mark previously served as a public school math and business teacher for grades 9-12 and an independent school math teacher for grades 7-12 at the Kew-Forest School. He also engages in mathematics curriculum writing and design. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Decision-Making from Fordham University's Graduate School of Business. He prides himself on having a deep understanding of all of the subjects he teaches and ensures that his students learn to be meticulous, master key facts, and enhance their critical thinking skills; this empowers his students to go beyond rote memorization and understand the rationale for their solutions.
Sharon is a master teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels who brings over 30 years of teaching experience to Beacon. She received her Bachelors of Science in Education from St. John's University in New York, and her Masters in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. Specializing in both English and math at the elementary and middle school levels, Sharon is patient, responsive, and attentive to each student’s individual needs.
History, Enrichment, Performing Arts
Kevin graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Music and a BS in Education. He has been passionate about vocal performance and music education since he was in high school. After college, Kevin studied abroad with the Franco-American Vocal Academy in the southwest of France to continue his vocal training and performance studies. Kevin has gone on to work professionally in music recording, private teaching, and live performance. He joined the Beacon team in 2012 and has expanded his teaching repertoire to include history, drama, and a wide range of enrichment classes, from engineering and robotics to culinary arts and hands-on science. Outside of school, Kevin enjoys watching various professional and college sports, Crossfit, cooking, and singing anything from classical to karaoke.
English, French, Latin, German
Jan attended SUNY Amherst, the Université de Franche Compté, the University of Chicago (as a Mellon Fellow) and Indiana University,where she studied French, Romance Philology, Art History, Comparative Literature, and Early Music, specializing in the Baroque recorder. She is ABD with a masters in French Language and Literature. Before coming to Beacon, Jan taught at Indiana University and the Université de Strasbourg and providing private lessons in French and Latin. At the Beacon School, where she constantly marvels at the intelligence, accomplishments, and talents of her students, Jan currently teaches French, Latin, Elementary German, and English Literature. She has also taught a variety of humanities courses, including one of her favorites--a course on the Renaissance. She lives in White Plains and enjoys traveling with family and friends, playing tennis, and, in the winter months, reading and writing before a cozy fire.
History, Technology, Engineering, Media Studies
Stephen is a gifted teacher and polymath who puts his diverse talents to use at Beacon by teaching a wide array of courses, from programming and robotics to history and horticulture. He holds a bachelor's degree in history with an emphasis on European history from Western Connecticut State University. His professional expertise in the fields of technology and engineering enable him to bring real-world experience into the classroom. Stephen's interests include woodworking, animal husbandry, plant psychology, Dungeons and Dragons, and dry political treatises.
Biology, Environmental Science
Claire holds a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Biology from Sarah Lawrence College and a teaching certificate in Biology from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently pursuing an MS in Environmental Education from Southern. Claire comes to Beacon from the Stamford Public Schools, where she taught integrated science. For the past five years, she has also taught at the Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield, both during the school year and for summer camp. Claire is a member of Sweet Adelines International, a women’s barbershop a cappella singing organization. She is a tenor in the local chapter, Harmony on the Sound. She also enjoys theater and was a member of the directing team for the school musical at her previous school.
Brian graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2007 with a degree in finance and a minor in accounting. In 2014, he became a certified math teacher and also earned his Masters in Teaching from Sacred Heart University. He joined Beacon in the fall of 2014. Applied mathematics has been a passion of his throughout his life, and he brings experience working with children as a teacher, camp counselor, and volunteer at his church youth group. Brian also enjoys hiking, playing sports, reading, chess, watching college wrestling, and playing with his two dogs, Winston and Izzy.
Justin joined the Beacon faculty in 2009 and has been instrumental in developing the talents of our young artists. He received his MFA from the New York Academy of Art and his BFA from The Schuler School of Fine Art. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. His teaching ranges from one-on-one instruction to portfolio classes at Beacon, Silvermine, and Lyme Academy. Justin has worked in conjunction with the Aldrich Museum with Draw On as well as with the GO FIGURE outreach sponsored by NYAA, working with New York City high school students. His recent work can be viewed at www.justinwiest.com.
Yoga & Mindfulness
Jennifer is a graduate of San Diego State University, where she earned a BS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Athletic Training. Jennifer played collegiate golf for SDSU and grew up downhill racing the mountain slopes of Lake Tahoe. She discovered how yoga improved the physical and mental aspects of her varied athletic pursuits and also offered the ability to prevent and recover more quickly from muscle fatigue and injury. Her RYT-200 certification by Yoga Alliance was completed with Yoga Tropics in San Diego, California. Jennifer's RYT-500 certification by Yoga Alliance was completed with Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, California, where the lineage from the late Sri T. Krishnamacharya is taught by her teachers Monique Lonner, Leslie Kaminoff, Brian Dorfman, and Rodger Cole. Her teaching style blossomed further from inspirational trainings with teachers Sri Dharma Mittra, Alyssa Runyan, Mark Jansen, Jano Galindo, and Casey McBride. Her current projects can be viewed at www.jenniferbuckmanyoga.com.