Lifelong Learners

Faculty learning groups take place regularly and allow teachers to explore best practices and learn from one another.


From a WIS alumnus: [My teachers] were there unconditionally to help me get through the difficulties I faced with the IB. They always had a positive attitude and I really appreciated that, and still do.

Native Speakers

Our French, Spanish, and Mandarin teachers are all native speakers; most WIS teachers speak at least two languages.

Citizens of the World

WIS teachers come from more than 30 countries; their experiences support our students' cultural fluency.

Fast Facts

Over 70% of WIS teachers have advanced degrees; 36% have been at WIS for 10 years or more.

During summer 2018, Upper School science teacher Emily Veres was a fellow with Re-Imagining Migration. The group of fellows included educators working in schools, museums, districts in the US and abroad. They listened to speakers and engaged in brainstorming and thinking about migration, with the goal of creating an idea/project to bring back to their individual schools. The group's work is highlighted in this article (the project Emily envisioned and implemented at WIS is also briefly mentioned).

In fall 2018, Emily and her students focused on the following questions posed by the Re-Imagining Migration group:

  • How can we reframe our understanding of migrant-origin students, maximizing their cultural and psychological assets and responding to their unique challenges?
  • How can we help all learners to develop the understanding of migration, and the dispositions toward inquiry, empathy, dialog and civic action necessary to sustain inclusive and welcoming societies?
  • How can we create and sustain learning environments able to enculturate children, youth and adults into the dispositions necessary to sustain inclusive and welcoming societies?
  • How educators develop their capacity to nurture young peoples’ understanding of human migration and the knowledge, empathy and dispositions necessary to sustain inclusive and welcoming societies through their work in formal and informal settings.

Emily and her students used a variety of Project Zero strategies to help make sense of the long human history of migration as well as to gain perspective regarding the human face of migration. 

WIS recently received a grant from the Longview Foundation to support the Museums Go Global: Creating Exemplary Global Competence Lessons for the Smithsonian Learning Lab project. Throughout 2019, Middle School English teacher Marissa McCauley and Primary School STEAM Specialist Sandra Vilevac will meet monthly with other DC educators to engage in seminars on teaching for global competence and museum-based learning. Working with local museum curators, the group will design lessons that make use of Global Thinking Routines (GTRs) and museum collections. The teachers will explore using the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access’ Learning Lab, with the goal of publishing finished lessons on the digital platform for use by teachers from all over the world.

Grade 11-12 IB Diploma Visual Arts students in Art Teacher Annette Zamula's classes are featured in a new (and free) online course through the National Gallery of Art. The course focuses on using Artful Thinking Routines, developed at Project Zero, to unlock complex thinking in students. The portion of the course featuring WIS students is available HERE and another video including commentary from Annette Zamula is available HERE.

At the January 2019 National Network of Schools in Partnership Annual Conference, STEAM Community Coordinator Jaime Chao Mignano, Tregaron Director of Teaching and Learning Carole Geneix, and MS/US Digital Arts Teacher Kerri Redding led a workshop on the Making Across the Curriculum project. Director of the PDC@WIS Jim Reese joined two administrators from DC public schools to share the work of the PD Collaborative across the city.

Primary School STEAM Specialist Sandra Vilevac will take part in a new PD Collaborative project called Museums Go Global: Creating Exemplary Global Competence Lessons for Smithsonian's Learning Lab, along with eight other teachers and a number of museum educators and curators from across the city. Abby Krolik and Jim Reese (of the PD Collaborative) and Tess Porter (of the Learning Lab) will facilitate monthly seminars in which the educators will explore ways they can leverage museum collections to educate for global competence. US Biology teacher Emily Veres will serve as a mentor in the project. 

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) has awarded Japan Foundation fellowships to Anne Leflot of the Upper School and Denise Rodríguez of the Middle School. They will work in winter and spring 2019 to develop lessons, using digitized collections from Smithsonian museums, that focus on Japanese history and culture. Those lessons will be posted on the Smithsonian Learning Lab for other teachers to use.

The Primary School's entire early years team (Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten) is participating in the Children Are Citizens project, which builds civic agency in our youngest students. Assistant Principal Paloma Panesi and Director of the PDC@WIS Jim Reese are leading monthly seminars and team planning sessions.

Grade 2 English teacher Jaana Torhonen is coaching an online Agency by Design course. STEAM Community Coordinator Jaime Chao-Mignano co-wrote a blog (with Director of the PDC@WIS Jim Reese and Tregaron Director of Teaching and Learning Carole Geneix) for the AbD website.

A number of WIS teachers are participating in a learning group to explore options for injecting maker-based learning into the curriculum. Digital Arts teacher Kerri Redding, Director of the PDC @WIS Jim Reese and French teacher Anne Leflot are also leading learning groups for DC public school teachers.

Upper School science teacher Emily Veres collaborated with teachers from around the world to update the IB Diploma Program biology curriculum.

Grades 6-12 Director of Teacher and Learning Carole Geneix and Director of the PDS @WIS Jim Reese presented at the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference.

Preschool French teacher Sarah Hair is leading the local Project Zero initiative PZ in Another Language.

Preschool French teacher Sarah Hair, Pre-Kindergarten Spanish teacher Mabel Ramirez, and Primary School Spanish Instructional Support teacher Dolores Virasoro presented at the Greater Washington Association of Teachers of Foreign Language (GWATFL) Conference in October 2018.

University Counselor Pam Joos was selected to attend the International Guidance Counsellor Conference at Cambridge University, UK. There were over 250 applicants; 20 finalists attended.

At the 4th Annual Maker Educator Convening in San Jose, CA, Upper School French teacher Anne Leflot co-presented a workshop on Making across the Curriculum with Project Zero principal investigator Edward Clapp.

At the 2018 People of Color Conference, STEAM Community Coordinator Jaime Chao Mignano and Digital Design teacher Mark Perkins presented a workshop on Taking Apart the Concept of Racism. Digital Arts teacher Kerri Redding presented a workshop on Reclaiming Innovation.