Our Mission

We provide students with educational tools and experiences that stimulate their desire to become well informed in fundamental subject matters and respectful of human values.

FRIENDSHIPS ARE BORN HERE
We offer programs for children of all ages

Meet our Teachers

Britney Buchen

My name is Britney Buchen and this is my first year at Columbia Academy.  I am currently the fourth grade teacher at Columbia Academy.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Liberal Arts and Technology from Stevenson University.  I have not always lived in Maryland. I grew up in northern New Jersey but adapted quickly to the Maryland lifestyle.  I am excited to be in a small classroom setting where I can connect with all the students and help to meet their individual needs!

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Karina Carr

My name is Karina Carr and I am the Director of Students and Faculty.  I received my bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Loyola College. This is my 16th year at Columbia Academy. I began my career as a second grade teacher and I am now proud to be part of the administrative team!

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Winsome Christie

I am originally from Jamaica, but I have lived here for over 30 years, and became a naturalized American citizen more than 20 years ago. I am married with two adult children. This is my 16th year at Columbia Academy, and each one has been full of excitement. It has been very rewarding to watch some of my kindergartners become college students and maintain contact with them over the years. Another year is off to a  wonderful start and I am happy to be a part of this great community.

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Amy Dibble

My name is Amy Dibble, and this is my second year teaching music at Columbia Academy. I am originally from Carroll County, MD, and I grew up singing and playing the flute in band. I graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Houghton College in Houghton, NY.  I have two teaching certificates in music grades K-12 – one from New York and one from Maryland. This year my students will have the opportunity to play various instruments, learn about reading and notating music, sing a variety of songs from cultures around the world, explore how musical sounds are made, and study the history of music as it relates to the music of today’s world. Music is an integral part of life, and I am looking forward to making music with each and every child at our school!

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Mark Etzel

My name is Mark Etzel and I joined the Columbia Academy team in the summer of 2013. I have worked as a second grade teacher, fifth grade teacher, college professor of education, instructor for the Howard County Office of Children’s Services, elementary school assistant principal, and now as the administrative head of Columbia Academy Elementary and Middle School. For the past 21 years I have enjoyed many opportunities to teach in the classroom and provide educational leadership to various schools in Maryland.  I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the Columbia Academy organization!

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Sarah Gallagher

Hi! My name is Sarah Gallagher. I teach Social Studies and Sixth Grade Language Arts here at Columbia Academy. This is my fourth year teaching here, and my tenth year teaching. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in History with specializations in Secondary Education and French. I studied abroad in France for a semester and upon returning to the United States got my first teaching job teaching high school-level French. Both were wonderful experiences! I then moved to North Carolina and taught high school-level American History and Leadership while earning my Master of Arts in Educational Leadership through Michigan State University. From there, my family moved to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and shortly thereafter here to Maryland. I am a firm believer in education being the most powerful tool one can have, and am excited to share that with the students here at Columbia Academy!

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Molly Gudiel

Hello, I am Mrs. Molly Gudiel and I am the cook here at Columbia Academy. I’ve been with Columbia Academy for almost five yrs. I grew up in Indiana and lived near Philadelphia area for ten yrs before moving to Maryland. I love being near the water and enjoy it as much as possible. Working in the food service industry for over twenty years, I strive to provide nutritious and delicious food that everyone can enjoy. I enjoy cooking for the children here at Columbia academy and helping them get through their day with a good meal!

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Brittany Hamolia

With now over 12 years of experience in the field of education, I aspire to do my best to prepare the next generation of leaders in STEM-related areas by designing challenging and engaging science lessons.  I look forward to introducing my students to new and growing careers in science fields to help foster an increased awareness of future career paths which will help them to be better prepared for science course tracks in high school.

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Kristin Hinrichs

Hello, my name is Kristin Hinrichs and I am the art teacher at Columbia Academy. I have a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Rollins College as well as graduate credits in Art Education. I currently hold two teaching certificates for art Pre-k through 12th grade; one in Florida and one in Maryland. Prior to Columbia Academy I taught art at a public elementary in Orlando, Florida. My husband and I relocated to Maryland in 2013 and I really love all that the area has to offer! Before Maryland I lived in the Orlando area for 11 years and before that I lived in Cairo, Egypt for eight years! I feel very fortunate to have had such a unique upbringing. It allowed me to travel the world and see and experience different cultures as well as different art forms. I try to bring some of that experience into the art room and into the lives of the children I teach. Art is truly my passion and I love teaching the students at Columbia Academy! It brings me joy to see what a child’s imagination and creativity can do!

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Meredith Horstkamp

Hello, my name is Meredith Horstkamp. I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Masters of Reading from Towson University. I will be the kindergarten teacher this year. This is my 20th year teaching at Columbia Academy. I taught elementary school for seven years, middle school Language Arts for eight years, enrichment for four years, and now kindergarten! I am excited to be on the kindergarten team and this promises to be a great year!

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Aigner Howard

My name is Aigner Howard and I am the school’s Administrative Secretary.  I was born and raised in New Jersey, and have lived in Maryland since 2006. In 2004 I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Virginia Union University.  I have over 8 years of administrative experience, and I am proud to be a part of the Columbia Academy family!

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Bobbi James

I am happy to be starting my ninth year teaching middle school Language Arts and English at Columbia Academy and my 20th year of teaching. I began my career in Carroll County Public Schools teaching eighth grade Reading at Sykesville Middle School for three years and seventh and eighth grade Language Arts at Oklahoma Road Middle School for two years. While at those schools, I established and advised drama clubs and directed musicals and a talent show. I spent seven years teaching English and Drama at South Carroll High School and served as their drama director. I then spent the next three years working as a stay-at-home mom, raising my young son before joining the faculty of Columbia Academy, which I now call home to both myself and my own seventh grader, Joel!

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Melinda Lefler

My name is Melinda Lefler and I teach third grade. This is my sixth year here at Columbia Academy. I was a substitute for junior kindergarten through eighth grade for a year before teaching fourth grade for two years. I received my bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics from Salisbury University. I have lived in Maryland my whole life, so I have grown up loving the Orioles and the Redskins. I try to find ways to incorporate technology into my many lessons and love working with the kids every day!

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Jeremy Mannone

Hello, my name is Jeremy Mannone. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Physical and Health Education from West Virginia University. I was born and raised in Catonsville, MD and love all things Baltimore and Baltimore sports related. This is my second year teaching Physical Education here at Columbia Academy Elementary and Middle School and I am excited to continue working with all of the students in the school. I am passionate about sports and physical activity and my goal for the school year is to instill that passion in our students. We will continue to build on the skills we learned last year and learn some new ones. It is going to be another fun and exciting year in PE!

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Allison McLaughlin

My name is Allison McLaughlin and I am the school’s library media specialist. This is my seventh year teaching elementary school, and my sixth year here at Columbia Academy. I received my bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Oklahoma State University and also hold a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and School Library Media from Towson University. I grew up in Oklahoma and moved to Maryland with my husband in 2010. I am an avid Indianapolis Colts and Oklahoma State fan, and I also enjoy baking and reading!

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Tim Miller

My name is Tim Miller and I am a five year plus employee. My duties include repair and maintenance of all buildings and playgrounds at all locations . I have been a hands on /fix it guy since I can remember. I recently got married and live in Catonsville. I enjoy hanging out with my large family and riding motorcycles.

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Michelle Morin

I’m Michelle Morin, and this is my eleventh year teaching first grade at Columbia Academy. I love working with young children and find each day exciting and rewarding. I am looking forward to a great year with my new students and their families. I have a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies with a concentration in Children and Family Services from Towson University. I am currently four classes away from completing my Masters of Education in Reading at Towson University. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, nieces, nephews, friends, and family.

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Danielle Parsons

Hello!  My name is Chef Danielle Parsons and I joined the team at Columbia Academy in January of 2016 with over 9 years culinary experience. During my training, I studied under Disney World's Executive Chef, Aida Blanco. After graduation, I took my first commercial kitchen position as prep cook for Johns Hopkins University. Progressing to Lead Cook in just one year, I began to form my own unique style of cooking.  With a great passion for flavor and presentation, I am honored to take my first Chef Manager position with Columbia Academy. I hope to bring something new and refreshing to the table.

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Lucas Pereira

Hello, my name is Lucas Pereira and I am the Spanish Teacher.  I was born and raised in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.  I went to school in Takoma Park, Maryland at Washington Adventist University where I studied for my Bachelor of Science in Physical Education.  I love learning about new cultures and new languages and am so excited to share that love with the students.  I love soccer and my favorite teams include Barcelona and Chelsea.  I hope to be hearing a lot of Spanish in the hallways of Columbia Academy very soon!

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Gaby Rivas

Hello!  My name is Gaby Rivas and I am a first-year Junior Kindergarten teaching assistant at Columbia Academy! In May of 2014, I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where I attained my Bachelor’s degree in Fibers (otherwise known as pattern or textile design). I have always had a love for art and a passion for working with children. I love to look to children for inspiration because children are naturally curious; they are not afraid to question what they see and see what is often overlooked. For the past year, I have worked as a Program Assistant at the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County, where I quickly realized that my passion not only laid in working with children, but in teaching children. I am very excited to be working with our new Junior Kindergarten students and can’t wait to see what their curious and creative minds will bring to the new school year!

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Linda Rossiter

Hello, my name is Linda Rossiter and I am thoroughly enjoying my fifth year teaching at Columbia Academy. Previously I had taught kindergarten at a private, Catholic school in Howard County, preschool in Hanover and spent many years working in Washington, D.C., mainly involved in grassroots lobbying. I am now the junior kindergarten teacher in room 7!  My most important career has been as mom to my two wonderful sons. I was born and raised in Maryland and have lived in Columbia since the early 90’s. My family always includes animals, especially dogs (yes, at least two!) In my free time I read (and am a frequent library visitor), work on home improvement projects, cook, play the piano and take photographs. I am lucky enough to have my extended family close by and we like getting together for steamed crabs and good conversation. I enjoy so many aspects of our diverse community and I LOVE living and working in Columbia. Teaching young children is so rewarding and everyday is a new adventure with my 15 best friends!

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Alicia Schnitzler

Hello! My name is Alicia Schnitzler. I grew up in Connecticut but have lived in Georgia, Japan and Maryland. In 2010, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Sociology along with my Connecticut Teaching Certification for Nursery- third grade. In 2013, I earned my master’s degree in Literacy and Reading for K-6th grade. I have always enjoyed working with children and I love my job. I truly believe that my students make everyday exciting and new!

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Christina Torres

Hello, my name is Christina Torres and this is my eighth year teaching at Columbia Academy. My first year here I taught first grade and for the past seven years I have been teaching second grade. I received my Bachelors in Elementary Education from Eastern University. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, taking my dogs to the park, horseback riding, and dancing! Especially when I get my students involved in dancing in the classroom! I am looking forward to a successful year in second grade and I am excited to get to know everyone.

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Leslie Walsh

Hi! My name is Leslie Walsh. I started at Columbia Academy in May 2015 as the Assistant Director of Extended Care Programs. After a successful Summer Camp season, I am excited to start the new school year! I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Human Development and a Master’s Degree in Sport and Recreation Leadership. With a background in camp and afterschool programming, I know it’s going to be a great year!

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Terry Wellen

This will be my sixth year at Columbia Academy, and my 20th year teaching first grade. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a certificate in Elementary Education from UMBC. I have two daughters, both of whom hold degrees in Education. My youngest daughter, Mrs. Burk, teaches JK here at Columbia Academy! In my free time, I enjoy reading, shopping, and spending time with friends. This year I am looking forward to working with my students as they learn, have fun, and experience new adventures

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Bob Woodard

Greetings!  I am Bob Woodard. This is my first of many years at Columbia Academy as the middle school math teacher.  I am a Tennessee native (GO VOLS!) and I currently attend University of Maryland (GO TERPS!).  I received my BA from Fisk University in 2001. Then I received my Masters of Education in 2008.  I have ten years of teaching experience from Georgia, Washington DC, and Maryland.  I enjoy collecting maps, Jeopardy, and I love to travel.

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