Talented new faculty arrive to RE

Ransom Everglades added talented new faculty from across the nation to ensure that class sizes on both campuses remain small – a 9:1 student-teacher ratio – while also enhancing opportunities for students in the humanities, STEM, arts, athletics and co-curricular activities. New teachers spent four intensive days learning the culture of Ransom Everglades (The RE Way) while also meeting their peers and administrators leading up to the start of school August 22-23.

Learn more about them:
Maggie Berry
Upper School Humanities
I am grateful to be a part of the Ransom Everglades community by teaching upper school English and history (Advanced American Studies) and by coaching high school girls’ cross country. For the past two years, I worked as an analyst in Blackstone’s real estate group in New York City, where I learned the applicability of a background in the humanities in pursuing a career in a quantitative industry. Prior to my time in the financial world, I received a BA at Harvard College, where I majored in history and literature (focusing on European studies) and minored in economics and Spanish. Eager to share my breadth of passions and experiences with my colleagues and students, I am also ready to trade in the bitter New England winters for the balmy Miami ones. When I am not curled up with a cup of tea and a book, you can find me trail running, whipping up healthy desserts in the kitchen, or at the piano playing jazz classics.

Bethania M. Cabrera
Senior Leadership Team
As the Chief of Human Resources at Ransom Everglades, I partner with internal and external stakeholders to attract, develop and retain talented employees who share our passion for producing graduates who “believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it.” Before joining RE, I served as the Director of Human Resources Operations for Florida International University’s College of Engineering and Computing. Before that, I held several management positions at JPMorgan Chase, including Human Resources and Finance Manager. I earned a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from FIU, a Bachelor of Science in Computing and Management with a minor in Bilingual Bicultural Education from Lehman College in New York City, an accounting certificate from New York University and a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. I am a wellness enthusiast who enjoys kickboxing and healthy eating.

Victoria Castells
Middle School Humanities
I am so happy to be teaching middle school English at Ransom Everglades. I love discussions on anything literature-related and believe there is nothing better than receiving recommendations on great new books and poems. Previously, I have taught English Composition at Miami Dade College and Creative Writing at Miami Arts Charter School. I hold a BA in English from Duke University and an MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from McNeese State University. My first book of poems, The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes, has recently been published by Notre Dame University Press. In my free time, I like watching superhero movies, college basketball, spacewalks on NASA live streams, and the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Julia Clarke
Upper School Humanities
At Ransom Everglades, I teach upper school English and assist with the yearbook. I lived and worked in New England and New York for over a decade, but the sunshine state is a familiar place: I grew up in Tallahassee and earned my BA from the University of Florida. Most recently, I was an editor for a Manhattan-based advertising agency and taught literature courses in the evenings at Fairfield University; before that, I taught English and ran the yearbook at a boarding school in Connecticut. I received my PhD in English from Stony Brook University, and throughout the program, I found my passion for teaching at both Stony Brook and Lehman College in the Bronx. I am looking forward to being in the classroom again full time. When I'm not gushing about Dickens and the Brontes, I am on a whale watch checking out humpbacks or watching Tiktoks of various breaching whales. I am also a runner, Peloton apologist, podcast consumer, cinephile, huge fan of contemporary fiction and avid traveler – I hope to return to my birthplace in Australia soon. 

Courtney Fleming
Middle School Physical Education
I am a middle school physical education teacher, head coach of the upper school boys' varsity lacrosse team and assistant coach for the middle school boys' football team. Previously, I was a teacher and coach at Westminster Christian School in Miami for two years; in 2022, I received Miami-Dade Lacrosse Coach of the Year recognition from the Miami Herald. I earned my BS from Mercy College and my AS from Herkimer County Community College. I’ve also had the privilege of playing professional lacrosse for the National Lacrosse League as well for the U.S. indoor lacrosse national program. In my spare time I enjoy all outdoor activities, especially pick-up hoops. I enjoy cultivating positive relationships with students at RE, as well as supporting them in their journeys to becoming great people!

Robert Fox
Middle School STEM 
Prior to joining the math and computer science department here at Ransom Everglades, I spent several years working as a public school teacher in Miami-Dade County and have also held various roles within the education technology industry. I am extremely passionate about building excitement around computer science education, and seeing my students find ways to bring their passions to the field of CS. I have a bachelor's degree in computer science and statistics from the University of Virginia, as well as a master's degree in education and social change from the University of Miami. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy kayaking, playing board games and cheering on my favorite Chicago sports teams.

Tess Guidry
Upper School Performing Arts
After working with the Ransom Everglades dance team and Cinderella in 2022-23, I am a member of the RE performing arts department offering the Art of Dance course at the upper school, coaching the dance team, and choreographing the upcoming spring musical. I am also in my third year as the head coach for the Hurricanettes dance team at the University of Miami. I moved to Miami in 2021 after completing five years with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, where I served as captain for two years and filmed five seasons of CMT's television show Making the Team. I was selected as a member of the team's elite Showgroup squad traveling on a USO tour, taught as a master clinician for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Academy, and performed with such musical artists as Meghan Trainer, Queen, Ellie Goulding, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett. I am originally from Baton Rouge and graduated with a degree in public relations from Louisiana State University where I was a member of the Golden Girls dance team and LSU theater program. I have taught and choreographed for all levels of dance and adjudicated various collegiate dance team auditions. My love for dance and musical theater started in high school, and I am excited to be able to share that passion with the students at RE!

Emily Grace (Williams)
Upper School STEM
I am a physics teacher at Ransom Everglades Upper School and the ​principle ​investigator of the PLAIDX research collaboration. PLAIDX focuses on developing optics-based apparatuses to study damaged DNA​, and I am delighted to bring this project to RE. ​Prior to my time at RE, I spent five years at a liberal arts college where I developed undergraduate programs in ​biophysics and ​physics ​education, and I worked closely with Washington University in St. Louis and ​its ​dual-​degree engineering program. I have a BA in psychology from Bethel University. I earned my BS in ​physics and MSEd simultaneously from Indiana University, where I began researching dark matter. This took me to London, where I completed a PhD in astroparticle physics from Royal Holloway University of London. At RHUL, I placed first in the Three Minute Wonder competition with a dark matter rap. My husband, Piper, is an artist, and we have two rambunctious children​, Esther and Argyle​. I am an ultramarathon runner and compete in endurance gravel bike races in the women’s fat bike division.

Moira Holohan-Comas
Upper School Visual Arts
It is a joy for me to share my love and knowledge of art as a member of the upper school Visual Arts Department faculty at Ransom Everglades. My daughter attended the former daycare at Ransom Everglades a few years ago, and it was exciting to rejoin the Ransom Everglades community as an instructor. I grew up in New York City and studied art early at the many well-known art institutions in the city. I have a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College, both in New York. I have more than 15 years of teaching experience, including positions at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart (11 years) and several colleges before that as an adjunct teacher. 

Luis A. Luis Fayat
Upper School STEM
I earned my bachelor’s in aerospace engineering and master’s in space science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to someday become an astronaut. After serving in the Peace Corps as an Education Volunteer (Mozambique 2009-12), I realized the power and importance of education in helping people discover and fulfill their potential. My path has been forever changed since. After 10 wonderful years at Gulliver Prep, I am embarking on a new and exciting journey teaching physics at Ransom Everglades. As a native Miamian, I am amazed at how the Magic City grows and evolves before my eyes. My wife and I had our son in December 2021 and it has been a journey as we all grow together as a family, traveling with him and sharing our love of exploration. I also can’t wait to play board games with him – I have so many!

Ronald Magnusson
Middle School Humanities
I teach seventh-grade U.S. History and eighth-grade World Civilizations. Before joining RE, I taught middle school social studies for 13 years in New Jersey. I earned a bachelor’s degree in historical studies and education from Stockton University. I completed my master’s degree in teaching as well as graduate certificates in leadership and educational technology from Rutgers University. I am excited to bring my love of visual art and music into the study of history. My wife and I have a small dog named Raindrop.

Beatriz Marques
Upper School World Languages
I teach Spanish 3 and 5 in the world languages department at Ransom Everglades, and have more than 18 years of experience teaching Spanish language, literature and culture at other schools across the nation including Florida International University, the College at Brockport (N.Y.) and the University of South Florida. I hold a PhD in Spanish from FIU, where I also spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow. I earned master’s degrees from the University of South Florida and Florida International University. I am originally from Sagua la Grande, a beautiful and small coastal city in the middle of Cuba, and have lived in the states for more than 20 years. I moved to Miami in 2015 with my son to pursue my graduate degree and it felt almost like coming back home. I truly enjoy teaching, reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Brittney Ellzey Mujica
Upper School STEM
I am thrilled to teach mathematics at the upper school and coach the math team. I spent two years as a math teacher at Punahou School in Hawaii after two previous years at RE, where I sponsored Women Empowered, served on the faculty advising committee for TEDxRE and coached the math team. Before that, I taught at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, the University of Miami and Miami Dade College. I earned a BS in mathematics at Louisiana Tech University with minors in computer science and Spanish and then completed an MS and a PhD in mathematics at the University of Miami. Beyond teaching, I’m an avid reader and I love exploring different cultures through travel. Most recently, I traveled to South Africa to volunteer with Teachers Across Borders. Looking forward to many more enriching years at RE!

Justinmar Perez
Upper School Humanities
As a dedicated speech and debate coach for Ransom Everglades, I emphasize detailed and focused guidance to help students flourish competitively. I firmly believe that speech and debate provides invaluable opportunities for students to develop critical thinking, persuasive skills and self-confidence. Prior to my time at RE, I amassed six years of experience in the competitive speech and debate community with high levels of success coaching at the state and national levels. I obtained my BA in psychology from Florida International University and use that knowledge to hone my pedagogical expertise. When I'm not arguing for fun, I'm likely reading or listening to or making music.

Marie Saint Hilaire
Middle School STEM
I am honored to work at Ransom Everglades as a middle school math teacher and middle school sponsor of the Model United Nations club. I am a Florida certified teacher with a decade of experience teaching mathematics. I earned a dual BA in finance and international business from Florida Atlantic University, as well as an MS in educational leadership from Barry University. I am currently obtaining my doctoral degree in education from the University of Miami. I teach by utilizing a student-centered approach and building trusting relationships with my students and their families. I feel most accomplished when my students share with me that they know I truly care and that I have sparked their passion for learning. Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, reading a good book and enjoying Haitian and Italian cuisine. 

Yuria Sharp
Upper School STEM
I’m so excited to work at Ransom Everglades teaching chemistry and advanced chemistry to upper school students. My life has been filled with thrilling adventures and a passion for education. With a teaching career spanning 19 years at Miami Palmetto Senior High School and a few more teaching at Miami Dade College, Florida International University and Barry University, countless students have left an indelible mark on my life as a teacher of chemistry. Beyond the classroom, I thirst for exploration. In previous years, I worked at a zoo and an astrophysics institute, and I also conducted research. I graduated with a BS in biology at the Universidad de las Americas-Puebla, Mexico where I fell in love with chemistry. My favorite classes were general and organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, instrumental chemistry and biochemistry. I earned my PhD in biology from Florida International University in 2004. 

P.J. Shoemaker
Upper School Humanities
As a teaching fellow for World History, I enjoy sharing my passion for learning with my students and cultivating curiosity in my classrooms. Prior to my time at RE, I received my degree in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at St. Peter’s School, an independent PS-8 school in Philadelphia. Outside of the classroom, you can find me fly fishing, cooking barbecue, or perfecting my morning cup of coffee.

Furqan Tinsley
Middle School STEM
Biking, weight-lifting and world traveling are only three of the many things I enjoy doing when I'm not teaching. Five years ago, I graduated from University of Texas Dallas with a BS in mechanical engineering, but immediately reentered the classroom – this time as a teacher. I taught students math in San Antonio and Phoenix before relocating to Miami. I'm also an avid baller whose heart belongs to the California Lakers. Speaking of heart, I'm the proud dad of Kairo and my wife, Sacheen, and I are expecting our second child. In addition to preparing for our little girl, I'm also pursuing a master’s in educational leadership at St. Thomas University.

Jesse Velazquez
Upper School STEM
As a Teaching Fellow, I rely on various tools and experiences to be the best teacher I can be for my students at the upper school. Science became my favorite subject because of passionate instructors in my school years, and I try to carry on this enthusiasm with the amazing support of my colleagues at Ransom Everglades. As a recent biological science graduate from Florida International University with a minor in marine biology and chemistry, I like to find the connections between the systems and processes in nature. I knew I wanted to continue pursuing education after working as an outdoor science educator in the Redwoods of Northern California. Igniting the spark of curiosity and interest in the natural world is one of the most rewarding feelings. When out of the classroom I spend my time playing bass guitar, hiking and enjoying our beautiful South Florida ecosystems.

Arn Xu
Upper School Performing Arts
As piano accompanist and music director at Ransom Everglades, I strive with every opportunity to provide my students with the knowledge, insight and interest in developing musicality, technique, appreciation and the tools to approach music in their own way. I hold a BM in piano performance from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and an MM in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Toronto. When I’m not behind the piano, I love to play sports, work out, try new recipes and travel.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.