We are thrilled to welcome an incredible team of new Lower School teaching faculty for the 2021-2022 school year.
Welcome to the Bullis Community!
Rachel Ruina, Kindergarten Teacher
Rachel comes to Bullis from the Concord Hill School, where she has been teaching Kindergarten since 2006. Rachel has served in many roles in her 25 years in education including lending her experience as the educational expert for a private school board and founding a “Kindergarten Collaborative” to share ideas among local independent school teachers. She earned her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College and an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Lesley University. Rachel is eager to begin building relationships with Bullis students as a member of the Lower School team. She has lots of interests outside of school and is currently working to create the perfect brownie recipe!
Mercedes Alicea, Second Grade Teacher
Mercedes will be returning to her home state of Maryland after living and working in New York City for the past 11 years. Mercedes earned a master's degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and will begin a doctorate in the fall at Johns Hopkins University. Throughout her career in education, Mercedes has worked with children from ages two to 19 and in a variety of capacities, often in special education settings. She is passionate about inclusive and culturally relevant education. Outside of the classroom, Mercedes is deeply involved in the arts and enjoys reading, drawing, dancing, and randomly bursting into songs from Hamilton!
Irene Murshed, Second Grade Teacher
Irene joins us from just down the road at Green Acres, where she has been an elementary school teacher for the past 14 years. She served as Assistant Director of Service Learning, a staff member to the Board of Trustees, and liaison between the teaching team and administration. Irene’s experiences in independent schools are complemented by several years teaching Kindergarten in the DC public school system. She majored in Family Studies at the University of Maryland and earned a Masters in Teaching from Trinity College. Irene is a proud first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the US from Greece. She is fluent in Greek and visits her parents in Greece every summer.
Caitlin De Santi, Fourth Grade Teacher
Caitlin comes to Bullis with more than a decade of international educational experience in Rome, Italy, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the US. Caitlin majored in Psychology at Harvard and earned a law degree from Suffolk University. She has worked as a travel correspondent for the Boston Globe, a legal adviser for UN Women in Pakistan, and the Associate Director for Temple University Rome. She has continued to cultivate a passion for running and has completed 10 marathons (PR 2:56 in Melbourne, Australia) and numerous half marathons. When not working, Caitlin is spending time with her husband and 3 children, all Bullis students, or running on local trails to find her zen.
Cindy Yi Wong, Lower School Spanish Teacher
Cindy brings a diverse set of experiences to her role teaching Spanish to our K-2 students, most recently as a Spanish teacher at Concord Hill School. Having grown up in Peru, she is a native Spanish speaker and did her undergraduate studies at the University San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima before coming to the United States in 2004. Cindy began her career in marketing then transitioned to various roles at the Inter-American Development Bank Family Association. Cindy enjoys traveling and has a passion for cooking food from both her Chinese and Peruvian cultural backgrounds. She is a wife and mother of two children and recently added a Poochon puppy to her family.