Staff Directory

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~ Attendance, Meany

Personal Message

Ayele, Hailu

Special Education Assistant

Baker, Carly

Counselor & 504 Building Coordinator

Personal Message

My name is Carly Owens and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Meany Middle School team! I received a B.S. in Psychology and a M.Ed in Counselor Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. I was an Elementary and Middle School Counselor in Virginia, before moving to Seattle in 2011. I was previously in the Bellevue School District working as the Dean of Students. I was happy to return to my counseling roots this year, and join the Seattle School District as the Counselor at Lowell Elementary.

My background includes a wide-range of educational and counseling opportunities. I have had the privilege of traveling around the world, volunteering with school-aged children in Tanzania and Southeast Asia. Multicultural counseling has been a huge influence in my practice. I also have experience working with developmentally disabled and medically fragile individuals in group homes, and in my time with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

As the school counselor at Meany Middle School, I will be following the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model, which focuses on the academic, personal/social and career development of all students. I will accomplish this through 1:1, group sessions and classroom guidance units. Middle School is such a transitional time, mentally, physically and emotionally. As their counselor, I want all of my students to know that I value them as individuals, empathize with their struggles, and will support them in discovering and becoming the best versions of themselves.

My spare time is happily spent with my husband, Nick, our son, Owen, and our dog, Taco! We try to be outside as much as possible and enjoy playing soccer and hiking.

Beckerman, Laura Grace

Science Teacher

Personal Message

Hi! I am Laura Grace Beckerman, and I am thrilled to be joining the Meany Middle School team as a science teacher for the 2020-2021 year!

I grew up in the Seattle area. I attended Northwestern University in Illinois for my bachelor's degree in astrobiology. I then pursued a graduate degree in geology as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at University of Colorado Boulder.

When not researching minerals on Mars, I was volunteering as an educator at a local natural history museum, and I discovered that much as I enjoy doing science, I enjoy teaching science even more! I earned my master's degree in geology and happily moved back to Seattle, where I worked as an educator at Pacific Science Center. As part of my job, I created explosions with hydrogen, froze materials with liquid nitrogen, and guided guests through space in interactive planetarium shows.

After several years at PacSci, I decided that I wanted to teach in a classroom. I earned my master's in teaching from University of Washington. I love working with middle school students the most because I love their curiosity and their energy! Besides teaching, I love hiking, climbing, reading, playing board games, baking, and re-watching Star Trek.

Carr-Nelson, Brenda

Special Education Assistant

Carrico, Catherine

Special Education Teacher

Personal Message

My name is Katie Carrico and I am very excited to be joining Meany Middle School! I grew up in the Seattle area and am pleased to call it home once again. I have a bachelor's in Special Education from Central Washington University and a master's in Adult Education from Seattle University.

I come to Meany with a variety of teaching experience – from my start as a special education teacher in Kent, Washington to teaching on the shores of the Mediterranean on the islands of Crete and Sicily. From a brief stint in Las Vegas to Vancouver, Washington. I have most recently been teaching in the 6th grade resource room at Hamilton International Middle School.

When not teaching, I am usually traveling the world or reading books that take me away to worlds unknown. I knit and participate in improv theater for creativity and practice Yoga for exercise and life balance.

Conover, Byron

Math Teacher

I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Washington where I studied Mathematics and Political Science.  I was involved with the UW Dream project, which worked with local high schools to prepare students for post-secondary options. After graduating, I volunteered with the Peace Corps, where I served in Ghana, West Africa.  My work focused on community engagement and malaria education and reduction.  I also partnered with a rural junior high school where I taught math in both English and Twi, the local dialect. I earned a master’s in education from Western Governors University and student taught at Ingraham High School.  I also taught Geometry and Algebra 2 at Ballard high school.  I am passionate about both math and equity in education.

Cummins, Lisa

Resource Room Teacher

Personal Message

Greetings to all! My name is Lisa Cummins, Resource Room Teacher who will be accompanying Mr. Garrett-Small’s program. I come to you with a background in learning disabilities and I have served in various school models (charter, public, private/parochial) that incorporate programs for diverse population of students. I have taught in Seattle area schools, San Diego, and Los Angeles. I was born in Seattle but grew up in Eastern Washington. I attended Gonzaga University, B.Ed, and P.L.U, M.Ed. I have received California credentials, with Autism Authorization and obtained CTEL- English Language Leaner Permit.

I enjoy collaborating with parents, families, and staff and I believe in supporting parents and staff by advocating for student success. I sustain the philosophy that parents, teachers, community, and students are all partners in education. By working in a group process collaboratively, a team can greatly empower their endeavors and current trends by combining their individual expertise. I also have a strong commitment to diverse and multicultural holidays/themes which aligns with the Reggio Emelia’s Approach, that the ‘classroom is the 3rd teacher’.

I look forward to coordinating our practices, thus empowering a school’s mission that can enable and synthesize a successful program in which students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. I hope to develop pride in knowledge and an appreciation of learning and knowledge in our students in the 21st century. I look forward to coordinating with a community team dedicated to progressive education and to help students achieve the best that they can be.

Dunning, Michael

History Teacher

Personal Message

Hello future historians! My name is Michael Dunning, your new 7th grade Social Studies and Reading 180 teacher. A born and bred Pacific Northwesterner, I attended Western Washington University Woodring College of Education. I have spent the last two years teaching Civics in Miami, FL. My classroom mantra is: “Be Mindful, Be Colorful, Be Powerful,” and I strive to create a safe space for exploring life and what it means to be part of a community.

When I’m not engaging young minds with tales of the past, you can find me in the mountains or on the water adventuring and connecting with the outdoors. I can’t get enough of that PNW air! My nose is always in a good book, and I never pass up an opportunity to talk about anything from the mythic story structure of Star Wars to the nuances of the perfect slice of pizza.

I am stoked to be teaching in the community where I live at Meany Middle School. Go Mountain Lions!

Finney, Kevin

Math Teacher

Personal Message I came to Meany in 2018 via a long and winding road. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Communication and Theater. After careers in entertainment, hospitality and shipping, and a stint as a stay-at-home dad, I moved into education. I began as a playground volunteer, then a classroom aide and Emergency Substitute. I received my Masters in Teaching from Seattle U in 2007. This year in addition to Math I’ll teach two periods of Theatre. We hope to mount two live shows, “All Together Now in November,” and “James and the Giant Peach” in the spring. When I’m not at school, I might be cycling with my wife Sarah, paddle boarding, bragging and worrying about our two children (we’re empty nesting!), acting in a play, or singing with friends.

Foyston, Jershon

Assistant Principal & 504 Building Coordinator

Personal Message

My name is Jershon Foyston and I am super excited about becoming a new member of the Meany Middle School community. I look forward to building lasting relationships with the students and community members and helping the students find out who they are and how they will find their success. I look forward to working with the staff on furthering their pursuit of education, so they are best able to teach and serve the students and their unique needs. I know that I can feel successful in many ways.

I have been engaged in education in some way, my entire adult life. As a child, I remember my father as a school teacher working with at risk students. I can remember going to work with him and seeing him interact with his students. It was also fun to see his students recognize him outside of school. My brother and grew up being known as “Mr. Foyston’s Kids.” Now, I am Mr. Foyston.

I entered the teaching world as an instructional assistant in a special education behavioral classroom at Cedar Heights Middles school in Kent. This is where I got hoked on working with students. I then went to Washington State University and earned my degree in education with a focus on English. I taught at Federal Way High School for two years teaching English at all levels. While I was teaching at Federal Way High School, I was earning my certification in Special Education. Upon receiving my certification in Special Education, I took a job in the school district that I grew up in; the Kent School District. I worked at Meeker Middle School for 4 years as a Special Education teacher working with students with behavior and emotional disabilities. There, I worked to develop a program to help students learn how to take ownership of their lives and choices. I found great pride in the students I worked with and the growth they made.

It was at this time that I realized that to make a bigger impact on more than just my students, I would need to get into administration. I earned my master’s in leadership in Education from City University of Seattle. I worked as part of the equity team and the PBIS team. I have a passion for working with students that other people find difficult. With this degree and my new position at Meridian Middle school as a Behavior Interventionist I was able to work with a large body of students. I was able to help them learn how to take ownership of their decisions and to also look to the future with a lens of hope that they may not have had before.

The struggle that some of our students go through every day is very real, and helping them find a light in darkness is one of the greatest gifts I get doing the work that I do.

Outside of education, I have been married to my beautiful wife for the past ten years. We have three energetic children, boy and girl twins and a newborn. My life is very busy, but I am blessed for sure. I do enjoy the outdoors and exercise. I love sports and have been coaching them for almost twenty years.

Garrett-Smalls, Michael

Goldberg, Rebecca

Science Teacher

Personal Message

My name is Rebecca Goldberg and I am so happy to join the team at Meany Middle School. I recently moved to Seattle from Phoenix, Arizona. My family and I decided to make the move because we love this beautiful city and had to get away from the heat! I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology from Arizona State University and earned a post-baccalaureate in Education. I have taught a variety of high school science classes like chemistry, biology, and general science. I spent the last 2 years teaching 9th grade I.B. Biology. I enjoy spending time with my family, taking long walks or drives, and going for bike rides. I am very excited to teach 6th grade science at Meany this year and cannot wait to get to know all of my students!

Harris, Chester