Blair Academy Welcomes New Faculty for the 2020-2021 School Year

Twelve new faculty members joined the Blair community this summer as the School prepares to open its 173rd year. Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Lorry Perry was excited to welcome them to campus, especially since a few of them had not had the opportunity to visit the School or meet other faculty members in person last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonetheless, she noted that new faculty members had started to forge collegial and friendly relationships with their peers before arriving in Blairstown. “We had to move all our spring meetings online, but a silver lining was that our incoming faculty were able to attend many of them, from our end-of-year faculty meetings to department meetings to prize ceremonies and faculty game nights,” Ms. Perry said. “This helped them feel right at home at Blair. They know the School better than any group of new faculty ever has before.” 

We invite you to get to know each of our new faculty members by reading their bios below. 


Eric Flora ’15 is a 2019 graduate of Princeton University. An English major with a minor in gender and sexuality studies, he earned the university’s Thomas B. Wanamaker English Language prize and graduated with honors. He was a member of Princeton’s varsity heavyweight crew team and worked extensively with fellow undergraduates as a residential college advisor, first-year orientation coordinator and as part of the university’s Freshman Scholars Institute. Mr. Flora interned as a student life associate at Princeton following his graduation and worked as a paralegal prior to joining Blair’s English faculty. He teaches English 2 and resides in Fredon, New Jersey.


Cally Queally earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing in 2020 at Hamilton College, where she minored in psychology and theatre and captained the ski team. She gained teaching and mentoring experience during summer internships at Northfield Mount Hermon School (2019) and the Meadowbrook School of Weston (2018, 2019). Ms. Queally teaches English and coaches the ski team at Blair, and she lives in Kathryn Hall with her golden retriever, Toby. 



History teacher and boys’ crew coach Jared Lippman came to Blair from Wyoming Seminary, where he taught history and served as head rowing coach for three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Hamilton College (2016) and a master’s degree in secondary social studies from the University of Rochester (2017). Mr. Lippman’s rowing experience includes a year as assistant men’s rowing coach at the University of Rochester, as well as four years as a member of Hamilton College’s first varsity boat and a year as its rowing team captain. He teaches modern European history and Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. history at Blair, and he lives in Bunnell House.


Pam Schulman teaches European history and global issues and serves as Blair’s head varsity field hockey coach. She graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College in 2018, having majored in history. At Middlebury, Ms. Schulman was a member of the varsity ice hockey and varsity field hockey teams for two and four years, respectively, and she served as captain of the field hockey team. She helped lead Middlebury’s field hockey team to clinch the 2015 Division III national championship and was named to the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Division III All-American team. From 2018 through 2019, Ms. Schulman worked for Percy, a startup staffing company. In January 2020, she joined Kimball Union Academy, where she taught U.S. history, worked in the student life office and acted as an assistant coach for the girls’ varsity ice hockey team. Ms. Schulman lives on Flight Deck.



Classics teacher Lucy Ayers is an alumna of New York University (NYU), having graduated magna cum laude in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in classics and received the department’s Bluma L. Trell Prize for outstanding contribution to the field of classics. She continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her master’s degree in classics in 2016. Before joining Blair’s faculty, she gained classroom experience as a Latin teacher at Peddie School and Caesar Rodney High School, and previously worked as a paralegal at an intellectual property law firm and as an assistant editor at Scholastic Education. In addition to teaching Latin 4 and 5 at Blair, Ms. Ayers also serves as a rowing coach, a role to which she brings several years of experience. At NYU, she rowed in the women's pair, earning silver medals at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (2011) and the New York State Collegiate Championships (2014). A volunteer at Row New York during her college days, she also worked as a summer rowing coach at the Princeton National Rowing Association. Ms. Ayers lives in Ivy Hall. 



Paul (Chadd) Clairmont ’09 earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science at Rollins College in 2014, and he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in secondary school mathematics education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. An experienced programmer, he has worked as a web developer and a coding instructor for elementary-age children. Mr. Clairmont’s athletic interests include golf, soccer and tennis. He teaches algebra 2 and statistics at Blair and resides in Paul House.


Julia Rowny is Blair’s math department chair. She is a 2008 graduate of Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a 2020 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned her Ed.M. in learning and teaching and instructor leadership. Ms. Rowny’s experience in the classroom includes 10 years as a math teacher at Hopkins School, where she was also a track and cross country coach. In addition to her duties as department chair, she teaches math and coaches girls’ cross country and track. Ms. Rowny is married to fellow Blair math teacher Stephen Sacchetti, and they live in Annie Hall.


Stephen Sacchetti, a member of the math faculty, brings seven years of independent school teaching experience to his role at Blair. He taught at Loomis Chaffee School and, most recently, at Hopkins School, where he coached JV girls’ tennis and served as day school teacher residency coordinator for the University of Pennsylvania fellows program. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Mr. Sacchetti earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics at Haverford College in 2011 and an M.S.Ed. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. In addition to teaching math, he coaches JV boys’ soccer and the debate team at Blair. Mr. Sacchetti and his wife, math department chair Julia Rowny, live in Annie Hall.


College Counseling

Niki Applebaum ’01 began her tenure as dean of college counseling in July, returning to her alma mater, the place that inspired her career as an educator. Early on, she taught at Middlesex School, Trevor Day School and Peddie School, where she also coached field hockey and lacrosse and choreographed musical productions. She then moved to the college counseling realm, where her broad experience covers both sides of the admission desk. Ms. Applebaum served as an admissions officer and territory manager for Stanford University, as well as a senior admissions officer and assistant director of financial aid at Harvard University, where she was the founding director of the Harvard First Generation Program. For the past three years, she was co-director of college counseling at the Baldwin School. 

Ms. Applebaum earned her bachelor’s degree at Brown University (2005), where she double majored in English and American civilizations, and her master’s degree in English at Middlebury College (2015). She is an experienced dancer who has shared her talent as a reviewer of supplemental dance materials at Harvard, as an advisor to dance clubs at previous schools and as a student-choreographer of musicals at Brown and Blair. Ms. Applebaum advises The Oracle at Blair, and she lives in Wayside Cottage with her Japanese chin, Nikko.


Associate Dean of College Counseling Kevin Parsons brings more than a decade of experience in college admission and college counseling to his role at Blair. Most recently, he served as a college counselor for two years at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur. Prior to that, he was assistant dean of admission at Princeton University for seven years, having begun his career with stints as an admission counselor for the University of Delaware and assistant director of admissions at American University. Mr. Parsons holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marist College (2006) and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (2011). He resides in Mason Hall at Blair and coaches track.


Dean of Teaching & Learning

Dean of Teaching & Learning Amanda Lucas supports faculty as they work to implement innovative and research-based teaching practices. Having partnered with the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, TeachAthena and the College Board, she implements neuroeducation teaching strategies and resource-sharing opportunities for faculty, and supports curricular development with a focus on student-centered practices across departments. A veteran of education since 2005, Mrs. Lucas has taught in and chaired English departments at both middle and upper levels, most recently at The Emery/Weiner School. Mrs. Lucas has been awarded the Rav Preida Award for Teaching Excellence (2019), the Robert Turner Teacher of the Year Award (2014) and a McGovern Master Teacher Award from the Common Ground Institute at University of Houston’s Honor College (2015). She obtained her bachelor’s degree English (2001) and her M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction (2014) from Texas A&M University. In the summer of 2021, Mrs. Lucas will complete her master’s degree in English from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. In addition to her role in the academic office, Mrs. Lucas teaches English 1 at Blair. She and her husband, Derek, reside in Hillside House with their Hungarian Vizsla, Toby, and their cat, Ginger.


School Counselor

Melany Jimenez, Blair’s school counselor, received her master’s in social work (MSW) from Rutgers University School of Social work in 2016, following the completion of her undergraduate degree in psychology and French at Rutgers in 2013. She is a licensed New Jersey social worker, who gained experience as a medical social worker in a hospital setting and as a bilingual clinician in the field of domestic and sexual abuse. Prior to joining Blair’s faculty in 2020, she worked as a child and family clinician at a nonprofit agency, where she provided therapeutic services for children, adolescents and adults. Ms. Jimenez, who is fluent in Spanish, lives in Lake House with her partner, James, and their dog, Ollie.

News Headlines


Blair Academy is pleased to welcome James H. Dickerson, PhD, who will speak to students, faculty and staff during a virtual Society of Skeptics lecture on September 29 at 7 p.m. His presentation, “Using Science for Good,” will center around his work at Consumer Reports and the use of scientific findings to drive marketplaces changes to improve products.

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Curran Family

Dear Blair Family, 

I write to you today about the end of one chapter in Blair’s history and an exciting new beginning. After more than seven years at Blair, Chris Fortunato has decided to return with his family to New England, where he will lead Thayer Academy, a day school outside of Boston. We are most grateful to Chris for his excellent leadership and many contributions over the course of his tenure and wish him and his family well. As we now look to Blair’s future, I am thrilled to announce that our Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Associate Head of School and Dean of Admission Peter G. Curran as Blair’s 17th Head of School, effective January 1, 2021.

Read More about An Announcement from the Chair of Blair Academy’s Board of Trustees