All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
Blair history class
Lian Wang in class
Craig Evans instructs an English class.
Andrew Sykes teaches history calss
Kate Sykes works with a student at the wheel during ceramics class.

Faculty Spotlight

At Blair, our faculty’s complete commitment to knowing students well and fostering meaningful relationships across the community allows teachers to understand students’ backgrounds, learning styles, interests and abilities and to utilize that knowledge to customize their education, both in and out of the classroom.

In the videos below, several Blair teachers reflect on their favorite moments at the School.

Andee Ryerson, Dean of Students

Dean of Students Andee Ryerson works in Blair’s student life office and continues to serve as the faculty advisor to the Senior Class Council and a member of the School's Inclusivity Committee. Mrs. Ryerson is a 2021 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she completed their School Leadership Program and a 2011 graduate of Amherst College, where she double majored in geology and art and the history of art. Previously, Mrs. Ryerson has served as Blair's Director of Communications, Associate Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Admission, taught in the Fine Arts department, and enjoyed numerous other roles supporting Blair students and activities. She and her husband, physics teacher Mike Ryerson, live in Parsonage House with their three sons, James, Teddy and Charlie, and their yellow lab, Rey.

Caroline Wilson, Senior Associate Dean of Admission & Director of Financial Aid

Caroline Wilson serves as a senior associate dean of admission and director of financial aid. She was appointed to Blair's faculty as an admission associate in 2013, after receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Williams College. A member of Williams’ varsity swim team, Caroline was named NCAA Division III swimmer of the year in 2013, and she was a 13-time Division III National Champion and a seven-time Division III NCAA national record holder. In 2018, Caroline earned a master's degree in education policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford University. She served as Blair's associate dean of students from 2018 until 2020. Caroline is the head coach of Blair’s varsity swim and JV girls’ lacrosse teams and serves as dorm head of Locke Hall, a first-year and sophomore girls dorm.

Evan Thomas, Dean of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

A teacher of fine art at Philadelphia-area independent schools from 2009 to 2015, Evan Thomas joined Blair’s faculty as a studio art teacher in 2015, where he taught all levels of drawing and painting as well as "Art for Social Change". After a nationwide search, Evan was appointed as Blair’s Inaugural Dean of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, where he serves as the strategic and academic leader of the School’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives. He also serves as an advisor for the Black and Latinx Student Union and as the SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) program leader for faculty and staff. Evan holds a bachelor’s degree in art education from Kutztown University (2009), a graduate degree in art education from Boston University (2013), and a certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard's Graduate School of Education (2021).

An active member of the Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) and the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Evan serves as president of the NAEA’s Independent School Art Educators interest group and earned NAEA’s Certificate for Cultural Competency in Teaching and Leadership (2021). His interests include STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education, the subject of his graduate research; advancing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion; and engaging local communities. Outside the classroom, he operates a successful portrait and wedding photography business and has coached Blair's track, debate, JV Basketball and JV volleyball teams. Evan and his wife, Ally, Blair’s Director of Counseling, are parents of a daughter, Kiley.

Mike Ryerson, Science Teacher

Mike Ryerson's astronomy class
Mike Ryerson joined Blair’s science department in 2009 after completing his undergraduate work at the State University of New York College at Geneseo in 2009. He earned his master’s degree in science education in 2019 from Montana State University. At Blair, Mike teaches physics and astronomy, serves as the technical director for theatrical productions, and coaches the boys’ lacrosse team. He lives on campus in Parsonage House with his wife, Andee, who serves as Blair’s associate dean of students, their three sons and their dog.

Joe Mantegna, Associate Dean of College Counseling

Joe Mantegna is associate dean of college counseling, director of testing and head coach of the varsity boys’ basketball team, posting an impressive 418-150 career record against a nationally ranked schedule. Since joining Blair’s faculty in 1999, Joe has also advised students as a 12th-grade academic monitor. Currently, Joe serves as the assistant coach for the South Sudanese Men’s National Team under head coach Royal Ivey ’00 and South Sudan Basketball president Luol Deng '03. The team competed in AfroBasket 2021 in Rwanda and in World Cup qualifying in the summer of 2022. Additionally, Joe acted as the head coach of the USA team at the 2022 NIKE Hoop Summit in Portland, OR where he led the USA team to a 22 point victory over the World Team. As well, Joe is a coaching consultant for the Luol Deng Foundation, where he assists in running camps throughout North America and Australia for Sudanese immigrants and, annually, for the best players in the UK in London. He also owns and runs basketball camps and coaching clinics in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Joe served as defensive coordinator and, later, head coach for the USA Select Team, which competed in three different Albert Schweitzer Games in Mannheim, Germany. Since 2019, he has been an on-court coach for USA Basketball’s U-18 and U-16 training camps, and he is also a regular speaker for USA Basketball Academies around the country. Joe completed his undergraduate work at Ithaca College in New York in 1991 and earned a master’s degree in sports management from East Stroudsburg University in 1995. Before arriving at Blair, he served as an assistant coach and admission professional at four colleges, including Boston University and Lehigh University. Joe lives on campus with his wife, Shelly, and their children, Jake ’19, Lula ’20 and Xavier ’24.

Erika Clavel, Academic Support Coordinator

Erika Clavel is Blair’s academic support coordinator. A graduate of Old Dominion University, she holds a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master's degree in elementary and middle school education. Erika was a middle school teacher in Virginia and a fourth-grade teacher at Blairstown Elementary School; she has served on the South Cottage dorm staff, as a health teacher, academic/study skills tutor, yearbook advisor, LEADS teacher and assistant dean of admission at Blair before stepping into her work in the academic office. She and her husband, Athletic Director and varsity girls' golf coach Paul Clavel '88, reside in Siegel House with their daughters, Avery '19 and Emma '24.

Andrew Sykes, History Teacher

Andrew Sykes joined Blair's history department in 2000. He teaches global issues and U.S. history and is head of the Rules and Discipline Committee. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Richmond in 1999 and earned a master's degree in history from Rutgers University in 2008. Andrew and his wife, Kate, chair of Blair’s fine arts department, live in Rea House with their daughter, Lyla, and son, Ollie. In addition to coaching varsity boys' golf, Andrew does dorm duty in Locke Hall.

Dr. Nadia Abascal, Director of Integrated Science Research, Science Teacher

Nadia Abascal joined Blair’s science faculty as a teacher of chemistry in 2018. A graduate of Barnard College (2011), she earned her master’s (2013) and PhD (2017) at Yale University. Nadia gained significant laboratory experience as a post-doctoral researcher in Yale’s molecular biophysics and biochemistry department, where her work focused on the assembly of a ricin biosensor. A crossfit enthusiast, she coaches softball at Blair. She is also the dorm head of Flight Deck, a dormitory for first-year boys.

Kate Sykes, Fine Arts Department Chair

Kate Sykes, appointed in 2003, serves as chair of the fine arts department. She teaches all levels of ceramics and sculpture and freshman maker space seminar, and prepares students each year for the studio art Advanced Placement exam in both two- and three-dimensional design. In addition to her responsibilities in the fine arts department, Kate has served as dorm head of Locke Hall and spends her afternoons as head coach of the JV girls’ tennis team. Prior to teaching at Blair, Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in art education from the Pennsylvania State University and taught for two years in public school. She earned her master’s in studio art from New York University in 2008. Kate, her husband, Andrew, a member of Blair’s history faculty, and their two children live in Rea House.

Leucretia Shaw, Dean of Faculty Life

Appointed to Blair’s faculty in 2010, Leucretia Shaw is the dean of faculty life. As a member of the senior administrative team, she works across several domains of the School, including, but not limited to, admission, faculty hiring and support, alumni relations and student life. Additionally, she is a mentor teacher, a student advisor and a freshman-class monitor. During her Blair tenure, she has also taught Spanish at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels, taught Blair LEADS and served on the Faculty Executive Committee. Earlier in her career, Leucretia held various positions at Saint James School and at her alma mater, The Lawrenceville School. Over the years, she has been involved in inclusivity efforts, student club advising and athletic coaching. Leucretia completed her undergraduate work in Spanish with a concentration in language teacher preparation at Georgetown University. She went on to earn her master's degree in educational leadership from Columbia University’s Teachers College. A native of New York City, she is the dorm head of Mason Hall and lives there with her husband, Nigel, and two children: Nia ’17 and Ian ’20.