All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
Locke Hall residents
A Kathryn Hall girls' dorm room.
Two boys work on computers in their dorm room.
Students gather in the Annie Hall common room.

Meet Blair’s Dorm Heads

The residential experience at Blair is an integral part of each student’s life. Whether a boarding or day student, on-campus spaces become your home away from home. For the faculty that lead our dorms and oversee our day students, cultivating homes where students feel included, respected and valued is the top priority.

Working with prefects, dorm and day student heads help develop habits of responsibility in our students as they learn to be considerate of others and to care for personal and shared spaces. Through residential activities, both planned and spontaneous, students cultivate meaningful relationships with their classmates and faculty alike. On any given afternoon or evening, you will find faculty and students having meaningful conversations in the common rooms, enjoying snacks both inside and outside the dorm, celebrating birthdays and engaging in everything from Ping-Pong battles and raucous dance parties to debates about the meaning of life.

Annie Hall | Anna Raley

I love the energy and enthusiasm of the junior and senior girls who are beginning to think about the high school to college transition. Their excitement for this pivotal point in life makes Annie a place where everyone is making the most of their Blair career while also priming themselves for life after Blair. Their ability to live in the moment, while also reflecting and looking forward, is so awesome!"

Anna Raley

History teacher Anna Raley holds a bachelor's degree from Huntingdon College and a master of arts degree in liberal studies with a concentration in cultural studies from Dartmouth College. A former resident of Insley Hall, Ms. Raley is now head of Annie Hall, a dormitory for 42 junior and senior girls. She resides in Annie with her wife, Ashlyn, who is a registered nurse for Blair’s Health Center.

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Flight Deck | Nadia Abascal

On the Flight Deck, we like to say that we’re getting our boys ‘ready for takeoff.’ With our absolutely top-notch dorm staff and cream-of-the-crop prefects, Flight Deck makes a home out of a hallway and family out of a group of boys from all over the world. It really is an honor being a part of that transformation.”

Nadia Abascal

Dr. Abascal joined Blair’s science faculty as a chemistry teacher in 2018. A crossfit enthusiast, she coaches softball at Blair. This is Dr. Abascal’s fourth year living in a Blair dormitory and her first as dorm head of Flight Deck, where 18 first-year boys reside.

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Freeman Hall | Joe Wagner

What I enjoy most about residential life is being able to connect with students about aspects of their lives and their identity that might not be fully explored in the classroom. In particular, I love hearing kids’ perspective on movies and music that have been influential to them.”

Joe Wagner

Mr. Wagner has been a member of Blair’s science faculty for eight years. He teaches biology honors and AP biology and coaches varsity baseball, in addition to serving as dorm head of Freeman Hall, where 33 junior boys reside, for five years.

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Hoffman House | Alexandra Cullen

Hoffman House is an all-gender dorm on campus, designed for students who want to live in a space that isn't defined by the gender binary. As a small dorm that students opt to live in, Hoffman House is a place where residents get incredibly close. After study hall, you can find all 11 residents baking cookies in our shared kitchen, singing Taylor Swift in the hallways or playing Mario Kart in our cozy common room! I love the community that this dorm has—it really feels like we are one big family sharing a home together!"

Alex Cullen

Language teacher Alexandra Cullen is a 2020 graduate of Bates College, where she double-majored in English and environmental studies and minored in Spanish. While at Bates, she worked with students in public and independent schools during internships, as a classroom volunteer and as part of a middle school food sustainability program. She also worked in the Bates communication office and held a summer internship at SKI Magazine. Alex studied abroad in ValparaÍso, Chile, and spent several months backpacking through South America. Appointed to Blair’s faculty in 2020, she teaches Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 Honors, leads Blair’s outdoor skills program and serves as the dorm head of Hoffman House, an all-gender dorm on campus for 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students.

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Insley Hall | Cassi Gerdsen

Insley Hall is a space that is warm, welcoming and kind. It’s a place where students can share their thoughts and beliefs without judgment, and listen to and respect others. My favorite part of living in and running a dorm is seeing the life-long connections that are made between new students, faculty and our senior prefects. The residents of Insley come from all around the world, but together, Insley feels like one big family!”

Cassi Gerdsen

Mrs. Gerdsen became the School’s Director of Admission Application Management in 2016, following three years of work in the communications office. She is also a varsity volleyball coach. Mrs. Gerdsen and her family have been part of the Blair community since moving to campus from the Pennington School in 2004, where she was director of the school’s student center. A native of Aiken, South Carolina, she studied education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. Mrs. Gerdsen and her husband, Rod, an associate dean of students and science teacher at Blair, have two children, Kate ’20 and Jack ’24. The Gerdsens live in Insley Hall, a boys’ dorm for ninth and tenth graders.

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Kathryn Hall | Dave Facciani & Lian Wang

Being dorm heads has been one of the best parts of our time at Blair. Our students face new and different situations every day, and helping them navigate those situations is truly rewarding work.”

Dave Facciani & Lian Want

Mr. Facciani and Ms. Wang joined Blair’s faculty in 2007 as Chinese teachers. In addition to their work in Blair’s language department, Mr. Facciani teaches Advanced Placement Microeconomics and Modern European History classes and serves as Blair’s international monitor. Ms. Wang is also a yoga instructor and advisor to the after-school dance activity. Since its opening seven years ago, they have served as dorm heads of Kathryn Hall, where they live with 45 junior and senior girls, their daughter, Angela, and dog, Buddy. Prior to moving to Kathryn Hall, Mr. Facciani and Ms. Wang spent six years as dorm heads of Locke Hall and a year as heads of Davies Hall, which formerly stood on the site of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration.

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Lakeside Hall | Doug Compton

What I love about being a dorm head is creating culture. Getting kids engaged in figuring out how to have fun and break up the routine is the part of the job that gives me the most satisfaction.”

Doug Compton

Mr. Compton has been a member of Blair’s English faculty and has lived in Blair’s dorms for eight years. He serves as dorm head of Lakeside Hall, where 45 sophomore and junior boys live, and in addition to teaching English 1 and 2, Mr. Compton coaches the boys’ varsity squash and JV soccer teams.

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Locke & Ivy Hall | Caroline Wilson

Blair’s warm community is best exemplified in the hallways of its dorms. Every interaction involves a smile, a greeting and genuine curiosity about others. In Locke, specifically, I have the chance to see all types of students interact. No matter their academic interests or athletic teams, everyone has a chance to connect and get to know one another better.”

Caroline Wilson

Ms. Wilson serves as a senior associate dean of admission and director of financial aid. For four years, she has been dorm head of Locke and Ivy Hall, Blair’s largest dormitory for 75 first-year and sophomore girls. In addition to these roles, Ms. Wilson is currently the head coach of Blair’s varsity swim team and the faculty advisor to the Women in Business Club. Over her 10 years at the School, she has also served the community as a psychology teacher, college counselor and associate dean of students.

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Mason Hall | Anders Fogel

Living in the dorm not only gives students a life experience full of memories, laughs and challenges, but it sets them apart as students who are ready for the next step in their educational journey. In college and beyond, it becomes clear who has the skills to balance the daily schedule of class, activities and independent living. Dorm life defines what it means to be a teammate, peer and member of the community.”

Anders Fogel

Mr. Fogel teaches history and serves as head coach of boys’ varsity lacrosse, in addition to dorm head of Mason Hall. He lives in Mason Hall, which houses 35 senior boys, with his partner, Cency, who works Blair’s academic support center and serves as a member of the English department. 

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South Cottage | Molly Hoyer

In the Cottage, our goal is for every student to feel seen, heard and supported; we’re in a unique position to accomplish that goal, given the small size of our dorm. Dorm staff and prefects are able to have individual relationships with every resident, which really makes the group feel like a family and turns our dorm into a home.”

Molly Hoyer

Ms. Hoyer joined Blair’s English faculty in 2018 and also serves as head boys’ rowing coach, a faculty advisor of the Gay-Straight Alliance and the All-School Read Committee, and a member of Blair’s Inclusivity Committee. Formerly a dorm parent of Ivy Hall, she has been dorm head of South Hall, which houses 12 sophomores, for two years, and lives with her cat, Nosey.

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West Hall | Chase Palanca

Living in a common space with other people your own age is such a unique thing that most high school students don’t get to experience, and I am glad that I can help the residents of West make Blair feel like a home away from home.”

Chase Palanca

Mr. Palanca, a Blair Class of 2015 alumnus, joined the School’s admission team as an admission counselor in 2021. In addition to his work with prospective families, Mr. Palanca is dorm head of West Hall, where 25 sophomore boys reside, and an assistant wrestling coach. He lives with his partner, Haley Chrobock ’15, in West Hall.

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Day Student Coordinator | Kaye Evans

It is so fun working in the student life office and interacting with students outside the classroom. Since my own children were day students at Blair, I know how integral the day students are to the Blair community, and I love working with them, advocating for them and helping them feel as if they are an important part of life on campus (because they are!).”

Kaye Evans

Mrs. Evans serves as Blair’s day student coordinator, in addition to being a member of the English faculty, an assistant drama director and a community service coordinator. She lives on campus in Hanson House with her husband, Craig, who also teaches theatre and English. She has two children who attended Blair, Faith 05 and Dylan 08, and two grandchildren, Madeline and Isla.

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