Faculty and Staff Bios

Laura Bice:  Director of International Education and Elementary Teacher

        Laura holds a Master’s degree in International Business Studies, French track from USC and lived one year in Brussels, Belgium and four years in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She has fostered a love of languages in her three children (whose libraries of 2000+books and video’s are as much in foreign languages as in English).
        She has taught English to French speaking children and adults, and has taught preschool, elementary, and middle school French.
        Additional work with children includes being a boy scout merit badge counselor, planning and chaperoning various school field trips, and being a lead teacher at First Baptist Preschool.
        Laura has pursued additional language studies in German, Russian, and Spanish. Her German studies include coursework at VCU, Inlingua in Biel/Bienne Switzerland, Interlangue in Neuchâtel, Switzerland plus private tutoring. She has completed beginning Russian coursework at VCU and beginning Spanish at the University of South Carolina.

 Violaine Michel: Middle School French Teacher

        Violaine Michel, a French native, and professional violinist, is a recent graduate of La Sorbonne University in Paris, where she earned a diploma in teaching French as a foreign language.
        She grew up in Normandy, France, where she completed her violin studies before becoming a member of the Caen Orchestra and serving as an adjunct faculty at the Regional Conservatory of Music of Caen.
        She has a passion for music, languages, and teaching, having taught violin for more than 16 years in France, Montreal, Canada, and Richmond. She has studied the languages of English, German, and Modern Greek, and while living in Montreal, she studied translation at the University of Montreal becoming increasingly interested in research on bilingualism and language acquisition.
        As a musician, Violaine has played with renowned orchestras and ensembles in Quebec such as the Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal, the Quebec Symphony, and Appassionata Chamber Orchestra. Since moving to Richmond six years ago with her husband, who had been hired as Director of Orchestral Activities at VCU, she has been a substitute player with the Richmond Symphony and also has taught violin privately and with the Greater Richmond School of Music.
        Passionate about music, languages and all that involves art and communication, she has always been eager to share and teach what she considers to be the essence of a happy and a fulfilling life. She is the mother of three, David, Juliette and Léa, all bilingual, with whom she shares her passion for nature, music, learning and life as a whole.

Nilufar Allamuradova: Elementary French and Russian Teacher

        Nilufar, a native Russian and Uzbek speaker from Uzbekistan, is a graduate of The Uzbek State World Languages University with a B.A. in French Language Translation. Additionally, she has lived and studied in France, earning a Certificate in Political Science from the University of Toulouse.

        Ms. Allamuradova lives in Richmond with her husband and two young children.

Armine Alaverdyan: Beginning Russian 

        Armine, originally from Armenia, holds a Master's in Slavic Language and Literature from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor's degree from Yerevan State Linguistic University, Yerevan, Armenia in Russian language, literature, and English language.

        She has experience teaching in the Henrico County School system and is an Armenian teacher at St. James Armenian Church.  Armine's experience additionally includes work in the field of translation and administration of standardized tests.  She speaks Armenian, Russian, and English and has reading knowledge of Polish.

        In Armenia Ms. Alaverdyan was an English Instructor at “Language Center”, Yerevan, Armenia and taught English to beginner level students developing curriculum for students ages 7-12.

        Armine is CPR/AED  Certified  by the American Heart Association.

Mara Dovis: Elementary Spanish Teacher and Art Teacher

        Mara was raised in a bilingual home and has been educating children for the past 14 years. She previously taught ESL to the hispanic community in rural Virginia and Spanish in a Richmond Montessori school, as well as private lessons. 

        Mara holds a BFA in Communication Arts & Design from VCU with a double minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She was inducted into the Spanish Honor Society and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Mara has traveled in Mexico, Costa Rica, and throughout South America. Her parents were raised in Argentina and she still has extended family living near Buenos Aires with whom she hopes to visit again soon. Besides teaching children, Mara enjoys working as a freelance photographer and artist. She loves making sculptures in clay, gardening, and spending outdoor time with her family.

Margaret Lau: Afternoon Kindergarten Teacher

        Mrs. Lau has been working in the field of early childhood for fourteen years, most recently working as an after school counselor at the Shady Grove YMCA, and as a reading teacher at Heartwood Grove School.  Margaret spent six of her eleven years at Epiphany Lutheran Pre-School as a half-day 4/5-year-old teacher. She also worked in Epiphany’s after-school enrichment program.

        She worked in the fields of finance and accounting in England and Hong Kong before changing professions to the field of early childhood. Margaret attended the University of Northumbria, U.K. where she earned her professional certification in Cost and Management Accounting.

        “The most enjoyable moments for me are those when I experience how quickly children love to learn and how important a teacher is in their lives. They are so accepting and trusting that it’s a constant reminder for me to be a good example to them.” 

Margaret is the proud mother of two college students, a son at Virginia Tech and a daughter at Harvard.  Her hobbies include handicrafts, reading, martial arts, traveling, and collecting teapots. 

Julia "Kitsie" Helo: Young Spanish Progam Teacher

    Kitsie grew up in Richmond and holds a fine arts degree with a major in Spanish and a minor in French from King College in Bristol, Tennessee.  After graduating she lived in Mexico and taught elementary students English, then later lived two years in Japan, where she taught high schoolers and three to five year olds.

    Later Kitsie attended Regis University of Denver, Colorado and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She specialized in the NICU.  Having lived for twelve years in Colorado she and her husband, love to snow ski, bike, and hike trails.

        Kitsie is the mother of three children who attend Heartwood Grove School.  She regularly travels with her family to visit relatives in Colombia, South America

Susana Mulcahey:  Teacher Administrator, Elementary French Teacher, and Culinary Instructor 

        Ms. Mulcahey, originally from New York, has over seventeen years experience teaching and counseling children and youth. She holds a BA in French and Portuguese (Cum Laude) from the University of Connecticut where she studied abroad at  The Université de Haute Normandie, Mont St. Aignan France  and The University of Lisbon, Lisbon Portugal.  Ms. Mulcahey also speaks Italian and holds a master's degree in special education. 

        She has taught in a variety of educational settings which have included Reggio Emilia, Montessori, ESL and foreign language instruction settings.

        Working in a NAEYC- accredited early education center, she was observed during instructional time, leading to the center earning a five- star rating.

        Susana also loves reading, swimming, boating, biking, and cooking. She is a professional chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.  

Shannon Griffin: 

Social Studies/Humanities

Model United 

Nations, World Religions
Substitute Yoga teacher
        Shannon is excited to offer World Geography and Middle School Model UN, as well as High School level MUN and World Religions. She has lived, studied, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and India. She spent three years in Jerusalem and one year in France and speaks Hebrew and French.
        Shannon holds an MA in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in English from the University of Virginia. She has experience teaching World History, High School Jewish History, and Hebrew to adults, teens, and children.
        Shannon also is a certified yoga teacher. 

Dr. Bill Hardison: Middle School and High School Mathematics
        Dr. Hardison earned his B.A. in Mathematics from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tennessee and took additional coursework in Educational Methods at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida and Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, which allowed him to qualify to teach in both Florida and Virginia with the equivalent of a Master’s in Education.
        He has 13 years of classroom teaching experience in the Broward County public school system in Florida, where he was also certified to teach Biology, and in Chesterfield County schools in Virginia teaching middle school through high school math, including Pre-Calculus, Trig and Statistics. He has enjoyed working with and tutoring small groups and individuals through the Chesterfield County Home Bound Program and for Sylvan Learning Center in Richmond.
        Between teaching in Florida and Virginia, Dr. Hardison earned his Doctorate in Theology from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond and served as Pastor at Westhampton Baptist Church.

Coach Dee Hayes - Fencing
    Dee Hayes, a native of Cuba, has fenced in the Olympics and in two Pan-american Games representing her native Cuba.  She teaches at Richmond Fencing Club, has provided coaching for two seasons of Character Works productions of "Peter Pan" and "Pirates of the Caribbean", and has provided lessons and classes for the William and Mary Men's and Women's Epee Teams, resulting in several individual and team championships.
    Dee started fencing at nine years old at Barbodos Heroes, a national sports school in Havana.  She studied foil and epee under Coaches Ichi, Margarita Rodriquez, Jorge Valdez, Orlando Durruty, and Manuel Ortiz, all world renowned and ranked icons.  After graduating  from the University of Sports "Manuel Fajardo" in Havana, she taught at the National Academy in Havana.  During her five year tenure, Dee monitored 72 athletes between the ages of 7 and 21 and promoted an innumerable amount of students to higher techniques schools and the Cuban National Team of Fencing.
    She placed first in epee in the 2011 VA Division Championships and first in foil and third in epee in the 2009 VA Division Championships, where she was a silver medalist in the Women's Epee Team event.  In Cuba, Dee was the captain of the Women's Team of Havana, three-time winner of the Cuban National Tournament (age divisions 13-14 and 15-16), and champion of both the Tournament Games of the Youth and the Nationals Tournament of Teams. Dee placed second in the Holy Cross Tournament of the North and third in both the National Games Tournament and the Games of Peace.
    Additionally Dee has experience with children with disabilities, as well as with ESL students.

Jeananne Turner: Elementary French Teacher

Jeananne, a native of Richmond, is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, having a B.A. in French Language, Literature and Linguistics and a Minor in Italian Language and Literature.

Her Teaching experience includes planning and teaching French immersion classes in grades 2-6 and as a high school French I teacher to 7-8th graders at St. Bridget’s School.  She also developed and implemented a pilot Latin program for grade 7.

Jeananne has spent summers at The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, Summer French immersion day program for middle school students, teaching various classes related to French language, music, culture, and history and at St Catherine’s School’s Creative Arts Program.  She is working part time on her Master’s degree in elementary education at VCU concentrating on Language Arts.

At McGill Jeananne was active in the McGill Knitting Knetwork and the McGill chapter of L’Art de Vivre.  In addition to knitting she enjoys all sorts of crafting, singing, and foreign languages, including Italian, Spanish, German and Latin.

Katherine O'Donnell:  Social Studies

Ms. O'Donnell is currently pursuing her doctorate in education at UVA, and previously was an elementary school instructional coach, resource teacher, and classroom teacher in Fairfax County Virginia. She holds master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.

Ms. O'Donnell was born in England, spent part of her childhood in Belgium, has traveled to over 35 countries, and after receiving her degree in Art History from Swarthmore College in PA she lived in French speaking Morocco. She currently lives in Mineral, Virginia with her husband and three year old daughter.  

Charles Bice, Finance Manager

         Charles has worked in Finance in Switzerland, Eastern Europe, and the US since he graduated with a Master’s degree in International Business Studies, French track from USC in 1991. He worked for 17 years in Finance and Operations Management for Altira.

        Charles also holds a BA in both Economics and English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has lived in London and Brussels, and six years in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.