SSL Certificate

Academic Leadership

WES's academic leadership team is comprised of the Head of School and three Division Directors: Early Childhood, Elementary Grades, and Middle School. 

The academic leadership team focuses on issues related to academic policy development and planning; develops and manages grade specific programming and curriculum; and implements action on any issue affecting the quality of academic programs. The team oversees and supports the faculty within their divisions and regularly meets with parents to discuss student development and enrichment opportunities. Please meet our three Division Directors.  

Early Childhood Director
Nursery-Grade 1 

Mary Lee Nickel has been involved in early childhood education for over 30 years, and, for the last 16 years, at Washington Episcopal School.  She has taught all grades and levels up to Grade 3, as well as serving as teacher mentor, head librarian, reading teacher, and administrator. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a B.S. in Education. Mrs. Nickel is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Association for the Education of Young Children, The Director's Exchange in Washington, DC, and the MAESA Early Childhood Conference Planning Committee.

Elementary Grades Director
Grades 2-5 

Nate Dennison has over 15 years of experience both as a teacher and administrator. He oversees grades in the Elementary and Primary sections. Nate started his career as a Grade 5 teacher in northern Virginia and later became the assistant principal for the W.G. Pearson Gifted and Talented Magnet School in Durham, NC. He joined WES  in 2015, coming from the Hong Kong International School. He served there as the associate principal for seven years. Nate holds a M. Ed from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Elementary Education (K-6) from Miami University (Ohio).

Middle School Director
Grades 6-8

Kristin Cuddihy earned her B.A. in Art History from Connecticut College and her M.A. in Leadership in Teaching: Administration and Supervision from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She has more than a  decade of experience as an educator and administrator and most recently served as Dean of Students for the Middle School of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, MD. She also held the positions of  Academic Dean and Middle School English teacher. Additionally, Kristin is a published writer on educational topics and has extensive involvement and membership in professional associations and groups.


"We are so thankful to have had WES as an option; our child LOVES school, heads out happily each morning, and buckles down to do homework right after school. As parents, we were blown away by the enthusiasm, professionalism, and intelligence of the teachers. We know our child will be well prepared for high school, whether returning to MCPS or continuing on at an independent school."

Lynn Miller
Current WES Parent




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