Lower School Profiles

Darlene Paulsen – Pre-kindergartenDSC_4763
Darlene Paulsen teaches Pre-Kindergarten at Peabody School. A graduate from Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, she earned a Dual B.S. Degree in Elementary and Special Education, with a Minor in Music. Prior to joining the faculty at Peabody, Darlene taught for 31 years in public and private schools before retiring in 2010. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in 1992, teaching in London, England for a year. She enjoys traveling to new places, walking on the beach, antiquing, and collecting quilts.

Jennifer Strong – Pre-kindergarten
Jennifer Strong has taught Pre-Kindergarten at Peabody School since 2008.  Before earning her doctorate at the University of Texas, Ms. Strong completed honors studies in Elementary Education and Communication, earning a Distinguished College Scholar Award.  She also worked with children and families as an advocate in Houston, Texas where she was presented with the Volunteers in Public Schools Service Award.  When she decided to make a home for her family in Charlottesville, she earned her Virginia teaching license through Mary Baldwin College, completing the Post-Graduate Teacher Licensure Program with highest honors.  She has been developing and implementing exceptional preschool programs since 2005, and she joined the Peabody School faculty in 2008 to launch the Peabody Pre-K program.  As the parent of two Peabody students, she has a deep appreciation for the expectations of the Peabody School community.

Kim Basile-Wood – Kindergarten
Miss Basile-Wood, B.A., teaches kindergarten at Peabody. Ms. Basile-Wood graduated from the University of Virginia in 1989 with a degree in psychology/history and earned her teaching certificate in elementary education from Mary Baldwin College. Prior to joining the Peabody School faculty in 2001, Ms. Basile-Wood spent many years teaching young children in both preschool and pre-kindergarten classes. In addition, she served as a homebound instructor for the Charlottesville City Schools. Ms. Basile-Wood volunteers in various community activities including youth swimming and the Charlottesville High School PTO.

Rebecca Lobb – First GradeDSC_4766
Rebecca Lobb teaches first grade at Peabody.  She graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 2004 with a BA in Elementary Education.  Since then Mrs. Lobb has taught in both the private and public school setting.  She is excited to be celebrating her tenth year in the teaching profession this year!  Mrs. Lobb loves all things outdoors.  She completed a summer semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School, loves hiking and backpacking and has competed in a marathon and a triathlon.  Mrs. Lobb also loves to travel.  She has literally been all the way around the world as she spent a year living and working with a preschool program in New Zealand in 2011-12.  Mrs. Lobb’s husband has just started a residency with the UVA Health System.  She also has a daughter who is a Peabody student in the making!  A native of South Carolina, Mrs. Lobb is very excited to call Charlottesville home now and is really looking forward to jumping into life at Peabody head first!

Robin Fox – First Grade
Robin Fox is a first grade teacher at Peabody School. Ms. Fox graduated from Cornell University in 2007 with a degree in psychology, concentrating on cognitive neuroscience. In 2009, Ms. Fox received her Masters in Teaching from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining Peabody’s faculty, Ms. Fox taught at Woodbrook Elementary School in Albemarle County for four years. In addition to teaching, Ms. Fox loves to dance, which she started to study when she was five years old. Ms. Fox also enjoys theater and the arts, and incorporates Shakespeare into class activities. She is excited by the opportunity to work with the students at Peabody.

Afolake Wilson – Second Grade
Afolake Wilson teaches second grade at the Peabody School. Mrs. Wilson graduated from the University of Virginia in 2006 with a dual degree in History and Studies of Women and Gender; in 2010, she earned her Masters of Teaching in Elementary and Special Education from UVA’s Curry School of Education. She has taught several different age groups from preschool to high school and her passion is encouraging children to discover their personal strengths and hone their interests about the world. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Wilson enjoys writing short stories, browsing libraries and bookstores, and being with her family and friends.

Ben Brinkop – Third GradeBrinkop
Ben Brinkop teaches third grade at Peabody School. He has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Augsburg College and an M.A. in Educational Psychology (with a focus on Gifted and Talented Education) from the University of Conecticut. He joins the Peabody faculty after ten years teaching gifted 3rd-5th graders at the Sage School in Foxboro, Massachusetts. A newlywed, Ben is still relatively new to the Charlottesville area, but he is thrilled with the intersection of food, culture, and natural beauty so far. When not teaching, he enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.

Julie Gottschalk – Third Grade
Julie Gottschalk, B.A., M.A.T., is the third grade teacher at Peabody School.  Ms. Gottschalk received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from the New School for Social Research in New York and her M.A.T. from Mary Baldwin College. The parent of two grown sons (one was in the first graduating class of Peabody School), Ms G. has taught grades 1 through 5 and drama at Peabody School.   Before she came to Peabody, she served as a academically advanced resource teacher in the Albemarle County schools and a volunteer in the Learning to Read through the Arts program at the Guggenheim Museum in NY.  For fun, Ms. G. likes to take classes, play guitar, read, and spend times with friends.

Julie Lacy – Fourth and Fifth Grade Social Studies and English
Julie Lacy, B.A., and Ed.S., UVa, 2003, teaches fifth grade social studies and Language Arts at Peabody School.  Of her 24 years teaching experience, she spent the last 14 with Charlottesville Public Schools, one at Greenbrier teaching fourth grade and 13 at Walker teaching fifth and sixth.  She has taught all subjects, primarily language arts, and has served as an academically advanced resource teacher and reading coach.  She has two children and two step-children, all grown and flourishing.  She was fortunate to have had her daughter as a student in her fourth grade classroom as well as at home for sixth grade.  Julie loves learning new things, reading, traveling, gardening, the outdoors, and playing with her two precious granddaughters.

Ben Smith – Fourth and Fifth Grade Math and ScienceSmith
Mr. Smith was born and raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. As a child he enjoyed the outdoors, working his way up to the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts.  He combined his passion for teaching and outdoor adventure as the climbing and ropes course instructor at Camp Ho Mita Koda –  a summer camp for children with diabetes. He attended Elon University in North Carolina, graduating cum laude with a BA in Elementary Education in 2009. During his college years, he was involved with the founding of Elon Academy – a residential summer program giving underprivileged high schoolers tools for college access and success. Ben spent the last six years teaching 3rd and 4th grade in Fairfax County Public Schools in northern Virginia. He has extensive training in Responsive Classroom and Kagan cooperative structures. Mr. Smith spends his free time outside, running, playing kickball or climbing rocks. He loves to travel and takes every opportunity to play uncle to his young nieces and nephew in Ohio and California.