Lower School Profiles

Darlene Paulsen – Pre-kindergartenDSC_4763
A graduate from Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Paulsen 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
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 – KindergartenDSC_4766
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
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.

Ben Smith – Second GradeSmith
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.

Afolake Wilson – Second Grade
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.

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.

Ben Brinkop – Fourth Grade Social Studies and EnglishBrinkop
Mr. Brinkop 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 Lacy – Fourth and Fifth Grade Social Studies and English
Julie Lacy, B.A. Elem. Ed., Hendrix College; Ed.S., UVa, 2003, teaches fifth grade social studies and language arts at Peabody School.  Of her 27 years teaching experience, she spent fourteen with Charlottesville Public Schools, one at Greenbrier teaching fourth grade and thirteen at Walker teaching fifth and sixth.  She has taught all subjects, primarily language arts, and has served as a history content leader, an academically advanced resource teacher, and reading coach.  Julie loves spending time with her family and grandchildren, learning new things, reading, traveling, gardening, and the outdoors.

Amy Lastinger – Fourth and Fifth Grade Science
Amy Lastinger has a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from NC State University (1995) and a Masters in Science Education from The University of Texas, Austin (2006).  Her experiences include working at a wildlife conservation center in Florida, teaching 7th grade science in Texas, and most recently as the program coordinator for environmental science classes at Green Adventure Project here in Charlottesville. Her goal as a teacher is to make science relevant for her students and to build their confidence to be independent thinkers.  Amy has three children and in her free time she loves getting outside with them, running and going on road trips.

Kate O’Dowd – Fourth and Fifth Grade Math
Kate O’Dowd graduated from Dartmouth College (2013) with a degree in Sociology.  In May 2016, she received her Masters in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, concentrating in math education. Prior to coming to Peabody School, she taught 7th and 8th grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra I in Dallas, TX and New York City. Although she was born and raised in Staten Island, NY, she is excited to call Charlottesville her new home. When she is not teaching, Ms. O’Dowd enjoys knitting hats, DIY projects and playing basketball.