March 2021
Academy Alumni in the News

Avishar Barua '05 (pictured) will be one of 15 world-class chefs from across the country competing on "Top Chef" Season 18 in Portland. In addition to the coveted title of Top Chef, this season's winning chef will receive $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine, and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. Also included in this month's press clips are Jessica Anderson '00, Brian Brooks '87, Jen Burton '95, Collin Castore (attended '90-'92), Annalise Grammel '20, Kelly Hondros '06, Donald Leathery, Jr. '84, Chelsea Penzone '96Jonathan Razi '08Rick Ricart '98Travis Spencer (attended '87-'92) and Kyle Turner '13 as well as an obituary for Edward J. Griffiths '62.

If you have clips (either in print or on the web) to pass along for future issues, please send them to Director of Alumni Relations Melissa Clarke Beckett at
Take a lunch break with fellow Columbus Academy graduates this Thursday, March 4, from noon to 1:00 p.m. EST. Meet a panel of alumni who work across various industries and fields as they discuss their respective professional careers and life experiences during this interactive event.

Mark Ruberg '91: Producer at Fox Sports
Sheila Dioun Trautner '98: President/CEO of Taste Hospitality Group
Darron Berquist '00: Managing Attorney at The Lanier Law Firm

Moderated by:
John Wuorinen '80, P'12 '13 '16: Director of Admissions and Tuition Assistance

Join in from the comfort of your living room, office or car via Zoom meeting to: 
  • Connect with fellow graduates regardless of their industry 
  • Exponentially grow and expand your CA network
This free event is exclusively available to members of the Columbus Academy community. Attendees will be sent a list of participants with career and contact information.
Alumni Board Seeking Nominations  
The Nominating Committee is seeking nominations to the Alumni Board of Directors. The Board of Directors fulfills the vital role of carrying out the Alumni Association's purpose of fostering goodwill among all alumni and the school, benefiting alumni through the organization of events and interaction with the school, and furthering the academic purposes of Columbus Academy.

For more information about the Alumni Board, its functions and current members, please click here. Third-party and self nominations are welcome in writing to Director of Alumni Relations Melissa Clarke Beckett at
School News
Columbus Academy alumnus Edward Rhee '93 has been hired as our Associate Head of Middle School! Ed is currently the middle school director of Children's Day School in San Francisco. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and drama from Kenyon College in 1997 and a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004. A devoted middle school teacher and administrator at both boarding and day schools throughout his career, Ed will join our staff this summer. After emerging as a top candidate as a result of his skills and background, his appealing thoughtful nature, deep care of emerging adolescents, and love of Columbus Academy shined through in his interviews. He and his wife Katie Ernst have two sons, Emerson and Lachlan, and we look forward to welcoming them to our community!
In this year's Regional Scholastic Fine Arts and Writing competition, 11 Academy students were honored in fine arts including four Gold Keys (automatically considered for national awards), two Silver Keys and seven Honorable Mentions, along with a pair of American Visions Nominees which, according to upper school art teacher Crystal Tursich, have to be for "work that centers around a specific issue affecting Americans today." On the writing side, our students collected one Gold Key, four Silver Keys and a trio of Honorable Mentions. Congrats to all of these students on well-earned honors for their creative works!
Last month, our entire faculty and staff engaged in a day of professional development taught by their colleagues. Topics such as "Ideas for Increasing Thinking and Engagement in the Math Classroom," "Virtual Escape Rooms," "Get Familiar with the CA Woods" and "Writing and Typewriting" (using nearly antique typewriters owned by Dr. Andy Morris '85) were just a few of the opportunities along with sessions that helped them become more familiar with digital platforms like Google Classroom, SchoolPass, Desmos, Jamboard, Nearpod, Notability and Zoom as well as the OWL device that has become so valuable in engaging students learning from home. "This was great," commented a faculty member in feedback to Dan Olexio, who plans and organizes professional development opportunities in his role as our assistant head of school for academic affairs. "There were some really neat tips and tricks that I am so glad I learned and can't wait to implement" (view photos).
Sports News
With just five competitors, our girls swimming team (pictured) finished 11th in the state last weekend by placing 5th in the 200 medley relay (Mary Kate Prall, Emma Yakam, Lauren Klinefelter & Alexandra Butnariu) with a season-best time of 1:49.39, 10th in the 200 IM (Klinefelter 2:11.88), 6th in the 100 butterfly (Klinefelter in season-best 57.36) and 13th in the 400 freestyle relay (Butnariu, Ella Lowrie, Prall & Klinefelter in season-best 3:43.41). And as the 24th seed, our boys 200 free relay placed 16th in the state with a season-best time of 1:31.11. According to Coach Craig Yakscoe, all four AquaVikes -- Gavin Lewis (22.44), Cy Richardson (23.16), Alek Balaloski (22.73) and Drake Bellisari (22.78) -- achieved personal records for their individual splits in the race. 
A new full-time position of Assistant Director of Athletics for Youth Sports is being created to manage and expand our athletic opportunities for young Vikings. Read the full description for that role and other current openings within our school by clicking here. Also, Director of Athletics Jason Singleton is looking to hire two more coaches for our budding girls golf program next fall: head coaches for new middle school and JV teams. Anyone interested should contact Jason at
Send In Your Class Notes

We love keeping in touch with our alumni, and we want to hear all of your latest news. Here are some of the updates we are looking for:

New family additions
Big moves
New jobs
New schools, titles or degrees
Exciting trips or accomplishments
General updates

We also love pictures, so you can send those along as well. Fill out our class notes form at or send via email to to be sure your message is included in an upcoming issue of Experience, the school's newly redesigned magazine!
Stay Connected!