As we closely follow the evolving situation around COVID-19, our goal is to keep the GCDS community informed at every step. The safety and health of our students is our top priority. Since COVID-19 began on March, 2020, Glenwood Country Day School HAS NOT closed one day due to the pandemic. By following our guidelines set forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), we were able to continue teaching our children in our community. We will continue to implement safe practices based on the current CDC guidelines.

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GCDS Family

Our Team



Glenwood Country Day School was founded by teaching professional, Cheryl Stradling, in 1986 in Ellicott City, MD. She believes that some of the most important learning experiences occur outside of the classroom. So, in 1999 she moved her private school for children ages two to thirteen to Glenwood, MD to be on forty beautiful wooded acres. She created a learning environment where children feel happy and safe. She believes that students are happier and learn more when they’re working at their full intellectual capacity. That is why Glenwood Country Day School places children into smaller learning groups based by their ability and not by age. Please come and visit our campus to make a difference in your child’s education!


P.E. Teacher

Michael Stradling, or Mr. Mike as the kids like to call him, started his teaching career in 1974 after getting a full ride to Temple University for Track & Field. He ran with the best and as a result his picture has been hanging up in their main gym ever since. Mr. Mike came to Maryland to teach because his wife was already teaching in the Howard County Public School System. He landed his ideal job teaching physical education at Centennial Lane Elementary School in Ellicott City, Md. He stayed there for 35 years. After retiring from this position, he realized that retirement was not for him. So, ever since he has been teaching physical education full time at Glenwood Country Day School. He loves the younger children! He says daily,“They always have a smile on their face and want to give you a big hug. The ages 2 to 6 are the best!!”


Director and Teacher

Ever since I was little, I always knew in my heart what I wanted to do – be a teacher of young children. In high school, I tutored elementary-aged children. Growing up in New York, from the time I started working, every summer, I was employed at day camps. As an undergraduate, I studied at Towson University, in which I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, I became a resident of Maryland and began my teaching career working in preschools / nursery schools. While working, I continue to further my education in Early Childhood by attending various workshops and conferences which helps me to help my students be very successful in school. It also helps me become the best possible teacher. I am very happy to be a part of Glenwood Country Day School. I enjoy teaching children new things and expanding on what they already know. My love for teaching will never change!



Upon graduating from Frostburg State University in 1997, I began my career as a substitute teacher for Carroll County Public Schools. I substitute taught in 15 schools across Carroll County, working in pre-k through fifth grade. I also filled in for Music, Art, and Physical Education classes. During the summers, I worked at the YMCA as a camp counselor. I began working at Glenwood Country Day School in September of 2001 as the 4/5’s teacher. I also had the opportunity to co-teach with the other teachers, working with children of different ages, as well as teaching in the summer camp program. In 2010, I wanted to take an adventure to the west coast to Oregon where I lived for five years. While in Oregon, I took classes in Early Childhood Development at Chemeketa Community College and worked as a teacher at The Providence/Benedictine Child Development Center. While there I worked with infants through school age children. In 2015, I returned to Maryland and came back to Glenwood Country Day School teaching in the 2/3 year old classroom. This year, I have children who are 18 months through 2 years old. I enjoy teaching and working with children because I love watching them learn and grow. Their minds are like little sponges that absorb so much knowledge that is given to them. It never ceases to amaze me how much children learn from their teachers and peers. I love watching how children shadow what they see other children and teachers doing. For me, this means their little brains are hard at work learning new things all the time.

Mara Herning


Ms. Herning thinks the most important part of Glenwood Country Day School’s philosophy is that we are outside most of the day for learning. I have learned so much as a life time scout with Girl Scouts and Venture Scouts as a child and adult. Ms. Herning recognizes students as little humans; they have the potential of building a better world and future for all humankind. She models relationship building and gentle discipline with students. Students deserve our love and respect. Ms. Herning has experienced in the past that if  you give students respect you get it in return.

Ms. Herning received her Masters in Education Degree from UMBC and received her Advanced Maryland Teaching Certificate for multiple years of service in public school. Ms. Herning has been a teacher for 15 years and her passions started from helping in her mother’s home daycare. Ms. Herning treats all children like they were her own and maintains a safe and healthy classroom.

Katherine Kempton


Miss Kempton holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Education from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She has over ten years of experience working with children as a nanny, babysitter, teacher,  and has spent two years working in Normandy, France as an English teacher. Miss Kempton believes that her students can teach her just as much as she can teach them. She loves working with some of the littlest minds and watching them grow and blossom. She is glad to be a part of the Glenwood Country Day School team and is looking forward to working with the children and their families.

Jing Li

School-Age Teacher

Many of my family members are teachers, so I dreamt of being a teacher when I was little. To pursue my dream, I obtained my Bachelor degree in English Literature at Brenau University in Georgia. In the period of my undergraduate school learning, I took some Education courses which made me feel my passion in teaching even stronger. So I continued my learning career and got my Master of Science degree in Education at Johns Hopkins University. In detail, my focus area was digital age teaching and learning in global education. I had chance to study the technology evolution in education and developed my global education philosophy to become a global educator. I believe global education’s vision is to provide the learners with the equal opportunity to learn no matter what background they have. I believe global education plays an important role in shaping a global vision of culture transformation. Global education allows diverse cultures to share by the global educators. It is essential to have global education taught to everyone in order to have a common sense about getting involved in the international activities. Besides, my technology skills help me know about many digital tools being applied in the classroom to facilitate teaching and learning and made it possible for me to design new digital tools which can be used in school settings. I am very excited to be a part of Glenwood Country Day School. I will try my best to teach students with all my knowledge and encourage them to explore their potential.

Phillip Woods

School-Age Teacher

In the two years after graduating from college, Phillip Woods acquired a desire to enter the field of education.  While teaching full time, he returned to college and completed a Master of Science in Elementary Education at Indiana University in 1984.  He continued his studies and completed a second Master’s degree in school administration in 1988.  Through the years, his vocation has been K-12 teaching and administration (including one-on-one and group tutoring) with some college teaching on the side.  His experience has also included an increased use of and implementation of technology – including a 1:1 implementation of Chromebooks in his former school.  This summer he and his wife have moved to Maryland to be closer to grandchildren.  He is excited to be a part of the school age endeavor of Glenwood Country Day School.

Dameon Patterson

Public School Teacher

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and attended Northwestern High School in Prince Georges County. I graduated from Anne Arundel Community College with my Associate degree in Transfer Studies, and I am currently taking classes at Towson University/UMGC in pursuit of a Criminal Justice degree. I have been working in childcare for 14yrs and started when I was 15 years old and have worked every year since. I have worked and coached throughout the state of Maryland for the past 11 years. I enjoy working in childcare because I can make a kid’s day, whether it’s by doing a craft, an energetic gym game, or just telling some funny jokes. My favorite things to do outside of work are playing basketball, football, hiking, swimming, coaching, and officiating youth sports as well as watching the Redskins on Sundays.

Leah Reidy


My name is Leah or Ms. Reidy. I have the privilege of teaching the four years old’s this year. This will be my first year at Glenwood Country Day School, and I am very excited. I received my Bachelor’s in Child Family Studies at Syracuse University and my Master’s is in Early Childhood Education. I have worked in the early childhood field for about eight years.

I am originally from Albany, New York. I moved to Maryland two years ago. When I’m not working, I like to work out, hike, and travel the world. I find inspiration every day through working with children and being a part of their early school experience. I feel that it is a gift to help them explore the world around them.




Stacey Mathis


After a year of being a frequent parent volunteer in my daughter’s nursery school classroom, I found myself inspired to make a career change.  To achieve this, I went back to school, attending UMBC, and took the classes I needed to receive my Maryland Certification in Early Childhood Education. Since then, I have taught Preschool and Kindergarten students in both public and private schools and received an additional degree from Hood College. I find teaching these youngest learners rewarding and fun and am excited to have the opportunity to work with them at Glenwood Country Day School during the year ahead.

Natalia Chambers


Ms. Chambers graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Family Studies. She has an “Infant and Toddler” certification and an “Early Childhood Education” certification. She is also continuing  at Liberty University in obtaining her master’s degree.

Melodi Haller


Mrs. Haller, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Hood College, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She is currently continuing her education at Loyola’s Masters of Education Program.

  • I read to these friends every Tuesday and they are the most polite, caring and attentive children for this age group that I have ever worked with. Jeannie
  • Love the place, they treat my kids like family. Nick
  • When Mrs. Poland gave me a tour of GCDS, I felt like she was the owner of the school. Her compassion shown through. Beth
  • Being a resident of Columbia, it was refreshing to place my child at Summer Adventures Camp. Lee
  • It was refreshing to have my child at Summer Adventures Camp on 40 wooded acres. Jonathan
  • Having a class size of only 6 is why my child goes to GCDS. Jennifer
  • I just want to thank you and the rest of your team for a great first day for Emma and Jack. They had a wonderful time and I just want to thank you for caring for them and keeping them safe in these trying times. Krystal
  • We want to thank you for your hard work in creating engaging lessons and meeting with students every day. As a teacher, I know how difficult it is to facilitate meaningful interaction with students in the current circumstances. Evelyn looks forward to circle time and loves watching your videos every day. Scott and Katherine
  • I've said it before to Mrs. Poland, but I'll say it kids LOVE camp. I asked Ollie all kinds of questions on Saturday about it and he was getting very excited about everything he was telling me. He loves lunch outside. He also told me this weekend that he hurt his leg, but it was ok, Mrs. Harp would clean it and make it better at camp. Vivian usually dreads the idea of swim lessons, but because of camp, she thinks maybe she could handle swim lessons, and when I ask her if there is anything she doesn't like at camp, she told me she likes everything! Thank you for all of your hard work! Katie
  • I can't believe we're already signing up for the last week :( We are all so sad to see camp ending after next week. The kids really enjoyed it - they loved the activities and their teachers. Thanks for putting on a great camp, especially considering the pandemic! Erin
  • Ms. Poland, Following up with you via email after our parent/teacher conference last night. We want to thank you and the entire staff at Glenwood Country Day School (GCDS) for enduring the risk of the current pandemic by providing in-person education to our daughter. This summer, she was a rising Kindergarten student with learning delays with her speech. The virtual experience of the Spring of 2020 turned her off from learning and we saw her regress. We made the decision to enroll her in GCDS's Kindergarten program in the Fall of 2020 and it was the best decision we ever made. Our little girl, who was struggling with learning and turned off from the concept of online school, is now flourishing. Every day she is excited to go to school and most importantly her learning and comprehension is on par with other Kindergarten students. The other night, she read a sight word book to us and the look of pure joy and satisfaction on her face was something we will never forget. We are tremendously grateful to you and the rest of the GCDS staff for helping our daughter find her confidence and desire to learn. With many thanks, Matt & Tess Wiley Matt and Tess
  • Thank you for an amazing school year- the kids had a blast and learned so much! You guys are really awesome! Kristen
  • Thank you GCDS! When all other schools were virtual or hybrid this year, you made the courageous decision to go fully in person 5 days a week! And we made it through a whole school year with no COVID closings! On behalf of all working parents, THANK YOU!!!!! Darren
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, I wanted to let you know we are going to get a head start on our traveling for the 4th of July weekend. So the boys will not be at camp on Friday. I want to thank you & everyone at the camp! The boys are having a BLAST and we will definitely be back next summer!!! Stay cool, Kelly
  • Thanks to you and your great staff for once again doing a great job keeping our kids engaged and safe. Darren
  • I'm glad that Mr. Dameon will be continuing at the school. Our daughter talks about him a lot and it's clear to us that she really enjoyed being around him. Kudos to you, Ms. Poland and Mrs. Stradling, for putting together a rockstar team. Adam and Nicole
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, My son had a great experience at Glenwood Country Day Camp this summer. It was his first summer at the camp and he didn't know anyone. After the first day, he felt very comfortable and met lots of friends. He enjoyed swimming, crafts, and field time. He can't wait to come back next summer and I'm looking forward to my youngest child being able to enjoy camp at Glenwood as well! Thank you! Kori