GCDS Family

Our Team

Cheryl Stradling

President

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 ae 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!


Michael Stradling

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, every 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!!"


Marisa Poland

Preschool Director

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!


Mary Harp

Teacher

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 Collage 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.


Brittany Semkiw

Teacher

Miss Brittany, our Kindergarten Teacher, has a dual certification in Elementary Education and special education from Hood College. She also has several years of teaching kindergarten. Due to her educational background and experience, she is experienced in using resources to assist in learning about the variety of learning abilities of her students.


Bita Farzinmanesh

Teacher

Miss Bita, our pre-k teacher, has over 10 years experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. With her Bachelors Degree in sociology and being Creative Curriculum certified, she reaches all children socially, physically, and intellectually.


Kaitlyn Shaw

Art Teacher

Miss Shaw has a dual major in Early Childhood and Fine Arts. She loves to teach preschool and infuse their learning through art. Some of her past teaching experiences were at the Child A Development Center at First Church of Brethren in York, PA. She was also an art specialist at Abrakadoodle in Annapolis, MD and at Nicole Byrd Photography. During the summer, she was the art specialist at the YMCA camp.


Stacey Mathis

Teacher

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 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.


Alena Keochinda

Teacher

I am a current student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where I am getting my Bachelors in History and Media Communication Studies, with a minor in East Asian History and Asian Studies. I found my passion for childcare during my Sophomore year at my internship at Arbutus Middle School, where I assisted my mentor in grading, lesson planning, and conflict control. I have been working with children as an Aid for over a year, with an internship at Arbutus and two summers here at Glenwood Country Day School Adventure Camp. I am thrilled to continue my journey with GCDS and its community!


Kori Hardman

Teacher

I am a current student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County working towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology as well as Health Policy. I learned I had a passion for teaching as a freshman in college through working in a program that taught children in underfunded inner city elementary schools. After three years of working for the Department of Defense, I decided to focus my career in child care as a full time occupation. During the past summer, I was lucky enough to gain a position as an art teacher for Glenwood Country Day Schools Summer Adventure Camp and have fallen in love with the staff and children here at Glenwood! I am looking forward to continuing my teaching journey at GCDS!


  • 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