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.

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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 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!


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, 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!!”


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 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.


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.


STACEY MATHIS

Teacher

Receiving my BA from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) and working for several years, I decided to enter the education field. I took courses at UMBC to obtain my initial Maryland State certificate in Early Childhood Education and later received an MS from Hood College in Curriculum and Instruction.

I have taught Pre-K and Kindergarten classes in public and private schools for almost 30 years.

Currently, I live in Elkridge with my husband John and our four cats.

 


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.


  • 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 again...my 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