GCDS Family

Our Team

Cheryl Stradling


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!

Ashley Hall

Assistant Preschool Director

This is my second year teaching at Glenwood Country Day School, and I couldn’t be more excited! I graduated from UMBC with a Bachelor’s degree in child psychology and have worked with kids since I was a kid myself. I am also a registered behavior technician and have an extensive background working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Working with kids has been a passion of mine from the start, they are so excited about learning! In my free time, I enjoy shopping, Netflix, and crafting. I am also planning a 2019 wedding! I look forward to getting to know all the wonderful families and children at GCDS!

Mary Harp


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.

Nicole Branham


This is my second year working at Glenwood Country Day School. I am a graduate of Stevenson University where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education: Liberal Arts and Technology. I also have my Associate of Arts degree in teaching from Carroll Community College. I have lots of experience working as a teacher. Last year, I taught in Baltimore City as a Head Start Preschool teacher. I have always enjoyed working with young children; they have such a sense of wonder. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful school and community.

Rachel Snyder


Teaching runs in my family! Seeing how fulfilled my mother and two older sisters were with their teaching careers inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I began my teaching journey at Carroll Community College by earning my associate of arts in teaching. I then transferred to Towson University and earned my bachelor of science degree in early childhood education. Waking up each day to a career that I love brings me a mixture of peace and excitement! Two feelings that let me know I am where I am supposed to be.

JoAnne Kern


Hi. I live in Timonium with my husband and 3 children. I used to live in Perry Hall, Maryland. I graduated from CCBC with an AA degree in Early Childhood Education. Currently, I am a senior at Stevenson University. I plan on receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in the fall, 2019. I have been teaching young children for ten years. In my spare time, I like spending time with my family, church, traveling, gardening and bike riding. I am a huge fan of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens. I look forward to working with all of you this year and teaching the children here at GCDS.

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.

  • 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