While we can’t wait to welcome students back to campus this fall, we’re just as excited to welcome a new class of faculty to the Holderness community. This year, we’ll meet a new dean of students, several classroom teachers, a new assistant athletic director, strength and conditioning coach, and an interim chaplain. Let’s take a minute to get to know our newest Holderness educators.
Dean of Students
Mb Duckett Ireland
After an extensive nationwide search, Holderness is happy to introduce Mb Duckett Ireland as the school’s new dean of students and English teacher. Mb comes to Holderness from Choate Rosemary Hall, where she spent 11 years as a Form Dean, English teacher, coach, and mentor to students and colleagues. A key aspect of her role at Choate was to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. A longtime advisor to Spectrum, Choate’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Mb helped guide students’ successful activism and leadership on campus, and organized the school’s annual LGBTQ conference for 14 peer schools. She also served as chair of Driving Equity at Choate, an interdepartmental team created to heighten cultural competency through training, curriculum review, admission work, and hiring practices. During her time as chair, Mb helped drive the strategic vision for equity and inclusion at Choate, planned faculty cultural competency workshops, and acted as a resource for colleagues to incorporate topics of diversity in their curriculum. Mb holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a Master’s Degree from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She lives on campus with her wife, Sarah Duckett Ireland, and their two-year-old daughter, Livi.
Rev. Abby VanderBrug, an Episcopal priest, brings a wealth of pastoral experience to campus this fall. She comes to Holderness from Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich, CT, where she served as the associate rector for children and family ministries and preschool chaplain. In her role at Christ Church Greenwich, Rev. VanderBrug collaborated with multi-clergy staff to lead liturgy, preach, and provide pastoral care. She also taught confirmation and baptismal preparation, served as chaplain for the Royal School of Choral Music program, and co-directed the St. Nicholas Children’s Choir. Prior to her role at Christ Church Greenwich, she served as deacon and director of Christian formation for children and families at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. During her time in Michigan, she was also chaplain for Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI, a Level 1 trauma center. Rev. VanderBrug earned her Master of Divinity from Emory University in 2017. As interim chaplain, she replaces Rev. Joshua Hill, who left Holderness this summer to become the rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Cape Elizabeth, ME. The school will launch a search for a permanent chaplain later this fall.
Assistant Athletic Director
With extensive experience as a physical education teacher, coach, and camp counselor, Cayla Liptak was a natural choice for assistant athletic director. Ms. Liptak comes to Holderness from The Bishop’s School in San Diego, where she was a physical education teacher and coach. Prior to her role in California, she spent several years as a physical education teacher and coach at Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, CT, and at The Chapin School in New York City. Ms. Liptak is also very active in the lacrosse world, having served as youth program director and travel lacrosse coach for the Greenwich Youth Lacrosse Association and club lacrosse coach and assistant director at CT Comet Lacrosse Club LLC in Greenwich, CT. And she’s no stranger to New Hampshire, having worked as a program counselor and director, lifeguard, and fitness coordinator at Sandy Island Overnight Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee since 2012. Ms. Liptak is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds a Masters of Education, Physical Education, and Sports Pedagogy from Manhattanville College. She will live on campus and coach varsity field hockey and girls’ varsity lacrosse.
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Strength and conditioning are critical to the long-term health and success of any young student-athlete. That’s why we’re so excited to welcome Andrea Sweet as our new strength and conditioning coach. Not only does Ms. Sweet have amazing experience – she once worked as the head strength coach for the Phoenix Mercury, the WNBA team – but she has the skills to help Holderness achieve its long-term athletics goals. She comes to Holderness from Phillips Exeter Academy, where she was head strength and conditioning coach. Over the course of more than a decade at the school, she developed its first-ever strength and conditioning program, worked with 45 athletic teams each year, and played a critical role in the design and completion of the school’s 9,000 square-foot fitness center. Ms. Sweet holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science from Springfield College, and a Master of Outdoor Adventure and Expedition Leadership from Southern Oregon University.
We’re excited to welcome Autumn Glenn to campus this fall as an interim physics teacher. Ms. Glenn comes to campus with an engineering background, having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The George Washington University. While earning her master’s degree, she conducted research into secondary flows in curved tubes for applications to arterial flow and stent design, publishing her results in the International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow. More recently, Ms. Glenn has written and revised patent applications for inventors, attorneys, and law firms. She is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Teaching from Western Governors University, and will coach cross country this fall.
A 2021 graduate of Middlebury College, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry, Andrew Gleason will teach chemistry and biology at Holderness. While at Middlebury, Mr. Gleason worked as a research assistant for the biochemistry department, conducting experiments and analyzing data to support faculty research. A native of Middlebury, Vermont, Andrew captained his high school’s football, ice hockey, and lacrosse teams at Middlebury Union High School. He also spent several years as a youth ice hockey referee for the Middlebury Amateur Hockey Association. While a student at Middlebury College, he worked as a lift operator and snowmaker at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. Andrew will live in Niles dorm and coach girls’ junior varsity ice hockey and boys’ junior varsity lacrosse.
Theater - Interim
Dr. Julianne De Sal
With Theater Director Monique Robichaud-Devine away on her Henderson-Brewer-van Otterloo Chair Year, we’re lucky to welcome Dr. Julianne De Sal to our performing arts department. Dr. De Sal has had ample success fostering the arts in independent schools, most recently as K-12 director of visual and performing arts at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, CA. Over the course of her accomplished career, Dr. De Sal has served as director of visual and performing arts at Colorado Academy in Denver; director of arts and chair of theater and dance at Viewpoint School in Calabasas, CA; and chair of visual and performing arts at Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA. Early in her career, she was dean of cultural affairs in dance at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and assistant professor and dean of graduate students in theater at California State University – Los Angeles. Dr. De Sal holds a Master of Arts in Theater from Catholic University of America and a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Rhode Island.