Welcoming New Faces


Karen Grover, director of finance and operations
Karen is coming to Collegiate all the way from Seattle, where she acted as controller for the Northwest School of the Arts, managing the annual budget, payroll services and several other audit-related responsibilities. She’s worked in account management, auditing and finance since 2007. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in professional accounting from Central Washington University. Karen started at Collegiate in July and is looking forward to the halls being filled with student laughter!

Chris Tillson, upper school dean of students
Chris joins us from from Charlottesville Catholic School where he was the assistant principal of students for the last two years and athletic director for the last year. While he was there, Chris developed the middle school advisory program and directed the after care program. He began his teaching career 14 years ago after receiving his Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. After teaching and coaching across northern Virginia, Chris earned his master’s in administration and leadership from George Mason University in Fairfax. He’s thrilled to be part of the Collegiate family and is looking forward to getting to know each and every upper school student.

Tara Walker, controller
Tara has over 20 years of financial operations experience working for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission & Transportation Planning Organization. She’s served as the director for several of their departments including Minority Business Development & Community Outreach; Procurements, Grants & Contracts and Accounting and Human Resources & Financial Systems. She has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Norfolk State University and a Master of Business Administration from the College of William and Mary. Tara started in the business office over the summer and is looking forward to meeting students and faculty upon their return!


Dr. Christopher “Topher” Booth, Latin teacher
Topher is not a new face to some on the upper school campus. He started as a substitute teacher in 2013 and has since amassed several years of Latin and musical teaching experience. Topher has a Bachelor of Science in music performance from Roberts Wesleyan College, Master of Music in music theory the State University of New York at Potsdam and a Doctor of Philosophy in musicology from The Catholic University of America. He’s been teaching Latin since 2002 and is looking forward to having students in his classroom!

Herbert Brown, upper school physics teacher
Herbert has spent the last four years as the STEM program leader at the Bridge Golf Foundation in Harlem, New York, a nonprofit that aims to improve life outcomes for young men of color. He earned his Bachelor of Science in physics with a minor in mathematics from Xavier University in New Orleans. He then received his Master of Science in optical physics from Hampton University, working as a research assistant, lab supervisor and lecturer. He’s eager to start the school year with his new upper school physics students!

Molly Dewitt, upper school English teacher
Molly has been teaching in Norfolk Public Schools for the last four years. Before that, she was an instructor at Old Dominion University and an English teacher in the Peace Corps. Molly has her Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Arts in applied linguistics and Master of Education from Old Dominion University. She can’t wait to meet and empower her news students!

Sarah Hammer, math teacher
Sarah comes to us with a diverse background in not only mathematics but visual arts and biology. She has a Bachelor of Science in traditional mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio arts in May. She’s been tutoring students in math for several years and worked as a student researcher in a neuroscience laboratory. Somehow, she also found time to work as a studio assistant, gallery attendant and student intern at a national laboratory in the chemical and engineering materials division. She’s looking forward to inspiring her students to explore their interests!


Ellen Alt, middle school math teacher
Ellen is a familiar face to many in the Collegiate community. For the last year, Ellen served as a Learning Resource Center tutor in the middle and upper school, summer chemistry teacher and swim coach. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Old Dominion University where she tutored fellow students in biology and chemistry. While at ODU, Ellen also focused on inquiry-based STEM education and classroom interactions. She’s looking forward to seeing several familiar faces in the middle school this fall!

Rawn Boulden, middle school counselor
Rawn joins the Collegiate family from Virginia Beach where he was a long-term substitute counselor at Lynnhaven Middle School. He has also worked with an independent college counseling group as an advisor, helping high school students find their perfect college fit. Rawn has a Bachelor of Science in human services from Old Dominion University, a Master of Education in school counseling from the University of Maryland and he’s currently in pursuit of his Doctor of Philosophy in counselor education and supervision. He’s looking forward to supporting Collegiate students and their parents any way he can!

Chrisy Cooper, middle school English teacher
Chrisy has been a substitute teacher since 2001 after receiving her Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University and student-teacher practicum in 2000. Since then, she’s spent her time volunteering, coaching and raising her two children, Braeden ’20 and Carleigh Thomson ’24. Chrisy spent the better part of the 2017-18 school year as a permanent substitute for middle school English. She’s looking forward to meeting her new students!

Bobby Merryman ’10, middle and upper school physical education teacher
Returning students and faculty know Bobby well. He’s a Collegiate graduate and has spent the last two years as the upper school lobby receptionist. During that time, he also coached lacrosse, basketball and soccer for multiple seasons. Bobby has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia where he was on the school’s men’s club lacrosse team. He is thrilled to be coming back to Collegiate this fall in his new role and wants to share his love for sports with everyone.

Christian Van Deven, middle school administrative assistant
Christian joined the Collegiate community last year as a substitute teacher, working closely with the middle school music department. Christian remains a brass technician and marching band assistant at Kellam High School and pit musician for the Thomas Nelson Community College Theater Department. Christian is pursuing of his Bachelor of Music Education from Old Dominion University and works with children as a private trumpet tutor. He loves the close-knit community at Collegiate and is always on campus with a positive attitude.


Georgina Franklin, fourth-grade teacher
Georgina joins the Collegiate community after five years of teaching students in Pre-K to sixth grade and receiving her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of of North Carolina Wilmington. Most recently, she taught ages three to five and grades one through six at Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori School in North Charleston, South Carolina. We’re thrilled Georgina is joining us, and she’s looking forward to meeting her new fourth graders.

Christine Huse, interim extended care site supervisor
Christine is rejoining the community with a twist! After two months as the lower school interim extended care site supervisor, Christine will transition into a Pre-K assistant teacher. She worked with Collegiate students during aftercare several years ago before becoming a kindergarten teacher in Virginia Beach. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Old Dominion University, and she is so excited about meeting her new group of Oaks!

Kenyatta Osby, physical education teacher
Kenyatta describes himself as a caring, enthusiastic educator, and he can’t wait to meet his lower school students. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is pursuing a master’s degree in education with a minor in student affairs and administration from Regent University. He’s particularly focused on implementing cooperative, multicultural and student-centered learning, and finds student-motivated participation is the best. Kenyatta has been a physical education teaching assistant for the last 18 years and was an activity center leader through the city of Virginia Beach for 17 years.