Board of Advisors

The mission of the Loyola School of Education Board of Advisors is to assist the dean and the leadership of the School to enact the vision, values, and plans of Loyola University Maryland in the lives of the undergraduate and graduate students and faculty, administrators, and staff of Loyola University Maryland.

Erin Bennett, '07, Chair

Erin BennettB.A. in History and Certificate in Elementary Education, Muhlenberg College
M.Ed. in Reading Specialist, Loyola University Maryland

Erin is currently teaching fifth grade and is the fifth grade dean at Calvert School in Baltimore, MD. This is her fifteenth year at the school.  Prior to teaching at Calvert, she taught at the School of Cathedral.

Erin, her husband, and two children live in Towson, MD.

Dawn Cunnion, ’93

Dawn CunnionB.S in Elementary Education/minor in music, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
M.Ed. in Educational Administration with an emphasis on private school leadership, Loyola College (now Loyola University Maryland) 1993
Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership Policy Studies, Arizona State University

Dawn is currently the associate head of Brentwood School, and independent K-12 school in Los Angeles, CA.  Prior to this position, she served as Brentwood’s Lower School director and assistant head of school.  Dawn began her career as a fourth through sixth grade teacher at St. Rose of Lima School in Milwaukee, Wis. which is where she also began her administrative career as principal of the school. While serving as principal of St. Rose Dawn was the recipient of the Marquette University School of Education Award for designing and implementing field experience programs for undergraduate students. After leaving St. Rose, Dawn went on to be the principal of St. Clement School in Chicago; director of admissions and financial aid and director of communications at McDonogh School in Baltimore; admissions and curriculum consultant at Phoenix Country Day School; and, head of the Lower School at Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara. She is a member of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi and currently serves on the school board at Our Lady of Malibu, where she is the chair. Dawn also served on the board at Westmark for 11 years, before stepping down at the end of 2020.

Dawn and her husband, Bob, reside in Malibu, California.

Emily Desimone, ‘13, '14

Emily DesimoneB.A. in Elementary Education, Loyola University Maryland
M.Ed. in Special Education, Loyola University Maryland
Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, Penn State University 

Emily is currently the IEP chair at Medfield Heights Elementary in Baltimore City. Prior to this position, she taught special education for elementary and middle school students in Baltimore City. Emily completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies, earning a master's in special education in 2014.

Emily grew up in Tarrytown, N.Y., and currently resides in Baltimore, Md. 

Victoria A. Elasic, Ed.D.

Victoria ElasicAmerican Montessori Society Elementary I & II Certified Teacher, Delaware Institute for Montessori Education
B.S. in Primary Education, Wilmington University
M.Ed. in Instruction: Gifted and Talented, Wilmington University
Ed.D. in Innovation and Leadership, Wilmington University 

Victoria is currently the director of admissions and student services, extended care director and summer campus director at The Hockessin Montessori School in Delaware. Prior to her current position, she taught in the school's Upper Elementary program teaching fourth through sixth grade for eight years. Before joining The Hockessin Montessori School, Victoria served as a founding teacher for Serviam Girls Academy, a Nativity Miguel Network school.

Victoria's publications focus on improving intrinsic motivation of elementary students in the Montessori classrooms as well as improving Montessori teacher effectiveness.  

Victoria is an adjunct for Loyola University Maryland’s Center for Montessori Education graduate program as well as for Wilmington University's College of Education graduate program. 

Victoria and her husband, John ('06), reside in Landenberg, Pa. with their two children.  

Vaishali Joshi, Ed.L.D.

Headshot of Vaishali Joshi, Ed.L.D.

Dr. Vaishali Joshi currently serves as the Senior Director, Impact and Innovations, at Teaching Lab, a national not for profit dedicated to shifting the paradigm of teacher professional learning in service of educational equity. In that role she leads and supports the development and dissemination of tools, resources, and innovative professional learning products that increase educator access to Teaching Lab and the organization’s overall impact. 

Dr. Joshi has nearly 20 years of experience as a teacher, curriculum and program designer, and instructional leader in the field of education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore City where she taught first, third, and fourth grades and was a founding faculty member at Southwest Baltimore Charter School. Since then, she has served as a new teacher mentor in Baltimore City, national curriculum designer, school leader in Boston, and Director of a Washington, D.C. based teacher residency. Dr. Joshi holds a B.A. in International Relations and Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.Ed in Literacy Education from Loyola University of Maryland, where she was a member of the inaugural city-based cohort of Reading Specialist Candidates, and a Doctorate in Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Vaishali lives in Ellicott City, MD, where she enjoys biking, cooking, cultivating a vegetable garden, and experimenting with different art mediums with her husband and son.

Brianna Ross, M.Ed.

B.S. in Applied Developmental Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Pittsburgh
(In Progress) Ed.D in Urban Educational Leadership, Morgan State University

Brianna Ross serves as the Social Studies Department Chair at Deer Park Middle Magnet School in Randallstown, Maryland. As her school’s equity liaison, Ross works to interrupt teacher biases and practices that perpetuate inequity while building teacher capacity to create inclusive classrooms. Ross writes social studies curriculum that highlights more diverse perspectives, connects historical topics to current events, and encourages students to find solutions to real-world problems. Each year, Ross coordinates a Summer Transition Program to support incoming sixth graders socially, emotionally, and academically as they prepare for the expectations of middle school.
In April of 2021, Brianna was named the Baltimore County Teacher of the Year. The following October, she was named the 2022 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Ross travels around the state as an educational speaker and advisor. 

Brianna resides in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Rebecca Lange-Thernes, '91

Notre Dame of MD University                                                                                                 
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Loyola University Maryland

Hannah Watts, '13

B.A. in Elementary Education
Master of Education in Literacy, Reading Specialist
Kappa Delta Pi
Loyola University Maryland

Hannah is a Title One reading specialist at Maryland City Elementary School. Previously, Hannah was a 2nd and 5th grade teacher at Solley Elementary School and was a Title One reading specialist at Hilltop Elementary School.

She has recently completed three marathons. Hannah also enjoys playing golf.

Hannah grew up in Short Hills, N.J. She now resides in Washington, D.C.