Meet new Middle School faculty

Join us in welcoming MS Art Teacher Dan Furbish, MS Administrative Assistant Kristy Lord Johnstone, Sixth Grade English Long-Term Substitute Connor Murphy, and MS Accommodations Coordinator Karen Parnell.
Dan Furbish holds a bachelor's degree from Loyola University New Orleans where he studied painting and sculpture and will join the Middle School team as a new part-time art teacher. Furbish has worked at the Oasis Center since 2008 where he founded the Oasis Bike Workshop program. The program, which currently exists in 12 local schools, teaches middle and high school students how to rebuild and customize bicycles that they keep upon graduation. Furbish shared that he is particularly excited to "share the problem solving aspect of art" with his students. And, Furbish spent his childhood in Oahu, Hawaii.

When students and families enter the Middle School office, they'll be greeted by Kristy Lord Johnstone, the division's new administrative assistant. Lord Johnstone gained her bachelor's in fashion design from O'More College of Design in 1998 and worked as a wardrobe and prop stylist for over 20 years on projects including feature films like "The Green Mile" and music videos for Dolly Parton and Keith Urban. Additionally, her work was featured at the Parthenon Gallery and appeared in magazines including GQ and Vanity Fair. Lord Johnstone often took on interns from Middle Tennessee State University's fashion program and soon recognized an opportunity to share these experiences at International Academy of Design & Technology and The Art Institute - Nashville as well and spent the next decade creating curriculum, advising students, and teaching many aspects of fashion and styling. As a mother of three, at any given time, a handful of USN alumni might be found hanging out in her kitchen. Lord Johnstone grew up in Panama City, Panama, loves to paddleboard, and is a wine and spirit guide. 

A familiar face to many in Lower School and After School, Connor Murphy moves to the Gordon Wing this fall as the long-term substitute for Sixth Grade English Teacher Yue Yuan's maternity leave. Murphy joined USN in 2018 as an After School teacher and began working as a Lower School Teaching Assistant the following year. As a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University's curriculum and instruction master's program, Murphy described USN as having been central to his development as an educator. He is enthusiastic to take on new challenges and continue finding inspiration from students and fellow colleagues at 2000 Edgehill. In his free time, Murphy frequents the Belcourt Theater Hillsboro Village, enjoys staying up-to-date on current music and film, and is frequently spotted taking his dog on long walks around the neighborhood. Upon Yuan's return, Murphy will remain in the Middle School as a Teaching Assistant.  

Karen Parnell will be the new part-time Middle School Accommodations Coordinator. Parnell holds a master's in speech language pathology from Emerson College and comes to USN with 18 years of experience working with diverse learners in a variety of educational settings. What's more, she has been supporting USN students and collaborating with faculty for over a decade through her private practice. Parnell is excited to join the USN team and looks forward to meeting more students and families. Off campus, you can find her swinging on the back patio with her husband and two small children, visiting a local farm for freshly cut flowers, or eating too many scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

After 20 years in seventh grade, Math Teacher Joel Bezaire has finally advanced to eighth grade and will teach Algebra I. A national Desmos Fellow, Bezaire will lead the MS math department in adopting Desmos as its new curriculum for grades 6-8 as well. Previously the MS Math Specialist, Maria Wolfgang will increase her role and presence on campus as the new Seventh Grade Math Teacher.

Get to know other new faces at USN: Meet new Lower School faculty here. Meet new High School faculty here. Meet the new Counseling Office here. Meet new administrators and staff here.

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