We take pride in our outstanding faculty
We have a phenomenal family of faculty members at Reserve, all of whom share a profound commitment to our Pioneers' learning and successes. These brainy, complex, wonderful teachers guide our Pioneers in the classroom toward understanding and mastery and nourish curiosity with great enthusiasm. Outside the classroom, our faculty are ever present, coaching our Pioneers, joining students for meals in Ellsworth Hall, sitting beside them on bleachers to cheer for our teams and standing up to applaud them at concerts and performances.
What this means is that our faculty members know each Pioneer inside and out and are there to offer support on every step of their high school journey.
Modern & Classical Languages Faculty
Ellen C. Long Chair in Modern Language
What does it take to be a mentor and role model for students? Climbing Mount Everest? In this case, yes! Mandarin teacher Judy Chen traveled to Tibet in the Summer of 2020 to climb to the Everest Base Camp. It took her three months of training to make the summit, and she proudly shares that she was the only member of her entourage who did not experience altitude sickness! So whether she's sharing her grand adventures over a dumpling dinner at Long House or showering her students with care and compassion, Ms. Chen is a beloved campus fixture. In the words of her longtime advisee Amie Ly '20: "Ms. Chen's loving charm and relatability make her a beacon of light for so many students on campus... she is more than my teacher, she is family!"
Chief Innovation Officer
Integrated Studies & Design Faculty
The Cole Family Endowed Chair in Technology
If only WRA could clone our Chief Innovation Officer Matt Geber, or at least 3D-print a copy of him. Over the spring and summer months of 2020, Mr. Gerber focused his efforts on innovations that could instantly impact the WRA community during the COVID-19 crisis. As the leader of the Wang Innovation Center, he and his team put school resources to the best possible use by creating and assembling thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) and distributing them to first responders, hospitals, pharmacies and businesses. All of this activity took place while Mr. Gerber's team led the school through its temporary pivot to online learning. Under his direction, his team was able to train faculty, connect meaningfully with students, and master virtual interaction with a futuristic speed, precision, light and spark.
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Used to performing various roles of mother, organizer, economist, teacher, chef, talent developer and director of an incredibly busy family, Brandi Wheeler welcomed the opportunity to take on another title — Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Initially known at WRA by two of her greatest accomplishments, outstanding students Jasmine '20 and Cam '21, it was no surprise that Brandi was able to become the driving force behind this critical initiative. A gifted moderator, balanced voice and consensus builder, Ms. Wheeler brought her many skills and infectious charisma to her posiion and helped WRA bring key issues to the forefront with grit, grace — and with our appreciation.
Dr. Robert Aguilar
Susan & John '63 Steen Chair for Science and Mathematics
Ostensibly kind and approachable, Dr. Robert Aguilar is as fascinatingly complex as the subject matter he teaches. Now a fixture in Wilson Hall after 14 years at the school, Dr. Aguilar is known for his impressive curriculum, for preparing students for potential futures in the medical research field and for his eclectic collection of colorful bow ties. Every day, Dr. Aguilar and his students research cancer vaccines. Just ask ALEXA — or rather, ask one of the students using the compact and surprisingly heavy real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine that bears an uncanny resemblance to an Amazon Echo (“Alexa”) speaker. It’s the newest member of the lab equipment family, a sophisticated laboratory apparatus used to monitor the amplification of DNA segments. Real-time PCR machines are used in many laboratories for the screening of COVID-19.
Dr. Ralf & Christine '84 Borrmann
Modern & Classical Languages Faculty
At Western Reserve Academy, the Borrmanns are household names. They have taught in the Modern & Classical Languages Department since 1995, with Dr. Ralf Borrmann teaching French (and previously German) and serving as Compass Coordinator, and Christine ’84 (or, as her students refer to her, Madame) teaching French. But as with every WRA faculty member, this is only a slice of their life at Reserve. There is also the full commitment of coaching, mentoring, advising and chaperoning, all while balancing parenting, personal pursuits and more. The full and colorful life of the Borrmanns is a much longer story, but inside their classrooms and home, you’ll catch a glimpse. The items and decor on display reflect who they are as passionate educators, world travelers, loving parents and mentors of young minds.