The Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) at the Gunston School is pleased to announce the appointment of Emily Beck to the role of full-time director. This expanded role, which includes outreach and admission, philanthropic development, and program administration, is funded through a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, awarded in 2018.
With more than 15 years of teaching experience, Beck has worked for many notable environmental education organizations including Shelburne Farms, Hulbert Outdoor Center of the Aloha Foundation, Keewaydin Environmental Education Center, the W. Alton Jones Center of the University of Rhode Island, the Woolman Semester at the Sierra Friends Center in California, and the Westtown School in Pennsylvania.
Most recently, prior to her tenure at Gunston, Beck spent three years as the program director of an environmental nonprofit in Charlottesville, VA. Since arriving at Gunston in 2013, Beck has worked to bring environmental education best-practices to the school’s Chesapeake Bay Studies Program, and authored and implemented the school’s first-ever Environmental Strategic Plan.
The plan’s emphasis on environmental teaching and learning has helped propel Gunston’s enrollment and reputation regionally and nationally. Beck leads numerous professional learning workshops on environmental teaching and learning, strategic planning, and organizational growth and development using best-practices for iterative design thinking to engage schools in innovative curricular review and expansion.
“Emily is a leader in every sense of the word. She has great vision, a tireless work ethic, a deep sense of moral and ethical responsibility, and a forceful personality that is results-oriented,” comments Gunston Headmaster John Lewis.
Beck works with independent school leaders during summer institutes and has presented at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)’s annual conference numerous times. She holds a B.A. in environmental biology from Colgate University, and a M.S. in environmental studies from Antioch University New England, with a focus on conservation biology and ecological literacy.
Zack Hoisington has joined CWS at Gunston as the environmental science teacher and environmental projects coordinator. An avid outdoorsman and conservationist, Hoisington has devoted much of his adult life to connecting people with the natural world.
After receiving his B.A. in biology from Colorado College, Hoisington worked in California and Hawaii leading outdoor expeditions with Adventures Cross-Country. He then worked seasonally as a fly fishing guide and snowmobile guide in Colorado.
Hoisington first moved to the Eastern Shore to work at Horn Point Laboratory Oyster Hatchery with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies. During his three seasons at Horn Point as a faculty research assistant, he gained valuable hands-on research experience, acquired a comprehensive knowledge of Chesapeake Bay ecology, and developed a passion for marine conservation.
Hoisington, a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed boat captain, assists with waterfront activities at Gunston and is dedicated to providing meaningful on-water experiences for students. In addition, he is the head lacrosse coach as well as a strength and conditioning coach. He spends his free time on the Chesapeake Bay fishing, kayaking, crabbing and growing oysters.
The Chesapeake Watershed Semester at Gunston offers highly motivated high school juniors and seniors (within commuting distance to its central location in Centreville MD) the opportunity to immerse themselves in the study and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay for one semester through dynamic and diverse field-study expeditions. Students travel the region to meet stakeholders, conduct research and take honors and AP level classes while maintaining an intense, hands-on engagement with the natural environment. Visit chesapeakewatershed.org for more information or to download an application form.
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