New Faculty Interviews 2021


Two of Mrs. Emmerson’s dogs

Voices sat down with some of the new faculty at Winchester to talk about who they were, their path to teaching, and how they’ve liked the job so far.


Mr. Olshefski grew up in the Pittsburgh area. As a child, Mr. O loved music and skateboarding, and he remembers his brother making skate videos about his exploits. During high school, Mr. O became interested in reading, particularly enjoying Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and he considers that period as when the now-familiar “Mr. O” was born.

His first teaching job was at an international school in Russia, where he spent seven years educating, among others, the children of businessmen, diplomats, and missionaries. Mr. Olshefski returned to Pittsburgh to get his Ph.D., and he’s currently writing his dissertation on the handling of religion in English classes. 

Mr. O still skateboards. He finds a unique value in skating for the joy it gives him, and he sees it as a mindfulness practice. Mr. Olshefski first experienced WT as a graduate student, where he was very impressed by the school. He has a profound appreciation for Pittsburgh, and he’s excited to become a part of the Winchester community this year teaching ninth-grade English. 


Mrs. Emmerson has enjoyed nature ever since she was young. During her childhood, Mrs. Emmerson was a campfire girl and scout leader. She knew from an early age she wanted to have a job which involved other people, and it led her to teaching. 

Her first job out of college was as an English teacher for ninth and eleventh grade at a six-hundred-person Catholic school in Illinois. Mrs. Emmerson was in charge of the newspaper, and she enjoyed reading an abridged version of Great Expectations with her students.

Mrs. Emmerson attributes the ease of transition into Pittsburgh to her old high school’s black-and-gold colors. She has already attended a Steelers game and plans to explore the city with her husband further. Mrs. Emmerson has also been rescuing dogs since 2012 and has even adopted one. She enjoys Winchester’s small-school atmosphere and looks forward to helping students on a more individual level with the seventh and ninth-grade English students this year.


Ms. Bean grew up in a small town in Georgia. Since her youth, she has enjoyed reading and playing video games, encouraged by her librarian mother and her video-game-playing older brother. In fifth grade, she told her mother she would grow up to be a scientist. Aiding this interest was her time taking care of animals as a child, including rabbits, cats, and dogs. Her favorite was Nemo the bunny, named after the eponymous fish of the Pixar movie.

Ms. Bean went to college in Georgia before moving to Pittsburgh in 2018 to teach at Westinghouse Arts Academy. She spent two years there before joining the ranks of our science faculty. She has recently returned to her love of reading and playing video games. She has been reading The Wheel of Time series and playing JRPGs.

Moving to Pittsburgh, she had been slightly worried about the snow, but the climate she has experienced so far has been preferable even to Georgia. She loves Winchester and enjoys teaching her Integrated Science students.


Ms. Walton hails from Albany. One thing which shaped her childhood experience was growing up biracial; the Afro-Caribbean community in upstate New York was small, and living between two cultural identities informed how she grew up. She started playing basketball competitively early, and by the time she had gotten to high school, Ms. Walton knew she wanted to pursue it in college. Ms. Walton began her collegiate basketball career at La Salle University. Although college basketball was hard work, she values the time spent with her teammates and on the court. She continued to play, finishing in Albany, and she is still close with a lot of her teammates.

Ms. Walton enjoys traveling. She hopes to visit more countries once the pandemic is over, including a possible vacation in Jamaica or trip to East Asia. She has only been in Pittsburgh since July but managed to see some of the city’s parks during walks with her dog. Aside from Albany and Pittsburgh, Ms. Walton has lived in Philadelphia, New York, and London. To her, each area has its own feel, and Pittsburgh is a wonderful union of the closeness of a smaller city and the bustle of a larger one. 

Infused with Ms. Walton’s traveling is her love for music. Her favorite artist is Beyoncé, whom she has seen in concert three times. Her furthest Beyoncé concert has been Germany, and her favorite one was the singer’s show with Jay Z at the On the Run tour. She looks forward to helping the school as the director of equity and inclusion.


Madame Kotowski grew up in Peru, Il, a small town two hours from Chicago. As a kid, she was interested in insects, leaves, languages, baking and making clothes for her Barbie dolls. She began to consider teaching languages as a career while in college. Madame had two teachers who had a profound, positive impact on her self-confidence: her Spanish teacher and her chorus teacher. It helped her realize the power teachers have to do good. 

Outside of school, she likes to go to Pittsburgh street festivals, see foreign and indie films, hike, go canoeing, learn new languages, and travel. Interestingly, she once had a submachine gun held on me in a Chinese restaurant in Lima, Peru. She also loves Penguins hockey. Madame Kotowski’s experience at Winchester is wonderful. Her kids and colleagues have made the school a great place to be.