Meet Our Faculty
The Grayson School takes pride in our incredible Faculty. Each member of our team brings strong, diverse experience as well as passion and commitment for gifted education to our school.
Michael Sizer’s pedagogy places emphasis on the use of demonstrations and hands-on work in his lab because he knows that experiential learning is a highly dynamic and engaging way to impart learning and convey the real-world applications of the science he teaches.
Mr. Sizer holds an undergraduate B.S. degree in Biology from Ursinus College, with additional study in pedagogy at Drexel University. His teaching experience includes years of instruction across multiple disciplines in science and mathematics, including engineering and algebra in addition to biology and chemistry. At his previous position with a small private school, he was also very involved with student extracurricular activities, coaching both the cross country and track teams, both of which he created and developed for the school.
Samantha Soprano encourages her students and athletes to lead a healthy lifestyle and strives to help them develop their natural abilities and interests to prepare them for their future, and to help to make a difference in their community.
Coach Soprano earned a B.A. in Health and Physical Education from West Chester University, and has nearly 10 years of experience teaching Health and Physical Education in the greater Philadelphia area. She is excited to build on the growing athletics program at Grayson with new athletic teams being added to our roster each year.
Joshua Stitzinger is an intuitive educator who adapts his teaching methods to various learning styles and integrates clear expectations, humor, and positive reinforcement in his projects-based classroom.
Mr. Stitzinger earned his M.A. in Teaching & Learning and Technology Integration from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, and holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and Fine Arts from Kutztown University. He joins Grayson from the French International School of Philadelphia where he was an educator, Board member, coach and mentor for student teachers, and led all after-school programming,
Mr. Stitzinger is an award-winning educator who has also taught at the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG).
Mr. Thal earned a B.S. in Mining Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and his M.Ed. from Temple University.
After teaching in the Philadelphia region, Mr. Thal has spent most of his career teaching in Botswana at Maru-a-Pula School, a co-educational, independent day & boarding secondary school with a reputation as one of Africa’s premier academic institutions.
Colin Tinsman, Ph.D.
Dr. Colin Tinsman’s experience in teaching physics, astronomy, and mathematics at the college level makes him especially well-prepared to engage our students and feed their many scientific passions.
Dr. Tinsman earned his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the University of Michigan. While pursuing his degree, he was honored with a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, which recognizes dissertations that are unusually creative, ambitious, and impactful. His thesis project involved designing a new type of thermometer for use at temperatures very close to absolute zero, and allowed him to work with the strongest (DC) magnet in the world, the Hybrid Magnet at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, FL. He also holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Lafayette College.
Dr. Tinsman has published several articles on physics, on topics including quantum oscillations of electrical resistivity; two-dimensional Fermi surfaces (both in Science magazine); and how magnetic fields change the flow of heat through bismuth, which is his favorite element. He has also presented at a meeting of the American Physical Society on the field-dependent thermal conductivity of strontium copper borate, a study supported by the Office of Naval Research.
He is particularly interested in demonstrating the interdisciplinary links between physics and mathematics, as well as putting physics in context with experiments, individual research projects, and simulations, and is the proud coach of our VEX Robotics Teams.
Jessica Tocio believes in always putting her students’ interests at the heart of her hands-on lessons, generating excitement in her classroom, and making children feel like they have a say in what they are learning.
Ms. Tocio received a B.A. in History and Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and earned her M.Ed. from Lesley University. Trained in Readers and Writers Workshop, Ms. Tocio has a strong passion for teaching literacy and developing a love of reading and writing for her students. She brings over eight years of education experience to our school, having taught students in pre-kindergarten through second grade.
Meghan Vetter brings a strong background in mathematics and experience as an educator to Grayson. She helps her students learn in a joy-filled and rigorous way with inquiry-based lessons presented through engaging activities.
Ms. Vetter holds a M.Ed. degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Saint Joseph’s University and a B.S. degree in Mathematics from Loyola University Chicago. As an undergraduate, she was awarded the Father Rust, S.J. Memorial Award, given each year to one student with an outstanding academic record in mathematics or statistics. She was also able to study abroad at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, where she learned more about using a problem-solving approach to teaching mathematics.
She is particularly interested in how to involve students in modern mathematics research, a topic she pursued through a program at Illinois State University. Her work there also resulted in an article in Graph Theory (in press), “On 5-Edge Hypertree Decompositions of Complete 3-Uniform Hypergraphs,” which explores methods for mapping mathematical objects onto one another to better understand their characteristics. She has also served as a coach for an extracurricular competitive mathematics team, a role which allowed her to teach advanced topics such as combinatorics and number theory.
Being able to positively influence and inspire youth is important to Leon Williams as an educator. He enjoys motivating and encouraging his students to push their ideas forward and challenge themselves creatively through different forms of expression.
Mr. Williams holds a B.F.A. degree from Marywood University, and has taught classes focused on art, design, and creativity as an adjunct professor at Harcum College and in aftercare programs for grades K-12 including 3D Design, Visual Storytelling, Cartooning, and Digital Photography.
Mr. Williams is also an Ultimate Frisbee coach at The Grayson School.
Davynn Xu believes in being an educator and a friend to her students. Making her students feel respected and cared for is a priority.
Ms. Xu earned a 1st Honor B.A. degree in Journalism from Zhejiang University in China where she attended Georgetown University’s exchange program in East Asian Studies. Ms. Xu also earned the highest scholarship to attend the Columbia-China Young Development Program at Columbia University. Mrs. Xu has teaching experience at The Mainline Chinese Culture Center in Bryn Mawr, PA where she taught students interviewing and writing skills in Mandarin. She established the Fun Learning Languages Studio where she also teaches Mandarin to students of various ages and abilities.
Autum Jordan Yisrael
Autum Yisrael places great importance on helping students to develop their confidence, cognitive skills, stage presence, and overall self-awareness through music, knowing that all of these are skills that can be transferred to any area of her students’ lives.
Ms. Yisrael received her B.A. degree of Music Performance in Voice from Bowling Green State University, where she is also pursuing a M.Ed. degree in Music Education. She loves singing, classical music, and musical theatre, and was a chorus member for the concert version of Toledo Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess. She won 2nd place for the Vocal Arts Competition for Emerging Artists put on by N.A.N.B.P.W.C., Inc, and was the “Encouragement Award Winner” for the Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition hosted by Opera Columbus. Prior to joining Grayson, she has taught voice and piano at Stivers School for the Arts and the Cincinnati School of Music.