Amy Gordon Risz

Upper School Learning Services Coordinator, Sixth and Eighth Grade Learning Specialist

Amy Gordon Risz has had many roles in her 30+ years in education, including classroom teacher, learning specialist, middle school assistant principal, literacy coach, and teacher mentor throughout New York City, England, and the Bay Area. She worked at Ecole Bilingue in Berkeley for seven years prior to joining the Black Pine Circle School community in 2016. Amy has an M.S. in special education and school leadership. She is a native New Yorker, and in her personal time enjoys hiking anywhere she can, listening to podcasts while trying new recipes, and exploring the world with her husband and two teenage sons (both BPC alums).




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Why I Work with Children

I love listening to children’s ideas and stories. I love supporting students in identifying their strengths and helping them build on these areas. I love that I am constantly learning from students.

A Favorite Book

Middlesex: I love well-written books with a captivating plot where I am also learning something about another place, culture, or moment in history. This book hit all those marks for me.

Quick Fact

Ziplined in Laos, tended bar in Portugal

Other Faculty for This Grade

Alyson Mitchell

Eighth Grade History & Geography Teacher

Keen on floating houses and mutant Basset Hounds

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Andra Marziano

Dean of Upper School Students, Assistant Head of Upper School, Upper School Drama Teacher

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Carla Rodea

Upper School Spanish Teacher

I speak several languages.

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Carwai Seto

Eighth Grade Math Teacher

Loves to travel

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Cheryl Sumsion

Fourth-Sixth Grade Music Teacher

Tamed a mechanical bull in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Emmeline Hill

Sixth Grade Science Teacher and Sixth Grade-Level Coordinator

Herded sheep by motorbike in Australia.

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Gerry Branner

Sixth and Eighth Grade Physical Education Teacher

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Gwen Hornig

Eighth Grade English Teacher

Ask me about the time I had a magical and terrifying stand-off with a bison in the Badlands.

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Jenny Reeves

Jenny Reeves

Upper School Art Teacher

Loves to swim

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Jerry Kennedy

Seventh and Eighth Grade Music Teacher, Band Director

Performed music in South Africa during the end of legal apartheid.

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Jonathan Cohen

Eighth Grade Science Teacher

Apprenticed with a luthier, adept with a paddle

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Kathy Henderson

Sixth & Seventh Grade Math Teacher

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Maria Palmer

Sixth Grade English Teacher, Eighth Grade Creative Writing Teacher

Loves to write or paint

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Nataliya Vdovychenko

Upper School Assistant Teacher

Fluent Russian speaker

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Rem Djemilev

BPC String Orchestra Leader

Creates musical arrangements for fun

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Sarah Roggero

Upper School Spanish Teacher

My birthday is April 1st, no joke!

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Torin Coffino

Sixth Grade History Teacher

Played Gaelic Football as a youth, and won a Minors championship in Ireland

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Xiaoyan Xu

Fifth-Eighth Grade Mandarin Teacher

Once ate deep-fried silkworms

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