Columbia Academy Staff

Columbia Academy Staff

Columbia Academy Preschools and Elementary and Middle School feature only the most talented, educated, and committed educational professionals the state of Maryland has to offer.

Our tight network of support and continuing education programs make our staff not just one of the most qualified, but one of the most gratified and enthusiastic. Here you can get to know our professional faculty a little better. Feel free to look around, and as always, if you would like to meet in person, simply drop us a line and we can arrange a meeting.

Each of our staff members undergoes an extensive state and federal criminal background check and a thoroughly reviewed interview process before being considered for their position.

Meet Our Staff

Britney Buchen

My name is Britney Buchen and this is my second year at Columbia Academy.  I am currently the third grade teacher at Columbia Academy.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Liberal Arts and Technology from Stevenson University.  I have not always lived in Maryland. I grew up in northern New Jersey but adapted quickly to the Maryland lifestyle.  I am excited to be in a small classroom setting where I can connect with all the students and help to meet their individual needs!


Winsome Christie

I am originally from Jamaica, but I have lived here for over 30 years, and became a naturalized American citizen more than 20 years ago. I am married with two adult children. This is my 18th year at Columbia Academy, and each one has been full of excitement. It has been very rewarding to watch some of my kindergarteners become college students and maintain contact with them over the years. Another year is off to a wonderful start and I am happy to be a part of this great community.


Kristin Hinrichs

Hello, my name is Kristin Hinrichs and I am the art teacher at Columbia Academy. I have a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Rollins College as well as graduate credits in Art Education. I currently hold two teaching certificates for art Pre-K through 12th grade; one in Florida and one in Maryland. Prior to Columbia Academy I taught art at a public elementary school in Orlando, Florida. My husband and I relocated to Maryland in 2013 and I really love all that the area has to offer. Before Maryland I lived in the Orlando area for 11 years and before that I lived in Cairo, Egypt for eight years. Art is truly my passion and I love teaching the students at Columbia Academy. It brings me joy to see what a child’s imagination and creativity can do!



Zach Hooker

I hope by now we have had a chance to meet! If we have not, I’m happy to introduce myself as the Administrative Head and provide a short summary of my prior experience as both a teacher and administrator. I’m happy to begin my second year as with Columbia Academy and my fourth year as a principal or administrative head. Before becoming a building administrator, I taught in Baltimore Country Public Schools for 5 years and then transitioned to private school teaching in the Archdiocese of Washington. My teaching experience includes both general education and special education classrooms and I have enjoyed the challenge of getting to know what instructional strategies work best for each student’s needs. I hold a certification in Administration, general education, and special education. I’m very happy to be starting my second year with Columbia Academy and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together in the coming years creating thinkers and believers!

Doug Jesse

My name is Doug Jesse, and this is my first year as the Physical Education teacher at Columbia Academy. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Cornell University and two Master of Education degrees from Wagner College. I spent seven years as an NCAA wrestling coach before embarking on my teaching career. I have experience teaching fifth grade Math, Kindergarten, and Pre-K, as well as P.E. In addition to teaching at Columbia Academy, I am also entering my sixth season as the head wrestling coach at Glenelg Country School. I enjoy all types of sports and physical activity and am a huge fan of Ohio State, as well as pro sports teams from Pittsburgh. I am excited to work with the students of Columbia Academy!

Terry Linton

Hello, my name is Terry Linton. This is my first year teaching Junior Kindergarten at Columbia Academy. I am excited to be a part of such a wonderful team of educators. I have my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University where I graduated with honors. Before becoming a part of Columbia Academy, I taught for Cecil County Public schools and Cecil College. Teaching is my passion! I love coming to work and seeing the world through children's eyes. Every day is an adventure, and their love for learning keeps me motivated to be the best teacher I can be. In my free time I enjoy spending quality time with my family, reading, shopping and traveling. I am also a huge Baltimore Ravens fan! I look forward to a fun and rewarding year at Columbia Academy!



Allison McLaughlin

My name is Allison McLaughlin and I am the school’s library media specialist. This is my eighth year teaching elementary school, and my seventh year here at Columbia Academy. I received my bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Oklahoma State University and also hold a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and School Library Media from Towson University. I grew up in Oklahoma and moved to Maryland with my husband in 2010. I am an avid Indianapolis Colts and Oklahoma State fan, and I also enjoy baking and reading!



Lucas Pereira

Hello, my name is Lucas Pereira and I am the Spanish Teacher at Columbia Academy.  I was born and raised in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.  I went to school in Takoma Park, Maryland at Washington Adventist University where I studied for my Bachelor of Science in Physical Education.  I love learning about new cultures and new languages and am so excited to share that love with the students.  I love soccer and my favorite teams include Barcelona and Chelsea.  I hope to be hearing a lot of Spanish in the hallways of Columbia Academy very soon!

Gaby Rivas

Hello! My name is Gaby Rivas. This is my second year at Columbia Academy EMS and I am currently teaching kindergarten. I spent the last year working as an instructional assistant alongside one of our wonderful Junior Kindergarten teachers, in addition to working as the daily substitute and summer camp teacher.  Prior to coming to Columbia Academy, I worked as a Program Assistant at the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County, where I was able to instruct and work closely alongside a diverse group of children ranging from the ages of 6-14.  I am very proud and excited to be a part of the kindergarten and extended care program team at Columbia Academy and I look forward to a great school year!


Linda Rossiter

Hello, my name is Linda Rossiter and I am thoroughly enjoying my sixth year teaching at Columbia Academy. Previously I had taught Kindergarten at a private, Catholic school in Howard County, preschool in Hanover and spent many years working in Washington, D.C., mainly involved in grassroots lobbying. I am now the Junior Kindergarten teacher in room 7!  My most important career has been as mom to my two wonderful sons. I was born and raised in Maryland and have lived in Columbia since the early 90’s. My family always includes animals, especially dogs (yes, at least two!) In my free time I read (and am a frequent library visitor), work on home improvement projects, cook, play the piano and take photographs. I am lucky enough to have my extended family close by and we like getting together for steamed crabs and good conversation. I enjoy so many aspects of our diverse community and I LOVE living and working in Columbia. Teaching young children is so rewarding and everyday is a new adventure with my many best friends!



Christina Torres

Hello, my name is Christina Torres and this is my ninth year teaching at Columbia Academy. My first year here I taught first grade and for the past eight years I have been teaching second grade. I received my bachelors in Elementary Education from Eastern University.  This past summer, my husband and I welcomed our daughter the day before our wedding anniversary.  In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, taking my dogs to the park, horseback riding, and dancing! I am looking forward to a successful year in second grade and I am excited to get to know everyone.



Terry Wellen

This will be my seventh year at Columbia Academy, and my 21st year teaching first grade. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a certificate in Elementary Education from UMBC. I have two daughters, both of whom hold degrees in Education.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, shopping, and spending time with friends. This year I am looking forward to working with my students as they learn, have fun, and experience new adventures.



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