New in the classroom: Middle School faculty and staff

Sophie Cohen

Lauren Nichols ’03 returned to her alma mater and joined the Middle School History Department this fall as an eighth and ninth grade history teacher.

Nichols majored in history at Duke University, and then studied law at New York University and began her professional career working as a corporate lawyer.

“I’m looking forward to getting students to think critically about history,” Nichols said.

Christina McClendon had wanted to be a librarian since she was in college. Before joining the middle school staff, McClendon worked at the Los Angeles public library, the Pasadena public library, the UCLA research library, the Stanford library and most recently, the Esther and Sol Smith library at Milken Community School.

“It’s really a gift to be part of [students’] everyday lives. The library is such a central place in between classes, and it’s really nice to be able to have that,” McClendon said.

After about half a decade of coaching debate in his home state Utah, Steve Knell has become a full-time coach for both middle school and upper school debaters this year. Knell will oversee the middle school program and have multiple responsibilities in the Lincoln-Douglas program.

“I’ll be on [the upper school] campus three days a week at least working with students at individual appointments, so any debater can schedule an appointment with me and come talk to me. And then I will also be traveling and coaching with the team,” Knell said. “I also am essentially the team’s travel agent so I do all of the arrangements of the fees of flights and hotels.”

Along with working with the team, Knell plans on coaching at various summer programs.