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Upper School

Upper School

Photo of Russell Day

Russell Day


Russell began teaching at Dutchess Day School in 2007. He is the Latin teacher for the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades and an upper school writing instructor. He is also the faculty adviser for Tiger Times, the school’s student newspaper, and assists with yearbook and with directing the eighth grade play.
Russell received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. Russell has worked as a copy editor, manager of an instructional website, and teacher of college composition and literature. Just prior to joining the DDS faculty, he taught English and Latin at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles.

Photo of Diane Duffus

Diane Duffus


Diane joined the DDS faculty in 1992. She teaches sixth and seventh grade science, seventh grade computer and homeroom. She is a seventh grade advisor, and the coordinator for many of the upper school field trips, including the Nature’s Classroom/Cape Cod and Costa Rica trips.
Prior to her arrival at DDS, she worked at Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES as both a science consultant and an outdoor education specialist where she developed curriculum, led teacher training workshops and coordinated their outdoor education program. In her tenure at DDS, she has taught fourth, sixth and seventh grade science, eighth grade science lab, and fourth through eighth grade computer. In the past she has also coached the school’s JV soccer team.
Diane attended Orange County Community College where she obtained an associate’s degree in recreation leadership, SUNY Cortland where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in conservation of natural resources and biology, and SUNY New Paltz where she obtained a master of science degree in education. She is NYS certified to teach elementary education, biology and general science.

Photo of Yolanda Mitchell

Yolanda Mitchell


Yolanda joined the DDS family in 2012 as the Spanish teacher. She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia and immigrated to the United States in 1984. She earned a degree in translation studies at the Technical Institute of Colombia and also did coursework in English at Westminster College in London and in French at the Université de la Sorbonne in Paris. After that, Yolanda pursued translation studies at NYU. She has taught grades four through eight at Saint Patrick’s School in Yorktown, and worked at The Melrose school in Brewster where she taught French and Spanish to elementary and middle school children.

Photo of Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy


Julie joined the faculty of Dutchess Day School in 2011. She teaches math to sixth and eighth grades as well as second and fifth grade science.
Julie attended SUNY Geneseo where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in special education. Prior to joining DDS, Julie taught at Maplebrook School, the New York Military Academy and Storm King School. Julie enjoyed other roles such as head coach of soccer and volleyball, advisor to the National Honor Society and the Environmental/Gardening Club. Most recently, Julie was the center director for Sylvan Learning Center, and then owned her own tutoring business.

Photo of Amanda Ruhe

Amanda Ruhe


Amanda joined the faculty of Dutchess Day School in 2006. She teaches science to grades one, four and eight, as well as computer to grades one and four. She has also taught science to kindergarten, first, and second graders. Amanda coaches JV soccer, assistant coaches for girls’ lacrosse, and acts as faculty advisor for the Student Leadership Council.
Amanda attended Bloomsburg University where she obtained a bachelor of science in education and SUNY New Paltz where she obtained a master of science in education. Prior to joining the DDS faculty, Amanda taught preschool, third and sixth grades at public schools in the area and environmental education at Sharpe Reservation.

Photo of Michael Tarantino

Michael Tarantino


Michael came to DDS in 2013. He teaches mathematics to grades fifth through eighth. He is also a seventh grade advisor. Michael received his bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences from Binghamton University. He received a Master of Science for Teaching Secondary Mathematics from Pace University.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Michael worked in the educational assessment field, most recently working as an item writer and editor for various educational publishers. Before DDS, Michael worked at Mahopac Middle School where he taught seventh grade math.

Photo of Georgette Verdier

Georgette Verdier


Georgette joined the DDS faculty in 2000. She teaches upper and lower school French.
Georgette attended SUNY New Paltz where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in French and her master’s degree in education. She also obtained a Diplome D’Etudes Françaises from Université de Besançon.
Prior to coming to DDS, Georgette taught kindergarten through fifth grade French at Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown, MA, and French and Spanish levels 1-3 in grades seven through twelve in the New York State Public School system. She is New York State certified to teach elementary education, French and Spanish.

Photo of Darlene Yager

Darlene Yager


Darlene officially joined the DDS faculty in 1995 after substitute teaching for several years prior. She teaches math in grades six through eight, and serves as the head of upper school. Darlene coaches the Lego robotics team as well as refereeing volleyball games and helping with various PA events.
Darlene attended SUNY Cortland where she obtained both a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in education.

Photo of Eleanor Yates

Eleanor Yates


Eleanor joined Dutchess Day School’s faculty in 1995 as the fifth grade teacher.
Eleanor obtained a bachelor’s degree in education at SUNY Oneonta and a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina. Eleanor previously taught fifth grade in Hunter, NY, a combined class of fourth through sixth grades in Albany and fourth grade in South Carolina.

Photo of Colleen Wilber

Colleen Wilber


Colleen came to Dutchess Day in the fall of 2016 as the 6th grade homeroom teacher. In 1996, she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from SUNY Oneonta and, in 2000, an MS in special education from SUNY New Paltz. Prior to teaching at DDS, Colleen taught grades K, 4, 6, and 7, but primarily at the 6th grade level teaching math and ELA in a public school district. She lives in Millbrook with her husband and two children and when Colleen is not in school, she can be found at sporting events supporting her children.

Photo of Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller


Dan Miller came to Dutchess Day School in the 2017-18 school year as the 7th and 8th grade U.S. history teacher and faculty adviser for Model UN. He is also assistant soccer coach. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Union College and a master’s degree in teaching from Union Graduate College. Prior to joining the DDS faculty, Dan taught 7th grade social studies for four years at Coleytown Middle School in Westport, CT.

Photo of Natasha Panzer

Natasha Panzer


Natasha Panzer arrived at Dutchess Day in 2017. She teaches seventh and eighth grade English and assists with the Student Leadership Counsel. After graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1999, Natasha worked for NBC’s Weekend Today in New York, The Later Today Show and The Today Show as a production assistant. Natasha made the decision to leave television in 2001, and became an assistant to the Special Education Department at Pawling Middle School. She went on to become certified and earned her master’s degree in teaching English as a second language from Western Connecticut State University. She also spent two months studying Shakespeare and other British literature at Oxford University. From 2004-2009, Natasha taught ninth grade English at Arlington High School. In 2011, she joined Mizzentop Day School as middle school English teacher and Living Values Program coordinator. Natasha is now a teacher-trainer for Living Values Education Program and deeply involved in helping teachers find ways to incorporate peaceful practices into their classrooms.

Natasha lives in Pawling with her husband Justin and their two children, Sofia (Pawling Middle School, 5th grade) and Emmett (Dutchess Day School, 3rd grade). When not at school, Natasha can be found writing (Natasha published her first book Spontaneous Joyful Natural Birth (Hale) in 2012, reading, strolling down a country lane, or building a tremendous, stupendous fort with Sofia and Emmett.