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Meet the Residential Faculty

Residential Faculty members (or "RF's" for short) are the adults who watch over the boarding students after school, in the evenings, and on the weekends. They live on campus and all are teachers or coaches, so they know first-hand what students experience during the school day.  However, they only teach one or two classes at most so that they can focus the bulk of their energy and time on the boarding students when the school day ends.  In addition to the RF’s, the boarding students are joined on-campus by 17 faculty and staff members, their families, and four monks, all of whom call Priory "home."

Michelle Taffe

Michelle's introduction to boarding school came at the age of 16, when she studied French at the St. Paul's School Advanced Studies Program in Concord, N.H. This experience inspired her career in residential education, which spans more than 20 years and includes schools in New England and California.  Michelle has worked in schools in a variety of roles: as a French teacher, an admission officer, an associate dean of students, a dormitory head, and a track and field coach.

Cynthia Sleight

Cynthia Sleight was raised just down the road in Cupertino, CA and is a proud Priory alumna! She received her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City. During college, she worked at Alice! Health Promotion Program and at Tompkins Hall Nursery and Preschool. Upon graduating, she moved back West to warmer climates where she worked at the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community as a substitute preschool teacher. She has also worked at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past 12 summers and she volunteers once a week at Hidden Villa leading school groups on tours of the farm and wilderness. If she is not working in the dorms, she can be found in the classroom, teaching 6th Grade French, or in the Performing Arts Center, assistant directing and stage managing Priory’s theatrical productions. Her interests include health education, early childhood/family education and the performing arts. On her days off, she enjoys baking, singing, hiking, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

Derry Roberson

Derry Roberson grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Belize, and decided at the age of 14 to travel to the United States in order to attend boarding school. After spending four years at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, TX she received a BA in Physics and Spanish from Sewanee: The University of the South (TN) in May 2011. While in college, she was a member of the varsity tennis team which was consistently ranked among the top teams in Division III. She was also an active volunteer in the Office of Admission and served as a tour guide, senior interviewer, and visit coordinator. In addition to being a Residential Faculty member, Derry teaches Middle School PE and Robotics, advises a group of 6th grade girls, tutors physics, and assistant coaches the boys and girls varsity tennis teams. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, traveling, and baking.

Malachi Thurston

Malachi was born and raised in nearby Oakland, CA. He attended Marin Academy and The Hotchkiss School during his high school years. After graduation, Malachi went on to compete for several colleges playing NCAA basketball. The journey was not yet over as he continued to play on the semi-professional level over the course of three years. After leaving the sport in 2007, Malachi continued healthy living while starting his own private fitness business and is currently finishing his BA in Human Development. He enjoys sports, movies, eating, and spending time with friends and family. Alongside his RF responsibilities, Malachi coaches middle school flag football and varsity basketball at The Priory.

Mike Loftis

Mike was born in Nashville, TN, where he has lived most of his life.  In 2004, he graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a BS in Education.  After college, Mike taught English for the US Embassy in Thailand, and he has worked on the Priory campus for the last 8 summers at the Mountain Camp Woodside summer program and is currently the Assistant Director. Last year, he was an Assistant Basketball Coach for Donelson Christian Academy in Tennessee, and his team won the Tennessee State Championship.   In addition to being an RF, Mike coaches basketball and a number of other sports at the Priory.  In his freetime, he enjoys sports, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Myles Somerville

Myles Somerville is from Middletown, RI and has lived on small islands off of New England his entire life. He attended Portsmouth Abbey high school, a Benedictine high school in Portsmouth, RI. In 2009, he graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Outdoor Pursuits and a minor in English. He also was a 3 time All South Eastern Conference lacrosse player for FSU. Besides being a Residential Faculty member, Myles is passionate about hiking, traveling, writing, and meeting good people in great places.