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."
Matthew Lai grew up in Kansas and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Science, Technology & Society and a MA in Sociology. From 2001-2004, he worked at Priory as a Residential Faculty member, taught Middle School Health and Physical Education, and coached Cross Country and Track & Field. After leaving Priory, Matthew moved to New York to attend Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. While in law school, he represented children in cases involving special education, juvenile immigration, child abuse, and foster care. He also represented women in domestic abuse cases and assisted the U.S. Attorney's Office in the investigation and prosecution of crimes against children. Prior to returning to the Priory to become the Dean of Residential Life, Matthew was an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in New York specializing in Securities Litigation. In his free time, Matthew enjoys running, cycling, and swimming.
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 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 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 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.
Alex was born in California, but has lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Italy. She received her BA in Art History and Studio Art from Dickinson College and her MA in Educational Leadership at Mills College. She has taught AP Art History at Priory for the past five years, as well as Middle School Art, Yoga, and Senior Project. Teaching Art History is an absolute passion of hers, and she loves to see students become rapt with the material. She fully believes that learning should be engaging and strives to make the classroom a fun and exciting place to be. By the same token, seeing students relax and better understand themselves through yoga is something she finds extraordinary. In addition to teaching, she also works in the dorms and can be found taking kids on bubble tea trips, checking out the latest movies, managing study hall, or checking chores. Getting to know the students on another level is meaningful to her. Outside of Priory, she enjoys practicing hot yoga, hiking, spinning, cooking, and reading.