The NOVA faculty is comprised of a diverse group of educators bound together by a shared vision. Each staff member is committed to helping students achieve NOVA School’s objectives of creating future leaders, innovators, philanthropists and engaged citizens by creating stimulating learning opportunities.



Head of School - Barbara Mitchell Hutton: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Barbara joined NOVA School as Head in 2013, bringing her reputation as an internationally-recognized expert in the education of highly capable students and experience of three decades devoted to advocating for and encouraging gifted children and their families. She was co-founder and Head of School at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative in Boulder, CO and served as Interim Head of School at Helios New School in Palo Alto, CA. Barbara has consulted with parents, provided professional development for teachers of the gifted and organizational development for many non-profit organizations.

Barbara has been a featured presenter at conferences and expositions around the world. From numerous conferences hosted by National Association for Gifted Children, The Hollingworth Center for the Highly Gifted, SENG, The New England Conference for Gifted and Talented Educators, and the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented to the 2005 Beijing Gifted Education Institute in the People’s Republic of China, Barbara is a sought after speaker on asynchronous development. She has served on boards and committees of a number of organizations and was a contributing author to Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child about schools and responding to asynchrony in the classroom.

Barbara holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology and Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the University of Northern Colorado. She is the parent of a highly gifted “girl”.



Janet Hubbard - Assistant Head of School:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mrs. Hubbard has been teaching at NOVA since 2004. Before joining NOVA, Janet taught in a variety of situations including Spanish at a Montessori preschool, afterschool programs in Washington D.C. and environmental education and E.S.L. in Texas. She also facilitated cultural immersion, adventure and community service programs in Athabaskan villages in Alaska.

She received a Masters in Teaching for Social Justice from The Evergreen State College in 2003. She also has been awarded the prestigious National Board Certification.

Mrs. Hubbard’s strong background in service in this country and abroad help define how she relates to the world, believing that we all have something to contribute and that contributing is a necessary part of who we are as members of society. She incorporates multi-cultural awareness into the curriculum, challenging students to reflect different perspectives of specific international groups and cultures into writing.

Fun FactsMs.Hubbard used to lead cultural immersion programs in Alaska. She took kids backpacking in the wilderness, ice climbing on glaciers, and helped them build log buildings in remote Athabaskan villages that continue to be subsistence-based. Her Athabaskan connections continue to be an important part of her life. 



David Campbell - Advanced Science:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Mr. Campbell's Science Class Blog:

After earning a B.A. at the University of Idaho, Mr. Campbell taught Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Ichthyology lab for three years at his alma mater. He received his Masters in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Mr. Campbell is Washington State-certified to teach General Science, Biology, and Earth Science for grades 4-12 and prior to joining NOVA School, he taught General Biology, Honors Biology, Zoology, Human Anatomy and A.P. Biology at Shelton High School for seven years.

Fun Facts: Outside of teaching, Mr. Campbell enjoys photography. He is also an aquarium hobbyist and runs sled dogs when he’s not too busy.

 sDSC 4016

Samantha Chandler - Advanced Language Arts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Ms. Chandler joined NOVA in the fall of 2016, after 10 years of teaching in public middle schools and 1 year as an adjunct professor at Saint Martin's University. She has taught Language Arts, and Social Studies to 6th - 8th graders, as well as math to students in a wide variety of settings (public elementary to incarcerated adults). She is also co-founder of Olympia Family Theater, where she served as Managing Director for 8 years.

Her love of literature has existed as long as she can remember, and the ability to explore and bring life to a wide variety of characters is also what drew her to the theater. She became a teacher to help foster that love in students, and finds no greater satisfaction than helping young people discover new realms and develop existing talents and interests.

She holds a Masters' Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, BA from The Evergreen State College  and a WA state K-8 teaching certificate.

Fun Facts: You're likely to see Ms. Chandler on her bike, on stage, in an audience, hiking a woodland trail, or out in the garden. She relishes travel and adventures with her family, and is the proud auntie of many nieces and nephews who often come to visit.



Eric "Flem" Fleming - Arts Social & Emotional Health:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Eric "Flem" Fleming began teaching art in 1994 and joined NOVA in 2000 where he has been leading Art, Advisory, Exploratory and the 8th Grade Project program.

After graduating from Washington State University, Mr. Fleming earned a prestigious National Board Certification for teaching art to complement his Washington State teaching certification for K-8 with a K-12 art endorsement.

Mr. Fleming serves on the Board of Directors for the Olympia All Ages Project and has twice won commissions to artwork creation for the City of Olympia. He spent six summers leading student and adult tours of Europe.

Fun Facts: When not teaching or making art, Mr. Fleming can usually be found at the beach surfing on his longboard.  




Jason Gacek - 6th Grade Language Arts, Geography, Librarian: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Mr. Gacek's "GacekBlog":

Jason Gacek brought his teaching, trivia and science fiction knowledge to NOVA in 2001. Mr. Gacek teaches World Geography and Language Arts while also serving as the acquisitions coordinator for the NOVA School library.

Learning about the world as an interconnected whole is a theme of his World Geography course. In Language Arts, Mr. Gacek focuses on fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, but is constantly incorporating new genres into the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on writing, critical thinking, critical reading and communication skills, believing that middle school is the perfect time to begin to acquire the skills necessary in this interconnected world.

After earning his degree from Western Washington University, Mr. Gacek received his Masters from Evergreen State College. 

Fun Facts: Mr. Gacek's favorite quote comes courtesy of baseball player/ philosopher Satchel Paige.: “You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.” Mr. Gacek has many hobbies, including fantasy sports and science fiction. 





Jen Grady – Strings, Choir, Stage Production, Exploratory, Enrichment:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ms. Grady joined the NOVA School community in 2013, bringing an impressive combination of formal music training and relentless performing and recording experience. After attending the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA, Ms. Grady graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2005 where she majored in Music Production and Audio Engineering.  She is also the 2012 recipient of the Williamson Foundation of Music Grant.

Jen has recorded and performed with countless bands, orchestras and has toured as a cellist around the U.S and Europe. Her knowledge of a wide array of musical styles, instruments and vocal arranging allows Jen to inspire NOVA’s students to build and expand their passions in music.

Fun Facts: Ms. Grady's records with Chelan, a Southern California-based band which writes music for movies and television.




Tracey D. Hooker -22nd Ave Jazz Band: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Tracey D. Hooker joined NOVA in 2007 in the role of Band Director. His wealth of experience and creativity elevates the school’s 22nd Street Jazz Band. 

Mr. Hooker is a graduate of Regents College (SUNY) and a member of and adjudicator for the Washington Music Educators Association. A 22-year veteran of the United States Navy Music Program, Mr. Hooker has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe as a featured trumpet soloist. Well-versed in all styles of music, he has conducted numerous trumpet clinics worldwide ranging from elementary to college level. He remains continually booked with a number of bands as guest solo artist.

Fun Facts: Mr. Hooker has toured as sideman for legendary acts including Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Temptations, The O’Jays, Frankie Valli and Solomon Burke, as well as Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew, Mic Gilette, Stan Mark, San Diego Symphony and the Florida Symphony.




Linda "Mo" Manning - 6th Grade Math, P.E.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Mo's Math Blog:

Linda "Mo" Manning has taught at NOVA since 2000. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Education from the University of Oregon. Prior to NOVA she taught 5th grade in a Idaho-based public school and coached many recreational and competitive sports teams.

What Mo values the most about teaching at NOVA School is: “Every day I learn something new and I love that everyone has something they can teach me. I had many inspiring teachers that gave me an appreciation for having a positive learning environment. I try to keep that same ‘you can do it’ attitude whether it is at school, on a team, or at home." Mo values the NOVA School environment for the close relationships it enables with so many students, colleagues and parents.

Mo coaches volleyball, basketball and soccer at NOVA. She is also respected for managing the complicated task of student class scheduling.

Fun Facts: Mo lives in Olympia with her husband Carl and a gaggle of pets in their 1930’s farmhouse that they are slowly renovating (inside and out) to fit their family. Athletics, reading, yard work and video games fill the the rest of her time.



Jeffrey "Mr. Jeff" Olfson - Algebra I & II, Elementary Service Coordinator, MathCounts:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Mr. Jeff's Blog:

"Mr. Jeff" Olfson began teaching full time at NOVA in 2011. He attended the University of Oregon, earning a Bachelor’s in Mathematics in 2009 and Masters in Education with a secondary teaching certificate in 2011.

What Mr. Jeff values the most about teaching is getting to know his students well and having the opportunity to teach them in such a personal environment.

Fun Facts: When he is not teaching or doing math problems, Mr. Jeff can be found playing video games, working crossword puzzles, riding his bike, taking very long walks, and playing volleyball (poorly) on the NOVA teacher team.


Tracie Powney - Counselor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tracie joined NOVA in 2015 and came to NOVA from The Evergreen State College, where she specialized in counseling students on the Autism Spectrum. She has extensive experience in education with pre-teens and teenagers. She has been a licensed Occupational Therapist since 1997 including as an OT in the Tumwater School District. She operates a counseling private practice and has served as a school counselor at Capital High school, Shelton High School, and Oakland Bay Junior High. She was a Teen Counselor at The Family Support Center. At Evergreen State College she co-facilitated a relationship skills group, a mindfulness group, and provided in-services to counseling staff to help them understand how to work with students on the Autism Spectrum.

Tracie earned a BS in Health Promotions with an emphasis in Psychology in 1993, a BS in Occupational Therapy in 1997, a Master’s degree in Education, Guidance & Counseling, from St. Martin’s University in 2008, and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, also from St. Martin’s University, in 2015. She is already collaborating with other faculty in NOVA’s signature Social & Emotional Health programs to champion compassion, empathy, and confidence in our students.

Fun Facts: Tracie loves outdoor activities like skiing, paddle boarding, backpacking, hiking, and rock climbing.  She has climbed many mountains!



Lara "T-Mac" Tukarski - 6th Grade Earth & Space Science: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Ms. T-Mac’s Science Blog:

Lara “T-Mac” Tukarski arrived at NOVA in the fall of 2016 with 17 years of experience teaching science to middle and upper grades students. She has taught Life and Environmental Sciences to 6th graders, as well as Environmental Science, Environmental Biology, Marine Science, General Biology, and A.P. Biology to 9th-12th graders. She also spent time as a backcountry wilderness guide for at-risk youth, worked as an environmental educator in the non-profit world, and founded sustainability programs at private schools in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

After spending most of her life traveling the world, Ms. T-Mac is inspired by the use of cross-cultural experiences in the design of teaching practices which nurture diversity, cultural awareness, an appreciation for complex natural systems, and environmental stewardship. She also believes that our connection to the Earth can teach us how to love.

Lara earned her M.S. in Molecular Ecology from Towson University with joint studies at Johns Hopkins University, and B.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Fun Facts: When not teaching science, you might find Ms. T-Mac backpacking, making art, out in her garden, hiking in the woods, playing her accordion, honing her astronomy skills, on a plane to a distant land, or just hangin’ on the front porch with good friends, family, and her sweet Aussie dog.




Anne "Maestra" Weldon - Spanish, Enrichment:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Maestra” earned her B.A. in English & French from Santa Clara University and her teaching degree from U.C. Berkeley. She has been teaching at NOVA since 2000.

Maestra lived two years in Ecuador and taught English at the University of Loja. She taught 6th grade at an alternative middle school for gifted children in Pleasant Hill, CA. She then taught 4 years of high school Spanish and English at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, WA.

Fun Facts: In addition to teaching at NOVA, Maestra teaches piano to beginning students.