Lab Staff

Outdoor Lab Staff

Arlington Public Schools employs the Outdoor Lab staff who work under the Science Department led by Science Supervisor Dr. Dat Le.  With the support of the Arlington School Board and Superintendent Dr. Patrick K. Murphy,  the Outdoor Lab staff for the 2018-2019 school year included 6 full-time employees to support the growing school population. 
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Currently, APS is revisiting its staffing plan for the Outdoor Lab.  Lab Director, Christine Payack, and Assistant Director, Kate Sydney, are moving on to other APS school assignments.  (Carlin Springs Elementary and Glebe Elementary respectively.)  The AOEA Board thanks Christine and Kate for their service to the Outdoor Lab and the students of Arlington and their focus on improving environmental education!

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The AOEA Board will support the APS science department as it looks to fill its various positions with the best environmental educators and support staff that make the Outdoor Lab such a wonderful experience for our children.  Interested individuals can find openings at APS Jobs Website.
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Former Outdoor Lab Staff

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2019 Summer Camp Lab Staff

Joanne “Jo” Godwin

Camp Director- Outdoor Lab Summer Camp

Joanne  works as a 6th grade science teacher at Kenmore Middle School during the school year.  This is her 11th summer working at the summer camp. Her favorite thing at the Lab: feeding the snakes.


Clare McLean

Assistant Director- Outdoor Lab Summer Camp
Clare is a special education assistant at Abingdon Elementary during the school year.  Before that she worked at the Outdoor Lab year-round for over 6 years. This is Clare’s 9th summer at camp.  She enjoys caring for the animals and helping create murals.  Favorite thing at the Lab: Exploring the Animal Lab with campers


Tom, head senior counselor, will be a junior at Virginia Tech this September. Tom is majoring in computer science and economics and is a trail maintenance enthusiast. This is Tom’s 10th summer at the Lab. Favorite thing at Lab: Building fires

Jacob, senior counselor, will be a sophomore at William and Mary majoring in biology. He enjoys “extremely” long walks barefoot. This is Jacob’s second year working at summer camp. Favorite thing at Lab: Pine Mountain hike.

Ben, senior counselor, will be a sophomore at Rhodes College this fall. He is majoring in chemistry and economics. This is Ben’s 7th summer at the Lab. Favorite thing at the Lab: Being a champion slip and slider.

Charlie, senior counselor, will attend University of Colorado – Boulder in the fall as an international affairs major. He has been at the Outdoor Lab for 7 summers, the last 4 as a part of the staff.  Favorite thing at the Lab: staff.

Kate, senior counselor, is going to be a freshman at William and Mary in September.  This is her 2nd summer working on the senior staff.  Favorite thing at the Lab: making memories and creating special moments that you can’t get anywhere else.

Laura, senior counselor, is new to the Outdoor Lab summer camp staff.  She works as a fifth grade teacher at Campbell Elementary during the school year and loved taking 5th grade overnights so much that she wanted to work at summer camp. Favorite thing at the Lab: boating with campers.

Caroline, senior counselor, will start at William and Mary in September.  She has been at the Outdoor Lab for 7 summers, the last 4 as a part of the staff. Caroline is our resident tie-dye expert. Favorite thing at the Lab: being free of every day constraints

2019 Lab Camp Staff
Front Row L-R: Eric, Moada, Kate, Elizabeth, Maria, Leo
Middle Row L-R: Ben A., Kiera, Ellie, Daniel, Jack, Owen
Back Row L-R: Clare, Laura, Kate, Caroline, Sarah, Cate, Charlie E., Jacob, Tom
Not pictured: Ben M., Patrick, Maya, Charlie R.
2019 Lab Camp Senior Staff
Front Row L-R: Kate, Caroline, Sarah
Middle Row L-R: Laura, Clare, Cate, and Jo
Back Row L-R: Charlie E., Tom, Jacob
Not pictured: Ben M., Patrick, Maya, Charlie R.
2019 Lab Camp Junior Staff
Front Row L-R: Eric, Moada, Kate, Elizabeth, Maria, Leo
Back Row L-R: Ben A., Kiera, Ellie, Daniel, Jack, Owen

2018-2019 School Year Lab Staff

Christine Payack

Director/Teacher- Outdoor Lab

Christine Payack (a.k.a. Ms. Turtle) is honored to be part of the Outdoor Lab community!  She joined the Lab staff in 2016 by way of Jamestown Elementary School (JES) in Arlington where she was a second grade teacher, the Science Lead and supervisor of the fifth grade Green Team.  Her colleagues named her the JES Teacher of the Year in 2013-14.

Her public school teaching experience spans over 30 years in VA, NH and Cambridge, MA and also includes working with children and adults in various afterschool, community and environmental centers. Christine’s students called her the “Creature Teacher” because of her love for all animals domestic and wild. She earned a B.Sc. in Animal Ecology and Conservation from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst and a M.Sc. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University (New England) Graduate School. Christine was recognized as the Massachusetts Audubon- Conservation Teacher of the Year in 1995.  She is a participant in the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center Bridging the Americas program. In the summer, she teaches at the National Zoo’s Summer Safari Day Camp. Christine brings her passion for the natural world into her work with children –striving to teach children to care about each other and all living things– so they believe they can and will make a difference for the environment today and in the future.

Christine hails from New Jersey.  She enjoys reading her field guides, sorting through her “biofacts” and learning as much as she can about nature.  She lives with her elegant retired greyhound, friendly cat, former classroom guinea pig and elder cockatiel.


Kate Sydney

Assistant Director/Teacher- Outdoor Lab

Kate Sydney (aka Ms. Katydid) is excited to join the Outdoor Lab staff in the fall of 2018! While being new to the staff, she is not new to the Outdoor Lab and has participated in nearly 20 overnight trips with her 5th graders in APS.  Most recently, Kate was a 5th grade teacher at Glebe Elementary, but has held a variety of positions in her over 16 years in APS.  Kate, who became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2005, has been an educator for nearly 30 years. The first 10 years of her career were spent in her home state of Wisconsin. While much of her experience was gained as an elementary classroom teacher, Kate has also held several leadership positions, including working at the state and local level on policy related to educator quality and teacher certification and licensure.

Kate has a passion for teaching science and has pursued professional opportunities in science throughout her career. She has spent time working side by side with scientists around the world to expand her science knowledge. This has included opportunities to band birds in Western Australia, tag wild goats in Greece and tag and track black bears in the US.

While at Glebe, Kate worked to establish an outdoor learning space, including working with her students and the Northern Virginia Audubon Society to establish a wildlife sanctuary, where students could observe urban wildlife. Kate also worked with the Virginia Bluebird Society to establish an Eastern Bluebird Trail on the Glebe campus, and worked with a team of volunteers and her students to monitor the boxes, allowing them the opportunity to practice real-world science.

In her free time, Kate enjoys hiking and learning all that she can about nature! She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two pugs.


Anthony Adamovich

Staff, Outdoor Lab

Anthony (a.k.a. Mr. Moose) has been working at the Outdoor Lab since 1991.

Anthony grew up in Arlington and attended APS schools. He worked as an intern at the Outdoor Lab in high school and helped build the original Outdoor Lab tipi as a Scout project.

Anthony went to Northern Virginia Community College and to Prescott College in Central Arizona. His continuing education has included study of native wild edible plants, wildflowers, and amphibians, such as becoming a certified FrogWatcher through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Anthony is also certified as a Wilderness First Responder. Among his many other experiences, he spent the 1997-1998 school year developing and leading programs for State Forests and Parks of Massachusetts under the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps. Anthony enjoys playing music, hiking, birdwatching, and exploring and being in the outdoors.

He lives in Front Royal with his wife Na and their son Winslow.


Jessica Leslie

Staff, Outdoor Lab

Jessica (a.k.a. Ms. Bat) joined the Lab Staff in 2017.

Jessica Leslie grew up in a small Hudson River town called Peekskill situated 45 minutes from New York City. There were two Parkland preserves in her back yard and both her parents were avid art lovers, conservationists and organic gardeners. The choice for her was always between hiking in the woodlands or studying art. The art won, Leslie attended SUNY Purchase and graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Art and Art History.  Most of her working career was in retail store design.

Along the way she moved to Arlington and chose to live here after she met and married her husband Scott Moore. Together they have one son Nigel who is 24, A salt water tank of crazy beautiful fish and corals , and a fluffy cat Wally. In addition she and her family has enjoyed hosting Rotary Exchange students from 3 different countries Germany, Brazil and Indonesia. “This has been a wonderful way to expand our families knowledge of other countries and build life long friendships” said Leslie. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting, gardening, and exploring the natural world in all her travels.

Jessica began working at the lab as a school based sub in 2007 where she has expanded her knowledge of Virginia’s flora and fauna. Jessica says, “Teaching through observation gives students one of the best learning experiences they can have in school, this is what makes my job at the lab challenging and inspirational as a teacher.”


Charlie Resnick

Staff, Outdoor Lab

We welcome Charlie (a.k.a. Mr Turtle) back to the Outdoor Lab!

Charlie was born and raised in Westover, a neighborhood in Arlington not far from Swanson Middle School. As a student at APS, he attended field trips to the Outdoor Lab. This early exposure to learning in nature, as well as experiences at Arlington nature centers and through the Boy Scouts, helped to define who Charlie is today. He continued to visit the Lab through High School as a student and a volunteer, which included the creation of a small gravel road adjacent to the meadow that served as his Eagle Project for Boy Scouts, and as an intern through the Senior Experience Program.

Charlie has served on the Outdoor Lab staff since 2011, first as a counselor at summer camp, then as a part-time assistant teacher from 2013 to 2015. He believes that providing people with experiences in the outdoors, both educational and recreational, can inspire them to pursue efforts in conservation and to explore and cultivate their relationship with the natural world (other humans included).


Christopher Manaois

Staff, Outdoor Lab

Christopher (a.k.a. Mr ____) joined the staff of the Outdoor Lab in the Fall of 2018.

Serving Arlington Public Schools for nearly a decade, Christopher has worked with a wide variety of students ranging from elementary to post-secondary education.

A Virginia native, Christopher enjoys being outside as often as possible with his family, loves to explore the Shenandoah region, but contends there is nowhere more beautiful than the majestic islands of Hawaii.

He lives in Montclair with his wife and their three daughters.

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Simon Klegg

Maintenance Assistant, Outdoor Lab

We welcome Simon as the new Maintenance Assistant to the staff of the Outdoor Lab! More info soon.


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