Arlington Public Schools employs the Outdoor Lab staff under the leadership of Sarah Putnam, Executive Director Curriculum & Instruction in the Academics Office led by Dr. Gerald R. Mann Jr, the Chief of Academics.
With the support of the Arlington School Board and Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán, the Outdoor Lab staff for the 2023-2024 school year includes 8 full-time employees to support the growing student population. The Lab Staff includes three 12-month employees (2 administrative & 1 custodial) and Five 10-month employees (all resource assistants). Summer Camp is led by additional APS staff.
In addition, APS resources from a variety of departments including: Human Resources, Facilities & Operations, Finance & Management Services, Information Services, and School & Community Relations, support the partnership between APS and the AOEA that keeps the Outdoor Lab a strong educational resource. These departments are led by the Superintendent’s Cabinet.
Supervisor- Outdoor Lab
Scott joined the Outdoor Lab in July 2023 after having served as an assistant principal at Swanson Middle School and Yorktown High School.
Scott began his teaching career at Wakefield High School over two decades ago. In that time, he has seen the impacts that hands-on, experiential learning has with students. In particular, he has been struck by the ways in which the ODL becomes a learning touchstone for students and a way of bonding for the APS student body.
Just like our students, Scott is excited to be outdoors, watching students learn and explore in ways that come naturally to children.
Scott lives in Manassas with his wife (also an APS educator) and has two adult children.
Coordinator- Outdoor Lab
Rochelle joined the Outdoor Lab in 2022 as the first Administrative, 12-month APS employee.
As a life-long learner with a love of nature and natural places, Rochelle enjoys camping, hiking, and exploring the world.
She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from James Madison University and has a second graduate program in School Administration and Supervision from SU.
During her 30-year career, Rochelle has worked with every level of student—from Preschool through High School, and has been adjunct faculty at JMU, EMU and MU.
Rochelle has worked as school administrator leading both large and small schools, and has developed science curriculum, assessments, and resources for teachers at the county level.
She is delighted to be at the Outdoor Lab Program working directly with students across Arlington, supporting teachers and families to further their understanding and love for the natural world.
Resource Assistant, Outdoor Lab
Jessica (aka Ms. Bat) re-joined the Lab Staff full-time in 2017. She began working at the Lab as a school based sub in 2007.
Jessica Leslie grew up in Peekskill, NY, a small Hudson River town 45 minutes from New York City. Two Parkland preserves were 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.
In addition she and her family 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 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.”
Jessica lives in Arlington with her husband Scott Moore, son Nigel, a salt-water tank of crazy beautiful fish and corals, and a fluffy cat Wally.
Resource Assistant- Outdoor Lab
Christopher (aka Mr Bat) joined the Outdoor Lab staff in 2018. Christopher stepped up to serve as the Acting Director of the Outdoor lab from July – October 2019 and again July – August 2022
Serving Arlington Public Schools for a decade, Christopher worked with a wide variety of students ranging from elementary to post-secondary education. He transferred to the Outdoor Lab from the Arlington Career Center.
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, three daughters and son.
Resource Assistant, Outdoor Lab
Gayle joined the Outdoor Lab Staff in 2019.
Gayle is a practicing Licensed Practical Nurse and recently completed the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) training and is awaiting her national certification. She also carries a certificate for Mental Health First Aid for Adolescents.
In addition to having a science background, Gayle enjoys the outdoors and has been an Outdoor Ropes Course instructor.
Gayle resides in The Plains, Virginia.
Resource Assistant, Outdoor Lab
Sarah McAbee joined the Outdoor Lab as a long-term substitute in March of 2023 and is excited to be a full-time assistant at the Lab for the 2023-2024 school year. Sarah loves sharing her love of science and the outdoors with students.
Sarah has a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in environmental science and policy from George Mason University. She worked as an environmental scientist for an environmental consulting firm working in the field to clean polluted sites for various government locations. Sarah worked at George Mason University for fifteen years in the Environmental Health and Safety Office assisting instructional and research faculty in conducting work with infectious diseases safely.
Sarah is an active volunteer in her community and loves to ride her bike, hike with her family, and lift weights in her free time.
Custodian, Outdoor Lab
Hoang joined the Lab Staff in 2019 as its first, full-time custodian.
Hoang has over 10 years of custodial experience with APS and most recently worked at Ashlawn Elementary School.
He has extensive experience with both indoor and outdoor maintenance of buildings and grounds.
Hoang resides in Manassas, Virginia.
Bus Drivers, Outdoor Lab
APS chooses 1-2 experienced bus drivers to transport classes on their Outdoor Lab field trips. They pickup students at each school and safely get them to and from the Outdoor Lab.