2346 S Wilbur Ave, Walla Walla WA 99362

Staff and Faculty

Nima Duncan

Nima Duncan, Principal

Nima Duncan joined Saint Basil Academy in July 2020, after he and his family made their way to Walla Walla from Portland, Oregon. A lifelong learner and educator with over nine years of leadership, ministry, and administrative experience, Mr. Duncan serves as principal and core teacher for fourth and fifth grades for the 2020-21 school year.  He has a wealth of experience in Christian education, community service and coalition building.

A writer, sports enthusiast, and first-generation American, Mr. Duncan is excited to bring his love of literature, philosophy, and history to Saint Basil Academy.

Mr. Duncan holds a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Liberty University and a MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Emma, are enjoying their first year living in Walla Walla with their son.

Kathryn Thompson

Kathryn Thompson, Lead Teacher

A familiar face at St. Basil Academy over the past thirteen years with an avid love of teaching, Kathryn Thompson has seen our school grow from a handful of students in a small rental house to its fullness on our permanent campus here on South Wilbur. Mrs. Thompson educates with decades of experience as a mother a grandmother, Special Education teacher, former coordinator for Blue Mountain Community College’s ESL program, tutoring, and teaching kindergarten through ninth grade here at St. Basil’s. She will be the core teacher for second and third grades for the upcoming school year.

Mrs. Thompson holds a BA in Education from Washington State University with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language, and a Masters in Teaching from Heritage University.

With her husband, Terry, Mrs. Thompson enjoys keeping chickens and bees, gardening, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Elizabeth Reese

Elizabeth Reese, Faith and History teacher

Elizabeth has been volunteering or employed at Saint Bsil Academy from its inception fourteen years ago.  Not only have six of her seven children attended St Basil’s over the years, but she has been a major supporter of our staff and students. She currently teaches faith and primary reading to the kinders, and in the afternoons she teaches twentieth-century world history to our part time ninth graders.  Elizabeth is often found on the playground and lunch room monitoring lunch and recess, and volunteering at various fundraisers. She attended the University of Alaska where she took education courses and worked as a student teacher  She has worked with special education students, and for varying number of years she has home schooled four of her seven children.  She is often our “go to” person for questions about teaching history and faith, her two favorite subjects.

Darby LeClair

Darby LeClair, Bookkeeper, Home Economics and Craft Teacher

Darby wears many important hats at Saint Basil Academy. Not only is she the mother of two SBA students, but she teaches critical thinking, home economics (including some financial management), and creative crafts for first–fifth grades, and typing for fourth–fifth graders. This year, she has also taken on the very important role of bookkeeper for the school. Darby has been an active and faithful volunteer and employee at SBA for five years. She has a BS in Physical and Cultural Anthropology and a Cultural Resource Management certificate from Southern Oregon University. Darby’s many hobbies, including culinary research, medieval reenactment and education, sewing and soapstone carving all inspire and enhance the content of the classes she teaches.

Brandon Thompson

Brandon Thompson, Middle School Teacher

Brandon Thompson has been teaching for sixteen years, including five years at Saint Basil Academy. He began his career teaching GED classes to inner-city youth in Chicago. After that, he spent several years teaching writing and literature at four different community colleges.

Brandon has an undergraduate degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in writing with an emphasis on teaching writing, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry.

Brandon is married and has six children; when he has spare time, he enjoys spending time with his kids, reading, writing poetry, jogging, and making music.

Philippa Wauchek

Philippa Wauchek, Art and Music Teacher, Grades 4-5

Philippa brings creativity to Saint Basil academy. She teaches Art and Drama to fourth—5th grades, Drama to the middle schoolers, and fills in wherever else needed. Being an alumni of the school, she can relate to the students on another level. Taking inspiration from her past Drama teachers, she strives to create a comfortable environment for the students. Her hobbies include painting, filming and editing videos, playing numerous instruments, and expanding her art skills with new mediums. She always looks forward to putting together new engaging projects for her classes!

Mara Lewis

Mara Lewis, Kindergarten Teacher

“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships” – Zora Neale Hurston

I had the privilege of growing up in a large family steeped in ideas, literature, art and music. I waded the sewers with Jean Valjean, fought duels with the Count of Monte Cristo, hoped and dreamed with Rilla of Ingleside, and will be forever grateful for an education that showed me there’s no end to learning; that I will always be on the quest for knowledge, truth and beauty.

With 6 years of experience teaching music and extra curricular classes to children ages 4-15, I have a broad knowledge of child development and how to carefully craft a lesson to fit a child’s specific learning style. I am actively continuing my own educational development by taking classes in my spare time, and working towards more certifications in early childhood education.

At St. Basil Academy Kindergarten I strive to create an environment where children can develop curiosity, exploration, creativity, and innovation. An environment that fosters resilience, problem solving skills, risk taking, oral language skills, collaboration, mathematical understanding, and a deep connection with nature.

I work hard to nurture a sense of wonder in my students, and ignite the spark of excitement for learning that will serve as a gateway to their journey of becoming seekers of wisdom.

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson, Science Teacher

Genevieve Poirot

Shanna Genevieve Poirot, Art Teacher

Phillip McKeen

Phillip McKeen, Technology Teacher

Father Daniel

Fr Daniel Reese, Chaplain