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Leadership Team

Biographies and Contact Information

Executive Director - Carol Edelstein

photo Carol Edelstein has served as the Executive Director of Merritt Academy since December 2006.  She received her bachelor's degree in health services management from LaSalle University preceded by undergraduate studies in early childhood education at the University of Maryland.  Carol taught preschool for 7 years; managed an infant & toddler center for 3 years; was the assistant director at The Talent House Private School (now Merritt Academy) in 1986 - 87; and developed Alzheimer's programing & training for Sunrise Senior Living for 20 years.  Email:  Phone: 703-273-0787 Shutterfly Page

School Principal - Linda Potts

photoLinda Potts has enjoyed being an educator for many years. She brings over 15 years of experience working at Merritt Academy. She received her bachelor's degree in sociology/anthropology from Gettysburg College and holds a master's degree in education administration and supervision. She has held several positions at Merritt including Director of Education, middle school teacher (of multiple subjects),and Curriculum Director.  Email:  Phone: 703-273-2209 Shutterfly Page

Director of Early Childhood Education

Genie O'Hara has spent more than 25 years as a local educator. After growing up in Falls Church City, Genie received her degree in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University. Her educational career has included classroom experience in both public and private school settings, Curriculum Coordinator for a Preschool-6 independent school, and Center Director of a child care center before joining the Merritt leadership team in 2015. Her educational philosophy includes a highly child-centered approach with a focus on utilizing differentiated learning models and fostering positive self-esteem in students.  Genie is the proud mother of three teenagers, and is the owner and director of Every Body Dance, a venture that brings her love of dance and her passion for children together. Email: Phone: 703-273-8000 Ext: 159

Preschool Program Director - Renee Hoegberg

rhFor over twenty years, Renee Hoegberg has worked with families and children as a teacher, administrator, and as a social worker. Renee also wrote and implemented her own music and movement program for young children and has presented it to dozens of preschools in the Washington metropolitan area.  Most recently, she served as the School Assistant Principal at Merritt Academy for nearly a year. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and a 90 hour certification in Early Childhood Education. Renee resides in Fairfax County and is the proud parent of three boys ages, sixteen, twenty-one and twenty-three. Email: Phone: 703-273-5647 Ext: 152

Infant and Toddler Program Director - Milly Areas

MillyMildred ‘Milly’ McNeal joined Merritt Academy in March, 2011, as the Assistant Preschool Director. She has enjoyed working with children in various settings for over 10 years, both in leadership roles as well as the lead teacher in a classroom. She is pursuing undergraduate studies in early childhood education administration and aspires to obtain a master’s degree in educational leadership.  Milly has an appreciation for child-led instruction, where the teachers are natural facilitators.  She believes “childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child”. Email: Phone: 703-273-8000 Ext: 151 or 703-273-4980.

School Counselor and Registrar - Kris Sanchez

CounselorKris Sanchez previously worked for Merritt Academy as the school counselor after nearly 20 years of counseling in public schools in South Dakota.  After a two-year hiatus, she returned to the position of School Counselor/Registrar.  She has experience working with small and large groups as well as individual students, preschool through high school.  She also works with parents and teachers in order to help students thrive in today’s busy and stressful world.  Her favorite activity at Merritt is the direct contact with students while teaching the Second Step character curriculum and the interactions in small group activities.  Email: Phone: (703)273-8000, ext. 168 or 121

Director of Admissions - Amy Pernick

amyAmy Pernick joined Merritt Academy in March, 2009, as the Director of Admissions. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech, having earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Business Leadership.  Amy has prior experience in college admissions at High Point University in High Point, NC, where she gained an appreciation for helping families find the school that is the right “fit” for their child.  She feels that the most rewarding part of her job is watching the students she enrolled thrive and grow as they progress through the academy. Email: Phone: (703) 539-8394 Shutterfly Page


I like Merritt Academy because the teachers make learning fun.

Merritt Academy
2nd Grade Student

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