Faculty and Staff

Our teachers are masters at crafting authentic learning experiences, from meeting with researchers at University of Maryland’s Horn Point oyster hatchery to reviewing upcoming agriculture legislation with Chesapeake Bay Foundation lobbyists in advance of meeting with state Senators.  


John Lewis, Headmaster

A Maryland native, John Lewis has served as Gunston’s Headmaster since 2010.  During his tenure, he has sought to further enhance the school’s renowned Chesapeake Bay Studies Program, and he has overseen the development and implementation of the school’s first-ever Environmental Strategic Plan.  He is also the founder and leader of the Environmental Leadership for Independent School Leaders conference, an innovative 3-day seminar developed in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, AIMS, VAIS, and AISGW.  In 2016, he attended the inaugural Yale Sustainability Leaders Forum, and he has presented at the NAIS Conference on Sustainability Leadership.

Prior to Gunston, John served as a Head of Upper School, Director of Studies, Dean of Students, and teacher of English, Philosophy, and Government at independent schools in the United States and Singapore. John holds an A.B. in English from Georgetown University, he earned an Ed.M. in Teaching and Learning from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. in Private School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Deeply committed to the values of environmental education and sustainability, John enjoys living on Gunston’s waterfront campus with his wife and two daughters.


Emily Beck, Director

Emily Beck serves as The Gunston School’s Sustainability Coordinator and Bay Studies Program Director.  Prior to coming to Gunston, Emily spent three years in Charlottesville, VA serving as the program director of the environmental education nonprofit, The Green Adventure Project.  

Emily has over ten years of formal and non-formal teaching experiences and has worked for many notable environmental education organizations including Shelburne Farms, National Audubon Society, and W. Alton Jones Center of University of Rhode Island.   She taught at the Woolman Semester, a Quaker semester school in California, and the Westtown School.  

Since arriving at Gunston in 2013, Emily has worked to bring  environmental education best-practices to the school’s Chesapeake Bay Studies Program, and she authored the school’s first-ever Environmental Strategic Plan. In 2016, shepresented at the NAIS Conference on Sustainability Leadership.

Emily holds a B.A. in Environmental Biology from Colgate University, and a M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England with a focus in conservation biology and ecological literacy.  

Emily would rather be outdoors than in, and loves exploring the Eastern Shore with her two and four legged family members.   

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Owain Heyden

Owain Heyden is an environmental humanities teacher at the Chesapeake Watershed Semester. Prior to living in Maryland, he worked as a park ranger in Yosemite National Park, leading interpretive programs and chasing black bears away from visitors. Additionally, he has served in AmeriCorps as an environmental educator for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Owain holds a B.A. in English and History.  He is an experienced writing instructor, academic tutor, and backpacking expedition leader. He has studied abroad at Cambridge University, completing their semester program with a concentration in American Literature. Owain seeks to forge genuine connections between students, texts, and landscapes. He enjoys hiking, swimming, and bluegrass music.