With the 2023-24 academic year underway, we are pleased to welcome new students and faculty to campus. With the addition of seven new faculty, five of whom are alumni, The Heights now boasts a record setting 34 alumni serving on the faculty ranging from the class of 1980 to the class of 2019. We are delighted to welcome the following faculty and staff members to The Heights community this academic year.
Joseph Blumenauer ’15
Joe Blumenauer, a 2015 graduate of The Heights, returns as a sixth-grade homeroom teacher. After receiving his BA in politics from the University of Dallas, he spent three years teaching in Virginia and San Antonio, Texas. In San Antonio, he taught alongside his wife Bridget during a school year highlighted by the welcoming of their first child, Peter. Mr. Blumenauer has a great love for camping and visiting the country’s National Parks, and is always happy to receive suggestions of where to visit next. He and his family live in Falls Church, Virginia.
Alex Hadley ’14
Alex Hadley teaches seventh grade core and middle school math. After graduating from The Heights School in 2014, Alex earned his BA in Great Books and Classics from the University of Notre Dame where he studied and discussed the great works of Western literature, largely in a seminar format. He has taught and coached for the past five years at Northridge Preparatory School in Chicago, a brother school to The Heights.
Casey Kirk ’19
Casey Kirk, a 2019 graduate of The Heights, returns to teach third grade in the lower school after earning a BA in philosophy and theology from Thomas Aquinas College in 2023. The oldest of ten kids (including two fellow graduates and two current students), Casey is excited to be teaching and working with the boys of the Valley.
Dr. Robert Liotta
Dr. Robert A. Liotta was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. He earned a BS in chemistry from the United States Naval Academy in 1997, and earned his MD from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in 2001. After 29 years of military service, Dr. Liotta retired from the U.S. Navy in October of 2022 at the rank of Captain. Upon retirement, Dr. Liotta joined the department of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and has joined the faculty of The Heights, teaching sixth grade homeroom and eighth grade science. Rob and his wife Julie have six children, two daughters and four sons.
Jim McNiff ’98
Jim serves as chief financial officer at The Heights. In his current role as CFO, he oversees the school’s business operations and directs the fundraising efforts. Jim joins The Heights with over fourteen years of experience working as a tax attorney at two global tax advisory firms. Prior to joining The Heights, Jim was a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he advised large public and private businesses on various complex tax matters. Additionally, Jim previously served as the director of annual giving at The Heights from 2013 to 2015 and was a member of The Heights Board of Directors from 2021 to 2023. He received his BS in accounting with a minor in Classical Greek from the University of Notre Dame. He returned to Notre Dame to receive his juris doctorate in 2007. Jim and his wife Clare reside in Falls Church, Virginia, with their six children.
Ryan O’Connell ’15
Ryan O’Connell serves as a development associate at The Heights. After graduating in 2015, Ryan earned his BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia in 2019, where he studied classics with a concentration in Ancient Greek. Ryan worked for two years as a mechanical and design paralegal specializing in hardware and software patent prosecution at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, an intellectual property law firm in Washington, D.C. From there he went on to work in fundraising for two years with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a D.C.-based pro-life organization with a focus on politics and policy. Outside of his time spent at The Heights, you can find Ryan competing in local ice hockey leagues, adamantly refusing to give up his dream of one day playing for the Washington Capitals.
Pedro Paz has been an educator at every level from middle school to college. He served as an assistant at the University of Maryland, taught at Kenmoor Middle School in Prince George’s County and most recently, taught at Frederick Douglass High School also in Prince George’s County. He received his undergraduate degree in music from Auburn University where he performed in the orchestra, symphonic band, woodwind quintet and brass quintet. He received a master of music degree from the University of Maryland where he performed in University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra as the principal french hornist on an assistantship. Paz is a United States Soccer licensed coach who has coached high school, semipro and club soccer in Maryland. He is a real estate investor and avid fisherman on the Chesapeake Bay. Paz enjoys steep snowboarding in the winters and golfing in the good weather months. He and his wife, Christine have two children under two.