Specialists Bios

Mrs. BedkerMrs. Bedker General Music and Chorus

Mrs. Bedker has been teaching music at Coates since 2014. As a Virginia native, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from George Mason University, and has a background in both piano and voice/chorus. Mrs. Bedker also teaches private and group piano lessons in the NOVA area, and serves as the pianist in her church. In her spare time, she likes fencing, playing board games, and enjoying new food. She is excited to make music with the Coates Stars!

Mrs. BurchMrs. Burch Band Director

This is Mrs. Burch’s first year teaching band at Coates and it is her 10th year teaching in Fairfax County. She teaches band at three elementary schools in the Reston/Herndon area. She attended James Madison University for her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and started teaching in FCPS right out of college.  She completed her Masters of Arts in Curriculum from Virginia Tech in 2016.  Mrs. Burch enjoys spending time with her husband and two cats.  Her interests include bicycling, baking, and traveling. 

Mrs. BedkerMrs. Claessen Art Teacher

Mrs. Claessen began teaching art for Fairfax County in 2011 and joined the staff at Coates Elementary School in 2013. She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for her Bachelor of Arts and graduated with a major in Environmental Design. After working many years in the private sector, she changed careers. She took additional fine art and teaching courses at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), University of Phoenix and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to become an Art Teacher. Mrs. Claessen enjoys spending time with her husband and their three daughters. Her interests include painting, ceramics, travel, and volleyball.

Mr. Crosson Technology Support Specialist


Ms. StubbsMrs. Dinkov General Music and Chorus

Mrs. Dinkov has been teaching music and co-directing the chorus at Coates Elementary since 2010! She earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of South Carolina in Music Education and Piano Performance in 2009. She is currently in progress with a Masters Degree in Education Leadership from George Mason University. She is excited to share her musical skills by playing piano for performances at Coates. Mrs. Dinkov enjoys teaching music to all students, but especially loves to teach students how to play the Orff Instruments, folk dances, and studying famous composers! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with h

Mrs. DugganMrs. Duggan Physical Education

My name is Karen Duggan and I am a physical education and health teacher. I am originally from Pennsylvania and have lived in the Pittsburgh suburbs and the Philadelphia suburbs. As a result, I am a life-long Steeler fan and love certain foods as a result. (perogies, Italian ice, soft pretzels, cheesesteaks) I attended the University of Delaware for my undergraduate degree in and also attended West Chester University for Athletic Training Sports Medicine). I have been teaching in Fairfax County Public Schools for 22 years. I have taught at McLean High School, Westfield High School, and Centreville High School. I have also taught at Colin Powell ES, and am happy to be here at Coates ES for my 3rd year.  My husband also works for FCPS and is the Head Boys Basketball coach and Assistant Director of Student Activities at South Lakes High School. We have two daughters; one will be a freshman this year at SLHS and the other will be a 5th grader at Fox Mill ES. We are definitely a sports family, and enjoy basketball, lacrosse, and swimming. We also love doing many activities that involve being outdoors. We also have a great love of music, and enjoy attending concerts. I also love to eat good food, and enjoy cooking.  I am really looking forward to a great school year, and spending time and learning new things with my students!

Mr. GardinerMr. Gardiner Physical Education

Mr. Gardiner has been at Coates since it first opened in 2010. He started as an instructional assistant, then was hired as a PE teacher in 2011. Mr. Gardiner graduated from George Mason University with an undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education (K - 12). He cherishes spending time with his wife and soon to be 3 year old daughter. He is passionate about his faith and considers it central to his life. His family is heavily involved at the church they attend. Mr. Gardiner loves learning and being outdoors in nature. He enjoys all kinds of physical activities including hiking, basketball, tennis, skiing, and chasing his ever-energetic daughter throughout the house.

Mr. JohnsonMr. Johnson Physical Education

Mr. Johnson is starting his first year with Coates as a Physical Education teacher. He has 12 years of teaching experience. 11 of those years are at the elementary level and 1 year at the middle/high school level. He has taught at Bailey's Elementary/Kent Gardens, Port Towns Elementary, Bonnie Brae Elementary, and Juvenile Detention Center. Mr. Johnson graduated from Lincoln University with his undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education. He spends most of his time with his family doing outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and sports. He is a big Miami Dolphin fan and tries to attend at least one game a year.

Ms. ManiMs. Mani Advanced Academics Resource Teacher

Ms. Mani joined Coates Elementary in 2016, after twenty plus years teaching in Fairfax County and three years as a stay-at-home mom and business owner. She attended middle school and high school in FCPS and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in Education from the University of Virginia. Ms. Mani was recognized by the Virginia Association of the Gifted (VAG) as an Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted in 2009. She has written for the VAG newsletter about her research on student perseverance and has presented for educators in FCPS and Virginia. Her favorite way to spend time outside of school is with her husband and two teen-aged children.

Ms. MeehanMs. Meehan Librarian

Rosemary Meehan joined the Coates staff in 2014. Ms. Meehan has been a media specialist since 1988. She has eight years of experience as a Media Specialist and 10 years as a Children's Librarian in the public libraries. Ms. Meehan has her BFA in Drama from Catholic University, an MLS from the University of MD and an MSIST from GW. She has an AAP certification from FCPS and 24 credits in Special Education. She has three children in UVA, VA Tech, and NOVA. Ms. Meehan loves to use technology to create formal and informal learning experiences.

Mr. RenneMr. Renne Strings Teacher

Mr. Renne has been teaching at Coates Elementary School since 2012. He also teaches orchestra at Rachel Carson Middle School. Mr. Renne has always lived in Virginia and even attended Fairfax County Public Schools. He graduated from Westfield High School and then received his Music Education degree from George Mason University. Mr. Renne enjoys making music and is a member of the American Prize winning Manassas Symphony Orchestra.

Mrs. SmithMrs. Smith General Music and Chorus

Mrs. Smith joined the Coates Music team in 2013. She began her teaching career in 1999 and worked as a General Music teacher in Loudoun County until 2003. During her time home with her 3 children, she worked as a preschool music educator both in various Reston preschools and in her parent/child Music Play classes. She has also worked for many years as a church choir director.  Currently, she is the Director of Children's Choirs at St. John Neumann Church in Reston, a position she has held for 13 years. Mrs. Smith has Bachelor's Degrees in Voice Performance and Music Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She received her Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina. When she is not at Coates, Mrs. Smith enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

Mr. WaldrenMr. Waldren Technology Specialist

Mr. Waldren joined the Coates team in 2015. After teaching a mix of general education and special education for many years, he spent 5 years as a technology specialist at Waynewood Elementary before joining the Coates team. Mr. Waldren graduated from The State University of Geneseo with his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Master's in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. When he's not at Coates, you can find him spending time with his wife, his 1 year old twins, and his friends.  In his free time, he enjoys concerts, traveling, hiking, and camping.