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Allyn, Meredith

2nd Grade Teacher

Ms. Allyn is beginning her 14th year teaching. She was born and raised in Rockville, Maryland and attended East Carolina University, go Pirates! After graduation she moved to Charleston where she started working at Loving and Learning. After working there for two years she started as a substitute in Charleston County schools where she taught everything from Computer Lab to being a CD assistant. After almost a year of substituting she got a job teaching Kindergarten at Hunley Park Elementary, where she has been teaching for the past 13 years. Throughout this time she gained a love for teaching reading. From 2015-2017 she went to The Citadel to receive her masters in Literacy. Ms. Allyn loves to travel to new places. Some of her favorite places she has been is Vietnam and Peru. She loves the beach so much that she decided to move to Folly Beach with her sister and their two dogs.

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Bair, Shila

Operations Manager - Logistics

Ms. Bair is an Operations Manager here at Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She moved to Charleston from Boston, Massachusetts in January of 2017. She attended Suffolk University in Boston and ever the history major, she is beyond enchanted by the rich traditions and storied past this amazing city has to offer. Her passion to serve her community began when she acted as Elementary Teaching Assistant for a summer enrichment program geared towards closing the education and opportunity gap for children in underserved communities. Having come from a similar background she was truly able to connect with her students and feels inclined to pay it forward. Ms. Bair loves to cook, travel, spend time with her fiancé Kyle and puppy Lola, cheer for her hometown teams (Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celtics!), and listen to true crime podcasts.

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Bealmear, Tyler

Special Education Teacher

Mr. Bealmear is beginning his first year at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns working as a Special Education Teacher for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. He was born in Kentucky and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. After graduating from high school he moved to the Lowcountry and later graduated from Coastal Carolina University with his Bachelor's Degree in Special Education - Multi-Categorical. He has worked for the past few years as a teacher here in Charleston serving students with Autism, moderate intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disabilities. Outside of school, Mr. Bealmear enjoys art shows, live music, sports, biking, serving as a mentor for adolescence and adults with disabilities, cooking, and traveling.

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Bellanco, Nick

PE Teacher

Coach Bellanco is the Physical Education teacher for Meeting Street Elementary Burns. He Moved to Charleston from Scranton, Pennsylvania in August 2018. He is beginning his sixth year teaching and has experience teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. When not teaching, Coach B is extremely passionate about health and fitness, especially bodybuilding. He is also an avid sports fan, who's favorite teams include the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Hurricanes, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Bledsoe, Virginia

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Bledsoe is a recent graduate of the College of Charleston, where she received a B.S. in Special Education, and is beginning her first year as a Special Education Teacher. She previously student-taught Special Education at Meeting Street @ Burns and is so excited to officially become a member of the Burns family this year! Ms. Bledsoe (or Ms. B, as the students call her) grew up in a military family and moved around to ten different schools during her childhood, allowing her to see how education was provided across many different regions. Closing the achievement gap and ensuring equitable education for those with special needs became issues close to her heart. During her time in college, she found herself involved in college cheerleading at The Citadel (while attending CofC), acted as a committee chair for CofC Teaching Fellows, and volunteered for programs in the Charleston community like HEART (an inclusive arts community), Purple Tutus, and Project Playground. In her spare time, Ms. Bledsoe loves to go to the beach and explore Charleston.

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Bretl, Kristine

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Bretl will be starting her first year with Meeting Street Elementary at Burns, but her ninth year teaching overall. She attended the University of Iowa and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Reading and Language Arts. This Spring, she finished her graduate program from her alma mater and now holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency. Before settling into a first grade classroom for 5 years, she was a preschool and substitute teacher for grades K-8. Her passion for education extends beyond the school day. During her time as a first grade teacher, she coached cheerleading and led an after school homework program. She moved from Chicago, Illinois to Charleston this summer and is so excited to take advantage of the warmer weather. Outside of teaching, Ms. Bretl loves to play with her dog, Kona, try out new recipes in the kitchen, snuggle up with a good book, and practice yoga.

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Carter, Julia

Academic Interventionist

Ms. Carter is from down the road and across some bridges on Johns Island, SC where she grew up! She received both her BA (Hollins University) and her Masters of Science (College of Charleston) in Environmental Science.  In addition, she is a Certified Practitioner of Orton-Gillingham through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She started with Meeting Street Elementary at Burns in January 2019 and this is her 10th year of teaching overall. In her free time, Ms. Carter likes outdoor adventures - especially on the water, cooking, working out, and traveling.

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Cary, Amanda

5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Cary will be beginning her first year at Meeting Street Elementary as a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher. Before teaching at MSE, Ms. Cary taught for 3 years at North Middle/High School in Orangeburg County, where she served as the English department chair, yearbook advisor, and middle school girls basketball and volleyball coach. Prior to moving to South Carolina, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and studied journalism, political science, business, and leadership. Her passion for education was sparked when she interned at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C., which prompted her to join Teach For America and contribute to combatting educational inequity. Through her work and life, she strives to live out her core values of authenticity, intentionality, empathy, equity, and excellence. Ms. Cary enjoys cheering on her Colorado sports teams, going on outdoor adventures, traveling, watching documentaries, and listening to live music.

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Chapman, Lori

3rd Grade Teacher

Ms. Chapman is beginning her first year as a third grade teacher at Meeting Street Elementary. She was born and raised in North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Communicative Arts. After graduation Ms. Chapman began her teaching career in North Carolina where she taught for twenty years. She has been a Team Leader, Mentor Teacher, Cooperating Teacher, Math Teacher Leader, and was a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood. In her spare time Ms. Chapman enjoys traveling, cooking, pilates, playing tennis and spending time with family, friends and her two longhaired dachshunds; Gus and Tucker.

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Chavez, Grace

Kinder Teaching Fellow

Ms. Chavez is so thrilled to be a teaching fellow at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns! This will be her first year as a teacher. She attended Ball State University where she received her degree in Health and Physical Education. She also played Division 1 field hockey for 4 years at Ball State. She is originally from Norfolk, Virginia and has one older brother. She enjoys running, going to the beach, and reading. She is so excited for an amazing year of learning.

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Chitty, Kristen

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Chitty is beginning her first year as a special education teacher at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. She was raised in Atlanta, Georgia but quickly fell in love with Charleston when she moved to attend College of Charleston. She followed her passion for education and studied special education while at CofC. She went on to teach for two years at Goose Creek High School and loved her time spent building relationships with students and families. While teaching, she realized the reality of the achievement gap. She decided to go back to school and is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Ms. Chitty is thrilled to be returning to her favorite city and most of all, to the classroom. She cannot wait to join the MSE@Burns team! In her free time, she enjoys traveling, attempting to cook, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog Bella.

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Downey, Jordan

Social Worker

Ms. Downey is the school social worker for Meeting Street Elementary @ Burns. She is from Nashville, Tennessee. She has lived in Knoxville where she received her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Tennessee as well as Columbia, SC where she received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Before coming to Meeting Street, she worked with Duke University’s Talent Identification Program and their students for several years serving in their residential camps. She worked with Homeless No More SC and Richland County School District One as an MSW Intern. Ms. Downey has also assisted with several non-profits in the South Carolina area that focus on empowerment of children and their families. She has tried to use her passion for helping children, youth, and their families guide her throughout her career. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her pets, visiting family and friends, cheering on the UT Vols, starting new DIY projects, and discovering new foods.

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Ellison, Matt

PE Teacher

Mr. Ellison is originally from Sharon, Pennsylvania. He obtained his BS in kinesiology from Penn State. Then he decided he wanted to teach. He then went to graduate school for health and physical education. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, surfing, and staying active.

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Giles, Nik'Toshia

PreK Teacher

Ms. Giles received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. While attending USC, she was a South Carolina Teaching Fellow. Through this program she was able to attend several professional developments, including attending Ron Clark Academy in Georgia. She brings innovative hands-on activities into the classroom and focuses on confidence building in each student. She believes in setting a high standard of academic excellence and achievement. Outside of school, Ms. Giles enjoys traveling, listening to music, and hanging out with her friends and family.

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Groves, Charlotte

5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Groves is beginning her first year here at Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She moved to Charleston from Delaware. She attended the University of Delaware where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. During her time, she student taught in under-served communities. Her most valuable experience was 3rd grade and her fondest memory was teaching a Social Justice curriculum called Need and Indeed. Where her students got to choose a community problem, hear from a community member with first-hand knowledge about the issues and impact, and do a series of hands on activities to dive deeper into the problem. This is how she hopes to build on her teaching philosophy of applying real world situations to her daily lessons. She is a first-year corps member with an organization she’s very passionate about called Teach for America. Their mission is to expand opportunity for all children no matter what zip code you come from. In her free time, Ms. Groves loves the beach, Traveling (Sedona is her favorite), going to concerts/festivals, and trying new workout classes -F45 is her favorite so far! She is so excited to explore Charleston and be a part of this community!

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Hamilton, Erica

Kinder Teacher & Department Chair

Ms. Hamilton is excited to be a founding Kindergarten teacher at Meeting Street Elementary @Burns! Before teaching in Charleston, she was a Special Education Teacher for two years in Massachusetts. She received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Endicott College. In her classroom, Ms. Hamilton strives to create a welcoming and enjoyable environment for all students. She strives to help her students feel successful by helping them reach their goals and challenging them along the way. Outside of school, Ms. Hamilton enjoys spending time with friends and family, working out, reading, and going to the beautiful beaches in Charleston!

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Harvey, Samantha

Behavior Interventionist

Ms. Harvey is a Behavioral Interventionist at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. She was born and raised in Iowa and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Political Science at Luther College. She then moved to California to be closer to her now husband of almost 5 years. She was called to work as an Assistant Family Teacher with Boys Town California. Ms. Harvey worked in a group home of 6 teenage boys on teaching social skills and building healthy relationships in order to help each child succeed in life. She found her passion in getting to know each one of the kids and celebrating each victory and success, no matter how big or small. She moved to the Charleston area late 2019 due to her husband’s relocation and is loving every bit of it. Ms. Harvey loves to read fantasy and horror novels in her spare time.

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Hughes, Joey

4th Grade Teacher

Ms. Hughes is a native of Savannah, GA, and moved to Birmingham, AL to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations and History from Samford University. She began her teaching career in New Orleans, LA as a 2018 Corps Member with Teach for America. She has a passion for going beyond traditional expectations to support the academic and personal growth of her students. In her free time, Ms. Hughes loves to hang out at the beach, travel, watch movies, and see her favorite New Orleans jazz bands. Although she is sad to leave the "Big Easy", Joey is excited to begin her third year of teaching by serving the amazing kids of Charleston, SC.

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Jenkins, Charniqua

Kinder Teacher

Ms. Jenkins is a graduate of Trident Technical College. Born and raised in Charleston, SC she worked with Charleston County School District for 3 years in the Kaleidoscope program where she tutored students, helped children set career goals, and provided a safe, supervised, and structured program for youth. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Jenkins enjoys traveling, shopping, and spending time with her family.

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Kais, Grace

4th Grade Teaching Fellow

Ms. Kais started at MSE@BURNS as a substitute teacher! After a few months she decided she wanted to join the team full time, and will be returning for the 21-22 school year as a Teaching Fellow! Ms. Kais moved from Fairfield, Connecticut to attend The College of Charleston, but after graduating in 2020 she decided she loved the city too much to leave! In her free time, Ms. Kais likes to go to the beach, hangout with friends and find any cool, new spots to eat!

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Keane, Benjamin

5th Grade Teacher

Mr. Keane is beginning his first year here at Meeting Street Elementary as a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher. Mr. Keane graduated from Francis Marion University in 2015 where he studied political science and was a member of the baseball team. During his senior year at FMU, he began tutoring at a local Boys and Girls Club, which sparked his love for teaching. After graduation he joined Teach for America and spent three years teaching 7th grade ELA and coaching baseball and basketball at Southside Middle School in Florence, SC. Mr. Keane spent the last three years in Chicago, IL, where he served as the 6th grade reading teacher, grade level chair, and baseball coach at Gary Comer College Prep Middle School. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, going to the beach, fishing, cheering on his Hornets and Panthers, playing basketball, and of course... reading!

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Keesecker, Dulce

3rd Grade Teacher

Ms. Keesecker is a garduate of the College of Charleston where she will received a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. She enlisted into the United States Army right after high school where she served four years. She completed one tour in Afghanistan and a short tour in Senegal, Africa. After her enlistment she moved to Charleston, South Carolina where she is finishing her degree in education. In her spare time, Ms. Keesecker loves to travel, go to the beach, spend time with her family and friends, and hang out with her husband Brian and dogs Athena and Maia.

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Kettering, Ben

Behavior Interventionist

Mr. Kettering is beginning his first year as a Behavioral Interventionist at Meeting Street Academy at Burns. He was born and raised in West Virginia and attended Amherst College in Massachusetts where he received a Bachelor's Degree in History and played football. After graduation he moved to the boarding school, Tilton School, in New Hampshire where he spent two years teaching literature and history and coaching football and basketball. After developing a passion for coaching he moved to Brooklyn, New York to work at Poly Prep Country Day School where he spent 6 years as the head varsity boys basketball coach and the Associate Director of Admissions. Upon completing his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania during his last year at Poly Prep, he moved to Charleston to live closer to family and to continue to pursue his passion for coaching, psychology, mentorship, and clinical mental health counseling. Mr. Kettering spent this past year in Charleston coaching West Ashley's varsity boys basketball team but has recently moved on to focus on getting a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He enjoys spending time with his many nieces and nephews, playing music, reading, cooking, and eating as much as he can. He's incredibly excited to join the Meeting Street Academy community.

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King, Marquita

PreK Teacher

Ms. King is starting her first year teaching at Meeting Street Elementary @ Burns. She was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended a historically black university, North Carolina Central University and obtained her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She is a first generation college graduate and graduated Magna Cum Laude from NCCU. While completing her undergraduate degree, she worked as an active substitute in Title 1 schools with Durham County Public School System. During her senior year, she was chosen to attend NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project. She spent a week at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, training and learning how to incorporate kid friendly STEM projects in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Ms. King enjoys reading, trying new recipes, listening to music, time at the beach and watching reruns of old Saturday morning cartoons. She looks forward to working with students, parents, teachers, and the community to fulfill the need of her students on their academic journeys.

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Kuzmenko, Alex

IT Manager

Mr. Kuzmenko is our campus IT Manager. He is the proud dad of two little ones and happily married to his childhood sweetheart. He was born in Cherkasy, Ukraine and migrated to Massachusetts in 2001 with his parents and nine siblings. He has fond memories of overcoming the language barrier and adjusting to the new culture. He played men’s varsity volleyball and soccer in high school and won the volleyball state title in 2010. He graduated high school with both a Diploma and the Information Support Services & Networking Certificate. Mr. Kuzmenko worked for an IT consulting company until he decided to move to Charleston South Carolina in 2015. Shortly after he became a Field Engineer primarily working on repairing copiers and configuring networking settings to make sure the end user had no problems printing, scanning, coping and faxing. Acquiring this knowledge, he became an expert troubleshooter and installer and was given the task of coordinating installs between customers and vendors and the end users to make sure the transition to the new devices were seamless. In his spare time he enjoys fishing, BBQing, playing sports and spending quality time with his family and friends.

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Lamb, Hannah

Art Teacher

Ms. Lamb teaching career started with Teach for America in a quest to make our education system more equitable across our country. Unlike most races run, this one has only given her more fire and energy as she runs it! She comes to Charleston with 3 years of teaching experience from the banks of the Mississippi river in Arkansas. She has spent time teaching 5th grade general education and kindergarten through fifth grade art. She served as a grade level chair and the head of after school programming in the past and is excited to bring her experiences to Meeting Street Schools' students. Ms. Lamb graduated from Campbell University in North Carolina with a double major in Public Relations and Spanish with a minor in Health Communications. She played Division I lacrosse for 4 years and loves to be active and share her love for the game with others! When not teaching and learning in the classroom, she loves to be outside, to be creating (literally anything-send her some ideas!), and to be with her dog, Levi.

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Laribo, Sydney

Performing Arts Teacher

Ms. Laribo is so eager and excited to fill her new role as Performing Arts Teacher for Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She is a Charleston native who has returned home. In May of 2020 she graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. There she created a Holistic Wellness track within her program. Despite her career track changes during her undergraduate years, theater has been and will always be her first love (which is clearly exemplified by her full freshman year as a Musical Theatre BFA student). Ms. Laribo has gained experience teaching at The Chalkboard Preschool in Hanahan, South Carolina. She also has worked as a dance and theatre teacher for the Studio Kidz summer camp at Pinewood Prep. She is enthusiastic to begin her new journey with MSE. In her free time, she enjoys singing showtunes (at the top of her lungs), trying new restaurants, dancing like no one is watching and listening to comedy podcasts.

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Lesky-Aull, Jennamarie

Lead Behavior Interventionist

Ms. Lesky-Aull is beginning her first year at Meeting Street Schools as a Lead Behavior Interventionist. She is a Charleston native and played volleyball at Wando High School and then went on to play in college. She graduated from Columbia College with an Elementary Education degree and pursued her masters degree from Northeastern University. During her 10 years of teaching she gained experience from multiple states including South Carolina, Connecticut & North Carolina. While in Connecticut Ms. Lesky-Aull was apart of the 2014-2015 third grade team that had the highest math scores in the state and was recognized by her Superintendent. While working as a third grade teacher in Raleigh, NC, she also served as the leader of the Tier Behavior Team to support teachers and students throughout the building. She is so excited to be moving back to Charleston and closer to her family! She loves spending time on the boat with her family and loves to take her 4 year old son shark fishing. In her free time she loves to go fishing offshore, hunting, running, and anything competitive.

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McKeown, Daniel

Director of Operations

Mr. McKeown was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina but moved to Athens, West Virginia to attend Concord University to pursue his undergraduate work in Elementary Education. He began his teaching career with Mercer County as a Title 1 Instructional and Reading Teacher. After two years, he moved back home to South Carolina to be closer to the coast in Beaufort. Mr. McKeown taught First grade and Kindergarten in Beaufort County for four years at Joseph Shanklin Elementary. During this time, he completed his Master of Education in Educational Administration, served on district and school committees, wrote district-wide curriculum, mentored new teachers, and evaluated teacher performance. In 2018, he started as Director of Development and Marketing for the Neighborhood Outreach Connection, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty. Mr. McKeown loves to relax with Brian and their two dogs and cat, search for shark’s teeth, read books that take him to a different world, and sing and dance to music.

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Mendieta, Felipe

PreK Teacher

Mr. Mendieta is beginning his first year as an Early Education Teacher at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. He was born in Miami, FL but was raised in Nicaragua which is the country of his parents. He did his undergraduate studies in Nicaragua at Thomas More University. In Nicaragua he witnessed the terrible effects of education inequality. During his time as student he engaged in social projects to help communities who did not enjoy the same advantages as others. After gaining work experience for 3 years in a Nicaraguan bank, he moved to Tallahassee to study at Florida State University for his master's degree in International Affairs. Being bilingual and living in a Third World country made him decide to use his skills to support and help children achieve the education they deserve. In his spare time, Mr. Mendieta enjoys watching movies, especially old movies, listening to jazz music, reading novels and spending time outdoors.

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Michaeli, Brielle

Kinder Teacher

Ms. Michaeli is beginning her first year as a Teaching Fellow at Meeting Street Elementary @ Burns. She is from Fort Mill, South Carolina and moved to Charleston for college. She attended Charleston Southern University and received her degree in Early Childhood Education. She completed her student teaching experience in a second-grade class at Sangaree Elementary. This experience gave her a strong passion for education and creating community inside of the classroom. Ms. Michaeli also participated in the CERRA Teaching Fellow program throughout college. She has been around kids her whole life, from nannying to teaching swim lessons, every job has involved kids! In her free time she loves to cook, travel near and far, hang out with friends, and watch the sunset on the beach.

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Morris, MaKayla

5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Morris is beginning her first year with Meeting Street as a Teaching Fellow! She was born and raised in Virginia, but moved to Tennessee to complete her Bachelors in Human Services at East Tennessee State University. During her time at ETSU, she spent her sophomore Spring Break with the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico and worked with high school students. She fell in love with the thought of teaching and decided to change her career path. Upon graduation from ETSU, she attended the College of Charleston where she received her Masters of Arts in Teaching in grades 2-6. During her time at CofC, she completed her clinical hours in a fourth-grade classroom. Outside of teaching, Ms. Morris enjoys going to Folly Beach and Sullivan's Island to watch the sunset, walking The Battery with friends, drawing, and taking cycling classes! She is looking forward to her second year living in Charleston, South Carolina and exploring the low country!

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Newcity, Katherine

Media Specialist

Ms. Newcity is entering her tenth year as an elementary Media Specialist. She is very excited to be starting at MES@Burns as the school's first Media Specialist. She was born and raised in Charleston but moved to Rock Hill, SC to pursue an undergraduate degree in both Psychology and Sociology at Winthrop University. Then, she went on to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching. During this time, she worked as an Outreach Assistant at the York County Library. It was then that Ms. Newcity decided to combine her love of the library with her drive towards student achievement in education. She went on to obtain her Masters in Library Science with a certification as a school media specialist from the University of South Carolina. She loves to travel, chase snow storms, attend wrestling events, and sing to her heart's content at live music concerts. She is living and loving life with her husband and two year old daughter who keeps her on her toes.

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Nye, Danielle

Special Edcation Teacher & Department Chair

Ms. Nye previously taught at Meeting Street Elementary @ Brentwood. Before joining the Meeting Street Schools team she taught with CCSD for four years as a Special Education Teacher at Thomas C. Cario Middle School. Prior to that she spent one year teaching in Hardeeville, South Carolina and a year teaching special education with a school in Parma, Ohio. She is passionate about special education. Ms. Nye is from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor's degree in special education from Miami University of Ohio. While in college she focused on both mild to moderate and moderate to severe special education with a focus on family studies. Outside of teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three dogs, Caitlyn, Lucy and Sullivan. She also uses her free time to enjoy the beaches, crafting and cooking.

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Pardo, Katelyn

2nd Grade Teacher

Ms. Pardo is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. She was offered a soccer scholarship to play her 5th and final year at The Citadel as she worked towards earning her Master’s Degree in Education in Literacy. Ms. Pardo has a true passion for helping children stay motivated and engaged in their learning. When she is not in the classroom she likes to workout, spend time with family, hang out at the beach, and cook.

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Patel, Jigisha

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Patel was born in Winona, Mississippi and raised in a small town called Covington, Tennessee. She also speaks three different languages including English, Hindi and Gujarati. She brings joy, laughter and a deep passion to help her students. She has spent her last few years educating students in Memphis, Tennessee. She taught at Memphis College Preparatory Elementary, preparing kindergartners for first grade. She uses her creative thinking skills to design interactive challenging assignments that are fun and engaging for all students in her class. She also uses her unique background to connect with a diverse range of students so that they all feel included and understood. Ms. Patel earned her Master's of Arts in Teaching at Relay Graduate School of Education in Memphis and her Bachelors of Science in Education at the University of Memphis. Outside of teaching she enjoys travelling, running, swimming and spending time with her family.  

 

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Payton, Kaitlin

5th Grade Teacher

Ms. Payton moved to Charleston from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2014 to pursue her career in education. She has 7 years’ experience teaching and most of those years were spent in underserved communities. She has always wanted to be a teacher and has been drawn to serve the communities that need it the most. Being from the Philadelphia area, her interest in underserved communities came from her student teaching experience and her volunteer experience in the Philadelphia Area School District. She graduated with bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in educational technology. Outside of school Ms. Payton is a mom to two children, Londyn and Carter. She is a season ticket holder for the South Carolina Stingrays and is a huge hockey fan. She loves to cook and spend time with family.

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Piernik, Eileen

2nd Grade Teaching Fellow

Ms. Piernik is beginning her first year at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns working as a second grade teacher fellow. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Miami University with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate and excited to teach second grade this year and she hopes that each of her students develop confidence, empathy, and growth during the school year. She strives to help all of her students succeed and reach their goals as learners. In her free time, Ms. Piernik enjoys the beach, traveling, cooking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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Pryor, Caroline

4th Grade Teaching Fellow

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Ravenell, Chantay

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Ravenell was born and raised in South Carolina and attended the University of South Carolina, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. After graduation, she remained in Columbia, where she worked as a social worker with the Department of Social Services. Her passion to serve her community dates back growing up in a rural part of South Carolina and having the opportunity to have teachers and other individuals make a profound impact in her life in Kindergarten and throughout Junior-High school. This makes her feel inclined to pay it forward in all areas of her life. In her spare time, Ms. Ravenell enjoys going to church, traveling, cooking, shopping, spending time with family and friends,cheering on her beloved Gamecocks, and listening to her favorite artist, Jay-Z.

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Reece, Caroline

4th Grade Teaching Fellow

Ms. Reece is beginning her first year of teaching at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. She is starting her journey this year with forth grade students and she couldn't be more excited! She grew up in South Carolina and attended the College of Charleston. She received a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Political Science. While finishing up her degree at the College of Charleston she applied with Teach for America. She is beginning her two year commitment With Teach for America this year. While in college, Ms. Reece facilitated multiple First-Year Experience courses, where she helped freshman students become more acclimated to their time in college and provided them with the resources they needed to become a successful college student. Through her role as a Peer Facilitator and studying the educational system from a political science background, she found her passion for teaching and transforming the education system. In her free time Ms. Reece loves reading, walking around downtown Charleston, attending local concerts and spending time with her family and friends.

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Reyes, Dayana

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Reyes was born in Atlanta, Georgia but raised in Charleston, SC. She attended the University of South Carolina for two years before transferring and graduating from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, she moved to Madrid, Spain to fulfill her dream of teaching abroad. She taught sixth grade (a big change!) in a bilingual school for two years. In her spare time, Ms. Reyes loves to travel and experience new cultures, attend concerts, read, watch Netflix and spend time with her friends and family.

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Ribble, Stacey

CCSD Registered Nurse

Ms. Ribble graduated from Alfred University in rural New York with a BSN then joined the Navy where she obtained nursing and management experience in many areas of nursing. She left the active duty Navy, but stayed in the reserves, to stay in Charleston. After the Navy, she worked at East Cooper Hospital (Nursery and Labor and Delivery) and MUSC (pediatrics) in both management and staff positions before becoming a school nurse 3 years ago. She raised 2 sons in Charleston and now enjoys their families, especially her granddaughter! When not at work she likes to go to the gym, shop, relax and spend time with friends and family that are both near and far.

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Riddle, Mia

Director of Culture & Multi-tiered Systems Support

Ms. Riddle was born and raised in the Lowcountry on Wadmalaw Island! She believes that every child is unique and she hopes to help each child rise to reach their full potential. She has been working in the educational field for 18 years. She taught 9 years in first grade, where she loved creating a unique learning environment. She taught 1st-2nd grade reading intervention for 3 years as a Master Reading teacher. Ms. Riddle has been a part of Meeting Streets for 4 years working as the Director of Student Support services. She received her Associates in Art degree from Spartanburg Methodist College, a Bachelor in Science degree from Charleston Southern University, a Masters degree in Curriculum, Reading and Assessment from Lesley University and her adjunct certification in Reading Recovery from Clemson University. Outside of school, she loves spending time with family, baking,puzzling, reading and shopping!

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Rider, Abby

Kinder Teaching Fellow

Ms. Rider is beginning her first year as a PreK Teaching Fellow here at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. She attended The College of Charleston, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. While attending The College of Charleston she was a South Carolina Teaching Fellow. Ms. Rider was born and raised in Mount Pleasant. Outside of the classroom, she spends her time going to the beach, practicing yoga, or playing with her puppy, Rosie. Ms. Rider looks forward to bringing hands-on, project based learning to her classroom.

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Ripley, Taylor

PreK Teacher

Ms. Ripley joined us from Lexington, Kentucky, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at The University of Kentucky. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio, but loves that Charleston is her new home! She also had the pleasure of being a 2016 Teach for America Corp Member. Ms. Ripley is focused on her student’s personal growth and creating a classroom full of lifelong learners. Outside of school, She enjoys drinking coffee, running, and being at the beach.

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Robinson, Katie

MSS Director of Academics & Assessment

Prior to joining Meeting Street Schools in 2014, Ms. Robinson served as the Director of Data & Assessment Coaching at the KIPP Foundation. She also spent a decade working in Charleston County School District as a teacher and instructional coach. Additionally, she has consulted with teachers and leaders in over 250 schools across the nation to help them use achievement data to inform instruction. She has also served as a consultant with the State Department of Assessment. Ms. Robinson received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the College of Charleston and a Master’s of Education from the Citadel in Instructional Leadership. When she is not thinking about data and assessments, she can be found hanging out with her husband, three children, and black lab.

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Sawyer, Lynn

Reading Interventionist

Ms. Sawyer is beginning her second year at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns, serving as a Reading Interventionist. This will be her 26th year of teaching. She has taught everything from 1st to 6th grades and has served as a math coach and interventionist. She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. She earned a masters degree in Divergent Learning from there as well. She later went on to earn a second masters degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Southern Wesleyan University. When Mrs. Sawyer isn’t working in the classroom, she enjoys traveling with her family. She is married and has 4 children. Three children and grown and gone, while the other one is in 7th grade. Making a positive difference in the lives of those around her is what brings the most joy to Mrs. Sawyer.

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Scala, Maria

PreK 4 Lead Teacher & Grade Level Chair

Ms. Scala is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA but teaching brought her to Charleston in 2013 and she has never looked back. Outside of work, Ms. Scala enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, going to the beach, and relaxing at home.

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Schoenberg, Chrissy

Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Schoenberg is a Special Education teacher here at Meeting Street Elementary @Burns. She moved from Massachusetts to Charleston in 2017. She did her undergraduate studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is currently enrolled in a virtual program with Eastern Washington University to earn her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate about serving children from under resourced communities and building foundations for them to become college ready. Mrs. Schoenberg loves to spend time with her husband and two cats, going to the beach, and volunteering on her neighborhood's Social Events Committee.

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Scott, Celycia

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Scott is a Special Education teacher here at Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She just recently relocated to Charleston from Winston-Salem, NC to be closer to her paternal family while advancing her career in education. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Winston-Salem State University in Psychology and subsequently began working with students with special needs as a Teacher's Assistant. This inspired her to pursue an advanced degree in Education and obtain a Master's degree of Education from Strayer University. She is a passionate educator who has worked with learners from all backgrounds on every end of the spectrum. Ms. Scott's favorite past times include spending time with family, learning, traveling, watching Jeopardy, and engaging in physical activity- including officiating basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

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Sharpe-Thomas, Briana

4th Grade Teacher

Ms. Sharpe-Thomas is a 4th Grade Math teacher here at Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She is from Atlanta, GA and move to South Caroline in August of 2011 to attend South Carolina State University. This is where she received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and was ready to begin here dream as an Elementary Teacher. The 2021- 2022 school year will begin her fourth year as a teacher, as well as her fourth year teaching Elementary Mathematics. Her goal is to see all students flourish academically and socially through problem solving and mathematical practices that can be applied to everyday life. Ms. Sharpe-Thomas enjoys listening to music, binge watching the latest shows and cooking weekly meals to build her chef skills in the kitchen.

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Skelly, Shannon

Academic Interventionist

Ms. Skelly is a graduate of Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is passionate about building strong relationships with students and doing whatever she can to get them on the path to success and to college. She believes that all children can do whatever an educator pushes them to do and that the best learning comes from curiosity and engagement. Ms. Skelly loves spending time with friends and family, going on adventures, being active, coffee, and the New England Patriots.

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Smith, James

Science Teacher

Mr. Smith is a K-5 Science Teacher at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. After finishing his Mass Communication Bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University, he joined Teach for America - teaching one year in Indianapolis before relocating to teach in a Charleston, SC. In his first year of teaching, Mr. Smith oversaw the personal and academic growth of students at his school through attentive and individualized instruction. As a relationship builder, he prides himself on his ability to connect with students and foster a collaborative learning environment in his classroom. Outside of class, he loves spending time with his wife Sarah and two dogs Millie and Tilly, and he also enjoys traveling, cooking, and photography.

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Smith, Shelby

3rd-5th Grade Counselor

Ms. Smith was born in Anchorage, Alaska but moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of 3. When she was 8 years old, she settled in Augusta, Georgia with her mother and father. She attended University South Carolina-Aiken where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. After graduation she took a break from school and took a position as Behavioral Specialist at a therapeutic childcare center where she worked with children that have behavioral health diagnosis. After two years as Behavioral Specialist, she was promoted to Lead Behavioral Specialist, where she oversaw staff members in the classroom, conducted weekly meetings and developed lesson plans. Ms. Smith went back to school where she received a Master’s Degree in School Counseling in 2018 and received her credentials as National Certified Counselor. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and learning the new dances moves to keep up with the children.

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Snowden, Ariana

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Snowden moved to Charleston, South Carolina from Orlando, Florida where she was formerly a Walt Disney World cast member. Originally from Chesapeake, VA, she attended Brenau University in Gainesville, GA where she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theater and was in numerous productions. At Disney Ms. Snowden was a part of the professional internship program and lead teams in Animal Kingdom, at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, and in All Star Music Resort. In her spare time she likes to craft, follow Pinterest recipes, go to any and all professional athletic events, plan last minute weekend trips, and online shop. Ms. Snowden has always been passionate about two things: Musical Theater and children.

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Thomas, Amy

PreK Teacher

Amy Thomas taught first grade and preschool for 13 years. She was also the Director of Children’s Ministries at her church. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with an elementary education degree. She enjoys spending time with my fiancé Blake, and her children Marlow and Reid. She also loves to exercise, run, and read books in her free time!

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Thompson, Bobby

6th Grade Teacher

Ms. Thompson is beginning her third year of teaching. She was born in Syracuse, NY and moved down to South Carolina when she was 3. She attended the University of South Carolina where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Level Education with math and science concentrations. After graduation Ms. Thompson moved back home to Mount Pleasant and started her teaching career at Hanahan Middle School where she taught 8th grade Algebra 1 and science. After her first year of teaching, she enrolled in Western Governors University and got her Master’s Degree in Education with learning and technology. Ms. Thompson loves teaching kids and helping them grow into the best versions of themselves. She has always wanted to make a difference in children’s lives and being a teacher gives her that joy. In her spare time she loves going to the beach, being with friends and family, watching Gamecock sports, and binging all shows on Netflix.

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Thompson, Danzel

Data & Analytics Manager

Mr. Thompson is beginning his Meeting Street career this year as the Data and Analytics Manager. He is a local South Carolinian and even attended Burns and Brentwood for both Elementary and Middle School. After Graduating from Canebay High School he immediately entered the workforce jumping straight into the field of IT. He studied and passed several certification tests that qualified him as a Network and Computer engineer. He started with ITS as an intern when he was 17 and worked there until he turned 26 servicing the Low country’s IT needs for around 9 years. Through the world of IT Mr. Thompson worked at several schools one of which was MSEB. He worked there from the summer of 2020 to the start of the New Year as a contractor and now is an official employee! During his time at Meeting Street he helped facilitate IT centric projects and handled the day to day tasks that ensure the technology needs are met for all teachers staff and students. In his spare time Mr. Thompson likes to play video/board games, go to the gym, spend time with his beautiful daughter, and listen to thought provoking podcasts.

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Thompson, Emily D.

Speech Language Pathologist 

Ms. Thompson was born and raised in Arkansas and attended the University of Arkansas where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Disorders. After graduation, she continued her education at the University of Central Arkansas where she received her Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. After receiving her masters, Ms. Thompson became a speech therapist for an elementary school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In order to spread her wings and further grow, she decided to move away from Arkansas and chose the beautiful, historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, spending time with family/friends, taking long walks with her goldendoodle, or reading a good book.

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Tolbert, Chelsea

PreK-2nd Grade Counselor

Ms. Tolbert was born and raised in North Charleston, South Carolina and attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. After working with the Charleston Police Department’s Camp Hope, the summer before and after her graduation from Presbyterian College, she realized she had a passion for working with children from underserved communities. After graduating, Ms. Tolbert moved back to Charleston and began the Master of Education in Counselor Education program at The Citadel Graduate College. Upon graduation from The Citadel in December 2018, she began as a substitute teacher with Charleston and Berkeley County School Districts. During that time, she gained experience working with teachers and students from various backgrounds. In her free time, Ms. Tolbert loves reading, creative writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

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Tucker, Tim

Music & Band Teacher

Mr. Tucker is beginning his 7th year as a music educator and 2nd year with Meeting Street Schools. He was born and raised in the Charleston area and graduated from Summerville High School in 2009. He attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill SC and received the degree of Bachelors of Music Education in 2013. Shortly after graduation he began teaching middle school band at James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, NC. In 2014 he moved back home to the Charleston area and taught for 5 years at Windsor Hill Arts Infused Elementary School. During this time he completed his Master of Music Education at Boston University and graduated in 2016. Mr. Tucker is married to Kristen, a special education teacher and they have 3 children- Micah, Sariah, and Ezrah. His passion for teaching music started early in elementary school and believes that when children are exposed to music education they can become not only excellent musicians but also leaders in their homes and communities. He enjoys cooking, travelling, spending time with family and friends, as well as.performing local music and serving as the minister of Music for a church in Columbia.

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Ulles, Liz

Director of Teaching & Learning

Ms. Ulles came to Charleston to be closer to her family who all live in the Charleston area. She was born in Connecticut and attended Fairfield University, where she graduated with a degree in Economics in 2009. After college, she moved to Chicago, IL where she was a part of the Teach for America Program. She taught preschool as a 2009 Corps Member and received her Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education during her 2 years in the program. After finishing the TFA experience, Ms. Ulles moved on to work at KIPP Ascend Primary School as a kindergarten teacher, on the West Side of Chicago. She continued to work at KIPP Ascend for 5 years teaching and leading in kindergarten and first grade roles. In 2016 she went on to become a founding team member of KIPP Chicago’s second primary school, KIPP One Primary School. While there, she served as a Kindergarten Teacher and most recently, the Assistant Principal, working with the kindergarten and first grade teams. As an Assistant Principal, she was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to participate in the Relay Graduate School of Education’s, National Principals Academy Fellowship where she gained powerful professional development. In her free time, Ms. Ulles loves to pursue her other passions like real estate, puppies, Costco shopping and soccer.

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Vanderhorst, Sherrie

Front Desk Receptionist & Office Manager

Ms. Vanderhorst is the Operations Receptionist. She was born in Johns Island, South Carolina. After graduating from St. Johns High school she attended Beta Tech Technical College where she became a state certified Medical Assistant. In addition to furthering her education, she worked 20+ yrs in school bus transportation. Seeking a change of pace she decided and agreed to join the excellent and stellar team at Meeting Street Elementary @Brentwood. She is one of the founding members of Meeting Street Elementary @Burns. In her spare time Ms. Vanderhorst enjoys reading, outdoor activities, cooking, traveling, attending her church services and functions, along with spending fun quality time with her two sons and family.

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Warren, Andrew

Behavior Interventionist

Mr. Warren was born & raised in Charleston, South Carolina and attended Limestone College where he received his Bachelor of Social Work. Soon after graduation Andrew worked for a non-profit organization serving fathers in the Lowcountry as an Outreach Coordinator and later as an Intervention Specialist. He then servedthe youth as a Probation Officer for the Charleston County Department of Juvenile Justice. In his spare time, Mr. Warren enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

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Warrington, Tara

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Ms. Warrington joined Meeting Street Schools as Director of Curriculum & Instruction following several years of serving schools in under-resourced communities as an elementary principal in both the public and charter sector. Prior to moving to Charleston, she was an elementary principal at the first public charter school for girls in Washington DC in the heart of the Anacostia community. Her ten years as an elementary teacher started in her hometown outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ended at Fairfax County, Virginia. In addition to teaching, Ms.Warrington coached both volleyball and basketball. Knowing first-hand the powerful impact sports can have on adolescents, she was eager to coach high school girls. She received a scholarship to play basketball at Saint Vincent College where she was named Player of the Year and Kodak All-American her junior and senior year. Ms.Warrington received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Elementary Education. She received her master’s degree in School Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh. Passionate about equity in education, she has dedicated her career to being an advocate for youth and their families living in underserved neighborhoods. She is incredibly grateful and honored to be a part of the Meeting Street Schools team as they work relentlessly to transform education in South Carolina. In her leisure time, Ms. Warrington enjoys researching health and fitness, cooking, and working out on the beach with her husband, John, and their dog, Harlan.

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Washington, Deloris

Prek Teacher

Ms. Washington was born and raised in South Carolina and attended Southeastern University where she received a Associate Degree in Medical Assistant. She is currently attending Phoenix University to receive an Early Childhood Bachelor degree. She previously worked as a teacher assistant in Prek3, Special Ed; and a lead Daycare teacher. Ms. Washington is a mother of two, a grandmother of one and a wife. In her spare time she enjoys writing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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Watkins, LaShawna

Middle School Dean

Ms. Watkins will begin her 15th year in education as the Founding Dean of the Meeting Street at Burns Middle School. She is a native Charlestonian and proud Gullah-Geechee. Ms. Watkins attended Georgia Southern University, the College of Charleston, and the Citadel Military College of South Carolina. She received a BS in Sociology, MAT in Secondary Education, and an M. Ed in Educational Leadership. Thirteen years of her career have been dedicated to the students of North Charleston. During those years, she has worked as a tutor, teacher's aide, Pre-K teacher, middle school teacher, GED teacher, and assistant principal. Her work in education and love for children has become her purpose, rather than her career. Ms. Watkins loves traveling, being of service to others, connecting with new people, listening to music, learning new things, and spending time with family and friends. She has never met a stranger.

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Werth, Karen

PreK Teacher

Ms. Werth is joining the Early Childhood Program at Meeting Street Elementary Burns. She attended the University of Kansas where she received a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and then a Master's degree in both Early Childhood and Special Education. She has taught in Kansas, Boston, Charlotte, NC and Rochester, NY. All those experiences have brought her to Burns and the opportunity to teach 3 and 4 year olds, her favorite little people. Her last classroom was a farm in upstate NY where she taught therapeutic horseback riding to students age 3 to 92 and worked as director of operations. Charleston gives Ms. Werth the opportunity to be closer to family including her two grandchildren. She continues to spend time with some very special horses serving children and adults with special needs, holding hands with her husband of 40 years and puttering in her garden.

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Williams, Emily

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Williams is from Irmo, South Carolina and has lived in Charleston since 2009. She attended the College of Charleston where she studied and received her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Meeting Street Academy @Burns, she was a Pre-Primary Associate Teacher at Ashley Hall for 3 years. She also was Pre-Primary Lead Teacher for Ashley Hall's Summer Program each summer for the past 3 years. Aside from her passion of teaching, Ms. Williams has a passion for photography. Anytime she has free time, you can find her soaking up the sun at the beach! She also loves exploring cool spots around the lowcountry, hanging with her family, friends and her dogs.

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Wilson, Flury

4th Grade Teacher

Ms. Wilson is beginning her first year as a fourth grade homeroom teacher at Meeting Street Elementary. She was born and raised in South Carolina and attended Charleston Southern University where she received her Bachelor's in Science and Master's in Science, majoring in Biology. After completing her education she taught 8th Grade Science at Simmons Pinckney Middle School in Charleston, SC. Ms. Wilson loves to be active and outdoors. She really enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her family.

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Wolfe, Dru

6th Grade Teaching Fellow

Mr. Wolfe is beginning his first year as the fellow for 5th and 6th grade math. He was born and raised in West Virginia and attended Marietta College where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. After graduation he worked in corporate America in Finance and Management. After several years he left corporate America and joined the City of Charleston Fire Department. He served 7 years as a Fire Fighter/EMT until getting injured at a fire. In his spare time Mr. Wolfe enjoys traveling, cooking, attending shows on Broadway, and any live sporting event.