Meet Our Staff

Management Team

John Heffernan ()

portrait of John Heffernan

John has 15 years experience as an elementary teacher at the Sierra School in the San Francisco Bay Area, NYC's Bank Street School for Children, and prior to coming to CPSC, Forest View Elementary School in Durham. John believes in supporting students to take risks and assume greater responsibility for their learning, and he has consistently sought out schools with a constructivist, inquiry-based mission that place a high value on parent involvement and professional development for teachers.

John received a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in philosophy, psychology and studio arts from Georgetown University and a master's degree from Bank Street College of Education. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher and has held leadership roles on the governance team of Forest View Elementary, instructed UNC student teachers, and guided study groups for colleagues.

John's commitment to excellence and his ability to inspire others is reflected in his selection as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Teaching Fellow in Japan, a Kenan Fellow (training teachers statewide in science education), and a trainer and planner for the NC Science Leadership Institute. He lives in Durham with his wife, Karen, his three daughters, and numerous pets.

Raenel Duncan-Edmonds ()

Elementary Associate Director
portrait of Raenel Duncan-Edmonds

Raenel received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College, Rutgers University and immediately began her career in administration at the Claridge Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After eight years of employment in the casino industry, Raenel completed education courses at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and earned her K-8 elementary teaching license.

Raenel brings more than 15 years of teaching experiences from inner city public schools, literacy and academic coaching experiences from Durham Public Schools, and management experiences from the casino and hotel industry. Throughout her career in education, she has facilitated trainings and professional development, chaired literacy teams, mentored new teachers and students, hosted student teachers, and participated on various committees and boards. Raenel completed literacy training at Lesley University and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix. In 2013, she completed all required coursework for a doctorate in educational leadership and is working on her dissertation.

Raenel is passionate about education and is committed to students meeting their academic potentials in a safe and fun learning environment. Much of her work and research has been grounded in the belief that all children deserve a quality education. On a personal note, Raenel married her high school sweetheart, Jesse, and they have a daughter who graduated from Mercer University and a son who graduated from NC State University.

Charlie Butchart ()

Middle School Associate Director
portrait of Charlie Butchart

Charlie Butchart returned to CPSC in 2014 after two years teaching abroad at Darling Point Special School in Brisbane, Australia. He brings 15 years of teaching and administrative experience in public and private schools in the Triangle area. Throughout his many years of teaching, Charlie has been particularly interested in mathematics, outdoor education, and an active social curriculum. Charlie is excited about being a part of the CPSC community and helping to grow an amazing middle school.

Amy McMullen ()

Exceptional Education Director
portrait of Amy McMullen

Amy came to Central Park in 2013 after working in Orange County as an Exceptional Children teacher and facilitator. Her work with children dates back to her summers as a counselor at camp in the Berkshires Mountains. Her most memorable summer was the year she traveled to the Oglala Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and provided day camps for reservation children.

After graduating from Elon College with her bachelor’s in Sociology, Amy moved around, following her husband who was establishing his culinary career. His career brought them to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it was there that she worked with at-risk youth in school and out in the community. It was her time in schools that led her to get her teaching license in Special Education. Amy has been a self-contained teacher, taught as a resource teacher, and provided inclusion services before becoming an EC facilitator. In 2011 she returned to Elon and earned her Masters in Education degree with a focus on Special Education.

Amy was drawn to Central Park’s belief that education is about the whole child. After touring the school and meeting the amazing teachers and families she knew this is where she wanted to be!

Joy Porter ()

Business Manager
Joy has over twenty years experience as an accountant with a technology business and eight years as a business manager with another local charter school.

Classroom Teachers

Evika Sturdivant ()

Evika Sturdivant came to CPSC with 16 years experience teaching kindergarten and first grade in Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public Schools. A Chapel Hill native, she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in early childhood education. She has also trained and served as a Reading Recovery teacher and literacy coordinator. She strives to cultivate a "love of literacy that can integrate all subject areas and last a lifetime." Evika has three children.

Scott Larson ()

"Kindergarten children love to explore the community and see first hand how people do their jobs." —Scott

Scott Larson, a graduate of the Bank Street College of Education, has taught kindergarten and first grade in New York City, the Dominican Republic, Chapel Hill, and Durham since 1990. He taught kindergarten at the City & Country School in Greenwich Village, where Caroline Pratt invented unit blocks nearly a century ago. Scott was chosen to be part of the Power of K: a state-wide teacher leader initiative sponsored by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Scott says, "I am excited to teach in a city school. Kindergarten children love to explore the community and see first hand how people do their jobs. We visit stores in the neighborhood, talk with people or just watch while workers fix a pothole. Kindergarteners take the real world experiences back to the classroom and make math, reading and social studies more meaningful."

Tammy Macomson ()

When Tammy Macomson came to CPSC in its first year, she had 20 years of teaching experience at the preschool, kindergarten, and college levels. She holds an undergraduate degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in early childhood curriculum and instruction from UNC-Chapel Hill. "I am guided in my teaching by a strong commitment to creating environments for young children that support creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, curiosity, and mutually-respectful relationships among children and adults."

Anna Morrison ()

1st Grade
Anna Morrison grew up in King, NC, and she always knew she wanted to work with children. She graduated from from Appalachian State University with a degree in child development. Her experiences in education range from interning at Lucy Brock Child Development Center (a Reggio Emilia approach school), homeschooling her four children for six years, and assisting K-1 teachers at Central Park. Anna believes in educating the whole child through rich literature and hands-on experiences. She works to foster a strong and connected learning community with goals of being a listener, observer, and learner along with the children.

Anna and her husband, Scott, have four children, two of whom currently attend CPSC. Anna and Scott are also licensed foster parents in Durham and have cared for eight foster children in their home thus far.

Julie Janes ()

1st Grade

Julie Janes is originally from Columbia, South Carolina, and grew up in Midlothian, Virginia. She is a graduate of East Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in elementary education. Julie has taught K-2 in Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and began teaching at CPSC in 2005. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach and to the mountains.

While at Central Park, Julie has had several opportunities to travel and learn about best practices and project work in both Canada, at the Garneau School, and India, through a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship from Duke University. She is an advocate for teaching the whole child and developmentally appropriate practices. Julie believes each day is a new day for many adventures to explore and learn!

You may see Julie and her husband, Douglas, around town at local restaurants, theatres, and events.

Randi Harrison ()

1st Grade

Randi Harrison works with all students to develop curiosity, compassion, community, and creativity. She deeply believes that school is a safe community that waters children’s imagination and innate curiosity while considering each child in a holistic way. She also advocates for students to lead their own learning, with teachers serving as facilitators of deep and critical thinking and with opportunities to problem-solve. Randi is certified to teach all subjects between K-6th grade. She is trained in Responsive Classrooms community building strategies and in the Metamophorisis Teaching Learning Communities Math professional development series. Randi was selected to facilitate and present her research at the 2017 Diversity in Research and Practice Conference: her presentation was titled #It'sLit: A Pedagogical Examination of Reading Achievement.

Randi graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Tuskegee University and with a master's degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia University, Teachers College. She was featured in the 2014 Columbia University Teachers College Annual Report as a Diversity in Education Scholar. She landed her first teaching position in New York City at Harlem Village Academies as a first grade teacher. Next, she moved to Washington, DC to work as the fourth grade Special Education Teacher in an inclusive classroom at Bridges Public Charter School. Randi's hobbies include traveling, exploring free cultural events, spending time with family, and learning self-taught skills like calligraphy!

Katie Crammer ()

2nd Grade
I enjoy working with children because no two days are ever alike. Children nurture my creative spirit because I get to see them exploring their world and figuring things out for the first time. This makes it all seem new to me as well. Creating new ways to explain ideas lets me be inventive and think about simple things in new ways and I love that!

Katie has a Bachelor's Degree in English with a focus in creative writing from North Carolina State University. She also received her teaching license from North Carolina State University through the North Carolina Teachers for the Excellence of All CHildren (NCTEACH) Program.

Professionally, Katie has been working with children for four years but her love of learning and the curiosity of children extends far beyond that. She grew up surrounded by books and loved to play teacher, creating homework assignments for her little brother to complete. She is one of four children, with five nieces and nephews, two brothers, and one sister.

In her free time, Katie loves to watch movies. After taking a couple screenwriting classes in college, she became fascinated with different styles of storytelling, which she tries to incorporate into her teaching style through hands on, engaging lessons. She also loves to read, paint, and practice yoga. Her heroes are Jane Goodall, Lena Dunham, and Taryn Brumfitt, to name a few.

Lauren Vejvoda ()

2nd Grade

Lauren Vejvoda graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education in 2007 with a bachelors degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish. After graduating, Lauren taught at George Watts Montessori Elementary School in Durham for seven years as a lower elementary teacher. She taught all subjects to 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students while working to earn her Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society in 2011. She also holds an ESL and AIG certification, which allows her to integrate a variety of instructional methods to benefit all students.

Throughout her early teaching career, Lauren became increasingly interested in learning how to teach early elementary students how to read, so she returned to UNC in 2012 to earn her masters in literacy. Outside the classroom, Lauren enjoys running, cooking and especially traveling. She has been to Guatemala, Peru, England, and China.

Lauren's favorite quote is from Ghandi who stated that you must "be the change you wish to see in the world." She truly believes that educating children to be engaged citizens can change the world.

Suzanne Tyler Stock ()

2nd Grade

Suzanne Tyler Stock is from the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She is a graduate of Radford University where she received a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and special education and went on to earn a master's degree in special education, learning disabilities. She spent her first seven years teaching in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and Tennessee, working with students who struggled with emotional disorders and learning disabilities.

In 1990, Suzanne moved to North Carolina, where she focused on raising her own two children, taught part-time at Raleigh Preschool and substituted. When her youngest was in first grade, Suzanne returned to full-time teaching, working with special needs kindergarten students in a Wake County magnet school that focused on encouraging all students to explore and develop their individual gifts and talents.

In search of a school where developmentally appropriate educational practices are encouraged and each student's individuality is celebrated, Suzanne was overjoyed to find CPSC and began teaching here in 2014. In her free time, she enjoys fiber arts, hiking and taking advantage of the wonderful culinary experiences available in Durham.

Chanel Carrell ()

3rd Grade
Chanel Carrell began teaching at CPSC in 2007, but she has been involved in many ways with the school since it opened in 2003, ranging from volunteering as a class parent to creating the secret elves birthday for teachers. Chanel is an elementary education graduate with certification in K-6 from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She also holds AIG and ESL certification from Duke University. Chanel enjoys traveling with her family and finding peace with nature. "I believe in the constructivist approach to learning and providing unique learning experiences to enhance each child's personal goals."

Erin Linn ()

3rd Grade

Erin Linn grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and attended Samford University. After graduating with honors, she began teaching at Eastway Elementary in Durham. During her six years at Eastway, Erin has team-taught third grade, led professional development, served on the Superintendent’s Teacher Council, and has been a leader in Positive Behavioral Support. After making the switch to teach fifth grade in 2010, she discovered that fifth graders "are some of the most clever, confident, passionate people I’ll ever have the privilege of knowing." And now, in 2017, Erin is moving back to third grade!

In her spare time, Erin enjoys acting and singing with our local Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired Durham Savoyards and teaching in Uganda during the summer. After seven years of teaching classes in Uganda, Erin will be the U.S. coordinator and a teacher trainer for a newly developed school in Uganda.

Jen Dunlap ()

3rd Grade

Jen Dunlap has fifteen years teaching experience, most of those with Durham Public Schools. As part of her passion for traveling and learning about other cultures, she spent a year helping to start a school in Yangon, Burma. She enjoys creating authentic learning experiences and using the natural curiosity of students as a starting point for learning.

Jen holds a Masters in Education from UNC Chapel Hill, is National Board Certified and has her AIG certification from Duke University. As an Outward Bound Kurt Hahn Fellow, she is inspired by outdoor education and the power of guiding students towards "accepting challenges and taking initiative".

In her spare time she enjoys hiking and exploring the woods with her two young children and and her husband Mark.

Stef Bernal-Martinez ()

3rd Grade

Stef Bernal-Martinez was born in Southern California, grew up in the West Texas borderlands and is a new member of the Durham community. She is a young and new teacher who received her undergraduate degree in Political Science at The University of Texas at El Paso and her master's degree in Early Childhood Education at Sarah Lawrence College. Outside of the classroom, Stef is a self-described community photographer. She comes from a legacy of women who have worked to teach her that she is worth it and she hopes to inspire the same message to the children she teaches — that they deserve a meaningful education and have a right to a myriad of beautiful learning experiences.

Aaron Sebens ()

4th Grade

Aaron was excited to put down roots in Durham after teaching in Japan, Boston, and Honduras. Aaron graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and education from the College of William and Mary and holds a master's degree in special education from Simmons College. Aaron grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and plays a variety of music from old-time, to jazz, to ska. He also makes and eats a lot of food, and loves to be in the woods or in his wooden kayak on the water. Aaron believes strongly that all learners are entitled to creative and engaging education and enjoys exploring the world with students in a supportive, challenging, and caring community.

Cheryle Pope ()

4th Grade

Cheryle Pope began teaching at CPSC in 2005. She taught for many years at the Duke School for Children and held the position of Curriculum and Staff Development Director. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching grades pre-K-8, consulting with schools across North Carolina, tutoring privately, and leading staff development with teachers and undergraduates at UNC. Cheryle has a master's degree in education from UNC-Chapel Hill. She thoroughly enjoys project-based teaching and experiential learning techniques.

Judy Compton ()

4th Grade

Judy Compton came to CPSC in 2008 from Durham Public Schools. Before teaching, she spent more than 13 years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor in Maine, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. She has a master's degree in elementary education from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's degree in international studies from Austin College in Texas, where she was born.

Judy also has a certificate in technical communication from Duke's Continuing Studies Program. Judy loves being part of a staff committed to helping create thoughtful, intelligent children.

Taylor Wall ()

4th Grade
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Bio coming soon!

Dawnsa Smith ()

5th Grade

Dawnsa Smith was raised in Raleigh, NC, and attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. However, coming from a long line of engineers, she has a predestined loyalty to NC State University. Go Pack! She has worked with second, third, fourth, and fifth graders, but she has given the majority of her time and heart to fifth grade. Before coming to CPSC, she worked at Eastway Elementary and was very involved with developing positive behavior programs and with the student council.

Dawnsa has a passion for mathematics, visual arts, music, culinary arts, and the outdoors. Before she found her way to teaching, she was a caterer both privately and for Whole Foods. She also worked on a project to refurbish the carousel horses for Martha’s Vineyard. As a teacher, she hopes to help students deepen their love of learning by piquing their curiosity with curriculum that is inspired by students’ interests, their strengths, and their community.

Leah Mahony ()

5th Grade

Leah Mahony first became interested in education while studying the ideas of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire as a student of Latin American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. Now, she is passionate about creating learning experiences in which students actively investigate the world, creating meaning from their observations, questions, and discoveries.

After working as an environmental educator in New England for several years, Leah earned a masters degree in elementary education at Antioch University New England with an emphasis on constructivist pedagogy, integrated learning, and place-based education.

Prior to moving back to Durham, she taught in public school classrooms in Vermont and Western Massachusetts. She is thrilled to return to her hometown and to join the community at CPSC. When she's is not teaching, Leah enjoys finding swimming holes, learning to play the guitar, and sitting on porches.

Libba Moravec ()

5th Grade

Libba Moravec has loved working with middle school students because these are pivotal years when children are moving beyond mirroring their surroundings, and she wishes to encourage active, global citizenship. She is committed to creating a safe classroom environment where critical thinking skills are needed to tackle real-life scenarios. She believes that all children deserve a quality education.

Taylor Schmidt ()

5th Grade

Taylor Schmidt is thrilled to be joining the CPSC family as a science teacher. A proud Kansan, he is a native of tiny Greensburg, KS and alumnus of Kansas State University, holding a BA degree in Biological and Cultural Anthropology. A wild ride involving rather large tornadoes, Maasai jumping, and a fatefully timed lecture from Justice Sotomayor landed him in North Carolina via the Teach for America program.

With TFA, Taylor taught 7th grade science at Bertie Middle School for two dynamic years. His time at BMS deepened his passion for education and community, and whether it is in Manhattan (KS, of course), Nyeri (Kenya), or now Durham, NC, he is privileged to work with powerful minds and to share the passions given to him. He is profoundly excited to begin the joyful, relentless pursuit of discovery and knowledge with the young minds and hearts in his classroom.

Abi Zambrana ()

6th Grade

Abi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California where she fell in love with learning and building strong relationships with her family and peers. From California, she moved to Syracuse, New York to pursue a degree in Policy Studies from Syracuse University. While at Syracuse, she found a passion for Social Justice and committed herself to fight for equality. At Syracuse, she was also the campus campaign coordinator who helped recruit students for Teach For America. After doing this, she knew empowering the youth through education was her life goal.

Abi pursued a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California with a focus on social studies. She has taught social studies at the middle school and high school level.

She loves to read, paint, play basketball and golf, swim, and have fun. She is committed to empower others to become change makers in the future.

Annie Harrison ()

6th Grade

Annie is Kentucky born, Indiana bred, Baltimore undergrad, and Durham home - she’s been teaching in Durham and Hillsborough since getting her Masters in education from UNC-Greensboro, and plans to stay here forever. This summer, she will complete work on a gifted educator’s license at Duke University, and has participated in training programs at Harvard and Appalachian State University. Her focus is middle school ELA and social studies, and she’s excited to be teaching social studies at a school where middle schoolers can become strong Durham citizens and leaders. Before Central Park, she taught fifth grade at the Expedition School, a project-based school in Hillsborough.

Annie and her husband Rob have two daughters, Norah (a rising 6th grader) and Kristen (a rising third grader), and two floppy, dirty dogs, all of whom kindly tolerate her singing and dancing in the kitchen. Before becoming a teacher, she worked as a photographer for ten years, and still spends a lot of time with a camera in her hands. She’s looking forward to snapping some photos of a fun, energetic school community!

Katie Moravec ()

6th Grade

Katie, a Wisconsin native, is an environmental and sports enthusiast. She enjoys working in nonprofit development along with coaching and playing soccer & futsal. At Central Park Middle School, she strives to advocate and educate, build kind leaders among youth, encourage critical thinking, active learning, and help empower individuals to be engaged in their communities.

Katie wears many hats at CPSC: She leads a 6th grade CREW, she teaches Tech electives for 5th and 6th grade, she teaches P.E. classes, and she is our Middle School Athletic Director.

Kerry Howard ()

6th Grade

Kerry enjoyed her school years, and her aim is to give all of the students that pass through her class the opportunity to say the same! She came to CPSC by a very convoluted route, beginning with her elementary and high school education in the tiny Caribbean island of Barbados.

After graduating from high school, Kerry went to Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, and completed a bachelor's degree in primary/junior elementary education. She taught in Barbados for six years before moving to North Carolina in 2007. She has taught every grade from K-5 and served as an interventionist in the primary department and a science specialist in the junior department. Kerry received her master's degree in special education from Elon University in 2010.

When not in teacher mode, Kerry becomes a performer; she loves the stage ... especially dance.

Morgan Carney ()

6th Grade

Morgan Carney grew up in Charlotte, NC, and studied psychology and biology at Duke University. After graduating, she traveled up the coast to Mundo Verde Public Charter School, a unique bilingual, sustainability focused, Expeditionary Learning school in Washington, DC, where she taught kindergarten, helped start a school cooking and gardening program, and fell in love with the style of hands-on, project-based, Expeditionary Learning.

Morgan spent the 2013-14 school year at The Woolman Semester School, a progressive high school semester program in the hills of northern California, which was an experience that a few words can't do justice (so ask her about it!). Morgan loves exploring new places to find hiking trails and tiny coffee shops, eating purple carrots and sriracha, reading books about urban agriculture and social entrepreneurship, and cheering for the Blue Devils. Morgan is thrilled to be back in Durham and to be part of CPSC's new adventure into middle school.

Amy Kelley ()

7th Grade

Amy Kelley is a Durham native who graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in middle grades education. Her teaching experiences include interning in an 8th grade Language Arts classroom, owning and operating a small multi-age preschool, homeschooling her two children for three years, and teaching various classes to homeschooled students in Durham and Chapel Hill. She started working at CPSC as a substitute teacher before joining the EC staff in January 2015. Amy believes in the project-based, student-centered approach to learning and is excited to be a part of the 7th grade team.

Amy lives in Durham with her husband and two children. Her youngest child is a current student at CPSC. When not in school, she enjoys cooking, reading, being outside, and spending time with her family.

Chrysti Peek ()

7th Grade

Chrysti is a Maryland native turned Durham transplant. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, where she earned her undergrad in biology with the intention of teaching high school science. After graduating, she quickly fell in love with the unique energy and curiosity of middle school students. Before joining Central Park, she taught 7th grade science at Durham Public Schools.

Chrysti believes very strongly in a whole student based approach to education and loves hands-on project based learning. She is excited to be a part of Central Park's exciting middle school journey, as both a teacher and as a CPSC middle school parent.

Fiona Rae ()

7th Grade

Fiona Rae grew up in Hudson, NH where she spent much of her time building forts, catching frogs and turtles (releasing safely back into the wild, of course), and taking pond samples to look at under the microscope. From NH she moved to Alabama, finishing high school and college. She attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville, studying English and Biology for her undergraduate degree.

After moving to North Carolina, she received her Masters of Education in Middle Grades Curriculum at the University of NC in Greensboro. She has been teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science and/or language arts for the past 17 years. She is a dedicated Mom, avid reader, and experimental knitter.

Joshua Rudisill ()

7th Grade

Joshua was born in western North Carolina and has always had a passion for the natural world. With enthusiasm for service and a yearning for a strong sense of community, he pursued a degree in Education from UNC Chapel Hill. After completing an Outward Bound backpacking and rock climbing initiative, he continued his education at Xavier University earning a degree in Master of Montessori Education and has taught science, social studies and language arts in Durham Public Schools. His excitement for the outdoors and experiential education has led him to participate in trips with students from the coast of North Carolina to the Galapagos Islands. He believes that a thoughtful, holistic approach to education is the key to a more compassionate and interconnected world.

Melika Montalvo ()

7th Grade
Bio coming soon!

Cliff Peek ()

8th Grade

Cliff is from nowhere, yet everywhere. Growing up, his father was in the construction business, so Cliff was able to travel and see the lower United States. After high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps and travelled the world for the next 20 years, retiring as an officer. Retired life was boring so he chose to get a middle school mathematics teaching degree from North Carolina Central University. (He was enrolled at NC State, but happened to see someone wearing a “Stay Humble” shirt and quickly changed schools.) Cliff enjoys teaching and coaching a great deal: he finds it rewarding, frustrating, but mostly fulfilling. Most of his lessons are about life and situations. Cliff enjoys any physical activity and sport (except golf). He is married to a gorgeous teacher, and together they have four children and two dogs.

Jason Lord ()

8th Grade

Jason has been teaching music, drama and art in the Triangle since 1997, including 10 years of focus on arts integration into project-based education at Duke School. He's worked in the area as an actor, singer, set and lighting designer, and scene painter. He likes to make all sorts of things, from food to art. This year he also has an 8th grade CREW in addition to his art classes.

Neal Myers-Perry ()

8th Grade
Bio coming soon!

Schara Brooks ()

8th Grade

Schara is a North Carolina native. She graduated, with honors, with her bachelors degree in cultural anthropology from UNC Chapel Hill and then pursued her passion in making sure children in North Carolina were able to receive the type of education they deserved. After graduation she joined the non-profit organization Teach for America, where she was able to teach middle school math and science in rural Eastern North Carolina. Most recently she earned her Masters in Middle Grades Education from ECU and is excited to join the CPSC team.

Student Support

Carla Stevens ()

Elementary School Counselor

Carla grew up on a farm in Whiteville, North Carolina. She is a graduate of East Carolina University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She took two years off from school after completing her undergraduate degree to work as a community skills instructor for the Autism Society of North Carolina. Working for the Autism Society solidified her passion for counseling and her desire to be an advocate for children. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in Professional School Counseling at Appalachian State University where she also received a certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy. While at Appalachian she worked for the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance. Carla’s passions include hiking, photography, art, DIY projects, gardening, and spending time with her family, friends and her Chihuahua. Carla is excited about being a part of the CPSC community and enjoys being a leader and advocate for the students of CPSC as the elementary school counselor.

Her favorite quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Katrina Morgan ()

Middle School Counselor

Katrina was inspired to become a school counselor by her experiences working in a Quaker elementary school in Pennsylvania after she graduated from Haverford College. Katrina earned her masters from Boston University and worked in a K-8 school in Vermont before moving to North Carolina. She joined the CPSC staff in 2014 after working in Alamance Burlington School System for three years.

Katrina grew up playing in the woods of New Hampshire. She enjoys hiking, biking, camping, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.

Charity Watkins ()

Social Worker

Charity is a new addition to Central Park and will serve as CPSC's first Social Worker. Charity was born and raised in Rochester, NY. After moving to North Carolina in 2003, she attended UNC Chapel Hill and earned her BA in Sociology. Four years later, Charity returned to UNC to earn her Masters in Social Work and her School Social Work license. Charity is currently working on her dissertation and will defend in the fall to become Dr. Watkins. Outside of her studies, Charity enjoys walking, listening to music, and spending time with her husband, Richard (the first Dr. Watkins) and her 1-year-old daughter, Margeaux.

Lindsay May ()

K4 Learning Specialist

Lindsay is originally from Fayetteville, NC. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she received her bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in literacy. She is a certified reading specialist and is also certified in ESL. Before coming to CPSC, Lindsay taught kindergarten in Durham Public Schools and at Duke School. She enjoys music, reading, kayaking, and searching for vintage furniture. She also enjoys running and hiking along the Eno with her husband and their two dogs.

Maria Foushee ()

ESL Teacher

¡Hola Amigos! Originally from Colombia, Maria Foushee has been teaching Spanish for many years in different countries. She has a passion for incorporating Hispanic culture in her classes and integrating Spanish with other areas of the curriculum. Maria studied Psychology in Colombia, and Human Services in Minnesota. She loves dancing, traveling and working with people. She is an active member in the Durham and Chapel Hill community. As our new ESL teacher, Maria is looking forward to being a lead liaison and advocate for Latinx/Hispanic families. Preguntas aqui: ~¡Adios!

Exceptional Children Staff

Amy McMullen ()

Exceptional Education Director
portrait of Amy McMullen

Amy came to Central Park in 2013 after working in Orange County as an Exceptional Children teacher and facilitator. Her work with children dates back to her summers as a counselor at camp in the Berkshires Mountains. Her most memorable summer was the year she traveled to the Oglala Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and provided day camps for reservation children.

After graduating from Elon College with her bachelor’s in Sociology, Amy moved around, following her husband who was establishing his culinary career. His career brought them to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it was there that she worked with at-risk youth in school and out in the community. It was her time in schools that led her to get her teaching license in Special Education. Amy has been a self-contained teacher, taught as a resource teacher, and provided inclusion services before becoming an EC facilitator. In 2011 she returned to Elon and earned her Masters in Education degree with a focus on Special Education.

Amy was drawn to Central Park’s belief that education is about the whole child. After touring the school and meeting the amazing teachers and families she knew this is where she wanted to be!

Lois Leazer ()

Speech-Language Pathologist
Bio coming soon!

Andrea Rohrbach ()

K4 Exceptional Education Teacher

Andrea received her Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1996. However, after working with preschoolers with Autism during her junior and senior years in college, she decided to change her life’s path. She received her Master of Education degree in Special Education two years later.

Since then, Andrea has taught in Pennsylvania and California before settling in North Carolina. She has taught locally at Glenwood Elementary School, Oak Grove Elementary School, and The Hill Center. Andrea’s favorite moments are when a child’s eyes open wide as the light of understanding shines through them.

Elizabeth Ricker ()

K4 Exceptional Education Teacher

Elizabeth received her bachelor's degree in English and her master's degree in education from North Carolina State University. She taught fifth grade at CPSC for four years before transitioning to the Exceptional Education program. She loves teaching at CPSC because of the close community of students, parents, and teachers. The project-based approach to learning and teaching also gives every child a chance to succeed — and this is extremely important to Elizabeth. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, quilting, camping, and spending time with her husband, Pete, and her daughter.

Lyndsey Wallen ()

K4 Exceptional Education Teacher

Lyndsey grew up in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and she entered the education field first as a journalist. With an undergraduate degree in mass communications and a masters in journalism, she began working as an education reporter. However, she quickly realized that being in the classroom would provide what was missing — having a direct impact on students and schools. For two years before joining CPSC, Lyndsey worked as an EC teacher in Bertie County Schools. She is excited to join the CPSC team and work to help all children find joy and success in learning!

Marsha Edwards ()

EC Teaching Assistant

Marsha is a Durham native who recently returned home after living in Charlotte for nearly 20 years. Before coming to Central Park, she worked a few years with exceptional children for Durham Public Schools. Marsha enjoys working with EC staff and the teachers to provide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support for K-4 and middle school students. She enjoys discovering new music, visual arts and being on a beach.

Liz Lohs ()

Middle School Exceptional Education Teacher

Liz grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an undergraduate degree in communication. After graduation, she lived in Detroit and Salt Lake City before moving to Durham in 1999.

Liz taught kindergarten, third, fourth, and sixth grades at a private school in Utah before transitioning to the exciting life of a wife and mother. Both of her daughters have attended CPSC, and one of them is still a student here. Before joining the CPSC staff, Liz was a substitute teacher at CPSC for five years.

Liz believes in the project-based learning approach, as it gives every student a chance to thrive and enjoy learning.

Abby Stitsinger ()

Middle School Exceptional Education Teacher

Abby has just moved to Durham from Colorado Springs, Colorado to be closer to her family. She loves to travel, eat spicy food, be outside, and read. She has taught Exceptional Children for five years and Social Studies for two years. She is excited to explore a new place and to plug in and serve a new community.

Bethany Ezawa ()

Middle School Exceptional Education Teacher

Bethany comes to Central Park as a fourth year EC teacher. After teaching English in Tijuana, Kolkata, and her hometown, Mansfield, Ohio, Bethany served as a 2014 Teach for America Corps Member in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood. She quickly fell in love with teaching, and strives to empower students to become transformative leaders in their homes, schools, and communities.

Bethany earned her degree in International and Community Development and International Relations from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2012, and she holds a Master of Special Education from Dominican University.

Keith McDonald ()

Middle School Exceptional Education Teacher

Keith D. McDonald, a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University, has a passion for education and teaching. With a Bachelors in Recreational Therapy, and a Masters of Education, he fits both the physical and mental needs to effectively teach all students. Inspired by working with an individual student, he caught the attention of Ashley Ledford, an Inclusion Teacher at Lenoir Public Schools, who told him he needed to pursue a career in Education. Taking her advice, he decided to pursue it and graduated at the top of his class.

“Instead of teaching one, reaching one, we can teach all and reach all!”

Loving to cook and travel, Keith is able to connect to students of all socioeconomic and academic backgrounds. Keith expands beyond the classroom and incorporates life principles to create an atmosphere of charismatic teaching.

Going by CPSC's mission statement, Keith believes that empowering students to do their best will give them the motivation to accumulate the drive to be successful! Given the quote, “We strive for success and nothing less,” Keith believes that all students are able to achieve their highest potential.

Teaching Assistants

Beth Bonow ()

K Teaching Assistant

Beth has over 20 years of early childhood experience, both in the classroom and leading workshops for preschool teachers and parents. She has worked in a variety of settings including private preschools, a resource and referral agency, and Head Start / Early Head Start.

Beth came to Central Park as a parent of a first grader in Evika's class. She has been a CPSC frequent volunteer and occasional substitute . She is excited to team with Evika in kindergarten this year. She strongly believes that all children are ready for kindergarten, and that kindergarten should be a place of joyful learning. Beth lives in Chapel Hill and is the mother of two CPSC students.

Susan McCraw ()

K Teaching Assistant

Susan has called Durham home for over 26 years, having grown up in Atlanta and then lived in Northern Virginia. She has a Masters in special education and has loved working with kids and adults in a variety of capacities. A teacher, behavior specialist, parent educator, mentor, program coordinator and reading tutor describe some of the roles she has held over the years. She especially enjoys connecting with students and their families. She joined Tammy's class at CPSC in January of 2016. She enjoys listening to and telling stories, watching the full moon rise, cooking — because she likes to eat — and being in the company of good friends.

Liz Clark ()

K Teaching Assistant

Liz was born and raised in New York state. After attending UNC-Chapel Hill, she became a professional chef and has cooked in kitchens for more than 20 years. Liz started volunteering in the classroom when her children were in preschool. She has taught cooking and various craft classes to children at CPSC and a Durham public school. She volunteered in the media center and art room and tutored children in reading and math. Before becoming a kindergarten assistant, Liz was a substitute at CPSC and was a head class parent and "Strawberry Parent." Liz loves camping, cooking, traveling, and reading to children.

Marsha Edwards ()

EC Teaching Assistant

Marsha is a Durham native who recently returned home after living in Charlotte for nearly 20 years. Before coming to Central Park, she worked a few years with exceptional children for Durham Public Schools. Marsha enjoys working with EC staff and the teachers to provide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support for K-4 and middle school students. She enjoys discovering new music, visual arts and being on a beach.

Media & Technology

Lauri Brandenburg ()

Tech Director

Lauri is a geek-of-all-trades with experience as a product development engineer, landscaper, web developer, programmer, technical writer, musician, Girl Scout leader and trainer, usability wonk and process improvement evangelist. She joined the CPSC community with her two children in 2007 and has been a committed volunteer ever since. She and her family also enjoy the company of an over-empowered guinea pig.

Dena Belvin ()

MS Tech Curriculum Facilitator

Dena was born in the arid land of El Paso, Texas and never truly felt at home until her feet touched damp NC soil in 1990. She graduated from Duke, spent 8 years melting in Houston working, pursuing graduate work, and having twins and returned to NC permanently in 2000. Her academic and professional background is in math, physics, technology and libraries in both Montessori and traditional public schools. Her interests include music, exercise and handiwork of all types. She has recently challenged herself to learn the Chopin Barcarolle in F sharp major Op. 60 and welcomes anyone encouraging her along the way to playing this beautiful piece which lulled her to sleep night after night when she was in high school. Her twins are now 18 years old, and she has a 15-year old as well, but if you ask her about them, be prepared for a long answer because they have shaped her entire life. Dena is thrilled to be at Central Park MS and feels like it is the place she has been hoping to find for 20 years.

Meg Millard ()

K4 Media Specialist

Meg Millard grew up in Chapel Hill, but has traveled and studied throughout the U.S. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College (in Olympia, WA), a MEd in K-8 Mathematics from UNC-CH, as well as Environmental Educator certification. Meg has over 25 years of teaching experience. She has taught at Central Park School for Children, Duke School for Children, Frank Porter Graham Elementary School (Chapel Hill), and substituted in both Alamance and Orange counties. Most recently Meg spent a year at The Expedition School in Hillsborough (while on leave from CPSC) helping to get a new school started with a STEM, project-based focus. She initiated a grade level team planning retreat at NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching), helped plan and implement hands-on integrated projects with the 3rd/4th grade team, and led the efforts to have students plan and create a school garden. She has also taught summer programs for teachers, mostly through the UNC Center for Math and Science, the Thomas Day Education Project, and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. In 2017, Meg is embarking on a new adventure, as our elementary school librarian.

Her hobbies include reading, gardening, hanging out with her critters, exploring and creating with clay, composting, and almost anything else that might catch her interest. She has 2 grown children who travel the world, a dog, a cat, and numerous chickens and worms who hang out at home.

Meg says, "I love hands-on, project-based learning! My goal is to help students experience the joy of learning through meaningful projects and experiences!"

Kayla Blackley ()

I.T. Technician

Kayla enjoys herself meandering into many different subjects: design, interactive learning, linguistics and handicrafts (to name a few!). To her, communication comes in different forms: animation, books, film and games. With an Animation/Interactive Design degree, she seeks to apply her passion for reaching out to others with whimsy and energy.

Inline skating and at-home calisthenics are her fitness jam along with some peaceful yoga! She's looking forward to finishing her Master's in Library and Information Studies with UNCG summer of 2018. She's also the lady to talk to if you're interested in chatting about different cultures! Learning Japanese is a fun side-project for her. はじめまして!

Arts & Movement

Cara Valenti ()

Elementary Music Teacher

Cara received her Bachelor of Arts in Music at NCCU, where she studied Vocal Performance. She went on to complete her K-12 Music Teaching Certification at UNC Chapel Hill, receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching in 2009. She has been teaching music in schools ever since, and has experience with students of all ages. Cara also holds an Orff-Schulwerk Level 1 certification, which has shaped and defined her teaching for years.

As a performing musician, Cara keeps busy as a member of several groups in the area. In particular she enjoys performing with the Common Woman Chorus, where she is not just a singer but has served as an arranger, guest director, and board member.

Cara’s teaching philosophy stems from the belief that music can come naturally to all of us -- as a teacher it is her job to find it in each student. Her teaching experience has helped her to hone countless ways to access musicality in students, and give them unique and engaging ways to listen to, read, and create music. Cara especially has an excitement for music’s capacity to bring people together in community.

Leah Waller ()

Elementary Art Teacher

Leah is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but has called North Carolina home for 27 years. She received her BFA in Sculpture and Art Education from East Carolina University, and has been teaching art for the past twelve years. From 2003-2011, Leah and her husband spent many hours working in the Liberty Arts Sculpture Studio in Liberty Warehouse sculpting Durham's iconic bronze bull 'Major', the box turtle in Durham Central Park, and several other private and public art projects throughout North Carolina. She is thrilled to return to the neighborhood and share her passion for art and creative expression with the CPSC community.

Leah and her husband, Mike, live in a restored 19th Century farmhouse in Hillsborough with their two children. When not teaching, Leah enjoys spending time with her family, sculpting in the studio, playing guitar, singing, gardening, and listening to live music.

Gaspard Louis ()

Elementary Dance Instructor

Gaspard was a member of Pilobolus Dance Theater. He has performed worldwide and has collaborated on the choreography for nine major dance works with the company. He continues to engage in special projects with Pilobolus, including a commercial for Hyundai. He has also danced for Shirley Mordine and Company in Chicago and AllNations Dance Company in New York.

Gaspard has choreographed for the Kentucky University Dance Ensemble and collaborated on four works for Freespace Dance Company in New Jersey. He has been a guest artist for the New York Renaissance Dance Festival and has choreographed for and performed in a Caribbean music video. He received a BFA from Montclair State University and continued his studies on scholarship with Gus Giordano in Chicago and Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York. Gaspard is currently directing the American Dance Festival’s creative movement outreach program. He founded his own dance company, Gaspard & Dancers, in 2009.

Jason Widener ()

Aikido & Cooperative PE Games

Jason teaches physical education classes at CPSC's elementary campus, ranging from Aikido to all kinds of cooperative games and learning-centered movement. In addition to his role at CPSC, Jason is a part-time faculty member in the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences at UNC-Wilmington where he teaches physical activity and wellness through the arts of Aikido and Tai Chi. Jason also owns and operates W Tai Chi, a school of Tai Chi Chuan based in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Jason has a bachelor's degree from Duke University and is a former collegiate All-American, professional golfer and college coach; he continues to give private lessons in golf. Jason and wife Hannah are proud parents of two wonderful girls.

Middle School Elective Teachers

Erica Leavell ()

Strings: Cello
Erica received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in cello performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and her Master’s of Music degree from New York University. Following NYU, Erica attended the School for Strings in New York, where she completed a two year teacher training program and became registered in the Suzuki Method. Erica Leavell has performed at a wide variety of venues including the Kimmel Center, Fashion Week in NYC, and Carnegie Hall. Erica Leavell is also an avid teacher and has enjoyed sharing her love of music with students of all ages. She has served as an adjunct cello professor at New York University, and currently teaches at Kidznotes, and the Duke University String School.

Megan Guiliano ()

Strings: Violin & Viola

Megan has been teaching music in the area since 2013, including instruction on violin and viola. She enjoys giving students the tools they need to make a beautiful sound. Megan also has a great fondness for words and hopes to someday write a musical with her husband and have it performed.

Amy Elmore ()


Amy and her family moved to Durham in 2008 from Chicago. She was a theatre major at Hofstra University and spent several years in sales and marketing at Showtime Networks before deciding to change career tracks and move into education. She has directed several productions here at CPSC, including a musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book in spring 2015. Prior to coming to CPSC, she taught sixth grade language arts in Roxboro for a year. Amy's daughter is a student at CPSC.

Dena Belvin ()

Technology, Maker

The Maker movement is all about creating something from nothing -- whether that's a computer program, a piece of music, an persuasive presentation or a prosthetic hand. Dena's tech electives will draw from her background in math, physics, technology, libraries, music and all kinds of handiwork. The sky's the limit!

Kendra Madding ()

Kendra is originally from Lake Tahoe, CA and received her bachelor's degree in International Development Studies at UCLA. After teaching bilingual elementary school in San Antonio, TX for two years with Teach for America, she moved to Springfield, MA where she taught 5th grade ESL. She then decided to pursue a master's degree in Public Health, which brought her to UNC, Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from the program, she served as a Bilingual Parent Advocate with the East Durham Children's Initiative. She is excited to combine her love for education and public health at Central Park as the middle school health teacher. In her free time, she loves reading, running, traveling, and teaching and playing piano.

Libba Moravec ()


Along with other P.E. classes, Libba teaches Zumba, a Latin-American-inspired dance/exercise class. Zumba Kids classes feature kid-friendly dance fitness routines based on original Zumba choreography. The class incorporates key childhood development elements like leadership, respect, team work, confidence, self-esteem, memory, creativity, coordination, and cultural awareness. This gives students the opportunity to learn about rhythms and music from around the world.

Katie Moravec ()


Katie's tech electives for 5th and 6th grade build foundation skills that students can use in their core class project work.

Melika Montalvo ()

Spanish / Languages

Melika has a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics and Language Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and recently completed the NC TEACH licensure program at NC State University (with a focus in World Languages). She has lived and studied languages all over the world. She is excited to join the CPSC Middle School family and looks forward to inspiring students to explore their community, and to gain an appreciation for people who come from different cultural backgrounds.

Jason Lord ()


Jason has been teaching music, drama and art in the Triangle since 1997, including 10 years of focus on arts integration into project-based education at Duke School. He's worked in the area as an actor, singer, set and lighting designer, and scene painter. He likes to make all sorts of things, from food to art. This year he also has an 8th grade CREW in addition to his art classes.

Other Administrative Staff

Atisha Burnett ()

Office Manager for Elementary

Atisha is a native of Durham with strong ties to the community. She attended both NC Central University and UNC-Greensboro, studying early childhood development. She's been a part of our school community as a substitute, teaching assistant, and interim librarian. Prior to CPSC, she owned and operated a daycare and a half-day preschool. Atisha was also a teacher assistant for Durham Public Schools while managing one of their before- and after-school programs. She believes she is most effective by being able to support CPSC as a staff member and a parent. Atisha loves coffee, jazz, and football. Go Broncos!

Khaleelah "Kay" Mueed ()

Office Manager for Middle School

Khaleelah "Kay" Mueed has been a part of the CPSC community since 2011, first as a parent, then as an After School counselor, substitute teacher and teaching assistant. Prior to joining Central Park, she managed a local daycare center; she has over 15 years of experience in the childcare network. She is a native of Durham and an alumna of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with a degree in Accounting. She also holds a secondary degree in Cosmetology. Kay enjoys working with kids and alongside a great community. She looks forward to meeting new families and rekindling with our veterans... She's just a call away!

Christina Teach Fountain ()

Student Records / Data Manager

Christina graduated from the University of Mount Olive in Mt. Olive, NC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She has more than six years of school office experience with Durham Public Schools. Additionally, Christina is an active member and volunteer with several local community service and non-profit organizations.

Eli Carleyolsen ()

After-School Program (ASP) Director
Bio coming soon!

Kendra Madding ()

Middle School ASP Director
Kendra is originally from Lake Tahoe, CA and received her bachelor's degree in International Development Studies at UCLA. After teaching bilingual elementary school in San Antonio, TX for two years with Teach for America, she moved to Springfield, MA where she taught 5th grade ESL. She then decided to pursue a master's degree in Public Health, which brought her to UNC, Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from the program, she served as a Bilingual Parent Advocate with the East Durham Children's Initiative. She is excited to combine her love for education and public health at Central Park as the middle school health teacher. In her free time, she loves reading, running, traveling, and teaching and playing piano.

Gretchen Mauney ()

Nutrition Coordinator
Bio coming soon!

Nadine Blake ()

Nutrition Coordinator

Nadine is a nutrition director with over 30 years of school food service experience. She will maintain our commitment to a triple bottom line: people (our students, staff, farmers, producers), planet (from Durham to the world), and budget (paying our chefs, catering staff, farmers, and producers equitably within the confines of USDA school meal reimbursement — yes, it can be done).

Cheryl Chamblee ()

Development Team Member
Bio coming soon!

Amy Pine ()

MS Curriculum Coordinator

Amy comes to CPSC with more than twenty years in teaching. She landed in Durham by way of Seattle, where she taught at an Expeditionary Learning school, and Brooklyn, where she taught and served as a literacy coach at a social justice high school. Here in Durham, Amy has taught at Riverside High School, Durham Tech, and most recently, Carolina Friends School. She has a BA in English from Syracuse University, and an MA in education from Antioch University Seattle.

In 2012, Amy’s passion about types of educational opportunities available for adolescents in Durham led her to join CPSC’s middle school planning team as a curriculum consultant, and she has remained connected to this venture ever since. She is excited about working with staff, students, and families at CPSC.

When Amy is not teaching, she is tending to her chickens, dabbling in ceramics and writing, and exploring the history and many pockets of an ever-evolving Durham with her husband, Richard, and daughter, Zoe Mae.

Testing Coordinator ()

Testing Coordinator
Lindsay May, our testing coordinator, is also a Learning Specialist for elementary.
This page (Meet Our Staff) last updated February 27, 2016