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Lab Faculty

Instructional Staff

Jaime Asack

Speech Therapist -

I am originally from Louisiana. I have lived in both Florida and Illinois as well. I came to North Carolina in 2003 to play volleyball for the East Carolina Pirates. I graduated from East Carolina in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communication Disorders. I continued my education at North Carolina Central University in Durham with a Masters of Education in Speech Language Pathology in 2010. I have worked in both the school system and private practice with children ranging from early intervention to teenagers. I am trained in S.O.S. approach to feeding, PROMPT (PROMPTS for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets), LIPS (Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing Program for Reading and Spelling), and DIR Floortime Method. I enjoy spending every minute I can with my baby boy, husband and two dogs.

Elizabeth Baldwin

Assistant Director of Development & 4/5 ELA Teacher -

Elisabeth grew up in Buffalo, NY, and studied Elementary Education at Canisius College. After college, she moved to Charlotte, NC to begin her career teaching second grade. Later, she moved to Austin, TX where she taught fifth grade ELA and earned her Master's Degree in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas. Back in Charlotte, Elisabeth has worked as a classroom teacher and literacy coach/facilitator. She is passionate about inspiring the readers and writers at Lab, as well as supporting Lab's growth as part of the External Affairs team!

Elisabeth currently lives in Charlotte with her husband and chocolate lab.

Elizabeth Benitez

K-1 Spanish Assistant Teacher -

Elizabeth is a mother of four growing boys and wife of an educator. Two of her boys attend Charlotte Lab School and love it there. She is bilingual and is a first generation in her family from Puerto Rico. She came to the United States from Puerto Rico and was raised in the Lower East Side area of Manhattan, New York for the majority of her life.

Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, exploring the city of Charlotte and do-it-yourself projects.

Erique Berry

Assistant Director of External Affairs / 6th Grade Math Teacher -

Erique is a native from Winston-Salem, NC and earned a degree in Applied Mathematics with a focus in Economics from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro NC. She has 6 years of teaching experience and has returned back to classroom after working for Apple Inc. for the last 4 years. Some of her favorite things are cooking and the Carolina Panthers.

Brandt Boidy

4/5 Math/Quest Teacher -

Brandt is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in education and biology. After college Brandt moved to Brooklyn, New York, the greatest city on earth, and taught at the Collegiate School and Staten Island Academy. He also earned a master’s degree at Hunter College. Before joining the Charlotte Lab School, Brandt taught mathematics at Charlotte Prep.

Brandt is an avid hiker, amateur artist, and lover of books, comics, and records. He lives with his wife Katherine and daughter Joan.

Maggie was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Following student teaching at Myers Park Traditional, she spent two months working with children from Kindergarten through 9th grade, in all subject areas, at a private school in Nicoya, Costa Rica. Margaret has spent the past three years teaching at Myers Park Traditional School. Her passions are teaching, traveling, spending time with family and friends, music, and all things outdoors.

She has three younger brothers, and a wonderful mother, father, step-father and stepmother.

Mary Royall has over 18 years of teaching and administrative experience in education. She received a degree in English from The College of Charleston and a Masters Degree in Teaching from Queens University of Charlotte. She then went on to receive a second degree from UNCC in teaching birth to kindergarten. Mary Royall taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and served as a Literacy Support Teacher for CMS as well. She also taught at Covenant Presbyterian Preschool where she assisted the director in duties to secure accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In addition to these responsibilities, Mary Royall has worked as the Director of the Dilworth United Methodist Weekday School for the past five years. She enjoys running, reading and traveling. She has a large family spread over the map from New Orleans, LA to Denver, CO.

Mary Royall has two daughters, Madeline and Martha, who both attend AG Middle School.

LaQueita is a native of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Queens University of Charlotte in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. She had the privilege of being a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, a scholarship program which provides aspiring teachers with full tuition scholarships to pursue an education degree. Through this opportunity she was able to train with Ron Clark at the Ron Clark Academy, teach at various schools in the Charlotte area, and even in Tanzania.

Laquieta has lived in Charlotte for six years and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Math and Science.

Leslie Chambers

K-5 EC Teacher -

Leslie was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Bowling Green State University and played collegiate soccer. Upon graduating from college, she relocated to Charlotte and began teaching students with behavioral and emotional disabilities in CMS. She has taught for the past 15 years in a self-contained setting. During her teaching tenure she has been actively involved with the UNCC writing project and a fellow with the Charlotte Teachers Institute. She received her Master’s degree in Literacy from Queen’s College.

Leslie resides in Charlotte with her husband, Ben, and their children Laney and Abby.

Lisa is an educator, artist and mother of two. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with a minor in Art History from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Her own interests in art and education lead to her completion of a Master’s Degree in Art Education from New York University. Today, Lisa works in a broad range of media from ceramics to collage to sewing, and her artwork has been included in group exhibitions in NYC, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Prior to taking time off to start a family, Lisa was the Associate Curator of Education at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke where she worked with K-12 students and teachers. In addition to art, her interests include gardening, tennis, local food, and the outdoors.

She and her husband have two children, Teagan and Garret, and currently reside in Charlotte.

Bita Clark

Math/Quest Assistant -

Bita was born in Iran, grew up in Fairfax, VA and studied psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She spent the majority of her professional career working in brand marketing, as well as the music industry. Bita speaks fluent Farsi and enjoys cooking, decorating and spending time with her family -- husband Tim, son Myles and American Bulldog, Shea. She has been in Charlotte for 5 years and part of the Lab family since 2016.

Mary-Ashley is a native of Roswell, Georgia. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with minors in Psychology and Math from Queens University of Charlotte, following a standout career as a varsity soccer player. She has also received her Master’s degree in Literacy Education from Queens University of Charlotte, as well as her Advanced and Intellectually Gifted certification from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has spent the past four and a half years teaching as a Talent Development teacher at Myers Park Traditional School. She is a lover of the beach, college football and being outdoors every opportunity she gets.

She has an older brother Thomas, and a younger sister Eleni, and currently resides in Charlotte.

Stephanie Doig

1st Grade ELA Teacher -

Stephanie grew up in Clayton, North Carolina. She attended Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In 2008, she spent a semester in Granada, Spain at the Universidad de Granada learning Spanish and volunteering in schools. Stephanie earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a minor in English as a Second Language from UNCW. Stephanie is a passionate teacher and is currently living out her life-long dream of teaching kindergarten. She is a lover of the beach, traveling, crafting, and the Carolina Panthers.

Stephanie currently lives in Charlotte and has two brothers, Trey and Andrew.

Samantha Dreyer

1st Grade Math/Quest Teacher -

Samantha was born in Montclair, New Jersey. She received a degree in Early Childhood Education from Miami University in Ohio and a Master's Degree in Teaching Literacy from Bank Street College of Education. Samantha worked as an elementary teacher for 2 years in New York City. After relocating to Charlotte, she taught second grade in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. When Samantha is not teaching she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and trying new restaurants. She is also certified to teach Children's Yoga.

Samantha and her husband currently live in Charlotte, NC.

Seth C. Ellis II

6th Grade Social Studies Teacher -

Born in raised in the great state of Kansas City, KS, Seth earned his Bachelor degree in Education with a focus in English from Kansas State University. He also received his Masters in Educational Leadership from Kansas State. Seth has a huge passion for learning, teaching, reading, and writing.

When Seth isn’t teaching, you can find him either running, reading, walking his dog Tobias, or spending time with his two sisters and mother.

Maurice Falls

Student Services Assistant Teacher -

Maurice is a native Charlottean and graduate of Davidson College. Maurice came to teaching after spending several years working to assist students with reading and comprehension issues at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes. This work pushed him to want to give back to his community by serving in Charlotte's public schools of which he is a graduate. As an educator, Maurice has served as Special Education Department chair and spent last year teaching English in Ecuador. He looks forward to bringing his passion for education to the students at Lab.

Wendolyn Fernandez

3rd-5th Grade ELA Teacher -

Wendolyn is bilingual and is first generation from Dominican Republic. She grew up in Rhode Island and came to Charlotte when she was in High School. She graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She went on to teach in a rural school in Union County and a Title 1 school in CMS. Currently, she's enrolled in UNC-C Aspiring Principal’s Program, and will graduate with her Masters in Administration in May 2019.

Wendolyn values globalization, collaboration, community and family involvement, and technology. In her previous classrooms, she has ensured that her students are 21st century learners, critical thinkers, and global citizens. She has taught about important persons, like Malala, and global issues like the Dakota Pipeline protests.

When Wendolyn is not teaching, she enjoys crafting, painting, and reading.

Shannon Fersner

K-3 Assistant Teacher -

Shannon is from Orangeburg, South Carolina. She has been working with children for over 12 years and absolutely loves it. Shannon received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from South Carolina State University. She is an Assistant Teacher in the EC department at Charlotte Lab School. She started working at the Lab School last year and is now in her second year.

Shannon is also a self-published author of two books that she is very proud of. She enjoys reading, dancing, traveling, writing and working out. Her goal as a teacher is to assist every child so that they can reach their full potential to be productive in the world.

Emily has taught in both public and private schools in the U.S. and abroad. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University. She later went on to earn her Master’s degree as a Literacy Specialist from Columbia University Teachers College. At Columbia, Emily was selected for an urban school fellowship to strengthen the impact of inquiry-based play on language acquisition and literacy skills. The past few years, Emily has worked as a literacy coach, helping teachers grow in their literacy instruction. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling to new places, and eating really good food.

Emily and her husband recently moved to Charlotte.

Carey is a North Carolina native. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Foreign Language Education from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her love of learning and languages has led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Bilingual Education through the University of Minnesota. She is also an active member of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Foreign Languages Association of North Carolina. She loves traveling and exploring new places, watching things grow in the garden, and being a part of the Baran Dance Company.

Natalia Guerrero

2nd Grade Teacher/Spanish -

Natalia was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at University of San Buenaventura. She has more than sixteen years of teaching experience on the pre-k to middle school grade levels, in both suburban and urban school districts in Colombia and the U.S. Natalia has also taught adults, tutored students, and served as an interpreter in Spanish and English. She was an assistant advisor for middle and high school in Colombia, which led her to seek opportunities to work with students of different ages. As a marketing and advertisement undergraduate student of University Politécnico Grancolombiano, Natalia began to create projects with children before discovering education was her passion.

Dave Hartzell

3rd Grade Quest Teacher -

Dave is a Philadelphia native who graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006. Since then, he taught elementary school in both Richmond and Charlotte. While working in CMS, Dave founded the 40 Book Project, a grassroots campaign that provided high-interest home libraries to students who needed them most. He is also part of a small group of educators around the world to pilot an Imagination Chapter, which helps build creativity in students. Most recently, Dave was a Master Reach Teacher at Shamrock Gardens Elementary and a Seminar Instructor for TEACH Charlotte.

He and his wife have three sons - Calvin, Finn and Levi.

Stephanie Hollands

2nd Grade Math Teacher -

From a young age, Stephanie knew she wanted to be a teacher. She loved learning and wanted to spread her enthusiasm for education to children. Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Michigan State University and a Master in Education from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She then went on to get certified in ESL (English as a Second Language). While in Chicago, Stephanie worked in both public and private schools in a variety of roles. For the past eight years she taught kindergarten. Outside of teaching, she loves traveling, spending time with family and friends and being outdoors. Stephanie is excited to be part of the Charlotte Lab School Team!

Larsee received her NC Early Childhood Education Credentials in 2011 at Central Piedmont Community College. She has taught professionally in an Early Childhood setting for 3 years, acting as a lead teacher at the Learning Garden. Most recently, she has served as a teacher assistant with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

She currently resides in Charlotte, NC.

Elizabeth was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia in a bilingual household. Elizabeth's mother is Peruvian and she grew up speaking Spanish. Elizabeth received a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Elon University and later obtained her Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught second grade at a Catholic school in Vienna, VA and first grade in the Fairfax County, VA school system. Additionally, she spent several years working as a teacher's assistant at a Montessori preschool.

She and her husband, Dan, reside in Charlotte with their two children, Anderson and Annabel.

A native of Taiwan, Lee-Jung received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Tamkang in New Taipei City, Taiwan. She later received her Masters of Science in ESL and EFL Education from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. Lee-Jung has spent the past several years teaching Chinese to elementary school students as a Chinese teacher at the Great Wall School of Education in Huntersville, NC, as well as a private Chinese tutor. She enjoys watching cooking shows and painting.

She and her husband, Venkata, currently reside in Huntersville with their two daughters, Sloka and Riya.

A Michigan native, Jim moved to the South while serving in the Air Force as a fire fighter. Later, he attended George Mason University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, later followed by a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. While in Alexandria, VA, he had the privilege of being on the founding faculty of a public elementary school, teaching 3rd grade. For the past 8 years, Jim has taught 2nd and 4th grades at Trinity Episcopal School and coached middle school basketball. He is also in his third year as a STEM Fellow with Discovery Place and is pursuing an Environmental Education Certificate from the State of NC. When he is not teaching, he enjoys spending time with his family, going on adventures, finding "curiosities" to share, playing basketball, fishing, kayaking, and finding a good read-aloud!

He currently resides in Charlotte with his wife, Julia, son, Jack, and stepchildren Caleb, Cole, and Addison.

Maria Maspons

K-5th Grade Art Teacher -

Maria was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in Miami, Florida. She received her bachelors degree in Fine Arts with a Masters in Art Education from Florida International University. Maria has spent many years teaching art from elementary education thru high school teaching AP courses. Maria is a native Spanish speaker. Maria taught Spanish in the state of Georgia. She is a certified Spanish teacher (K -12th) in the state of Georgia and North Carolina. Maria loves spending time with her four kids and her Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. She also loves hiking in our beautiful state of North Carolina.

Alison McClain

6th Grade ELA/Humanities Teacher -

Born and raised in small-town Oklahoma, Alison graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in secondary English education after completing her student teaching internship abroad on an Air Force base outside of London, England. Degree in hand, she joined Teach For America and transplanted to the east coast to teach in a high needs school here in Charlotte. Once she completed her time in the corps, she took a job teaching on the other side of the world at Singapore American School. She's thrilled to join the founding team at Charlotte Lab Middle School as a sixth grade humanities teacher, working with students to continue growing their love of reading and learning through their middle school years.

When Alison isn't dreaming up new lessons for the classroom or reading the latest young adult books, she's probably loving on her new rescue puppy Sampson, FaceTiming her niece and nephews, or planning the travel details for her next weekend adventure.

Danielle McDaniel

Occupational Therapist -

Danielle McDaniel is a Winston-Salem, NC native who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to receive her BA in Exercise and Sport Science in 2011. She continued her studies in Pittsburgh, PA to receive her Master of Occupational Therapy at Chatham University in 2016. Danielle has always enjoyed working with children and has a passion for fostering independence to help her clients achieve their goals. After living in Winston-Salem, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Kalamazoo, she has settled in Charlotte and is excited to join the LAB school team. In her spare time she enjoys being on the lake, playing with her labradoodle 'Royce,' baking, and spending time with family.

Marcelo Luis Morales

4th-6th Grade Spanish/Coding Teacher -

Originally from Chile, Luis is a dedicated and passionate teacher. He is always seeking ways of integrating technology into existing curriculum and creating new lesson plans to encompass technology and spanish in all classrooms.

Previously to CLS, has spent the last few years working with both K-8 teachers and students as an a Spanish Technology Teacher and Instructional Technology Specialist in a Spanish Immersion Program at CMS. Also, he provided instructional technology support to school and Technology professional development on Essential Standards, 21st Century skills, and online, blended and mobile learning.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Communication and Multimedia & an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science. Also different training such as “Creativity, Innovation and Change”, “Developing Innovative Ideas”,“Managment”. Besides of teaching he has more than 10 years in the Technology field as well a few years as an Entrepreneur.

He loves traveling, music and outdoor activities, and also enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

CarieAnn Morrissey

6th Grade Math Teacher -

CarieAnn grew up in Owego, New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the State University of New York College at Cortland. After graduation she spent four years in Corcoran, California teaching third grade English Language learners, and then taught adult ESL night school and worked as a substitute teacher for grades K-8 in San Diego County. She moved to Charlotte in 2000 and has spent the past seventeen years teaching fourth and fifth grade and working as a K-6 math facilitator/teaching assistant principal. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, has a M.Ed. in curriculum and supervision with administrative add-on certificate, and is currently working on her Ed.D. in educational leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

In addition to teaching, CarieAnn is passionate about motorcycle camping, going to concerts, and cooking. She lives in Charlotte with her three rescue dogs, Sullivan, Arthur, and Owen.

A native of Argentina, Barbara received her Bachelor’s degree in English-Spanish Translation from the Instituto de Ensenanza Superior Olga Cossettini in Rosario, Argentina. She later received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Culture from SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, NY. She was raised in an English Immersion program herself and has experienced the benefits of immersion first-hand. She has more than 10 years of experience in teaching and language/human services. Besides teaching, translating and interpreting, Barbara has developed, implemented, and collaborated with several impactful self-sufficiency programs targeted to the Latino community in need such as computer knowledge, ESL (English as a Second Language), job-preparation, and financial literacy classes in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Regional Library, the YMCA, and Davidson College. She has been devoted to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the Lake Norman/Charlotte community for years and has been actively engaged in the Latin American Chamber of Commerce Charlotte and served in the Lake Norman Diversity Council to support this effort.

"Senora” Najenson loves children and is passionate about teaching and learning languages. She has worked in CMS in the Spanish Immersion Program at Oaklawn Language Academy with students of various age-groups and more recently, she has been teaching Spanish at Vance High School.

When she is not teaching, she loves spending time with her family, two daughters and husband and visiting with friends and family in her native land, in the southern hemisphere of the world.

Brittany Newswanger

2nd-5th Grade EC Lab Fellow -

Brittany was born and raised in Mason, OH. After high school, she attended the University of Cincinnati where she pursued a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership. Throughout her college years she became involved in a student-lead non-profit called, College Mentors for Kids where she found her passion for working with children. She also served as the President her last two years. Following her undergraduate degree, she worked at a non-profit called, Stepping Stones where she worked with children and teens with disabilities. Brittany taught sensory processing and independence. In August 2015, Brittany moved to Charlotte, NC to be an AmeriCorps VISTA member for Charlotte Lab School where she assisted with program development, recruitment, developing an after school program and more in the CLS Maker Lab. This year Brittany took on the position of an EC (exceptional children’s) LAB Fellow in Math, grades 2-5 at Charlotte Lab. Brittany is the youngest of 3 and loves hiking, camping and mountain biking.

Maria Pollara

2/3 EC ELA/Math Teacher -

Maria was born in Toms River, New Jersey and grew up in Marco Island, Florida. She attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Special Education. Maria first became interested in working with individuals with special needs when she started working with Camp Able in 2007, and has continued working with the organization every summer since. Her experience with Camp Able ignited her passion of working with individuals with disabilities, leading her down the career path of working in Special Education. During college, Maria worked as a Lead Teaching Assistant at United Cerebral Palsy for a self-contained classroom for preschoolers with severe disabilities for 3 years. After graduating, Maria joined TEACH Charlotte, relocated to Charlotte, and accepted a job as an EC Teacher in the public school system. After teaching in CMS, Maria was offered an opportunity to teach in Seoul, South Korea for 10 months. She has since relocated back to Charlotte and is working on her Masters in Special Education and graduate certificate in Autism at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Maria enjoys the outdoors, traveling, hiking, camping, photography, reading, cooking, and exploring new places.

She has an older brother, a younger sister, and a 7-year-old nephew.

Woody has been teaching and performing music in New York City for 11 years. From 2007-2015, he served as a multi-instrumental instructor at the NYC Guitar School and Brooklyn Guitar School. During that time he maintained a weekly roster of over 70 students, teaching guitar, bass, piano, drums, ukulele, music theory, digital music production, and songwriting. Woody's teaching philosophy is based on incorporating a broad music curriculum, while allowing individual students to achieve personal greatness through music that will remain relevant as the student grows. He strongly believes that every song offers an important lesson in music, math, history and culture.

Woody was raised in Greenville, South Carolina. After attending the Fine Arts Center in high school, Woody earned a Bachelor's Degree in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Miami. During his time at Miami he received 3 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

Woody lives in South Charlotte with his wife Laura, their daughter Lillian, and rescue dog Judd.

Alexandria Ritchie

2nd Grade Teacher/STEM -

Alexandria is a Charlotte native and recent graduate of Queens University. She majored in Elementary Education and minored in Organizational Communications. As a Cato Teaching Fellow at Queens, Alex student taught at Sharon Elementary, trained at Ron Clark Academy, and mentored students from Providence Day, the Union 100, and One7 Academy. She tutored in more than 10 CMS schools. She was awarded a fellowship with UNCC that brought her to San Juan, Puerto Rico to speak at the International Conference on Urban Education and work in schools across the city. In addition, she traveled to Germany and Switzerland with Queens to work in printing studios. She has also spent a year on staff at Charlotte Montessori School and four years as the creative director at Crowders Ridge Camp and Retreat Center.

Alex is extremely excited to begin her teaching career at Charlotte Lab School. She loves her three siblings, her Golden Retriever named Dobby, and trying to play tennis.

Marie Astrid Salas

K Spanish Teacher -

A native of Chile, Astrid earned her BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Gabriela Mistral University in Santiago, Chile, as well a Masters of Arts in EFL Education from the same university. She recently completed a M.Ed. in ESL and Bilingualism at American College of Education, USA.

Her education background and teaching experiences are a valuable asset and have proven to be a powerful tool throughout her years as an educator, both in Chile and USA. She has more than 10 years of experience and has worked with various ages/levels. She came to United States in 2011 to teach Spanish at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, where she was a K-Lead Teacher in a Spanish Immersion Program, working in a multicultural classroom environment integrating 21st century Skills. She is really proud to be nominated as “Teacher of the Year” for 2 years consecutively at her last school.

When she’s not teaching, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband and traveling

Denise is an educator with more than 10 years of experience in the classroom. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and British Literature from Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois. Her passion for teaching would lead her to receive a Master’s degree from the Columbia University Teachers College in Curriculum and Teaching, as well as in Gifted Education. She has had a variety of teaching experiences both in public and private school settings, here in the U.S. and abroad. She also has extensive experience in dual-language school settings. During the last 4 years of her full-time teaching career, Denise was the Spanish language catalyst charged with developing the K-8 Spanish curriculum, in addition to her role as Middle School Spanish teacher and advisory leader, for Trinity Episcopal School in Charlotte, NC.

Denise is a founding board member of Charlotte Lab School and serves as a Talent Development teacher in the Literacy Department for 2nd-5th grades. Her three children are current students at Charlotte Lab School.

Kristen Sluder

4/5 ELA Teacher -

Kristen is originally from Berkeley Heights, NJ but has lived in Charlotte for 18 years. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) with a major in Religious Studies, a minor in Studio Art and Certification in Elementary Education. She has worked as a teacher for 15 years in a variety of subjects areas and settings with students as young as 3 years old up to 5th grade.

Kristen loves travelling, spending time outdoors and napping. She lives in South Charlotte with her 2 sons (Dalton and Max) and her dog, Hazel.

Mollie Smith

K ELA Teacher/Lab Fellow Mentor -

Mollie recently moved to Charlotte. She taught in both public and private schools in New York City. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Deaf Education at Bloomsburg University. Her love of reading would lead her to earn a Master’s degree as a Literacy Specialist from Columbia University Teachers College. The past few years, Mollie has worked as a literacy coach, consultant and teacher in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. When she is not teaching, she loves reading, trying new restaurants, crafting, and hanging out with her husband, Zach.

Colby Snyder

Scientist-In-Residence -

“Scientist and Maker” Colby enjoyed an extensive professional career of over 20 years as an environmental scientist. She recently took her experience and passion for science and put it to work as an educator at the Charlotte Lab School. Last year, Colby helped to develop the Maker class curriculum at the Lab School as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Colby is looking forward to continuing this journey in the upcoming year as Charlotte Lab School’s Scientist-in-Residence.

Brigitte Wang

6th Grade Chinese Teacher -

Brigitte was born and brought up in Shanghai, China; graduated from East China University of Science & Technology; and moved to Charlotte, NC in 2008 with her husband and a son who is a college junior and a US Chess National Master.

She started teaching Chinese in 2009 and teaching at charter schools since 2015. In her free time, she loves road trips and learning.

Qian Wang

4/5 Grade Chinese Teacher -

Mrs. Wang was born in Wuhan, a city in central China where she received

her bachelors degree in English Education from Huazhong Normal University. She had over 8 years of experience with age groups from 6 to 13 years old when she taught elementary and middle schools in Wuhan. She moved to New York City in 2006 and received her second bachelor degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design. She is a passionate teacher who loves to incorporate arts into her teaching through various art projects.

A native of the United Kingdom, Kaylee hails from Scarborough, a small, coastal town located in northeastern England, where her parents and younger twin sisters still live. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education with Information Technology from York St. John University in York, England and is currently pursuing her Masters in Education and Technology from the Institute of Education, University College London. Kaylee has been teaching since 2009, and has great experience promoting interactive and child initiated learning for students at the pre-k and elementary levels. Recently, she has served as a global ambassador, first grade teacher and grade level chair in Union County. Previously, she worked as an Early Years leader in England. Outside of teaching, Kaylee does not like to sit still. She loves the outdoors, traveling, F1 racing, snowboarding, and attending concerts.

Sara Wycinsky

4/5 Math/Quest Teacher -

Sara was born and raised in San Diego, California. She received an Elementary Education degree from Colorado Christian University while living in Denver, Colorado. After graduation she moved to La Paz, Bolivia for two years where she taught 4th grade. Sara moved to Charlotte three years ago and absolutely loves it here (minus the bugs). While teaching in Cabarrus County, she finished her Masters of Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction. Her passions are traveling, eating delicious food, and spending time with family and friends. She has three younger sisters, Emily, Cassi, and Hannah who live all over the country.

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