Key School Staff
A Dedicated Team of Professionals
From researching physics in a nuclear laboratory, teaching English in Malaysia, developing a math dictionary, working in children's publishing, reporting on television, being foster parents, to running the Boston marathon in record time, our faculty brings a variety of valuable experiences and insights to Key School.
With a commitment to professional development, our highly trained teachers use a unified, intentional, cohesive approach. Dedicated and caring, Key's teachers are committed to helping children become successful students.
Every teacher at Key School is Orton-Gillingham-trained. Each language teacher has completed a rigorous, supervised clinical teaching experience to ensure a high level of compentancy with multisensory structured language instructional principles. Math teachers are trained in the multisensory math principles and approach. Both language and math teachers use a five-step Orton-Gillingham-based lesson plan which includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic teaching and ample review and reinforcement in a teaching-for-mastery environment.
Key School provides its own teacher training to all faculty, under the supervision of a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). Key uses the curriculum standards of AOGPE and is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Teachers are in the mindset of continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Two-thirds of the faculty have passed a national certifying examination and are credentialed at the Certified Academic Language Practitioner level or the Certified Academic Language Therapist level.
Christy Buchanan is a first grade teacher in the Lower School and has been at Carolina Day School since 2005. Christy has completed all Orton Gillingham training at the Key School, which she says has truly shaped her career. She has also presented twice at the North Carolina Dyslexia Conference.
Get to know Christy Buchanan:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “At CDS, I really get to know my students and their families. A strong and caring relationship with our students is encouraged. Building a relationship and earning students’ trust is the first step in a successful school year.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “Being at CDS has given me the opportunity to learn how to be a more effective teacher. CDS’s commitment to professional development has shaped me as an educator and honed my skills to work with a specific population of students. Also the size of CDS allows for a not only a close-knit community but a family.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “From the stage to the field, students are given the opportunity outside the classroom to shine. Academics are very important at CDS, but students are encouraged to be well-rounded either through student government leadership opportunities to presenting their art projects at the Talent celebrations. Students are encouraged to try new things, to get out of their comfort zones, and learn about themselves.”
How would you describe your classroom? “My classroom is often loud and filled with laughter. At other times, you can hear a pin drop as students work to finish a writing project. It is always filled with love and encouragement.”
What books and authors inspire you? “I love great young adult authors like Gary Paulsen or Christopher Paul Curtis. They have lived full lives and really went out of their own comfort zones to become authors. I use these authors along with a few others as models for my students as budding authors themselves.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." - Kahlil Gibran
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “I tell my students all the time: Let’s complete this task with joy in your heart and a smile on your face. I try to model that everyday.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “My students have always enjoyed our ancient Greek god project.They become a Greek god, create a business card, and design a costume. Then they present the project to their classmates. It is one of the first public speaking opportunities they have at the Key Middle School. It is sort of a rite of passage in the Middle School, and older students often reminisce with the new 6th graders about their own Greek project.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “My family is my main passion. I love them. Our daughter is our world. I enjoy going to the Y for yoga or the occasional Zumba class. I have a couple of life-long friends that I never want to be without.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “Students are truly valued at CDS. Their thoughts and voice are important and want to be heard.”