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.
M.Ed., University of Maryland
Tamara Rutledge is a third grade language comprehensive teacher and third grade team leader at the Key Lower School and has been working at Carolina Day School since 2008. Her daughter attended Key School and graduated from the Upper School in 2014. Tamara was the first female president of the Student Government Association in the history of her college. She also taught vocational education, printing, at a comprehensive high school in Alexandria, VA and ran a small educational consulting business for five years. She also started two homeschool programs for teens, which are still active today.
Get to know Tamara Rutledge:In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “At the Key School, there is autonomy and a trust which allows me to do what I feel is best for my students. I have the freedom to be diagnostic and prescriptive in every lesson plan, and the administration respects my professional opinion by allowing me to do my job. I am able to raise the level of self-confidence in my students, by building success into every lesson. Success breeds success.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “I love to see the end of the year accomplishments realized on the faces of my students. I love when parents are able to come to terms with their child’s learning profile for the first time, and then sit back and trust the process of our program. Let the magic unfold.”
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? “The talents program at the Key School is an opportunity for students to try out new classes they may have never considered. The end of the year talent show is a wonderful opportunity to showcase a hidden talent. Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another and communicate their ideas and opinions.”
How would you describe your classroom? “A safe place to laugh, get some luv, and learn a little sumthin.”
What books and authors inspire you? “I love Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind. I believe in the multiple intelligence theory. Intelligent people are much more than high SAT scores, degrees from prestigious colleges, high paying jobs, etc. Many ‘smart’ people do not have those accolades, but are wonderfully gifted people succeeding in one of the other intelligences described by Gardner.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” - Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Prepare, Smile, Laugh - they will listen, learn, and then thrive.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “I’m known for starting the Key School talent show, five years ago. It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to shine in non-traditional ways.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “The simple things. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, exercise, pray, and practice forgiveness.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “The teachers at CDS truly care about the ‘whole’ students. I don’t know if I felt that when I was attending school. I did attend many schools, perhaps I just wasn’t at one school long enough to connect. CDS teachers are genuinely invested in the social, emotional, and academic health of the students.”