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.

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Emily O'Neil

Faculty Information
Location(s) Key School
Title(s) Key School Grade 5
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x351
Other Information

Emily O’Neil is a fifth grade teacher at the Key School, where she has been since 2012. Emily's Mother in law attended St. Genevieve. Emily is a Orton-Gillingham multisensory language tutor.

Get to know Emily O’Neil:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “CDS encourages creativity and for teachers and families to connect through learning.”  
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “Collaboration with my peers. This year I learned so much because my peers always including me in on educational resources and opportunities.  Not to mention the faculty, students, and parents are kind, warm, and inviting.”
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 Key is an exceptional place.  Students are here because they have extra challenges.  To be a student at the Key you must work hard because everything is a new experience.”
How would you describe your classroom? “A space where students can be themselves and ask any question because we will always find the answer.”
What books and authors inspire you?Poetry inspires me and as a result engages and inspires my students.  Poetry has allowed them to express themselves through reading, reciting, and writing.”  
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “I live for my students to have aha! moments.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “I organized the 4th grade time-capsule project.  Students answer a survey, trace their hand, and measure their height.  On the last day of school we crack it open and see how much students have changed.  It was a BIG DEAL this year.  We talked a lot about personal growth, accountability, and advocating for oneself.  The students were able to see how mature they had become.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life?  I LOVE to cook for friends and family.  I also love to book travel...that’s right...for me or anyone else.  I find thrill in finding the best deal.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? In elementary school I was a quiet student who slipped through the cracks.  I attended a middle school where my individual needs were met and then a high school where I again completed average work.  Looking back it was my 2 years at a private middle school that had the most impact.  All students received an education that catered to their individual needs and instruction was fantastic.  Those teachers put in an exceptional amount work, time, effort, and love into their teaching.  It’s how I want to come across to my students.”
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