Carolina Day School announces new faculty and staff hires
Posted 08/15/2018 01:53PM

Carolina Day School announces new faculty and staff hires

Carolina Day School is pleased to welcome more than a dozen new faculty and staff members as we head into the 2018-19 school year. Their combined scholarship, teaching, and expertise span a wide range of fields and disciplines, enhancing the exceptional team of Carolina Day educators. As they ready their classrooms for the students to arrive on campus next week, please join us in giving them a warm Wildcat welcome.


Regina Blount joins us as a Grade 2 teaching assistant. She has been a substitute teacher at CDS since 2016, has more than 10 years of teaching experience at the elementary level, is an Orton-Gillingham-trained educator, and is experienced as an Orton-Gillingham tutor for Asheville-area students. Regina is a certified teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in English and is currently pursuing a Master of Education from Mars Hill University. Regina knows and loves the current students and families entering Grade 2 this fall, having served as a long-term substitute in Grade 1 last spring—she is eager to work with these students once again.

Monica Curwen joins our Kindergarten team with more than a decade of experience in the world of early childhood education, serving as a lead teacher at Asheville Montessori School since 2006. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in guiding young students in a classroom that fosters engagement, curiosity, compassion, and deep learning. Monica is a parent of two CDS students.

Tara Hewitt joins us as a learning specialist for Grades 3–5 and will work alongside Bess Bryan in our learning support program. Tara comes to us from the Chapel Hill area, where she most recently served as the Director of Literacy, Professional Development and Academically or Intellectually Gifted programs for Orange County Schools. She is an Orton-Gillingham-trained educator with many years of experience teaching and leading in multiple school settings. Tara has been a lead teacher in Grades 2–5, has served as a professional learning specialist, and has presented at national conferences throughout her 22-year career. Hewitt is a parent of a CDS student.

Alison Mayer joins us as a Grade 4 teacher. She is a graduate of Duke University and most recently a Grade 3 teacher at Triangle Day School in Durham, NC. She is familiar with independent school culture and expectations, having graduated from the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. With experience using our math curriculum, Math in Focus, and the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning, Alison is an excellent complement to our current Grade 4 teacher, Jan Brabham. Together, they will guide our students through a year of inquiry, discovery, and joyful engagement.

Stacy Montana joins us as our new Lower School music teacher. Stacy has more than 20 years of experience teaching music to young children—this includes bringing innovative teaching and programming to the students at Vance Elementary School for the past 13 years. She holds a master's degree in music education and is an experienced piano, voice, and choral instructor. With experience directing countless concerts, celebrations, and festivals over her impressive career, she is excited to build on the successful music program at Carolina Day School.


Brett Mayer joins us as our new Middle School science teacher. Brett earned a B.A. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Adventure Education from Prescott College (AZ). Brett has more than twelve years of teaching experience in independent schools, including Landon (MD), Hotchkiss (CT), and Episcopal High School (VA). In addition to his love of science, Brett is an avid paddler who currently serves part-time as Public Policy Chief for the American Canoe Association and works with the Outdoor Alliance to represent the interests of paddlers. Brett played college soccer as a goalkeeper and still has an abiding love of "the beautiful game."

Tom Bendon joins us as our new Middle School math teacher. Tom has a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Wesleyan University (CT) and an MBA in Design Thinking from California College of the Arts. A rare humanities AND math person, Tom has more than eight years of teaching middle and high school math in independent schools, including Sterne (CA) and Compass High School (CA). Most recently, Tom was the lead math teacher and learning designer for a San Francisco-based and venture-­funded education and technology start-up network of lab schools, called AltSchool. Tom loves rock climbing and mountain biking. He was a collegiate lacrosse player and has coached club lacrosse.

Dr. Marcela Saldivia-Berglund joins the Middle School community as our newest Spanish teacher. Marcela comes to us from Pine Forest School, a Waldorf charter in Flagstaff, AZ, where she taught middle school Spanish. She brings a depth of her content knowledge, warmth, positive energy, and rapport with the students to CDS. Marcela earned her B.A. in Literature from Universidad Rafael Landivar (Guatemala City, Guatemala), her M.A.T. in Spanish from South Texas State University, and her Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of British Columbia. Earlier in her career, she taught Spanish at Colorado State University, Northern Arizona University, and Vassar College (NY), before deciding to work with younger language students.


Megan Benton joins us to teach humanities in Key School, including Grade 7 social studies, Grade 6 reading comprehension, and Key Middle School talents classes. Megan is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, with dual degrees in Special Education and Elementary Education. Her career objectives are to meet the needs of all types of learners and to inspire her students to achieve success.

Michael Karp joins us as the Grade 7 multisensory math teacher in Key School, and also teaches Grade 7 reading comprehension and talents classes. He comes to Carolina Day from Naples, Florida where taught upper school and middle school mathematics at Seacrest Country Day and Potomac Middle School. He also worked as a private tutor and taught SAT/ACT classes. Michael attended the University of Mississippi and has a degree in Mathematics with a minor in Education.

Karen Kinzer joins us as the Key School Administrative Assistant. Karen is well-known at CDS as a substitute for administrative staff. She brings a wide range of experiences and talents to Key School from prior roles as personnel manager, controller, systems analyst, and corporate credit manager. Karen is also a parent of a CDS alumna—her daughter Chris Champ ’18 is now a member of the inaugural undergraduate class at Duke Kunshan University, an international liberal arts and research university jointly founded by Duke University and Wuhan University (China).


Nate Crimmins joins us as one of two new social studies teachers in Upper School. With eight years of teaching experience, Nate and his family come to CDS from the Detroit area, where his most recent teaching position was at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe. This year at CDS, he will teach US History, Model United Nations, and Modern World, and he will add a world religions course in the spring semester. Nate encourages his students to wrestle with material and projects that challenge them to think about their place in the world.

Michael Lemon also joins CDS as a social studies teacher in Upper School. He and his family have recently returned to Asheville from New Orleans, where Michael taught history and economics and served as a grade dean, coach, and director of jazz and rock bands at the Isidore Newman School. A graduate of Oberlin College with a degree in Latin American Studies, Michael has Masters of Arts degrees in Latin American Studies and History from Indiana University. He taught Spanish for two years at Christ School, from 2008–2010. He says he is excited to be a part of the vibrant CDS culture and to incorporate active and inquiry-based methodology into global studies, competitive speech and debate, microeconomics, and macroeconomics.

Lee Anne Russell joins us as a math teacher in Upper School, having moved to Asheville during the summer of 2017. Lee Ann is a seasoned educator with extensive experience teaching many levels of math in diverse settings, including STEM and nationally ranked schools. She has an M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction from McDaniel College, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics from Averett University and Business Administration from VCU. Her most recent experience was at Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology in Virginia. At CDS this year, Lee Ann will teach three sections of Math 3, a Math 2 class, and AP Statistics. Lee Ann values the relationships she creates with her students and their parents and is eager to meet them and get started in a few weeks.

Dr. Elizabeth Steere joins us as an Upper School English teacher. She received her B.A in English from Wake Forest University, her M.Ed. in Language Arts Education and M.A. from North Carolina State University, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia. She has also studied internationally at the University of East Anglia, University College Cork, and Oxford University. She believes that the ideal goal of an English classroom is to encourage critical thinking, nurture creativity, and facilitate the development of social, analytical, and communication skills. Elizabeth feels that mastering such skills is crucial to success not only in English but in any academic or professional field.

Get to know the Carolina Day School faculty at

About Carolina Day School

Carolina Day School is Asheville, North Carolina’s co-ed independent day school, where inclusive community, inspired teaching, and innovative program create a journey of excellence for each student. For more information about Carolina Day School visit or call 828-274-0757.

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