11532 Golf Links Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277
Courier #: 304
P: 980-343-0723  |  F: 980-343-0725 
LC: Southwest
Bell Schedule: 9:15 AM - 4:15 PM
Grades: K-8
Email School
Show School Information
Meet the Staff

Rea Farms STEAM Academy

Administrative & Office Staff

Big picture


Brooklyn B. Hough has been named principal at Rea Farms K-8. Hough has been principal at Devonshire Elementary since 2017 and was principal at Lake Wylie Elementary from 2014 
to 2017. She was assistant principal at Pineville Elementary from 2011 to 2014 and dean of students at Lake Wylie Elementary in 2011 and at Myers Park High from 2010 to 2011. 
Hough was literacy facilitator at Thomasboro Elementary from 2009 to 2010, transition program coordinator at J.T. Williams Middle in 2009 and literacy facilitator at Lincoln Heights Elementary from 2008 to 2009. She was a teacher at McAlpine Elementary from 2006 to 
2008 and Smithfield Elementary from 2004 to 2006. Hough earned a bachelor's degree in elementary grades education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a 
master's degree in educational administration from Gardner-Webb University. She is also finishing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb. Mrs. Hough is married and has twin daughters.
Big picture


Rebecca Grgurina has been the Dean of Students at Kennedy Middle School since 2018 
and was the STEM Magnet Coordinator at Kennedy from 2015-2018. Prior to this, she was 
a 6th grade science teacher at Kennedy Middle School from 2013-2015. Grgurina was a teacher at Elon Park Elementary from 2008-2013 and Steele Creek Elementary from 2003-2008. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from 
Gardner-Webb University, and her administration degree from Wingate University.
Big picture


Courtney Hubbard has been named the Dean of Students for Rea Farms for the 2021-2022 school year. Courtney earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington in elementary education, her first master's degree in special education from East Carolina University, and her second master's degree in School Administration from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She spent the first eight years of her teaching career in Wake County teaching a wide variety of specialty areas including 2nd, 3rd, 4th grade and Physical Education at Brassfield Elementary and Lacy Elementary. In 2015, she relocated to Mecklenburg County with her husband and spent four years teaching first grade at Sharon Elementary. In 2017, she earned Teacher of the Year for her school and in 2018 she earned Meck Ed Teacher of Excellence for Mecklenburg County. In 2019, she was accepted into the North Carolina Principal Fellows program and attended classes full time at UNCC. During the 2020-2021 year, she spent her year-long internship at Rea Farms serving as the Principal Intern and K-2 Assistant Principal. Courtney lives in Mint Hill with her husband Preston, 18-month old son Bryce and sweet Australian Shepherd Ozzy.

Big picture


Tracie Meyer is originally from the small town of Hertford, NC where she graduated high 

school as a Perquimans Pirate. In 2013, Tracie kept her Pirate pride and graduated from 

East Carolina University with a major in Hospitality Management and minor in Business Administration. Three years later, Tracie found herself moving to Charlotte, NC after her husband received his dream job. Before becoming the Administrative Secretary for Rea 

Farms STEAM Academy, she worked for State Employees Credit Union for almost three 

years as a Financial Services Officer and has also worked as an event coordinator for a 

local wedding venue. Her interests include spending time outdoors, traveling, reading, watching movies, baking, and enjoying quality time with friends, family, and her two pups.


Instructional Support Staff

Big picture


Kristen Clements has been with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for 12 years and is coming 

to Rea Farms STEAM Academy from Berryhill School. At Berryhill, Mrs. Clements served as 

a 1st grade teacher, a literacy facilitator, and as the Dean of Students for the last three years. Kristen earned her undergraduate degree in English from Wofford College and received her Masters of Arts in teaching Elementary Education from the College of Charleston. Kristen taught 2nd grade for a year in Charleston, SC before relocating to Charlotte. She received 

her Masters in Educational Leadership in 2015 from Winthrop University. Kristen is married and has two kids.

Big picture

MEGAN MEHTA, k-4 math and 5 science 


Megan Mehta is excited to join the Rea Farms community as the grades 3-6 Math and 

Science Facilitator! Megan is a proud military brat and has lived in multiple states as well as England for a few years, but claims Yorktown, Virginia, as her hometown. After earning her bachelors in Psychology, she completed her Masters in Education at Old Dominion University. She started her career in education in 2000 in a suburb of Washington, DC, and joined CMS 

in 2002. She has taught grades 1, 3, and 5, served as a STEM Coordinator, and most 

recently been in the role of Personalized Digital Learning Specialist with CMS’ central office. 

In 2006, she earned her National Board Certification in Middle Childhood/ Generalist and recertified in 2015. Megan is a passionate educator who strongly believes in preparing students for their futures through problem finding and solving, design thinking, collaboration, and helping students understand themselves as learners. In her spare time, you might find 

her trying not to sing along too loudly with a favorite musical, hiking up a waterfall with her spouse and two kids (ages 11 and 13), with her nose in a book, or giving pep talks to the plants in her garden.

Big picture


Beth Alexander is joining Rea Farms STEAM Academy after serving as a master teacher at the Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle School since 2018. Through this position, Mrs. Alexander was able to teach English Language Arts and be an instructional coach for teachers. From 2015-2018, she worked as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at Kennedy Middle School. She has also taught at Carmel Middle School (2012-2015) and Lake Norman Charter School (2009-2012). Mrs. Alexander graduated from The University of South Carolina with a degree in Middle Level Education concentrating on English and History. She received her master’s degree from Gardner-Webb University in Executive Leadership in 2015. Mrs. Alexander also holds her National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards in Middle 

Level English Language Arts. She is very excited to be joining the Rea Farms STEAM Academy Family!

Big picture


Jennifer Hamilton is a North Carolina native and an alum of Pfeiffer University and Northern Arizona University, where she earned two Bachelor degrees (Mathematics and Elementary Education), as well as a Masters degree in Continuing Education. With more than 15 years of experience in education, Jennifer spent 10 years as a middle school math teacher in Wake County before moving back to the Charlotte area and working as a 6th grade math teacher, magnet coordinator, and Personalized Digital Learning specialist. She currently lives in Albemarle with her husband, Brad, and two children, Chase (5) and Abbey (4).

Big picture


Wenxiao Cheng earned a B.A.Degree in English Language and Literature from Hebei Normal University and an MBA degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. He has 16 years of teaching experience and has taught in China, Canada and the U.S. He alway works hard 

with his ESL friends and helps them to learn English and enjoy school. He is married and has a son. His family loves national parks.

Big picture


Cheryl joins Rea Farms as a seasoned Resource Teacher/Compliance Facilitator coming 

from Piney Grove Elementary. While at Piney Grove, she lead a team of four resource teachers, three teachers of self-contained, seven teacher assistants, and two speech teachers. Cheryl came to Charlotte from Brooklyn, N.Y., where she was a teacher of cross-categorical students for many years. She has a master’s degree in special education from Brooklyn College, and is presently a National Board Renewal Candidate. Cheryl is married to Dan, has two adult children, Julia and Jake, and a dog named Rusty. Her hobbies include running, hiking, camping, travel, and reading.

Big picture


Megan Bowles will be entering her 8th year of teaching special education, and she is so excited to be at Rea Farms STEAM Academy this upcoming school year! Megan went to Appalachian State and graduated in 2013 with her Bachelor's degree in Special Education, and she graduated in 2016 from UNC-Charlotte with her Master's degree in Reading Education. Megan received her National Boards Certification in 2017, and she is a Foundations of Math Trainer. Megan taught 5.5 years in an elementary resource room in Catawba County, and for the past 1.5 years she has been in Chapel Hill in an inclusion and resource setting at Carrboro High School. Megan and her boyfriend are so excited to be moving to Charlotte to be closer to their family and friends! They have a 1 year old golden retriever mix, and they love taking her on hikes and the beach any chance they get. Megan is also a huge Carolina Panthers fan, loves to read, and loves to travel new places!


Jennifer thompson, exceptional children's (ec)

Jennifer Thompson is excited to join the Rea Farms STEAM Academy family as the K-2 EC Resource Teacher. She comes to Rea Farms with various teaching experiences in Special Education, including 7 years as an Exceptional Children’s teacher for CMS. She graduated from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!!) in 2001 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and attended UNCC from 2003-2005 where she completed her K-12 certification in Special Education. Jennifer started her career as an EC teacher at McAlpine Elementary teaching all grade levels. She then decided to take a little time away from teaching for CMS to stay at home and raise her childrenDuring this time, Jennifer worked as the Curriculum Facilitator for Speech Garden Summer Program for 9 years and as an EC Support Staff at Union Academy. Jennifer is happy to be back teaching again for CMS where she can continue her passion for working with children with special needs.  

Jennifer’s husband Jason stands alone in a house full of females with their three daughters Emma, Avery, and Lily as well as their two dogs, Violet and Sofie. Their family is a very busy sports family, as her daughters play travel soccer, year-round competitive swim and travel club volleyball. When she’s not cheering for her kiddos on the sidelines, she enjoys traveling and spending as much time as she can outdoors and at her favorite place…the beachShe also loves to run, and is obsessed with her Peloton, however her favorite times are the days when things slow down and there is no schedule, no sports, no busy, and she gets to enjoy fun, quality time with her family! 

Big picture


Rachael Caldwell has been the Talent Development Catalyst Teacher at Pineville Elementary since 2014 and led the Personalized Learning initiative at Pineville from 2015-2019. Prior to this, she was a classroom teacher at Pineville Elementary from 2013-2014 and Barringer Academic Center from 2008-2013. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Robert Morris University of Pennsylvania and her gifted certification from Queens University in Charlotte.
Big picture


Kelly Taylor is currently one of the Talent Development teachers at Polo Ridge Elementary School. Previously, she taught 5th grade math and science at Elizabeth Lane Elementary 

from 2016-2019. Taylor was a teacher at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in Georgia from 2012-2016 and Palm River Elementary School in Florida from 2010-2012. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Georgia and her Master's Degree in Instructional Technology from Georgia Southern University.

Student Services

Big picture


Mrs. Robinson-Pope received her Bachelors degree from Fayetteville State University in Psychology. After realizing she wanted to contribute more to the younger generation, she decided to pursue a Masters in Education degree at North Carolina State University with a concentration in School Counseling. She is excited to have found a role that allows her to 

help children of all ages to become successful students and individuals.

Beyond the school counseling role, she mentors graduating high school seniors for the 

NCSU STEM program, coaches a cheer squad, and supports students in various 

co-curricular activities. She is married to an Army veteran and has four children, one granddaughter, and a dog named, Vin Diesel. Her oldest daughter is married to an Army soldier, stationed in Kansas. Her son is off to college this fall and her two youngest 

daughters will be a high school senior and freshman in the upcoming school year.

She is looking forward to working together as a team to provide the best support to our students, staff, and community at Rea Farms.
Big picture


This is Mrs. Heine’s 6th year as a school counselor. She attended the University of North Carolina- Charlotte to obtain her school counseling degree. She was previously a school counselor at Indian Trail Elementary in Union County and at Polo Ridge Elementary.

Outside of school, Mrs. Heine stays busy with her husband and two children (11 and 13). 

Most of her time is spent on a baseball field or watching swimming meets. She also likes to

run and read. Mrs. Heine grew up in Kansas and is an avid Kansas Jayhawks/college basketball fan. She is very excited to serve the families of Rea Farms!

ashley smith.jpg

ashley smith, psychologist 

I’m married to my husband, Joseph, and we have two daughters. Blair is 17 

and Maci is 2.5. We moved in June of 2012 to the Charlotte area from 

southern New Jersey.  

I have a master’s degree in School Psychology and an education specialist 

degree. In graduate school I had a job doing ABA therapy and was a one-on-one aide with a student who had autism. As a school psychologist, I have 

experience with preschool through high school and many specific 

populations. I am certified to assess students with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in North Carolina.  

I enjoy attending church, spending time with my family, and running a small business.

Big picture


Mrs. Cleaves (affectionately called by all of her students “Ms. T), her husband (Michael) and family are new to North Carolina by way of New Jersey. She has over 20 years experience of working with children in NJ through the Board of Education, Judicial System, as well as 

various non-profits. A student of Montclair State University and Bloomfield College, Ms. T 

also adds, Author, Advocate, Mother of 7 & Grandmother of one to her resume. Her favorite reminder to every student she encounters comes from Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You that’s truer than true. There is no one alive that’s Youer than you!”

Extensions Program

Big picture


My name is Ms. Oliveri and have been working with children with disabilities for 15 years. My first nine years were spent as an ABA therapist in a private school for students with autism ages 5-21 in New York City. I moved to North Carolina and spent two years as a Resource teacher in CMS. I taught at Winget Park Elementary for six years, first in AU, then in the new Extensions program. During my tenure there, I obtained my National Board Certification for Teaching as an Exceptional Needs Specialist and am on track to finish my masters degree in Special Education at UNCC Charlotte this summer.

In the classroom, my assistants and I use a combination of strategies from ABA to TEACCH, and place emphasis on learning academic,behavioral, and functional skills. I love seeing the growth that takes place in our students over the school year! I hope that you all a wonderful summer and see you in August!

Big picture


Mrs. Renee Dillon is originally from Philadelphia. She moved to Charlotte 9 years ago. She is married and has 2 children (Marcus 14 and. Eliza 2). Mrs. Dillon has worked as an Extensions teacher for almost 7 years now. Before she became a teacher, she worked in home with a young lady with Autism. Mrs. Dillon is passionate about teaching and working with children
Big picture


Heather Rich is an EC Extensions Teacher’s Assistant. She is originally from Charlotte (go Panthers) and resides in Ballantyne with her husband, 12-year-old son, Lobben, and two 13-year-old rescues, Olive and Bella. She was a Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Case Manager and changed professions to spend more time with her family. She has been with CMS since February 2020. Heather enjoys traveling, cooking, live music and being outdoors!

Big picture


Deirdre Augustine will be joining the Rea Farms team as an EC Extensions Teacher Assistant. She has spent the past two years working as an ABA therapist for the Autism Society of NC. Ms. Augustine has lived in Charlotte for most of her life, and is a former student of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She graduated from UNC Wilmington in 2014 with a bachelor’s 

degree in Psychology. Ms. Augustine currently lives in Charlotte with her boyfriend Cody and her little kitty Willa. She is so excited to be a part of Rea Farms, and to continue working with children and the special needs community!

Kindergarten Team

Big picture


My name is Renee Perez. I am from a small town outside of Buffalo, NY called Darien. I went to Keuka College and received a degree in Marketing and Management. When I moved to Charlotte, I worked behind a computer all day. I realized that wasn’t for me, and went back to college at UNC Charlotte and received a Masters in Teaching. 12 years later and I haven’t looked back once! While I have taught several grades, the Kindergartener’s have my heart. I am a 2013 Meck Ed Teacher, and part of the 2014 Teaching Fellows Institute. I currently live 

in Matthews with my husband , 2 sweet children and one big fluffy Great Pyrenees. Our extended families moved down here with us, so Charlotte will be our home forever more.

Big picture


Becky Roman grew up in the Detroit area. She spent her childhood active in sports, music 

and sailing trips with her family. Becky earned her Bachelor’s degree at Western Michigan University and her Master’s Degree at Oakland University. After getting married and 

spending 4 years teaching in Michigan, Becky and her husband Jeff moved to Cape Coral, Florida. While in Florida, Becky taught as both a classroom teacher and as a Reading Coach. During this time their sons Brendan and Jack were born, and they stayed busy visiting the beaches and pools of south Florida. In 2013 they moved to Charlotte, and Becky worked as 

an Intervention Specialist in Union County before becoming a classroom teacher at Polo 

Ridge Elementary. When Becky is not in the classroom, she spends her time running, 

reading, taxiing her boys around and going on adventures with her family.

Big picture


Emily Bullard has been a teacher in Charlotte since 2009. She began teaching in Charlotte at Cotswold IB Magnet and was a part of the merger with Billingsville. Prior to moving to Charlotte, she taught in Houston, TX at Kujawa IB Elementary School from 2005-2009. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University. She has been married for 7 years and has two energetic daughters, ages 1 and 4, that keep her very entertained.

Big picture


Wendy Mays was educated in Charlotte herself. She has taught kindergarten for 25 years, 

with 23 of those years in Union and Mecklenburg counties. Miss Mays loves seeing the transformational growth in her young learners as the school year progresses, and the confidence that comes with it. She has three children, ages 14, 12, and 4, who fill her 

moments when she is not in the classroom.

Big picture


Mrs. Sizemore is finishing her 17th year of teaching this year. She graduated from 

Appalachian State University and is a National Board Certified Teacher. Mrs. Sizemore and 

her husband are proud parents to three children, Baileigh (a student at the University of 

South Carolina,) Lauren (a rising high school senior,) and Avery (who will be beginning his freshman year of high school.) When she is not attending her kids various sporting events 

and extra-curricular activities, Mrs. Sizemore enjoys running, eating out/finding new restaurants to try, traveling, being any place that is warm, and shopping! Mrs. Sizemore is excited to begin this new adventure as a Rea Farms Falcon!

Big picture


Ellie Mueller is excited to join our first grade team! She comes to us from Elizabeth Lane Elementary School where she was part of the first grade team for three years. She has over 

14 years of classroom experience and has had the unique opportunity to teach all grades K-5. Most of her career she taught in Maryland where she was born and raised. She got her undergraduate degree from Elon College (Yes, so long ago it was still a college) in elementary/special education. Then she continued and got her master’s degree in teacher development and leadership and in administration supervision from Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Mueller moved to the Ballantyne area three years ago with her husband and son Evan. Evan will be a fifth grader at Rea Farms. She loves spending time with her family, going to the movies, crafting, walking and traveling.

First Grade Team

Big picture


Jordyn Roeder began her teaching career in 2014, where she spent her first 4 years teaching first and third grade in Florida. She moved to Charlotte in 2018 and has spent the past 2 

years teaching first grade in CMS. Jordyn strives to create a supportive and engaging classroom environment to ensure that each of her students receive the excellent education they deserve. She is excited about the opportunity to teach first grade at Rea Farms STEAM Academy for the 2020-2021 school year.

Big picture


I am originally from New York but have spent most of life here in Charlotte. My two brothers and I are triplets! I studied Elementary Education at Appalachian State University and love to take day trips back up there when I can to visit my favorite mountain town. This will be my 

fifth year teaching first grade- I’m so excited! I believe that learning should feel like an adventure. When I’m not in the classroom, you can find me doing group fitness, cooking with my husband, or spending time with my big family.

Big picture


The first grade team welcomes Laura Hasian. She most recently, for the past five years, taught first grade at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School. She has over 23 years of classroom teaching experience in first, second, fourth and fifth grades. She also served as an assistant principal for Gaston County Schools. Originally, from Northern Ohio, she began her teaching career in Oberlin, Ohio. She got her undergraduate degree in elementary education at The Ohio State University. She continued her education and received two master’s degrees in curriculum 

and instruction and education administration from Ashland University. Mrs. Hasian lives in Pineville with her husband and three dogs. She is excited to be welcoming two grandbabies 

to her family. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, reading, crafting, walking and traveling.

Big picture


Hello my name is Amy Klass and I will be teaching first grade at Rea Farms for the 2020-2021 school year. I am extremely excited to be starting out at Rea Farms and being the first staff in the new building. I am coming from Sharon Elementary where I have been teaching for the 

last seven years. I am very much looking forward to the change!

I graduated from The State University of New York at Cortland in 2003 with a dual degree in Elementary education and Special education. I went on to complete my Master’s degree at Canisius College where I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Special Education. I spent the first two years of my teaching career in Buffalo working as a special education itinerant teacher. I then relocated to New York City where I taught for 7 years in the special education field. I have been teaching Kindergarten/first at CMS for 10 years and I am excited to be starting at Rea Farms.

On a personal note, I grew up in upstate New York in a very small town named Rome. I lived in New York City for seven years and that is where I met my husband, Ian. We decided to relocate to Charlotte about 9 years ago because we were ready to start a family and we needed a slower pace of life. We now live in South Charlotte, have an eight year old daughter named Olivia, who will be a third grader at Rea Farms. I also have a five year old daughter named Maggie, who will start kindergarten at Rea Farms and Penny who is 19 months old. 

We also have our dog named Morgan who we just recently rescued here from an agency in South Charlotte.

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and chasing around my daughters. I am enjoying motherhood and I strive to give Olivia, Maggie and Penny everything I can. I spend most weekends spending time outdoors with them. I also enjoy running and working out and try to fit that in whenever I can. I get up most days at 5:30am to work out at Burn Boot Camp, it gets my day started off right. I am also a very big Buffalo Bills fan and love watching football when my Bills are playing.

Big picture


Mrs. Faltin is very excited to be a part of the first grade team at Rea Farms STEAM Academy! She has taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades and was most recently the Media teacher at Polo Ridge. She is a mom to three boys, and loves to read. Mrs. Faltin is looking forward to a great year with all of our Rea Farms Falcons!

Big picture


Holly Walsh was born and raised here in Charlotte, NC. She graduated in 2017 from The University of North Carolina at Asheville after studying psychology and elementary education. She has taught first grade at Polo Ridge Elementary for the past three years. When she's not teaching, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and traveling to new places. She is excited to be a part of building a strong school community together at Rea Farms!

2nd Grade Team

Big picture


Kim Barton has been teaching for 3 years, 1 in CMS and 2 in Florida where she grew up. She has taught first grade, third grade and her favorite second grade. Mrs. Barton has a business degree from The University of North Florida and her teaching certificate from The University 

of North Carolina at Charlotte. She lives with her husband, Kyle, two children, Isaiah and Hadlie and her dog, Millie. Mrs. Barton enjoys spending time with her family outside, reading and anything crafting or DIY related.

Big picture


Chloe Davis has been teaching for seven years. She grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Davis graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education degree from Western Carolina University in 2012. She began her teaching career teaching first grade at 

Spartanburg Preparatory School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Ms. Davis taught six years 

in first grade before moving to second grade at Lead Academy in Greenville, South Carolina. This year, she will be teaching second grade at Rea Farms!

Currently, Ms. Davis lives with her daughter, Gwendolyn, and two dogs, Chase and Poochie, 

in Charlotte.

She enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, watching movies, and spending time with her daughter and dogs.

Ms. Davis looks forward to meeting all of her students in August!

alexis finch, 2nd grade teacher 

Alexis Finch is a native Charlottean and has worked with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for 8 years. She is coming to Rea Farms STEAM Academy from Sharon Elementary. At Sharon, Ms. Finch served as a 1st grade teacher for the last 4 years. Ms. Finch earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2017. She received her Masters of Arts in teaching Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2020.

Ms. Finch enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling to new places, all things music, cooking, shopping, and learning new things. 

She is very excited to join the Rea Farms Family this coming school year!

Big picture

sarah calcutt, 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Sarah Calcutt was born and raised in Lake Forest, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in education and went on to earn her Masters of Elementary Education. After completing her student teaching in Minneapolis, she is thrilled to be moving to Charlotte this summer! When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Calcutt loves hiking, traveling, baking and spending time with family and friends. Sarah can’t wait to join the Rea Farms Family!

Big picture


Maggie Lesiak has been teaching for 20 years, 18 in CMS and 2 in her home state of New Jersey. She spent the past eight years at Polo Ridge and ten before that at Steele Creek Elementary. Mrs. Lesiak has taught Kindergarten, first, second, third and fifth grades, with 

most of her experience in 2nd grade. She has a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership from Walden University and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She lives with her husband of 

19 years, Scott. Mrs. Lesiak enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading mysteries, working in her yard and anything to do with the beach.

Jennifer Zywicki, 2nd Grade teacher

Jennifer Zywicki was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and has been a teacher for twenty two years. She has taught second, fourth, fifth grades and an Inquiry Special Area Class. Her past fourteen years have been at Rea View Elementary in Union County. She has a Bachelors degree from SUNY Brockport, teacher certification from Daemen College, and a Masters degree from UNCC. She is a National Board Certified teacher with a special interest in inquiry teaching methods. She lives with her husband and rescue pets in Lancaster, South Carolina. In her free time she enjoys attending book festivals, gardening,hockey, reading, learning to play the ukelele, and trying new cuisines. She is looking forward to soaring with her new students this year.

ward pic.png

Savannah ward, 2ND GRADE TEACHER

Originally from Chapel Hill, I moved to Charlotte 6 years ago for school. I have a bachelor's degree in public health from UNC Charlotte but soon realized I was more interested in teaching, so I decided to pursue a master's degree in education! After completing my student teaching here at RFSA, I am so excited to continue to grow here in my own classroom! When I am not teaching, I am a wedding photographer and love to hike and travel. 

3rd Grade Team

Big picture


Katie Grubb has taught in CMS for the past 13 years, with 12 of those years being at Polo Ridge Elementary. She has taught second through fourth grade, but her heart has been in 

third grade for the last 7 years. Mrs. Grubb grew up on Long Island, NY. She moved to Charlotte in 2004 to attend The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education in 2007. She began teaching that same year.

Mrs. Grubb enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, and their baby boy, Aiden. 

They have three dogs named Zoey, Harley, and Minnie! She also loves Run Disney races, football season, the beach, reading, working out, and hanging out with all of her friends and family. She is excited to have the opportunity to open another brand new school!

Big picture


I am Lindsay Bolton. I am an East Carolina University alumni, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have been teaching for 7 years. I love to teach, craft, and spend time with my family, friends, and dog, Winnie.

Big picture


Mrs. Elizabeth Laur is a native Charlottean. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She and her husband have a seven year old son and twin daughters that are four. She has been teaching since 2008 at Piney Grove Elementary School, where she taught both second and third grade. Mrs. Laur loves sports, especially football and hockey. She also loves to travel and enjoys photography. She is super excited to be teaching third grade at Rea Farms STEAM and looks forward to getting to know the whole school community.

Big picture


Mrs. Last is thrilled to be part of the Rea Farms family. She comes to our school from Polo Ridge where she has taught 3rd and 5th grades. After graduating from San Diego State University, she began her career as a high school teacher and taught for several years in California and Massachusetts before staying home with her 3 children. Together with her husband, she has a 13 year old son, 11 and 8 year old daughters and 2 dogs. She returned 

to the classroom as a preschool teacher before joining Polo Ridge last year. In her free time, 

you’ll find Mrs. Last reading, running and spending time with her family.


Lindsey morse, 3RD GRADE TEACHER

Mrs. Lindsey Morse was born and raised in the Midwest (Michigan & Indiana), but has lived in Charlotte for almost 13 years. She graduated from Purdue University in 2007 with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She later decided to follow her childhood dream of becoming a teacher and earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Queens University in 2012. Mrs. Morse taught for a number of years in CMS before staying home to raise her three children; Michael, Harper & Nora. Mrs. Morse loves football, exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends, family & sweet dog Charlotte

Big picture

JULIE HARDING, 3rd grade teacher

Before moving to the Charlotte area in 2015, Julie Harding taught 4th and 5th grade in Fayetteville, NC for three years. She has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade at Tuckaseegee Elementary over the last five years, including three years in the Talent Development magnet program. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University in 2012, and obtained her Academically and Intellectually Gifted certification in 2017 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Mrs. Harding grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to North Carolina in 2003. She enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Chris, and their dog, Lily.

4th Grade Team

Big picture


Ms. Alyssa Saracino is thrilled to begin the journey with you at Rea Farms STEAM Academy this August. She loves spending time with her family and friends, reading books, cooking, traveling ...and most of all, teaching! Ms. Saracino earned a Bachelor of Science in 

Elementary Education from The University of Tampa and a Master of Science in Education in Special Education from Long Island University at Post. She has had the pleasure of teaching for ten years, with this past year excitedly joining Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at Polo 

Ridge Elementary.

Image preview

toni cruickshank, 4th grade teacher

Born in Texas, Ms. Cruickshank moved to Charlotte, North Carolina during her freshman year in high school. I attended North Carolina A&T State University where she earned her BS in Elementary Education. After college she entered into the banking industry where she worked as a Business Analyst for nearly 10 years. During this time she also earned a MBA from Gardner-Webb University. After realizing her desire to work with kids, she enrolled in the CMS Teacher Residency Program in 2020, where she completed her training to help prepare her to be a successful teacher. 

She loves to travel, paint and spend time with her husband and 3 kids, Weston, Ashton, and Carsyn.

Big picture

jillian whurr, 4th grade teacher

Jillian Whurr has been a teacher for 8 years, all in CMS. She graduated with her teaching degree from UNC-Charlotte in 2013 and earned her AIG teaching certificate from UNC-Charlotte in 2015. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She enjoys reading, going on adventures, and spending time with family and friends. She and her husband have two wonderful sons, Lincoln and Oliver. She is also a huge Disney and Harry Potter fan. Jillian is thrilled to be part of the Rea Farms family!

Big picture


Susan Echols has been an elementary school teacher for 16 years. She became a teacher later in life after her daughters started kindergarten. She received her undergraduate at Appalachian State University and her teaching certification many years later from Mercer University in Atlanta. Susan is a National Board Certified Teacher in Reading. She is a 

mother of twin girls, Lauren and Hannah, who are both nurses in Birmingham, AL. She loves cats and dogs but does not own one. Susan also enjoys working on jigsaw puzzles while listening to books on audible, meeting new people and planning trips to travel to new places.

Big picture


Chantelle Hogan is excited to share her love for learning with the Rea Farms community! She joins us with over twenty years of experience, having taught third, fifth, and sixth grades. She grew up on Long Island and graduated from Dowling College with a B.A. in Elementary Education. She moved to Atlanta and earned her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University. She moved to Albany, New York in 2000 and took time off from her career to raise her children. She moved to Charlotte in 2005 and returned to teaching in 2007.

Chantelle has three children, twenty-one-year-old boys, Justin and Ryan, and a nineteen-year-old daughter, Kristen. Justin is in the Air Force and Ryan is studying mathematics at Washington University in St. Louis. Kristen is studying speech pathology at Appalachian State and is an App State cheerleader!

She lives with her husband in Mint Hill along with their two dogs, Belle and Phoebe, and three cats, Misty, Keiko, and JJ. She loves cooking, walking on the beach and hiking in the mountains!



5th Grade Team

Big picture


Mr. Pat Harder has taught for over 18 years as a math and science lab teacher in suburban Memphis, TN, and Davidson, NC. He is passionate about teaching and loves science, art, reading, and writing.

When he isn’t teaching, Mr. Harder loves to run, do yoga, and walk with his wife. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything he wants, but if there was, he’d be practicing his calligraphy and cursive, cook interesting food, get caught up on reading in his library, painting and doing architectural drawing.

Music is always playing in the background. Mr. Harder loves classic rock and today’s 

indie music scene.

Some interesting things he’s done: Mr. Harder was on “Jeopardy” in 2004. He has worked in the hotel industry; he has helped Starbucks open in the Washington DC area in the mid 

1990’s and has recently worked at the Whole Foods in Waverly.

Mr. Harder is so excited to be a charter faculty member of the Rea Farms community. He is really looking forward to meeting everyone and helping the students be the best people they can be.

Big picture


Jessica Cosma is a local native who grew up in Indian Trail, NC. She attended East Carolina University where she obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In her thirteen years as an educator, she has taught students from grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. From 2007-2012, she taught high school English at Porter Ridge High School in Union County, coached swimming and cross country, and also sponsored the SADD club. From 2012-2014, she taught 5th grade at Indian Trail Elementary, also in Union County. She remained there in 2014-2015, serving as a K-5 Media Specialist. During her time at ITES, she coached Girls on the Run and served as a Journalism club sponsor. From 2015-2020, she taught 5th grade Literacy and Science at Piney Grove Elementary in CMS. She also coached Girls on the Run while at PGES. When she is not teaching, she can usually be found playing softball, running, or hanging out near a pool – she likes to stay active and strives to bring that same energy level and excitement to her classroom every day.

Big picture


Ms. Slater has known from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She has always loved helping people and embraces the opportunity to serve her community through 

educating. She holds a Bachelors in Elementary Education as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership. In 2015, she was presented with the Outstanding Student Teacher Award from The University of South Carolina - Upstate. In 2017, she represented her school as the Emergent Teacher of the Year. When she is not working, Ms. Slater enjoys spending time 

with her family. They love watching movies, going out to eat, and traveling to new places. 

She is excited to be a part of Rea Farms STEAM Academy and looks forward to a great 

school year!

Big picture


Sharon Mitchell is originally from NY but has lived in Charlotte since 2000. She has 22 years 

of teaching experience in both the Elementary and Middle School settings, holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a Master's degree and National Boards Certification in Literacy, and will have earned her Master's degree in Special Education this August. She and her husband have three children: an 11-year-old son, and 8 and 4-year-old daughters. Sharon loves reading, and writing, and musical theater. She also loves hockey (go Islanders) and football (go Panthers). Sharon is excited to be a part of Rea Farms STEAM school and can't wait to share her love of learning with you all.

Big picture


Stephanie Robinson has been a teacher at Polo Ridge Elementary since 2011. She taught 3rd grade from 2011 to 2019 and 5th grade during the 2019-2020 school year. Prior to teaching, Mrs Robinson worked at Bank of America before staying home with her young children for several years. Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Elon University and a graduate certification in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Mrs. Robinson has a husband, Sam and 2 sons, Sam and Ben. Both of her children attend Myers Park High School. She also has a dog, Ginger. Her interests include spending time with extended family, reading, gardening and exercising.

6th Grade Team

Big picture


Martin is originally from Glasgow, Scotland and graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Dundee in 2008 before completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Education in 2010. He taught for three years in Scotland, teaching 4th and 5th Grade. Martin moved to the United States in 2014 and spent the past six years teaching 5th Grade with Union County Public Schools. He is committed to ensuring the needs of all his students are met and believes in creating a warm, welcoming and fun learning environment for his students. Martin is a soccer enthusiast and enjoys playing, watching and refereeing soccer in his free time. He is very excited to become a member of the Rea Farms STEAM Academy family!

Big picture


Michele Baxley has been teaching for more than 20 years. During that time, she has taught grades 2 through 8. She has taught in Virginia, Georgia, Texas and El Salvador.

She has taught 6th grade math at Community House Middle School for the past 8 years. During that time she has served as a member of the School Leadership Team, a representative to the Faculty Advisory Committee and sponsored several student clubs.

Mrs. Baxley earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Norwich University and her Masters degree in Curriculum from Framingham State College.

Big picture


Noreen McAllister was born and raised in New York, before moving to North Carolina in 2014. She graduated from Lenoir Rhyne University in 2017 and is currently working on her Masters in Educational Leadership at Wingate University.

She has been a middle grades English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in CMS for four years. She is thrilled to be a part of the Rea Farms Academy family for Year #5!

When she is not spending her time with middle schoolers, Miss McAllister likes to be outside hiking or hanging out at the lake with friends and family!


Megan Jacobs is thrilled to join Rea Farms as a falcon. She has been a middle school language arts teacher for 20 years, and absolutely loves middle school students. She is originally from Buffalo NY and she is a huge football fan. She loves traveling and exploring new places, as well as learning about new cultures and trying delicious new recipes.

In addition, her favorite time spent is with her family, she has a 5-year-old daughter, and 1 year old son. Megan and her husband (also a teacher) love creating new memories with their family and the community that surrounds them.

Big picture


Hello! My name is Brielle Hoskins and I am so excited to join Rea Farms as a 6th grade Science/Social Studies teacher! I was born and raised in upstate New York, (Go Bills!) where I graduated with honors from SUNY Geneseo. I have been teaching for 9 years in the Ballantyne area. I love Charlotte, and even more so our community! I have 2 daughters, and the sweetest pit bull rescue named Gemma! I also have a 4 foot long corn snake named Shakira! We love to be outdoors, spend time together and try new things! My favorite subject is Science and I love hands on learning! I can't wait to start this new adventure!

Big picture


My name is Bethany Fawcett. I was born in Charlotte, moved to Long Island, New York in 1988 for 2.5 years and came back. I went to Barringer Elementary, Carmel Middle School, and Myers Park High School. In 2003, I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from UNC Charlotte, I received my National Board Certification in 2010, and graduated with a Masters in Elementary Education from Gardener Webb in 2012. I have been teaching for 17 years. Pre-k through 5th grade. In 5th grade I taught ELA and social studies.

I have two daughters, 4 and 7. They are going into kindergarten and 2nd grade. They will be joining me at Rea Farms this year. We have one dog, Duke (and no, he is not named for the college). He is part Boxer and part Great Dane. He is a big boy!

I LOVE sports (watching or playing)! I was a swimmer and softball player for most of my life and picked up tennis in High School. We are die hard Panther fans, Charlotte 49er fans, and we love the NY Yankees!

I am very excited to start this new journey at Rea Farms with all of you! Go Falcons!!

Big picture



Aleanna Young was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in History and earned a Master’s in Elementary Education degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In 2015, Young moved to Charlotte, and has been a Literacy/Social Studies teacher in CMS for the last seven years.

Mrs. Young and her husband have a toddler son, Liam. She loves spending time with her family, eating out and cheering for her favorite college sports team - the Florida Gators! Mrs. Young is excited to become part of the Rea Farms STEAM Academy family!

Shanna Havrilak was born and raised in Vernon, Connecticut and Columbus, Georgia. She has lived in Charlotte for over twenty years. In her twenties she changed course from her career in banking and decided to pursue a career in middle school education. She received her B.A. in Middle Grades Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has been teaching 7th and 8th grade mathematics in CMS and Union County for sixteen years. For the past seven years she has taught Math I at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Union County and has been part of the Curriculum Writing Team for Math I in Union County for five years.

Big picture


Mrs. Havrilak resides in Waxhaw, NC with her husband, son (Andrew-18), daughter (Ainsley -15) and her “zoo” (2 dogs, 1 cat and a parrot – all rescues). She enjoys running, hiking with her family and diving into a good book while relaxing on the beach. Mrs. Havrilak is super excited about becoming a member of the Rea Farms STEAM Academy Family. GO FALCONS!

Big picture


Bharathi Balaji is very excited to join Rea Farms as a Middle grades science teacher. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from India. She worked as a biochemist in England for some time before moving to New Jersey. She stayed home to look after her daughter and son for a few years until she walked into a Montessori classroom and fell in love with teaching. She joined Princeton Meadows Montessori and taught a 3-6 year old multi- level classroom for 3 years before moving up to teaching the 6-9 year old classroom. She moved to Charlotte in 2014, joined the Highland Mill Montessori family and has been teaching 5th and 6th graders for the last 6 years. She also finished upper Elementary Montessori training in the year 2016. She currently lives with her husband, two children- one a college student and the other a junior in high school- and her Labrador retriever Cato. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for hands on learning and science with all of you!


Special Areas & Electives

Big picture


Ashley Erb is very excited to start her next adventure at Rea Farms STEAM Academy as the Maker Space elective teacher! Mrs. Erb has spent the last six years teaching in Union County as a fourth/fifth grade teacher. While teaching she has grown a passion for project based learning and is excited to continue that work as the Maker Space teacher. Mrs. Erb and her husband Tyler Erb (who teaches 8th grade math at Community House Middle), welcomed their first child, Zoe Josephine to their family May 13th! In her free time Mrs. Erb enjoys spending time with her family including the mischievous bassett hound, Flopsy. She also enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and cooking. Mrs. Erb considers herself a “life-long learner” and encourages her students to pursue their dreams by embracing challenges and setting educational and personal goals!

Big picture


Barbara Palko is very excited to join Rea Farms Steam Academy. Currently, she is teaching Technology and Mind and Muscle at Polo Ridge. Prior to that, she was a substitute teacher for CMS. At that time she did several long term interim for teachers. She graduated from Keene State College in 1997. She has been married for over 20 years to her husband, John. She has three boys. Her oldest will be a rising senior at Ardrey Kell High School. Her second son is a rising sophomore at AK as well. Her youngest is a rising 5th grader at Polo Ridge Elementary. In her free time, she likes to exercise, watch her children play in their sports and to take family vacations.

Big picture


Ms. Yokeley is a graduate of UNC Charlotte with a BS in Psychology who loves growing the mind and promoting positive attitudes. A true Carolinian, she was born in S.C. and grew up in both South and North Carolina; hence, a huge lover of football, magnolias and porches. After many years of teaching preschool, Transitional K, and K in church academies, joined CMS at Ballantyne Elementary. After a brief time in Wilmington at Codington Elementary, returned home to Charlotte at Elon Park Elementary later transferring to Polo Ridge Elementary where she has been for 7 years. Being the avid reader she is, has been reading books, sharing stories and promoting the love of reading in the Media Center. She has a daughter and son along with two beautiful granddaughters.

Big picture


Mr. Caldwell is from Spartanburg, SC. He attended Winthrop University where he earned a Bachelors in Mass Communications and a Masters in Physical Education. Mr. Caldwell loves fitness, sports and helping children live a healthy lifestyle. He is also committed to maintaining a respectful classroom and teaching youth the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Big picture


Mrs. Williams is excited to join the Rea Farms family. She spent her first four years teaching at Crestdale Middle School, and the next two years at Mint Hill Middle School. She is a huge family person, and having seen how quickly you can lose someone, too many times, believes that family is irreplaceable.

A Catamount at heart, she attended Western Carolina University for undergraduate studies. She obtained a teaching license and Bachelors degree in Health and Physical Education. The mountains hold a special place in her life, and she visits frequently. In all true Carolina fashion, she went from the mountains to the beach, and completed her graduate degree in Physical Education at East Carolina University.

Mrs. Williams will be teaching Health and Physical Education, and is excited to find creative ways for students to be active in and out of the classroom. She enjoys meeting new students and helping them foster a love for health and wellness. She finds that her students are her world, and each and every one of her former students have made an impact on her life, and the way she approaches the classroom, always striving to be better. She is eager to embark on this new journey, because at the end of the day, we are better together.

In her free time, Mrs. Williams finds herself at the gym, doing bootcamp style workouts, and finding fun ways to incorporate that back into her classroom. Mrs. Williams and her spouse have two amazing dogs, who completely rule their home. Mrs. Williams knows that she has found the school, in the same district she grew up in, to make her home. She is eager to start her journey at Rea Farms!

Big picture

paola munnell, spanish teacher

Mrs. Munnell was born and raised in Lima, Perú and moved to the United States in 1991.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Foreign Language from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She taught high school Spanish 1, 2, 3 and IB Spanish in northern Virginia before staying home to raise a family. She moved with her husband, three kids and two dogs from the Washington, DC Metro area to Charlotte in 2019 to be closer to family. They are happy to have found a great community here in south Charlotte where their kids, Emma (13), Andrew (10) and Ethan (7), have been able to make many new friends. She is thrilled to become a Rea Farms Spanish teacher!

Big picture


Hello! My name is Courtney Riley, and I am excited to be teaching Visual Arts at Rea Farms STEAM Academy! I graduated from UNC Charlotte, and have spent my career in CMS teaching Pre K, Kindergarten, First Grade, Technology, Coding and Visual Arts. I live in Stallings, NC with my husband (a teacher at Butler High School) and my son, who hopefully will be able to join us this year as a Kindergartener at Rea Farms. In my free time I enjoy making comics, working with plants, and doing anything involved with Star Wars!

Big picture

jennifer house, part time visual arts

Jennifer House is a native Charlottean and a product of CMS. She started her career teaching art education for CMS in 2003, after graduating from UNCC. Through her years in education she has earned her National Board certification and taught students from kindergarten through high school seniors. She enjoys many things, including traveling, the Carolina Panthers, hiking, biking and relaxing at the beach. She is blessed with an amazing 3 year old son, Beckett, who shares her love for adventure. She is very excited to be apart of the Rea Farms family next school year!

Big picture


Susan L. D. Smith has taught Theatre Arts in North Carolina for over to 30 years. She taught middle school theatre arts for 3 years in Cabarrus County before moving to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system.

Ms. Smith lives in Rock Hill, SC and is heavily involved in community theatre. She holds a B.A. in Music and a B. A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of Lynchburg in Virginia. She also has an M. A. from the University of Maine (concentration in Acting and Directing). She is a past president of the South Carolina Theatre Association, Rock Hill Community Theatre, was chair of the Community Theatre Division for Southeastern Theatre Conference, has served at the SC representative to the American Association of Community Theatre and is a lifetime member of the North Carolina Theatre Conference.

She is the mother of two children. Her son, Kennon, recently graduated with his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, and daughter Meghan who has graduated from with Winthrop University with a major in theatre arts and is now working on her Master’s in Education.

Besides theatre she enjoys music, traveling, and is desperately trying to find time to learn more about photography!

Big picture


Paul Buksbazen loves teaching music! He holds a Master’s Degree from the College of St. Rose and has National Board Certification in Music Education. During his 26 years career he has opened 3 schools and is honored to be opening Rea Farms as their General Music Teacher.

He is excited to continue teaching many of his Polo Ridge students as they transition to Rea Farms, and is looking forward to growing the Music and Arts departments into something very inspiring and impactful.

Big picture


Parker Comella is originally from Grand Rapids, MI, but has been in North Carolina since he started middle school. Mr. Comella has been teaching band at the middle school level for two years and teaching private lessons on saxophone for eight years. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 with a degree in Music Education. While there he studied saxophone under Matthew McClure and conducting under Dr. Evan Feldman. He was a part of a wide range of ensembles including the UNC Wind Ensemble, NC Saxophone Ensemble, Company Carolina, The Marching Tar Heels, of which he was Drum Major his senior year, and a co-founder of the UNC Saxophone Quartet. He is a proud member of the NC Music Educator’s Association (NCMEA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Phi Mu Alpha Men’s Music Fraternity (PMA).

Performing music has taken him to stages and events across the country, from Bowl Games in Texas, to Carnegie Hall in New York City. Now as an educator, Mr. Comella wants nothing more than to spread the same joy and opportunity to his students through the study of music that he received and still experiences daily.

When Mr. Comella has free time, he enjoys going to antique stores and finding instruments to fix, practicing his instruments, gardening, and spending time with his family and significant other, Emily Taylor. He and Emily live in Matthews with their miniature poodle Ollie.

Big picture


Paige Hocker Swinger is a CTE Business Education teacher at Rea Farms. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance. After realizing that she wanted to further her education, she went back to Coastal Carolina to earn an MBA. Swinger has utilized her degrees by working in Human Resources, Data Analytics, and Business Analysis before discovering her passion for teaching. She has had the opportunities to work alongside Quail Hollow Middle School as a Substitute Teacher and WhiteWater Middle School as a CTE Business Education Teacher.

She enjoys traveling with her husband, Demetrious, and finding “binge worthy” shows on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Swinger is excited to begin her journey with Rea Farms and cannot wait to meet her students!



This is her 21st year in education.  She was a classroom teacher (3rd and 4th grades) for 6 years before moving into the media center. She earned her elementary education degree at UNC Chapel Hill, and her Master’s in Library and Information Science at UNC Greensboro.  She is National Board certified in Library Media and renewed in 2019. She and her husband Kevin have 4 children--Aidan (17), Ian (13), Elena (8), and Ewan (3).

Instructional Assistants

Big picture


Elaine Meacham has been an Instructional Assistant for about 16 years. She has worked with K-5 grade students at several great schools in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Her wonderful schools include Pineville Elementary, Hawk Ridge Elementary, Elon Park Elementary, Polo Ridge Elementary and Billingsville Elementary.

She shares a love for teaching children and enjoys seeing them learn and grow!

Elaine loves biking at the Greenway’s all over Charlotte, cake decorating for all occasions and spending time with her family and with our grand dogs Bella and Gizmo! Elaine has 2 grown children Michael 32 and Whitney30 :)

Big picture


Joanne Browning has been an Instructional Assistant at Polo Ridge Elementary since 2015. She has supported students in grades K-5 in all academic areas in classroom, small group and one on one settings. Prior to moving to Charlotte she was a preschool teacher and K-6 TA for more than 15 years on Long Island, NY. A life long learner herself, Joanne inspires her students to love learning and achieve a sense of pride in their accomplishments whether big or small. In her time away from school Joanne enjoys walking, playing and caring for her three dogs. She also volunteers at a local animal shelter. Her dream would be to win the lottery, buy a big farm and rescue all of the animals in shelters. Joanne is an avid gardener and works diligently to combat the insects and varmints competing with her for her veggies and flowers. She enjoys spending time with her adult children traveling, restauranting and relaxing. Joanne is a huge NASCAR and NHL fan and enjoys spectating at these events whenever possible. She also enjoys reading and sewing. Joanne looks forward to being part of the new experience coming for all at Rea Farms STEAM Academy!
Big picture


My name is Narinder Kaur, but everyone refers to me as Rosy. I was born and raised in Delhi, India where I received my bachelors degree in arts at Delhi University. I came to the USA in 2000 with my husband, and have lived in Charlotte, NC since then. I have two handsome energetic sons both the ages of 18 and 12. Teaching kids has always been my passion. Throughout my career, I have been teaching at many levels for the past 15 years. I love to see children grow academically and become good human beings over time. In my free time I love to cook and travel to many places.
Big picture


Julie Higgins has been a resident of Charlotte for 27 years. She graduated from East Carolina University with a business degree and worked in banking for several years. She sought a career change and earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education at UNC-Greensboro. She taught grades K-2 at Irwin Avenue Open School and kindergarten at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School before staying home to raise a family. She returned to the CMS school system in 2019 as a teacher assistant at Beverly Woods Elementary School. In her free time, she likes to exercise, play with her dogs Cooper and Lola, and travel.

Big picture


Hello, my name is Selina Reyes, and I am a proud new member of the Rea Farms STEAM Academy Family. Four years ago, I relocated from Brooklyn, New York to continue my career in education as a teacher’s assistant. With over 20 years of experience, eight years as a school aide, and 12 as a teacher’s assistant, I came to North Carolina to continue developing as an educator. I welcome the opportunity to work at Rea Farms STEAM Academy, and am excited about continuing my career in a community with such commitment to children. I am a mother of four beautiful children, and a lifelong learner continuing her education in pursuit of her degree in Child Psychology. My love for children makes me extremely grateful to be in a profession and community that provides opportunities to view human growth and learning. Watching young learners excel and flourish are the highlights of my career. I am looking forward to being a part of this community, and am committed to supporting my students as they pursue their passions, and are empowered to take charge of their own individualized and personalized education.

Big picture


My name is Cathy Siliakus and I am completing my 8th year as a Teacher
Assistant, including most recently at Olde Providence Elementary. I love
working with students helping them learn and thrive in their elementary
years. I am originally from New York but have spent most of my life in North
Carolina. I am a UNC Chapel Hill graduate and worked for several years in
Marketing and Advertising before becoming involved in elementary education.
In my free time I like reading, walks, Pilates and Barre classes, and
rooting for the UNC Tarheels and Carolina Panthers. I have one daughter,
Cara, who just graduated from UNC. I am very excited to join the Rea Farms
staff and cannot wait to meet all the Rea Farms students and families.

Big picture


Danielle Rivera is very excited to re enter the teaching community at Rea Farms STEAM Academy! Danielle is originally from New Rochelle, NY where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from IONA College and a Master’s in Education from The College of New Rochelle. She was passionate about teaching K-8 reading remediation from 2005-2006 and loved her experience as a 2nd grade teacher from 2000- 2005. Along with being a substitute teacher and reading tutor Danielle is currently a stay at home mother to four beautifully unique children ages 13, 9, 8 and 5. She enjoys baking and reading with her children as well as planning Disney trips!
Big picture


Karen Kasper grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa and moved to Charlotte 25 years ago. She has been a substitute teacher for CMS for over 20 years at various schools and a teacher assistant for 4 years, most recently at Olde Providence. Karen earned a teaching degree from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. She spent over 10 years as an IT professional.

Karen and her husband are parents of adult twin girls. In her spare time, she loves making quilts and doing some crafts. She is very much looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life at Rea Farms.

Cafeteria Monitor

Big picture


My name is Jai Deo. I was born and raised in Pune, India. I did my bachelors in science(Electronics) from Pune University, India. I came to the USA in 2009 with my husband who is an IT professional. I lived in Atlanta for 4 years and relocated to Charlotte in 2013. I have two kids, a son who is 11 years old and will be joining Rea Farms STEAM Academy this year and a daughter who is 3 years old and will be joining preschool.

In India I worked for WNS for 2 years. After a long break I worked in USA with H&R BLOCK for some time. Also, last year I enjoyed helping kids in Science Olympiad. In my free time I love cooking, reading, watching movies, gardening and spending time with my kids.

I am totally excited to being part of the new experience at Rea Farms STEAM Academy!

  helen grafakos

My name is Helen Grafakos. I am originally from Queens, NY and have lived in Charlotte for the past 13 years. My husband and I have two boys and an Aussiedoodle Ajax. I have a Bachelor of Science in  Business Management degree from St. John’s University, NY. Since moving to Charlotte and leaving the business world behind, I found true happiness in teaching and tutoring children.  For five years, I taught Greek language to students in the Charlotte area and for the past 3 years, I have taught English via a live, online platform to students in Asia. 

My interests include traveling, learning about different countries and cultures, sports and cooking. 

I am very excited to become a part of this wonderful team at the Rea Farms STEAM Academy.

Custodial Team
head custodian.jpeg

head custodian, talathia lawhorn

custodial team.jpeg

CUSTODIAl team, mario, maria, and lina

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.