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Our mission: The Raleigh School is a cooperative community of children, parents and teachers that fosters a love of learning in an atmosphere of challenge, inquiry and respect.

Elementary Faculty

Tray Batson, Music
B.F.A., Music Therapy, University of Kansas
Board Certified Music Therapist

Tray came to The Raleigh School in 2000 from the Twin Cities, where he worked providing music therapy services for preschoolers and toddlers and for residents in a long-term care facility. In addition to his work at The Raleigh School, Tray contracts with Duke Children’s Hospital and teaches music at Montessori Day School in Chapel Hill. He also writes, records and performs “kids rock music” as Baron Von Rumblebuss. Tray is originally from Starkville, MS.

Lili Beechinor, Kindergarten
B.A., Liberal Studies with an Emphasis in Spanish, San Francisco State University
California Teaching Credential, Bay Area Teacher Training Institute

Lili joined the kindergarten team in 2015. She has taught kindergarten through third grade and even had a stint as a sixth grade Social Studies teacher. Lili makes every attempt to incorporate social and emotional learning into all components of her curriculum. She especially enjoys teaching science and firmly believes young students are the best scientists in the world. Lili was married this summer in San Francisco, where she and her husband lived prior to moving to Chapel Hill. She misses the Pacific Ocean, running in Golden Gate Park, and cheering for the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Jennifer Brunetti, Fifth Grade
B.A., Education, University of New Hampshire
M.Ed., Elementary Education, University of New Hampshire

Jennifer joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2007. She has taught preschool and fifth grade at TRS. Her prior experience includes teaching first grade in New Hampshire. She has a special interest in integrating technology into the curriculum. Jennifer is a New England Patriots fan and loves to read. She recently attended the National Science Teacher’s Association conference.

Linda Campbell, Fourth Grade
B.A., Elementary education, William Paterson University
M.A. Counseling, Human Services, and Guidance, Montclair State University

Linda joined the Raleigh School in 2016. Her prior experience includes teaching kindergarten and first and second grades in New Jersey for more than 15 years. As an assistant in fourth grade, Linda enjoys sharing her love of learning with her students. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons, as well as her little dog, Lulu. When not with her family, Linda can be found meditating or spending time reading.

Jenny Cohen, Second Grade
B.A., Elementary Education, Appalachian State University
M.Ed., Reading Education, East Carolina University

Jenny joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2013. She has taught first and second grades over the past decade. She has a special interest in literacy development and enjoys working with small groups in this area. Jenny loves to exercise, spend time with her family and travel. She has volunteered as a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish foundation for almost a decade.

Meggan Coltrain, First Grade
B.A. Elementary Education, Psychology Concentration, University of North Carolina Greensboro
M.Ed., Literacy K-12, Reading Specialist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meggan joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2013. She has taught first grade for eight years, including five years in the Wake County Public Schools. Meggan loves integrating technology into student learning and teaching first graders to read! She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and cheering for the Tar Heels!

Mary Covington, Third Grade
B. S., Elementary Education, Speech Science, Boston College

Mary joined the faculty in 1990 after her children graduated from Raleigh Preschool. She has taught two- and three-year-olds at Raleigh Preschool and has enjoyed teaching third grade for twenty years at the elementary division. She especially enjoys gardening with her class. Mary is originally from Boston and taught grades 5-8 in Baltimore before moving to North Carolina. She still misses the Red Sox and the snow.

Ellee Craig, Fourth Grade
B.S., Biology, Meredith College

Ellee is a graduate of The Raleigh School and is our first full-time alumni hire. Ellee holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Professional Writing and Web Development from Meredith College. Over the years she has served as a child care provider and tutor.


Dhruti Dholakia, School Counselor

B. S., Early Childhood Education, North Carolina Central University
M.Ed., Counselor Education, North Carolina State University
National Certified Counselor
Licensed Professional Counselor Associate

Dhruti joined The Raleigh School as a Guidance Counselor in 2013. She has worked as a substitute teacher at the school over the past 10 years and is an alumni parent of the school. Dhruti has been working with children for the past two decades in countries around the world. She loves to be outdoors. She enjoys rich chocolate while watching movies or indulging in a good read.

Hollis Dorafshar, Art
B.F.A., Alfred University School of Art and Design NY
B.A., Art Education K-12 Certification, Meredith College

Hollis joined The Raleigh School in 2008. She has enjoyed a dual career as an artist and art educator for 30 years. Prior to The Raleigh School Hollis designed and implemented art programs for Ravenscroft Middle School, the Montessori School of Raleigh and Follow the Child Montessori. She is a teaching mentor to Meredith College Methods students and a regular presenter at NCAIS and NCAEA conferences, where she helps to emphasize the importance of the arts in education. When not teaching art Hollis can usually be found making art! She has three children, the youngest of whom is a TRS alumnus.

Colleen DuPre, Kindergarten
B.S., Clarion University
M. Ed., Clarion University with Reading Specialist Certification

Colleen joined the faculty in 1989. She worked with the three- and four-year-old preschool classes before becoming a kindergarten teacher. She previously taught second grade and kindergarten in Australia as well as language arts in fourth, fifth and sixth grades in Beaufort, SC, and Chapel Hill. Colleen has been a member of our community since 1985 and is a parent of a TRS alum. She enjoys reading and gardening.

Jessica Gordon, First Grade
B.A., Child and Family Studies, Muskingum University
M.S., Social Administration, Case Western Reserve University

Jessica joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2006. She has assisted in kindergarten for three years and has been in first grade since 2010. She loves watching her first-graders grow into readers and writers. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to the beach and cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes!

Sara Koch, Fifth Grade
B.S., Education, UNC-Wilmington

Sara joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2015. Prior to joining The Raleigh School, she taught fifth grade in Wilmington and worked in Human Resources for ten years. She worked part-time from home once her children were born and volunteered extensively in their schools. She enjoys working with her class during science lessons and in the outdoor classroom. Sara enjoys traveling with her family and attending her children's sporting events.

Sydney Leonard, Third Grade
B.A., English and B.A., History, University of Rochester
M.A. English, George Washington University

Sydney joined The Raleigh School in 2017. Her prior experience includes teaching seventh grade history in Virginia and third and fourth grades at a charter school in North Carolina. She has a special interest in cultivating a passion for both literature and writing in her students and hopes to help them unlock their creativity both inside and outside of the classroom. Sydney is an avid reader, a creative writer and someone who enjoys learning about other cultures and communities through travel. She will be volunteering with the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation this year as a means of further inspiring young minds to embrace language arts.

Juliet Mallory, Spanish
B.A., Vassar College
A.A.S., Interior Design, Parsons School of Design

Juliet joined The Raleigh School as a parent in 2003 and as faculty in 2008. Prior to becoming a Spanish instructor, she spent 10 years working as a commercial interior designer in both New York City and Raleigh and has been tutoring Spanish privately for 14 years. Juliet spends her summers in Spain with her family and enjoys hiking and traveling abroad.

Hillary May, Fourth Grade
B.S., Family and Childhood Studies, University of New Hampshire
M.S., Elementary Education, University of New Hampshire

Hillary joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2015. Prior to that, she taught at Sant Bani School, an independent day school in New Hampshire. A mother of a four-year old, Hillary is passionate about making learning exciting and engaging. She has a passion for science, the environment, theater and community service. She is motivated by a belief that all children can be successful learners and is deeply committed to improving children’s lives.

Patrick McDonald, After School Care & Summer Camp Coordinator
B.A., Elementary Education & Liberal Studies, Saint Augustine's College
M.Ed., Curriculum & Instruction, North Carolina State University
M.Ed., Educational Leadership, Southern New Hampshire University

Patrick joined the Raleigh School faculty in 2011. Prior to joining the Raleigh School Patrick taught third grade at North Ridge Elementary School in Raleigh. Patrick also served as the Education Outreach Coordinator at The Alexander Family YMCA. Patrick is originally from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and enjoys working in the family funeral home, traveling, spending time with family and friends, shopping and helping out when needed.

Brittany McLean, Learning Partner
B.S., Child Development, Early Education and Family Studies, North Carolina A&T State University

Brittany joined The Raleigh School in 2017. Her prior experience includes teaching preschool and kindergarten. Brittany has also spent time as a literacy coach at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill advising teachers on reading intervention. She has a special interest in early literacy and intervention. Brittany is a proud alumna of N.C. A&T State University and loves to cheer on her Aggies! Brittany enjoys spending time with family and loves to travel.

Kim Mink, Media Specialist
B.S., Secondary English Education, Miami University of Ohio

Kim joined The Raleigh School in 2014. Her many years of work experience includes serving as library media specialist as well as teaching elementary and middle school students. Kim spent seven years at Grymes Memorial, an independent K-8 school in Virginia, as well 15 years in the Orange County (VA) Public School system. Just before joining The Raleigh School, Kim served as project coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Visitors’ Center.

Karma Myers, Fourth Grade
B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies, Lander University
M.A., Teaching, Certified grades 1-8, College of Charleston

Karma joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2010 and joined the TRS community as a parent in 2005. Before moving to Raleigh in 1998, she taught third and fourth grades in Charleston, S.C., and spent as much time as possible traveling in Europe and Asia. Fourth grade is Karma’s favorite grade to teach. She enjoys the projects, the field trips, and the lively classroom discussions.

DeAnna Ranheim, Second Grade
B.A., Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin
M. Ed., Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, Concordia College

DeAnna joined the faculty in 1999 and has enjoyed being a fourth grade teacher and most recently a second grade teacher during her time at The Raleigh School. She began her teaching career in Wisconsin and stays loyal to her Packers and Badgers sports teams. She has a special interest in brain development and how she can teach each child most effectively. She enjoys spending time with her two children and traveling whenever she gets a chance.

Kathy Reid
B.A., Speech Communication, North Carolina State University
Early Childhood Education Certification and Credential, Wake Technical Community College

Kathy joined The Raleigh School in 2015, originally working with first- and second-graders in the After School Care program. Her prior experience includes teaching preschool at St. Michael’s Parish Day School for eighteen years and working in the radio industry. Kathy is a Raleigh native and a huge Wolfpack and New York Yankees fan. She also enjoys reading and running.

Jeff Sawyer, Physical Education
B.S., Physical Education, St. Francis College (NY)
M.S., Kinesiology, California State University Northridge

Jeff joined The Raleigh School in 2012 shortly after enrolling his daughter in our preschool. Jeff has taught every level of P.E. from preschool to adults but keeps coming back to elementary. He loves the kids’ enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things. He also enjoys the freedom that The Raleigh School affords him to create new curriculum. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Audrey, and their two children, both of whom attend The Raleigh School. Every now and then, he likes to revisit his favorite sport — water polo.

Steve Sather, Third Grade
B.S., Recreation and Youth Leadership, Michigan State University
M.S., Recreation Administration, Michigan State University
Teaching certificate, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Steve joined The Raleigh School faculty in 1999 after spending three years raising his daughter, Hannah, where the pay was poor, but the benefits were outstanding. Steve and his wife, Nancy, have also been foster parents for three children, Lisa, Larry and Brenda, who are all adults now in their 40s. Prior to staying at home with Hannah, he taught kindergarten and second grade for 10 years at Underwood Elementary in Raleigh. Steve also has an extensive background in working with the Boys Clubs in Detroit and Raleigh. He is a big fan of UNC basketball, Michigan football and of the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, and Pistons professional teams (and most recently, a reluctant NCSU fan).

Kathy Schmidt
B.S. Elementary Ed., Pembroke State University

Kathy joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2003. She has worked with kindergarten and fifth grade during that time. She also enjoys working with students in The Raleigh School summer camps. Kathy is an enthusiastic NCSU fan and loves to travel.


Jan Schnurr
B.S., Primary Education, East Carolina University

Jan first taught at Raleigh Preschool in the mid-1970s when her daughters attended the preschool. She “retired” in 1977 when her son was born and then spent fourteen years as a parent volunteer in the public schools, at Raleigh Preschool and as a community activist. She rejoined the staff at RPS in 1991, where she taught two- and three-year-olds. In 2000, she moved to first grade at The Raleigh School and has loved every year of her time here. Jan enjoys physical exercise, music, reading and spending time with her two grandchildren, the oldest having attended The Raleigh School and the youngest yet to attend.

Sue Spaccarotella, Second Grade
B.A., History, Campbell University

Sue taught three-year-old classes for nine years in a preschool in New Jersey prior to joining The Raleigh School Faculty in 1991. As an assistant in second grade, she enjoys sharing her love for animals, gardening and reading. Sue’s love for the practice of yoga has been the impetus for her to lead a weekly yoga class with her second graders. Her favorite activities are spending time at the beach,reading biographies, and playing board games.

Selden Steed, First Grade
B.A., Speech Communications, UNC-Chapel Hill

Selden joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2011. She worked in Admissions and Financial Aid at Saint Mary’s School for ten years. She also taught preschool and worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Wake County Public School System. She enjoys cheering for the Tar Heels, spending time with her family and teaching summer camp at TRS.

Jennifer Stikeleather, Fifth Grade
B.S., Psychology, NC State University
Elementary Education, Meredith College

Jennifer joined The Raleigh School in 2003 and began working in kindergarten. She moved to fifth grade in 2004 and has been there ever since. She previously taught at a local preschool before joining TRS. Jennifer has a special interest in American history, and enjoys making historical events come alive for her students. She is an avid NC State fan and enjoys photography, reading, being at Lake Gaston, volunteering in the community, and spending time with her children, Eva and Zach, both of whom attend(ed) The Raleigh School.

Kelly Stohlman, Third Grade
B.S., Early Childhood Education, Hood College

Kelly joined The Raleigh School staff in 2016. Kelly is a former Raleigh School parent who has served as a substitute teacher at The Raleigh School, including filling in third grade previously. Kelly also has experience with elementary-aged children as a teacher and tutor in Wake County public schools as well as other area private schools. Kelly enjoys working out and spending time with her family.

Amanda Tiedemann, Second Grade
B.A., Child Study, St. Joseph’s College, New York
M.A., Literacy, St. Joseph’s College, New York

Amanda joined The Raleigh School in 2016 as a teacher assistant in second grade. Her prior experience includes teaching Universal Pre-K in New York. Over the past 10 years, Amanda has also been a substitute teacher, summer camp counselor and a live-out nanny. She has a special interest in using sign language and yoga in the classroom. Amanda enjoys reading and going to the beach.

Janeen Woodbury, Kindergarten
B.S., Social Science, Michigan State University
B.S., Business, University of Arizona

Janeen joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2008. She has assisted in second and third grades. Previously, Janeen taught for two years at the preschool and taught four-year-olds at Cary Presbyterian Preschool for more than 20 years. She is an avid reader and a long-time volunteer at NC State University.

I was always encouraged to expand my knowledge beyond what we learned in class. Never was I told to restrain my curiosity; with loving assistance I got to explore as far as my mind could reach.

Hope Ferris, TRS alumna

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