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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.

Preschool Faculty

PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR

Elizabeth Gilleland
B.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Furman University
M.S., Applied Educational and Developmental Psychology, NCSU
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, NCSU

Elizabeth joined The Raleigh School faculty in 1997 as the Preschool Director. Her prior experience includes directing other preschools in the Cary/Raleigh area and teaching at the preschool, elementary school, high school, and college levels. Elizabeth has served the educational community in many ways, including in her current role as a member of the North Carolina Childcare Commission. Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the use of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education, and she loves knowing and supporting the children, parents, and teachers of The Raleigh School community.

TWOs CLASSES

Mrs. Parker & Mrs. Garrett
2s MWF Half-Day & 2s Tu/Th Morning Classes

Stephanie Parker
B.S., Elementary Education and Spanish, Western Carolina University

Stephanie has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, substitute, and active committee member since 2013. She joined the faculty in 2016. Previously, Stephanie taught two-year olds and lead a preschool Spanish program. She also spent five years teaching first grade in the Durham Public School System. Outside of school, Stephanie loves spending time with her family, visiting her hometown in Western North Carolina, reading, exercising and shopping.

Cara Garrett
B.S., Education with a Major in Intervention Specialist Grades K-12, Bowling Green State University
Masters in School Administration, North Carolina State University

Cara has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, substitute, and active committee member since 2017. Previously, Cara taught Special Education grades K-6 for 11 years in the Wake County School System. She also spent a year as an administrative Intern at a Wake County Middle School while receiving her Masters in School Administration. Outside of school, Cara loves spending time with her family, planning neighborhood events, exercising and shopping. She has two children, a daughter and son. Cara is originally from a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

Mrs. Garriga & Ms. Heffinger
2s Tu/Th Half-Day Class

Nila Garriga
B.A. Psychology-Child Development , K-6 Education Certification

Nila joined The Raleigh School in 2017. Her prior experience includes teaching third grade in North Carolina for 10 years in the public school system and working with lower socio-economic preschoolers and elementary aged school children for 5 years prior. Nila has two boys, Dash and Lincoln, who currently attend The Raleigh School. She also runs and operates Nila Garriga Photography. Nila enjoys running and spending time outdoors with her family.

Jill Heffinger
Studied Horticulture, North Carolina State University
A.A.S Early Childhood Education, Wake Technical Community College (in progress)

Jill is thrilled to be joining the Raleigh School preschool faculty this year. She has been part of the school community since 2017 when her daughter started attending preschool. Her observations of how her own daughter flourished in the unique learning environment at The Raleigh School inspired her to launch a new career path in Early Childhood Education. Jill has a special interest in integrating nature into children’s education and sees every opportunity to be outside as an extension of the classroom. Prior to this year she has been a stay at home parent while also working part-time as a family and lifestyle photographer. Her interests outside of the school include spending time with her family and friends, photography, music, gardening, creative arts and outdoor adventuring.

Mrs. Parker & Mrs. Linhart
Parent/Child Twos Class

Stephanie Parker
B.S., Elementary Education and Spanish, Western Carolina University

Stephanie has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, substitute, and active committee member since 2013. She joined the faculty in 2016. Previously, Stephanie taught two-year olds and lead a preschool Spanish program. She also spent five years teaching first grade in the Durham Public School System. Outside of school, Stephanie loves spending time with her family, visiting her hometown in Western North Carolina, reading, exercising and shopping.

Andrea Linhart
Associates Degree in Social Studies, FOS Regensburg, Germany
Studied Business Administration, BHS College, Regensburg, Germany

Andrea has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, regular substitute assistant teacher, and active committee member since 2016. Andrea has two children who currently attend The Raleigh School. Before she had children Andrea enjoyed a successful international career as a Marketing Manager for several multinational IT companies both in Europe and the US. Outside of school, Andrea loves exercising, traveling, the outdoors and spending time with her family.

THREES CLASSES

Mrs. Kirchner & Mrs. McGrath
3s Tu/Th Half-Day Class
(two classes offered)

Donna Kirchner
B.A., Elementary Education, SUNY Geneseo

M.A., Educational Leadership, Bank Street College

Donna joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2000. During that time, she has been happy to teach the two-year-olds and three-year-olds. Over the past 35 years, Donna has worked with teachers, children and their families. She is also the past Executive Director of Child Care Resource and Referral of Wake County. Donna enjoys gardening, reading, hiking and knitting. She has presented at both state and national NAEYC conferences.

Larissa McGrath
B.A., French/Spanish, N.C. State University
Spanish K-12 teaching certificate, N.C. State University

Larissa started her teaching career as a Spanish teacher in elementary school with Wake County Public Schools. She joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2001, assisting with 2s and later on 3s. Larissa teaches Pilates at a local studio. She also enjoys running, hiking, yoga, walking with her dogs and being outdoors. She is an avid Wolfpack fan.

Mrs. Prather & Mrs. Edelson
3s Tu/Th Half-Day Class (two classes offered)

Rebecca Prather
B.S., Child Development, Campbell University

Rebecca joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2000. She has taught all preschool ages but most recently has worked with the 3s and 4s classes. Rebecca enjoys playing tennis, reading, and going to the beach.


Carrie Edelson
B.S., Marketing, University of West Florida
M.S., Business Management, Troy State University

Carrie joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2008 after spending several years as a TRS room parent and substitute teacher. She has spent the majority of her time at TRS working with the two-year-old and three-year-old classes. In her past life, Carrie worked with Cardinal Health as Director of Government Sales and Professional Training. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking and going to the beach as often as possible. Carrie wishes she had a dog.

Mrs. Kirchner & Mrs. Linhart
3s MWF Half-
Day Class (two classes offered)

Donna Kirchner
B.A., Elementary Education, SUNY Geneseo
M.A., Educational Leadership, Bank Street College

Donna joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2000. During that time, she has been happy to teach the two-year-olds and three-year-olds. Over the past 35 years, Donna has worked with teachers, children and their families. She is also the past Executive Director of Child Care Resource and Referral of Wake County. Donna enjoys gardening, reading, hiking and knitting. She has presented at both state and national NAEYC conferences.

Andrea Linhart
Associates Degree in Social Studies, FOS Regensburg, Germany
Studied Business Administration, BHS College, Regensburg, Germany

Andrea has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, regular substitute assistant teacher, and active committee member since 2016. Andrea has two children who currently attend The Raleigh School. Before she had children Andrea enjoyed a successful international career as a Marketing Manager for several multinational IT companies both in Europe and the US. Outside of school, Andrea loves exercising, traveling, the outdoors and spending time with her family.

Mrs. Garriga & Ms. Heffinger
3s MWF Half-Day Class
(two classes offered)

Nila Garriga
B.A. Psychology-Child Development , K-6 Education Certification

Nila joined The Raleigh School in 2017. Her prior experience includes teaching third grade in North Carolina for 10 years in the public school system and working with lower socio-economic preschoolers and elementary aged school children for 5 years prior. Nila has two boys, Dash and Lincoln, who currently attend The Raleigh School. She also runs and operates Nila Garriga Photography. Nila enjoys running and spending time outdoors with her family.

Jill Heffinger
Studied Horticulture, North Carolina State University
A.A.S Early Childhood Education, Wake Technical Community College (in progress)

Jill is thrilled to be joining the Raleigh School preschool faculty this year. She has been part of the school community since 2017 when her daughter started attending preschool. Her observations of how her own daughter flourished in the unique learning environment at The Raleigh School inspired her to launch a new career path in Early Childhood Education. Jill has a special interest in integrating nature into children’s education and sees every opportunity to be outside as an extension of the classroom. Prior to this year she has been a stay at home parent while also working part-time as a family and lifestyle photographer. Her interests outside of the school include spending time with her family and friends, photography, music, gardening, creative arts and outdoor adventuring.

FOURs CLASSES

Mrs. Eisenstadt & Mrs. Casino
4s M-F Half-Day Class

Alison Eisenstadt
B.A., Journalism, University of South Carolina
M.A., Teaching, Elementary Education, Rhode Island College

Alison joined The Raleigh School faculty in 1998. She has worked with young children of all ages and has been teaching the five-day 4s class since 2005. Previously, Alison worked as a newspaper editor in West Palm Beach, FL, and Washington, DC. She also taught ballet, tutored, and worked in elementary and middle schools in Rhode Island. She enjoys running, hiking, and being outdoors.

Jessica Casino
B.A., Communication, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Jessica joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2012. Jessica loves working with the 3s and has been part of the School Day 3s class since it was created in 2013. Jessica is also an active parent at the elementary school, serving as a room parent and a Science Olympiad coach. Outside of school, Jessica enjoys as much time as possible at her log cabin in Western North Carolina, as well as fostering rescue dogs and enjoying time with her family.

Mrs. Heames & Mrs. DeMoss
4s M-F School Day Class

Amy Heames
A.A.S., Early Childhood Education, Wake Technical Community College

Amy joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2001. She has worked with three and four year olds and has been working with the original School Day 4s class since its inception in 2002. Previously, Amy studied photography and graphic design, working in commercial photography studios in both Washington, D.C. and Raleigh. She also taught childbirth classes and was a certified doula. Amy has a special interest in art and design and is an avid photographer, music enthusiast, gardener, and animal lover.

Tori DeMoss
Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Arizona State University

Tori has been active in the The Raleigh School community as a parent, substitute teacher, and committee chair since 2012. She joined the faculty in 2017, assisting with the school day 4s class. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with children of all ages as a teacher, competitive swim coach, and swim school director. Tori is passionate about helping children gain confidence by learning and mastering new skills. She enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, skiing, running and other outdoor activities.

Mrs. Prather & Mrs. McGrath
4s MWF School Day Class

Rebecca Prather
B.S., Child Development, Campbell University

Rebecca joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2000. She has taught all preschool ages but most recently has worked with the 3s and 4s classes. Rebecca enjoys playing tennis, reading, and going to the beach.


Larissa McGrath
B.A., French/Spanish, N.C. State University
Spanish K-12 teaching certificate, N.C. State University

Larissa started her teaching career as a Spanish teacher in elementary school with Wake County Public Schools. She joined The Raleigh School faculty in 2001, assisting with 2s and later on 3s. Larissa teaches Pilates at a local studio. She also enjoys running, hiking, yoga, walking with her dogs and being outdoors. She is an avid Wolfpack fan!

PARENT / CHILD TODDLERS CLASS

Dr. Gilleland & Mrs. Garrett

Elizabeth Gilleland
B.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Furman University
M.S., Applied Educational and Developmental Psychology, NCSU
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, NCSU

Elizabeth joined The Raleigh School faculty in 1997 as the Preschool Director. Her prior experience includes directing other preschools in the Cary/Raleigh area and teaching at the preschool, elementary school, high school, and college levels. Elizabeth has served the educational community in many ways, including in her current role as a member of the North Carolina Childcare Commission. Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the use of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education, and she loves knowing and supporting the children, parents, and teachers of The Raleigh School community.

Cara Garrett
B.S., Education with a Major in Intervention Specialist Grades K-12, Bowling Green State University
Masters in School Administration, North Carolina State University

Cara has served The Raleigh School Preschool community as a parent, substitute, and active committee member since 2017. Previously, Cara taught Special Education grades K-6 for Eleven years in the Wake County School System. She also spent a year as an administrative Intern at a Wake County Middle School while receiving her Masters in School Administration. Outside of school, Cara loves spending time with her family, planning neighborhood events, exercising and shopping. She has two children a daughter and son. Cara is originally from a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

MUSIC & MOVEMENT

Marty Long
B.M., Music Composition, Mississippi College

Marty joined The Raleigh School in 2016. Her prior experience includes teaching piano and music composition at the Raleigh Conservatory of Music, Ravenscroft, and in her own private studio. She has also taught Music Together for Sproutsongs Music since 2015. She has a special interest in teaching children to love being music makers. Marty enjoys writing both music and words and loves her kids, her dogs, and her chickens.

The Raleigh Preschool is a magical place. We were awed by the incredible sense of community we felt from the moment we stepped on campus. Childhood is truly honored. ... Our choice to be at The Raleigh Preschool was one of the best decisions we've ever made for our children.

Lisa Patel, TRS parent