New Faculty 2020-2021

We're excited to introduce our newest faculty members! What an impressive group of educators and specialists! Click on each name to read bios.

List of 8 items.

  • Cynthia Angell - Lower School Assistant

    A native of Winston-Salem, Cynthia earned her bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

    She taught preschool for 14 years, served as a guided reading teacher in public school for six years, and worked as a teacher’s assistant and ESL tutor. She is certified in Reading Foundations and SIOP for ESL. 

    Cynthia and her husband John have two children, David and Michael.
  • Allison Blamer - Kindergarten Teacher

    Allison was born and raised in Monroe, Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree with a double major in integrated science and elementary education and a minor in early childhood education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In college, she served as an assistant preschool teacher for three years.

    After moving to North Carolina in 2014, Allison taught kindergarten for six years at a charter school, where she completed a year-long study of dean leadership training. 

    Allison and her husband Troy have a son, Brady, who was born in 2019.
  • Rachel Breazeale - Middle School Spanish

    Originally from Youngsville, N.C., Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and biology from Meredith College and completed her master’s degree in Spanish at N.C. State. She studied abroad at University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, taught level 2 Spanish courses at N.C. State, and taught English abroad in Moaña, Spain, before joining FCDS.

    Rachel has written two theses on Spanish topics: one on exploring translation through her own translations of Pablo Neruda’s poetry and the other on film and censorship pre- and post-Francisco Franco's dictatorship in Spain.
  • Mark Cavanaugh - Upper School Science

    Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in physics from Cleveland State University. 

    A veteran teacher of 21 years, he taught physics, math, and chemistry at Mt. Tabor for 16 years and spent three years teaching all four levels of AP Physics at the Career Center in Winston-Salem. 

    Mark and his wife Kelly have three daughters: Maureen (FCDS '23), Audrey, and Molly.
  • Stabler Cochrane - JAC Upper School English

    A native of Winston-Salem, Stabler earned his bachelor’s degree in literature and language from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he played Division I soccer. 

    He has worked in writing and publishing at a small independent publishing house and for a number of magazines both online and in print.
  • Doug Esleeck - Athletic Director

    A native of Winston-Salem, Doug earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and American history at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his MBA at Gardner-Webb University. 

    Doug has applied his business and leadership knowledge to athletics and basketball over the course of his career, managing program operating budgets and taking responsibility for budget forecasting, scheduling games, ensuring NCAA compliance, planning and directing summer camps, purchasing equipment, and hiring and managing personnel in various positions for the past 15 years. Most recently, he served as Associate Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he was the recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator. Prior to UNC-W, Doug coached at Mercer University and Gardner-Webb University and served as Director of Men’s Basketball Operations at UNC-G.

    He and his wife Ashley have a daughter, Grier, who attends preschool at FCDS.
  • Robin French - Upper School English

    A native of North Carolina, Robin earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Davidson College and his master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

    In 1995, Robin started teaching English and humanities at Westchester Country Day School in High Point, where he served as a middle and upper school English teacher, co-developed a humanities program and a Film and Literature class, and was named the 2010 T. Austin Finch Chair of Distinguished Teaching. After 19 years in High Point, Robin joined the ninth grade team at Summit School in Winston-Salem before coming to FCDS.

    Robin and his wife Dana have two sons, Devon (FCDS ’24) and Alex.
  • Kelly Gould - Chief of Staff

    Originally from Raleigh, Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and her master’s degree from Duke University. 

    Kelly’s 16-year career in education has ranged from two years teaching Spanish with Teach for America to the past 14 years in independent schools as a teacher and administrator. Most recently, Kelly was the assistant middle school director at the Canterbury School in Greensboro. 

    As chief of staff, Kelly will apply her substantial management and organizational skills to organize and prioritize important issues and necessary information for the Head of School in order to facilitate timely and appropriate decision making. Kelly will work closely with the Board of Trustees and its committees, coordinate communication with the Board, and serve as an advisor to the Head.

    Kelly and her husband Robert Gould have two sons, Hudson (FCDS '33) and Barrett (FCDS '35).

List of 8 items.

  • Abbey Harris - Johnson Academic Center LD

    Abbey, who is from Taylorsville, N.C., earned a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from Western Carolina University.

    A certified therapeutic recreational specialist, Abbey has worked with many different special populations. She started her career as 1:1 shadow at an independent school, where she planned and facilitated specific coping strategies to enhance a positive learning environment 

    Abbey is working towards her Associate Level Orton Gillingham certification.
  • Sonja Holder - Third Grade Teacher

    Originally from Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sonya earned her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, her master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia, and her M.A.T. from Mercer University.

    She began teaching fourth grade while living in Atlanta, Georgia and has been a teacher or assistant teacher in Winston-Salem for more than 10 years. 

    Sonya and her husband Chad have three children: two 2020 college graduates and a son who is a junior in high school.
  • Catherine Keating - First Grade Teacher

    Catherine earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Smith College. After graduating, she was a research assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working on clinical trials for children with autism. She enjoyed working directly with kids and parents, so she returned to school to study education. Catherine earned her master’s degree in elementary and special education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where her research focused on inclusive teaching practices. 

    Catherine has taught special education, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade in New York, California, and Michigan. In Michigan she led a year-long seminar for Teach for America elementary school teachers and coached beginning teachers at University of Michigan’s School of Education. She is passionate about creating joyful, collaborative, and engaged communities of early elementary learners. In recent years, Catherine has taught first grade at FCDS and collaborated with lower school teachers on curriculum.

    She and her husband, Ben, have two children, Thomas and Hannah, who attend FCDS.
  • Cara Kusnic - Lower School Science

    Born in Florida and raised in New Jersey, Cara earned her master’s degree in curriculum design and technology from Western Governors University, graduating with honors.

    Prior to coming to FCDS, Cara taught in public school for seven years.

    Cara and her husband Mike have twin daughters, Emily and Natalie, who attend FCDS.
  • Jessy McCormick - JAC Upper School English

    Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Jessy earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Montevallo.

    Jessy is entering her ninth year of teaching high school English, which she has done in both public and private settings in four states. 

    Jessy and her husband Adam have a son, Ollie.
  • Mamie Morton - Kindergarten Assistant

    A native of Albemarle, N.C. Mamie earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and business from Southern Methodist University. 

    Mamie worked in advertising and marketing and volunteered regularly at The Crossnore School and Children's Home as a tutor and mentor. For the past six years, she volunteered weekly in the FCDS workroom, served on the Parents' Association, and worked as a substitute teacher in the preschool and lower school. 

    Mamie and her husband Crae have two children at FCDS: Clyde ’22 and Margaret ’26.
  • Peter Phillips - Lower School Spanish

    Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Sewanee - The University of the South and has spent the last two years teaching elementary school in Spain.
  • Scott Pohjola - Upper School Director

    Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in teaching from Colorado College. 

    For five years, he taught physics and chemistry in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For the past 11 years, he served as the innovative learning coordinator and a science teacher at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. As innovative learning coordinator, Scott worked in curriculum and assessment design, chaired the accreditation steering committee, served as site director of the Master Transcript Consortium, and worked on faculty professional development. In addition to teaching physics and chemistry, Scott led a residential dorm, is an advisor and coach, and serves as an administrative duty officer. He served on the executive council for the Virginia Association of Independent Schools Professional Development Advisory Commission and has served as a school accreditation visiting team member. 

    Scott and his wife Hartley, a Winston-Salem native, have three children: Elizabeth (FCDS ’27), Mary Blue (FCDS ’29), and Henry (FCDS ’33).

List of 9 items.

  • Kate Reece - Director of Strategic Innovations

    Originally from Raleigh, N.C., Kate attended Saint Mary's School before earning her bachelor’s degree in classical studies and her MBA from Wake Forest University. 

    Kate has almost 15 years of experience working with non-profits, most recently building the Center for Private Business at Wake Forest University. She was recognized by the Triad Business Journal as an “Outstanding Woman in Business” in its September 2020 issue.

    As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kate will work with students, faculty, and area business leaders to create programs that serve students and create new, non-traditional revenue streams for the school. 

    Kate and her husband Mark have three children: Mary Charles, Ann Briton, and Mills are all Lower School students here at FCDS.
  • Tom Spivey - Middle School Social Studies

    Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Tom earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Richmond and his master’s degree in history from the University of Virginia.

    He taught for 25 years at Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he also served as head coach of the boys' middle school soccer team and co-coach of the middle school debate team.
  • Jeannie Starman - Middle & Upper School French

    A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jeannie has a bachelor’s degree in international business and French from Penn State University and an M.A.T from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Jeannie was the world languages department chair and a French teacher at a world languages magnet school in Charlotte, where she taught both French immersion and traditional French. She also taught French at TASIS (The American School in Switzerland) in Lugano, Switzerland, working with students from all over the world. She has presented locally and nationally with FLANC, SCOLT, AATF, and ACTFL and has been published nationally in The Language Educator. Jeannie was recognized with the NC-AATF Concours Pédagogique in 2019 and recieved the World Affairs Council of Charlotte Council Scholar Award for Foreign Travel.

    Jeannie’s daughters, Elise and Juliette, attend FCDS.
  • Jen Stern - Nurse

    Jen was raised in the United States Navy, which allowed her to live in many fantastic places. She was born in Kansas and then lived in Monterey and San Diego, California, Northern Virginia, and Charleston, S.C. before making North Carolina home.

    She has a bachelor's degree in nursing and has worked in MICU and Labor and Delivery. 

    Jen has four children: Jack, Julia, Will (FCDS '27), and Aaron (FCDS '31).
  • Jacob Todd - Middle School Social Studies

    Originally from Virginia, Jacob has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Virginia Tech. 

    He taught U.S. History, European History, and English at the high school level for two years, and designed and taught two elective English courses: 20th Century Noir Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture; and Arthurian Legend, a semester-long study of King Arthur from Morte d'Arthur to The Once and Future King

    Jacob worked as assistant dean of students, focusing on community engagement by working facilitating Student Council and school-wide student life events. He was also head coach of the varsity girls' lacrosse program at Middleburg Academy and will assume that role at FCDS.
  • Megan White - Upper School Science

    Originally from the Florida panhandle, Dr. White earned her bachelor’s degree from Judson College, where she majored in biology and minored in chemistry and psychology. She earned her master’s degree in environmental analysis and management from Troy University and her doctorate in biology from Wake Forest University. Her graduate research focused on freshwater mussels and employed a variety of techniques, including water chemistry analyses, molecular assays, and field surveys.

    Dr. White is passionate about teaching and learning and has 15 years of experience as a science educator working with students of various ages. She was the program coordinator for Project SEARCH Academy, a five-day summer curriculum of inquiry-based labs promoting health careers for middle school and high school students. She taught chemistry online through Kaplan University and taught biology and anatomy and physiology at Guilford Technical Community College. Prior to joining the FCDS community, she taught biology, ecology, and invertebrate zoology at Guilford College for nine years. 

    Dr. White lives in Lewisville with her husband and son.
  • Carla Winter - Middle School Math

    Originally from Texas, Carla earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her teaching certification from University of St Thomas in Houston.  

    Carla began her teaching career at McCullough Junior High in the Woodlands, Texas, where she taught seventh grade science for five years. She also coached volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming at the middle school level. 

    For the past few years, Carla has volunteered as a tutor to help struggling kids and has been a substitute teacher at FCDS in the Lower School and Middle School

    Carla and her husband Brad have three children: Addison FCDS ’25, Hudson FCDS ’27, and Mason, FCDS ’29.
  • Tracey Zaidi - Kindergarten Assistant

    Originally from Pompano Beach, Florida, Tracey earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Florida Atlantic University.

    She has more than 20 years of experience in education from pre-K through fifth grade. Before moving to North Carolina, Tracey taught first, second, and third grades in  Palm Beach County, Florida. After moving to North Carolina in 2003, she taught pre-K for 10 years. After raising two children, she returned to work full time as an Instructional assistant at Cash Elementary School.

    Tracey and her husband Arman have two children: Sean, 19, and Ellie, 17.
  • Becky Zayas - Fifth Grade Academy

    Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, Becky earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with minors in communication and dance from Wake Forest University. She earned her master’s degree in education with a focus in technology for educators from Johns Hopkins University. 

    Becky has taught fourth and fifth grade for the past eight years, and she is  licensed in academically and intellectually gifted education. During her time at Wake Forest, she was awarded the Jerry A. Hall Excellence in Student Teaching Award. She was also the recipient of the 2013 National Science Teacher Association Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers.

    Becky is married to Nick.
Forsyth Country Day School (FCDS) is a private, college preparatory, independent school for preschool through high school located in Lewisville, NC, just outside of Winston-Salem. Students benefit from a challenging academic curriculum, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.