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Staff Bios

IMG_7137Cindy Patterson, our principal, earned a bachelor of science degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and a master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.    Mrs. Patterson has been a part of the HCPS system since 1990 and began her teaching career at George H. Moody Middle School as math and science teacher.  Throughout her career in Henrico, she has served in various roles to support students such as a classroom teacher, resource teacher, assistant principal and principal.  Her first principalship was in 2002 at George H. Baker Elementary School. She moved to Tuckahoe Elementary in 2005, and she was appointed as the first principal of David A. Kaechele Elementary School in February 2013.   When she can find the time, she enjoys playing tennis, reading, shoe shopping and boating with her family. As a result of being a Kaechele Coyote, her favorite colors are now teal and orange.

BuffkinTim Buffkin, our associate principal, earned his bachelor of science degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance from Longwood University and master degree of education in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Mr. Buffkin has been a part of the HCPS system since 2000 and began his teaching career with HCPS at Fair Oaks Elementary School as the Physical Education teacher.  Throughout his career in Henrico, he has served as a physical education teacher at Fair Oaks, Baker, Greenwood and Echo Lake and took the opportunity to take part in many leadership roles at several of those locations.  His first official leadership role was at Crestview Elementary as the Summer Academy Coordinator for the Enrichment Program and was the Resource Teacher at Skipwith Elementary for three years.  He has also been the Summer Academy Coordinator at Carver Elementary and Baker Elementary.  When he can find the time, he enjoys whitewater canoeing, playing sports and games, and spending time with his children.


Kelly Adams, a second grade teacher, has taught in both kindergarten and first grade. She was born in Yokosuka, Japan and grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mrs. Adams received her master degree in Early Elementary Education from Old Dominion University. She loves spending time with her husband, daughters, and sweet pug Hermie. Mrs. Adams is a huge fan of sports and loves the Redskins (Hail), Boston Celtics, and Atlanta Braves. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing on the beach, going to the pool, reading books, shopping, and going for walks with her family. Some of her favorite authors are Kevin Henkes, Kate DiCamillo, Shel Silverstein, and Robert McCloskey. In the classroom, Mrs. Adams incorporates her knowledge, previous teaching experiences, and passion for teaching into the classroom at Kaechele Elementary School. She is excited to provide a learning environment that will help children reach their full potential and to engage students to become active and critical thinkers.

Screen-shot-2013-07-17-at-11.01.21-PMCindi Allen, an instructional assistant,  graduated with a B.S.N. from the UVa School of Nursing.  Her nursing career included experiences in adult critical care, nursing administration, pediatric clinical faculty, and NICU.  She has remained active as a volunteer at UVa, serving as president of the alumni association, Advisory Board member, and in numerous other roles.  Mrs. Allen has been honored by receiving the Distinguished Alumna and Alumni Volunteer awards, and has been inducted into the Raven Society.  Her connection with HCPS began several years ago when she was the parent of three children in the system.  Volunteer activities in her children’s schools led to a job as substitute in the clinic at Byrd Middle and Nuckols Farm Elementary schools.  In 1997, she accepted a position in the PEDD classroom at then brand-new Nuckols Farm Elementary.  She followed the PEDD class when it transferred to two more new schools, Twin Hickory and, most recently, River’s Edge.  Mrs. Allen loves working with preschoolers and helping ensure a positive start to their school careers.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, spending time with family, and boating.


Stephanie Anderson, a fifth grade teacher, grew up in South Carolina and taught middle school science for her first five years. After getting married in 2002, she moved to Roanoke, VA where she taught 5th grade for 10 years. She became a Kaechele Coyote when the school opened in 2013.  She graduated from Newberry College with a Bachelor of Science Degree. In 2015, Mrs. Anderson earned an endorsement in Gifted Education  through Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked in a variety of leadership roles throughout those years. When she is not in the classroom, Mrs. Anderson enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and dogs. She enjoys reading, playing in the pool and finding her inner artist.  Mrs. Anderson and her family love to show off their Kaechele pride.


ArringtonJane Arrington, an interventionist, is new to Kaechele this year. Miss Arrington has taught in Henrico County for many years, serving Exceptional Education students in all of the elementary grades. She has also worked with teachers, introducing methods and procedures for the Wilson Reading System. Miss Arrington enjoys hiking with family and friends along the James River  and mountain trails . She is an avid basketball fan and especially enjoys supporting local teams, the VCU Rams and University of Richmond Spiders. She has two funny little dogs who have become super stars at  a local nursing home. There are also two cats  who get along well with the dogs but are not very nice to each other. Miss Arrington is happy to join the Kaechele team and is looking forward to a wonderful year !


BagleyMonica Bagley, a third grade teacher,  grew up in Maryland with her mom, dad, and older sister. Both of her parents are from Germany, so her family went there to visit relatives every summer. She grew up playing games, running around outside, and exploring the world around her. This hasn’t changed much; neither has her love of animals. She has had many pets – rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, bearded dragons, and gerbils.  As a child she did gymnastics and was on the swim team for 10 years. She also began to love football, especially the Washington Redskins!  After high school, she went to college at Virginia Tech and then worked in business management. Later, she went to JMU to get her teaching certificate. During her 12 years at Maybeury, Mrs. Bagley taught kindergarten and 2nd grade. Since Kaechele opened, she has been a part of 3rd grade team.  It is a year of such growth as students begin taking on more responsibility and independence. They begin to amaze even themselves by what they can do. Mrs. Bagley has truly loved being a part of this process and looks forward to watching more Coyotes grow and learn!

BaileyBrettany Bailey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with an additional middle school Language Arts endorsement at Longwood University.  Go Lancers!  After teaching in the county for a few years she went back to obtain her K-12 gifted endorsement through VCU.  She enjoys spending time with her husband boating on the river, reading, trying new restaurants, coaching 8K/10k Sportbackers training teams in Hanover and spoiling her two dogs! Mrs. Bailey is very excited to be back at Kaechele for a 2nd year as the Gifted Resource teacher pulling kids for “SCILL” groups twice a week! (Success with creativity & individuality in lifelong learning) She is happy to be a part of the coyote family!


Jennifer Berdux, a fourth grade teacher, is incredibly excited to return to the classroom and join the Kaechele E.S. Coyote Pack! She holds a BA in Theater Arts from George Mason University and received her teaching certificate through the University of Richmond in 2005. She has experience in many fields, including finance, fitness, and education. She began her career within HCPS in 2005 as a fourth grade teacher at Gayton Elementary School. After spending eight terrific years as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Berdux worked as Gayton’s Interventionist from 2013-2016. During the 2016-2017 school year, Mrs. B. took a bit of professional detour, working as the principal’s secretary at Greenwood Elementary. So, it is with open eyes, and a ready heart that she is making her way back to teaching. She is most excited about building wonderful relationships with her students and peers. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Chris, for 30 years, and has two adult sons, Nick and John.  Last year, she earned her RYT 200 to become a certified yoga instructor. In addition to teaching and yoga, she loves to read, bum around at the beach, workout, cook, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.



Meredith Betke, a kindergarten teacher, is a fellow Henrico County student who attended Jackson Davis Elementary, Byrd Middle and Godwin High School. Mrs. Betke attended VCU and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education. Upon graduation she taught at Pinchbeck Elementary for four years as a 1st and 2ndgrade teacher. It was then that she and Mr. Betke decided to start their own family. Her love for education and children quickly found her back in the classroom setting where she was a lead 3 year old teacher for 10 years. Mrs. Betke joined the KES team our opening year as an Instructional Assistant in the Exceptional Ed program. She then taught 4th grade for half a year before finding her way into the wonderful world of kindergarten.  In her spare time, Mrs. Betke enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, pulling for the Steelers, playing with her dogs Lincoln and Stella, enjoying time with friends, traveling, reading, watching movies, cooking and working on projects around the house.  Mrs. Betke is looking forward to a super fun year with her kindergarteners.  Her biggest hope is that during the upcoming year her students will develop an authentic love for school, learning and being a Kaechele Coyote!


BlackEsther Black,  a fourth grade teacher, was born and raised in South Louisiana and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Louisiana State University and her Masters in Education with a specialty in Gifted.   Before moving to Virginia in 2008 Mrs. Black was a fourth and fifth grade gifted resource teacher.  She has been a proud Coyote since the opening of the school first as a parent and then as an instructional assistant.    While raising her four children Mrs. Black nurtured her love for education and teaching by actively volunteering in her children’s classrooms and closely following the ever changing trends in the field of education.  With her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and children exploring the many interesting places Virginia has to offer, watching football, and relaxing with a good book.   Mrs. Black is thrilled to be returning to teaching full time and guiding her students to reach their full potential as creative critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners.

BossePolly Bosse, a first grade teacher, is very very excited about teaching  at Kaechele!!!  Before teaching at Kaechele, she enjoyed teaching fantastic children in Ohio that had had special needs and also had fun teaching kindergarten for fifteen years prior to moving to Virginia.  She loved teaching kindergarten at Colonial Trail for six years before coming to be a part of opening Kaechele five years ago. Two of Mrs. Bosse’s favorite things about teaching are her love of books and watching children grow and build kind relationships with one another.  She loves reading exciting books to the children that capture their imaginations and watching their smiling faces during the story.  She also enjoys helping them through the process of learning to read and observing their pride when they are able to read their first book!  She is amazed each year at all the examples of kindness the children will do for one another automatically once everyone knows the classroom is a place where nothing has to be perfect and all we have to do is try our best.  Mrs. Bosse graduated from Ohio University in 1989 and took graduate classes at The Ohio State University.  She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grades and earned two special education certificates.  She has taught for over twenty years and truly loves teaching children.  She also loves spending time with her husband and two daughters.  They enjoy the beach, bike riding, sailing and going on long hikes in the mountains.  Mrs. Bosse  hopes to see The Ohio State Buckeyes make it to a bowl game this year. She is looking forward to making new friends this year and challenging herself and her class to always be the best they can be.

Matt Caratachea, our ITRT, is extremely excited to be a Kaechele coyote!  Mr. Caratachea graduated from VCU with his M.T. in Elementary Education in 2010.  He was born in Madrid, Spain, but moved to the United States when he was three.  Mr. Caratachea grew up in Poquoson, Virginia, which is in the Hampton Roads area.  College is what brought Mr. Caratachea to Richmond.  He was teaching 3rd grade at Crestview Elementary School, and has just become an ITRT. While he was at Crestview Mr. Caratachea loved to incorporate technology into so many of his lessons, and cannot wait to work with the other teachers at Kaechele to bring as much technology into their classrooms as possible!  In his free time Mr. Caratachea loves to play and record music.  He plays any instrument he can get his hands on, and plays with three different bands.


Katie Clark, an Early Childhood Special Education teacher, moved to Richmond, from Northern Virginia after completing both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at James Madison University. She has been working in Henrico County Public Schools since 2005.  Mrs. Clark and her husband, Aaron have two daughters, Zoe and Kaya.  They also have a “pound puppy” named Macy that they rescued.  When Mrs. Clark isn’t teaching preschool, she loves to spend time playing with her daughters. She enjoys going to outdoor concerts of almost any musical genre. Her family lives in Powhatan County to live on an 86 acre farm. She has quickly fallen in love with the country life and enjoys watching the resident deer families graze in the hay fields.  Mrs. Clark loves to eat and can often be found enjoying meals with friends and family at locally owned restaurants in the Richmond area.  She was an integral part of starting the Little Feet Meet Young Athletes Special Olympics event.  She hosted the first ever Little Feet Meet at Three Chopt Elementary which is now a national event for preschool and K-3 students with special needs.   The Little Feet Meet is always Mrs. Clark’s favorite day of the year.


 Katie Dix, a fifth grade teacher, has been a teacher for 19 years. She grew up in Northern Virginia where she played travel soccer, basketball and field hockey. She graduated from Radford University in 1995 with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2003, she moved to Richmond, Virginia. Mrs. Dix is married and has two sons. Mrs. Dix is a dog lover. She has a 3 year old lab named Duff. Mrs. Dix enjoys reading. Some of her favorite books are: The Hunger Games series, The Giving Tree, The Harry Potter series, and much more. In her spare time she enjoys going to movies, playing sports, coaching sports, and spending time with her family. She also loves spending time at the beach. In the fall, you will usually find her and her kids cheering for her husband as he coaches football for J.R. Tucker High School. In her down time each night she does like to watch a little television. Her favorite show is The Big Bang Theory.


Meredith Dobranski, a kindergarten teacher, is a graduate of Roanoke College where she earned a degree in Education and Sociology. While there she was captain of the soccer team and was named a Regional All- American. She then went on to receive her master degree in Exceptional Education from George Mason University. Mrs. Dobranski has been teaching for 15 years and has taught in a variety of settings. For her first teaching job she was lucky enough to teach at her high school in Northern Virginia. While there she was the lead teacher in an exceptional education program. She taught and coached there for four years before moving to Richmond. This will be her tenth year working in Henrico County where she has taught at Highland Springs, Echo Lake, Colonial Trail, and Ridge Elementary. She has taught kindergarten, first, third, fourth, and exceptional education. When she is not having fun in the classroom and helping her students achieve their best, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Mrs. Dobranski comes from a big sports family. She enjoys watching her kids’ soccer and basketball teams, March Madness, and cheering for the Redskins and Hokies.

Kelsey Dunbar. speech therapist, is excited to start her first year at Kaechele as our new speech therapist! She grew up in Maryland but came to Virginia for higher education. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Longwood University. Ms. Dunbar has a strong passion for helping students communicate and likes to incorporate fun and functional practice into all therapy sessions. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Richmond, traveling, and hiking. She is excited to work with and learn from the students of Kaechele.



AraAra Duszak, our math interventionist, graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. She taught math at Tucker High School before returning to school at the University of Richmond and earning an MBA. After working as an analyst for Capital One and spending time as a stay at home mom, she is thrilled to be back teaching math part time. Mrs. Duszak loves spending time with her husband, three boys, two dogs and cat. They are often found at the river or the beach when they can fit it in among sports and music.



 FabricantTracey Fabricant, a kindergarten teacher, graduated from Radford in 1997 with a degree in Elementary Education.   Her first year of teaching was first grade at Pinchbeck Elementary School in Henrico and after that she found a special place in kindergarten. She continued teaching kindergarten at Pinchbeck for the next 10 years and moved to Colonial Trail Elementary in Henrico in 2008.  After teaching at CTES for 5 years, she moved to Kaechele.  She thought she’d like to be a librarian and received her master degree in education with a concentration in Library Science at VCU in 2003, but she just couldn’t give up teaching. She’s received several grants for her classroom and loves to create/plan new ideas for her students. Mrs. Fabricant loves spending time with her  two children, and taking them to museums and parks.  She met her husband while at Radford.   As a family, they enjoy all of the wonderful things that Virginia has to offer from the beaches to the mountains, but they especially love hiking near Skyline Drive.

fosbergStephanie Fosberg, a third grade teacherwas born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. I graduated from Our Lady of Holy Cross College with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Humanities and Education and earned my Gifted Endorsement from University of Richmond. I taught third grade in New Orleans for eight years and have lived in Virginia for the past six years. I have been part of the Kaechele family for three years working in 5th grade . This year will be my second year working in third grade at Kaechele.  I consider myself a lifelong learner, and enjoy learning about the latest and greatest in the field of education and technology. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with family and friends travelling and exploring new places. Being born and raised in New Orleans, I enjoy cooking traditional New Orleans food, but also love trying different foods and restaurants around town.


Andrea Fry, is one of our two Exceptional Education Teachers. She has over 15 years of experience teaching in both General Education and Special Education settings. She was born and raised in Canada where she completed her teaching degree.
After completing her teaching credentials in Ontario Canada, she moved away as jobs were scarce in her area and she was eager. She quickly attended a job fair and was recruited by an International School in Hong Kong. After two years overseas she decided to move back to Canada where she worked/studied for the next 7 years. She started out in general education and worked/trained/studied her way up to a Specialist position in Special Education. Looking for a change, she then went back to Hong Kong to continue to teach in the International School arena. She trained and learned in accredited an International Baccalaureate School. She worked and provided IB instruction in both general education and exceptional education. Mrs. Fry received a ‘Specialist in Exceptional Education’ from the Ontario College of Teachers in Canada and her Master’s Degree in Leadership/Intervention from the University of Western Australia. Mrs. Fry moved to Richmond eight years ago with her husband and two children. Mrs. Fry is not new to Henrico County Schools as she served as the Autism Coordinator in 2010-11. She has a passion for students and learning and is excited to be working alongside the amazing staff at KES. While not a big sports fan, she appreciates her family’s devotion to the Patriots. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, walking, yoga, and travel with the family.


LoriLori Gebhard, a fourth grade teacher, is a native of New Castle, Pennsylvania and moved to Richmond in 2009 from Baltimore, Maryland.  She graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Elementary Education and earned her Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from George Mason University of Virginia.  Mrs. Gebhard taught for 13 years as a public school teacher and has spent the past 3 years at Christ Church Episcopal Preschool as a Lead 3 year old teacher.

Mrs. Gebhard taught 3rd grade, 4th  grade, and worked as an elementary school Reading Specialist before becoming a stay at home mom.  She loves learning and is currently working on her certification in Instructional Media in partnership with Discovery Education. Mrs. Gebhard loves to share her joy of reading and learning with students of all ages.

Mrs. Gebhard loves settling down with a good book every chance she gets.  Shel Silverstein is her favorite children’s author.  She loves his silly rhymes and poems and you can often find her quoting lines and using the funniest of voices while reading his poems.  Mrs. Gebhard loves spending time with her family.  She has three children, one middle schooler and two elementary students.  She loves attending her children’s many sporting events, collecting new recipes, browsing Pinterest, reading, and being outdoors.  The Steelers are her favorite football team as are all things Pittsburgh.  Mrs. Gebhard is energetic and passionate about working with children of all ages and is thrilled to be a part of the Kaechele Elementary School community.


GivensJanet Givens, a first grade teacher,  grew up in snowy Watertown, N.Y.   She first went to college for interior design and worked as a showroom designer for several years before having a revelation that she  wanted to do something more with her creativity.  She decided that teaching was her calling and moved to Richmond.  Mrs. Givens graduated from VCU and student taught at Dumbarton Elementary.  She was a first grade teacher there for three years before moving to Echo Lake Elementary to open a new school!  She  taught 11 years in first grade at Echo Lake, with a three year “stint” in kindergarten.  In 2013,  Mrs. Givens started her new adventure at Kaechele Elementary!  When she is not busy teaching children to read, Mrs. Givens enjoys spending time with her two boys. She enjoys going to musical events, trying out new restaurants, and searching for great deals.  She loves to create jewelry and has her own little ‘cottage business’ . She is so excited to travel this new path with you!

Jean Gonyo, our library assistant, joins the Kaechele team after spending three years at Sanjean gonyodston Elementary School. She grew up in Maine and is a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in Business Education.  Mrs. Gonyo loves spending time traveling with her family in their RV. Her favorite trip was a month long adventure that included stops in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore. Of course, Mrs. Gonyo loves to read! She loves mysteries and historical fiction but her all-time favorite author is Dr. Seuss! She loves to encourage children to read, and to discover new resources in the library learning commons.


Shannon Hyman, our school librarian and information specialist,  joined the planning team to open Kaechele in March of 2013 and came from Byrd Middle School where her library program was recognized as the Virginia School Library of the Year. Whoop!  She graduated from VCU in 1989 with a degree in education, and earned her master of education degree in Library Science from Longwood University. She has taught and administered in a variety of settings ranging from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade for the last 28 years, and she is a published author in several professional journals and blogs. When she is not gushing about books, searching for information and creating interactive lessons, Mrs. Hyman enjoys spending time with her family. She is blessed to have 4 children, (2 college graduates, 1 college student, and 1 teen) and a wonderfully supportive husband who often tag-teams with her to get everything done. She loves reclaiming and re-purposing old things to give them fresh uses. Mrs. Hyman has 2 cute Mini Aussie puppies named Barney and Clyde, and a very fat, very strange orange cat named Hank. Books make Mrs. Hyman very happy. Some of her favorite authors include Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, Mem Fox, Gordon Korman, Kwame Alexander, CeCe Bell, R. J. Palacio, Mo Willems, Patricia Polacco, Chris Van Allsburg, Mo Willems, Sharon Creech, Jacqueline Woodson, and Christopher Paul Curtis-and did she mention she loves Mo Willems? Mrs. Hyman admits she has little time for television, but when she does, she watches football, Jimmy Fallon, and HCTV’s Fixer Upper. Mrs. Hyman loves to laugh, explore and create using technology, listen to all kinds of music, and she has developed an internal Starbucks® radar. As Kaechele’s librarian and information specialist, she is excited to empower the students and staff to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers and ethical users and creators of information!

KraussEd Krauss, our music teacher,  graduated from New Brunswick High School, New Jersey, in 1970.  He majored in Music – TUBA!  and graduated from West Chester State College (University), in 1974.  Mr. Krauss  has taught in high school, middle and elementary schools since 1974.  He earned his master of arts degree from Trenton State College, (The College of New Jersey) in 1986 and earned Administrative Certificates from Glassboro State College, (Rowan University).  Ed is married to his beautiful wife of 23 years, and is the proud papa of their daughter a Senior in the Honors College at the University of South Carolina.  Mr. Krauss also enjoys playtime with the family canine – Scout. Go, Coyotes!


beckyBecky Maria, a third grade teacher, is originally from Pennsylvania. After receiving her degree in Elementary Education from Penn State, she moved to Virginia and has happily called it “home” for many years. Ms. Maria joins the KES team with nearly 20 years teaching experience, mostly in the third grade and most recently with the Math Science Innovation Center. Her favorite part of teaching is not just developing a community of curious learners, but also building a community of kind, caring Coyotes. When she’s not in school, Ms. Maria spends much of her time with her sons enjoying hiking, camping, college football, and trying new restaurants. She is super-excited to bring her love of learning to Kaechele Elementary!


Yvonne Meyer-Althoff, an ESL teacher, has taught all levels from elementary school to college in both German and English as a Second Language. She was born in Germany and graduated in Munich from a renowned language institute.  When she moved to Vermont, she graduated with a Master Degrees from St. Michael’s College in Teaching ESL. Since she moved to Virginia, she has been with HCPS since 1997, both as a parent and as a teacher.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling around the world with her husband, walking her dogs, exercising, gardening, cooking and reading. Her international background helps her to better support her students and help them succeed and grow. She is happy to be part of the Coyote family!


Marty Moritz, an instructional assistant, grew up in New Hampshire and followed her husband’s job to RVA almost 16 years ago.  Marty’s background in teaching comes from many years as a teacher’s assistant and preschool teacher.  She joined HCPS 5 years ago starting at Shady Grove Elementary working with Exceptional Ed, and has enjoyed being a part of the Kaechele team.  Although she has had several careers, she has always returned to teaching, coaching or leading Girls Scouts.  Marty has three wonderful children, 2 pugs, 2 cats, and birds, and it is highly likely she would have many more if time allowed!  Her interests outside of KES include gardening, reading, yoga, hiking, anything on the water, and most importantly spending fun times, laughter, and lots of love with her children.


 cperkinsCassie Perkins, an art teacher is  a VCU graduate with degrees in art education and art history. Her art history degree is in ancient through classical art and architecture (Egypt, Greece, etc.). She was born and raised in Richmond, went to HCPS, and graduated from Godwin High School. Her mom is also an HCPS teacher! Mrs. Perkins’ home school is Crestview Elementary, and her favorite art form is sculpture using enexpected materials. She loves finding new and interesting ways to make art and enjoys working on community art projects. Mrs. Perkins also enjoys talking with other art teachers and friends to share ideas. When she is not at school during the summer, her favorite thing to do is spend time with friends and family in the Outer Banks.


RademacherKim Rademacher, a first grade teacher, received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Mary Washington in 1985 and her teaching certification from the University of Richmond.  Mrs. Rademacher has taught in Henrico County for six years, teaching Kindergarten for five of those years.  She had the opportunity to loop with a Kindergarten class instructing them in the first grade curriculum for one year.  Mrs. Rademacher has three children and one silly poodle.  She enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.  Mrs. Rademacher loves being a Kaechele Coyote!!!



Michelle Robinson, an office assistant is originally from Seattle, Washington, but recently moved here from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lived for the past 25 years.  While in Colorado Springs, she worked as an Attendance Clerk at a middle school, and prior to that she worked in a hospital scheduling appointments and registering patients. She is recently remarried and is a proud mom of 3 wonderful grown children and 2 wonderful step children. She has a sweet miniature schnauzer named Lucy.  Her favorite season is fall and she loves holidays.She enjoys reading, relaxing the in sun by the pool or at the beach, but most of all she enjoys spending time with her family.  She is absolutely thrilled to be part of the Kaechele family!



robsonDenise Robson, a fourth grade teacher, comes to us from Tuckahoe Elementary School where she has taught in grades 3 and 4 since 2003.  She graduated from Rutger’s University in 1988 with a bachelor of science degree.  In 2003, Mrs. Robson earned her teaching certification from University of Richmond.  In addition to earning an endorsement in Gifted Education through UVA in 2009, she has also completed coursework in Children’s Engineering from JMU.  Mrs. Robson moved to Richmond in 2008 from Audubon, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia.  Go EAGLES!  Consequently, her husband had questioned the rationale behind allowing a Yankee to teach Virginia History!  However, it has become one of her most favorite subjects to teach.  She is a true convert.  She enjoys reading books and belongs to several book clubs.  Her favorite past time however, is spending time with her family.  She has 3 wonderful sons (one of whom is still in college).  She lost her husband in 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer.  As a fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Robson has embraced the concept that she is preparing her students for careers that may not yet exist.  To accomplish that, she guides her students to become critical thinkers, collaborative workers, and enthusiastic learners.

Ashley Schwoebel Rogers, instructional assistant, grew up in Atlanta, GA and moved to Henrico in 4th grade. She attended Springfield Park Elementary, Short Pump Middle School and Deep Run High School. She graduated from Deep Run High School in 2006 and attended VCU for two years, where she received an associates degree in in Elementary Education. She began working at Rivers Edge Elementary in 2010 with kids with Autism and Emotional Disabilities. She was nominated for the Christie Award in 2016 for her love and devotion to children with disabilities. In her spare time she owns a photography business, plays the piano and is very active in her church choir. She and her husband are expecting their first child in February, 2018. Mrs. Rogers is excited for the new school year and new experience as a Kaechele coyote!


Jason Runk, our physical education teacher, will be starting his 13th  year teaching in Henrico County. Mr. Runk went to Virginia Tech where he received his B.S in Health and Physical Education and then went to VCU for his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Movement Science. Mr. Runk also serves on Henrico’s Curriculum Writing Committee, is a PEP Grant trainer, and is the safety chair at Kaechele Elementary. During the summer he teaches 10th grade health and physical education through an online program. Mr. Runk believes that healthy students are happy students and that they learn best through movement. When he is not teaching he enjoys spending time with his two sons, playing soccer, golfing, weightlifting, listening to music, and learning about new technologies.

IMG_7024Karen Shaia, our school counselor, joins the Kaechele team coming from Tuckahoe Elementary School. Her career in school counseling includes 17 years of experience with Henrico County. Mrs. Shaia graduated with a master of education degree with a specialization in school counseling from VCU, after completing her undergraduate teaching degree at Radford University.  She enjoyed 9 years of teaching elementary students. Being an elementary school counselor is really a passion for Mrs. Shaia!  When relaxing and having fun, you can find Mrs. Shaia on her boat at Lake Anna, with her two amazing children, her loving husband,  and a dog named Gracie. Along with boating, Mrs. Shaia loves reading and bike riding.  As Kaechele’s school counselor, Mrs. Shaia looks forward to working together with teachers, students, parents, and staff to build successful students. As eloquently put by Hisashi Nogami, “Smiles are free, but they’re worth a lot.”

shawCatherine Shaw, an FIS teacher, received a B.A. in History with a concentration in Elementary Education from VCU. She grew up in Poquoson, which is a small town near Hampton Roads.  Ms. Shaw started working for County Public Schools in 2010.  Currently, she is pursuing a masters in special education. Ms. Shaw has one dog, Ripley, who doesn’t leave the house without his bowtie.  In her free time, Ms. Shaw enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her nieces and nephews.





Kristen Schemmel, an exceptional education teacher, was born and raised in Henrico County.  She graduated from Elon University in 2002 with a double major in elementary and exceptional education.  Miss Schemmel started her teaching career in Louisa County and after two years transferred to Henrico County teaching at Fair Oaks Elementary in both exceptional education and second grade.  Most recently, Miss Schemmel was a first grade teacher at Holladay Elementary.  In her spare time Miss Schemmel enjoys spending time with her two nieces and two nephews and her 13-year-old cocker spaniel Charley.  Miss Schemmel is so excited to join the KES team!



Kenley Smalkowski, a second grade teacher, earned a bachelor of science degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from James Madison University. Mrs. Smalkowski comes from a family of educators, and has always had a passion for teaching children. This will be her fifth year teaching 2nd grade at Kaechele and she could not be more excited! She has also enjoyed teaching and motivating children through coaching summer league diving for the past twelve years. Mrs. Smalkowski has an incredible and fun loving baby boy, a wonderful and supportive husband, and two adorable and goofy Basset Hounds.  When she is not having fun in the classroom, Mrs. Smalkowski loves playing with her baby boy who is always on the move, perusing Pinterest for fun lessons, reading, experimenting with new recipes, and spending time with her family and friends!



Alissa Straus, a fifth grade teacher, has been a Henrico County teacher for 16 years. She began her career at Skipwith Elementary and then moved to Colonial Trail Elementary, teaching both fourth and fifth grades.  Miss Straus grew up in Henrico County and graduated from J.R. Tucker High School’s Spanish Immersion Program.  She attended Radford University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree  in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a minor in Spanish.  Miss Straus has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University and has earned her gifted endorsement from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Miss Straus is passionate about learning and incorporating technology into the curriculum.  In her free time Miss Straus enjoys reading, seeing movies, watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.  She also enjoys traveling and listening to music.

stricklandJenny Strickland, an Art Teacher, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005 with a Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design.  She worked with a Fashion Designer and also in the corporate banking industry until 2012.  She discovered her true passion was for teaching and received her teaching certification from Old Dominion University in 2012.  Mrs. Strickland has 4 years of experience teaching Art Education for elementary and middle school students in rural southern Virginia. This will be her first year in Henrico County and her home school is Arthur Ashe Elementary.  She grew up in Burke, Virginia but relocated to Richmond in 2001 to attend VCU and fell in love with the city.  In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach with her husband and their rescue pitbull terrier named Rebel.  Rebel was discovered wandering alone on Jefferson Davis Highway in 2009 and has since become a beloved member of the family.  Mrs. Strickland is very excited to join Keachele Elementary and looks forward to starting the upcoming school year!


Stephanie Swart, a second grade teacher, is very curious to meet her 2nd grade investigators this year as we begin a new mission…possible!  The 2017 -2018 school year will be her 16th year of teaching in Henrico County.  Mrs. Swart adores challenging students to be adaptable and persevere in their exploration of the world around them.  She will continue to engage the students in an environment where they are courageous enough to be comfortable as individuals, as well as self-aware of their abilities to work together as a team.  Mrs. Swart attended both Virginia Commonwealth University and Mary Baldwin College.  After hours, you can find her spending time with her fun-filled and adventurous family.  Mr. Swart is a dedicated husband and father to their delightfully mischievous 5 year old daughter.  Her family is the owner of a sweet and cuddly cat, often the victim of her daughter’s creative imagination!  Mrs. Swart loves both pop and country music, reading, traveling, and learning all about various cultures.  Teaching and enriching young minds is one of Mrs. Swart’s passions and she is eager to share this enthusiasm for learning with the Kaechele community!


thorntonSusan Thornton, our Reading Interventionist, graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Elementary Education.  She taught in Chesterfield county nine years before transferring to Henrico and teaching at Ridge and Gayton Elementary schools. Now retired with over 37 years experience, Mrs. Thornton continues her passion for teaching young children by working part time at Kaechele.  She is happily married to her high school sweet heart of 36 years, has two grown sons, and an adorable lab. When she is not teaching, you can find Mrs. Thornton at the YMCA, walking her dog Bracey, reading a good book, cooking up a new dish, or relaxing at her Lake Gaston cottage. She is excited to be part of the dedicated Kaechele team!


kohlerGena Vara, one of our early childhood special education teachers, grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, where she competed in multiple sports including basketball, swimming, gymnastics and even ultimate Frisbee.  She attended her dream school, the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!), where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her masters in early childhood special education.  Gena is newly married and considers her family to be one of the most important parts of her life.  She and her husband rescued a shelter pup, Emma, who is such an integral part of their lives that she was given the honor of walking down the aisle as Gena’s flower girl! In her spare time, Gena enjoys trying out new ways to stay active including kickboxing, kayaking, and hiking.  Gena hopes that she can have a lasting effect on her young ones by instilling in them a love for learning and also teaching them the importance of staying positive.

YenneyStacie Yenney, our secretary,  joined the planning team at Kaechele in March of 2013 and comes from Rivers Edge Elementary School where she helped to open that school in 2003.  She attended Braxton Business School and obtained a degree of Executive Assistant.  She previously worked as the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Information Systems with the Virginia State Lottery Department for fifteen years. She joined that team shortly after the Lottery started in 1988 and even got to participate as a hostess for a game show they produced in the early start up phase.  She has four children, two of which are in college (VCU and Virginia Tech—go Rams and Hokies!!) and two that attend Deep Run.  She is very passionate about animals and has 3 dogs – two golden retrievers and one chocolate lab, and four cats!  Quite a house full.  Their family has been called the “Brady Bunch” from time to time, minus the housekeeper.  Her family loves boating and anything involving a beach and water – the more blue the better.  She loves to travel and would love to eventually retire and move to the water somewhere warm with palm trees.  Some of her favorite pastimes are boating and fishing, reading, gardening, baking, spending time with her family, attending Tech games, Starbucks, and watching the Steelers games (association by marriage).  She is excited to be a part of Kaechele Elementary school, and she looks forward to working with our coyotes and their families!


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