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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

Monica 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!

 

Kelly Becker is excited to join the Kaechele Elementary family as our new Gifted Resource Teacher!  She grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from VCU where she also earned her Gifted/Talented Ed. Endorsement.  She has 16 years of teaching experience, seven in Gifted Education!. She is currently pursuing her National Board Teaching Certification.  Outside of school, Kelly spends time with her fiancé, three children, & her Labradoodle, Miley!   She enjoys kayaking and hiking with her friends, reading with her book club, and going to beaches near and far.   Kelly is looking forward to working with Kaechele’s gifted enrichment groups this year!

 

Jennifer Berdux loves being a Kaechele Coyote, and the whole Coyote pack at KES! 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. “Mrs. B.”, loves to learn and laugh right alongside her students every day, truly enjoys building meaningful relationships with her KES coyotes, and their families, and thinks being a teacher is the best job anyone could have. She is married to her wonderful husband, Chris, and has two adult sons, Nick and John. Mrs. B. is an animal lover, and has two cats named Eli and Malory. In her spare time, Mrs. Berdux loves to visit the beach, read, write, cook, and hang out with friends and family.

 

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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.

 

Hannah Brendel, an English Language teacher, grew up in Pennsylvania where she received her Elementary and Special Education teaching degree from Slippery Rock University. After graduating, she spent three years teaching Special Education in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. While there, she earned her certification to become a Language Instruction Educational Program Teacher. Ms. Brendel has relocated to Henrico this year, where she is teaching English Learners for her first year! Outside of school, Ms. Brendel likes to spend time outside, playing volleyball and reading. She is excited to learn more about her students and the city of Richmond!

 

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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 teacher, was 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 began my career teaching third grade in New Orleans and joined Henrico County Public Schools when I moved to Virginia. I have been part of the Kaechele since it’s opening in 2013.  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.

 

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Andrea Fry, is one of our two Exceptional Education Teachers. She has over 17 years of experience and has taught in a number of settings including General Education, Special Education, International Baccalaureate Schools Internationally. 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 nine 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.

Jerri Girvin, our Math Interventionist, grew up in Richmond, VA. She holds a B.A from Virginia Tech. She taught middle school math in Henrico County before having her children. She is the mother of two girls (Mallory- 18 and Karson-16) and two boys (Drew-14 and William-8). After William started Kindergarten, Mrs. Girvin wanted to get back into the classroom. She has been a math interventionist at Tuckahoe Middle School and Holman Middle School. Mrs. Girvin enjoys being on the sidelines cheering for her children.  She is excited to be at Kaechele Elementary School.

 

 

 

Janet 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! She earned her National Board certification in 2004, is a clinical faculty member at VCU, and recently earned her Associate certification with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. 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!

 

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Jean Gonyo, our library assistant, joins the Kaechele team after spending three years at Sandston 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.

 

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Ed 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 (24) 23 years, and is the proud papa of their daughter, Jessica,  a (Graduate of the University of South Carolina)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!

 

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 years ago starting at Shady Grove Elementary working with Exceptional Ed, and is now enjoying 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.

 

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Cassie 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!!!

 

 

Denise Robson, a fourth grade teacher, 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 from a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, and was beyond excited with the EAGLES Super Bowl championship this past year.  Her three sons are successfully established in the Richmond area.  This is Mrs. Robson’s 16th year teaching in Henrico County Schools.  She has spent eight of those teaching 4th grade, a curriculum she thoroughly enjoys. 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!

 

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Jason Runk, our physical education teacher, 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 and is VP of Dance for the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. He is also the safety chair at Kaechele Elementary. During the summer he teaches online 10th grade health and physical education and enjoys traveling to conferences and other counties providing professional development. 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 wife and two sons, playing soccer, golfing, weightlifting, playing harmonica, 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.

 

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

Julz Suder will be teaching art at Kaeachele on Mondays this year. She teaches the rest of the week at Carver Elementary. Julz has a BFA in Art Education and a Minor in Art History from VCU. She received her National Board Certification in 2015.  She has presented at national and state conferences on creativity in the classroom. Julz recently co-wrote and was awarded a grant through Partners in the Arts and has been part of the Visual Arts’ Creative Ambassadors with the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. She is the co-vice president for the Central Region Virginia Art Education Association board. She received the State of Virginia and Henrico County Elementary Art Educator Award in 2015. This year she was a teaching assistant at Arrowmont Craft School. Julz has shown her students’ artwork in several venues throughout Henrico and the Richmond area and exhibits her personal work in group and solo exhibitions throughout the area. When she is not making art or helping others with their art she enjoys gardening, playing with her two chocolate labs, and traveling with her husband Tom.

Christina Sulzer, our school librarian and information specialist, is joining the Kaechele family this year.  She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2000 and began her teaching career in Loudoun County, Virginia.  In 2008, she moved home to Richmond and taught sixth grade English at Short Pump Middle School for two years and then Tuckahoe Middle School for seven years.  She is very excited to share her love of reading and books with the students and families at Kaechele. Outside of school, Mrs. Sulzer enjoys spending time with her family.  She has three young children (two elementary aged students and a 3 year old) and a supportive husband who is also an educator. Mrs. Sulzer loves spending time with her children and reading children’s and young adult literature.  Mrs. Sulzer’s favorite authors include Tom Angleberger, Loren Long, Lynda Mullany Hunt, Laurie Halse Anderson, Linda Sue Park, Jason Reynolds, Alan Gratz, Katherine Applegate, Jordan Sonnenblick, Sharon Draper, and Gordon Korman.  Mrs. Sulzer loves to laugh and spend time with friends and family.

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Stephanie Swart, a second grade teacher, is very curious to meet her 2nd grade campers this year as we begin a new adventure! The 2018 – 2019 school year will be her 17th 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 6 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!

 

Kara Terry, a 5th grade teacher, grew up in Ohio and Michigan. She holds a B.S. in accounting from Boston College where she played soccer and received her teaching certificate at the University of Richmond. Mrs. Terry began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at Longdale Elementary School in Henrico County. After her third daughter was born, Mrs. Terry made a change to teach part-time at the Academy of Academic Excellence. While at the Academy, she learned the true meaning of differentiation as she taught second through fifth graders in the same classroom. Mrs. Terry uses this experience to meet the needs of all learners in her classroom at Kaechele. When she isn’t preparing exciting lessons for her students, she can be found on the sidelines of a soccer field cheering on one of her three soccer-loving daughters. Besides soccer, Mrs. Terry enjoys going on dates with her husband, cheering on the New England Patriots, baking and exploring with her family.

 

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 and her husband welcomed their first child, June, in the summer of 2017 and they are enjoying watching her grow alongside their rescue dog, Emma.  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.

 

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 JMU—go Rams and Dukes!!) one married and lives local and one living in Atlanta. She is very passionate about animals and has one dog Remi, a golden retriever, two cats, and two grand-pups. 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 bluer 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 JMU games, Starbucks, and watching the Steelers play. She is excited to be a part of Kaechele Elementary school, and looks forward to working with our coyotes and their families!

 

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