Ms. Jennifer Rhoden, our principal, is thrilled to become a part of the Kaechele Elementary community this year! Originally from Florida, her family relocated to Richmond just before her freshman year of high school. Therefore, she is a graduate of Henrico’s Godwin High School. She then went to Lee University in Tennessee to study before returning home to get married and finish her degree in Education as well as her Master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Jennifer taught 3rd grade for 8 years in Henrico County before taking a position in Richmond Public Schools as a Title I Math teacher. She then moved into a Reading First Literacy Coach position in the city of Richmond before returning to her roots in Henrico County in 2011 for a Title I Reading position at Laburnum Elementary. In 2014, Jennifer graduated from the Educational Leadership and Policies studies program at the University of Richmond. As a result, she served as the Resource teacher at Laburnum Elementary and most recently as the Associate Principal at Maude Trevvett Elementary School. Jennifer has been married to her husband, a Freeman High School graduate, for 26 years. They have 2 children (a freshman at George Mason University and a high school junior). Jennifer loves spending time with her family as well as playing games, reading, watching movies, going to the beach, eating out (especially Mexican food), and being with friends.
Tim 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.
Swati Achari, an instructional assistant, is extremely excited to be part of the Kaechele Coyotes. She holds a bachelor’s in science degree from VKS University. She loves to travel and cook. An avid music lover, she is also a DIY crafts enthusiast. She loves to spend time with her 6-year-old daughter and her husband Shantanu.
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.
Crystal Alphin, an Instructional Assistant, is a Richmond native and attended Henrico schools. She received an Associate Degree from Reynolds Community College and is getting ready to graduate with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Old Dominion University. Crystal is married and has 2 sons, ages 12 and 5. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, cheering on her oldest son’s baseball team, traveling to new places, and playing the flute in the Richmond Concert Band. She is very excited to be a part of the Kaechele family!
Stephanie Anderson, our ILC (Innovative Learning Coach), is extremely excited to continue being a Kaechele coyote in this innovative role while working with ALL teachers, staff, and students. Mrs. Anderson became a Kaechele Coyote when the school opened in 2013 as a 5th-grade teacher. Mrs. Anderson recently earned her Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision PreK–12 from Virginia State University. She earned an endorsement in gifted education through Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015 and graduated from Newberry College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1996. She grew up in South Carolina and became a Virginian by marriage in 2002. While in the classroom, she loved to incorporate technology into so many of her lessons and enjoyed collaborating with the other teachers at Kaechele. In her free time, Mrs. Anderson loves to create in her “she shed” with her daughter, watch her son play ball on the diamond, and go on walks with her Great Dane and husband. Mrs. Anderson LOVES showing off her Kaechele Pride!
Jane Arrington, an interventionist, enjoys working with the kindergarten – 2nd graders at Kaechele. 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 looking forward to another wonderful year with the coyotes!
Natalie Axtell, a 4th grade teacher, loves being part of the Kaechele team. Mrs. Axtell grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and enjoys visiting her family there for holidays and every summer. She earned her degree in elementary education from Concord University in Athens, WV. She has been teaching 4th grade in Henrico County for the last 20 years. Mrs. Axtell loves to spend time with her wonderful husband and two amazing children. She enjoys reading, cooking, and trips to the beach. She is looking forward to another wonderful year as a KES coyote!
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, gerbils and chickens. 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/Commanders! 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!
Ellen Baker, Speech Language Pathologist, was born and raised in northwest Louisiana. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and earned her master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Radford University. She began her career as a Speech Language Pathologist with Roanoke City Public Schools, and most recently spent 7 years with Chesterfield County before joining Henrico County Public Schools. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Hokie football and spending time with her husband and 13 month old daughter. Mrs. Baker is excited to be apart of the team at Kaechele Elementary.
Kelly Becker, our Gifted Resource Teacher, is excited to return to the Kaechele Elementary family! She grew up in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. She graduated from VCU where she also earned her Gifted/Talented Ed. Endorsement. She has taught for HCPS for 18 years, eight in Gifted Education. She enjoys being a continuous learner & staying abreast of new developments, curriculum, and trends in gifted education. Outside of school, Mrs. Becker spends time with her husband, three children, and dog, Sandy. She enjoys kayaking with her friends, reading with her book club, going to the beach, DIY projects, & exploring all that Richmond has to offer. Mrs. Becker is looking forward to providing enrichment services at Kaechele Elementary this year!
Meredith Betke, a first grade 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 2nd grade 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 kindergarten and now she’s feeling fabulous in first grade! In her spare time, Mrs. Betke enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, pulling for the Steelers, playing with her dogs Lincoln, Blu 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 first graders. Her biggest hope is that during the upcoming year her students will develop an authentic love for school, learning and being a Kaechele Coyote!
Esther 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 as a parent, instructional assistant, 3rd grade and 4th grade teacher. 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 exploring the many interesting places Virginia has to offer, watching football, and relaxing with a good book. Mrs. Black is looking forward to guiding her students to reach their full potential as creative critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners.
Kelly Blackwell, the FIS teacher, is excited to join the Kaechele team! Miss Blackwell graduated from James Madison University in 2018, where she received her Masters of Arts in Teaching. Through the course of her teaching career, she has taught both Kindergarten and 5th grade. She is excited to learn and grow as she steps into a new journey joining the Exceptional Education team this school year! When she is not in the classroom, Miss Blackwell enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to play games, spoil her baby niece, and relax on the river! Miss Blackwell is looking forward to a wonderful school year with the Kaechele Coyotes!
Polly 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.
Karen Brincks, a fourth grade teacher, is excited to start her fourth year at Kaechele. Mrs. Brincks grew up in Iowa and has lived in Kentucky, Tennessee, and now Virginia. She graduated from Iowa Wesleyan with a degree in Elementary Education and a Reading Endorsement. In 2010, Mrs. Brincks completed her Master of Science degree in Education. She has taught 1st and 3rd – 8th grades. When she is not in the classroom, Mrs. Brincks loves spending time with her family, reading, photography, and going to sporting events. Her husband Scott, is the Assistant Athletic Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Richmond, Go Spiders! Mrs. Brincks has two children – a daughter Kylie at JMU and a son Cole at East Tennessee State University.
Edris Castaldo, a nutrition assistant, enjoys being part of the Kaechele team. Mrs. Castaldo moved from Florida 3 years ago to be closer to family in RVA. She has spent most of her life in the nursing field caring for the elderly. She now finds joy in caring for the younger kids. Mrs. Castaldo is an avid bowler and has won many bowling tournaments. She enjoys gardening, cooking and doing crossword puzzles. She has 3 daughters, 1 son and 5 grandchildren.
Ginny Clark, our LIEP teacher (English Language Learners) has been in Henrico County teaching English Learners for over 15 years, mainly at Twin Hickory, but has also taught at Echo Lake, Maude Trevvett, Carver, Longan, Crestview, Glen Allen Elem., Hungary Creek and Wilder Middle schools, where it has been a privilege to teach students from all areas of the world. She came from Culpeper County where she taught for 13 years in a private, then public school in grades K-6th. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, and a B.L.S. in Child Development from Mary Washington College. She also holds an ESL Endorsement and a M.Ed. degree from University of Mary Washington. Ginny has also been an Adjunct Professor at Reynolds Community College, teaching adult English Learners, for over 13 years. Her favorite thing is to spend time with her husband and two grown children at the beach or the mountains. In her spare time, she reads and gardens. She supports VA Tech Hokies and Liverpool Football club(English Premier League Soccer).
Liz Concepcion, our reading interventionist, holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. She began her teaching career in rural Rappahannock County, VA where she started a K-2 Title 1 reading program for the county. Later, Mrs. Concepcion earned her Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has had the privilege to teach Title 1 Reading, Reading Recovery, third grade, and preschool over the years. Helping students develop a love of reading and gain strategies to be successful readers has always been a passion for Mrs. Concepcion, and she is excited to be a part of the Kaechele community of learners! Mrs. Concepcion loves spending time with her husband, Joe, and their four daughters. They enjoy vacationing at the beach, hiking, playing badminton and volleyball, reading, and baking together.
Katherine Crusco, our school social worker, is excited to continue her work with the Kaechele team and strengthen her connections with students, families, and staff members! Katherine grew up in Chester, Virginia where she discovered her love of learning and helping students in need. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University. She then returned to the Richmond area for graduate school and earned her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. Katherine is passionate about supporting students’ social-emotional needs through trauma-informed practices, positive relationships, and engaging learning opportunities. During her free time, Katherine enjoys biking, relaxing by the lake, going to plays, and traveling. Mostly, she loves spending time with family and friends!
Katie Dix, a fifth grade teacher, has been a teacher for over 23 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 7 year old lab named Duff and a 2 year old lab named Duke. Mrs. Dix enjoys reading. In her spare time she enjoys going to movies, playing sports, coaching sports, and spending time with her family. Most of the time you will find her at a sport field cheering on her son while he plays lacrosse. If you see her out and about please say hi. She also loves spending time at the beach. 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 19 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 16th year working in Henrico County where she has also 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 watching her kids play on their travel and high school teams.
Amy Donald, an occupational therapist, is excited to work with Kaechele Coyote pack again this school year. After starting her occupational therapy career with HCPS in 2002, she worked in several other school districts before returning to HCPS in 2017. She was a political science major at Mary Washington College where she received her Bachelor of Arts. She earned her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. Mrs. Donald is always happy to share stories about her fluffy Golden Retriever, Wallace. She also enjoys being active with her family and going to basketball and soccer games. Mrs. Donald looks forward to working with Kaechele’s students, school staff and families.
Tracy Fabricant, a kindergarten teacher, graduated from Radford University with a degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Fabricant grew up in Hanover County, but has long time ties to Henrico County as both of her parents spent their careers in Henrico County in education. She has spent her teaching career in Henrico County at Pinchbeck, Colonial Trail, and now at Kaechele. After thinking about changing directions and heading to the library, she received her MEd in Education with a concentration in Library Sciences from VCU. Quickly, she realized that she really loved spending her time in the classroom with kindergartners and just couldn’t give that up! She’s received several grants over the years for her classroom and loves to create/plan new ideas for her students. Mrs. Fabricant met her husband, Evan, while at Radford. They live in Hanover County with their two children. As a family, they enjoy all of the wonderful things that Virginia has to offer from the beaches to the mountains. Mrs. Fabricant loves spending time with her two children during the summer months, and taking them to museums, parks, and anything with a historical significance!
Kaniz Fatema, a BLISS instructional assistant, is excited to be a part of the coyote team. She was born and raised in Bangladesh. She earned her bachelor degree in physical therapy from Dhaka university in Bangladesh. She started her career as a pediatric physical therapist and moved to Virginia 9 years ago. Before joining Kaechele Elementary School, she worked at Longan Elementary School for 2 years. Mrs. Fatema loves to go camping, hiking and fishing with her loving husband and son.
Stephanie Fosberg, a third grade teacher, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Our Lady of Holy Cross College with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Humanities and Education and earned her Gifted Endorsement from University of Richmond. She began her career teaching third grade in New Orleans and joined Henrico County Public Schools when she moved to Virginia. Mrs. Fosberg has been part of the Kaechele since it’s opening in 2013. She considers herself a lifelong learner, and enjoys learning about the latest and greatest in the field of education and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends travelling and exploring new places. Being born and raised in New Orleans, she enjoys cooking traditional New Orleans food, but also loves trying different foods and restaurants around town.
Lisa Frederes, our school psychologist, has been a school psychologist in three different states. Originally from Rochester, NY, Mrs. Frederes attended SUNY Fredonia for undergrad and earned her masters and specialist degrees from Roberts Wesleyan College. She practiced for a year in NY prior to moving to North Carolina. Mrs. Frederes moved to the RVA joining the Kaechele Team! She enjoys working with students, families, and staff to support children in accelerating their educational and social/emotional growth. She has a passion for working with special populations of child with exceptional needs and investigating how all students think and learn to reach their highest potential. Mrs. Frederes stays busy with her three boys at home. Her and her husband love to take their children on adventures. She also enjoys hiking, biking, yoga, and cooking.
Ashley Fullerton, our art teacher, received her Art Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She spent her freshman year of college at The Ohio State University and also has a degree in Interior Design from VCU. Before joining the Kaechele team Mrs. Fullerton spent 11 years teaching art at Brookland Middle School and two years at Holladay Elementary School. She has two sons who keep her active with kayaking, hiking and many other adventures. When Mrs. Fullerton is not teaching, she loves to read! She also loves to travel and spend time at the beach.
Laura Fultz, a physical therapist for HCPS in the West End, is proud to be working with the Kaechele Coyotes again this year! Laura has worked for HCPS for 5 years. She went to James Madison University for her Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and to VCU to receive her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2010. She has worked in a variety of clinical and hospital positions and is now happy to be working with students in the exceptional educational setting. She loves to travel, spend time with family, and is happily married to her husband Joshua and lives in the west end with their walker hound Jacob-bob.
Kelli Gannon, a second grade teacher, is so happy to be a part of the KES team and a fellow coyote! She grew up in West Virginia, attended college in Ohio, and relocated to Richmond four years ago from the Chicago area with her family. Mrs. Gannon has worked in Henrico County the last four years primarily as a board substitute, and during the last school year she was the reading interventionist at Maybeury Elementary. Mrs. Gannon enjoys family time and outdoor activities – biking, hiking, and adventurous vacations are some of her most favorite things. In the classroom Mrs. Gannon enjoys seeing students grow in their reading abilities and she is very excited to watch all her classroom coyotes this new school year. Fostering a room that is inspired by laughter, love and kindness, Mrs. Gannon can’t wait to begin this adventure with her Sensational Second Graders!
Lori Gebhard, a fourth grade teacher, graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Education for K-8th grade. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University as a Reading Specialist for K-12th grade. After taking a break to raise her 3 children her love of learning had her heading back to attend James Madison University where she added an endorsement as a Gifted Teacher. With over 18 years of classroom teaching experience starting in Northern Virginia, then moving on to New Jersey, and Maryland, she is thrilled to have settled back in Virginia where she became a proud Coyote in 2014. She loves spending time with her family, her dog Rocky, cats Izzo and BooBoo, cheering on the Steelers, reading, learning, and being outdoors. She has three children, a college junior at James Madison University and a 10th and 12th grader at Deep Run High School. Mrs. Gebhard is energetic and passionate about working with children of all ages. She loves sharing her joy and inspiring her students to be lifelong learners. Mrs. Gebhard 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 – 19 and Karson – 17) and two boys (Drew – 15 and William – 9). 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 second 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!
Jean Gonyo, our library assistant, grew up in the great state of Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Business Education before moving to Virginia. Mrs. Gonyo enjoys camping and traveling with her husband. She has two grown children that often join them on their adventures. Mrs. Gonyo also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading. One of her favorite things to do is relax on the beach while reading a good book! She is looking forward to another great year working with all of our Coyotes when they visit the KES Library Learning Commons!
Brittany Hall, an early childhood special education teacher, is so excited to return to coyote country! Brittany teaches the 4-year-old early childhood special education preschool class at Kaechele. Brittany earned her master’s degree in early childhood special education from Old Dominion University. She previously worked as an in-home ABA therapist and preschool teacher with Dominion ABA. Before coming to Kaechele, Brittany worked as an exceptional education resource teacher in the east end of Henrico. Brittany lives with her husband in Richmond’s Northside. In her spare time, she enjoys taking trips to the beach, yoga and Zumba classes, and working in her garden.
Crystal Haught, an instructional assistant, is excited to be a new member of the Kaechele family! Ms. Haught is also a board certified speech-language pathologist holding a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from West Virginia University. As a speech therapist, she has worked inclusively in preschool exceptional education classrooms in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia and private schools in North Carolina. She relocated to Richmond in 2017 from Charlotte and has two teenage boys attending Henrico County Schools. Ms. Haught enjoys spending time with her sons, fitness, photography, and traveling both near and far. To unwind, you will either find her outside or in the kitchen with a new recipe! She is looking forward to working with the Kaechele team and families.
Meredith Heiner, our educational audiologist, is so excited to join the KES team this year! Prior to joining Henrico County Public Schools, she was a pediatric audiologist at VCU Children’s Hospital of Richmond for 10 years. She earned both her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from James Madison University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, singing, camping and going on new adventures!
Lorin Hullett, a school counselor, is so excited for her second year at Kaechele Elementary School. She has been working in education over the last 13 years. Prior to being a school counselor, she taught first grade at Longan Elementary. She also taught 5th grade in Guatemala for two years! She graduated from Liberty University with a Master of Education degree with a specialization in School Counseling after receiving her undergraduate degree in Education from Longwood University. She enjoys helping students learn and grow by collaborating with teachers and students to create an environment where students know they are safe and loved. When she is not at Kaechele, she enjoys gardening, going to the beach and spending time with her husband and English Bulldog, Murphy. She is looking forward to another amazing year at KES!
Shannon Hyman, our office assistant and registrar, helped open Kaechele in 2013 as the school librarian and served in that position for 4 years. She went on to lead as a specialist for HCPS Library Services for 3 years, and then returned to her favorite place- Coyote Country! She grew up near Asheville, NC and moved to Virginia where she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University 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, libraries and in Central Office for the last 32 years. Mrs. Hyman is married and has four grown children, a grandlittle, and two sweet Mini-Australian Shepherds named Barney and Clyde. She loves spending time with her family, decorating, reading, and watching football and HGTV!
Lauren Seigler, a Kindergarten teacher, grew up in South Boston, Virginia. She attended Radford University where she graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Exceptional Education. She moved to Richmond in 2012. She taught three years at Blackwell Elementary in Richmond City and then moved to Henrico County. This will be her sixth year in Henrico County, where she has taught at Fair Oaks and now Kaechele Elementary. She has taught Pre-K, Exceptional Ed, Kindergarten, First Grade, and Third Grade. In her spare time, Ms. Kluge enjoys traveling, being with friends and family, exploring Richmond, watching movies, and cheering on the Hokies! She can’t wait for another awesome year at Kaechele
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, Shelley, of 27 years, and is the proud papa of their daughter, Jessica, a Graduate of the University of South Carolina, in the Honors College at the University of South Carolina, and is now married to her wonderful husband, Trent Hanacock. Mr. Krauss also enjoys performing music, gardening, fishing, kayaking, golf and playtime with the family canine – Scout. Go, Coyotes!!!
Kristen Litsinger, Instructional Assistant for ExEd, is proud to be a Kaechele Coyote! Ms. L. comes to Kaechele with over 10 years teaching experience in middle and high school math and English and pre-school. Ms. L., a Baltimore, MD native, lived for 16 years in Central Pennsylvania before moving to RVA in 2017. She is an avid reader, especially of historical fiction, gardener, and foodie! Recently, she has rediscovered a love of hiking. Ms. L. has an amazing, supportive husband, three fabulous grown children, and a black Labrador Retriever named Boh.
Becky 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’s 25 years teaching experience is mostly in the third grade! 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 share her love of learning with Kaechele Elementary!
Elise Matsuura, a second grade teacher, was born and raised in Henrico county and is a graduate of Saint Gertrude High School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and Masters of Teaching degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also received a minor in Spanish. In 2021, Elise was named one of Henrico’s Top 20 teachers and served as a curriculum writer in Henrico’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Opportunity. Some of Elise’s hobbies include traveling, reading, and gong to the gym. She also loves camping, hiking, live music, and being outdoors. Elise looks forward to another great year of teaching at Kaechele!
Michael Medley, a BLISS instructional assistant, joined the KES team in 2020! He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating high school, he moved to Virginia and earned his Bachelors degree in Psychology from Virginia Union University. Afterwards, he began working as a Qualified Mental Health Professional with both adults and children, which he has done in some capacity for 10 years. Mr. Medley is an avid New York sports fan, being a fan of the Knicks, Giants, and Yankees for life. Mr. Medley enjoys cooking, reading, watching anime, and traveling when he has time to spare. Mr. Medley is happy to be a part of the KES family!
Penny Mersereau, an early childhood special education teacher, joined the staff at Kaechele after 7 years with Richmond public schools. She previously worked in grant funded projects aimed at improving quality in early childhood education programs around the Richmond metropolitan area. She returned to school and graduated with a Master’s degree in early childhood special education from VCU in 2011. Mrs. Mersereau has two grown daughters. The oldest lives and works in Waco, Texas and the youngest is in Staunton, Virginia. We also have a little one year old grandson who we love spending time with. Mrs. Mersereau enjoys traveling to different places with her husband, but one of her favorite destinations is Blacksburg in the fall to cheer for the Hokies. She is excited to be working with the youngest students at K E S!
Tammy Mlynczak, our Licensed Practical Nurse, is so happy to start her 3rd year at KES, and her 21st year with Henrico County School Health. She received her nursing license from St. Mary’s nursing program and has worked in many nursing fields including home health, long term and assisted living/memory care, dept. of corrections, and Public health. School health is her favorite!
Ms. Mlynczak has a wonderful daughter and son, and a new grandbaby boy this year. She loves old movies, reading classic literature, and she has started studying Shakespeare this year.
Ms. Mlynczak is so proud to be a KES Coyote!
Kim Rademacher, a first grade teacher, is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 1985 with a BA in History and Historic Preservation. For several years, she worked within the preservation field at George Washington’s Birthplace NM and at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. She married her high school sweetheart and settled in Henrico County raising three children. While her children were growing up, she worked in the pre-school setting teaching the 4-year old program. Mrs. Rademacher returned to school, receiving her teaching certification from the University of Richmond in 2007, and has taught both Kindergarten and first grade in Henrico County ever since. When she is not in the classroom, she loves spending time with her family, working in her garden, reading, and exploring historical and cultural sites. Mrs. Rademacher loves being a Kaechele Coyote!
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 an active member of the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. 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.
Shana Rutherford, an Instructional Assistant, has been with Henrico County Public Schools for 4 years. She grew up in Las Vegas and moved to Richmond 21 years ago. Her background is in Physical Education, but she has found her calling in working with the preschool classes. After school hours, Shana is busy with her two teenage children. Her son plays travel and high school soccer. Her daughter is entering her senior year of high school. She also enjoys traveling back to the West Coast to visit family whenever she can.
Kristen Schemmel, a third grade teacher, was born and raised in Henrico County. She graduated from Elon University in 2002 with a double major in elementary and exceptional education. This is Miss Schemmel’s sixth year at KES, and she is so excited to be joining the amazing third grade team! In her free time, Miss Schemmel enjoys being outdoors with her dog Bentley and working to help support the Grenada SPCA where Bentley is from. She also enjoys spending time with her two nieces and two nephews. Miss Schemmel is so happy to be a part of the KES family!
Karen Shaia, a school counselor, has been with Kaechele team since we opened after working at Tuckahoe Elementary School. Her career in school counseling includes 27 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 Josie. Along with boating, Mrs. Shaia loves reading and bike riding. Mrs. Shaia looks forward to working together with teachers, students, parents, and staff to build successful students.
Amanda Sheldon, an exceptional education BLISS teacher, was born and raised in Henrico County. She graduated from Greensboro College, with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education K-12, where she was also a member of the swim team, breaking numerous swimming records. She has over 20 years of teaching experience and has taught in a variety of different settings. She is coming to Kaechele from Varina Elementary, where she has been for the past four years, piloting the BLISS (Behavior Learning Integrated Support Services) supports. She has a passion for working with our challenging students and hopes to make a huge difference here at Kaechele. She is married to a wonderful husband, Adam, and has 2 sons, Mason and Nolan. In her spare time, Mrs. Sheldon loves supporting them in their activities, as well as watching the Green Bay Packers, coaching the Three Chopt swim team, and hanging out with friends and family.
Kris Smith, a kindergarten teacher, is a graduate of North Central College in Illinois where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Mrs. Smith taught Kindergarten and First Grade for 13 years in Illinois before moving to South Carolina and more recently Virginia. She began working at KES as a substitute in 2019 and fell in love with the staff and students. She is excited to be on staff for her 15th year of teaching. When she is not enjoying time in the classroom or collaborating with her colleagues, Mrs. Smith enjoys traveling and exploring Virginia with her family.
Christina Sulzer, our school librarian and information specialist, 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 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.
Stephanie Swart, a first-grade teacher, is very curious to meet her fabulous 1st graders this year! The 2022 – 2023 school year will be her 19th 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 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 relaxing with her husband, Mr. Swart, and their delightfully mischievous 10-year-old daughter. Her family is the owner of a sweet and cuddly cat, often found curled up and sleeping in a sunny spot. 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!
Alysa Tavel, our reading specialist, has spent most of her life in the Richmond area. She attended Shady Grove Elementary, Short Pump Middle, and Deep Run High. After graduating from Deep Run she headed west to James Madison where she earned a masters in elementary education as well as endorsements in gifted, Algebra, and Autism Education. Go Dukes! After graduating she taught 5th grade at Gayton Elementary for 6 years. While in Richmond she completed her reading specialist degree at a UVA satellite campus. That put her on a path to becoming a Title I reading specialist at Lakeside Elementary before moving into her current position as a reading specialist serving both Kaechele and Shady Grove Elementary. When not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, reading (of course), traveling, trying out new restaurants, and cooking. She is looking forward to getting to know and support Kaechele this year.
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.
Heather Testerman, a BLISS (Behavior Learning Integrated Support Services) instructional assistant, was born in WV and moved to VA when she was 10. Mrs. Testerman’s background in teaching comes from many years as a teacher’s assistant and her passion for students. She joined HCPS 6 years ago starting at Varina Elementary working with BLISS and Exceptional Education and is now enjoying being a part of the Kaechele team. Although she has had several careers, her heart has always been with teaching. Heather has two beautiful girls, LeeAnn 19 and Reca 17, a dog Powder, and a loving husband of 21 years, Ricky. Her interests outside of KES include gardening, hiking, traveling, and most importantly family time!
LeeAnn Testerman, an Instructional Assistant, is proud to begin her teaching career at Kaechele Elementary. Having spent some of her earlier days coaching gymnastics, and in her free time as a child planning lessons for her younger sister, it’s clear that she has always had a passion for helping and teaching others. Even now with aspiring dreams to further her education, she is ready and on her way to becoming an outstanding teacher. Outside of school she’s usually occupied by a wide variety of artistic hobbies including painting, crocheting, photography, language learning and movie watching.
Jessica Victoriano, a fifth grade gifted teacher, is thrilled to be part of the Kaechele team! Ms. Victoriano grew up in Upstate New York (Go SU! Go Yankees!), and moved south after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Spanish. She has called Richmond home for many years. She holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from VCU and obtained her Gifted Endorsement from University of Richmond. “Ms. V.” has taught all grade levels from Pre-K to 5th grade in private and public schools. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Victoriano enjoys spending time with her son and her family and her dog, traveling, cooking, music, and reading.
Justin Viener, a part-time instructional assistant on the Exceptional Education team, has an undergraduate degree from Randolph-Macon College and he also has a Masters of Business Administration from Regis University. Justin has been working in several different classroom settings at Kaechele, since 2018. He lives in Short Pump with his family, including his wife and two sons, the oldest of whom just graduated from Deep Run H.S. in 2021. Justin enjoys reading, outdoor activities, and team sports in his free time, and he has been involved as a participant and leader in numerous community organizations in the area over the past 20 years.
Lori Wood, our secretary, is looking forward to her third year with the Kaechele team after working nine years at Twin Hickory Elementary in the same position. She grew up in Upstate NY and moved to Virginia in 1999 with her husband and four children. She currently has two grandchildren who she adores and loves to spend time with. She loves dogs and has one of her own, six grand-dogs, and dog sits for many. When time allows, she likes to go to her lake house and spend time relaxing with family and friends.
Brooke Zehmer, one of our permanent subs, earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Teaching degrees from UVA. She taught kindergarten and first grade for 10 years (in other parts of Virginia) before spending several years at home with her own two children. She was a KES parent volunteer and a preschool teacher before joining our staff. Away from school, Brooke enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, and geocaching. She loves tailgating with her husband and friends, hiking with her rescue pup, and cheering on both kids’ sports teams.
Kim Zimmerman, an exceptional education teacher with 16+ years of experience, graduated from Towson University with a Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education, and received a post baccalaureate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from VCU. She joined the HCPS team in 2008 and left for schools in North Carolina following the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. Zimmerman has taught special education grades K-12 in a variety of settings. She believes all students have strengths and the ability to learn. She is passionate about developing respectful and responsive relationships with students and parents to help identify and foster each student’s strengths and talents. Ms. Zimmerman is excited to rejoin the Kaechele Elementary family this year.