Welcome, New Faculty!

Monday, August 21, 2017

We are excited to welcome 16 new faculty members to Heathwood for the 2017-18 school year. They bring with them a wealth of experience in the classroom and beyond, and are already making their presence felt academically and in our community. 

They are:

Mary Kay Deese – Assistant Head of Early Childhood and Lower School

Mary Kay is joining us with over 20 years of experience in the classroom and as curriculum coordinator and trainer for the International Baccalaureate program.  She has a B.A. in Education from Furman University and an M.Ed in Gifted and Talented Education from Converse College.


Elizabeth Monroe - EC2 Lead Teacher

Elizabeth is not a new face to Heathwood.  She worked in our Afternoon Express and Summer Camp during graduate school.  She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Wofford and a M.A.T. in Special Education from USC.  She has previously taught twos in Spartanburg and taught in Charleston with AmeriCorps before starting graduate school.  


Susan Watkins - EC3 Associate (with Becky Funderburk)

Susan is also not a new face to Heathwood.  She worked as a support person for a LS student last school year.  Susan has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Sociology from USC.  She has taught Kindergarten and First Grade and is excited to be in a classroom again.


Jennifer Davis - EC3 Associate (with Lauren Delk)

Jennifer is joining us from Shandon Methodist Preschool and Kindergarten.  She has been teaching the threes for several years and has also worked as a guidance counselor in Richland One.  She has a B.A. in Psychology from Converse College and an M.Ed. in Educational Counseling from USC.  


Kelly Galvarino - Kindergarten Associate

Kelly is also joining us from Shandon Methodist Preschool and Kindergarten.  She has served as a lead two-year-old teacher and lead four-year-old teacher there.  Kelly has taught drama at St Joseph’s and taught Kindergarten in three schools.  Kelly holds a B.S in Education from Presbyterian College and is a Heathwood parent.


Denise Smith - 1st Grade Lead  

Denise is joining us from St. George’s Episcopal School in New Orleans where she has taught for the past six years.  She has a B.S. in Education from Western Illinois University.  Denise and her family moved to Columbia this summer.  Her husband, Mitch, is the new Rector at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church.  


Mills James  - 2nd Grade Associate (with Kellie McElveen)

Mills is a Heathwood parent and former elementary teacher.  Mills holds a B.A in Education from the University of South Carolina.  She has most recently been a long-term substitute in Richland One.  



Jennifer Carson - 4th Grade Teacher

Jennifer is joining us from Lowcountry Preparatory School where she has been teaching 4th and 5th grade science and math as well as Lower School STEM Lab Teacher.  She has also taught at The Byrnes School, and Aiken Preparatory Academy.  Jennifer has a B.A in Elementary Education from USC-Aiken and M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Southern Wesleyan University.  


Susan MacRae - 5th Grade Science

Susan is originally from Spartanburg, but she moved to Columbia to attend USC.  She graduated with an advanced B.S. in Geology. Susan worked for an environmental engineering company for years before staying home with her children. From there, Susan decided to become a teacher and has taught science, pre-engineering, and algebra. Susan is passionate about teaching, organized, and a planner. She wants her classroom to become a place where students can be comfortable and confident in their learning and where making mistakes is celebrated and integral to the learning process. 


Jeff Baisch – Middle School Spanish

Jeff joins us as our Middle School Spanish teacher for grades 5 - 8. His most recent position was as a Spanish teacher at Pleasant Hill Middle School in Lexington. In addition to teaching middle school, Jeff has taught at the college level. Completing all of his studies at Georgia Southern University, Jeff earned his B.A. in Modern Language in Spanish with a minor in French, his M.A in Spanish in May of 2014, and his M.A.T in Spanish in December of that same year. Jeff had the opportunity to study abroad in Segovia, Spain and in the Dominican Republic. 


Curtis Player - Middle School P.E., Soccer, Basketball

Curtis is a familiar face to many Heathwood families, having taught and coached at Heathwood for 14 years until he left to work in the restaurant business for 2 years.  Curtis will rejoin our staff as a PE Teacher, and will also serve as the B-Team Boys Basketball Coach, and as a coach within the Soccer Program.  We are very happy to have Curtis back at Heathwood.


Stefani Koelbel - Middle School P.E., Volleyball

Stefani comes to us with a great knowledge of coaching, as well as playing experience. She is coaches with locally-based SC Midlands Club Volleyball. Prior to coaching in South Carolina, she has coached many years back in her home state of New York, including serving as an assistant coach as Iona College and Rider University. As a player, Koelbel was a four-year starter at libero for the Molloy College volleyball team.


Jonathan Monk - Drama

Jonathan joins us most recently from Alcorn Middle School. In addition, Jonathan is an instructor for the Trustus Apprentice Company and is also a company member. Jonathan attended Carnegie Mellon University, graduating in 2004 with a double major in acting and musical theatre. Originally from Columbia and a graduate of Cardinal Newman, Jonathan lived in New York for ten years as he pursued his acting career on the stage, in commercials, and as a director. Jonathan shared that as a student he saw his first musical at Heathwood, The Secret Garden, and thought, “This is magic.” 


Adrianne Woods – Upper School Spanish

A native South Carolinian, Adrianne joins us most recently from Gaston Day School in Gastonia, North Carolina.  Previously, she was an instructor at the University of South Carolina, where she is a doctoral candidate in Spanish.  In addition to teaching a wide-range of university courses, Adrianne has been involved in the broad work of schools, from chaperoning dances to organizing academic conferences.  She earned her B.A. from Charleston Southern, her M.A. from the University of South Carolina, and is currently working on her dissertation on the Renaissance and Baroque Theatre of Spain.  Adrianne is not only looking forward to a better commute (one in the same state!) but also to interacting with a smart and dynamic faculty.


Bryce Bancroft - Latin

Bryce joins us with a deep knowledge of the classics and a rich teaching and educational background.  He began his career at Frederica Academy (St. Simons Island, GA) before moving on to Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, MD) and then further graduate studies.  He earned his B.A. in Classics from Davidson, his M.A. in Classics from Tufts, and—most recently—his M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation and Education from Harvard.  He is eager to return to working in an independent school that is built upon relationships and where teachers are engaged with students in a variety of ways.  He and his wife relocated to Columbia earlier this month.


Mary Aguirre – Biology

Mary first joined the Heathwood community last year in the Middle School, finishing out the year upon the departure of Todd Beasley.  Mary’s previous work was at the Ensworth School (Nashville, TN), but she has a wide range of teaching experience in schools from Boston, MA to my hometown of Baltimore, MD.  She has a deep commitment to students and is looking forward to bringing her creativity, deep content knowledge and program-level leadership to our Upper School.  Mary earned her B.S. from Wheaton College and her M.S. from the University of Massachusetts.  She enjoys good food, outdoor activities, crafts, and The Princess Bride—and sharing these interests with her family.