Welcome, New Faculty!

Thursday, August 16, 2018



Heathwood is excited to welcome 14 talented new teachers to our staff this year, as well as several new administrators and staff members. 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:


Early Childhood


Kristi Plyler, 3s Lead

Kristi Plyler is passionate about many things, but mostly family and teaching.

She attended the University of South Carolina for both undergraduate and graduate school where she obtained a Masters degree in the Art of Teaching with a focus of Early Childhood Education. She taught in Lexington County schools for a total of 9 years as a First Grade teacher and a reading interventionist. Her husband, Daniel, is a local attorney and they have three kids; Dylan, a rising 2nd grader; Delaney, a rising kindergartener; and Deacon, who will join the 2s after his birthday in September.


Brooks Mathews, 3s Associate

Brooks Mathews is excited to be joining the Heathwood Hall family this year as an Early Childhood Associate Teacher. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in 2016 and is currently working on her Masters in Early Childhood Education through Arizona State University. Prior to joining Heathwood, she taught for two years in the SC Public Charter District and also has experience working with children of various ages in camps, hospitals, and churches.


Lower School


Jill Parham, Kindergarten Associate

Jill is a graduate of Elon University and worked in the healthcare industry managing pediatric physician practices and for LabCorp, as well as working at Greensboro Day School in the Counseling and Athletic departments.  In addition to Lilly, a rising 4th grader at Heathwood Hall, she has two adult children.  Caroline is a 4th grade teacher in New Bern, NC and Carter, a Heathwood Hall graduate, is an aviation rescue swimmer and helicopter crew chief in Navy Special Warfare in Norfolk, VA.  


Michelle Kunz, 4th Grade Lead

Michelle and her family have recently moved from Iowa to join the Heathwood family.  This will be her 25th year in education. Michelle is graduate of the University of Iowa.  She has taught both special education and general education as well as serving as dean of students, instructional coach and International Baccalaureate coordinator.  In addition to Madeline, her rising 8th grade daughter who will attend Heathwood, she and her husband Lee, also have a 20 year old son, Parker.  

Catherine Ross Barnhill, Transition Program Instructor

Catherine is returning to Heathwood after spending the last two years in Wyoming. She started her time at Heathwood in our Afternoon Express Program and then taught in the Lower School for four years before moving to Wyoming with her husband. She is excited to be back home closer to family and we are thrilled to have Mrs. Barnhill (formerly Miss Ross) back at Heathwood to work with our students and families in the Transition Program.  


Middle School

Michelle Dillman, 7th Grade Math

Michelle has 17 years experience teaching science, and she has a passion for all things outdoors. Her pets are all snakes! Michelle graduated from the University of Hawaii with an undergraduate degree in Marine Science, before returning to the University of South Carolina for her Master’s degree. 



Matthew Sanders, 7th Grade Math

Originally from Bennettsville, South Carolina, Mr. Sanders graduated from the College of Charleston in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Middle Level Education. Matthew is an Eagle Scout, a former Scoutmaster, participates in improvisational theater, and truly enjoys middle school students.



Kitty White, 5th Grade History

Kitty earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from Columbia College. She is nationally board certified as a middle school generalist.


Talisa Sadler, 5th Grade Math

Mrs. Sadler received her B.A Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina, and has just completed her Master's Degree in Educational Administration. She has spent the last three years teaching 5th grade math and science.

Beth Steffens, Middle School Yoga

While Pamela Meriwether will continue to teach Upper School yoga and help with the MS mindfulness program, we are pleased to welcome Beth Steffens to teach the MS yoga electives. Beth is an educator and a gifted yoga instructor.


Upper School

Jenny Nelson, Upper School Math

Jenny holds a B.S. and M.S. from Georgia Tech) and fell in love with Heathwood last semester as a long-term math sub. She comes to us with extensive tutoring experience in both math and science, a decade of classroom teaching at the Jewish Day School, and a career in engineering working with polymers.


Geoffrey Thomas, Biology

Geoffrey earned degrees in both biology and art history from Wofford before going on to earn an M.A. at the University of South Carolina. He has taught both science and art history at Dorman and Nation Ford; he also has extensive experience preparing young people for quiz bowl.


Ben Holladay, Chemistry

Ben joins us from the Richland One Middle College, and has also served as a National Board Certified teacher at Dreher and in Hoke County, NC; he is an avid board gamer and has coached both track and football. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from the University of South Carolina.


Mark Altman, Long-term sub, Math

Mark is joining us for the first few months as Cate Guimaraes goes on maternity leave; a familiar face substituting at Heathwood, Mark is also an experienced math teacher, including three years as the department chair at Orangeburg Prep. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina and an M. Div. from Duke University.


New Administrators and Staff

Stephanie Scanlon, Early Childhood and Lower School Head

Stephanie joins us after eight years as the founding Head of St, Matthew’s School in Bedford, N.Y. She also worked for 12 years at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT in a variety of positions (Kindergarten teacher, Early Childhood Theology teacher, Coordinator of Early Childhood, & Director of Extended programming).  Stephanie’s career started at the Quaker Ridge School in Scarsdale, NY, where she served for three years as a Second Grade teacher.  Stephanie earned her B.A. from SUNY (State University of New York) Purchase in Psychology and holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching from Fordham University and an MPS in Educational Leadership from Manhattanville College. 


Jessie Garlinghouse, Director of Extended Learning

Jessie has served as a teacher for the last eight years in Washington, DC, working in both private and public schools. Most recently, she spent five years as a teacher and the language arts department chair at Georgetown Day School. Jessie has dedicated her summers to training new teachers for The New Teacher Project in DC Public and Charter Schools. During her tenure in D.C., she presented at multiple national conferences on topics of anti-bias education and family engagement. Jessie is a native Kansan where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Kansas State University. After working as an assistant toddler and preschool teacher, she went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Southern California. Most recently, she completed a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.


Jenny Brown, Upper School Registrar and College Counseling Assistant

Jenny holds a B.A. from Erskine and who transitioned to Heathwood from the banking world, joins us as our new registrar.  She began in June, and has already proven to be a dynamo, helping with report cards, transcripts, scheduling, and activating the online bookstore.


Elizabeth Cate Grove, ’95, Upper School Counselor and PEAK Associate

Elizabeth, herself a Heathwood alum, is going to be joining the counselling team of Jenny Holder and Stacy Gross.  She will be housed in the Robinson Center, working primarily with Upper School students. She holds a B.A. from Clemson and an Ed.S. in Counseling from the University of South Carolina and is returning to counseling following a successful career in the equestrian world, which includes seventeen years of experience working with adolescents and young adults.