Welcome, New Faculty!

Monday, September 16, 2019

We are thrilled to welcome a strong group of new faculty to Heathwood for the 2019-20 school year. Several of them already have ties to Heathwood, as parents, previous teachers, or both. Collectively, they bring decades of teaching experience to their new roles.  

We’ll profile each of our new teachers in more depth over the course of the semester through our “Faculty Fridays” series on Facebook, but for now, here’s a quick introduction to each of them.


Early Childhood

Katie Kneece—Lead Teacher, EC2s

Formerly a Lead Teacher in the 4s at Shandon United Methodist Preschool, Katie is excited to help build a rich and distinctive program for Heathwood’s 2-year-olds.


Dawne Wallace—Lead Teacher, EC2s

Dawne joins us from Eastminster Day School, where she taught for 18 years, including 16 in the 2s class, so she brings with her a wealth of experience with this age group.


Sina Thorne—Associate Teacher, EC2s

Sina is a Heathwood parent, of Robert, ’27, who has formerly served as a substitute teacher in the early childhood program at Hammond School.


Katherine Whittle—Associate Teacher, EC3s

Katherine started with Heathwood as an EC/LS substitute teacher and helping out in our Lower School Transition program. She is excited to be stepping into a full-time role in the EC. Katherine also recently started a Master’s degree program through Liberty University.

Julie Hudson—Lead Teacher, EC4s

Julie returns to Heathwood this year, having previously served as a Kindergarten Associate Teacher. She taught the 4s at Hammond School for the last three years, and we’re delighted to welcome her back. Her son Henry, ’25, also joins us this year.


Emily Umbach—Associate Teacher, EC4s

Emily is a current parent (of Hayes, ’26, and Carter, ’29) who has been subbing for us last year in various classes, including a long-term placement as EC4 associate, making her the perfect fit for this more permanent role.


Jennifer Davis—Associate Teacher, EC4s

Jennifer is also both a current parent (of Lindsey, ’23, and Emma, ’25) and a Heathwood graduate, and is also a former substitute teacher in the EC who knows our program very well. 


Lower School

Lauri Stevenson—Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

Lauri joins us from Satchel Ford Elementary School, where she taught Kindergarten for 20 years. In coming to Heathwood, she was also reunited with a former pupil, new EC2s teacher Katie Kneece.


Hanna Boston—Associate Teacher, Kindergarten

Hanna has served as an Afternoon Express and Summer Programs teacher at Heathwood for the last year and also has experience as an ESL teacher in Richland District One. 


Katie Novak—Lead Teacher, 1st Grade

Katie joins both her husband (Academic Technology Specialist Ryan Novak) and her children (Graelyn, ’32, and Allison Rae, ’35) at Heathwood. She was previously a 2nd grade teacher at Nursery Road Elementary School.


Deb McDonald—Associate Teacher, 2nd Grade

Deb has been working for Heathwood for several years as a substitute teacher in all divisions and as a sub for our school nurse. She is also a Heathwood parent (of Claire, ’21) and has fully embraced her new role as a 2nd grade associate teacher. 


Mira Howard—Associate Teacher, 3rd Grade

As a Heathwood parent (of Nadia, ’26), Mira has long been very involved at Heathwood as a volunteer, and has been a teacher for Heathwood Summer Programs. 


Rebecca Busbee—EC/LS Music

Rebecca brings with her to Heathwood years of experience teaching music and leading children’s choirs as well as producing and directing over 65 musical programs.


Middle School


Jessica Hawthorne—Art

Jessica has 14 years of teaching experience in the visual arts, including 10 in Middle School. She joins us from Lexington District 1 and holds both a Bachelor’s in Studio Art and a Master’s in Teaching from Lander University.


Jessica Hazel, ’04—Spanish, Geography, English Enrichment

Jessica is a Heathwood alum and now a Heathwood parent, of Gage, ’35, and Dottie, ’32. She holds a BS in Spanish and International Trade from Clemson and a MAT in Teaching from College of Charleston and most recently taught at the Palisades Episcopal School in Charlotte.


Upper School


Rodrigo Acosta—Graphic Design & Videography

In addition for working as a member of Heathwood’s IT team, Rodrigo will teach Upper School design and technology classes previously taught by Bill Cherry. He is a professional graphic designer and videographer and holds a BA from Florida International University.


Mark Altman—Registrar

Mark, who holds a M.Div. from Duke University, returns to Heathwood as Upper School Registrar after serving as a long-term substitute math teacher last year. He will help students and families with testing, record-keeping, and the college admission process.


Andrea Mundo—Math

Andrea is a veteran math teacher at both the middle school and upper school levels, and will be teaching Algebra and other math classes this year. She holds a MS in Education from the University of South Carolina, and she is a Heathwood parent, to Bella, ’30.


Duane Sanders—Biology & Environmental Science

Duane holds a doctoral degree in science from Idaho State University and has rich experience in both public and private schools, coming to us most recently from St. Margaret’s School, an Episcopal boarding school in Virginia, where he taught biology and ran the school’s river program.