Tim Wells

Kindergarten Teacher

Self-described as a life-long learner, Tim Wells has over twenty-five years of teaching experience. He enjoys sharing his love of natural sciences, music, and outdoor learning with his students and colleagues. Having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science with an Education Concentration, Tim spent nine years teaching at the middle school level before moving to early childhood education. In addition to his work at TES, Tim teaches music lessons, performs traditional music professionally, plays birthday parties, hosts a weekly radio show for children, and runs a day camp out of his home during the summer and intersession breaks (timwellsmusic.com).  Tim lives in Cedar Grove where he sometimes shares his home with two grown children.

Dody Denault

Teaching Assistant

Dody Denault was born in Durham and has always lived in NC. She graduated from Elon and then received her master’s degree Summa Cum Laude in 1994 from North Carolina State University in Curriculum and Instruction and Reading. Dody has spent twenty-five years teaching, mostly as a Reading Specialist. She most recently retired from teaching 6th grade Ancient Civilizations. Her hobbies include drawing, painting, and writing children’s stories. She has two daughters and two Italian Greyhounds.  Dody is excited to be a part of TES because of its positive and nurturing community.

Trevia Woods

Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Woods has taught lower elementary grades in Colorado, China and Saudi Arabia before landing in the North Carolina. She with her 3 youngest kiddos all get to come to TES everyday together. Ms. Woods has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and is continuing to learn about her interests in foraging, herbal studies and bodywork. Ms. Woods is looking forward to engaging her future kindergartners in project based learning while taking advantage of TES’ wonderful proximity to Gold Park, the Riverwalk and overall Hillsborough community.

Jennifer Fairbanks

Teaching Assistant

Jennifer Fairbanks has worked as a dance teacher, an outdoor educator, and most recently as a reading tutor for elementary aged students. In anticipation of shifting to the elementary setting, Ms. Fairbanks updated her teaching license with certifications in Elementary Education and Reading. She holds a BA in Dance Education and is starting a Master’s in Reading Education program this fall.  Ms. Fairbanks is very happy to be joining TES and is looking forward to the upcoming school year. 

Kathy Havens

1-2 Teacher

Kathy and her husband, Jamie, recently moved to Chapel Hill from Buckeye Country. She received both her B.S. and M.A. in elementary education from The Ohio State University with an emphasis on early literacy. Kathy spent her 30 year career teaching in a suburban school district adjacent to Columbus where she was awarded the Golden Apple as an outstanding classroom teacher.  Kathy was designated a Master Teacher by the local school board for accomplishing National Board Certification; she was the first teacher in a district of over 500 teachers to do so. Later, Kathy went on to mentor colleagues through the process. During her teaching career her passions have included: The Responsive Classroom, Project Based Learning, Early Literacy, and Children’s Literature.

Emily Gallo-Lopez

Teaching Assistant
Emily has recently relocated to Hillsborough from Tampa, FL. For the past 4 1/2 years, Emily worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at an EC Charter High School in Temple Terrace, FL working with students aged 14-22. Emily’s background is in dance, having performed professionally with The Richmond Ballet, Opera Tampa, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Emily is excited to be at TES and can’t wait to bring her passion and experience to the classroom. When Emily isn’t at TES or teaching dance, she enjoys working out, shopping, and going to Disney World as much as possible!

Amy Daniels

1-2 Teacher

Amy Daniels has over twenty-five years of teaching experience in public, charter and homeschool settings. Born in Durham, she graduated UNC-CH with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Education. After teaching fourth grade in Virginia for a year, she returned to Durham, finding her true love teaching first and second graders in Person and Durham counties. Amy was the Durham Jaycee’s Outstanding Young Educator of the Year, Club Boulevard Teacher Assistant of the Year and also the first educator to pilot a multi-age 1st/2nd grade class for Durham Public Schools. Her enthusiasm for project-based learning and calm presence creates a classroom of engaged learners. Amy loves doing anything and everything with her family.

Simone Mix

Apprentice Teacher

Simone is a recent transplant from the mighty Midwest where she recently completed her Masters and student teaching in anticipation of becoming a Middle School English teacher. In an earlier career, she was an event planner and hospitality specialist.  Ms. Mix is looking forward to another great year at TES.


Kim McColman

1-2 Teacher

Kim McColman has over 37 years experience teaching in public and private schools.  She grew up in a small town north of Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Masters degree in Elementary Science Education.  She moved to NC with her husband, Richard, and 2 cats in 1992. She worked in Orange County Schools for the past 25 years. When she isn’t teaching, she can be found trail riding with her horse, Dakota, or kayaking on a local river or lake.

DeAnne Crawford

Teaching Assistant

For the previous five years, DeAnne Crawford has worked with TES as support in the 1st/2nd grade classrooms. Prior to TES, she taught underprivileged kids in the Los Angeles Public School District.  She has experience working with grades K-4 as well as preschool aged children. She and her family are transplants to NC from Southern California.  In her spare time, DeAnne likes to bake, hang out with her family, and read.

Kelly Saxon

1-2 Teacher

Kelly has eight years of experience teaching 1st-3rd grade in a multi-aged classroom. She hopes to use her Montessori background to provide hands-on learning experiences, nurture intrinsic motivation, and promote peace education. She hopes to nurture kids natural curiosities to develop life long learners, like herself. In her free time, she enjoys spending the day at cyclo-cross races with her husband and three children.

Kimberly Jackson

Teaching Assistant

Hailing from Queens, New York, Ms. Jackson has been in the education profession since high school. Attending Queens High school of Teaching of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she has student taught kindergarten in the teaching program that was offered and has loved working with children ever since. Under her belt of experience, she’s taught in charter schools for three years as an instructional assistant and a second grade teacher. She’s also worked in after school programs with DPS (Durham Public Schools) and DPR (Durham Parks and Recreation). She has worked with both elementary and middle school teachers as well as camp directors to meet the needs academically and socially for all students. When she’s not busy with school, she’s enjoying reading, dancing, playing flag football, listening to music during her spare time. 

Miguel Hernández

Teaching Assistant

Bio Coming Soon!




Tash Copening

3-4 Teacher

Tash Copening graduated from Union College in Nebraska with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Business Administration. She then taught as a math interventionist and 4th grade teacher for 2 1/2 years in Lincoln Public Schools before coming to TES in 2015. For fun Tash loves to travel and have new experiences. She has had the privilege of seeing a great part of the United States, the Bahamas, Cambodia, Thailand, and Mexico and cannot wait for future travel destinations to add to her list.

Josh Maguire

Teaching Assistant

Bio Coming Soon!



Erin McInerney

3-4 Teacher

A 2015 graduate of Duke University, Erin has student taught in Durham and at TES before working here as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. She is excited to practice the project based learning philosophy and to interact with the wonderful families and faculty that form the community of The Expedition School. In her free time, she enjoys watching Jeopardy and anything Duke sports related!

Ginger Lipscomb

Teaching Assistant

Bio Coming Soon!




Kelly Evans

3-4 Teacher

Kelly recently graduated from Appalachian State University’s College of Education with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She is excited to bring her enthusiasm, curiosity, and high energy to her classroom. While growing up, Kelly lived all over the country but considers herself from Colorado. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys hiking, skiing, scuba diving, and yoga. Kelly loves to travel and believes she can bring her experiences from places like Cuba and Italy to expand and enhance global awareness in her classroom.

Heather Creel

Teaching Assistant

Heather Creel was born and raised in the Sunshine State, Florida. She and her three awesome children moved to Rougemont, NC in 2013. Heather was a stay-at-home mom for several years and for the past two years worked as the After-School Coordinator at Eno River Academy, as well as working as a youth leader at her church. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her amazing husband and their five children, enjoying time at the beach, baking and traveling back to Florida to visit with family. This is Heather’s first year at TES and is very excited to be with the grade 3-4 students.

Meredith Hailey

3-4 Teacher

Ms. Hailey is a University of Texas graduate with a BA in educating early childhood through 6th grade students. She has taught elementary students for 5 years prior to moving to NC. She is an NC girl at heart, who is originally from Boone and has recently moved back to NC to be with her family and to join The Expedition School! She is excited to teach in a multi level classroom and for a project based learning school.

Robin Thurston

Teaching Assistant

Robin Thurston received her Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and her Master’s in Education from Harvard University.  Her first teaching career was as a Middle School Latin and Social Studies teacher. After taking time off to be home with her two children (now 22 and 24), she returned to the classroom working with Middle School students with special needs.  In her volunteer time, she ran a local soccer club and was President of the State of Maine Youth Soccer Association She and her husband recently moved to Durham from Maine to escape the cold winters. She enjoys exploring the area through hiking and mountain biking with her husband.  Though she has taken off her coaching and administration hats, she is still an avid soccer player playing on multiple teams in The Triangle Leagues.

Laura Velkey

5th Grade Teacher

Laura Velkey graduated with a B.S. in Elem Ed from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS.  Laura taught in the gifted program through Jackson Public Schools for several years.  In 2004, Laura and her husband bought an organic blueberry farm in Cedar Grove, NC.  During the school year, Laura was a T.A. at Estes Hills Elementary in Chapel Hill. In 2011, Laura and her family relocated to Fairhope, AL. Laura organized and led homeschool groups for her youngest son and other 4th-6th graders. She then taught 1st-4th grade at a small, private progressive school in Fairhope.  Laura and her family have moved back to the area to be closer to her family. They have a small farm outside of Carrboro. She is looking forward to family dinners & teaching at TES! 

Tara Mortimer

5th Grade Teacher

Tara came to North Carolina by way of Wisconsin in 2014 and joined TES in 2016. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and obtained her Master’s Degree in Teaching from North Carolina State University. She loves dogs, coffee, and soccer. She dreams to one day continue her love of travel by visiting Iceland. Tara lives in a tiny house on a bison farm in Hillsborough.

Angie Archbold

6th Grade Teacher

Ms. Archbold loves to instill a love for investigative learning in her students. She previously taught in schools in Chapel Hill, London, Madrid and Valencia. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of East London. One of our resident British experts, Ms. Archbold enjoys reading and traveling the world.


Gemma Bladon

6th Grade Teacher

Ms. Bladon started her career in England, where she trained to teach after obtaining her original degree in Theater and Performing Arts. After working initially with children requiring additional needs, Ms. Bladon moved into mainstream classrooms where she had her first opportunity to teach in America. This fueled her love of travel and international mindedness in the classroom. After more years in England, she then moved to an International School in Qatar. In her spare time she likes to garden, read and generally be outdoors with her best friend, her puppy. Ms. Bladon’s passions are teaching, animals, and nature.

Kirsten Alderdice

7th/8th ELA

Kirsten Alderdice is 7th and 8th grade’s English Language Arts teacher. She has a B.S. from Boston University and a M.Ed from NC State University. This is her fourth year at The Expedition School and sixth year of teaching. When not exploring exciting things for students to read, discuss, and write about, she enjoys working out, playing tennis, and spending time at home in Hillsborough with her cat, dog, and boyfriend.

Sara Riek

7th/8th Social Studies

Ms. Riek was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow at Elon University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Middle Grades History education. She then spent two years teaching English in Ecuador and after returning spent four years in Durham Public Schools. Ms. Riek is licensed in Middle Grades Social Studies, Middle Grades Language Arts, and ESL, and is Montessori certified. She also received a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Xavier University with an emphasis in Montessori in the upper grades. Ms. Riek is starting her fourth year at TES, has been on the TES Equity Team for three years, and has led a travel abroad trip to Italy (with another one coming up to the Galapagos this summer!). In her spare time, Ms. Riek loves traveling, volunteering, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

Megan Havjok

7th/8th Mathematics

Megan Havjok begins her third year at TES after previously working in Los Angeles. She has her BA in education and maintains multiple subject and middle school math through 9th grade. Megan peruses her love of math at here at TES teaching 7th and 8th grade math, computer science elective, and leading the math club. Mrs. Havjok teaching style encourages students to take ownership of their learning and discovery, to cultivate a love of critical thinking and math through problem based learning.  

Michele McDuffie

7th/8th Science

Ms McDuffie joins The Expedition School community with fourteen years experience in middle school science. She brings with her experience as a North Carolina Museum of Art fellow in which she integrates art standards with the science standards. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a Bioscience Concentration from N.C. State University and returned to N.C. State to complete her teaching licensure. When Michele is not engaging students to think like a scientist, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons at the beach, exploring, boating, and fishing.

Katherine Lavine

Advanced Math, NC Math 1, NC Math 2

Katherine is a fourth-generation teacher. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College with Highest Honors in Mathematics and holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Before coming to TES in 2019, Katherine spent six years teaching math to high schoolers in Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Seattle, WA area. She is AP certified by the College Board in Calculus BC and has taught math to students at a variety of ages and stages, from middle schoolers to math majors. Katherine is originally from Knoxville, TN and now lives in Chapel Hill with her Durham-native (and fellow math major) husband and their two young sons. Katherine enjoys being outside, spending time with her children, and carving out the moments she can for recreational exercise, chai lattes, and a good book.

Amy Hagaman

EC Teacher

Amy is a North Carolina native who enjoys spending time with her family, which includes two teenage sons, 4 cats, and her dog, Dutchess. Teaching is a second career for her, and she is very passionate about helping children with special needs because she has a child on the autism spectrum. She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Special Education, with certificates in Autism and MTSS, while also pursuing TEACCH autism certification and Wilson Level I Reading certification.

Heather Rael

EC Teacher

Heather has lived all over the world in places like Japan and Europe. She grew up with both parents being in the Air Force. She moved to North Carolina from New Mexico in 2011. She lives in Hillsborough with her husband, 2 cats, 3 dogs, and 2 daughters that attend TES. Heather has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of New Mexico. She taught for 11 years before becoming a stay at home mom. She is excited to return to the classroom. When she is not at school, she enjoys reading, watching movies, going to Disney World and spending time with her family.

Ashley Horton

Teaching Assistant/Keyboarding Teacher

Mrs. Horton is a native of North Carolina and currently lives in Rougemont with her husband and two dogs. She has worked in a middle school  for the past 9 years before becoming a member of TES. Mrs. Horton graduated from Appalachian State with a bachelor’s degree in special education.


Marjorie Block

Teaching Assistant

Marjorie moved to North Carolina from New Hampshire in July of 2018 to be closer to her parents. She is a retired special education teacher. For many years she worked in a two room school in rural Vermont. Marjorie graduated from high school and college in NC so she is happy to be living back in the area. She and her husband Phil have two grown daughters, a cat and a Brittany puppy.

Matthew Shangler

Teaching Assistant

Matt Shangler is an aspiring teacher with an appetite for learning. He comes to TES with a diverse work experience including academic libraries, auto repair and speciality coffee. Matt holds a BA in History from UNCG and an MA in Public History from NCSU. Originally from Chapel Hill, Matt settled in Hillsborough with his wife, Jami, son Henry and their three dogs. Outside of work Matt enjoys mountain biking, board games and a delicious cup of coffee.

_mg_1153Jennifer Jordan

Speech Therapist

Jennifer has provided speech-language therapy services to students at TES for the past 5 years.  Jennifer obtained a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from UNC-Chapel Hill and has been in the field for 19 years.  Her private practice is called Jordan Speech Services, PLLC and she has provided therapy services in a variety of settings, including Wake County Public School System, Durham Public Schools, Head Start preschools, and homes.  In September 2016, Jennifer will receive a Social Thinking Clinical Training Certificate of Completion based on the concepts of Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking methodology (www.socialthinking.com).  Jennifer’s passions in the field are celebrating differences and helping students to develop their social communication skills in small group and classroom environments.  Jennifer enjoys exploring nature through hiking and fishing with her family and sweet yellow Lab, Avery.  She lives with her husband, daughter (6th grader at TES), and son (9th grader) in Efland.  www.jordanspeech.com

Alicia Kollmar

Occupational Therapist

Alicia received her occupational therapy degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 2000. She grew up in Oregon, and after doing travel therapy around the country chose sunny North Carolina instead of returning to cloudy Portland. She has worked in district and charter schools in the area for both long-term and short-term contracts and has worked with children who very diverse needs. She loves learning new ways to help her students and spends time keeping up with new therapy toys, technologies, and research. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and pets, gardening, home improvement, and doing crafty projects.

Photos courtesy of Laura Wessell at Honor Roll Portraits.

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