Jane Gardner, Ph.D
I hold a B.A. in Education (K-8) from Roanoke College (1988), a M.A. in Education from the university of North Carolina at Charlotte (1992), and Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) counseling degree from the University of South Carolina (1996) and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina (2001). I have been serving as a counselor and consultant since 1990. Outside of school and counseling, I enjoy spending time with my 3 children, 2 dogs, and ferret. The 2021-2022 school year will be my eleventh year as Director of Kent Academy.
My name is Brandi Williams and I have been in education for over 15 years. I am originally from New Jersey, but spent my teenage and adult years in Pennsylvania. I graduated from Kutztown University where I earned a Bachelors in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. I then proceeded to get my Masters in Education with a concentration on Curriculum and Instruction. I have taught students from various backgrounds including alternative education and early college. I believe that every child can learn, and we just have to identify the best way to teach each child. Education should be individualized and not a “one size fits all.” When not teaching, I can be found spending time with my husband and six children, or trying to train my doodle to do awesome tricks. This will be my first year at Kent and I am very excited to join this family.
My name is Sara Muller and I graduated from California University of PA with a B.S. in Elementary Education, and have my teaching certification in NC, PA, and NJ. I have been teaching in NC since 1997, and teaching at Kent Academy for 11 years. I have extensive Orton-Gillingham training with both Institute of Multi-Sensory Education and The Wilson Reading System, allowing me to customize literacy instruction to each of my students’ individual learning needs. In addition to over 100 hours of extensive literacy and math training, I have successfully completed course training focused on teaching students with ADHD. I believe every child possesses the capacity to learn and be successful. I have a passion for helping my students to not only find and achieve their individual level of success, but to also learn to embrace and enjoy the journey in a safe, creative, and nurturing environment. When not teaching, I can be found hanging out with my husband and 3 children, reading, fervently crafting away on any one of five million projects, or organizing yet another search party to find the missing owl carrying my acceptance letter to Hogwarts.
Kindergarten-3rd Grade Teacher
I was born in Florida and grew up on an island. My Christmas parades were decorated boats traveling up and down the intercoastal waterway! I hold a B.S. in Public Relations from University of Florida (1990) and a M.A. in Teaching (K-5) from Queens University (1996). I also did post-graduate studies, and am a specialist in child development and developmental trauma (2004-2012). I started my teaching career as an ESL teacher in Yokohama, Japan. I then worked as a 2nd / 3rd grade teacher at Newell Elementary (Charlotte) and a literacy facilitator at Elizabeth Lane Elementary (Matthews). I began a career as a home study investigator and pre / post-adoption educator for Christian World Adoption in 2004. Over a six year period, I helped over 100 orphaned children come home to forever families from China, Guatemala, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia. My teaching career expanded to include a life coaching practice that has been in business since 2009. I have a husband of 29 years, two daughters (17 and 20), a Chiweenie dog, and a free-roaming bunny rabbit. I homeschooled and graduated both my daughters and both are attending CPCC. Currently, I fulfill my love for teaching “littles” by teaching ESL online for VIPKID. I am passionate about a narrative approach to education. Each child comes with a narrative story that shapes their growth and development. My own children’s narrative required an individualized teaching approach and I am thrilled to be able to bring my talents and skills to a new group of “littles”. I am grateful to be at Kent Academy for my first year of teaching in the 2021/2022 school year. My children describe me as being “sparkly”!
4th Grade Teacher
My name is Beth Kelly and I have been given the wonderful honor of teaching students for the last 22 years. I am originally from Buffalo, NY, where I received my B.A. in Sociology, but in 1997 I decided to move to Charlotte, NC and within a year realized I wanted to pursue teaching. I attended UNC Charlotte where I received my teaching certification in Special Education and have been teaching ever since. If I have learned one thing, it is that every student learns differently and can be successful and excel in the right learning environment. I have worked in a variety of schools where I have taught students with Autism, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Emotional Trauma, and Learning Disabilities. The 2021-2022 school year is my fifth year at Kent Academy. This is my passion and I feel so fortunate to be able to teach these awesome kids every day!
5th Grade Teacher
I was born and raised right here in Charlotte, NC. I graduated from Independence High School in 2000 and went to UNC Charlotte for college where I studied to be a teacher and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2003. I’m certified to teach Kindergarten through sixth grade. I’ve taught school for 16 years and during that time, I’ve taught all elementary school grades in different capacities. I began my career at Newell Elementary in the CMS system, then was a nanny for a couple of years for younger children, followed by a stint at Mountain Island Day School. I have been at Kent Academy since the fall of 2012 and wouldn’t want to be teaching anywhere else. In addition to teaching lower school at Kent, I run a baseball league, called YMCA Miracle League for children and adults with special needs at the Keith Family YMCA. In my free time, I love playing sports and spending time with my family and friends.
My name is Jarvis Miller; I am originally from a small town, Laurens, SC. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from South Carolina State University; I also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. I have always had a passion for mathematics and computers and later developed an even bigger passion for teaching. I started my career in education teaching GED courses to juveniles who struggled to learn in public schools. Two years ago, I started teaching introductory computer science courses at a local college. I started teaching middle school mathematics in the spring of 2021. Outside of the classroom, I serve as the Church Administrator at my church. Although I have only been at Kent for a few months, the students, faculty and parents have made me feel like I have been a part of the Kent family for years. I look forward to pouring knowledge into the students as they pour knowledge into me.
My name is Brian Nelson and I am the high school teacher at Kent. I graduated from Lynchburg College with my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and minors in Outdoor Recreation and Communication studies. I come from many years of non-traditional teaching jobs, from homeschooling students with mental challenges to teaching English abroad. All of these experiences brought me to understand and appreciate the gap between students that could handle the rigors of traditional high schools, but wouldn’t necessarily thrive. I noticed that this population is underrepresented, which was my focus when creating the high school program at Kent. The 2021-2022 school year is my seventh year at Kent Academy. When Kent seniors graduate from our program, they will have all the tools they need for success in college and a vested interest in their own success. I love that no year is the same, I recognize that I don’t have all the answers, and can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds!
My name is Rebecca McKenzie and I am the office administrator for Kent. My role at Kent is to assist with the admissions process, as well as our day-to-day operations. I graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a B.A. in Human Services and minor in Psychology. In addition to my position at Kent, I am also a Habilitation Technician for individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. In my spare time I am a volunteer leader for Young Life, a high school ministry. Through my experiences, I have learned that I have a heart for students with learning differences as well as a passion for mental health advocacy. The 2021-2022 school year is my third year at Kent Academy.