NC State
NC State Principal Preparation

NELA Cohort III

2012-2014

Cohort III Fellows

kbranchKaren Branch
Sponsoring District: Bertie
Current District: Bertie

Karen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She became certified in science education for grades six through nine and also completed the requirements to teach all high school science courses for grades nine through twelve. She received Academically and Intelligently Gifted certification for kindergarten through twelfth grades and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She taught at Bertie Early College High school of Biotechnology and Agriscience in Windsor, NC. Karen completed an administrative internship at West Bertie Middle School and is served as assistant principal at West Bertie Elementary School and Windsor Elementary School. She was an Exceptional Children’s Curriculum Coach in the 2015 to 2016 school year and has been serving as an Exceptional Children’s Program Specialist for Bertie County Schools since 2016.


JoeB

Joey Briggs
Sponsoring District: Roanoke Rapids

Joey taught for 10 years and was a seventh grade math teacher at Chaloner Middle School before joining Cohort III. He has been a math department chair, technology facilitator, school improvement team member and a mentor to new teachers. He served as assistant principal during his internship at Roanoke Rapids High School.


Msmith

Matt Bristow-Smith
Sponsoring District: Edgecombe
Current District: Edgecombe

Matt graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University and began teaching as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. He earned National Board Certification in English Language Arts. He received the North Central Region Teacher of the Year award in 2010. He was an English teacher and School Improvement Team Chair at Tarboro High School. Matt completed an administrative internship at SouthWest Edgecombe High School. He is currently serving as principal at Edgecombe Early College High School.


scottle.rev

Stephanie Cottle
Sponsoring District: Bertie
Current District: Bertie

Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Printing Production and Imaging Technology with a minor in Applied Business from Chowan University. She worked as the Assistant Coordinator for Printing Production in the Graphics Department at Chowan and taught a freshman level course. Prior to joining Cohort III, she taught Graphic Communications at Bertie High School in Windsor, NC. Stephanie completed an administrative internship at Bertie Middle School. After graduating from the NELA program, she returned to teach at Bertie High School. Stephanie is currently serving as the CTE Career Development Coordinator for Bertie County Schools and is the Director of the Bertie Public Safety Cadet Program.


apearson

Allie Evans
Sponsoring District: Hertford
Current District: Roanoke Rapids

Allie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies Education from Chowan University. She worked at Hertford County High School as a Civics and Economics and United States History Teacher. She also worked with fellow colleagues in creating new curriculum for the Essential Standards and served as the Common Core/Essential Standards liaison for the Social Studies Department. Allie completed an administrative internship at Hertford Middle School. After graduating from NELA, she was an Assistant Principal at Roanoke Rapids High School. She is currently serving as the Exceptional Children’s Program Director at the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District Central Office.


cgeary

Chad Geary
Sponsoring District: Roanoke Rapids

Chad earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from California University of Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Navy and worked with the Navy “F-14” fighter jet for five years. He served two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf and was honorably discharged. Chad taught in the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District for five years. He was nominated twice for Teacher of the Year and was selected in 2011 as the district’s Teacher of the Year. He completed an administrative internship at Chaloner Middle School and served as Learning Facilitator at Roanoke Rapids Alternative School.


vgilbert

Viola Gilbert
Sponsoring District: Edgecombe
Current District: Weldon City Schools

Viola graduated with a BSW from Salem State University and has worked passionately to promote job readiness and eradicate child abuse through education. Her love for education blossomed as she taught 6th grade at Gaston Middle School. She earned a Masters degree in Counseling. She also earned a Masters in School Administration through NELA at NC State. She completed an administrative internship at Roanoke Valley Early College and became a School Counselor at W.A. Pattillo Middle School after graduating from NELA. Viola is currently serving as Counselor at Weldon High School.


nirby

Nafeesha Irby
Sponsoring District: Durham

Nafeesha earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. She was a Teach for America corps member and has also served as a Corps Member Adviser. She was a School Director for Teach for America’s Oklahoma Summer Institute. Nafeesha spent two years working as a high school Special Education Teacher in Charlotte, NC. Prior to joining Cohort III, she was a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for the Eastern North Carolina region of Teach for America. She completed an administrative internship at G.C. Hawley Middle School in Granville County.


Lprudenti

Lauren Lampron
Sponsoring District: Edgecombe
Current District: Edgecombe

Lauren graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She joined the Eastern North Carolina Corps of Teach for America and gained teaching credentials through the alternative licensure program at East Carolina University. She taught English at C.B. Martin Middle School. Lauren completed an administrative internship at Tarboro High School. Currently, she is the Principal at W.A. Pattillo Middle School.


smcmannen

Sophelia Hawley McMannen
Sponsoring District: Granville
Current District: Granville

Sophelia earned a bachelor’s degree in K-6 Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish from North Carolina Central University. She completed Mentor Training and two years of balanced literacy training, Literacy Collaborative, from Leslie University. She was nominated as West Oxford’s Teacher of the Year in 2008 and was a member of NCEA for six years. Before joining NELA, Sophelia taught 12 years at West Oxford Elementary School. She completed an administrative internship at Joe Toler-Oak Hill Elementary School in Granville County. Sophelia was an Assistant Principal at Tar River Elementary School after graduating from NELA. She is currently serving as Assistant Principal at Wilton Elementary School.


cmillerwalker

Cindy Miller-Walker
Sponsoring District: Franklin
Current District: Franklin

Cindy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and is certified in gifted education for kindergarten through 12th grade. During her 22 year tenure in education, she has been a kindergarten, first, and third grade teacher, as well as an academically and intelligently gifted teacher for grades kindergarten through fifth. She was named Teacher of the Year at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School in Charleston, SC and at Youngsville Elementary School in Franklin County. Cindy completed an administrative internship at Youngsville Elementary School, where she is currently serving as Assistant Principal.


mmobley2

Michelle Mobley
Sponsoring District: Martin
Current District: Martin

Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education-Learning Disabilities and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instructional Services in Reading from Grand Canyon University. She worked as an Exceptional Children’s Curriculum Specialist for Martin County. She taught special education at EJ Hayes Elementary in Williamston. Michelle completed an administrative internship at East End Elementary School, where she is currently serving as Assistant Principal.


kpleasant

Karyn Pleasant
Sponsoring District: Halifax

Karyn graduate magna cum laude from Florida A&M University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She began her career with the Teaching Fellows program in the New York City Public School System where she earned a Master’s degree in Adolescent Education. She moved to North Carolina and began teaching eighth grade science at Enfield Middle School. She was named Halifax County’s Employee of the Month in October 2011. Upon completion of an administrative internship at Southeast Halifax High School, Karyn served as a science teacher at Enfield Middle School.


krow

Katie Row
Sponsoring District: Bertie
Current District: Edgecombe

Katie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She joined the Eastern North Carolina Corps of Teach for America in 2010. Katie completed an administrative internship at Windsor Elementary School. After graduating from NELA, she was an Instructional Coach at Stocks Elementary School.  She was an Assistant Principal at SouthWest Edgecombe High School during the 2015-2016 school year. Katie is currently serving as Principal of Coker-Wimberly Elementary School.


mrushing

Misty Rushing
Sponsoring District: Martin
Current District: Martin

Misty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University. She worked at Williamston Middle School as a sixth grade teacher for 10 years. She also taught fourth grade math at E.J. Hayes Elementary School for 9 years. She was named Teacher of the Year for the 2006-2007 school year. Misty completed an administrative internship at South Creek Middle School. She is currently serving as Assistant Principal at Williamston Primary School and South Creek Middle School.


tsmallwood

Tawanda Coston Smallwood
Sponsoring District: Bertie
Current District: Bertie

Tawanda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Elizabeth City State University and a master’s degree in Mathematics from East Carolina University. She has 16 years of teaching experience, all in Bertie County. She has been named Teacher of the Year three times. Tawanda completed an administrative internship at Bertie High School and is currently serving as an Instructional Coach at Bertie Middle School.


mstrickland

Melissa Strickland
Sponsoring District: Roanoke Rapids

Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics/History with a concentration in Secondary Education and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. She taught in Philadelphia before directing a large day care center in Bethlehem, PA. She served as a Kindergarten Teacher at Belmont Elementary School and was nominated as Best Teacher in the Roanoke Valley for the 2011-2012 school year. Melissa completed her administrative internship at Manning Elementary school in Roanoke Rapids, NC and was an assistant principal at Belmont Elementary School. She is currently serving as a Consultant in Early Learning and Formative Assessment for North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.


tsutton

Pretrenia Sutton
Sponsoring District: Granville
Current District: Edgecombe

Trena earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in History, Early Childhood Certification, and Elementary K-6 and Reading K-12 licenses. She also received a master’s degree from Touro University. She taught elementary school in the Granville County School System, and was named Teacher of the Year for the 2012-2013 school year at West Oxford Elementary School. She was also honored for Outstanding Service in Elementary Education. Trena completed an administrative internship at Mary Potter Middle School and was an Assistant Principal at South Granville High School of Integrated Technology and Leadership and South Granville High School of Health and Life Science after graduating from NELA. She taught second grade at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School and is currently serving as a fifth grade elective teachers coach and beginning teacher mentor there.


rwatford

Ronica Watford
Sponsoring District: Hertford
Current District: Hertford

Ronica graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina Central University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She taught in the Hertford County Public School System as a fifth grade math and science teacher. She was the Teacher of the Year for Ahoskie Elementary School for the 2012-2013 school year. Ronica completed an administrative internship at Bearfield Primary School and was a teacher and Dean of Students at Ahoskie Elementary School following graduation. She is currently serving as an Instructional Coach at Hertford County Middle School.


jwilker

Jennifer Wilker
Sponsoring District: Warren
Current District: Warren

Jennifer earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood from Granville Community College and worked as a teacher assistant in the Warren County School System. She continued her education and earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina Central University. She taught math for five years to fourth and fifth grade students at South Warren Elementary School. Jennifer was named the 2011 Young Educator of the Year by the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She completed an administrative internship at Warren New Tech High School was Transformation Coach at Northside Elementary School after graduating from NELA. Jennifer was an Assistant Principal at Northside Elementary School. She is currently serving as an Assistant Principal at Warren County Middle School.