New Faculty and Staff, 2021-22

We proudly welcome the below faculty and staff to the Savannah Country Day School community. 

Camille Pope: Chief Financial Officer

Cam Pope joins SCDS with over 20 years of finance experience.  Her career spans industry and consulting, with firms ranging from self-employment to a $100 billion global financial services institution. Cam has local and international experience and most recently has been self-employed, working in two roles.  She was the Treasurer of the Ariel Southeast Angel Partners, a local angel investment group, and the Principal of Chameleon Financial where she provided financial consulting services to real estate developers.  Cam holds a BS from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA, with distinction, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Karen Brown: Director of Cultural Competency and Inclusion

Karen comes to SCDS with over 20+ years of independent school, non-profit, and consulting experience. Most recently, Karen served as the Director of Equity and Inclusion at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she was responsible for strategic planning and the implementation of various DEI-related programs for students, faculty, administrators, and parents.  She also held the role of Director of Admission (Middle School) and was on the school’s leadership team. Karen holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Howard University in Washington, D.C. 
 

Bradleigh Uthe: Assistant Director of Admissions

Bradleigh comes to SCDS with higher education admission and teaching experience.  Most recently, she served as Director of Undergraduate Admission at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. Additionally, she worked as Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Charleston in Charleston, WV. Bradleigh previously taught 2nd grade and served as grade level chair at Glenn Elementary School in Durham, NC. She also has kindergarten teaching experience. Bradleigh holds a M.A. in Early Childhood Education and B.A. in Elementary Education from Furman University. 

Olivia Floyd: Upper School English

After spending a year as a full-time substitute English teacher at Savannah Country Day in 2020, Olivia is thrilled to join the Hornets for her first “official” year as a member of the faculty. She has taught a variety of English classes including AP Language and Composition, World Literature, British Literature, and Creative Writing. A graduate of Furman University, Olivia holds a degree in English with focuses on creative writing and ecocritical studies. While teaching is her first love, writing is her second and she is a published author of poetry and nonfiction. 

Laura Kyser: Upper School Mathematics Teacher

Laura comes to SCDS from Savannah Technical College where she served as a Mathematics Instructor for the past nine years. During her time at STC, she taught numerous courses, including Quantitative Skills and Reasoning, College Algebra, and Precalculus, to name a few. Laura earned a BS in Mathematics Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Armstrong State University. 

Tobias Nelson: Upper School Science & Math

Tobias is originally from Rockford, Illinois, and earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He recently graduated from Montana State University with a master's in Physics. He has tutored at both the collegiate and high school levels for seven years. 

Molly Anderson Stevens: Middle & Upper School History & Latin

Molly A . Stevens first moved to Georgia to pursue a M.A. in classical languages from The University of Georgia. Previously she completed a B.A. at Bowdoin College and Post-Bac work at The University of California Davis, worked at several museums, and decorated cupcakes professionally. She has experience teaching Ancient History, Classical Mythology, Greek, and Latin. She will be teaching Latin and History classes and splitting her time between the Upper and Middle School. 

Jessica Duthu: Middle & Upper School Art Teacher

Jessica earned her B.F.A in Production Design from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). She will rejoin our Fine Arts Department, where she will teach Studio and Digital Art in the Middle and Upper School.  Before taking some time off to raise her family and work on earning her M.A. in Art Education from the University of Florida, Jessica was a part-time instructor at SCDS, teaching Z period Art and Digital Photography in the Middle School.  Jessica has also worked locally as an art instructor at the Scribble Art Studio and the Savannah Cultural Arts Center.  

Hannah Jones: Middle School Learning Specialist

Hannah earned her B.A. in History from Auburn University.  After finishing up her bachelor's degree, Hannah went on to earn her master's degree in Childhood Special Education from Hunter College in New York City. For the last two years, Hannah has been working as a humanities teacher for grades 2-8 at The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology- Affiliated International School (GTIIT- AIS), located in Shantou, China.  While at GTIIT- AIS, Hannah led the school's Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Team and helped to develop the school's Student Support Plan.  She also planned several school-wide family events such as Family Learning Exhibition and Halloween Family Festival.  Prior to moving to China, Hannah worked for four years as a K-5 self-contained Special Education teacher for the New York City Department of Education.

Gloria Rigsbee: Assistant to the Director of Fine Arts

Gloria has been in Savannah for 15 years, after working at Wright State and DePaul University. For the past eight years she has worked with the Savannah Children's Theatre, both on and off the stage, with their curriculum-based field trip program, adult and mainstage performances, and box office operations. You will often spot her creating props for shows, working with Savannah Stage Company, leading her Girl Scout troop, and spending time with her family. 

Mary Beckmann: 7th Grade U.S. History Teacher

Mary comes to SCDS with over 20 years of teaching experience.  Throughout her career, she has taught students at the lower, middle, and upper school levels.  Her longest teaching tenure was at Catholic Central High School (Grand Rapids, MI) where she taught in the upper school for nine years, including Advanced Placement U.S. History, Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics, Economics, and U.S. History; she also served as the Social Studies Department Chair for five years.  Additionally, Mary taught for four years and served as team leader at Lincoln Middle School’s Lyceum Magnet Program in Gainesville, Florida, before moving to Savannah a few years ago.  Mary holds a M.A. in Humanities from Central Michigan University and B.A. in History from Grand Valley State University.  

Jenna Tuccio: Lower School Counselor

Jenna, a Nationally Certified Counselor, earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Furman University. She also holds a Master’s of Education degree from Vanderbilt University. During her Master’s program work, Jenna interned as a school counselor for kindergarten through 12th grade. For the past 10 years, Jenna has been a golf coach for children of all ages, which fueled her passion for working with children and impacting future generations. 

Merritt Jones: Lower School Music Teacher

Merritt graduated with her Master's in Music Education from Georgia Southern University, where she focused on choral conducting and issues in social justice. She previously taught music at Veterans Elementary School in Macon, Georgia, after student teaching at North Gwinnett Middle School. 

Alyssa Casciotta: Fourth Grade Teacher

Alyssa is a New York native who was born and raised in the Hamptons. She attended Roger Williams University, where she received her B.A. degree in Psychology with a concentration in American Sign Language. Before attending graduate school, Alyssa worked at Columbia University Medical Center as a clinical research coordinator. She later attended St. Joseph's College, where she received her M.A. in Elementary and Special Education. Alyssa has spent the last three years working for Chatham County, teaching second and fourth grade. 

Rebecca Hoopes: Third Grade Teacher

Rebecca is a California native who moved to the Savannah area last year. She attended California State University San Marcos, where she earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Arts and her Early Elementary teaching credential. Rebecca taught for seven years in first and second grade at a California Distinguished School in San Diego County. Before that, she was a substitute in all grades, Kindergarten through 8th grade. 

Melissa Redner: Second Grade Teacher

Melissa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from Valdosta State University and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Melissa previously taught fifth grade in Gwinnett County Public Schools, where she loved every minute of it.

Ashtin Blackmore: Second Grade Teacher

Ashtin graduated with her B.S. degree in Elementary Education from Minnesota State University of Moorhead in 2017. While receiving her degree at MSUM, she had the opportunity to work exclusively with children with autism for three years. Ashtin taught kindergarten for two years in North Dakota before moving to Cape Coral, FL and teaching fourth grade ELA and social studies. Her husband Joey is the Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator, and their two children will attend The Little School. 

Krystal Stark: First Grade Teacher

Krystal graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor's in Elementary Education. Krystal began her teaching career in Chicago before transitioning into teaching in Denver, then Boise. Her experiences include teaching kindergarten, first grade, and serving as a music director. 

Melanie Gerecke- First Grade Teacher

Melanie is a graduate of Concordia University Chicago where she received a B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education. She taught K-3rd grade Special Education in Chicago where she received her Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner credential. She then taught 2nd-4th grade Special Education in Minneapolis. Last year, Melanie taught in the Little School in the 3K classroom. 

John Mohring: Head Football Coach and Middle School P.E.

Mohring comes to SCDS after serving as Head Football Coach of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, FL. Prior to that, he coached at the collegiate level, including Valdosta State, Arkansas State, and Tusculum College. Mohring enjoyed a highly decorated collegiate career as a linebacker at Georgia Southern and later, professionally, in the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League. Mohring holds a bachelor's degree in General Business from Georgia Southern University and a master's of Sports Administration from Arkansas State University. He and his wife, Misa, have a son Bear in the Little School.

Joey Blackmore: Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator & Lower School P.E. Teacher 

Joey Blackmore graduated from North Dakota State University with a Double Major Bachelor's degree in Social Science and Physical Education and also a Master's of Science in Leadership. In addition to his role in Lower School, he will serve as the Offensive Coordinator on the SCDS football coaching staff. Coach Blackmore, who was a Safety at North Dakota State University from 2009 to 2013, had the opportunity to compete for and win three FCS National Championships as a Bison. Following Blackmore's playing career, he coached at North Dakota State, University of Jamestown, and Minnesota State University. Coach Blackmore's wife Ashtin is joining the SCDS second grade team, and their two children will attend The Little School.  

Michael Romano: Varsity Football, Strength & Conditioning, and Lower School P.E.

Romano began his coaching career at Georgia Southern University as a student assistant and intern in the Strength and Conditioning Department. Romano received his Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from Georgia Southern University in 2011. Soon after, Romano returned home to his Alma Mater, Riverdale High School in Fort Myers where he coached numerous position groups and handled the Strength and Conditioning Department. While at Riverdale, he also was the Head Coach for the competitive boy's and girl's weightlifting teams. He coached with SCDS Head Coach John Mohring last year at Bishop Verot High School.

Michael Buhlmann: Lower School Asst. Teacher, Strength & Conditioning, and Wrestling and Lacrosse Coach

Michael Buhlmann will be an assistant teacher in the fourth grade. In addition, he will oversee the Strength and Conditioning program during the fall, Head Wrestling Coach during the winter, and the Assistant Varsity Lacrosse Coach in the spring.  He attended George Mason College and competed in wrestling. He transferred to Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx to be closer to home and graduated with psychology and business degrees. During college, he was the Team Captain and won his conference in wrestling. He also competed in the USAPL and WABDL powerlifting circuits. He has 20 years of experience in wrestling and now competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Elise Harris: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Elise is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina, but comes to SCDS from Louisiana, where she studied visual arts at LSU. She is currently studying at Georgia Southern-Armstrong, pursuing a degree in child psychology and education. Elise previously worked for the Savannah Chatham County Public School System as an Assistant Teacher in the autism program. She has worked at Savannah Country Day School for the past two summers with Camp Moon River, where she most recently served as Head Counselor. 

Jalen Williams: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Originally from Fayetteville, Georgia, Jalen is a recent graduate of Savannah State University. She earned her B.S. degree in mathematics and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in mathematics from Savannah State University. This will be Jalen’s first time teaching, but she has enjoyed tutoring others during her college career.  

Mason Heiges: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Mason is a graduate of SCDS and is excited to return to campus this year. She is currently an undergrad at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong, pursuing her B.S. in Experimental Psychology. Mason also has a specific interest in Child Development Psychology. 

Crystal Gire: Lower School Asst. Teacher

​​Crystal is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Over the past eight years, she has served as a long-term substitute in several grade levels. Now that she and her husband have relocated to Savannah, Crystal is eager to get back into the classroom. She joined Savannah Country Day this summer as a lead counselor at Camp Moon River. 

Suny Alfonzo: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Suny was born in Venezuela but raised in Orlando, Florida. While volunteering in the children’s ministry, she discovered a passion for children and began working as an assistant teacher in a private school. 
She has experience as both a lead and assistant teacher and is currently attending the University of Central Florida, pursuing a degree in speech pathology. 

Emma Huennekens: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Emma is an alumna of SCDS and a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a B.A. degree in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. Emma previously worked for the Savannah Voice Festival and the Savannah Music Festival before discovering her love of teaching children. She joined SCDS as a substitute and admissions assistant then later became a long-term substitute in third grade. Emma is also very excited to take on the opportunity as the Varsity Cheerleading Coach for the Upper School. 

Caroline Kostecky: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Caroline is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a B.A. in Spanish and minors in Education, Writing, and Peace and Justice Studies. In college, she played on the women's soccer team and studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She grew up in NJ but spent the past year living in Savannah, where she coached soccer with Tormenta FC and led an after-school program for elementary students. This past year she also had the opportunity to tutor in Seoul, South Korea. 

Jamie Burnett: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Jamie recently moved from San Diego, California, where she worked and volunteered in different capacities in education for many years. Most recently, she worked at The Grauer School as a 7th-12th grade garden coordinator and educator.  She volunteered extensively at her neighborhood school, Mission Estancia Elementary, doing campus beautification projects and leading volunteers and classes in garden activities and greenhouse hydroponics exploration. Through the City of Carlsbad, CA, she volunteered at the Cannon Art Gallery as a cultural arts aide with elementary-age students making hands-on art. She holds a B.A. in Art from The University of San Diego.  

Jeanette Burdette: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Jeanette is a graduate of Lander University with a B.S. degree in elementary education. Her teaching career entails teaching second grade and reading intervention to first through third grade students. She has recently moved to Savannah with her husband and loves visiting the nearby beaches and exploring Savannah. 

Megan Peacock: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Megan is an Ohio native and comes from a line of educators. She graduated in 2015 from Ehove Career Center with a background in Early Childhood Education. She has been in Savannah for five years, starting her career path for education. Megan graduated from Savannah Technical College with her associate's degree in  Early Childhood in 2019 and her certification of exceptionalities. She worked for the Habersham School and was a Pre-K lead teacher at The Sanctuary Child Learning Center. 

Coleman Rozier: Lower School Asst. Teacher

A native of Macon, Coleman attended Georgia Southern University and graduated with a BS in Elementary Education. For the last three years, she has student-taught in Bulloch, Effingham, and Screven county, working with first, second, and fourth graders. She looks forward to joining the SCDS community. 

Allie McGinty: Lower School Asst. Teacher

Allie is a Savannah native who, after graduating from the Univerity of Georgia, spent the past two years in Nashville, TN. Her passion for teaching began while spending her summers and weekends in high school as an assistant teacher for the academic enrichment program, Horizons Savannah. While earning her B.A. in Spanish, Allie assisted in multiple elementary school classrooms as an aide and translated for parent/teacher conferences. She worked as a substitute teacher in Athens as well. After graduation, Allie accepted a position as a Lower School Spanish Teacher. As a former student herself, Allie is excited to be back in the SCDS community!