DA Welcomes 34 New Faculty and Staff

As the new school year begins, Durham Academy welcomes 34 faculty and staff members who have joined the school community. Some of them arrived over the course of the 2020–2021 school year, while others are just beginning their time at DA.


Ashlee Bailey, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant

Bailey earned a B.S. in family and consumer sciences and an M.S. in human development and family studies, both from N.C. Central University. Since 2015, she has been a pre-k teacher at NCCU. She will be a teaching assistant in Sloan Nuernberger’s kindergarten class.

Dr. Megan Klenk, Counselor

Klenk earned a B.A. in American history from Brown University; an M.A.T. from Columbia University, Teachers College; and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University. She has been a substitute teacher at Duke Memorial Weekday School; a postdoctoral fellow at the Durham VA Medical Center; and a National Institutes of Mental Health institutional predoctoral fellow at Duke.

Farrell O’Quinn, Interim PE Teacher

O’Quinn earned a B.S. in exercise science from Appalachian State University and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. She taught Advanced Placement Environmental  Science, biology and exercise science at Covenant Day School in Charlotte, where she also coached cross-country and track and field. She will serve as a substitute teacher in Preschool and Lower School PE until Oct. 8.

Alyson Wilson, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant

Wilson holds a B.S. in exercise and sports science from UNC-Greensboro and an M.A.T. with a focus on physical education from the University of Northern Colorado. She served as an interim PE teacher in DA’s Preschool in spring 2021 and previously taught PE at the kindergarten to high school level at schools in Florida and Colorado. She will work with Jessica Whilden’s kindergarten class.

Dr. Danielle Wysenski, Learning Specialist

Wysenski graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.S. in early childhood education and an M.S. in special education. A National Board Certified Teacher, she also holds a Ph.D. from UNC-Charlotte’s Department of Special Education and Child Development. She has taught in the Durham Public Schools, and most recently served as a graduate research assistant at Sam Houston University and at UNC-Charlotte.

Lower School

Jonathan Beyle, Fourth-Grade Teaching Assistant

Beyle earned a B.A. from UNC-Wilmington and an M.S. from United States Sports Academy. He has been a longtime PE and health teacher at Chapel Hill’s Phillips Middle School and track and field coach at East Chapel Hill High School. He is the owner of Jon Beyle’s Performance Training. He will be a teaching assistant in Anna Larson’s fourth-grade classroom.

Angie Duty, Fourth-Grade Teaching Assistant

Duty graduated magna cum laude from N.C. Central University with a B.S. in elementary education. Long a part of the DA community as a parent volunteer and faculty member, she worked as a virtual assistant for first and second grade and a substitute teacher in the 2020–2021 school year and previously served as a second-grade teaching assistant. She will be a teaching assistant in Chip Lupa’s fourth-grade classroom.

Liz McClelland, Third-Grade Teaching Assistant

McClelland holds a B.A. in biology from Davidson College, a certificate of media studies from Emerson College and an M.A. from San Francisco State University. She is a familiar face at DA, having served in various part-time and parent volunteer roles since 2018, most recently as a second-grade assistant and a member of the Extended Day staff. McClelland previously served as an education coordinator at San Francisco State University. She will be a teaching assistant in Jennifer Klaver’s third-grade classroom.

Lauren Miller, Fourth-Grade Teaching Assistant

Miller earned a B.A. in music and her AIG licensure from Duke University, and she holds an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from N.C. State University. She previously served as a substitute and interim first-grade teacher at DA; as a second-grade teacher at Hope Valley Elementary School; and as a service learning assistant with Duke University Program in Education. Miller has been a frequent DA parent volunteer. She will be a teaching assistant in Chris Mason’s fourth-grade classroom.

Kelly Norris, Second-Grade Teacher and Teaching Assistant

Norris graduated from the University of Queensland in Australia with a B.A. in English and a Bachelor of Education in K–12 English and K–10 music, and a Master of Education in literacy development and learning and a Master of Education with distinction in learning and development. She has taught at the International School of Stuttgart, Germany, and at Island Pacific Academy in Hawaii. She will serve as a substitute for second-grade teacher Tracy Riddle (from approximately Oct. 25 to Feb. 25), and will be a teaching assistant with Riddle before and after that assignment. 

Farrell O’Quinn, Interim PE Teacher

(See bio in Preschool.)

Emily Pyron, Math Specialist

Pyron holds a B.S. in elementary education from UNC-Greensboro and an M.A. with a focus on elementary school math from Hunter College. She most recently served as a math teacher at The Gateway School in New York and previously taught second grade at schools in Greensboro and New York — including at Citizens of the World Charter School Williamsburg, where she modified and implemented the Bridges in Mathematics curriculum.

Dr. Danielle Wysenski, Learning Specialist

(See bio in Preschool.)

Middle School

Martha Goodge, Science and French Teacher

Goodge earned a B.A. in English and French with minors in women’s studies and religion from Augustana College, and an M.A. in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught French to students in kindergarten through eighth grade at EAGLE School of Madison and has been a lecturer in continuing education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will teach science first semester as a long-term substitute for Molly Punk and will teach French second semester.

Chris Mahoney, STEAM by Design Teacher

Mahoney is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University and earned a Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts. He has been executive director of charter schools in California, and has served as an administrator and teacher at Charles Armstrong School, Friends Select School and Buckley Country Day School. Mahoney began his tenure at DA Middle School last year as a hybrid learning coach and previously served as a college athlete mentor/learning specialist at Duke University.

Roger Peña, History Teacher

Peña holds a B.A. in political science from Syracuse University and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction and youth leadership from Lesley University. He is a Master of Library and Information Science student at UNC-Greensboro. Peña most recently served as a bilingual family liaison with Orange County Schools and has taught history and social studies at the Franciscan School, Cedar Ridge High School and A.L. Stanback Middle School.

Stephanie Pollard, Math Teacher

Pollard earned a B.A. in history from Davidson College, an M.A.T. in elementary education from Queens University of Charlotte and her AIG licensure from UNC-Charlotte. A familiar face at DA, she is a DA parent and previously served as a DA third-grade teacher for five years. Pollard has also taught at Forest View Elementary School and at public schools in Albemarle and Blowing Rock.

Amy Stanbury, Math Teacher and Advisor

Stanbury holds a B.A. in public policy studies and economics from Duke University; she completed graduate-level coursework at the University of Texas at Dallas; and she is working toward a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. She has taught math at St. Mark’s School of Texas since 2006 and has experience teaching math at three other Texas middle schools.

Anderson Stewart, Spanish Teacher and Advisor

Stewart holds a B.A. in Spanish from The Citadel and an M.A. in Hispanic studies from Middlebury College. He has also completed coursework toward a Ph.D. in Hispanic studies at the University of Kentucky. Since 2014, Stewart has taught Spanish at Palmer Trinity School in Miami and previously taught at Virginia Episcopal School.

Mallory Vaccaro, Interim Math Teacher and Advisor

Vaccaro holds a B.S. in business administration and a Master of Science in education from the University of Southern Maine, and she has studied at Tufts University’s Poincaré Institute. Vaccaro most recently taught math at Wakefield Middle School and Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Wake County and has taught at several other middle schools in Maine and North Carolina.

Kattie Xu, Mandarin Chinese Teacher

Xu earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a focus on teaching Chinese as a second language at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China;  a master’s in bilingual education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and a certificate in bilingual education from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a teaching and research assistant at Loyola Marymount and did student teaching at Foshay Learning Center in Los Angeles.

Upper School

Christopher Briggs, Dean of College Counseling

Briggs earned a B.A. in philosophy from Elon University and an M.S. in social foundations of education from Georgia State University, and he is currently a second-year Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development doctoral student at N.C. State University. Briggs has more than a decade of experience as a college admissions officer, including work at Georgia Institute of Technology, Mercer University and, most recently, Duke University.

Jennifer Christman, School Store Manager

Christman holds a B.S. in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a certified home staging professional. She has more than 20 years of experience in customer service, including as a department manager at General Store of Minnetonka in Minnesota. Since 2015, Christman has worked as an interior decorating consultant and home stager through her business Simple Expressions.

Elisabeth Effron, Visual Arts Teacher

Effron graduated cum laude from Miami University in Ohio with a B.F.A.; she holds an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan; and she has studied at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. A working studio artist, her artwork has been exhibited internationally. Effron has 15 years of teaching experience including at Temple Beth Or Religious School and the Art Institute, as well as through her own studio, Raleigh-based Anchorlight Studios.

Forrest Hinton, Math Teacher

Hinton earned a B.S. in mathematics education and graduated summa cum laude from N.C. State University. He also holds an Ed.M. in education policy from Harvard University. He has taught at N.C. School of Science and Mathematics since 2015, and previously taught at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey and in the Duke Talent Identification Program.

Alexa Ilijic, Administrative Assistant

Ilijic graduated magna cum laude from McDaniel College with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and has taken graduate-level courses in Geospatial Information Science and Technology at N.C. State University.  She has served as an executive assistant at Solar Solution in Washington, D.C.; rental and facilities coordinator at NCSU’s J.C. Raulston Arboretum; and STAR program assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Dr. Uma Mahajan, Science Teacher

Mahajan earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology and biochemistry (respectively) from the University of Mumbai in India and holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from Clemson University. She has 12 years of teaching experience at the university and high school level, most recently at Green Charter School, where she taught a variety of science courses and led the GENIUS Olympiad team.

Dr. Angela Meyer, Physics Teacher and Advisor

Meyer earned a B.S. from Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as an M.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Georgia State University. Since 2014, she has taught physics and astronomy at Culver Academies in Indiana. Meyer previously served as a professor of physics at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she researched and taught physics and astronomy.

Alexandra Sencer, Interim History Teacher

Sencer earned a B.A. from Florida State University, a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and an executive leadership certificate from Cornell University. She most recently served as head of Upper School at Louisville Collegiate School in Kentucky. Sencer has also taught and led speech and debate programs at schools including Cary Academy and The Collegiate School in New York and founded the Dogwood Speech and Debate League.

Sarah Washington, Math Teacher and Advisor

Washington earned a B.S. in math with a concentration in secondary education and an M.A. in secondary education, both from the Catholic University of America. She most recently taught high school math at Gonzaga College High School, where she served as an assistant boys lacrosse coach.

Kattie Xu, Mandarin Chinese Teacher

(See bio in Middle School.)

All School

Josh Andreski, Athletics Intern

Andreski graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in sport management and a minor in history. He has worked as a game day operations staff member and intern with the North Carolina Football Club and NC Courage professional soccer teams, and also has served as a materials coordinator with CVS Specialty.

Willie Barfield, Security Officer

Barfield recently retired from the Durham Police Department after more than 17 years of service. He spent his first five and a half years working uniform patrol and his last 12 years as a domestic violence investigator. He studied political science at Fayetteville State University.

Jay Dillon, Assistant Athletic Trainer

Dillon earned a B.S. in athletic training from Towson University and an M.S. in applied health physiology with a concentration in strength and conditioning from Salisbury University. He most recently served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Salisbury University and previously helped with athletic training at Towson University, both in Maryland.

Marichal Gentry, Enrollment Outreach Coordinator and Diversity, Equity and Engagement Project Manager

Gentry earned a B.A. in political science and French from The University of the South; a master’s degree in social work with concentration in families, adolescents and children from UNC-Chapel Hill; and two certificates from Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was most recently vice president for student life and dean of students at The University of the South. Previously, he was senior associate dean of Yale College and associate vice president for student life and dean of student affairs at Yale University.

Kelli Mason, Technology and Systems Support Specialist

Mason earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master’s degree in religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. She most recently was self-employed, and she previously served as a technology integration specialist with Clear Lake (Iowa) Community Schools, where she was lead coordinator for more than 1,200 iPads in the district.

Vicki Rennecker-Nakayoshi, Assistant Director of Annual Philanthropy

Rennecker-Nakayoshi graduated from Averett University with a B.S. in sociology and concentration in cultural anthropology. She most recently served as assistant director of development and alumni relations with the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) and previously was director of alumni relations and special events at N.C. State University’s Poole College of Management.