News Post

24 New Faculty and Staff Join DA Community
24 New Faculty and Staff Join DA Community

The new school year brought ­­two dozen new faculty and staff members to the Durham Academy community. In addition to information about their educational background and professional experience, News & Notes asked each of them to share a fun fact or two to help the DA community know a bit more about them.  


Lori Hanks is a teaching assistant in Christian Hairston-Randleman’s classroom. She is a cum laude graduate of East Carolina University and holds an Associate in Applied Science from Pitt Community College. She most recently served as a substitute teacher at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Preschool and previously taught at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and a public school in Winterville, North Carolina.

“I grew up on a tobacco farm! I learned how to drive a tractor when I was about 10 years old.” 

Lower School

Mary DelDuco is a teaching assistant in Chip Lupa’s fourth-grade classroom. She is a graduate of Grove City College, where she majored in Spanish — including a study-abroad experience in Heredia, Costa Rica. She served as a substitute teacher in DA Lower School and Middle School in the 2017–2018 school year and previously worked as an account manager at an insurance agency in Beltsville, Maryland.

“My husband and I like all things outdoors: camping, hiking, canoeing, birdwatching and visiting national parks! Last summer, we went on a seven-week cross-country camping road trip and slept in our tent every night!”

Anna Edwards is a teaching assistant in Jeff Burch’s third-grade classroom. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University and a summa cum laude graduate of N.C. Central University. For the last six years, she taught at The Hill Center, and she previously served as a second-grade teacher at DA. Edwards has also taught at St. Thomas More School in Chapel Hill and Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh.

“My hobbies are gardening and slipcover design. My husband [Upper School biology teacher William Edwards] and I completed our first Spartan Sprint together last spring. It was challenging and SO FUN!”

Ann Laros is teaching second grade. She graduated from St. Michael’s College and has completed coursework at East Carolina University and Colorado State University. She most recently taught at Perry Harrison Elementary School in Pittsboro, and she spent the previous 16 years teaching in Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to years spent abroad, she taught at several schools in Georgia and Florida.

“I ‘randomly’ chose to move to Chapel Hill and actually bought our house on the Internet without actually seeing it first!”

Andy Pronto is a teaching assistant in Ashley Hinton’s second-grade class; he adds this to his existing roles at DA as a Middle School physical education teacher and coach for JV volleyball and Middle School girls basketball. A graduate of Illinois State University, he also holds an M.Ed. from DePaul University. He has taught and coached at Academy of Sacred Heart in Chicago and St. David’s School in Raleigh.

I played guitar and sang a song for my wife at our wedding.”

Anna Ray is a teaching assistant in Tracy Riddle’s second-grade classroom. A DA alumna, she is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and holds a master’s degree in psychology with a focus on autism from Hunter College. Ray most recently served as a leader with Tinkergarten, where she implemented outdoor play-based activities to help children develop capabilities like empathy and problem-solving. She has also served in a variety of roles with Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes.

I lived in Tokyo for 9 1/2 years and went to a Japanese preschool.”

Tracy Riddle is teaching second grade. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and earned a graduate certificate from George Mason University. Riddle has taught in several public schools in Virginia, mostly in the Fairfax County Public Schools district. She also taught for six years at Ras Tanura Elementary School in Saudi Arabia.

I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and I played water polo and rowed in college.”

Todd Tignor is a teaching assistant in Ann Laros’ second-grade classroom. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Tignor has served as a teaching assistant at Triangle Day School and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Academy in Chicago, and for close to three decades, she taught music at Northumberland Elementary School in Heathsville, Virginia. Tignor has also taught private piano lessons at DA.

I just returned from a summer trip to Hawaii, where I snorkeled with amazingly huge sea turtles and hiked through a bamboo forest. I have a dog named Precious and a cat named Kiki. I teach piano lessons and I have two sons who are also teachers.”

Middle School

Chrissie Bushey serves as the Middle School counselor. She is a magna cum laude graduate of James Madison University, and she earned an M.Ed. in school counseling from Shippensburg University. She taught in eastern North Carolina with Teach for America, was national recruitment director for Teach for America, and most recently served as counselor at Maureen Joy Charter School in Durham.

“I love travel and experimenting with cooking new recipes. Lately, though, I love spending time with my husband and two girls: Leigh is 4, and Brooke is 4 months.”

Rachel Cummings teaches Middle School language arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College and a master’s from Simmons College. Cummings most recently worked to design curriculum for humanities teachers. She has taught English and language arts at Jordan High School and in schools in Boston and Pittsburgh.   

“I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica, and my favorite book is The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Philip Hoose.”

Catherine Hayward teaches Latin at the Middle School. She earned a B.A. in classics from Truman State University and an M.A. in classical studies from Indiana University. Hayward was an associate instructor at Indiana University and for the last six years has been a Latin and French teacher at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, a boarding school in Faribault, Minnesota.

“I’ve played piano for 25 years.”

Karen Ruberg teaches Middle School history. She holds a B.A. in international studies from the University of Arkansas, an M.A. in international affairs from Ohio University and a B.S. in secondary education from Urbana University. She taught for 14 years at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. Most recently, she taught at The Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

“I love to travel, and I've been to many countries. A highlight of my travels is when I hiked to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes.”

Upper School

Andrea Caruso teaches Upper School environmental science. She is a cum laude graduate of Binghamton University, and she holds a Master of Science from Fordham University, where she studied as a Clare Boothe Luce fellow. Caruso most recently taught environmental science in Beijing, China, with the School Year Abroad program. She has taught at the Millbrook School in Millbrook, New York, and served as education program manager at McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, New York.

“I led a hike and campout on an unrestored section of the Great Wall outside of Beijing, China.”

Shelley Danser began her work as Upper School counselor in March. She earned her undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She has 15 years of experience, including work as a therapist, as a mental health specialist with the Bridge Program in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, and as program coordinator with Pro Bono Counseling Network.

"I love Halloween, and, coincidentally, it’s my wedding anniversary."

Haley Gfeller teaches Upper School history. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, she holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science; she also earned a master’s degree in global, international and comparative history at Georgetown University. Gfeller has been a research associate and analyst with the Education Advisory Board and served as a long-term substitute teacher at Maret School in Washington, D.C.

“I learned to ride a unicycle when I was in fifth grade. Every year, my friends and I would ride our unicycles together in the Holiday Parade through downtown Winston-Salem!”

Scott Orvis serves as a dean of college counseling. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he worked in admissions and served as associate director of admission. He most recently served as director of college counseling at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, where he also was a faculty advisor and interim dean of teaching and learning.

“I have traveled to 47 states and 21 countries.”

Andrew Prudhom teaches Upper School mathematics. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a dual major in mathematics and physics and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he served as the primary instructor for 12 courses and was the Senior Teaching Fellow for Carolina Mathematics for 2016–2017.

“I enjoy challenging myself physically as well as mentally, and frequently take up physical hobbies that are difficult for me. I have been doing aerial dance for two years ... and I am still pretty terrible at it. I think that everyone should have at least one thing they can't do, but try to do anyway. It teaches us to find satisfaction in the struggle, not the victory.”

Rebecca Shores will teach Upper School English upon return from a maternity leave. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, all in English literature. At UNC, she was the primary instructor for 10 courses and also served as a graduate research consultant and teaching assistant. 


Sarah Chaires serves as DA’s medical consultant, a position she began midway through the 2017–2018 school year. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a Master of Science in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has worked as a family nurse practitioner at the UNC Hospitals emergency department since 2005. Chaires also serves as head coach for DA’s varsity boys and girls swim teams.

I'm Canadian and have three wonderful boys who are dual citizens. Being an emergency department provider and USA certified swim coach, I'm very passionate about children and water safety. I started Carolina Swims Foundation, a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) designation, that provides free swim lessons for children in the Foster care system in North Carolina.”

Amber Kelley-Scott assumed her role as human resources manager in early 2018. She is a graduate of N.C. Central University, where she earned a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in public administration. Kelley-Scott most recently served as human resources representative for Highwoods Properties in Raleigh, and she has also worked in human resources at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, Solstas Lab Partners and Aramark.

“Mr. [Howard] Lineberger was my chemistry teacher at my high school years ago!”

Kelly Kilgore is manager of the Durham Academy School Store. She graduated from Samford University with a degree in education and taught middle school math for three years. She has 15 years of general retail experience and two years as owner and manager of Run In Our Tribe, a running specialty retail company in Southern Pines. She has served as council director for Girls on the Run in Moore County.

“I ran my first marathon when I was 19 and have run five total. I'm actually a half-marathon girl. I've run tons of those (I don't even know the number).”

Kristen Klein is assistant head of school and teaches Upper School English. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College, she holds a B.A. in comparative religion and earned an M.A.T. in English education from Brown University. For the past 14 years, she has taught at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, most recently as director of the upper school and chair of the English department.

Jackie Lauricella is an athletic trainer, primarily based on DA’s Upper School campus. She holds a Bachelor of Science in athletic training from University of Central Florida and an Associate of Arts from Florida Southwestern College. She began her work at DA during the 2017–2018 school year. Lauricella has also served as director of sports medicine and athletic trainer for a number of organizations in the Triangle area and in Florida, including Be the Change Health Coaching Services and Bare Essentials Sports Medicine.

“I love to cook! I learned to cook at a very young age, but now as a health care professional I do my best to make healthy, nutrient-dense foods as delicious as possible! I’m even working on a recipe book.”

CJ Rhodes is an athletic trainer, primarily based on DA’s Middle School campus. She holds a Bachelor of Science in athletic training from Wingate University and an Associate of Arts from Richmond Community College, and she expects to graduate with a Master of Exercise Science from California University at Pennsylvania in December. Rhodes has served as an athletic trainer with Select Physical Therapy, where she has worked with a range of athletes from DA Middle Schoolers to the North Carolina F.C. men’s soccer team.

“I am the athletic trainer for the Tobacco Road Warriors Division II men’s rugby team.”