Faculty & Staff

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Beth Kuklinski, Director and Instructor

Beth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from North Carolina State University. She has advanced graduate coursework on Specialized Education. Beth is completing a Master of Arts in English with a focus on Multi Cultural and Transnational Literature from Eastern Carolina University. She specializes in working with divergent thinkers, gifted children and children on the Autism Spectrum. Her ability to increase learning for out of the box thinkers, exceptional children, and her innovative ideas about experiential learning inspired her to become the founder of a school especially for them. Beth’s compilation of research, consultations with specialists in educational and therapeutic fields, life experience and vision is the foundation of this original program. Beth was the host of Breathing Underwater: Stories of Autism a radio show airing on WCOM and nationally syndicated on AutismRadio. She is a certified Fast Forward reading program provider. She provides consultation to other agencies and schools and the JLSA program and philosophy inspire many schools who attempt to incorporate these original concepts. She currently completing her first book about autism and education.

Sheena Rapley, Primary Instructor

Sheena Holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Political Science from St.Augustine’s College. She has worked for the City of Raleigh for years in the role as a Before/After-School Care Director and provider. As a care provider for the City of Raleigh she has experience working One-on-One with students that have Autism as well as other students that think out the box and that are very gifted. Sheena worked as a Practicum Assistant  with students in a Special Education Program through Peace College where she earned her teaching certification. She has also worked with the students at Millbrook Exchange Center holding different educational events and activities. Sheena has been the Primary Teacher at JLSA for 9 years. Sheena has a passion for helping others and working with students. She is reliable, patient, energetic, and very caring.

Keerthimayee Kopolu, Math & Science Instructor

Keerthimayee was born and educated in India, with a Bachelors Degree in Math and Physics. She has also earned a Master’s in Physics and spent years teaching math and science to students. After moving to the United States, Keerthimayee loves spending time with her children, cooking vegetarian meals, and continuing her passion for teaching. She has been teaching math and science successfully for years and loves spending time with students and cherishes the opportunity to help them learn.

Gina Falciglia, Lead Teacher’s Aide

Gina holds a duel Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and in Psychology from Dowling College in New York. She has over 15yrs experience working as a pre-school teacher, teacher’s aid/ substitute in special education, and a teacher’s aid, substitute, and elementary school teacher in the New York public schools. Since her move to Fuquay Varina, NC 8 yrs ago she has worked in a pre-school and here at JLSA as a substitute and is now currently an aide. Gina has always had a love for children and watching them learn, she feels there is nothing better then helping to facilitate an ah-ha(light bulb)moment. For Gina teaching has always been a source of great enjoyment, she loves to think outside the box for new ways to help create these light bulb moments. When Gina is not teaching she loves spending time with her two children Anthony and Josie and her husband Joe. She enjoys cooking, baking, doing crafts, reading with her cats Stitch and Cleo, playing fetch with her two dogs Bella and Mocha, walking, biking, camping and the beach.

Jamiya Allen, Teacher’s Aide

Jamiya is a graduate from North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina. Jamiya majored in Physical Education with a concentration in teaching as well as completed the Teaching Program in Fall 2011. Graduating from Wallace-Rose Hill high school as a North Carolina Scholar she has always loved academics. She has worked in public instruction as well as Montessori settings. Jamiya has a true love for children and a desire to help them to expand their knowledge.

Kayelin Buffington,Teacher’s Aide

Kayelin Buffington was born in Poughkeepsie, NY and raised in Boca Raton, Florida. She has lived in Apex, North Carolina for over 17 years. She is working towards her Associates in Early Childhood Education and has completed coursework for Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading and Special Education through East Carolina University. She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Wake Technical College. Kayelin loves working with children of all ages. When not in the classroom, she loves to read, listen to music and play video games. She also holds a second degree blackbelt in Taekwondo which is where her love of teaching was first started.

Caroline (Kelly) Howell-Perez, Spanish Instructor

Caroline (Kelly) Howell-Perez is a married mother of three bilingual children, two of whom are highly sensitive. A self-proclaimed hispanophile and linguaphile, she has an affinity for the Romance languages and speaks near-native Spanish as well as quite a bit of Italian, French and some Portuguese. She has traveled to many countries including South Africa, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Colombia, to name a few. Originally from the South Fork of Long Island, NY, she started volunteering at a young age, counseling and teaching members of the growing Hispanic community there. She is a CA certified Domestic Violence Counselor and spent one year on the west coast working at a battered women’s shelter before ending up in New York City. There she worked as an administrative assistant at a French investment banking firm for the following eight years before finally settling in the Triangle in 2007. She continues to volunteer with the local Hispanic community, does some occasional tutoring, and enjoys spending quality time with her family, cooking, reading, and singing.

Donovan Moran, Music Instructor

Donovan is originally from the Philadelphia area and has always been passionate about an outside the box approach to music education. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, who has been teaching all ages throughout the Triangle area since moving down to North Carolina in 2015. Donovan has a love for music theory as well as an appreciation for improvisation to express one’s creative self. Seeing students acquire a love for music fills him with joy. Aside from teaching, Donovan also works at a reclaimed woodshop in Raleigh, NC. When Donovan is not playing or teaching music, he also enjoys cooking vegan meals, reading novels and going on long hikes with his dog. 

Sharon Cournoyer, Yoga Instructor

Sharon has been learning and growing with yoga for the past thirty years. Her enthusiasm for the practice deepened over the last five years as she realized it was the path toward better health and personal enrichment. Her desire to teach then became the next step. She completed a 220 hour yoga teacher training course in 2011 and is also certified as a children’s yoga instructor with Kidding Around Yoga. And, she is certified in the Level 1 program for Mindful Schools in Berkeley, California. She continues her studies with workshops and trainings and specialized yoga classes. Sharon is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Sociology. When not practicing yoga, she enjoys hiking, cooking, sharing meals, traveling and being with her children and grandchildren. She believes that the real joy of yoga is stepping off the mat and into the world with a renewed sense of self. Striving to be completely in the moment is what keeps Sharon coming back to yoga, so she can be more present to those whom she teaches. And, she believes that the best teachers are her students. She enjoys guiding children in yoga postures, breathing exercises and mindfulness while they enjoy fun and energetic poses like toppling tree, roaring lion, hopping frog and butterfly…all of which involve energizing the body yet calming the mind. Seeing happy, tired yet relaxed yogis at the end of the class is a reward she treasures for her students.

Corrin Carhart, Yoga Instructor

Corrin has been practicing Yoga on and off for years but was really drawn to it about two years ago when she had an injury that was only helped by yoga. At that time she really delved into her own practice and then in February 2015 she decided to start yoga teacher training to try to reach out to others. In August 2015 she became certified as a children’s yoga instructor with Kidding Around Yoga. Corrin is a graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in Psychology. Corrin has seen how transformative yoga can be and is passionate about sharing it with others, especially children. Corrin feels that when we teach children yoga they are not only learning great exercises for their bodies but also coping mechanisms for handling stress, which empowers them to take control of their own emotions and to feel differently about stressful situations. When not teaching yoga Corrin enjoys reading, scrapbooking and spending time with her family

Hyewon Grigoni, Art Instructor

Hyewon earned her B.A. in Art with a concentration in drawing from Fairhaven College. Prior to coming to JLSA, she taught at a private school in Washington State where she is originally from. Hyewon is passionate about teaching art/art history and loves the synergistic value of art and education: Learning about art and exploring a variety of artistic media helps us decipher meaning, challenge, and beauty in the world and people around us. Learning about the world around us supports our identity as creative thinkers and artists. Hyewon believes art education transforms students into creative problem solvers who are better equipped to explore and relate to the world. Aside from art, she enjoys swimming, good books, trying to grow food, and hanging out with loved ones.

Dawn Martin, Psychology & Social Skills Instructor     

Dawn and her husband Mark are Rent to Own franchisees with store in Fuquay Varina. In 2001 they moved from Connecticut to Florida to open our first store and relocated to NC in 2006. She holds a BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. Dawn and her husband have been married for 18 years and have 2 terrific kids. Mandi is 16 and a student at JLSA and Drew is a freshman in college. She organizes and runs the monthly parents’ coffee, serves on the parent committee and assists on all off-campus activities at JLSA. In her free time she enjoys volunteering, reading and traveling with her family. They are avid sports fans especially of their beloved New England Patriots.

Nancy Maynard, Entrepreneurial Ventures Instructor  

Nancy Maynard graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Microbiology. She has over 19 years of experience as a microbiologist. She has worked for various companies such as American Sterilizer, Magellan Laboratories/Cardinal Health and Apex Laboratories. As a microbiologist she carried out testing of pharmaceutical products and ingredients to ensure safety and quality. She also designed experiments to analyze novel products. Nancy is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and has lived in North Carolina for 19 years. She has lived in Holly Springs for 13 years with her husband and two children. She loves traveling around the country, going to the beach, reading, scrap booking, learning Mandarin Chinese and cycling.

Danan Smith, Project & Team Building Instructor

Danan grew up in the Northeastern corner of the state while developing skills through participation in Boy Scouts, commercial fishing, agriculture, agri-tourism, forestry, colonial history, Athletics, hunting, fishing, foraging, shore combing, and all things outdoors. He received a Biological Sciences Degree from NCSU and has prior experiences working for ASNC, EasterSeals UCP SET as well as in historic preservation, construction & stone masonry. Danan loves to be outside; camping, exploring, tinkering, and sensing each new blessed day.  He has a passion for Science, and all it can dream. His favorite domestic hobby is cooking and reading his favorite books: Hippocratic Writings, Hunger of Memory, Death of Vishnu, Ishmael, Brave New World, and anything history or science related.

Beverly Tan, Short Film Instructor

At 7 years old, Beverly  decided she wanted to be a filmmaker. With her love for telling stories, she started to work in the field as soon as she can. At 17, she won her first merit award with the short film “Relentless” in the Kappa Tau Fine Arts Competition. A few years later, Beverly became an internationally screened and award winning director with her official directional debut “The Last Line.”  Beverly has worked for several large companies and on major motion picture sets (Hunger Games, Iron Man 3, Banshee, Homeland) before taking off on her newest venture; her own production company Fire & Spunk Productions. Now Beverly travels nationally working on projects to tell stories around the world in everything from narrative to animation to virtual reality and enjoys her partnership with the veteran-owned Kadrymila Media. She lives in both Raleigh, NC and Denver, CO with her cat.

Alex Pearce, LEGO® Engineering Instructor

Alex Pearce has been a LEGO® Engineering Instructor for several years, and a LEGO® fanatic his entire life. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill in 2010 and moving to Connecticut, Alex returned to his native NC and brought his LEGOs® with him. Engineering FUNdamentals with LEGO® show students how to design and build motorized machines, catapults, pyramids, demolition derby cars, truss and suspension bridges, buildings and other constructions, explore concepts in physics, engineering, and architecture, while playing with their favorite creations. This is a hands-on and brains-on class suitable for LEGO® novices to “maniacs.” With over 100,000 pieces of LEGO®, students take on real- life engineering challenges while building and having fun!

Linda Pattinson, See Spot Read

Linda Pattison, See Spot Read (SSR) Calendar Organizing Team Chair and School Coordinator, is a retired Spanish teacher.  She has been participating in the SSR Calendar events with her two therapy dogs (both rescue dogs) since 2013.  Her certification is through Therapy Dog International (TDI).  Linda is also the Steering Committee Chair for the Kids 4 Critters program.  The Kids 4 Critters program is a 6-week program teaching responsible pet ownership to fourth graders. Additionally, Linda is certified to teach material in the RedRover organization. RedRover organization promotes engaging children in critical thinking, listening and reflection activities designed to promote empathy, respect and responsibility towards animals.