Faculty & Staff


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 has completing a Master of Arts in English with a focus on Multi Cultural and Transnational Literature from Eastern Carolina University, with two courses remaining. 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 experience as a parent of unique kids, 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.

Marisol Garcia-Sandoval, Student Support 

Marisol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Drug and Alcohol studies from East Carolina University. She has worked specifically with children on the Autism Spectrum, ranging from verbal to non-verbal. During her time at East Carolina, she was able to volunteer as an English tutor and volunteer as a crisis counselor with the National Suicide Hotline. Coming from an immigrant background, she hopes to pursue a higher education in the mental health field to facilitate language barriers and eliminate mental health stigma.

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.

          Krista LeClaire, Student Support

Krista holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  After working as a scientist in the field of vaccine research for several years, she decided to leave the biotech industry to spend her time working with children. She believes wholeheartedly in the value of connecting kids with nature, animals, and traditional arts. She currently teaches horseback riding lessons to kids, and has worked with several students in the autism spectrum.  Krista also leads an old-time and bluegrass music group for young children called The Chatham County Lil Biddies.  The Lil Biddies travel to music festivals throughout the state, promoting traditional music, dance, and folk art to future generations. 


Dawn Martin,  Student Support & Reading Specialist   

Dawn and her husband Mark are Rent to Own franchisees with store in Fuquay Varina. She holds a BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. She and her husband Mark have been Rent-A-Center franchisees since 2001. Prior to that she was an agent for the Hartford Insurance Company for 7 years.  She 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.  

Nancy Maynard, Horizon’s Program 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.

Liz Everett-Smith, Theater Instructor & Reading Tutor

Liz studied drama at the Long Island, NY High School of the Performing Arts, Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City, Herbert Bergdorf Studio, and The Real Stage. Liz has performed as an actor in numerous venues, was a founding member of the Rogue Theater Company, and has been teaching, coaching, and directing professional and student actors for nearly 20 years. Liz is trained through the Augustine Literacy Project in reading instruction.

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. 

David Yanuzzo, Martial Arts Instructor

David is the head instructor at Breakout Martial Arts with over a decade of martial arts and teaching experience.  Instructor David holds the rank of 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido, along with training in various martial arts including Kickboxing, Vale Tudo, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, Kung-Fu and Judo.  

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.

Mary Avinger, Horticulture & Projects Instructor

Mary is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in Anthropology and a Masters in Library Science. She has lived in Chatham County for 17 years with her family and various dogs and chickens. She grew up on a farm in the Cleveland County and has always had a great love of animals and the outdoors. Her hobbies include reading, playing board games, hiking, and cooking.

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.

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.