Our Staff

WITH EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE IN ENGAGING STUDENTS IN THE LEARNING PROCESS
  • Faculty

    Collage faculty and staff are a dedicated, collaborative team of professionals who bring intriguing backgrounds and experience in public, private and independent school experiences who are constantly reimagining education to benefit our students.

    The teachers bring state certification qualifications, as well as Master’s and Doctoral degrees in early childhood, elementary education, art education, math and science. Collage Day School staff and faculty support individual and community achievement, instilling the skills, critical thinking and enthusiasm our students need to become leaders of tomorrow.

    Early Learning Community

    Desiree Blackman
    Lead Teacher – Snowy Owls

    Desiree is a Washington state native who moved to Florida in 1992. She attended Florida State College at Jacksonville, and she has three years of childcare experience. She has served as an assistant kindergarten teacher and as a volunteer in the public-school system. She is married with four beautiful children, and believes there is nothing more precious than seeing life through the eyes of a child, especially your own. Desiree has a strong faith in God and her faith is the foundation of her family. She believes knowledge is power, and it is her delight to empower each of her students as they learn independence and discover the world around them.

    Outside of class, Desiree’s hobbies include spending time with her family, hiking in the mountains and being outdoors. She also enjoys reading, music, and art.

    Nora Chambers
    Assistant Teacher – Barn Owls

    Nora earned an A.S. in early childhood education from Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. At Collage Day School, she served as the assistant in the one-year old classroom before being promoted to lead teacher for the Barn Owls. She holds certifications in CPR, First Aid, and AED, and she is currently in the process of completing her Child Development Associate Credential. In addition, she has 45 hours of Department of Children and Families training.

    Nora is originally from New Jersey, and moved to Ponte Vedra Beach three and a half years ago. She has extensive experience in child care with ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. She enjoys working with children, and she is dedicated to the social and emotional development of each and every child. She believes firmly in making sure each child receives the best care and love they all deserve.

    Nora has a five-year-old daughter who attends Collage Day School as a kindergartener. She and her daughter enjoy nature and daily outdoor activities, and they’re delighted to be a part of the Collage Day School community.

    Sara Goldsmith
    Support Teacher

    Sara Goldsmith is a proponent that educators must accommodate the different learning styles of their students in order to be most effective. From the University of Arizona in Tucson, she earned a B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis in journalism, communications, and media arts/film. She also holds an A.A. in liberal arts from Landmark College in Putney.

    Before moving to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2016, Sara lived in Los Angeles for 5 years, where she worked in various facets of the entertainment industry including film & TV studio operations, production accounting, and work as an executive assistant. There, she fell in love with performing sketch and improvisational comedy in her free time, and she completed the Second City Hollywood Conservatory program. She brings the major tenets of improvisation to her work and in the classrooms; saying “Yes and…” to ideas and experiences, listening, and working as a team.

    When she is not in the front office, Sara wears various hats including working directly with students in the preschool and upper elementary school. She enjoys teaching students through imaginative play and seeing children’s imaginations shine.

    Amber Hinson
    Lead Teacher – Bay Owls

    Amber holds a B.S. in family and child studies from the University of Central Oklahoma and an A.A. in Child Development from Oklahoma City Community College.

    Amber has worked in childcare for over 20 years. She has extensive preschool experience teaching children from birth to school age children. She believes that children learn best in comfortable, active and enriching environments.

    Before moving to Atlantic Beach in 2018, Amber and her husband and three children lived in Oklahoma. Being a military spouse, Amber is used to change and enjoys the opportunity to be part of a great team at Collage Day School. Amber enjoys gardening, the beach and spending time with her family.

    Ashley Hobbs
    Lead Teacher – Snowy Owls

    Marina Marks
    Assistant Teacher – Snowy Owls

    Shannon Mead
    Lead Teacher – Bay Owls

    Shannon holds a M.A. in educational leadership from Strayer University, a B.A. in sociology from the University of North Florida (Go Ospreys), and an A.A from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Since her high school days at Fletcher Senior High, Shannon has worked in childcare, originating in a childcare facility that was available on her campus for teenage mothers. She has extensive preschool experience having worked with all age groups, from infants to school age children. In addition she has served for over five years in Florida’s VPK program.

    Shannon is passionate about preparing children for elementary school by building their confidence, introducing them to new concepts, and shaping their creativity.

    Outside the classroom, she enjoys dancing, reading, and creative writing. One of her life aspirations is to write and publish her own book. Currently, she resides in Jacksonville and she is the proud mother of a 22-year-old daughter. She looks forward to many more years of teaching and being part of the Collage Day School family.

    Stephanie Perkins
    Lead Teacher – Bay Owls

    Nicole Rhoden
    Lead Teacher – Barn Owls

    Brandi Shelnutt
    Lead Teacher – Barn Owls

    Brandi earned the Preschool Child Development Associate (CDA) as well as the VPK Credentials. In addition, she has 62 hours completed toward her B.A in early childhood education. She is CPR and First aid certified, holds the VPK Credentials, and completed the Department of Children and Families 40 hours training. Brandi also has over 12 years of experience working with children and six years of teaching experience. Prior to coming to Collage Day School, she worked for three years as a VPK teacher. Since February 2018, she has served at Collage Day School as a 3’s assistant teacher, lead aftercare teacher, and lead 3’s teacher for Summer Camp.

    Brandi has dedicated her professional life to teaching because of her love for working with children. She truly enjoys caring, nurturing and guiding preschoolers, and she is delighted when her students discover the world around them. Everything from a Band- Aid to the natural world, are opportunities to foster creativity and wonder.

    Brandi is originally from Orlando and has lived in Jacksonville for the past 12 years. She loves the families and the community at Collage Day School, and she is looking forward to watching the school grow.

    Patricia Sutherland
    Assistant Teacher – Barn Owls

    Partricia earned the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA), and has 45 hours of Department of Children and Families training. As an Early Childhood Educator, she is committed to offering a safe and loving environment for toddlers and children in which they can flourish. She is also patient and dedicated about working with children of all ages and skilled at remaining calm under pressure while keeping the childcare setting light and playful.

    Patricia, also known as Trish, joined Collage Day School as a VPK Assistant Teacher. She eagerly sought her CDA and worked as the Lead Teacher for The Barn Owls Class. Prior to working at Collage Day School, she worked for 13 years at Accotink Academy. There, she served in various roles: she was a bus driver, a phono-visual specialist, an assistant teacher, a co-teacher, a lead teacher, an office manager, and the lead of extended day programs.

    Patricia resides in Jacksonville with her husband of 30+ years and has three children. She enjoys spending her time with her family and her church, which fills her heart with joy.

    Preschool Community

    Donna Buchholz
    VPK Mentor/Lead Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Donna holds a B.A. in early childhood education from George Mason University. 18 years ago, her family moved to Florida from her home state of Virginia. There, she taught 2 nd and 3 rd grade for 15 years. In addition to that, she has been a reading tutor in St. Johns County schools, and has spent the past 12 years teaching Pre-K/VPK. She believes “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning” and each day, she strives to instill a love for learning in her students. She feels blessed to start her morning by being greeted by the smiles and hugs of her students, and she has raised a family of teachers. Her son graduated from the University of Florida and teaches high school math, and her daughter is a graduate of Florida State University and is a 2 nd grade teacher. Outside the classroom, Donna loves to spend time with her family, especially on their boat.

    Lisa Caffey
    Assistant Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Charlotte Dolansky
    Lead Teacher – Tawny Owls

    Charlotte Dolansky has lived in Jacksonville since 1979. Prior to joining the Collage Day School, she proudly served on staff for sixteen years with Providence Preschool. There, she worked as an assistant for three years and as a lead teacher for thirteen years. She holds a Child Development Associates Credential, and a Florida Staff Credential. She completed her DCF Child Training, and earned a CPR/First Aid Certificate. Currently, she is enrolled at Florida State College at Jacksonville, where she is working toward an A.A. in early childhood education.

    She and her husband of twenty-one years, are the proud parents of three amazing children, ages twenty-one, sixteen and fourteen. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, running, volunteering as a Sunday School Teacher, and traveling to North Carolina. She and her family actively serve the community, are involved in athletics, and enjoy time outdoors in nature.

    Barbara Dorsch
    Assistant Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Devon Easley
    Assistant Teacher – Tawny Owls

    Paola Gaskin
    Lead Teacher – Tawny Owls

    Shari Goldman
    Lead Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Shari moved from New York to Ponte Vedra 11 years ago with her husband and three daughters. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University, and has six years of teaching experience: 5 years as the a lead pre-K teacher at Accotink Academy by the Sea and one year as lead VPK teacher at Collage Day School. She loves teaching and aspires to the quote, which says, “Teachers encourage minds to think, hands to create and hearts to love.” In her free time, Shari enjoys the beach, fitness and spending time with her family and friends.

    Amanda Greer
    Lead Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Amanda earned a B.A. in early childhood education from Rhode Island College, and she is a Certified Early Childhood teacher for Preschool-2nd grade. In addition, she has taken several Master-level classes in special education. She brings 12 years of experience in education, where she served as a Pre-K teacher in an integrated setting at a private school and for Head Start. As an Early Childhood Educator, Amanda believes in enriching educational experiences for young learners as the key to shaping their minds for the future. She enjoys the energy of a preschool classroom, where teachers guide students to explore and discover their environment, and she understands that each child has a unique way of learning and flourishing. She is dedicated to working with parents as a team to make their child’s education successful and positive!

    Amanda and her husband of 15 years have 2 children, ages 10 and 7. She is a native of Rhode Island and recently moved to Ponte Vedra for a healthy lifestyle change. In her free time, she enjoys the beach, swimming, Disney, food, her church and watching her son play baseball and her daughter play softball.

    Amanda is thrilled to have found Collage Day School, and believes it is truly an environment where students grow through nature, nurture and individualized learning.

    Deb Henderson
    Assistant Teacher – Tawny Owls

    Leslie Johnson
    Preschool Mentor/Lead Teacher – Tawny Owls

    Kelly Landolfa
    Assistant Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Tina Rihlmann
    Assistant Teacher – Spotted Owls

    Tina has been teaching, inspiring, and caring for the Collage Day School preschool Owlets since 2017. She holds a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, and she is First Aid, CPR, and AED certified.

    Prior to working at the Collage Day School, she was a lead VPK and lead toddler teacher. She believes children learn best when they are engaged in an uplifting environment and when she takes learning outdoors. Her greatest joy is seeing her students gain new academic, social, emotional, physical, and intellectual skills. She believes the Collage Day School provides a superb platform for outdoor learning opportunities, which she believes is a vital part of nurturing a child’s curiosity and freedom to explore. Her teaching philosophy is to lead with love, teach with passion, and play with purpose.

    Tina is a mother to beautiful 8 years old twin girls. Originally from New Jersey, she relocated to Florida in 2016. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, Disney World, sewing and arts/crafts. She feels blessed to be part of the Collage family!

     

     

    Elementary Community

    Jennifer Currie
    Upper Elementary Teacher

    Nicole DeLaCruz
    Lower Elementary Teacher

    Nicole holds a B.A. in elementary education K-6 from the University of Phoenix, and she is currently pursuing her M.A. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder through Arizona State University. She is certified in both Virginia and Florida in the area of Elementary Education, and is passionate about students with special needs. She has served as a reading teacher where she enjoyed working with students below grade level in reading, and she worked as a teacher with Hospital/Homebound students in Duval County Public Schools. There, she provided academic studies to students living within the county, throughout the state, and neighboring states while they received medical treatments at Wolfson’s Children Hospital. Nicole is a veteran teacher at Collage Day School where she worked as the Upper Elementary Teacher during the inaugural school year.

    When she is not teaching, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. She believes that every child deserves an enriching hands-on education catered to individual needs. She has unwavering love for children, and believes each child has the capacity to make the world a better place.

    Whitney Eagleson
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Whitney holds a M.A. in elementary curriculum and instruction from the University of Maryland, and she earned a B.S. in interdisciplinary liberal studies with a minor in elementary education from James Madison University in Virginia. She is endorsed in English for speakers of other languages and certified to teach in both Florida and Maryland. She brings five years of teaching experience to Collage Day School having taught previously in Kindergarten and First Grade.

    Whitney moved to Florida four years ago and is looking forward to building a future family with her fiancé, Matthew. Her passion is teaching children to discover the world around them. As a teacher, she aims to guide children to become lifelong learners by fostering curiosities through engaging and meaningful opportunities. At Collage Day School, she will be teaching Kindergarten where the focus is on the whole child. She believes in utilizing differentiated instruction and encouraging students to explore their environments in both intellectually stimulating and nurturing ways.

    Kaitlynn Johns
    Assistant Teacher

    Kaitlynn Johns holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Florida. She has worked in Exceptional Student Education with the St. Johns County School District for the past three years as an assistant teacher.

    Kaitlynn loves working closely with her students and helping them to achieve their social, emotional, and academic goals, while fostering a friendly and supportive environment that caters to the individual child. Originally from Deland Florida, Kaitlynn belongs to a military family and has lived in multiple locations throughout Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. Her family settled in Saint Augustine in 2005 where she attended Pedro Menendez High School, graduating in 2007. She met her husband in high school and they still live in the St. Augustine areas. She loves to read, hike, and spend time with her three dogs and family.

    Maura Rupert
    Intervention Coordinator

    Maura holds a M.A. in special education with a focus on language and literacy. In addition, she earned a B.A. in English and special education.With a desire to help all students, Maura pursued learning multisensory reading methods for two years while completing her fellowship to become a Certified Dyslexia Therapist. At Collage Day School, she utilizes the strategies that she has learned to help students become confident and successful learners. She also works with teachers to provide professional development and continuous exposure to best practices. Currently, Maura is pursuing a second M.A. in educational leadership.

    She moved to Jacksonville from New Jersey in 2017, where she served as an Exceptional Student Education Teacher in St. Johns County. Maura is committed to the social and academic growth and development of every child she teaches. She continuously aspires to make a difference in education by modeling positive ideals for both students and staff with whom she collaborates. At Collage Day School, Maura serves as the Lead LEAP (Learning Enrichment Achievement Program) Teacher and as the Intervention Coordinator. She also serves as a member of the Collage Day School Data Team, where she monitors all Prescriptive Education Plans, collaborates with both parents and clinicians to increase the overall effectiveness of the intervention Model, and lives out her passions of teaching and leading. Maura enjoys spending time with her husband and wants all children to be successful learners by creating a stimulating classroom atmosphere which adapts to the varied needs of students.

    Elizabeth Sink
    Assistant Teacher

    Samantha Tupper
    Lower Elementary Teacher

    Samantha graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in elementary education from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. After graduating, Samantha was elated to have the opportunity to follow her dream career of teaching and molding young minds. She currently holds certifications in elementary education and an endorsement in English as a second language. Prior to moving to Florida, she began her career teaching first grade in Maine. Since living in Florida, Samantha has taught both first grade and second grade and has served as a Girls on the Run Coach for eight seasons. She brings nine years of teaching experience to Collage Day School.

    When Samantha is not in the classroom, she loves to cook and travel the world with her husband. She strives to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoys incorporating the outdoors into her learning environment. Her classroom philosophy involves building relationships with her students and guiding them in their learning. She enjoys observing the growing process among her students over the course of the school year. The classroom allows for her to support all diverse cultures and learning styles, and she is excited to be a part of the Collage Day School Community where she can use her experience and expertise to mold the minds of her second and third grade students.

    Kristin Thomforde
    Learning Enrichment Achievement Program (LEAP) Teacher

    Kristin graduated from University of North Florida with a B.A. in special education- specific learning disabilities. She began her teaching career as a middle school teacher for the St. Johns County School District where she taught Reading in a self-contained Exceptional Student Education Classroom for five years. Later, she transitioned to a private school located in Jacksonville where she taught sixth-eighth grade reading and served as the school’s Reading Specialist. There, she focused on teaching students with various learning modalities while also providing accommodations and modifications. Kristin is trained in Reading programs such as Lindamood-Bell LIPS, Verbalizing and Visualizing, and Wilson Reading Programs.

    She currently lives in Ponte Vedra with her husband and two beautiful daughters Emersyn (8) and Montgomery (infant), and she’s thrilled that Montgomery is an Early Childhood Student at Collage Day School. In her spare time, Kristin loves reading, fitness, and spending time with her family. She is passionate about helping students reach their full potential by discovering their unique learning styles and making learning fun. At Collage Day School, she works with students, parents, and teachers to provide intervention and to establish individualized learning goals, which ensure all students have optimized learning opportunities.

    Kristen Walker
    Project Based Learning/Gifted Teacher

    Kristen graduated from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine where she received a B.A. in elementary education with a concentration in English. She is currently certified in elementary education, and she holds endorsements in the areas of Gifted, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Kristen has taught in Pre- Kindergarten-Fifth Grade. She brings eight years of project based learning, enrichment, intervention, and gifted education experience to Collage Day School.

    Kristen is a native of Maine and moved to Florida in 2010. Kristen looks forward to engaging students and working collaboratively with students, teachers, and parents. She enjoys hands on lessons and strives to have all students succeed in the classroom. Her goal is to create a learning environment at Collage Day School that fosters creativity, sparks curiosity, and encourages students to think abstractly through Project Based Learning. As a Data Team Member, Kristen monitors student data and ensures each student is provided with an enriched curriculum that encompasses multiple intelligences.

    When not at Collage Day School, Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter (infant). She looks forward to watching her daughter grow and blossom while being an Early Childhood Student at Collage Day School.

     

    Resource Guides

    Stacy Bowen
    Art

    Stacy earned a B.A in Fine Arts from the University of North Florida with an emphasis on painting and drawing. She is a Florida Certified Teacher and has over 10 years of teaching experience in elementary and preschool art in private schools in Jacksonville. As a visual artist herself, she loves a variety of mediums including collage, watercolor, and stained glass.

    Stacy believes art should be fun! She has a lifelong passion for the visual arts and Art Education. She feels children should be free to express themselves in visual ways, and it is her goal to provide a safe, caring environment that facilitates these life skills with great artistic experiences. Stacy also has a love for the outdoors that spills over into her artistic aesthetics. She loves to hike, kayak, and just be outside with her family. Stacy is excited to be a part of the Collage Day School community and she’s thankful to have the opportunity to work alongside her son who is also a student at Collage Day School.

    Eira de Broux
    Spanish

    Dana Negaran
    Music and Movement

    Mark Williams
    Music

    Mary Kubek
    Yoga

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